Daily Archive: 03/16/2011

Mar 16 2011

from firefly 16.3.11

Regular Daily Features:

Dire Straits in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Gha!

Essays Featured Wednesday, March 16th:

Youffraita goes Looney in Wednesday Open Thoughts

TheMomCat most kindly gives us a repeat performance of her Health & Fitness News

originally posted Saturday at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Diane explores & shares in My Man, My Son, My Life

The most recent episode of My Little Town: Elwood Brockman, from Translator

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

Mar 16 2011

Play Ins Day 2

This will all make much more sense if you’ve already read my NCAA Basketball Tournament 2011 article which contains my Master Bracket Schedule for the round of 68.

Tomorrow and Friday are crazy days.  Coverage from 12:15 pm to midnight (without overtimes).

I uhh… might choose to nap through some of that and survey the carnage later.  Feel free to contribute your own observations, I don’t bite though I might call you a nasty name or two.

The natural place to split is at the 4:40 pm game so I’ll be running in two halves- one posted at 11:30ish and one at 6:30ish.

The format is going to change too.  I’m going to run two tables, Yesterday’s Results and Current Matchups so I’m only going to be foreshadowing whatever I’m covering now.  It’s probably possible to do it 36 hours ahead, but for sure it’s too much stinking work.

For instance-

Yesterday’s Results

Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score
16 *UNC-Asheville 20 – 13 81 16 Ark.-Little Rock 19 – 16 77
12 UAB 23 – 7 52 12 *Clemson 22 – 11 70

Current Matchups

Date Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
3/16 6:30 pm True 16 UT-San Antonio 19 – 13 16 Alabama St. 16 – 17 East
3/16 9 pm True 11 USC 20 – 13 11 Virginia Commonwealth 23 – 11 Southwest

Follow the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on The Stars Hollow Gazette.

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

Mar 16 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 55 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Five dead as Bahrain police clear Pearl Square

by Ali Khalil, AFP

23 mins ago

MANAMA (AFP) – Bahraini police firing shotguns and tear gas crushed the camp in Manama of a month-old pro-democracy protest on Wednesday in an operation that left five dead and sparked Shiite outrage across the region.

The violence prompted US President Barack Obama, whose country is a close ally of Bahrain, to express “deep concern,” as his secretary of state said the deployment of Gulf troops to quell political unrest was the wrong response.

Early on Wednesday morning, hundreds of riot police backed by tanks and helicopters assaulted demonstrators in Manama’s Pearl Square, clearing the symbolic heart of the uprising in the strategic Gulf kingdom.

Mar 16 2011

Japan Syndrome

It’s very hard to get your arms around what’s happening with the Japanese reactor meltdown since most of what you read is either disingenous apologia for nuclear power in general or baldfaced lies (or more charitably confusion) about what’s actually been happening on the ground.

As near as I can tell the current problem is a big one.  The fuel rods are burning.  This is because the temperature produced by these still hot (and I mean that in the normal, don’t let your cat sit on the stove, sense) units is above the point where the casing and filler start to burn like a Brillo pad you light with a match.

Now unlike oil or electrical the best way to put out these fires is with water which cools the rods and slows down the nuclear reactions that heat them up in the first place.  The problem is that in these conditions water also breaks down into it’s component elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen, and Hydrogen just happens to be explosive.  Indeed one of the most confusing parts of the story is how many explosions there have been and where, but bottom line is a lot and in many places.

In any event each explosion has created more damage in addition to releasing radiation that has made it periodically impossible to continue fighting these fires without getting a toasty fatal tan.

Now there are other things you can do like dump a pile of Boron (even better than water for reaction reduction, not so good at cooling) on top and cover the whole damn thing with concrete.

That’s what they did at Chernobyl.

The problem is that there aren’t huge piles of Boron just sitting around and most of the brave Russian pilots tasked with that mission, ummm… died of radiation poisoning.

So the situation is fluid to say the least.

The NHK live earthquake coverage in English is on the right.

Mar 16 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”

Ladies’ Day. Gentlemen are below the fold

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Conservative Zealotry vs. Economic Reality

One thing about the current generation of conservatives: Getting mugged by reality hasn’t changed the way they look at the world. We’ve just come through a calamitous financial collapse – caused by reckless Wall Street gambling and toothless watchdogs – that triggered a Great Recession and doubled the U.S. national debt. The collapse is the greatest cause of large deficits, but conservatives act as if the deficits caused the collapse.

