May 14, 2011 archive

So you say you want a revolution …

… well, we all want to change the world.  In How to Destroy the Democratic Party … I explored an approach that could lead to an independent party with more than symbolic strength.  But recalling the dog who finally caught the car he’d been chasing all these years, it would raise the question of what we would do when we finally catch it, i.e., had some serious parliamentary strength backed by an energized mass base.  In that light, I’ve been mulling over the various 3rd party platforms, in terms of serious power politics.

I’ve noticed that some writers on FDL seem quite moderate, while others are flaming revolutionaries ready to take to the streets and launch general strikes and have 5 million people seize the halls of Congress and smash the two-party system (and indulge in a strange nostalgia for “saver of capitalism” Franklin Roosevelt).  But if one takes a closer look, what they are fighting FOR is often quite vague (end control of our elections by the rich) or quite moderate (some version of European social democracy — which seems to be doing so well these days), and sometimes radical indeed.  Furthermore, while some advocate socialism, the collective understanding of socialism is utterly muddled, with some progressives actually arguing that ANY government regulation of business is socialism.

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

these featured articles-

From last night, our after hours weekly feature-

Join us tomorrow for these weekly features-

The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is an Open Thread

If You Only Knew, George

George Carlin was prescient. He knew all along where this country was headed and the majority of Americans would be screwed. George would have been 74 on May 12th. He is so missed but he was so right.

Today on Daily Jakie


SG8 copy

Colbert Nation

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Frankly I think he’s funnier than Jon and more on point too.  Friday he took his case to the Federal Election Commission.  On Wednesday he talked about it on his show.

Stephen Colbert at the FEC? Really.


5/13/11 9:54 PM EDT

Technically, the request(s) asks the commission whether the airtime and other costs associated with any shows on which he promotes his hypothetical PAC would be considered a contribution from Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom, or whether they would be exempted from campaign finance rules and disclosure requirements.

That so-called media exemption allows newspapers, blogs, radio show hosts and others considered media to urge votes for or against candidates.

So, as Colbert explained Wednesday “I did the right thing and I exploited a loophole,” adding “there is critical legal distinction between a PAC and a super PAC. One has the word ‘super’ in its name. So I took Colbert PAC and I made it Colbert super PAC.”

Yet, Viacom’s lawyers balked at that solution as well, Colbert said, declaring in overstated exasperation “I hate my parent company! They never let me do anything. Everyone else’s parents companies let them do it. Karl Rove is a paid employee of Fox News and he gets to talk about his Super PAC, American Crossroads all the time.”

Potter explained to Colbert that Viacom is likely skittish that if their airtime or administrative costs are “counted as a contribution, they would have to show it on the FEC reports. There might be a complaint or an investigation about whether they showed enough and they would have to turn over their internal bookkeeping and potentially reveal Viacom secrets.”

“Why wouldn’t they (the FEC, take me seriously)?” he responded. “I’m making an actual request. I want to find out whether I actually have to list Viacom and the fact that I have a show as a gift in-kind. And if I don’t, I can’t wait to use the resources of my show.”

If nothing else, it could help the cause of campaign finance advocates by highlighting the ability of corporations to spend unlimited amounts to support or oppose candidates, and – as Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen describes it – expose “the clear conflict of interest that Fox media has as they allow political figures to promote their PACs on a supposedly neutral media outlet.”

Tax Hikes Good!

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Investors Say Tax Hike Needed to Cut Deficit

By Mike Dorning and David J. Lynch, Bloomberg News

May 13, 2011 12:00 AM ET

Global investors, by an almost 2-to-1 majority, believe the U.S. government won’t be able to substantially cut its budget deficit without raising taxes, rejecting a core stand of congressional Republicans.

Some suggest that tax increases are necessary because policy makers are unwilling to touch Social Security and health- entitlement programs such as Medicare, which together make up more than 40 percent of the federal budget.

“With entitlements sacrosanct by virtue of the electoral base (seniors and the poor), the only real option is higher marginal and progressive taxation,” Alfredo Viegas, director of emerging markets fixed-income strategy for Knight Libertas in Greenwich, Connecticut, says in an e-mail.

For all the concern about the deficit in Washington, bond market yields in the U.S. are lower now than when the government was running a budget surplus a decade ago. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 3.22 percent at 5 p.m., New York time, yesterday, below the average of 7 percent since 1980 and the average of 5.48 percent in the 1998 through 2001 period, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader.

Twenty-two percent of poll respondents say there is a “big risk” that the deficit in the next two years will trigger a market crisis resulting in dramatically higher interest rates. That figure is up from January’s 18 percent, yet lower than November’s 24 percent.

The “U.S. is spending too much on energy and defense,” says Ivaylo Penev, a portfolio manager with Elana Fund Management in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a poll participant.


Sylvester and Tweety MysteriesA Chip Off The Old Castle, Episode 4, Part 1

The Right Wing Has Nothing Else?

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The “kevetching” from the right wing over the invitation to rapper Common by Michele Obama for a poetry night went on for nearly two days, distracting from the really important news that former President Bush killed Osama bin Laden.

