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AIG logo reworked
The middle initial says it all.
  • AIG, in the infinite wisdom of its Marketing aka Branding Department (because history suggests that one shouldn't credit the Board of Directors with that much sense), has elected not to join Starr International's derivative takings lawsuit against the feds, stating publicly that it will also use its standing under the securities laws to disclaim any claim that Starr contends it is pursuing for the benefit of the company. This commonsense decision came after nearly a week where, in a display of infinitely-rare political unity, armchair pundits (otherwise known as regular old American people) wearing both types of political striping took AIG to the rhetorical woodshed for even thinking about the idea of complaining about the government's saving AIG from imminent bankruptcy. This rhetorical asswhuppin' was doled out over social and traditional media, no less:
    Former Obama administration adviser Austan Goolsbee said "GO SCREW YOURSELVES" in a multi-tweet tirade. Comedian Andy Borowitz drafted a mock letter from the company to taxpayers, asking for more bailout money to pay for the cost of the lawsuit. Dozens of obscene comments made descriptive references to the anatomy of Chief Executive Robert Benmosche.

    And those were the gentler barbs. The New York Daily News ran an editorial cartoon in which a lifeguard saves a drowning man with "AIG" on his belly. When the lifeguard asks the man how he feels, the victim says, "Like suing you."

    When even the usually right-wing crazy New York Daily News has a go, we know that the public has not yet forgotten that AIG was one of the worst offenders in the events leading up to the Great Recession aka Second Great Depression if not the worst and the recipient of the largest bailout of a private company by the federal government in US history even while it was still paying hefty bonuses to the failures aka AIG corporate executives that were in charge of it all and sending them on corporate retreats. AIG's "Thank You, America!" campaign has now been replaced by its "We're Dumb but We're not That Dumb!" media blitz. The new PR push will highlight screenshots of the interoffice memorandum that was no-doubt written by AIG's Chief Marketing Officer the day news broke publicly that AIG's Board would consider joining the suit juxtaposed across a check for $22BN, representing the "profit" the Treasury made on its "investment" in AIG. That profit being the most important thing because, lest you may forget, profiteering with the public fisc was the much-trumpeted justification the American people were given in 2008 and 2009 for taxpayer funds being used to bail out AIG and other publicly-traded corporate-citizens-from-Hell in their time of woe.
  • In this week's "it's better the public doesn't know how bad it really was—trust me" news category, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has shut down its foreclosure file review process following the latest chump change payout (aka government settlement with lenders in the "best interests of taxpayers") of $8.5BN by the 10 largest banks to 3.8 million homeowner borrowers. Consultants hired by the OCC to do the file reviews that led to the settlement were paid more than $1B (one minimum wage out-of-work mortgage reviewer at a time, apparently) to review mortgage files for these lenders. Yet to this day nobody STILL knows how many homeowners actually were, or were not, harmed by improper/illegal transfer/lien/foreclosure practices (and forget about knowing how many of the nearly 500,000 mortgages under review were written in violation of the law to begin with; we're not worthy.)  And we never will, thanks to the settlements.  Of particular note: this latest B of A/Countrywide settlement has been structured so that everyone will get a little something, whether or not they actually lost anything, even if it means that those who lost something end up with less than they deserve. The words "moral hazard" are nowhere to be found, perhaps because unlike helping a homeowner get out from underwater, this money is being paid to get the government off the back of some Very Important Lenders so they can go back to making mo' money without having to look over their shoulders. It all makes perfect sense.
  • Public Citizen and Senator Bob Menendez (NJ) have raised objections  to Bank of America's settling a $1.4T Countrywide mortgage pool dispute with Fannie Mae.  The central feature of the settlement:  Bank of America making a $3.6B cash payment to, and agreeing to a $6.75B mortgage buy-back from, the agency to resolve all present and future demands for repurchase of the pool, which will remain the problem of Fannie Mae post-settlement. This represents a payment of just around $0.07 on every dollar of B of A's exposure.  Public Citizen and Mendenez have objected on the grounds that the settlement amount is just a little too little. But it's not clear what the point of their challenge is: Everyone knows that it is in the best interests of taxpayers, shareholders and the public for large financial institutions facing trillion-dollar liability to make restitution to the government at a rate of under ten cents on the dollar. The Federal Housing Finance Agency says so.  Just a few months ago, BofA paid just $2.43BN to settle a $50BN securities class-action litigation over its 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch (in comparison to paying $1.6BN in legal fees for its defense), effectively killing not only that lawsuit, but also in practical terms NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's abililty to pursue New York's separate fight with the bank over the disclosures it made (or actually didn't make) to shareholders in connection with the Merrill acquisition at the same time. Viewing the current $0.07 on the dollar settlement with Fannie Mae in conjunction with its earlier one that yielded a restitution to alleged loss ratio of just under $0.05 on the dollar, the system is clearly "working as intended" for Bank of America.
