Morning, Caturday enthusiasts!
My political junkie cred may be compromised here, but I have to be honest with y’all. The only thing I watched from the RNC was the latter half of Ann Romney’s speech, and even that grated. And, that was purely to keep abreast of how the media reacts to a woman in politics, whether I agree with the woman in question or not. I found Molly Ball’s preview in advance of Mrs. Romney’s performance in the Atlantic to be strange. Even if the content of her speech had my eyes locked in the roll position, Ann Romney is a competent communicator and doesn’t need to be judged by such outdated, binary standards. Then again, those standards are very much the view of women in the party she and her husband are choosing to work for…so I guess it’s a wash.
Again, I couldn’t bring myself to watch anything else from that dastardly GOP propaganda fest. I hear Clint Eastwood really cross-examined the heck outta Chairry though.
Oh, and this ThinkProgress list of omissions from Romney’s speech is rather useful. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time watching him speak, because the omissions tell me what I really need to know.
The fun stuff is yet to happen in Charlotte in a few days anyway. Bring on the BILL CLINTON CONVENTION! An excerpt from the Market Watch preview of the DNC lineup at the link:
Here’s a look at some of the speakers Democrats will showcase in Charlotte.
Michelle Obama. The president’s wife, a lawyer with degrees from Princeton and Harvard universities, has followed the pattern of most first ladies by avoiding controversial issues. She has focused her time on healthier eating and support for military families and is more popular in the polls than her husband. Yet Michelle Obama, 48, is now hitting the road frequently in a bid to shore up support among the party’s faithful while reaching out to independents.
She’s told voters her husband will do a better job to protect the middle class and make sure Americans have access to affordable health care.
Bill Clinton. The two-term president has had a rocky relationship with President Obama, but he will formally nominate the current commander in chief on Wednesday. Clinton’s popularity has risen sharply since he left office in 2001, and polls indicate he is looked upon fondly by middle-class voters who remember the prosperity of his time in office.
Obama is particularly vulnerable among white working-class voters and would like to associate his policies with those of Clinton.
Yet Republicans spot an opportunity to argue Obama is well to the left of the nation’s 42nd president. In other words, he is no Bill Clinton.
Elizabeth Warren. The Wall Street critic is running for the Senate seat in Massachusetts that belonged to Ted Kennedy for 47 years. She is expected to defend Obama’s attempt to fix flaws in the U.S. financial system linked to the 2007 panic and following recession. Warren, a Harvard professor and bankruptcy expert, is likely to suggest the reforms will protect consumers from shady financial dealings.
Yet the nationally known Warren, a darling in liberal circles, is a lightning rod for criticism and may have trouble appealing to independents. She trails by five or six percentage points the moderate Republican incumbent, Scott Brown in the most recent pair of Massachusetts polls. Brown appears to have a big lead among unaffiliated voters.
Click on the link and over to page two to read about more speakers, including Sandra Fluke.
If you haven’t checked out the fascinating discussion going on over at Historiann’s yet–Women’s and gender history has menstrual blood smeared all over it. If you read this post, you too will be contaminated.–please do give it a click and look over this weekend! It is just exquisite. I plan to re-read it several times!
I’ll wrap this up with a blog piece from UC-Berkeley labor economist Sylvia Allegretto — This labor day … waiting for change:
Did you know that the federal sub-minimum wage received by tipped workers has been $2.13 per hour for the past 22 years? No joke, it has been and it is way past due for a change. The figure shows the inflation adjusted value of the regular federal minimum wage along with the sub-minimum wage received by tipped workers.
The sub-minimum wage was decoupled from the federal minimum and frozen at its current level in 1996*; prior to that it was at least 50 percent of the regular minimum. Today the sub-minimum wage is at the lowest share of the regular minimum on record — just 29.4%.
Click on over to see a nifty graph and read more.
Alright, Sky Dancers! Tag, you’re it. Your turn in the comments.
Morning, news junkies!
Big Dawg is looking something DAYUM, isn’t he? Mmmm.
And, Miss Hillary–heroine in a hat plus big goofy smile? Never anything better than that.
Alrighty, so this was my fav political photo of the week. How about yours?
NEWS TO PERUSE with your morning cuppa:
- The Democrats Prepare for a Post-Election Grand Compromise with the GOP [BAR/Glen Ford] … whee, well, glad we’re all fired up about tribal D’s vs. R’s until November since it makes a huge difference and all.
