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French version of the Mayflower
Dana Milbank listens in as Republicans lecture the Dalai Lama on the inner beauty of capitalism... Maureen Dowd follows a bully on his best behavior... The FCC makes another go at retaining net neutrality... Gregory Clark says that social mobility isn't... and we remember the the first European settlement in the United States, but probably not the one you're thinking of.

The New York Times editorial board revisits the "failed stimulus" from President Obama's first months in office.

Of all the myths and falsehoods that Republicans have spread about President Obama, the most pernicious and long-lasting is that the $832 billion stimulus package did not work. Since 2009, Republican lawmakers have inextricably linked the words “failed” and “stimulus,” and last week, five years after passage of the Recovery Act, they dusted off their old playbook again.

“The ‘stimulus’ has turned out to be a classic case of big promises and big spending with little results,” wrote Speaker John Boehner. “Five years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, millions of families are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ ”

The stimulus could have done more good had it been bigger and more carefully constructed. But put simply, it prevented a second recession that could have turned into a depression. It created or saved an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years. (There are the jobs, Mr. Boehner.) It raised the nation’s economic output by 2 to 3 percent from 2009 to 2011. It prevented a significant increase in poverty — without it, 5.3 million additional people would have become poor in 2010.

And yet Republicans were successful in discrediting the very idea that federal spending can boost the economy and raise employment. They made the argument that the stimulus was a failure not just to ensure that Mr. Obama would get no credit for the recovery that did occur, but to justify their obstruction of all further attempts at stimulus.

The stimulus was victim number one of the GOP's grand strategy for the incoming Obama administration: agree with nothing, mock everything. It wouldn't have mattered if the stimulus had caused gold to fall from the sky, Republicans were soundly committed to attacking it, every hour, every day, and never admitting to any benefit.

In fact, it was the success in attacking the stimulus--aided by not just the ever supportive Fox News but by other outlets willing to put opinion not just on par with, but ahead of, evidence--that cemented the "continuous attack." The GOP's success in setting the conversation tone around the stimulus made it the prototype of the next six years.

What did that do for us?

So the American Jobs Act was killed, and so was the infrastructure bank and any number of other spending proposals that might have helped the country. The president’s plan to spend another $56 billion on job training, education and energy efficiency, to be unveiled in his budget next month, will almost certainly suffer a similar fate.
Yeah, that.  And, in case you forgot--the stimulus worked.

Now, let's see what else is up this morning...

Dana Milbank plays witness to an event that has to be high in the annuals of strangeness.

Arthur Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, had the unorthodox idea to invite the Dalai Lama to exchange views on capitalism with a panel of scholars at the conservative think tank Thursday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader gently suggested that there might be “more sense of universal responsibility and commitment,” even as he listened politely to the Americans’ praise for the morality of the free market.

“Today, I developed more respect about capitalism,” the great Buddhist monk said with a smile. “Otherwise, in my impression, capitalism only takes money, then exploitation.”

Capitalism? Exploitive? Bah, perish the thought. Why, look at how well employees have shared in corporate profits over the last three decades. Seriously go look.
Brooks was solicitous of his holy guest. “Free enterprise truly can be and should be a blessing in the life of all people, especially the poor,” he assured the Dalai Lama, but “it will not be if it’s not executed and practiced on the basis of brotherhood and compassion.”
And then the Dalai Lama flew off to Galt's Gulch, to help plan that coming wave of brotherhood and compassion.

Maureed Dowd is more than a little amused at watching Chris Christie try to keep his cool.

For the first time since his revving ambition stalled in a traffic jam, he returned to the forum that helped vault him to the head of the pack.

The New Jersey governor, depicted in The New Republic as Tony Soprano in his underwear getting his paper from the driveway, toned down his tough-guy Jersey act.

The fist-pumping and finger-jabbing were gone at his 110th town hall. As were the swagger, flashes of temper and glossy self-promotional videos. The chastened governor didn’t call anyone a “jerk,” an “idiot” or “stupid.” He even let one guy grab back the microphone that he had confiscated when the question went on too long.

Christie pitched his voice in a warm, helpful tone and, in an instamacy Instagram moment, took a knee to high-five a 3-year-old named Nicole Mariano who keened that Sandy broke her house.

All together now... awwww. Come closer, kid. I'm sure he has a crumb from one of the other Who's houses.  Dowd then goes on to explain how Christie became popular because Barry Obama is a wimp. Seriously.

Margret Sullivan looks at publications still being blind to their own sexism very late in the day.

Katha Pollitt's judgment, on Twitter, was harsh. The feminist writer observed: “NYT mag: First Hillary as giant bald fleshball, now ‘Can Wendy Davis Have It All?’ Sexist much?”

Her reference was to two recent cover stories on female politicians in The New York Times Magazine: one about Hillary Rodham Clinton in January; the other, last weekend, about Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator and rising star in Democratic politics, now running for governor.

Both articles have been flash points for media criticism on gender issues. In The New Republic last week, Rebecca Traister was incisive, writing: “There is no accounting of female professional achievement that does not also add up the raw data on personal, familial effort; there is no admiration that is not instantly accompanied by interrogation: How does she do it? No. Really. How does she do it?”

Times readers, too, were critical. Jeanne Pitz of Leola, Pa., wrote: “Excuse me, but your cover of Hillary Clinton as a planet was bad enough, but this time, you are using a huge, unflattering photo of Wendy Davis of Texas, with the stupid comment: Can she have it all? Women are offended because you would NEVER ask that of a male candidate.”

