Monthly Archives: November 2010
Don’t you see what they have caused? Here are the 10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts (each one will lead you to an overall definitive view):
Well, I see why the wealthy are happy with the continuation, but that rules 99% of us out.
- Mike’s Blog Round Up (crooksandliars.com)
- White House Raising White Flag on Bush Tax Cuts? (crooksandliars.com)
- 10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts (crooksandliars.com)
- Robert Reich: The Showdown on Tax Cuts for the Rich (huffingtonpost.com)
- “Bush tax cuts: Cutting through the noise” and related posts (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Majority of Americans support repeal of DADT except Tea Partiers/extremists and John McCain (crooksandliars.com)
- McCain attacks ‘inexperienced’ Obama for promising ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal (crooksandliars.com)
- John McCain continues jihad against repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (dailykos.com)
- Sunday Late Night: McCain Blames Obama’s “Inexperience” for DADT Repeal Promise (firedoglake.com)
- Pentagon study shows gay service would not harm military (capitolhillblue.com)
- Greenpeace sues Dow Chemical for spying (reuters.com)
- Greenpeace Accuses Dow Chemical of Espionage in Lawsuit – Bloomberg (news.google.com)
Actor Leslie Nielsen died in Florida Sunday at the age of 84. The Canadian-born actor had a decades long career, starting in straight roles and ending up in absurd comic films and television productions.
I remember the first time I saw Nielsen was in the 1950s science fiction film, Forbidden Planet ( based, by the way, on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”), where he played a handsome space ship captain. As a young man he came from Canada to NYC to attend the Neighborhood Playhouse drama school and played many parts in early live television drama.
His early television appearances include parts in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Virginian, and The Wild Wild West. In 1961, he was the lead in a taut Los Angeles police drama called The New Breed. In 1968, he had a major role in the pilot film for the popular police series Hawaii Five-O, and also later appeared in one of the episodes in the seventh season. In 1969, he had the leading role as a police officer in The Bold Ones: The Protectors. He played The Swamp Fox (Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion) for Disney over 8 episodes.
Nielsen’s comedic breakthrough came with a supporting role in 1980’s Airplane!, a parody of Zero Hour!, Airport, and other movies that dealt with air travel. In Airplane! his deadpan delivery contrasted with the continual absurdity surrounding him. In the film when asked, “Surely you can’t be serious?”, he responds with a curt, “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.” He hit it playing Frank Drebin in the films and television productions of Police Squad and the Naked Gun series, which hit the peak of his comic performances.
On November 28, Doug Nielsen, Nielsen’s nephew, announced to the CJOB radio station that Nielsen had died in his sleep, of pneumonia, around 5:30 p.m. EST, surrounded by family and friends.
- RIP, Leslie Nielsen (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Airplane! Star Leslie Nielsen Dead at 84 (eonline.com)
- ArtsBeat: A Patriotic Farewell to Leslie Nielsen (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- ‘Naked Gun,’ ‘Airplane’ actor Leslie Nielsen dies (omg.yahoo.com)
- Comic actor Leslie Nielsen dies (bbc.co.uk)
- Leslie Nielsen of Airplane! and Naked Gun Fame Dies at 84 (seattlepi.com)
This is from John’s daily mailing. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thoughts on Left criticism of Obama:
The Left press and blogosphere is rife with analyses on the mistakes of the
Obama administration that allegedly ’caused’ the Republican resurgence in the mid-term elections. Chiefly Obama’s stimulus effort is scored as half-hearted, less than half the amount needed using the most precise Keynesian calculations. And from the perspective of Hyman Minsky’s Post-Keynesian followers, the absence of a strong employer of last resort strategy gravely threatens a country’s ability to recover stability or sustainable growth from the chaos of a ‘government-constrained great depression’ (the more accurate term for this crisis than ‘the great recession’).
On the social safety net front, increasing the economic rights of the American people, Obama’s (and Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s, Chris Dodd’s and Barney Frank’s) accomplished reforms in health care and finance are seen as compromised by excessive concessions to corporate interests. It has shocked some to discover, or re-discover, some of the basics of class politics in this era of giant transnational corporations. To left and even most liberal thinking forces, the ideological arguments for universal health care and for more constrained and sustainable financial markets disciplined to more useful investment strategies seem unassailable, stronger than ever from an historical perspective. The uneven but nonetheless unmistakable worldwide advance of objective socialization processes in the global economy and national economies are strongly reflected in the ever increasing degree and sophistication of regulation in markets, and in the advancing sector of public and quasi public goods, including infrastructure, in advanced economies. More and more these processes have the tinge of inevitability, though we should have learned to be careful of such appearances. They are grounded in both technological and interconnected social evolution, especially the division and re-division of labor. Given the vast transformations in the class and occupational diversification since the 18th century dawn of capitalism, it’s likely a longstanding idealist tendency on the left that seeks to reduce them by referring to capitalism as single system throughout, even though certain features certainly persist.
The socialization tendency, for example, regardless how inevitable it may be, paradoxically makes corporations and the rich ever more “dependent upon the public sector for essential services and infrastructure”, and “thus” in proportion, ever “more — not less” — fierce in their efforts to manipulate and dominate public institutions This is obviously an inherently corrupting process however and thus compels — again, and not for the first time — a no less fierce defense of democracy and democratic institutions. The expansion of democratic rights — i.e. “entitlements” — inherently challenges unjustified wealth inequality. Yet some on the left draw a different conclusion, namely, that democratic struggle in all state and public institutions is a dead end, and the president’s departure from the ideal an illustration of this, rather than simply a testimony to its difficulties, and importance.
In foreign policy, Obama’s efforts to “draw down” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been excoriated as false and dishonest and, indeed, simply a continuation of 20th Century imperial policies. In most cases critics decline to place the president’s ‘defects’ in context of what is politically possible given the balance of forces in and between Congress, state legislatures and governors, the Supreme Court, and not least — the armed forces and their institutions and vast economic clientele. “Out Now!”, “Jobs Now”, “nationalize the banks” are slogans that epitomize these tendencies. They prefer instead to measure his performance ideological standards. Even the most trenchant and credible critics of the president’s ‘compromises’ — such as Paul Krugman — frequently preface their objections with “….it’s unknown if a better bill was politically feasible, but…..”. The “but” usually includes the argument that its better to hold a more pure, but failed, position, than legislate a piece of sausage which most folks would prefer not to inspect too closely.
The problem with the hatred or disgust of sausage making is that all legislation, in fact all governing, is really like sausage making. The problem with primarily ideological objections to the president is that they are too often distractions from the harder mobilizing and organizing activity that’s at the heart of the challenges to move the democratic restructuring agenda forward, and send its enemies to the dustbin of history. To expect any elected president to fall on his or her sword is, well, foolish.
More sober analysis, it seems to this writer, points out that the weaknesses in the stimulus response, the reforms, and the setbacks in the mid-term elections are, more than ever, calls to arms at the grass roots. Overcoming the corrupting forces of monopoly corporations and their owners on the political process needs exponentially more horsepower from the bottom up. The failure and nullification of existing democratic institutions, “the spread of ungovernability,” are the greatest threat posed by both the current assaults from the Right, the arrogance of the military, and especially the failure of existing institutions to effectively counter the economic crisis. It’s an opportunity for the Left, broadly speaking, that has not presented itself since at least the Sixties, and perhaps even the Great Depression. But seizing the opportunity means a strategic re-focus on breaking out of its electoral and governing isolation, breaking out of the political sidelines.
Local power is the chief link the chain of tactics I think we need to grasp, to borrow Lenin’s famous metaphor. It’s not the only link, but the one most accessible to us given the organizational chaos on the Left. And the essence of the challenge in local electoral battles is how to galvanize, neighborhood by neighborhood, workplace by workplace, majority coalitions of workers, nationally and racially oppressed, women, youth, seniors, small business, democratically minded intellectuals and liberal corporate interests that expand the mandate of local government to take aggressive action on the immediate needs of the people, AND become much more foundations on which to force state-wide and, in turn, national institutions to turn back demagogic and corrupted attacks and address the key problems.
In some ways I am convinced that the organizational chaos is largely a product of our relative electoral isolation — and thus isolation from the real vicissitudes of exercising working people’s great power.
Yuval Rabin and businessman Koby Huberman propose a response to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative: A Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem ‘the home of two capitals’.
By Akiva Eldar
Yuval Rabin, the son of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, has joined forces with businessman and social activist Koby Huberman in order to advocate for the Israeli Peace Initiative, or IPI, a response to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
In an article published in the Web site bitterlemons.org, Rabin and Huberman propose that instead of responding to the APA, the Israeli government should say “yes” by presenting a parallel proposal to end the conflict – the IPI.
The two have spent several months promoting the IPI among political figures, academics, and businessmen in Israel and at the same time tested the reaction of Palestinian and Arab figures to the principles of the initiative in an unofficial manner.