- BTW, MONA THE WONK Announcement: after FOUR YEARS of careful consideration and tortured lesser of evils logic, I’ve decided to vote Obama in 2012. Like Michelle O. once said, he’s stinky and snores. So I have to hold my nose… However, Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul “I’ma eat your Medicare” Ryan was enough to swing my vote. Decisively. I don’t find him to be skeery because he’s Republican. I find it scary and completely bizarre that he is in politics period. Go wield your exacto knife on the play-do, P-Ryan. Leave our social safety net alone. Vouchers is gambling…that is not a safety net.
- That said, I think the following read from the WSWS a couple weeks ago deserves everybody’s attention regardless of who you are voting for/against…if anybody in DC cares about unemployment, it sure as frackity-frack doesn’t show…. Washington’s bipartisan class-war policy: No jobs, no benefits:
The expiration last week of one of the two federal emergency unemployment benefits programs marks an escalation in the American ruling class’ attack on working people. Idaho, the last state participating in the federal government’s Extended Benefits (EB) program, made its final extended unemployment payment. Across the country, half a million people have been cut off of extended benefits since the start of the year.
- OH and BTW, Mitt, the reason no one’s asked to see your birth certificate is that most people have concluded you are a zombie. (No, NO SWIPE, Buddy. Just a friendly “joke.”)
- Hit and Run. Saw it last night–LOVED. Bradley Cooper–who I just cannot get enough of, this guy oozes IT–has a really great classic scene that I hope all my fellow animal-lovers out there get to see and enjoy as much as I did…Had me in stitches! GO SEE!
- In what I’ve dubbed “Grow, Colorado!” news, NAACP Backs Marijuana Legalization In CO, Citing Drug War’s Toll On People Of Color [ThinkProgress]
- Saved the best for last:
Where is that America that I know?
It is still here. I find it in my neighborhood where kids of all backgrounds meet on the playground for an afternoon of basketball. It is here, in the hearts and minds of all those who have stopped me in the street, reached out with love, and lent a moment of their time to learn about this turbaned person in jeans who loves life and loves all people.
I see that America. I love that America.
–Balpreet Kaur, age 19, Ohio State University
Alright, Sky Dancers…You know what to do! Have a Copacetic Caturday and fill up those comments with some good discussin’s
Morning news junkies… I’m filling in for BostonBoomer this morning so she can get a much-deserved and needed break.
So let’s dig in! Starting with…
Let’s Have a Maximum Income, via Gawker:
Rich people across the Western world are anxiously watching France, where president Francois Hollande is vowing to raise the top tax rate—on earnings over $1.2 million a year—to 75 percent. Tres bien, Mr. Hollande. The problem with this otherwise fine idea is that the very rich can simply pack up and move to a more accommodating Western nation with lower taxes and less concern for income inequality, like America. There is, though, a more elegant solution to this: a maximum income.
Lulz! I like the sound of that. Read on.
Meanwhile, via Ezra Klein (h/t Bostonboomer for e-mailing this story to me)… more mendacity from the Mittens campaign:
On Tuesday, the Romney campaign responded to the fire it’s taking from economic analysts by unleashing some artillery of their own. They released a paper by four decorated economists associated with the campaign — Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, John Taylor, and Kevin Hassett — that tried to lend some empirical backing to “The Romney Program for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Jobs.”
Hubbard, Mankiw, Taylor and Hassett make three main points: The first is that this recovery has been terribly slow, even by the standards of post-financial crisis recoveries. The second is that the Obama administration made a grievous error by relying on stimulus. And the third is that Romney’s tax and economic plans would usher in an era of rapid growth that would both be good for the country and provide the boost to revenues and employment necessary to make their numbers work out.
Each of these sections include supporting documents from independent economists. And so I contacted some of the named economists to ask what they thought of the Romney campaign’s interpretation of their research. In every case, they responded with a polite version of Marshall McLuhan’s famous riposte. The Romney campaign, they said, knows little of their work. Or of their policy proposals.
If I’m reading Ezra correctly this morning, then… Even Mankiw wants to disown Mittens?! LOL!
