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Archive for September 4th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Of Mice and Magic

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Of Mice and Magic
Herman and KatnipOf Mice and Magic. This Famous Studios cartoon was released on February 20, 1953.

Herman and KatnipOf Mice and Magic.  This Famous Studios cartoon was released on February 20, 1953.

Directed by Isadore Sparber.  Story by Izzy Klein.  Animation by Dave Tendlar and Martin Taras.  Scenics by Robert Little.  Voices by Sid Raymond (Katnip), Arnold Stang (Herman), and Mae Questel (Lousie).  Music by Winston Sharples.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and aim your spitballs at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

Sunday Talking Heads: September 4, 2011
Well, enjoy your Republican talking points, it’s anti-Labor Day today.

Well, enjoy your Republican talking points, it’s anti-Labor Day today on the talking heads.

Here’s Teddy’s take:

Apparently, there is either no Labor movement whatsoever in South Carolina or whatever Labor movement there is in South Carolina decided it would be fine if their Senator, Jim Demint, stayed in DC for their festivities.

Also, a Kearns Goodwin legacy?  Please.

And: has President McCain fallen ill?  Or been moved to an undisclosed location?  Kidnapped by Labor movement terrorists?

Finally: does Rick Perry give Chris Matthews that old thrill-up-my-leg feeling?  And is that feeling mutual?

Meanwhile, FDL Book Salon showcases the new biography of Tony Bennett, and Movie Night (Monday) sneaks into the speakeasy of bookstores, Brazenhead Books.  Alas, there is no Virtually Speaking broadcast this evening.

And now for your listings:

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Political Roundtable: Jonathan Karl, Dana Loesch, Michael Gerson, Clarence Page. Economic Roundtable: Paul Krugman, Jared Bernstein, Doug Holtz-Eakin, Carol Lee. Then, Bob Woodruff talks with Nader Hasan about how his cousin, Ft. Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, went from having an all-American upbringing to killing his fellow soldiers. Finally, 9/11 with Christine Ferer talking about the importance of the 9/11 Memorial. Her husband, Neil Levin, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was killed in the attack.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Horse race.  Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman.

CNN’s State of the Union: Mr. Tea Party Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Then,  Jim Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Followed by Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-CT) chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Roundtable: Michael Duffy, Peter Baker.

Chris Matthews: Is Perry Like Reagan, The Westerner Who Can Defeat The Establishment Romney? In Bad Economic Times, Would Perry’s Far Right Rhetoric Get Overlooked?

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Women. The co-authors of Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, plus Women for Women International’s CEO Zainab Salbi.  Then, architect Frank Gehry and photographer Platon.  Plus “comedy” robot, Data.

Fox News Sunday: Dick Cheney.  Roundtable: Bill Kristol, Mara Liasson, Ed Gillespie, Kirsten Powers.

NBC’s Meet the Press: Roundtable: Tom Friedman, Paul Gigot, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), co-founder of No Labels, Mark McKinnon, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Then, 9/11 with Doris Kearns Goodwin and her son, former Army Captain Joseph Kearns Goodwin.

Newsmakers: Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) defending his efforts to limit collective bargaining for public employees in Ohio. He said the measure, which will be a measure on the ballot in November, is not a referendum on him...

Q & A: Miles J. Unger, author of a new biography on the life and writings of noted Italian author and playwright, Niccolo Machiavelli. The book details how Machiavelli became an infamous and influential political writer

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: Reruns. WikiLeaks – Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks. Resurrecting the extinct – Scientists believe they can sustain endangered species – maybe even one day resurrect some that have died out – using DNA technology.

To the Contrary: Guest host: Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever. Topics: the jobs outlook for women in light of the president’s new jobs plan with Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; where the United States ranks in newborn survival and why; and a controversial t-shirt making waves across the internet. Panelists: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Former EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez; Judge and Former Federal Prosecutor Debra Carnahan; and Independent Women’s Forum Executive Director Nicole Kurokawa Neily.

