Monday Reads

Good Morning!

I thought I’d start the day off with some new topics given we’ve spent the weekend following world events unfold.   One of the major complaints of the Egyptian people is their high unemployment rate. It’s basically the same as ours.  They also have seen rising food and energy prices.  Our overall price inflation is well under control at the moment, but there are world events that have made food and energy prices more volatile than usual.  The Egyptians have experienced GDP growth rates that are twice ours, but like our country, the income improvements have advantaged the very few instead of the many for many of the same reasons.  One of the guys that skedaddled on that airplane was the big telecom industry captain.  We have many huge corporations–like GE–that exist on no bid government contracts that they never lose, even when they’ve been found endlessly maleficent.

I thought I’d start with Tyler Cohen who has been riffing on themes relevant to his for sell on line pamphlet  The Great Stagnation.  His NYT article this weekend buried one of the themes of the SOTU.  It’s called ‘Innovation Is Doing Little for Incomes’.

The income numbers for Americans reflect this slowdown in growth. From 1947 to 1973 — a period of just 26 years — inflation-adjusted median income in the United States more than doubled. But in the 31 years from 1973 to 2004, it rose only 22 percent. And, over the last decade, it actually declined.

Most well-off countries have experienced income growth slowdowns since the early 1970s, so it would seem that a single cause is transcending national borders: the reaching of a technological plateau. The numbers suggest that for almost 40 years, we’ve had near-universal dissemination of the major innovations stemming from the Industrial Revolution, many of which combined efficient machines with potent fossil fuels. Today, no huge improvement for the automobile or airplane is in sight, and the major struggle is to limit their pollution, not to vastly improve their capabilities.

Although America produces plenty of innovations, most are not geared toward significantly raising the average standard of living. It seems that we are coming up with ideas that benefit relatively small numbers of people, compared with the broad-based advances of earlier decades, when the modern world was put into place. If pre-1973 growth rates had continued, for example, median family income in the United States would now be more than $90,000, as opposed to its current range of around $50,000.

You can find more discussion at Marginal Revolution. The Economist weighed in on the booklet tonight.

improvements in rich world living standards may, for the moment at least, come from the capture of policy low-hanging fruit. In other words, the rich world should focus on getting rid of blatantly foolish and costly policies. Moving from taxes on goods, like income, to bads, like traffic congestion, would be a good start. Not spending so much on medical treatments with dubious benefits would be another possibility. Cutting out policy foolishness like agriculture subsidies and the mortgage-interest deduction would be another positive step. Amid rapid growth, really silly policy choices could be tolerated, since surpluses continued to rise. As growth rates slow, the failure to cut out bad policies will mean continued stagnation or declines in living standards for some.And it’s a little amusing to focus on the implications of the spread of cheap-to-free internet amusement. As Mr Cowen notes, the availability of good, free internet entertainment has allowed a lot of people hit hard by falling incomes or recession-induced joblessness to maintain relatively high levels of utility (though this available substitute has also made it easier to cut down on physical consumption, with nasty effects on GDP).

Paul Krugman agrees here.   Robert Reich struck a similar chord on stalled incomes in his response to the SOTU.  Reich focuses on one of our topics. That would be the important list of what the president didn’t say.

What the President should have done is talk frankly about the central structural flaw in the U.S. economy – the dwindling share of its gains going to the vast middle class, and the almost unprecedented concentration of income and wealth at top – in sharp contrast to the Eisenhower and Kennedy years.

Although the economy is more than twice as large as it was thirty years ago, the median wage has barely budged. Most of the gains from growth have gone to the richest Americans, whose portion of total income soared from around 9 percent in the late 1970s to 23.5 percent in 2007. Americans kept spending anyway by using their homes as ATMs but the bursting of the housing bubble put an end to that – leaving them without enough purchasing power to reboot the economy. So the central challenge is put more money into the pockets of average Americans.

This narrative would be politically risky (opening Mr. Obama to the charge of being a “class warrior”) but at least honest. And it would allow him to connect the dots – explaining why his new health-care law is critical to reducing medical costs for most working families, why tax reform requires cutting taxes on the middle class while raising them on the rich, why the Bush tax cuts shouldn’t be extended for the wealthy, why deficit reduction must not sacrifice education and infrastructure (both important to rebuilding middle-class prosperity) and why any cuts in Social Security or Medicare must be on the backs of the wealthy rather than average working families.

