Saturday, August 06, 2011

Standard and Poor's blames all of Washington - The Oval -

Standard and Poor's blames all of Washington - The Oval -

From Standard and Poor's report:

-- More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic
challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.

-- Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any time soon.

S&P defends US downgrade, cites political gridlock - Yahoo! News

S&P defends US downgrade, cites political gridlock - Yahoo! News: "Standard & Poor's on Saturday defended its downgrade of the US long-term credit rating, and blamed the move on Washington's political gridlock on fiscal policy."

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Deal Explained In One Chart

The Debt Ceiling Deal Explained In One Chart

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Immigrant Identities, Preserved in Vinegar? -

Immigrant Identities, Preserved in Vinegar? -

From the article:
One of the biggest battles over assimilation occurred a century ago in New York City, and the battleground was food. Politicians, public health experts and social reformers were alarmed by what they saw as immigrants’ penchant for highly seasoned cooking. They used too much garlic, onion and pepper. They ate too many cured meats and were too generous with the condiments. Strongly flavored food, these officials believed, led to nervous, unstable people. Nervous, unstable people made bad Americans.

In other words, to be a good American, you had to eat like one.

No immigrant food was more reviled than the garlicky, vinegary pickle. Pungent beyond all civilized standards, toxic to both the stomach and the psyche, the pickle was seen asmorally suspect. As Dr. Susanna Way Dodds wrote in the late 19th century, “the spices in it are bad, the vinegar is a seething mass of rottenness ... and the poor little innocent cucumber ... if it had very little ‘character’ in the beginning, must now fall into the ranks of the ‘totally depraved.’ ”

Unwanted Outcomes of the Debt Deal

6 Unwanted Outcomes of the Debt Deal - Yahoo! News

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Debt ceiling "crisis" fallout...

Blah.  It hurts my head, but it is done for now.  Probably the only thing that was actually accomplished was Congress embarrassing the nation in the eyes of the world...

The Tea Party’s War on America -

From the article:
These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took.

Like ideologues everywhere, they scorned compromise. When John Boehner, the House speaker, tried to cut a dealwith President Obama that included some modest revenue increases, they humiliated him. After this latest agreementwas finally struck on Sunday night — amounting to a near-complete capitulation by Obama — Tea Party members went on Fox News to complain that it only called for $2.4 trillion in cuts, instead of $4 trillion. It was head-spinning.

All day Monday, the blogosphere and the talk shows mused about which party would come out ahead politically. Honestly, who cares? What ought to matter is not how these spending cuts will affect our politicians, but how they’ll affect the country.

The President Surrenders on Debt Ceiling -

From the article:
Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round?

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.

Are Your Political Opponents Crazy? -

From the article:
Conservatives, for example, see business as primarily a source of social and economic good, achieved by the market mechanism of seeking to maximize profit. They therefore think government’s primary duty regarding businesses is to see that they are free to pursue their goal of maximizing profit. Liberals, on the other hand, think that the effort to maximize profit threatens at least as much as it contributes to our societies’ well-being. They therefore think that government’s primary duty regarding businesses is to protect citizens against business malpractice.

Of course, conservatives admit that sometimes business practices need government regulation and liberals admit that sometimes regulation is a bad idea, but in each case these are exceptions to their basic picture. While conservatives are (as Ronald Reagan put it) terrified at the words, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” liberals are terrified at the words, “I’m from [for example] the cable company and I’m here to help you.”

Hardly anyone holds either of these rival pictures as the result of a compelling logical argument. Pictures come to have a hold on us from a complex mixture of family influences, schooling, personal experiences, discussions with friends, reading newspapers and blogs, and more. Arguments may play a role, but they are not decisive and we simply come to feel convinced of a particular picture. Apart from clearly pathological cases, there’s nothing inappropriate or irrational about this process. It’s the way almost everyone forms basic convictions about serious matters, including not just politics but also morality and religion.

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance | | AlterNet

8 Reasons Young Americans Don't Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance | | AlterNet

A little too leftist for me, especially in some of the jargon, but it does raise some very interesting points. I remember protesting the first Gulf War in 1991 and seeing that most of the crowd were older, not younger... People who had been around for the Vietnam protests.

Of course, I was also there for the WTO protests in Seattle a decade later, and this was a younger crowd. However, after 9/11, I think most of those protesters faded away...