Univision’s Al Punto: Arnoldo Alemán, “Partido Liberal Constitucionalista” Candidate for President of Nicaragua; Eduardo Suger, Renovación y Orden “CREO”  Candidate for President of Guatemala; Alvaro Uribe, Former President of Colombia; Viviane Morales, Colombia’s Attorney General; Pablo Milanes, Cuban Singer and Composer.

Virtually Speaking: No Sunday show.

C-SPAN’s Book TV.

FDL’s Book Salon: All the Things You Are: The Life of Tony Bennett. “The first complete biography of singing legend Tony Bennett.”  Come croon along with author David Evanier and charming host Eric Comstack, 5pm ET.

FDL Movie Night Monday: There’s No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books. “Rachel Rosenfelt, founder of the literary website The New Inquiry, described Brazenhead as a mecca for book lovers and as one of those rare New York City gems, an extremely fascinating, yet unknown, spot.”  Watch the short film right here, then Monday, come join host Lisa Derrick and filmmaker Andrew David Watson, 8pm ET.



Government Lawsuits Against Big Banks Are a Go

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Government Lawsuits Against Big Banks Are a Go
Federal regulators filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions Friday afternoon for allegedly misrepresenting the poor quality of mortgage securities they sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the height of the housing bubble. But while the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed the complaints at the close of business Friday, forewarning of the impending lawsuits had investors unloading shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The suits stem from information drawn from 64 subpoenas that were issued a year ago. In addition to the companies, the complaints also name individuals at the firms who the government believes were responsible for pushing to turn subprime mortgages into securities with inflated credit ratings. —BF The New York Times: Within minutes of the filing of the suits, several banks responded with a preview of the legal arguments they will make in the coming months, namely that Fannie and Freddie were sophisticated investors who should have known the securities were not without risk, and that the losses were caused not by fraud or misrepresentation but by underlying difficulties in the housing market. In a statement, Bank of America said Fannie and Freddie “claimed to understand the risks inherent in investing in subprime securities and continued to invest heavily in those securities even after their regulator told them they did not have the risk management capabilities to do so.” In spite of that warning, Bank of America said, the government-controlled mortgage giants “are now seeking to hold other market participants responsible for their losses.” Read more

Federal regulators filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions Friday afternoon for allegedly misrepresenting the poor quality of mortgage securities they sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the height of the housing bubble.

But while the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed the complaints at the close of business Friday, forewarning of the impending lawsuits had investors unloading shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

The suits stem from information drawn from 64 subpoenas that were issued a year ago. In addition to the companies, the complaints also name individuals at the firms who the government believes were responsible for pushing to turn subprime mortgages into securities with inflated credit ratings. —BF

The New York Times:

Within minutes of the filing of the suits, several banks responded with a preview of the legal arguments they will make in the coming months, namely that Fannie and Freddie were sophisticated investors who should have known the securities were not without risk, and that the losses were caused not by fraud or misrepresentation but by underlying difficulties in the housing market.

In a statement, Bank of America said Fannie and Freddie “claimed to understand the risks inherent in investing in subprime securities and continued to invest heavily in those securities even after their regulator told them they did not have the risk management capabilities to do so.” In spite of that warning, Bank of America said, the government-controlled mortgage giants “are now seeking to hold other market participants responsible for their losses.”

Read more

Related Entries



Olbermann Rages At Obama: ‘What The Hell Is Going On In The White House?’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Olbermann Rages At Obama: ‘What The Hell Is Going On In The White House?’
Keith Olbermann excoriated President Obama on his Friday show for halting the impending toughening of environmental regulations against smog. The announcement from the White House…

GOP Congressman Defends Plan To Skip Obama’s Jobs Speech
PALATINE, Ill. (AP/The Huffington Post) — An outspoken Republican congressman from Illinois is defending his decision to boycott President Barack Obama’s jobs speech next week….

