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Campus Chatter – February 26, 2011

February 26, 2011

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Campus Chatter – February 26, 2011

Today in history, greetings, and social banter here. (More)

Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba today (1815). Also, Kinemacolor debuted (1909), the Original Dixieland Jass Band made the first jazz record (1917), the Grand Canyon became a national park (1919), and Robert Watson-Watt demonstrated the principle of radar (1935). And Egypt and Israel established full diplomatic relations (1980).

Good morning! ::hugggggs::

81 Responses to “Campus Chatter – February 26, 2011”

  1. JanF Says:

    12 degrees in North Central Blogistan. High will be 22 degrees. Ice storm expected tomorrow.

    You can weigh in on last night’s Campus Question about President Obama’s response to the union crisis in Wisconsin and across the country. I am going there now to read and reply.

  2. JanF Says:

    A warning about today’s news – this is NOT Satire -Koch Execs Respond To Prank Call: We Will Not ‘Back Off’

    “Koch Industries executives are reacting to the prank call pulled on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) this week, where a blogger got through to the governor by posing as David Koch. In an interview with National Review Online, Koch Industries executive vice president Richard Fink says the Koch brothers will not “back off.”

    “With the Left trying to intimidate the Koch brothers to back off of their support for freedom and signaling to others that this is what happens if you oppose the administration and its allies, we have no choice but to continue to fight,” Fink said. “We will not step back at all. We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets. When government grows as it has with the Bush and Obama administrations, that is what destroys prosperity.”"

    • NCrissieB Says:

      For the Koch’s real agenda, substitute the phrase “for-profit government by private contractors” in place of “economic freedom.” We hope to explore that concept in depth over the coming weeks here at BPI.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

    • Hoghead99 Says:

      Ah, the Koch brothers……. There’s a couple of regular guys I tell you! Freedom-loving Real Americans, yesiree Bob! Only doing what’s best for the people, without a thought to their own agenda.

      Now I’ll just run this through the Snark-O-Meter and… Gaaaa!

  3. Norbrook Says:

    Good morning, it’s about 10 degrees here in the mountains, and about 4″ of new snow on the ground with a (predicted) extra 2-4 inches on the way. Mostly I’m still trying to get over the cold. The fever has mostly broken, now it’s just a matter of getting through the sinuses draining. I hope to actually have a night’s sleep sometime in the near future. :(

    • JanF Says:

      Nice piece on the big lie of supply side economics yesterday, Norbrook.

      I am perplexed at how these zombie economic “theories” keep coming back and coming back. Is it because if you repeat a lie often enough people think it is true? Or do Republicans really believe this nonsense?

      • Norbrook Says:

        Thanks. :D I think they really believe this nonsense, because for many of the politicians and their backers, it has worked for them. By measuring success with the stock price, you can say that a given business increased “shareholder value” if you own stock in it. :roll: As an academic exercise, supply side is interesting, but as I pointed out, there are certain conditions and assumptions built into it. If those conditions do not apply, or the assumptions are wrong, then it falls apart – which is just what it did.

    • J Brunner fan Says:

      Hey Norbrook,
      You should cross post it here and at yonder dk. Or let me know, I will do it.
      Your argument is simple brief and to the point. I knew for a long time the word “investment” didn’t mean what people think it does. We here in the rest belt know exactly what it means…..playing us for suckers and sucking us dry.

    • NCrissieB Says:

      Excellent article on the failure of supply side economics, Norbrook. I’d like to explore the GOP/Koch economic agenda in some depth over the coming weeks here, both in Morning Feature and Evening Focus series. Would you be interested in writing for us?

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  4. J Brunner fan Says:

    Morning all,

    It is about 22 degrees here and the snowing has stopped for now may start up again with less blowing and drifting. Lots of blowing and drifts present. Looks like lots of shoveling for me this morning. I hope my neighbor helps. ;-)

    Looking to go to a townhall mtg tomorrow on the west side put on by some of the state reps concerning SB5. Looks like some of the R’s are responding to their constituents since their phones have been blowing up. Of course, they are looking to cheat the system by replacing some R’s with others to get the bill from committee to the floor. The news also is that the construction trade unions are next on the chopping block by not paying prevailing wages. Looks like a class war to me with the haves trying to have it all.

    Hope everyone is well and stays safe out there.
    A mighty fist bump to you all :cool:

    • LI Mike Says:

      Agree JBF

      Looks like a class war to me with the haves trying to have it all.

      Morning everyone

    • NCrissieB Says:

      This is true, JBF:

      Looks like a class war to me with the haves trying to have it all.

