Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Roundup, January 9-15, 2012

by Blueberry T
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Several (indeed most) of the Republican presidential candidates have suggested that it would be a “nightmare” if the United States became a secular state. Where have they been, lo these past ~224 years? It has been a secular state since the Constitution was ratified and the nightmare would come if it became a theocracy, as several GOP candidates advocate. Nomad makes a forceful and persuasive argument that those candidates who make their religious beliefs central to their campaign must be asked challenging questions about what those beliefs are and how they would interact, and potentially interfere, with carrying out their elective office. His excellent questions deliberately probe difficult areas where public action and religious dicta might conflict. The electorate needs and deserves to know the answers, but is there a MSM journalist with the courage to ask?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kathleen’s post highlights an excellent “lawyer letter” from the NYCLU, National Lawyers’ Guild and Center for Constitutional Rights. The letter calls out violations of the terms by which the property owners/developers were able to gain zoning concessions in exchange for the creation of Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza as a public space. The letter makes clear that the barricades and security measures that have restricted public access for the past two months are a violation of the terms of the developer’s agreement with the City of New York and of the rights of the public. As a result, Zuccotti Park is once again open to the OWS protesters as well as other members of the public, and they are free to exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. We’ll see how the NYPD behaves going forward.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Mitt Romney continually touts his business experience as one of his principal qualifications for the presidency. Kathleen’s post highlights a recently released 28-minute documentary that tracks Romney’s record as a job destroyer in four communities. This is a powerful film with moving interviews of the real, middle class people whose jobs were eliminated after Romney’s Bain Capital took over these firms, which were viable, having functioned profitably and synergistically with the local communities for many years. People lost their homes and the families and communities went through very tough times. Romney’s leveraged buyouts used mostly OPM (other people’s money, from lenders and investors), drove up enormous debt, sucked the capital out of previously profitable companies, made huge returns for Bain and drove these companies into bankruptcy. THAT is the kind of exploiter that Mitt Romney is, and it is how he made his fortune. People – voters – need to know who he really is; it is interesting that the video was filmed by someone who had worked for Romney and that the film rights were acquired by a Newt Gingrich-friendly SuperPAC.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Sunnyjane lays out the task at hand – cleaning out the GOP dead wood obstructionists and whack jobs from the House and Senate. She names names: House Majority Leader (and chief obstructionist) Eric Cantor, ineffectual Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell are the unholy trinity that put the dysfunction in Congress, as they are beholden to the Tea Party extremists who racked up big wins in 2010. Of these, Boehner is unlikely to be challenged and McConnell is not up for reelection, though there is a slim glimmer of hope that a good candidate could unseat Cantor. Sunnyjane reminds us that, amidst all the hoopla about the Presidential race, the Congressional contests are really, really important. She will look closer at the races in upcoming posts; we look forward to hearing more from her and seeing more of the fantastic cartoons she finds!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
HopeforAmerica investigates Sarah Palin’s attempt to appoint a crony, Corey Rossi, as Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. Palin’s parents pushed her to appoint Rossi, who was an old friend of theirs who had also worked on federal predator control projects (rat killing?). Rossi was passed over for the Commissioner’s job, but a job was created for him: Assistant Commissioner in charge of “abundance management” of bear and wolves that prey on moose, caribou and other game. In 2010, Rossi was appointed as the Director of the Alaska Division of Wildlife Conservation, although he lacks even the qualifications for an entry level position there, according to a letter sent by 39 wildlife biologists/scientists who opposed his appointment. (Rossi does not even have a college degree.) Rossi was recently charged with twelve counts of violations of Alaska hunting regulations; he can hardly claim he didn’t know about the regs, since his letter and signature are prominently displayed in the public packet on the regulations (I guess karma really is a bitch!). Rossi, the ultimate crony, proved correct the prediction of Jon Spiegel, who recommended against Rossi’s appointment in 2007: I have little doubt that if he is appointed to this position he will become an ethical embarrassment.”
Some comments and links:
I am going to add this here (picked up from Twitter): The NYTimes readers’ representative wrote some commentary about whether the media should fact-check its sources (particularly politicians). The response was an overwhelming YES, with a lot of incredulity that he even had to ask this question and seemed to think it was a real poser. Since it’s a question that was/is so relevant to the genesis of Politicalgates, I want to highlight this issue and the Guardian article on the controversy.
