Monday Reads

library reading room NYPLGood Morning!

There’s more than just a bit of March madness in the air and you don’t have to be watching basketball to catch it.  It seems that the Republican Party’s Teabots have decided to boycott Fox News for being too liberal.  Yes, you read that right.  Fox is not fair and balanced towards their viewpoints so off with th eir heads!!!!

Among the demands the protesters have is that Fox News “be the right-wing CBS News: to break stories, to break information, and to do what news organizations have always done with such stories: break politicians,” that the network have at least one segment on Benghazi every night on two of its prime-time shows; that Fox similarly devote investigative resources to discovering the truth of Obama’s birth certificate; and that the network cease striving to be “fair and balanced.”

“We need Fox to turn right,” said Hjerlied. “We think this is a coverup and Fox is aiding and abetting it. This is the way Hitler started taking over Germany, by managing and manipulating the news media.”

The descriptions of the boycotters and their preferences for conspiracy sites is pretty obvious. Poor Fox and the Republican Party Establishment just cannot shove these loonies back into their boxes.

Agreement has been reached on what to do with Cyprus and its unstable banks.  The agreement will not be put to a vote of parliament.

Cyprus will close down one of its two biggest banks and restructure the second one as part of an international bailout, Cyprus and underwoodinternational lenders agreed on Tuesday.

Bank depositors of up to 100,000 euros will not suffer any losses but bigger depositors will contribute to recapitalizing the bank that is to be restructured – Bank of Cyprus.

Shareholders, bondholders and those who held deposits above 100,000 euros in Laiki bank, which will be closed down, will cover the cost of the resolution, euro zone ministers and the International Monetary Fund decided.

Depositors with more than 100,000 euros in the Bank of Cyprus will see their money above that threshold frozen until it is clear how much of it will be needed to recapitalize the bank so that it can reach a capital ratio of 9 percent.

Here’s some discussion of what the Cyprus fallout could be around the world by Marshall Auerback.  Moody’s says Cyprus is still at risk of default, euro zone exit should these steps resolve the current crisis.  So, what type of precedent does this set for such a risky move with no real guarantee of success?

Regardless of the ultimate form this bailout takes, it is increasingly hard to view Cyprus as a “one-off,” which has no implications for us here in the US. What Cyprus has demonstrated is that even with deposit insurance, your deposits are not in fact a risk-free guaranteed asset, but actually simply another branch in the creditor tree in relation to your bank if it fails. That was made abundantly clear by no less than the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bankers’ bank back in the heart of the financial crisis. The BIS noted that bank failures had become increasingly expensive for governments and taxpayers and therefore recommended an “Open Bank Resolution,” which would ensure that, as far as possible , “any future losses are ultimately borne by the bank’s shareholders and creditors.” (See primer on the Open Market Resolution concept by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.)

Why does this matter? Because, you, as a depositor are legally considered a “creditor” of your bank, not simply a customer who may have entrusted your entire life savings with the very same institution.

The science editor at BBC News wonders why there is such a fuss about extinction which leads to the question “would the world be a better place if we still had velociraptors? But, is natural extinction different than man-caused extinction?

We are certainly far better off without velociraptors slashing their way through our cities. Our streets are safer with no sabre-toothed tigers. And imagine trying to swat one of those monster prehistoric insects like a vulture-sized dragonfly.

The question of extinction most recently surfaced at the talks on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – the treaty meant to save endangered species from the devastating effects of trade.

The slaughter of rhino, the decimation of elephant, the forlorn last stand of the tiger – all had their profiles raised as the delegates in Bangkok negotiated their fate.

And anyone hearing the protests and the campaigns, and the shocking statistics about the losses, might be forgiven for thinking that extinction was some new kind of evil that was not invented until rapacious and uncaring mankind came along.

