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Archive for December 18th, 2011

Sunday Talking Heads: December 18, 2011

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Sunday Talking Heads: December 18, 2011
There is Sunday talking heads news, Christiane Amanpour will step down at ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous replacing her. Curious because Jack Tapper was not a bad substitute in the past. Teddy sez:

Stretch Gregory has decided it’s simply unnecessary for him to have Democrats on his wee programme.

Romney’s going BACK on Fox?

Nice to see Evan Bayh settling into the Junior Lieberman role comfortably on FOX. Unlike Harold Ford, he’s actually held office in this millennium.

And from Scarecrow:

Ah, This Week is going to have a debate over whether there’s too much government. Clever choice. I suggest the next one be: Resolved: “The current Republican Party is a criminal enterprise funded to protect large corporations and further enrich the rich by looting the middle class and poor, but the Democratic Party has become too corrupt to prosecute them.” Discuss.

Oh what a beautiful morning.  Congratulations to faithful reader Hermono Mio and his Sveetie. Marriage is a wonderful thing, may you two live long and prosper.

Now about those listings

There is Sunday talking heads news, Christiane Amanpour will step down at ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous replacing her.  Curious because Jack Tapper was not a bad substitute in the past.

Teddy sez:

Stretch Gregory has decided it’s simply unnecessary for him to have Democrats on his wee programme.

Romney’s going BACK on Fox?

Nice to see Evan Bayh settling into the Junior Lieberman role comfortably on FOX. Unlike Harold Ford, he’s actually held office in this millennium.

And from Scarecrow:

Ah, This Week is going to have a debate over whether there’s too much government. Clever choice. I suggest the next one be: Resolved: “The current Republican Party is a criminal enterprise funded to protect large corporations and further enrich the rich by looting the middle class and poor, but the Democratic Party has become too corrupt to prosecute them.” Discuss.

Washington Journal.

ABC’s This Week: ABC This Week and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia start a new series: “The Great American Debate.” Topic: “There is Too Much Government in My Life.” Panelists: House Budget Committee chair Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and columnist George Will versus Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Newt Gingrich.

CNN’s State of the Union: Host Joe Giles. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Robert Menendez (D- NJ. Then, Jon Huntsman. Iraq Roundtable: from former presidential envoy to Iraq, Paul Bremer; former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright (Ret.); and Robin Wright author of “Rock the Casbah”.

Chris Hayes: dunno.

Chris Matthews: What were the best and worst moments of 2011?

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Roundtable: David Remnick from the New Yorker, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, Kurt Anderson from TIME, and Gillian Tett of the FT.  Then, BRICs “why the man who invented the catchy acronym thinks one of the four has been a failure.”

Fox News Sunday: Mitt Romney. Roundtable: Bill Kristol, Evan Bayh, Ed Rollins, Juan Williams.

NBC’s Meet the Press: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).  Then, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)Roundtable: E.J. Dionne and Mike Murphy. Online exclusive: Holland Taylor plays Texas Governor Ann Richards.

Newsmakers: Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the newly elected Chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the fourth highest position for Republicans in the Senate, discusses his new position and the 2012 elections…

Q & A: Author and sports commentator John Feinstein discusses his new professional memoir, “One On One: Behind The Scenes with The Greats In The Game.” The book chronicles his many years of reporting on some the greatest figures in sports history. Feinstein talks about the case for federal government intervention in the administration of college athletics. He addresses the use of taxpayer money for football and baseball arenas throughout the country…

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: There Goes the Neighborhood – Recession-fueled foreclosures are causing extremely high vacancy rates in some neighborhoods, ruining the values of the occupied homes and forcing the demolitions of once valuable properties. Gardens of the Queen
“60 Minutes” cameras take viewers on an underwater adventure off the Cuban coast to one of the world’s most pristine and vibrant coral reefs. But as Anderson Cooper reports, reefs like these are already dying and could disappear someday if mankind isn’t more careful. The Many Meryls – Meryl Streep, the two-time Oscar-winner and Grande Dame of American film and stage, sat down with Morley Safer for a rare interview to discuss acting, her career and her latest leading role as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

To the Contrary: Topics: New census data saying 1 in 2 American’s are poor/low income. Women, Corporate Boards and Quotas. Marriage at an all time low. Panelists: Global Summit of Women President Irene Natividad; Political Commentator Lara Brown; Public Notice Executive Director Gretchen Hamel; and 1 TBA.

