July 22, 2014 archive

Pity Party

What we learned from liberals at Netroots Nation


7/20/14 10:09 AM EDT

At a high-profile gathering of progressives this week, Hillary Clinton was tolerated, Barack Obama was pitied, and Elizabeth Warren was treated like a hero.

Candidates hoping to harness this crowd’s enthusiasm will need to embrace that pugnacious stance toward big business, not just talk about creating more opportunities for the middle class. Attendees here see Wall Street as a deeply damaging force in American politics and they want the kind of retribution Warren promises.

Netroots attendees hail from the most liberal corners of the Democratic Party. To them Clinton is simply too conservative on fiscal and foreign policy matters. They see the former New York senator as tight with Wall Street, and she doesn’t strike them as willing to fight for working people the way Warren does.

Yet interviews with several attendees suggest it’s not a lost cause for Clinton. If she distances herself from big business, highlights her support for labor – a point that came up several times here, given the big union representation at the conference – and demonstrates she cares about the struggles of ordinary Americans, she could go a long way with this group. What it really comes down to, activists say, is a shift in what Clinton emphasizes.

“She would have to have Elizabeth Warren’s message,” said Cindy Pettibone, an activist from the Washington, D.C., area. “Against big banks and corporations, for the little guy, restoring the middle class and unions.”

Even though grassroots activists acknowledge that Clinton is the most electable Democrat on the radar right now, they don’t want a Clinton coronation.

And if Warren doesn’t run, they are hoping another left-leaning candidate will challenge Clinton so that the party will have to engage in a full-throated debate about where it stands on economic issues. They also believe that regardless of whether other candidates are viable, a contested primary would push Clinton to the left.

Potential alternatives some cited include Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described socialist. There’s also Vice President Joe Biden, whose keynote speech Thursday was well-received. Though some activists said they don’t view Biden much to the left of Clinton, they love that he pushed (if only inadvertently) President Barack Obama to endorse gay marriage in 2012. And they perceive him as slightly less hawkish than the president.

The president has had a tumultuous relationship with the Netroots crowd.

They loved him during his nomination fight ahead of the 2008 election, but many of these activists have grown disillusioned at seeing the White House fail to produce much of the change they felt they’d been promised.

Dem base: Fine with Hillary Clinton, pining for Elizabeth Warren


7/18/14 4:31 PM EDT

Netroots draws the most liberal elements of the Democratic base – but they are also among the most politically active, and Clinton will need to inspire enthusiasm among them should she run. And it’s not as if that sentiment is nonexistent: Several people said they see her as a trailblazer for women in politics. But many others also described the former secretary of state and first lady as too close to Wall Street, too conservative on national security issues and as an insufficiently fiery champion for the middle class.

“Does she connect with people? Can she articulate [their struggles]?” Wherley said. “Elizabeth Warren speaks regularly about that. Hillary Clinton does not. … Elizabeth Warren intends to lift up the middle class. I don’t know what Hillary’s vision is for doing that. Would she cross bankers? Payday lenders?”

Clinton is “fairly close to Wall Street, she’s less aggressive about standing up,” said Derek Cressman, who just lost a bid for California secretary of state. “On economic populism, Warren is stronger. Credible and stronger language, standing up to banks, standing up to Wall Street.”

The Elizabeth Warren Fantasy

By BILL SCHER, Politico

July 17, 2014

Her traveling road show powerfully demonstrates why. Warren blows past any Beltway skittishness over “class warfare.” In her recent appearances alongside Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant, she portrayed the options before voters as “a choice between billionaires and students” or between someone who will “stand up for Wall Street” or “stand up for the families.” She name-checked Citibank and Goldman Sachs as among the Wall Streeters who already have “plenty of folks in the United State Senate who are willing to work on their side,” suggesting they don’t need to hold on to eager recipients of financial industry campaign cash like Sen. Mitch McConnell or Rep. Shelley Capito. And she used her signature student loan bill that would pay for refinancing by closing tax loopholes, filibustered by Republicans but embraced by the two Appalachian Democrats, as a case study of whose side each candidate is on.

