And here we are again..
I thought that if I waited a little longer, we would have more cartoons on the latest shit outta Jersey.
But…no. So here are your funnies for tonight.
In no particular order:
And last…the best:
Enjoy your evening!
This is an open thread.
There are some strange things afoot! Harry Waxman may retire and Sandra Fluke may run for his seat!
Sandra Fluke, who became an instant celebrity when she was denied the opportunity to testify at a hearing on Obamacare’s contraception requirements, is “strongly considering” a bid for Rep. Henry Waxman’s congressional seat, according to KPCC, a Southern California radio station.
“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate,” she told the station. “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running.”
If you step back from 2014, and look ahead to the next few election cycles—including 2016—it’s easy to see that this is the right choice. For Senate Democrats, this year’s map—where they’re defending seats in red states like North Carolina, Arkansas, and Louisiana—is their toughest in recent memory. If economic conditions worsen, or if turnout drops substantially, the party could easily lose its control of the Senate, all but ending the potential for Democratic action on domestic policy.
This makes holding the Senate a huge priority—it’s a necessary step if Democrats want to finish Obama’s presidency with success and accomplishment. What’s more, it’ll pay dividends in the next election cycle; if this year’s is a bad map for Democrats, then 2016’s is just as bad for Republicans, who will have to defend blue state Republicans during a presidential election year, where turnout is high and the electorate is more diverse.
In other words, if Democrats can keep the Senate for two more years, then—for the first time since 2008—they’re suddenly in striking distance of a filibuster-proof majority, with the potential for pick-ups in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, and—most optimistically—Georgia.
The RNC is going to boycott MSNBC. ROFLMAO.
In the aftermath of a Twitter firestorm, the Republican National Committee is shunning MSNBC.
RNC chairman Reince Priebus said in a memo Thursday that he’s demanding an apology from MSNBC president Phil Griffin after a tweet from the liberal cable news channel’s accountgenerated a furor among conservatives.
The since-deleted tweet referred to a Super Bowl ad from Cheerios that portrays a biracial family.
“Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” the tweet read.
MSNBC later apologized.
“Until [Griffin] takes internal corrective action and personally apologizes—not just to the RNC but to all right-of-center Americans—I’m banning all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC,” Priebus said in the memo.
This is the ad that freaked out the right wing. It’s a really cute ad with a black father and white mother. I’ve seen the ad even though I never connected it with the Superbowl.
Cheerios’ interracial family is returning on one of television’s biggest stages.
The cereal’s first-ever Super Bowl ad brings back the household that drew both praise and prejudice last spring for depicting a black father, white mother and their biracial daughter, Gracie. In the new spot, dad uses Cheerios to explain to Gracie that a new baby is on the way. The conversation takes a very charming turn, but you’ll have to watch (above) to find out what happens.
“The big game provided another opportunity to tell another story about family love,” Cheerios representative Camille Gibson told The New York Times.
Despite the negative feedback, the ad may have inspired others to take a more inclusive stance in their commercials. Dusting product Swiffer, for example, recentlydebuted a spot featuring the Rukavinas, a real mixed-race family. The husband in the ad says he’s better at cleaning the house, but he admits the chore has become more difficult since losing his arm.
So, here’s a good headline from the Daily Beast: Why Antics by Several Republicans Suggest the Party Needs Therapy,
Before I reveal the doctor’s diagnosis, let’s take a quick look at just some of the recent antics by several Republican elected officials.
On Tuesday, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) threatened to injure, and arguably even kill, NY1 reporter Michael Scotto, who asked a question about a federal investigation into Grimm’s 2010 campaign. In response to this question, Grimm stormed out of the interview. Moments later, he returned and angrily told the reporter, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.” Keep in mind that Grimm is a former Marine and an ex-FBI agent, so his threats must be taken seriously. (Of course, this type of behavior may make Grimm a good match for VP with Chris Christie in 2016.)
If you are Republican and you want to save your party, you may actually need to stage a massive intervention at the next RNC convention.
The day before, Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) resignedfrom Congress after his recent guilty plea to cocaine possession. Radel, who has sought counseling, had been arrested for buying drugs from an undercover DEA agent.
Of course, we can’t forget Gov. Christie and Bridgegate, which also implicates numerous New Jersey Republicans. And, as I wrote this week, we have seen a gaggle of random self-destructive comments by GOP officials since December, from Mike Huckabee’s remarks about women’s libidos to Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) advocating discrimination against gay Americans.
So what did Dr. Foehl conclude? Well, he noted that “the Republicans have a masochistic relationship with the media,” and they keep repeating the very “thing that brings them pain.” From a clinical point of view, Dr. Foehl opined, this behavior would be labeled as a “self-defeating personality disorder.”
