Monthly Archive: February 2011

Feb 28 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 54 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Libyans ‘ready to die for me’, says Kadhafi

AFP

2 hrs 2 mins ago

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said Monday his followers were ready to die for him as Western nations mulled military options to prevent massacres and protect thousands fleeing violence in his country.

World powers ramped up the pressure on his regime, as the United States urged the international community at a meeting in Geneva to work together on further steps to end a brutal crackdown that has cost more than 1,000 lives.

Faced with the threat of massacres or a wave of refugees on their Mediterranean flank, senior Western officials openly weighed military options.

Feb 28 2011

Anonymous Strikes Again

While we were all watching the Academy Awards, making predictions and ogling over fashion, the hacker group, Anonymous struck again, hacking into the Koch brother funded web site, Americans for Prosperity (sorry, no link, I won’t give them the honor of a page hit). The Koch brothers own the Georgia-Pacific paper manufacturing plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin and, obviously, have a vested interest in seeing the union right of collective bargaining ended.

The AFP site is back up. This is the entire message that was left by Anonymous:

Dear Citizens of the United States of America,

It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch–the billionaire owners of Koch Industries–have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.

Koch Industries, and oligarchs like them, have most recently started to manipulate the political agenda in Wisconsin. Governor Walker’s union-busting budget plan contains a clause that went nearly un-noticed. This clause would allow the sale of publicly owned utility plants in Wisconsin to private parties (specifically, Koch Industries) at any price, no matter how low, without a public bidding process. The Koch’s have helped to fuel the unrest in Wisconsin and the drive behind the bill to eliminate the collective bargaining power of unions in a bid to gain a monopoly over the state’s power supplies.

The Koch brothers have made a science of fabricating ‘grassroots’ organizations and advertising campaigns to support them in an attempt to sway voters based on their falsehoods. Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth and Citizens United are just a few of these organizations. In a world where corporate money has become the lifeblood of political influence, the labor unions are one of the few ways citizens have to fight against corporate greed. Anonymous cannot ignore the plight of the citizen-workers of Wisconsin, or the opportunity to fight for the people in America’s broken political system. For these reasons, we feel that the Koch brothers threaten the United States democratic system and, by extension, all freedom-loving individuals everywhere. As such, we have no choice but to spread the word of the Koch brothers’ political manipulation, their single-minded intent and the insidious truth of their actions in Wisconsin, for all to witness.

Anonymous hears the voice of the downtrodden American people, whose rights and liberties are being systematically removed one by one, even when their own government refuses to listen or worse – is complicit in these attacks. We are actively seeking vulnerabilities, but in the mean time we are calling for all supporters of true Democracy, and Freedom of The People, to boycott all Koch Industries’ paper products. We welcome unions across the globe to join us in this boycott to show that you will not allow big business to dictate your freedom.

In case you want to boycott Georgia Pacific products here is a list: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Soft N’ Gentle, Brawny Industrial, Vanity Fair, Sparkle, Dixie and Mardi Gras.

To identify these brands, please look for the following logo anywhere on the packaging:

Photobucket
 

Feb 28 2011

Reporting the Revolution: 28.02.2011

class=”BrightcoveExperience”>This is The Guardian Live Blog from Libya.

Al Jazeera English also has a Live Blog stream that is up dated regularly.

Last Saturday, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to to impose sanctions and called for an investigation of war crimes by Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers. The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds. In the capitol of Tripoli there are bread lines, barricades and doctors telling foreign journalists that the bodies of the dead  and wounded were being carried away from the hospitals by “Gaddafi cars”.

Christiane Amanpour interviewed Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, and this morning, reported an interview with Gaddafi, himself, who is more delusional than Charlie Sheen.

I interviewed Col. Moammar Gadhafi this morning, when he told me he cannot step down because he is not a president or king, and claimed there have been no demonstrations in the streets of Libya’s capital.

“My people love me. They would die for me,” he said.

“I’m surprised that we have an alliance with the west to fight al Qaeda, and now that we are fighting terrorists they have abandoned us,” he said. “Perhaps they want to occupy Libya.”