Sunnyjane: What the GOP presidential candidates were REALLY thinking while the debate was going on last night.
Romney: I hope they don’t bring up the dog riding on top of the car or ask why I refuse to release my income tax returns.
Gingrich: Diane Sawyer’s looking foxy tonight. I wonder what she’s doing after this stupid debate.
Paul: I bet there are gays in this audience; gotta remember not to use the men’s room. I wonder if I can win the black vote; are there any of “those people” here tonight?
Huntsman: I could answer all these dumb questions in Mandarin and nobody would notice.
Santorum: What am I going to say if they ask me about Karen getting an abortion? Wish I had worn my lucky sweater vest.
Perry: Forget that “D” in economics I got at Texas A&M. What I want to know is if I can bring my personal chef to the White House.
Psalm023: How long did Sarah think God would keep that door open, in her disobedience to his Word? It says, "There are 7 things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends." [And] Good post! That Boehner cartoon as he reaches across the aisle...........priceless. Love the one with the 3 amigos while people are trying to warm themselves by the garbage drums; those three sad-looking faces (Cantor, Boehner, McConnell) look like an ad for Cialis. Mr. Psalm calls it "electile dysfunction".
JCos (on news coverage of Todd Palin’s endorsement): Tomorrow night on FOX, Haley Anne Freedman of Ashton, Indiana, who works at Phil's Hardware and Chinese Buffet, will announce who she is endorsing, as well as sharing some valuable tips on how to strip wallpaper.
Nomadic View: A knit-wit and a Newt-wit and a Mitt-wit
ProChoiceGrandma: His vulture capitalism at Bain exhibits the same cavalier attitude towards people. His greed for exorbitant profits caused grief to thousands of individuals and their communities. He treated them like...dogs. (PCG also linked to this on Rachel Maddow’s take on dog-gate; dusty17 and sleuth1 linked on this subject as well.)
Alwaysthink: I'd make the case that what Bain does is not capitalism but financial engineering by a predatory class of oligarchs/plutocrats. In capitalism you have private ownership of the means of production that produce VALUE and the profits shared by the workers as wages and the shareholders as dividends. Willard did nothing to create value and shafted both the workers and final "investors" in his businesses. Killing Cash Cows at best is a form of vampire capitalism. [And] We can't let them get away with the claim that Bain was taking over "troubled" companies. That is a pile of bull. Bain raided the cash and other assets of viable businesses and in the end weakened or destroyed them with the debt they put on the books. It's not just to workers but also the last investors into these companies that ended up getting the shaft. KB Toys and the Washing Machine company were not in markets that were going away. The "creative destruction of capitalism" is nonsense when applied to these industries.
CracklinCharlie (responding to this article posted by Older_Wiser) That plant happens to be just down the street from where I am sitting. The GST plant was almost as big as the town I grew up in, and now it is a dilapidated ghost town. The disgruntled steelworkers have been all over local tv, and newspaper. Lots of people were really upset when that plant closed. I am so glad that Newt is reminding people that almost everyone in the US has been directly or indirectly screwed over by Mittens Romney and his vulture buddies.
Maelewis: The story that keeps dogging Romney is the dog on the roof of the car. People understand immediately that he treated the dog badly, even after it was clear that the dog was suffering some kind of distress. It is easier to connect with that emotion, than to follow all of the steps involved when a venture capitalist takes over a company, strips it down and turns it around for a quick profit. It takes that same lack of emotion, compassion, or feeling for the people who spent years building that company and who were proud to work there. What ever happened to "corporations are people, my friend"? No, they are not; they are numbers on a balance sheet to Romney.
SLQ [on Palin not endorsing a candidate]: She seemed very angry about it, also, too. I suspect she has been told she cannot endorse, because . . . uh . . . no candidate wants to be/can afford to be hit with the Palin curse.
Cheeriogirl linked to this Andrea Mitchell interview, in which she wonders what Romney might look for in a VP candidate: “Is it qualifications to be president, which would be a novel thing after what happened 4 years ago.” Touché!
Juicyfruityy found this on James O’Keefe and this on Mitt Romney denying knowledge of the terrorist group MEK, which one of his top advisors supports and which was apparently protected by the Bush Administration.
NomadicView linked to youtube from TPM showing – wait for it -- Newt Gingrich making sense on the subject of Romney’s actions at Bain Capital.
HonestyinGov pointed out David Schuster’s piece on Romney avoiding taxes through offshore accounts in places like the Cayman Islands.
Patrick posted this link about Mitt Romney’s tax cuts for the wealthy, “like Bush tax cuts on steroids.”
Dusty17 pointed out this ad from the Colbert-Stewart SuperPAC: “If Mitt Romney really believes that corporations are people… then Mitt Romney is a serial killer – He’s Mitt the Ripper!” Brilliant!
Let’s end with Older_Wiser’s link to an inspiring story.



