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Worthy of support

Worthy of support

by digby

I'm so sick politicians I could just scream. But Howie reminded me today that there are some good ones --- and good people are always making the truly patriotic sacrifice to run.

Blue America doesn't usually ask for contributions because of some phony Inside the Beltway "deadline"-- as if a $20 contribution is any more or any less crucial today or tomorrow or the next day. And yesterday we got a wretched plea from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, begging for money for the dreadful and unpopular incumbents whose voting records make it impossible for them to raise contributions from grassroots Democrats. "I need your help. We only have 6 hours left until our August FEC deadline, and we’re still $8,000 short of our goal. Eric Cantor outlined the Republican vision in a recent memo-- they will gut environmental regulations, repeal health care reform and attack workers. If Republicans outraise us and grab momentum, the Senate will be that much harder to defend. Must-win seats may be out of our reach. And this GOP vision could become reality."

He doesn't mention that some of these Democrats he's raising money for vote against the Democrats and with McConnell and DeMint. I mean who in their right mind is going to donate to conservative shills like Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin or Claire McCaskill? During his miserable Senate career Nelson has voted with the Republicans 56% of the time on the crucial votes and Both Machin and McCaskill are barely over 60%. They've alienated Democratic voters... and the lobbyists and Big Business interests they have normally counted on would rather replace them with Republicans. Good riddance!

On the other hand, Blue America is asking for help in sending a loud and clear a message to the DSCC and Beltway Democrats today (or tomorrow-- we don't care) by helping us support Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), two people who have fought long and hard for ordinary American families, not for the banksters and not for the corporate elites.

Unless this is the first time you've been on DWT you already know Bernie. You probably know Elizabeth Warren too. This is what she told the Boston Globe yesterday: “It’s about being willing to take a good idea and fight for it. It’s being willing to throw your body in front of a bus to block bad ideas... There are some things worth fighting for and right now it’s about fighting for the middle class."

She's running for Ted Kennedy's old seat, which is currently occupied by Wall Street's favorite senator, Scott Brown-- and that's what business-friendly Forbes called him... admiringly. One day Elizabeth may be the tellers' favorite senator, but she'll never be the banksters' or hedge fund managers'!
"I came out of a hard-working middle class family. I lived in an America that created opportunities for kids like me... I now see an America in which our government works for those who already have money and already have power... I would walk out of a senator’s office and the office would be completely jammed with lobbyists who were there to explain why the consumer agency was bad. There was not enough room for them to sit down.’’

Blue America has only endorsed 2 people for the Senate so far this cycle. It's hard to imagine any other incumbents and so far the only other challenger who looks worthwhile is Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, although she hasn't declared yet. So we're asking you to take a look at our Senate page and see if you can give us a hand with Bernie and Elizabeth... even if it is after the DSCC's midnight "deadline."


Wanted: Rich, white male 4 short term affair

Wanted: Rich, white male 4 short term affair

by digby

Centrist Matt Miller, is once again trolling for wealthy men in the pages of the Washington Post. But never let it be said that he's so shallow that the only thing he cares about in a man is his money:

Let me be clear: I’m not saying that Mike Bloomberg or Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz or others rumored to be weighing such steps are “the answer.” We’d need to know much more about their ideas for the country before making such judgments; and I expect more frustrated leaders will consider entering the fray in the months ahead.

You think? I don't. If he's a billionaire, businessman "leader" (oooh baby) that's good enough for me. They're good at just everything. I don't even want to clutter my beautiful mind with the details. Just fix it Mr Big!

Miller wants a man who will mess up that giant, king sized bed bed we call America:

If you’re rich, serious about changing the world and think our two-party tyranny has become part of the problem, there’s no better time to invest in disruptive political innovation. The country you save may be your own.

I think that's a typo. It should say, "the country you own may be the one you save," but that's just quibbling. The most important thing here is to realize that these vaunted centrists are just desperate to hook up with a billionaire businessman hero, and they'll pretty much go down on their knees and ... beg, if that's what it's going to take.

