Daily Archive: 03/07/2011

Mar 07 2011

from firefly-dreaming 7.3.11

Regular Daily Features:

mishima Bring the Funk in Late Night Karaoke


Six Brilliant Articles! from Six Different Places!! on Six Different Topics!!!

                Six Days a Week!!!    at Six in the Morning!!!!

Essays Featured Monday, March 7th:

Monday Open Thoughts are Mirrored ramblings from RiaD

Fricking, Fracking, and Earthquakes from Translator

Spot-on snark from fake consultant in On “La Dolce Vita”, Or, The Real Life Of A State Worker

What Tahoe has to say is Awesome! Not to be missed!

RiaD finds The King’s Speech Inspires….

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

Mar 07 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 42 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 France’s ex-president Chirac on trial for corruption

by Roland Lloyd Parry, AFP

2 hrs 15 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – Jacques Chirac on Monday became the first former French president to go on trial as a court heard charges that he embezzled public funds while he was mayor of Paris in the 1990s.

The 78-year-old, one of France’s most popular political figures, did not attend the start of the trial that will examine whether he misused public money to pay people working for his party ahead of a successful election bid.

Presiding judge Dominique Pauthe adjourned Monday’s hearing after a few hours, saying it would resume on Tuesday when he would rule on a constitutional challenge in the case, which if successful could delay the trial by several months.

Mar 07 2011

How much is that Sheepskin worth?

Krugman points out today that Education is no substitute for a Job and as someone who has programmed I’ll tell you flat out there is no repetitive task I can’t automate (well, once I install my compliers and linkers and blow the dust off my language skills).

Sort of off topic, I’m looking for a script that will cycle through a Soapblox database (they’re sequentially ordered) and save the page with contents, links, and comments to a hard drive so I can burn offline archive CDs and DVDs for the authors on our sites.

Yes, I could do it myself, but it’s mind numbing grundge work of the type suitable only for interns and computers.

Degrees and Dollars

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: March 6, 2011

(T)he idea that modern technology eliminates only menial jobs, that well-educated workers are clear winners, may dominate popular discussion, but it’s actually decades out of date.

The fact is that since 1990 or so the U.S. job market has been characterized not by a general rise in the demand for skill, but by “hollowing out”: both high-wage and low-wage employment have grown rapidly, but medium-wage jobs – the kinds of jobs we count on to support a strong middle class – have lagged behind. And the hole in the middle has been getting wider: many of the high-wage occupations that grew rapidly in the 1990s have seen much slower growth recently, even as growth in low-wage employment has accelerated.

(A)ny routine task – a category that includes many white-collar, nonmanual jobs – is in the firing line. Conversely, jobs that can’t be carried out by following explicit rules – a category that includes many kinds of manual labor, from truck drivers to janitors – will tend to grow even in the face of technological progress.

And here’s the thing: Most of the manual labor still being done in our economy seems to be of the kind that’s hard to automate. Notably, with production workers in manufacturing down to about 6 percent of U.S. employment, there aren’t many assembly-line jobs left to lose. Meanwhile, quite a lot of white-collar work currently carried out by well-educated, relatively well-paid workers may soon be computerized. Roombas are cute, but robot janitors are a long way off; computerized legal research and computer-aided medical diagnosis are already here.

(T)here are things education can’t do. In particular, the notion that putting more kids through college can restore the middle-class society we used to have is wishful thinking. It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer – we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

Mar 07 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”

David Swanson: Manchurian Senators

People are doing journalism and the Washington Post is pissed. How to respond? Apparently the answer arrived at by Post editors is to just give up on any Americans who have been informing themselves and target those Americans who believe anything that super important people say. How else to explain an op-ed full of documented lies and published last Friday over the byline of two Democratic senators, Carl Levin and Jack Reed?

The headline was “The Surge Afghanistan Still Needs.” Surge is not code for food or peace or environmental restoration or a moment’s relief from the attentions of the world’s oil, gas, and power addicts. Surge, in ignorant-American-newspaper-readerspeak is a term denoting the comical pretense that a criminal and genocidal invasion and occupation can be redeemed by escalating it. The term was coined in reference to Iraq, that hell on earth where pro-democracy demonstrators are now being murdered by the government that 20 years of war and sanctions built, even as that government demands reparations payments for recent US destruction.

Laurence Lewis: Democrats Are Ceding the Entire Traditional Democratic Economic Ideology

On Thursday, we got this news:

   President Obama on Wednesday intervened in a partisan brawl that threatens to shut down the government, inviting congressional leaders of both parties to sit down with Vice President Biden and work out a compromise to fund federal programs through the end of the fiscal year.

The official statement called for a “bipartisan” approach. There seems to be a presumption that no one has been paying attention the past couple years, because the only people that still believe in bipartisanship are also likely the holdouts on Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. The way it actually works is that every time the word is mentioned, Democrats give ground on core principles while Republicans have to accept that they get only some, but not all, of what they want. The administration’s framing of its role also is interesting. Republican administrations tend to think of themselves as partisan, representing the core values of their party. This administration seems to think of itself as a mediator between partisans. Triangulation you can believe in.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: How Boehner is playing the Democrats

Richard Nixon espoused what he called “the madman theory.” It’s a negotiating approach that induces the other side to believe you are capable of dangerously irrational actions and leads it to back down to avoid the wreckage your rage might let loose.

House Republicans are pursuing their own madman theory in budget negotiations, with a clever twist: Speaker John Boehner is casting himself as the reasonable man fully prepared to reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown. But he also has to satisfy a band of “wild-eyed bomb-throwing freshmen,” as he characterized new House members in a Wall Street Journal interview last week by way of comparing them fondly to his younger self.

Thus are negotiators for President Obama and Senate Democrats forced to deal not only with Republican leaders in the room but also with a menacing specter outside its confines. As “responsible” public officials, Democrats are asked to make additional concessions just to keep the bomb-throwers at bay.

Mar 07 2011

The Misfortune of the Libyan People

Of all the uprisings happening in the world today, the Libyan People are going to be the most unfortunate.

We’re not talking about unfortunate in the sense of seeing a woman with an exceptionally large mouth hooked up with a guy with exceptionally small hands, “Woooow, now that’s unfortunate!” kind of way.


We’re talking more like you’re Michael Jackson and instead of dying, you just dropped the soap in the Aryan Nation end of the prison shower after being convicted of child molestation unfortunate.

There is no way this is going to end well for them. Its not just going to leave them vaguely dissatisfied, its going to leave them scarred and royally screwed.

Mar 07 2011

On This Day in History March 7

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.

March 7 is the 66th day of the year (67th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 299 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1976, a group of 600 civil rights marchers are forcefully broken up in Selma, Alabama. This day would be remembered in the Civil Rights Movement as “Bloody Sunday”

The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They grew out of the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, launched by local African-Americans who formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL). In 1963, the DCVL and organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began voter-registration work. When white resistance to Black voter registration proved intractable, the DCVL requested the assistance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to support voting rights.

The first march took place on March 7, 1965 – “Bloody Sunday” – when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. The second march took place on March 9. Only the third march, which began on March 21 and lasted five days, made it to Montgomery, 51 miles away.

The marchers averaged 10 miles a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the “Jefferson Davis Highway”. Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, they arrived in Montgomery on March 24, and at the Alabama Capitol building on March 25.

The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, a U.S. National Historic Trail.

Selma essentially became the focus the right to vote marches because it was the seat of Dallas County, AL that although it has a black population of 57% with 15,000 blacks elegible to vote, there were only 130 registered. Efforts to register voters were blocked by state and local officials, the White Citizens’ Council, and the Ku Klux Klan, using a literacy test, economic pressure, and violence.

On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, which declared segregation illegal, yet Jim Crow remained in effect. When attempts to integrate Selma’s dining and entertainment venues were resumed, blacks who tried to attend the movie theater and eat at a hamburger stand were beaten and arrested.