A reader has brought to my attention the activities of a group of people who call themselves

According to their website their mission is to:

Unite everyone in an effort to envision and create a new kind of society in which the needs of all human beings are put first.
Our next march begins December 1st, at the Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington, D.C. We will march approximately 17 miles per day until arriving  in Atlanta, Georgia. Our date of arrival is not exact, as daily schedules are always subject to change according to health and safety concerns.
Along our route, we will visit other Occupations and public spaces such as universities. Our facilitation team will hold Instructional General Assemblies in order to introduce and spread the concept of horizontal leadership, and we will discuss the history and significance of marching and non-violent civil disobedience as forms of protest.
We feel that these methods of demonstration are the next logical step that should be taken beyond stationary Occupations. Mobile Occupations attract attention to the Occupy Movement while allowing us to reach out to the public in person. They demonstrate the dedication, determination and conviction of the Occupy Movement. They provide a mobile example of the community Occupy is working to create. Long distance marches also demonstrate our willingness to sacrifice even our health, comfort, stability and safety in support of the Occupy Movement and its ideals.

A recent twitter has confirmed that they have now reached Greenville in South Carolina and the march is expected to reach Atlanta, Georgia towards the end of January. There are some fantastic photographs of the journey so far that you can find by clicking here

The route is outlined on the following map:

This is the rest of Walkupy's itinerary:

Jan 16 & 17 - Greenville, SC
Miles 12 - Total Miles 562 - Days 47 & 48
Jan 18 - Piedmont, SC
Miles 16 - Total Miles 578 - Day 49
Jan 19 - Belton, SC
Miles 15 - Total Miles 593 - Day 50
Jan 20 - Day 51
US 29 & Trotter Rd - 17 Miles - Total Miles 610 - Nearest to Homeland Park, SC
Jan 21 - Hartwell, GA
Miles 16 - Total Miles 626 - Day 52
Jan 22 - Day 53
Hwy 281(Wildcat Bridge Rd) & Old Harrison School Rd. - Miles 17 - Total Miles 643 - Nearest to Royston, SC
Jan 23 - Day 54
Hwy 8 & Clark Circle - 17 Miles - Total Miles 660 - Nearest to Hull, GA
Jan 24 & 25 - Athens, GA
Miles 9 - Total Miles 669 - Days 55 & 56
Jan 26 - Day 57
US 78 & Jacks Creek Rd - Miles 18 - Total Miles 687 - Nearest to Campton, GA
Jan 27 - Loganville, GA
Miles 18 - Total Miles 710 - Day 58
Jan 28 - Stone Mountain, GA
Miles 18 - Total Miles 728 - Day 59
Jan 29 - Atlanta Georgia, MLK Memorial
Miles 13 - Total Miles 741 - Day 60

If these brave people march by you please give them a shout out or even consider buying them a coffee to keep their spirits up. I'm sure that they would appreciate it. 


Bonus by Patrick:

Our last update deleted by mistake my earlier bonus update - here is the clip again with Sarah Palin interviewed on Fox News by Jeanine Pirro on January 14, 2012, in which Palin is tense and agitated and has several little "Katie Couric" moments, without even realizing her mistakes. Palin get's visibly angry when Pirro corrects her and then delivers another of her famous word salads with the epic sentence:

"I think I am a good kind of microcosm as a person reflecting what the rest of America is thinking right now"  

Sarah, you are a microcosm indeed, full of little wonders.

Our reader KAO captured the moment when Pirro corrected Palin - priceless:

Her hair is a complete mess, by the way. What happened there?

By the way, if you fancy some really, really good laughs about Sarah Palin, please read the new twitter stream of @TheRillSarah.

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