Why do so many Republicans do this, you ask? Dr. Foehl explained that certain people thrive on “negative attention,” adding that “they have learned that the way to connect to other people is through their suffering, through doing just the thing that will bring them ridicule or pain.” (Sounds like Doc just described Sarah Palin, Louie Gohmert, and Michele Bachmann.)
Is there any hope for the Republicans? Well, Dr. Foehl offered a guarded prognosis. He explained that this condition is “very difficult to treat” because many become attached to just the kinds of painful relationships that keep them in trouble.” He concluded ominously: “In short, they are help-rejecting.”
The weirdness continues: Anti-Choice Groups Launch National Boycott Of Girl Scout Cookies For ‘Endorsing’ Wendy Davis
Toward the end of December, Girl Scout USA’s official Twitter account tweeted out a Huffington Post story about the inspiring individuals who should be considered to be 2013′s “women of the year.” The article included figures like Beyonce, Malala Yousafzai, and Wendy Davis — and the organization asked its followers who else should be added to the list of “incredible ladies.” That was enough for anti-choice activists to call for a national boycott of the organization’s popular cookies, claiming the Girl Scouts have endorsed “pro-abortion politician Wendy Davis.”
“We’re asking you to boycott Girl Scout cookies in 2014,” reads a new site dedicated to the boycott, explaining that Davis should not be lifted up as a “worthy role model for our children.” The same accusation is being leveled against the group in regards to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was included in a different news article about influential U.S. women that the Girl Scouts shared on its Facebook page.
The controversy has been building for several weeks. At the beginning of this month, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly hosted a panel discussion about the organization’s tweet. Panelists suggested that sharing any material related to Davis violates the Girl Scouts’ policy to remain uninvolved in politics.
I’m personally leading a social media campaign for every one to buy as many cookies as possible from Girl Scouts. I should disclose that I have been a Girl Scout, a Girl Scout Leader, and the mother of Girl Scouts for some time.
So, here’s something really frightening.
In the latest setback for the troubled nuclear mission, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said she returned from a visit to missile bases believing the cheating was part of a broader morale problem among launch officers.
“As the investigation has moved forward, we can now report there is a total of 92 crew members that have been identified as having some level of involvement,” James told a news conference.
“That means either participating in the cheating or knowing something about it and not standing up and reporting it,” she said.
Two weeks ago, officials said 34 officers were implicated at Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana.
The latest tally of 92 launch officers ensnared by the scandal represents about half of the total 190-member officer corps of the Montana base, and nearly 20 percent of the roughly 500 officers who run the missile force.
The mounting scandal, as well as other embarrassing incidents, have prompted commanders to put a hold on any promotions of senior officers in the nuclear mission, a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
“They’re reviewing all of those (proposed promotions),” the official said.
While acknowledging serious questions about the working climate and leadership of the nuclear force, James reiterated the Pentagon’s stance that the destructive weapons were in safe, competent hands.
“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” was released 50 years ago this week. The film is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece today (AFI ranked it No. 39 in its 10th anniversary Top 100 in 2007), but in February 1964, Times film editor Philip K. Scheuer didn’t find much to like. I’m partial to the deadpan of the subheadline: “Kubrick’s ‘Satire’ Tells All About End of World, Ha Ha.” But this is a great line too:”… a publicist at Columbia, which is distributing the picture, assured me it would be my ‘cup of tea.’ After suffering through two screenings of ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ I would sooner drink hemlock.”Scheuer issues no spoiler alerts while giving away the ending and laments that “[a]ll members of our armed forces are pictured as either utterly unscrupulous or just plain stupid.”
And then he makes a point that is rather jarring to a reader in today’s era of the antihero.
I have to admit to being completely exhausted this week. So, I will rely on you to share your reading and blogging list today!!
The weather crisis continues down South, and it really isn’t funny. It’s easy for us up here in the North to laugh at a couple of inches of snow, but when a large city doesn’t have the equipment and experience to deal with it, it can be a disaster, as we are seeing right now in Atlanta.
As I said in the comment thread yesterday, I think the only good solution is to shut down the city and keep cars off the streets for a few days. That’s what Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis did here after the Blizzard of ’78. He declared a state of emergency, got businesses to shut down for a week, and ordered everyone to stay off the roads except for emergency and government vehicles. Then Dukakis appeared on TV everyday updating the public on the crisis and explaining what he and officials were doing to deal with it.
I hope JJ will be around today to update us on the latest news from the embattled Georgia city. Meanwhile, here are a few links for you to peruse.
