Daily Archive: 02/02/2011

Feb 02 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Bloody clashes rock Cairo as regime stands firm

by Samer al-Atrush, AFP

29 mins ago

CAIRO (AFP) – Partisans of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stormed the Cairo stronghold of anti-regime protesters on Wednesday, sparking bloody clashes in which the government said three people were killed.

Washington, which has called for restraint since demonstrations broke out nine days ago, deplored the violence against “peaceful protesters” while UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the attacks on demonstrators were “unacceptable.”

The European Union added its voice to calls from US President Barack Obama for the transition from Mubarak’s three-decade-long rule to begin immediately after the veteran president announced late on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in September.

Feb 02 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 2, 2011-

DocuDharma

Feb 02 2011

from firefly-dreaming

Regular Daily Features:

Essays Featured Sunday, January 30th:

Essays Featured Monday, January 31st:

Essays Featured Tuesday February 1st:

Essays Featured Wednesday February 2nd:

firefly-dreaming

Feb 02 2011

The American Economy Is Back?

Stocks are up but housing prices are down. While Wall Streeters are cheering that “The U.S. economy is back!” with the Dow, S&P, and the NASDAQ on the upswing, the housing market continues to sink.

As economist Robert Reich notes the upswing in the stock market is only good if you’re member of the elite 1% that owns half the stock traded on the market and part of the 9% that owns another 40%.  Plus the recent turmoil in the Middle East has  foreign investors “pushing more foreign money into the relatively safe and reliable American equities market.”

The average American isn’t a member of that club. For the average American the biggest investment they have are their homes and the housing market is a rumbling bear. That’s the real story about the economy.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s latest quarterly survey of housing-market conditions, home prices continue to drop. They’ve dropped in all of the 28 major metropolitan areas, compared to a year earlier. And remember how awful things were in the housing market a year ago! In fact, the size of the year-to-year price declines is larger than the previous quarter’s in all but three of the markets surveyed.

Home prices have dropped most in cities already hard hit by the housing bust – Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago. But declines increased in other markets that had before escaped most of the downdraft, such as Seattle and Portland.

Reich also  points out that there are a record number of homeowners facing foreclosure, are seriously behind in their mortgage payments and the number of American’s owing more on their home than the home is worth is increasing. Many will just walk away which will further increase the foreclosures and weaken the housing market.

Low wages and unemployment also plague the economy. No, the American economy is not back, at least for the average American.

Feb 02 2011

What’s In Taco Bell Beef?

Nothing unusual about Taco Bell’s meat, experts say

Ingredients what you’d expect from fast-food restaurants; no advertising rules broken

By Gregory Karp and Ellen Gabler, Tribune reporters

February 2, 2011

Soy lecithin (is) a byproduct of soy bean processing that is used as an emulsifier. That means it helps blend and bind substances that would otherwise separate like oil and water.



(A)utolyzed yeast extract. Made by breaking down yeast cells with salt, it’s a flavor-enhancing additive similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG), without the known side effects of MSG some people experience. It gives foods a full, savory, beeflike taste, Brewer said.

Maltodextrin is derived from starches, usually corn in the United States. It can be used as a sweetener and a thickener.

Isolated oat product is a binder, kind of like how an egg is used in homemade hamburgers or meatballs so they don’t fall apart in the pan. And soybean oil is used as a so-called anti-dusting agent, meaning it prevents finely ground, powdery ingredients from literally billowing into the air, as would happen if you clapped flour-coated hands.

Caramel color is caramelized sugar used to give the mixture a consistent brown appearance, Brewer said. Heating some of the ingredients, such as cocoa powder and chili pepper, causes them to change colors and potentially combine to turn the mixture a hue the customer wouldn’t like, she said. It doubles as a flavor component. Flavor experts identify caramel as a component flavor of beef that can be lost in processing, said Betsy Booren, director of scientific affairs for the American Meat Institute.

