02/23/2011 archive

from firefly-dreaming 23.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

  • The Kinks are in the spotlight at Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Essays Featured Wednesday, February 23rd:

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 46 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Kadhafi loses swathes of east to insurrection


1 hr 7 mins ago

TOBRUK, Libya (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi’s regime has lost vast swathes of Libya’s east to an insurrection, it emerged Wednesday, as the West prepared for a mass exodus from a “bloodbath” in the north African country.

As condemnation of the brutal crackdown grew and foreigners fled the oil-rich country, Kadhafi appeared to be increasingly isolated after reports that hundreds of civilians were killed in the backlash by his forces.

Kadhafi opponents appeared firmly in control of Libya’s coastal east, from the Egyptian border through to the cities of Tobruk and Benghazi, with government soldiers switching sides to join the uprising.

Obama finds DOMA UNconstitutional!

from DOJ, a statement by Attorney General Holder says the Obama Administration found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and will no longer defend it in court.

A Great Day for LGBT!  

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”

The Triangle Shirtwaste Factory Fire changed so much, not just fire codes but safety regulations and work conditions for women. Its significance now in light of the right wing attacks on labor is even more important. We now have all their names. The 100th Anniversary of this tragedy is March 25.

New York Times Editorial: The Fire That Changed Everything

In The Times’s grim, vivid account on March 26, 1911 – the day after the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire – these words appear: “The victims who are now lying at the Morgue waiting for some one to identify them by a tooth or the remains of a burned shoe were mostly girls from 16 to 23 years of age.” There were 146 victims in all, 129 of them women.

Nearly a century later, the names of the last unidentified victims have been discovered, thanks to the work of a historian named Michael Hirsch. They are Maria Giuseppa Lauletti, Max Florin, Concetta Prestifilippo, Josephine Cammarata, Dora Evans and Fannie Rosen, all buried together beneath a single monument in the Cemetery of the Evergreens on the border of Brooklyn and Queens. This completes the roll of the dead in one of the city’s worst and most important fires.

Wednesday is turning into Ladies’ Day. The guys are below the fold

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Elizabeth Warren’s Battle

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)-the people’s agency and cop on the beat to protect consumers-is now a reality. Its website is live, you can sign-up for updates, and check out a sleek Arrested Development-style video narrated by Ron Howard that explains the bureau’s mission.

But as Elizabeth Warren made clear in a speech at the Consumers Union 75th anniversary celebration last week, the battle to establish a strong and independent CFPB is far from over.

Amy Goodman: Uprisings: From the Middle East to the Midwest

As many as 80,000 people marched to the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison on Saturday as part of an ongoing protest against newly elected Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to not just badger the state’s public employee unions, but to break them. The Madison uprising follows on the heels of those in the Middle East. A sign held by one university student, an Iraq War vet, read, “I went to Iraq and came home to Egypt?” Another read, “Walker: Mubarak of the Midwest.” Likewise, a photo has circulated in Madison of a young man at a rally in Cairo, with a sign reading, “Egypt supports Wisconsin workers: One world, one pain.” Meanwhile, Libyans continue to defy a violent government crackdown against masses seeking to oust longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and more than 10,000 marched Tuesday in Ohio to oppose Republican Gov. John Kasich’s attempted anti-union legislative putsch.

Just a few weeks ago, solidarity between Egyptian youth and Wisconsin police officers, or between Libyan workers and Ohio public employees, might have elicited a raised eyebrow.

Amanda Marcotte: Does the Media Finally Get That Anti-Choice Is About Far More Than Abortion?

The mainstream media has always, shall we say, struggled to understand that the anti-choice movement is anti-contraception, anti-STD prevention, and anti-sex education.  It just doesn’t fit the official narrative, which posits that anti-choicers are somehow “pro-life,” people who are deeply invested in fetal life, but who, for some mysterious reason, mostly don’t extend their concern for life into opposition to war or support for life-saving health insurance reform.  Even in explicitly pro-choice media outlets, the narrative tends to be about abortion, without little acknowledgment that attacks on contraception are part of the larger agenda of the anti-choice movement, even as news stories about abstinence-only and conscience clauses keep trickling out.

On This Day in History February 23

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 23 is the 54th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 311 days remaining until the end of the year (312 in leap years).

On this day in 1954, a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Though not as devastating as the plague or influenza, poliomyelitis was a highly contagious disease that emerged in terrifying outbreaks and seemed impossible to stop. Attacking the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system, polio caused muscle deterioration, paralysis and even death. Even as medicine vastly improved in the first half of the 20th century in the Western world, polio still struck, affecting mostly children but sometimes adults as well. The most famous victim of a 1921 outbreak in America was future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a young politician. The disease spread quickly, leaving his legs permanently paralyzed.

Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route The term derives from the Greek polios, meaning “grey”, myelos, referring to the “spinal cord”, and the suffix -itis, which denotes inflammation.

Although around 90% of polio infections cause no symptoms at all, affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the virus enters the blood stream. In about 1% of cases the virus enters the central nervous system, preferentially infecting and destroying motor neurons, leading to muscle weakness and acute flaccid paralysis. Different types of paralysis may occur, depending on the nerves involved. Spinal polio is the most common form, characterized by asymmetric paralysis that most often involves the legs. Bulbar polio leads to weakness of muscles innervated by cranial nerves. Bulbospinal polio is a combination of bulbar and spinal paralysis.

Poliomyelitis was first recognized as a distinct condition by Jakob Heine in 1840. Its causative agent, poliovirus, was identified in 1908 by Karl Landsteiner. Although major polio epidemics were unknown before the late 19th century, polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases of the 20th century. Polio epidemics have crippled thousands of people, mostly young children; the disease has caused paralysis and death for much of human history. Polio had existed for thousands of years quietly as an endemic pathogen until the 1880s, when major epidemics began to occur in Europe; soon after, widespread epidemics appeared in the United States.

By 1910, much of the world experienced a dramatic increase in polio cases and frequent epidemics became regular events, primarily in cities during the summer months. These epidemics-which left thousands of children and adults paralyzed-provided the impetus for a “Great Race” towards the development of a vaccine. Developed in the 1950s, polio vaccines are credited with reducing the global number of polio cases per year from many hundreds of thousands to around a thousand. Enhanced vaccination efforts led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Rotary International could result in global eradication of the disease.


While now rare in the Western world, polio is still endemic to South Asia and Nigeria. Following the widespread use of poliovirus vaccine in the mid-1950s, the incidence of poliomyelitis declined dramatically in many industrialized countries. A global effort to eradicate polio began in 1988, led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The Rotary Foundation. These efforts have reduced the number of annual diagnosed cases by 99%; from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to a low of 483 cases in 2001, after which it has remained at a level of about 1,000 cases per year (1,606 in 2009). Polio is one of only two diseases currently the subject of a global eradication program, the other being Guinea worm disease. If the global Polio Eradication initiative is successful before that for Guinea worm or any other disease, it would be only the third time humankind has ever completely eradicated a disease, after smallpox in 1979 and rinderpest in 2010. A number of eradication milestones have already been reached, and several regions of the world have been certified polio-free. The Americas were declared polio-free in 1994. In 2000 polio was officially eliminated in 36 Western Pacific countries, including China and Australia. Europe was declared polio-free in 2002. As of 2006, polio remains endemic in only four countries: Nigeria, India (specifically Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), Pakistan, and Afghanistan, although it continues to cause epidemics in other nearby countries born of hidden or reestablished transmission.

It’s Gotta Be Bad If Even Bob Barr Gets It

Sen. Al Franken, (D-MI) has called Internet Freedom the most important free speech issue of our time. That Freedom is now being threatened by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) who have introduced a bill that would essentially give the President the authority to shut down the internet with new national emergency powers, aka a “kill switch”:

President Obama would be given the power to “issue a declaration of a national cyberemergency.” Once that happens, Homeland Security would receive sweeping new authorities, including the power to require that so-called critical companies “shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action” decreed.

No “notice” needs to be given “before mandating any emergency measure or actions.” That means a company could be added to the “critical” infrastructure list one moment, and ordered by Homeland Security to “immediately comply” with its directives the next.

The U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which Lieberman chairs, appears to believe that it’s not necessary to include explicit judicial review of the president’s emergency authority once exercised, believing it’s implicit. Any such lawsuit filed by a targeted company would likely focus on language saying the emergency decrees should be “the least disruptive means feasible.”

The president may declare a “cyberemergency” for 30 days, and extend it for one 30-day period, unless Congress votes to approve further extensions.

Homeland Security will “establish and maintain a list of systems or assets that constitute covered critical infrastructure” and that will be subject to those emergency decrees.

(emphasis mine)

The ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said”It still gives the president incredible authority to interfere with Internet communications.” If the Department of Homeland Security wants to pull the plug on Web sites or networks, she said, “the government needs to go to court and get a court order.” I  light of the recent erroneous seizure of 84,000 web sites by the Department of Homeland Security that took them off line even Bob Barr has weighed in with this statement:

No government – no matter how benign or well-meaning – should be empowered to control the Internet. Moreover, the Congress should take a long, hard look at how federal agencies are using – and abusing – their existing powers to control parts of the Internet.

Holy FSM. They’re even calling this bill “Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act.”