From the Houston Chronicle: Snow, ice send South’s flagship city reeling
A storm that dropped just inches of snow Tuesday wreaked havoc across much of the South, closing highways, grounding flights and contributing to at least a dozen deaths from traffic accidents and a mobile home fire. Yet it was Atlanta, home to major corporations and the world’s busiest airport, that was Exhibit A for how a Southern city could be sent reeling by winter weather that, in the North, might be no more than an inconvenience.
The Georgia State Patrol responded to more than 1,460 crashes between Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, including two fatal crashes, and reported more than 175 injuries.
At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, more than 400 flights in and out were canceled by 6 a.m. Thursday, according to data from the flight tracking service FlightAware. Many of those flights were canceled before the day began.
Thousands of schoolchildren either slept on the buses that tried and failed to get them home, or on cots in school gymnasiums. All were back home by Wednesday evening, officials said.
State transportation crews spent much of Wednesday rescuing stranded drivers and moving disabled and abandoned vehicles that littered the interstates, medians and shoulders. Gov. Nathan Deal said emergency workers, police, and the National Guard would help drivers Thursday to recover their cars and would provide them with fuel if necessary.
Crews planned to use four-wheel-drive vehicles to take motorists to vehicles they abandoned to reclaim them Thursday. State officials also said they were creating a database to help motorists locate vehicles that were towed to impound lots.
At least the schools are closed today, but it’s still not safe to drive; and I have no clue why the governor is allowing people to do so. Trust me, the idiots will be out there on the ice. Can you believe it dripped to -15 degrees in Georgia last night?! And it will all freeze up again tonight when the temperatures once again drop below freezing.
New York Daily News: South still crippled by big chill after storm brings Atlanta to a standstill
The deep freeze that brought the South to its knees hasn’t released the region from its chokehold just yet.
Overnight temperatures were well below the freezing mark overnight on Thursday — complicating cleanup of frozen streets along across the storm weary state of Georgia.
For many, sitting in snarled traffic was a painful experience. For Amy Anderson, it felt like she was going into labor — until she realized she was actually about to give birth….
“We couldn’t go forward any more and that’s when I knew,” Anderson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The contractions had gotten so strong, I knew that this baby was coming, because we just couldn’t get through.”
Baby Grace was delivered safely and brought to an area hospital, where she is relaxing with her mother and father.
Read much more about the snow/traffic situation and see photos at the link.
From ABC News: Who’s to Blame for the Atlanta Storm Chaos?
Officials in Georgia are on the defensive, trying to explain why Atlanta was so ill-prepared for a snow storm that gridlocked highway traffic, leaving thousands of students stranded in schools and on buses, bringing out National Guardsmen and state troopers to help with rescue efforts.
The icy weather wreaked similar havoc across much of the South, closing schools and highways, grounding flights and contributing to at least a dozen deaths from traffic accidents and a mobile home fire.
Yet it was Atlanta, home to major corporations and the world’s busiest airport (According to Atlanta-Business-Directory.com/biz/c/home-services/), that was Exhibit A for how a Southern city could be sent reeling by winter weather that, in the North, might be no more than an inconvenience.
Instead of showing leadership, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal just let it happen and then whined about the weather forecasters and the media.
“At that time, it was still, in most of the forecasts, anticipated that the city of Atlanta would only have a mild dusting or a very small accumulation if any,” Deal said at a Wednesday press conference. “Preparations were made for those predictions.”
Forecasters erupted following the comments. The National Weather Service argued that the appropriate outlooks, watches and warnings were released two days in advance….
“I would have acted sooner, and I think we learn from that and then we will act sooner the next time,” Deal told reporters.
“But we don’t want to be accused of crying wolf. Because if we had been wrong, y’all would have all been in here saying, ‘Do you know how many millions of dollars you cost the economies of the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia by shutting down businesses all over this city and this state?'”
Hey, that’s the way it goes. You prepare for the worst, and if the predictions are wrong, you still took precautions and thousands of kids don’t get stuck on the roads and in their schools. That’s what Massachusetts officials learned after the ’78 blizzard. That wasn’t predicted either, and we ended up getting more than 20 inches of snow that landed on top of a previous snowfall of more than a foot. It was a disaster, and nowadays we prepare for the worst and just give a sigh of relief the worst doesn’t happen. If you don’t want to show real leadership, don’t run for governor. The problem with Republicans is that they don’t really believe in government, so they sit on their hands when disaster strikes.
In other news . . .
