Sunday Morning Open Thread

sunday paper cat

Good Morning!!

It’s Sunday again and the Villagers will be hanging out on the Sunday shows pushing the austerity agenda and talking about the two other issues that are on their minds these days–guns and immigration. I have to wonder if they aren’t ginning up those two issues just to keep Americans in the dark about how the oligarchs, with the help of President Obama, are trying to make the U.S. economy into as big a mess as Europe’s.

Here’s a list of the folks who’ll be lecturing us on the various “news” and talk shows today, courtesy of DailyKos. Basically it’s going to be the Marco Rubio show.

Meet the Press: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Sen. Mike Lee(R-UT);  Roundtable: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Katty Kay(BBC), David Brooks (New York Times) and Chuck Todd (NBC News).

Face the Nation: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. Pat Toomey(R-PA); Former Astronaut Mark KellyRoundtableDavid Ignatius (Washington Post),David Sanger (New York Times), Amy Walter (Cook Political Report) and John Dickerson(CBS News).

This Week: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Jeff Sessions(R-AL); MLB Player Mariano Rivera; MLB Player Robinson CanoRoundtableGeorge Will (Washington Post), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Ruth Marcus (Washington Post) and Kimberley Strassel (Wall Street Journal).

Fox News Sunday: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); Sen. John Cornyn(R-TX); Roundtable: Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), Marjorie Clifton (Spike the Watercooler), Republican Strategist Karl Rove and Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).

State of the Union: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV); Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA); Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile; Republican Strategist Ana NavarroGerald Seib (Wall Street Journal); Reliable Sources:Amy Holmes (The Blaze); Ana Marie Cox (The Guardian); Nia-Malika Henderson(Washington Post); Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN); Democratic Strategist Paul Begala; Filmmaker Robert Greenwald.

The Chris Matthews ShowJoe Klein (TIME); Katty Kay (BBC); Amy Walter (Cook Political Report); Peter Alexander (NBC News).

Fareed Zakaria GPS: Former OMB Director David Stockman; Former Economic Adviser to President Obama Austan Goolsbee; CourtTV Founder Steven Brill; Game Show Network CEO David GoldhillAnthony Bourdain (CNN); Former Tata Group Chair Ratan Tata.

Plus, I’ve got a few interesting reads for you from various sources.

Politico finds that Obama’s big donors aren’t ponying up for his “Organizing for America”–the group that is supposed to help push his austerity agenda.

The group, which has no fundraising limits and is not required by law to release donor information, raised $4.9 million in its first three months of existence. By comparison, the Democratic National Committee — which is limited in what it can raise by law — brought in $14 million in the quarter after Obama was first elected in 2008.

The top donor to OFA, Philip Munger, gave $250,000 – a modest sum for a top contributor to a major profile outside group.

Earlier reports in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times suggested that the pro-Obama nonprofit was looking for a high-profile group of donors to chip in $500,000, $1 million or more.

Democratic Party donor mainstays like Fred Eychaner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stephen Speilberg, Steve and Amber Mostyn and others are missing from the list, which includes all donors who gave $250 or more.

Barack and Michelle Obama also are not listed as donors.

Loyal Obama donors like Penny Pritzker, Jane Stetson, Azita Raji and others are also missing — though the top Obama campaign bundler Andrew Tobias chipped in $50,000 to the new group.

Other major Obama campaign fundraisers on the list include: Barbara Grasseschi, Nicola Miner, William Freeman, Wayne Jordan, Michael Kemper, Imad Zuberi, Frank White, Naomi Aberly, and South Carolina Democratic Party chair Dick Harpootlian.

Business Insider publishes The States With The Heaviest Student Loan Debts And Highest Delinquency Rates (the research comes from the St. Louis Fed). Check those out at the link.

To continue the academic theme, Alternet has a piece on Academia’s Indentured Servants. This may give you an idea of why I soured on teaching for a living.

On April 8, 2013, the  New York Times reported that 76 percent of American university faculty are adjunct professors – an all-time high. Unlike tenured faculty, whose annual salaries can top $160,000, adjunct professors make an average of $2,700 per course and receive no health care or other benefits.

Most adjuncts teach at multiple universities while still not making enough to stay above the  poverty line. Some are on  welfare or homeless. Others depend on charity drives held by their peers. Adjuncts are generally  not allowed to have offices or participate in faculty meetings. When they ask for a living wage or benefits, they can be  fired. Their contingent status allows them no recourse.

No one forces a scholar to work as an adjunct. So why do some of America’s brightest PhDs – many of whom are authors of books and articles on labour, power, or injustice – accept such terrible conditions?