The detailed IPI proposal will be soon published in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, and the principles outlined are the following:
1. A viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and one-on-one land swaps
2. Jerusalem as the home of two capitals and special arrangements in the holy basin
3. An agreed solution for the refugees inside the Palestinian state (with symbolic exceptions)
4. Mutual recognition of the genuine national identities of the two states as the outcome of negotiations and not as a prerequisite
5. Reiteration of the principles underlying Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence regarding civic equality for its Arab citizens
6. Long-term security arrangements with international components.
In regards to the Syrian channel, the IPI suggests that the end-of-conflict scenario include “phased withdrawals from the Golan Heights to finally reach the 1967 borders with one-on-one land swaps, coupled with tight security arrangements to curb terrorists and paramilitary organizations.”
“Regarding Lebanon,” Rabin and Huberman write, “the scenario articulates mainly security arrangements, as international borders have already been established. The other three IPI components present regional security mechanisms addressing common regional threats, a vision for regional economic development, and parallel evolution toward regional recognition and normal ties.”
Concluding the article, Rabin and Huberman say that they “hope the IPI creates an intensified dialogue and some rethinking both in Israeli circles and the region.”
“More importantly, 15 years after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, we hope to see brave regional and international leaders translate the API and IPI visions into practical and synchronized progress.”
Before the previous elections, Yuval Rabin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that he didn’t rule out voting for him for prime minister, and also supported Netanyahu’s intentions of establishing a unity government.
Rabin’s initiative may indicate his disappointment with Netanyahu’s current policies.
As one who is also disappointed (to say the least) with Netanyahu’s policies, I find this suggestion by Rabin’s son worth looking into. Haven’t we all had enough war…everywhere?
- Rabin’s Son Releases Proposal (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Rabin’s Son Presents Peace Plan (tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Israelis mark 15th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s death (ctv.ca)
- November 4, 1995 – The Yitzhak Rabin Assassination (crooksandliars.com)
- Recalling Rabin, and a Mideast Quest (nytimes.com)
- Fifteen years after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, letting go is the right thing to do. (slate.com)
- and -
…and the Rich give Thanks for Republicans…
- and -
… how Obama deals with these Turkeys is another problem…
- BREAKING: Monster Murdoch Moves WSJ ‘Pepper… And Salt’ Cartoon! [Evil Corporations In Action] (gawker.com)
- Apple Computer Sells For $213,000 At Auction – NYTimes.com (jeffpruett.wordpress.com)
- Palling Around With Monuments [This Thing Looks Like That Thing] (gawker.com)
If you have two hours and don’t mind having a severe depression, this is a disturbing documentary you will want to take a look at:
It’s called “Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century” by Scott Noble. Go to http://www.openfilm.com/videos/human-resources and you will be shown the kind of social engineering that has dominated our captialist civilization from Taylorism to the CIA and the Military and Abu Ghraib. It will not leave you with a pleasant feeling.
OK… this is the big shopping day beginning the Christmas Season and Elly and I are off to visit my mother in Manassas. On the way we are going to stop at the Apple Store at Tyson’s Corner and take a look at IPhones, which Elly wants to move up to (so do I).
I’m waiting for her to get back from a morning appointment so we can leave… meanwhile I’ve been browsing the Apple Store on line… turns out that today is the only sale event they are having all year (Apple never does “sales”… they cut the prices of things when new models come out. Today is different.)
What I don’t understand is what the real costs are through AT&T… even though we currently get our cellphone service from them. I see so many things quoted on the net I don’t know what to think. Perhaps today we’ll get everything straightened out.
There’s more to this AP article at HuffPo:
- “Homeland Security wants to end color-coded terror alerts” and related posts (securitylawbrief.com)
- You: Terror alert system is on its way out (latimes.com)
- Homeland Security Drops Color-Coded Terror Alerts (news.slashdot.org)
In 1860, American artist and illustrator Winslow Homer did a cover for Harpers Weekly depicting “The Two Great Classes” at Thanksgiving, the Rich and the Poor. This was made when the country was getting over the Depression of 1857 and rolling inevitably toward what would become the Civil War. I’m not sure Homer was very impressed with Thanksgiving where some had “more Dinners than Appetite” and some had “more Appetite than Dinners.” In a way, we are there again.
- Holiday (II) (netnewmusic.net)
- Thanksgiving: the No. 1 Sink Clogging Holiday (koolnews.wordpress.com)
- Thanksgiving Quotes (rightcelebrity.com)
- “Thanksgiving: a Jewish Holiday” and related posts (unorthodoxgymnastics.com)
- Breaking: Tom DeLay GUILTY (my.firedoglake.com)
- DeLay guilty of money laundering (bbc.co.uk)
- Former House Leader Tom DeLay Convicted Of Money Laundering (mediaite.com)
- Jury convicts Tom DeLay in money laundering trial (telegraph.co.uk)
- Jury convicts Tom DeLay in money laundering trial (boston.com)
- Jury convicts Tom DeLay in money laundering trial (msnbc.msn.com)
(Gee, don’t we NEED another war?)