I still can’t believe we have a President that doesn’t run a counter narrative to the Republican Voodoo economic fantasy.  I guess it’s left to those of us in the blogosphere to hammer home traditional democratic values.  So, speaking of some of the worst of the worst, there’s a movement afoot to UnCloak the Kochs.  Those John Birch Society Billionaires that want to bring down social security have been taking up some virtual ink in left blogistan.  Here’s something from the New York Observer:  ‘7 Ways the Koch Bros. benefit from Corporate Welfare’.

Now that we’ve heard about their charitable giving, David’s 240-foot mega-yacht and role as patrons of the Tea Party movement, it’s time to ask a more serious question: How libertarian are they?

The short answer…not very.

Charles and David Koch, the secretive billionaire brothers who own Koch Industries, the largest private oil company in America, have spent millions bankrolling free-market think tanks and pro-business politicians in order, as David Koch has put it, “to minimize the role of government, to maximize the role of private economy and to maximize personal freedoms.” But a closer look at their dealings reveals that for the past 35 years the brothers have never shied away from using government subsidies to maximize their own profits, even while endeavoring to limit government spending on anything else.

These guys are a veritable bankroll for so-called think tanks that spout more tank than think.  Some one should let them know that their businesses are hardly shining examples of a free market.  These guys are card carrying members of the crony capitalist set.

In 1977, Charles Koch founded the Cato Institute, an influential libertarian think tank, with the aim of injecting free-market ideas into the mainstream. The Kochs would go on to establish and fund a vast network of overlapping think tanks, institutes, foundations, media outlets, and lobby groups that would vilify centralized government and promote laissez-faire capitalism as the only route to economic prosperity. The Mercatus Center, Americans for Prosperity, Reason Magazine, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation are just a few of the right-wing organizations that run on Koch cash today.

David Dayen has a post up at FDL about protests organized to protest these bloated trust fund babies and their plutocratic friends.  These guys  are manufacturers of stupidity like climate change denial.  Common Cause organized the protest.

After a litany of speakers – including Jim Hightower, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign, and Common Cause President and former Illinois Congressman Bob Edgar, the entire group of protesters moved to the setup across the street from the resort. Police helicopters buzzed overhead. After a while, the police agreed to shut down Bob Hope Drive, and the protesters streamed across the street and directly in front of the resort, just a few inches away from the phalanx of riot cops. The usual protest chanting and raising of banners ensued. More cops were brought in, traipsing over the flower beds. And 25 protesters were taken away in a paddy wagon. The protests were generally peaceful, and the police professional.

The protesters generally decried the Koch Brothers’ influence over American democracy, in particular their use of the Citizens United ruling to spend corporate money in elections. Koch Industries’ funding of climate denialism and other conservative causes was on the minds of the protesters as well.

You can read some of the dirty deeds that pay others to do dirt cheap in the NYT article on the Tea Party targets. Here’s the list of who is in their ‘surveyor’ marks for the 2012 Senate elections.   Evidently, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar is one of the guys they’re after.  Here’s some more making their unclean, impure list.

In Maine, there is already one candidate running on a Tea Party platform against Senator Olympia J. Snowe. Supporters there are seeking others to run, declaring that they, too, will back the person they view as the strongest candidate to avoid splitting their vote. In Utah, the same people who ousted Senator Robert F. Bennett at the state’s Republican convention last spring are now looking at a challenge to Senator Orrin G. Hatch.

The early moves suggest that the pattern of the last elections, in which primaries were more fiercely contested than the general election in several states, may be repeated.

They also show how much the Tea Party has changed the definition of who qualifies as a conservative. While Ms. Snowe is widely considered a moderate Republican, Mr. Hatch is not. Mr. Lugar, similarly, defines himself as a conservative. He argues that he has consistently won praise from small-business groups, supported a balanced budget amendment and pushed for a reduction in farm subsidies and the closing of agricultural extension offices as part of an effort to reduce unnecessary spending — all initiatives that fall under the smaller government rubric of the Tea Party.