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup
This week, Speaker Boehner flat-out rejected President Obama’s request to unveil his new jobs plan at a joint session of Congress this coming Wednesday, saying Thursday would be better. Forget actually taking action on the unemployment crisis — they can’t even agree on the date for a speech about the unemployment crisis! A few days later, the Labor Department released the worst jobs report in 11 months. So here’s the official tally: debates about the scheduling of a jobs speech, 1; jobs created in the last quarter, 0. Meanwhile, with promises from its author of “heads exploding all over Washington,” Dick Cheney’s memoir was published. Revelations included his desire to bomb Syria, and his dreams of living in an Italian villa — come si dice “enhanced interrogation techniques”? I was going to end by wishing everyone a happy Labor Day, but John Boehner has decided to move it to later in the month.

U.S. Appeals To Palestinians To Stall U.N. Statehood Vote
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a plan by Palestinians to seek recognition…

FDA Creating New Nutrition Facts Label
LOS ANGELES — Uncle Sam wants you to know more about what you’re eating. The Food and Drug Administration wants to revise the nutrition facts…


Dick Durbin To Chair Hearing Examining Rash Of Voter ID Laws

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Dick Durbin To Chair Hearing Examining Rash Of Voter ID Laws
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will chair a hearing next week examining the rash of voter ID laws passed by state legislatures this year amidst concerns that such laws could suppress Democratic turnout across the country.

Presented By:


Upstairs Downstairs: Libya and the new British Empire

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Upstairs Downstairs: Libya and the new British Empire
Britain these days is more and more starting to resemble that famous old PBS series, “Upstairs Downstairs”. Shades of Queen Victoria! For example, Britain currently has all these posh folks in the drawing rooms of Knightsbridge and Mayfair drinking tea with their pinkies held out — while their used-and-abused servants downstairs in the slums of […]


President Obama Joins the Cult of Economics Deniers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

President Obama Joins the Cult of Economics Deniers
A front page story in Sunday’s New York Times gave the country the bad news. President Obama is no longer paying attention to economists and economics in designing economic policy. Instead, he will do what his campaign people tell him…

Presented By:

Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Home Economics Not the Same, No?
These are all different spheres that work differently, right? How long will we keep hearing these analogies about balancing household budgets or belt-tightening? Aside from the fact that it often makes sense for households and businesses to take on debt,…


GOP ?Jobs Agenda? Revives Ineffective Business Tax Giveaway

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

GOP ?Jobs Agenda? Revives Ineffective Business Tax Giveaway
This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) released a memo outlining the House GOP’s supposed “jobs agenda.” In addition to being an assault on organized labor and recommending the elimination of environmental regulations that save tens of thousands of lives every year, the document proposes reviving some of the GOP’s favorite tax cuts, including […]

This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) released a memo outlining the House GOP’s supposed “jobs agenda.” In addition to being an assault on organized labor and recommending the elimination of environmental regulations that save tens of thousands of lives every year, the document proposes reviving some of the GOP’s favorite tax cuts, including the so-called “20% Small Business Tax Deduction.”

This particular idea made an appearance in both an “economic plan” that Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) presented to President Obama in 2009 and the GOP’s 2010 Pledge to America. The policy would allow businesses to deduct 20 percent of their income from their taxes, and in Cantor’s words, “immediately free up funds for small business people to retain and hire new employees, and reinvest in and grow their businesses.”

However, as Citizens for Tax Justice pointed out in 2009, there is little reason to think this tax break would be anything but a boondoggle:

The Republican plan proposes to allow a “small business” to take a tax deduction of 20 percent of its pretax income, whether the small business is a corporation or a sole proprietor. The plan defines a “small business” as one with 500 or fewer employees. It makes no distinction based on income. A “small business” making $100 million would get to deduct $20 million of its income right off the top. (Apparently, a company with slightly more than 500 employees would have an incentive to lay off staff to qualify for the tax break!) […]

A business tax cut is just about the least effective stimulus measure Congress could possibly enact. The tax cuts put more money in the hands of business. But there is very little correlation between a corporation’s cash position and its plans for investment—whether expanding capacity or hiring new employees. Businesses invest in expansion when they believe there will be an increase in the demand for the goods and services they provide. If they don’t anticipate a sales increase, they won’t expand no matter how many tax breaks the federal government gives them.

