Friday, October 01, 2010

Friday Mashup (10/1/10)

  • I was a little confused by this recent Area Votes in Congress writeup in the Inquirer last week, in particular a recent U.S. House vote. See if you can guess what the problem is:


    Small-business credit. Voting 237-187, the House sent President Obama a deficit-neutral bill (HR 5297) authorizing Treasury lending of up to $30 billion to community banks to leverage up to $300 billion in new credit for small businesses. As collateral, the Treasury would receive dividend-paying preferred stock redeemable within 10 years. Financial institutions with assets under $10 billion would be eligible for the program. The bill also provides dozens of small-business tax breaks totaling $12 billion over 10 years, which are paid for by measures such as closing corporate tax loopholes.

    A yes vote was to pass the bill.

    Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Joe Sestak (D., Pa.).

    Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
    Three words immediately leapt to my mind as I read this, and they are as follows…

    Where’s Joe Pitts?

    Well, to allay any possible suspicion or suspense, I should link to this, which tells us that Pitts did indeed vote No to this bill, though the Yes/No totals are different.

    And once more, if you want to bring this sorry cycle of non-representation to an end in PA-16, click here.

  • Also, I give you the following from The Doughy Pantload (here)…

    Imagine for a moment the entire Supreme Court was wiped out in an asteroid strike, or maybe they ate some really bad clams. Whatever.

    With the Supreme Court temporarily out of the picture, could Congress and the White House ignore the Constitution, shutting down newspapers and locking up tea partiers or ACLU members? Apparently.

    "I have been fascinated by (Delaware GOP Senate candidate) Christine O'Donnell's constitutional worldview ..." Slate magazine senior editor Dahlia Lithwick confessed. O'Donnell had said in a debate, "When I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional."

    To which Lithwick, a former appellate law clerk, Stanford Law grad and widely cited expert on the Supreme Court, responded, "How weird is that, I thought. Isn't it a court's job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn't that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution?"
    Jonah Goldberg then proceeds to meander through all kinds of theoretical possibilities and anecdotes before arriving at the following conclusion:

    There's nothing in the Constitution -- nothing! -- that says the Supreme Court is the final or sole arbiter of what is or is not constitutional.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby give you the “Supremacy Clause” from the United States Constitution…

    …Article VI, Section 1, Clause 2. This clause asserts and establishes the Constitution, the federal laws made in pursuance of the Constitution, and treaties made by the United States with foreign nations as "the Supreme Law of the Land" (using modern capitalization). The text of Article VI, Clause 2, establishes these as the highest form of law in the American legal system, both in the Federal courts and in all of the State courts, mandating that all state judges shall uphold them, even if there are state laws or state constitutions that conflict with the powers of the Federal government. (Note that the word "shall" is used here and in the language of the law, which makes it a necessity, a compulsion.)

    In 1922, the Court applied the Supremacy Clause to international treaties, holding in the case of Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920), that the Federal government's ability to make treaties is supreme over any State concerns that such treaties might abrogate states' rights arising under the Tenth Amendment.
    That sound you just heard, by the way, was an entire gaggle of teabaggers jumping in lemming-like fashion over a cliff.

    More precisely, this tells us the following (recalling the origination of the Constitution)…

    Incorporation of the supremacy clause in the new Constitution was a tremendous victory in disguise for the nationalist cause. On the surface the clause made an agency of the states—the state courts—the final judge of the limits of both federal and state sovereignty, which explains why the states' rights faction acceded so readily to its adoption. But the convention, meanwhile, had also provided for the establishment of a national judiciary, with a Supreme Court and such lower courts as Congress should determine upon, and had vested in the federal courts jurisdiction over all cases arising under the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States. By implication, as the nationalists were shortly to realize, this gave the federal judiciary appellate power to review state court decisions involving federal constitutional questions. This in turn meant that the Supreme Court of the United States would possess the ultimate power to settle questions involving the respective spheres of state and federal sovereignty. The Judiciary Act of 1789, virtually an extension of the Constitution itself, was to write into federal law this system of appeals from state to federal courts on constitutional questions. And the Supreme Court in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816) and Cohens v. Virginia (1821) was to confirm the constitutionality of the Supreme Court's role as the final arbiter of the constitutional system.
    So, while someone can argue that there is no literal language in the Constitution to establish the Supreme Court’s role in interpreting that precious document (again, a stretch because of the Supremacy Clause and the language mandating control of federal over state courts), there is certainly a body of case law that that enshrines that right (and personally, despite the presence of Hangin’ Judge JR, “Strip-Search Sammy,” Scalia and Clarence Thomas, I believe The Supremes are more qualified than some of our congressional life forms to fill that role, to say nothing of any president whatsoever who could attempt to eliminate the separation of powers once and for all).

