Daily Archive: 03/14/2011

Mar 14 2011

from firefly-dreaming 14.3.11

Regular Daily Features:

Blondie begins the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Gha!

Six Brilliant Articles! from Six Different Places!! on Six Different Topics!!!

                Six Days a Week!!!    at Six in the Morning!!!!

Essays Featured Monday, March 14th:

are RiaD‘s Monday Open Thoughts

fake consultant  shares ideas On Taking It Back, Or, Wisconsin Recalls, Explained

Out of the Cave and into the Light , a shared story from TheMomCat

The Latest Pique the Geek from Translator Firearms 103. Propellants

A frothy piece from Xanthe

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

Mar 14 2011

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Unprincipled Zealots and March Madness

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Clay Bennett

Moammar Gadhafi by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Mar 14 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

With 49 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Japan reels as second blast rocks nuclear plant

by Hiroshi Hiyama, AFP

1 hr 41 mins ago

SENDAI, Japan (AFP) – A new explosion at a stricken nuclear power plant hit Japan Monday as it raced to avert a reactor meltdown after a quake-tsunami disaster that is feared to have killed more than 10,000 people.

Searchers found 2,000 bodies just in the northeastern region of Miyagi, while millions were left without water, electricity, fuel or enough food. Hundreds of thousands more were homeless after the tsunami drowned whole towns.

Panic selling saw stocks close more than six percent lower on the Tokyo bourse on fears for the world’s third-biggest economy, as power shortages prompted rolling blackouts and factory shutdowns in quake-hit areas.

Mar 14 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”

Daniel Ellsberg: This shameful abuse of Bradley Manning

The WikiLeaks suspect’s mistreatment amounts to torture. Either President Obama knows this or he should make it his business

President Obama tells us that he’s asked the Pentagon whether the conditions of confinement of Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with leaking state secrets, “are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.”

If Obama believes that, he’ll believe anything. I would hope he would know better than to ask the perpetrators whether they’ve been behaving appropriately. I can just hear President Nixon saying to a press conference the same thing: “I was assured by the the White House Plumbers that their burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s doctor in Los Angeles was appropriate and met basic standards.”

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: The High Cost of a Broken Metaphor

“We’re broke.”

You can practically break a search engine if you start looking around the Internet for those words. They’re used repeatedly with reference to our local, state and federal governments, almost always to make a case for slashing programs-and, lately, to go after public-employee unions. The phrase is designed to create a sense of crisis that justifies rapid and radical actions before citizens have a chance to debate the consequences.

Just one problem: We’re not broke. Yes, nearly all levels of government face fiscal problems because of the economic downturn. But there is no crisis. There are many different paths open to fixing public budgets. And we will come up with wiser and more sustainable solutions if we approach fiscal problems calmly, realizing that we’re still a very rich country, and that the wealthiest among us are doing exceptionally well.

Paul Krugman: Another Inside Job

Count me among those who were glad to see the documentary “Inside Job” win an Oscar. The film reminded us that the financial crisis of 2008, whose aftereffects are still blighting the lives of millions of Americans, didn’t just happen – it was made possible by bad behavior on the part of bankers, regulators and, yes, economists.

What the film didn’t point out, however, is that the crisis has spawned a whole new set of abuses, many of them illegal as well as immoral. And leading political figures are, at long last, showing some outrage. Unfortunately, this outrage is directed, not at banking abuses, but at those trying to hold banks accountable for these abuses.

The immediate flashpoint is a proposed settlement between state attorneys general and the mortgage servicing industry. That settlement is a “shakedown,” says Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama. The money banks would be required to allot to mortgage modification would be “extorted,” declares The Wall Street Journal. And the bankers themselves warn that any action against them would place economic recovery at risk.

All of which goes to confirm that the rich are different from you and me: when they break the law, it’s the prosecutors who find themselves on trial.

Mar 14 2011

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 47 Stories.

From Yahoo News Business

1 Tokyo stocks hammered, BoJ unleashes record funds

by David Watkins, AFP

25 mins ago

TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese stocks tumbled Monday and the central bank pumped a record amount of cash in a bid to soothe money markets shaken by Japan’s biggest ever earthquake, a devastating tsunami and a nuclear emergency.

Nuclear plant operator TEPCO dived almost 24 percent on fears of a meltdown at one of its reactors while producers such as Sony and Toyota tumbled as power shortages prompted blackouts and factories remained closed, hurting production.

The Bank of Japan said it would pump a record 15 trillion yen ($184 billion) to help stabilise the short term-money market, making good on its pledge Sunday that it would unleash “massive” funds following the quake.

Mar 14 2011

On This Day in History March 14

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.

March 14 is the 73rd day of the year (74th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 292 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1885, The Mikado a light opera by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, had its first public performance in London.