Univision’s Al Punto: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID); Pablo Medina, Presidential Hopeful of Venezuela for the “Movimiento Laborista”; Diego Torres, Argentine Singer and Composer.

Virtually Speaking: Avedon Carol and Susie Madrak discuss developments of the week, highlighting recent sessions of the Supreme Court, drawing from their work of the prior week including the wickedly funny Bobblespeak Translations. Featuring Culture of Truth on the Most Ridiculous Moment from the Sunday morning talk shows. Listen live and later on BTR.

C-SPAN’s Book TV.

FDL’s Book Salon: The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good.  “Who was the greater economist–Adam Smith or Charles Darwin? The question seems absurd. Darwin, after all, was a naturalist, not an economist. But Robert Frank, New York Times economics columnist and best-selling author of The Economic Naturalist, predicts that within the next century Darwin will unseat Smith as the intellectual founder of economics.” Chat with author Robert H. Frank and host Mark Thoma. 5pm ET.

FDL’s Movie Night Monday: HOT COFFEE: Is Justice Being Served? “Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman ranked it in his top ten list. And more than fifteen years later, its infamy continues. Everyone knows the McDonald’s coffee case. It has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America’s legal system, but is that a fair rendition of the facts? Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s, while exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee.” Come join Producer & Director Susan Saladoff and host Lisa Derrick, 8pm ET.


Late Late Night FDL: Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol
Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol. This DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television cartoon is from the Christmas special, Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales which aired on November 27, 1979 on CBS.

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol.  This DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and Warner Bros. Television cartoon is from the Christmas special, Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales which aired on November 27, 1979 on CBS.

Directed by Friz Freleng.  Story by (in alphabetical order) Tony Benedict, John W. Dunn, and Friz Freleng.  Produced by Hal Geer.  Animation by Virgil Ross (uncredited).  Film Editing by Richard S. Gannon (as Richard Gannon) and Robert T. Gillis (as Robert Gillis).  Voices by Mel Blanc and others.  Original Music by Doug Goodwin.  Music Editing by Joe Siracusa.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


For Christopher Hitchens

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:40 am by HL

For Christopher Hitchens
It was like meeting a clown outside of his makeup, away from the hysteria of his profession, who appears lovely and handsome and noble, if only because he isn’t trapped in a spotlight at the center of a ludicrous pie fight. 

It was like meeting a clown outside of his makeup, away from the hysteria of his profession, who appears lovely and handsome and noble, if only because he isn’t trapped in a spotlight at the center of a ludicrous pie fight.?

Related Entries



Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:39 am by HL

Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup
This week, the Pentagon marked the official end to the war in Iraq with a brief ceremony in a secure part of the Baghdad airport — helicopters hovering protectively overhead. Although Defense Secretary Leon Panetta later declared that the cost paid by America was “worth it,” a look at the price tag offers a more sobering assessment: 4,487 U.S. military personnel killed, over 2,000 U.S. government contractors killed, over 40,000 American troops wounded, over 100,000 Iraqis killed, at least 2 million Iraqis displaced from their homes, and a final tab that could ultimately reach $4 trillion doled out by U.S. taxpayers (a far cry from the $50 billion to $80 billion the Defense Department originally predicted it would cost). And beyond the cost in lives and treasure are the less quantifiable costs we’ll be paying for years to come, including the strengthening of Iran and the weakening of America’s moral standing in the world.

Rep. Sandy Levin: Two-Month Extension of UI and the Payroll Tax Cut Is Inadequate
The American people digging out of the deepest recession in decades deserve much more certainty and compassion about their economic distress.

Gingrich: ‘You’ll See A Change Now’
WASHINGTON — In mid-1970 an unusual job application landed in the stack of resumes at West Georgia College. A young man finishing up his Ph.D….

