Besides being the official celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, yesterday was National Hugging Day. I’m using that as an excuse to post pictures of creatures hugging each other in today’s post. From Psychology Today: National Hugging Day: Five Scientific Facts About Hugging, by Sebastian Ocklenburg. Excerpts:
No one knows exactly when the first hug occurred between two human beings, but we do know that hugs have been in the human behavioral repertoire for at least several thousand years. In 2007, a team of archeologist discovered the so-called “Lovers of Valdaro” in a Neolithic Tomb near Mantua in Italy (Stewart, 2007). The lovers are a pair of human skeletons that have been buried holding each other in a tight embrace (see Figure 1). They have been determined to be approximately 6000 years old, so we know for sure that people already hugged each other in Neolithic times….
When we hug, we wrap our arms around another person. Typically, we lead the hug with one arm. A German study in which I was a co-author analyzed whether people preferentially hug with their left or their right arm (Packheiser et al., 2018). In this study, we observed hugging couples at the arrivals or departure lounges at international airports and also analyzed videos of people who blindfold themselves and let strangers hug them on the street. We found that overall, most people hugged to the right….
A study from the University of North Carolina investigated how hugging before a stressful event reduced the negative effects of stress on the body (Grewen et al., 2003). Two groups of couples were tested: In one group, partners were given 10 minutes time to hold hands and watch a romantic movie, followed by a 20 second hug. In the other group, the partners just rested quietly and did not touch each other. Afterwards one partner had to participate in a very stressful public speaking task and their blood pressure and heart rate were measured while they spoke. The results? Individuals who had received a hug from their partner prior to being stressed showed significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate than those who did not touch their partners before the public speaking task. Thus, hugging leads to lower reactivity to stressful events and may benefit cardiovascular health.
A study from the University of North Carolina investigated how hugging before a stressful event reduced the negative effects of stress on the body (Grewen et al., 2003). Two groups of couples were tested: In one group, partners were given 10 minutes time to hold hands and watch a romantic movie, followed by a 20 second hug. In the other group, the partners just rested quietly and did not touch each other. Afterwards one partner had to participate in a very stressful public speaking task and their blood pressure and heart rate were measured while they spoke. The results? Individuals who had received a hug from their partner prior to being stressed showed significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate than those who did not touch their partners before the public speaking task. Thus, hugging leads to lower reactivity to stressful events and may benefit cardiovascular health.”
Here’s another piece by Ocklenburg on the ways that hugging increases well being. It turns out that hugging can reduce your chances of getting a cold, lower your blood pressure, and improve your mood.
So as we go into day 4 of the MAGA teens story and day 32 of the government shutdown, remember that hugs can help.
The New York Times: Government Shutdown: Updates on Where Things Stand.
It has been a month since the first day of the government shutdown.
Furloughed federal employees have started part-time jobs with delivery and ride-hailing apps and applied for other opportunities, such as yoga-instructor positions, to try to make ends meet without a government paycheck.
Some of the most vulnerable Americans — including the homeless, the elderly and people one crisis away from the streets — are feeling the burden. Without payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nonprofit groups that support low-income renters are also struggling. Many other social safety net programs are facing similar crises.
As a bone-chilling flash freeze swept through the Midwest and Northeast over the holiday weekend, hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain furloughed, and some continued to work without pay, including forecasters at the National Weather Service. Veterans of the emergency management field are worried about longer-term trouble, too.
Government workers are suffering.
When it began, the shutdown left about 800,000 federal workers without pay, with just over half continuing to work, including members of the Coast Guard and food safety inspectors. The number of people working has grown as the Trump administration reinterprets longstanding rules, often to the benefit of the president’s base.
Some of the employees who still have to report to work during the shutdown spoke with The New York Times about their experiences….
Many federal workers have filed for unemployment benefits. In Washington, local programs have sprouted up to support the city’s large, struggling federal work force. Nationally, an informal network of businesses has also mobilized to ease the pain.
The article notes that we are approaching the point when the federal courts will run out of money, and the economy is beginning to feel effects. Frankly, with Trump calling even more people back to work without pay, this is starting to feel criminal–it’s forced labor.
The shutdown is impeding law enforcement. No wonder Trump likes it.
Just one story on the MAGA teen Nick Sandmann from The Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville PR firm played a key role in Covington Catholic controversy. The firm is Run/Switch, and one of its partners is Scott Jennings, who is a paid commentator on CNN and also writes a column for the Courier Journal! From the article:
RunSwitch partners Steve Bryant and Gary Gerdemann said that Sandmann family asked people they knew over the weekend about getting help with handling the media.
“They reached out to our firm, and we responded,” said Bryant, adding that the business specializes in crisis management “all over the country.”
Scott Jennings, a conservative political commentator and a columnist for the Courier Journal, is the third partner in RunSwitch.
I’ve seen Jennings on CNN and interestingly, he routinely wears a smirk just like the one we all saw on Nick Sandmann’s face. Jennings smirks as other people are talking, no matter what is being said, and then he smirks as he defends whatever Trumpian thing is being discussed during his appearance. I find him utterly repulsive and infuriating.
So why was Jake Tapper the first shitty media man to tweet out the poor little Nick’s PR statement?
So Jennings worked for Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell too. How not surprising. I remember when CNN was a serious news channel, but now it’s just a Fox News wannabe that hires people like Oliver Darcy and Kaitlin Collins away from right wing sites (The Blaze and The Daily Caller respectively).
But I’ll move on to other news. This depressing story broke this morning. The Washington Post: Supreme Court allows Trump restrictions on transgender troops in military to go into effect as legal battle continues.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed President Trump’s broad restrictions on transgender people serving in the military to go into effect while the legal battle continues in lower courts.
The justices lifted nationwide injunctions that had kept the administration’s policy from being implemented.
It reversed an Obama-administration rule that would have opened the military to transgender men and women, and instead barred those who identify with a gender different from the one assigned at birth and who are seeking to transition.
The court’s five conservatives–Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh–allowed the restrictions to go into effect while tIhe court decides to whether to consider the merits of the case.
