Daily Archive: 03/28/2013

Mar 28 2013

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 1 Regional Semifinals Late Evening

The late, late game is the battle of the underdogs tonight.

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
9:45 CBS (1) Indiana 29-6 (4) Syracuse 28-9 East
10:17 TBS (9) Wichita State 28-8 (13) La Salle 22-9 West

Mar 28 2013

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 1 Regional Semifinals Early Evening

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
7:15 CBS (2) Miami 29-6 (3) Marquette 25-8 East
7:47 TBS (2) Ohio State 28-7 (6) Arizona 27-7 West

Mar 28 2013

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Round of 32 Results

These are the results of the Round of 32 for Teams that are appearing in tonight’s Regional Semifinals.

* == Upset.

Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(2) 63 Miami 29-6 (7) 59 Illinois 23-13 East
(3) 74 Marquette 25-8 (6) 72 Butler 27-9 East
(2) 78 Ohio State 28-7 (10) 75 Iowa State 23-12 West
(6) 74 Arizona 27-7 (14) 51 Harvard 20-10 West
(1) 58 Indiana 29-6 (9) 52 Temple 24-10 East
(4) 66 Syracuse 28-9 (12) 60 California 21-12 East
(1) 70 Gonzaga 32-2 * (9) 76 Wichita State 28-8 West
(12) 74 Mississippi 27-8 * (13) 76 La Salle 22-9 West

Mar 28 2013

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: The Indefensible Marriage Act

The discrimination embedded in the Defense of Marriage Act is precise yet sweeping. The 1996 statute defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and applies that definition to about 1,100 federal laws and programs. One of its many discriminatory results is that same-sex couples are prohibited from collecting many federal benefits available to other couples. [..]

The Supreme Court now has an opportunity to end the federal role in this discrimination – and to do so with a ringing affirmation of the importance of basic fairness.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Cyprus Has the Global Money Elite’s Fingerprints All Over It

The debacle in Cyprus is far from over, but it’s already taught us some very important lessons. We’ve seen, for example, that the world’s financial leaders insist on clinging to the principles of austerity economics even after they’ve failed over and over again. They don’t seem very interested in learning from experience.

They don’t seem to be all that interested in principles of national sovereignty, either.

The world’s economy isn’t run by some secret organization – unless it’s very secret – but its financial leaders do form a loosely affiliated elite of banking executives, elected officials, influential advisors, and power brokers.

The Cyprus mess has their fingerprints all over it.

Vandana Shiva: Monsanto and the Seeds of Suicide

“Monsanto is an agricultural company. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world produce more while conserving more.”

“Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives.”

These are the promises Monsanto India’s website makes, alongside pictures of smiling, prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. This is a desperate attempt by Monsanto and its PR machinery to delink the epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India from the company’s growing control over cotton seed supply – 95 per cent of India’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto.

Control over seed is the first link in the food chain because seed is the source of life. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life, especially the life of farmers.

Jim Hightower: Corporate Kangaroo Courts Supplant Our Seventh Amendment Rights

Being wronged by a corporation is painful enough, but just try getting your day in court. Most Americans don’t realize it, but our Seventh Amendment right to a fair jury trial against corporate wrongdoers has quietly been stripped from us. Instead, we are now shunted into a stacked-deck game called “Binding Mandatory Arbitration.” Proponents of the process hail it as superior to the courts – “faster, cheaper and more efficient!” they exclaim.

But does it deliver justice? It could, for the original concept of voluntary, face-to-face resolution of conflict by a neutral third party makes sense in many cases. But remember what Mae West said of her own virtue: “I used to be Snow White, then I drifted.” Today’s practice of arbitration has drifted far away from the purity of the concept.

David A. Kessler: Antibiotics and the Meat We Eat

SCIENTISTS at the Food and Drug Administration systematically monitor the meat and poultry sold in supermarkets around the country for the presence of disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. These food products are bellwethers that tell us how bad the crisis of antibiotic resistance is getting. And they’re telling us it’s getting worse.

But this is only part of the story. While the F.D.A. can see what kinds of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are coming out of livestock facilities, the agency doesn’t know enough about the antibiotics that are being fed to these animals. This is a major public health problem, because giving healthy livestock these drugs breeds superbugs that can infect people. We need to know more about the use of antibiotics in the production of our meat and poultry. The results could be a matter of life and death.