Gingrich’s Assault On ‘Activist Judges’ Draws Widespread Criticism
Never one to be accused of timidity, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich is turning up the volume of his ongoing assault on â??activist judgesâ? so…

The Top News Stories Of 2011
NEW YORK (AP) â?? The killing of Osama bin Laden during a raid by Navy SEALs on his hideout in Pakistan was the top news…


Sheriff Joe Arpaio: DOJ ‘Sneak Attack’ Is Just Part Of Obama’s Reelection Bid (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Sheriff Joe Arpaio: DOJ ‘Sneak Attack’ Is Just Part Of Obama’s Reelection Bid (VIDEO)
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Friday that the Justice Department’s extensive three-year probe of his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was all just part of a bid for President Obama to win the Hispanic vote in 2012, even though the investigation began five months before Obama was even elected.


Sessions Defends Buchanan Over Allegations Of Illegal Campaign Finance Scheme
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, is defending NRCC Finance Chair Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) over allegations he schemed to illegally reimburse employees of his former car dealership for donations to his political campaign.


Inspector’s Probe Of Fast And Furious Likely Encompasses Bush-Era ‘Gun Walking’
The Justice Department Inspector General’s review of the flawed ATF program in which guns were allowed to “walk” across the Mexican border will include other investigations that used similar methods, according to the IG’s semi-annual report to Congress.


An Offer To The President

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

An Offer To The President
Mr. President, we heard what you said last week in Kansas – about the dangers to our economy and democracy of the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top. We agree. And many of us are prepared to…

Presented By:

Sorting the Varieties of Republican Foreign Policy Nonsense
Democracy Arsenal and National Security Network head into tonight’s CNN/Heritage/AEI candidate forum with an awesome array of analysis. A long way of saying where you can find great stuff as a viewer’s guide for tonight. For my part, I’d only…


Cities vs. Suburbs: Which are Thriving Now and What Will Climate Change Mean for Them?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

Cities vs. Suburbs: Which are Thriving Now and What Will Climate Change Mean for Them?
by Greg Hanscom, cross-posted from Grist If you Google the term “a scholar and a gentleman,” the first result to pop up is a picture of Witold Rybczynski — or it would be if there were any justice in the world. Rybczynski is an architect, author, and professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. […]

by Greg Hanscom, cross-posted from Grist

If you Google the term “a scholar and a gentleman,” the first result to pop up is a picture of Witold Rybczynski — or it would be if there were any justice in the world. Rybczynski is an architect, author, and professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written a dozen or so books on technology, architecture, real estate — even a natural history of the screwdriver. He knows The City like it’s nobody’s business.

So it was notable when, in a blog post a few weeks back, Rybczynski opened a can of Jedi-style whoopass on writer Richard Florida for playing “fast and loose” with income numbers to make the case that dense, city-style living is the source of all that’s good in the world. Florida included a chart with a story in The Atlantic charting the average income in cities to show that the more people you pack into a small area, the richer they become. “There seems to be no limit, as yet, to the relationship between greater density and faster growth,” he wrote breathlessly.

Trouble was, the income stats Florida used were from metro areas, meaning that they included the suburbs — where most Americans live and work, Rybczynski points out. Take the ‘burbs out of the equation and the picture looks quite different. Florida’s chart puts the average income of Rybczynski’s hometown of Philadelphia  at $46,230, for example. The median income of the city proper is closer to $30,000, Rybczynski says. The suburbs are apparently where most of the action is.

The so-called creative classes, [Florida] writes, “cluster and thrive in places where the conversation and culture are the most stimulating.” … I don’t know if these suburbs are the scenes of “stimulating conversation,” but they are definitely neither dense nor concentrated. Neither is San Jose, Marin, or Palo Alto, or, for that matter, the outer boroughs of New York City or northern New Jersey. So people are thriving, just not exactly in the places where we imagine — or would like to imagine.

Listen, I want to believe in cities as much as anyone. I want to believe that we can make our cities work again; that we, as a nation, have the vision and heart to reinvest in areas and populations that we turned our back on a generation ago; that we can bring prosperity and eco-conscious living to all. But as long as we’re operating on the false assumption that all our cities look (and function) like New York or San Francisco, we’ll never be able to tackle the very real issues that hold them back. Nor will we be able to solve the even bigger riddle — forging a sustainable future for the suburbs.

I called Rybczynski to get a little perspective on the matter. Here’s what he said.