Italy is trying Amanda Knox for the third time–apparently over there, the government gets to keep appealing even in a murder case if they don’t get the verdict they want. They don’t have laws against double jeopardy. From the LA Times: Jury starts deliberating in Amanda Knox appeal.
FLORENCE, Italy — Lawyers for American student Amanda Knox warned jurors not to overlook mistakes made by investigators as deliberations began here Thursday in Knox’s new appeal of her conviction for the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
“We are anxious about your verdict,” lawyer Luciano Ghirga told the judge and jurors moments before they filed out to consider the fate of Knox, 26, and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 29.
Prosecutors have called for sentences of 26 and 30 years for Sollecito and Knox, the exchange student from Seattle who shared a house in the Italian town of Perugia with Kercher, then 21, who was found partially naked in a pool of blood with her throat slashed….
Surely President Obama won’t allow Knox to be extradited to Italy. I sure hope not.
Knox has refused to attend the second appeal, which opened in Florence last year, writing to the court from Seattle that she fears being “wrongly convicted.” [….]
In an interview with Italian television Wednesday, Knox said she would be waiting at home with her family for the verdict with “my heart in my mouth.”
“The proof is in the facts. There is no proof I was there when it happened,” she said.
I really don’t understand why this is happening.
Things are really getting out of control in the Ukraine–and that’s an understatement. Some updates:
Parliament backed an amnesty for detainees if protesters vacated the government buildings they had occupied and unblocked streets and squares.
The opposition has rejected this and protesters remain camped out in central Kiev and still occupy key buildings.
The protests began in November after President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign an EU trade deal.
The next month he signed a $15bn (£9.2bn; 10.9bn euros) bailout deal with Russia….
The new amnesty law will not come into effect unless protesters leave the local administration buildings they have occupied across Ukraine within 15 days.
The pro-EU protesters have taken over a number of properties in Kiev and other cities which they are using as operation centres and dormitories, and to seek refuge from the freezing conditions outside.
Meanwhile, the president has called in sick. From the LA Times: As Ukraine’s troubles mount, president takes sick leave.
KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has taken a sick leave amid the nation’s political crisis.
“Ukraine’s president is on a sick leave in connection with an acute respiratory disease accompanied by high fever,” Alexander Orda, the presidential staff’s deputy health chief, said in a statement posted on Yanukovich’s official website Thursday morning.
The announcement came a day after Yanukovich compelled parliament to sign a conditional amnesty for more than 100 detained participants in protests that started over two months ago when Yanukovich refrained from signing an association and trade deal with the European Union.
The protests were predominantly peaceful until mid-January, when Yanukovich endorsed a number of controversial laws curbing rights to assembly and free speech. That move set off a fierce confrontation between thousands of protesters and riot police in central Kiev.
The conflict raged for most of last week and left at least four protesters dead, hundreds injured on both sides and dozens of protesters detained in Kiev and elsewhere in the country.
Read more at the link.
Yesterday the Snowdenistas were celebrating because the heard someone nominated their hero for a Nobel Peace Prize. Well guess who else was also nominated?
Yes, Vladimir Putin was nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize in October 2013. Maybe they can share the prize and go to the ceremony together. After all, they both live in Russia.
At The Daily Beast, Michael Moynihan explains that “thousands of officials” can nominate anyone they want for the Nobel Peace Prize. He fully expects to be pilloried for it by the Snowden/Greenwald cult.
If you have a paper thin skin (as I do) and are paid to comment on the news (this, for some mysterious reason, also applies to me), it’s advisable to fully disengage from writing about the Edward Snowden saga. After the initial leaks, I offered a cautious piece, urging against the instant beatification of the former NSA contractor. We knew little about him, I argued, so let’s wait for it to play out, and we’ll be better situated to determine if he was more Pentagon Papers thanPumpkin Papers. But it’s one of those stories allergic to nuance: you’re either a lackey of empire (the Snowden skeptic) or a fulminating anti-American trying to undermine Obama’s foreign policy (the Snowden supporter). In a debate without shades of grey, I’d rather leave the whole business to those with more anger, passion, and energy.
But allow me to wade into one tiny aspect of the Snowden affair without wading into the debate: across Twitter and cluttering my inbox; in stories from Time, Bloomberg, The Verge, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Reuters, and dozens of others; and in breathless dispatches from the universe of Facebook, I have been repeatedly informed within that last twenty-four hours that Edward Snowden has been “nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.” Take that previous Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama!
Well, almost. Because all of the media outlets listed above, and all my Snowdenite friends on Facebook and Twitter, have fallen for the perennial person whose politics I share was nominated for the most meaningless prize on the planetstory. But what, dear reader, does it actually mean to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize? The short answer: not much.
