Daily Archive: 02/15/2011

Feb 15 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

An experiment in load distribution.  Now with 51 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Berlusconi to stand trial for underage sex: judge

by Ella Ide, AFP

1 hr 51 mins ago

ROME (AFP) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will go on trial in April over allegations that he paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and abused his power by trying to get her cleared of theft, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Granting a request by Milan magistrates, Judge Cristina Di Censo said the first hearing would take place on April 6, in a move that brings a long-running probe into the premier’s private life to a head.

Following the announcement, the prime minister’s camp reiterated its claims that Berlusconi was the victim of a witch hunt by his political opponents.

Feb 15 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”

Ari Berman: The Obama Budget: Challenging or Appeasing the GOP?

In his State of the Union address, Barack Obama threaded the needle by calling for new investments in technology, education and infrastructure and a five-year domestic spending freeze. But those were just words. The president’s budget for 2012, released today, is the true reflection of what his priorities are.

The New York Times has posted a quick summary of what the budget does and does not do. The budget includes additional funds for education, high-speed rail, a national wireless network and a national infrastructure bank, which Democrats and Obama supporters will like. The document also rejects the advice of the administration’s deficit commission and does not tinker with Social Security or Medicare, which will no doubt anger deficit hawks in both parties. At the same time, the president is proposing painful cuts in heating assistance for low-income families, block grants for community development and Pell Grants for needy students-all things that Democrats would no doubt criticize if a Republican president proposed them.

John Nichols: On Civil Liberties, War, Crony Capitalism: Ron Paul Is Saying Some Things Democrats Should Be Saying

Texas Congressman Ron Paul may have been speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference that finished up over the weekend.

He may have been hinting to a cheering crowd that he will run again for the Republican presidential nomination-a prospect the crowd found appealing, as Paul won the conference’s straw poll with ten times as many votes as Sarah Palin.

That unsettled some CPAC attendees. The defenders of the conservative orthodoxies of the moment-as opposed to the Old Right stances Paul echoes-can’t figure out his appeal. To their view, he’s off-message on everything from the war on terror to Wall Street. And they dismiss his backers as hooligans.

But what unsettles mainstream conservatives ought to interest mainstream progressives.

Robert Reich: The Obama Budget: And Why the Coming Debate Over Spending Cuts Has Nothing to Do With Reviving the Economy

President Obama has chosen to fight fire with gasoline.

Republicans want America to believe the economy is still lousy because government is too big, and the way to revive the economy is to cut federal spending. Today (Sunday) Republican Speaker John Boehner even refused to rule out a government shut-down if Republicans don’t get the spending cuts they want.

Today (Monday) Obama pours gas on the Republican flame by proposing a 2012 federal budget that cuts the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years. About $400 billion of this will come from a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending – including all sorts of programs for poor and working-class Americans, such as heating assistance to low-income people and community-service block grants. Most of the rest from additional spending cuts, such as grants to states for water treatment plants and other environmental projects and higher interest charges on federal loans to graduate students.

Feb 15 2011

Frontier Justice

Shawna Forde is a racist bigoted xenophobe.  She’s also a murderer.

For years she’s led Minutemen American Defense, a Militia in Arizona targeting Hispanics, and in 2009 she started robbing Hispanics she thought to be ‘drug dealers’ to raise money for the purchase of some property where she could organize and train her domestic terrorists.  Armed robbery is a tactic much favored by readers of The Turner Diaries.

On May 30th, 2009 she and 3 accomplices knocked on the door of Raul Flores identifying themselves as Police Officers.  When he asked to see her badge (“Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”) her accomplice Jason Bush shot Raul Flores dead; shot his wife, Gina Marie, severely wounding her; and finally, while she begged and pleaded for life, put 2 bullets in the head of his 9 year old daughter, Brisenia.

The murders left the home for a few moments and Gina Marie was able to get to the kitchen and call 911.  Shawna Forde and Jason Bush found her on the phone and Shawna ordered Jason to ‘finish her off’.

In a development that will warm the cockles of every NRA member’s heart, Gina Marie had armed herself and after an exchange of fire the murderers fled.

Yesterday Shawna Forde was convicted of murder after 7 hours of deliberation.

Forde convicted in killing of Arivaca man, daughter

Kim Smith, Arizona Daily Star

Monday, February 14, 2011 11:27 am

Jurors must now decide if the facts of the case warrant the possibility of the death penalty.

I’m against the death penalty.  I think she should rot in jail for the rest of her long. long miserable life until she finally passes alone and naturally, despised and forgotten.

And please remember, this is just an isolated incident.

Feb 15 2011

On This Day in History February 15

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 15 is the 46th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 319 days remaining until the end of the year (320 in leap years).

On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution.

The name Teddy Bear comes from former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy”. The name originated from an incident on a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, to which Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. There were several other hunters competing, and most of them had already killed an animal. A suite of Roosevelt’s attendants, led by Holt Collier, cornered, clubbed, and tied an American Black Bear to a willow tree after a long exhausting chase with hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery, and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. While the initial cartoon of an adult black bear lassoed by a white handler and a disgusted Roosevelt had symbolic overtones, later issues of that and other Berryman cartoons made the bear smaller and cuter.

Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read “Teddy’s bear,” after sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co.

At the same time in Germany, the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom’s bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff‘s designs. They exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903 and exported 3,000 to the United States.

By 1906 manufacturers other than Michtom and Steiff had joined in and the craze for “Roosevelt Bears” was such that ladies carried them everywhere, children were photographed with them, and Roosevelt used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election.

American educator Seymour Eaton wrote the children’s book series The Roosevelt Bears, while composer John Bratton wrote “The Teddy Bear Two Step” which, with the addition of Jimmy Kennedy‘s lyrics, became the song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic”.

Early teddy bears were made to look like real bears, with extended snouts and beady eyes. Today’s teddy bears tend to have larger eyes and foreheads and smaller noses, babylike features that make them more attractive to buyers because they enhance the toy’s cuteness, and may even be pre-dressed.

Feb 15 2011

Six In The Morning

 They Took The Money And Ran  

Following Egypt’s request to freeze assets of Hosni Mubarak and his cabinet, Soca will investigate UK-based bank accounts

Egyptian officials’ assets to be traced by Serious Organised Crime Agency

Officers from Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency are expected to begin tracing the bank accounts of Hosni Mubarak’s cabinet after the Egyptian government made a formal request for a freeze on the assets of the ousted president and his former colleagues.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, said Soca would take charge of the hunt for accounts in London, although the timing and extent of the investigation would be decided by EU finance ministers following discussions in Brussels. Hague said UK rules prevented the police from freezing bank accounts without “evidence of illegality or misuse of state assets”. He said if evidence became available, the government would take “firm and prompt action”.

Feb 15 2011

The US Constitution Has Been Suspended by the GOP

While we were watching the Egyptians take back their country, our so-called representatives in the House were destroying ours. From John Nichols at The Nation:

House GOP Rejects Requirement That PATRIOT Act Surveillances Be Conducted in Complaince With Constitution

Less than a month after making a show of reading the U.S. Constitution into the Congressional Record, the leaders of the Republican-controlled U.S. House enginnered a vote to extend the surveillance authorities that both the Bush and Obama administrations have used to conduct “roving surveillance” of communications, to collect and examine business recordsand to target individuals who are not tied to terrorist groups for surveillance.

While most Democrats opposed the extension of the surveillance authorities — rejecting aggressive lobbying by the Obama administration and its allies in the House GOP leadership — overwhelming Republican support won approval of the legislation on a a 275-144 vote. Thus, the supposedly Constitution-obsessed House has endorsed a measure that is widely seen — not just by Democrats and progressives but by Republicans and conservatives — as a constant threat to privacy protections outlined in the document’s 4th Amendment.

As Michelle Richardson, the legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, noted Monday night: “It has been nearly a decade since the Patriot Act was passed and our lawmakers still refuse to make any meaningful changes to this reactionary law. The right to privacy from government is a cornerstone of our country’s foundation and Americans must be free from the kind of unwarranted government surveillance that the Patriot Act allows. If Congress cannot take the time to insert the much needed privacy safeguards the Patriot Act needs, it should allow these provisions to expire.”

The 275 votes for extending the surveillance authorities came from 210 Republicans and 65 Democrats.

snip

More remarkable was the House vote on a motion offered by the Democrats, which sought to recommit the bill with instructions to add language ensuring that surveillances would only be conducted in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.

That motion lost on a 234-186 vote.

144 Americans stood up against this, 127 Democrats that included Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Michigan’s John Conyers, and 27 Republicans. Patriots all.

Feb 15 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 14, 2011-

DocuDharma

Feb 15 2011

Prime Time

Back at the old stand.  Pretty solid premiers, none worth watching.  Thanks to TheMomCat for filling in with her Grammy Liveblog.  Tonight’s BIG news is the 135th Westminster Kennel Club on USA, though it looks like they’re going to crush it so you can watch the WWE with Republican Wingnut failure Linda McMahon (Update: TheMomCat says coverage continues on CNBC).

Also Pitchers and Catchers report.

I remember every detail.  The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.

You’ll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.

Later-

Say, mister. Will you stake a fellow American to a meal?

Dave hosts Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, Tom Brokaw (ugh), and Theophilus London.  Jon has Edward Glaeser, Stephen LCD Soundsystem.  Alton does Dumplings and Wontons.  Conan hosts Justin Bieber (fresh off his loss as Best New Artist), Claire Smith, and The Black Keys.

Do you believe that stuff the old man was saying the other night at the Oso Negro about gold changin’ a man’s soul so’s he ain’t the same sort of man as he was before findin’ it?

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Now with Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show liveblogging.

Feb 15 2011

from firefly-dreaming 14.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

Essays Featured Monday, February 14th:

come firefly-dreaming with me….