The liberal justices–Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan–would have kept the injunctions in place.
I feel nauseated.
From The New York Times last night: Deripaska and Allies Could Benefit From Sanctions Deal, Document Shows.
When the Trump administration announced last month that it was lifting sanctions against a trio of companies controlled by an influential Russian oligarch, it cast the move as tough on Russia and on the oligarch, arguing that he had to make painful concessions to get the sanctions lifted.
But a binding confidential document signed by both sides suggests that the agreement the administration negotiated with the companies controlled by the oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska, may have been less punitive than advertised.
The deal contains provisions that free him from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while leaving him and his allies with majority ownership of his most important company, the document shows.
With the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election continuing to shadow President Trump, the administration’s decision to lift sanctions on Mr. Deripaska’s companies has become a political flash point. House Democrats won widespread Republican support last week for their efforts to block the sanctions relief deal. Democratic hopes of blocking the administration’s decision have been stifled by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Nine days after Donald Trump won the presidency, as scores of supporters clamored for meetings with his transition team, the Hollywood producer of “The Apprentice,” Mark Burnett, reached out to one of Trump’s closest advisers to see if he would sit down with a banker who has long held ties to Russia.
The banker, Robert Foresman, never got the role he was seeking with the fledgling Trump administration. But he has recently attracted the attention of congressional investigators as one more name on an expanding list of Americans with established ties inside the Kremlin who appears to have been seeking access to the newly elected president’s inner circle, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Foresman, who is now vice chairman of the Swiss bank UBS’s investment arm, lived for years in Moscow, where he led a $3 billion Russian investment fund and was touted by his new company as someone who maintains connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Reached by phone, Foresman declined to comment. Attorneys he has hired, including one in Washington who was hired to deal with the congressional probe, also declined to discuss the matter.
One more and then I’ll wrap this up. Catherine Rampell at The Washington Post: The GOP has become the Soviet party.
Once upon a time, Ayn Rand-reading, red-baiting Republicans denounced Soviet Russia as an evil superpower intent on destroying the American way of life.
My, how things have changed.
The Grand Old Party has quietly become the pro-Russia party — and not only because the party’s standard-bearer seems peculiarly enamored of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under Republican leadership, the United States is starting to look an awful lot like the failed Soviet system the party once stood unified against.
Supposedly middle-class workers — people who have government jobs that are supposed to be stable and secure — are waiting in bread lines. Thanks to government dysfunction and mismanagement, those employed in the private sector may also be going hungry, since 2,500 vendors nationwide are unable to participate in the food stamp program while the government is shuttered and unable to renew licenses for the Electronic Benefit Transfer debit card program.
Why? Because of the whims of a would-be autocrat who cares more about erecting an expensive monument to his own campaign rhetoric than about the pain and suffering of the little people he claims to champion.
And for now, at least, most of those little people are too frightened of the government’s wrath to fight back overtly. Instead, desperate to keep jobs that might someday offer them a paycheck again, the proletariat protest in more passive ways: by calling in sick in higher numbers.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
Now, what stories have you been following? Please share in the comment thread below.
This past week I was watching TCM, and realized just how whacked out this world has become. Well, not this world, more specifically our world…here in the US.
Here is what I mean…while watching Anna and the King of Siam, the one with Irene Dunn and Rex Harrison, one particular scene got me thinking.
Remember when the King summons Anna one late night, because he has a question to ask her about the Bible and Moses claim of how long it took God to make the world ?
King: Mem, I think your Moses shall have been a fool.
King: Moses, Moses, Moses. I think he shall have been a fool. Here it stands, written by him: ‘The world was created in six days. ‘
King: Then what is your opinion of this thing as stated by Moses?
Anna: Your Majesty…the Bible was not written by men of science. It was written by men of faith. It was their explanation of the miracle of creation… which is just as great a miracle… whether it took six days or many centuries. I think science does not contradict the Bible. It has only made us more aware of how great the miracle was.
King: Well, I still think your Moses shall have been a fool. You may go.
I think the King would thing our current day GOP representatives are fools. What do you think?
I have to say, the GOP is not only “stupid” it is “crazy!”
Anyway, here are your links for today, the GOP has started blaming the Sequester on Obama…
From the Maddow Blog: The 2011 ransom note and the GOP’s sequester
A Republican National Committee spokesperson, echoing his party’s favorite new talking point, insists this is all President Obama’s fault.
Tim Miller obviously isn’t the only one making this argument. On the contrary, every speech, interview, and press release I’ve seen from GOP officials in recent weeks includes an obligatory reference to Obama having come up with the sequester.
This next link makes me thing that perhaps the GOP are not completely “stupid” by showing they are a little frightened of Ashley Judd making a run on Mitch McConnell. From Vanity Fair: Karl Rove, Apparently Not a Fan of Kiss the Girls, Launches Aggressive Anti–Ashley Judd Campaign
As evidenced by his embarrassing Election Night temper tantrum last fall, Karl Rove is not one to concede easily. Not when it comes to presidential elections; caloric restrictions, we guess; and completely speculative political runs by Hollywood figures. Proving the latter point, the Republican strategist’s American Crossroads Super PAC unveiled a digital ad against Ashley Judd on Wednesday. It has previously been reported that Judd is considering a senatorial run against Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the considerably less photogenic Senate minority leader who was voted the nation’s least popular senator late last year.
Emptywheel takes a look at a new law per Homeland Security: Every Laptop and Cell Phone in Detroit (and Dearborn) Can Be Searched at Will
I’m not really sure how Detroit is supposed to pursue an arts-based resurgence if the Department of Homeland Security maintains that it can seize any electronics along the nation’s borders — which extend 100 miles and therefore include the bulk of the population of Michigan.
This next link was very interesting, a quick look at the Dawes Act in relation to Labor Laws: This Day in Labor History: February 8, 1887 – Lawyers, Guns & Money
On February 8, 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Severalty Act into law. The Dawes Act created a process to split up Indian reservations in order to create individual parcels of land and then sell the remainder off to white settlers. One of the worst laws in American history, the Dawes Act is not only a stark reminder of Euro-American colonialism and the dispossession of indigenous peoples, but also of the role dominant ideas of work on the land have in promoting racist and imperialist ends.
