I've posted an Open Thread on today's Off Times Square.
Final Thoughts. Andrew Cohen of The Atlantic on the history of the death penalty in the U.S. You'll have to read the whole post, which is a long one, to see why Cohen says Rick Perry's "wanton and freakish" disregard for the rights of the accused could help bring an end to the death penalty.
There is nobody on this country who got rich on his own. -- Elizabeth Warren ...
Ezra Klein has a good, short analysis for laymen on what the Fed did yesterday. ...
... AND Paul Krugman: "... they’re trying to use a water pistol to stop a charging rhino."
More on Class Warfare from Krugman: "One is that you have to beware of the old trick of saying 'taxes', then slipping into 'income taxes'. Most Americans pay more payroll than income taxes, but the reverse is true at high incomes. So focusing only on income taxes makes it seem as if the rich pay much more of the burden than they really do." Plus other tricks of the trade designed to fool you into thinking "the rich have done enough." ...
... Krugman is no doubt talking about this "fact check" by the AP's Stephen Ohlemacher.
E. J. Dionne: "... one of the Obama administration’s most successful programs is also its most 'socialist' initiative...: the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.... Yes, this was socialism — or, perhaps, 'state capitalism' — because the government temporarily took substantial ownership in the companies.... Today, the companies are thriving. More than that: The auto industry exemplifies how unions can do their best to protect the interests of their members while also ensuring the prosperity of the companies that employ them. This month, the United Auto Workers and GM reached a tentative four-year contract that will add or save some 6,500 jobs, provide workers with a $5,000 signing bonus and enhance a profit-sharing agreement.... The union and the company are seeking to align the interests of workers and shareholders."
The Affordable Care Act Is Working. Kevin Sack of the New York Times: "Young adults, long the group most likely to be uninsured, are gaining health coverage faster than expected since the 2010 health law began allowing parents to cover them as dependents on family policies." ...
... Linda Greenhouse has a very fine post on the legal wranglings over the constitutionality of the individual mandate, an essential element of the Affordable Care Act. Greenhouse writes approvingly of "a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting in the heart of the old Confederacy, [which] offers a powerful reminder of a fact that a dismaying number of folks appear lately to have forgotten: the Civil War is over... and that p.s., the Union won."
Helene Cooper & Steven Myers of the New York Times: "A last-ditch American effort to head off a Palestinian bid for membership in the United Nations faltered. President Obama tried to qualify his own call, just a year ago, for a Palestinian state. And President Nicolas Sarkozy of France stepped forcefully into the void, with a proposal that pointedly repudiated Mr. Obama’s approach. The extraordinary tableau Wednesday at the United Nations underscored a stark new reality: the United States is facing the prospect of having to share, or even cede, its decades-long role as the architect of Middle East peacemaking." CW: in other words, we have willingly let Israel isolate us in the region; not good for us & ultimately not good for Israel.
Adam Goldman, et al., of the AP: "The New York Police Department put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press. The documents describe in extraordinary detail a secret program intended to catalog life inside Muslim neighborhoods as people immigrated, got jobs, became citizens and started businesses. The documents undercut the NYPD's claim that its officers only follow leads when investigating terrorism." ...
... Timothy Williams of the New York Times: "On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Shoshana Hebshi, 35, a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother ... from a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, was on a plane flying from Denver to Detroit when something she — or another passenger in her row of seats — had done caused the government to scramble F-16 fighter planes and escort Frontier Airlines Flight 623 until it landed safely. The plane was taken to a remote part of the airport, and armed federal authorities handcuffed Ms. Hebshi and her seatmates and took them off the plane. She was placed in a jail cell, strip-searched and interrogated by the F.B.I. before eventually being released.... Ms. Hebshi says she believes she was detained because she is 'dark-skinned' — she is half Arab, half Jewish." See also Fred Drumlevich's comment on today's Off Times Square.
