Mandy Patinkin sat down with Stephen Colbert to discuss the his character in the Showtime series, Homeland, and what followed was a righteous rant and debate with Colbert -- with Colbert in full character -- on terrorism, whether we bear any personal responsibility for it here in the United States and the fact that words and not weapons are going to be the solution to our problems.
Good morning, today is Thursday, December 13, 2012. A little bit of good news, starting today, it is now illegal for television commercials to be so damn loud.
Your morning open thread begins below.
Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law two highly controversial anti-union bills, officially making the historic union stronghold the 24th so-called "right-to-work" state in the country. On Tuesday, thousands of demonstrators flooded the state Capitol in Lansing to denounce the bill as an organized attack against labor that will lower wages and diminish collective bargaining rights.
Nermeen Shaikh and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! are joined by two people who attended the demonstrations: Katie Oppenheim, a registered nurse and president of the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, and Andy Potter, state vice president of the Michigan Corrections Organization and the chair of SEIU’s National Republican Member Advisory Committee. We also speak with Lee Fang, a reporting fellow with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, about how the bills were pushed through by powerful corporate interests and secretive billionaires.
Michigan lawmakers are also using the lame-duck session to significantly restrict women’s reproductive rights with three bills that would ban abortion coverage in many insurance plans, and another bill that would allow employers and medical professionals to refuse to cover or provide health treatment on moral grounds.
Full transcript available after the jump.
"Anybody watching this right now who went to college, or got to put their child through college, anybody who's living in a house, has three square meals a day, that was all because of what happened with that strike in Flint." – Michael Moore on The War Room with Jennifer Granholm, December 12th, 2012, discussing Michigan's new right-to-work law. (Granholm was Michigan's Governor from January 2003-January 2011, and was succeeded by lying, Koch Brothers-owned Republican, Rick Snyder.)
"That strike in Flint" was the basis for Moore's first documentary, "Roger & Me," about the laid off auto workers of General Motors in Flint, Michigan. Many of those original UAW sit-down strikers from Flint were on hand for the "right to work" protest in Lansing on Tuesday. They included ninety-one-year-old Geraldine Blankinship, and this gentleman, whose name I didn't catch sadly, who also happened to be celebrating his 96th birthday.
Michael Moore is a native of Michigan, attended the University of Michigan, and is the son and grandson of auto workers. His uncle LaVerne was one of the founders of the United Automobile Workers labor union and participated in the Flint Sit-Down Strike.
Via Eclectablog, the less-than-surprising news that Tea Party activists knocked down their own tent and videotaped it -- for Faux News:
There’s a video on heavy rotation at Fox News, being massively retweeted by conservatives and Americans for Prosperity, where they talk about the “brutality” and “violence” of union members at today’s rally in Lansing, Michigan to protest Right to Work legislation. The video shows an Americans for Prosperity tent coming down on the front lawn of the Capitol Building.
As it turns out, American for Prosperity (AFP) themselves were responsible for at least one of the tents coming down. Tom Duckworth watched one of the folks that had been in the AFP tent go around and loosen the straps on the tent. According to Duckworth, “the tent came down from the INSIDE.”
[Above is] video, shot in the office of Progress Michigan, of Duckworth being interviewed by former Progress Michigan Executive Director David Holtz:
West Virginia reopened Interstate 77 on Wednesday, one day after a massive gas explosion turned 800 feet of asphalt into cinder and leveled four homes along the road and damaging another five. There were no deaths reported. Federal and state employees are still investigating the cause of the explosion that occurred in a gas transmission line owned by NiSource Inc., parent company of Columbia Gas. “It really cooked the interstate,” said Kent Carper, president of Kanawha County Commission. The explosion melted guardrails, cooked the green enamel off highway signs, and burned utility poles along the road:
"We've been very fortunate," said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, after seeing the collapsed and charred houses. "They were just lucky enough not to be home."