Sadly, they don't understand that no matter how much they complain about the old ball and chain, these businessmen are actually quite happy with their current mates -- the Republicans and the Democrats. They are getting everything they need at home.

Same old, same old

Same old, same old

by digby

Vanity Fair's "New Establishment" Top 50 looks a lot like the old Establishment, only younger. A bunch of white guys with a couple of African Americans and six women thrown in for variety, the highest listed being Lady Gaga. But hey, women only make up slightly more than half the population so what would anyone expect?

The good news is that there's no need for feminism anymore so we'll all STFU now.


BFF Seating

BFF seating

by digby

I'm not going to waste a bunch of time on this stupid speech scheduling business because, well, it's depressing. From what I've gathered it really was a White House error (for which someone should probably be fired, except that it was also probably signed off on by VIPs.)Whatever. I don't even want to think about it. Just watching Hannity and co. crow about making Obama cry Uncle etc is enough.

However, I do hope they at least don't do one of those "Democrats and Republicans sit together and hold hands" business again, as is rumored. I know that the White House thinks it's really great to not show partisanship by having the two parties stand up and cheer together (or sit on their hands) but they couldn't be more wrong, especially in this case. If he's going to come out with some job creating policies he needs to show that the Democratic party is backing them --- and the Republicans aren't. (It's possible they'll stand up and cheer too, but doubtful.)

This battle has to be waged and if he won't call out the Republicans rhetorically, he needs to at least show in some way that they are obstructing his program. If everybody's sitting together giggling and texting with their bffs (bipartisan friends forever) I have my doubts that this speech is going to serve the purpose they want it to serve.

So please, let the two parties show that they take different sides on these issues. It's not a bad thing. It's how we do it in America.


Falling back to earth

Falling back to earth

by digby

This piece by Martin Wolf is a must read. I'm sure that nobody will pay any attention to it because it charges policy makers and Very Serious People with a massive error. And as we all know, that means it can't possibly be right.

The depth of the contraction and the weakness of the recovery are both result and cause of the ongoing economic fragility. They are a result, because excessive private sector debt interacts with weak asset prices, particularly of housing, to depress demand. They are a cause, because the weaker is the expected growth in demand, the smaller is the desire of companies to invest and the more subdued is the impulse to lend. This, then, is an economy that fails to achieve “escape velocity” and so is in danger of falling back to earth.

Now consider, against this background of continuing fragility, how people view the political scene. In neither the US nor the eurozone, does the politician supposedly in charge – Barack Obama, the US president, and Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor – appear to be much more than a bystander of unfolding events, as my colleague, Philip Stephens, recently noted. Both are – and, to a degree, operate as – outsiders. Mr Obama wishes to be president of a country that does not exist. In his fantasy US, politicians bury differences in bipartisan harmony. In fact, he faces an opposition that would prefer their country to fail than their president to succeed. Ms Merkel, similarly, seeks a non-existent middle way between the German desire for its partners to abide by its disciplines and their inability to do any such thing. The realisation that neither the US nor the eurozone can create conditions for a speedy restoration of growth – indeed the paralysing disagreements over what those conditions might be – is scary.

This leads us to the third big point: the dire consequences of soaring risk aversion, against the background of such economic fragility. In the long journey to becoming ever more like Japan, the yields on 10-year US and German government bonds are now down to where Japan’s had fallen in October 1997, at close to 2 per cent (see chart). Does deflation lie ahead in these countries, too? One big recession could surely bring about just that. That seems to me to be a more plausible danger than the hyperinflation that those fixated on fiscal deficits and central bank balance sheet find so terrifying.