      The Haves can read the tea leaves, and they know the U.S. will never again repeat the economic growth of the 1950s. As the Haves see it, that means there simply isn’t enough to both sustain the middle class and also maintain the wealthy in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. Their solution: collapse the middle class.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      • JanF Says:

        In a Morning Feature last year, DBunn had some brilliant comments about this topic:

        the U.S. will never again repeat the economic growth of the 1950s

        I saved them because they really hit the nail on the head. The 50s were the perfect confluence of perfect economic conditions including cheap oil and a lot of other things that will never ever happen again.

        We need to get the notion of a return to that time out of our heads. It cannot exist again.

        • LI Mike Says:

          I was born at the perfect time.

          • DWG Says:

            Me too, but my kid was born at the worst possible time.

            • winterbanyan Says:

              So I’m not the only one feeling this way, DWG? I look at my youngest two especially, and can feel only dread for the tough times they are facing.

              • HurrikanEagle Says:

                I’m young and I don’t look at the future with dread but instead with promise. We’re on the precipice of a new age, one in which American Exceptionalism does not have have center stage all to itself.

                I might not ever make the money (in terms of real dollars adjusted for inflation) that my parents made, but I can live in a better world possibly. Not to mention that the tough times that are faced young, lead to wisdom in the future to prevent the same times from occurring.

                Look at it this way Winter, your youngest generation looks at the Cold War as history not as something they lived through. Maybe the generation that follows me will be able to look at terrorism and supply side economics the same way.

      • J Brunner fan Says:

        I could argue that this doesn’t have to happen,

        The Haves can read the tea leaves, and they know the U.S. will never again repeat the economic growth of the 1950s.

        However, we can improve economic growth if we have the will. Spoken non-cynically :smile:

  5. J Brunner fan Says:

    We firmly believe that economic freedom has benefited the overwhelming majority of society, including workers, who earn higher wages when you have open and free markets

    This would be fine but “freedom” also includes the ability to collectively bargain, that is a free choice also. These guys have been telling that lie so much they they believe it. Of course it is easier to be free when you are so wealthy you can buy your own governor. That looks to be a good investment to me as well but I can’t afford my own governor so I have to vote, make phone calls, knock on doors and rant online. FYI the markets ain’t free because they are fixed by you guys.

    • Jim W Says:

      I like to use “unfettered” for the markets designed for manipulation by the likes of the Koch brothers. A fair and free market is my ideal.

  6. winterbanyan Says:

    Good morning, everyone.

    Well, it’s now as plain as can be to anyone willing to see: class warfare is being waged on the middle class.

    Unions were a means of creating a middle class — they still are — and by attacking them in this fashion, the wealthy capitalists intend to completely destroy the middle class.

    The cards are out in plain view. What worries me is the people who don’t see them. Do those making more than 90K/year really think they’re not on the list for the next round?


    • NCrissieB Says:

      The definition of “middle class” changed because of unions. That term used to mean small business owners and professionals who, while not “wealthy,” were clearly above the “working class.” Unions enabled the “working class” to join the “middle class,” i.e.: own homes, get health care without going bankrupt, send kids to college, and save for retirement. As the wealthy see it, adding the “working class” made the “middle class” too big.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      • J Brunner fan Says:

        I don’t see the working class going back to abject poverty without a fight. They’ve had the taste and they want their children to do better. With the threat that their children will do worse, them’s fighting words. The question is will they be directed in the correct direction or get mad at other working people (become TGOP and their pawns) or finally get that the R’s don’t work for them. Their only real chance is with us, the working class progressives.

        It would be helpful if the “investor class” would realize the best investment is in human capital and not turning us into the kind of capital known as slaves.

        • NCrissieB Says:

          I agree, JBF, and I think working class Americans are realizing that the GOP don’t intend to let us stay in the middle class. This week’s Gallup Poll showed that 63% of Freds – median income Americans – oppose union-busting plans. There was only majority support for union-busting in the top 20% income group ($90,000 and over).

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          • J Brunner fan Says:

            The top 20% are next…like those pesky unions who represent athletes, actors, writers…..because if you are rich and pay people who work, you want to pay the least. Entertainers have always been overpaid; that doesn’t mean that the money guys make all of the money and screw everyone else.

            The top 20% have already been targeted since many lost jobs during the last depression because that is what it is when we don’t have a job. I know many people who are going to school to find something else that will pay well. The investor class will only be happy with near slavery because although workers provide investor value, they are a cost. They steal people productivity by not paying a good wage. This is the real reason my sister wants to leave corporate work. She doesn’t really help anyone and is overworked to the point where she has to work weekends and late. Unfortunately she knows she can be replaced because of all the other middle management bankers unemployed because the depression. Supply side economics is a failure for everyone who earns income.
            We both figure if we can’t “retire” might as well work for ourselves.