Q. Why did you feel compelled to call out Richard Florida on his story in The Atlantic?

A. I had come across this a number of times — particularly the statistic about how the majority of world population for the first time is urban rather than rural. It’s true, but that statistic is always based on metropolitan regions. It’s not that the central cities have grown to encompass so much of the population, but that entire metropolitan regions, which include majority suburbs in most cases, are growing.

I was struck by the table that The Atlantic included, which had average household incomes — they said in cities, but in fact the numbers were from metropolitan areas. It didn’t really support the thesis of the article which was that somehow cities with their density and way of life were really what urbanization was all about.

Q. These numbers are often used to back up the story of the “triumph of the city” or an “urban renaissance.” Are we seeing an urban renaissance in this country right now?

A. I wouldn’t call it that. Certain downtowns have revived in a way that would have been quite unpredicted 40 years ago. Cities like Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Washington — these cities attract young professionals and retired people. I don’t think you would have predicted that in the 1950s and 60s. In that sense, there is a renaissance, but it is restricted to downtown living, and a certain number of cities …

It seems like a bigger percentage because these are people are younger, richer — they make more noise culturally. Florida is right about that part of his argument. There is a creative class and it does live in the cities. It’s disproportionately noisy culturally. But it’s a very tiny number of people.

Q. What do you make of polls that say that large numbers of Baby Boomers and Millennials are interested in, if not moving back to the city, then at least living more “urban” lifestyles?

A. I suspect that if you took a poll of Americans you would find that most people would like to be thin. We are an obese nation. The question is, is this something people will act on?

I’m simply not sure what those polls really mean — whether they’re wishful thinking or whether they’re a significant change that people will act on.

I remember in the early days of the New Urbanism movement, one of polls often cited showed that most Americans wanted to live in small towns. A lot of the design drive behind early New Urban communities was this idea of life in a small town. That really did appeal to people.

It didn’t mean that Americans were moving to small towns. Quite the opposite: They were moving out of small towns. There was never a reality behind that, but the big success of New Urbanism is in part because it tapped into an authentic visual image that American culture had.

Q. Is it significant that 20 years ago, people were talking about living in small towns, and today, people are talking about living in urban areas?

A. It is significant. It does represent a change. I would imagine that if you looked at the settings of television shows 30 or 40 years ago, other than Westerns, a lot of them were suburban. If you compared them to today, you would find a more urban bias. I think that is important. It does show a real change in where people see a kind of center of gravity, or how they imagine themselves living. But to say that this means they will live that way it is a big jump. It’s like saying that because we liked Westerns, we were all going to live out in the country.

Q. Do these cultural ideals play a significant part in people’s real-life decisions, or is it a matter of simple economics?

A. How people imagine themselves living is a part of it, too … One of the interesting things about affordability in housing is that builders could build very small affordable houses, but the problem is that people wouldn’t want them. People complain about housing prices but it doesn’t mean they’re willing to sacrifice anything to get a cheaper house. People have tried to figure out ways to build them smaller, strip them down, but the market has often turned against them.

Q. With climate change and rising oil prices, it does seem like the stars are aligning to convince Americans that it really is time to make the shift to denser, less car-dependent living.

A. Rising gas prices have effects on cities, but they’re not all positive. A lot of the employment has moved to the suburbs. Reverse commuting — commuting out of the city to the suburbs — is now bigger than traditional commuting from suburbs to cities. A lot of people who have suburban jobs live in the city because they like the lifestyle. What happens if gas prices go up? They move to the suburbs. That could actually have a negative impact on the city.

Q. If you had to imagine what this country will look like in 20 or 30 or 50 years, do you have any predictions?

A. Automobile travel and inexpensive gasoline were the biggest effects on our urban patterns. My assumption has always been that having committed ourselves to that, we’re going to do whatever it takes to make that pattern work, which means that a), you get the absolute last drop of gas out of the underground, whether it’s shale or tar sands or whatever it is; and b), you’ll make electric cars and hybrid cars and ways to continue that urban pattern. It’s only if all those things fail that we’ll take the much more drastic step of making significant changes in the way we organize ourselves.