US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, delivered a strong message from the White House calling for Gaddafi to step down and for his government to be held accountable. In Behghazi, the new National Libyan Council was announced. Led by  former justice minister Mustafa Mohamed Abdel Jalil to put a political face on the revolution and to lead the country while it prepares for elections.

Libya, Iraq, Egypt – The Uprisings Continue

Refugee Agency Speaks of ‘Emergency’ on Libya’s Borders

PARIS – The United Nations refugee agency says almost 100,000 people have fled Libya’s fighting to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt in what it called a humanitarian emergency.

The numbers seem to have increased over the weekend as armed rebel forces moved closer to a showdown with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and his loyalists who were standing their ground in Tripoli, the capital, and a handful of other places.

The executive director of the World Food Program was traveling to Tunisia on Monday to meet with government officials on refugees’ needs and the impact on the region. In Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the United States Agency for International Development was dispatching two teams to Libya’s borders in Tunisia and Egypt to assess the need for emergency assistance. USAID, she said, had set aside $10 million funds for humanitarian assistance and begun an inventory of American emergency food supplies.

U.S dispatches aircraft carrier to waters near Libya

By NANCY A. YOUSSEF, JONATHAN S. LANDAY AND WARREN P. STROBEL

McClatchy Newspapers

BENGHAZI, Libya — The United States is moving naval and air forces, including an aircraft carrier, into the Mediterranean Sea near Libya, U.S. officials said Monday, as the Obama administration and its allies consider how to respond to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s brutal efforts to suppress a widespread rebellion among civilians and army troops.

The U.S. decision comes as Gadhafi appeared to be making a concerted effort to retake control of Zawiya, a town about 30 miles west of Tripoli that has been in rebel hands since last week. Two people reached separately by phone said heavy fighting had broken out in the early evening Monday as militias loyal to Gadhafi attacked from both the east and the west.

World’s message to Libyan leader Gaddafi: time to end your regime

Russia and China join west in UN war crimes ruling as Britain revokes immunity for leader and family

Aramco Ready to Make Up Any Shortfall as Libya Exports Cut

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state oil company, is ready to compensate for any shortfall in crude supply, Chief Executive Officer Khalid Al-Falih said, as oil prices rally on potential shortages from Libya.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Feb. 22 that his country and other OPEC members would make up for any production losses. The International Energy Agency said in a Feb. 25 statement that Saudi Arabia has been offering extra crude supplies to offset lost Libyan barrels.

Zawiyah: 30 miles from Tripoli, the city on the frontline of Libya’s revolt

The city of Zawiyah, controlled by rebels but surrounded by Gaddafi loyalists, is a metaphor for the current stalemate

Libya crisis: Britain mulling no-fly zone and arms for rebels, says Cameron

Prime minister tells MPs he has asked defence ministry to work on plans for military no-fly zone over Gaddafi’s riven country

Italy suspends friendship treaty with Libya

(CNN) — Italy has suspended a treaty it signed three years ago with Libya that includes a nonaggression clause, a spokesman for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

“The friendship treaty is null and void,” said Aldo Amati, deputy press secretary for the ministry, in a telephone interview. Under the 2008 treaty between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Italy paid Libya $5 billion to compensate Libya for the colonial rule.

“We no longer consider the Gadhafi government as our interlocutor, so we don’t think it’s applicable right now.”

Egypt unveils political reform

As constitutional amendments are rolled out , restrictions on religious political parties remain.

A panel of experts set up by Egypt’s ruling military council to amend the constitution has unveiled the first set of political reform since the revolution.

Sobhi Saleh, a member of the judicial committee appointed by the military council, told Reuters news agency, that the army is set to cancel a law which gave ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s administration the power to decide who

was allowed to form a party, .

The panel is also expected to call a referendum in March on historic changes to the constitution unveiled on Saturday, including reforms that will open up competition for the post of president which Mubarak held for 30 years.

Hosni Mubarak barred from leaving Egypt

Attorney general announces travel ban and freeze on Hosni Mubarak’s domestic assets in possible prelude to prosecution

The measures extend to Mubarak’s wife and children – including his youngest son, Gamal, a former banker and close associate of many of Egypt’s leading businessmen – and may be the prelude to a formal prosecution.