            • NCrissieB Says:

              I hear this often, JBF:

              Entertainers have always been overpaid[.]

              I see it differently. If we spend 50 bazillabux watching sports or movies – directly or through buying products that advertise in them – who should get most those 50 bazillabux? The athletes and actors, or the team owners and movie studio executives?

              You can argue that we shouldn’t devote so many bazillabux to entertainment, but so long as we do … I’d rather most of the bazillabux went to the people whose performances actually draw us in, and not to the financiers.

              Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      • winterbanyan Says:

        Thanks for the correction, Crissie. I meant to say unions are a means by which people move into the middle class.

  7. Hoghead99 Says:

    Good morning all! Cloudy, 32 degrees, cold as a Koch heart here! Tired of winter, bring on the Spring. Doesn’t the weatherman know that we’ve ordered our garden seeds?

    Hope you are well. It’s good to visit here today….

    Best, Hoghead99

    • winterbanyan Says:

      I told you to get a route that heads down this way. Sheesh, does no one ever listen to me? ;)

      Spring is here, HH99, so inevitably it’ll worm it’s way up to you. We literally went from winter to HOT so fast I can’t believe it. None of that dang transition stuff for us. Nope.

      • J Brunner fan Says:

        Hey winter, you have a spare room. Will cook dinner and put on my non-ranty charming face. Oh yeah right can’t afford it because of the gas. Looks like the bus for me. LOL!

        • winterbanyan Says:

          I’d agree on the bus, JBF except that last time my daughter took one she got lice. :( Boy, wasn’t that fun.

  8. LI Mike Says:

    This week the Southampton Press editorialized about Wisconsin. Although they stand in favor of collective bargaining, they opine that local public workers must give back and a lot.

    I’ve been trying to refrain from LTE, but I had to respond to that editorial.

    In my letter I pointed out that everyone wants to blame the “greedy” public sector unions, for the fiscal mess; but, I asked, if that’s the reason for the calamity then why does a pro-business, anti-union state like Texas have a $27 billion deficit. Let’s look elsewhere, you know, like this big darn recession. I quoted Simon Johnson on the banks blowing up everything and ended with a question…how do we value compensation for people who run into burning towers on 9/11. How do we value the educators who need to teach this generation so we can get to the next generation.

    • JanF Says:

      Great pushback, LI Mike. That is exactly what I included in an LTE I wrote last week (not published … I am persona non grata with the local paper).

      If collective bargaining were the cause, Texas would have a surplus.

      The problem is the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and now that the stimulus funds have stopped, the states are getting crushed by the reality of unemployment shrinking the revenue stream and creating a need for services.

      • LI Mike Says:

        I have a good relationship with the editor of the Southampton Press from the time I served as Dem Chair. I never ducked a reporter. So, I usually get my letters printed.

        • JanF Says:

          My problem is that I disagree with the editorial page editor. Many other progressives I have spoken to do also and none of us get our letters printed.

          So the right-wing rag just gets rightier and raggier. Fine. Some day I will have sports news beamed into my brain by a built in device and I will not need them anymore.

    • winterbanyan Says:

      Great letter, Mike. I’m glad you pushed back. People really don’t seem to get how little we actually pay for all the important work public sector employees do. I don’t know where they get their notions from, but I do know this:

      Teachers in FL make so little they need summer jobs. They can’t afford to buy homes unless several pool their resources. Many of them have to get together a group to rent a place. I also don’t see any of them driving new cars. Yes, they get health insurance, but don’t people want Johnny and Suzi’s teacher to get back to work on educating their kids?

      Teachers are leaving this state in droves because we pay them so poorly. So who does that leave? All too often teachers who can’t find work elsewhere… and that means inevitably the quality is going to sink.

      • LI Mike Says:

        Exacto, Winter.

        Many years ago, after a bad relationship, my sister-in-law moved to Fla and found a teaching position in Wellington, near WPB. She really liked it here but needed to earn more money. She’s moved back to LI. A move I think she appreciated until she got involved in union activity. She’s knee-deep in the current collective bargaining drama.

        NB. She recently sent a letter to Andrew Cuomo explaining to him where monies can be found to cut. It wasn’t teacher salaries.

        • winterbanyan Says:

          Good for your sister-in-law. I’m sure she had great ideas for saving money. There isn’t a state in this nation that couldn’t save money on things that don’t require cutting pay and benefits for the people who do the important work to keep things running and the equally important work of educating the next generation.

