24, Shel Silverstein, Muons, and God’s Toe

Shel Silverstein

Michael Sigman: Just as it was perversely gratifying to find out that no one — including the experts — understood the complex financial derivatives that undermined the global economy, it’s nice to know that even the top physicists don’t really understand the mind-bending contradictions of quantum theory.

O.J., Blumenthal, Souder, and Other Liars: What’s the Point?

Richard Blumenthal (Photo by Chion Wolf)

Michael Sigman: It’s one thing for a sociopath like Simpson to think he can get away with asking, in effect, “Who do you believe, me or your lying eyes?” But why do politicians — who love to praise the smarts of “the American people” — tell lies time and again when common sense dictates they’ll be caught, especially now that online searches allow facts to be instantly checked and communicated?

Mainstream Media Swoon Over Rove’s Power Play

Michael Sigman: Karl Rove — chief political architect of George W. Bush’s presidency, the worst in modern history — is reentering frontline Republican Party politics. And the narrative-defining mainstream media have wasted no time in portraying Rove’s return as the most momentous development since Tiger Woods nearly re-mastered the Masters.

Arizona Law Author Kris Kobach Wants to Cast a Wide Net Against Latinos

kris kobach

Andrea Christina Nill: Wonk Room recently obtained an email written by Kris Kobach, a lawyer at the Immigration Reform Law Institute — the group which credits itself with writing the bill — to Arizona state Sen. Russell Pierce (R), urging him to include language that will allow police to use city ordinance violations such as “cars on blocks in the yard” as an excuse to “initiate quieries” in light of the “lawful contact” deletion

Peter Baker and David Herszenhorn: Wall Street Reform Reporting Lacking

Mitch McConnel

Joseph Palermo: The massive trading and swapping of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and other abstractions cooked up by the fertile minds of sociopathic Wall Street “traders” not only did nothing to lubricate the real economy through financial intermediation, but they helped bring down the entire system and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

Buy Stocks and Enter Coal Mines at Your Own Risk

Ron Wolff: The logical question to ask is: How much is the CEO of Massey Energy Company compensated for setting the tone and establishing the philosophy that “violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process”? According to the New York Times , CEO Don L. Blankenship earned $11.2 million in 2008, about twice what he earned in 2006.

As Progressives Predicted, Clinton Welfare Reform Law Fails Families

Randy Shaw: After President Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it,” many highlighted this “common sense” solution and criticized progressives for opposing the bill. Soon after passage, politicians and the media said it had not caused the downsides that activists had predicted, ignoring that the law had not been fully implemented. But troubling reports soon emerged.

Economy Recovery Depends Upon Your Vantage Point

Carl Bloice: Like the knee bone and the thigh bone, the foreclosure crisis is closely related to the jobs crisis. Last week the Obama administration cautioned the public not to expect any dramatic improvement in the jobless rate, largely because thousands of formerly “discouraged” jobless workers sense the situation is improving and have started back looking for work. As a result, some economists have suggested, the jobless rate may well go beyond the 9.7 percent where it stands now.

Let’s Get Our Own Foreign Policy House in Order Before Criticizing Others

Putin as Priest

Ivan Eland: On March 31, 2010, the New York Times wrote an editorial that briefly expressed horror in response to the Moscow subway terror bombings, then warned that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin might yet again use terrorist attacks to further consolidate his power, and finally lectured Russia that the only way to defeat such extremism was to deal with the underlying causes. Such a sermonizing editorial by any Russian publication after the 9/11 attacks would have engendered outrage in America

Why CNN Fails

CNN

Randy Shaw: CNN’s chief problem is not a lack of partisanship. Instead, it is that CNN’s “news” primarily consists of opinions from partisan political hacks. Most work for CNN because no candidate wants to hire them, and it’s an easy gig because they don’t have to know much about the subjects they pontificate about. Does CNN really believe viewers are still interested in the opinions of the corporate-funded James Carville? Or that CNN will steal viewers from FOX News by hiring Erick Erickson of Redstate.com, who publicly threatened to shoot census workers? CNN is failing because it’s selling stale conventional wisdom, which viewers are rejecting.

The Myth of the Sensible Center

David Frum

Carl Bloice: The “moderate Republican” has gone the way of the typewriter. As the tea party people and their ilk become more racist and reactionary – and their rhetoric more incendiary, each day – the GOP encourages them and endeavors to pull them into its embrace. Meanwhile the “bluedog Democrats” become increasingly irrelevant with each passing day, their bark more in evidence than their bite.

Health Care Battle Ends; War on Social Security Begins

Shamus Cooke: FL-CIO President Richard Trumka offers a splendid vision: “The best way to fix the deficit is to create 10 million jobs now — the number of jobs needed to close our jobs deficit. This will require large amounts of public investment in the short term, which should be paid for in future years by taxing Wall Street. In addition to creating jobs for Main Street this tax will also curb short-term speculation and other Wall Street abuses that caused this recession.”

History: A Rovian Rewrite

tom-degan

Tom Degan: It’s going to be an absolute scream in the next few years watching the Bush Mob try to rewrite history with the flood of books that are sure to come out. The latest screed by Rove is merely the tip of the iceberg. They have quite a chore ahead of them no doubt. Putting a positive spin on the worst administration in American history? I imagine something that tricky would be the equivalent of trying to put a smiley face on a decomposing pig:

That Damn Pope

Pope

Charley James: For how long will the Pope and Tiger Woods and John Ensign and Mark Foley and scores of other hypocritical politicians, and damn near every celebrity, real and pretend, think they can keep saying “Whoops, sorry! Didn’t mean it.” to make all well with the world again?