A number of former ministers from the deposed regime have already been made subject to travel bans and asset freezes since Mubarak was forced out of office on 11 February, and many are now facing possible trial on charges ranging from corruption to the unlawful killing of protesters.

Until now Mubarak had seemed to be shielded from investigation by the ruling military council, a source of much anger among pro-change demonstrators who accuse army generals of cutting a deal with the former leader.

Oman protests spread, road to port blocked

SOHAR, Oman (Reuters) – Demonstrators blocked roads to a main port in northern Oman and looted a nearby supermarket on Monday, part of protests to demand more jobs and political reform that have spread to the sultanate’s capital.

A doctor said six people had been killed in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police on Sunday in the northern industrial town of Sohar. Oman’s health minister said one person had been killed and 20 wounded.

Hundreds of protesters blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port, a refinery and aluminum factory. A port spokeswoman said exports of refined oil products of about 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the port were unaffected.

US ‘committed to defence relations’

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, during his talks with Bahrain’s leadership, reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to the military relationship with Bahraini defence forces, said Captain John Kirby, the admiral’s spokesman.

Admiral Mullen thanked Bahraini leaders “for the very measured way they have been handling the popular crisis here”, during his meeting with His Majesty King Hamad and His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, said the spokesman.

US supports ‘national dialogue’ in Bahrain: Obama

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama extended US support for a “national dialogue” in Bahrain, and said it should be “inclusive, non-sectarian and responsive” to the people of the Gulf kingdom.

Obama’s statement came a day after King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa reshuffled his cabinet and allowed the return to the country of an exiled opposition leader after 13 days of protests.

As protests continued Sunday in Bahrain, Obama welcomed the king’s changes and reaffirmation of his commitment to reform.

Feb 28 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”

Paul Krugman: Leaving Children Behind

Will 2011 be the year of fiscal austerity? At the federal level, it’s still not clear: Republicans are demanding draconian spending cuts, but we don’t yet know how far they’re willing to go in a showdown with President Obama. At the state and local level, however, there’s no doubt about it: big spending cuts are coming.

And who will bear the brunt of these cuts? America’s children.

Now, politicians – and especially, in my experience, conservative politicians – always claim to be deeply concerned about the nation’s children. Back during the 2000 campaign, then-candidate George W. Bush, touting the “Texas miracle” of dramatically lower dropout rates, declared that he wanted to be the “education president.” Today, advocates of big spending cuts often claim that their greatest concern is the burden of debt our children will face.

In practice, however, when advocates of lower spending get a chance to put their ideas into practice, the burden always seems to fall disproportionately on those very children they claim to hold so dear.

Robert Kuttner: The Left Edge of the Possible

My friend, the late Mike Harrington, used to describe his politics as “on the left wing of the possible.” It’s a fine aspiration. But if anything, economic problems have become more politically intractable since Mike died in 1989.

Scanning the various economic ills afflicting our Republic and its citizens, it’s evident that nearly all of the solutions lie beyond what is currently deemed thinkable in mainstream politics — beyond the left edge of the possible.

It’s not that my own views and values have become more radical in two decades. What has changed is that the American political center has shifted further to the right, while the twin assault on the good society by the private financial system and the organized right has become more intense.

Dana Milbank: Scott Walker’s unprincipled rigidity

“He’s not one of us.”

That phrase, uttered in the fourth minute of what Scott Walker believed to be a private phone conversation, tells you everything you need to know about the rookie governor of Wisconsin.

Walker thought he was talking to a patron, conservative billionaire David Koch, but thanks to the amateurish management that seems to be a hallmark of his governorship, he was instead being punked by an impostor from a liberal Web site.

Feb 28 2011

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 50 Stories.

From Yahoo News Business

1 India increases social spending in pro-poor budget

by Penny MacRae, AFP

6 mins ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s left-leaning Congress government on Monday unveiled a budget focused on helping the poor and rural masses with pledges to hike social spending by 17 percent and fight food inflation.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, lifting the lid on government plans for the financial year from April 1, scaled up spending for farmers, fertiliser subsidies, food programmes, education and rural employment.

