Daily Archive: 03/15/2011

Mar 15 2011

from firefly-dreaming 15.3.11

Regular Daily Features:

Late Night Karaoke‘s screaming What’s Going On, 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 Tuesday, March 15th:

Tuesday Open Thoughts has puzzled thinking ofThe Ides of March

In this edition of the bi-weekly series Book Nook Xanthe reviews Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

RiaD shares thoughts on manners & cultures

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

Mar 15 2011

NCAA Basketball Tournament 2011

Welcome to the start of March Madness.

First a little meta.  This was incredibly difficult to research and format so I’ve had to put some other projects on hold.  Future editions should be easier.  The Team link goes to the Men’s Basketball page, the Record link to their full record page including teams played and scores.  If I’m a little off on the numbers it’s because some of the formats are hard to count and I might have missed an exhibition game here and there.

It’s arranged chronologically.  For a more traditional bracket try CBS Sports.  Each game can be watched in it’s entirety on the network listed, no switching except with your remote.

You might think there are 72 teams in the Tournament, but you would be counting the 4 slots for the Play Ins twice.  Those are all on True, 2 tonight and 2 tomorrow.  It has certainly been confusing to get the game times and networks, CBS has been posting them a scant 36 hours in advance.

Another problem with the Play Ins are the splits.  The East gets 2 and the West gets none?  And what about the seedings?  One of the Play Ins in the East gets a 12 seed and the one in the Southwest an 11!  If you are going to seed these losers that high why the hell didn’t you put them in the bracket to begin with?  This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that there were a lot of ‘automatic bid’ flukes as you can see by examining the records.  Finally Alabama State has a losing record.  Win The Future?

I’ll be rooting for Syracuse and after they fail at the foul line as they always do and did in the Big East Tournament any other Big East team and will have reasonably good prospects of having someone to root for at the end because they have 11 teams in the Tournament.

If you don’t like squeeky shoes you can look for alternate programming here-

Really great table below.

Mar 15 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 54 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Blasts, fire escalate Japan’s nuclear crisis

by Hiroshi Hiyama, AFP

54 mins ago

SENDAI, Japan (AFP) – Explosions and a fire at Japan’s quake-hit nuclear plant unleashed dangerous levels of radiation on Tuesday, sparking a collapse on the stock market and panic buying in supermarkets.

Tokyo stocks, punished Monday in a frantic sell-off that sent indexes around the world sliding, plummeted another 14 percent before paring some losses and ending 10.55 percent down. European and US stocks also fell sharply.

In towns and cities, fearful citizens stripped shelves of food and water, prompting the government to warn that panic buying could hurt its ability to provide aid to areas devastated by Friday’s massive quake and tsunami.

Mar 15 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”

New York Times Editorial: The Abuse of Private Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been imprisoned for nine months on charges of handing government files to WikiLeaks, has not even been tried let alone convicted. Yet the military has been treating him abusively, in a way that conjures creepy memories of how the Bush administration used to treat terror suspects. Inexplicably, it appears to have President Obama’s support to do so.

snip

Far more troubling is why President Obama, who has forcefully denounced prisoner abuse, is condoning this treatment. Last week, at a news conference, he said the Pentagon had assured him that the terms of the private’s confinement “are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards.” He said he could not go into details, but details are precisely what is needed to explain and correct an abuse that should never have begun.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Who’s Afraid of Elizabeth Warren?

The attacks on Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) just keep coming, fast and furious, facts be damned.

The CFPB will be “powerful, hard-nosed and unaccountable,” warns Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard.   The agency “will decide its own budget,” its “rulings can’t be vetoed,” and it “will be almost impossible to challenge” in court.

“Who in the world would consider it appropriate to have one person appointed to set the rules for the entire financial industry?” wonders Senator Bob Corker.

The Wall Street Journal describes Warren’s “ideological agenda that banks are the villains of the credit crisis while distributing cash to homeowners who will presumably be grateful on Election Day 2012.”