          As I once said in an LTE in response to some greedy geezer’s complaint that he shouldn’t have to pay property taxes for schools when he had no kids in school:

          You expect the pharmacy tech dispensing your prescription to be able to count the pills and label them properly.

          You expect the cashier to be able to give you proper change.

          In short, you expect all the younger generations to serve you and take care of your needs, and for that they need education.

          Short-sighted dimwits. (I didn’t include that last part.)

      • J Brunner fan Says:

        Continuing the race to the bottom Sigh

    • NCrissieB Says:

      The Southampton Press editorial might have merit if the Wisconsin unions hadn’t already agreed to pay and benefit cuts. But the unions did, and that was a brilliant strategic move. Yes, during this Great Recession public workers may need to renegotiate pay and benefits. They didn’t cause the recession, but we’re all in this leaky boat and we all have to bail together. Wisconsin public employee unions saw that and set an example of civic responsibility for other public and private unions to follow.

      But that’s not enough for the Koch brothers and other wealthy conservatives. They want to get rid of unions … period … and go back to the economy we had in the late 19th century: the Gilded Age.

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      • J Brunner fan Says:

        I don’t think so. I think they want slavery also. That is why they want the prisons privatized so that they can have black men and women work for free for them. This is why I get really mad at radical wrongwingers….they sound like the CSA (Confederates) who talk a good game about freedom but their version of freedom and mine are only not related in the slightest. That also includes union busting since they can keep people poor if they cannot collectively bargain with another 1984 named ideology (right to work for nothing or almost nothing).

        Sorry to get so upset about this. Bashing teachers and bashing my friends who are in unions, not ok.

        • NCrissieB Says:

          I agree, JBF. I thought the Onion editorial really nailed it with this line:

          My first question, of course, was whether or not these Union toilers could be replaced with vastly less expensive workers under the Confederate model, but I was informed that for various complex reasons this may not be feasible for several years.

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

  9. JanF Says:

    Interesting story out of Wisconsin. The brother of a friend of mine has been considering coming to the capitol for today’s demonstrations. He lives in the hinterlands but supports unions and workers.

    He is being told by people he is conversing with to not bring anything at all to the rally because 90 Milwaukee police officers are being brought in and will be there with riot gear and there will be scanning devices and anyone with anything dangerous looking will be arrested.

    First, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray would never allow other law enforcement to work in Madison. It is possible that goons hired by Walker could be there but they would have no more sway than any other private security.

    Second, this is how people get scared away from rallies. Milwaukee (boo!) and riots (boo! boo!) . None of that matches reality. You are more likely to have your toes run over by someone pushing a baby stroller than hit on the head with a billy club by riot police.

    Fear is the only thing that the other side has right now. People massed together in solidarity is their worst nightmare and they will fight it with everything they have.

    • winterbanyan Says:

      Of course the Madison police chief wouldn’t allow Milwaukee police to be brought in. First there’s this whole thing called jurisdiction. Second, if I were Chief Wray I’d be so hopping mad over something like that that I would be hunting for a lawyer.

      It’s a fear tactic, all right. They want no one to show up today.

      But I’ll tell you one thing, if Walker is stupid enough to try to bring in Milwaukee police (who I’m sure want no part of this) and they show up, more people than the Madison police are going to be hopping mad.

  10. LI Mike Says:

    OK, my weather report.

    Sunny and warm enough to return to Golf. First time in about 2 years that I held a Golf club. Very stormy. Very, very stormy. Got a long way to go to reclaim my swing.

    Decided that I could still swim so headed to the development’s swimming pool. Yay. I can still swim. Bright sunny day. Temperatures in the high 70s.

  11. J Brunner fan Says:

    Congratulations to Egypt and Israel for finding a way to get along.
    Hurray for the Grand Canyon. Haven’t seen it in person, look forward to it some day.

    • winterbanyan Says:

      It’s just a supersized ditch, JBF. ;) I’m surprised the creationist don’t say MacD’s put it there.

      Is my sense of humor as bad as I think it is this morning?


    • LI Mike Says:

      I remember the first (and only) time I saw the Grand Canyon. My response was Holy S…!

      • winterbanyan Says:

        My response was Holy S…!

        You’d probably have the same response today if you were to go again and discover that the park service (yes, our publicly funded park service) is handing out the Creationist version of how the Grand Canyon came to be.

      • JanF Says:

        Holy S—t like this?

        I love the Grand Canyon. I was blown away by the vastness of it … you feel like you could have stepped off into eternity.