They don't ask that of men, because there's a standing assumption that there's a woman handy to handle all those family issues. Men are never expected to have it all. Just all the power.

The New York Times checks in as the FCC makes another go at net neutrality.

After losing two court cases on the issue, the Federal Communications Commission last week came up with a promising way to prevent broadband companies from giving preferential treatment to big players like Netflix and Google, which could hurt smaller businesses and start-ups, as well as consumers.

At issue is whether the broadband providers can charge different rates for different types of content, or even block content altogether. The commission’s most recent legal defeat came last month when the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down regulations the F.C.C. enacted in 2010. The regulations would have restricted the ability of phone and cable companies to block or discriminate against some Internet traffic. The F.C.C.’s chairman, Tom Wheeler, says the commission will not appeal and will instead rewrite its rules to comply with the decision in a way that will effectively achieve the same result. ...

Phone and cable companies say these rules are not needed because the companies are committed to an “open Internet.” But that could change as the few large companies that dominate the industry become even bigger. Earlier this month, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable and broadband company, agreed to buy Time Warner Cable in a deal that would give it control of about one-third of the country’s broadband subscribers.

Personally, I'd be happy to have even one broadband provider fighting for my dollars. As it stands, I expect to lose my dial-up service, either because no one offers it, or my irreplaceable modem fails, long before someone gets around to offering anything better.

Sandeep Jauhar makes a case for medical lies.

The moral basis for withholding information from ... a patient is clear: Above all, physicians must do no harm. The underlying philosophy is paternalism. Paternalism derives from the image of the paternal figure, the father, in a family. The father is motivated by an interest in his children’s welfare. He acts on their behalf, but not at their behest. The beneficiaries — his children — may even repudiate the actions taken on their behalf.

Such paternalism was once widely accepted in medicine. In the mid-19th century, the American Medical Association’s code of ethics stated that physicians had a “sacred duty” to “avoid all things which have a tendency to discourage the patient and depress his spirits.” But times have changed. The prevailing ethical mantra in medicine is patient autonomy. Today, patients own their health information. They have the right to direct their own care, and to do so they must be fully informed. As doctors, we no longer “care for” as much as “care with” our patients through their illnesses.

While this is a welcome development, it should not obscure the fact that there is still a place for old-fashioned paternalism in medicine — though the decision to defy a patient’s wishes or withhold information is one of the trickiest that we doctors face.

Having been face to face with the C-word in the last year, I appreciate that some diagnoses are hard to deliver (and in our case, it was delivered with all the offhand callousness of someone informing you that your burger was going to be a little late). That said, if there's a case to be made for lying, I suspect it's a much more narrow one than that presented here.

Gregory Clark demonstrates that social mobility is more of an ideal than a reality. The truth is, you are who your ancestors were.

Inequality of income and wealth has risen in America since the 1970s, yet a large-scale research study recently found that social mobility hadn’t changed much during that time. How can that be? ...

When you look across centuries, and at social status broadly measured — not just income and wealth, but also occupation, education and longevity — social mobility is much slower than many of us believe, or want to believe. This is true in Sweden, a social welfare state; England, where industrial capitalism was born; the United States, one of the most heterogeneous societies in history; and India, a fairly new democracy hobbled by the legacy of caste. Capitalism has not led to pervasive, rapid mobility. Nor have democratization, mass public education, the decline of nepotism, redistributive taxation, the emancipation of women, or even, as in China, socialist revolution.

To a striking extent, your overall life chances can be predicted not just from your parents’ status but also from your great-great-great-grandparents’. The recent study suggests that 10 percent of variation in income can be predicted based on your parents’ earnings. In contrast, my colleagues and I estimate that 50 to 60 percent of variation in overall status is determined by your lineage. The fortunes of high-status families inexorably fall, and those of low-status families rise, toward the average — what social scientists call “regression to the mean” — but the process can take 10 to 15 generations (300 to 450 years), much longer than most social scientists have estimated in the past.

There are things in here I certainly don't want to accept -- including the idea that genetics plays a huge role in defining personal success. I can't quite decide if this is "The Bell Curve" in new clothing.

Leonard Pitts has a message for Kansas

“Discrimination,” he said, “is horrible. It’s hurtful. It has no place in civilized society . . . ”

You would think that statement, delivered recently in the Kansas Legislature, a noble sentiment no right-thinking person could argue with. But we are gathered here today to argue with it.

Because it turns out that when Republican legislator Charles Macheers said “discrimination,” he didn’t mean, well . . . discrimination. Macheers sponsored a bill — passed overwhelmingly by the Kansas House but killed last week by the Senate in an attack of common sense — that sought to exempt any business or government employee from providing “any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges” related to any “marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement” if doing so would conflict with the employee’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

In other words, if the customer seeking these services, etcetera, were gay. You see, Macheers’ idea of fighting discrimination is to protect the right of alleged “Christians” to discriminate against gay men and lesbians. Apparently, Jim Crow is alive and well and serving in the Kansas Legislature.

... a state governed by Macheers’ law, a state where you could be denied a haircut, a wedding cake, hotel accommodations or police services based on sexual orientation, would of necessity have to erect the kinds of signs this country has not seen for over two generations:

“We Don’t Serve Homosexuals.”

“Straight Only.”