I hope you’ll read the rest at the link.
I have more links, but I’m running out of space and time, so I’ll put the in the comments. I hope you’ll do the same with any stories you want to share. Have a great day, Sky Dancers!!
Okay, so the storm is not called “Levon” but “Leon.”
It’s just that I had substituted the name Leon in that Elton John song as it “played” in my head, all day long yesterday…
Uh, Good morning!
Find the latest on the weather system the weather channel is calling Leon:
This storm is kicking the South’s ass…But this is no laughing matter: State troopers headed to schools where students, teachers are… | www.ajc.com
Shortly before midnight, about 50 students were still aboard Atlanta Public School buses, a spokeswoman for the district said. In DeKalb County, at least 20 vehicles were involved in a pileup on U.S. 78 eastbound, past Hugh Howell Road. All lanes were blocked around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
These kids are stuck in buses, some are stuck overnight in schools: State troopers to help with security at schools where stranded kids are spending the night | AccessNorthGa
Gov. Nathan Deal says state troopers are being sent to schools where students are stranded because they could not make it home on clogged roads caused by Tuesday’s snowstorm.
The governor spoke at a news conference at he State Capitol late Tuesday night.
Deal also said that state and local officials will try to rescue those stranded along highways that are at a standstill. Normal 30-minute commutes have turned into hourslong odysseys for thousands.
A winter storm that would probably be no big deal in the North all but paralyzed the Deep South, bringing snow, ice and teeth-chattering cold, with temperatures in the teens in some places.
The winter storm has mostly moved into the Carolinas, but metro Atlanta traffic remained gridlocked at 4 a.m. Wednesday as Tuesday’s afternoon rush hour from hell stretched into hour 16.
Traffic was still bumper-to-bumper and barely moving on several Atlanta interstates, including on I-75 north of downtown, on I-20 west of downtown and on the top-end Perimeter.
Imagine those people stuck on the road without medicine…and running out of gas.
There were warnings…I don’t understand why the schools did not close or plan for a delayed opening. My kids almost did not make it home from the bus themselves, the snow hit so fast and hard. We could not believe how close the school board cut it this time. It really amazes me how many people got caught up in this mess.
In Atlanta, the gridlock was so bad, a baby girl was delivered alongside Interstate 285, said Capt. Steve Rose, a spokesman for Sandy Springs police in suburban north Atlanta. He said an officer made it to the mother and her husband in time to help with the delivery, which he described as “flawless.” There were no complications and the family was taken to a hospital.
That is something, eh?
Yesterday was the SOTU: Full text: State of the Union | Al Jazeera America
President Obama’s 2014 address was his fifth in office. Read the entire transcript here, all 6,777 words
What does it mean if I did not watch the speech live, nor did I watch a taped version, I haven’t read any commentary or summaries, and the thought of reading all those 6,777 words makes me want to throw up everything I ate this evening. Even the possibility of nodding off during the speech was nothing to look forward to…
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sits among the other justices during President Obama’s address. Win McNamee, Getty Images
• Did Justice Ginsberg fall asleep? Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 80, was trending during Obama’s speech, with viewers speculating that she had fallen asleep, or at least was in full head-bob mode. We may never know for sure if it was a slump or a nap.
It would not be the first time she nodded off…But WTF is this all about?
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., left, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., share a sign as they take their seats for the president’s speech. Charles Dharapak, AP
You know, that is pretty close to the sign for vagina (when I took ASL in college…from what I remember) could it be code for an anti-woman PLUB agenda? Or is it some little “I heart pussy” thing? Perhaps they were making reference to this:
To whet your State of the Union pallate, I give you: “The State of the Uterus.”
The State of the Uterus is a fun new video – it literally just went live – about a serious issue, women’s rights in America.
Here’s a portion of their press release:
We all know the State of the Union is strong, but what about the State of the Uterus? On this most ceremonial of days in the nation’s capital, a uterus is taking up that question and will deliver a live address moments after President Obama’s Speech and the Republican Party responds.
“Madam Uterus” (UTOUS) for so she shall be addressed — will talk at length about the state of the uterus, and the vagina, in a country where state legislatures have variously deemed that women are pregnant before they are pregnant, have magical powers to deactivate rape sperm, and must be forced to carry stillborn babies to term.
“The state of our uterus is in the hands of so many,” Madam Uterus will say, according to the text of her prepared remarks. “As the old saying goes, behind every successful uterus is a man calling her a whore while cutting her pay.”