  • It's flu season with a capital F, again. A major city declared a public health emergency, reports abound of folks laid up for more than a week combined with increasing reports of hospitals being overrun and deaths (20 kids so far) thanks to the H3N2 and H1N1 strains running around together this year make the news that Tamiflu is available post-initial symptoms good news, even if it's a small piece of good news compared to being laid up for a week or two (I know someone that could not function for 17 days). Want to do a mitzvah for progressives in early 2013? Please stay home if you are sick. Don't go to school, don't go to work, definitely don't fly or take the subway (close quarters) and don't go anywhere until you are 100% well. Your friends, neighbors, colleagues at work and fiercest political enemies will really appreciate it. Because flu is fugly generally, really fugly this year, and even the public health folks are saying vaccinations may not be as effective as normally hoped this year's cycle.
  • This week, SCOTUS set the dates for its hearings on the same-sex marriage cases it has agreed to hear this term. The Proposition 8 matter, Hollingsworth v. Perry, will be argued on March 26, 2013. The second case, United States v. Windsor involves DOMA's prohibition on the payment of benefit to same-sex spouses where their marriage was solemnized legally in their state of domicile, will be heard the next day. This is smack dab in the middle of Holy Week, the most solemn, sorrowful and joyful week in the Christian calendar to celebrate the Passion of Christ, the week during which Jesus arrived at Jerusalem, held the Last Supper, was tried, convicted, and crucified (or alleged to have been, if you are not a believer in such things.) Coincidence? With the 6 out of the 9 SCOTUS justices being Roman Catholic, 4 of them devoutly so, one has to ask.
  • African-American unemployment from 1972-2011
  • This year sees not one, but two, critical anniversaries in the history of African-Americans: Jubilee Day, honoring the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 freeing slaves in most (but not all) of the Confederate south (regardless of whether or not he was actually trying to do something good for Black people, which remains a fierce topic of historical debate) and, later this year on August 28, the 50th Anniversary of the March for Jobs and Freedom (known to most as the March on Washington and that's not a historical accident) at which the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. catapulted into the world's consciousness by not just telling us about his Dream (which are we are all taught today at the knee even though it was only 25% of what he preached that day and arguably not the most important 25%), but refusing to believe that the American "bank of justice is bankrupt" and exhorting us to the "fierce urgency of now." One has to ask what either President Lincoln or Dr. King would think about what they did and said, in light of the still-deteriorating collective condition of America's Black citizenry today (where the majority of Black students still learn in largely segregated classrooms, our already-high unemployment rate is going UP (again) and is actually worse today than it was 50 years ago; residential segregation is getting worse; it's practically open season again on our young men; and all the while the country can't even talk about Black people anymore without mentioning some other group as if the two are joined at the hip (unless, of course, it's about laziness, crime or out-of-wedlock births) and when it does it's largely to crickets. In light of these historic moments of promise in Black folks' collective American journey, one really does have to wonder if it's true that we're becoming not just invisible, but irrelevant, to the country our slave labor arguably built.
  • The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau released its long-awaited "ability to repay" mortgage rule this week, causing sighs of relief in some circles (mostly lenders) and sighs of frustration about the government's priorities in addressing the underlying causes of the mortgage loan debacle (mostly consumer advocates) in others. Lost in most of the online discussion? The fact that this much-awaited new rule includes only a few of the of the lender reforms that were the promise of Dodd Frank and the raison d'etre of the CFPB. And not even the most important ones, from the perspective of consumers.  What happened to those really-needed and promised rules, like those requiring clearer and unified cost disclosures to borrowers otherwise required by the Truth and Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA); rules establishing stricter mortgage servicing requirements to avoid abuse; restricting broker compensation and yield-spread premium practices which drive up the cost of loans to consumers, often without the consumer knowing; and especially the rule implementing the significantly-enhanced mortgage lending disclosures required by Dodd-Frank? Those rules were "deferred"; with CFPB's stated reason being that the lending community felt it would be too onerous to implement all this changy thingie all at once. CFPB has promised that the missing rules are coming "Soon."  

