Daily Archive: October 12, 2012

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      Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

      The Stars Hollow Gazette

      Winners and Losers

      The Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden Was Right to Laugh

      Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

      October 12, 10:45 AM ET

      Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms.

      But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called “objective” news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, “Come back when you’re serious.”

      The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn’t even a real platform, it’s a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill.



      Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can’t report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit.

      The Romney/Ryan ticket decided, with incredible cynicism, that that they were going to promise this massive tax break, not explain how to pay for it, and then just hang on until election day, knowing that most of the political press would let it skate, or at least not take a dump all over it when explaining it to the public. Unchallenged, and treated in print and on the air as though it were the same thing as a real plan, a 20 percent tax cut sounds pretty good to most Americans. Hell, it sounds good to me.

      The proper way to report such a tactic is to bring to your coverage exactly the feeling that Biden brought to the debate last night: contempt and amazement. We in the press should be offended by what Romney and Ryan are doing – we should take professional offense that any politician would try to whisk such a gigantic lie past us to our audiences, and we should take patriotic offense that anyone is trying to seize the White House using such transparently childish and dishonest tactics.

      I’ve never been a Joe Biden fan. After four years, I’m not the biggest Barack Obama fan, either (and I’ll get into why on that score later). But they’re at least credible as big-league politicians. So much of the Romney/Ryan plan is so absurdly junior league, it’s so far off-Broadway, it’s practically in New Jersey.

      Paul Ryan, a leader in the most aggressively and mindlessly partisan Congress in history, preaching bipartisanship? A private-equity parasite, Mitt Romney, who wants to enact a massive tax cut and pay for it without touching his own personal fortune-guaranteeing deduction, the carried-interest tax break – which keeps his own taxes below 15 percent despite incomes above $20 million?

      The Romney/Ryan platform makes sense, and is not laughable, in only one context: if you’re a multi-millionaire and you recognize that this is the only way to sell your agenda to mass audiences. But if you’re not one of those rooting gazillionaires, you should laugh, you should roll your eyes, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the Vice President or an ABC reporter or a toll operator. You should laugh, because this stuff is a joke, and we shouldn’t take it seriously.

      Biden Leaves Door Open for Cutting Social Security and Medicare

      By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

      Friday October 12, 2012 8:28 am

      One of the remarkable things about the first presidential debate and the VP debate last night is how much rhetorical effort the Obama team has put into leaving open the possibility of cutting Social Security and Medicare.



      The language continues to be weaselly but the implication is clear. The Obama team is open to cuts, like reduced benefits and raising the retirement age. Their only red line is privatization.

      Democrats had the option to make this election a clear choice between them pledging to fully protecting these very popular programs and the Republican plan to voucherize them. Democrats have not done that.

      Instead, they have made it a choice between a Democratic candidate who is very open to “modestly” cutting these programs and a Republican candidate who wants to privatize them. The Obama team seems to be banking on the fact that merely being less terrible on Social Security will be good enough.

      In the middle of a very tight election the Obama team is refusing to do something that would be very popular and could easily move voters, making an unequivocal promise not to cut benefits. Obama has chosen not to use this proven political weapon.

      Effectively, Obama has decided he would rather lose the election with his vague message on entitlements than win the election, if it means using tactics that would significantly restrict his ability to cut Social Security in his second term. This should make any actual liberal very nervous.

      Who Did Kill the US Economy?

      Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

      Bill Maher Asks if We Can Quit Pretending President Obama Destroyed the Economy

      Cartnoon

      Happy 4th of July, 2011.

      Rushing Roulette

      On This Day In History October 12

      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.

      October 12 is the 285th day of the year (286th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 80 days remaining until the end of the year.

      On this day in 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

      The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwiese-“Therese’s fields”-in honor of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n.” Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.

      Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modelled after the Munich event.

      The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasts until the first Monday in October, to mark the 200-year anniversary of the event. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich’s centre.

      Visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

      First hundred years

      In the year 1811, an agricultural show was added to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse race persisted until 1960, the agricultural show still exists and it is held every four years on the southern part of the festival grounds. In 1816, carnival booths appeared; the main prizes were silver, porcelain, and jewelry. The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility for festival management in 1819, and it was agreed that the Oktoberfest would become an annual event. Later, it was lengthened and the date pushed forward, the reason being that days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

      To honour the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria, a parade took place for the first time in 1835. Since 1850, this has become a yearly event and an important component of the Oktoberfest. 8,000 people-mostly from Bavaria-in traditional costumes walk from Maximilian Street, through the centre of Munich, to the Oktoberfest. The march is led by the Münchner Kindl.

