Pop quiz: Elana Kagan will be the next Supreme Court Justice because
A)Clinton & Obama like and trust her, and most liberals like and trust Clinton & Obama.
B) Republicans will not put up a fight during confirmation hearings because they know Kagan will move the court to the right.
C) She has no judicial experience
D) She stands for nothing
The White House announced today that that President Obama has nominated good friend and White House solicitor general Elana Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. Her nomination process appears to be without a significant obstacle. Which brings us back to today’s pop quiz.
Why will Kagan be the next Supreme Court Justice? Is it
A) because Clinton & Obama like and trust her, and most liberals like and trust Clinton & Obama?
That could be it. Progressives were asked to sell their souls- if you like religious metaphors- prior to the 2008 election. The mantra was “get Obama elected firsts, and then hold his feet to the fire in pursuit of a progressive agenda.” Remember? Even Progressive champions like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Wolfe converted many progressives through their preaching so that Obama could then preach to the converted. Now that Obama is in the White House, part two of the master plan (pursue a progressive agenda) has taken a back seat to “shut the fuck up you crazy hippie pie in the sky faggot basterd communists this is the real world and there is no room for you here”.
The left has moved center, taking many self described liberals with it and left the progressive agenda dangling by its fingernails at the high end of an unevenly weighted seesaw. Continue reading →
The derivatives genie is now well out of the bottle, and these instruments will almost certainly multiply in variety and number until some event makes their toxicity clear. Central banks and governments have so far found no effective way to control, or even monitor, the risks posed by these contracts. In my view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal. (Berkshire Hathaway annual report, 2002)
Those were some wise words from Warren Buffett, the Will Rogers of the financial world. He used to say such things at his stockholder meetings, where tens of thousands come to savor his homilies and celebrate their own good fortune–a kind of Woodstock for people who dig money more than sex, drugs and rock n roll. His fans love to party with the iconic multi-billionaire from Omaha with the sparkle in his eyes. The guy makes people feel proud to be Americans and capitalists, big and small.
Buffett’s reputation is as a straight shooter. For years he had only contempt for fantasy finance securities that contain nothing but air and risk. He was among the first to see that if we let toxic securities like synthetic collateralized debt obligations run wild, we’d soon be engulfed in a financial crisis. (For an easy to read account of these “financial weapons of mass destruction” please see The Looting of America.)
But times have changed. Today, Buffett is all about the bottom line. He’s taken to defending the biggest shysters in the country–and argues that his own questionable derivatives should be shielded from government regulators. Continue reading →
As oil flowed unabated from the Gulf of Mexico seabed, Senator John Kerry used a speech today (May 5th) at a green jobs conference in Washington, D.C., to press the case for an energy bill that speeds the country’s journey to a post-fossil future and constrains emissions of greenhouse gases.He cited a fabled remark made by Thomas Edison in a 1931 discussion with Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford on the world’s energy future (which I used in a 2006 article on declining energy research and in this 2007 magazine story on climate choices):
I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
Earlier in the year, it appeared that preserving a strong climate component in energy legislation was going to be a tough challenge, with Kerry conceding in one news story that “climate sort of follows; it’s on for the ride.” But in the prepared text of today’s speech, which is appended below, you can see he’s aiming to keep carbon constraints a central component. As he told me in an e-mailed statement in March, “Energy transformation and climate reform go hand in hand; that’s all we’re trying to communicate.” Continue reading →
Click to purchase "sex Scadal America" by David Rosen
The Miami New Times recently broke the story about George Allen Rekers’ 10-day Europe vacation with a male escort, identified only as 20-year-old Lucian. The story has been picked up by the national media and turned this aging puffer into the butt of popular ridicule by Steve Colbert and Jay Leno. One can only shout: Come out George, come out of your closet!
Rekers is an upstanding, 61-year-old white Christian homophobic and has all the credentials of a great deceiver. He is a Baptist minister, was a member of the founding board of the reactionary Family Research Council and is on the board of National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
According to various reports, he has been a research fellow at Harvard University, taught at the University of South Carolina, is editor of “Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexual Problems” and author of “Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality,” books that seek to ensure that children grow up straight, and has repeatedly testified against gay adoptions. He prides himself for his moderate stand on homosexuality, insisting on “the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care.” Continue reading →
It has quite a few years since Toronto’s Broken Social Scene has given their fans a studio album. With their much ballyhooed 2010 release, Forgiveness Rock Record, a kindler, gentler, BSS is handing out hugs of forgiveness like a, what exactly? Like a grownup? The lyrics of “Texico Bitches” seems to hang onto the anger and disillusionment oft associated with Rock and Roll (the word “bitches” gets repeated a dozen times), even if the melody evokes rainbow roller coasters, cotton candy and carousels. -Davis Fleetwood
Written by Robert Kuttner. Originally posted on The Huffington Post (purchase books by Robert Kuttner)
This has been a providential month for teachable moments. They have included the details of the government’s civil fraud case against Goldman Sachs; the gruesome and needless corporate murder of miners in West Virginia; the BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico; and then to complete the circle, the stock market going berserk because a technical error caused a domino effect of computerized automatic selling.
What do these events have in common? Every one of them demonstrates why the private profit motive cannot be relied upon without some steering or harnessing mechanism by government. A president committed to rallying public opinion to the cause of a more balanced economy would be all over these teachable moments, connecting the dots, rebuilding the ideology of managed capitalism, making the case for tougher government action in the public interest, and rallying the citizenry to his cause.
Let’s review how President Obama has actually done. He gave a pretty good speech in New York April 22, on the Wall Street origins of the crisis. Reform efforts in the Senate are moving in a constructive direction, mostly thanks not to the White House but to the leadership of a couple of dozen progressive senators and the fact that Wall Street is so unpopular that even some Republicans have voted for strengthening amendments. Continue reading →