August 4, 2012 archive

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On This Day In History August 4

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

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August 4 is the 216th day of the year (217th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 149 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1964, the remains of three civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention are found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”

On Junr 20, Schwerner returned from a civil rights training session in Ohio with 21-year-old James Chaney and 20-year-old Andrew Goodman, a new recruit to CORE. The next day–June 21–the three went to investigate the burning of the church in Neshoba. While attempting to drive back to Meridian, they were stopped by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price just inside the city limits of Philadelphia, the county seat. Price, a member of the KKK who had been looking out for Schwerner or other civil rights workers, threw them in the Neshoba County jail, allegedly under suspicion for church arson.

After seven hours in jail, during which the men were not allowed to make a phone call, Price released them on bail. After escorting them out of town, the deputy returned to Philadelphia to drop off an accompanying Philadelphia police officer. As soon as he was alone, he raced down the highway in pursuit of the three civil rights workers. He caught the men just inside county limits and loaded them into his car. Two other cars pulled up filled with Klansmen who had been alerted by Price of the capture of the CORE workers, and the three cars drove down an unmarked dirt road called Rock Cut Road. Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were shot to death and their bodies buried in an earthen dam a few miles from the Mt. Zion Methodist Church.


Golden Yeggs


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I haven’t written a lot about Mitt Romney because it’s too painfully obvious that he’s a soulless, unprincipled waste of breath, the epitome of the sociopathic thieving greed heads who’ve ruined our environment and economy, as well as an out-of-touch selfish piece of shit who has utterly no empathy or understanding of anything not Mitt Romney.  It really is like the whole world disappears when he leaves the room for him.

I’d say his only natural talent is lying except he’s very bad at it.

Nor do I waste much time on Republicans as the Party is merely a haven for ignorant bigots and those who prey on their gullibility.  The only reason they survive at all is the Democratic Party resurrected them as a stalking horse for their own basic instincts to defraud and steal from the people of the United States, all 99.9% of us, for the benefit of their corporate masters.

Jon is not the only ‘liberal’ who misses the point.

Irony Appears Lost on Romney

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Friday August 3, 2012 9:31 am

The simple fact is that Romney has made claims about his tax returns that he refuses to provide proof for. The position of the Romney campaign is that the everyone should simply trust what Romney says about his taxes even though Romney won’t verify them by releasing his returns. Now that Reid is the one making claims about Romney’s tax returns, though, Romney ironically claims it is totally unacceptable for someone to make statements unless they are willing to provide the proof to back them up.

In the same interview Romney attacks Reid for not being willing to “put up” proof to back up his claims, Romney makes his own counterclaims that Reid is not telling the truth, while he himself is still refusing to “put up” the simple piece of proof that would show if Reid is wrong.

It really is that transparent, and it would be ‘irresponsible’ not to speculate.

The problem is that Democrats are lying too when they say what matters is ‘electoral victory’.

Reid Quadruples and Quintuples Down on Romney Tax Return Comments

By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake

Friday August 3, 2012 10:56 am

The liberal squishes deeply concerned with Reid “playing dirty” are sadly typical, but it’s not going to change Reid’s position.

In yet ANOTHER comment (quintupling down?), Reid welcomed Romney to Nevada by reiterating that he couldn’t be confirmed by the Senate to a Presidential appointment without releasing more tax returns, adding that “The contents of the one year of returns he has released would probably be enough to tank his nomination anyway: secret overseas bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, tax avoidance tricks and a lower tax rate than middle-class families pay.” He also connected the tax plan Romney has put out, the subject of a damning Tax Policy Center report this week, to the tax returns issue. Not only is the very rich Romney hiding his tax exposure, he’s planning as President to make millionaires pay less and the middle class pay more. “In short, Romney’s message to Nevadans is this: he won’t release his taxes, but he wants to raise yours.” That’s a winning slogan.

My final point is, and I’ve said this before, you can stop talking about Democrats being “weak.” They know how to play politics; none of them got into office as idealistic rubes. They can be tough. They can play dirty. They just don’t want to do that for things like genuine universal health care or increasing Social Security benefits or protecting the climate or ensuring workers’ rights to collective bargaining. When it’s about getting their guy re-elected, sure they’ll get tough. Just not on, you know, liberal policy, which isn’t really their main focus.

A government unresponsive to the needs of the people will inevitably fail.

You Know It’s Bad

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

You know it’s bad when even the neo-conservatives admit it.

American Enterprise Institute: U.S. Austerity Measures Hurting Broader Economy

Austerity lovers of the world take note: Cutting government spending hurts the economy and it’s not just the Paul Krugmans of the world that say so.

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, has some data out indicating that cutting government spending may be off-setting private sector growth. That’s notable, especially when coming from an organization with the motto “Freedom. Opportunity. Enterprise.”

Public sector GDP — a measure of the goods and services produced by the government — has shrunk for eight consecutive quarters, according to AEI. At the same time, private sector growth has increased for 12 quarters in a row, indicating that America’s slow overall GDP growth may mostly be a result of a drop in government spending.

In just the last year, federal spending has fallen more than 3 percent, and the cuts may be countering private-sector growth, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The findings show that slashing government spending may not exactly be the best way to boost the economy, even though that’s exactly what lawmakers around the world are considering. That some of the data comes from conservative-leaning AEI adds fuel to the arguments of progressive economists, who argue that painful austerity measures don’t help economies in trouble; they hurt them.

Would somebody please wake up and smell the coffee?  

Olympic Firsts for a Determined Champion

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

On Thursday night a diminutive 16 year old took the gold medal in Individual Gymnastics and accomplished something unique, not once but twice with the same performance. Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas, a member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics teama member of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, became first African-American and first woman of color in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. She did it with support and encouragement from her family in Virginia Beach and her adopted family in Des Moines, Iowa where she trained under Liang Chow, the former coach of 2008 Summer Olympics gold medal-winner Shawn Johnson.

She’s not done yet. Gabby is scheduled to compete in the finals of uneven bars on August 6 and balance beam on August 7.

Fly, Gabby, fly.

Popular Culture 20120803: Leroy Jethro Gibbs

NCIS is really a good TeeVee program.  The writing is realistic, the characters well developed, and the mysteries usually pretty good, often with last minute twists.  Of all of the characters, Gibbs (played with aplomb by Mark Harmon) is by far the most complex.

This piece is not intended to be a history of the show, but rather my take on the personality of the character.  Various scenes that I remember may be used to illustrate my points, but once again this is more of a character analysis of Gibbs than a narrative of the program.

First and foremost, Gibbs is damaged goods.  He was always in trouble when he was a kid, often rescued by his father, Jackson (played by the wonderful Ralph Waite).  Some of these incidents are told in flashback, and the young Gibbs is played by Sean Harmon, Mark Harmon’s son by Pam Dawber.

Challenging Tradition

Many moons ago…back in the early 90s when I was transitioning, I had an online transwoman friend who lived in England, was blind, and had attended one of the colleges at Oxford.  I don’t recall which college it was, but it was definitely Men Only at the time.  It was Men Only to the point that it refused to recognize any graduates which may have transitioned from male to female, preferring to remove them from the historical list.

I am sure my friend is amazed at how tradition has now been altered at Oxford University.  Amid concerns that its strict academic dress code was unfair to transgender students, Oxford has adopted new regulations removing the requirement that students wear ceremonial clothing specific to their gender.

That is, male-born people will be allowed to sit exams in skirts and stockings and women-born people will have the option of wearing suits and bow ties.