So here are a few links on the SOTU speech:
After the speech there was this: Rep. Grimm Threatens NY1 Reporter Following State of the Union – NY1
Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm physically threatened NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto at the conclusion of an interview in the Capitol Rotunda following Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
Grimm’s threats came at the end of a brief interview in which he discussed the president’s speech, calling the address “divisive.”
Scotto then tried to ask the congressman about the ongoing federal investigation into his 2010 campaign fundraising:
Grimm told the reporter:
Grimm: “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
Scotto: “Why? I just wanted to ask you…”
Grimm: “If you ever do that to me again…”
Scotto: “Why? Why? It’s a valid question.”
Grimm: “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
Hmmm…taking some pointers from Christie? Or did he watch that movie A Few Good Men? Or perhaps he was listening Divine on his iPod during the speech: You Think You’re A Man Lyrics – Divine
You will notice in the video…there are a lot of boys being tossed over balconies.
Digby had this nugget of news at her site: Hullabaloo
Iceland’s big problem: bringing 4% unemployment down to 2%
At one time there was a big debate about whether or not Iceland came out on top during our current depression, largely due to it’s hard core treatment of its banks. It was always pretty obvious that they made the smarter decision. It looks even more obvious today:
Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save.
Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal.
While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime MinisterSigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high.
“Politicians always have something to worry about,” the 38-year-old said in an interview last week. “We’d like to see unemployment going from where it’s now — around 4 percent — to under 2 percent, which may sound strange to most other western countries, but Icelanders aren’t accustomed to unemployment.”
It doesn’t sound strange to me, it sounds fucking awesome!
The island’s sudden economic meltdown in October 2008 made international headlines as a debt-fueled banking boom ended in a matter of weeks when funding markets froze. Policy makers overseeing the $14 billion economy refused to back the banks, which subsequently defaulted on $85 billion. The government’s decision to protect state finances left it with the means to continue social support programs that shielded Icelanders from penury during the worst financial crisis in six decades.
We, on the other hand are making nearly 7% official unemployment (along with many millions not even being counted) the new normal. And we’re slashing our meager safety net, even food assistance. But our megabanks are doing very well which is what matters.
Geez, I really want to move to Iceland…to hell with this country’s right-wing assholes who have taken over everything. I mean, how can we even be at the point where the dicks are actually debating this shit…
Submitted without comment other than to notice how several of the candidates refer to evolution in schools as being part of a “politically correct” conspiracy.
From left: Sen. Dan Patrick, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Texas GOP Lt. Gov. Candidates Agree: More Religion Needed in Science Class
Oh…can someone get me outta here? I can’t take it anymore!
This is all I can bring myself to write, y’all go ahead and give it up in the comments below.
Enjoy your day…
When it comes to rebutting President Obama’s national address Tuesday night, Republicans have four different approaches from four different corners of the party’s ideological wings.
This four-vs.-one approach, to some, is the result of the expanding media universe that allows many different views to be heard, reaching so many different voters. Yet others see the various responses as a sign of a divided Republican Party that cannot unite around the single idea or a single voice to respond to Obama’s State of the Union address.
After President Obama delivers hisState of the Union address tonight, all eyes will turn to Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, who will deliver the GOP’s rebuttal.
While giving the rebuttal address is a major opportunity to shine in prime time, the Republican response to the State of the Union during Obama’s presidency has seemed more like a curse.
Those who have come before McMorris Rodgers have made embarrassing fumbles, have left politics all together, lost a national race or now face federal charges.
She reminds me of the reanimated dead people from American Horror Story. #GOPresponse
This is all I’m hearing: “Who’s got the cutest feetsies? I’m going to eat those toes! Yes I am!” That’s what every GOP rebuttal sounds like.
Rep McMorris voted against raising the minimum wage and extending employment insurance.
It’s Miss Whatever from Romper Room…..#republicansoturesponse
Well, Cathy McMorris Rodgers said God more times in 4 minutes than Obama did in 75 minutes, so the GOP wins! GAME OVER!
McMorris Rodgers: GOP has “plans to close [income] gap, plans that focus on jobs first w/out more spending, government bailouts”
“GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD”- the Republican “response.”
McMorris-Rodgers’ dogwhistle abortion reference: parallel to how some would like us to return to keeping women’s health care a dirty secret.
Okay, and for the off brand responses:
Excerpts of his speech show Lee will pin the widening wealth gap on the president’s policies and tout the ideas of a new generation of leaders including himself and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
“Americans know in their hearts that something is wrong. Much of what is wrong relates to the sense that the ‘American Dream’ is falling out of reach for far too many of us,” Lee plans to say. “We are facing an inequality crisis — one to which the president has paid lip-service, but seems uninterested in truly confronting or correcting.”