Warren’s Wall Street bashing has a good chance of boosting Tennant and Grimes because no matter what shade the state, people hate Wall Street. Already this year, Rep. Eric Cantor lost his job in part because Tea Party conservatives felt he was too close to big banks. After that Virginia primary, pollster Greenberg Quinlain Rosner conducted a national survey showing that 64 percent believe “the stock market is rigged for insiders” and 60 percent support “stricter regulation” on financial institutions, reflecting support that spans across the partisan spectrum.

Obama doesn’t neglect the populist critique of a system skewed toward the top one percent. But he stops short of embracing Warren’s us-versus-them framework. “Wall Street,” or its unpopular representatives, are never mentioned by name. Obama prefers the word “everybody,” as when he declared in Colorado, “we’re fighting for the idea that everybody gets opportunity” with robust investments in infrastructure, energy and education, along with a higher minimum wage and increased workplace flexibility. Clinton is singing from the same hymnal, reportedly using the line “we’re all in this mess together” when discussing her thinking on economic issues in recent speeches.

HopeX: A Hackers Convention Meets New York City

While a couple of thousand people spent a lost weekend in Detroit Michigan at Netroots Network 2014, a few thousand crammed themselves into the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City at HopeX, a convention for hackers. Hackers? Really? The reason for the enthusiasm was the agenda with speakers, guests and fascinating workshops and projects. It was the place to be for Jane Hamsher and Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake.

We went in large part because Daniel Ellsberg, Jessalyn Raddack, Thomas Drake and Edward Snowden were all speaking at the event. But I have to give the conference high marks overall; the panels and talks were extremely well coordinated and really interesting. And surprisingly political. [..]

I went there thinking that 50% of the presentations would be extremely technical and go way over my head, but that didn’t happen. Among the programs that I attended:

   Barrett Brown and Anonymous: Persecution of Information Activists with Gabriella Coleman, Kevin Gallagher and Brown’s attorney Ahmed Ghappour.

   Community Owned and Operated Cellular Networks in Rural America with Peter Bloom and Maka Munoz

   Building an Open Source Cellular Network at Burning Man with Johnny Diggz and Willow Brugh

  Darkmail:  A preview of the new encrypted email program being developed by Ladar Levinson (Lavabit) and Stephen Watt, which will attempt to encrypt metadata

   Unmasking a CIA Criminal, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky: A really fascinating presentation by Ray Nowosielski about a largely unknown figure inside the CIA who may have been responsible for epic screw-ups ranging from hoarding data about Al Quada prior to 9/11 to the distorting the truth of the efficacy of torture

   SecureDrop: A Wikileaks in Every Newsroom with William Budington, Garrett Robinson and Yan Zhu

   When You Are the Adversary: Discussion of the infosec needs of the 99% with Quinn Norton

   Biohacking and DIYbiology North of the 45th Parallel with Kevin Chen and Connor Dickie

  Codesigning Countersurveillance: Projects of the MIT Civic Media Codesign Studio which develops civic media projects with community-based organizations

Normally I probably wouldn’t got to that many presentations at a conference but by and large they were all really interesting and many dealt with subjects (like building open source cellular networks and biohacking) that I previously knew nothing about.

However, the highlight of the convention was the conversation between NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the Pentagon Papers leaker, Danile Ellsberg.


The Breakfast Club 7-22-2014

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg

This Day in History

Le Tour 2014: Stage 16, Carcassonne / Bagnères-de-Luchon

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Enjoy your rest day?  I sure did.  So Stage 15 was a big disappointment for Jack Bauer who led for most of the way only to be caught out by Alexander Kristoff in a classic sprint finish.  Almost forgotten by the english speaking media (Bauer is from New Zealand) is Martin Elmiger who was the second half of the 2 rider breakaway that nearly led from start to finish.

On the stage it was Kristoff, Heinrich Haussler, and Peter Sagan who led a group of 69 riders that shared the lead time including almost everyone of note and about 99 riders were within a minute at the finish.  The last rider, Cheng Ji, the only rider from the People’s republic of China finished in a group of 17 riders a mere 12:20 behind.