    Why the CFPB's decision to prioritize a rule whose existence is arguably unnecessary since it has ALWAYS been the law that a lender is required to responsibly underwrite, and deprioritize rules that make it more difficult for lenders to take advantage of borrowers? Might be this little Fun Fact: Under the new rule, starting in January 2014 if a lender can prove that they properly "vetted" a borrower's income when making a mortgage loan, rendering the mortgage "qualified", they have no legal liability if the loan was otherwise unfair by its terms. The new regulation therefore creates a safe harbor that was absent in Dodd-Frank for lenders, all in the name of "protecting consumers." It seems obvious why this was so important: we all know (because we've been propagandized relentlessly with this shibboleth since late 2008) that "homeowners buying more home than they can afford" and "lender's exposure to liability" were the two most critical reasons for the foreclosure and mortgage crisis. The Fed failing to recognize and address in time the abusive and predatory lending and servicing practices driven by the ruthless profit motive of the securities markets? Those had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

  • In other rulemaking news, the FDA has finally issued its (proposed) regulations attempting to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act.  The Act, passed in 2011, significantly improves safety practices in the US once fully implemented (Only took 70 years.)  Just one small problem. Implementation of the new requirements, which will cost an estimated $1.4B, isn't fully funded. So, even if the new rules gain Congressional approval, the almighty dollar is A Problem. The even bigger problem? "We need additional resources to fully fund” the law," [Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner] said when asked how the agency would pay for the new rules. “We’re hopeful we can work with Congress to get those resources.” Well, OK, then.
  • In the "you couldn't script this better if you were making an anti-gun PSA" category of news, Vice President Biden's press conference on gun regulation was interrupted by another school shooting—this time by a student who claims he was bullied by his targets that was stopped by an (unarmed) teacher who used the deadliest weapon of all, discussion and persuasion, to talk him down from the psychic bell tower. " Coming just days after news broke nationally that one of the Internet's fiercest "Fuck with me if you want to; I got a gun (including at the movies), bitches!" pro-gun talking heads (Keith Ratliff) was murdered at his job in Georgia (surrounded by guns) by someone with. . . a gun, it's really hard to understand why we don't just pass a law requiring folks to be armed before starting Kindergarten in the same way we require them to be vaccinated, and call it a day.
  • The mother and brother of DREAM activist Erika Andriola were released from ICE custody after a massive public relations campaign developed following the seizure being made public. The incident once again highlighted the complete disconnect between what the government's removal policy for non-criminal undocumented is on paper and what it is in real life, where last year more than 400,000 undocumented were removed. No matter where you fall on the question of removal/deportation of the undocumented (particularly when they have been legally removed before and returned to the US again undocumented, as is alleged to be the case for Ms. Andriola's mother in 2008), the idea that an activist's family was, apparently, targeted should send chills down everyone's spine.