Guess that means there’s more bat shit crazy folks waiting in the wing to mangle and destroy American history and the constitution.  Do you suppose we’ll see any more “I am not a witch” ads?

So, last week I posted something sent to me from BostonBoomer about the rise in violent attacks in prisons due to cost cutting measures and outsourcing to private firms.  BB’s found another more horrible link.  CNN reports the death of a correctional officer in Washington who had made a complaint to her union steward that she feared for her safety.

Jayme Biendl, 34, was discovered late Saturday night after workers at the Monroe Correctional Complex noticed her keys and radio were missing, according to a statement from the Washington State Department of Corrections. Staff at the prison immediately went to where she worked and found her unresponsive, it said.

Emergency responders declared Biendl dead at the scene shortly before 11 p.m. PT, the department said.

She had been strangled, according to Chad Lewis, a department spokesman.

So, it’s monday morning, I spent all weekend rewriting an article on Venture Capital.  As long as you don’t have anything to say about that, because I’ve frankly reached my fill on the subject , I’d like to know …

What’s on you reading and blogging list today?


75 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. paper doll says:

    Super round up! Thank you!

    It’s horrific that young woman was killed…the fact that her body was only discovered because of missing keys, tells one how right she was….if the place was even marginally monitored , I think her body would have been discovered before hand…not just when someone noticed missing keys and radio else where ….was this a state prison or a private company working for the state?

    Looks like the Tea Party’s main job is to pick off what ‘s left of the moderate GOP

    It keeps being said that we don’t have inflation…but someone please tell my grocery bag! Everything is 3.99 and up

    This narrative would be politically risky (opening Mr. Obama to the charge of being a “class warrior”) but at least honest.

    …you want honesty? I honestly don’t know why you expect honesty from BO

    And it would allow him to connect the dots – explaining why his new health-care law is critical to reducing medical costs for most working families,

    But it doesn’t …there’s the rub

    why tax reform requires cutting taxes on the middle class while raising them on the rich, why the Bush tax cuts shouldn’t be extended for the wealthy,

    Yes but he did extend them for the wealthy… hey was this written last year or recently? …someone tell Paul it’s a done deal and BO wants tax cuts for corporations too

    why deficit reduction must not sacrifice education and infrastructure (both important to rebuilding middle-class prosperity) and why any cuts in Social Security or Medicare must be on the backs of the wealthy rather than average working families.

    now my laugh lines are hurting….

    • paper doll says:

      excuse me, not Paul …someone tell Robert…I thought the editors at NYT wouldn’t allow Paul to say this stuff usually

    • Woman Voter says:

      Looks like the Tea Party’s main job is to pick off what ‘s left of the moderate GOP

      Yes, all the yelling and screaming gave them more encouragement and many Hillary supporters joined thinking it meant reform, but it was not. When you would ask them what they objected too, they just spilt out the talking points, which didn’t answer the question. Very upsetting to see the Tea Party is the Ultra GOP on steroids.

      After going after Hatch, I hope the Mormons that offered Glenn Beck cover, finally smell the water.

    • Fannie says:

      Sorry to hear about Jayme Biendle, who was murdered at the Monroe State Prison in Washington. From what I am reading, Byron Scherf the 52 year old inmate is in prison for life without parole, and had three strikes against him going in, including assault, rape and murder. I don’t know what his classification is, but prison is all about a controlled enviroment. It’s a place ruled by violence, and I can’t image a female officier being left alone with 60 inmates, or even the one who is suspected of killing her.

      The National Geographic Channel is doing a series called Hard Time, and on Feb 13, they are presenting a documentary on Females on Guard. You might want to check that out, as more and more females are hired as correctional officers. There is a sense that more and more people are put in prison to create more jobs, and I don’t know if this series will look at this issue.

      You know work place violence is becoming a everday occurence. Everyday women are assaulted and murdered, not just at work, but while shopping, while getting in/out of their cars, or off a bus, wh at Safeway, in their church, or in their homes.

      Women are losing their rights everyday, we are under lock and key.

  2. zaladonis says:

    And it would allow him to connect the dots – explaining why his new health-care law is critical to reducing medical costs for most working families. –Robert Reich

    Serious question – can someone here explain how ObamaCare reduces medical costs for most working families?

