Monday Reads

Good Morning!

Hopefully, by the time you read this, I’ll be off to my doctor’s office as the damned MRSA thing on my lip showed back up this weekend.  I look like some one botoxed me on one side.  This stuff is no fun.  I think it has something to do with this endless runny nose and weepy eyes I appear to have with this year’s horrible allergies.

New York Magazine‘s Gabriel Sherman has a potboiler article up called The Elephant in the Green Room: The circus Roger Ailes created at Fox News made his network $900 million last year. But it may have lost him something more important: the next election.  There’s some really, really juicy bits.  Here’s just one example.

All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. “You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger,” one GOPer told me. “Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.” But he hasn’t found any of them, including the adults in the room—Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney—compelling. “He finds flaws in every one,” says a person familiar with his thinking.

“He thinks things are going in a bad direction,” another Republican close to Ailes told me. “Roger is worried about the future of the country. He thinks the election of Obama is a disaster. He thinks Palin is an idiot. He thinks she’s stupid. He helped boost her up. People like Sarah Palin haven’t elevated the conservative movement.”

In the aftermath of the Tucson rampage, the national mood seemed to pivot. Ailes recognized that a Fox brand defined by Palin could be politically vulnerable. Two days after the shooting, he gave an interview to Russell Simmons and told him both sides needed to lower the temperature. “I told all of our guys, ‘Shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually.’ ”

It’ll take time to wade through it and you’ll learn more about Beck’s departure even if you just don’t want to, but it’s worth it.  It’s sort’ve one of those karmic car wreck articles.

Economist and blogger Brad Delong delivered the harsh news with nifty graphs in Phoenix, Arizona.  He calls his speech:  The Economic Outlook as of May 2011: Yes, This Is Called the Dismal Science. Why Do You Ask?

But now we have a stubbornly persistent slump in the economy. Now we have economic growth at about our normal long-run pace, with very little signs of closing the gap between the productive capacity of the American economy and its current level of production. We have a Washington DC that is dysfunctional–out of ammunition to take any effective additional steps to boost the economy. There is now substantial fear of inflation–even though there are no signs of inflation gathering anywhere rather than energy and food prices, and we understand that those reflect China’s growing demand and not any domestic price spiral. There is now substantial fear of crowding out–that boosting US government spending or cutting taxes to get more money into the hands of the consumers would discourage private investment even though there are no signs of crowding out even at our rapidly-growing level of the national debt. It is a fact that a bunch of us–including me–think that there really should be signs of crowding out right now–that financial markets should be scared of the fiscal future of America–but they are not. And there is the problem that Washington DC has degenerated into pure Dingbat Kabuki theater on lots of levels.

It is a fact that if congress simply goes home–doesn’t do anything for the next 10 years except keep the federal government on autopilot, or if it does do things if it pays for whatever increases in spending it enacts by raising taxes and pays for whatever tax cuts it enacts by cutting spending–that we do not have a long run deficit problem. If congress goes home for ten years our program spending is matched to our tax revenues, which means a declining debt burden because the growth rate of the economy is larger than the interest rate on our debt.

Our belief that we have a long-run deficit problem is based upon the belief that congress will pass laws that increase spending and that cut taxes–that it will repeal the Independent Payment Authorization Board’s authority to try to make Medicare more efficient, that it will repeal the Affordable Care Act’s tax on high-cost health plans. Given that the fear is based on a belief that some future congress will bust the budget, it is hard to see how we can address this fear through any possible piece of legislation today–for no congress can bind its successors.

This is a problem.

Wow.  What a downer.  I bet he doesn’t get invited to any of the kewl kids’ cocktail parties there!

Spain continues to experience political unrest. Spanish Youth are demanding “real democracy now”.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Spain protesting a round of austerity measures and calling for a boycott of major political parties in Sunday’s regional elections. The protests began last week with a march denouncing high levels of youth unemployment. A large crowd established a tent camp in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol Square, defying an ordinance barring protests.

Protester: “I’ll attempt to stay here tonight, because I think it is very important to retake the streets that politicians have taken away from us to do their campaigning, preventing us from protesting. That is what we feel every day with lack of resources and a huge limitation of democracy. We cannot continue to tolerate this situation.”

The NYT has an interesting bible quiz up on sex and religion.  A lot of it on the so-called social issues that cause all those right wing screeds.  I found this question and answer particularly interesting.

The people of Sodom were condemned principally for [what]

“Sodomy” as a term for gay male sex began to be commonly used only in the 11th century and would have surprised early religious commentators. They attributed Sodom’s problems with God to many different causes, including idolatry, threats toward strangers and general lack of compassion for the downtrodden. Ezekiel 16:49 suggests that Sodomites “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”

So, it wasn’t for being a haven for sex practices that offended puritans, it was for lack of compassion and generosity towards the poor.  Some one should phone Pat Robertson STAT!

There was a horrible tornado in Joplin Missouri last night.  It took out a hospital as well as many, many homes.  Here’s some footage of the aftermath.

A tornado also hit Minneapolis. Both tornadoes have caused fatalities. As always, the Red Cross and other responders are in need of more funds and you can give easily via your cellphone these days.  They are also responding to flood victims up and down the Mississippi.  I wonder what Pat Robertson will say since all of this appears to be hitting the bible belt?  Well, anyway, here’s a list of places accepting cash donations if you feel like taking up a collection.  We’re supposed to get our share of the weather by Thursday.  Hopefully it won’t add flash floods to the rising rivers and spillways.

Okay, well I have to go see a lady about some good drugs!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


35 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. fiscalliberal says:

    Good morning Dak – good post with salient points discussed.

    This morning (Monday), Morning JOe is ranting about Obama and Isreal, discussing the strategic points.

    I think we as a country are looking at a significan (not imposible) debt. Isreal represents one of the world issues that we are not willing to spend money on. The reality is that the Republicans do not want to pay for it. The Democrats are responding to the Isral lobbyists.

    Ten years in the middle east and we do not have a lot to show for it. We have many things going on in our communities that need to be paid for.

    Obama finally solved the problem of Bin Laden. Now we need to move on and address our problems.

    Hope you find a solution at the Doctor. Could it be possible that the body from Omaha is not capable of fighting the bugs in the south?

  2. Sima says:

    Wow. I hope the MRSA thing clears up quickly. Good grief! It must be awful to deal with.

    I’m currently watching, on the ‘net McNeil’s report on Autism Now. It ran on PBS last month.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/04/viewers-guide-autism-today.html

    It’s interesting, sobering and made me cry in places, especially episode 5. School and stuff is important, but how do we care for these people for the rest of their lives? Yes, I have a personal interest in the answer to that question, but by the time it’s even begun to be answered (if ever) I’ll be gone, and so will my sister. So I wonder and worry for all the 6 and 8 year olds with autism, for the 21 year olds about to be turfed out of school…

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Ailes is asking for his staff to create an “intellectual argument”? Kidding me right?

    The “success”of Fox News is based on the exact opposite. Fox has created an atmosphere of anti intellectualism that is devoted to attracting those who are attracted by emotionalism rather then critical thought. Beck was a standout in that category.

    From Hannity to O’Reilly along with a stable of non thinkers like Palin and Huckabee, the prevalent theme is the bashing of liberals and casting them in the role of “evildoers” whenever Coulter or Ingram appear.

    You cannot be less “intellectual” than Sarah Palin who commands big bucks and a forum to spout the most incoherent statements when invited to perform as an “analyst”, one of the biggest jokes to ever appear on a national broadcast.

    Today he is quoted as finding Palin “stupid” which is not a revelation. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence recognized that long ago but in showcasing her as often as he did the public was not impressed with her inability to “intellectualize” her answers to softball questions created to obsfucate her lack of ability.

    Fox is now and always has been a joke but the damage lies in suggesting an appearance of a “fair and balanced” argument was never its intent.

    Beck’s pathology was tolerated as long as the sponsors stayed onboard. Once they began to disappear his usefulness as a “commentator” dried up along with the revenues.

    Ailes created this toxic monster. His corporate masters must be very proud.

    • dakinikat says:

      Fine points all! I laughed at that intellectual order too! They’ve spent so long dredging for bottom feeders and giving forums for people that bash intellectuals and scientists as crazy elites that they are just reaping what was sown.

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    The MRSA coming back must be very distressing to you Kat, damn. I hope they are able to keep it under control this time and limit the infection.

    The Joplin tornado death toll is at 89, and expected to rise. I saw on CNN that the hospital got a direct hit, and x-rays were found in driveways over 70 miles from Joplin.

    • dakinikat says:

      I hope I can get something to get rid of it for good. I have a feeling my runny nose has something to do with it.

      There’s a nurse at that hospital that said she saw a 300 lb man get sucked out the window. It’s terrible.

  5. madamab says:

    Kat, hoping that the MSRA clears up soon. Sending you good thoughts.