“No Gays Allowed”

When I was a kid in Kentucky, there were many restaurants and stores with the sign "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Which was the post-Civil Rights Act version of "We don't serve blacks."

Carl Hiassen delivers a weary message to his fellow Floridians

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Legislature to fix Florida’s cockeyed Stand Your Ground law. The National Rifle Association owns too many of the Republican lawmakers who could end the madness.

Nothing will get done in Tallahassee as long as black kids are the ones getting shot by white guys claiming they acted in self-defense. What might eventually pressure politicians to change the law is when white guys start getting shot.

The jaw-dropping verdict in the Michael Dunn case in Jacksonville brought not a peep of outrage from GOP leaders in the House or Senate. The outcome shamefully underscored the lunacy of Stand Your Ground, and once again put Florida in the national spotlight as a gun-nut mecca.

Dunn, who is white, got into an argument over loud music with some black teenagers who were parked beside him at a gas-station convenience store. He pulled a handgun and fired into the teen’s SUV, then crouched and continued shooting as it sped away.

In all, Dunn fired 10 times. Jordan Davis, age 17, was killed.

Oddly, Dunn didn’t call the police. He checked into a motel with his girlfriend and ordered pizza. The next day he was arrested in Brevard County, where he lives.

At the trial, Dunn said he saw a shotgun being pointed at him from the SUV, and that he fired in self-defense. He also said Davis got out of the vehicle and threatened him.

No weapon was found in the SUV. Dunn’s own girlfriend testified that, contrary to his account, he never once mentioned to her that he’d seen a shotgun. Moreover, a medical examiner said Davis’ wounds indicated he’d been seated inside the vehicle, leaning back, when he was fatally struck by Dunn’s bullets.

The jury voted unanimously to convict Dunn on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for continuing to blast away at the SUV as it raced off.

However, the panel deadlocked 10-2 on the first-degree murder charge, the majority favoring conviction. Then it was 9-3.

The sticking point was Florida’s spongy self-defense law that essentially allows the use of lethal force if a person feels threatened.

If you're waiting for the NRA to say "sorry" about pushing a law that legalizes shooting anyone, anywhere, anytime you feel nervous, it's going to be a long wait.

Science Daily says it's time to move over, St. Augustine.

In an announcement that could rewrite the book on early colonization of the New World, two researchers today said they have proposed a location for the oldest fortified settlement ever found in North America. Speaking at an international conference on France at Florida State University, the pair announced that they have proposed a new location for Fort Caroline, a long-sought fort built by the French in 1564.

"This is the oldest fortified settlement in the present United States," said Florida State University alumnus and historian Fletcher Crowe. "This fort is older than St. Augustine, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in America. It's older than the Lost Colony of Virginia by 21 years; older than the 1607 fort of Jamestown by 45 years; and predates the landing of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1620 by 56 years."

How about we change the Thanksgiving celebration to remember that time when the glorious French founded America?

Originally posted to Devil's Tower on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:37 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Zimmerman's Law (21+ / 0-)
    The sticking point was Florida’s spongy self-defense law that essentially allows the use of lethal force if a person feels threatened.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 09:49:52 PM PST

  •  If I may be allowed to treat myself as a pundit (9+ / 0-)

    I have just posted a piece I would like to share

    It is a reflection as a result of changes first in my life and then in my teaching, titled thoughts on living and teaching which I invite you to read


    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:02:52 AM PST

  •  Social mobility (16+ / 0-)

    There was a celebration recently for the one person from my little town who made it fairly big. I'm in my 60s and I was thinking about all that. Everybody else's future could have been predicted in grade school. Except for that one guy who did something in rock and roll. That was it. One guy in a thousand.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:44:12 AM PST

    •  My family moved up a rung or two... (18+ / 0-)

      My grandfathers were immigrants (one Irish, one Italian) and they were laborors. My husband's grandfathers were also laborors. And here we are, two generations later near the top of the heap. Not part of the 1% or anything, but by any measure we're doing well.

      Sheer work and determination? Oh wait -- both of our dads were able to go to college on the GI Bill. Both were able to buy their first house on the GI Bill. My uncles were too young to fight in WWII so they had factory jobs.

      A couple of my cousins were able to get a ton of affordable loans for college back in the 70's (which has all but disappeared now) but still started at a disadvantage. I had some connections through my dad that they didn't have; my husband did some internships where his dad worked -- he got the experience needed to get a great job coming out of college.

      The republicans have done everything in their power to makes sure those things are no longer available. It's going to be much harder for today's kids to move up a notch over their parents. Upward mobility is gone...

      First the thing is impossible, then improbable, then unsatisfactorily achieved, then quietly improved, until one day it is actual and uncontroversial. ... It starts off impossible and it ends up done. - Adam Gopnik

      by theKgirls on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:20:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My grandmother was a servant. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bartcopfan, theKgirls, Naniboujou

        She worked as a housekeeper.  Her mother was a housekeeper too; Grandma was 18 when she married her mother's employer.  They had two sons who both grew up to be factory workers and union members.  Both married, and each produced one daughter.  My cousin and I had health care thanks to our fathers' union benefits; and our parents, while definitely working-class, could save money for our college and their own retirement in part because Social Security and Medicare helped them take care of their own parents as they aged.

        My cousin married a bank clerk who worked his way up to bank president.  I went to college, with the help of an Illinois Guaranteed Student Loan, and am now an IT professional.  Both my sons went to good schools and are doing well in their professions.