“Natural smoke flavor” can be added by burning wood chips, capturing the smoke and piping it into the oven where meat is cooking, similar to how you burn wood chips to give smoky flavor to meats on a backyard grill, Booren said. The same aroma can also be captured in a viscous liquid that can later be sprayed onto meat to give it a smoky flavor, the method probably used for ground beef, she said.

Feb 02 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”

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Science, yes. But don’t forget the poor

In a speech to the National Academy of Sciences shortly after taking office, President Obama, while faced with a teetering economy, vast numbers of unemployed and uninsured, and two seemingly endless wars, nonetheless paused to embrace a vision of the future. He spoke of President Lincoln’s commitment to science and innovation, even in the midst of great turmoil and uncertainty. . . . . .

So it came as no surprise, then, that a central theme of President Obama’s State of the Union address last week was the modern extension of Lincoln’s commitment to science and innovation and of his insistence that we add “the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.” . . . . .

But while Lincoln was committing himself to the advancement of science and innovation, he remained focused on ending the nation’s more immediate and immobilizing crises. President Obama must do the same; it is today’s job market, not tomorrow’s, and the victims of our historic chasm between great wealth and deep poverty, that deserve his primary focus now.

We live in a country with nearly 15 million unemployed, and many millions more underemployed. A country where job creation can barely keep pace with population growth, where for a staggering number of people, the pain of recession continues without any real relief. These are people who cannot wait for a decade-long economic transformation; they need relief – and jobs – now.

And yet, with more Americans now mired in poverty than at any time in the last 40 years – a record 47 million – the president did not include a single mention of poverty or the plight of the poor in his speech.

Laura Flanders: Killing the Internet Not Just a Problem in Egypt

As we speak, Egypt is struggling with a near-total Internet and communications shut-off, and not just Egyptians are grappling with the implications. Can the flow of social media information to an entire country simply be cut? Apparently, yes. And that’s not just an Egyptian concern.

It’s very much an American concern, in that a US-based company seems to be the maker of the Internet off-switch. As Tim Karr of Free Press notes, the US company Narus was founded in 1997 by Israeli security experts. Based in Sunnyvale California, Narus has devised what business fans call a “social media sleuth.”

As boosters put it: “Narus is the leader in real-time traffic intelligence for the protection and management of large IP networks…. Used by the world’s service providers and governments, Narus has developed and patented state-of-the art algorithms to detect network anomalies and manage unwanted IP traffic. Additionally, Narus has the unique ability to precision target and fully reconstruct all types of IP traffic, including e-mail, Web mail and instant messages.”

Maureen Dowd: Bye Bye, Mubarak

If only W. had waited for Twitter.

And Facebook. And WikiLeaks.

Revolutionary tools all, like the fax machine in the Soviet Union.

The ire in Tahrir Square is full of ironies, not the least of which is the American president who inspired such hope in the Middle East with his Cairo speech calling around this week to leaders in the region to stanch the uncontrolled surge of democracy in the Arab world.

Egyptians rose up at the greatest irony of all: Cleopatra’s Egypt was modern in ancient times and Mubarak’s was ancient in modern times. The cradle of civilization yearned for some civilization.

President George W. Bush meant well when he tried to start a domino effect of democracy in the Middle East and end the awful hypocrisy of America coddling autocratic rulers.

Feb 02 2011

On This Day in History February 2

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.

February 2 is the 33rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 332 days remaining until the end of the year (333 in leap years).

On this day in 1925, dog sleds reach Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race.

During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the “Great Race of Mercy,” 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic. Both the mushers and their dogs were portrayed as heroes in the newly popular medium of radio, and received headline coverage in newspapers across the United States. Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome, became the most famous canine celebrity of the era after Rin Tin Tin, and his statue is a popular tourist attraction in New York City’s Central Park. The publicity also helped spur an inoculation campaign in the U.S. that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease.

The sled dog was the primary means of transportation and communication in subarctic communities around the world, and the race became both the last great hurrah and the most famous event in the history of mushing, before first aircraft in the 1930s and then the snowmobile in the 1960s drove the dog sled almost into extinction. The resurgence of recreational mushing in Alaska since the 1970s is a direct result of the tremendous popularity of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which honors the history of dog mushing with many traditions that commemorate the serum run.