Skid Row, Rural South. Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times: "The falloff of the economy of Greenwood County, [South Carolina,] a district of almost 70,000 people that once pulsed with busy factories and mills, was the steepest in the country by two counts. According to an analysis of Census Bureau figures made public on Thursday, its poverty rate more than doubled to 24 percent from 2007 to 2010, the largest increase for any county in the nation. The decline also engulfed the middle class. Median household income plunged by 28 percent over the same period...."
... Skid Row, Urban North. Sam Roberts of the New York Times: "Poverty grew nationwide last year, but the increase was even greater in New York City, the Census Bureau will report on Thursday, suggesting that New York was being particularly hard hit by the aftermath of the recession. From 2009 to 2010, 75,000 city residents were pushed into poverty, increasing the poor population to more than 1.6 million and raising the percentage of New Yorkers living below the official federal poverty line to 20.1 percent, the highest level since 2000. The 1.4-percentage-point annual increase in the poverty rate appeared to be the largest jump in nearly two decades." CW: tell it to Wall Street.
Presidential historian Matthew Dickinson is unimpressed with the so-called sensational aspects of Confidence Men, Ron Suskind's book about Obama White House infighting: "... based on reading memos and documents from thirteen previous presidencies, the scenes Suskind describes regarding dissent in the Obama White House are neither uncommon nor nearly as problematic as he would have us believe."
And speaking of books, here's another excerpt -- looks like a prologue -- from Roger Ebert's book Life Itself. Via NPR. Ebert is an easy guy to like and his style is instructive if you're thinking of writing your own memoir for the grandkids, for the public or just to organize your thoughts. Thanks to reader Haley S. for the link.
David Streitfeld of the New York Times: "As speculation swirled Wednesday that Meg Whitman might be brought in to save the troubled Hewlett-Packard, the tech world rendered a verdict: You have got to be kidding." See also today's News Ledes below.
"Let Him Die," an advocacy ad by Protect Your Care:
Right Wing World *
We're going to have a relentless focus on creating jobs. -- John Boehner, late 2010 ...
... Mike Stanfill started RepublicanJobCreation.com as a joke. He began "a chronological list of activities by the GOP beginning 2-10-2011. I'm sorry to report that none, so far, have resulted in a single new job being created in America." CW: Keep returning to Stanfill's site. As he says, "No job creation here. Seriously. Not a fucking employment sausage.... I'll keep adding to this list until the Republican House does something to create jobs. I unhappily predict this is gonna be one lonnnnng list. After all, you don't get rid of a sitting president by helping the economy."
Down the Memory Hole. Joshua Holland of AlterNet lists nine policies conservatives were for before they were against them; i.e., before Democrats adopted them. Thanks to a reader for the links to this & to RepublicanJobCreation above.
Michael McAuliff of the (ugh!) Huffington Post: "The GOP-led House Oversight Committee may be accusing the White House of a 'job killing' green energy agenda in a hearing Thursday -- but at least ten Republicans on the panel have signed letters seeking to land green energy jobs in their districts." ...
... AND. Jim Snyder of Bloomberg News: "Republican Representative Darrell Issa, who said government subsidies to specific companies can encourage corruption [& who heads the House Oversight Committee accusing Obama of "job-killing" green energy], sought U.S. help in the past for clean-energy projects in his home state of California. Issa ... wrote Energy Secretary Steven Chu to support an Energy Department loan for Aptera Motors Inc., a Carlsbad, California, electric-car maker, according to a letter received by the department Jan. 14, 2010. 'Awarding this opportunity to Aptera Motors will greatly assist a leading developer of electric vehicles in my district,' Issa wrote...."
I certainly have some concerns [about the creation of a Palestinian state]. The first step in any peaceful negotiation for a two-state solution for the Palestinians is to recognize the right of Israel’s existence. They have to denounce terrorism in both word and deed. And they have to sit down and negotiate with Israel directly. Anything short of that is a non-starter in my opinion. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), in an interview with Time magazine, Sept. 15, 2011
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "Perry is stuck in a time warp. He’s describing a situation that existed in the 1980s, not really today.... We sent Perry’s remarks to three experts on Middle East diplomacy — an Israeli, a Palestinian and an American. All three said he appeared to be remarkably uninformed. We contacted Perry’s spokesman for an explanation but as usual he did not respond. (The Perry campaign has become a fact-free zone, not responding to Fact Checker queries, ever since Perry received Four Pinocchios for his comments on climate change.)
