As an amicus brief from a long list of prestigious medical organizations and researchers laid out at length, studies show that emergency contraception and the IUD prevent fertilization, not implantation. They are not “abortifacients,” even under the anti-choicers’ peculiar definition of abortion. ... Why doesn’t it matter that there is no scientific evidence for [Hobby Lobby CEO] Green’s position? When did Jesus become an Ob/Gyn? - Zoë Carpenter at The Nation, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was Right, and We Already Have Proof"


(Earlier banner quotes)

Quotes From The Top

Here are the quotes that have appeared in the banner of the YDDV since it moved back to Blogger in 2012:

•  As an amicus brief from a long list of prestigious medical organizations and researchers laid out at length, studies show that emergency contraception and the IUD prevent fertilization, not implantation. They are not “abortifacients,” even under the anti-choicers’ peculiar definition of abortion. ... Why doesn’t it matter that there is no scientific evidence for [Hobby Lobby CEO] Green’s position? When did Jesus become an Ob/Gyn? - Zoë Carpenter at The Nation, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was Right, and We Already Have Proof"

• It does seem like Target would be an obvious—well, you know—for the Open Carry nuts. - Hunter at DKos, "Open Carry Texas targets Target"

• To put it in perspective: The most successful fundraising gala I’ve ever attended raised $2 million dollars to support the food banks of New York City. Earlier this year, Congress voted to slash $8.8 BILLION dollars from SNAP. To make up for $8.8 billion dollars in cuts to food for hungry people, we would need to replicate the success of that fundraiser every single night.  For the next 12 years. - Chef Tom Colicchio, "It's Time to #VoteFood"

• We cannot have a growing economy without a growing and buoyant middle class. We cannot have a growing middle class if almost all of the economic gains go to the top 1 percent. - Robert Reich, "How to Shrink Inequality"

•  What is it that makes self-proclaimed centrists such easy marks for right-wing con men? Actually, it’s not that much of a mystery: the centrist creed is that the two parties are symmetrically extremist, and this means that there must, as a matter of principle, be Serious, Honest Republicans out there — so such people must be invented if they don’t actually exist. Hence the elevation of Paul Ryan despite clear evidence of his con-artist nature. - Paul Krugman, "The Other Christie Scandal"

• I wonder about this sometimes. How much dysfunctionality is just enough to make you a writer? - Sara Paretsky, interview, 2008

• The problem for Wall Street, [Ken] Langone, [Tom] Perkins and the rest [of the billionaires] is that the old ruses are exhausted. Americans are increasingly aware about how they fixed the game, how they rigged the rules to make out like bandits, and how they blew up the economy and got bailed out, while the rest of the country took it in their teeth. — They keep invoking Hitler and Nazis and the threat to the 1 percent, but their folly is feeding the populism they fear. As former President John Kennedy warned, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” - Robert Borosage, "The Plutocrats Take To The Barricades"

• President Bush's agenda for the privatization of Social Security was not about providing more money to America's retirees or more security or about increasing efficiency. It was about one thing only: providing more money to the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent — more money to Wall Street. The magnitudes involved are potentially enormous. Think of the $2.6 trillion in the Social Security fund. If Wall Street could get just 1 percent per year for managing that money, that would be an extra bonanza for the managers of $26 billion a year. - Joseph E. Stiglitz, "The Price of Inequality" [2012], p.228

• It is particularly disturbing that today [2012] almost a quarter of all children [in America] live in poverty. Not doing anything about their plight is a political choice that will have long-lasting consequences for our country.  - - Joseph E. Stiglitz, "The Price of Inequality," p.17

• I believe President Obama, who talks about the environment while pushing the Keystone pipeline, who talks about economic inequality while demanding fast-track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, is a Hall-of-Fame worthy bullshit artist. I believe the sooner people see this truth for what it is, the better. He is not your friend. He is selling you out. - William Rivers Pitt, "The Ocean is Coming"

• Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter. - Robert Reich, "Why There's No Outcry"

• This new face of poverty — a face that’s both poor, near-poor, and precarious working middle, and that’s simultaneously black, Latino, and white — renders the old Republican divide-and-conquer strategy obsolete. Most people are now on the same losing side of the divide. Since the start of the recovery, 95 percent of the economy’s gains have gone to the top 1 percent. — Which means Republican opposition to extended unemployment insurance, food stamps, jobs programs, and a higher minimum wage pose a real danger of backfiring on the GOP. - Robert Reich, "Why the Republican's Old Divide-And-Conquer Strategy — Setting Working Class Against the Poor — Is Backfiring"

• I didn't used to have such a dismal opinion of conservatives, but long experience and close attention have disabused me of the idea that they are just people who have different opinions about stuff. That might be true for most of the voters, but the people who are running the Modern Conservative Movement are just not good people. They cannot be trusted on any level, from running the government to watching your children to leaving you alone in an airport bathroom. - BooMan, "Why I Am Not Surprised"

• Presidential elections are big, shiny things that tend to suck all the oxygen out of the room. The next one is three full years away. In the meantime, it would be nice if people actually focused on the incredibly important elections happening less than a year from now. The future you save may be your own. - William Rivers Pitt, "Please Don't Take the 2016 Bait"

• It requires a very special misunderstanding of history to believe that members of Congress in Johnson's day bear any resemblance whatsoever to the meth-addled barn swallows we endure today. - William Rivers Pitt, "Rust Never Sleeps"

• So: you give me something, I give you nothing, and I don’t threaten your wife and kids until next week. Compromise! - Paul Krugman, "Flim Flam Forever"

• Listen! that sound you hear is the shredding of the social contract. - Bill Moyers, "Joblessness is killing us... the Pope says so"

• Even some conservative pundits worry that the war on food stamps, especially combined with the vote to increase farm subsidies, is bad for the G.O.P., because it makes Republicans look like meanspirited class warriors. Indeed it does. And that’s because they are. - Paul Krugman, "Free to Be Hungry"

• It is fashionable in the US and UK governments and among their sycophants to speak of “gangster state Russia.” But we all know who the gangsters are. The worst criminals of our time are the US and UK governments. Both are devoid of all integrity, all honor, all mercy, all humanity. Many members of both governments would have made perfect functionaries in Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany. - Paul Craig Roberts, "Gangster State US/UK"

• Ronald Reagan once said "trust but verify." That works only if we can verify. In a world where everyone lies to us all the time, we have no choice but to trust blindly, and we have no reason to believe that anyone is worthy of blind trust. - Bruce Schneier, "NSA secrets kill our trust"

• This bill will kill women. - Andrea Grimes, "As Out-Of-State Gawkers Look On, Texas Lawmakers Prepare to Pass ‘Death Sentence’ Anti-Abortion Bill"

• ... I continue to wonder precisely what Constitution of which nation this president taught back in his days in law school. - Charles P. Pierce, Esquire.

