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BlueMTexpat

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
Number of posts: 12,062

Journal Archives

Travers: Peter Fonda, The Easiest Rider of Them All

https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-features/peter-fonda-tribute-873038/

...
The Easy Rider himself, Peter Fonda, was pushing 80 when he passed away early Friday morning — it was respiratory failure due to lung cancer that took him out. But that gamechanging 1969 movie made him immortal, freezing him in time as Wyatt, the stoned biker chasing an elusive freedom. Wearing a leather jacket (a large U.S. flag sewn across the back) on a Harley and going by the handle Captain America, Fonda rode into screen history by roaring through the American south in celebration of hippies, communes, drugs, free love and anything that raised a finger to the Establishment. Easy Rider was a western played as an acid-fueled road trip. Along with his costar and co-writer Dennis Hopper, who played Billy (as in Billy the Kid) to Fonda’s Wyatt (as in Earp), Fonda blasted a hole in Hollywood’s lazy mainstream culture. It made $60 million on a $400,000 investment. It turned indie filmmaking into the coolest game in town.

Fonda and Hopper, who died in 2010, fought like badgers for the rest of their lives about who deserved credit for the film the former produced and the latter directed (they both were Oscar nominated for the screenplay they wrote with Terry Southern). For Fonda, one of the unintended consequences of the wildfire success of Easy Rider, also noted for a bright, shiny breakthrough performance from Jack Nicholson as a boozing ACLU lawyer befriended by the bikers, was to reduce this member of a showbiz dynasty to a one-trick pony. In fact, he created quality work before and well after he went searching for America and couldn’t find it anywhere. And he did it against daunting odds.
...


******
RIP, Peter!

Warren Chips Away at Biden's Strength as The One Who Beats Trump

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-17/warren-chips-away-at-biden-s-strength-as-the-one-who-beats-trump

This article is from Bloomberg. I like the way that the Warren campaign responded.

...
Warren’s campaign declined to comment on the latest surveys and pointed to her remarks in the second debate

“There is a lot at stake, and people are scared. But we can’t choose a candidate we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else. And we can’t ask other people to vote for a candidate we don’t believe in,” Warren said in the debate. “Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid. And for Democrats to win, you can’t be afraid, either.”


****
Go Elizabeth! I believe in you!

Elizabeth Warren Sells Populism to Professionals

Courtesy of the wonderful DSB!!!

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/elizabeth-warrens-populism-for-professionals

...
Warren’s campaign rests on the theory that the past decade has transformed the way class is felt in America, so that instead of the uneducated against the educated, or the heartland against the coasts, it is now also possible to run a widely inclusive, populist campaign against the ultra-rich. If you keep your eye on what the capitalists get away with, you can run on economic populism with the support of doctors and lawyers and the P.T.A. “Your first fifty million, you get to keep. Good for you,” Warren said on Wednesday, explaining her signature wealth-tax proposal. From the ultra-rich—only “a tenth of a tenth of a per cent” of Americans—the government would take two per cent of every dollar after the first fifty million. By the way, she went on, most Americans already pay a wealth tax. “How many people here own their own homes?” Warren asked, and virtually the whole crowd put its fingers to the sky. Looking affirmed, Warren told them that their property taxes were effectively wealth taxes, just for a lesser level of wealth. She wanted to go after the guys “with the Rembrandts and the yachts.”
...
But Warren is the only candidate in the race whose fortunes have materially improved over the past six months, which suggests that the vein she’s found has less to do with what is permanent within the Democratic electorate than with what is changing. When Rakich analyzed polling data from Emerson College last month, he found that Warren, alone among the major contenders, drew support from voters who were split almost evenly between Sanders and Clinton in 2016. The signal story of the past decade—of the financial crisis, of Donald Trump, of the #MeToo movement—is about how wealth, power, and depravity have been concentrated in the hands of a very few. The Warren campaign is a test of how broadly that story has resonated, and how much the country has been transformed. As the selfie line formed in Franconia, I saw a new national poll on my phone, from the Economist and YouGov—Biden had fallen to twenty-one per cent, in their accounting, and Warren was up to twenty per cent. Not the front-runner—at least not yet—but the race’s central figure.

Warren leads Democratic field by 5 points in Wisconsin: poll

I don't put too much stock in ANY polls at this point. I also am not sure how credible this pollster is. But, for those who love polls, this one looks very good for my preferred candidate.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign-polls/457548-warren-leads-field-by-5-points-in-wisconsin-poll

...
Wisconsin's primary is scheduled for April 7, 2020, putting it toward the end of the calendar.

The state has received increased focus this election cycle, however, because of President Trump's win over Hillary Clinton in the state's last general election.

Thursday's survey predicts a tight race in the 2020 general election, with 45 percent of respondents saying they will probably or definitely vote for Trump and 46 percent saying the same for the eventual Democratic nominee.

Change Research polled 1,966 likely voters in Wisconsin between Aug. 9 and 11. That figure includes 626 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error for the full sample is 2.2 points.

The Hillary factor: Worries about Warren's electability miss big differences

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/distinctly-catholic/hillary-factor-worries-about-warrens-electability-miss-big

I found this to be a very interesting article, especially given the source.

From the link:

...

Earlier this year, I called attention to some analysis by Nathaniel Rakich at FiveThirtyEight. He compared Warren's 2018 vote totals to those garnered by Clinton in 2016. With the enormous caveat that it is always tricky comparing a midterm to a presidential election, it was interesting what Rakich said about the 10 towns where Warren most outperformed Clinton: "They are all small towns in Western Massachusetts. With a few exceptions, they have incomes lower than the statewide average. Most of them have fewer college graduates than average as well. And Trump improved upon Romney's margin in all but one of them."

Conversely, the towns where Warren most underperformed Clinton were the wealthy suburbs around Boston, and suburban, moderate women Republicans and independents were the key to the Democrats' retaking the House last year. I wonder, though, how many such Republicans and moderates voted for Trump in 2016 because they told themselves he would mature into the job. Either way, it is not inconceivable that Warren could hold onto some of the Democratic gains from the midterms, while overperforming Clinton in rural areas of the country. And she could slip on a banana peel tomorrow.

Elections are not predictable events. Trump certainly looks vulnerable today and if the economy slows down, he could be subjected to a thumping by almost any Democrat. Bill Clinton look vulnerable in the summer of 1995 and Obama did in 2011. Democratic primary voters should select whom they want to carry their banner and not get into the business of electoral prognostication. If they want Warren, they should vote for Warren, and if they do, they may have selected the first nominee in this century who can actually beat an incumbent president. (emphasis mine)

What a great story!

I am dividing my day between activities for the Swiss National Holiday and watching the horse races at Goodwood (UK).

ITV, who basically was awarded the racing broadcasting rights after the Beeb's reign of many years, is currently airing the meet at Goodwood and had also broadcast a feature on this young Muslim jockey. She won her first race today in a squeaker.

Khadijah Mellah claims fairytale Magnolia Cup win on Haverland

https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/news/fairytale-win-in-magnolia-cup/169686

Student Khadijah Mellah registered a fairytale victory as she steered Haverland to victory in the Magnolia Cup at Goodwood.

The 18-year-old was the first rider to race in a hijab in Britain and she delivered her Charlie Fellowes-trained mount with a perfectly-timed run to lift the ladies-only charity race.

Mellah, who hails from Peckham in South London and is set to study mechanical engineering at university in September, learnt to ride at the Ebony Horse Club charity in Brixton - but sat on a racehorse for the first time only in April.

She certainly belied her lack of experience, as she exercised plenty of patience aboard Haverland, only making her move coming into the final furlong.



Orange Is the New Black Almost Ended Very Differently...

https://www.eonline.com/news/1060797/orange-is-the-new-black-almost-ended-very-differently

I know that most OPs today are focused - and rightly so - on last night's Democratic debate. But this OP has a tangential relationship to current US prison-ICE-related actions. It certainly has a relationship to the treatment of incarcerated women.

...
OITNB recently dropped its seventh and final season on the streaming platform. The conclusion, which was a smattering of happy endings, deaths, releases from prison and heartache, was almost very different. In the series, Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a character loosely based on Kerman. At one point, she toys with writing a memoir, but Judy King (Blair Brown), a Martha Stewart-esque character, beat her to market. The show almost ended with a big wink to the origins of the Emmy-winning series.

"Since season one, the joke ending that would come up occasionally was to get super meta and cast an actress to be Jenji who goes into Netflix and pitches a show!" Herrmann said.

"Piper having a meeting and then selling the show and having her watch someone playing her. We toyed with it. I was at dinner and joking about it and my 13-year-old son was like, ‘No. You cannot do that,'" Kohan said.

"That made it all seem fictionalized and a joke, and the show deserves more than that," Herrmann concluded.


It took me awhile to warm up to this Netflix series and some seasons were, IMO, much better than others, especially when the series focus shifted to characters/situations other than the life and loves of "Piper Chapman." In its quirky way, however, it is as much of of a social commentary as was one of the absolute best series ever, IMO, "The Wire."

I am posting this today because I finished watching the last - and final - series (of 7) last night. If you don't have Netflix, please view this series with someone who does. Please also watch the whole series run.

The final series, while there are some redeeming moments if one has made the journey with the characters, is absolutely devastating. It is especially devastating when we know what is happening with the current sweep-ups, separation of families and incarceration of immigrants already in the US - even though it doesn't even deal with what is happening for those who are seeking asylum at the border.

What have we become?

Politicians, pundits, others defend Baltimore, Elijah Cummings after Trump's 'completely unacceptabl

https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bs-md-pol-trump-baltimore-reactions-20190727-rkn2npfghfgtdm4ikex77szjgm-story.html

From the link:

...
Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th congressional district, which includes much of Baltimore, but reaches into Baltimore and Howard counties as well.

Trump’s tweets appear to be related to a congressional hearing on July 18 over conditions at facilities holding children suspected of crossing the border illegally. Cummings during the hearing lashed out at Kevin McAleenan, head of the Department of Homeland Security, for what he described as conditions in which children were left to defecate on themselves and did not have access to a shower.
...
Additionally, the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Saturday joined the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP in denouncing Trump’s tweets.

“It’s no secret that Donald Trump will resort to racism to deflect and distract the public, but this outrageously racist tirade is the latest reminder that he is unfit to serve as president of the United States,” said Zainab Chaudry, CAIR director of Maryland outreach. “He clearly believes he can attack one of the nation’s great cities because he perceives it to be primarily African-American - just another example of his racist and white supremacist mindset.”

Chaudry also pointed out that earlier this week, Trump doubled down on his previous attacks targeting Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, urging them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
...


FWIW: Cummings's Balto district includes Johns Hopkins University and the SSA. These two institutions actually WORK, unlike ANYTHING tRump touches.

Elizabeth Warren pitches private equity regulations, taking aim at 'legalized looting'

I am so glad to see this. I have been outraged by these practices since such looting first began by "corporate raiders" like Carl Icahn, etc., primarily in the 1980s. They have worsened since then ... and I haven't seen many - if any - other Dems in power actually say this out with meaningful specificity or proposals to address them.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-07-18/elizabeth-warren-2020-pitches-private-equity-constraints

...
Warren’s plan, the latest in a series of policy ideas that have propelled the Massachusetts senator to the top tier of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, would hold private equity firms liable for debts and pension promises made by the companies they buy up. It would restrict the firms’ ability to pay dividends as well as high fees that shift money out of acquired companies.
...
“I am tired of big financial firms looting the economy to pad their own pockets while the rest of the economy suffers,” Warren wrote in a Medium post announcing her plan on Thursday. “I am done with Washington ignoring the evidence and acting as though boosting Wall Street helps our families. Financial firms have helped push our economy badly off track.”

Warren’s private equity proposals also include new rules that would require worker pay to take precedence over other obligations when companies declare bankruptcy as well as more open disclosure of investment firms’ fees, both of which are included in private legislation she’s set to introduce later Thursday alongside Senate and House Democratic colleagues. Her platform further calls for the restoration of dividing lines between commercial and investment banking that were repealed in 1999, a change that was part of both the Republican and the Democratic platforms during the 2016 presidential election despite Trump’s lack of emphasis on it during his campaign.

Warren is headed to Iowa for a two-day campaign swing during which she’s likely to tout her new private equity plan, the latest installment of a broader self-described “economic patriotism” agenda that also includes a $2-trillion investment in environmentally friendly manufacturing .
...


Here's an article from Forbes magazine from 2010, that points out exactly what has happened with retirement pensions in the private sector.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/10/19/retirement-heist-how-firms-plunder-workers-nest-eggs/

In December 2010, General Electric [GE] held its annual meeting in New York City for analysts and shareholders. CEO Jeff Immelt reported on GE’s financial health and said that GE’s pension plan was a problem. “The pension has been a drag for a decade,” he said. It would cause the company to lose 13 cents per share the coming year. In order to control costs, GE was—regretfully—going to close the pension plan for new employees. The implication was that workers’ pensions were dragging the company down.

What Immelt didn’t mention was that GE’s pension plans had actually contributed billions of dollars to the company’s bottom line over the last 15 years, earnings that the executives had taken credit for. Nor did he mention that GE hadn’t contributed anything to the workers’ pension plans since 1987 and still had enough to cover all the current and future retirees.

Nor did he mention that the executive pensions for GE executives were a burden. Unlike the plans for the 250,000 workers and retirees, the executive pensions had a $4.4 billion obligation that steadily drained cash from the company’s coffers, including $573 million over the past three years alone.

Why was GE closing its fully funded pension plan, while continuing its financially burdensome executive plan? This is the question to which Ellen Schultz’s incisive new book, Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers (Portfolio, 2011) offers a powerful answer.
...


Takeaways from 2020 Democrats' second quarter fundraising reports

This is an interesting article.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/16/politics/2020-field-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-and-other-takeaways/index.html

From the link:

...
Buttigieg raised nearly $25 million in the April-to-June fundraising quarter. And he entered July -- typically a slow fundraising period as donors turn to vacation plans and away from politics -- with more than $22.7 million remaining in his bank account, one of the field's biggest war chests. He's already using the money to build a ground force of more than 250 staffers in early voting states.

The other four candidates in the top fundraising tier: former Vice President Joe Biden, who collected nearly $22 million, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at $19.2 million, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at $18 million and California Sen. Kamala Harris with $11.8 million.
...
Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who shattered political money records in his near-miss Senate campaign in 2018, saw his fundraising plummet as a presidential candidate. He raised just $3.6 million in the second quarter -- down from $9.4 million in the first 18 days of his campaign earlier this year.
...
Sanders outspent the rest of the Democratic field over the three-month period, spending roughly $14 million -- including $3 million directed to salaries.

Biden, running in his first presidential race since 2008, racked up $11 million in expenses, including more than $250,000 with a private jet operator based in Arlington, Virginia.
...


Much more, with graphs, at the link.
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