Steve Benen posts a couple of photos you should look at.... Now, do you think Democrats will use the Perry, et al., shot the way Republicans used the Obama, et al., shot? Again and again and again? I don't. Maybe it's because Democrats don't think their voters are stupid bigots, which Republicans are pretty sure about a bloc of their voters.
Nice work, Rev. Al:
..."Romney Calls for a Tax Policy that Will Help "Us" in the Middle Class." Sarah Boxer of CBS News on Mitt Romney, Regular Joe, struggling along like "80 or 90 percent of us"; never mind that actually "he's in the bracket that President Obama is targeting with his proposed 'Buffett rule' to tax millionaires."
As if you had no idea, Michael Crowley of Time writes about why Jon Huntsman, Jr., can't gain any traction in the Republican presidential primaries. The article does provide an interesting overview of Huntsman's campaign.
* Where leaders are rewarded for hypocrisy.
New York Times: "A day after the Federal Reserve announced another measure to stimulate the economy, global financial markets on Thursday declined steeply as pessimism about the outlook for the economies of the United States and Europe was deepened by weak data and the Fed’s own grim assessment. The downcast mood appeared to be reflected across the board. Stocks fell in Asia, Europe and on Wall Street, where equities were down more than 3 percent as the market closed."
Washington Post: "The Obama administration for the first time Thursday openly asserted that Pakistan was indirectly responsible for specific attacks against U.S. troops and installations in Afghanistan, calling a leading Afghan insurgent group 'a veritable arm' of the Pakistani intelligence service. Last week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and a Sept. 10 truck bombing that killed five Afghans and wounded 77 NATO troops were 'planned and conducted' by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network 'with ISI support,' said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
New York Times: "Meg Whitman, eBay’s former chief executive, was named to lead Hewlett-Packard on Thursday, the company said."
President Obama speaks about the American Jobs Act at the Brent Spence Bridge:
President Obama spoke about the American Jobs Act in Cincinnati, Ohio, this afternoon. A Bridge to Somewhere. Washington Post: "Obama’s scheduled appearance at the Brent Spence Bridge, which connects the home states of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has drawn rebukes from his two Republican rivals." AP post-speech story here.
AP: "The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week, though the decline isn't enough to signal improvement in the job market. Weekly applications dropped by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 423,000, the Labor Department said Thursday."
New York Times: "Proclaiming his innocence, was put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday night, his life — and the hopes of supporters worldwide — prolonged by several hours while the Supreme Court reviewed but then declined to act on a petition from his lawyers to stay the execution."
New York Times: "White supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed Wednesday evening for the infamous dragging death slaying of James Byrd Jr., a black man from East Texas. Byrd, 49, was chained to the back of a pickup truck and pulled whip-like to his death along a bumpy asphalt road in one of the most grisly hate crime murders in recent Texas history."
Washington Post: "World markets plunged Thursday after the Federal Reserve took a dramatic step to help revive the U.S. economy — and in the process sent a message that America’s financial malaise seems unlikely to dissipate any time soon. Key European and Asian indexes were down more than 4 percent. Investors took the Fed’s surprise action to purchase longer-term bonds--an effort to push down long-term interest rates even further -- as a sign that it felt the U.S. downturn could last for a long time."
AP: "The general commanding NATO's mission in Libya said Thursday that isolated groups of forces loyal to ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi continue to be a threat to local people but are unable to coordinate their actions. Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard said in a conference call with reporters that many Gadhafi forces are surrounded with no way out. On Wednesday, NATO's decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, granted approval to extend the mission for another 90 days."
AP: "Palestinian protesters have denounced President Barack Obama for his opposition to their bid to win U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. Dozens rallied on Thursday outside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office in Ramallah."