On July 6, John Lewis led 50 blacks to the courthouse on registration day, but Sheriff Clark arrested them rather than allow them to apply to vote. On July 9, Judge James Hare issued an injunction forbidding any gathering of three or more people under the sponsorship of civil rights organizations or leaders. This injunction made it illegal to even talk to more than two people at a time about civil rights or voter registration in Selma, suppressing public civil rights activity there for the next six months.

Planning the First March

With civil rights activity blocked by Judge Hare’s injunction, the DCVL requested the assistance of King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Three of SCLC’s main organizers – Director of Direct Action and Nonviolent Education James Bevel, Diane Nash, and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Orange James Orang, who had been working on Bevel’s Alabama Voting Rights Project since late 1963, a project which King and the executive board of SCLC had not joined. When SCLC officially accepted Amelia Boynton’s invitation to bring their organization to Selma, Bevel, Nash, Orange and others in SCLC began working in Selma in December 1964. They also worked in the surrounding counties along with the SNCC staff who had been active there since early 1963.

The Selma Voting Rights Movement officially started on January 2, 1965, when King addressed a mass meeting in Brown Chapel in defiance of the anti-meeting injunction.

Over the following weeks, SCLC and SNCC activists expanded voter registration drives and protests in Selma and the adjacent Black Belt counties. In addition to Selma, marches and other protests in support of voting rights were held in Perry, Wilcox, Marengo, Greene, and Hale counties.

On February 18, 1965, an Alabama State Trooper, corporal James Bonard Fowler, shot Jimmie Lee Jackson as he tried to protect his mother and grandfather in a café to which they had fled while being attacked by troopers during a nighttime civil rights demonstration in Marion, the county seat of Perry County. Jackson died eight days later, of an infection resulting from the gunshot wound, at Selma’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

In response, James Bevel called for a march from Selma to Montgomery.

Goals of the March

Bevel’s initial plan was to march to Montgomery to ask Governor George Wallace if he had anything to do with ordering the lights out and the state troopers to shoot during the march in which Jackson was killed. Bevel called the march in order to focus the anger and pain of the people of Selma, some of whom wanted to address Jackson’s death with violence, towards a nonviolent goal. The marchers also hoped to bring attention to the violations of their rights by marching to Montgomery. Dr. King agreed with Bevel’s plan, and asked for a march from Selma to Montgomery to ask Governor Wallace to protect black registrants.

Wallace denounced the march as a threat to public safety and declared he would take all measures necessary to prevent this from happening.

The First March: “Bloody Sunday”

On March 7, 1965, 525 to 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Highway 80. The march was led by John Lewis of SNCC and the Reverend Hosea Williams of SCLC, followed by Bob Mants of SNCC and Albert Turner of SCLC. The protest went smoothly until the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and found a wall of state troopers waiting for them on the other side. Their commanding officer told the demonstrators to disband at once and go home. Williams tried to speak to the officer, but the man curtly informed him there was nothing to discuss. Seconds later, the troopers began shoving the demonstrators. Many were knocked to the ground and beaten with nightsticks. Another detachment of troopers fired tear gas. Mounted troopers charged the crowd on horseback.

Brutal televised images of the attack, which presented people with horrifying images of marchers left bloodied and severely injured, roused support for the U.S. civil rights movement. Amelia Boynton was beaten and gassed nearly to death; her photo appeared on the front page of newspapers and news magazines around the world Seventeen marchers were hospitalized, leading to the naming of the day “Bloody Sunday”.

Mar 07 2011

Six In The Morning

America’s secret plan to arm Libya’s rebels

Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi

By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent  Monday, 7 March 2011

Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom, already facing a “day of rage” from its 10 per cent Shia Muslim community on Friday, with a ban on all demonstrations, has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request, although King Abdullah personally loathes the Libyan leader, who tried to assassinate him just over a year ago.