In the General Classification there is therefore not much change, Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde BelMonte (4:37), Romain Bardet (4:50), Thibaut Pinot (5:06), Tejay Van Garderen (5:49), Jean-Christophe Péraud (6:08), Bauke Mollema (8:33), and Leopold Konig (9:32).  Everybody else is more than 10 minutes behind.  For Points it is Peter Sagan (402), Bryan Coquard (226), Alexander Kristoff (217), Marcel Kittel (177), Mark Renshaw (153), André Greipel (143), Vincenzo Nibali (134), and Greg Van Avermaet (115).  Everyone else is 28 points behind.  There were no points awarded in the Climbing contest so it is Joaquim Rodriguez and Rafal Majka tied at 88 with Vincenzo Nibali at 86.  Everyone else is 37 points behind.  In the Team competition it is AG2R, Belkin (12:42), Sky (38:32), Astana (46:10), Movistar (47:44), and BMC (51:01).  Everyone else is over 1 hour behind.  In Youth it is Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot (:16),  Michal Kwiatkowski (14:34), and Tom Dumoulin (47:46).  Everyone else is over an hour behind.

Today’s 148 mile stage is the start of the Pyrenees and has 2 Category 4s, 1 Category 2, 1 Category 3, and 1 Beyond Category climb.  It is also the longest stage.

Distance Name Length Category
Km 25.0 Côte de Fanjeaux 2.4 km @ 4.9% 4
Km 71.5 Côte de Pamiers 2.5 km @ 5.4% 4
Km 155.0 Col de Portet-d’Aspet (1 069 m) 5.4 km @ 6.9% 2
Km 176.5 Col des Ares 6 km @ 5.2% 3
Km 216.0 Port de Balès (1 755 m) 11.7 km @ 7.7% H

The big climb is Port de Balès which is not only long but has 2 very steep sections with over 10% gradient.  The Sprint Checkpoint is after the 2 Category 4s and it’s just as well because we won’t be seeing the sprinters for the rest of the day I’m thinking though the finish is on a steep descent.

So we could see some crashes as people attempt to make up time in the final 20 km though we’ll more likely see riders drop out under the load.  There have been 10 withdrawls since Fabian Cancellara- Andrew Ralansky, David Del La Cruz Melgarejo, Alexander Porsev, Janier Alexis Acevedo Calle, Arthur Vichot, Daniel Navarro Garcia, Dries Devenyns, Rafael Valls, Rui Alberto Costa, and Simon Yates.

On This Day In History July 22

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.

Click on images to enlarge

July 22 is the 203rd day of the year (204th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 162 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1933, Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.

Like many pilots at the time, Post disliked the fact that the speed record for flying around the world was not held by a fixed-wing aircraft, but by the Graf Zeppelin, piloted by Hugo Eckener in 1929 with a time of 21 days. On June 23, 1931, Post and his navigator, Harold Gatty, left Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York in the Winnie Mae with a flight plan that would take them around the world, stopping at Harbour Grace, Flintshire, Hanover twice, Berlin, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk, Nome where his airscrew had to be repaired, Fairbanks where the airscrew was replaced, Edmonton, and Cleveland before returning to Roosevelt Field. They arrived back on July 1, after traveling 15,474 miles in the record time of 8 days and 15 hours and 51 minutes. The reception they received rivaled Lindbergh’s everywhere they went. They had lunch at the White House on July 6, rode in a ticker-tape parade the next day in New York City, and were honored at a banquet given by the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America at the Hotel Astor. After the flight, Post acquired the Winnie Mae from F.C. Hall, and he and Gatty published an account of their journey titled, Around the World in Eight Days, with an introduction by Will Rogers.

His Lockheed Vega aircraft, the Winnie Mae is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, and his pressure suit is being prepared for display at the same location. On August 15, 1935, Post and American  humorist Will Rogers were killed when Post’s aircraft crashed on takeoff from a lagoon near Point Barrow, in Alaska.

Late Night Karaoke

TDS/TCR (The Table)


Buzz Cut

Desk Pistachios

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