Obama plans to use the State of the Union to announce executive actions to raise the minimum wage for new federal contracts, help the long-term unemployed find work and expand job-training programs.
Lee, an attorney who is halfway through his first term, was chosen by Tea Party Express because he is a recognized leader who is popular among the GOP base because of the message he delivers about improving the economy and reducing the size, cost and intrusiveness of the federal government, said Sal Russo, co-founder of the organization. Tea Party Express is a national group representing the movement.
“People who have been willing to stand up and say, ‘Stop,’ like Mike Lee, have drawn a great deal of support,” Russo said.
OK, Mike Lee gets the line of the night: “Obamacare is an inequality Godzilla” http://static.teapartyexpress.org/
“What I’ve been proposing is that we not shy away from the president on the debate about lowering taxes,” Paul said, speaking in his office. “I think the way to get to more jobs is to bring less money to Washington, leave more money with the businesses that create the jobs.”
Paul recently joined Snapchat and is a frequent presence on Facebook and Twitter. He noted that his response to the State of the Union will be easily disseminated through his online channels.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) announced Monday she will deliver her own State of the Union response in Spanish that will be televised by CNN, Telemundo Univision and other channels.
and I’m still trying to figure this out. I admit to being flummoxed.
Does anyone know what frequency my fillings need to be set at to hear Rand Paul and Mike Lee?
We will be live blogging the SOTU tonight at 9 pm EST. Look for Live Updates and more as we get closer to the time!!!
President Obama plans to sign an executive order requiring that janitors, construction workers and others working for federal contractors be paid at least $10.10 an hour in the future, using his own power to enact a more limited version of a policy that he has yet to push through Congress.
The order, which Mr. Obama will highlight in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, is meant to underscore an increased willingness by the president to bypass Congress if lawmakers continue to resist his agenda, aides said. After a year in which most of his legislative priorities went nowhere, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to make progress despite a lack of cooperation on Capitol Hill.
The minimum wage plan provides an example of what he has in mind. Mr. Obama called on Congress during last year’s State of the Union address to raise the minimum wage for workers across the board, only to watch the proposal languish on Capitol Hill, where opponents argued it would hurt businesses and stifle job creation. With prospects for congressional action still slim, Mr. Obama is using the executive order covering federal contractors to go as far as he can on his own.
In recent weeks, some Democratic lawmakers and strategists have urged the White House to focus less on academic-sounding discussions of income inequality and to simplify Obama’s message to reflect the everyday concerns of Americans. White House officials say they have long planned to emphasize such issues.
The approach is notable because raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for domestic initiatives was a centerpiece of Obama’s first-term economic agenda — a move aimed squarely at shrinking income inequality. In speeches over the past year, the president has bounced between wonky discussions about inequality and practical speeches on helping the middle class.
“My view is that the party that taps into the decline in middle-class incomes and the lack of good jobs and figures out a satisfying answer will dominate the 2014 election,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
But, he added, “the American people are more concerned about how they are doing as opposed to how someone else is doing. So simply saying ‘We’re going to raise taxes on the wealthy’ is not going to be the kind of answer that satisfies the middle class.”
“Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson was a ubiquitous presence Tuesday night in Republican lawmakers’ pre-State of the Union photos.
Robertson, the son of controversial “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, was invited to the address by Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA). Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) tweeted that he gave his spare ticket to Robertson’s wife, Korie.
At least four lawmakers snapped a photo with Robertson
Duck Duck ASSSSSShat!!!!
Members of Congress are given one seat to fill with an invited guest – and nearly everyone uses the coveted invitation to help make a political point.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has invited Catholic school children and a business owner from his Ohio district. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has asked an immigration reform activist to attend. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) found a St. Cloud, Minn., physician who reached out with concerns about the new Affordable Care Act. (Departing from the political theme, aides said that Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) is giving his extra seat to his wife, Mikey.)
Several members greeted their invited guests Tuesday, and some even attended news conferences with their “plus one” in tow. But what they probably failed to mention is that several guests are enjoying a trip to Washington paid for with campaign cash.
I decided to post the “morning reads” a little late today, so everyone could read and comment on Dakinikat’s post on Pete Seeger. He was 94 years old, but his death is still a terrible loss. I was a huge folk music fan in the 1960s–I still am, actually. Seeger was a true radical who talked the talk, and walked the walk. His death closely followed the passing of his wife Toshi in August 2013 at age 91.
I liked this obit of Seeger by John Nichols at The Nation: Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender.
When some of the greatest musicians in the world gathered five years ago to celebrate the 90th birthday of the musician who inspired them all, Bruce Springsteen told Pete Seeger: “You outlasted the bastards, man.”