Micah Uetricht: Chicago Is Ground Zero for Disastrous “Free Market” Reforms of Education

Chicago has turned public schools into privately run charters. The results aren’t stellar and other cities should beware

If you want a glimpse of what slash-and-burn free market education reform does in cities throughout the US, look no further than Chicago. Last week, Chicago Public Schools announced its plan to close 54 public elementary schools in the city by next year – about 8% of all public schools in the city. Almost all are located on the city’s south and west sides in predominantly black neighborhoods.

In a city where the majority of black children live in poverty, in communities long plagued by hyper-segregation, unemployment, youth violence, and disinvestment, these neighborhoods will likely be thrown into further chaos, as students (91% of whom are students of color) are forced to cross into rival gang territories. Public schools, which served as one of the few remaining community anchors, will be shuttered.

Mar 28 2013

On This Day In History March 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.

March 28 is the 87th day of the year (88th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 278 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1979, the nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island overheats causing a partial meltdown. At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was built in 1974 on a sandbar on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, just 10 miles downstream from the state capitol in Harrisburg. In 1978, a second state-of-the-art reactor began operating on Three Mile Island, which was lauded for generating affordable and reliable energy in a time of energy crises.

Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station

The power plant was owned and operated by General Public Utilities and Metropolitan Edison (Met Ed). It was the most significant accident in the history of the USA commercial nuclear power generating industry, resulting in the release of up to 481 PBq (13 million curies) of radioactive gases, and less than 740 GBq (20 curies) of the particularly dangerous iodine-131.

The accident began at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 1979, with failures in the non-nuclear secondary system, followed by a stuck-open pilot-operated relief valve (PORV) in the primary system, which allowed large amounts of nuclear reactor coolant to escape. The mechanical failures were compounded by the initial failure of plant operators to recognize the situation as a loss-of-coolant accident due to inadequate training and human factors, such as human-computer interaction design oversights relating to ambiguous control room indicators in the power plant’s user interface. In particular, a hidden indicator light led to an operator manually overriding the automatic emergency cooling system of the reactor because the operator mistakenly believed that there was too much coolant water present in the reactor and causing the steam pressure release. The scope and complexity of the accident became clear over the course of five days, as employees of Met Ed, Pennsylvania state officials, and members of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) tried to understand the problem, communicate the situation to the press and local community, decide whether the accident required an emergency evacuation, and ultimately end the crisis. The NRC’s authorization of the release of 40,000 gallons of radioactive waste water directly in the Susquehanna River led to a loss of credibility with the press and community.

In the end, the reactor was brought under control, although full details of the accident were not discovered until much later, following extensive investigations by both a presidential commission and the NRC. The Kemeny Commission Report concluded that “there will either be no case of cancer or the number of cases will be so small that it will never be possible to detect them. The same conclusion applies to the other possible health effects”. Several epidemiological studies in the years since the accident have supported the conclusion that radiation releases from the accident had no perceptible effect on cancer incidence in residents near the plant, though these findings are contested by one team of researchers.

Public reaction to the event was probably influenced by The China Syndrome, a movie which had recently been released and which depicts an accident at a nuclear reactor. Communications from officials during the initial phases of the accident were felt to be confusing. The accident crystallized anti-nuclear safety concerns among activists and the general public, resulted in new regulations for the nuclear industry, and has been cited as a contributor to the decline of new reactor construction that was already underway in the 1970s.

The incident was rated a five on the seven-point International Nuclear Event Scale: Accident With Wider Consequences.

Mar 28 2013

Two Justices for the “Haves” and “Have Nots”

Noam Chomsky Glenn Greenwald with Liberty and Justice For Some

Former constitutional rights lawyer Glenn Greenwald contends that the United States has a two-tiered judicial system, one for the “haves” and one for the “have-nots.” Mr. Greenwald presents his argument by tracing the evolution of judicial inequality, from President Richard Nixon’s pardon for the Watergate scandal to what the author deems were economic and political crimes committed during the George W. Bush administration. The author posits that both political parties and the media are culpable for creating an unequal judicial system. Glenn Greenwald presented his thoughts in conversation with political activist Noam Chomsky. They also responded to questions from members of the audience. This was a special event of the Harvard Book Store, held at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I’m including the article below by Glenn because the tactics that are employed by the powers that be and their adherents need to be exposed. Those of us who dissent from the CW are told to “sit down and shut up” because the president’s “got this.” Now, after Barack Obama has been reelected his true colors are really shining through with his appointments of torture advocates to even higher office and the revolving door of Wall St. and banking shills to protect the super wealthy. Much of what Glenn says about Noam Chomsky has also been applied to Glenn, himself, and many of us who expose the true agenda of this government. These are the tactics of the right wing used to silence the dissent during the Bush regime now being directed at those of us who have not been fooled by promise of change that will never come unless we expose it.