I should state right now that some of the most ghastly examples are indeed entirely the result of man’s activities, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes carelessly.

hepburn readingWe’re seeing slow, drawn out, death-by-lobbying of the hopes for better gun safety laws.  The NRA is pushing the meme that gun-free zones–like the Sandy Hook School–attract mass murderers.  Mark Follman takes on this myth.

Ever since the massacres in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., this idea has been repeated like some surreal requiem: The reason that mass gun violence keeps happening is because the United States is full of places that ban guns.

Second Amendment activists have long floated this theme, and now lawmaker sacross the nation are using it, too. During a recent floor debate in the Colorado legislature, Republican state Rep. Carole Murray put it this way: “Most of the mass killings that we talk about have been affected in gun-free zones. So when you have a gun-free zone, it’s like saying, ‘Come and get me.'”

The argument claims to explain both the motive behind mass shootings and how they play out. The killers deliberately choose sites where firearms are forbidden, gun-rights advocates say, and because there are no weapons, no “good guy with a gun” will be on hand to stop the crime.

Sound bite sophistry

With its overtones of fear and heroism, the argument makes for slick sound bites. But here’s the problem: Both its underlying assumptions are contradicted by data. Not only is there zero evidence to support them, our examination at Mother Jones of America’s mass shootings indicates they are just plain wrong.

Among the 62 mass shootings over the past 30 years that we studied, not a single case includes evidence that the killer chose to target a place because it banned guns. To the contrary, in many of the cases there was clearly another motive for the choice of location. For example, 20 were workplace shootings, most of which involved perpetrators who felt wronged by employers and colleagues. Last September, when a troubled man working at a sign manufacturer in Minneapolis was told he would be let go, he pulled out a 9mm Glock and killed six people and injured another before putting a bullet in his own head. Similar tragedies unfolded at a beer distributor in Connecticut in 2010 and at a plastics factory in Kentucky in 2008.

Or consider the 12 school shootings we documented, in which all but one of the killers had personal ties to the school they struck.librarian reading

Or take the man who opened fire in suburban Milwaukee last August: Are we to believe that a white supremacist targeted the Sikh temple there not because it was filled with members of a religious minority he despised, but because it was a place that didn’t allow firearms?

Despite the momentum in Congress of the NRA, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is going to spend beaucoups bux trying to get a better outcome.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants new gun control legislation so bad that he’s set to spend a staggering $12 million of his own money on ads targeting US senators in a dozen states.

As the New York Times reports, Bloomberg’s new wave of ads, which begin on Monday, support universal background checks for nearly all gun purchases, but do not mention a ban on assault weapons. The ads, run under the auspices of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group funded and co-chaired by Bloomberg, will target Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Bloomberg’s $12 million ad buy further cements his position as the main political force challenging the clout of the National Rifle Association. For decades, the NRA has used its money and manpower to oust politicians who support any new regulation of guns in America. The threat of NRA attacks helped stifle any effort at new gun laws, including requiring background checks for most gun purchases and reinstating the ban on assault rifles, which expired in 2004. Now, by pumping money into Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Independence USA, his super-PAC, Bloomberg hopes to counter the might of the NRA, while giving cover to pro-gun-control legislators.

Today, SCOTUS hears arguments on California’s Prop 8 and will begin to hear arguments on the constitutionality of DOMA.

California Attorney General Kemala Harris gave an impassioned, pithy defense of marriage equality during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s hearing on whether California’s Proposition 8, which overturned the state’s marriage equality law, is itself constitutional.

Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley to explain why she was refusing to defend the state’s proposition, Harris insisted that the measure undermined the fundamental rights of gay Americans, taking away their equal protections under the law:

I am absolutely against a ban on same-sex marriages because [bans] are simply unconstitutional. And it is one thing to read the polls, which we have discussed which show again that a majority of Americans are in favor of same sex marriage, but it is more important to read the Constitution. And the Constitution of the United States dictates, I believe, under every court precedent that we have discussed in terms of describing marriage as a fundamental right that the same-sex couples that are before the United states supreme court — Mrs. Windsor, Miss Perry — be allowed to have equal protection under the laws as any Americans when it comes to their ability to join themselves with their loving partners in marriage and raise their children. And 61% of Californians are in favor of same-sex marriage.