Epidemic

The only doctor in Nome and the surrounding communities was Curtis Welch, who was supported by four nurses at the 24-bed Maynard Columbus Hospital. In the summer of 1924, his supply of 80,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin (from 1918) expired, but the order he placed with the health commissioner in Juneau did not arrive before the port closed.

Shortly after the departure of the last ship of the year, the Alameda,[when?] a two-year-old Alaska Native from the nearby village of Holy Cross became the first to display symptoms of diphtheria. Welch diagnosed it as tonsillitis, dismissing diphtheria because no one else in the child’s family or village showed signs of the disease, which is extremely contagious and can survive for weeks outside the body. The child died the next morning, and an abnormally large number of cases of tonsillitis were diagnosed through December, including another fatality on December 28, which is rare. The child’s mother refused to allow an autopsy. Two more Alaska Native children died, and on January 20 the first case of diphtheria was diagnosed in three-year-old Bill Barnett, who had the characteristic grayish lesions on his throat and in his nasal membranes. Welch did not administer the antitoxin, because he was worried the expired batch might weaken the boy, who died the next day.

On January 21, seven-year-old Bessie Stanley was diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, and was injected with 6,000 units of antitoxin. She died later that day. The same evening, Welch called Mayor George Maynard, and arranged an emergency town council meeting. Welch announced he needed at least one million units to stave off an epidemic. The council immediately implemented a quarantine, and Emily Morgan was appointed Quarantine Nurse.

On January 22, 1925, Welch sent a radio telegram via the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System and alerted all major towns in Alaska including the governor in Juneau of the public health risk. A second to the U.S. Public Health Service in Washington, D.C. read:

“An epidemic of diphtheria is almost inevitable here STOP I am in urgent need of one million units of diphtheria antitoxin STOP Mail is only form of transportation STOP I have made application to Commissioner of Health of the Territories for antitoxin already STOP There are about 3000 white natives in the district”

Wings versus paws

At the January 24 meeting of the board of health superintendent Mark Summers of the Hammon Consolidated Gold Fields proposed a dogsled relay, using two fast teams. One would start at Nenana and the other at Nome, and they would meet at Nulato. His employee, the Norwegian Leonhard Seppala, was the obvious and only choice for the 630-mile (1,014 km) round trip from Nome to Nulato and back. He had previously made the run from Nome to Nulato in a record-breaking four days, won the All-Alaska Sweepstakes three times, and had become something of a legend for his athletic ability and rapport with his Siberian huskies. His lead dog Togo was equally famous for his leadership, intelligence, and ability to sense danger.

Mayor Maynard proposed flying the antitoxin by aircraft. In February 1924, the first winter aircraft flight in Alaska had been conducted between Fairbanks and McGrath by Carl Eielson, who flew a reliable De Havilland DH-4 issued by the U.S. Post Office on 8 experimental trips. The longest flight was only 260 miles (420 km), the worst conditions were – 10 F (- 23 C) which required so much winter clothing that the plane was almost unflyable, and the plane made several crash landings.

Aftermath

The death toll is officially listed as either 5, 6, or 7, but Welch later estimated there were probably at least 100 additional cases among “the Eskimo camps outside the city. The Natives have a habit of burying their children without reporting the death.” Forty-three new cases were diagnosed in 1926, but they were easily managed with the fresh supply of serum. (Salisbury, 2003, footnotes on page 235 and 243)

All participants received letters of commendation from President Calvin Coolidge, and the Senate stopped work to recognize the event. Each musher during the first relay received a gold medal from the H. K. Mulford company, and the territory awarded them each USD $25. Poems and letters from children poured in, and spontaneous fund raising campaigns sprang up around the country.