“Path dependence and sunk costs must be powerful forces,” speculates political scientist Steve Saidemen in a post titled ” The Adjunct Mystery“. In other words, job candidates have invested so much time and money into their professional training that they cannot fathom abandoning their goal – even if this means living, as Saidemen says, like “second-class citizens”. (He later  downgraded this to “third-class citizens”.)

I spend much of yesterday playing a video game called Minecraft. When my nephews were little, I helped them play games on the computer. Nowadays they help me (they are ages 10 and 7). Every time they get hooked on a new game, they want me to play it too, we play games as CSGO, with the help of sites that give csgo boosted guide so is easier for us.

First it was Plants vs. Zombies, which I loved. Now it’s Minecraft, and I’m getting addicted to that too. It’s a virtual world where you build things out of 3-D looking blocks. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s amazingly fun because it’s open ended and can go on forever, limited only by your imagination and designing and building skill. Of course there are other challenges like attacks by monsters and getting lost underground–which happened to me yesterday.

Anyway, there was an interview with the guy who developed Minecraft, Markus Persson, in The New Yorker this week. Not only that Persson has currently been voted number 2 on Time’s list of most influential people.

So if you like to escape into virtual worlds, check it out. I have to add that I never played video games at all until I met Dakinikat. She encouraged me to get started at my advanced age.

Last night the news broke that a man named Eric Williams had been arrested in connection with the murders of two Texas prosecutors. He is a former Texas justice of the peace. TPM reports:

Williams, 46, had not been publicly named a suspect or a person of interest in the case, but authorities did interview him and test him for gunshot residue on March 30, just hours after the bodies of the county District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found in their home in Forney, Texas.

Williams lost his position after being convicted last year of stealing county computer equipment. Both McLelland and Mark Hasse, a county prosecutor killed Jan. 31, were reportedly involved in Williams’ case.

According to The Dallas Morning News, investigators searched Williams’ home late Friday and “have obtained old cellphones, his computer and boxes of other materials.” Williams’ attorney, David Sergi, said Williams was cooperating with investigators and “vigorously asserts his innocence and denies any involvement” in the killings.

According to CBS News, Williams was charged with “making a ‘terroristic threat'” and is being held on $3 million bond. It sounds serious, doesn’t it?

CBS News correspondent John Miller spoke to “CBS Evening News” on Saturday about the latest development in the case. “What is going on,” he said, “is they shifted their view in this case away from their original theory that it might have been part of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang — because that prosecutor’s office was involved in a case there — more to individual people who were prosecuted by both of the district attorneys who were murdered.

“And that brought them to Eric Williams, who is an elected justice of the peace, who was then both prosecuted by Mark Hasse, one of the murdered district attorneys, and by Mike McLelland, the D.A. Looking into him, they found out he was somebody who made threats to other people, who had a large collection of guns, and possibly had a grudge. Of course he denies all this.”

Miller had previously spoken to Williams a couple of times. “He says he understands why they’re looking at him,” Miller explained. “that they have to do their jobs, that he has nothing to do with that case, and that he’s been cooperative. He says his case was about the political undertows in the county, but he understands what’s going on.”

Miller’s home was searched on Friday, but law enforcement officials were looking at him previously.

Earlier this month, Williams said he voluntarily submitted to a gun residue test after authorities contacted him while investigating the deaths of the McLellands. Sergi has said Williams also submitted to a gun residue test and gave his cellphone to authorities when he was questioned after Hasse’s death.

I’m going to wrap this up with something uplifting (pun intended). It’s an amazing video of a golden eagle flying in slow motion. Sadly, I can’t embed it here, but please go watch it. You won’t be sorry.

What’s on your mind today? Please post your links freely in the comments, and have a great Sunday!!


50 Comments on “Sunday Morning Open Thread”

  1. Thank you BB, I forgot that it was Sunday. I just woke up too. Blame it on the dopamax. I will post a thread later.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I’m a little bit worried after reading this article at Truthout: Democrats Hide When Asked About Ending High-Income Loophole to Assure Social Security’s Future

    Elizabeth Warren is one among others in Senate who refused to commit to raising the payroll tax cap to fund Social Security.

    • RalphB says:

      I believe this is the real key, broadening the base of support for social security. I also think this will be the hardest thing to do.

      Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, pointed out that the payroll tax is especially regressive not only because it applies only to wages and not to capital gains, dividends, or other forms of capital income (all of which overwhelmingly go to high-income people), but also because the cap on earned income subject to the tax means that the more money you earn the smaller percentage of total income you pay.

      • quixote says:

        Broadening the base for SS (and Medicare at the same time? Or doesn’t that have the same cap?) is a complete no-brainer. Watching both parties ignore it as powerfully as they can tells you everything you need to know about their real agenda. And it’s not about helping SS.

      • RalphB says:

        Medicare does not have a cap but it also only applies to wage income. Getting capital gains and other protected income into the mix is the real issue.