And the Center for American Progress’ Christian Weller noted in 2010 that, while the credit is restricted to business with fewer than 500 employees, it’s still “an ‘upside-down’ tax break that gives the largest benefits to those who already have the highest incomes” because the amount of the deduction is contingent on which tax bracket a business files in (the higher the tax bracket, the more the deduction is worth):

A deduction reduces the taxable income and thus the taxes that somebody has to pay. A business owner with lots of business and other income will thus get a government subsidy of 35 cents for each dollar in deduction, while a small business owner in the 15 percent tax bracket will get 15 cents for each dollar in deductions…Larger businesses could easily use this windfall to outcompete smaller businesses. A larger business owner with a 35 percent marginal tax rate will get a benefit that is 133 percent greater than the benefit that a smaller business owner with a 15 percent marginal tax rate gets for each dollar in tax deduction.

But for the GOP, this idea is so good that it’s worth bringing up over and over again.


Featured Advertiser

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Featured Advertiser

Sarah Palin, in Iowa, attacks Obama and ‘crony capitalism’

INDIANOLA, Iowa —Sarah Palin delivered a populist broadside here Saturday against President Obama, the entire political establishment and what she called the “crony capitalism” that she said is destroying the country. But she offered no fresh clues about whether she will seek the presidency in 2012.

Casting herself as the ultimate outsider, the former Alaska governor used a tea party rally to chastise the president and a “permanent political class” that she said has protected their powers and enriched them, their friends and their contributors at the expense of ordinary Americans and the country’s well-being.

Read full article >>

Obama appeals to lawmakers to pass transportation bill, says jobs are at stake

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is appealing to Congress to pass a transportation bill that would put money in the pipeline for roads and construction jobs, arguing that it’s an economic imperative.

Republicans say they support passing the bill, but Obama says time is running out and “political posturing” may stand in the way.

“There’s no reason to put more jobs at risk in an industry that has been one of the hardest-hit in this recession,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. “There’s no reason to cut off funding for transportation projects at a time when so many of our roads are congested, so many of our bridges are in need of repair and so many businesses are feeling the cost of delays.

Read full article >>

9/11 aftermath leads one Pentagon survivor out of limbo and to a life improved

Third in a series.

Heinz Linderman steps aside as a tour group peers into the Pentagon Memorial Chapel. It is a weekday afternoon, and he has stopped by with his wife to visit the Pentagon’s most sacred corner, where the words “United in Memory Sept. 11, 2001” have been crafted into a circular pane of red, white and blue stained glass.

“This chapel was created in the aftermath of September 11th,” the tour guide’s voice booms through the narrow space.

Read full article >>


America’s Secret Army at War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

America’s Secret Army at War
Priest & Arkin, Washington Post
The CIA’s armed drones and paramilitary forces have killed dozens of al-Qaeda leaders and thousands of its foot soldiers. But there is another mysterious organization that has killed even more of America’s enemies in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.CIA operatives have imprisoned and interrogated nearly 100 suspected terrorists in their former secret prisons around the world, but troops from this other secret organization have imprisoned and interrogated 10 times as many, holding them in jails that it alone controls in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Candidate’s Religion Should Be Off Limits
Colbert King, Wash Post
One of the more regressive proposals in this still-young presidential election season comes not from a candidate but, rather, from a journalist, specifically Bill Keller, the departing executive editor of the New York Times. In a recent column, Keller asserted that candidates should be subjected to questions about their religious faith.“I do want to know,” Keller wrote, “if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon . . . or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country.”

The Great Recession & Government Failure
Gary Becker, Wall St. Journal
The origins of the financial crisis and the Great Recession are widely attributed to “market failure.” This refers primarily to the bad loans and excessive risks taken on by banks in the quest to expand their profits. The “Chicago School of Economics” came under sustained attacks from the media and the academy for its analysis of the efficacy of competitive markets. Capitalism itself as a way to organize an economy was widely criticized and said to be in need of radical alteration.Although many banks did perform poorly, government behavior also contributed to and prolonged…