Jim Hightower: The Corporate-GOP Attack on America’s Middle Class

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s autocratic attempt to abrogate the democratic right of public employees to bargain with their governmental bosses is not wearing well with the public. Recent polls show that a mere one-third of Wisconsinites favor his blatantly political power play, and that if he had told voters in the last year’s election that he intended to do this, he would’ve lost.

After only one month in office, Walker’s approval rating has plummeted. He’s become a national poster boy for right-wing anti-union extremism–so out of step that even democracy fighters in Egypt are jeering him.

Yet, Walker is but one of a flock of far-right, corporate-crested Republican governors and Congress critters who’re waging an all-out class war on unionized workers. It’s a shameful effort to bust the wage structure and legal protections that support America’s already endangered middle class.

Mar 15 2011

On This Day in History March 15

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 15 is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 291 days remaining until the end of the year.

In the Roman calendar, March 15 was known as the Ides of March.

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African-American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declared that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminded the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African-Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

“Their cause must be our cause too,” Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

The speech was delivered eight days after racial violence erupted in Selma, Alabama. Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King and over 500 supporters were attacked while planning a march to Montgomery to register African-Americans to vote. The police violence that erupted resulted in the death of a King supporter, a white Unitarian Minister from Boston named James J. Reeb. Television news coverage of the event galvanized voting rights supporters in Congress.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1973 – 1973aa-6 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance. These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964. The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation, though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act’s primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate. Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots. Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.

Mar 15 2011

Six In The Morning

Japan radiation leaks force 140,000 indoors

‘These are figures that potentially affect health. There is no mistake about that’

msnbc.com staff and news service reports

SOMA, Japan – Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the 4-day-old crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami.

Adding to the mounting crisis, the international nuclear agency said a fire in a storage pond for spent nuclear fuel at a tsunami-stricken Japanese power plant had released radioactivity directly into the atmosphere.

In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Fukushima state, one of the hardest-hit in Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that has killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world’s third-largest economy .

Mar 15 2011

Under the Radar: Besides an Imminent Nuclear Disaster

With the evolving nuclear disaster in Japan taking much of the front page attention, there are still some other news events that are noteworthy.

The Human-Hydrid Turtle is holding the government hostage

  • Republicans Escalate Debt Ceiling Fight

    Senate Republican leaders in recent days have escalated a showdown that has been lurking in the background of the more immediate fight over funding the federal government through September. While the funding issue remains unresolved, Congress will soon have to turn its attention to the need to raise the national debt limit, or the country will default in just a few weeks.

    “There are 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans. My prediction is not a single one of the 47 Republicans will vote to raise the debt ceiling unless it includes with it some credible effort to do something about our debt,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Fox News Sunday. “I think to get any of the 47 Republicans, you’ve got to do something credible, that the markets believe is credible, that the American people believe is credible, that foreign countries believe is credible . . .  in addition to raising the debt ceiling.”

  • GOP Senators Blocking New Commerce Secretary Until Trade Deals Go Through

    Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took a break from budget negotiations this week to get back to one of the Senate GOP’s most popular pastimes: blocking presidential nominees. McConnell, along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), pledged in a letter on Monday to hold up any White House nominee to replace departing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as well as nominees for any other trade-related posts until trade agreements with Colombia and Panama clear the Senate.

    “My fear is in trying to appease their union allies the administration is willing to let these two agreements wither on the vine,” Hatch said at a press conference Monday announcing the move. “We are here today to make clear that we will not allow that to happen.”

Robbing the poor to give to the rich

  • Michigan’s GOP Gov. Slashes Corporate Tax Rate by 86 Percent, Hikes Taxes for Working Poor

    As we’ve been documenting, several conservative governors have proposed placing the brunt of deficit reduction onto the backs of their state’s public employees, students, and middle-class taxpayers, while simultaneously trying to enact corporate tax cuts and giveaways. Govs. Rick Scott (R-FL), Tom Corbett (R-PA), and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have all gone down this road.

    Following suit, Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed ending his state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cutting a $600 per child tax credit, and reducing credits for seniors, while also cutting funding for school districts by eight to ten percent. At the same time, as the Michigan League for Human Services found, the state’s business taxes would be reduced by nearly $2 billion, or 86 percent, under Snyder’s plan.