    This was amazing:

    All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. “You can’t run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger,” one GOPer told me. “Every single candidate has consulted with Roger.” But he hasn’t found any of them, including the adults in the room—Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney—compelling. “He finds flaws in every one,” says a person familiar with his thinking.

    What makes me laugh is that the article terms Mitt, Jon and Mitch “adults” simply because the rest of the GOP is so batsh*t crazy. No, REAL adults would propose actual solutions to our actual problems. Funding Medicare and Medicaid and education and dealing with our crumbling infrastructure and creating jobs and prosecuting the criminal banksters and ensuring that women have full equal rights (including the right to be paid as much as a man for the same work) and bringing the troops home…those are things we need to work on.

    Not one of those three “adults” would ever admit that.

    I have yet to see either a Democratic or a Repub candidate who has a f*cking clue what to do about what is going on with our country. As Brad DeLong says, it’s a big problem.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thx! The resident gave me more antibiotics than I needed during my hospital stay so I fended it off so far. I head in at 1:30. This is killing me financially because I just have student insurance. Of course it couldn’t happen when I was employed with state. It makes me hesitant to get health care because the meds are usually terribly expensive.

  6. Peggy Sue says:

    I found the article on Ailes really disturbing–the idea that one man with a loudspeaker [Fox] is able to wield so much power in shaping the political discourse. No wonder we’re in trouble when the relevant news is simply a business and/or contest and any and all voices [regardless of how vacuous] that increase revenue are perfectly viable.

    The fact that these loons are now hurting Fox and the GOP’s political aspirations would be funny if it wasn’t so damaging. Karma has come to bite Ailes in the ass. Can’t think of a more deserving person. Anyone who foisted Beck on the country should be tarred and feathered! And Palin? Bachmann? Don’t get me started.

    Hope the doctor has a remedy, Dak. Doesn’t sound like fun. And yes, the allergy season has been miserable. I’m getting shots [the way I did in grade school] and my ears are still not working. But maybe with all the bad news it’s a good thing my hearing is off :0).

    • dakinikat says:

      I think Ailes and others thought they were just part of the gotv. Once it became apparent these folks would push candidates that were like them and true believers in the lies, I think it’s like Frankenstein’s monster.

      • madamab says:

        I totally agree. Since they have no core beliefs themselves (except the belief that they are “exceptional” and society’s rules don’t apply to them), they did not understand how true believers would react to their nonsense.

        Ailes is now afraid of being rejected by the Old Guard in the GOP and thus, losing his power. That’s why he’s Palin-bashing and trying to roll back 15 years of catering to Teh Crayzeeee.

        Some things just can’t be “messaged” away. Roger is starting to find that out.

  7. The Rock says:

    Great roundup Dak. The MRSA is back? Nuts 😦 … Get well soon….

    Hillary 2012

  8. okasha says:

    Dak, I hope the doctor will be able to give you something that will get rid of the infection for good. One of the nastiest aspects of MRSA is its damned persistence.

    Nowhere in the Bible is the “sin of Sodom” connected with anything sexual. Jesus agrees with Ezekiel that it was lack of hospitality to strangers that brought about the city’s destruction. It was pretty much a constant throughout the ancient world that one was ethically and morally obligated to care for and protect the stranger and the traveler. In Greece, Zeus was known as Zeus Xenios, Zeus the Stranger. Aeschylus calls him “the great guest god” who takes offense at the abduction of Helen not so much because she’s Menelaus’ wife but because Paris violates the sacred bond of the host-guest relationship. The Canaanites, and later the Jewish people, had a similar ethic that is expressed in several passages in Mosaic law.

    Someone should also point out to Pat Robertson that there are at least two stories that affirm same sex relationships in the Bible. One is the love between David and Jonathan and the other is the healing by Jesus of the Centurion’s “beloved youth,” which is what the Greek actually means. It’s very difficult to translate the phrase literally into English because we’ve lost the cultural concept behind what the Greeks meant by “honor” (time, pronounced tea-meh). But what it says word for word is “the youth with whom his honor was bound up.” Obviously not something a high-ranking professional Roman officer would say of a servant who fetched his wash water and polished his boots.

    Jesus was down with all sorts of people the Republicans don’t like. If he had shown up yesterday, he’d have wound up in Gitmo.

    • okasha says:

      Eek. Itals should have ended with (tea-meh).

    • Outis says:

      That was so fascinating. Are you a historian by trade or just well-read?

      • okasha says:

        I’m a linguist and ex-literature teacher, currently a writer/artist with an historical novel in the works. I picked up my dad’s interest in history early on–he was a Civil War scholar, so we spent a lot of summer vacation touring battlefields–and got a first hand perspective on some more of it from my mother’s Cherokee family.
        It’s the people who are interesting–some tragedy, a bit of comedy, a lot of soap opera when you get to the so-called “major figures.”

