Daily Archive: 07/04/2010

Jul 04 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 51 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Spotlight on bank tests as ECB readies rate meeting

by William Ickes, AFP

Sun Jul 4, 3:47 am ET

FRANKFURT (AFP) – The European Central Bank on Thursday will urge eurozone banks and governments to shore up their accounts in the face of market pressure for a clear reading on the health of the European financial sector.

The ECB’s main interest rate will undoubtedly remain at a record low 1.0 percent set in May 2009 and bank president Jean-Claude Trichet will press banks again to draw on state support if necessary to bolster balance sheets.

Around 100 banks across Europe are being subjected to “stress tests” aimed at determining whether they can withstand shocks such as another recession or the default of a major borrower.

Jul 04 2010

The World Cup: A Brief, Gringo’s Guide to Futbol

Most of the planet has been tuned in to the World Cup since June 11, 2010, and will continue to watch and argue about it until the last whistle is blown on July 11. It’s expected that the audience for the final game will draw a tenth of the people on the planet. An audience of about 600 million people. It doesn’t matter very much to these people that their own countries didn’t qualify, or got eliminated. No. They’re watching, glued to the Tube, because that game is the World Game. And they love it. And they know great Futbol when they see it.

Unfortunately, in the US relatively few people care about futbol. Or soccer as most call it. They don’t reflect on the fact that the barefoot kids kicking a ball made of duct tape and rags in a vacant lot in Port au Prince or Kabul or in a favela in Rio are playing the same game that well scrubbed kids wearing uniforms and $100 shoes are trying to play in this country. So they don’t reflect on how democratic the game is. How anybody can play. And does. And how all you need is some ground and something to make a ball with. Shoes are optional. Goal posts are optional. Uniforms, optional. Only getting the ball into a goal counts.

Jul 04 2010

On Patriotism

It’s an interesting coincidence that exactly 50 years after The Declaration, Jefferson and Adams died within hours of each other.  Ironically Adam’s last words were- “Jefferson still survives.”  In fact Jefferson preceeded Adams which could have caused some embarrassment provided you believe in an afterlife and that Jefferson and Adams could have ended up in the same place.

Me?  Not so much.  People forget that our founders were revolutionaries and the establishment of The United States of America led to a string of more or less successful rebellions in Haiti, South America, and France.

It’s certainly not a historical leap of faith to call The Council of Europe and the Age of Metternich a reaction to a little fight we picked on the road between Lexington and Concord.

History is real, and not so very long ago.

These were people just like us.  Every bit as smart, twice as tough, and doing the best they could with the tools they had available.

Recently they’d been through 30 years of Civil War based on religious sectarianism and class warfare.  Fighting the French and Indians was kind of intermittent by comparison.

They were not rubes by any means though it’s a classic American gambit going back to Franklin at least to put a dead beaver on your head and pretend to be an idiot.  It makes the women want you.

My favorite Ben who is not a traitor was considered the head of the committee that composed The Declaration, but the principal Author was Thomas Jefferson whom we find recently to have made a last minute substitution of ‘citizen’ for ‘subject’ that I found reflective of his principles as a Founder.

Revolution is not all skittles and beer.

America had its Cincinattus and a Republic if we could keep it, but political feuding between the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists was little short of open warfare in the election of 1800.  People were literally shot down like dogs.

Adams had to suffer Jefferson as a Vice-President (Mr. Heartbeat) and successor.  Two Term Jefferson left his office to James “Mr. Constitution” Madison and the rest, as they say, is history until AndrewKingfishJackson (but that’s a story for another day).

The democratic impulse and enlightenment values embodied in the work of our Founders, little things like the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the institutions of the Congress, Presidency, and Court have always been under attack by powerful elites who seek to influence outcomes in their favor.

The very least honor we owe these brave and principled patriots is to resist those efforts and defend justice and the rule of law to the best of our ability.

Jul 04 2010

BP’s Well May Leak For 55 Years Or More Into The Gulf Of Mexico?

On June 15, 2010 the US Department of Energy announced that a group of federal and independent scientists convened by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Chair of the National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) Dr. Marcia McNutt (Director of the U.S. Geological Survey) had developed a new estimate for the amount of oil gushing from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico that indicated the leak could be spewing up to 2.52 million gallons of crude oil per day into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from British Petroleum’s Macondo Well.

“This estimate brings together several scientific methodologies and the latest information from the sea floor, and represents a significant step forward in our effort to put a number on the oil that is escaping from BP’s well,” said Chu, who then expanded with “As we continue to collect additional data and refine these estimates, it is important to realize that the numbers can change.  In particular, the upper number is less certain – which is exactly why we have been planning for the worst case scenario at every stage and why we are continuing to focus on responding to the upper end of the estimate, plus additional contingencies.”