[Note:  Sorry was away when this posted.  I have corrected the reference to the New York Daily News since so many were upset about it. I read the News growing up and frankly my recollection was that it weren't any better in terms of liberal news to me compared to the Post (which is why I preferred The Voice and the Amsterdam News), but since I don't live in New York anymore and in the interests of folks focusing on the news rather than the adjective, I've deleted the right wing reference. Mea Culpa.]

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have you ever heard about Joe Two Trees? (9+ / 0-)

    I just finished retouching this photo from last week of a Bronx island that houses a fascinating story of as Native New Yorker.

    This island even though it is has many trees and is only really an island at high tide is called “Two Trees Island.” The island at the southernmost point of the New England rocky coastline and just a few steps from Orchard Beach in the Bronx was named after “The Last Algonquin.”  

    On this island and the “forever wild” close by areas that include the shores of the Long Island Sound, Pelham Bay and Hunter Island is the place where in 1924 a 12-year-old Boy Scout named Theodore L. Kazimiroff, while exploring the woods, encountered Joe Two Trees.

    There the man who had once tried to live “the civilized life” but been rejected and abused by the Manhattan population was living off the land in seclusion and believed he was the last living Native American. “Like E.T. the last Algonquin was a being stranded in an alien culture.”

  •  Today's early football is not like yesterday's.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, shanikka

    Yawn....Atlanta up 27-7...

    •  Looks like brunch with the Niners (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, shanikka

      next week -- I'm assuming they'd be the early game, with winner of this afternoon's contest between HOU-NE the late game. Whoever wins that game better not overlook Baltimore; they've got the hot hand in the playoffs. Wonder if we might actually get that Harbaugh Bowl folks are watching for...

      "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:14:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Had a slight bug this past week (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Aunt Pat, shanikka

    Only dressed once since Tuesday, and haven't been out of the house since then either. Probably not the actual flu -- had a one day bout of camping out in the bathroom most of the day (thank Dog for the iPhone to keep me occupied), rest of the time just low on energy. Going to at least try to get out to do some basic grocery shopping today -- mainly been staying home to avoid picking up any secondary crap while my resistance was low. And I wanted to make sure I was healthy before being around my mom-in-law and fellow residents of her nursing home.

    Things like this are why we need labor reforms to guarantee a reasonable amount of paid sick leave (as well as paid leave for a parent to stay home with their sick child or services to provide care for sick children). If kids who had the flu didn't go to school, maybe those 20 kids who have died would still be alive.

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:12:55 PM PST

  •  Happy to announce a big break for me & UPSTREAMTV (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, shanikka

    See my diary: UPSTREAMTV of Bemidji, MN will provide television coverage of the red carpet at the AVN Awards.

    I have some pretty significant political content to get out related to the industry, the internet and free speech at large, framing and electoral math...

    I am hoping this opportunity also attracts the resources I need to pull this off well :)

  •  Life's a Karma, then you.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, JeffW, shanikka, Miggles
    Gun Enthusiast With Popular Online Videos Is Shot to Death in Georgia

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ “If someone has a tool and is trying to negate your existence it would be reasonable to reciprocate in kind with your own tool.” - Dalai Lama XIV (sic)

    by annieli on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:19:18 PM PST

  •  Your last story: We watched the PR battle (5+ / 0-)

    here in Phoenix yesterday (live next to the ICE facility). The gov't says Erika's high-profile activism on behalf of Dreamers had nothing to do with her mother's arrest. Oh sure, they barge into homes and handcuff elderly women for traffic tickets all the time!

    Excellent midday.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:19:41 PM PST

    •  the flip side of this is their "anyJuan" warrants (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother Mags, JeffW, Aunt Pat, shanikka

      where they conduct sweeps of shopping malls, factories, and ag fields where workers have to have their paperwork present or else face being swept up.

      I have wondered why this sort of sweep (if it is still going on; I have been disconnected for a decade or so) is why it was not barred because of being profiling?

  •  The NY Daily News (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverleaf, Aunt Pat, shanikka

    is not the right-wing crazy tabloid newspaper in New York.  You are thinking of the New York Post.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:24:23 PM PST

  •  an important positive example of public schools (6+ / 0-)

    about which you can read in The Great Stuff In Public Schools That Tests Can't Measure

    take a look

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:32:10 PM PST

  •  ICE Director, John Morton seems out of control... (6+ / 0-)

    ...and should be replaced.

    Her is his "bio";

    http://www.ice.gov/...

    I noticed there is not a single Hispanic in the ICE leadership, why? Given that Hispanics are the moajority of undocumented workers this makes me start thinking total insensitivity.  Obama where are you?

    And let's not forget this;

    ICE Director John Morton Kills The TRUST Act.

    In order to stop the California TRUST Act which had gained widespread support, Immigration Customs Enforcement's Director John Morton went as far as to blackmail the Governor of California into vetoing the TRUST Act. When advocates asked the governors office why Brown vetoed the bill, the staff responded that they had received a call from John Morton Director of ICE saying that if Brown doesn't veto the TRUST Act that California would essentially go back to the old days in reference to immigration raids and more overt enforcement.
    John Morton could not allow for the TRUST Act to pass, with the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals now being implemented the pool of deportable immigrants shrunk by almost a million. ICE needed to make sure they meet their 400,000 a year quota for deportations and so they intervened in state politics to ensure the survival of "Secure Communities"
    Who Is this guy?  Who picked him for this responsibility?  Where does this "quota" come from?

    This is abuse of authority.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:32:20 PM PST

    •  just give the RW time as they seek to criminalize (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, Aunt Pat, shanikka

      undocumented workers.  As it is, workers have to remain in detention until they can be deported and begin saving up their money for another run at the border.  As wingers want it, they want a jail sentence tacked on, they say as a deterrent.  Actually, falling crime rates mean that prison populations may fall in the coming decade despite our draconian War on Drugs and this is a new target service population for the prison industry (read some of the public proposals by private prison companies to expand their services to other targeted populations)

    •  There's a principle behind the issue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, shanikka

      Constitutional laws chosen by elected officials in a state should not be interfered with by federal executives! That is simply anti-democratic. This wasn't a voter suppression law.

  •  Some Things Should Not Be Negotiable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, shanikka

    offerings some thoughts from last June in this diary

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:33:07 PM PST

  •  Great stuff, Shanikka, as always! (6+ / 0-)

    It's fabulous to see you. Hope you're well.

  •  Thaddeus Stevens, native Vermonter. Interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, shanikka

    ...story about renewed focus in the part of the state where he grew up, as a result of Lincoln, here.

    "This is NOT what I thought I'd be when I grew up."

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:37:39 PM PST

  •  Bank of America settlements: It's much worse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, Oaktown Girl

    Picayune amounts of money?  That's only part of it.  According to the NYT, they also may get to deduct the payments as a business expense.

    The dollar signs are big, but they aren’t as big as they look, at least for the banks. That’s because some or all of these payments will probably be tax-deductible. The banks can claim them as business expenses. Taxpayers, therefore, will likely lighten the banks’ loads.
    But it's ok because it's the Obama administration.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:38:27 PM PST

    •  There's a lot to blame B of A for . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shrike, shanikka

      but the mess at Countrywide is not part of it.  They "bought" Countrywide almost at the Government's request, because without a buyer Countrywide would have gone belly-up, and have taken a lot of "the system" down with it.  In return B of A was essentially promised immunity from liability for what Countrywide had done . . . and to pretend that Fannie Mae didn't know the score is . . . well . . . disingenuous.

      The reason these "settlements" look like a charade is that they are a charade . . . the "deal" was that B of A would not lose money for bailing out Countrywide, and the government is now just fulfilling its end of the bargain (and covering its ass in the process, because it still doesn't want the general public to know just how bad things really were, and really still are, and the extent to which the government is run by, and for, the banks and the rest of Wall Street).

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 01:14:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Consistent sweetheart deals given to banksters (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      accumbens, shanikka, Oaktown Girl

      show conclusively where PBO's real political priorities lie.  I can't believe that most Democrats don't seem to be able to see that.  We have a Potemkin Progressive as President but the false facades should be easy to see through.  I guess we're just so used to this shit from the Clinton administration that it hardly registers, even by people here who read diary after diary after news story after news story about the DOJ, SEC, etc., caressing the wrists of the banksters when not blatantly kissing their rumps.

  •  If there are armed guards at every elementary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie C, shanikka

    school, there will be armed guards at every polling place.

    Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

    by 88kathy on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:41:37 PM PST

  •  Your comments and action invited (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marjmar, OLinda, shanikka, Oaktown Girl
    Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:19 PM MST
    Salon [re CPI]: "...outraged progressives are organizing in advance "

    by divineorder

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 12:44:10 PM PST

  •  Nice Midday shanikka (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrine kate, OLinda, shanikka

    Holy cow, lots to read.
    I got a flu shot just yesterday because the media is freaking me out! Actually, there was funny thing on Andrew Sullivan the other day about the Flu Feedback Loop - flu outbreaks are partially measured by who is looking for info about the flu, so when we hear about a flu outbreak we Google it and create an outbreak hot spot. It's very Fox News-ish actually - feeding itself it's own news.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 01:01:41 PM PST

  •  Great diary, thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, shanikka

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 01:07:29 PM PST

  •  I know this is an Open Thread--but you (4+ / 0-)

    definitely have offered a lot of important news and developments to consider, shanikka. Thanks for doing so much gathering and sorting on our behalf. And editorializing too, for that matter.
    Now, for a discussion of any of these items...? Lots to process, hard to know where to start. Not much of this is encouraging in the short or the long run.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 01:15:10 PM PST

  •  irony about the flu is that after decades of cuts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Aunt Pat, shanikka

    to public health services and assaults on science so now we have people avoiding flu shots on the grounds they cause the flu (and polio shots cause polio and so on for any sort of vaccine), we may one day see a pandemic on the scale of the Spanish Flu (my grandmother lived through it and recounted its impact which included not having a family at church and investigators discovering the whole family dead or dying of the flu).

    After all, lung tissue from Army recruits at Fort Jackson were preserved and DNA studies show the Spanish Flu was not that great a variation as mutations go and may even appear again

    •  A pet peeve of mine (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Aunt Pat, shanikka

      Anti-vaxxers should read "The Ethics of Belief". Their ignorance is not morally neutral.

      One hypothesis about why the flu was so remarkably lethal and fast-burning then is that with the disruption caused by the war, people were moving around a lot more. Usually a virus strain that kills too effectively loses the evolutionary race because it won't get passed along before it kills its host. If people are constantly changing countries, getting demobilized from the front, or (today) showing up for work at the restaurant sick because they don't have sick leave, then a virus can just keep hopping from doomed person to doomed person.

      •  Soldiers and sailors were the chief vector (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shanikka

        I had always read that many who died in that epidemic were young people, unusual for flu which usually kills the very young and very old. What I didn't know until recently is that the flu likely started on a US Army base, and was transmitted around the world on crowded troop ships and military bases. Then they brought it home to civilians.