  9. dakinikat says:

    Focus on the Family Prez: “We’ve Probably Lost” on Gay Marriage

    So how far has the pendulum swung? Even Jim Daly, president of the right-wing group Focus on the Family, seems to be throwing in the white flag. Here’s what he told the evangelical World magazine in their June issue:

    ” We’re winning the younger generation on abortion, at least in theory. What about same-sex marriage? We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that. I don’t want to be extremist here, but I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture.”

    • okasha says:

      First time I’ve ever agreed with the scumbag. Now they have to be made to lose just as badly on women’s issues.

  10. madaha says:

    get well soon!

    here’s Hedges following up on the West thing. V. good.

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/05/23-4

  11. dakinikat says:

    Will the Voter Revolt Against Cuts (and Paul Ryan) Grab a New York House Seat From the GOP?

    The big lie that got conservatives through the 2010 election cycle with so much success – that budgets can be balanced by going after “waste, fraud and abuse” – began to unravel as soon as newly-elected Republican governors began to draw up their budgets and House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan tried to rebalance the federal paperwork by gutting Medicare.

  12. Sweet Sue says:

    Feel better, Dak, and let us all know what your doctor says.

  13. Minkoff Minx says:

    I see O’Bama is having his ego stroked today.

    Have you all seen that Cynthia McKinney has become a mouthpiece for Gaddafi?

    CNN: McKinney blasts U.S. on Libya TV  | ajc.com

    I’ve see a lot of right-wing sites talking up the reason she is doing this…she is a lefty democrat. Talk about “intellectual” argument.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Politco says Republican pollsters warned the House wingnuts “don’t go there” on ending Medicare. They didn’t listen and now they’re all in trouble with voters.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55466.html

    • okasha says:

      Grapsing the third rail firmly with both hands.

    • madamab says:

      I think they really overestimated their “mandate.” The reality is, people were voting for politicians who didn’t exist. The Tea Party people promised they would focus on jobs and ran on populist themes; then upon gaining office, they started going after women, unions, Social Security and Medicare.

      I think the House is going to go back to Dems in 2012, if gerrymandering hasn’t made that impossible.

  15. fiscalliberal says:

    David Stockman is expected to be on Dillon Ratigan at MSNBC today. Show starts at 4:00 Easten

  16. paper doll says:

    Dak! get well soon! Sorry about that!

    There’s no money for the GOP clown car parade…. the Powers that Be want Obama part 2 OR Jeb, it’s hard to tell right now .

    I’m leaning towards Obama Part two/ Bush Part 4. But they ain’t paying for the not ready for prime time players to cavort and so the wannabes are dropping like flies . Chris Christie blissfully can go back to his double order of cheese fries

  17. bluelady says:

    re the MRSA- recently was told by my doc that they are using Cipro to treat MRSA for skin infections, not severe infections- that’s another name for Bactrim- which is pretty cheap. Maybe it’s useful in your case?

    • okasha says:

      Bactrim (sulfamethoxozole + trimethoprin) and Cipro (ciprofloxin) are two very, very different drugs. Perhaps you’re thinking of Septra, which is another name for Bactrim.

      • bluelady says:

        You’re right, it was Bactrim he said they were using. Still a very cheap drug though,compared to the newer antibiotics.

      • okasha says:

        Oh, yeah. Cheap, good and broad-spectrum. It’s one of the few antibiotics I can take.

    • Boo Radly says:

      … Cipro (ciprofloxacin) is fluoroquinolone antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

      This is a fluoroquinolne drug – do not take without reading up on it. As of 2011 the FDA has added two black box warnings for this drug in reference to spontaneous tendon ruptures and the fact that ciprofloxacin may cause worsening of myasthenia gravis symptoms, including muscle weakness and breathing problems. Such an adverse reaction is a potentially life-threatening event and may require ventilatory support.

      Doctors have no responsibility to keep up with black box warnings – some even say they do not exist, and the AMA in my state denies black box warnings. There are many reports of severe adverse reactions. It is suspected that these FQ drugs may be contributing to the surge in MSRA. I have no personal experience with Cipro but Levaquin. I had a severe reaction in a hospital and they did not stop using it until I went into resp. & heart failure. I am crippled now nerve damage and several other problems.

      Read what is online at NIH/FDA and consider before using is all I am saying. Save yourself a permanent world of pain.