Estimates from both BP and from the US Government of the amount of oil gushing from the blown out wellhead on the gulf seabed have been almost continually revised upwards since the well blowout and leak began on April 20, with widespread suspicions that BP has deliberately understated the leak rate in attempts to limit liability for the company.

It now appears that Chu may have been somewhat prescient with his statement that “it is important to realize that the numbers can change”, and that the estimate of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico may need to be increased again, since an undated internal BP document (.PDF) obtained by Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) was released by Markey on Sunday June 20 showing that BP’s own internal analysis believed that a worst-case scenario, based on damage to the well bore, could result in a leak rate from the well of 55,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil per day.  

Jul 04 2010

What Day Is It Agin?



RawStory:

Every Fourth of July, Americans gather to celebrate the country’s declaration of independence from … um, what country was that again?

If you answered the above question with the word “England” or “Britain,” you would be obviously correct. But a new Marist poll finds that more than a quarter — 26 percent — of Americans polled couldn’t bring to mind the name of the country from whom the original 13 colonies gained independence.

Results were especially poor among the young: Of respondents aged 18 to 29, only 60 percent correctly identified Great Britain. A full one-third were unsure.

[snip]

China? Maybe all this poll tells us is that six percent of people who answer surveys like to screw around with them.

That’s a possibility that Jack Stuef at the Wonkette blog is ready to consider.

Consider that a good 10% of Americans probably have Alzheimer’s. Then another 5% are just regular crazy people. And probably 11% of Americans got offended that some annoying academic called them up during dinner to ask them this single, inane question and answered “the United States won its independence from the country of My Ass.”

Let’s hope Stuef is right. Or this country is in big trouble.

Jul 04 2010

“A Paddle for Your Boat”

Shit Creek Paddle Store

The Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, better known as the “Cat Food Commission” has targeted Social Security and Medicare for some serious reductions that will put many senior citizens and future senior citizens in jeopardy of being relegated to homeless shelters or the streets. Sound harsh, over the top? Well listen to the co-chair former Sen. Alan Simpson, who was hand picked by President Barack Obama, in the video below the fold. And how about Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi who purposely put a “requirement that the House will vote on the deficit commission’s recommendations in the lame duck session if they pass the Senate“?

Jul 04 2010

The Rock Star’s Hollow Gazette, Pt. 1: Eight Fables About Action, Inaction, and Distraction

If I’m part of a problem, but not part of the problem, then it’s not really your problem.

-Keir DuBois

For many years now, I’ve forgotten my dreams-if I ever remember at all. Reality wants my attention more often, so I always come when she calls, and I’m getting used to the pull of routine and the comfort of my fatal flaws. Cause I never really found Boredom attractive, but she won’t stop flirting with me. She don’t understand that I can’t reprimand her for such innocent flattery, and I used to think I could hold out forever-but she’s circling patiently. For many years now, I’ve forgotten the fear-but now I remember it all. The nerves and the pressure of one good impression are making my confidence crawl, cause I’ve got a date with Ambition tonight but she’s not returning my calls.

Note:: Couldn’t get the tunes to display/play as they do on DKos, so you guys just get little links. Sorry.

Jul 04 2010

Why Blog?

I’ve always identified myself as a writer, even when it was poetry for machines and deadline dreck for newsletters, pamphlets, and flyers.

I like words and written communication better than verbal or theatrical presentations because of the random access you have to the information as a reader.  With a speech, or Radio, or a Play, TV, or Movie the information is under control of the deliverer, not the audience.  It’s inherently a serial exposition, a sales pitch, designed by arrangement and order to lead you from reasonable premises to a predetermined conclusion without allowing you to revisit the path of the argument unless you repeat the experience from scratch.

You may call reading the last chapter to find out ‘who done it’ cheating, I suggest instead that it’s a challenge every Author should be willing to face.  If you can’t make your middle memorable it’s probably better suited for a Short Story than a Novel.

So that’s what’s in it for me.  It’s a form of self expression in a broadly accessible format that’s not really very expensive except in terms of the time it takes to produce the content.

What’s in it for you?

There are 2 parts to this answer.

As a Reader only, you get to bask in my brilliance and wallow in my words and if passive entertainment suits your style I’m grateful for your eyeballs.  By that I mean you’ll get a lot more of me if you can stand it and love or hate it I don’t really give a rat’s ass what you think about me as long as you pay attention.

But the beauty part of a blog is that you can have your voice heard too.  It’s called a Vent Hole for a reason and it accepts both positive and negative feedback.  If your ambition exceeds a Tweet or two you can contribute longer pieces that I will be more than happy to evaluate and feature.  There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than promoting the work of others.

