The Roundup for August 21, 2011
Programming note: I’m on Virtually Speaking Sunday on Blog Talk Radio and in Second Life tonight at 9pm ET/6pm PT. You can listen here.
• The base problem is real, according to PPP’s Tom Jensen. And maybe it will fade. But the thing that we know will not take care of itself is 9.1% unemployment, which is likely to rise at some point between now and the election. So the White House can choose to make excuses about that, or they can use all means at their disposal, particularly those where John Boehner has no input.
• The last sentence of the above bit is crucial, since Republicans will simply not agree to a single thing proposed by the President that may create jobs, even accidentally.
• Bashar al-Assad was pretty defiant in a nationwide address, refusing to step down and casting Syria as strong. He’s buttressed by the fact that major international players don’t want him to leave, like Russia. Protesters have been buoyed by the call from Western nations for Assad’s ouster, however, and the fall of Gadhafi will probably have the same effect.
• The Moody’s whistleblower should be a big deal, but I get the sense that Washington remains afraid of the rating agencies.
• Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing has some ideas for job creation. The most promising is fighting currency manipulation in China. It’s the biggest thing we can do for domestic production. Sending Joe Biden to China facilitated a temporary increase in the yuan: Operation Buy Joe Biden An Apartment in Beijing should begin Monday.
• Bernie Sanders released information on oil price speculation from Wall Street. This doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Cracking down on speculation is another one of the biggest job creation measures we could do right now, to the extent that it would lower oil prices.
• The Invisible Town Hall Revolution reaches The Hill, finally. The traditional media is finally catching up to this.
• I was under the impression that Iraqi deaths alone were in the low- to mid-six-figures, but seeing as Iraq Body Count puts it at more like 102,000-111,000, perhaps this study about less annual deaths from war in this century is accurate. I certainly hope so.
• Surely you know by know of the arrest of Jane, Scarecrow, Dan Choi, Bill McKibben and others, 65 in all, at the tar sands protest in front of the White House. Major media coverage here. The climate movement is picking these tactics up from the LGBT and immigration movements, that much is clear.
• The Manhattan DA is likely to drop the charges on Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the next couple days. Not a surprise.
• Jared Bernstein has a nice summary of the BofA settlement and the Schneiderman/Biden pushback on it, including a too-generous shout-out to me.
• Prepare for cognitive dissonance: a man who heroically saved a 6 year-old from a kidmapper happens to be an undocumented immigrant.
• If John Kasich thinks he’ll succeed at staging theatrical events to weasel out of the big thumping he’s going to take from the labor movement in November, he’s wrong.
• Get ready for the age of no retirement.
• Latino demonization in the Deep South.
• Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky had already finished the third installment in their “Paradise Lost” series about the West Memphis Three; it has a planned screening at the Toronto Film Festival in September. They’re going to retool the ending.