• Trickle-down economics is the first cousin of austerity economics. Austerity is nuts when so many millions are out of work. And as we’ve learned before, trickle-down is a fraud. Nothing ever trickles down. - Robert Reich, "A Story for May Day"

• But the truth is that the “centrists” aren’t sincere. Calls for centrism and bipartisanship aren’t actual demands for specific policies — they’re an act, a posture these people take to make themselves seem noble and superior. And that posture requires blaming both parties equally, no matter what they do or propose. - Paul Krugman, "Imaginary Grownups"

• OK, I understand that in GOP internal politics we seem to have a principle of survival of the wrongest, in which the less real-world outcomes corroborate the dogma, the more fiercely that dogma is held. But Ryan’s complete lack of self-reflection is nonetheless something wondrous to behold. - Paul Krugman, "Night of the Living Alesina, Continued"

• Austerity right now is a really, really bad idea. - Paul Krugman, "Spending Cuts and Monetary Policy"

• If the next showdowns over the fiscal cliff, government appropriations, and debt ceiling result in more deficit cuts this year, we’re in a recession. - Robert Reich, "Why Consumers are Bummed Out"

• When you’ve gone through something like World War II as a young man, you face the idea that life is very precious. So I feel about life as I always have: Under any circumstances, go for it. - Dave Brubeck, 1920-2012

• I guess we have to understand the definition of serious: a proposal is only serious if it punishes the poor and the middle class. - Paul Krugman, "What Defines A Serious Deficit Proposal"

• I wish President Obama and the Democrats would explain to the nation that the federal budget deficit isn’t the nation’s major economic problem and deficit reduction shouldn’t be our major goal. Our problem is lack of good jobs and sufficient growth, and our goal must be to revive both. - Robert Reich, "Why We Should Stop Obsessing About The Federal Budget Deficit"

• The greatest and most enduring significance of Tuesday night's election results will likely not be the re-election of Barack Obama, but rather what the outcome reflects about the American electorate. It was not merely Democrats, but liberalism, which was triumphant. - Glenn Greenwald, "Obama and progressives: what will liberals do with their big election victory?"

• Children don’t have lobbyists the way oil companies or banks do, but it’s the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace. That’s what we fight for. That’s why I need you, Iowa, to make sure their voices are heard. - Barack Obama, final campaign speech

• So much wealth and power have accumulated at the top of America that our economy and our democracy are seriously threatened. Romney not only represents this problem. He is the living embodiment of it. - Robert Reich, "What Mitt Romney Really Represents"

• In a way, people like Romney agree with Occupy: it’s them against the 99 percent, except that they consider the 1 percent to be the people being exploited. - Paul Krugman, "Nation of Takers"

• The most troubling economic trend facing America this Labor Day weekend is the increasing concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the very top – among a handful of extraordinarily wealthy people – and the steady decline of the great American middle class. — Inequality in America is at record levels. The 400 richest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million of us put together. - Robert Reich, "Labor Day 2012 and the Election of 2012: It’s Inequality, Stupid"

• The United States has collapsed economically, socially, politically, legally, constitutionally, environmentally, and morally. The country that exists today is not even a shell of the country into which I was born. - Paul Craig Roberts, "America's Descent Into Poverty"


• Representative [Paul] Ryan only seems to object to government programs and policies that benefit lower- and middle-income people. In this sense, he seems to have perfectly captured the philosophy of the modern Republican Party: "a dollar in the pocket of a middle-class person is a dollar that could belong to a rich person." - Dean Baker, "Rep. Paul Ryan's Far-Right Agenda: The Media Can't Take the Truth"

• I fear that at least since 2010 we’ve been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d’etat whose purpose is to repeal every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal and entrench the privileged positions of the wealthy and powerful — who haven’t been as wealthy or as powerful since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.
- Robert Reich, "The Big-Lie Coup d'Etat"

• Killing satire isn't enough. Some people insist on waterboarding it first. Former President George W. Bush will soon publish a book on strategies for economic growth. - Paul Krugman

 I have a mindset that says bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view. - Richard Mourdock, GOP Senate nominee

• ... It was actually kind of funny to see the apostles of orthodoxy trying to portray the cautious, mild-mannered François Hollande as a figure of menace. He is “rather dangerous,” declared The Economist, which observed that he “genuinely believes in the need to create a fairer society.” Quelle horreur! Paul Krugman, "Those Revolting Europeans"

• Look, you are not going to have an informed citizenry when the liberal end of the spectrum is a Rachel Maddow who has been turned into little more than a partisan mouthpiece who acts like the problem is just Republicans. - Avedon Carol, Some rob you with a fountain pen

Here are the quotes that have appeared in the banner of the YSS since it began as a WordPress blog in 2012:

• And in the comments, furious complaints that some of the people on stage were trying to make ["This Land is Your Land"] into a political statement. Because trying to appropriate Woody Guthrie on behalf of progressive politics is just crazy, right? - Paul Krugman, Don't Know Much About (Musical) History

• All that has happened to conservatism is the moral collapse of “moderate” Republicans, who are now afraid to criticize the extreme wing that has been there all along. - Paul Krugman, Same As They Ever Were

• One implication of this comparison is that conservatives who love to compare Reagan’s record with Mr. Obama’s should think twice. Aside from the fact that recoveries from financial crises are almost always slower than ordinary recoveries, in reality Reagan was much more Keynesian than Mr. Obama, faced with an obstructionist G.O.P., has ever managed to be. - Paul Krugman, States of Depression

• The sufferings of humanity cannot be alleviated solely, or even mainly, through politics and litigation. Wherever we look in the world we see material well-being as the essential precondition for democracy and justice. The great challenge for this generation's youth is to direct technical ingenuity to humane purposes. Toward this end, idealists will want to understand the rudiments of technology, and some of them, at least, will want to study engineering. - Samuel C. Florman, The Introspective Engineer, p. 212.

• Romney's is the language of a man who has never wanted for anything, never worried about where his next paycheck would come from, never worried about going bankrupt if he got sick. - David Atkins, "Why Romney's 'Firing' Gaffe Resonates"

• Whenever I see the latest news on how the Occupy movement is being suppressed, I remember all those people who kept insisting that we were lucky America was a free country, because we'd be arrested if we tried to protest in a real dictatorship. Well, Americans are getting arrested for trying to protest. Are we a real dictatorship, yet? - Avedon Carol, "Waiting for the Perfect to be the enemy of the Bad"

• Romney, in other words, is the candidate Citizens United created, the creature given life by Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito all playing Dr. Frankenstein. - Robert Reich, "Mitt, Son of 'Citizen’s United'"

• There’s still no functioning Parliament in Iraq since the withdrawal, because of Sunni boycotts. No functioning government – we really did bring American-style democracy to Iraq! - David Dayen, FDL

• I know, I know — families are having to tighten their belts, so the government should tighten its belt too; and we’ll tighten our belt all the way to a full-on depression. - Paul Krugman, "The Problem"

• At its heart, the Bradley Manning trial is about secrecy, about understanding how our own government as a world power operates in complex international waters, about debating the sacrifices we’re willing to make to advance our interests. Whatever interests the military may have in conducting its case against Manning behind closed doors, we as a society cannot tolerate attempts to rob us of knowledge of the court proceedings. This trial will change the history of our country; I only hope we get to be in the room when it happens. - Rainey Reitman, The Nation

• It is important to remember that the unemployed/underemployed are not in financial trouble because they messed up. They are in financial trouble because people like Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, and Robert Rubin messed up. They are in financial trouble because news outlets like the Washington Post only had room in their news and opinion pages for people whining about budget deficits. (This is back in 2004-2007, when deficits were small.) They had no room for the people warning that the housing bubble would inevitably burst and sink the economy. - Dean Baker, CEPR, Robert Samuelson: "Bye Bye Darwin?"