      • NW Luna says:

        Why is the best thing to do for the American public the hardest thing for Congress & POTUS to do? (headdesk)

        Sorry, rhetorical question.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    This seems like good news. Max Baucus opposes Chained CPI.

    Finance Chairman Max Baucus said the White House was wrong to call for changes to how inflation is calculated for payments to Social Security and military retirees — known as chained consumer price index (CPI) — without asking the highest earners to contribute more to the Social Security trust fund.
    “Any reform of Social Security should be for the solvency of the program, not deficit reduction,” Baucus said at a hearing to discuss the fiscal 2014 budget with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew….

    Baucus, whose panel oversees Medicare and Social Security, joins some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress in criticizing the White House budget for including chained CPI. The Finance Committee chairman is also seeking a seventh term next year in a state that overwhelmingly voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Dems fear Obama Social Security cut will haunt them in 2014 races

      Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said Obama’s Social Security proposal was a gift to Republicans that could single-handedly kill any chance the party had at regaining the Speaker’s gavel in 2014.

      “Seniors vote in even heavier numbers, proportionately, in off-year elections,” he said. “So just looking at a political standpoint … I would think that this would be a damning blow to our chances of taking back the House next year.”

      • RalphB says:

        Yep! They better come out against Obama in large numbers or they’re toast.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Look at the spin The Hill puts on chained cpi after previously making clear it’s political poison.

        At issue is a provision of Obama’s 2014 budget proposal that would alter the inflation-adjustment formula governing payments for Social Security, among a long list of other federal programs. The adoption of the so-called “chained CPI” would slow the rate of inflation over the long term, thereby reducing cost-of-living increases for future beneficiaries.

        Supporters of the shift to the chained CPI argue that it will reduce federal spending in the face of unsustainable long-term deficits and install a more accurate measure of inflation than the current formula. Additionally, because the savings grow over time, it would provide the greatest help decades in the future, when the country’s fiscal problems are expected to be most acute.

        WTF?! They’re predicting fiscal problems decades in the future?! Based on what? Wouldn’t that mean we should stop the austerity train?

      • RalphB says:

        The Hill’s spin is correct, as far as it goes. But that doesn’t make it a good thing when you consider the consequences.

      • bostonboomer says:

        This Hill article is a riot.

        Not all Democrats fear Obama’s chained CPI proposal will be a liability for the party during the midterms. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, argued that the president proposed the change, so any political fallout should be directed at him.

        “They cannot lay that dead cat at our door,” Ellison said Friday. “I don’t know how it’s going to affect the president’s brand, but it would be completely unfair to affect the House Democratic Caucus brand, because we had nothing to do with it and most of us are affirmatively and explicitly against it.”

        Obama’s “dead cat” budget. LOL!

      • RalphB says:

        Keith Ellison is OK.

      • Pilgrim says:

        I think you are smart to wonder if the power-people — “villagers” as you call them — are trying to divert attention from the mess that has been made of economic issues.

        I was interested to read your mention of Max Baucus. In Neil Barofsky’s account in “Bailout,” Baucus was one of the few who supported him in his efforts to fulfill his TARP oversight mandate, while the White House, surprisingly, not only failed in such support but pretty actively connived with the mischievous Tim Geithner. Barofsky and Warren became good friends through that time. Warren was another one who aided Barofsky, and another one whom the administration resented and worked against, while mouthing admiring sweet nothings.

        When you read people like Barofsky, Suskind and … I’m trying to remember her name, the one who Michelle mistakenly assumed was making her out to be angry black woman … you begin to believe that you can’t believe in the good intentions of admin/WhiteHouse/president.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks for your insights, Pilgrim. Frankly, I don’t think it’s ever wise to trust any administration, Republican or Democrat. Bill Clinton did plenty to betray Democratic principles too.

      • NW Luna says:

        I damn well hope anything connected to dismantling Social Security and Medicare haunts ’em.

        I want to see lots of scurrying as fast as possible to distance themselves from that, starting yesterday.

    • RalphB says:

      Baucus voters are the type of people who can’t be bought off with spending on jobs programs or other government investments, Those people have been convinced since the ’80s that money not spent on SS, Medicare, or Defense is all government waste because it doesn’t work. The hell of it is too much legislature is pork or written so badly that it does fail.

      Our most valuable allies to keep SS and Medicare whole may be the more conservative, non-religious type, people. Strange bedfellows but the enemy of my enemy is my friend, temporarily at least.

      • bostonboomer says:

        There’s no way Obama’s budget is even going to get a vote in the Senate or the House, IMO.

  4. dakinikat says:

    We had a huge storms pass through here .. my electricity went off as usual too … what a freaking morning…just finally got my cable back too and internet

    • RalphB says:

      Welcome to the day. Forecast says we may hit 90 tomorrow, but climate change is a hoax.