  •  whoa, Shanikka, you've addressed so (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    starfu, Aunt Pat, shanikka

    many things, but this captured me...the contribution of slaves (immeasurable in terms of American GDP at the time) to our economic growth.  Might it be called martyrdom?  For what or whom?  Not for the descendants of the slaves, who are still disadvantaged in today's America..but for all of us, Anglo-Saxons, Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans...
    And to think the slave states got 2/3 of an electoral vote for those slaves would could not vote?  (and if it was up to the Rethugs wouldn't be voting now?)
    On the other hand, economics is not everything....I for one would not want to live in an America without Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, or Stevie Wonder.  The Right often says, African-Americans are better off than most Africans...to which I would say, what would we Americans have been without African-Americans?  Not something I would want to contemplate...

  •  The NY Daily News may be a crappy paper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, shanikka

    but it is not right wing crazy by any stretch of the imagination. You must be confusing it with the New York Post. The Daily News is even to the left of the New York Times on occasion

    When even the usually right-wing crazy New York Daily News has a go,
  •  Daily News is Not "Rightwing Crazy" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka
    When even the usually right-wing crazy New York Daily News has a go

    No. The NY Daily News is not "usually right-wing crazy". In fact it is usually fairly left-wing, and not too crazy. It's editorial bias reflects its NYC union and majority-minority readers, of which there are millions.

    I literally learned to read from the Daily News (my schoolbus driver let me read hers, starting with the comics). It's grown a little less left than in the 1970s, but not much.

    You're probably thinking of the always very rightwing crazy New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Get it straight.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 03:01:44 PM PST

  •  Daily News IS NOT RIGHT-WING (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, koNko

    You're confusing it (I assume) with the New York Post, which is of course a Murdoch propaganda rag. Daily News might be tabloid'y in style but politically speaking it leans left.

  •  Peggy Noonan is an insufferable twit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, wintergreen8694

    You may now go back to your regularly scheduled programming..

    Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 03:53:37 PM PST

  •  Other civil rights anniversaries too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    including the Birmingham campaign which brought dogs and fire hoses attacking school kids into every living room in America, back when the 6:00 news was The News. King's Letter from Birmingham Jail, written April 16, 1963, should be required reading in every US history class. And the assassination of Medgar Evers (June 12), whose widow will give the invocation at the inauguration next week. And the church bombing known as "Birmingham Sunday" (Sept. 15) in which 4 children were killed.

  •  DK Quilt Guild Service Projects & Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    DK Quilt Guild Diary is be available.  Today's diary by Melanie in IA features beautiful Obama Quilts.

    DK Quilt Guild: A place for quilters to gather, share ideas, projects, and to make the world a better place, one quilt at a time. Join us and share your thoughts, projects, questions, and tips. Quilters here are at many different levels of skill. Beginners and non-quilters are welcome, too.
    American Renaissance~Stephanie Grissom

    American Renaissance~ Quilt by Stephanie Grissom

    The DK Quilt Guild has several cool quilt service projects that support our Veterans, Okiciyap Food Pantry, and NFTT Community. Each project will be promoted within Daily Kos Quilt Guild Diaries.  If anyone is interested & need more info please contact either SaraR (Veteran Wheelchair Quilts), glorificus or Melanie in IA (Okiciyap Block & NFTT Community Block).

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 05:20:30 PM PST

  •  Not so sure on the NY Daily News (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka

    I agree it's not "right-wing crazy" but calling it left is a bit much. Back in the day (like 50 years ago, long before Murdoch), the Post was the left-most of the tabloids and the News center-right, a tough-on-commies paper.

    If they are "left" or "right" today depends on the issue. I think the News has consistently been anti-elitist, pro-outer-boro. As the population demographics in the city have shifted, and the Post has occupied the right wing space, they've tried to capture a larger non-white audience and moved somewhat left. I think on some issues their take is different now than it would have been 20 years ago. A recent example was the cop getting away with rape. But the News loved them some Giuliani.

    They've had some good editorial cartoons over the years and some great columnists leaning left: Lars-Erik Nelson, Juan Gonzalez, Bob Herbert, even Lupica. But it's going too far to call it left-leaning: the paper endorsed Bush in 2004 and Romney in 2012.

    Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 05:29:35 AM PST

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