We might not think of the Dawes Act as labor history. But I want to make the beginning of a case that it is absolutely central to American labor history, a point I will expand upon in the future. Labor history is not just unionism. It is histories and traditions of work. The Dawes Act was absolutely about destroying traditions of Native American labor and replacing it with European notions of rural work. That it did so while opening more land to white people was a central benefit.
Read the rest at the link.
Looks like that python hunt in the Everglades isn’t doing so hot: Florida Python Challenge Unsuccessful – Everglades Burmese Python Hunt Not Going Well
The idea for the competition — which ends on Sunday, the first day of the unloved Year of the Snake — was partially brain-fathered by Gov. Rick “I’ve ridden elephants — I’ve never tried to shoot one” Scott. The hope was to at least partially rid the land of the invasive Burmese pythons that have set up their own stronghold. The guy or team that grabs the most wins $1,500. The one who snags the longest, gets $1,000. Over 1,500 people from across the nation have waded into the park so far, and some, like the two dehydrated men, who are from Tennessee, have slept in their cars during the hunt. It costs them $25 to participate.
But even before the rescue, the competition hasn’t been going too well. As of Tuesday, only 50 had been captured. Not that it would’ve really mattered. As U.S. Geological Survey python expert Robert Reed told us a few weeks ago, “You won’t find any fewer than 10,000. But between 10,000 and 100,000? That’s anyone’s guess.”
Okay, from nasty snakes to cute puppies, Pooches on parade: man’s best dressed friend at carnivals across the world
Here’s a selection of dogs that are making a statement in dog parade sections of carnivals around the world.
Click here to view the gallery
Last night on Discovery, they had their show on The Giant Squid. This next article is also about squid, the flying kind…Revealed: the secret that makes flying squid faster than Usain Bolt
Scientists in Japan have calculated that squid can fly through the air faster than Usain Bolt can run, in a study that confirms the extraordinary aerial prowess of the edible mollusc.
A study based on photographs of flying squid in the Pacific Ocean estimates that they can reach a speed of up to 11.2 metres per second, which is significantly faster than the 10.31 metres per second that Bolt averaged in the 100 metre final at the London Olympics.
Over the past few years, a number of anecdotal accounts have emerged of squid streaking through the air above the sea for several metres and now a team of Japanese marine biologists have photographed them doing it en masse.
Be sure to take a look at that link, there are some images and diagrams that are so interesting…not only from the nature perspective, but also on aerodynamic and hydrodynamic levels as well.
We started this post talking about stupidity and now we end it with a few links about stupidity. The first one is real, Thieves jailed after losing £2m loot
Two inept thieves who stole Chinese artefacts worth £2m from a museum but then could not find where they had stashed them were handed lengthy jail sentences.
These guys couldn’t remember where they stashed the loot. Guess in real life there are crooks that are too dumb and stupid to become successful crooks.
Earlier this week TCM also had another great film, Big Deal on Madonna Street, which if anyone has a chance to see it…needs to see it. It is hilarious. An Italian film from back in the late 50’s, in fact this link below is from the New York Times original review of the film, published in November 23, 1960. Movie Review – Big Deal on Madonna Street – The Screen: Italian Parody of ‘Rififi’:’Big Deal on Madonna Street’ in Premiere Toto Among Bungling Burglars at the Paris –
A LONGTIME popular subject for vaudeville and music-hall farce, the butter-fingered burglar who thoroughly goofs while trying to rob a safe, is given a full-scale treatment and knocked out by a top name cast in the new Italian comedy, “The Big Deal on Madonna Street.” Directed by Mario Monicelli, one of the bright new directors on the Italian scene, this eventually explosive kit of cut-ups opened at the Fine Arts yesterday.
Obviously the film was calculated as an out-and-out parody of the French melodrama, “Rififi,” which was a bit in Italy. For the “big deal” referred to in that title (which was not the Italian title, by the way) is the contemplated burglary of a smalltime jeweler’s safe, and the fellows who conspire to do it try to lay out their plans in the same “scientific” fashion as did the robbers in that serious French film.
But, of course, they are not successful. In the first place, they have a terrible time getting all of their elements together and headed the same way. There’s that nice fellow (Marcello Mastroianni) who has a wife temporarily in jail and so has to mind the baby, which takes a lot of would-be burglar’s time. Then there’s the former prizefighter (Vittorio Gassman) who finds himself much more interested in the maid in the apartment through which the burglars will have to travel than he is in the burglary itself.
There’s the youngster (Renato Salvatori) who falls hopelessly and helplessly in love with the guarded sister of another of the conspirators (Tiberio Murgia), a Sicilian of hot and vengeful moods. There’s the little shrimp (Carlo Pisacane) who is forever concentrating on food. And finally there is the “expert,” a role that the wonderful Toto plays.
This “expert” acknowledged as a genius in the business of blowing safes, knows all the techniques, all the laws, all the loopholes and all the slang words for the chisels and drills. He gives an exquisite lecture (which nobody quite understands). But he gracefully takes a powder when it comes time to the job.
And when that time comes, everybody—everybody who is left—becomes all thumbs. They sneeze, drop their tools with a horrible clatter, they drill holes into water pipes that jet cold streams and they set up a monstrous apparatus with which they laboriously punch through a wall—into an easily accessible adjoining room. At that point, in the cold, gray morning, they all give up and go home.
It was sooooo damn good, see a few clips at the TCM link below, you will not be disappointed.
Well, I know this was a major link dump, but please enjoy these morning’s reads and try to stay warm. What are you reading and thinking about today?
So, I’ve tried really hard not to gloat over all the karma trickling down on Karl Rove but I’m having no luck whatsoever suppressing it. Sometimes you really do have to celebrate when all those chickens come home to roost. That gushing sound you hear is all the hot air leaving Karl Rove’s tires.