    I’ve believed that between mandated insurance and no public option, rates therefore determined by private insurance corporations and they’ve continued rising after ObamaCare was passed, and few mechanisms to keep costs down –much less reduce them– in purchasing health care or pharmaceuticals (no reimportation, etc), there isn’t anything to indicate medical costs for most working families will be reduced. I’d love to be wrong – can anybody show me how the new HCR will reduce health care costs for most working families?

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Zal, I just got turned down for insurance coverage due to preexisting conditions. My husband’s company (walmart) says it won’t cover me. So…I will be trying to get some coverage via ObamaCare. I will let you know how it goes, as far as first hand experience with actually trying to get the insurance Obama has been selling.

      • *best of luck*, Minx. I hope OHI (Obama Health Insurance) works out for you.

      • dakinikat says:

        Please write about that. I thought the pre-existing conditions thing was supposed to go away now.

      • cwaltz says:

        There has been an awful lot of “grandfathering” at my husband’s workspace. They changed the rules on emergency room visits to have it cost 20% if they don’t deem your care truly “emergent” and are quite arbitrary with the determination(according to them they did so with union blessing last April). Meanwhile they grandfathered themselves so that they don’t have to pay for preventive care like the rules say. Next trip hubby and I may hit Congress’ office to see what qualifies as grandfatherable and ask questions.

        Here’s what I have been reading.

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/house-republicans-aim-to-redefine-rape-to-limit-abortion-coverage/

        Isn’t it swell that pretty soon there will be a whoopi goldberg definition of “rape-rape.” Thanks a mil, Obots.

      • zaladonis says:

        Thanks for answering, all of you. Every bit of information is part of the whole and I really would love to understand this better. Does anybody know what Reich means, he’s a really smart guy but I don’t see how he’s right about that.

        Minx, like Kat said, could you write about what happened, I thought pre-existing was taken care of, that’s one of Obama’s proudest talking points.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        @ Wonk, thanks…I feel like this is going to be a bumpy ride.

        @Dak, yes I plan on doing a few post on it. Sort of chronology of the entire process. And since my husband works for Walmart, it will give a really good picture of the entire scope of people who work for the big companies.

        @zal, I got my denial letter Sat… They aren’t calling “pre-existing” it is being called something else. I will post more later.

  3. Woman Voter says:

    EANewsFeed EA WorldView
    Egypt Breaking: @nolanjazeera tweets, “Arrested by Military” http://tinyurl.com/69npbu8 #p2 #tcot #Jan25 #sidibouzid

    Well, it doesn’t look to good in Egypt as the Egyptian government is going around and beating up and arresting journalists and their photographers. They ‘reform’ government is just shuffling the same people into a different post from what I have been reading and they are trying to do a PR job on the West by arresting a large number of the ‘Brotherhood’.

    There is also rumors of ‘elite’ forces being deployed, but waiting to see photos or video of that. Al Jazeera has also asked their viewers to send them information via texts, posts or video. Al Jazeera is putting up the good fight and gaining many viewers for going the full mile in reporting the situation in Egypt.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    It is not difficult now to conclude that the original intent of the Tea Party has been thoroughly co-opted by the radical elements of the Right Wing and well funded by the corporate giants who are out to reestablish an entirely new conception of “democracy”. A democracy that will no longer hold them accountable and is free of regulation that will only further enhance their wealth.

    From what I have seen so far, the candidates they support are a bunch of whackos offering little beyond reducing government to a blip on the screen. Many of them appear to be wild eyed zealots bringing in a heaping dose

    of religious fanaticism along with their relentless need to rewrite history to suit the narrative. Anti intellectualism is becoming more acceptable as many of these so called leaders of the movement decry education as meaning “elite”.

    I fear for this country if more and more of these candidates for office achieve the desired goal since they feel more inclined to push against the freedoms of democracy as we know it by imposing their short sided views into law.

    It is best to remain vigilant to what lies behind the protest of the Tea Party and concentrate on their objective goals. They are not seeking democracy as we know it but something far more sinister.

  5. Agree with Paper Doll- inflation exists in our family as well. Groceries way up, utility bills skyrocketing, health ins premiums increased 10% the first of the year- and the co-pays almost doubled, and gasoline is climbing back up. (public transport is not available out here in rural NW PA)
    Income? Stagnant. But there is no inflation right?