Washington’s request is in line with other US military co-operation with the Saudis. The royal family in Jeddah, which was deeply involved in the Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, gave immediate support to American efforts to arm guerrillas fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in 1980 and later – to America’s chagrin – also funded and armed the Taliban.

Mar 07 2011

The Spelunker-in-Chief is Caving Again

Even before the ink was dry on the continuing resolution that will keep the US government open until March 18, President Obama was already caving to Republican demands:

The White House has released what amounts to an opening bid in budget negotiations for Fiscal Year 2011 with Republicans. They have offered an additional $6.5 billion in cuts below the baseline of the 2010 budget. This goes on top of the $4 billion in cuts that have already been signed into law….this briefing took place before the first meeting between the White House and Congress even began. So the compromises preceded the negotiation. And there are no compromises happening on the other side.

That was Friday. Then on Saturday in his weekly address to the country via You Tube, he not only confirmed this but stated he was willing to go further.

How much further is he willing to sell out the middle class, the poor and future generations? Well this weekend he sent our one of his “canaries” to test the “air”, Austin Goolsbee, who in appearance on Lawrence O’Donnell’s “Last Word” couldn’t answer a straight question about Social Security.

From Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog points out the worst of Goolsbee’s administration apologia:

The Goolsbee interview starts at 3:20; the Social Security discussion starts at 7:15. At 8:80, weasel words begin leaving Goolsbee’s mouth – and they just don’t stop

Kudos to O’Donnell (who’s a benefit hawk himself) for pressing this hard. Question: Are you open to small changes to Social Security benefits, changes that would not be called “slashing”?

Goolsbee: “We don’t have a specific plan” … we want an “open discussion” … the president won’t weaken Social Security “including especially ideas about privatization” … but he “will look at” things that “insure the solvency” of the program. Weasel. They still want at it.

And by “they” I mean Obama. The Bush tax cuts blow a hole, and Social Security benefits are the fix. Dems, Reps, doesn’t seem to matter.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV), to his credit, very clearly and concisely stated on Meat the Press in January that Social Security did not contribute to the deficit or the current budget problems:

DAVID GREGORY: Social Security– how does it have to change? (an assumption by Gregory, TMC) What they put on the agenda is raising the retirement age, maybe means testing benefits. Is it time for Social Security to fundamentally change if you’re gonna deal with the debt problem?

HARRY REID: One of the things that always troubles me is when we start talking about the debt, the first thing people do is run to Social Security. Social Security is a program that works. And it’s going to be– it’s fully funded for the next forty years. Stop picking on Social Security. There’re a lotta places–

DAVID GREGORY: Senator are you really saying —

HARRY REID: –where you can go to save money.

DAVID GREGORY:– the arithmetic on Social Security works?

HARRY REID: I’m saying the arithmetic in Social Security works. I have no doubt it does.

DAVID GREGORY: It’s not in crisis?

HARRY REID: The ne– no, it’s not in crisis. This is– this is– this is something that’s perpetuated by people who don’t like government. Social Security is fine. Are there things we can do to improve Social Security? Of course.

Why is Obama even bothering to say he’s willing to “negotiate” when we all know the real word is “cave”?  

Mar 07 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 6, 2011-


Mar 07 2011

Pique the Geek 20110306: Fricking, Fracking, and Earthquakes

Hydraulic fracturing, also called hydrofracture or just fracking, is a commonly used method to increase the yield of fluid raw materials, usually petroleum or natural gas, from formations that are not “easy” extraction targets.  Easy targets are ones that the fluids dispersed in sands or very porous rock formation.  

Let us dispel a common myth right now:  oil and gas is almost NEVER found as big pools of those materials in large holes in the rock.  Almost without exception, and perhaps quite without exception, these materials are dispersed in some more or less porous rock or sand.    When you see pictures of underground reservoirs of gas or oil, you are really looking at the fluid as it is dispersed in the native matrix.

Sand and very “rotten” sandstone are easy matrices from which to extract the fluids.  Shale and hard sandstone are much more difficult matrices, and hydraulic fracturing is used to increase yields from such formations.

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