      Since 1850, the statue of Bavaria has watched the Oktoberfest. This worldly Bavarian patron was first sketched by Leo von Klenze in a classic style and Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler romanticised and “Germanised” the draft; it was constructed by Johann Baptist Stiglmaier and Ferdinand von Miller.

      In 1853, the Bavarian Ruhmeshalle was finished. In 1854, 3,000 residents of Munich succumbed to an epidemic of cholera, so the festival was cancelled. Also, in the year 1866, there was no Oktoberfest as Bavaria fought in the Austro-Prussian War. In 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was the reason for cancellation of the festival. In 1873, the festival was once more cancelled due to a cholera epidemic. In 1880, the electric light illuminated over 400 booths and tents (Albert Einstein helped install light bulbs in the Schottenhamel tent as an apprentice in his uncle’s electricity business in 1896). In 1881, booths selling bratwursts opened. Beer was first served in glass mugs in 1892.

      At the end of the 19th century, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles, large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. They wanted more room for guests and musicians. The booths became beer halls.

      In 1887, the Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries took place for the first time. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and symbolises the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration

      In the year 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday. 120,000 litres of beer were poured. In 1913, the Braurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests.

      I have very fond memories of Oktoberfest. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Europe, do it in late September because this is a must see and experience.

      Muse in the Morning

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      Muse in the Morning


      Art Glass 41

      How To Politely Say STFU Aussie Style

      Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

      Australia’s first female Prime minister, Julia Gillard delivered a 15 minute blistering smackdown of opposition leader Tony Abbot for his hypocrisy in attacking a member of her party over sexist text messages. This is want Mr. Abbot said:

      Mr Abbott was perfectly within his rights to put forward the motion that speaker Peter Slipper should be immediately dispatched. Most Australians feel likewise. But the words Mr Abbott chose to deliver this message were not only vicious but monumentally stupid beyond belief. Who are his advisers – the Sydney University young liberals?

      Here is what Mr Abbott said: “I must allude to the vile anatomical references to which this Speaker appears to be addicted in his text message… Should (Gillard) rise in this place now to try and defend the Speaker, she will shame this parliament again… And every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament, another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”

      Can you believe Tony Abbott used that phrase? Can you believe, after every drop of water that has flowed under the bridge since (Alan) Jones’ ill-advised speech to the young libs, that the would-be Prime Minister of Australia still thinks it fitting to poke further fun at the death of the sitting Prime Minister’s father. Can anyone believe that?

      Alan Jones made the remark that M. Gillard’s father had “died of shame” over her politics at an Abbot fund raising lunch. The aftermath caused advertisers to pull ads and Mercedes Benz took back the $200,000 car on loan to the broadcaster.

      The Prime Minister, who is 51, unmarried and has no children, has been told to “make an honest woman” of herself, a “slut”, taunted with signs saying “Ditch the Witch” and worse.

      At naked capitalism, Yves Smith notes that Americans politicians could take some lessons from PM Gillard:

      Look how Gilliard speaks effectively and energetically, referring to notes only when she needs to read quotations, for fifteen minutes. As YY indicates, the context is clear enough that you don’t need the backstory to infer what happened.

      Do we have a single politician in the US who could command attention for that long and deliver a blistering attack with so little in the way of props? I suspect this is one of the by products of the Commonwealth tradition of “question time,” in which government ministers have to deal with the cut and thrust of Parliamentary debates, while in the US, we have far more staging and far less real controversy in our political discourse.

      Biden/Ryan Debate Open Thread

      The unseen reader asks- “Is this it?  Is this all you’re going to do?  Don’t you realize this is a Manichean Ragnarok struggle between All That Is Good, Holy, and Pure against the Powers of Darkness and Evil?”

      THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER!!!

      And I’m sure listening to all the play by play blather of the Villagers and their toadies and bootlickers will make you an ever so much more informed voter.

      Normally I’d indulge you and force my bleeding eyes to gaze upon the ritual spectacle but you know…

      it will all be there tomorrow.

      Tonight there is a chill in the air and an impossibly green diamond in the middle of a sea of faces.  There is the crack of the bat and the thump of the glove, pristine white uniforms soon to be stained with effort.  High drama, low comedy, apple pie and Chevrolet.

      Take me out to the Ball Game.

      But if you can’t contain your outrage I’ve thoughtfully provided a space below.

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