A shock caused by a huge fight over fiscal policy – the debate over the terms on which to raise the debt ceiling – has caused a run into, not out of, US government bonds. This is not surprising for two reasons: first, these are always the first port in a storm; second, the result will be a sharp tightening of fiscal policy. Investors guess that the outcome will be a still weaker economy, given the enfeebled state of the private sector. Again, in a still weaker eurozone, investors have run into the safe haven of German government bonds.... The risks of a vicious spiral from bad fundamentals to policy mistakes, a panic and back to bad fundamentals are large, with further economic contraction ahead.

Yet all is not lost. In particular, the US and German governments retain substantial fiscal room for manoeuvre – and should use it. But, alas, governments that can spend more will not and those who want to spend more now cannot. Again, the central banks have not used up their ammunition. They too should dare to use it. Much more could also be done to hasten deleveraging of the private sector and strengthen the financial system. Another downturn now would surely be a disaster. The key, surely, is not to approach a situation as dangerous as this one within the boundaries of conventional thinking.

Uhm no. We're like a family, you see and when the going gets tough we tighten our belts. But we'd like to buy a road too. Or something.

Update; I see Krugman hit this yesterday.


Evidence, Layer by Layer [Page 3.14]

Evidence that life on Earth is very old (and of humble origin) continues to accrue, but some beliefs are insurmountable. On EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse refutes the argument that the evolution of complex molecules and organisms is highly improbable. He notes that if we "imagine evolution proceeding by selecting genotypes entirely at random, then the probability is vanishingly small that we shall ever find one that produces a functional, complex organism." But since natural selection only builds upon what works, it's a smaller wonder that we're here to argue about it. On Dispatches from the Creation Wars, Ed Brayton exposes "the problems that flood geology has trying to jam every single event recorded in nearly 700 million years of deposition into a single year." Ed writes, "one has a hard time imagining how a group of dinosaurs were alive and going about their day, peacefully building nests to hatch their young on solid ground, in the midst of a global flood that had already deposited thousands of feet of sediment below them." Who says the Word of God can't be poetic?

Read the comments on this post...

Also check out the featured ScienceBlog of the week: Inside the Outbreaks on the ScienceBlogs Book Club


Democrats and Chamber of Commerce Team Up

Typically Republican organization joins with Legislative leaders for a press conference this morning

From the "huh?" department:

Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A P?rez will be joined by leaders of the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and other legislators to announce proposals to improve California's business climate and create much-needed jobs.

A press conference to detail the effort will be held today, September 1, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. in Room 317 of the State Capitol. Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and P?rez (D-Los Angeles) will be joined by Cal Chamber president and CEO Allan Zaremberg, and CMTA president Jack Stewart.

We'll let you know more later today, but guesses are welcome.


Welcome to Our New Supreme Court Justice, Goodwin Liu

Jorde Symposium 2010Swearing-in ceremony comes at a time of pressure for the court system

by Brian Leubitz

Goodwin Liu officially got the thumbs up yesterday, and will be sworn in as the 4th Asian-American Justice of the 7 member panel.  The occasion also marks the first time the Court has ever had an Asian-American majority.

But the state court system has taken a beating over the last eighteen months, right along with the rest of the state government.  Of the three billion dollars that used to come from the general fund for the courts, that number is down to about $2.1 billion. In other words, a cut that is roughly 30% of the state's share.  And, as a side note, the general fund is still the greatest source of revenue for the courts.

The cuts have hit different counties in different ways, however.  I've written about the struggles at the San Francisco courts, where the cuts were felt most acutely.  However, it seems that Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein has reached a deal with leaders of the Administrative Office of the Courts to save a big chunk of what was to be cut:

An emergency funding compromise reached with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) would significantly reduce the San Francisco Superior Court's staff layoffs from 177 to 75 and allow the Court to keep 11 civil courtrooms open, including both complex litigation departments, Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein announced today.  The agreement, which was struck after negotiations that began late last week and continued over the weekend, must be approved by the Judicial Council in a special meeting on September 9, 2011.

"This agreement represents a true compromise with the AOC to help the San Francisco Superior Court lessen the blow on access to justice," Judge Feinstein said. "If the Judicial Council approves the terms of the agreement, our Court would reduce civil courtroom closures from 25 to 14 and lay off 15 percent instead of 40 percent of our staff."

You can check the full release here.  Judge Feinstein has never had particularly good relations with the AOC, as they have clashed over local court funding. But while this agreement saves civil justice in San Francisco for 18 months or so, the crisis is far from over.  The courts, allegedly a co-equal branch of government, need funding just to keep the lights on.

Rumors of a possible ballot measure have been floated, but as of yet, neither the funding nor the will has been present.  Another cycle of court funding crisis will likely change that.


Toshiba’s glasses free 3D TV launches in Europe as the ZL2 this December

If you've been waiting for someone to take the glasses part out of the current 3D TV viewing experience, Toshiba has finally put a launch date on its glasses-free 3D TV. The world's first to be available to the public at the size, the ZL2 will take its place at the top of the company's range of sets when it launches this December in Germany (no word yet on other European countries, or anywhere else for that matter) complete with an LED-backlit QuadHD resolution (3,840 x 2,160) LCD panel and Cell-processor based CEVO engine technology within. Check out the press release after the break for more of the specs, no word yet on how much it will cost but the glasses-based 3D ZL1 it's replacing was rocking a £4,000 price tag.

Update: We have a price, Toshiba's German press site currently mentions the set will cost 7,999 euros when the 55-inch version launches. We're figuring you can afford a couple of pairs of active shutter glasses at that price, but at least it's still a 4K screen, right? [Thanks, Daniel]

Continue reading Toshiba's glasses free 3D TV launches in Europe as the ZL2 this December

Toshiba's glasses free 3D TV launches in Europe as the ZL2 this December originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 01 Sep 2011 10:56:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Changing Our Politics by David Atkins

Changing our politics
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Your tax dollars at work:

Any hopes that a kinder, gentler bipartisan Washington would surface once Congress returns after Labor Day were summarily dashed on Wednesday when President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner clashed over, of all things, the date and time of the president’s much-awaited speech to the nation about his proposal to increase jobs and fix the economy. In a surreal volley of letters, each released to the news media as soon as it was sent, Mr. Boehner rejected a request from the president to address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday at 8 p.m. — the same night that a Republican presidential debate is scheduled.

In an extraordinary turn, the House speaker fired back his own letter to the president saying, in a word, no. Might the president be able to reschedule for the following night, Sept. 8?

For several hours, the day turned into a very public game of chicken.

By late Wednesday night, though, the White House issued a statement saying that because Mr. Obama “is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy,” he “welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Sept. 8...”

Not that the selection of Sept. 8 is free of complications. It is the first night of the N.F.L. season.

So Obama and Boehner were, like, posting stuff on each others' facebook. And Obama was all, I wanna talk with a bunch of you guys about jobs and stuff because we need to get our duffs and do something or we're gonna lose the apartment. Can you guys come listen and act like you care? And then Boehner was like, no way man, we've got a little party thing we're doing, gonna have some beers with our buddies and make fun of you. Plus we're not gonna be home, dude, we told you that, like, weeks ago. And then Obama was all, oh wait, really? I'm sorry guys. My bad. How's about, like, the next night? And then Boehner and his friends were all, like, sure man, but that's like, the first night of football, so we'll totally be paying attention to whatever it is you wanna jabber about. Seriously dude. ROFL. And then they just started fighting with each other like on Jersey Shore or something.

And it was sooooo awkward. 'Cuz like, everybody could see it, 'cuz it was all public on facebook and stuff, and Obama's been trying so hard to be friends with these guys. They should just totally get together in a room and make it all work out or something. That'd be sure to work, and then we could all just party again like we did in the 90s when everything was cool with everybody. Well, besides that thing where those same guys had girl trouble with that one guy Bill something or other and tried to kick him out. But still, those were some gooood times. 'Cuz this totally sucks.


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