How Noam Chomsky is discussed

by Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian

The more one dissents from political orthodoxies, the more the attacks focus on personality, style and character

One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, “style” and even mental health of those who challenge them. The most extreme version of this was an old Soviet favorite: to declare political dissidents mentally ill and put them in hospitals. In the US, those who take even the tiniest steps outside of political convention are instantly decreed “crazy”, as happened to the 2002 anti-war version of Howard Dean and the current iteration of Ron Paul (in most cases, what is actually “crazy” are the political orthodoxies this tactic seeks to shield from challenge).

This method is applied with particular aggression to those who engage in any meaningful dissent against the society’s most powerful factions and their institutions. Nixon White House officials sought to steal the files from Daniel Ellsberg’s psychoanalyst’s office precisely because they knew they could best discredit his disclosures with irrelevant attacks on his psyche. Identically, the New York Times and partisan Obama supporters have led the way in depicting both Bradley Manning and Julian Assange as mentally unstable outcasts with serious personality deficiencies. The lesson is clear: only someone plagued by mental afflictions would take such extreme steps to subvert the power of the US government.

A subtler version of this technique is to attack the so-called “style” of the critic as a means of impugning, really avoiding, the substance of the critique. Although Paul Krugman is comfortably within mainstream political thought as a loyal Democrat and a New York Times columnist, his relentless attack against the austerity mindset is threatening to many. As a result, he is barraged with endless, substance-free complaints about his “tone”: he is too abrasive, he does not treat opponents with respect, he demonizes those who disagree with him, etc. The complaints are usually devoid of specifics to prevent meaningful refutation; one typical example: “[Krugman] often cloaks his claims in professional authority, overstates them, omits arguments that undermine his case, and is a bit of a bully.” All of that enables the substance of the critique to be avoided in lieu of alleged personality flaws.

Nobody has been subjected to these vapid discrediting techniques more than Noam Chomsky. [..]

Like any person with a significant political platform, Chomsky is fair game for all sorts of criticisms. Like anyone else, he should be subjected to intense critical and adversarial scrutiny. Even admirers should listen to his (and everyone else’s) pronouncements with a critical ear. Like anyone who makes prolific political arguments over the course of many years, he’s made mistakes.

But what is at play here is this destructive dynamic that the more one dissents from political orthodoxies, the more personalized, style-focused and substance-free the attacks become. That’s because once someone becomes sufficiently critical of establishment pieties, the goal is not merely to dispute their claims but to silence them. That’s accomplished by demonizing the person on personality and style grounds to the point where huge numbers of people decide that nothing they say should even be considered, let alone accepted. It’s a sorry and anti-intellectual tactic, to be sure, but a brutally effective one.

Mar 28 2013

What’s Cooking: French Onion Soup

Republished from April 6, 2012

So now that you’ve finished dying eggs naturally using onion skins, what do you do with all those onions? Make French Onion Soup, bien sûr!

French onion soup in France is served as the traditional French farmer’s breakfast or the end of the day repast for the late night café and theater crowd. It was made famous in the great open market of Les Halles in Paris where hungry truckers converged from all over France with their fresh produce. On my first visit to Paris in 1966, I made a late night visit to Les Halles with some friends to savor the tradition and practice my very rusty college French. The truckers and waiters in the little café we “invaded” were quite friendly and chuckled as they good heartedly corrected my pronunciation. Needless to say, je parle français bien mieux maintenant. Les Halles was torn down in 1971 and replaced with a modern shopping area, the Forum des Halles. But I digress, we are here for the food.

My favorite recipe is from Bernard Clayton, Jr.’s The Complete Book of Soups and Stews with some variations. It is from a restaurant near the Halles Metro station. M. Calyton’s version uses a hearty homemade beef stock which is time consuming to make. I found that either Swanson’s or College Inn Beef Broth produces a good result, just reduce the salt. The low sodium broth didn’t produce the hearty broth that’s needed to compliment the flavor of the caramelized onions and the cheese.

You will need some “special” equipment for this soup: individual oven-proof bowls, enough to hold 1 1/2 to 2 cups. I have the bowls with a handle and a lid that serve double duty for baked beans, and other soups and stews. You will also need cheesecloth for le sachet d’épices, that’s a spice bag for you Americans ;-), and butcher’s twine or some other cotton twine. Those items can be found in the gadget aisles of most large grocery stores.

Soupe à l’oignon des Halles