Sunday, May 24, 2015

Open Thread

I'm ba-a-a-a-ck. Well, sort of. Without going into specifics or gory details, I've had some fairly major surgery and just got home from the hospital yesterday.

As soon as I feel well and clear-headed enough to get back to blogging, I will. Meanwhile, please use this space -- or, as Obama would say, climb your ladder of opportunity to a level playing field to share links, opinions, etc. My only request is that you please not discuss your own health issues or mine in this forum. There are plenty of other places on the Internet to do that. This is a politics/culture blog.

That being said, I really do appreciate all the get-well wishes that so many of you have sent my way.

Additionally, if anybody would like to submit a longer guest post, now (the next week or so) would be an ideal time. I already have one, maybe two, in the hopper. Just send via email: I will be checking/answering emails with less frequency that I normally do, though.

Meanwhile, I wish all my readers a very safe and peaceful holiday weekend!


Meredith NYC said...

Karen, a pleasant surprise to see your post. It had sounded alarming –no posts for foreseeable future due to health issues. But then Kat said you’d be back soon. Maybe now mix some enjoyable novels or mysteries with reading of news until you feel 100 pct.

Meanwhile I’ll plunge in.
I got an email from Roosevelt House –re a talk on June 15. “The Future of the New York Times” with Sulzberger and Dean Baquet. Will likely be on video stream and archived for later. See roosvlt house on web. Wonder what they’ll say.

Krugman actually blogged today about the NYT op ed posting time--- It’s weird. The West coast complained to him he says---which itself is strange. Part of his post below...

“Time Zones, Columns, and Comments (Trivial)”

“A few West Coast readers have complained to me that columns are no longer posted as early as in the past — they go up in the small hours of the East Coast morning, not 11 PM or so. There has indeed been a change in policy. But it’s not about you. It is, as I understand it, about the Europeans.

You see, our columnists — and me in particular — do have a lot of European readers. And what we were finding was that hundreds of comments from those readers were piling up in the queue long before our East Coast readers had their first cup of coffee. The result was a lot of loyal NYT readers complaining that whatever they had to say was buried so deep in the stack that nobody saw it.”

He in particular has a lot of EU readers??? Could this be a joke? No I guess he’s serious. But when K says ‘you see’, I say uh oh, now what. He’s explaining to the masses.

Part of my comment excerpted and edited:

Please. There are some (thank god) but very few EU commenters compared to US. Why would that drive such a change? As if the Times would force all the US east coast readers to be up at 4am to comment (to the great Nobel winner) to accommodate a few in the EU??

.... Why should Europeans be so avid to read NY Times and Krugman, with all the variety of media they have, including well funded public media? All of which cover a wider idea spectrum than in the US, and in the Times?

After all, Krugman, focusing relentlessly on austerity, never gives advanced EU nations due credit for anything positive. Like better equality than the US—that stays dark.

But still EU wants to read the Times so much that the op ed page has to change posting times for them? I still can't get over it!

(So then I pasted in a clip from my email from op ed editor Rosenthal on how the new times may get more readers from other web sites---or something. Still not too clear. said you could see Rosenthal’s point, from a journalists viewpoint. But he also says it’s not really working.)

Anyway, my comments finally got in after long delay, but I got no email notification. What a schlock digital dept at NYT.

I’ve read that EU nations have faster broadband. Maybe their web comments work better too? I’ll have to complain to Arthur and Dean about it!

Krugman also posts a link to video of his talk with Robt Solow on inequality at the Cuny Grad Center. I felt it was rather weak. Please give feedback if you feel like watching it. More on that another time.

Robert Sadin said...

Hopefully it doesn't violate the no health discussion rule to say....Good to have you back Karen!

And Meredith, Your comment on Friday re: TPP and K was superb!

The best of more than 500!

A nearby comment by shanen was good too...he starts (after K finally, half-heartedly, comes out against) ..."Was that so hard?"

On another note—these holidays seem to start as something powerful and slowly, slowly....the pasteurization process takes over.

From Wiki

The first widely-publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865. During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves.[13] Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course." Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.

David W. Blight described the day:

This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.[14]

Best to all!

Pearl said...

Restoring Memoriam to Memorial Day

This is a fine column by Blow and the comments from reader's picks are especially worth looking over. I watched a TV White House presentation honoring veterans which was a sickening experience with Obama making the usual speech about the fallen, which he is responsible for. I hope U.S. citizens will start turning away from any further conflicts since it will involve the younger people who may have the courage to resist the war drums.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Are you tired? Tired of wading through the nicely laid out glitter in the New York Times? If only that paper would straighten out, we say, then all would be well on the road to progressivism.

Mmm, in answer to my question I see only two hands raised from the entire lot of you. The remainder continue to stroll down 9th Ave with heads bent over smart phones. Well, for you two alone I bring no reward other than a different perspective. Not so new. Most of it from outlaws.

On this Memorial Monday Chris Hedges lays a withered wreath on the grave of Hope. He claims hope has always been deadly and deadening. How tender. If he ever gets a chance to launch fireworks of celebration, you can be sure they would cast more dark light upon us.

Did you ever wonder whether Chris Hedges, the rabid anti-capitalist, was a closet Marxist? In today's essay he’ll tell you why he most definitely is not a Marxist. Why not? Because for Marxists worldwide––and, curiously, for the overwhelming majority of anti-Marxists called Americans––the future is said to be forever pregnant with hope, to coin a phrase. Progress goes on and on and upward, they’ll tell you.

Hedges rejects the idea of progress. Therefore, he can't buy into Marxism with its relentless stages leading to a proletarian utopia. He isn't limiting his edict to the amorphous concept of human wisdom either. He includes in his overall view of non-progress the presumed cumulative advances in technology as well as the piling on of general book knowledge for millenia.

For Hedges and the authors he is attuned to, history is more like alternating current, going back and forth through the ages. So, to lean forward with hope and patience is to succumb to the con of elites who aim to keep us down and falling backwards just about all the time. Better add "progress," "hope" and “forward” to the growing list of words that should set off alarms in your head. Here's a paragraph from CH, the guy who turned his back on the NYT long ago.

“As global capitalism disintegrates, the heresy our corporate masters fear is gaining currency. But that heresy will not be effective until it is divorced from the mania for hope that is an essential part of corporate indoctrination. The ridiculous positivism, the belief that we are headed toward some glorious future, defies reality. Hope, in this sense, is a form of disempowerment.”

Lots of other cautionary tips from Hedges’ reading of authors who have impressed him with their dark matter. Alas, these authors seem to have written their best stuff not in newspapers but in books, which are not as available, up-to-date and relevant as the big dailies of today.

OK, you two with your hands raised can put them down now. Let's see if you've the stomach to read the linked piece to the bitter end.

Erik Roth said...

Memorial Day 2015.

Please note a post from FAIR --

Follow that with this --

Then this --

Clearly there is a concerted effort at establishing revisionist history by the smarmiest ASSHOLES in the media.

So go the "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," as Al Franken wrote.

Cui bono? BUSH (pick any one of them, it doesn't matter which) AND "the (non-partisan!) powers that be" who have benefitted ($$$) all along.

There has been, and there will be BLOODSHED.
Whose? Not hard to choose who will lose if such lies are allowed to rise and take hold.

Follow the money (and this doesn't even consider OIL, plus other resources exploited, and business protected by military enforced hegemony) --

Bill Moyers --

Dennis Kucinich --

No doubt there will be more neo-con spin to manufacture consent and massage memory as we try our best to beat around the bush, so to speak.

As antidote, may I finally (for now) recommend this:
The whole Memorial Day show is worthwhile, but especially Tom Hayden's opening --

p.s. Dear Karen Garcia: I wish you sisu! (as the Finns say).

Erik Roth

Meredith NYC said...

Thanks, Robert Sadin. Interesting Memorial Day stuff from David Blight. I saw him on cspan.

I wrote a few comments to Krugman and TPP. One was re the great wealth transfer upward that the 1 % already achieved, and now TPP....
.....Trying to paraphrase Churchill---Never in the history of democracies have so few taken so much from so many.

Never has such a tiny elite, by democratic processes, redistributed such resources and productivity up to themselves from a huge portion of voters. And Americans voted in the leaders to accomplish that historic process.

But here’s a really informative comment I found to the TPP column which covers a lot and gives some eye opening specifics. This is what we need our Nobel economist to write on:

JGM Honolulu 3 days ago

The specter of US BIg Pharma exporting its kleptocracy to developing nations should be enough to kill this proposed pact:

One of the goals of the TPP deal is greatly expanded intellectual property rights for drugs, medical devices and even medical procedures (its called TRPS plus). This is so that Big Pharma can extend the lucrative monopolistic status it currently enjoys in the US over the entire globe. This will be done in a supralegal realm, since Patents are issued country by country not internationally. Patents from say, India will no longer be worth the paper their printed on and only those from the US or EU will be enforceable! Patent trolls in the US are bad enough, but imagine their parasitism extended to the rest of the world!


Drug advertising, patent evergreening, regulatory capture, suppression of generics-you name it-which are the US practice and give us the most horribly expensive medicine in the world are to be exported!
You would think Bill Gates and the Clinton foundation who hand out millions to developing nations for HIV, malaria, TB etc. would blanch see those dollars sucked up by this rapacious combine that is BIg Pharma?

Valerie Long Tweedie said...

Unlike many of the commenters, I don't find Kruggie all that inspiring. I used to, but he lost me over a year ago . . . possibly the first time he denied the TPP was a concern.

While I am glad he has FINALLY seen the light, it is a bit late, don't you think? He is quite liked on the Left and his opinion coming out against the TPP would have had a lot of influence. His essay on the TPP, the day before yesterday, was good but I am more impressed with the comments by those reading his column.

