Category Archives: Class

Atlas Shrugged, the Peewee Vermin edition


From Reuters:

Shkreli laughs off questions from lawmakers, calls them ‘imbeciles’

Former drug executive Martin Shkreli laughed off questions about drug prices and tweeted that lawmakers were imbeciles on Thursday, when he appeared at a U.S. congressional hearing against his will.

And from the Guardian:

Drug company boss Martin Shkreli refuses to testify to Congress

  • Shkreli invokes fifth amendment right not to answer questions about HIV drug
  • So-called ‘most hated man in America’ hiked price of Daraprim 5,000%

And the Washington Post:

‘Pharma bro’ Shkreli stays silent before Congress, calls lawmakers ‘imbeciles’ in tweet

Shkreli, the former chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who gained notoriety for jacking up a little-known drug’s price, was excused from a House hearing on drug prices after he refused to answer any questions — other than how to pronounce his name correctly, or to confirm that, yes, he was listening.

And a screencap of the London Daily Mail homepage teaser for this story:

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And the Los Angeles Times:

Smirking pharma CEO Martin Shkreli leaves lawmakers infuriated after hourlong showing

Shkreli appeared to smirk throughout his hourlong appearance, and moments after it ended, insulting tweets began to appear under his official Twitter account calling the lawmakers “imbeciles.”

“Appeared to smirk”?

We’ll let you, dear reader, be the judge. For your assistance, via vlogger TacoBurritoLegend:

Martin Shkreli Pharma Bro Smirking Compilation

Program note:

Martin Shkreli smirked this much during his 10 minute hearing with Congress. Will he be held in contempt?

Chart of the day II: A case of political perception


From a new report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center on perceptions of the duopoly’s political parties:

BLOG Class

Headline of the day: And a melodic bonus too


From the Guardian:

Super Bowl protests flare up over plight of San Francisco’s homeless residents

Protest against efforts to oust homeless people from ‘Super Bowl City’ highlights tensions days before city hosts one of the largest sporting events in the world

And that melodic bonus, via Subtitleman:

San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

Program notes:

“San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is a song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by Scott McKenzie. It was written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival.

McKenzie’s song became an instant hit. The lyrics tell the listeners, “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair”. Due to the difference between the lyrics and the actual title, the title is often quoted as “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)”. “San Francisco” reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and was number one in the United Kingdom and most of Europe. The single is purported to have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The song is credited with bringing thousands of young people to San Francisco, California during the late 1960s.

Quote of the day: A California faux progressive


From Ralph Nader, writing at his blog:

Minority House Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi has unleashed her supine followers to start wounding and depreciating Sanders. Pelosi acolyte Adam Schiff (D. California) tells the media he doubts Sanders’s electability and he could have “very significant downstream consequences in House and Senate races.”

Mr. Schiff somehow ignores that the House and Senate Democratic leadership repeatedly could not defend the country from the worst Republican Party in history, whose dozens of anti-human, pro-big business votes should have toppled many GOP candidates. Instead, Nancy Pelosi has led the House Democrats to three straight calamitous losses (2010, 2012, 2014) to the Republicans, for whom public cruelties toward the powerless is a matter of principle.

Pelosi threw her own poisoned darts at Sanders, debunking his far more life-saving, efficient, and comprehensive, full Medicare-for-all plan with free choice of doctor and hospital with the knowingly misleading comment “We’re not running on any platform of raising taxes.” Presumably that includes continuing the Democratic Party’s practice of letting Wall Street, the global companies and the super-wealthy continue to get away with their profitable tax escapes.

Headline of the day: Incendiary class warfare


From Deutsche Welle, a sad case of profitable exploitation pitting one group of the ostracized against another:

Berlin homeless face eviction for refugees

A Berlin home that has housed homeless people for 20 years is in danger of being cleared. The owners have seen a new opportunity: the city pays 50 euros a night to house refugees.

And from Al Jazeera English, yet another example:

Paris police clear sprawling Roma camp at city’s edge

Rights group Amnesty International demands city officials find new space for evicted Roma mid-winter

The painful slow death of the liberal church


In this, the latest episode in his series for teleSUR English, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and Harvard Divinity School graduate Chris Hedges joins two graduate students of Union Theological Seminary to discuss the plight of the liberal Christian church in the United States.

As conservative — even radically conservative — Christian denominations surge in membership and their seminaries thrive, the schools which turned out the liberal ministers who served as bulwarks of the civil rights movement are faced with declining enrollments.

As Michael Vanacore and Edward Escalon recount, Union is currently center of a storm of controversy as the school entertains plans to build a luxury condominium tower as a way to fund repair of is decaying campus.

The tragedy is that development of the project would go a long way toward gentrifying Manhattan’s Morningside Heights, a neighborhood largely inhabited be people of color.

It’s a fascinating discussion.

From the Real News Network:

Days of Revolt: The Suicide of the Liberal Church

Program notes:

In this episode of teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges speaks with two Union Theological Seminary student-activists about their fight against the school’s plans to sell property to luxury condo developers and further gentrify Harlem.

As for esnl, we’re of the atheist persuasion. That said, we don’t espouse to the creed of the so-called New Atheists, folks who are as evangelical about their beliefs that they remind us of Jehovah’s witnesses.

We’ve believed, in turn, in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity again, before arriving at our present position.

There are many times in our life when we’ve been helped by religious folks, including the months after we forced out of our parental home for refusing induction into the army during the Vietnam War, when we were given a place to live in the homes of a Quaker family and later a religiously Jewish family.

It was our father’s mother who led the integration of her Presbyterian church in Abilene, Kansas, early in the last century, forcing the overtly racist minister to back down when she threatened to lead her family and friends in an exodus from the church.

The resurgence of fundamentalist Christianity, often tinged with racism and bigotry against all whose lives differ from their narrowly prescribed beliefs and proscribed conduct, is fully as disturbing as the soaring wealth of the one percent.

The fusion of two tendencies in today’s political landscape is troubling indeed.

Charts of the day II: Student debt, Black burden


Student debt is yet another burden that falls disproportionately on America’s African American families, as evidenced in these charts from Less Debt, More Equity: Lowering Student Debt While Closing the Black-White Wealth Gap [PDF], a joint report from Demos and The Institute on Assets and Social Policy:

BLOG Debt