A recent stop in London revealed that this isn’t just a Tea Party phenomenon. There, the new Tory-dominated coalition led by David Cameron looks and sounds like a sprightlier offshoot of House Speaker John Boehner’s troops. Cameron has set out on a forced march for fiscal retrenchment, imposing deep and immediate spending cuts (and tax increases) to bring deficits down in Britain. This plan is sold with a jaunty recital of conservative gospel: The economy has begun to recover, and action on deficit reduction will boost the confidence of business and consumers. The resulting revival, it is argued, will generate more than enough private-sector jobs to make up for those lost in the public sector.

Amy Goodman: Warning to the World

A reporter, describing the devastation of one city in Japan, wrote: “It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts … as a warning to the world.” The reporter was Wilfred Burchett, writing from Hiroshima, Japan, on Sept. 5, 1945. Burchett was the first Western reporter to make it to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped there. He reported on the strange illness that continued to kill people, even a full month after that first, dreadful use of nuclear weapons against humans. His words could well describe the scenes of annihilation in northeastern Japan today. Given the worsening catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, his grave warning to the world remains all too relevant.

Sharon Lerner: Republicans Push the Mississippi Model

If the proposed cuts to birth control get carries out, they could dramatically increase the birthrate.

As the Guttmacher Institute points out publicly funded planning services now

“prevent almost two million unintended pregnancies each year, which would result in 810,000 unintended pregnancies and 810,000 abortions. Without these services the unintended number of pregnancies and abortions among poor women in the United Stats would nearly double, and the number of unintended pregnancies in the nation as a whole would be nearly two thirds higher.”

But, as anyone who’s watched the Nature Channel can tell you, pregnancy is only the beginning of the story.

So what will happen to the thousands of new people who would result from the absence of publicly funded family planning services if the House gets its way?

Mar 16 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”

Ladies’ Day. Gentlemen are below the fold

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Conservative Zealotry vs. Economic Reality

One thing about the current generation of conservatives: Getting mugged by reality hasn’t changed the way they look at the world. We’ve just come through a calamitous financial collapse – caused by reckless Wall Street gambling and toothless watchdogs – that triggered a Great Recession and doubled the U.S. national debt. The collapse is the greatest cause of large deficits, but conservatives act as if the deficits caused the collapse.

A recent stop in London revealed that this isn’t just a Tea Party phenomenon. There, the new Tory-dominated coalition led by David Cameron looks and sounds like a sprightlier offshoot of House Speaker John Boehner’s troops. Cameron has set out on a forced march for fiscal retrenchment, imposing deep and immediate spending cuts (and tax increases) to bring deficits down in Britain. This plan is sold with a jaunty recital of conservative gospel: The economy has begun to recover, and action on deficit reduction will boost the confidence of business and consumers. The resulting revival, it is argued, will generate more than enough private-sector jobs to make up for those lost in the public sector.

Amy Goodman: Warning to the World

A reporter, describing the devastation of one city in Japan, wrote: “It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts … as a warning to the world.” The reporter was Wilfred Burchett, writing from Hiroshima, Japan, on Sept. 5, 1945. Burchett was the first Western reporter to make it to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped there. He reported on the strange illness that continued to kill people, even a full month after that first, dreadful use of nuclear weapons against humans. His words could well describe the scenes of annihilation in northeastern Japan today. Given the worsening catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, his grave warning to the world remains all too relevant.

Mar 16 2011

On This Day in History March 16

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 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 290 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1802, The United States Military Academy, the first military school in the United States, is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science.

Colonial period, founding, and early years

The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778, making it the longest continually occupied post in the United States of America. Between 1778 and 1780, Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain and high ground above the narrow “S” curve in the river enabled the Continental Army to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and dividing the Colonies. As commander of the fortifications at West Point, however, Benedict Arnold committed his infamous act of treason, attempting to sell the fort to the British. After Arnold betrayed the patriot cause, the Army changed the name of the fortifications at West Point, New York, to Fort Clinton. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War left various ordnance and military stores deposited at West Point.

“Cadets” underwent training in artillery and engineering studies at the garrison since 1794. Congress formally authorized the establishment and funding of the United States Military Academy on 16 March 1802,. The academy graduated Joseph Gardner Swift, its first official graduate, in October 1802; he later returned as Superintendent from 1812 to 1814. In its tumultuous early years, the academy featured few standards for admission or length of study. Cadets ranged in age from 10 years to 37 years and attended between 6 months to 6 years. The impending War of 1812 caused the United States Congress to authorize a more formal system of education at the academy and increased the size of the Corps of Cadets to 250.