Hello!!!! Does this sound familiar?????? Egypt, Libya, anyone?????

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 22, 2011-


Under the Radar: Look Over Here

Here’s some of the other news that gets missed or relegated to the inner pages by our ratings fixated media and what some of the loonies have been “plotting”.

  • Apparently somebody at the Justice Department told the White House that defending war criminals, even in a civil law suit, just might be problematic.

    The Justice Department under President Barack Obama has quietly dropped its legal representation of more than a dozen Bush-era Pentagon and administration officials – including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and aide Paul Wolfowitz – in a lawsuit by Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla, who spent years behind bars without charges in conditions his lawyers compare to torture.

    Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that the government has agreed to retain private lawyers for the officials, at a cost of up to $200 per hour. Miller said “conflicts concerns” prompted the decision. He did not elaborate.

    (emphasis mine)

  • Is New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller on the White House payroll? Sure sounds like it. Again Keller, at the request of the White House withheld information from a news story. On January 27, Raymond Davis, who works at the US Embassy, killed two Pakistani men alleging they were threatening him. The White House has claimed that Davis is a diplomat and Pakistan cannot hold him. What was known but not released by the NYT, at the Obama administrations request, was that Davis, a former special forces soldier, was actually working for the CIA and, in fact, worked for Xe, aka Blackwater.

    This is not the first time that the NYT has done the bidding of the administration in power. Keller even boasted in a BBC interview that the NYT had earned the praise of the U.S. Government for withholding materials which the Obama administration wanted withheld.

    The NYT is now Pravda and Izvestia all in one.

  • Arizona may be overboard on a few issues like guns, immigration and denial of transplants under Medicare but the criminal justice system got it right in two cases.

    Jury Convicts Iraqi Immigrant in ‘Honor Killing’ of Daughter

    Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 50, also was convicted of aggravated assault for injuries suffered by the mother of his daughter’s boyfriend during the October 2009 incident in a suburban Phoenix parking lot, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

    Prosecutors told jurors during the trial that he mowed down 20-year-old Noor Almaleki with his Jeep Cherokee because she had brought the family dishonor by becoming too Westernized. He wanted Noor Almaleki to act like a traditional Iraq woman, but she refused an arranged marriage, went to college and had a boyfriend.

    Border Activist Sentenced to Death for Fatal Home Invasion

    Forde was convicted Feb. 14 of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009, deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores, 29, and his daughter, Brisenia Flores, 9. She was also found guilty of attempted murder in the shooting of Gina Gonzalez, Flores’ wife and Brisenia’s mother.

    Prosecutors said Forde decided to target the house in Arivaca, Ariz., because she believed Flores was a drug smuggler and would have cash in the house. She wanted money to fund her border protection group, Minutemen American Defense, prosecutors said.

  • What do you end up with when you close half the public schools because you don’t want to tax the wealthy? Masses of uneducated, not fit to hold down anything but low paying menial jobs, more homeless, more crime but hey, lalalalalala, they have beans in their ears.

    Detroit Ordered to Close Half Its Public Schools Amid Budget Crisis

    The Detroit public school system has been ordered to close half its schools to make up for a $327 million deficit. The schools will be shuttered over the next four years, causing class sizes to bulge to 60.

    The plan, mandated by state education officials, will reduce the number of schools in the district from 142 to 72. . . . . .

    Census figures on Detroit show a bleak reality. Incomes in the city are half the national average, and one third of the population is in poverty. Michigan’s unemployment rate is 12 percent, and from 2000 to 2010, it was the only state in the country where population decreased.

    Data released today shows that only 10 percent of the state’s high school graduates this year are ready for college.

  • Prime Time

    Pretty solid premiers. V, double shot of NCIS, Frontline covers Egypt.

    Snakes.  Why is it always snakes.

    Oh, Marcus. What are you trying to do, scare me? You sound like my mother. We’ve known each other for a long time. I don’t believe in magic, a lot of superstitious hocus pocus. I’m going after a find of incredible historical significance, you’re talking about the boogie man. Besides, you know what a cautious fellow I am.


    Barzini is dead. So is Phillip Tattallgia. Moe Green. Slacci. Cuneo. Today I settled all family business so don’t tell me that you’re innocent. Admit what you did.

    Dave hosts Amy Poehler, Jean Chu and her cat, and Deerhunter.  Jon has Anderson Cooper, Stephen Bing West (an interesting piece from digby about Jon and his false equivalence ‘centrism’ and ‘civility’.  Let me just add a hearty “Fuck you, you privileged poppycock asshole” Jon.).  Conan hosts Matthew Perry, Mike Sorrentino, and Jason Aldean.

    You’re not a wartime Consigliari, Tom. Things could get rough with the move we’re making.

    Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings