07/26/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 BP boss expected to quit but new payoff row looms


2 hrs 19 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – BP chief executive Tony Hayward was expected to quit imminently with a payoff of up to 18.5 million dollars despite being lambasted over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, British media reported Monday.

The size of any such payoff, which must be agreed by a BP board meeting in London on Monday, risks sparking a fresh row as the British-based firm battles to rebuild its reputation after the worst environmental disaster in US history.

BP insists no final decision has yet been made on the future of Hayward, whose string of public relations gaffes during the crisis included telling reporters “I want my life back” and joining a yacht race.

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.

Glen Greenwald: The WikiLeaks Afghanistan leak

The most consequential news item of the week will obviously be — or at least should be — the massive new leak by WikiLeaks of 90,000 pages of classified material chronicling the truth about the war in Afghanistan from 2004 through 2009.  Those documents provide what The New York Times calls “an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.”  The Guardian describes the documents as “a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fueling the insurgency.”

The White House has swiftly vowed to continue the war and predictably condemned WikiLeaks rather harshly.  It will be most interesting to see how many Democrats — who claim to find Daniel Ellsberg heroic and the Pentagon Papers leak to be unambiguously justified — follow the White House’s lead in that regard.  Ellsberg’s leak — though primarily exposing the amoral duplicity of a Democratic administration — occurred when there was a Republican in the White House.  This latest leak, by contrast, indicts a war which a Democratic President has embraced as his own, and documents similar manipulation of public opinion and suppression of the truth well into 2009.  It’s not difficult to foresee, as Atrios predicted, that media “coverage of [the] latest [leak] will be about whether or not it should have been published,” rather than about what these documents reveal about the war effort and the government and military leaders prosecuting it.  What position Democratic officials and administration supporters take in the inevitable debate over WikiLeaks remains to be seen (by shrewdly leaking these materials to 3 major newspapers, which themselves then published many of the most incriminating documents, WikiLeaks provided itself with some cover).


Whatever else is true, WikiLeaks has yet again proven itself to be one of the most valuable and important organizations in the world.  Just as was true for the video of the Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad, there is no valid justification for having kept most of these documents a secret.  But that’s what our National Security State does reflexively:  it hides itself behind an essentially absolute wall of secrecy to ensure that the citizenry remains largely ignorant of what it is really doing.  WikiLeaks is one of the few entities successfully blowing holes in at least parts of that wall, enabling modest glimpses into what The Washington Post spent last week describing as Top Secret America.  The war on WikiLeaks — which was already in full swing, including, strangely, from some who claim a commitment to transparency  — will only intensify now.  Anyone who believes that the Government abuses its secrecy powers in order to keep the citizenry in the dark and manipulate public opinion — and who, at this point, doesn’t believe that? — should be squarely on the side of the greater transparency which Wikileaks and its sources, sometimes single-handedly, are providing.

Monday Business Edition

Remember, the reason they deserve this kind of money is that they are better and brighter than you or I.

They know things.  They work hard.

For the Calivinists among them their material prosperity is the manifestation on earth of their elect status in heaven.

Because luck and connections had nothing to do with it.

(also worth reading is Why Conservatives Hate Keynes By: masaccio Sunday July 25, 2010 10:30 am)

From Yahoo News Business

1 Hayward payoff ignites new BP controversy


6 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – BP chief executive Tony Hayward will walk away from the crisis-stricken oil giant with a payoff of up to 18.5 million dollars, media reported Monday ahead of Hayward’s departure.

The reports risked setting off a new controversy over the handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster for which BP faces huge clean-up and damage costs and has been a public relations catastrophe for the conglomerate.

The BP board meets in London on Monday but the company insisted no final decision has been reached on a management change.

On This Day in History: July 26

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

On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country


Pique the Geek 20100725: Corruption of Scientific Terms

Scientific terms are often corrupted, and the wingnuts often do it.  They conflate hypotheses with theories, and theories with laws.  They also reduce the value of a theory to what they make out as just a guess.

This post is an attempt to separate the words and make the scientific method more sensible to folks who are not trained scientists.  As always, if I not clear, comments and questions are always welcomed.

Prime Time

Hello. Some of you know me as Lorelai Gilmore, and some of me know me as Cher, but either way, I wanted to say a few words about our girl. I’ve known Lane forever, and I’m just so incredibly happy that she has gotten married. I mean, I am just so happy that this adorable 22-year-old girl has gotten married, because it’s amazing, you know? It’s really hard to get married. Believe me, I should know. I mean, seriously, because Lane is married, and next thing, it’ll be my daughter, and then my granddaughter, but not me. I’m not getting married. No, it ain’t for me. It’s not in the cards. But hey, do you know what date I’m not getting married? June 3. Do not save the date. Do you hear me? Do whatever you want on June 3, because there’s nothing at all going on that day. If there’s anything you need to book, it’s totally safe to book it on June 3, So congratulations, Lane and Zack. Who else here had eight shots of tequila, huh? Hands? Nobody? Hmm. Oh, God, who misses the yummy bartenders? I know, me too, they’re so great. I was gonna ask them to not work on June 3, on my not wedding day. I just thought that would be so fun.

Ugh.  Well, I’m starting to wish I hadn’t decided to be a super cool party person last night not because of the hangover, I’ve got pancakes for that, but because the choices tonight are so much worse-

Toon has the new Children’s Hospital @ 10:30.


A good night if you like Abbott and Costello or Indian films from 1929.  Frankenstein was written in part as a reaction to the erruption of Mount Tambora (according to Mega Disasters).