09/17/2010 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Taliban kidnap candidate on eve of Afghan poll

by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP

Fri Sep 17, 12:39 pm ET

KABUL (AFP) – The Taliban kidnapped an Afghan parliamentary candidate on Friday and were blamed for snatching another 18 election workers, as President Hamid Karzai warned of “irregularities” in the weekend poll.

The militia, fighting an insurgency for nine years since being ousted from power, have threatened attacks to disrupt Saturday’s poll and called for a boycott, putting security forces on high alert.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for abducting Abdul Rahman Hayat, a candidate from eastern Lagman province, and an electoral official also blamed the other kidnappings on the Taliban, who have already killed three candidates.

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis 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.


Eugene Robinson: Note to Democrats: Tea Party’s not over till it’s over

Not to spoil the fun, but Democrats shouldn’t take the Republican Party’s bitter internal warfare — and the inexperienced, flaky candidates who’ve emerged from the fray — as any kind of reassurance about November. Try as it might, the GOP probably can’t defeat itself. Not this year, anyway.

I don’t mean that the battle between the Republican establishment and the take-no-prisoners Tea Party insurgency is inconsequential. When Christine O’Donnell, a Tea Party favorite, won the Senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday, my first reaction was that this one result almost guarantees that the Democratic Party’s majority in the Senate is safe.

On reflection, I think “almost guarantees” should be downgraded to something like “makes it likely.” And in moments of existential despair, I fear that she might actually win.

On This Day in History: September 17

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

September is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 105 days remaining until the end of the year.

On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution–the Bill of Rights–and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791. In November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on the issue of slavery, resisted ratifying the Constitution until the U.S. government threatened to sever commercial relations with the state. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted by two votes to ratify the document, and the last of the original 13 colonies joined the United States. Today, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world.

Morning Shinbun Friday September 17

Friday’s Headlines:

Relief bore reaches BP’s damaged well; endgame in sight


California Braces for Showdown on Emissions

The ‘tea party’ gears up for 2012


EU forced to apologise as Sarkozy goes on the attack over Nazi ‘insult’

The arrival of an exiled Chechen leader poses a problem for Poland  

Middle East

Iraq was ‘failure of strategic thinking’, chief of defence staff tells MPs

Can ignoring Hamas lead to Israeli-Palestinian peace?


Mao’s Great Leap Forward ‘killed 45 million in four years’

Tensions between China and Japan rise over disputed gas field


S Africans charged in ‘organ trade’

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan finally announces reelection campaign – on Facebook

much more enthusiasm

Another longish story, but I hope you’ll bear with me.  It was originally published on TomDispatch but has found it’s way to Grist and Firedog Lake and now via Eschaton to The Stars Hollow Gazette.  I’ve edited it for space.

My Road Trip With a Solar Rock Star- Or Notes on the Enthusiasm Gap

Posted by Bill McKibben at 8:12am, September 16, 2010.

(W)e tracked down the solar panels that once had graced the White House roof, way back in the 1970s under Jimmy Carter. After Ronald Reagan took them down, they’d spent the last few decades on the cafeteria roof at Unity College in rural Maine.  That college’s president, Mitch Thomashow, immediately offered us a panel to take back to the White House. Better still, he encouraged three of his students to accompany the panel, not to mention allowing the college’s sustainability coordinators to help manage the trip.

It couldn’t have been more fun. Wherever we could, we’d fire up the panel, pour a gallon of water in the top, point it toward the sun, and eight or nine minutes later you’d have steaming hot water coming out the bottom. Thirty-one years old and it worked like a charm — a vexing reminder that we’ve known how to do this stuff for decades. We just haven’t done it.

There was just one nagging concern as we headed south.  We still hadn’t heard anything conclusive from the White House. We’d asked them — for two months — if they’d accept the old panel as a historical relic returned home, and if they’d commit to installing new ones soon.  We’d even found a company, Sungevity, that was eager to provide them free.  Indeed, as word of our trip spread, other solar companies kept making the same offer.  Still, the White House never really responded, not until Thursday evening around six p.m. when they suddenly agreed to a meeting at nine the next morning.