      • dakinikat says:

        The temps are all over the map here. We’ve had these huge storms … hey 80s one day … storm moves through it goes to 40 at night. We usually stay within a fairly tight bandwidth for temps … this is freaking weird!

      • RalphB says:

        We have the same kind of up and down business here. We need the rain, as always, but storms produce more runoff than soaks.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s too bad, Dak. I’m glad you got your power back finally.

      • dakinikat says:

        It was a surprised. It hiccuped on that last storm but it just shut off this morning. At least entergy text messages me when that happens now and I get to tell them if it’s off or on in a text back … tree limbs are down every where.

    • Those storms are coming towards us right now…I swear, it is strange spring weather.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Realize I’m calling this guy every obscene name in the book as I post this … trying to exercise constraint.

    http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/12/paul-ryan-compares-anti-abortion-fight-to-battle-to-end-slavery/

    Paul Ryan compares anti-abortion fight to battle to end slavery

    Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday called supporters of the anti-abortion movement “the heirs of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln” during a speech at a fundraiser for the pro-life campaign fund the Susan B. Anthony List. He compared the fight to ban abortion and curtail access to reproductive care to the battle to end slavery.

    “Like Lincoln, we should promote civility and compromise in pursuit of the common good,” Ryan said. He urged anti-abortion to reach out to those who support reproductive rights as they work to outlaw abortion, saying that Lincoln accepted pro-slavery states when necessary in pursuit of his ultimate goal of ending slavery for good.

    “We’ve had some setbacks. We’ve missed some opportunities and lost some key races,” said the failed Republican vice presidential candidate. ”To advance the pro-life cause, we need to work with people who consider themselves pro-choice–because our task isn’t to purge our ranks. It’s to grow them.” But while urging anti-abortion activists to take a softer tone–in line with the GOP’s post-election efforts to re-brand itself as an inclusive party–he also warned, “We can’t abandon Washington to pro-choice extremists.”

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah, nothing like calling people that support constitutional rights ‘extremists’

      • RalphB says:

        The 2nd Amendment is the only one which really counts these days.

        • dakinikat says:

          and they have no idea what it really means too … it was there to let the states protect themselves from a potential British invasion because we were set up to not have a standing military and congress never approved the treaty that ended the Revolution … the damn thing was totally moot after the war of 1812

    • RalphB says:

      How the fuck do you end slavery by keeping women in chains to a clump of cells? That guy is a batshit insane asshole!

    • NW Luna says:

      Let me get this right……Women being enslaved to some Stone Ager’s idea of biology and mythology is….freedom?

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Dean Baker: Government Spending on the Rich Versus Government Spending on Kids

    Blaming seniors is buying in to the Pete Peterson narrative and dividing the 99%.

  7. RalphB says:

    President’s weekly address. If you can watch Francine Wheeler without tears, you’re a stronger person than me.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Ralph, thanks for sharing. I heard part of her address on the radio but watching it is moving. But, of course, I support stronger restrictions on guns already.

      • RalphB says:

        That tragedy hit me harder than any has before. I still can’t even really think about it without tearing up. Personally I’d like to see the 2nd Amendment repealed.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Me too. How anyone could be so hard-hearted as not to feel that way about the deaths of children is beyond my understanding.

  8. dakinikat says:

    what a sicko!!

    Catherine Crier ‏@CatherineCrier 11m

    #Florida police sergeant fired for having #Trayvon Martin shooting targets http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/13/us/florida-trayvon-martin-targets/index.html

    • Fannie says:

      Here’s another freakin’ sicko on Meet the Press, and everywhere else this morning:

      “Marco Rubio” Guns are what people are using……….but VIOLENCE is our problem…………WTF, where was he on 12 Feb 2013, oh yeah, he joined 22 Senators voiting against the rights of women to live Free of Violence in this country…………..standard republican hypocrite.

    • Yeah, the target actually had a bag of skittles.

  9. RalphB says:

    It’s kind of old news but as a consequence of the sequester, oncologists are turning away Medicare patients who need chemotherapy.

    “If we treated the patients receiving the most expensive drugs, we’d be out of business in six months to a year,” said Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York. “The drugs we’re going to lose money on we’re not going to administer right now.”

    After an emergency meeting Tuesday, Vacirca’s clinics decided that they would no longer see one-third of their 16,000 Medicare patients.

    “A lot of us are in disbelief that this is happening,” he said. “It’s a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business.”

    To her credit, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) has introduced a bill that would partially rectify this situation.

  10. dakinikat says:

    Ralph, this guy’s a history prof there .. go beat him up for me plz…. of all the stupid things to do!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/opinion/bomb-north-korea-before-its-too-late.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Bomb North Korea, Before It’s Too Late