He made a lot of good points . . . Here's hoping people read it and it sinks in. Here's hoping people read the reader comments as well. I agree with Meredith, JGM had a brilliant comment.

Apathy and the willingness on the part of so many to be bought off with cheap stuff, is allowing this behemoth in to trample our democracy.

PEARL said...

Valerie and others: I think the reason any of us respond to Krugman whose beliefs are set in cement, is the hope that his readers will learn something from our opinions. I have seen a marked improvement of speaking the truth and knowledgeably by many commenters which is a way of putting our fingers in the wind to find out what reactions to his sermons are. The high number of recommendations by readers pics to Karen's comments, are an important sign of some learning going on which is worth he effort of sending in a comment at an inconvenient time.
So don't give up, especially if what you say challenges his assumptions because an audience is out there listening.
I love to challenge his support for Obamacare because the facts of the matter are so obvious. Also it validates our own opinions especially if we skip writing.

Valerie said...

I suppose the fact that Kruggie is now coming out against the TPP is a credit to his readership educating him through their comments. I only question his sincerity because if non-economists like us have understood the problems with the TPP from the get go, why is a Nobel winning economist so late coming to the party? - especially someone who is such a fan of Thomas Piketty! Could Kruggie not see that the TPP would cause even more income inequality throughout the world? Either he has been warned off - remember the NYT came out in favour of the TPP early in the game - or he himself was bought off.

Personally, I appreciate the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of those who take the time to comment over at the Times. Those who read the opinion columns and don't bother with the reader comments are cheating themselves.

PEAR said...

Valerie: Your comment, why is a Nobel winning economist so late coming to the party is interesting. Nobel prizes have been known to be awarded to people who don't merit them such as a certain President awarded a peace prize!
My feeling is that Krugman's education in elite universities were not bastions of progressive thinking and where he was awarded importance by his adherence to their principles or of lack thereof. After all, Obama was a law school graduate (Yale or Harvard?) which are renowned for catering to wealthy students whose families donated heavily to the school. And I doubt Krugman grew up in a low cost housing development where he heard other ideas thrown around. (I am going to have to look up his history on this).
People tend to be loyal to the ones that support them in that ladder climb upwards and separate themselves from those who expose the truth even when they know better.
I have read that his wife is fairly liberal and perhaps some of his bone throwing to the masses comes from that direction. It also may be that he is genuinely worried about the financial shenanigans going on especially if it affects his
reputation as the economist who knows it all which could blow up in his face.
But his columns are a good opportunity to challenge his assumptions since his audience is usually a higher educated politically intelligent readers than elsewhere who often see through some of his comments.

annenigma said...

Institutions nominate individuals for the Nobel Prize to glorify themselves. Wow, Harvard has x# of Nobel Prize winners (who donate to their endowment)! NYT employs one! It's a medal on the institutions chest that brings financial rewards.

They nominate their own in the same way that cities nominate themselves for Best City to Retire award, especially when a big developer is working on a new upscale development. I live in an area where the countywide public library system has been rebranded the ImagineIf Libraries (the first step to privatization) and lo and behold, they have quickly received two awards, no doubt nominated by one of their Board of Directors (retired CEOs).

Any guesses who nominated Barack Obama? I think it was David Axelrod.

The nominees are for the Nobel Prize are kept SECRET for 50 years for a very good reason.

Bottom line: It's good for busine$$.

Kat said...

Welcome back, Karen. Here is to a speedy recovery.
Anne, isn't the whole rankings and awards racket out of control? If you listen to Fox News you would think this is entirely an outgrowth of left "permissiveness" as in "everyone gets an award". As if. More like neoliberal propaganda for the idea that "leadership is everything". Good lord, I saw an ad for the annual excellence in human resource management awards the other day. The recently hired parks and recreation chief in my city said his first order of business was to move up the rankings of parks departments! really? That's your first order of business?
Oh, and then there was the annual CEO awards-- divided by size of organization and for profit/non profit. What a circlejerk.

Valerie said...

Pearl, Anne and Kat,
Excellent points.

Pearl said...

Have Democrats Pulled Too Far Left?

The readers' furious responses to this stupid article are refreshing. Worth a read.

Meredith NYC said...

Pearl.....yes the comments to that absurd op ed--are the dems too far left-- are needed just to assert some basic sanity. I'm going to read some today.

In fact--TGFC--thank god for comments. Can you imagine the garbage on the times op ed page just being there with no reader comment rebuttal?
That's just how it was until maybe 10 years ago, or less?

In fact I'm curious if there's been any studies or analysis done on the effect of reader comments on our politics, if any. As distinct from just social media and twitter, etc, generally.

I have not done any tweeting yet. Are any of Karen's commenters here on Twitter? Opinion?

Unknown said...

Karen you are the best
speedy recovery