• Suspecting O of lying about everything is a logical result of paying attention to what O says and what he actually delivers. - ThingsComeUndone on an FDL thread

• Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world. - tweet by ladydebidebz quoted by Avedon Carol

• The 60s types remember that when the protests were peaceful, we got the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. When the protests turned violent, we got Nixon and, over the next few years, the disintegration of the left eventually leading to Reagan. / It's true that non-violence doesn't guarantee that you get what you want. What it does guarantee is that you don't turn into your opponent. - Charles II of Phoenix Woman, commenting on this post by Avedon Carol

• There’s one question that pundits and politicians keep posing to the Occupy gatherings around the country: What are your demands? / I have a suggestion for a response: We demand that you stop demanding a list of demands. - Robert Jensen, Occupy Demands: Let's Radicalize Our Analysis Of Empire, Economics, Ecology

• I sometimes like to say that modern conservatism isn’t an attempt to turn the clock back to the Gilded Age, it’s an attempt to roll things back to before the Enlightenment, with all that godless talk about numbers and evidence and all that. Doesn’t sound that silly now, does it? / Never mind Darwin — let’s go after Newton! - Paul Krugman, One Nation, Innumerate

• You see, until a few weeks ago it seemed as if Wall Street had effectively bribed and bullied our political system into forgetting about that whole drawing lavish paychecks while destroying the world economy thing. Then, all of a sudden, some people insisted on bringing the subject up again. - And their outrage has found resonance with millions of Americans. No wonder Wall Street is whining. - Paul Krugman, Losing Their Immunity

• So who’s really being un-American here? Not the protesters, who are simply trying to get their voices heard. No, the real extremists here are America’s oligarchs, who want to suppress any criticism of the sources of their wealth. - Paul Krugman, Panic of the Plutocrats

• That's why - after 2 1/2 years - we suddenly see an outburst of "fighting for jobs" and, now, a call to raise taxes on the rich. [Obama] does that precisely because everyone - especially the rich - knows it will not and cannot happen. We're now formally in (re-)election season, so it's time again to haul out the progressive music. - Glenn Greenwald, The Geithner mystery solved

• So the really big fight — perhaps the defining battle of 2012 — won’t be over Medicare. It won’t even be over Obama’s jobs program.- It will be over whether the rich should pay more taxes. - Robert Reich, A Good Fight

• I entered the world of politics at a time when there were Fifth Amendment communists. And I've reached the age of ninety-four, when there are Fifth Amendment capitalists. - John Kenneth Galbraith, interviewed by Studs Terkel, 'Hope Dies Last', 2003

• Now, we don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect. - Paul Krugman, "Republicans Against Science"

• ... The President -- who kicked off his campaign vowing to put an end to "the era of Scooter Libby justice" -- will stand before the electorate in 2012 having done everything in his power to shield top Bush officials from all accountability for their crimes and will have done the same for Wall Street banks, all while continuing to preside over the planet's largest Prison State . . . for ordinary Americans convicted even of trivial offenses, particularly (though not only) from the War on Drugs he continues steadfastly to defend. ... - Glenn Greenwald, "Obama administration takes tough stance on banks"

• Hentoff’s piece reminds us of the difference between “disappointing” and “disastrous.” Some people look at Barack Obama’s record — his collapse on the debt ceiling issue, betrayal of organized labor, expansion of the war in Afghanistan, extension of the Bush tax cuts, refusal to push for jobs programs, failure to push for prosecution of Wall Street crooks and possible war criminals, and so on — and say his presidency has been disappointing. Others look at Obama’s record thus far and say it is disastrous. I don’t think historians will have a hard time making the right call on this one. - OddManOut215, via Avedon

• Somehow [Obama]'s turned into the second coming of Herbert Hoover - Paul Krugman, appearing on Keith Olbermann's Countdown

• I see a president on his knees, hands outstretched, offering the best ideas and policies liberal governance has ever devised up to the voracious carnivore of GOP opportunism. I see the end of the New Deal, and a far crueler America emerging from the aftermath. I see a Democratic president voiding his bladder on all that he is supposed to uphold. - William Rivers Pitt, 'So This Is Despair'

• The only invisible hand I know of is that of my urologist. - Commenter catch22oy, Firedoglake

• What Obama has offered — and Republicans have refused to accept — is a deal in which less than 20 percent of the deficit reduction comes from new revenues. This puts him slightly to the right of the average Republican voter. - Paul Krugman, "Obama, Moderate Republican"

• The press so far has been asking whether the debt ceiling is constitutional. The correct question they should ask is whether the Republican strategy of hostage taking violates the Constitution. It does. - Jack Balkin, "Secretary Geithner understands the Constitution: The Republicans are violating the Fourteenth Amendment"

• If you do the 1937 thing, you shouldn’t be surprised at getting the 1937 result. - Paul Krugman, "Anti-Stimulus"

• But let’s be frank. It’s getting harder and harder to trust Mr. Obama’s motives in the budget fight, given the way his economic rhetoric has veered to the right. In fact, if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the G.O.P.’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth. - Paul Krugman, "What Obama Wants"

• Think about it. There’s a significant chance that failing to raise the debt limit could provoke a renewed financial crisis — and Republicans would rather take that chance than allow a reduction in tax breaks on corporate jets. — What this says to me is that Obama cannot, must not, concede here. If he does, he’s signaling that the GOP can extract even the most outrageous demands; he’s setting himself up for endless blackmail. A line has to be drawn somewhere; it should have been drawn last fall; but to concede now would effectively mean the end of the presidency. - Paul Krugman, "Debt Limit Stakes"

• Call me Ug for short. Call Mitt ... The Great White Hoax. - Ugg the Repug, commenting on TPM thread Mitt Romney — Net Worth Over $200 Million — Tells Unemployed People ‘I’m Also Unemployed’)

• Seven GOP Presidential hopefuls debate tonight; party still searching for Snow White. - Roger Ebert on Twitter (H/T Bryan)

• ... We're in four wars today. We're in Afghanistan, we're in Iraq, we're in the so-called global war on terror (and don't believe that's over; we're still fighting in certain countries), and we were in Libya. And my God, we could be in Syria tomorrow and Iran next week. This is crazy. This is what we do today. We do war. And increasingly we do it with less than 1 percent of the population, less than 1 percent. This is unconscionable. George Washington would not claim us today. - Lawrence Wilkerson on Paul Jay's "The Real News", "Predatory Capitalism and War for Oil"

• It is not hyperbole to say that the Obama administration is waging an all-out war against transparency and whistleblowing (and the transparency groups who obsequiously awarded Obama a transparency award [one accepted in secret] are as disgraceful as the five Norwegians who awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize as he continues to do things like this). The persecution of WikiLeaks -- for engaging in the crux of investigative journalism -- along with anyone who supports it is one particularly dangerous weapon in that war. And anyone who defies or resists that war deserves, and will need, ample public support. - Glenn Greenwald, "WikiLeaks Grand Jury investigation widens"

• If one wants to argue that Awlaki's speech falls outside the scope of Brandenburg and Claiborne protections, the place to do that is a courtroom after indicting him, not vesting the President with the power to act as judge, jury and executioner. - Glenn Greenwald,"Criminalizing free speech"

• And until all of these disparate groups who consider themselves liberal stop allowing themselves to be sold out for the sake of, oh, the latest hostage, or We Have To Get Behind The President, or OMG REPUBLICANS!!!! - until everyone just stops being placated or frightened into silence and starts fighting for what we really need, the gay groups are the only ones that are going to be able to say they got one little thing out of Mr. HopeyChangey - while the rest of us continue to lose everything we ever had. - Avedon Carol

• When the Blackhawk helicopters slipped through Pakistani airspace en route to bin Laden’s compound, they did more than execute one of the greatest U.S. bugbears — they essentially said another country’s sovereignty was no longer relevant and consigned Congress to the role of spectator. - Conn Hallinan, FPIF, "The New Face Of War"

• The two-party system is a twisted con based on fear. If you don’t vote for Party A then Party B, which is slightly more evil, will win. If “your” Party A wins, all you get is the dubious, incremental pseudo-victory of somewhat less suckiness. But Party A gets something infinitely more valuable: political legitimacy and the right to claim a mandate for policies that you mostly dislike. “Hey, you elected them.” “You got the government you deserve.” Not at all. It’s a terrible, lopsided bargain. You get little to nothing. They use your vote to justify their policies: No jobs. One war after another. Wasting your tax dollars. Corruption. More pollution. - Ted Rall, "The Evil of Two Lessers"

• The two-party system is sclerotic. As Obama’s presidency shows, more than ever, there is no room for progressives at the table of highest political power. The reason for this is that the rules of the game that elect our representatives actually hurt progressives. - Steven Hill, "Was Rahm Right?"

