Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! I’ve got a bit of a potpourri of news reads for you this morning. First, a followup to my post from Sunday night on the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

The police officer who so enjoyed pepper spraying young women at the protest has been identified.

Saturday’s peaceful Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City were marred by what appears to be excessive use of force by several police officers, as video shows, and one officer who calmly walked up to police-fenced protesters and pepper-sprayed them, point blank, has been identified as Deputy inspector Anthony V. Bologna, of NYPD Patrol Borough Manhattan South, according to Common Dreams.

In response to the video (embedded in this article), the Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul Browne, said the officer used pepper spray “appropriately,” according to the New York Times. “Pepper spray was used once,” he said, adding “after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier, something
that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video.”

I don’t buy that argument, and I doubt if many reasonable people will. Why was the mesh barrier even necessary in the first place? The Common Dreams link above has information on where to send complaints about Bologna’s behavior.

According to the UK Guardian, Bologna was accused of civil rights violations previously:

The Guardian has learned that the officer, named by activists as deputy inspector Anthony Bologna, stands accused of false arrest and civil rights violations in a claim brought by a protester involved in the 2004 demonstrations at the Republican national convention.

Then, 1,800 people were arrested during protests against the Iraq war and the policies of president George W Bush.

Alan Levine, a civil rights lawyer representing Post A Posr, a protester at the 2004 event, told the Guardian that he filed an action against Bologna and another officer, Tulio Camejo, in 2007. The case, filed at the New York Southern District Court, is expected to be heard next year.

Levine said that when he heard about the pepper spray incident “a bunch of us were wondering if any of the same guys were involved”.

You can read the details at the Guardian link.

You probably heard that the Senate has passed a “stopgap” bill that is designed to prevent a government shutdown by Republican America haters. From the Wall Street Journal:

The Senate, on a 79-12 vote, approved a bill late Monday to fund the government through Nov. 18. The vote came after the main sticking point in negotiations between the two parties was resolved.

Lawmakers had been in a standoff over Republicans’ demands for new budget cuts as a condition for sending additional money to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid victims of natural disasters through the end of the fiscal year on Friday.

But that dispute vanished Monday when FEMA announced that it may not run out of money before then—giving it more breathing room than expected. FEMA’s new statement about its finances cleared the way for Congress to put in place a funding mechanism for at least the start of the fiscal year that begins Saturday….

Under the compromise struck Monday night, the Senate approved two bills. One would keep the government running through Nov. 18, which the House is expected to pass when it returns from a recess next week. But to keep the government afloat until the House returns, a second measure was approved for funding through Oct. 4. That is expected to clear the House by voice vote before week’s end.

Apparently Boehner has given the bill his blessing. So I guess we can relax now and look forward to another squabble over keeping the government going in November.

Yesterday, Gallup reported that Americans are really disgusted with the U.S. government–and in “historic” numbers.

A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years.

Majorities of Democrats (65%) and Republicans (92%) are dissatisfied with the nation’s governance. This perhaps reflects the shared political power arrangement in the nation’s capital, with Democrats controlling the White House and U.S. Senate, and Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. Partisans on both sides can thus find fault with government without necessarily blaming their own party.

There’s a lot more at the link. Obama must be delusional if he thinks he’s going to be reelected just on the basis of some “inspiring” speeches. He’d better get busy, stay off the golf course and basketball court, and actually do something about jobs pretty soon or he’s a goner.

I learned from Dakinikat yesterday that Paul Street, who has authored two books about Obama, agrees with me that it’s time for this President to do an LBJ.

What does Obama have to look forward to in the future if he insists on trying for a second term? The stalled profits system seems ready to double dip back into full technical recession (the human recession never stopped beneath the mild statistical recovery), fitting him with the same fatal yoke of economic powerlessness that deep-sixed Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and the first George (H.W) Bush’s hopes for second term. Unemployment remains sky high, contributing to a recent low in American history: the largest number U.S. citizens (46 million) ever recorded below the federal government’s notoriously inadequate poverty level. Obama’s job approval is at an all time low (43 percent), 7 points under his disapproval rating (50 percent). A preponderant majority of Americans say that the country is “on the wrong track.”

Four months after his empty, politically calculated execution and sea-dumping of Osama bin-Laden., Obama is widely perceived as weak and ineffective, as too eager to compromise with – and as incapable of standing up to – his (supposed) right-wing enemies. His party has recently lost two special House elections and one of those defeats came in a district Democrats had previously held for 88 years in a row. He has staked his future prospects on a highly flawed jobs bill – legislation that may well not pass the House and that is scaring off many conservative Democratic legislators. Most Americans think the bill won’t work.

The president is starting to look like the potential victim of a landslide in November of 2012. The Democratic base is widely disillusioned with him. Even many among his fake-progressive pseudo-liberal dead-end defenders sometimes squawk about his conservative corporatism and unwillingness to govern in accord with his idealistic campaign promises. Liberal and progressive Democratic elected officials in the House and Senate have been grumbling about his center-right proclivities for some time now. It is one thing to rightwardly triangulate on the backs of welfare mothers and declining unions in the mode of Bill Clinton; it is another thing to do so at the expense of the broadly popular programs Social Security and Medicare, all while passing on hyper-regressive Republican tax cuts for the obscenely rich and powerful.

And so on. If you haven’t read the whole thing yet, please do. Especially this part:

If he cared about his party, Obama would step down and give the nomination to Hillary Clinton, determined by a recent Bloomberg poll to be “the most popular national political figure in America today.” Ms. Clinton has distinct advantages over Obama in running against Perry or Mitt Romney in 2012. She is not a member of Congress, which has even lower popular approval than Obama. She is associated with economic prosperity thanks to the long neoliberal Clinton boom of the 1990s. And she carries a reputation for toughness, quite different from Obama’s emerging legacy as a 98-pound weakling who gets kicked around on the policy beach by bullies like John Boehner, Sean Hannity, and Eric Cantor. (For those of us on the radical left, a Hillary Clinton presidency might have the benefit of inducing at least some less confusion and tepidness among progressives than “the first black president.”)

Of course Obama doesn’t care about his party, but maybe he’ll care about his own reputation after a few more humiliating defeats by the Republicans. One can only hope.

In other news, Arch West, the inventor of Doritos, has died.

When Arch West, the man credited with inventing Doritos, is buried on Oct. 1, he will be joined by a sprinkling of the bright orange chips that have become a cheesy, tangy, American institution.

His daughter, Jana Hacker of Allen, Texas, told the Dallas Morning News that the family plans on “tossing Doritos chips in before they put the dirt over the urn.”

West, who was 97 when he died of natural causes last week, was a former Frito-Lay executive. He reportedly came up with the idea of Doritos when he was on vacation with his family in Mexico and came upon a snack shack selling fried tortilla chips.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Frito-Lay officials were not too impressed with the idea, but they rolled out the chips after consumer testing proved positive. Doritos were first introduced in Southern California in 1964, according to a Frito-Lay spokesperson; Doritos Toasted Corn launched nationally in 1967.

Finally, I was very excited to learn that the Dead Sea Scrolls can now be viewed on line.

High-quality digitized images of five of the 950 manuscripts were posted for free online for the first time this week by Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the scrolls are housed. The post includes an English translation and a search feature to one of the texts, the Great Isaiah Scroll.

The scroll, one of seven animal skin parchments discovered in 1947 a cave in Wadi Qumran in the West Bqnk, is the largest and best preserved in the collection.

“Some of these images are appearing for the first time in Google — what no one has seen for 2,000 years and no scholar since the Dead Sea Scrolls were found,” says James Charlesworth, director and editor of the Princeton Dead Sea Scrolls Project, who is one of the few who has handled the ancient pieces of parchment. “Now images and letters that were never found are appearing in Google.”

Charlesworth said the new images allow him to decipher in 30 minutes fragments of documents that once took 14 hours to analyze. The digital project will preserve documents that were eaten by worms and so fragile they’re turning to dust or rotting away.

Here’s some more information on the project from the Google blog.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?