12/19/2010 archive

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart and 9/11 Responders

On December 13 and 16, Jon Stewart did two segments shredding the Senate Republicans blocking the 9/11 First Responders Bill. In the second segment of December 16, Jon’s guests were four men who were 9/11 first responders, all of whom are suffering from severe health problems as a result. He talks with them about their reaction to the Republicans blocking this bill.

Thank you, Jon, for your support for these men and women who sacrificed their health to help others.

Lame as F@#K Congress

Worst Responders

The third segment is below the fold.  

More Eclipses

The first total lunar eclipse in nearly three years will be visible this
Monday/Tuesday over North and South America beginning at midnight on the
21st of December, 2010.

From the Wikipedia

Visibility Lunar Eclipse 2010-12-21.png

Times of over North America

Event PST

(-8 UTC)

(-7 UTC)

(-6 UTC)

(-5 UTC)
Start penumbral (P1) 9:27 pm (*) 10:27 pm (*) 11:27 pm (*) 12:27 am
Start umbral (U1) 10:32 pm (*) 11:32 pm (*) 12:32 am 1:32 am
Start total (U2) 11:40 pm (*) 12:40 am 1:40 am 2:40 am
Greatest eclipse 12:17 am 1:17 am 2:17 am 3:17 am
End total (U3) 12:53 am 1:53 am 2:53 am 3:53 am
End umbra (U4) 2:02 am 3:02 am 4:02 am 5:02 am
End penumbral (P4) 3:06 am 4:06 am 5:06 am 6:06 am
(*) before midnight on Monday night,
December 20

This graphic presents how a lunar eclipse occurs.

Lunar Eclipse
The Moon’s orbit is slightly canted with respect to
the plane of the ecliptic (the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun)
and therefore crosses that plane twice a month.

At the points where the full Moon crosses the ecliptic
a lunar eclipse can occur. Like solar eclipses there may be between 2 and
5 lunar eclipses per year.

There are three types of lunar eclipses. Penumbral, partial, and
selenelion (selenehelion).

A penumbral eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s
penumbra. The penumbra causes a subtle darkening of the Moon’s surface. A
special type of penumbral eclipse is a total penumbral eclipse, during
which the Moon lies exclusively within the Earth’s penumbra. Total
penumbral eclipses are rare, and when these occur, that portion of the
Moon which is closest to the umbra can appear somewhat darker than the
rest of the Moon.
A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only a portion of the Moon
enters the umbra. When the Moon travels completely into the Earth’s umbra,
one observes a total lunar eclipse. The Moon’s speed through the shadow is
about one kilometer per second (2,300 mph), and totality may last up to
nearly 107 minutes. Nevertheless, the total time between the Moon’s first
and last contact with the shadow is much longer, and could last up to 3.8
hours.wiki: [1] The relative distance of the Moon from the
Earth at the time of an eclipse can affect the eclipse’s duration. In
particular, when the Moon is near its apogee, the farthest point from the
Earth in its orbit, its orbital speed is the slowest. The diameter of the
umbra does not decrease much with distance. Thus, a totally eclipsed Moon
occurring near apogee will lengthen the duration of totality.
A selenelion or selenehelion occurs when both the Sun and
the eclipsed Moon can be observed at the same time. This can only happen
just before sunset or just after sunrise, and both bodies will appear just
above the horizon at nearly opposite points in the sky. This arrangement
has led to the phenomenon being referred to as a horizontal eclipse. It
happens during every lunar eclipse at all those places on the Earth where
it is sunrise or sunset at the time. Indeed, the reddened light that
reaches the Moon comes from all the simultaneous sunrises and sunsets on
the Earth. Although the Moon is in the Earth’s geometrical shadow, the Sun
and the eclipsed Moon can appear in the sky at the same time because the
refraction of light through the Earth’s atmosphere causes objects near the
horizon to appear higher in the sky than their true geometric position.wiki:

Unfortunately, the weather seems to be taking a Republican bent and will
not cooperate over the 20th/21st.

Again thanks for your time. I look forward to your comments and critiques

BREAKING: South Carolina Secedes from Union!

PhotobucketThe New York Times was, typically, wrong.




Published: December 15, 1860

Emphasis in the original.

I think what’s important to remember as we celebrate the sesquicentennial is the root cause of the Rebellion.

A group of wealthy men thought it was ok to work, breed, and sell human beings like animals based on the color of their skin.

More than that, they were upset that certain Northern States were insufficiently zealous about finding their property for them when it got ‘lost’, causing significant impact to the bottom line.

And also their honor was offended that anyone could think this behavior morally wrong.  It hurt their sensitive feelings.

Alexander H. Stephens

Cornerstone Address, March 21, 1861

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It is so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind; from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity.

One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is, forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics: their conclusions are right if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights, with the white man…. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the Northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery; that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle-a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of man.

