Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 13, 2010

THURSDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Shahzad's in custody, but the case continues: "Federal authorities raided a half-dozen locations in Long Island, New Jersey and the Boston area early Thursday morning and took three people into custody as part of the investigation into the failed Times Square car bombing, which Obama administration officials have said was aided and directed by the Pakistani Taliban."

* If at first BP doesn't succeed: "Setting aside their 'top hat' strategy for now, BP officials said Thursday they would instead try threading a small tube into a jagged pipe gushing crude from the Gulf seafloor."

* Predictable GOP opposition: "Senate Democrats seeking to punish BP for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were turned back Thursday when they sought quick passage of legislation that significantly raises oil companies' liability cap on economic damages from offshore disasters." It was Sen. Lisa Murkowki (R-Alaska) doing the oil industry's bidding.

* In related news, Transocean desperately hopes to limit its liability for the disaster.

* Bangkok: "The Thai authorities' latest attempt to bring an end to eight weeks of anti-government rallies turned bloody on Thursday night with one of the protest leaders shot and severely wounded in unclear circumstances and number of clashes between demonstrators and security forces."

* Better, but not good enough: "The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits dropped for a fourth straight week, a sign that employers are retaining more workers as the economy expands."

* Wall Street scrutiny broadens: "The New York attorney general has started an investigation of eight banks to determine whether they provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate the grades of certain mortgage securities, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation."

* In related news, some key amendments were added to the Wall Street reform package today.

* Brad Johnson goes over the details of the new American Power Act, and compares it to recently considered related measures.

* The White House sends the new START to the Senate for consideration.

* After excessive delays, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Goodwin Liu judicial nomination on a party-line vote, 12 to 7.

* John Cole puts together a compelling list of what we've learned this week about "What It Takes To Be a Justice."

* Taking a fresh look at student loan debt.

* Some of the nation's leading milbloggers, including a few very conservative sites, support DADT repeal.

* Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) takes the wind from far-right sails, agrees that Elena Kagan supports the military.

* I'm not the only one who embraces the notion of "conversation enders."

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Comments

Thanks for an informative/interesting read. The more I begin to hear about NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the more it seems he takes his duties seriously. That's a good thing. Hopefully he means it and isn't merely posturing during an election cycle.

Posted by: Al on May 13, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

The full extent of the ecological catastrophe of the gulf oil leak is not being reported by the US media. One of the most vital ecosystems in the world is going to be destroyed, irrevocably.

We are literally poisoning the Earth's biosphere to death.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Kerry and Independent Senator Lieberman are trying to pretend that their dirty-energy bailout bill will address "climate change" by squandering tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to promote MORE offshore oil drilling, MORE coal, MORE natural gas and MORE nuclear power.

And of course the Republicans are opposing it -- because it doesn't do ENOUGH to enrich the rich and powerful fossil fuel and nuclear power corporations at public expense.

It's like a bad joke. A very, very, very bad joke.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on May 13, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

School lunch funding and rules are being considered in Congress. The initial proposal from the Senate Ag committee (chaired by Lincoln (D-WalMart/Tyson/really-rich-people) is miserly, giving our next generation just a few cents more per meal. So Rachael Ray took her star power to the Hill to lobby for a better plan. She's also been using her TV show to help build support for better school lunches.

Posted by: meander on May 13, 2010 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Shadegg, Horne, and Brewer's "white's only" law

Josh Marshall gets it rigth on AZ's new "you can't teach your Hispanic-children-Hispanic-history law:

But this isn't about law and order or undocumented status. But this is much more clearly a law ... to put it right out there, about white folks in Arizona who want the people in the Latino community to stop complaining so much. I mean, that's was this is about.

You know it's bad when Middle Schoolers in Tucson are motivated to form a human barricade:

At TUSD's central office, students chanted various slogans including, "Education is not a crime." They linked arms and formed a human chain to prevent Horne from entering the building.
"That bill is nothing but lies, and it claims that our classes breed racial chauvinism," said Alfonso Chavez, a Tucson High senior. "We understand that we are missing one day of our education, but we are willing to do that to save our classes for the future.
"Wakefield students were escorted by Mexican-American studies teacher Alexandro Escamilla, who said he went along to monitor the children.
One of those students was 12-year-old Erica Madrid, who said she wasn't sure what she doing at the protest and simply wanted to join her friends. Juan Yanez, an eighth-grader, had a stronger sense of what was going on and said his parents allowed him to attend only after he was able to identify the cause.
"I want to be able to learn about Mexican culture," he said. "It's wrong to take it away."

Are you following this Major League Baseball?
Why would you allow your all-star game to be in Phoenix?

Posted by: koreyel on May 13, 2010 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

koreyel: Have you found www.edgeofsports.com with David Zirin, yet? He is all over the MLB/D-Backs/All Star game boycott. He nails it again and again!

SecularAnimist, once again, puts the dot on the eye of the bogus America's Power Act. We cannot legislate Nature/Physics 'cause It doesn't care. If you were Nature, would you give your abuser one inch of slack? I sometimes wonder how energy CEOs and other executives got to those positions with their lack of vision. As I said in a post yesterday, with all the billions and trillions of dollars available to fund the closing of the Gusher in the Gulf, not one gallon has been stopped from flowing into the gulf and beyond. Last night, on TRMS, Rachel revealed that the Horizon platform was "flagged" to the Marshall Islands, which has the least restrictive regulations on oil platforms, which must be "flagged" like ocean-going vessels. The Coast Guard is not authorized to inspect the platform, but must allow a Marshall Islands agent to do the inspections and then sign on of their report. Did you hear this on CNN or ABC? Fox? CBS? NBC? Only on MSNBC/Rachel Maddow.