Did Obama Kill Public Option in July?

GOP-health-care

Paul Hogarth: President Obama has been justifiably slammed for not pushing hard enough for a public option, but the truth may be even worse than that. We know the White House cut a deal with hospitals and insurance companies last July on prescription drugs – but as a New York Times reporter said this week, they also killed the public option. And given the public option’s inexplicable fate, I have to believe the story.

What’s Up with Rahm?

Rahm

Carl Bloice: For anti-war activists in the Democratic Party, Emanuel is probably best known for his role after 2004 as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In primary races around the country he raised cash and secured endorsements for opponents of anti-war candidates.

Rahmifications of Obama’s Presidency

Joseph Palermo: Peter Baker’s profile of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the New York Times Magazine raises some interesting questions about President Barack Obama’s top aide. For Emanuel, it seems that all politics are electoral politics. He wouldn’t know a social movement if he saw one.

Bet on Barbara Boxer in November

barbara boxer

Randy Shaw: The media always promotes Republicans like Campbell or John McCain who are reactionary and corporate-owned on most issues but have a few stands that are common to Democrats. This makes them “mavericks,” and allegedly shows they can appeal to Democrats.

How Obama’s Health Care “Reform” Kills Health Care

Healthcare costs

Shamus Cooke: The ability for millions of people to see through the muddle in Washington points to a larger distrust of the two-party system. Even as “progressive Democrats” and other liberal pundits bow before the health care industry by urging passage of “an imperfect” health care bill, workers, the poor and the elderly aren’t taking the bait.

Drive to Eliminate Social Security Accelerates

retired couple

Shamus Cooke: The nonchalance which Friedman calls for cutting Social Security is indicative of the climate in Washington, where the last remnants of liberalism have been suffocated under the heavy demands of profit-hungry corporations, especially financial institutions and big banks.

Dollars for Death, Pennies for Life

Helmand Refugee Camp (photo by Fardin Waezi)

Norman Solomon: While commanders in Afghanistan were launching what the New York Times called “the largest offensive military operation since the American-led coalition invaded the country in 2001,” the situation in Haiti was clearly dire.

The Democrats, the Deficit, and Social Security

Core Healthcare

Shamus Cooke: Unions and progressive groups must educate and mobilize their base to confront both the Democrats and Republicans over the protection of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. However, it is not enough for only the leaders of unions and community groups to pressure the Democrats over this issue, especially when Obama has made it clear that he prefers the advice of Wall Street CEOs.

US Political Process Haunted by Paralysis

Obama state of the union

Ron Wolff: “So we’re paralyzed in the face of mass unemployment and out-of-control health care costs…Blame our political culture, a culture that rewards hypocrisy and irresponsibility rather than serious efforts to solve America’s problems…I’m sorry to say this, but the state of the union — not the speech, but the thing itself — isn’t looking very good.”

Bhutto:The Film — Heartbreaking, Thought-Provoking History Lesson

Benazir Bhutto

Georgianne Nienaber: Bhutto: The Film presents the story of a woman whose strength of personality and conviction totally dominates the constraints of a fundamentalist religious society where women had no intrinsic value. The voice over of Bhutto describing her birth is the ghost in the room. Her extended family was in mourning that Benazir entered the world in a society where the only desire is that the firstborn be a boy. “Dogs and cats were giving birth to boys,” she narrates from the grave.

At Home in the World Joyce Maynard

Salinger

Jules Siegel: Coming across as pompous, astoundingly unfeeling, deceptive and defiantly hypocritical, Salinger indoctrinates her with his homeopathically inspired theories about food, teaches her how to induce vomiting in order to avoid absorbing “toxins,” has her share a diet so austere that she stops menstruating, and generally makes himself the absolute center of not only her personal world but also life as we know it. In one scene, commenting scornfully on the Beatles and their Maharishi, he takes rueful credit for having created the Oriental philosophy fad, conveniently ignoring the Transcendentalists, Herman Hesse and Alan Watts, among others.

Media Coverage of Haitian Earthquake Can’t Go There

haiti's lament

Joseph Palermo: When the television cameras stop whirring and the famous correspondents leave Haiti and move on to the next Tiger Woods scandal, we should take a hard look at the power relations between the United States and Haiti that not only tolerated but helped create the Western Hemisphere’s best known economic, medical, political, judicial, educational, and ecological disaster long before the natural disaster hit.

When Woolsey Met Harman

Progressive Caucus Chair Lynn Woolsey (D-Marin)

David Swanson: Fortunately, I get the impression that a great many Angelenos and Americans are principled, decent, and sophisticated enough to support Woolsey when she does right and oppose her when she does wrong, and to overwhelm her misplaced advocacy with our support, donations, and volunteer time for the woman who will be the leader of the fight for the people’s views against the corporate agenda in the 112th Congress, Marcy Winograd.

Stop Wasting Money on the Death Penalty!

Death Penalty

Natasha Minsker: let’s consider something the governor can actually do right now to make a serious dent in the corrections budget: convert all 700 death sentences in California to permanent imprisonment saving the state $1 billion over the next five years.

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