In a similar vein, Mike Konzcal posted this piece over at the Roosevelt Institute blog, What is the Economic Policy Uncertainty Index Really Telling Us?
Conservatives have crafted a measurement that uses their own rhetoric as evidence to support their economic talking points.
Do you want to see a magic trick? It doesn’t involves cards, fire, or anyone levitating. Instead I’m going to show you a set of Republican talking points magically turn into an economic index — an index that Republicans then use to argue for their policies.
Mitt Romney’s economics team of Hubbard, Mankiw, Taylor, and Hassett have rapidly turned around an economic policy sheet titled “The Romney Program for Economic Recovery, Growth, and Jobs.” Matt Yglesias has a post on the issue of sluggish growth and Dylan Matthews has one on their review of the stimulus literature. Brad DeLong takes the deep dive through the entire piece here.
I’m interested in something I haven’t seen people critically discuss enough, and that is the “policy uncertainty index.” The Romney plan argues that “uncertainty over policy – particularly over tax and regulatory policy – limited both the recovery and job creation. One recent study by Scott Baker and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago found that this uncertainty reduced GDP by 1.4 percent in 2011 alone, and that restoring pre-crisis levels of uncertainty would add 2.3 million jobs in 19 months.” This appears to be a new talking point for the candidate’s team, as the same language was in a Wall Street Journal editorial by Hubbard over the weekend.
It gets a touch wonkish from there, replete with nifty graphs, so I’d love to hear Dr. Dakinikat’s take on this!
Also, via the Roosevelt Institute blog’s daily roundup for today:
August Isn’t So Stupid This Year (Slate)
Dave Weigel argues that while talk of welfare waivers and Romney’s tax returns may be tiresome, on some level we’re debating real policy issues rather than such pressing summer 2008 questions as whether Obama was more popular than Paris Hilton.
I don’t know about that. Personally this “Romneyhood” vs. “Obamaloney” dialogue really bores the daylights out of me. All I could think when I first saw that is… “Well ROMNEY FUZULI to you, too, Mittens!”
In all seriousness, the current ESOTUS (Empty Suit of the United States) is no less guilty of Lemon Socialism than ‘Romneyhood’ is… the only difference is Romney is so noxious, he’s an insult to lemons. Poor maligned lemons.
Next up…another headline BB sent to me, via Reuters… Komen founder to leave CEO role but stay on in management:
Komen, in announcing the move on Wednesday, also said that President Liz Thompson would leave the Dallas-based organization in September and board members Brenda Lauderback and Linda Law would step down.
The shakeup comes after the world’s biggest breast cancer charity provoked uproar earlier this year over its decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, a provider of birth control, abortion and other women’s health services.
Komen, which supports Planned Parenthood’s efforts to provide access to breast-cancer screening, reversed that decision within days and said it would restore the funding.
Interesting. I guess we’ll have to keep watching to see how effective this damage control is. I know every time I see any pink Komen-related thing now, I think of the PP fiasco.
Ok, well I hope that gives us enough to get y’all going in the comments this morning, Sky Dancers. Have at it!
Hey all, I’m filling in for Mink while she continues to rest up and recover from a nasty migraine. There’s no way I can compete with the excellent work she does on a daily basis, but I’ll try to do her Evening News space at least a fraction of the justice it deserves. Feel better soon, JJ! Sending you lots of healing energy!
So, I’d like to start with some reading on the Chick-fil-A idiocracy we live in, which IMHO, is the most definitive piece you’ll read about this mindboggling madness (though “The Chick Fellatio” gets an honorable mention.) Via Huffpo Gay Voices…
Chick-fil-A: 5 Reasons It Isn’t What You Think, by David Badash, founder and editor of The New Civil Rights Movement. I especially appreciated the last reason on the list:
5) Chick-fil-A is just exercising their First Amendment rights by running a business based on the Bible, right? Wrong. There’s a line between the “free exercise of religion” and violating the law. If Chick-fil-A is violating the law by discriminating against gay people, or by firing women so that they can be “stay home” moms, as one woman who is suing Chick-fil-A says in court documents, that’s not exercising religious expression or free speech, and that’s not a First Amendment issue. It may be, if the court decides, a violation of the law.
Thank you, David Badash!
Before I continue, I’d just like to note that we live in an era where a gun-toting embryonic chicken sandwich has more authority on interpreting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution than the average, living, breathing human being. Sad.