• The Republican Party is the party of "If only I had a heart" and "If only I had a brain". Obama's Democratic Party is more the party of, "If only I had a spine." They oughtta rename themselves The Invertebrate Party and be done with it. - BadTux the Snarky Penguin

• But now, thank god, this whole thing is over and our troops can come home and we won't have to take off our shoes at the airport anymore and can turn our attention to hunting down the next-biggest threat to democracy: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. - Will Durst, "Obama gets Osama"

• For the most part I’m staying away from the whole Osama thing, in part just because the field is so crowded, but just to say the obvious: isn’t the GOP showing a stunning lack of grace in this whole affair? - Paul Krugman, "Lack of Grace"

• But one policy where Obama has gone further than Bush/Cheney in terms of unfettered executive authority and radical war powers is the attempt to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process. - Glenn Greenwald, "U.S. tries to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki" 

• The real concern should be to make sure Americans don’t need to worry about whether or not they can afford to get sick; in that department, even its supporters admit the Affordable Care Act is lacking. We are going to make people buy insurance they can’t afford to use. - Jon Walker, "Paper Sheds New Light on Affordable (Unless You Are Actually Sick and Need) Care Act"

• DeMint doesn’t say specifically what Obama’s done to undermine the military, but maybe he’s referring to the fact that Obama retained George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense and all his top generals while increasing defense spending. - Blue Texan, "In the Wake of bin Laden’s Death, Jim DeMint Says President Obama Lacks 'Commitment' to Defense" 

• Mohammed did not discuss al-Kuwaiti while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He acknowledged knowing him many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.- ABC News, "Phone Call by Kuwaiti Courier Led to Bin Laden"

• Your vote for Obama will be a vote for war and for torture, for executive godhood, for murder, for fraud, and for the robbery of the American people. - Avedon Carol

• To that end, please join us in saying goodbye to Sarah Palin, whose career ended tonight. She sealed it by tweeting congratulations only to the military. Not a word about Intelligence personnel, and certainly not a word about Obama. Speaking of intelligence, rationalizing the death of Bin Laden under a Democratic president is going to test the limit of hers. Which ain’t gonna take long. - Keith Olbermann, "Bin Laden Dead - And It Was Live-Tweeted" •

Old saying: "When a small man casts a long shadow, sundown is near." - bearclaw, on a TPM thread about Mitch Daniels

• I figure the big reason the Villagers want to kill off older people is because they can still remember what life was like in the United States before a succession of presidents from both parties started dismantling the New Deal. They particularly want to get rid of the last generation to be taught in school what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were really all about, what our system of government is supposed to do and how it's supposed to work. / Because for people who remember what we were taught in school way back when, and how we lived in those days, there is at least the sneaking suspicion that no one has protected the American way of life, and that it has already been mostly overthrown. - Avedon, "Let the good times roll"

• I think we should consider banning polling. How many times do we need it to be confirmed that half the country can't find its own ass with a mirror and a rectal thermometer? - BooMan

• [Ann] Althouse’s post is smugly “veni, vidi, vici,” but is, as usual, more “vino, vino, vino.” - Thers, on FDL • Resolve to build up Mr Jefferson's wall of separation. And don't keep the faith. - Christopher Hitchens, conclusion of his literal farewell address to American Atheists

• This Boehner has lasted more than 4 hours. I'm calling my doctor... - commenter ken-in-mn, TPM thread

• It [the Paul Ryan long-term budget] doesn't address in any serious or courageous way the issue of the near and medium-term deficit. I think the biggest problem is revenues. It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. It's a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes. - former Reagan OMB director David Stockman, via TPM

• The lesson, then, is not that liberals need to be better partisan cheerleaders, its that Democrats need to deliver — especially when they promised CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN — and when they don’t, they lose elections. - Blue Texan, FDL, "Was the Budget Calamity Liberals' Fault?"

Ezra Klein gets this right, I think: it’s one thing for Obama to decide that it was better to give in to Republican hostage-taking than draw a line in the sand; it’s another for him to celebrate the result. Yet that’s just what he did. More than that, he has now completely accepted the Republican frame that spending cuts right now are what America needs. - Paul Krugman, "Celebrating Defeat"

• Meanwhile, I'm going to move into my car, empty out my bank account and give the money to a rich person so he'll win the future for me. Isn't that what all responsible families are doing right now? - digby, "Family Values"

• So the pundits who praised this proposal when it was released were punked. The G.O.P. budget plan isn’t a good-faith effort to put America’s fiscal house in order; it’s voodoo economics, with an extra dose of fantasy, and a large helping of mean-spiritedness. - Paul Krugman, "Ludicrous and Cruel" • The Republicans will protect you from conception to birth. After that, you’re on your own. - commenter Margaret, FDL thread

• The phrase consent of the governed has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left. - Chris Hedges, "This Is What Resistance Looks Like"

• ... As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion. - Bob Herbert, "Losing Our Way"

• ... Campaigning in 2007, Obama said, “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.” Quite a performance. This year, as Wisconsin teachers fight to retain their right to collectively bargain, Obama has said absolutely nothing. One would have to be a fool to think he would join them. - Linh Dinh, "Winding Down Obama" • Yet, of the cases in this [Supreme] Court in which the Fourteenth Amendment was applied during the first fifty years after its adoption, less than one-half of 1 per cent. invoked it in protection of the negro race, and more than 50 per cent. asked that its benefits be extended to corporations. - Justice Hugo Black, 1938

• When I read The Handmaid’s Tale when it first came out, it seemed so impossible. It’s terrifying how little time it’s taken for that to seem all to likely now. - Missouri Mule, comment on FDL • I imagine the US policy response to what's going on in Japan will be a reactor in every back yard. - Atrios, "Deep Thought"

• My major question about today’s arrest in the actual bomb placement at the Spokane, Washington, Martin Luther King Day parade is this: how will America’s media cover the arrest of a non-Muslim motivated by white supremacy who actually placed an operational bomb in a clear hate crime? - Teddy Partridge, FDL, "Arrest in Actual Bomb Plot in Spokane: Will This Story Break Wide?"

