Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!

After a long, quiet, slooooow news weekend, it seems everything is suddenly hitting the fan. A mysterious explosion in Iran–was it nukes? Are the reports propaganda designed to start another war? Time will tell, I guess. Then there is Herman Cain’s campaign blowing up in his face.

There is lots more news than I can cover in one post.

Speaking of the dangers of nuclear power, Think Progress reports this ghastly news from Japan:

Japan’s science ministry says 8 per cent of the country’s surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

It says more than 30,000 square kilometres of the country has been blanketed by radioactive cesium.

There’s a map of the contaminated areas at the link.

President Obama has promised to help out in the Eurozone mess.

As the European debt crisis continues to escalate, President Obama urged European Union leaders today to act quickly to resolve the eurozone crisis, saying that “the United States stands ready to do our part to help them resolve this issue.

“This is of huge importance to our own economy. If Europe is contracting or if Europe is having difficulties, then it’s much more difficult for us to create good jobs here at home because we send so many of our products and services to Europe; it is such an important trading partner for us,” the president said following an annual meeting between U.S. and EU officials. “We’ve got a stake in their success, and we will continue to work in a constructive way to try to resolve this issue in the near future.”

While Obama did not say what kind of assistance the U.S. would be willing to provide, earlier today the White House ruled out any financial contributions from U.S. taxpayers. “We do not in any way believe that additional resources are required from the United States or from American taxpayers,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

“This is a European issue, that Europe has the resources and capacity to deal with it and that they need to act decisively and conclusively to resolve this problem,” Carney said.

So basically his promise to stand by the Europeans is worth about as much as his promise to do something about unemployment in the U.S.

Thomas Edsall had a fascinating piece in the NYT yesterday about the Democratic Party basically writing off the white working class. I highly recommend reading it. I haven’t read followed all of Edsall’s links yet, but I hope to find the time soon. Here’s an excerpt:

For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

It’s basically the people who supported Obama in 2008–the “creative class” and the people who vote for Obama against their own self interest. So where does that leave the unions and us older folks? Up sh*t creek, I guess. We need a third party then, because the Republicans don’t want us either. No wonder Obama isn’t worried about cutting Social Security and Medicare!

As a practical matter, the Obama campaign and, for the present, the Democratic Party, have laid to rest all consideration of reviving the coalition nurtured and cultivated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The New Deal Coalition — which included unions, city machines, blue-collar workers, farmers, blacks, people on relief, and generally non-affluent progressive intellectuals — had the advantage of economic coherence. It received support across the board from voters of all races and religions in the bottom half of the income distribution, the very coherence the current Democratic coalition lacks.

A top priority of the less affluent wing of today’s left alliance is the strengthening of the safety net, including health care, food stamps, infant nutrition and unemployment compensation. These voters generally take the brunt of recessions and are most in need of government assistance to survive. According to recent data from the Department of Agriculture, 45.8 million people, nearly 15 percent of the population, depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to meet their needs for food. Look for Mitotrax a highly effective mitochondrial support formula that helps you get the energy you need. Visit this website ww.amazon.com for more details.

The better-off wing, in contrast, puts at the top of its political agenda a cluster of rights related to self-expression, the environment, demilitarization, and, importantly, freedom from repressive norms — governing both sexual behavior and women’s role in society — that are promoted by the conservative movement.

If you ask me, the Democrats aren’t doing much for either of those groups. We need another party!!

Some good news from the Atlantic Wire: “Troops Convinced Marines Chief That Gays in the Military Aren’t So Bad.”

Gen. James F. Amos, the head of the U.S. Marines who wasn’t too thrilled with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being repealed in September, is thrilled today with how the lift on the ban of gays in the military has gone so far, reports the AP. Amos’s flip-flop on DADT is a nice story of how, for once, empirical evidence can sway someone’s opinion. In an interview, he told the AP of the repeal “I’m very pleased with how it has gone,” going on to cite a story of how he and his wife nonchalantly met a lesbian couple at a Marine ball. Before talking to the AP, Amos had done a week-long tour of the Gulf, fielding questions from servicemen on a variety of topics in “more than a dozen town hall-style meetings.” So how many times did gays in the military come up? Once:

On his final stop, in Bahrain on Sunday, one Marine broached the topic gently. He asked Amos whether he planned to change the Marines’ current policy of leaving it to the discretion of local commanders to determine how to handle complaints about derogatory “homosexual remarks or actions.” Amos said no.

An extremely minor procedural question. Not chest-thumping rancor Amos might have expected last December. According to the AP, he told Congress then:

Successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level as it will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus on preparing units for combat.

Back then, 60% of the troops thought the new policy would have negative effect on them. But after the fact that perception seems to have changed.

Finally, Stalin’s daughter died yesterday in Wisconsin at age 85.

At her birth, on Feb. 28, 1926, she was named Svetlana Stalina, the only daughter and last surviving child of the brutal Soviet tyrant Josef Stalin. After he died in 1953, she took her mother’s last name, Alliluyeva. In 1970, after her defection and an American marriage, she became and remained Lana Peters.

Ms. Peters died of colon cancer on Nov. 22 in Richland County, Wis., the county’s corporation counsel, Benjamin Southwick, said on Monday. She was 85.

Her death, like the last years of her life, occurred away from public view. There were hints of it online and in Richland Center, the Wisconsin town in which she lived, though a local funeral home said to be handling the burial would not confirm the death. A county official in Wisconsin thought she might have died several months ago. Phone calls seeking information from a surviving daughter, Olga Peters, who now goes by the name Chrese Evans, were rebuffed, as were efforts to speak to her in person in Portland, Ore., where she lives and works.

Ms. Peters’s initial prominence came only from being Stalin’s daughter, a distinction that fed public curiosity about her life across three continents and many decades. She said she hated her past and felt like a slave to extraordinary circumstances. Yet she drew on that past, and the infamous Stalin name, in writing two best-selling autobiographies.

I’ll stop here, but there’s lots more happening. What are you reading and blogging about today?

23 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    I’m still struggling with the “Newt’s not so bad after all” comments that keep popping up since his latest endorsement.

    Almost as ridiculous as saying that Charlie Manson plays a “mean guitar”.

    • quixote says:

      It reminds me of that Jackson Pollock (?) painting which was just a huge black canvas. But when you stared at it long enough you realized there were gradations to the darkness.

      Some 19th century composer could have done something with it. “Variations on the Pits of Hell.”

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      You are on a roll Pat, loved your post today BTW…

    • foxyladi14 says:


    • Peggy Sue says:

      I come back from Philly, something of a news blackout–very little TV and MomMom’s ancient computer–only to find people atwitter over . . . The Eye of the Newt??? Memory is short but unless you have complete amnesia of the 1990s, the idea of Newt Gingrich as a serious POTUS contender is absurd. Not only is the man the biggest hypocrite on two stubby legs, he’s Opportunist Extraordinaire. He’s a one-man business, selling his bloated ego to the public.

      Obama is bad. He’s a lousy President and completely devoid of leadership skills. But Newt Gingrich??? There’s desperation, and then there’s complete insanity.

      The one thing I did catch was Cheney’s daughter accusing Obama of deliberately crashing the economy for political reasons–to win the WH. This from the Party of Obstructionism. This from the Halliburton family who have been all things to war at any cost.

      As I said, Obama is the worst Democrat [and that designation is dubious] in my living memory. Even against Jimmy Carter, who failed miserably, Obama cannot measure to Carter’s basic decency or Carter’s [yes, this is MHO] to do the right thing. But for the GOP bottom feeders to point fingers is beyond hypocritical. It falls right into the evil clown zone.

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    That was a great link to gays in the military aren’t so bad… Reminds me of Ignatius J. Reilly’s grand plan for a new political party…

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Herman Cain is “reassessing his candidacy.” Sounds like a good idea.


    • Pat Johnson says:

      Herman just loves his country much too much which is why he “catted around” when he did.

      Incidentally, the same nitwits from the Religious Right that are now supporting Newt were “aghast” that Obama failed to mention “god” when he made his Thanksgiving address.

      The hypocrisy is making it easier to identify the insanity that engulfs this election.

      As for Herman Cain, don’t be surprised to see him “pop up” on Fox News as another empty headed moron offering “analysis” to the uninformed who lap up their propaganda.

      He’ll fit in nicely with the other sops who get paid to screech their swill to the masses.

  4. northwestrain says:

    Here’s a good blog article — about the big lie — blaming the victims for the current economic mess.


    • northwestrain says:

      from link above:

      “Check the mortgage origination data: The vast majority of subprime mortgages — the loans at the heart of the global crisis — were underwritten by unregulated private firms. These were lenders who sold the bulk of their mortgages to Wall Street, not to Fannie or Freddie. Indeed, these firms had no deposits, so they were not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp or the Office of Thrift Supervision. The relative market share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped from a high of 57 percent of all new mortgage originations in 2003, down to 37 percent as the bubble was developing in 2005-06.”