The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds we should succeed, and that he and his associates in their crusade against our institutions would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as well as in physics and mechanics, I admitted, but told him it was he and those acting with him who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

  • How the South rationalizes secession

    150 years later, a campaign to deny that the South’s exodus from the union was a revolution is in full force

    By Glenn W. LaFantasie, Salon.com

    Sunday, Dec 19, 2010 11:01 ET

Is an interesting and lengthy read.  He put me on the track of Stephens’ racist sentiments and makes a Unionist case for treason, which was the official causus belli of the North.

Gone With the Myths

By EDWARD BALL, The New York Times

Published: December 18, 2010

ON Dec. 20, 1860, 169 men – politicians and people of property – met in the ballroom of St. Andrew’s Hall in Charleston, S.C. After hours of debate, they issued the 158-word “Ordinance of Secession,” which repealed the consent of South Carolina to the Constitution and declared the state to be an independent country. Four days later, the same group drafted a seven-page “Declaration of the Immediate Causes (.pdf),” explaining why they had decided to split the Union.

(A) look through the declaration of causes written by South Carolina and four of the 10 states that followed it out of the Union – which, taken together, paint a kind of self-portrait of the Confederacy – reveals a different story. From Georgia to Texas, each state said the reason it was getting out was that the awful Northern states were threatening to do away with slavery.

The ordinance is nothing special, Tenther nonsense of the type LaFantasie debunks.  The Declaration on the other hand is quite interesting-

We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.

The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.

The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

From The (South Carolina) State editorial page-

Secessionists were clear about their cause: slavery

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010

What we found most striking in rereading the Declaration was the complete absence of any other causes. After laying out the argument that the states retained a right to secede if the Union did not fulfill its constitutional and contractual obligations, the document cited the one failing of the United States: its refusal to enforce the constitutional provision requiring states to return escaped slaves to their owners. “This stipulation was so material to the compact,” the document declares, “that without it that compact would not have been made.”

The Selling Out of America

The lies continue. Remember this is the one man who could have stopped the filibuster and didn’t.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On This Day in History: December 19

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.

On this day in 1776, Thomas Paine publishes The American Crisis.

These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

When these phrases appeared in the pages of the Pennsylvania Journal for the first time, General George Washington’s troops were encamped at McKonkey’s Ferry on the Delaware River opposite Trenton, New Jersey. In August, they had suffered humiliating defeats and lost New York City to British troops. Between September and December, 11,000 American volunteers gave up the fight and returned to their families. General Washington could foresee the destiny of a rebellion without an army if the rest of his men returned home when their service contracts expired on December 31. He knew that without an upswing in morale and a significant victory, the American Revolution would come to a swift and humiliating end.

Thomas Paine was similarly astute. His Common Sense was the clarion call that began the revolution. As Washington’s troops retreated from New York through New Jersey, Paine again rose to the challenge of literary warfare. With American Crisis, he delivered the words that would salvage the revolution.

The American Crisis was a series of pamphlets published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution by eighteenth century Enlightenment philosopher and author Thomas Paine. Thirteen numbered pamphlets were published between 1776-1777 with three additional pamphlets released between 1777-1783. The writings were contemporaneous with the early parts of the American Revolution, during the times that colonists needed inspiring.

They were written in a language the common man could manage and are indicative of Paine’s liberal philosophies. Paine signed them with one of his many pseudonyms “Common Sense”. The writings bolstered the morale of the American colonists, appealed to the English people’s consideration of the war with America, clarified the issues at stake in the war and denounced the advocates of a negotiated peace.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: It’ll be the SALT Treaty, Obama’s Afghanistan strategy and the impasse in funding the government with Sen John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Richard Lugar, (R-IN).

The Round Table guests, George Will, Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile, Reuters Editor at Large Chrystia Freeland and Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post will look at the meaning of progress in the Afghanistan war. And Amanpour takes a special look back at her time covering Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests will be Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), Armed Services Committee Member, Sen. Carl Levin, (D-MI), Armed Services Committee Chair, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-MN) and Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-AL). They will discuss the recently released Afghanistan report and what’s ahead in 2011.

The Chris Matthews Show: Chris, aka “Tweety”, will be joined by , Andrea Mitchell, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine

Assistant Managing Editor, Helene Cooper, The New York Times White House Correspondent and Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Senior Editor. They will discuss:

Did Barack Obama Get Back on the Right Track This Week? and Top Ten Political Gaffes of the Year.

Yeah, Obama’s on the “right track” alright.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: “LUrch” will have as his exclusive guest Vice President Joe Biden who will no doubt lie about how great the Obama tax cuts are and how the left should suck it up and vote for Obama in 2012.

The Round Table will include the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker (D), Republican Strategist and Founding Leader of No Labels, an organization devoted to decreasing hyperpartisanship, Mark McKinnon, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, and the Host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, Joe Scarborough.

Andrea’s getting around this morning

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: The President signs a key tax cut plan into law after a contentious debate in Congress with his own party. What are the chances for bipartisanship that got this legislation passed can possibly carry on to the next session? We’ll talk to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (aka the Human Hybrid Turtle) on his party’s agenda.

Then shifting focus abroad to the progress in the War in Afghanistan… where do we go from here and what are the prospects for country’s future? Candy sits down with former Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, former CENTCOM commander Adm. William Fallon (Ret.) and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers (Ret.)

And we’ll break down the week in politics with A.B. Stoddard from The Hill Newspaper and Matt Bai from The New York Times.

I have it good authority that Matt Bai is an idiot

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Remembering Richard Holbrooke, the man that Fareed calls “maybe the most important American diplomat of the last two decades.” A great GPS panel will discuss what makes a great diplomat…and what’s the way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan after Ambassador Holbrooke.

Also, Fareed’s take on the President’s recent Afghanistan review and the challenges that lie ahead for the United States and its allies in the region.

Britain’s austerity measures have sparked protests and violence. Fareed sits down with the architect of the austerity, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

And then for the other side of the story, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who also served as the U.K.’s finance minister, tells Fareed why he thinks the budget cuts are the wrong move.

Also, what in the world? Why are China and Russia renouncing the almighty American dollar?

And finally a last look at the Pentagon powered by…a Playstation?

Morning Shinbun Sunday December 19

Sunday’s Headlines:

The evolution of the perfect American Christmas tree


Rupert Cornwell: After 150 years, the Civil War still divides the United States

Probable carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water of 31 U.S. cities


Moscow riots expose racism at the heart of Russian football

Vatican Bank hit by financial scandal… again

Middle East

Politics in Iraq Casts Doubt on a U.S. Presence After 2011


Koreas up the ante over artillery drill

Foreign troop death toll hits 700 in Afghanistan


Mugabe ‘confident’ of winning 2011 elections

Shady group blocking official diamond sales

Latin America

Mexican drug cartels find youths to be easy prey

Gains outweigh setbacks in a landmark year for gay rights

Repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy may be the movement’s biggest victory yet, activists say.

By Robin Abcarian and Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times

December 19, 2010

Today the military, tomorrow the marriage altar?

In an era when gay Americans have seen stunning progress and many setbacks in the quest for equality under the law, many believe 2010 will go down in history as a watershed that will lead inexorably to more legal rights.

Saturday’s vote in the Senate to allow the repeal of the federal law banning gays from openly serving in the military is “one of the greatest, if not the greatest, victory in the history of the movement for gay and lesbian equality,” said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a UC Santa Barbara think tank that studies the issue of gays in the military.

The Dream Lives!

So here’s the deal. Grab your bootstraps and pull as hard as you can. Elbow everybody else out of the way, and climb over any mountains of bodies in your way. Or stomp them if they won’t be reasonable and just die.

Do unto others before they do unto you, and you too can make the big time. Baby.

The top of the mountain waits for you! The shining city on the hill where the streets are paved with gold and you’ll never have to look another whining starving emaciated worthless shiftless lazy ass bum in the eye again and all the beautiful people look like they just walked off the cover of a magazine.

God loves you and he wants you to live a rich life in heaven on earth.

Believe, my friends. Believe, and you too can live the American Dream. Jeezus loves you too and this is God’s Country my friends!

Give up your whining socialist fantasies and screw the suckers. Be a real self made man or woman. The brass ring is there just waiting for you to grab. You can do this!

Buck up, straighten up, and fly right. If you miss it you have only yourself to blame for being so worthless. The world doesn’t owe you a living. You have to get out there, grab a live baby, and rip it’s heart out with your teeth if you want to live the blessed life of a fulfilled human being.

The only winners are those who die with the most toys. You know this in your heart of hearts, and everyone else is a loser. Just fertilizer. Shit. Made to serve you. The ground upon which you strut in silver slippers, my friends.

GObama 2012! Eat the poor!

It’s get better on the flip…

Prime Time

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown!, Madagascar.  

Oh, really? I’m from Playskool.

And I’m from Mattel. Well, I’m not really from Mattel, I’m actually from a smaller company that was purchased by Mattel in a leveraged buyout.


SNLJeff Bridges and Eminem.

GitS: SAC 2nd GigSelecon and Make Up (Episodes 12 & 13)

Listen, Doc, about the future…

NO! Marty, we’ve already agreed that having information about the future can have disastrous consequences. Even if you’re intentions are good, it can backfire drastically! Whatever you’ve got to tell me, I’ll find out through the natural course of time.

What about all that talk about screwing up future events? The space-time continuum?

Well, I figured, what the hell?

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Defiant Gbagbo orders UN out of Ivory Coast

by Dave Clark, AFP

30 mins ago

ABIDJAN (AFP) – Defiant Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo ordered UN and French peacekeepers out of the country on Saturday, accusing them of backing rebel fighters supporting his rival Alassane Ouattara.

The demand for their “immediate” departure reflects the growing anger of Gbagbo’s nationalist supporters, and came as his most notorious lieutenant urged young Ivorians to make ready to fight for their sovereignty.

The United Nations, United States, European Union and Ivory Coast’s west African neighbours all demanded that Gbagbo cede power to Ouattara after both men claimed to have won last month’s presidential election.