The face of the historic $1 billion plan to unseat President Barack Obama and turn the Senate Republican, Rove now finds himself the leading scapegoat for its failure. And he’s scrambling to protect his status as a top GOP money man by convincing disappointed donors to his Crossroads groups that he did the best he could with their $300 million.
Sources tell POLITICO that some donors have called Crossroads officials to ask how their polling could have been so far off, while others are openly grumbling that the groups should have spent more on the ground game. Rival operatives — long frustrated by Rove’s dominance of big GOP money — are seizing on the discontent, questioning whether he’s hurting the cause and privately urging donors to shut him out.
During a secret Thursday afternoon conference call with his benefactors, Rove laid out the analytics behind his assertions to donors that a massive late-game advertising push would expand the electoral map into Pennsylvania and deliver the White House and the Senate.
The call was civil, focusing on questions like, “‘where was my strategy, was it right, was it wrong? What did we find out that we didn’t know before?’ That kind of thing — nothing negative, no recriminations or blame,” said Minnesota media mogul Stan Hubbard.
Donors “weren’t saying anything like, ‘Hey, you dumb son of a b——,’” added Hubbard, who has donated to both the Rove-conceived American Crossroads super PAC and its secret-money nonprofit affiliate Crossroads GPS. “It was all very businesslike. It was as if you were in a business conference and you were a retailer and ‘why didn’t this product sell better?’”
The Flim Flam man that brought us 8 years of the disastrous Bush administration couldn’t put the spin to what was a seriously flawed candidate running on a reheat of the Bush Doctrines and Policies with no specifics and promises based on really bad math. All of that was wrapped up in misogyny, homophobia and racism. Very bad things are happening to Karl Rove whose national meltdown on Fox has become a youtube lesson in scrambling for nonexistent higher ground. Nothing worse than delivering the worst results in the election to those who made the biggest investments.
Researchers at the watchdog group the Sunlight Foundation found that Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC came in second to last, ahead of only the NRA, in terms of how much “bang for their buck” they got in this election. The American Prospect explains:
[T]he biggest money-waster of all, you will be eternally gratified to hear, was Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC, which forked out a whopping $104 million and had a “desired result” rate of 1.29 percent. That’s right, folks: The great genius of American Republicanism wasted more of his donors’ money than anyone else. (His non-profit group, Crossroads GPS, did marginally better—a 14-percent “desired result” rate.) Looked at one way, though, American Crossroads had a kind of perfect score: The super PAC supported zero candidates who won on Tuesday.
Yes, that’s right. Karl’s super PAC had a success rate of ZERO. Excuse me while I dance naked in the streets as they tar and feather the snake oil salesman. This is revenge I can believe in. Here’s CBS Boston calling him the “most overrated person in politics”.
The two best words to describe Karl Rove are OVER and RATED.
Rove has managed to spin himself a personal fortune in national politics despite his work in the field. His reputation, however, does not match his accomplishments.
First, there was the George W. Bush primary campaign in 2000. Under Rove’s expert hand Bush lost New Hampshire to John McCain’s maverick, insurgent campaign. Despite all the insider advantages Bush had by January of 2000, Rove’s strategy was a loser.
It was only by running a vicious negative and personal campaign that even went after McCain’s youngest daughter that Turd Blossom, as Bush like to call Rove, was rescued from himself. The negative campaign made up for Rove’s miscalculations and was able to pull Bush from looming defeat.
Lest we forget ….
And Rove’s tenure as White House political director was defined by scandals in the White House involving Rove. Those include the exposure of the identity of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, as political retribution; scandals at the Justice Department over dismissal of U.S. Attorneys; and a secret political email program set up in the White House.
Let’s dance some more on the man’s grave. CNN’s Howard Kurtz writes that Karl Rove “rejects reality”. Isn’t that what Fox News pays all of its employees to do?
As televised theater, it was hard to beat. As political prognostication, it was a head-scratching moment. As partisan warfare, it was nothing short of audacious.
But Karl Rove’s insistence that Barack Obama had not carried Ohio — despite the call by his own network, Fox News, that the president had done just that — represented something larger. It captured, for some long and awkward moments, the refusal of some in the media-and-politics game to accept reality.
And that has been a recurring pattern this year.
We’re not talking here about a bad judgment call by a pundit. Everyone in the commentary business, including yours truly, has made those. If failed predictions were a felony, the jails would be filled with media folks.
Many Republicans had been sold on Rove as a brilliant strategist who not only led George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns but could also lead the GOP to better days this year and in the future.
“He over-promised and under-delivered,” says a former senior adviser to President Ronald Reagan. “He seems to have just become a spin artist.”
There’s a lot of things George Bush sold us that were so wrong it’s not even funny. Karl Rove ranks right up there with the invasion of Iraq. Thankfully, his damage this time up seems limited to Republicans who deserve it.
Just one more. I just love wallowing in a good gloat. This is from the AJC: It’s time for Karl Rove to float away in a balloon.
Of course, the real Wizard of Oz moment came Election Night on Fox, when Rove performed his epic meltdown over the numbers coming out of Ohio. If that did not permanently damage his reputation more than the losses themselves, it certainly cemented it.
You see, a good political strategist has to be willing to listen dispassionately to what the data tell him. He does not yell angrily at that data, like a distraught husband refusing to believe that his wife just left him. In that moment, Rove exposed himself as the petty figure that he is.
As Dorothy Gale, D-Kansas, famously put it, “Why, you’re not a wizard at all, you’re just a man! And you’re a very bad man for pretending to be a wizard.”
And after that, as I recall, the defrocked wizard floated away in a balloon, unable to steer a new direction because “I don’t know how it works!”
We’ll know the real verdict by his employment status at Fox News. That’s where all the washed up wingers go to hypnotize the feeble-minded. Frankly, it’s about time Fox finds some more believable Flim Flammers anyway. Bye bye Turd Blossom! Bye Bye!!
It’s a new season, by that I mean basketball. So tonight I am off to watch my daughter cheer for her b-ball team here in Banjoville.
Tonight’s reads have a mixture of stories for you, and I hope that you find them interesting.