Harris is considered an up and comer to the national political scene.  You can follow the link above to see the interview.  We will be following the arguments closely today and will keep you updated as things happen.

So. that’s it for me this morning.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

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28 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. Morning! I see that Jennifer Rubin is slagging on Hillary: Hillary Clinton’s puny legacy

    Hillary Clinton managed to convince most of the chattering class that she was not only a good secretary of state, but a great one. Some of this stems from the media’s own desire to rush to her aid and to fawn over her purported achievements. Part of this stems from political reporters who know little about foreign policy drooling over atmospherics and Clinton’s daunting travel schedule. But much of her free ride owes to the time delay between errors and consequences.

    In the case of Benghazi, she didn’t quite make it out the door unscathed. Her plaintive cry in response to queries about the phony cover story for the attack in Libya (“What difference does it make?“) might be answered: “It matters to your legacy, for one thing.”

    My first reaction to this was to call Rubin a bitch out loud.

    Anyway, I saw that Newtown has been hit by the NRA robocalls. Newtown residents upset about NRA robocalls

    Of course, my first reaction to reading about the robocalls was to call the NRA assholes out loud.

    • Speaking of assholes: George Zimmerman Brother’s Tweet | De’Marquise Elkins | Mediaite

      Robert Zimmerman, Jr., brother of Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, continued his everything-including-the-racist-kitchen-sink PR offensive on behalf of his brother by repeatedly tweeting a photo comparison of the teenager his brother shot, and De’Marquise Elkins, the 17 year-old who has been detained in the murder of a Georgia infant. Both pictures feature the young men flipping the middle finger at the camera, with the caption “A picture speaks a thousand words…Any questions?”

      • Earlier in the day, in case anyone did miss the point, Zimmerman tweeted several other revealing comparisons between his brother’s case and the slaying of 13-month-old Antonio Santiago, including one that might be particularly unhelpful. In one, Zimmerman promotes his brother’s version of events:

        Teen to West: “Do you want me to shoot your baby?” #TrayvonMartin to #GeorgeZimmerman : You’re gonna die tonight Motherf**ker”

        And in another, he cuts to the proverbial chase:

        Lib media shld ask if what these2 black teens did 2 a woman&baby is the reason ppl think blacks mightB risky

        Ah, there it is. The only thing Trayvon Martin and De’Marquise Elkins have in common is that they are black teenagers who have middle fingers. That’s where it ends, but the differences between the two are many. Trayvon Martin isn’t accused of any crime, while Elkins is accused of murder. Elkins is alive, and will have an opportunity to defend himself. Trayvon Martin is dead, and can’t defend himself against the despicable comparison of himself to an alleged baby-murderer. Even if every word that George Zimmerman says is true, Trayvon Martin was still only guilty of beating a man who was stalking him with a gun.

      • bostonboomer says:

        OMG, that is sickening. And he thinks that’s going to help his brother?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        They raise money off this racist bs to pay for Zimmerman’s defense. Total desperation in the zimmerman camp.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    So the Teabots are beside themselves because they aren’t getting enough lies and propaganda from Fox? What’s up with that?

    Hannity, Coulter, Ingram, and Malkin aren’t pulling their weight these days? Wow!

    This must be their “protest” against the firing of Palin who appealed to the intellectually challenged who believe dinosaurs were treated as the family pet and climate change is god’s way of getting our attention.

    These folks are not happy until one of those jokers at that network declares there is a “war” on something that threatens to “deny” them of whatever, beginning with their guns and their right to declare their religious beliefs into the public square.

    Morons.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Kamala Harris is a truly impressive woman. I wrote a post about her when she was running for DA. I don’t expect anyone to remember. I was very surprised and pleased when she was elected. She seemed too much of a throwback to the culture wars of the sixties to be able to win these days, but she did.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Today is the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist disaster–102 years ago.