Soon we will enjoy $50/lb gulf shrimp, no oil necessary to fry.

Blessings,
st john

Posted by: st john on May 13, 2010 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Soon we will enjoy $50/lb gulf shrimp, no oil necessary to fry.
Posted by: st john on May 13, 2010 at 6:33 PM

Brits have their "Fish 'n' Chips", we'll learn to like "Fish 'n' Crude".
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[...] Transocean desperately hopes to limit its liability for the disaster. -- Steve Benen

All of them do but only Halliburton seems to be successful. Heads of all three firms involved were "interrogated" in Congress the other day but you wouldn't know it, from reading the papers. Yeah, so maybe it was Transocean's rig and BP's "project" but it was Halliburton's shoddy cementing work that blew the hole in the pipe, no?

Posted by: exlibra on May 13, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

[...] some key amendments were added to the Wall Street reform package today. -- Steve Benen

Yeah; Franken wrote me to tell me all about it at least half an hour before Benen did. For some reason, reading Franken's announcement, I was reminded of my old dog, when he'd fetch the tennis ball I'd thrown for him. All a-grinning and tail wagging, waiting for his praise (good dog! yes, you are!)and a treat :)

Posted by: exlibra on May 13, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

The New York attorney general has started an investigation of eight banks to determine whether they provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate the grades of certain mortgage securities, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

Nah. They just paid their money and had their way with them. The ratings agencies were whores for the money.

It’s all about the Benjamins.

Posted by: Joe Friday on May 13, 2010 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

From the link: "A better solution might address the root cause of the problem? Why does South Carolina charge more in tuition than South Carolina families can afford? How much can students and families really afford to spend on education? And, perhaps most importantly, how important is it for students to be able to access affordable education?"

(in Arizona)

root cause of the problem: The Arizona State Legislature has cut funding for universities so that the rgeents have raised resident undergrad tuition from $2,484 a semester for Fall 2002 to $8,237 a semester fior Fall 2011 a 331% increase.

Why does Arizona charge almost 16% of before tax median income for a family of four for resident under grad tuition so that students have to go into so much debt? Because the State Legislature refuses to fund the university at levels which the average resident can afford. U of A is also a land grant university which means its for the middle and lower income classes.

How much can students and families really afford to spend on education? I would think $1000 a semester would be a good price for median income people... so that the funds cam come out of pocket or a the student can get a light job to cover the cost rather than be sunk with student loans.

And, perhaps most importantly, how important is it for students to be able to access affordable education? -- It's vital, if our society wants to keep up its standard of living and improve its technology it cannot afford to throw away the minds of people who cannot afford to go to college.

If you understand that people look up to societies which have a high standard of education because their standard of living is higher, their health is better, their quality of life is higher than soceities which have a few educated peiople and a vast number of uneducated people; then you understand how vital it is to keep everyone educated.

ESp since the requirements for good positions are going up to the point where a Masters ort a PhD is required for advancement.

Why?

Because universities provide concentrated knowledge. Spending a few years in a grad program can give you the wisdom and information of generations of scholars... wisdom which one person working at a minimium wage job would never find by themselves.

Just because the insane and retired and fanatic people who run Arizona think an education is not needed... does not mean they are right.

To get anywhere in the world... knowledge and the tools to use that knowledge are necessary. So why should those in power want to deny an equal opportunity to get a good education to everyone?

Hint: think retention of power and inability to care about the future.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on May 13, 2010 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Companies Dodge $60 Billion in Taxes With Transfer Pricing

While Forest Laboratories Inc., the medicine’s maker, sells Lexapro only in the U.S., the voyage ensures most of its profits aren’t taxed there -- and they face little tax anywhere else. Forest cut its U.S. tax bill by more than a third last year with a technique known as transfer pricing, a method that carves an estimated $60 billion a year from the U.S. Treasury as it combines tax planning and alchemy.

Transfer pricing lets companies such as Forest, Oracle Corp., Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer Inc., legally avoid some income taxes by converting sales in one country to profits in another -- on paper only, and often in places where they have few employees or actual sales.

BLOOMBERG

Posted by: Joe Friday on May 13, 2010 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

In related news, Transocean desperately hopes to limit its liability for the disaster.

They made a bet that they could skip safety precautions and bet against a catastrophic accident that would put them out of business. They lost their bet. They should go out of business and leave drilling to more responsible parties. Their failure should be a warning to other companies that are cutting corners.

Posted by: bakho on May 13, 2010 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Brad Johnson goes over the details of the new American Power Act, and compares it to recently considered related measures.

And here I was thinking his post-NFL career would be limited to a few broadcast booth gigs. But then, he always was a more cerebral type than most players.

Posted by: C.S. on May 13, 2010 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Re Goodwin Liu: I wonder how long it will take to get a full Senate vote. I listened to much of his testimony weeks ago (and that was delayed due to R tactics), he's very impressive. How ridiculous that all of the Rs voted against him. I think it must be tough for these brainy people to have to be so polite to Senators that are questioning them when they (the candidates) know they are miles in brainpower ahead of the Senators when the Senators ask stupid or gotcha questions.

Posted by: Hannah on May 13, 2010 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Re "conversation enders"--he would not lump truthers in with birthers if he'd read any of David Ray Griffin's excellent books, particularly "Debunking 9/11 Debunking".

Posted by: emmie on May 13, 2010 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

As BP can't seem to stop the oil leak isn't it time, and I realize this is underwater and not space to maybe ask NASA who after all did send a man to the moon for some ideas.

Posted by: aline on May 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

One would think that Democrats could make a hell of a lot of hay that Republicans are against increasing oil companies' liability for spills.

One would think, anyway.

This is their world, and we're just living in it.

Posted by: terraformer on May 14, 2010 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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