• There is only so much social distance [between government and the governed] a society can take. The social science literature shows that as social distance increases, trust declines and aberrant and predatory behavior increases. The basic mechanisms of representation erode, and the social fabric tears. “An imbalance between rich and poor,” Plutarch warned, “is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” - Christopher Hayes, "Why Washington Doesn't Care About Jobs," The Nation

• Eff Scott Fitzgerald!! - WadeBlazingame34, re Wisconsin senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, on TPM comment thread

• The drive to be useful is encoded in our genes. But when we gather in very large numbers, as in the modern nation-state, we seem capable of levels of folly and self-destruction to be found nowhere else in all of nature. - Lewis Thomas, "Late Night Thoughts Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony," p. 61

• In other words, our political officials are Too Important, and engaged in far Too Weighty Matters in Keeping Us Safe, to subject them to the annoyance of the rule of law. It's much more important to allow them to Fight The Terrorists without restraints than to bother them with claims that they broke the law and violated the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That's the mentality that has resulted in full-scale immunity for both political and now private-sector elites in a whole slew of lawbreaking scandals -- from Obama's refusal to investigate Bush-era crimes or high-level Wall Street criminality to retroactive immunity for lawbreaking telecoms and legal protection for defrauding mortgage banks. - Glenn Greenwald, "U.S. Justice v. the world"

• Texas is going to shrink government until it fits into a woman's uterus. - State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, quoted in the Austin American-Statesman • Today, the regular folks in one state rose up righteous and spit the pabulum about "sharing sacrifices" into the faces of those politicians who would not know sacrifice if it peed on them. - William Rivers Pitt, "Volunteers Of America"

• President Obama has chosen to fight fire with gasoline. - Robert Reich, "The Obama Budget: And Why the Coming Debate Over Spending Cuts Has Nothing to Do With Reviving the Economy"

• The poor, who are suffering from an all-out depression, are never heard from. In terms of their clout, they might as well not exist. The Obama forces reportedly want to raise a billion dollars or more for the president’s re-election bid. Politicians in search of that kind of cash won’t be talking much about the wants and needs of the poor. They’ll be genuflecting before the very rich. - Bob Herbert, "When Democracy Weakens"

• I know I should be immune to this by now, but I still find myself awestruck by the incredibly detailed, insulated fantasy world that the American conservative "movement" has created for themselves. - William Rivers Pitt, "A Rich Fantasy Life"

• As the nation embarks on a celebration this Sunday of the hundredth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth—with conferences, museum exhibits and lots of speeches—let us not forget that many of the serious problems facing America today began or worsened during Reagan’s presidency. - Peter Dreier, "Reagan's Real Legacy"

• I have no idea what Bradley Manning did or didn’t do. But if we’re a nation of laws and not of men, then we must guard above all else the integrity of the rules and processes by which we determine guilt or innocence. Failure to do so will mean the inevitable slide into despotism and tyranny. - Jane Hamsher, "Army Leaks Hit Piece on Bradley Manning"

• These people [Tea Party members] believe that the Constitution is a "Judeo-Christian" document. They are simply wrong. It is as secular as secular can be, designed explicitly to keep the government out of religion and vice versa. - Digby, "Claiming The Founders"

• When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we’re talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. - Paul Krugman, "A Tale of Two Moralities"

• Unfortunately, we are not in a civilized world -- we are in some weird Randian/Calvinist era in which our leaders seem to have confused economics with moralism and have decided that the average folk have had it too good for too long. - Digby, "Now We're Talking"

• So in this holiday season, let’s remember the wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge. Not the bit about denying food and medical care to those who need them: America’s failure to take care of its own less-fortunate citizens is a national disgrace. But Scrooge was right about the prevalence of humbug. And we’d be much better off as a nation if more people had the courage to say “Bah!” - Paul Krugman, "The Humbug Express"

• There is no constituency in Congress for liberal policy. None. Even those who prefer liberal policy, like Sanders and Pelosi, will not do anything to actually make sure it happens, or to stop conservative policy. - Ian Welsh

• People often have a hard time believing that the terms "authoritarian" and "tyranny" apply to their own government, but that's because those who meekly stay in line and remain unthreatening are never targeted by such forces. The face of authoritarianism and tyranny reveals itself with how it responds to those who meaningfully dissent from and challenge its authority: do they act within the law or solely through the use of unconstrained force? - Glenn Greenwald, "The lawless Wild West attacks Wikileaks"

• The kindest thing we can do now is pretend the whole thing never happened. - Paul Krugman, "The Soft Bigotry of Low Deficit Commission Expectations"

• Well, I have to say it: We told you so.- Dave Johnson, "Bloggers Were Right: It WAS Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs"

• Or to put it another way, the administration has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And soon there won’t be any more opportunities to miss. - Paul Krugman, "Epitaph for an Administration"

• All ideological, theological and political debates with the representatives of the corporate state, including the feckless and weak Barack Obama, are useless. They cannot be reached. They do not want a dialogue. They care nothing for real reform or participatory democracy. They use the tricks and mirages of public relations to mask a steadily growing assault on our civil liberties, our inability to make a living and the loss of basic services from education to health care. - Chris Hedges

• What Daschle said here -- in his interview with Volsky and, apparently, in his new book -- is crystal clear, and is consistent with what has long been clear: despite its stream of public statements to the contrary, the Obama White House made no efforts to have a public option in the bill because their secret, early agreement with "stakeholders" was that no public option (and thus no real mechanism of competition with private industry) would be created. - Glenn Greenwald

• Experience as a business executive is no preparation for managing the economy. - Paul Krugman

• Moreover, it's almost impossible to ignore how similar are the rhetoric and rationale between (a) Bush supporters who justified presidential torture and (b) Obama supporters who now justify presidential due-process-free assassinations. - Glenn Greenwald

• ... the people who control the Democratic party despise you. Loathe you. They think you’re the sort of frightened sheep who will keep voting for them, keep giving them money and help, as long as they promise to be just a little better than the Republicans. / Are they right? - Ian Welsh

• [Regarding the Forbes 400] Please let this oppressed minority participate in our system just like anyone else. Stop treating them disrespectfully. They have their valets help them put their pants on one leg at a time just like you and me. - Digby

• I don't know if anybody's been keeping records, but it's hard to remember a primary season quite as bloody as this one—especially on the Republican side. The normally tidy, on-message party is starting to squabble like Real Housewives of New Jersey. And Cornyn, by virtue of his position as NRSC chairman, has become the symbol of the Republican establishment that the Tea Party's white, well-off renegades are hell-bent on toppling.- Bob Moser, Texas Observer, "Cornyn Comes a Cropper - Again"

• And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago. - Paul Krugman, "The Angry Rich"

• Aside from ambition -- hardly unique among presidential candidates -- I cannot detect powerful convictions in Obama. He seems merely expedient in peddling his convenient conflicts. - Robert Samuelson, "A Vote for McBamaDavid Dayen, "Obama Mocks Public Option Supporters"

This is a righteous rant pointing out that what we have is a complete fucking fail. It's a failure of our political institutions, of our financial system, of our economy as structured, of the economics profession, of unelected elite GOP Daddies who are supposed to fix things, of the media, of the whole fucking thing. - Atrios, "Fail"

• So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere. - Paul Krugman, "America Goes Dark"

• Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care — that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal. - Paul Krugman, "Defining Prosperity Down"

• ... so you might as well step up and admit that, you know, just because you're on their [the Democrats'] side doesn't mean they're on your side. - Avedon Carol, The Sideshow

• In one of the most hilarious history fails I’ve ever seen, Nancy Pelosi actually compares the financial reform bill to the New Deal: "[This week's Wall Street-reform legislation has] the boldness and enthusiasm of the New Deal but with less government." Um, isn’t that kind of like saying that tap water has the boldness and flavor of Dr Pepper but with less carbonation and syrup? - Eli, Firedoglake

• June 2010 was the warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record. - Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground

• Times are tough for workers in the U.S. where a recession has a stranglehold on much of the economy, but life is perfectly rosy for those at the top. — The riches of the wealthiest North Americans grew by double digits in 2009, primarily from interest their money earned when it was invested in the stock market and elsewhere, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group. — Millionaires in the U.S. and Canada saw their wealth increase 15 percent in 2009, to a total of 4.6 trillion dollars, the report found. - Adrianne Appel, 'Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose'

• So consumer confidence is way down and the market tanked on the news. I don't suppose it might have anything to do with the fact that nearly every elite gasbag in the world is blathering on endlessly that the sky is falling because of the potential, maybe, could be future deficits and telling everyone they are going to have to sacrifice for decades and pull in their belts for years to come? Nah, couldn't be that. - digby, 'Confidence Building'