Most of the neighborhood's residents were at work or school. One man, Tomblin said, had just left to go hunting.
Federal and state agencies are now investigating what caused the explosion in the 20-inch transmission line owned by NiSource Inc., parent company of Columbia Gas. The gas flow was shut off, but residents who lived within 1,000 feet of the fire zone were evacuated as a precaution.
Kent Carper, president of the Kanawha County Commission, said flames were shooting some 75 feet into the air before the fire was extinguished.
"It sounded like a Boeing 757. Just a roar," he said. "It was huge. You just couldn't hear anything. It was like a space flight."
Carper said the flames spanned about a quarter of a mile and ran through a culvert under the interstate.
"It actually cooked the interstate," he said. "It looks like a tar pit."
Natural gas may be cleaner than coal (It's still being debated and studied), but solar and wind don't blow up houses and roads like what happened in West Virginia yesterday.
With controversy and protests swirling around Michigan’s anti-union legislation, Governor Rick Snyder paid a visit to Fox & Friends this morning where he surely knew he’d receive a friendly welcome. But the Curvy Couch Crew went beyond “hospitable” to outright approval. They also accepted without question his repeated assertions that the legislation – which he previously said was “not on his agenda” – is now “all about being pro worker.” Even more laughably, he pretended the legislation is not anti union.
Snyder said, with a straight face:
I actually don’t view this as anti-union, because it really gives the unions an opportunity to better present their value case. And if people see value, they should join and if they don’t, why should their resources go there?
Steve Doocy nodded along enthusiastically. Gretchen Carlson used the opportunity to take a shot at teachers and their union for taking the day off to go protest.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is insisting that a so-called "right to work" law which restricts unions' ability to collect dues is not "anti-union" at all.
Speaking to MSNBC on Wednesday, Snyder said his move to sign the legislation into law and join the 23 other "right to work" states where workers make $1,500 less on average was actually "pro-worker."
But MSNBC's Richard Wolffe wondered how the governor could defend calling unions bad for business when the auto industry in Michigan had been very successful in recent years.
"I've never said unions are bad for business and I don't believe this is actually anti-union," Snyder asserted. "I believe this is pro-worker."
"Are you serious?" a stunned Wolffe replied. "Are you serious this is not anti-union? This, at its core, actually undermines the ability for unions to organize."
"This does not deal with organizing at all," Snyder declared. "This does not deal with collective bargaining at all. This is nothing to do with the relationship between an employer and a union. This is about the relationship between unions and workers. And this is about giving workers the freedom to choose, and unions have to be in a position to present a good value proposition."
"This should make unions more effective in terms of having to put a value proposition to workers," he added.
Scarborough explained that while he did not support requiring workers to pay union dues, he would "not go so far as to say what you’ve just said, which is that this helps unions."
"I mean, it undermines unions’ ability to stay vibrant, right?" the MSNBC host observed.
"It really leaves it up to the union to decide and innovate as to what their value proposition is," Snyder insisted.
HSBC to pay $1.92 billion to settle charges of money laundering:
State and federal authorities decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.
Instead, HSBC announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to a record $1.92 billion settlement with authorities. The bank, which is based in Britain, faces accusations that it transferred billions of dollars for nations like Iran and enabled Mexican drug cartels to move money illegally through its American subsidiaries.
While the settlement with HSBC is a major victory for the government, the case raises questions about whether certain financial institutions, having grown so large and interconnected, are too big to indict. Four years after the failure of Lehman Brothers nearly toppled the financial system, regulators are still wary that a single institution could undermine the recovery of the industry and the economy.
Big bank. Money laundering. No criminal charges. No jail. Shocking. Not.
[Photo credit: DonkeyHotey]
During Tuesday's "right to work" protest in Lansing, Michigan, state troopers were witnessed and recorded using a baton on a senior citizen who was already knocked to the ground. Another officer had to step in to restrain the trooper from making further contact with baton.
What would have happened if the other officer hadn't restrained him?