On the upside, Chick-fil-A manager goes against flock, sponsors gay pride festival! REFUDIATE DAT, HATERS!
Unfortunately, internal politics is a-roostin’…
“As all this news was swirling around yesterday about the Chick-Fil-A sponsorship for PrideFest, we started hearing that some people from within our own community are coming together to stand against us,” said Ryan Manseau, senior director for NH Pride Fest.
On Wednesday Manseau got a call about a major sponsor for Pride Fest being pressured by another local group to drop out because of the Chick-Fil-A sponsorship.
Let’s hope they get their feathers straightened out!
And, that is all I will link to on that. Otherwise, my puns will go further south than they already have… oops, I guess they just did
Moving along. Michael Moore says… he wouldn’t say he supports Obama. And, the cow jumped over the moon.
Oh, but no worries! He and Susan Sarandon still hope O gets four more years. Well, ok. I guess that’s clarity of some sort…that means absolutely nothing.
Incidentally, because I know y’all are just dying to know. Here’s where Mona the Wonk stands:
- I’m Switzerland on Obama 2012.
- I don’t want to see Romney get four to eight years at any point on the space-time continuum.
- Hillary 2016.
Speaking of which… While I was in the airport en route from Houston to Chicago last week, I picked up a copy of the lastest issue of Foreign Policy on the stands. I hope to do a separate post on the Hillary feature soon. A good way for me to start exercising those blogger muscles again…
In the meantime, I’d like to direct you to another feature in this edition of FP–Anthropology of an Idea, “American Exceptionalism: A Short History,” by Uri Freedman. Teaser:
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney contrasts his vision of American greatness with what he claims is Barack Obama’s proclivity for apologizing for it. The “president doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do,” Romney has charged. All countries have their own brand of chest-thumping nationalism, but almost none is as patently universal — even messianic — as this belief in America’s special character and role in the world. While the mission may be centuries old, the phrase only recently entered the political lexicon, after it was first uttered by none other than Joseph Stalin. Today the term is experiencing a resurgence in an age of anxiety about American decline.
An enlightening little timeline follows at the link. Fascinating tidbits like:
A group of American historians — including Daniel Boorstin, Louis Hartz, Richard Hofstadter, and David Potter — argues that the United States forged a “consensus” of liberal values over time that enabled it to sidestep movements such as fascism and socialism. But they question whether this unique national character can be reproduced elsewhere. As Boorstin writes, “nothing could be more un-American than to urge other countries to imitate America.”
Touche. Click over and give it a look.
A couple DC headlines for y’all before I close this…
Taylor Marsh on Reid’s tax charges against Romney:
Majority Leader Reid isn’t backing down. The problem is that he’s turning into the story.
Meanwhile Boehner has stopped crying or some other such development:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he is “feeling better” about Republicans’ chances of holding the House than he did in April, when he said the party faced a “one in three” likelihood of losing the majority.
“Our team’s in pretty good shape,” Boehner said as he briefed reporters in the Capitol for the final time before Congress departs for a five-week recess. “Our members have worked hard. Frankly, our candidates and challengers out there — a lot of them have been through tough primaries. And I feel good about where we are as a team. We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and November, but our team is doing well.”
Boehner’s comments in the spring warning about the possibility of losing the House were seen as an intended wake-up call to Republicans in advance of the election season. Most political analysts now believe the chances that Democrats will win back the House in November are slim. They need a net gain of 25 seats, but most projections show them gaining only in the single digits.
In other news…Americans and all citizens of Planet Earth? Still screwed.
The always essential Glen Ford at the Black Agenda Report sums it up well:
The Poverties of a Decaying System
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“This crisis of capitalism will be full of drama.”
A preview of new Census figures indicates that poverty in the United States will likely soon reach the highest levels in 50 years. Now, some of you optimists out there are saying: Well, there’s nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. What I think is so depressing to many people about this particular historical juncture, is that there is absolutely nothing on the economic horizon on which even optimists can pin their hopes. There are no new industries on the verge of some huge explosion, no scientific breakthrough just around the corner. With education costs soaring, people can’t even hope to study themselves out of hard times.
