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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
Number of posts: 14,840

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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


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.


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.


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.


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.

2020 ELECTION NBC/WSJ poll: Biden, Warren top 2020 Democratic field

As with all polls, especially with early ones, these results need caveats.

But Warren's increase seems to be a steady one.


From the link:

This NBC/WSJ poll was conducted July 7-9, after the first Democratic debates and the subsequent candidate skirmishes over the issues of race and health care.

New candidate Tom Steyer didn’t enter the race until July 9, and the survey didn’t test support for the billionaire activist.

The poll also asked Democratic primary voters about their second choice for president. The top responses were: Harris (14 percent), Warren (13 percent), Sanders (12 percent) and Biden (10 percent).

But importantly, only 12 percent of all Democratic primary voters said their mind is definitely made up, which suggests how malleable these numbers are

I am still officially "undecided"

and I am not necessarily a believer in polls, which can change so easily from one day to the next. Or not.

But this is a good article, IMO, and expresses what I am seeing and feeling. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/7/3/20679930/2020-presidential-election-polls-harris-biden-warren-sanders

The state of the 2020 Democratic primary, explained

To be clear: Biden remains the leader in every recent poll. But the size of that lead on average is no longer as impressive as it’s been — and in a few polls, it’s gotten quite small indeed, raising questions about just how solid the frontrunner’s position is.

Sanders, meanwhile, has lost his position as the one major alternative to Biden. The Vermont senator’s support level in polls has dropped significantly since the early months of the year and has remained stagnant for the past two months while Warren and Harris have surged. On average, that trio of candidates is now about tied for second place.

The only other candidate to escape the bottom tier in polls so far has been South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But Buttigieg has declined a bit of late, as he deals with a police shooting back at home and more support has gone to Warren and Harris. While both senators now enjoy double-digit support, the mayor is stuck in the single digits in most recent polls. The other 20 candidates have failed to gain any traction.

Seven long months remain until the Iowa caucuses. The big question for the race right now, though, is whether this post-debate slump is a temporary setback for Biden — or whether it’s the start of his campaign’s collapse.

There is an excellent graph included with the article.

I have a long memory and remember and have lived through many Presidential cycles. Just sayin' ....

My only guarantee is that I WILL VOTE FOR whichever candidate is selected as the Democratic nominee. That should go without saying.

Clarence Thomas's Astonishing Opinion on a Racist Mississippi Prosecutor

Well, considering Thomas, perhaps NOT so surprising!

For some reason, I am not able to post excerpts without typing the whole thing out, but this is well worth a read.


Biden spars with Warren and Sanders at first event facing rival Democrats


From the link:

Joy Reid, an MSNBC host who moderated the question and answer sessions, asked Biden how he would get his plans through a resistant Congress, noting that, when he was vice-president, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, considered anything that came from the White House “dead on arrival”.

Biden fixed his gaze on the sitting Reid, walked closer and leaned towards her as he replied: “Joy, I know you’re one of the ones who thinks it’s naive to think we have to work together. The fact of the matter is, if we can’t get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the executive. Zero.”
Warren, who is gaining on Biden in opinion polls, told the forum: “Let’s be clear, if we’re in the majority and Mitch McConnell wants to block us on the kinds of things our country needs and the kinds of things they elected me and other people to enact, then I’m all for getting rid of the filibuster.

“We cannot let him block things the way he did during the Obama administration. I’ve been there when it was one set of rules when President Obama was president and now it’s a different set of rules now that they’ve got Trump in the White House. We can’t do that as Democrats. We have to be willing to get in this fight.”

I also believe that today's GOP no longer gives a sh*t about anything except keeping themselves in office. We simply cannot believe - given the evidence before our own eyes and ears - that they will suddenly begin acting like normal, caring human beings. They passed the point of no return LONG ago. And we need to be willing to call them on it.

NOTHING can be worse than it is now. THEY WILL NOT CHANGE!

I will add that I believe that Michael Bennet also made some excellent points.

I will ONLY support Democratic primary candidates

who also participate in the DNC's Democratic Unity Fund.


“The Democratic Unity Fund is a promise that whoever earns our nomination, he or she will have a strong, united, and well-organized DNC ready to spring into action the moment the general election starts — a DNC that’s ready to lift us all to victory in November,” Obama said.

All donations from the fund would go towards helping DNC-led programs, including “Organizing Corps 2020” and “the Data Warehouse.” The fund would also help “voter protection efforts that are essential to winning in 2020,” Obama wrote.

Elizabeth Warren is one candidate who is participating in this effort.

No candidate can win this on their own, and that's why we need a Democratic Party capable of investing in the infrastructure to spread our message, mobilize voters, and get out the vote. For that to happen, we need grassroots supporters like you to become a part of this movement.

That's why I'm fired up about the DNC's Democratic Unity Fund, which will combine the efforts of candidates, supporters, and the DNC so we can win this thing. So I have to ask:

Will you make a $50 contribution that will be split evenly between my campaign and the DNC's Democratic Unity Fund today?

This kind of esprit de corps, enthusiasm and commitment to party unity is why Elizabeth is among my top-tier candidates. There are many other reasons as well.

While I am sure that many other candidates will also participate, I am also fairly sure that at least two will NOT.

Has anyone viewed "The Looming Tower?"

It was originally streamed on Hulu, which I do not subscribe to. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Looming_Tower_(miniseries)

But my cable TV package here in Switzerland does provide BBC2, which began airing this series last night.

It's based on Lawrence Wright's book "The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Route to 9/11." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Looming_Tower

Jeff Daniels and Tahar Rahim, who play FBI Agents John O'Neill and Ali Soufan respectively, are both excellent so far.

If you haven't yet seen it and are able to do so somehow, I highly recommend that you do.

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