Now, let me say that I already knew Jean Altomare, Amanda Nelson, and Jamie Nemecek were special, but my guess is the bureaucrats hadn’t figured that out. Unity is out in the woods, and these kids were majoring in things like wildlife conservation. They’d never had an encounter like this.  It stood to reason that they’d be cowed. But they weren’t.

One after another, respectfully but firmly, they asked a series of tough questions, and refused to be filibustered by yet another stream of administration-enhancing data. Here’s what they wanted to know: if the administration was serious about spreading the word on renewable energy, why wouldn’t it do the obvious thing and put solar panels on the White House?  When the administrators proudly proffered a clipping from some interior page of the Washington Post about their “greening the government initiative,” Amanda calmly pointed out that none of her neighbors read the Post, and that, by contrast, the solar panels had made it onto David Letterman.

To their queries, the bureaucrats refused to provide any answer.  At all.  One kept smiling in an odd way and saying, “If reporters call and ask us, we will provide our rationale,” but whatever it was, they wouldn’t provide it to us.

It was all a little odd, to say the least. They refused to accept the Carter panel as a historic relic, or even to pose for a picture with the students and the petition they’d brought with them. Asked to do something easy and symbolic to rekindle a little of the joy that had turned out so many of us as volunteers for Obama in 2008, they point blank said no. In a less than overwhelming gesture, they did, however, pass out Xeroxed copies of a 2009 memorandum from Vice President Biden about federal energy policy.

I can tell you exactly what it felt like, because those three students were brave and walked out graciously, heads high, and kept their tears back until we got to the sidewalk. And then they didn’t keep them back, because it’s a tough thing to learn for the first time how politics can work.

If you want to know about the much-discussed enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican bases, in other words, this was it in action. As Jean Altomare told the New York Times, “We went in without any doubt about the importance of this. They handed us a pamphlet.” And Amanda Nelson added, “I didn’t expect I’d get to shake President Obama’s hand, but it was really shocking to me to find out that they really didn’t seem to care.”

Prime Time

Last chance for our Boys this week.  Ditto Keith and Rachel all night (wonder if she’ll follow up on Biden’s disasterous interview last night?  More from Taylor Marsh and Cujo359).

I have to admit I didn’t understand It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia at first, but it’s Cheers on acid ironically starring Rhea’s husband Danny.


Jon has Bill Clinton, Stephen Christiane Amanpour.  Alton does Soybeans.  BoondocksThe Fund-raiser (good work if you can get it).

Ay, marry, is it?

But to my mind, though I am native here and to the manner born, it is a custom more honour’d in the breach than the observance.  This heavy-headed revel east and west makes us traduced and tax’d of other nations.

They clepe us drunkards, and with swinish phrase soil our addition; and indeed it takes from our achievements, though perform’d at height, the pith and marrow of our attribute.

So, oft it chances in particular men, that for some vicious mole of nature in them, as in their birth - wherein they are not guilty since nature cannot choose his origin - by the o’ergrowth of some complexion oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason, or by some habit that too much o’er-leavens the form of plausive manners; that these men, carrying I say the stamp of one defect, being nature’s livery or fortune’s star - their virtues else be they as pure as grace, as infinite as man may undergo - shall in the general censure take corruption from that particular fault, the dram of ale doth all the noble substance of a doubt to his own scandal.

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Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Pope kicks off British visit with abuse scandal regrets

by Gildas Le Roux, AFP

1 hr 19 mins ago

GLASGOW (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday the Catholic Church failed to act quickly enough on paedophile priests, as he launched a historic visit to Britain with some of his strongest words yet on the scandal.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Edinburgh and flocked to a mass in Glasgow to welcome the 83-year-old despite controversies over child abuse and a Vatican aide likening Britain to a “Third World Country.”

He also warned against “aggressive secularism” in Britain, where he is making the first ever papal state visit at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II, the titular head of the Church of England founded when King Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534.