Friday, October 24, 2014

The Grand Bargain Clutches At Dems From Beyond The Grave

A short history of the Grand Bargain and why it's still biting us in the ass #2014 #ads

The "Grand Bargain" proposed to cut popular, useful programs like Social Security and Medicare was atrocious policy and even worse politics.  Everyone who advocated for this is guilty of political malpractice at best, and their advice should not be taken seriously by Democrats. 
"It was always bizarre that a Democratic president would believe that an epic economic downturn was a good time to worry about deficits and try to strike a bargain to cut the Party's signature domestic economic achievement --- an achievement  which had lifted massive numbers of people out of poverty. It was conceived as a "go to China" moment in which only a Democrat could cut Social Security without being demagogued by Democrats. Apparently it didn't occur to these visionaries that the Republicans were increasingly dependent on the elderly for votes and would be happy to demagogue the Democrats instead.  Certainly no one should have depended on their honesty and integrity. There have been few more misguided initiatives than the relentless pursuit of a Grand Bargain during the president's first term. And the Party continues to pay a price for that mistake. Fortunately for the Democrats no bargain was actually struck and a light is now shining on the inequities in the funding stream for the programs and a new approach is slowly being accepted as the new agenda: raise the cap on social security taxes and raise benefits. If the Party puts that in its platform and really gets behind it, it might even win back the support of the elderly. And then the GOP will have a real problem on its hands. "

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-short-history-of-grand-bargain-and.html

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Ron Fournier Has Become A Parody of Himself

Fournier-cation: Self-Service Edition

This intro made me laugh out loud. 
"Itinerant Rove-stenographer Ron Fournier, who once emitted a squid cloud of butt-hurt so opaque that Glenn Greenwald called him out for being a petulant crybaby, has written scads of tiresome columns earnestly urging Obama to be more leader-y. But his latest is the Platonic Ideal of a Fournier column, and the header captures the tone perfectly: "

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/10/24/fournier-cation-self-service-edition/

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Just In Time For The Weekend

Unlimited free streaming of The Simpsons

Mmm, binge-watching. 
This happened a few days ago, but I just got a chance to check it out: FXX launched Simpsons World , a site where you can stream every Simpsons episode ever aired. You just need a cable login, as with…

http://kottke.org/14/10/unlimited-free-streaming-of-the-simpsons

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Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems

This is the most important article you'll read today. I'm impressed that Newsweek ran this long and well composed piece.  The excerpt below is not even the best part, which is the first half of the article detailing Schmidt and Cohen's visit to Assange in exile. Creepy. 

www.newsweek.com/assange-google-not-what-it-seems-279447

"Google is perceived as an essentially philanthropic enterprise—a magical engine presided over by otherworldly visionaries—for creating a utopian future. The company has at times appeared anxious to cultivate this image, pouring funding into "corporate responsibility" initiatives to produce "social change"—exemplified by Google Ideas.

But as Google Ideas shows, the company's "philanthropic" efforts, too, bring it uncomfortably close to the imperial side of U.S. influence. If Blackwater/Xe Services/Academi was running a program like Google Ideas, it would draw intense critical scrutiny. But somehow Google gets a free pass.

Whether it is being just a company or "more than just a company," Google's geopolitical aspirations are firmly enmeshed within the foreign-policy agenda of the world's largest superpower. As Google's search and Internet service monopoly grows, and as it enlarges its industrial surveillance cone to cover the majority of the world's population, rapidly dominating the mobile phone market and racing to extend Internet access in the global south, Google is steadily becoming the Internet for many people. Its influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history.

If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony."


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Complete The Harbor Ring

The Growing Political Muscle of the Campaign for a Verrazano Bike/Ped Path

Paco is absolutely right.  We're 60 years past due to add bike/pedestrian access to the Verrazano.  Will Governor Cuomo stand in the way, or correct a historic error?
"The Verrazano was intentionally built with enough space for walking and biking paths, which Moses then ruled out, purportedly to prevent suicides. The firm that designed the bridge, Amman and Whitney, produced a report for the city that pegged the cost of the pathways, adjusted to 2012 dollars, at $50 million. The expense would be a rounding error in the MTA's upcoming five-year capital program. The MTA has incorporated a feasibility study for the pathways into a larger project to reconstruct bridge ramps and approaches. The study is due in 2015, and at Saturday's rally, speakers urged the agency and its consultants, Parsons Brinckerhoff, to conduct the process transparently, so supporters of the path can weigh in before the results are set in stone. "Fifty years without a Verrazano pathway has been 50 years too long," said Harbor Ring Committee member Paco Abraham. "Fortunately, now is the right time for change. The bridge is currently undergoing a massive rehab and we know with certainty that our ask is feasible and the demand is unwavering.""

http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/10/22/the-growing-political-muscle-of-the-campaign-for-a-verrazano-bikeped-path/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Streetsblog+%28Streetsblog%29

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

More Foreign Skullduggery

State Department Contractor Breaks Russian Visa Law, Whines When Caught

We have no money for healthcare, education or infrastructure in this country, but we have a bottomless pit of cash to throw at destabilizing other countries. Our foreign policy is insane. 

There is no question, none, that the U.S. would expel Russians attempting to do this. What the hell is wrong with our national priorities?  And equally important, why is the US media so slavish in their reporting on this stuff?
"The State Department admits that much: Asked if the U.S. was concerned about what had happened to them, [State Department spokeswoman Jen] Psaki said: "They were there to do a training that we sponsored, so I think our preference would have been for them not to be detained, I think it's fair to say. The "tourists" or "journalists" broke Russian immigration laws and had been advised by the U.S. State Department to do just that. What did they expect the Russian immigration service to do? To also ignore Russian law because the U.S. State Department says so?"

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/10/state-department-contractor-breaks-russian-visa-law-whines-when-caught.html

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Brooklyn Spirits Book Launch

Via the Brooklyn Paper, friend of the blog Chris Wertz and partner Peter Fornatale have written the book on cocktails with locally made spirits:
A pair of cocktail connoisseurs have penned a tribute to locally-made liquors — and the drinks you can make with them. “Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough” highlights borough booze-makers such as Greenhook Ginsmiths and Industry City Distilling, alongside about 70 cocktail recipes. And you don’t need to be an expert mixologist to make them. Most of the drinks require minimal preparation, because when it comes to mixing liquors, there is such a thing as too much alcohol, one of the authors said.
An excellent gift choice for your tippling friends or those out of town friends and relatives looking for something Brooklyn. Get a taste tonight:
The pair will launch their book at PowerHouse Arena in Dumbo on Oct. 17, chased up with a reading at the Central Library in Prospect Heights on Oct. 23.
“Brooklyn Sprits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough” at the PowerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Front streets in Dumbo, (718) 666–3049, www.power‌house‌arena.com]. Oct. 17 at 7 pm. Free. 
And at Central Library [10 Grand Army Plaza, near Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 230-2100, brook‌lynsp‌irits.brown‌paper‌ticke‌ts.com]. Oct. 23 at 7 pm. Free.