- South Korean military on high alert (cbc.ca)
- SKorea reports 2 civilian deaths in NKorea clash (foxnews.com)
- Japan PM calls on China to join efforts to ‘restrain’ NKorea (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Two more bodies found on S.Korea island after N.Korea shelling (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- North Korea’s Attack Brushed Aside By Asian Investors (blogs.forbes.com)
- NKorea fires artillery onto SKorean island; 2 dead (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- McClatchy-Marist poll: Majority want health reform preserved or expanded (dailykos.com)
- Poll: Majority of Americans Say Health Care Law Should Stand or be Expanded (politicsdaily.com)
- 60-40 Nation: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Poll: Most Want To Keep/Expand Health Care Reform (oliverwillis.com)
- Americans, GOP aren’t on the same repeal page (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Health Care reform law gaining public support (allbleedingstops.blogspot.com)
- Most Want to Keep or Expand Health Care Law (politicalwire.com)
- “McConnell Stumbles Trying Explain Contradiction Between Repealing Health Law And Lowering Deficit” and related posts (wonkroom.thinkprogress.org)
When Wendell Potter, the former CIGNA executive who turned on the insurance industry and is now working on the left, wrote in his new book, “Deadly Spin”, about how he was assigned to keep the Michael Moore movie “Sicko” from having the success of previous Moore films, it came as a shock to many that such garbage would happen in the professional world. Moore and Potter were brought together for the first time on Olbermann‘s show. Taker a look:
- Countdown Introduces Michael Moore to the Health Care Voldemort Who Came in From the Cold (mediaite.com)
- The Fear of Sicko: CIGNA Whistleblower Wendell Potter Apologizes to Michael Moore for PR Smear Campaign; Moore Says Industry Was Afraid Film Would Cause A ‘Tipping Point’ for Healthcare Reform (angryindian.blogspot.com)
- Potter, Moore Call Each Other ‘Courageous’ (odwyerpr.com)
- Wendell Potter Admits Coordinated Smear Campaign Against Michael Moore To Discredit “Sicko” (crooksandliars.com)
- Michael Moore: They Said They Would Push Me “Off a Cliff” (huffingtonpost.com)
- Wendell Potter: My Apologies to Michael Moore and the Health Insurance Industry (huffingtonpost.com)
- Corporate America Is Pushing Us Off a Cliff (thedailybeast.com)
I guess it started when they put Doc Martin on Public Broadcasting, specifically on WNET in Washington, DC, one of the three PBS stations we get on the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia (oddly enough, none of them are West Virginia stations.)
WNET was showing the first season of Doc Martin, a series about an unpleasant local doctor in a seaside town called Port Wenn and the effect he has on the community…and the community on him. It is both funny and serious and has a group of characters which get intellectually deeper every week… and, like the theatre guy that I am, I wanted to get more of it without waiting for next week…so I discovered that Hulu had the three seasons that have already run in the UK (there’s a fourth season coming out this year) and I watched all of the episodes over a two-day period.
One of the things that got me into Doc Martin was the range of interpersonal subject matter, something a doctor show can get you…look at House over here, for instance (something I will refer to again shortly)… with certain repeated elements (Doc became a GP after a career as a great surgeon because he developed a fear of blood; Doc’s Aunt Joan, who he stayed with in the summer as a child, indicates a family cause for the doctor’s unpleasant interpersonal attitude, which leads to a clash with his parents in the third season.)
When I got to the end of the available episodes on Hulu (something PBS won’t be getting around to for at lesast another year), I followed a site recommendation to try another British show called “Kingdom.” Kingdom refers to Peter Kingdom, who is the head of a law office in a small market town. It ran for three seasons in England and then was not renewed by ITV, which was unfortunate because the third season ended with the audience up in the air over who Peter Kingdom’s real father was.
The main character is played by Stephen Fry, an actor who I have come to be very fond of over the years… first as a minor role player in Black Adder, then in sections of the American series Bones, where he played a an FBI psychiatrist who eventually became a chef, and in occasional bits and pieces which have been run from an 80’s series – Fry and Laurie – with Hugh Laurie, who now plays the American doctor House without so much as a hint of a British accent. I had wondered what Fry did with himself when Laurie came over here…where he apparently has moved his family and is going into a seventh-or-so season. What he did was a great deal, and Kingdom is part of it.