    This proves that Goldberg should avoid writing about legal subjects in particular from this point forward (and more evidence is here).

  • Next, it’s time to visit Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page for some stuff that is particularly low even for him (here).

    As you can see, the headline has to do with the allegation that “Keith Olbermann has a strange obsession with laughing at humiliated female models.”

    What is the proof? A video of “a model falling down on a runway” and “a clip of Mariah Carey falling down, women participating in a relay race wearing high heels, and the final episode of the Australian version of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ in which the host accidentally announced the wrong winner and a model was humiliated. Ha. Ha. Ha.”

    Now I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t view any of the clips in question here since (and I’m cutting this Ruth Graham person at TDC more slack than she deserves) I’m guessing that they may have appeared during the “Oddball” segment of “Countdown,” which I’m usually not able to watch because I’m cleaning up the dinner dishes (and it’s harder to watch the show’s reruns since they now come on at 11 PM EST). However, I have seen the segment enough times in the past that men are also held up to ridicule for dumb behavior (which Ruth Graham fails to mention, of course).

    Here is the main point, though; The Daily Caller is the last real or pretend news organization (the latter, actually) that should be criticizing anybody for allegedly sexist behavior.

    This tells us how the site treated the story of Ines Sainz, a reporter for TV Azteca and former Miss Universe contestant who was the subject of suggestive comments by personnel of the New York Jets football team at a recent practice.

    So how did The Daily Caller report this? By referring to…

    “The skin tight jeans — er, we mean, the sensible outfit that sparked the current controversy.” Actually, it sounds like the controversy was sparked by the behavior of the New York Jets, whose owner has apologized to Sainz.
    And did I note that a slideshow of Ms. Sainz is included?

    With all of this in mind, I’m just going to cut right to the chase here and say that Keith Olbermann represents himself on television as an individual who doesn’t have a misogynist bone in his body. If anyone has any evidence to the contrary, they’re going to have to do a lot better than coming up with obscure anecdotes about models falling down runways or divas behaving badly.

  • In addition, Phil Gramm, of all people, tried to prove that the “stim” failed here because the U.S. outpaced other industrialized nations in total employment losses from 2007 (the U.S. lost 4.6 percent of its workforce, other G7 nations lost just about half that amount, and OECD countries – think Asia – lost a still-smaller percentage).

    Putting aside the fact that it is thoroughly disingenuous to use 2007 as a demarcation point here since Obama wasn’t sworn in until January last year, let’s look at the example of one of the G7 nations, and that would be Germany.

    As noted here…

    How has this German “miracle” been achieved? Between 2003 and 2005, the Schröder government implemented a series of labour market reforms (known as the Hartz reforms). These were aimed at making the labour market more flexible, with greater incentives for the unemployed to seek work, and relaxed regulations for firms which wanted to create jobs. It is clear that these reforms worked. From 2005-09, German unemployment dropped from 4.5m to 2.9m, and long term unemployment dropped from 1.8m to 0.9m. (See this excellent analysis by Sabine Klinger and Thomas Rothe at the Institute for Employment Research.) Furthermore, the long lasting effects of these reforms probably helped to keep unemployment down during the recession.

    In addition, and probably more importantly in the past two years, the Merkel government has worked hard to boost part time (or short time) work during the recession, through a programme of subsidies, exhortation to employers, influence on wage bargains, and other measures. As a result, Germany has become the world leader in part time employment, and in many industries, part timers now account for over a quarter of the total workforce.

    This is a two-edged sword. It has certainly spread the cost of the recession much more widely across the population, rather than allowing it to be concentrated on the relatively few who become unemployed. This contrasts sharply with the US, where firms have been particularly eager to cut total jobs during this recession. But is has also greatly depressed the growth of labour productivity. In 2009 alone, GDP per employed person fell by a remarkable 4.9 per cent in Germany, while it rose by 1.8 per cent in the US. And it may have damaged the long term performance of the economy, by locking people into jobs which have become obsolete. One day soon, the German government will have to reduce its subsidies, and the degree of under-employment in the economy will become more visible.
    So basically, it sounds like Germany is putting off the “reckoning” here by keeping people in what Gramm and his ilk would no doubt call “make work” jobs if we tried that kind of government intervention in this country (and actually, this is a tribute to the U.S. work force that it continues to out-produce its peers across the globe while coping with an ever-creeping spread of offshoring…not trying to be jingoistic or blame other countries, but only playing “devil’s advocate” after looking inside the numbers a bit).

    More to the point, who the hell is Phil Gramm to be dispensing advice about the U.S. workforce when he is one of the architects of our present misery (remember Gramm’s “nation of whiners” insult?).

    As noted by Robert Scheer here…

    The bookends of the Bush years are the Enron debacle and the federal bailout of bankers drunk on their own greed. And no two people in this country are more responsible for enabling this sordid behavior than the power couple Phil and Wendy Gramm.

    Enron, lest we forget, was their baby. Then-Sen. Gramm sponsored the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed Enron's scamming to happen. As Ken Lay, who was chair of Gramm's election finance committee, put it quite candidly when asked for the secret of Enron's success, "basically, we are entering or in markets that are deregulating or have recently deregulated."

    Part of that deregulation involved rulings of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, then chaired by Wendy Gramm, who upon retiring from that post became a highly compensated member of the Enron board of directors, serving for eight years. She even was on the board's audit committee during the time of the corporation's despicable financial shenanigans. While on the Enron board, Wendy Gramm also chaired an anti-regulatory think tank that received funding from Enron and other corporations that benefited directly from the policies her institute espoused.
    I’m sure the Journal, having presented a column of “analysis” on the employment numbers by Gramm, will present next something of comparable worth, such as a screed by Meg Whitman on the importance of hiring documented workers (here).

  • Finally, I give you the latest from the campaign of Patrick Murphy for U.S. Congress…


    Group cites former Congressman Fitzpatrick’s vote to ship American jobs overseas

    (Levittown, PA) – Today, the Patrick Murphy for Congress campaign announced it had picked up the support of the Citizens Trade Campaign, a group dedicated to fighting against bad trade deals that lead to the outsourcing of American jobs.

    “We are proud to endorse Patrick Murphy’s candidacy for the 8th District of Pennsylvania,” said Andy Gussert, Director of the Trade Brigade PAC. “His opponent, Mike Fitzpatrick, had his chance as a Congressman to stand up for American workers. But after promising to vote no on NAFTA-style trade deals that shipped American jobs overseas, he caved to pressure from the Bush administration and flipped. We need leaders in Congress whose word still means something, and Patrick Murphy is that leader for Bucks County.”

    Citizens Trade Campaign started in response to passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The group is dedicated to fighting against job-killing trade deals like CAFTA, and advocating for trade policies to better serve the interests of a majority of people, rather than the agenda of corporations seeking to outsource jobs in order to exploit cheap labor overseas.

    Patrick Murphy thanked Citizens Trade Campaign for their endorsement and reaffirmed his commitment to protecting American jobs for American workers by fighting against job-killing trade deals. Murphy has broken with the Obama Administration in standing up against trade deals that would give American workers a raw deal, such as the Korea Free Trade Agreement that he felt put U.S. auto workers at a disadvantage.

    “Mike Fitzpatrick says he wants to take our country back – back to the same failed Bush-Fitzpatrick policies that outsourced American jobs. Middle-class families can’t afford another term under Congressman Fitzpatrick,” said Patrick Murphy.
    To help our congressman, click here.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Jonah Goldberg's mother is Lucianne Goldberg, of the famed plot to impeach Clinton.

    Remember Linda Tripp and the tape recordings...HER advisor was Lucianne Goldberg.

    The vast right wing nut conspiracy continues.

    As for O'Donnell. Hang her quote about the Constitution on the front of the fridge so as never to forget.

    If she ever gets to vote on repeal of abortion, she will have to eat her words. She also said she would not vote based on her beliefs.

    In a discussion between Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer, I heard Scalia say that abortion is not banned by the Constitution.

    The video can be found on C-Span.

    The Supremes have used the 9th amendment in settling is misunderstood but they do use it in the arguments.

    Abortion is settled law, Scalia gave me the impression it would not be overturned by the court.

    I can't wait to see the tea bags try because that will open the eyes of many more people who are now turned off.

    I am not endorsing abortion, I am endorsing keeping the tea bags noses out of private lives.