Daily Archive: 03/12/2011

Mar 12 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 49 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Blast at Japan nuke plant; 10,000 missing after quake

by Hiroshi Hiyama, AFP

1 hr 19 mins ago

SENDAI, Japan (AFP) – An explosion at a Japanese nuclear plant triggered fears of a meltdown Saturday after a massive earthquake and tsunami left more than 1,000 dead and at least 10,000 unaccounted for.

As workers doused the stricken reactor with sea water to try to avert catastrophe, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the chaos unleashed by Friday’s 8.9 magnitude quake was an “unprecedented national disaster”.

The quake, one of the biggest ever recorded, unleashed a terrifying tsunami that engulfed towns and cities on Japan’s northeastern coast, destroying everything in its path.

Mar 12 2011

In Memoriam

We note with sadness the passing of Diane Gee’s husband Mike last night.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,

The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,

And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,

And all the air a solemn stillness holds,

Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower

The moping owl does to the moon complain

Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,

Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,

Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,

Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,

The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,

The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,

The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,

No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,

Or busy housewife ply her evening care:

No children run to lisp their sire’s return,

Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share,

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;

How jocund did they drive their team afield!

How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;

Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile

The short and simple annals of the Poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,

Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:-

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault

If Memory o’er their tomb no trophies raise,

Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault

The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?

Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,

Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;

Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,

Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,

Rich with the spoils of time, did ne’er unroll;

Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,

And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast

The little tyrant of his fields withstood,

Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,

Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,

The threats of pain and ruin to despise,

To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,

And read their history in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone

Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;

Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,

And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,

To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,

Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride

With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,

Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;

Along the cool sequester’d vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Yet e’en these bones from insult to protect

Some frail memorial still erected nigh,

With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d Muse,

The place of fame and elegy supply:

And many a holy text around she strews,

That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,

This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,

Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,

Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires;

E’en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,

E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead,

Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;

If chance, by lonely contemplation led,

Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, —

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,

Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn

Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,

To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

‘There at the foot of yonder nodding beech

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high.

His listless length at noontide would he stretch,

And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

‘Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,

Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;

Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,

Or crazed with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

‘One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,

Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;

Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

‘The next with dirges due in sad array

Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-

Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay

Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.’

The Epitaph

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth

A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.

Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,

And Melacholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,

Heaven did a recompense as largely send:

He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,

He gained from Heaven (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode

(There they alike in trembling hope repose),

The bosom of his Father and his God.

By Thomas Gray (1716-71).  

Mar 12 2011

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Going Vegan

Photobucket

Baked Beans With Mint, Peppers and Tomatoes

Carrots and Lentils in Olive Oil

Cabbage With Tomatoes, Bulgur and Chickpeas

Fava Bean Stew With Bulgur

Wheat Berries With Winter Squash and Chickpeas

Mar 12 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”

Paul Krugman: Dumbing Deficits Down

Like anyone who writes regularly about what passes for economic and fiscal debate in American politics, I’ve developed a strong tolerance for nonsense. After all, if I got upset every time powerful people were illogical and/or dishonest, I’d spend every waking hour in a state of raging despair.

Yet there are still moments when I find myself saying, “They can’t really be that stupid,” or maybe, “They can’t really think the rest of us are that stupid.” And I had one of those moments reading about a recent conference on national health policy, which featured a bipartisan dialogue among Congressional staffers.

According to a column in Kaiser Health News, Republican staffers jeered at any and all proposals to use Medicare and Medicaid funds better. Spending money on prevention was no more than a “slush fund.” Research on innovation was “an oxymoron.” And there was no reason to pay for “so-called effectiveness research.”

Bob Herbert: The Master Key

The United States is not racked with the turmoil that is shaking the Arab world, or the tragic devastation that has hit Japan. We are not in a state of emergency. We’re in a moment when it is possible to look thoughtfully at the American landscape and take rational steps to ensure a better, more sustainable future.

But we’re not doing that. The big news out of Washington this week was Representative Peter King’s Muslim witch hunt. Policy makers at all levels of government are talking austerity – sometimes sensibly, but most often mindlessly. Creative ideas regarding energy, education, jobs and so forth have trouble even getting a hearing.

Robert Reich Emulating Clinton’s ‘Move to the Right’ Perilous for Obama

Why Obama Isn’t Fighting the Budget Battle

In the next week the action moves from Wisconsin to Washington, where the deadline looms for a possible government shutdown over the federal budget. President Obama has to take a more direct and personal role in that budget battle  – both for the economy’s sake and for the sake of his reelection. But will he? Don’t count on it.

Worried congressional Democrats say the President needs to use his bully pulpit to counter defections in Democatic ranks, such as the ten Democrats and one allied Independent who on Wednesday voted against a Senate leadership plan to cut $6.2 billion from the federal budget over the rest of fiscal year 2011. They want Obama to grab the initiative and push a plan to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies and for companies that move manufacturing facilities out of the country, and a proposal for a surtax on millionaires.

Most importantly, they’re worried the President’s absence from the debate will result in Republicans winning large budget cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year – large enough to imperil the fragile recovery.

But Obama won’t actively fight the budget battle if the current White House view of how he wins in 2012 continues to prevail.

Mar 12 2011

On This Day in History March 12

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 12 is the 71st day of the year (72nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 294 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1947, in a dramatic speech to a joint session of Congress, President Harry S. Truman asks for U.S. assistance for Greece and Turkey to forestall communist domination of the two nations. Historians have often cited Truman’s address, which came to be known as the Truman Doctrine, as the official declaration of the Cold War.

In February 1947, the British government informed the United States that it could no longer furnish the economic and military assistance it had been providing to Greece and Turkey since the end of World War II. The Truman administration believed that both nations were threatened by communism and it jumped at the chance to take a tough stance against the Soviet Union. In Greece, leftist forces had been battling the Greek royal government since the end of World War II. In Turkey, the Soviets were demanding some manner of control over the Dardanelles, territory from which Turkey was able to dominate the strategic waterway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

Truman stated the Doctrine would be “the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Truman reasoned, because these “totalitarian regimes” coerced “free peoples,” they represented a threat to international peace and the national security of the United States. Truman made the plea amid the crisis of the Greek Civil War (1946-1949). He argued that if Greece and Turkey did not receive the aid that they urgently needed, they would inevitably fall to communism with grave consequences throughout the region.

The policy won the support of Republicans who controlled Congress and involved sending $400 million in American money, but no military forces, to the region. The effect was to end the Communist threat, and in 1952 both countries joined NATO, a military alliance that guaranteed their protection.

The Doctrine was informally extended to become the basis of American Cold War policy throughout Europe and around the world. It shifted American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union from détente (friendship) to, as George F. Kennan phrased it, a policy of containment of Soviet expansion. Historians often use its announcement to mark the starting date of the Cold War.

Long-term policy and metaphor

The Truman Doctrine underpinned American Cold War policy in Europe and around the world. The doctrine endured because it addressed a broader cultural insecurity regarding modern life in a globalized world. It dealt with Washington’s concern over communism’s domino effect, it enabled a media-sensitive presentation of the doctrine that won bipartisan support, and it mobilized American economic power to modernize and stabilize unstable regions without direct military intervention. It brought nation-building activities and modernization programs to the forefront of foreign policy.

The Truman Doctrine became a metaphor for emergency aid to keep a nation from communist influence. Truman used disease imagery not only to communicate a sense of impending disaster in the spread of communism but also to create a “rhetorical vision” of containing it by extending a protective shield around non-communist countries throughout the world. It echoed the “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarantine_Speech quarantine the aggressor]” policy Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to impose to contain German and Japanese expansion in 1937. The medical metaphor extended beyond the immediate aims of the Truman Doctrine in that the imagery combined with fire and flood imagery evocative of disaster provided the United States with an easy transition to direct military confrontation in later years with communist forces in Korea and Vietnam. By presenting ideological differences in life or death terms, Truman was able to garner support for this communism-containing policy.

Mar 12 2011

Six In The Morning

Japan battles to stave off possible nuclear meltdown

Japanese media say officials have detected caesium, one of the elements released when overheating causes core damage, around reactor at Fukushima No 1 plant in Futuba

Tania Branigan in Beijing

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 12 March 2011 07.11 GMT


Workers are battling to stave off a possible nuclear meltdown at a plant in north-eastern Japan as the country struggles with the aftermath of Friday’s enormous earthquake and tsunami.

Japanese media said officials had detected caesium, one of the elements released when overheating causes core damage, around the reactor at Fukushima No 1 plant in Futuba, 150 miles (240km) north of Tokyo.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said it did not believe a meltdown was under way, but Ryohei Shiomi, an official with Japan’s nuclear safety commission, said that it was possible.

Mar 12 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 11, 2011-

DocuDharma

Mar 12 2011

Barack Obama: Torture is OK Up Date: Crowley Resigns

(Up Date below)

Barack says it’s OK to torture an American soldier who is being held in isolation on an American military base on American soil just miles from the White House. Why? Because the Pentagon said it is. Sound familiar? It should because, just a very short 26 months ago, the other guy who said torture was OK left the White House. It appears he was replaced with his ideological clone, and now, fellow war criminal, Barack who has taken torture, detention and rendition even further than Dick even could have imagined.

State Department spokesperson, P. J. Crowley, who was speaking to a small group at MIT discussing “the new media and the foreign policy”, he let was queried by a young man about Wikileaks:

Charlie deTar: There’s an elephant in the room during this discussion: Wikileaks. The US government is torturing a whistleblower in prison right now. How do we resolve a conversation about the future of new media in diplomacy with the government’s actions regarding Wikileaks?

PJC: “I spent 26 years in the air force. What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why the DoD is doing it.

Then today at a press conference on the disaster in Japan, ABC News White House correspondent pulled his cajones out of the lock box in his boss’s office, asking Barack about P.J.’s condemnation of Bradley’s treatment. Barack’s response:

With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning’s safety as well. [my emphasis]

So, let me get this straight, the basic standard of treatment of an innocent man who has yet to be formerly charges for eight months is to apply the standards that were condemned at Abu Grab and Guantanamo in 2002?

As Glen Greenwald at Salon so precisely stated in his article today on Amnesty International’s call for protests of Manning’s treatment:

Oh, that’s very reassuring — and such a very thorough and diligent effort by the President to ensure that detainees under his command aren’t being abused.  He asked the Pentagon and they said everything was great — what more is there to know?  Everyone knows that on questions of whether the military is abusing detainees, the authoritative source is . . . the military.  You just ask them if they’re doing anything improper, and once they tell you that they’re not, that’s the end of the matter.  

I have no doubt that George Bush asked the DoD whether everything was being run professionally at Guantanamo and they assured him that they were.  Perhaps the reason there haven’t been any Wall Street prosecutions is because Obama asked Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein if there was any fraud and those banking executives assured the President that there wasn’t.

Glen also highlighted, Dylan Ratigan, MSNBC host, condemnation of Democrats and the so-called left wing, progressive, pragmatic apologists for

remaining silent in the face of civil liberties and other abuses by Obama which would provoke, vociferous and constant objections if carried out by George Bush.  At the end of the segment, Ratigan acknowledges that some have been consistent and have vocally objected to Obama’s civil liberties abuses generally and the treatment of Manning specifically — he refers to me and FDL as examples — and then clarifies that his criticisms are aimed at Democratic politicians and their loyalists, who opportunistically pretended to care about such things when doing so produced partisan advantage (when there was a GOP President), but now ignore them because they no longer do (because there’s a Democratic President).

This is being  done in our names as it was under Bush. It was not acceptable then it is not acceptable now. Not in my name.

Up Date 3.13.11 1428 EDT: P.J. Crowley Resigning As State Department Spokesman: Report

P.J. Crowley is resigning as spokesman for the State Department, CNN reports.

Michael van Poppel at BNO News noted on Twitter after the story broke, “Crowley released a statement on Yemen just 2 hours ago. Seems really abrupt.” Shortly after he added, “Clinton: It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J. Crowley as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.”

Politico confirmed reports of Crowley’s resignation on Sunday.

I expected this. You cannot work  for the man if you tell the truth.

Mar 12 2011

Popular Culture (Music) 20110311: The Zombies

One might expect that a band that was formed FIFTY YEARS ago this year might have some significant connexions with others, and one would be correct.  That is a long time ago, and The Zombies were early, British, and quite good.  They were not as prolific as many other bands, and almost became victims of their own success in a manner of speaking.

Interestingly, The Zombies were always more popular in the United States than they were in the United Kingdom.  I have no explanation for that other than the hypothesis that when they were getting “hot”, other bands like The Who, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles were getting even hotter in the UK.

Please come with me to review the career of this very, very underrated British Invasion band.  As a preview to Pique the Geek for Sunday evening at 9:00 PM Eastern, the topic for the evening will be a new installment to my off and on series about firearms, this time about the propellants black powder and the modern smokeless powders, with a nod to Pryodex(r), a more modern substitute for black powder.

Mar 12 2011

Prime Time

Broadcast is dead.  So is cable, all lazy ass play the same B movie twice programming.

And as if to prove all I have said, here is one of the first to go! A lad who sat before me on these very benches, who gave up all to serve in the first year of the war. One of the iron youth who have made Germany invincible in the field! Look at him. Sturdy and bronze and clear-eyed! The kind of soldier every one of you should envy! Paul, lad, you must speak to them. You must tell them what it means to serve your fatherland.

(I)t’s been a long while since we enlisted out of this classroom. So long, I thought maybe the whole world had learned by this time. Only now they’re sending babies, and they won’t last a week! Up at the front you’re alive or you’re dead and that’s all. You can’t fool anybody about that very long. And up there we know we’re lost and done for whether we’re dead or alive. Three years we’ve had of it, four years! And every day a year, and every night a century! And our bodies are earth, and our thoughts are clay, and we sleep and eat with death! And we’re done for because you *can’t* live that way and keep anything inside you!

Later-

A man’s hands never seem to get clean, even if he don’t touch nothing. They just stay dirty. Sort of a special kind of dirt. G.I. dirt. I bet one of those criminologists could take a sample out of a guy’s fingernail, put it under a microscope, and say, “That’s G.I. dirt.” The dirt’s always the same color, no matter what country you’re fighting in.

Dave in repeats from 2/3.

Pork Chop Hill is in North Korea now, but those who fought there know for what they died, and the meaning of it.

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