I’ve got a couple of stories on dinosaurs, one real and one metaphorical…I start the post with one…and finish with one, you know how I have to have some sort of method to my madness.
On that dinosaur they call the GOP, this op/ed from Alex Jakubowski at the Daily Caller caught my eye, of all the shit spewing from the mouths of the right, this was the one voice that had any sort of genuine reason and thought. Give it a read in full, and then take a peek at the comments…of course it will never reach through those right-wing nut’s thick skulls, but it is nice to think so…anyway, here it is: My father’s party
We lost. We lost in 2008. We lost in 2012. We can say we won in 2010, but why bother? What gains did we achieve? How did we really help everyday Americans by replacing the Democratic-controlled House with a Republican one? The answer: We didn’t. We didn’t pass a single piece of important legislation and we did nothing to improve the quality of life for the American people.[…]
I have been a Republican for as long as I can remember. As far back as fourth grade I remember listening to my father talk about capitalism, individualism, and the pursuit of the dream that makes America different from every other place on Earth. Though I didn’t quite understand why at the time, my father instilled these ideas in me in order to teach me why I should always be proud of my country, the only country willing to take my family in after the terrible atrocities we faced in the Holocaust. My father has always been a Republican, and in many ways I inherited my beliefs from him.
But the party my father raised me in was never a party of absolutes: our party was one of progress, one of thought, and most of all one that believed that compromise was a trait to be honored, not despised. My father’s party, and the one I have claimed to be a part of for years, was never ashamed to work with others to do what was right, and what would move the American people forward.
Every day I have conversations with liberal friends who have vastly different beliefs than I do about the ideal way to solve the problems our great country faces. We talk about welfare and government dependence; we talk about taxes and shared sacrifice; we talk about immigration and national security; yet never once has any of my countless conversations with friends resulted in anything but an honest, open conversation about ways we can put aside our ideological differences to find a middle ground — one on which we can move forward for the benefit of all.
But in the end we always realize that our grand conversations, our amazing ideas of compromise and political altruism are all for naught. With both parties as they are now, none of our grand ideas have any chance of becoming a political reality. In a world where simply working with the other side is seen as a political liability, how can we hope to move forward as a generation?
As a life-long Republican, and after enduring two straight embarrassing losses, I can no longer sit by and wait for things to change. The party in which I was raised did not dictate to others how they must set policies on immigration, marriage, and abortion; the party in which I was raised thought sensibly about how to work with the other side and compromise, achieving at least in part the goals of all for the sake of the nation. As a dear friend and fellow moderate Republican recently said in an argument I have become far too familiar with, “Disagreement is not a threat to your own views.” In fact, disagreement is what can propel us forward, what can drive us to discover what policies can truly change our society for the better.
If our party is to truly change, as it is now clear it must, our focus needs to change as well. No longer can we count on a conservative, Evangelical base to provide the necessary votes to sweep a candidate into office. The party must abandon its hardline positions on abortion, immigration, gay marriage, and many other issues — many of which alienate those who are supposed to make up the future of our movement. Perhaps none said it better than moderate Republican Representative Cory Gardner of Colorado: “After tonight, the GOP had better figure out that a big tent sounds good but if there aren’t any seats in it, what good is it?” We must learn to embrace the fact that no matter our disagreements, those on the other side of any issue are not our opponents — they are our friends. No matter the difference, no matter the issue, we can and have to work together.
The United States has always moved forward on the premise that we can do better; I know now that we can, and I hope that together, we will.
Hey, that kind of talk will get you run out on a rail in the Fox News world, but I do think the possibilities of a “better tomorrow, tomorrow” are a reasonable hope some of us can have. Even if it is only a pipe dream.
More on the dinosaur party and it’s fanatics:
California to reform a law on Tuesday, one I think is very good. California Voters Scrap Draconian “Three Strikes” Law
After nearly 20 years and over $20 billion spent, California voters have voted overwhelmingly to reform our state’s draconian “three strikes” law. The statewide ballot measure, Proposition 36 , delivered a two-to-one mandate (68.6%-31.4%) to close a controversial loophole in the law so that life sentences can only be imposed when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent.”
Three strikes laws, often known as habitual offender laws, grew out of the “tough on crime” era of the 1980s and 90s. Between 1993 and 1995, 24 states passed some kind of three strikes law, but California’s 1994 three strikes ballot measure was especially harsh.
While the 1994 law required the first and second strike to be either violent or serious, any infraction could trigger a third strike and the life sentence that went with it. Therefore, petty offenses – such as stealing a piece of pizza – have led to life imprisonment for thousands of people.
Read more at the link, the best thing is that people who have been given life for petty crimes are able to request a lesser sentence, that is very fair in my opinion and in the end will help with prison overcrowding. So this should be good for many all around.
Many New York hospitals are still without power: New York’s Ongoing Blackout: Hospitals in Lower Manhattan
And there is new documents released in connection with HARP: Read the Documents Treasury Has Been Keeping Secret
This next post from the Grio made me smile…Sasha Obama’s Election Night advice to president caught on tape: ‘Behind you!’
President Barack Obama walks on stage with daughter Sasha to deliver his victory speech on election night at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
It was a quick but instantly memorable moment on Election Night.
When President Barack Obama and the first family greeted an enormous crowd of supporters after being re-elected, his 11-year-old daughter Sasha got his famous enlarged ear and said “Behind you!”
The president quickly turned and acknowledged a big group of supporters he had previously ignored and waved to them, eliciting big cheers.
On a historical note, check out this abstract from Medieval.net: Of Kings and Popes and Law
Abstract: During the latter half of the 11th century through to the end of the 13th century, Europe was experiencing what is considered by some historians as “the” medieval renaissance, otherwise referred to as the European Renaissance of the Twelfth Century. The time appears to have been ripe for an explosion of cultural and intellectual advancement and change. Two fields that experienced significant development during that period were law and governance, both secular and ecclesiastical.
In England, the period which most legal historians consider to be the key formative years of the common law was the reign of King Henry II. Indeed, Sir William Holdsworth credits Henry II for “substituting one common law for that confused mass of local customs of which the law of England had formerly consisted”. But as R.H. Helmholz said, “legal history, like any other, is a history of winners, and the history of the losing side is often overlooked. That we only hint of the history of the canon law by reference to the common law is a fact of life and not to be lamented”. However, he admonishes us not to ignore the intrinsic importance of the jurisdiction once exercised by the courts of the Church in the development of the law of England.
I take up Helmholz’ challenge in this thesis and examine the relationship that developed between the English royal authorities and the Latin (Western) Christian Church from the beginning of the reign of Edward the Confessor to the end of the reign of King John. Through a review of cases reported by the Selden Society from the royal courts of Henry II, Richard I and John, I then focus my research on the 62 year period between the beginning of the reign of Henry II and the death of John, and consider the influence of the Church and State relationship on the structure and processes of the developing English royal law and its scope.
Henry Plantagenet has always fascinated me…maybe it was my interest in his wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine that caused me to admire Henry, but there it is.
And finally, that other dinosaur: New Dinosaur Xenoceratops Discovered In Canada
Everybody, meet Xenoceratops foremostensis, a brand new species of ceratopsid, or horned dinosaur, discovered in the plentiful fossil beds of Canada. Weighing in at 2 tons and about 20 feet long, Xenoceratops — meaning “alien-horned face” — lived about 80 million years ago, making it one of the oldest big-bodied horned dinosaurs known to paleontologists.
Though it has only recently been identified as a separate species, xenoceratops was identified from fossils discovered in 1958, only to be misidentified for several decades before taking its rightful place as a separate species.
Well, that is all I have time for, catch ya later in the comments!
This is an open thread.
Good Morning Sky Dancers!!
Just three more days before the election, and I’m starting to get excited. I’m so looking forward to seeing Mitt Romney go down in flames along with Richard Mourdock, Scott Brown, and–I hope–Todd Akin. I plan to be riveted to the news until all the races are settled. It will really help that MSNBC is going to run real programming this weekend instead of prison videos. I know this is serious business, but I’m having more fun than if the Red Sox were in the World Series.
So let’s see what’s happening out there this morning.
@rupertmurdoch Thanks Bloomberg right decision.@Now Christie, while thanking O, must re- declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years.
Mitt Romney had an “all star rally” in Westchester, Ohio last night, and Politico was wowed!
On a frigid fall night — you could see your breath in the air, and organizers handed out fleece blankets and hand warmers to the press — 100 GOP all-star surrogates gathered in this key state, some throwing red meat to the sprawling crowd and stressing that Ohioans hold the fate of the election in their hands.
It was an awesome visual. Those appearing with Romney and Ryan included former GOP rivals Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. They lined up in rows to Romney’s right in matching red or blue fleeces.
Organizers of tonight’s mega-event said the goal was to create the feeling of a week-long party convention in one night — complete with the the GOP’s rising stars and stalwarts, as well as a performance by Kid Rock.
The crowd loved it. Many waved small Ohio flags. Romney supporters wearing red, white and blue T-shirts positioned themselves behind Romney to create a human image of Ohio’s flag.
Quite a few of those “all stars” were holdovers from the Bush administration like Condi Rice and has beens like Rudy Giuliani, who expressed his frustration at the state of the race by bashing Obama in Ohio yesterday.
Not long after taking a few seconds of silence for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, Rudy Giuliani began ripping into President Barack Obama on Friday while speaking at major campaign event for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ohio.
The former New York City mayor delivered a series of blistering zingers against the president, rallying the massive crowd with line after line of reasons why Obama should “resign” and faulting him for “incompetence” over the Libya consulate attacks.
Giuliani attacked Obama on the unemployment numbers, while ignoring the 171,000 jobs added in October.
“He should resign! He told us he would resign if he did this poorly,” Giuliani said, referring to a 2009 interview in which Obama vowed to turn the economy around in three years, otherwise there would be a “one-term proposition.”
Giuliani continued to fire off: “He lied. He has been a disaster. The worst president for our economy in our lifetime. He doesn’t want a second term. He wants a second chance, because he screwed it up the first time.”
Mitt Romney himself began the wrapup of his campaign by once again twisting Obama’s words.
The Republican presidential nominee criticized President Barack Obama, who during his own visit to the Buckeye State said voting was the “best revenge.” The Democratic incumbent altered a traditional refrain from his stump speech when he receives boos from the audience.
“No, no, no – don’t boo, vote,” Obama said Friday in Springfield, Ohio. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”
That evening, in West Chester, Romney responded, “Our big dreams will not be satisfied by his small agenda that already failed us. Today, did you see what President Obama said today? He asked his supporters to vote for revenge – for revenge. Instead I ask the American people to vote for love of country.”
Doesn’t he ever tire of fake outrage? This is the guy who shipped thousands of jobs to China and hides his money in multiple foreign tax shelters.
In New Jersey, state officials are struggling to make sure residents hard hit by Hurricane Sandy will still be able to vote on Tuesday.
Polling places too far from people’s homes or shelters. Emergency ballots running out. Voting machines breaking down and no one to service them. Poll staffers unable to work on Election Day. Mail-in ballots stuck in a crippled postal system. Results delayed for days.
Those were the logistical nightmares county clerks, political leaders and election lawyers sorted through Friday as they scrambled to piece together a plan for Tuesday. Details, however, changed by the hour and remained sketchy by day’s end.
“Right now, it’s a lot of if’s, maybe’s, we hope, keep your fingers crossed,” said Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert, whose office and all others in the state will be open this weekend.
In New York, the absentee ballot deadline has been changed and it’s possible voting could be extended to two days.
New York State extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be received and counted to 13 days after Election Day, from seven days, to allow for postal delays caused by the storm. But they must be postmarked no later than Monday, said John Conklin, a spokesman for the state’s Board of Elections, which has been trying to help local boards get power restored or, failing that, get generators, fuel and extension cords.
A little-noticed New York State law allows counties to seek permission for a second day of voting if they determine that voter turnout was less than 25 percent “as the direct consequence” of a disaster, but several election lawyers said that they did not believe it had ever been invoked and that it was unlikely to be used next week.
There could also be hurricane-related problems for voters in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and even Ohio. Most of these problems won’t affect the outcome of the presidential election, since NY, NJ, and CT are all blue states and Obama has been leading in PA all year, but there is concern about downticket races and early voting in Ohio.
But even when elections officials get the polling sites up and running, many voters may stay away as they grapple with lingering damage to their homes, power failures and gas shortages. With turnout projected to be down in all these states, Mr. Obama could see his share of the national popular vote reduced.
The storm may have already affected the early vote, which could be important, given that analysts estimate that more than a third of the votes this year will be cast before Election Day. Early voting was temporarily halted in some states. In Ohio, the crucial Democratic stronghold of Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, had more people vote early every day this year than in 2008 — until Monday, the day of the storm, when the daily tally began to lag from its levels of four years ago.
Republicans are still trying to convince themselves that Romney can win on Tuesday, although the latest polls show Obama leading in just about every swing state. Even the Wall Street Journal admits that Obama is ahead in both Ohio and Florida now.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist Poll surveys of likely voters released Friday show Mr. Obama maintaining a foothold little changed from four weeks ago, when the Journal surveyed voters in both states just after Mr. Romney’s strong debate performance in Denver.
The surveys found the two battling neck-and-neck in Florida, with Mr. Obama drawing 49% support among likely voters to Mr. Romney’s 47%.
Mr. Obama held a firmer lead in Ohio—51% to 45%, unchanged from mid-October—where the relatively more buoyant economy and the federal bailout of the auto industry appear to have solidified his support among a wide swath of voters.
In both states, Mr. Obama got high marks from all sides for his management of recovery efforts after the storm Sandy hit the East Coast. That tracks an array of polls taken in the past week suggesting that Mr. Romney’s rise may have flattened out just before Sandy landed, an event that sucked national attention away from the campaign trail. In the Florida and Ohio polls, even a majority of Republican voters approved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the storm’s aftermath.
But conservatives like Michael Barone are still trying to create their own reality. He predicts Romney will carry North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania!
We’ll see on Tuesday. But Jonathan Chait notes the signs that Republican “poll deniers” are beginning to face reality.
You may have noticed that the election is getting extremely close, and President Obama’s electoral college lead appears pretty solid. One lagging indicator of the state of the race is the rate at which conservative pundits begin edging slowly out of the Mitt Romney bunker and admitting that maybe the polls aren’t skewed. Dick Morris, last seen predicting a Romney landslide, still insists Romney is likely to win, but now sees “sudden danger signs.” Jennifer Rubin opens a paean to the beautiful poetry of Romney’s closing message by observing, “If Mitt Romney wins Wisconsin, it may be because of the speech. If he loses the election it might be argued it was because he didn’t give that speech at the convention.”
Sorry for my obsessive focus on the election today. I’ll end with a think piece (still election related) by Rick Perlstein, highly recommended by Paul Krugman. It’s called The Long Con: Mail Order Conservatism. It’s too long and involved to excerpt, but here’s what Krugman says about the piece:
The estimable Rick Perlstein has a fascinating essay about the seamless continuum from direct-mail marketing scams to direct-mail right-wing fundraising, and from there to the whole character of modern movement conservatism. Go read. I didn’t know, for example, that heroes of direct-mail fundraising like Richard Viguerie ended up delivering hardly any of the money to political causes; somehow it ended up swallowed by overhead, otherwise known as the fundraisers themselves….
Remember how Rove and others were supposed to raise vast sums from billionaires and corporations, then totally saturate the country with GOP messaging, drowning out Obama’s message? Well, they certainly raised a lot of money, and ran a lot of ads. But in terms of actual number of ads the battle has been, if anything, an Obama advantage. And while we don’t know what will happen on Tuesday, state-level polls suggest both that Obama is a strong favorite and, much more surprising, that Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to hold the Senate in a year when the number of seats at risk was supposed to spell doom….
Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.
So was it all just about making money for Rove? What did Romney expect to get out of all this?
Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today?
I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you! How could St Karl even know of such things!
During then-Gov. George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign for president, Rove was accused of orchestrating a whisper campaign to suggest that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “had fathered an illegitimate black child.” In 2003, conservative columnist Robert Novak told federal prosecutors that Rove had also participated in outing CIA agent Valerie Plame in an effort to discredit her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, after he accused the Bush administration of invading Iraq under false pretenses.
Romney gives the impression he has something to hide by not releasing his taxes and not explaining the contradictions between the SEC filings, the FEC filings, and interviews he gave back when he was trying to prove he had the legal right to run for Massachusetts governor.
Romney can clean this entire thing up by actually answering questions about his Bain tenure and showing his tax returns like every one else–including his father–has done when running for president. I’m tried of pearl clutching wingers who are trying to pretend his lack of honesty and openness isn’t shady as hell and that any of us that want real explanations are playing dirty politics. Who believes this other than their idiot base who buy one lie after another anyway and ascribe to magical thinking?
Show us your taxes Mitt Shady!!!
Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money. — George Carlin
Well, it was just a matter of time before the trolls got the marching orders. You know, it’s folks who love those memes, canards, and dog whistles more than thinking. They try to way lay a conversation by spewing objectionable stuff. Every one from ALEC to Karl Rove seems to be in on it these days. Any one who lived through the 2008 election on-line should be well prepared for the invasion. Some of the blogosphere’s more spurious troll dens are so obvious about the planning it’s right there in their conversation threads. Others are getting their orders from political pundits, Super PACs and nefarious corporate interest groups like ALEC so some one has to get hold of their secret memos before the attacks begin.
To push back, ALEC has turned to the conservative blogosphere for help. As PR Watch reported, Caitlyn Korb, ALEC’s director of external relations, told attendees at a Heritage Foundation “Bloggers Briefing” on Tuesday that the campaign against ALEC was “part of a wider effort to shut all of us down.” She asked the bloggers for “any and all institutional support” in ALEC’s fight against progressive groups, especially when it came to social media. “We’re getting absolutely killed in social media venues—Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest,” she said. “Any and all new media support you guys can provide would be so helpful, not just to us but to average people who don’t know much about this fight but are seeing us really get heavily attacked with very little opposition.”
Korb educated the bloggers with a handout listing ALEC’s positions on a range of issues. PR Watch, one of ALEC’s loudest critics, described the handout as “riddled with errors.” Here’s a list of ALEC statements followed by PR Watch’s responses in italics:
“The potential solutions discussed at ALEC focus on free markets, limited government, and constitutional division of powers between the federal and state governments.” It is hard to discern what voter suppression bills, tax breaks for big tobacco, bans on unionization, protections for companies whose products injure or kill, and “Stand Your Ground/Kill at Will” laws have to do with free markets.
“The organization respects diversity of thought; it is a non-partisan resource for its members, which include more than 2,000 Republican and Democratic state legislators.” Diversity of thought apparently refers to Republicans talking to Republicans. Although touted as “nonpartisan,” when CMD launched ALEC Exposed, out of 104 legislators in leadership positions in ALEC, only one was a Democrat. It’s hard to believe that ALEC phone briefs on redistricting are totally nonpartisan.
“Unlike in many private sector groups that offer model legislation, elected state legislators fully control ALEC’s model legislation process.” As ALEC’s public Task Force Operating Procedures” (PDF, p. 8) and other documents reveal, corporate members vote alongside legislators in ALEC task forces.
“Each state legislator and their constituents then decide which solutions are best for them and their states.” For the most part, constituents have no way of knowing that corporations wrote or approved ALEC legislation behind closed doors.
Here’s a link I got from Susie Madrak who finds that Karl Rove is out training a Troll Army. It comes from a link to diary from Young Turks that’s not referenced but sounds like Rovish tactics.
They will be unable to spread numerous points on numerous blogs if you have them occupied. Allowing a Liberal to post a web link is too quick and efficient for them. Tie them up. We are going for delay of game here. Demoralize Dismiss their narrative as rubbish immediately.
Do not even read it. Once the Liberal goes through the trouble to research, gather, collate, compose and write their narrative your job is to discredit it. Make it obvious you tossed their labor-intensive narrative aside like garbage. This will have the effect of demoralizing the Liberal poster.
It will make them unwilling to expend the effort again, and for us, that is a net win.
Attack Attack the source. Any Liberal website or information source must be marginalized, trivialized and discounted. Let the blogosphere know that Truthout.org, thinkprogress.org, the nation and moveon.org are Liberal rubbish propaganda. Discredit Liberal sources of information whenever possible. Confuse Challenge the Liberal position with questions, always questions. The questions need not be relevant. The goal is to knock the Liberal poster off their game, and seize control of the narrative.
Once you have control you can direct the narrative to where you want it to go, which is always away from letting the Liberal make their point. Conversely, do not respond to their leading questions. Don’t rise to their bait. Contain Your job is to prevent the presentation and spread of Liberal viewpoints.
There’s document floating around from a some journalism and communications professors in Missouri on how to discern and fight the Karl Rove tactics. This handbook is for pols and campaigns facing heat from the Rove SuperPac. This is a document that dissected Rove based on the Bush campaigns. Specific actics are identified from that campaign as well as poor and more ideal responses to attacks like ‘swiftboating’. There are quite a few examples given on how certain words have been completely co-opted and redefined. This is one of my personal pet peeves.
The Republican political machine uses language to frame issues in a fashion that benefits them. One technique involves the use of Newspeak, a term that originated in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty Four. Newspeak refers to words that mean the opposite of its original meaning. This Orwell envisioned a totalitarian world in which newspeak was employed to control people’s thoughts and behaviors:
The example used in the paper is Bush’s “Clear Skies” label for a basically anti-environment agenda. Other examples include continually linking the word “compassionate” with conservative, and demonizing the label liberal. This is an interesting paper and really provides some interesting examples of how Rove used consistent tactics aimed at demonizing opponents and keeping them on the defensive.
Writers needed to post right-wing comments to social media and news outlets.
We are a social media company working for a political organization, hired to help balance the left-wing bias of the major media outlets by supplying a team of writers who will post to newspaper comments, media forums, Facebook pages, etc.
Your writing must be strong, right-wing and use the supplied talking points without being bogged down in too much detail. You are creating an online persona with a consistent tone. Ideally you can find or construct facts and statistics to stir controversey. Where suited humour is welcome.
You are a news junky who is able to log on to news forums and Facebook pages several times a day. You are able to write comments tailored to new topics while repating key talking points.
Compensation: TBD, hourly rate and volume of online activity. Bonuses for controversial postings that heat up a topic or forums thread.
Any one who has read a number of political outlets does see a variety of different “sock puppets” around leaving the same comments. It’s undoubtedly going to happen as this election season wears on. Breithbart’s organization (Big Journalism) appears to have an army of them. One evidently went after Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) at a Comicon. At least our 2008 trolls stayed in their mother’s basements.
Her comment and those of her cohorts have only one purpose: To taunt and annoy people. Those of you who have ever visited extremist right-wing blogs are familiar with these phrases: Annoy a liberal! Make their heads EXPLODE!
So far, Sky Dancing has not seen the knee-jerk Obama supporters that most of us endured in 2007-2008 as supporters for Hillary in the primary. It could be because a lot of us around here are decidedly anti-Romney. We’re still not keen on the President, but maybe it’s enough that our attacks are on his policies and positions and not from out right derangement–like other blogs we could name but prefer not to–so we’re not that high on the priority list. I’m assuming the Axelrove and Plouffe will be getting their game on shortly. So we will see. It could also be that our demographics are such and the gender gap is such that they’re not worried about us right now.
So, what do you suppose we can expect this year? Which group of trolls will be gnashing their teeth at sky dancing and trying to change the subject? We do have a policy of putting all first time comments directly into moderation, so hopefully that will mean the worst of it never makes it to the comment section. We tend to let comments through as long as there’s no name calling or outright bigoted or hateful comments. Still, after our experience in 2008, your friendly troop of frontpagers are a little on the anxious side.