    • zaladonis says:

      See, that’s what I think.

      According to economists, inflation isn’t a concern in the US right now but I think the signs are right in front of us and once again being ignored — then when we’re in the middle of inflation, a problem that makes recession look like a cakewalk, there’ll be the familiar, “nobody could have seen this coming.” Economists are sometimes like weathermen who read their models and report no worry about rain while some of us look up and see rain clouds, we know it’s about to rain.

      Well I see the rain coming, in fact I feel drops on my head, and you do and Paper Doll does.

      • Remember during the 08 primaries when we were told we were not in a recession? How long before they catch up with us this time?

      • zaladonis says:

        They won’t catch up with us. My only hope is we won’t end up completely bonkers like the original Cassandra!

        We’ll have to be smack dab in the middle of a storm before they go, “OMG it’s raining! Nobody could have seen this coming!” and then bicker over what to do about it.

      • Fannie says:

        Here’s the weatherwoman’s report today: it’s fugging cold out here.

      • dakinikat says:

        I think you need to consider how low interest rates are now and how far house prices have fallen to think about inflation in a larger sense. Also the cost pf clothing and electronics and appliances. Car prices are flat to down too. These things are a major part of most people’s budgets and are a big part of core inflation. Food and energy prices are always seasonal and volatile. The deal is that these are frequent purchases so you get the recency effect. People think about them more. You can go to the bls.gov site and see the rates. Inflation isn’t just one set of prices or two. It’s all of it and a lot more stuff is down then up. It’s really very simple math.

      • Thanks for the suggestion on the gov site Dakinikat.
        “. It’s all of it and a lot more stuff is down then up. It’s really very simple math.”

        While I get what you are saying- that there are more things involved than food and energy- to us- my family- living on stagnant wages (for which we are thankful that the other half still has work)- the price of automobiles and appliances and so forth does not figure as those are not even IN our budget anymore. Fortunately housing costs here were not as badly affected and held steady in value for the most part.
        Perhaps there is a different word for it when one’s income stagnates and the cost of necessities goes up? Our buying power has been sorely reduced for sure.
        (I value your willingness to share your knowledge. I have been reading you for quite a while- learning as I go. Thanks!)

        • dakinikat says:

          Believe me … I know where you are coming from because I’m in the same situation. Food is the one thing I notice a lot. I don’t buy electronics but if you look at the holiday and gift lists they are big deals. Especially for men.

      • zaladonis says:

        Thanks, Kat, for explaining – I think understanding the models is really important. Like understanding rules of English usage is important before a writer can master a unique style beyond the rules.

        But I’m saying I believe the models are off, that we’re now in unchartered territory. Or, maybe better said, our instruments are being fooled by unusual conditions.

    • dakinikat says:

      The deal is that what you’re mentioning is a small part of the overall prices. What it represents of your budget is larger than others. Those things you mention also go up and down a lot over a year so it averages out. You may also be buying the food items that are more volatile. You also probably have some recency effect in that you purchase some stuff more frequently and it sticks in your mind. Problem is when you get thrown in with every one else, your experience is offset.

    • dakinikat says:

      Income is stagnant for a lot of people which impacts buying power and tends to actually drive prices of many things done; especially nonessentials.

      • Yes- I do see the seasonal volatility in things like electric and gas for the house ( signed up for the equal payment plan a few years back- at least I can semi-plan lol)
        Truly am fortunate in that many of our food items are in the pantry and freezer canned or frozen from the garden. I look at what a gallon of milk costs and wonder how people with children can afford it.
        Funny but now I am thankful for having been the working poor. The old strategies for survival are coming in handy now!

      • Fannie says:

        The Tyler Cohen article, Innovation is doing little for Incomes, was a good read.

        It automatically took me back to Obama’s Sputnik talks.
        Not much has improved since then. If you take a look at our schools, not much has improved.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      @Military mom, I see the inflation of grocery and other items as well. It is very discouraging.

  6. mablue2 says:

    Could the Middle East be any more tricky? This is from Haaretz:

    Israel urges world to curb criticism of Egypt’s Mubarak

    Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.

    • zaladonis says:

      Could the Middle East be any more tricky?

      No a word, no.

      IMO, as bad as Mubarak is, this emotional call for him to be dragged out immediately is just plain irresponsible. It’s great the Egyptian people are rising up and demanding real Democratic elections, and we should help that happen, but if this doesn’t happen in an orderly fashion all kinds of unintended consequences could result.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        According to those who keep the stats on world population, by the year 2050, a mere 40 yrs from now, the population is expected to reach 10 billion people worldwide.

        The question is how do we feed, clothe, and shelter this number, not to mention the offering employment that would meet their needs?

        If the increase rises to 10 billion we can expect more wars, uprisings, and chaos to appear as these basic necessities become higher priced and particularly in areas of the world where governments are led by tyrants much like Egypt?

        If climate change begins to take its tolls in areas where farming is at risk, the instability may become a worldwide.

        I don’t see or hear anyone in authority or leadership addressing these issues that have a far more reaching impact in years to come.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Thank George Bush for that, as he blocked aid if it had family planning and that was nuts IMHO. So, many people are suffering from that and I recall Obama doing the ME TOO, but can’t think or remember if that ever got done, but I think not since we now have to buy separate insurance for reproductive care here in the USA. :shocK:

        It is all related and I hope that Obama finally gets a clue and releases the funds as all the unplanned pregnancies are also leading to high maternal deaths and leaving children without a mother at a very young age.

      • Woman Voter says:

        zaladonis,

        So, the SPY VP is ok for the new dictator position while Hosni Mubarak’s son takes over as dictator so they can say they had elections?

      • zaladonis says:

        It seems clear the protesters reject (thank goodness) both Mubarak’s son and the spy VP. So far they seem open to, though not thrilled about, ElBaradei.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I personally think that is a bad move on their part and that message will be used as a recruiting tool with the Taliban/Brotherhood groups. I don’t know who is doing their PR, but they should fire them ASAP!

  7. zaladonis says:

    Speaking of the nobody could see it coming crowd:

    Former officials, scholars warned of coming instability in Egypt

    Earlier today, I was on a panel discussing coverage of the Egypt unrest, and someone mentioned that no one had seen it coming.

    But that is not the case. Several foreign policy scholars and former officials have been urging the U.S. administration for months to prepare for the end of the Hosni Mubarak era and the instability that would accompany it. …

    From September:
    A bipartisan group of senators and foreign policy analysts is pushing the Obama administration to prepare for the looming end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule in Egypt by putting a new emphasis on Egyptian political reform and human rights.

    Read the details here

  8. Woman Voter says:

    Emperor_Bob Bob
    How typical. 100 people dead in Egypt and Palin jokes about not being blamed for it. It’s always all about Sarah to… http://huff.to/fCs53F

    Hemmm, another reason not to vote for Palin.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Her ignorance is amazing. Tone deaf and uniformed but with a group of supporters who actually believe she is presidential material! Why she continues to be covered by the press as if there were some form of gravitas lurking underneath the wigs is beyond explanation.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I feel let down frankly, as I expected more from her and as time goes by she just goes out of her way to put her foot in her mouth and then others give us hell for noticing the foot in her mouth.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        It may be redundant to suggest that Hillary Clinton set the bar for intelligence, experience, and ability for women to rise in the political arena. She has it all.

        But Palin and Bachmann and a host of other Right Wing women have made that into an embarrassment. Someone needs to tell me how being this vapid, anti intellectual, and a willingness to just “make stuff up” are all the qualifications needed to attain political success.

        I just don’t get it. Their anti feminist positions alone should be enough to drive most liberal minded voters away.

      • zaladonis says:

        You don’t have to be a man to be incompetent or a narcissist. Palin really is nothing more than an opportunist.

        I don’t get why Americans get dazzled by people like Sarah Palin. I mean, I get it, I just wish my fellow Americans were more discerning and less easily distracted.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Just because she is a woman does not mean she gets a free pass when it comes to criticism of idiotic comments like that. If she were a man, I would still think that comment is shitty, and inappropriate. Stupid does not acknowledge gender. Period.