        (And my great-grandmother, that first housekeeper?  She was an amazing woman, and she had an eventful and fascinating life.  I could write a book about her... maybe someday I will.)

        George W. Bush: Commit war crimes, then paint pictures. Reverse of how the other fellow did it. — billmon

        by snazzzybird on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 02:51:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm thinking about how hard it was (5+ / 0-)

      To get off the stupid pig farm in the '80s-'90s.

      It's a long, red-faced, clench fist, boiling blood rant.

      Anyway, I had to do something over the top like ace the unpassable electronics aptitude test in my 40s before I got a break that stuck.

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:22:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NRA wins; we lose, maybe if more white men shoot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Each other.....,

    Never mind they can always murder us & not get punished. Much easier to do.

    The evil majority culture wins again!

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:49:08 AM PST

  •  Takes two to tango (12+ / 0-)
    It wouldn't have mattered if the stimulus had caused gold to fall from the sky, Republicans were soundly committed to attacking it, every hour, every day, and never admitting to any benefit.
       None of this would have worked if the Democrats had made the effort to unequivocally promote and defend the stimulus in the media.  

        But they didn't.

        Most of the Dems' problems are self-inflicted. Apparently willingly. We're never going to win the elections we should until we get leadership that actually believes in the party's stated platform.

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 04:50:10 AM PST

    •  Yes (4+ / 0-)

      the minute the GOP started screaming Obama starting caving. That went on for so long that honestly I was totally shocked during the goverment shut down. I was sure he was going to cave once again.

      It's the policy stupid

      by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:30:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  20th Century wars and regimes that brought them (4+ / 0-)

      demonstrate that even in the world of mass print and radio millions can be led into a "reality" created by unscrupulous manipulators. When a population is so unskilled in rational thought, ignorant, so steeped into "belief" over rational observation (all collectively covered in "gullible") and by force or habit reliant on a coherent, unified source of falsity with an agenda (the Fox habit as a modern example) we end up with people that cannot be shaken to reality short of a major shock.

      There were German and Japanese soldiers and civilians in 1945 who deeply believed, even with cities flattened and Allied troops on their doorstep they were still winning. There are descriptions of German soldiers, arrogant and convinced being marched as POWs still "believing" the Allies were tottering and starving—until they got far enough behind the lines to see innumerable motorized vehicles (even then much of the German army was horse drawn) and vast supply dumps and luxuries they could not imagine in their army. There are reports of some going from arrogance, we will be freed soon as you surrender, to utter demoralization as their propaganda dreamworld shattered on the sight of reality. The old popular movie Battle of the Bulge is so-so but with one incisive moment when a captured chocolate cake is unwrapped in a command vehicle. They, despite the U-boat (on the hunted and dying by then), got a cake from the U.S. to the Ardennes for a common soldier while such luxuries were nearly unknown by then in the Fatherland itself.

      A lesson from the last century or so is that such propaganda induced unreality cannot be broken except with strong, intelligent counter messages and even then may require pure force to smash. Japan can hold out, even negotiate after the Americans die in masses on our shores! That was a belief even among top levels and it took two mushroom clouds over previously barely damaged cities to shake that among enough to count (some still believed and even tried a palace coup).

      I often think of the Bush II official that commented "we make our own reality" in connection with the bubble in which the TP/GOP now lives. In November we'd better all be dedicated to delivering a vote that will resonate like a figurative Hiroshima and Nagasaki on that bubble. Anybody on "our side" sitting out November and not trying to GOTV and voting to deliver that message is a phony and a deserter.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:40:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  AEI and the Dalai Lama.....they're practicing for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Portlaw, theKgirls, a2nite, freerad

    the Pope.

    •  I think they want to be (4+ / 0-)

      The Anti-Heritage Foundation. I mean, really, the Dalai Lama was as polite as always, but the fact they're even talking about "compassionate capitalism" in public is a step forward.
      I don't ever expect it to go anywhere, but would be interested to see the dialog between these guys and the far right. Who would probably call them communists, now that I think about it.
      I posted a tweet here yesterday where someone called Rand Paul a cultural Marxist.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:04:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  On doctors and their paternalistic (14+ / 0-)

    tendencies- I would not want a doctor to lie to me to avoid upsetting me, but I can understand that they need to have a better manner than the doctor who delivered Mark's own cancer diagnosis with callous disregard for anyone's feelings.
    Here in Kansas, they have tried to pass an anti-abortion bill that contains a provision to allow doctors to lie to patients and thereby avoid having that patient decide to get an abortion.
    For example, if your fetus has no chance of survival outside the uterus, the Kansas legislature says the doctor should lie to you about it, and thereby force you to carry a non-viable fetus to term. Not only do they legalize this blatant disregard for the patient, they also prevent the patient from suing the doctor for the misdiagnosis.
    And in the irony of all ironies, they call this "protecting the woman."
    I was heartened to see many doctors standing up against this horrible provision, but the bill did pass, and is now being challenged in court.
    As I've seen many commenters here note, the GOP only wants a smaller government so they can fit into your bedroom.

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:08:29 AM PST

  •  Just read the Maureen Down piece and (11+ / 0-)

    its nasty ending about Obama. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have her in your high school class?  

  •  I had a good laugh with Dave Barry (21+ / 0-)

    this morning- The Manliness Manifesto:

    Today everything is convenient. You cook your meals by pushing a microwave button. Your car shifts itself, and your GPS tells you where to go. If you go to a men's public restroom, you don't even have to flush the urinal! This tedious chore is a thing of the past because the urinal now has a small electronic "eye" connected to the Central Restroom Command Post, located deep underground somewhere near Omaha, Neb., where highly trained workers watch you on high-definition TV screens and make the flush decision for you. ("I say we push the button." "Wait, not yet!")
    Things a Man Should Know How to Do:
    How to Survive If You Are Lost in a Forest and Night Is Falling
    17. Since there will be no fire, your only hope of surviving is stay up all night making noises that will keep animals away. Most leading wilderness survival experts recommend that you sing the "Macarena."

    18. You should also do the hand motions because carnivorous animals can see in the dark. You may feel silly, but consider: Not one single person has been killed in the wilderness by animals while doing the "Macarena" since the National Forest Service began keeping records on this in 1902.

    Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

    by skohayes on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:13:47 AM PST

  •  Original Ft. Caroline remnants still located in (11+ / 0-)

    Jacksonville, Fl.  after being destroyed by Spain's attempted hegemony in old and new world. Religious genocide of French Huegenots among crew of Ft. Caroline and of entire force in the Matanzas Bay massacre by Spanish Catholics was a blow not only to French hopes for colonization but for French Hugenots hoping to have a new way out of France during the brief period of tolerance after their bloody persecution by Mary, Queen of Scots while she was also a Queen of France. Her history there is not often told but if she had become Queen rather than Elizabeth certainly England would have  had another history of religious genocide matching Cromwell's massacres.

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:17:04 AM PST

    •  Did the Irish come first? (4+ / 0-)

      There is a cave in southeastern Colorado overlooking the Arkansas River whose interior walls have Celtic writings that may date to the time of Jesus according to this article here, although I have heard from the 7th or 6th centuries CE.  If genuine, the Irish would have sailed across the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi, and turned left at the Arkansas River.  Archaeologists should study these cave markings and either establish them as a forgery or as genuine.

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:29:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well It Could Still be the French in the Mother of (4+ / 0-)

        all firsts.

        The clovis spear points from some 10,000+ yrs ago most closely resemble contemporary spear points in what's now France. If so there'd have had to have been a glacierside boat migration around the then north shore of the Atlantic.

        The Clovis technology disappears at the same time as the mass extinction of N. American megamammals and many other animals. Though I guess it's not clear if the Clovis people themselves were wiped out.

        There's a group of scientists working on an explanation that a comet strike possibly on the northern ice sheet was responsible for the extinction and subsequent return to ice age for a few thousand years. This is one of the more interesting hypotheses because there is a variety of evidence from across the continent all at the same time.

        The historytician cable channels are airing a number of these outlying proposals. I saw the one on the Irish and the cave markings yesterday.

        It'll be interesting to see how these ideas evolve over the coming years. Since the program was produced about the Clovis people, just last year I think I saw a report of an extensive study of Native American genetics, which as I recall don't support the intermingling of any Euro types when the Natives arrived. That means either the Clovis weren't Euros or they were gone when the Natives arrived.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:54:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, according to the article... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Iberian, Eric Nelson

      No.  They've always thought so, but it looks like it's actually in Georgia.

    •  Fort Christina 1638 (4+ / 0-)

      It obviously was not the first fortified town in the present day U.S, but until recently I did not even know that the Swedes had any colonies in America. Fort Christina only last about 20 years before the Dutch took it over, followed quickly by the English take over.


      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:02:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re: "Failed Stimulus." (7+ / 0-)

       I've long-admired the RW spin and scary e-mail machine. It's all BS and lies, of course, what else do they have? But it's effective!

       One can only imagine the great things we could do, were we not mired with these lying, thieving, cynical bastards!

    Compost for a greener piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:48:51 AM PST

  •  The headline on the Fort Caroline story ... (5+ / 0-)

    ... shouldn't have been about the fact that the fort was there before St. Augustine — that was already known.

    The headline is that the fort may not be in Jacksonville. This is actually going to be a pretty big deal there, if proved true. A lot of stuff — including Mayport, home to the U.S. Navy base in Jax — was named under the assumption that the ill-fated French settlement was at the mouth of the St. John's. If that proves untrue, a lot of geography and things like school names will have to re-considered.

    As for the age, Fort Caroline has long been known as the first attempt by Europeans to build a fortified settlement in what is now the United States. The Spanish made sure that attempt was a failure, then built St. Augustine, which — until it's proven that the Irish had an actual settlement in Colorado of the Vikings in the region around Maine or Nova Scotia — would still be in the books as the oldest permanent settlement in the United States.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:52:08 AM PST

  •  Repugs were able to convince people the stimulus (9+ / 0-)

    failed for the very same reason they will all the other arguments that make so sense and has no supporting data/proof:  They win the messaging war.  In fact, in the case of the stimulus, I honestly don't remember Dems putting up much of a respectable fight at all.  Maybe I missed it.  If I could significantly change Dems in congress in only one area, it would be their absolutely dismal messaging/marketing abilities.  This is the area I wish Dems would take a page out the Repug playbook and become experts at relentless, tenacious, repetitive messaging.  Get everyone on the same page on what the message is, and then everyone goes out like armies of ants and gets in front of every TV camera and radio microphone they can find and spew the exact same talking points over and over and over and over again for weeks and months.  Regardless of how true the message.  Sorry, but that's the game of politics.  And I too often see that Dems just don't have the stomach for it.  So we lose messaging battles we have no business losing.  It's so frustrating for me.

    •  Two who have understood this at the get-go: (4+ / 0-)

      Bernie Sanders and Chris Van Hollen.  As for the rightwing, they know that chants, cheers, raps and rhymes are easily internalized, making tea party placards their version of rigorous analysis.

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:54:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, they aren't good at messaging, I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Naniboujou, Laconic Lib

      For example, with respect to Dems voting to "go to war".

      They didn't vote to "go to war". They voted to threaten Saddam Hussein with war if he didn't cooperate.

      He capitulated, and began cooperating.

      Then, despite UN Weapons Inspectors not finding ANYTHING in ALL the most likely places, GWB still invaded. Despite the resolution demanding that he try everything short of war before he invaded, he got satisfactory results from Saddam, and still invaded!!!

      As we're now seeing, it may be that there are some countries in the world that aren't very suitable for raw democracy, and us trying to implant that political structure on another country is the height of self-importance and ridiculousness.

      But we didn't say that.

      We didn't tell the people that the votes weren't to "go to war". They were a threat to go to war IF AND ONLY IF Saddam didn't give in to UN demands.

      By NOT making that a prime point of EVERY Democrat's comments on that topic, they lost the messaging battle.

      And we didn't point out, frequently and with bullet points, how GWB shouldn't have invaded once he was getting relevant and reliable updates from the weapons inspectors.

      We didn't point out that MOST Democrats who cited intelligence were going with the best GUESSES we had at the time - but it was GWB who, even with CONCRETE EVIDENCE that there weren't any WMD's (and WMD's is the ONLY reason that Americans would have supported an invasion), went ahead and started the war.

      EVERY time that someone quoted a Democrat who cited the intelligence, the above is the simple reply that should have taken the onus off of the Democrats and placing it where it belongs! Relying upon educated guesses, when that's all you have, is fine. Ignoring actual evidence that contradicts the educated guesses of our intelligence community, like GWB did, is horrible when it ends up costing 100,000 Iraqi lives and 4000 American soldiers lives and tens of thousands of seriously injured men and women. And the cost to our economy? Geesh.

    •  "green shoots" was the end (0+ / 0-)

      In 2010, I think it was. The economy had stopped hemorrhaging jobs and were had a quarter of ~2% growth. And the Obama administration declared victory, spiked the ball, did an end-zone dance, jumped into the stands. "Green shoots" and "turning the corner" and blah blah blah.

      Of course, the recovery they promised never happened. Worse, their wild optimism undermined the push for a badly needed second round of stimulus. The resulting disappointment allowed the Republicans tar the whole enterprise as a waste and a failure.

      Sigh. The politics that might have been had Obama not been a political neophyte, feeling his way along and figuring out things as he went.

  •  The stimulus failed... (0+ / 0-)

    ...5 minutes after it was passed, if you believe the GnOP.

    "All great truths begin as blasphemies." George Bernard Shaw Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue

    by theBCI on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:29:29 AM PST

  •  So how much SYG, anti-gay... (4+ / 0-)

    And anti-voter legislation come come down from ALEC and the Kochs before there's a big Civil Rights backlash?

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:30:38 AM PST

  •  Gooper Governors (3+ / 0-)

    I'm hoping that scandal will take down Walker, Scott, Kasich, Snyder, and all, plus damage the Kochs and Popes of this world before the fall elections. But I have a sinking feeling that it won't.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:33:24 AM PST

  •  Steve Kornacki and House of Cards......come on (0+ / 0-)

    Stevieboy.......Throw Ian Richardson and the BBC a frikkin bone here.

  •  "Oldest fort in North America"? Ha! (4+ / 0-)

    Hmm. Grrr.

    In an announcement that could rewrite the book on early colonization of the New World, two researchers today said they have proposed a location for the oldest fortified settlement ever found in North America. Speaking at an international conference on France at Florida State University, the pair announced that they have proposed a new location for Fort Caroline, a long-sought fort built by the French in 1564.
    Well, maybe, if by "North America" you mean the US and by "settlement" you mean "European settlement."

    Need we be reminded that Mexico is part of North America? Mexico, which had fortified European settlements beginning in 1519? (I'll leave out the Caribbean settlements going back to 1493, though they are also geographically North American.)

    Need we be reminded that there were plenty of fortified settlements all over the Americas centuries and centuries before Europeans ever set foot here?

    The parochialism of US historians never ceases to amaze.

    •  You beat me to it (0+ / 0-)

      It was pretty sloppy of Science Daily, but I did notice the actually researchers properly said "the oldest fortified settlement in the present United States."

      “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” - Winston Chuchill

      by se portland on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:31:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Lost Century. There was an article about 1992 (0+ / 0-)

      in National Geographic that was titled something like the lost century. It noted our schools tend to do an "In 1492 . . . then the English came and settled" pretty much leaving the 1500s blank. A few little markers and monuments note a couple of the Spanish missions along the East Coast but there is general ignorance that trade routes from missions as far north as the Carolinas and, I believe, Virginia reached as far as the Appalachians and up into my Northern Virginia area. There was all sorts of stuff, often murderous, going on in what is now the United States in the 16th century.

      By the way, I wonder how many here, realize that during that period the Dutch and Portuguese were at war in Brazil. There are a number of Dutch forts along the Northeastern coast from Pernambuço south to Bahia. This of "Fort Orange" north of Recife:

      There is a carnival song  popular in Recife about the pirate José that has him leaving Lisbon and searching for his princess in Luanda (Angola) and eventually finding her in Olinda, founded by the Dutch and noted for its carnival with giant figures—Pirata José among them.

      Yeah, the South Atlantic routes to India and Japan and the spice islands, contended by the Dutch and Portuguese and Spanish during that "lost century" in our history books.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 09:53:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "A Voyage Long and Strange" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        by engaging author Tony Horwitz covers exactly that gap, between 1492 and 1620.

        •  It is a very interesting period, particularly in (0+ / 0-)

          that South Atlantic aspect. 1543, the start of the "black ship" monopoly with Japan and Portugal was in Goa and parts of the spice islands as well as the east and west coasts of southern Africa. So, Dutch contention in the area, particularly on the hump of Brazil was going to be contentious. There are Dutch remnants all about. One of my favorite restaurants, Restaurante Forte da Rocheira, was built onto an old wall associated with the Dutch fortifications at Penedo on the Rio São Francisco (the view down onto the river is spectacular) in the state of Alagoas.

          Remember the Shogun miniseries? Look at the PBS timeline for 1500-1599 and 1600-1699:

          1543—Birth of Tokugawa Ieyasu
          1543—Portuguese Arrive in Japan


          1600—William Adams Arrives in Japan
          Japan's first visitor from England, William Adams was a pilot on the Liefde, a Dutch vessel that shipwrecked off southern Japan. The only one of 24 survivors coherent enough to greet the Japanese boarding party, Adams was taken to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the country's strongest daimyo. Luckily for Adams, Ieyasu was interested in his knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation, and Adams became the daimyo's trusted interpreter and commercial agent. He was awarded the samurai privilege of wearing two swords.

          One of the things that I at first found amazing was just how much activity European long distance sailing brought all along those routes. People were really getting about, even if slowly by our standards.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:53:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Saw this in Salon, not completely a propos, but (4+ / 0-)

    It's a great line from the populist party platform of 1892:

    The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of those, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes—tramps and millionaires.
    From Salon, Paul Krugman Wont's Save Thomas Frank

    Or this from a newspaper editor in 1932:

    There is a feeling among the masses generally that something is radically wrong. They are despairing of political action. They say the only thing you do in Washington is to take money from the pockets of the poor and put it into the pockets of the rich. They say that this Government is a conspiracy against the common people to enrich the already rich. I hear such remarks every day.
    The gist of the article is that "inequality" is not some debating point for the elites of academia and elsewhere.  It goes to the soul of who we are, at every level.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 07:22:28 AM PST

  •  RE: Leonard Pitts and "Discrimination" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, Laconic Lib

    These laws discriminating against LBGT community for reasons of morality are not new. Morality exceptions were first trotted out by the right wing as part of the anti-choice movement. The issue then was birth control and abortion, and the right of medical and pharmaceutical workers to refuse service.  While there was a faction of the community that disagreed, the laws were enacted without much notice.

    When the ACA wanted to offer women free birth control, Hobby Lobby, and others objected, and these were the first corporate "christians" seeking a morality clause.

    The right is now embolden by their successes and is trying to escalate their "discrimination" to include people, and not just services that "christians" find objectionable.

    This may wind up being good for our side, because the majority in America is pro-gay rights, and it is not as icky to talk about as women's reproductive health. Once we can set precedent that these laws are in fact discrimination, we can hopefully use these rulings to also rid our country of laws that discriminate against a woman's right to choose.

    •  Here's the reply that one should give (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      When confronted with an argument that it's their religious freedom that's being infringed upon.

      It's not the employer's religious freedom that's relevent here. It's the freedom of the employee to NOT be subjected to the employer's religious dictates that's relevant.

      The most important thing to take from the Bill of Rights "Freedom of Religion" clause is that it should be interpreted to mean "Freedom FROM Religion". That's what it is - freedom from having any one particular religious tenet forced upon you by someone else!!!

      If we suddenly had Jehovah's Witness employers trying to get the health insurance coverage that their employees have NOT pay for blood transfusions, the rightwingers wouldn't be so cavalier in giving away the right to medical privacy between patient and doctor.

      It's Freedom FROM Religion.

      •  Constant and hard pushback is needed on the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        twisting of "freedom of religion" as defined by these enemies of freedom. As I noted yesterday there is freedom to religiously discriminate and be as weird as you like (within limits), to repeat:

        Well, all are welcome to their beliefs—within certain parameters (no child sacrifice, no eating of the brains of deceased elders and so on)—under our system. They are perfectly welcome to abstain from general commerce as with certain insular religious groups living in private enclaves and shun whomever they wish. The problem arises when they want to force the general society to comply with their beliefs as they engage in commerce  coming under public accommodation law. Then it must be comply or get yourselves into your own private little enclave of belief and, by the way, no tax funds for it either.
        The key missing factor in their arguments is that as soon as they engage in dirty public accommodation commerce their religious views take a back seat to public law. They are perfectly free to go super Amish, or any other relatively self sufficient insular group, and shun "the world" and its public commercial laws—sell and trade stuff among themselves and pay the appropriate taxes even on that. Try to engage in our world and it is on our legal terms—period, end of discussion.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:39:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The goal of the GOP is to minimize the (4+ / 0-)

    freedom and influence of people they don't like.  