The Mikado, or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations. It opened in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances, which was the second longest run for any work of musical theatre and one of the longest runs of any theatre piece up to that time. Before the end of 1885, it was estimated that, in Europe and America, at least 150 companies were producing the opera. The Mikado remains the most frequently performed Savoy Opera, and it is especially popular with amateur and school productions. The work has been translated into numerous languages and is one of the most frequently played musical theatre pieces in history.

Setting the opera in Japan, an exotic locale far away from Britain, allowed Gilbert to satirise British politics and institutions more freely by disguising them as Japanese. Gilbert used foreign or fictional locales in several operas, including The Mikado, Princess Ida, The Gondoliers, Utopia, Limited and The Grand Duke, to soften the impact of his pointed satire of British institutions.

The Mikado is a comedy that deals with themes of death and cruelty. This works only because Gilbert treats these themes as trivial, even lighthearted issues. For instance, in Pish-Tush’s song “Our great Mikado, virtuous man”, he sings: “The youth who winked a roving eye/ Or breathed a non-connubial sigh/ Was thereupon condemned to die / He usually objected.” The term for this rhetorical technique is meiosis, a drastic understatement of the situation. Other examples of this are when self-decapitation is described as “an extremely difficult, not to say dangerous, thing to attempt”, and also as merely “awkward”. When a discussion occurs of Nanki-Poo’s life being “cut short in a month”, the tone remains comic and only mock-melancholy. Burial alive is described as “a stuffy death”. Finally, execution by boiling oil or by melted lead is described by the Mikado as a “humorous but lingering” punishment.

Death is treated as a businesslike event in Gilbert’s Topsy-Turvy world. Pooh-Bah calls Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, an “industrious mechanic”. Ko-Ko also treats his bloody office as a profession, saying, “I can’t consent to embark on a professional operation unless I see my way to a successful result.” Of course, joking about death does not originate with The Mikado. The plot conceit that Nanki-Poo may marry Yum-Yum if he agrees to die at the end of the month was used in A Wife for a Month, a 17th century play by John Fletcher. Ko-Ko’s final speech affirms that death has been, throughout the opera, a fiction, a matter of words that can be dispelled with a phrase or two: being dead and being “as good as dead” are equated. In a review of the original production of The Mikado, after praising the show generally, the critic noted that the show’s humour nevertheless depends on

“unsparing exposure of human weaknesses and follies-things grave and even horrible invested with a ridiculous aspect-all the motives prompting our actions traced back to inexhaustible sources of selfishness and cowardice…. Decapitation, disembowelment, immersion in boiling oil or molten lead are the eventualities upon which (the characters’) attention (and that of the audience) is kept fixed with gruesome persistence…. (Gilbert) has unquestionably succeeded in imbuing society with his own quaint, scornful, inverted philosophy; and has thereby established a solid claim to rank amongst the foremost of those latter-day Englishmen who have exercised a distinct psychical influence upon their contemporaries.”

Mar 14 2011

Six In The Morning

Death toll surges in Japan quake aftermath

Thousands of bodies found in Miyagi Prefecture on Monday

msnbc.com news services

TAKAJO, Japan – Rescue workers used chain saws and hand picks Monday to dig out bodies in Japan’s devastated coastal towns, as Asia’s richest nation faced a mounting humanitarian, nuclear and economic crisis in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed thousands.

Millions of people spent a third night without water, food or heating in near-freezing temperatures along the devastated northeastern coast; the containment building of a second nuclear reactor exploded because of hydrogen buildup while the stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.

Mar 14 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 13, 2011-

DocuDharma

Mar 14 2011

Pique the Geek 20110313: Firearms 103. Propellants

For a firearm to operate, there must be an energy source to impart kinetic energy to the projectile being fired.  This is is true in general, but our discussion shall be limited to small arms with only a couple of exceptions.  These materials are called propellants, and the name is quite apt.

The first propellant used was blackpowder, the exact origin of which is lost in antiquity.  For centuries, actually up to very late in the 19th century, blackpowder was the only propellant available.

In the late 1880s what is now called smokeless powder was developed, and has replaced blackpowder in almost all applications except for what I refer to as “boutique” ones.  A substitute for blackpowder, Pyrodex(R) was developed , along with some other substitutes for reasons that will become apparent later.

Mar 14 2011

Prime Time

New episode of The Amazing Race.  Animation domination (except for Family Guy).  Nature on Bee Colony Collapse, Mark Twain.  All times Daylight Savings (which Zap2it hasn’t quite caught up with yet).

Also a reminder that starting Tuesday Prime Time is suspended for NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament live blogging.

Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me.

You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don’t let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did.

Later-

Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.

Luke, you can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.

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