• In 2007, at the unveiling of a portrait of Mr. Byrd in the Old Senate Chamber, former Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a colleague of 30 years, recalled that Mr. Byrd had taught him how to answer when a constituent asked, “How many presidents have you served under?” “None,” was Mr. Byrd’s reply, Mr. Sarbanes said. “I have served with presidents, not under them.” - Adam Clymer, NY Times, 'Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92'
The ongoing saga of the computer viruses can be found here.
“Unfortunately, this isn't the cold war in which there was a consensus for containment among the policy elites. The only consensus now seems to be to wet our collective pants at the slightest threat, start killing some random people and tear off another piece of the constitution. ...” - Digby, “Ungrateful Bastards
“Corporations have effectively taken over our internal security and intelligence apparatus. They run our economy and manage our systems of communication. They own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. They loot the U.S. Treasury at will. And they have become unassailable. Those who decry the corporate coup are locked out of the national debate and become as marginalized as [Rep. Dennis] Kucinich.” - Chris Hedges, “No One Cares
“Starvation, destitution and early death were facts of life in the first decades of the last century and if Peterson gets his way, our future will return us to the Dickensian ugliness of our past.” - John Halle, “From "Yes We Can" to "No You Won't": Pushing Back on the Deficit Hawks
“Luck. That's what the American Dream now rests on. It used to be about education, hard work and perseverance, but the system is rigged to such an extent now that the way to keep your head above water is to get lucky. The middle class life is now the prize on a scratch-off lottery ticket.” - Arianna Huffington, “Shorting The Middle Class: The Real Wall Street Crime
“When Republicans hate their president more than they love their country, there's a problem.” - Steve Benen, Washington Monthly
“By pretending that every investigator and every 'find' is, like the children in Lake Woebegon, above average, we turn all science into vanilla, making it hard to know what's really noteworthy and worth following up with more research.” - Ken Weiss,Penn State, on Australopithecus sediba
“Does it strike you as odd that we’re targeting US citizens with no judicial process? Does it strike you as odd that we’ve got two entirely separate sets of list on which Americans can be targeted to be killed?” - emptywheel
“If you want your constitutional rights, you need to go somewhere else.” - Robert Birnbrauer, Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, to nurses on strike
• But now, thank god, this whole thing is over and our troops can come home and we won't have to take off our shoes at the airport anymore and can turn our attention to hunting down the next-biggest threat to democracy: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. - Will Durst, "Obama gets Osama"
Here are the quotes that have appeared in the banner of the YSS since it began as a Blogger blog in 2010:

• For the most part I’m staying away from the whole Osama thing, in part just because the field is so crowded, but just to say the obvious: isn’t the GOP showing a stunning lack of grace in this whole affair? - Paul Krugman, "Lack of Grace"

• But one policy where Obama has gone further than Bush/Cheney in terms of unfettered executive authority and radical war powers is the attempt to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process. - Glenn Greenwald, "U.S. tries to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki"

• The real concern should be to make sure Americans don’t need to worry about whether or not they can afford to get sick; in that department, even its supporters admit the Affordable Care Act is lacking. We are going to make people buy insurance they can’t afford to use. - Jon Walker, "Paper Sheds New Light on Affordable (Unless You Are Actually Sick and Need) Care Act"

• DeMint doesn’t say specifically what Obama’s done to undermine the military, but maybe he’s referring to the fact that Obama retained George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense and all his top generals while increasing defense spending. - Blue Texan, "In the Wake of bin Laden’s Death, Jim DeMint Says President Obama Lacks 'Commitment' to Defense"

• Mohammed did not discuss al-Kuwaiti while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He acknowledged knowing him many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.- ABC News, "Phone Call by Kuwaiti Courier Led to Bin Laden"

• Your vote for Obama will be a vote for war and for torture, for executive godhood, for murder, for fraud, and for the robbery of the American people. - Avedon Carol

• To that end, please join us in saying goodbye to Sarah Palin, whose career ended tonight. She sealed it by tweeting congratulations only to the military. Not a word about Intelligence personnel, and certainly not a word about Obama. Speaking of intelligence, rationalizing the death of Bin Laden under a Democratic president is going to test the limit of hers. Which ain’t gonna take long. - Keith Olbermann, "Bin Laden Dead - And It Was Live-Tweeted"

• Old saying: "When a small man casts a long shadow, sundown is near." - bearclaw, on a TPM thread about Mitch Daniels

• I figure the big reason the Villagers want to kill off older people is because they can still remember what life was like in the United States before a succession of presidents from both parties started dismantling the New Deal. They particularly want to get rid of the last generation to be taught in school what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were really all about, what our system of government is supposed to do and how it's supposed to work. / Because for people who remember what we were taught in school way back when, and how we lived in those days, there is at least the sneaking suspicion that no one has protected the American way of life, and that it has already been mostly overthrown. - Avedon, "Let the good times roll"

• I think we should consider banning polling. How many times do we need it to be confirmed that half the country can't find its own ass with a mirror and a rectal thermometer? - BooMan

• [Ann] Althouse’s post is smugly “veni, vidi, vici,” but is, as usual, more “vino, vino, vino.” - Thers, on FDL

• Resolve to build up Mr Jefferson's wall of separation. And don't keep the faith. - Christopher Hitchens, conclusion of his literal farewell address to American Atheists

• This Boehner has lasted more than 4 hours. I'm calling my doctor... - commenter ken-in-mn, TPM thread

• It [the Paul Ryan long-term budget] doesn't address in any serious or courageous way the issue of the near and medium-term deficit. I think the biggest problem is revenues. It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. It's a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes. - former Reagan OMB director David Stockman, via TPM

• The lesson, then, is not that liberals need to be better partisan cheerleaders, its that Democrats need to deliver — especially when they promised CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN — and when they don’t, they lose elections. - Blue Texan, FDL, "Was the Budget Calamity Liberals' Fault?"

Ezra Klein gets this right, I think: it’s one thing for Obama to decide that it was better to give in to Republican hostage-taking than draw a line in the sand; it’s another for him to celebrate the result. Yet that’s just what he did. More than that, he has now completely accepted the Republican frame that spending cuts right now are what America needs. - Paul Krugman, "Celebrating Defeat"

• Meanwhile, I'm going to move into my car, empty out my bank account and give the money to a rich person so he'll win the future for me. Isn't that what all responsible families are doing right now? - digby, "Family Values"

• So the pundits who praised this proposal when it was released were punked. The G.O.P. budget plan isn’t a good-faith effort to put America’s fiscal house in order; it’s voodoo economics, with an extra dose of fantasy, and a large helping of mean-spiritedness. - Paul Krugman, "Ludicrous and Cruel"

• The Republicans will protect you from conception to birth. After that, you’re on your own. - commenter Margaret, FDL thread

• The phrase consent of the governed has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left. - Chris Hedges, "This Is What Resistance Looks Like"

• ... As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion. - Bob Herbert, "Losing Our Way"

• ... Campaigning in 2007, Obama said, “If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.” Quite a performance. This year, as Wisconsin teachers fight to retain their right to collectively bargain, Obama has said absolutely nothing. One would have to be a fool to think he would join them. - Linh Dinh, "Winding Down Obama"

• Yet, of the cases in this [Supreme] Court in which the Fourteenth Amendment was applied during the first fifty years after its adoption, less than one-half of 1 per cent. invoked it in protection of the negro race, and more than 50 per cent. asked that its benefits be extended to corporations. - Justice Hugo Black, 1938

• When I read The Handmaid’s Tale when it first came out, it seemed so impossible. It’s terrifying how little time it’s taken for that to seem all to likely now. - Missouri Mule, comment on FDL

• I imagine the US policy response to what's going on in Japan will be a reactor in every back yard. - Atrios, "Deep Thought"

• My major question about today’s arrest in the actual bomb placement at the Spokane, Washington, Martin Luther King Day parade is this: how will America’s media cover the arrest of a non-Muslim motivated by white supremacy who actually placed an operational bomb in a clear hate crime? - Teddy Partridge, FDL, "Arrest in Actual Bomb Plot in Spokane: Will This Story Break Wide?"

