Saturday Late Morning Links

Good Morning! Here are a few news links to get you started on your weekend reading.

Ralph posted this FDL link in a comment last night last night, and I thought it deserved front page attention: Right-Wingers Horrified to Discover That Conservative Movement is Seriously Crazy

The complete implosion of the Secessionist on the national stage and the subsequent rise of the Pizza Guy has just been too much for some wingers to take. They’re looking at those polls showing the Pizza Guy still leading Willard, and wondering how the hell they came to be totally surrounded by crazy people.

The quotes from wingers are too funny. They’re almost as disturbed by their candidates as we are.

From Politico, more on the Cain sexual harassment situation:
Under Herman Cain, NRA launched sex harassment fight

In the wake of the televised 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings — and the widely publicized sexual harassment charges leveled against him by Anita Hill — American businesses had been hit by a wave of sexual harassment cases. And the restaurant industry, in particular, was hit especially hard.

Industry officials saw it coming — none other than Cain himself warned as long ago as 1991 that changes in federal law resulting from the hearings could cause problems for employers.

“This bill opens the door for opportunists who will use the legislation to make some money,” Cain, then CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, told Nation’s Restaurant News. “I’m certainly for civil rights, but I don’t know if this bill is fair because of what we’ll have to spend to defend ourselves in unwarranted cases.”

Excuse me? Unwarranted cases?

NYT: Greek Leader Survives Vote, Bolstering Deal on Europe Debt

ATHENS — Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece survived a crucial confidence vote in the Greek Parliament early on Saturday, a vote that signaled approval of the comprehensive deal reached by European leaders last week to stabilize the euro and to help Greece avoid defaulting on its debt.

Mr. Papandreou pledged to form a unity government with a broader consensus, regardless of whether he would lead it, and met with President Karolos Papoulias to explore the composition of a transitional government.

According to media reports, Mr. Papandreou told the Greek president that the country needed to forge a political consensus to prove it wanted to keep the euro. “In order to create this wider cooperation, we will start the necessary procedures and contacts soon,” Reuters quoted Mr. Papandreou as saying.

“My aim is to immediately create a government of cooperation,” Mr. Papandreou was quoted as saying. “A lack of consensus would worry our European partners about our country’s membership of the euro zone.”

According to the UK Guardian, Papandreau will soon be replaced with “his deputy and rival Evangelos Venizelos.”

Venizelos has won considerable respect among eurozone leaders for his handling of the crisis. It was he who forced Papandreou to abandon his destabilising plans for a referendum on the 27 October eurozone summit package that envisages a further €130bn (£112bn) bailout for Greece paid for largely by a 50% “haircut” for private creditors on their holdings of Greek debt. This was after the pair were given a humiliating dressing down by Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy before the G20 summit got under way in Cannes.

The finance minister, who was first to congratulate the premier on his pyrrhic victoryon Saturday, has been on the phone to reassure his eurozone colleagues, above all Wolfgang Schäuble of Germany, that Greece will meet the terms of the second bailout and be able to reach a deal on the fine details within a few weeks.

Bondholders marshalled by the International Institute for Finance are demanding political certainty in the country – as is the business community which has been pressing behind the scenes for a government of national salvation led by a non-political figure such as Loukas Papademos, former president of the European Central Bank.

Venizelos told Schäuble et al that he would turn up at Monday’s meeting of eurogroup finance ministers in Brussels armed with what his ministry called “the political guarantees which are necessary for the disbursement of the sixth tranche of €8bn”. This is the sum required before 15 December to save Greece from bankruptcy. Greek banks, which have almost €50bn exposure to state debt, need the package approved swiftly so they can rebuild their capital base.

WSJ on the death of Andy Rooney:

Andy Rooney was America’s bemused uncle, spouting homespun wisdom weekly at the end of “60 Minutes,” a soupcon of topical relief after the news magazine’s harder-hitting segments.

Peering at viewers through bushy eyebrows across his desk, Mr. Rooney might start out, seemingly at random, “Did you ever notice that…” and he was off, riffing on pencils, pies, parking places, whatever. Then he was done, slightly cranky revelations delivered in a neat three-minute package.

Mr. Rooney, who died Friday night at age 92, was a reporter and writer-producer for television for decades before landing in 1978 on “60 Minutes.” To his consternation, the show made him into a celebrity.

I was never a fan, but I’m sure many Americans will miss him.

Please post your recommended reads in the comments, and have a great Saturday!