Anonymous starts its release of BoA info

  • “Anonymous” Whistleblower Charges BofA With Large Scale Force Placed Insurance Scheme With Cooperation of Servicers


    Ooh, this is ugly.

    The charge made in this Anonymous release (via BankofAmericaSuck) is that Bank of America, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Balboa Insurance and the help of cooperating servicers, engaged in a mortgage borrower abuse called “force placed insurance”. This is absolutely 100% not kosher. Famed subprime servicer miscreant Fairbanks in 2003 signed a consent decree with the FTC and HUD over abuses that included forced placed insurance. The industry is well aware that this sort of thing is not permissible. (Note Balboa is due to be sold to QBE of Australia; I see that the definitive agreement was entered into on February 3 but do not see a press release saying that the sale has closed)

    While the focus of ire may be Bank of America, let me stress that this sort of insurance really amounts to a scheme to fatten servicer margins. If this leak is accurate, the servicers at a minimum cooperated with this scheme. If they got kickbacks, um, commissions, they are culpable and thus liable.

You cannot make this up, ever. ROTFLMAO

  • WI Repub lives outside district with mistress, says wife

    Protesters who marched at the home of Wisconsin state senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) were met with something of a surprise on Saturday. Mrs. Hopper appeared at the door and informed them that Sen. Hopper was no longer in residence at this address, but now lives in Madison, WI with his 25-year-old mistress.

    snip

    Blogging Blue also reports that Mrs. Hopper intends to sign the recall petition against her husband. The petition has already been signed by the family’s maid.

Mar 15 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 14, 2011-

DocuDharma

Mar 15 2011

The State of Public Education from a Student’s Perspective (My First Diary)

Reposted from Daily Kos

I graduated from a relatively large public high school in a impoverished area in rural Maine last year, having completed all 12 years in the local public school system. In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a lot of discussion on this site since the attacks on teacher’s unions. As someone who has experienced first hand the effects of No Child Left Behind and the budget shortfalls at the federal, state, and local level, I feel like I should share my experience. There have been quite a few diaries posted here by teachers and parents, but I haven’t seen any by students.

Before I begin to talk about everything that is terribly wrong with the public school system in this country, let me just say that I’m not doing it because it ended badly for me. I couldn’t be in a better place, and I’m happy to have spent all my years in the schools and surrounded by the people that I was. However, it worked out so well for me largely because I had a solid family situation, and I was self-motivated enough to accomplish what I needed to accomplish. However I did stand witness to all of those kids that it didn’t work out so well for, and it was obvious that things were only getting worse as I left.

So, let us begin.

Mar 15 2011

Prime Time

Let me start with a reminder that as of tomorrow I’m suspending Prime Time and am instead live blogging the television coverage of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments.  If you enjoy and will miss Prime Time I certainly encourage anyone to pick up the franchise and continue it.  As I mention I’m not particular about the format, mine is simple but time consuming (about 2 hours, most wasted finding quotes).

Those interested might co-ordinate in comments as there is no need for 16 one day and none the next.  I publish at 7:30ish so that you have time to read it.

Tonight on broadcast there’s nothing much interesting unless the Season Finale and aftermath of The Bachelor floats your boat.  A fair number of premiers.

We seem to be paying some of our employees an awful lot of money.

The good part, William, is that, no matter whether our clients make money or lose money, Duke & Duke get the commissions.

Later-

I believe we paid $35,000. But if I remember correctly, we valued it for the insurance company at $50,000. You see, Mortimer? William has already made us $15,000.

Dave hosts Charles Barkley and Cold War Kids.  Jon and Stephen in repeats from 3/1 and 3/3.  Alton does Devil’s Food Cake.  Conan in repeats from 1/10 (for the Tournament).

We took a perfectly useless psychopath like Valentine, and turned him into a successful executive. And during the same time, we turned an honest, hard-working man into a violently, deranged, would-be killer!

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings