Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Carnival of the Liberals:

Welcome to Carnival of the Liberals #86

Money money money, must be sunny in a rich man's world.

liberty bill
"Eighty six" is slang for "to get rid of, to ditch" - like an employee, perhaps? It's not surprising, all things considered, that most of the submissions this time dealt with the economy (heck, even the three "I'd like to sell something" submissions were selling ways to make money!). But less than fifty per cent of the Carnival is about money. We've got some looks at the GOP, a bad law in New Zealand, a bad proposed law in West Virginia, a folk tale from Great Britain, and a song from Mad Kane. So let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? Herewith my selection of ten from the best of the liberal blogosphere over the past fortnight:

The Economy
liberty gold coinGreta Christina presents On Mortgages and Morality posted at Greta Christina's Blog. "On the mortgage crisis, the Rick Santelli rant, and the right-wing "Why should we pay for our neighbor's mistakes?" meme. The gist: When you're applying for a mortgage, it isn't your responsibility to decide whether you're a good credit risk. It's the bank's responsibility. And during the mortgage bubble, it's a responsibility they grossly neglected. This meme is simply blaming the victims... and it's abandoning the old-fashioned American values of helping your neighbor in a crisis that the right wing keeps going on about."
When we bought our apartment three and a half years ago, of course we applied for a mortgage (what with the whole "not having the cash up front to buy a San Francisco apartment" thing). We found a mortgage broker, filled out the applications, provided all the pertinent information.

And we trusted the bank to tell us if we qualified.

We trusted the bank to tell us if they thought we had enough income, and a stable enough income, and a solid enough history of paying off our loans and bills and such, to pay off the mortgage on this apartment. We thought we could, obviously; but we also didn't know any more than the average person about the complexities and finer points of the financial world. Which is to say, we didn't know much. We trusted that the bank -- being a bank and all -- knew more about the financial world than we did. We trusted that they were doing a careful evaluation of our financial prospects, based not only on the information we gave them, but on their own extensive experience of loaning people money. And we trusted that, if they thought we couldn't pay off our mortgage, they'd tell us.

A trust that, as it turns out, was grossly misplaced.
liberty gold coinEzra Swerdlow presents economic ethics posted at Rough Fractals.
This view of super free enterprise, of pure economic activity divorced from any ethical imperatives had won the day. It is dead, and I am happy to bury it. The same people so sure that we need pure economics, that we needed to be free from the quaint idea of working people making a decent living, who railed against raising the minimum wage, against progressive taxation, regulation, environmental standards, have driven our country into so deep a hole, we cannot see a way out.
liberty gold coinCarel Brest van Kempen presents It's the Stupid Economy posted at Rigor Vitae. "These are some thoughts on our economic past and future."
We don't have Dubya to kick around anymore. That red, white and blue SUV of State may be high-centered down a swampy road marked “Danger! Do not enter!,” but it has a new hand on the wheel: one that, upon first inspection, appears to be a smarter, more thoughtful one than we've seen in a while. The accuracy of this impression remains to be seen, but it's sure nice to hear a president calling on us to take more civic responsibility than simply to go shopping and to “Get down to Disney World in Florida.” So as we climb down and look for an open spot on the bumper to shoulder, let's try to figure out just where we are.
liberty gold coinAnn Winter presents Folkrap, remix: Banks! Banks! Call in Your Loans! posted at Myth Shifter. "Is there any room for humour in the Carnival of the Liberals? if so, can I recommend Myth Shifter? Myth Shifter takes modern political "celebrities" and old British myths and melds them together, just to see if the wisdom of the dark ages can shed any light in the state we're in in the present..."
There was an old woman who lived in a house of iron, with iron furniture and iron curtains, surrounded by a smart wrought iron fence painted black. One day she was cleaning her house when she found an iron filing cabinet, containing the deeds to all the nation’s social housing. “What,” she said, “Shall I do with all this property? I shall sell it to the poor people who have to live in it, and make a tidy profit this quarter.” But the people would not buy.
She went a little further and met the local councils. “Councils!” She said. “Persuade your tenants! Ease off on repairs, speed up on evictions… your tenants won’t buy their houses, and I can’t make a profit this quarter.” But the councils would not.