“The country has carried for long enough the burden of hunger and malnutrition,” Mukherjee told parliament, saying the money earmarked for social spending would amount to 36 percent of the total budget.

Feb 28 2011

On This Day in History February 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 306 days remaining until the end of the year (307 in leap years)

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

History of DNA research

DNA was first isolated by the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher who, in 1869, discovered a microscopic substance in the pus of discarded surgical bandages. As it resided in the nuclei of cells, he called it “nuclein”. In 1919, Phoebus Levene identified the base, sugar and phosphate nucleotide unit. Levene suggested that DNA consisted of a string of nucleotide units linked together through the phosphate groups. However, Levene thought the chain was short and the bases repeated in a fixed order. In 1937 William Astbury produced the first X-ray diffraction patterns that showed that DNA had a regular structure.

In 1928, Frederick Griffith discovered that traits of the “smooth” form of the Pneumococcus could be transferred to the “rough” form of the same bacteria by mixing killed “smooth” bacteria with the live “rough” form. This system provided the first clear suggestion that DNA carries genetic information, the Avery-MacLeod-McCarty experiment, when Oswald Avery, along with coworkers Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty, identified DNA as the transforming principle in 1943. DNA’s role in heredity was confirmed in 1952, when Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase in the Hershey-Chase experiment showed that DNA is the genetic material of the T2 phage.

In 1953, James D. Watson and Francis Crick suggested what is now accepted as the first correct double-helix model of DNA structure in the journal Nature. Their double-helix, molecular model of DNA was then based on a single X-ray diffraction image (labeled as “Photo 51”) taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in May 1952, as well as the information that the DNA bases are paired – also obtained through private communications from Erwin Chargaff in the previous years. Chargaff’s rules played a very important role in establishing double-helix configurations for B-DNA as well as A-DNA.

Experimental evidence supporting the Watson and Crick model were published in a series of five articles in the same issue of Nature. Of these, Franklin and Gosling’s paper was the first publication of their own X-ray diffraction data and original analysis method that partially supported the Watson and Crick model; this issue also contained an article on DNA structure by Maurice Wilkins and two of his colleagues, whose analysis and in vivo B-DNA X-ray patterns also supported the presence in vivo of the double-helical DNA configurations as proposed by Crick and Watson for their double-helix molecular model of DNA in the previous two pages of Nature. In 1962, after Franklin’s death, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. However, Nobel rules of the time allowed only living recipients, but a vigorous debate continues on who should receive credit for the discovery.

Feb 28 2011

Six In The Morning

Rebel government tries to bring order to the shattered streets of Benghazi





By Kim Sengupta in Benghazi  Monday, 28 February 2011

Libya has taken its first steps towards a new future following four decades of dictatorship with the formation of a new administration in the half of the country which is out of Colonel Gaddafi’s control.

The National Council set up in Benghazi, the “capital of Free Libya”, will present itself for recognition by the international community as emissaries of the people who will be representing the country from now on.

Former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil announced that he would head an interim government with the suggestion that it has the backing of the US.

Feb 28 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 27, 2011-

DocuDharma

Feb 28 2011

Pique the Geek 20110227: Polio

Anterior poliomyelitis, mainly called polio (the old name was infantile paralysis) was a scourge for centuries, but was not recognized as a specific disease until comparatively recently.  This piece is in honor of the huge immunization program that was begun 56 years ago last week in the United States, that fact kindly pointed out by our good friend ek hornbeck at TheStarsHollowGazette.com a couple of days ago.

Most people do not know anyone who was infected with the paralytic form of this disease these days, partly because they either died or got better, but mostly because of the most successful vaccination program against an infectious disease ever attempted.  I have first hand experience with two cases, and will turn 54 on this coming Wednesday.  Few people younger than about my age will have known anyone who had it.

Feb 28 2011

Thank You For Supporting Wisconsin’s Public Workers

Albany Solidarity Saturday

Thank you for attending the demonstration near you yesterday on Solidarity Saturday. It’s important to turn up in physical as opposed to digital form, to link arms, to carry signs, to speak out, to be counted on this important issue.  This is a terribly old fashioned way to petition the Government for redress of grievances, to take the First Amendment’s phrase, but alas, it’s all there is.

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