It’s not a good time to be a child, because there is nothing sadder than growing up around adults who have themselves lost hope that our world will become a better place. It’s not a good time to be middle-aged, knowing that the Golden Age was 40 years ago, when the proportion of Americans in poverty was the lowest ever: only 11.1 percent. It’s expected to hit 15.7 percent under a president elected as an agent of Hope and Change.
But actually, there’s really nothing wrong with the world that a social revolution can’t fix. The fact that the two corporate political parties have no ideas worth listening to, simply means that the Democrats and Republicans can no longer even pretend that they can serve the 1% and take care of the rest of us at the same time. There’s no need to despair – just direct your political energies, elsewhere.
Well, now that I’ve brightened up your evening… … it’s your turn! Have at it in the comments, Sky Dancers.
*barlow: a girl, a flapper, a chicken.
Morning, news junkies! Okay so not a cat picture, but Jean Patchett qualifies as pretty darn feline in my books… heh. Also, I can’t get this pic to post because it’s copyrighted, but here’s a photo of Hemingway and Patchett in tow with kitties.
Well that’s it in the way of an intro for today. Let’s get right to the links.
First up… by now I’m sure you’ve all read quite a few of the “Hillary makes history” items in the headlines lately, so I won’t reinvent that news wheel. But, in case you missed it…here’s a neat profile on Hillary Rodham Clinton at makers.com, entitled “The Lesson of ‘Hillarycare’”. Includes several video interview clips of Hillary reflecting on her life. Snippet from the write-up:
Wellesley College seniors had never before chosen a commencement speaker from their own ranks when Hillary Rodham stepped to the podium on the last day of May in 1969. Education, she said, must grant “the courage to be whole” and permit people to live “in relation to one another in the full poetry of existence.” The speech received national attention and marked Rodham as a leading light for the young women of her generation.
By now, it’s safe to say that the early promise has been borne out; had Hillary Rodham Clinton “merely” attended Yale Law, served on the staff of the Senate Watergate Committee, become a respected children’s rights advocate, been the first female partner at her law firm, been a mother, and served as First Lady of Arkansas, we would think of her as a leader. And yet she has by now spent two additional decades at the very heart of the national consciousness—as a sometimes-embattled First Lady, as a distinguished senator from New York, as a groundbreaking 2008 Presidential candidate, and now as the 67th Secretary of State. Clinton has outlasted the smears to top Gallup’s “most admired woman in America” a record 16 times since 1993. “The courage to be whole,” indeed.
Next, from the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson… Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hero:
I am glad that John Roberts, the Chief Justice, voted to uphold almost all of the Affordable Care Act. But the stance of humble gratitude toward Roberts that’s been assumed by many in the past day is beginning to be a bit much. This is especially true since the real hero of the day is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
On the front page of the late edition of the Times Friday morning, there were four stories on the Supreme Court decision. One talked about Roberts’s “exquisite delicacy,” and how he “considers himself the custodian of the Supreme Court’s prestige, authority and legitimacy.” Ginsburg’s name didn’t appear before the jump in any of them; she only ever appeared in one, seventeen paragraphs in. Her picture and surname were in the infographic—all the Justices were there. There were four pull-quotes: two from Roberts, and two from the joint dissent from Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy.
And yet Ginsburg wrote what would have been the dissent—and a strong one—if Roberts had voted with the four conservatives to throw out the entire health-care law.
Read the rest. It’s worth the click and it’s news you won’t find out from the Dewey Defeats Truman newsrooms of America!
Historiann on Nora Ephron…. I highly recommend clicking on the first link in her post, which I’ve linked here too for your convenience:
From the New York Times obit:
The producer Scott Rudin recalled that less than two weeks before her death, he had a long phone session with her from the hospital while she was undergoing treatment, going over notes for a pilot she was writing for a TV series about a bank compliance officer. Afterward she told him, “If I could just get a hairdresser in here, we could have a meeting.”
Ms. Ephron’s collection “I Remember Nothing” concludes with two lists, one of things she says she won’t miss and one of things she will. Among the “won’t miss” items are dry skin, Clarence Thomas, the sound of the vacuum cleaner, and panels on “Women in Film.” The other list, of the things she will miss, begins with “my kids” and “Nick” and ends this way:
“Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
And, on that note. I’m gonna go draw a nice soothing bath and bake something yummy this Saturday. You know what to do in the comments, Sky Dancers… Have a lovely weekend!