• There is only so much social distance [between government and the governed] a society can take. The social science literature shows that as social distance increases, trust declines and aberrant and predatory behavior increases. The basic mechanisms of representation erode, and the social fabric tears. “An imbalance between rich and poor,” Plutarch warned, “is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” - Christopher Hayes, "Why Washington Doesn't Care About Jobs," The Nation

• Eff Scott Fitzgerald!! - WadeBlazingame34, re Wisconsin senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, on TPM comment thread

• The drive to be useful is encoded in our genes. But when we gather in very large numbers, as in the modern nation-state, we seem capable of levels of folly and self-destruction to be found nowhere else in all of nature. - Lewis Thomas, "Late Night Thoughts Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony," p. 61

• In other words, our political officials are Too Important, and engaged in far Too Weighty Matters in Keeping Us Safe, to subject them to the annoyance of the rule of law. It's much more important to allow them to Fight The Terrorists without restraints than to bother them with claims that they broke the law and violated the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That's the mentality that has resulted in full-scale immunity for both political and now private-sector elites in a whole slew of lawbreaking scandals -- from Obama's refusal to investigate Bush-era crimes or high-level Wall Street criminality to retroactive immunity for lawbreaking telecoms and legal protection for defrauding mortgage banks. - Glenn Greenwald, "U.S. Justice v. the world"

• Texas is going to shrink government until it fits into a woman's uterus. - State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, quoted in the Austin American-Statesman

• Today, the regular folks in one state rose up righteous and spit the pabulum about "sharing sacrifices" into the faces of those politicians who would not know sacrifice if it peed on them. - William Rivers Pitt, "Volunteers Of America"

• President Obama has chosen to fight fire with gasoline. - Robert Reich, "The Obama Budget: And Why the Coming Debate Over Spending Cuts Has Nothing to Do With Reviving the Economy"

• The poor, who are suffering from an all-out depression, are never heard from. In terms of their clout, they might as well not exist. The Obama forces reportedly want to raise a billion dollars or more for the president’s re-election bid. Politicians in search of that kind of cash won’t be talking much about the wants and needs of the poor. They’ll be genuflecting before the very rich. - Bob Herbert, "When Democracy Weakens"

• I know I should be immune to this by now, but I still find myself awestruck by the incredibly detailed, insulated fantasy world that the American conservative "movement" has created for themselves. - William Rivers Pitt, "A Rich Fantasy Life"

• As the nation embarks on a celebration this Sunday of the hundredth anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth—with conferences, museum exhibits and lots of speeches—let us not forget that many of the serious problems facing America today began or worsened during Reagan’s presidency. - Peter Dreier, "Reagan's Real Legacy"

• I have no idea what Bradley Manning did or didn’t do. But if we’re a nation of laws and not of men, then we must guard above all else the integrity of the rules and processes by which we determine guilt or innocence. Failure to do so will mean the inevitable slide into despotism and tyranny. - Jane Hamsher, "Army Leaks Hit Piece on Bradley Manning"

• These people [Tea Party members] believe that the Constitution is a "Judeo-Christian" document. They are simply wrong. It is as secular as secular can be, designed explicitly to keep the government out of religion and vice versa. - Digby, "Claiming The Founders"

• When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we’re talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. - Paul Krugman, "A Tale of Two Moralities"

• Unfortunately, we are not in a civilized world -- we are in some weird Randian/Calvinist era in which our leaders seem to have confused economics with moralism and have decided that the average folk have had it too good for too long. - Digby, "Now We're Talking"

• So in this holiday season, let’s remember the wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge. Not the bit about denying food and medical care to those who need them: America’s failure to take care of its own less-fortunate citizens is a national disgrace. But Scrooge was right about the prevalence of humbug. And we’d be much better off as a nation if more people had the courage to say “Bah!” - Paul Krugman, "The Humbug Express"

• There is no constituency in Congress for liberal policy. None. Even those who prefer liberal policy, like Sanders and Pelosi, will not do anything to actually make sure it happens, or to stop conservative policy. - Ian Welsh

• People often have a hard time believing that the terms "authoritarian" and "tyranny" apply to their own government, but that's because those who meekly stay in line and remain unthreatening are never targeted by such forces. The face of authoritarianism and tyranny reveals itself with how it responds to those who meaningfully dissent from and challenge its authority: do they act within the law or solely through the use of unconstrained force? - Glenn Greenwald, "The lawless Wild West attacks Wikileaks"

• The kindest thing we can do now is pretend the whole thing never happened. - Paul Krugman, "The Soft Bigotry of Low Deficit Commission Expectations"

• Well, I have to say it: We told you so.- Dave Johnson, "Bloggers Were Right: It WAS Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" 

• Or to put it another way, the administration has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And soon there won’t be any more opportunities to miss. - Paul Krugman, "Epitaph for an Administration"

• All ideological, theological and political debates with the representatives of the corporate state, including the feckless and weak Barack Obama, are useless. They cannot be reached. They do not want a dialogue. They care nothing for real reform or participatory democracy. They use the tricks and mirages of public relations to mask a steadily growing assault on our civil liberties, our inability to make a living and the loss of basic services from education to health care. - Chris Hedges

• What Daschle said here -- in his interview with Volsky and, apparently, in his new book -- is crystal clear, and is consistent with what has long been clear: despite its stream of public statements to the contrary, the Obama White House made no efforts to have a public option in the bill because their secret, early agreement with "stakeholders" was that no public option (and thus no real mechanism of competition with private industry) would be created. - Glenn Greenwald

• Experience as a business executive is no preparation for managing the economy. - Paul Krugman

• Moreover, it's almost impossible to ignore how similar are the rhetoric and rationale between (a) Bush supporters who justified presidential torture and (b) Obama supporters who now justify presidential due-process-free assassinations. - Glenn Greenwald

• ... the people who control the Democratic party despise you. Loathe you. They think you’re the sort of frightened sheep who will keep voting for them, keep giving them money and help, as long as they promise to be just a little better than the Republicans. / Are they right? - Ian Welsh

• [Regarding the Forbes 400] Please let this oppressed minority participate in our system just like anyone else. Stop treating them disrespectfully. They have their valets help them put their pants on one leg at a time just like you and me. - Digby

• I don't know if anybody's been keeping records, but it's hard to remember a primary season quite as bloody as this one—especially on the Republican side. The normally tidy, on-message party is starting to squabble like Real Housewives of New Jersey. And Cornyn, by virtue of his position as NRSC chairman, has become the symbol of the Republican establishment that the Tea Party's white, well-off renegades are hell-bent on toppling.- Bob Moser, Texas Observer, "Cornyn Comes a Cropper - Again"

• And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago. - Paul Krugman, "The Angry Rich"

• Aside from ambition -- hardly unique among presidential candidates -- I cannot detect powerful convictions in Obama. He seems merely expedient in peddling his convenient conflicts. - Robert Samuelson, "A Vote for McBamaDavid Dayen, "Obama Mocks Public Option Supporters"