I hope that The Stars Hollow Gazette will develop into a Group Blog where regular participants as well as muse driven Authors will provide a stream of fresh content that will make us a several time a day destination.

Activism

I think that blogs are both more and less powerful platforms than conventionally recognized.  Many people have a nostalgic affection for storming the Bastille and I don’t despise those who are willing to wear no pants.

My legs are not what they once were, though that doesn’t mean I won’t ‘kilt up’ if the occasion calls for it.

I don’t think a failure to summon musket armed militia is an indication of weakness.  The information battlefield has numerous hedgerows, stone walls, and trees to snipe from behind of.  If you think it doesn’t hurt you’re not listening to the howls of outrage from the ego struck elite you ungrateful cur.

My activist brother thinks the most important function of blogs is as a source of information and a historical record, an alternative to the monopolistic media with its competitive barriers.  I think it’s equally as important to amuse and distract.  Your eyeballs are money.  Your passive consent, complicity.

I call you to a life of resistance in the small and easily done things.  Move your money.  Use cash when you can.  Turn off your lights when you leave the room and properly inflate your tires.

If just two people do it, in harmony, they’ll think they’re both faggots and won’t take either of them.

I’ve been called worse things than a stick.  Whom would fardels bear to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all and the native hue of resolution is sicklied over with the pale cast of thought, and enterprise of great pitch and moment with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.

In thy orisons be all my sins remembered.

Civility

No one has any obligation to treat you any particular way on the internet.

Indeed, one of the things I most despise about our inbred Versailles Village political/media culture is their false politeness and evasion of the truth.

Calling people liars and cowards and idiots is not ‘hate speech’.

Saying that Jew controlled financial, media, and political elites are stealing victory from our brave troopers and using the blood of Christian babies to make Matzoh IS.

If you can’t tell the difference between those things it’s simply useless to talk about subtleties and I won’t bother to do so.

In general however you may attribute to me personally any vice- I claim them all, particularly sloth.  If you have something new and inventive you’d care to share I’m always interested in novelty.  On the other hand you can hardly complain when I return the favor and if I happen to do it bigger and grander than you and you leave impressed…

That’s envy, my dear.  There’s a little bit of envy in the best of us.

Evolution

If you’d bother to learn anything about me at all you’d know I’m not a great believer in it.  It seems to me contrary to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation. – Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington

But change is only to be expected, and while most of it is merely increasing entropy, intermittently self organizing systems emerge and flourish for a time.

And if you’re lucky you can be a part of it.

Jul 04 2010

Punting the Pundits: Up Dated with Videos

The Sunday morning taking heads are a sure way to start you day off aggravated. About the only one i am really interested in watching this afternoon when it gets in to the high 90’s here in NYC with humidity to match, is Fareed Zakaria GPS. His guest today are Niall Ferguson & Paul Krugman, economists with opposing views.

Harvard economist, Nail Ferguson:

(The) leaders of most of the world’s major economies. They are doing what Harvard historian Niall Ferguson espouses: fighting to get their debt under control and cutting spending before their countries become the next Greece.

NYT’s and Nobel economist, Paul Krugman:

(A) handful of nations who are staying the course and spending. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says he fears we might already be in the 3rd depression — because governments haven’t been spending enough.

As dry as economics can be, these men make it not just understandable but “entertaining”.

Fareed will also be discussing this stunning statistic: the billion dollar price tag for each Al-Qaeda member.

h/t Elliot @ FDL

Jul 04 2010

Grumpy and out of sorts Stage One

I don’t claim to be the expert Armando is, because I’ve only been watching the Tour since the year before Lance started his streak and naturally my perspective is distorted from that experience.

Bring on the big bore.  Today’s ‘official’ first stage is live now on Vs.

Lance is in 4th place 22 seconds behind.

Stage One-

139 miles of pancake flat Florida.

8:50 start.

Prolog-

Contador / Armstrong head to head on competing teams.  Armstrong’s last Tour win or lose.

Raining in Rotterdam.  Prolog is an individual time trial.  A poor performance or crash could end it before it hardly starts.

Stage 3 Cobblestones.  Lots of wrecks.

Armstrong launches in good conditions.  It’s not where he ends up overall, but in relation to Contador.  Contador next out of the start house.

At halfway Armstrong only 5 seconds behind fastest so far.

Finishes in 3rd.  Now up to Contador- 1 second behind at halfway to Armstrong.

10:27:64.  Five seconds behind.  Advantage Armstrong.

Tomorrow Sea Wind.  Flat.

Ben Stiller interview.  I watch this stuff so you don’t have to.

Lance thinks he’s ahead of last year, didn’t have a collar bone crash.

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