Q. We’re going to run this to its logical conclusion, then. That’s not going to be pretty.

A. I’m not as pessimistic in the sense that the whole thing is going to collapse. We’ll find ways to make it work. There’s so much excess in the system. When gas spiked a few years ago, immediately, people started saying, “Well, do I really need to drive to do these errands? Do I really need to make this trip?” People started carpooling immediately. Every single person buying a car bought diesel or small cars. The reaction was immediate. Of course, when gas became cheaper, the reverse was true. But there’s a lot you can do before you have to throw the car away.

Whether we like it or not, we’ve committed ourselves to a certain way of life and it makes sense to make that work. The cost of abandonment will be enormous.

It’s very easy to second-guess everything and say we made a huge mistake with his automobile stuff. But it didn’t seem that way at a time. You read books about the early discovery of petroleum — here’s this stuff that comes out of the ground with its own pressure. With minimum refinement, it turns into fuel. It’s almost unimaginable. It’s just a gift.

At the time, it seemed like a perfectly rational thing to do … And God knows very few people saw the environmental impacts. I don’t think anybody did.

Grist special projects editor Greg Hanscom has been editor of the award-winning environmental magazine High Country News and the Baltimore-based city mag, Urbanite. This piece was originally published at Grist.org.
Related Post:

Open Thread Plus Newt Romney Cartoon
A cyber-penny for your thoughts. Plus a bonus global warming cartoon: By Alex Hallatt, From the Cartoonist Group.

A cyber-penny for your thoughts.

http://www.newsday.com/polopoly_fs/1.3384499.1323724939!/httpImage/image.jpg

Plus a bonus global warming cartoon:

121511.jpg

By Alex Hallatt, From the Cartoonist Group.


In Iraq, the last to fall: David Hickman, the 4,474th U.S. service member killed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:34 am by HL

In Iraq, the last to fall: David Hickman, the 4,474th U.S. service member killed

GREENSBORO, N.C. — To find Army Spec. David Emanuel Hickman on the morning after his unit returned to Fort Bragg from Iraq, you had to drive 100 miles north, to his home town. Up Highway 29, less than two clicks from the northeast Greensboro cul-de-sac where he grew up, Hickman was in Lot 54 in the Garden of Peace at Lakeview Memorial Park Cemetery.

Read full article >>

Soldier’s gender identity issues raised in WikiLeaks case

Pfc. Bradley Manning was a deeply troubled soldier struggling with issues of gender identity whose alleged leaking of classified material to WikiLeaks could have been prevented by superiors.

He was also a gifted intelligence analyst who had received extensive training in proper handling of classified information and had been reprimanded once for breaching the rules.

Read full article >>

Gingrich’s time of testing arrives

Newt Gingrich had planned a mostly quiet weekend, a short break from the rigors of the campaign trail after a busy week. Instead, he was on the phone all Saturday morning, holding a tele-town hall with Iowans and later a conference call with reporters. He apparently realized he cannot afford to rest when his candidacy is on the line.

Read full article >>

Gingrich holds telephone town hall with Iowa voters

Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich held what he said would be the first of a series of telephone town halls with Iowa voters Saturday morning to confront directly what he called the “political attacks”and “hit pieces” that have filled airwaves and mailboxes in the crucial early-voting state.

Read full article >>


Gingrich of Freddie Mac

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 18th, 2011 5:31 am by HL

Gingrich of Freddie Mac

Is GOP Headed Toward a Brokered Convention?
William Kristol, Wkly Std
The late Murray Kempton famously said that "a political convention is not a place where you can come away with any trace of faith in human nature."Witty"”but wrong. American history suggests we're entitled to put some faith in political conventions.

Obama’s Beatable, but GOP Could Still Blow It
Jay Cost, Weekly Standard
Hot Topics: Get alerts when there is a new article that might interest you.We are a little over 10 months from Election Day, and the Christmas hope of many conservatives is that voters next November will deliver a decisive rebuke to President Barack Obama. Obviously, a lot can happen in 10 months. Nevertheless, many of the fundamentals of the race are already in place. And the news is not good for the president.Next year is shaping up as the least favorable for an incumbent president since 1992.NEWSCOMHorse race polls are of limited value this far from Election Day. The 10 to 15 percent of…