In 1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer became the Superintendent and established the curriculum still in use to this day. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct. Known as the “Father of the Military Academy”, he is honored with a monument on campus for the profound impact he left upon the academy’s history. Founded to be a school of engineering, for the first half of the 19th century, USMA produced graduates who gained recognition for engineering the bulk of the nation’s initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads. The academy was the only engineering school in the country until the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. It was so successful in its engineering curriculum that it significantly influenced every American engineering school founded prior to the Civil War.

The Mexican-American War brought the academy to prominence as graduates proved themselves in battle for the first time. Future Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first distinguished themselves in battle in Mexico. In all, 452 of 523 graduates who served in the war received battlefield promotions or awards for bravery. The school experienced a rapid modernization during the 1850s, often romanticized by the graduates who led both sides of the Civil War as the “end of the Old West Point era”. New barracks brought better heat and gas lighting, while new ordnance and tactics training incorporated new rifle and musket technology and accommodated transportation advances created by the steam engine. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union and Confederate armies. Two hundred ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.

Mar 16 2011

Taking Back America: Michigan

In the wake of the feudal take over of the State Of Wisconsin by the Republican corporate puppets with a bill that stripped state workers of their bargaining rights, the fight has moved now to Michigan where the feudal lords have passed a bill with far over-reaching powers that would give the state the power to to remove elected officials and dissolve union contracts. Gov. Rick Snyder is going to sign this medieval take over of government. This is a clear assault on the rights of the people to elect officials and disincorporated or dissolve entire city governments.

This isn’t just about unprecedented power but placing the brunt of deficit reduction onto the backs of their state’s public employees, students, and middle-class taxpayers with regressive tax cuts (pdf) while simultaneously enacting corporate tax cuts and giveaways. On of the proposals by Snyder is to cut corporate tax rates by 86% while ending the 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. This is starting to sound like England in the 12th century under King John which led to the signing of the Magna Carta and a rebellion. Robin Hood may be a myth but the principles are not.

Rachel Maddow explains Snyder’s plan to take from the poor to give the his corporate overlords.

There was a small demonstration in at the capitol building in Lansing on Tuesday sponsored by the AARP. The big demonstration will be today with bus loads of protesters descending on Lansing with bus loads of Michiganders telling the lords that they cannot have their hard fought for rights.

From Michael Moore of Michigan:

Friends and neighbors,

The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.

What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries — and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue — has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.

Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

In just 8 short weeks he has:

* Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.

* Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising everyone’s personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by — I kid you not — senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people — even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!

* Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.

These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they’re experiencing the “Great Recession,” but few argue that Michigan is suffering a “one-state Depression.”

We stand with the citizens of Michigan tomorrow.

Mar 16 2011

Taking Back America: Michigan

In the wake of the feudal take over of the State Of Wisconsin by the Republican corporate puppets with a bill that stripped state workers of their bargaining rights, the fight has moved now to Michigan where the feudal lords have passed a bill with far over-reaching powers that would give the state the power to to remove elected officials and dissolve union contracts. Gov. Rick Snyder is going to sign this medieval take over of government. This is a clear assault on the rights of the people to elect officials and disincorporated or dissolve entire city governments.

This isn’t just about unprecedented power but placing the brunt of deficit reduction onto the backs of their state’s public employees, students, and middle-class taxpayers with regressive tax cuts (pdf) while simultaneously enacting corporate tax cuts and giveaways. On of the proposals by Snyder is to cut corporate tax rates by 86% while ending the 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. This is starting to sound like England in the 12th century under King John which led to the signing of the Magna Carta and a rebellion. Robin Hood may be a myth but the principles remain.

Rachel Maddow explains Snyder’s plan to take from the poor to give the his corporate ooverlords.

There was a small demonstration in at the capitol building in Lansing on Tuesday sponsored by the AARP. The big demonstration will be today with bus loads of protesters descending on Lansing with bus loads of Michiganders telling the lords that they cannot have their hard fought for rights. From Michael Moore of Michigan:

Friends and neighbors,

The call has gone out and I’m asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.

What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries — and then ran in the general election as “just a nerd from Ann Arbor” who was a moderate, not an ideologue — has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I’ve ever seen in electoral politics.

Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.

In just 8 short weeks he has:

* Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him “Emergency Management” powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.

* Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising everyone’s personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by — I kid you not — senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been “sharing the sacrifice” the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people — even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!

* Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.

These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they’re experiencing the “Great Recession,” but few argue that Michigan is suffering a “one-state Depression.”

We stand with the citizens of Michigan tomorrow.

Mar 16 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 15, 2011-

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