      • dakinikat says:

        That’s my opinion. I’m getting tired of women giving her a free pass. First, she USED to be a governor but she QUIT. She’s now a Fox news talking head and a reality TV star plus a book peddler. She’s more than fair game for criticism. I won’t use sexist or misogynist terms for her, but I’d prefer she not have such a loud voice in the national debate because if anything she and her buddy Michelle and their mini-me Christine O’Donnell are doing damage to the clearly educated, clearly ready for prime time women leaders. It’s like there’s a conspiracy to put the worst women in front of the mikes right now and no woman should go along with it. There are plenty of serious republican women leaders they can interview–Kay Baily Hutchison, etc. The media would rather put MILF’s out there right now and any women’s group going along with that agenda ought to question their intent. Bachmann at least holds public office. Palin is just a reality TV star right now. That trivializes women in real leadership positions.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        any women’s group going along with that agenda ought to question their intent

        Yes, the blanket exceptions given to these women is not acceptable. (At least in my own opinion.)

      • Branjor says:

        If she was a man, she probably wouldn’t have been blamed for the Arizona massacre. Thus, no need to joke about not being blamed for the 100 dead in Egypt.

      • Branjor says:

        It’s like there’s a conspiracy to put the worst women in front of the mikes right now and no woman should go along with it.

        That’s SOP of men in power. They want you to expend your energy attacking those women. They’re just the decoys and attacking them gets us nowhere.
        Go for the jugular of anti-woman politics, the *men* behind it, no these female clowns.

      • Branjor says:

        That should be “not”, not “no”.

      • I don’t see much point in devoting gobs of energy and time in going after the “female clowns” as you put it either, but it irritates when any time we say any normal criticism even in passing that we’d level toward a man saying the same thing and people who don’t give a damn about respect for women suddenly scream “sexist” or double standard or whatever. It’s such a crock.

      • mablue2 says:

        Branjor,
        you’re so good at fighting straw men. Any type of justified criticism against a politician who happens to be a female makes scream “sexism” oder that’s-what-men-do yada yada, even if the criticism comes from another woman.

        This is becoming comatose.

      • Branjor says:

        If you don’t like it, mablue, you don’t have to read it, but I’m not shutting up for you.

      • Branjor says:

        Wonk: It sometimes seems to go beyond the criticism you’d normally level at a man. It is beginning to sound misogynist to me. I’m not the only feminist woman is feeling that way. Read Violet at Reclusive Leftist.
        Another gripe of mine: men telling me what is and is not sexist. Now *that* is a crock.

      • Branjor who exactly are you calling misogynist?

      • Branjor says:

        mablue: Argumentum ad hominem. Your argument is just against me, not against what I said. Don’t address me again.

        • dakinikat says:

          It’s not an attack. It’s a complaint about a behavior that’s been noticed and brought up before. If you want to continually see and discuss everything in terms of sexual politics then go to a blog where that is stated goal.

          We do not support sexist attacks on women Claiming that women need to be somehow exempt from criticism–especially when they take strategic positions against women–is sexist. We have delinked from sites that feel women in public positions need to be overly protected from criticism. We aim similar criticism at men here. We have nonsexist and equally vindictive nicknames for both and we call it out for what it is.

          If you feel the need to apologize continually for Snowflake Snookie or either of her mini-mes then any of us can point you in the direction of blogs where that is de rigueur. She attacks people then plays the victim when some one attacks back. She doesn’t deserve any special defense when she continually plays her victim card. An ass is an ass. A vagina doesn’t buy you a pass. There’s a difference between a sexist attack and playing hardball politics. That being said, I’m tired of having threads continually hijacked and that is exactly what’s happened here.

      • Branjor says:

        Wonk: I thought it sounded misogynist when I read “These women need to be vilified, mocked and scorned.” Nothing about “these men” and how *they* need to be “vilified, mocked and scorned.” This comment was on the thread about the repub legislation redefining rape, cosigned by 161 men and 12 women. From the tone of it, you would think it had been signed by 161 women and 12 men.
        These are women trying to survive in a male supremacist world and they have chosen a rather cowardly way of going about it, but they have been damaged into going against their own best interests as women and they are not the ones behind it, or the ones in power, even if they are pols, the men are. They would not be saying what they are saying if not for the men in power. Criticism of politicians, including them, is justified, I would just prefer to see the bulk of it go to the men who are behind it, not their female stooges.

      • Conservative women want to cash in on the girl power and women’s rights and tell us theirs is the “true” feminism or whatever, all while throwing every woman not in their traditionalist tribe under the bus. I personally wouldn’t say “these women need to be villified etc” but I wasn’t there for that thread so I don’t know what else was said on there or the context or whether men were criticized too etc. I can only go by what I’ve seen and every time I’ve tried to level a legit criticism of Palin or O’Donnell or whatever and it’s always the same song and dance. Palin’s untouchable to her admirers the same way Obama was.

      • Branjor says:

        Wonk: I can see where you’re coming from.
        Dakinikat: If I seem to be apologizing for Palin to you, then that is definitely a difference in perception between you and me, as I disagree with Palin on every single issue.

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    The refusal of these world leaders to actually get together with the great minds of this world to address issues that affect all of us is sinful.

    Instead of putting our combined resources into global energy efficiency, overpopulation, the shrinkage of resources, and a sense of equality that can only lead to a more peaceful worldview, we would rather spend our time arguing over whose “god” is more powerful, how much money can be wrenched from globalization, and a determination to build more weapons in search of “security”.

    Difficult to believe that in sharing this planet we are not “all in this together”.

  10. Fannie says:

    Pat, I remember some 40 years ago, when all the talk was about population explosion. It was said back then that by 2000 we’d have an overflowing of straving tribes, and that democracy would be impossible. The hippie generation response was to live in commune’s and grow their own food, becoming a self sustaining people. As I recall they needed very little in the way of clothing in the great
    outdoors.

    Our future does not rest in the nuclear bomb and wars, but in the uterus of women……….

  11. Pilgrim says:

    I am pleased to see the chances of Jon Huntsman running for prez are increasing.

    It is said that the White House is a little “irritated” that he would do that to them. BooHoo, they thought it was such a clever gambit to appoint him to China so as to cut off the possibility of a challenge from him. I giggle at any discomfiture they may experience.

  12. Re: Koch

    Did you catch this in December? I’d meant to include it in my Saturday post back then but I always have way too many links… Lol

    http://blogs.ft.com/gapperblog/2010/12/koch-ventures-into-the-brooklyn-lions-den/

    One does not go to the ballet for a political showdown but, in among the dancing, that was what we got last night at the American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    According to the New York Times, “kids aside, the audience should be evenly split between harried Brooklyn moms and salivating balletomanes”. Yes, but I squeezed in too for what was a lovely new version choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky.

    The excitement started even before the show when David H. Koch, the co-owner of Koch Industries, the largest privately-own industrial conglomerate in the US, came out on stage to talk about his $2.5m sponsorship of the production.

    Most people applauded but there were also boos from near where I sat in the balcony, followed by an angry debate in the row in front of me, with one of the booers declaring “he’s an evil man” and a couple next to her telling her to “shut up” and to leave the theatre.Mr Koch was venturing into the lion’s den in political terms, since Brooklyn is solidly liberal and Democrat, whereas he and his brother are right-wing libertarian and are alleged to have links to the Tea Party movement, which they deny.

    […]

    Once Mr Koch had left the stage, the booing stopped and the ballet started.

    ThinkProgress wrote it up here.

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    Just catching up, I refused to turn the “circle box” on or get online this morning. Wow…Dak I had a question about unemployment and something else, but I forgot what I wanted to ask you. Damn I hate when that happens.

  14. dakinikat says:

    Snowflake Snookie strikes again!!! Poor ol’ wascally Womney

    Palin the Spoiler? Supporters Threaten to Defect from GOP if She Doesn’t Win Presidential Nomination

    Nearly half of the Republican Primary voters who support Sarah Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote for a third-party candidate if she does not win the GOP presidential nomination.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters who favor Palin say they are at least somewhat likely to vote third-party if she isn’t nominated.

  15. dakinikat says:

    African Americans lower life expectancy than Egyptians. Worse childhood poverty too. http://bit.ly/foRCaH

  16. Fannie says:

    Cwaltz………..while you were reading up on HR3, redefining rape/incest, I was on the phone to the co sponsors of this bill, and left them my telephone & address, and told them I’d like to go face to face with them as a rape victim, and let them hear my story of rape. I just asked for them to give me a chance to engage them in their new found definitions.