    People in the neighborhood are writing the names of victims on the sidewalks in chalk to commemorate the day.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Chilling editorial on Cyprus in the Irish Independent: This crisis is only beginning and omens for Europe are bleak

    If anything, the situation is more troubling than a week ago; with the bizarre idea that depositors in one bank should be levied more heavily than in others; that at least one bank would be wound up; and that there would be restrictions on the movement of money in what is supposed to be a monetary union.

    ….

    It also seems highly unlikely that the proposed €16bn bailout will be enough. Yet any significant amount more will bankrupt Cyprus.

    This brought into play another complication – that the IMF cannot lend money which has no chance of being repaid. That led directly to the crisis because the Cypriots had to find €6bn of their own, and tried to do it by taxing bank deposits.

    It would appear that this bailout will be as far as the IMF goes, but that won’t be enough for Cyprus. One reason to fear a renewed euro crisis is the doubt over whether European governments will lend Cyprus any more money either.

    The immediate problem is to avert the collapse of the Cypriot banking system, and perhaps an exit from the euro, in the next few days.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Real wages dropped in 2012 and no one in the media noticed.

  7. Zero says:

    The only reason the Tea Party is boycotting Fox is because they want to put up their own media station. It’s just a deceitful tactic. I’m not really for the tea party as they sold out to pop culture and the washington dc elite long ago.

  8. Fannie says:

    I heard you screaming JJ………..and I share that scream with you, Jennifer Rubin is nothing but a lying bitch, up to her neck in trash from that pot of tea, and takes her orders from the men on the right to attack Hillary, and treat her with disrepect. Regardless of all the evidence, or lack thereof, the propaganda moves forwards before Hillay has decided to run, because she (they) know she will be the President. But more than that, Jennifer is jealous, because she doesn’t know who she is (bollywood comes to mind), and no one is asking her to speak on behalf of feminist/women at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards on 2 Apr 2013. Of course we are honored, and awaiting the video when Hillary speaks. No, she’s too busy brewing hatred for women, and participating in the war against women. She’s got a room all to her own, and no decent woman wants to enter her space.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    This is interesting.

    Chief Justice Roberts has a lesbian cousin who wants to get married, and she will be at the Prop 8 hearing today

    Jean Podrasky, 48, a lesbian who wants to marry her partner, will be at Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Proposition 8 in seating reserved for family members and guests of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

    “I am so excited,” said Podrasky, an accountant and the first cousin of the chief justice on his mother’s side. “I feel quite honored and overwhelmed.”

    ….

    Podrasky lives in San Francisco and usually sees Roberts only on family occasions. His mother is her godmother, whom she adores. She said Roberts knows she is gay and introduced her along with other relatives during his Senate confirmation hearing. She hopes he will meet her partner of four years, Grace Fasano, during their Washington visit. The couple flew to Washington on Sunday.

    “He is a smart man,” she said. “He is a good man. I believe he sees where the tide is going. I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction.”

  10. dakinikat says:

    Jim Carrey isn’t on my list of funny people, but I have to give him credit for this … it’s funny

  11. RalphB says:

    Republicans live in their own bubble on just about everything.

    TPM: Pew: Republicans Don’t Think Supreme Court Is Conservative

    Republicans in America believe the Supreme Court is ideologically moderate or, if anything, liberal, according to findings from Pew Research Center released Monday.

    The survey found pluralities of Republicans describing the high court — widely seen as having a conservative majority — as either “middle of the road” or liberal. Forty-five percent of conservative Republicans said the court has a liberal makeup, while 39 percent said it is down the middle. Among moderate-to-liberal Republicans, 45 percent said the Supreme Court is middle of the road and 29 percent said it’s liberal. No more than 15 percent of either group of Republican respondents called the court conservative.