    In the case of Stand Your Ground, the goal is to wipe out as many young men of color as possible, and to terrify the rest.  They use the loudmouths of the NRA to enforce their message. Pretending that such deaths are an unfortunate side effect of these laws is completely disingenuous; the deaths are a feature, not a bug.  The bonus is to make piles of money for gun manufacturers and dealers.  The laws are only intended for use when black people are the targets; the GOP would be astonished if white deaths were the result.

    In the case of the various "religious freedom" laws popping up like poison mushrooms all over the place, the goal is to force gay people back into the closet and roll back protections that they see being accepted around the country.  They use the phony piety of the Christian Taliban leaders to enforce their message.  Pretending that their religious sensibilities will be offended by making a wedding cake or arranging flowers for gay couples is laughable at best; it must be a pretty weak religion if one's beliefs are so easily shaken. The bonus is that closeted Republicans can continue to stay hidden.  The laws are intended only for the protection of "Christians"; the GOP would be astonished if freedom for Muslims or Jews or Athiests were the result.

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:27:20 AM PST

    •  Just heard Michelle Alexander speak as the first.. (0+ / 0-)

      ..guest on 'Real Time' with Bill Maher this Friday.

      The goal of the GOP is to minimize the freedom and influence of people they don't like.
      ..nails it SottoVoce

      Michelle has a book out called the "The New Jim Crow" which points to the similarities between what the SYG law, prison industrial complex and many laws today achieve.

       Laws that result in much of the same oppression & segregation the republican party' has pushed into out system as in the past.

      This is a (pdf) Michelle Alexander referred to a while back when she was talking about work on her book - 'The New Jim Crow':
      The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today

      notice the same goals as of the past that are happening today:

       • employment discrimination

       • housing discrimination

       • denial of the right to vote

       • exclusion from jury service

       • privatizing education for profit and segregation

      ..with many more examples.

       The RWNJ GOP today has now expanded to include LGBT and other non- white as those they deem as beneath them in their efforts to disenfranchise people in their top down hierarchal view of society - it's a sickness of the heart and mind.

      Outfits like the NRA & Alec are right there to scoop up profits manufacturing weapons in the form of guns as well as in law; feeding the hatred while making laws that suppressing the voting power of the people they would keep down

       - imo

  •  Infrastructure note. (0+ / 0-)

    "AVE flies high - train is gaining passengers" notes:

    After the high speed train lost 485,000 passengers in 2012 the ministry of Public Works’ lowered fares last year.  That decision paid off and the AVE moved 25.4 million people in 2013, an increase of 13.5 per cent.

    Eventually the AVE could overtake flying as the preferred means of long-distance travel inside Spain.  Last November the number of air passengers fell by 3.4 per cent, the 25th consecutive month to show a decline.

    Over the same period travellers taking the AVE rose by 19.9 per cent, only 47,000 short of air passengers compared with a 461,000 gap in 2012.

    While high speed rail may not make sense over vast, sparsely populated areas of our country it makes great sense in the more densely populated areas—and we are stuck almost fifty years in the past on that capabilit (I did my first high speed travel in Japan almost that far back). I like AVE a bit better than the better known TGV and definitely prefer rail to short air hops over there. This is a fairly old promotional video of the then new Madrid-Barcelona line that gives the idea:

    Somewhere I have recorded a news clip in which two teams departed a downtown Madrid television station bound for the station in Barcelona. One went by air, the other by AVE. Those going by AVE beat those going by air.

    This is another view about a more recent addition, Madrid-Malaga (there are other new lines), that starts in what I consider the most beautiful rail station I've ever seen, Atocha (the AVE platforms are in a new addition, but what a place to wait a bit!):

    Meanwhile our antiquated Acela can't even reach design speed except briefly on one small segment!

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 08:28:37 AM PST

  •  Shouldn't it be "An" Historical? (0+ / 0-)

    ...instead of "A" Historical?

    •  Think of it as "an holdover" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Josiah Bartlett

      from times when initial H was almost always silent.  The 1611 translation of the Bible contains "an house", "an husbandman" and so on.  The Cockneys and the French still drop nearly every initial H.

      Saying "an historic occasion" sounds, well, historic, given that the usage is somewhat old fashioned in itself.  It probably warrants the special dispensation it enjoys nowadays.

  •  When something is added in a foreign language for (0+ / 0-)

    effect, especially if it stands front and center at the top of the page, one should make sure everything is spelled correctly... It is "f l e u r de mai" and not "f l u e r de mai."  If this is not done, the desired effect falls flat.

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 02:44:17 PM PST

  •  $832B to create 1.6M jobs x 4 years (0+ / 0-)

    That's 6 million job/years, for over $130K per job/year.  I don't see how that was a good deal.    

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 05:43:03 PM PST

  •  I love Mark Sumner but... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I stopped reading when you included my LEAST favorite economic statistic: Jobs created OR SAVED.

    This statistic did not exist before Obama came into office. He and his government spokespersons have been using it ever since. I would sincerely like to see an actual real life honest-to-goodness reality-based definition of a job SAVED by...ANYTHING. I would like to see an actual academic or professional economist subscribe to this definition as an actual event, and not one invented to make a MISERABLE jobs creation of any President look or sound better than it is.

    I call BULLSHIT. There's no actual measurement or device that can attribute WHAT, if anything, SAVED a job of any kind. Please refrain from using this particular piece of propaganda unless you wish to incur my everlasting wrath.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:42:26 PM PST

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