She went a little further and met the local businesses. “Local businesses!” She said. “Stop paying your rates! The councils won’t persuade their tenants, their tenants won’t buy their houses, and I can’t make a profit this quarter.” But the local businesses would not.
Republican Reactions
liberty gold coinJoe Herrera presents Banking on Failure - The Republican Strategy posted at Political Operative. "I make the case for the strategic bet the Republicans are making on failure. And it just might work."
This may sound cynical, but I believe many politicians are more concerned with staying in office (the political aspect) then accomplishing much (the practical aspect). Nowhere is this more evident than in the Recovery & Reinvestment package currently being debated.The House of Representatives passed the Presidents version of the package without a single Republican vote. Are we to believe not one individual Repbulican Congressman thought the package should pass? The Senate passed their own version with three Republican votes. Two of the three are moderate Maine Senators and the other was Arlen Spector of PA. All three are very safe politically. So what gives?

Certainly there are some who are ideologically opposed to government intervention in markets. But what I think is happening is a strategic bet, and it’s a political one, not a practical one.
liberty gold coinJeff Lewis presents CPAC 2009: McCarthy Era Fear Mongering in a Time of Economic Turmoil posted at The Smoking Argus.
Wow! Did they hurl themselves pell-mell into Liberals, Obama, and their favorite pejorative of use, “Socialism”. The array of presenters couldn’t slice enough red meat to satisfy the multitude of revelers and thieir messianic exuberance about Conservatism. They noticeably gagged a little when their former champion, ” Newtie,” announced that, “The Reagan era was over.” Like a child’s reaction when hearing that there isn’t a real Santa Clause and sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, they howled their displeasure at the utterance of such heresy. Or, like the plaintive question in the young boy’s voice, when in 1918 he asked his hero, Joe Jackson, of the disgrace that resulted in the alleged throwing of the baseball World Series by Chicago’s White Sox team, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”
And Other Topics
liberty gold coinZ presents Marriage ad from WV posted at It's the Thought that Counts. "This post is a dissection of a promotional video from WV4Marriage, which is advocating for an amendment to the state constitution to define marriage as one man, one woman only."
The Family Policy Council of West Virginia has a project called WV4Marriage. They’ve made this short video explaining their goal of keeping same-sex marriage unrecognized in their state. (Thanks to Wayne Besen at the Truth Wins Out blog for pointing it out.) As much as I hate the idea that more people might see this video, I think it’s worth it to embed it here, for the purposes of deconstructing its message.
liberty gold coinCarl Zimmer presents Unchecked Ice: A Saga in Five Chapters posted at The Loom. I didn't write anything worth submitting this time, but I claim host's privilege for this one. After all, if reality has a liberal bias, it would follow that liberals like reality ... or at least, they like to know what's real, no? Our premiere science reporter looks at some decidely unreal reporting.

I guess I don’t understand editorial pages. The laws of physics must be different there

Chapter 1: A Correction

On February 15, George Will wrote a column for the Washington Post, in which he scoffed at dire warnings about the effects of global warming. He claimed that environmental pessimists are always warning about catastrophes that never come. And he offered a series of claims about the climate that added up to a larger claim about the lack of evidence of global warming. For example:

As global levels of sea ice declined last year, many experts said this was evidence of man-made global warming. Since September, however, the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began. According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.
These are statements about facts–both the grainy little facts of data, and the larger facts they add up to about how the world works. Are these facts correct?
liberty gold coinIdiot/Savant presents Draco would be proud posted at No Right Turn. A rant against the NZ government's proposed three strikes law.
This is a bad law. it violates the BORA, it violates our international obligations under the ICCPR, and it violates basic standards of justice and decency. Instead, we seem to be codifying savagery and cruelty. Draco would be proud.
And A Song To End On
liberty gold coinMadeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To GOP Grovelers (Song Parody) posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness.
Who’s in charge of the GOP? Based on all the groveling and Limbaugh-tuckus-licking, it’s surely the guy with “talent on loan from God” … even though God foreclosed over a decade ago. And that brings me to my latest song parody …
So, that's the 86th Edition. I certainly hope it held your interest and that you found something to spend your time on!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of the liberals, to be hosted at Blue Gal's place on March 25, using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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At 11:47 PM, March 12, 2009 Anonymous Anonymous had this to say...

Really interesting stuff! (I'm glad you found my post worth including among the others.) Thanks for a great carnival.


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