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Rick Santorum has suggested “abortion” as having an impact on the economy which accounts for the lack of revenue being gathered by the Fed. Fewer babies, fewer child laborers flooding the market.

      I rest my case.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup. Wrote about that awhile ago. Barry Ritholtz is really putting the data out there. Good for him!

  5. ralphb says:

    Hope Steffey’s ‘Abu Ghraib’ Treatment at the Stark County Jail

    This is one of the damndest stories I’ve ever read. A lady called 911 and, even though she was the victim, a deputy sheriff brutally arrested her for no crime. At the jail, she was strip searched and left nude in a cell for 6 hours without even a phone call then booked for resisting arrest.

    She was essentially raped and tortured by the police. I hope they recoup millions in damages from Stark County, Ohio. Since this went public, five other victims have come forward with complaints. I’m at a loss for words. I onlu wish I could believe this couldn’t happen here.

    What happened to Hope Steffey has happened to others living in states with strip search, cavity search laws like Ohio’s. The use of nudity, humiliation, and torture, by United States law enforcement represents an overall breakdown in American morals, values, freedoms, Constitutional rights, and human rights. These flawed policies- bad laws, will continue to victimize Americans until they start writing to and calling their representatives in Washington and telling them to change these laws or get them off the books altogether.

    • Branjor says:

      That didn’t just come out of a clear blue sky.
      The hatred is typical has been seething just under the surface for many years.

      • ralphb says:

        That kind of action and hatred doesn’t come out of the clear blue sky, you’re right about that. I don’t know where it comes from and am awfully glad I don’t.

    • jawbone says:

      Good grief.

      Does it have anything to do with these guys shaving their heads?

      Awful that this has happened in the US. I did check out where this county is — I never want to be near there.

      • jawbone says:

        OK, it’s a bit SE of Akron, OH — not that far from I80/76, before 80 splits off to become I80/90. I think I’ll avoid getting gas on the Akron exits…altho’ this incident did occur in 2006. Near Canton.

        Per this article, the county settled with Steffey (who is shown with dark hair), but a suit aginst the contractors providing medical care was ongoing. The county had a $100K deductible on their liability insurance, and that amount had been budgeted prior to the judge’s finding in July of ’09..

        However, Stark County Administrator Michael Hanke “said he has already set aside the $100,000 in anticipation of paying the deductible for the Steffey case because the legal fees associated with the year-and-a-half-long legal battle likely exceed $100,000.”

        As usual with police on citizen violence, “A state investigation into Steffey’s arrest and incarceration found no criminal wrongdoing.”

        I didn’t find anything about the suit against the medical contractors.

      • ralphb says:

        I hope they bankrupt the county in their civil suit. This kind of thing has to be stopped!

      • ralphb says:

        That kind of insane behavior sounds like some kind of steroid rage or something. Bizarre.

    • northwestrain says:

      Cops don’t deserve automatic trust — too many are rapist — demanding sex rather than a ticket — even when NO laws were broken.

      When cops cover for other rouge cops — then ALL cops are tainted by the bad cops.

      Yes and steroid abuse is rapid — and then there are the cops who hate women. ALL women. Evidently in most jurisdictions screening for psychopaths for cop jobs isn’t being done.

  6. ralphb says:

    Felix Salmon: Hank Paulson’s inside jobs

    What on earth did Hank Paulson think his job was in the summer of 2008? As far as most of us were concerned, he was secretary of the US Treasury, answerable to the US people and to the president. But at the same time, in secret meetings, Paulson was hanging out with his old Goldman Sachs buddies, giving them invaluable information about what he was thinking in his new job.

    The first news of this behavior came in October 2009, when Andrew Ross Sorkin revealed that Paulson had met with the entire board of Goldman Sachs in a Moscow hotel suite for an hour at the end of June 2008. He told them his views of the US and global economies, he previewed a market-moving speech he was about to give, and he even talked about the possibility that Lehman Brothers might blow up. Maybe it’s not so surprising that Goldman Sachs turned out to be so well positioned when Lehman did indeed do just that a few months later.

    Today we learn that the Goldman meeting in Moscow was not some kind of aberration. A few weeks later, on July 28 2008, Paulson met with a who’s who of the hedge-fund world in the headquarters of Eton Park Capital Management — a fund founded by former Goldman superstar Eric Mindich.
    Paulson, says Teitelbaum, “is now a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago, where he’s starting the Paulson Institute, a think tank focused on U.S.-Chinese relations”. I’d take issue with the “distinguished” bit. Unless it means “distinguished by an astonishing black hole where his ethics ought to be”.