24 Comments on “Saturday Late Morning Links”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Raw Story: Occupy The Kochs throws down the class warfare gauntlet in D.C.

    Friday night, armed with popcorn, lemonade and serious signage, a few hundred activists gathered at 1075 7th Street NW to protest billionaire GOP backers the Koch Brothers as they graced the Americans for Prosperity-sponsored Defending the American Dream Conference.

    But this time, they were determined to do it with style.

    In addition to the protest signs, catchy slogans and noise-making to disrupt the conference, the organizers flipped the script by providing a community party space. As mid-tempo house music, reggae and hip-hop blasted from speakers in a small parking lot off of L Street NW, activists sampled wares from local vendors and watched a projector flash images of protests from around the country on the back wall.

    The Occupy the Kochs: Guerilla Drive-In was organized by The Other 98%. The nearly two-year-old organization found some overlap with the larger Occupy Wall Street movements, particularly in the framing. According to co-founder John Sellers, “We want to see a country that works for all of us.”

  2. ralphb says:

    On Greece, heaven forbid the people be allowed to vote in a referendum on their future. Democracy would probably spell the end for the Euro Zone. It seems to have been an unworkable idea born from tons of central European arrogance. Maybe it would be good riddance in the long run?

  3. dakinikat says:

    Any young woman that worked prior to those sexual harassment laws–like me–can tell you horror after horror story of having to work with men than told you your promotions depended on sexual favors to them, men who engaged in continually innuendo and pawing, and men that called you names, leered at you, and had magazines, pictures, photos, jokes, etc. that made you feel extremely uncomfortable, stressed, and miserable on the job.

    I can tell tales from nearly all my college and high school restaurant jobs. I finally took sanctuary in lower paying jobs in women’s clothing stores to get away from it. I also found banking wasn’t much better. Until the huge fees and law suits started appearing, you could figure you would be routinely sexually harassed by at least one co-worker and more than that managers and the only answer you would get would be something like, well you shouldn’t be so pretty or boys will be boys. It was awful!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yup. I could tell many a horror story about workplaces of the ’60s and ’70s.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’ve quit more than just a few jobs for that very reason.

      • Delphyne says:

        I remember being 19 and working at a large insurance company in Newark, NJ – the department head actually wanted me to come up and see his etchings! I was so astonished that I just broke out laughing – I thought that was only said in movies! This was the same guy who fell asleep on the john in the men’s room with a cigarette and his hair caught fire – the same one who couldn’t be found for about 1/2 hour in the very same men’s room with a broken zipper. Finally, his administrative assistant, an older woman who didn’t put up with anything, marched in there, demanded he take off his pants and fixed his zipper.

  4. dakinikat says:

    I know this sounds like a weird place and a weirder story–especially for the Daily Beast–but it’s worth your time:

    Why Kim Kardashian’s Divorce Is Good For America—and Women

    It’s tempting to laugh all this off as harmless fluff, but the impact is real. Dating shows in particular portray women as bitchy, catty, and desperate. These shows also tend to exclude intellectual, professionally accomplished women–preferring contestants like a bubby 24-year-old on The Bachelor, who promised she’d “make the best wife” because “I will be a servant to him.” According to a recent Girl Scouts survey of 1,100 girls, young women who regularly watch reality TV are more likely than non-viewers to “accept and expect a higher level of drama, aggression, and bullying” in their lives. They’re also significantly more likely to believe that “It’s in girls’ nature to be catty and competitive with one another,” that “It’s hard for me to trust other girls,” and that girls “have to compete for a guy’s attention.”

    Let’s be clear: Kim Kardashian didn’t create this toxic TV culture. Fox’s Who Wants to Marry A Multi-Millionaire started it all in 2000; in 2003, ABC aired Trista & Ryan’s Wedding, a $4 million affair in which The Bachelorette wore a $70K Badgley Mischka dress and a pair of diamond-encrusted Stuart Weitzman heels. Nowadays, entire series like TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and WE’s My Fair Wedding exist to get women to fixate on the idea that it’s normal, even mandatory, for a wedding to cost as much as a down payment on a house.

    But Kim’s wedding is coming during an economic recession–which makes it all the more problematic. It may have made her $17.9 million richer, but that’s all part of reality TV’s dirty little secret: These shows exist in large part to expand the luxury wedding market. We now spend a whopping $80 billion annually on bridal apparel, invitations, flowers, receptions, destination weddings, and more. As proud members of the 1 percent, the Kardashians can afford this kind of nonsense. The rest of us can’t. And girls and women can’t afford the demeaning stereotypes at the heart of these faux-fairytales, either.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Seven police officers charged in murder of Benazir Bhutto.

  6. dakinikat says:

    WAPO Ombudsman Defends Hit Job on Social Security

    If there were ever any doubts that “Fox on 15th Street” was a fitting label for the Washington Post, Patrick Pexton, the paper’s ombudsman removed them with his defense of the Post’s front page piece on Social Security last Sunday. Just to remind readers, the whole premise of that piece, as expressed in its headline, is that Social Security has crossed some “treacherous milestone” because it had gone “cash negative earlier than expected.”

    While this assertion was presented in a sensationalistic manner in the Post, as both the headline and the lead, it is actually not true. Social Security has not gone “cash negative” in the sense that the trust fund is still growing. While current benefit payments exceed designated Social Security tax revenue, the income to the system, which includes interest on its holdings of government bonds, still exceeds benefit payments.

    In this sense it is simply wrong to say that the system is cash negative. More money is still coming into the system than is going out. Obviously the Post meant to say that benefit payments exceed tax revenue, but tax revenue is only part of the income for the program. It is a serious failure by the Post to ignore the income stream from interest payments, which is compounded by the failure of the ombudsman to recognize this failure.

    This is really not something that is arguable — Social Security has a stream of income from the interest on its bonds. The Post and its ombudsman may not like this fact, but it is nonetheless true.

    The ombudsman also chose to ignore several misleading or false claims that the Post used to advance its Social Security crisis story. For example, the original piece told readers that “the payroll tax holiday is depriving the system of revenue.” This is not true. Under the law, the Social Security system is fully reimbursed for the money not collected as a result of the payroll tax holiday.

    The piece also claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was wrong when he claimed that Social Security was not contributing to the budget deficit. In fact, under the law Social Security has a separate budget that is not part of the on-budget budget. The program can only spend money from its own trust fund, which is money raised through designated taxes or the bonds purchased with this tax revenue. For this reason, it cannot legally contribute to the budget deficit. Presumably the Post and its budget reporter (and its ombudsman) are aware of this fact, but rather than clarifying the issue it chose to take a swipe at Senator Reid for defending Social Security. (The payroll tax holiday put in place for 2010 is arguable an exception to this.)

    If the purpose of the piece was to inform readers rather than to raise fears, it might have been useful to put the projected Social Security shortfall in some context so that readers could evaluate the size of the problem.

    Dean Baker hits it out of the ballpark again!

  7. dakinikat says:

    Scott_Gilmore Scott Gilmore

    Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Gosh there still must be some of that historic great Catholic intellectual tradition left there some place:

    Mississippi Catholic Bishop, Religious Leaders Denounce Personhood Anti-Abortion Bill

    Numerous religious leaders, who joined Bishop Latino at a press conference to speak out against the bill, were more forthright in their denunciations. “It is a blunt instrument which, if passed, will harm Mississippi women and their families both physically and spiritually,” said Rabbi Debra Kassoff. “Because God has sanctified not only fetal life, but all life, we urge Mississippians to vote against Initiative 26.”

    In fact, religious leaders are taking issue with the personhood movement’s foundational idea that such amendments comply with “divine law” as defined by biblical text. The Interfaith Center of New York’s Rev. Chloe Breyer and Rabbis for Human Rights’ Rabbi Jill Jacobs both insisted that the biblical text that “life at conception” activists often rely on is actually “invoked to support the rights of a woman to have an abortion” as it conveys the idea that “the fetus does not achieve personhood until emerging from the womb.”

    Breyer also notes that Christian representatives have long argued against the idea that life beings at conception. Saint Augustine actually wrote on the question of “personhood” and “ascribed to the idea of delayed ‘ensoulment” in which the fetus did not “receive a human soul” until a certain number of days after conception. In 1994, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church expressed its “unequivocal opposition” to any action that would “abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her pregnancy, or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting upon her decision.”

  9. foxyladi14 says:

    RIP. Andy many Americans will miss him. I always enjoyed him. 🙂

  10. ralphb says:

    A note on the continuing class warfare against the middle class…

    Most of the unemployed no longer receive benefits

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America’s unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

    Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent – a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America’s 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

    Congress is expected to decide by year’s end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.

    The ranks of the poor would also rise. The Census Bureau says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year. It defines poverty as annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.

    Yet for a growing share of the unemployed, a vote in Congress to extend the benefits to 99 weeks is irrelevant. They’ve had no job for more than 99 weeks. They’re no longer eligible for benefits.