This is a righteous rant pointing out that what we have is a complete fucking fail. It's a failure of our political institutions, of our financial system, of our economy as structured, of the economics profession, of unelected elite GOP Daddies who are supposed to fix things, of the media, of the whole fucking thing. - Atrios, "Fail"

• So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we’ve taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere. - Paul Krugman, "America Goes Dark"

• Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care — that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal. - Paul Krugman, "Defining Prosperity Down"

• ... so you might as well step up and admit that, you know, just because you're on their [the Democrats'] side doesn't mean they're on your side. - Avedon Carol, The Sideshow

• In one of the most hilarious history fails I’ve ever seen, Nancy Pelosi actually compares the financial reform bill to the New Deal: "[This week's Wall Street-reform legislation has] the boldness and enthusiasm of the New Deal but with less government." Um, isn’t that kind of like saying that tap water has the boldness and flavor of Dr Pepper but with less carbonation and syrup? - Eli, Firedoglake

• June 2010 was the warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record. - Dr. Jeff Masters, Weather Underground

• Times are tough for workers in the U.S. where a recession has a stranglehold on much of the economy, but life is perfectly rosy for those at the top. — The riches of the wealthiest North Americans grew by double digits in 2009, primarily from interest their money earned when it was invested in the stock market and elsewhere, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group. — Millionaires in the U.S. and Canada saw their wealth increase 15 percent in 2009, to a total of 4.6 trillion dollars, the report found. - Adrianne Appel, 'Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose'

• So consumer confidence is way down and the market tanked on the news. I don't suppose it might have anything to do with the fact that nearly every elite gasbag in the world is blathering on endlessly that the sky is falling because of the potential, maybe, could be future deficits and telling everyone they are going to have to sacrifice for decades and pull in their belts for years to come? Nah, couldn't be that. - digby, 'Confidence Building'

• In 2007, at the unveiling of a portrait of Mr. Byrd in the Old Senate Chamber, former Senator Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland, a colleague of 30 years, recalled that Mr. Byrd had taught him how to answer when a constituent asked, “How many presidents have you served under?” “None,” was Mr. Byrd’s reply, Mr. Sarbanes said. “I have served with presidents, not under them.” - Adam Clymer, NY Times, 'Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92'



The ongoing saga of the computer viruses can be found here.

“Unfortunately, this isn't the cold war in which there was a consensus for containment among the policy elites. The only consensus now seems to be to wet our collective pants at the slightest threat, start killing some random people and tear off another piece of the constitution. ...” - Digby, “Ungrateful Bastards

“Corporations have effectively taken over our internal security and intelligence apparatus. They run our economy and manage our systems of communication. They own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. They loot the U.S. Treasury at will. And they have become unassailable. Those who decry the corporate coup are locked out of the national debate and become as marginalized as [Rep. Dennis] Kucinich.” - Chris Hedges, “No One Cares

“Starvation, destitution and early death were facts of life in the first decades of the last century and if Peterson gets his way, our future will return us to the Dickensian ugliness of our past.” - John Halle, “From "Yes We Can" to "No You Won't": Pushing Back on the Deficit Hawks

“Luck. That's what the American Dream now rests on. It used to be about education, hard work and perseverance, but the system is rigged to such an extent now that the way to keep your head above water is to get lucky. The middle class life is now the prize on a scratch-off lottery ticket.” - Arianna Huffington, “Shorting The Middle Class: The Real Wall Street Crime

“When Republicans hate their president more than they love their country, there's a problem.” - Steve Benen, Washington Monthly

“By pretending that every investigator and every 'find' is, like the children in Lake Woebegon, above average, we turn all science into vanilla, making it hard to know what's really noteworthy and worth following up with more research.” - Ken Weiss, Penn State, on Australopithecus sediba

“Does it strike you as odd that we’re targeting US citizens with no judicial process? Does it strike you as odd that we’ve got two entirely separate sets of list on which Americans can be targeted to be killed?” - emptywheel

“If you want your constitutional rights, you need to go somewhere else.” - Robert Birnbrauer, Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, to nurses on strike

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes



Current and Recent Reading and Viewing

• King, Laurie R., Mary Russell series.
—. The Beekeeper's Apprentice.
—. A Monstrous Regiment of Women.
—. A Letter of Mary.
—. The Moor.
—. O Jerusalem. ...
If you are unfamiliar with Ms. King's Mary Russell series of Holmes novels, please do yourself a favor and begin with the first, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and just keep going. If you have female children of the right age, you may want to introduce them to these books; Ms. Russell is a splendid role model for someone who would become a strong, intellectual, adventurous woman. King's prose is beautiful, too. Highly recommended!
• Rennison, Nick. Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography.
Rennison weaves the scant information Conan Doyle provides on Holmes's background into the fabric of the stellar lights of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with such convincing detail that one could almost believe Holmes was an actual historical figure. If you like reading British biographers (face it; Americans write biography wholly differently) and you have a passion for Sherlock Holmes, you will very likely enjoy this book. As in eating a Dagwood sandwich, it helps to take it in small bites at a time.
• PBS Masterpiece - BBC. Sherlock, Season 3. Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman.
Sunday 1/19/2014, Premiere, "The Empty Hearse".
Sunday 1/26: "The Sign of Three".
Sunday 2/2, "His Last Vow".
Need I even comment on this?

I imagine people, especially Sherlockians, will either love this series or hate it. I am inclined to take each episode at face value, as a sort of parody of the traditional Conan Doyle Holmes story model, having (in my opinion) very little obligation to conform to that model as long as it does not deliberately poop on the basic conventions Doyle established. The setting is either present day or near future (some of the technology, and the reference to hardware Holmes apparently has installed in contact with his brain, lead me to call it the future), and many of the human elements are right out of Doyle: Holmes, who has just returned from his "dead" period, is an absolute a(bleep!)hole to Watson; Mrs. Hudson starts out talking to Watson, who announces he is recently engaged, as if he is surely gay; Watson is played (to type) as not the brightest bulb on the string, etc. My advice: do watch, but just sit back and enjoy the fireworks, the effects, and the unsubtle humor. I've read that women find Cumberbatch very good-looking; perhaps some men will as well.
• Douglas, Carole Nelson. Irene Adler series.
—. Good Night, Mr. Holmes.
—. The Adventuress (formerly Good Morning Irene)
—. A Soul of Steel (formerly Irene at Large)
—. Another Scandal in Bohemia (formerly Irene's Last Waltz)
Here's Dr. Watson (i.e., Conan Doyle) on Irene Adler:
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler... yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.
Carole Nelson Douglas, perceiving the memory of Adler as anything but "questionable," frames a series of mystery novels in which Adler is the detective, accompanied by her own Watson, Penelope "Nell" Huxleigh, Adler's husband Godfrey Norton is the strong male lead, and Holmes appears only incidentally. Adler is granted an astonishing but undeniably plausible variety of skills to ply in her role, and her background as an American opera diva contributes to the stories in an entertaining way. Douglas has done us a real favor in fleshing out this character, who is only once mentioned in the Canon but deserves and receives a much deeper treatment in Douglas's books.
• Millett, Larry. Sherlock Holmes in Minnesota series.
—. Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon
—. Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders
—. Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone Mystery
—. Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance
—. The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes
Millett writes a flavor of Holmes novels that I call either "American Sherlockiana" or "Sherlockian Americana," take your choice. Either way, the series comprises novels in which Holmes and Dr. Watson have an adventure involving America, which nation to all appearances Conan Doyle himself admired. Millett sets his stories in Twin Cities in Minnesota, adds his own detective, Shadwell Rafferty, a barkeep with an analytical mind, and lets loose with a series of five adventures well worth your time. I read these years ago, but they have been recently re-released; see Millett's web site at the link above.


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