Gunnar Kaasen and his team became celebrities and toured the West Coast from February 1925 to February 1926, and even starred in a 30-minute film entitled Balto’s Race to Nome. A statue of Balto by Frederick Roth was unveiled in New York City’s Central Park during a visit on December 15, 1925. Balto and the other dogs became part of a sideshow and lived in horrible conditions until they were rescued by George Kimble and fund raising campaign by the children of Cleveland, Ohio. On March 19, 1927, Balto received a hero’s welcome as they arrived at their permanent home at the Cleveland Zoo. Because of age, Balto was euthanised on March 14, 1933 at the age of 14. He was mounted and placed on display in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Feb 02 2011

Prime Time

Not even worth remarking on.

I don’t know if you’d be particularly interested in hearing anything about me. My life, I mean… Most of it doesn’t add up to much that I could relate as a way of life that you’d approve of… I’d like to be able to tell you why, but I don’t really… I mean, I move around a lot because things tend to get bad when I stay. And I’m looking… for auspicious beginnings, I guess… I’m trying to, you know, imagine your half of this conversation… My feeling is, that if you could talk, we probably wouldn’t be talking. That’s pretty much how it got to be before… I left… Are you all right? I don’t know what to say… Tita suggested that we try to… I don’t know. I think that she… seems to feel we’ve got… some understanding to reach… She totally denies the fact that we were never that comfortable with each other to begin with… The best that I can do, is apologize. We both know that I was never really that good at it, anyway…

I’m sorry it didn’t work out.

I know you like me. I know it. For the last year or two, you’ve been pretending like you hate me. I love you very much. I love you as much as I love anybody, as much as I love myself. And in a few years when I haven’t been around to be on your tail about something or irritating you, you could… remember that time that I bought you the baseball glove when you thought we were too broke. You know? Or when I read you those stories? Or when I let you goof off instead of mowing the lawn? Lots of things like that. And you’re gonna realize that you love me. And maybe you’re gonna feel badly, because you never told me. But don’t – I know that you love me. So don’t ever do that to yourself, all right?

Later-

The governor of Louisiana gave me this. Madame Tinkertoy’s House of Blue Lights, corner of Bourbon and Toulouse, New Orleans, Louisiana. Now, this is supposed to be the finest whorehouse in the south. These ain’t no pork chops! These are U.S. PRIME!

Dave hosts Kate Walsh, Jim Gaffigan, and Boxer Rebellion.  Jon has Matthew Perry, Stephen Sean Kelly.  Conan hosts Kobe Bryant (sexual predator) and Jamie Kilstein.

What the hell is wrong with freedom? That’s what it’s all about.

Oh, yeah, that’s right. That’s what’s it’s all about, all right. But talkin’ about it and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.

Feb 02 2011

Reporting the Revolutions: Day 6 with Up Date 1900 hrs EST

CLASHES HAVE BROKEN OUT BETWEEN PRO AND ANTI GOVERNMENT FORCES IN TAHRIR SAQUARE

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and though Mishima’s live blog, our news editor.

class=”BrightcoveExperience”>The Guardian has a Live Blog that refreshes automatically every minute.

Al Jazeera has a Live Blog for Feb 2

As you can see we now have the live feed from Al Jazeera English and I am posting this at early so everyone can watch the events in Egypt as they happen.

This is day eight of the protest in Egypt demanding that President Hosni Mubarak step down. Late last night on Egyptian state television, Mubarak said that he would not run for reelection on September but would not step down. His tone and words at times were aggressive and confrontational condemning the demonstrators, echoing the speech given by former Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali the day before he fled by private jet to Saudi Arabia.

President Obama said he spoke to Hosni Mubarak after the Egyptian president’s announcement to serve out his remaining term, and told Mubarak an orderly transition of power in Egypt ‘must begin now’.While the meaning of the last phrase was deliberately vague, it appeared to be a signal that Mr. Mubarak might not be able to delay the shift to a new leadership.

Mubarak’s speech did little to quell the demands for his immediate departure. The opposition leaders have vowed to keep up the protests and said they would get bigger until Mubarak is gone. Angry Chants of “Erhal! Erhal!”, or “Leave! Leave!” could be heard and scenes of protesters waving their shoes and using them to beat pictures of Mubarak were common.

Up Date 1900hrs EST: The clashes continue between anti-government protesters and pro-Mubarak supporters. Many reporters are saying that there was a completely different attitude in the pro-Mubarak groups who ere intimidating, stopping traffic, pounding on cars. NBC reporter Lester Holt, who was reporting from Cairo said the they arrives on horses and camels carrying pipes and bats, clearly looking for violent confrontation.

From the NYT’s The Lede Live feed

In the past few minutes, Ramy Raoof, an Egyptian blogger and human rights activist, has started using his mobile phone to broadcast live video of the opposition protesters in central Cairo to the mobile broadcasting Web site Bambuser.

5:34 P.M. Protesters Reportedly Push Back Regime Supporters

A few minutes ago, Anderson Cooper of CNN reported from Cairo that a phalanx of opposition protesters, using sheets of metal as improvised shields and advancing in a line had successfully pushed a dwindling number of regime supporters back and taken control of a street outside the Egyptian Museum.

Mr. Cooper, watching from above the national museum, estimated that only a few hundred regime supporters remained at that entrance to the Tahrir Square area filled with thousands of opposition protesters.

Anthony Shadid, David Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim reported from Cairo earlier that the regime supporters might not be as motivated by political convictions as the opposition protesters.

The violence came after the Egyptian government “struck back at its opponents on Wednesday, unleashing waves of pro-government provocateurs armed with clubs, stones, rocks and knives in and around Tahrir Square in a concerted effort to rout the protesters who have called for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s near-30-year rule.”

Mr. Alhossary also posted a photograph of what he said was the police I.D. card of one of the regime supporters who had been captured after attacking opposition protesters.

From Al-Masry Al-Youm:

Ban Ki Moon says violence against peaceful demonstrators unacceptable

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed his deep concern regarding the escalating clashes between protesters in Tahrir Square, calling the violence used against protesters unacceptable and urging restraint on all sides.

“This is very much an unacceptable situation. Any attack on peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and I strongly condemn it,” said Moon.

Opposition calls on Mubarak to cede power to new vice-president

A group of independent writers and businessmen called on President Hosni Mubarak to delegate all authority to his deputy and serve as a “ceremonial” leader until his term ends in September, according to a statement issued Wednesday.

Rights groups blame Egyptian officials for Tahrir violence

Human rights advocacy group Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Egyptian authorities to protect the right to peaceful protests and blamed Wednesday’s outbreak of violence at Tahrir square on the Egyptian authorities.

After Tahrir violence, protesters rule out negotiations with regime

Following violent attacks on protesters in Tahrir Square on Wednesday, activists who were already reluctant to accept the regime’s invitation to negotiate say that such a move is now completely out of the question.

“We might have negotiated a diplomatic solution with the regime, but after today’s developments, the fight will continue; what happened will not weaken it,” said Nasser Abdel Hamid, member of the National Association for Change. “Even if people are forced to leave the square, they will return another day.”

Feb 02 2011

Prime Time

New V!  Other premiers.

I spent my whole life not knowing what I want out of it, just chasing my tail. Now for the first time I know exactly what I want and who… that’s the damnable misery of it.

Later-

Dave hosts Matthew Perry, Chris Elliott, Mitt Romney (ugh), The National.  Jon has Michael Steele, Stephen Michael Lewis (dueling Michaels).  Conan hosts Jennifer Aniston, Nick Offerman, and Peter Bjorn & John.

There’s no normal life, Wyatt, it’s just life. Get on with it.

Don’t know how.

Sure you do. Say goodbye to me. Go grab that spirited actress and make her your own. Take that beauty from it, don’t look back. Live every second. Live right on to the end. Live Wyatt. Live for me. Wyatt, if you were ever my friend – if ya ever had even the slightest of feelin’ for me, leave now. Leave now… Please.

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