Kingdom goes way beyond what I get from American television series. It does not depend on solving murders as a plot device, which most of our hour-long features find der rigeur. It has main characters who have extreme mental problems (Kingdom’s half-sister is a medication dependent schizophrenic, his half- brother, thought dead in the first series, is a lawyer and failed gambler who has apparently crossed the mob, but who appears alive in the second series only to die before the third), legal issues which are alarmingly local to anyone who watches our legal shows, and virtually no dependence on sex as a motivating factor (which doesn’t mean that people don’t have affairs, pregnancies, etc… it’s just a part of life.)
Kingdom led me to a half-hour comedy which ran for two seasons (2002-2003) in England and, while considered a “situation comedy”. is anything but. Created by an American-Born Scottish writer, Annie Griffin, The Book Group takes seven individuals in Glasgow and puts them into a weekly meeting of readers who discuss a specific book each week. The founder of the group is Claire, an American… played by Anne Dudek who also went on for two seasons of House… who is looking for a way to meet people… and, frankly, to get laid. Then there are three women who are married to or live with football (soccer to us) stars, a starting writer trapped in a wheelchair after a mountain climbing accident who also does wheelchair racing, a minimally spoken football fan who turns out to be the gay lover of one of the wives of the footballers, and a heroin addict who is working on a PhD in literature.
It fascinates me that whole sections, and funny ones, in this series are concerned with masturbating, drug use, splattered with language we’d never get away with here, and unconcerned by nudity and oral sex. Did I say it was a half-hour situation comedy? It ran two seasons and I am halfway through the second season now. I’ll see where the next show is that I am led to, but it is likely to be another British one.
It is so unfortunate that shows like this, in an uncensored form, are not possible over here. Oh, we get Gordon Ramsay’s cooking shows with beeps on every other word… but it is my sense that, in the English version, language is language and the bleeps don’t occur. And words like “fuck” and “shit” which we couldn’t use by any means are common and repeated.
- DOCTOR WHO Producer Piers Wenger Exclusive Interview; Talks About the Fifth Series, the New Doc and Filming in America (collider.com)
- Lastres guide: Doctor Mateo’s sleepy setting (telegraph.co.uk)
- British productions top International Emmys (cbc.ca)
- Six to Watch: Comedy double acts (guardian.co.uk)
- Hugh Laurie Still Fascinated with ‘House’ After Six Seasons (buddytv.com)
- DRG inks pre-Mipcom deals (variety.com)
- Saturday Nite… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- Back in Shepherdstown with my New Old Subaru Outback… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
Back in the late seventies, when I was director of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, Norris Church Mailer, then the wife (I guess she was his last) of Norman Mailer, was on my fundraising list, as were most NYC celebrities. As I recall she was a very nice woman and mother to one of Mailer’s several children.
Mailer died three years ago and Norris Church Mailer died on Sunday, of gastrointestinal cancer that she had battled for 11 years, in Brooklyn Heights, NY.
She was a former Wilhelmina model who met Mailer while getting an autograph 0n his book on Marilyn Monroe. Her own memoir, “A Ticket to the Circus,” was published earlier this year.
- Norris Church Mailer dead at 61 (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- READING AROUND: D.C. arts leaders talk books (politico.com)
- Headlines: November 22, 2010 [Morning Edition] (themorningnews.org)
- Norris Mailer, widow of Norman Mailer, dead at 61 (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- They Were Perfect Together (thedailybeast.com)
This from an ABC interview… I think it sums things up pretty well:
“The rich are always going to say that, you know, “Just
give us more money, and we’ll go out and spend more,
and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you.”
But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope
the American public is catching on.”
Billionaire Warren Buffett
- Warren Buffett: Cut Taxes For Middle And Lower Class; Rich Should Pay Much More (alan.com)
- Warren Buffett: I ‘Should Be Paying A Lot More In Taxes’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Warren Buffett: Please, Raise My Taxes (crooksandliars.com)
- “Warren Buffett tells ABCâ€™s â€˜This Weekâ€™: People like me should be paying a lot more in taxes” and related posts (blogs.orlandosentinel.com)
- Buffett Says Rich Should Pay More (politicalwire.com)
- Buffett Tells ABC Rich People Should Pay Higher Taxes (businessweek.com)
- Warren Buffett: The Rich Should Pay More in Taxes (grantlawrence.blogspot.com)
I hope you like this… I got a kick out of it:
Oh well… we all miss the big one at some point.
- Are evening newscasts headed for shift? (sfgate.com)
- Is This The Worst Newscast Opening Ever? (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Does Jon Stewart’s Satirical Newscast Still Get a Pass That Rachel Maddow & Co. Do Not? (queerty.com)