And so he did.
Seeger, who died Monday night at age 94, was singing with Woody Guthrie when “This Land Is Your Land” was a new song. And because he meant and lived every word of the oft-neglected final verse – “Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway; Nobody living can ever make me turn back, This land was made for you and me” – Seeger was hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee, blacklisted and sent for a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s to the sidelines of what was becoming an entertainment industry.
But Seeger kept singing Guthrie’s “This Land…,” kept writing songs of his own like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” kept playing a banjo inscribed with the message “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender,” and kept traveling across the country and around the world – for every cause from labor rights to civil rights to environmentalism to peace.
Before he was convicted in 1961 on contempt of Congress charges – for refusing to name the names of the Young Communists and Young Socialists he had organized with and sung for in those heady 1930s and 1940s days of anti-fascist organizing — Seeger acknowledged that “The House committee wished to pillory me because it didn’t like some few of the many thousands of places I have sung for.” But he explained, “I have been singing folksongs of America and other lands to people everywhere. I am proud that I never refused to sing to any group of people because I might disagree with some of the ideas of some of the people listening to me. I have sung for rich and poor, for Americans of every possible political and religious opinion and persuasion, of every race, color, and creed.”
And I really enjoyed this “non-interview” with Seeger from 2010 by Jay Blotcher: My (non-)interview with Pete Seeger on gay and lesbian rights. Please give it a read.
Moving on to other news . . .
Yesterday, I had an interesting day on Twitter that ended up with my getting a shout-out from one of my favorite bloggers, Bob Cesca of The Daily Banter. A few days ago, I had sent Cesca some tweets from a blogger who collects info on the internet, publishes it, and stores it for ordinary people to access. They perform a valuable service, and not all the things they post are top secret leaks. Anyway, I noticed that they were posting harsh criticism of Glenn Greenwald and the other “journalists” who have been slowly dribbling out the Snowden leaks for the past 7 months. The blogger deletes his tweets on a daily basis, but I did post them in the comments on Wednesday and in my Thursday post.
Yesterday the sh$t hit the fan when this tech blogger posted some unredacted files that named an NSA employee, a targeted terrorist group, and some top secret NSA capabilities. From Bob Cesca’s post:
A pair of new Snowden revelations were published on Monday. First, an article was published by NBC News in association with Glenn Greenwald about an NSA operation codenamed “Squeaky Dolphin.” A second revelation was posted by The Guardian in partnership with The New York Times and ProPublica, which covered an NSA document that revealed how the NSA and the British GCHQ are able to collect information on various targets via “leaky” smartphone apps like Angry Birds.
As soon as the article was posted, someone from or associated with a popular cryptography website claims to have downloaded a pdf of the Snowden document fromThe New York Times and discovered that three of the redactions that were intended to obscure sensitive national security information were easily accessible by highlighting, copying and pasting the text. The poorly-redacted file was subsequently posted to the cryptography website, then promoted via Twitter. (We’re not going to post the name of the website that posted the file to protect the information contained within.)
Meanwhile, at some Monday afternoon, The New York Times appears to have discovered the problem and posted a new version of the file with fool-proof redactions.
The cryptography website posted the following tweets:
NSA and GCHQ docs today with inept redactons were posted by NY Times on DocumentCloud, grabbed by A. Later replaced with ept redactions.
Not clear who ineptly redacted the NSA and GCHQ files, NYT, Guardian or ProPublica, failed to verify, or told them at ~1:30PM today.
Read the rest at The Daily Banter, and if you want to know more you can take a look at my Twitter timeline.
I have some more reads for you, but I’m not going to excerpt them; I have to rush around and get ready to go out this afternoon.
A long abortion-related read from The New Yorker: A BOTCHED OPERATION: Steven Brigham’s abortion clinics keep being sanctioned for offering substandard care. Why is he still in business?, by Eyal Press
Dak posted about this yesterday, but it’s worth posting twice: New Law Could Force All of Louisiana’s Abortion Clinics to Close (from The Nation)
From BBC News, NSA-GCHQ Snowden leaks: A glossary of the key terms
From Pando Daily, Google and encryption: why true user privacy is Google’s biggest enemy, by the great Yasha Levine
For laughs, Do You Believe Edward Snowden Is A Traitor Or Hero? Check out the map!
From Newsweek, Snowden’s Red Dawn
Statement of Ukranian priests: Human Dignity and Freedom Must Be Preserved
From The Daily Beast, Charlie Shrem, CEO of Bitcoin Exchange BitInstant, Arrested
From Counterpunch, Did the Elites Have Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Killed?