Tone Def Poetry Jam

Tone Def Poetry Jam – Lyrics Controversy

Six In The Morning

It’s a go: Spillway to inundate Cajun country

25,000 people hurriedly pack their things and worry that their way of life might soon be drowned

BUTTE LAROSE, La. – In an agonizing trade-off, Army engineers said they will open a key spillway along the bulging Mississippi River as early as Saturday and inundate thousands of homes and farms in Louisiana’s Cajun country to avert a potentially bigger disaster in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

About 25,000 people and 11,000 structures could be in harm’s way when the gates on the Morganza spillway are unlocked for the first time in 38 years.

“Protecting lives is the No. 1 priority,” Army Corps of Engineers Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh said aboard a boat from the river at Vicksburg, Miss., hours before the decision was made to open the spillway.

Formula One: Texas Subsidy Style

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Some of you might get the impression that I’m a big fan of Formula One racing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  My dad, Richard, is hugely into all motor sports, even the Turn Left red neck bumper car travesty of twisted chunks of flaming metal.  By comparison Formula One has dignity.

But not much.

Ecclestone is a corporate whore who hired the son of a Nazi that likes his sex with 5 or 6 workers dressed in jackboots.  He’s probably just as responsible for the repression of the Bahrain Democracy movement as the Emir so he wouldn’t have nasty icky protesters spoiling his circus.  Under his direction driving is pay to play, a seat goes for over a million in sponsorships and without it you watch from the stands no matter how good you are.

In short an example of Galtian Greed that makes selfish George Steinbrenner seem all warm and fuzzy by comparison.  At least George wanted to win.

Which is why it’s no surprise to read stories like this-

Texas Taxpayers Finance Formula One Auto Races as Schools Dismiss Teachers

By Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff, Bloomberg News

May 11, 2011 12:43 PM ET

As many as 100,000 teachers in Texas may be fired because of spending cuts to cope with the state’s budget crisis, according to Moak Casey & Associates, an Austin-based education consultant. For $25 million a year, the state could pay more than 500 teachers an average salary of $48,000.

If the financing works as projected, the decision will use $250 million in state tax revenue for the races over 10 years.

“With places struggling, spending that much money on an essentially one-off event is tough to do,” said Michael Cramer, a former president of baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars who runs the sports and media program at the University of Texas at Austin. “It’s a very high cost of entry.”

Texas, like other states cutting budgets for schools, nursing homes and basic services, uses economic-development spending to bring in jobs and seed growth. That often involves giving up tax revenue generated by a project to pay part of the cost. New Jersey is providing $200 million of tax-increment financing to help develop the American Dream in the Meadowlands, which will be the biggest mall in the U.S. when it opens.

“I’m not sure of the wisdom of using tax dollars to fund a racetrack,” said Siwak, the Austin teacher. “They’re giving so much tax dollars away I don’t think they could make it up with the racetrack.”

The state’s $25 million is being paid to London-based Formula One Management Ltd. to hold the race in Austin, Sexton said. Formula One, owned by London-based CVC Capital Partners Ltd., a private-equity firm, is run by Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive officer of the series.

“It’s going to Mr. Ecclestone and Formula One to get them to bring the event here,” Sexton said.

Paying such a fee goes beyond the intended use of the state fund, which was set up to support bringing annual events to Texas by rebating increased taxes they generate to cover costs including security and traffic control, said Richard Viktorin, an accountant with Audits in the Public Interest. The Austin- based group opposes government support for the races.

“It’s off-balance-sheet financing for a rich man’s sport,” Viktorin said. Combs is “supposed to be a fiscal officer for the state. She’s not controlling that fund.”

Austin and the state are unlikely to recover their investment directly, Cipolloni said. However, the race will expose the city to a wide audience of tourists and executives that could help recruit companies and create jobs, he said.

“They won’t collect tax money equal to the $25 million” from the state, Cipolloni said. “It’s just a way to get exposure for the city.”

As State Faces Deep Cuts, Texas Commits $250 Million Of Taxpayer Money To Auto Racing

By Marie Diamond, Think Progress

May 12th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

The motorsport franchise left the U.S. four years ago because of low attendance, but the effort to bring it back – and base it in Texas – has been spearheaded by B.J. “Red” McCombs, the co-founder of conservative media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications. Despite being consistently ranked as one of Forbes 400 richest Americans – with a net worth last estimated at $1.4 billion – McCombs has gotten state Comptroller Susan Combs to agree to build a racing track in Austin at taxpayer expense. Austin’s city government may also invest an additional $4 million a year in tax revenue to facilitate the plan.

Corporate backers of the plan and their GOP allies insist that F-1 racing will pump money and jobs into the Texas economy. But sporting experts say the state is betting taxpayer money on an uncertain investment. Michael Cramer, a former president of the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, told Bloomberg, “With places struggling, spending that much money on an essentially one-off event is tough to do.”

F-1 races have tried and failed to gain traction in the U.S. in different cities since since the 1970s. Even Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of the F-1 series admitted that, “No one wanted to hold it,” until the Austin promoters stepped in.

The boogermen



Late Night Karaoke

Load more