        (this photo is actually one of mine … not “found” on the internets)

  12. addisnana Says:

    Good morning blogistanis :smile: This may be a case of comment interruptus as I am sitting in the kitchen with my grandkids. They are not quite as self centered as the Koch brothers but “I want it now” does happen to 2 and 4 year olds. They do say please and thank you much more regularly than Gov. Walker though. I don’t think I’ve heard a please come out of that mouth yet.

    • NCrissieB Says:

      Excuse me while I wipe down my screen….

      They are not quite as self centered as the Koch brothers but “I want it now” does happen to 2 and 4 year olds. They do say please and thank you much more regularly than Gov. Walker though. I don’t think I’ve heard a please come out of that mouth yet.

      Thank you for a wonderful laugh, addisnana. :lol:

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

    • winterbanyan Says:

      Oh, my goodness, addisnana! That was too funny.

      • addisnana Says:

        Glad to entertain you both. I am envious of your weather because if it was warmth enough here, the three of us would go to the rally.

  13. winterbanyan Says:

    Okay, I had a thought here… I do have real ones sometimes… and I’d like to share it. It was provoked by a discussion my youngest shared with me from her economics class.

    The recession is over. Yes. I thought I’d let you know. Leaving unemployment statistics out of it (because they really don’t count) we were only in an economic recession for eight months, then thanks to stimulus etc, we rebounded.

    We were on track for 3.5% GDP growth this year. Then, of course, with the popular uprisings in the Middle East, the price of oil began its inevitable rise. The stock market took a sobering dip. (Chickens!)

    So we are looking at more of this not-recession and I’m wondering how much we’re going to hear over months to come about how popular uprisings are responsible for our suffering. And how that’s going to affect the political climate.

    It’s a great story to use against us, when the real problem is that the vested interests have successfully prevented every attempt to wean us off oil. The American worker already has stagnant wages, the prices that rose as a result of the last increase in oil prices have never been lowered, despite oil returning to lower levels of cost, and now we’re going to see more hikes.

    But it will all be the fault of those people in the Middle East and will no doubt be extended to cover our own current unrest over the destruction of the middle class.

    At least that’s how I’m seeing it. Thoughts?

    • LI Mike Says:

      I think you’re probbaly right on mark, Winter. Any handy excuse to spin things is what the right wing does.

      On the GPD number, though, I read in the Times the other day that the 4th Q was revised downward. Don’t know if that effects the projection of 3.5%, but the 4th Q revision reflected the incipient impacts of public sector cutbacks.

      • winterbanyan Says:

        It was probably revised downward in response to the unrest in the ME and the rising oil prices. I was going with a number that was released before all this. Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

        Do you want me to delete your double posts? I could but I’m rather fond of your cute apology for it. And I’m quite sure you weren’t responsible for it. These days we blame everything on the server including tpyos. ;)


        • NCrissieB Says:

          The The double double post post was was already already deleted deleted. :smile: :smile:

          Good morning! ::hugggggs::

          • NCrissieB Says:

            (The echo is from the posts about the Grand Canyon. Really. Honest.)

            Good morning! ::hugggggs::

    • NCrissieB Says:

      There’s a problem with that story: it says we can only have a stable economy if people in the Middle East remain under dictators. Kinda hard to square that with talking points about “freedom” and “democracy.”

      Good morning! ::hugggggs::

      • winterbanyan Says:

        When have they ever worried about problems with their story? We have plenty of proof, both historical and recent, that “unfettered capitalism” is a catastrophe for the great masses of people.

    • J Brunner fan Says:

      Yeah I see that coming also. Let’s blame the people who want to be free (like the R’s did with South Africa). Looks bad but w But I am so glad that they are fighting. Fine with me, will use public transportation every day. Tired of giving my money to rich people and polluting. I use the bus twice a week. Will save me money also.

      Looks like I may have to try to replace this vehicle with something cheaper to drive. Again, everything is more expensive except for us because keeping cheaper labor is the only way to keep money cheap so that rich people can get richer off of the spread. Destruction of the middle class to make rich people richer….sigh

    • HurrikanEagle Says:

      Actually I’ve watched oil prices down where I live rise 30 cents in the last 2 weeks. In fact I watched them go up 15 cents in 2 days.

      As progressives however we need to do the same things we were doing when the oil prices skyrocketed in 2008 and remind our neighbors of the benefits of mass transit.

      That said I do think it’s an accurate assumption that prices will rise, and once they see that people are willing to pay those prices they will refuse to lower them. It’s a basic supply and demand curve there unfortunately.

  14. LI Mike Says:

    Sorry about the double post. Sorry about the double post.

  15. J Brunner fan Says:

    Looks like I have to do my shoveling in stages.

  16. Lake Toba Says:

    Good morn… Afternoon from Bunkerstan. It’s snowing again here. Great conversation all!