Daily Archive: 03/18/2011

Mar 18 2011

from firefly 18.3.11

Mar 18 2011

Evening Edition

I’ll be sitting in for ek hornbeck who is Live Blogging the NCAA Championship Games for the next few days.

  • Japan battles nuclear crisis, power effort crucial

    By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yoko Nishikawa

    (Reuters) – Exhausted engineers scrambled to fix a power cable to two reactors at Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear station on Saturday in a race to prevent deadly radiation from an accident now rated at least as bad as America’s Three Mile Island in 1979.

    In a crude tactic underlining authorities’ desperation, fire engines also sprayed water overnight on a third reactor deemed to be in the most critical state at the Fukushima plant in northeastern Japan, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

  • Obama warns Gaddafi to comply with U.N., halt advance

    (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday to comply with U.N. demands for a ceasefire or else face consequences that include military action.

    He said Gaddafi must stop advances on the rebel capital of Benghazi.

    “All attacks against all civilians must stop,” Obama said in a White House speech.

    Obama, offering his first justification to Americans for getting the U.S. military involved in Libya, said the goal is to protect Libyan citizens from what he called Gaddafi’s campaign of repression against his people.

Mar 18 2011

Round of 64 Day 2 Evening

Maybe Boston University will shock Kansas but I somehow doubt it.  Other than that I’m just killing time until Syracuse tips off at 10 pm.

Go Orange.

This afternoon CBS let Barack’s little Libya speech crush the end of an exciting Texas/Oakland finish and the begining of the Villanova/George Mason game.  Must not have been part of his bracket.  Thanks for nothing you elite failures.

This Afternoon’s Results

Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score Region
4 *Texas 29 – 7 81 13 Oakland 26 – 10 85 West
8 *Michigan 21 – 13 75 9 Tennessee 20 – 16 45 West
2 *Notre Dame 29 – 6 69 15 Akron 24 – 13 56 Southwest
8 *George Mason 29 – 5 61 9 Villanova 22 – 12 57 East
5 *Arizona 29 – 7 77 12 Memphis 27 – 10 75 West
1 *Duke 33 – 4 87 16 Hampton 24 – 9 45 West
7 Texas A&M 25 – 9 50 10 *Florida St. 24 – 10 57 Southwest
1 *Ohio St. 34 – 2 75 16 UT-San Antonio 19 – 14 46 East

Current Matchups

Date Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
3/18 6:50 pm TBS 1 Kansas 34 – 2 16 Boston U. 21 – 13 Southwest
3/18 7:15 pm CBS 2 North Carolina 27 – 7 15 Long Island 27 – 5 East
3/18 7:20 pm TNT 3 Purdue 27 – 7 14 St. Peter’s 20 – 13 Southwest
3/18 7:27 pm True 6 Xavier 25 – 8 11 Marquette 21 – 14 East
3/18 9:20 pm TBS 8 UNLV 26 – 8 9 Illinois 21 – 13 Southwest
3/18 9:45 pm CBS 7 Washington 24 – 10 10 Georgia 22 – 11 East
3/18 9:50 pm TNT 6 Georgetown 21 – 10 11 Virginia Commonwealth 24 – 11 Southwest
3/18 9:57 pm True 3 Syracuse 26 – 7 14 Indiana St. 22 – 13 East

Follow the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on The Stars Hollow Gazette.

If you don’t like squeeky shoes you can look for alternate programming here-

For a more traditional bracket try CBS Sports.  My Master Bracket Schedule is still good for today.

Mar 18 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: The Forgotten Millions

More than three years after we entered the worst economic slump since the 1930s, a strange and disturbing thing has happened to our political discourse: Washington has lost interest in the unemployed.

Jobs do get mentioned now and then – and a few political figures, notably Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, are still trying to get some kind of action. But no jobs bills have been introduced in Congress, no job-creation plans have been advanced by the White House and all the policy focus seems to be on spending cuts.

So one-sixth of America’s workers – all those who can’t find any job or are stuck with part-time work when they want a full-time job – have, in effect, been abandoned.

Robert Reich: As the Global Economy Trembles, Our Nation’s Capital Fiddles

Why isn’t Washington responding?

The world’s third largest economy suffers a giant earthquake, tsunami, and radiation dangers. A civil war in Libya and tumult in the Middle East cause crude-oil prices to climb. Poor harvests around the world make food prices soar.

All this means higher prices. American consumers, still reeling from job losses and wage cuts, will be hit hard. (Wholesale food prices surged almost 4 percent in February, the largest upward spike in more than a quarter century.)

Even before these global shocks the U.S. recovery was fragile. Consumer confidence is at a five-month low. Housing prices continue to drop. More than 14 million Americans remain jobless, and the ratio of employed to our total population is at an almost unprecedented low.

Lisa Hajjar: Pvt Manning proves ‘slippery slope’

Treatment of the US soldier shows there is a fine line between torture of enemy combatants and American citizens.

Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking a massive trove of classified material to WikiLeaks, has been imprisoned since May 2010. The treatment to which he has been subjected, including protracted isolation, systematic humiliations and routinised sleep deprivation, got more extreme last week when the commander of the brig at Quantico, Virginia, imposed on him a regime of forced nakedness at night and during an inspection of his cell every morning until his clothing is returned.

These types of abusive tactics were authorised by the Bush administration for use on foreign detainees captured in the war on terror, on the theory that causing “debilitation, disorientation and dread” would produce “learned helplessness” and make them more susceptible and responsive to interrogators’ questioning.


Mar 18 2011

Round of 64 Day 2 Afternoon

I’m not going to be paying as much attention to the games today because I need the time to set up tomorrow’s master schedule and check out what’s happening on the lady’s side.

Some observations on yesterday’s action-

There are only 3 upsets so far, Moorehead, Richmond, and Gonzaga (which always seems to be a Cinderella).  Since Morehead and Richmond face off tomorrow, depending on what happens today those Cinderella brackets are looking pretty busted.

Princeton and Michigan State played tough and deserve some credit for that.  UConn had a larger margin than Florida (by 1) and played a higher seed.  In your face Armando.

The Round of 64  has been, well…, frantic, The Round of 32 seems much more relaxed.  While coverage starts at 12:15 pm and final Tip Off (Connecticut/Cincinnati) is at 9:55 pm, you’ll only be flipping channels in Prime Time.

Of this group of games the only one I’m moderately interested in is Michigan because of my Big Chill connection.  For the most part you’ll have to make your own fun.  (Update: On closer examination I must admit some affection for the Villanova Ballhogs because of their prominent mention in Bored of the Rings.

Yesterday Evening’s Results

Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score Region
2 *Florida 29 – 7 79 10 UC Santa Barbara 19 – 14 51 Southeast
3 *BYU 33 – 4 74 14 Wofford 21 – 13 68 Southeast
3 *Connecticut 29 – 9 81 14 Bucknell 25 – 9 52 West
4 *Wisconsin 25 – 8 72 13 Belmont 30 – 5 58 Southeast
7 *UCLA 22 – 10 78 10 Michigan St. 21 – 15 76 Southeast
6 St. John’s 22 – 12 71 11 *Gonzaga 28 – 7 86 Southeast
6 *Cincinnati 28 – 8 78 11 Missouri 25 – 11 63 West
5 *Kansas St. 25 – 10 73 12 Utah St. 35 – 4 68 Southeast

Current Matchups

Date Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
3/18 12:15 pm CBS 4 Texas 28 – 7 13 Oakland 26 – 9 West
3/18 12:40 pm True 8 Michigan 20 – 13 9 Tennessee 20 – 15 West
3/18 1:40 pm TBS 2 Notre Dame 28 – 6 15 Akron 24 – 12 Southwest
3/18 2:10 pm TNT 8 George Mason 28 – 5 9 Villanova 22 – 11 East
3/18 2:45 pm CBS 5 Arizona 28 – 7 12 Memphis 27 – 9 West
3/18 3:10 pm True 1 Duke 32 – 4 16 Hampton 24 – 8 West
3/18 4:10 pm TBS 7 Texas A&M 25 – 8 10 Florida St. 23 – 10 Southwest
3/18 4:40 pm TNT 1 Ohio St. 33 – 2 16 UT-San Antonio 19 – 13 East

Follow the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on The Stars Hollow Gazette.

If you don’t like squeeky shoes you can look for alternate programming here-

For a more traditional bracket try CBS Sports.  My Master Bracket Schedule is still good for today.

Mar 18 2011

On This Day in History March 18

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 18 is the 77th day of the year (78th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 288 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1766, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act

After four months of widespread protest in America, the British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act, a taxation measure enacted to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. However, the same day, Parliament passed the Declaratory Acts, asserting that the British government had free and total legislative power over the colonies.

The Stamp Act of 1765 (short title Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12) was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America. The act required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London and carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies. Like previous taxes, the stamp tax had to be paid in valid British currency, not in colonial paper money. The purpose of the tax was to help pay for troops stationed in North America after the British victory in the Seven Years’ War. The British government felt that the colonies were the primary beneficiaries of this military presence, and should pay at least a portion of the expense.

The Stamp Act met great resistance in the colonies. The colonies sent no representatives to Parliament, and therefore had no influence over what taxes were raised, how they were levied, or how they would be spent. Many colonists considered it a violation of their rights as Englishmen to be taxed without their consent, consent that only the colonial legislatures could grant. Colonial assemblies sent petitions and protests. The Stamp Act Congress held in New York City, reflecting the first significant joint colonial response to any British measure, also petitioned Parliament and the King. Local protest groups, led by colonial merchants and landowners, established connections through correspondence that created a loose coalition that extended from New England to Georgia. Protests and demonstrations initiated by the Sons of Liberty often turned violent and destructive as the masses became involved. Very soon all stamp tax distributors were intimidated into resigning their commissions, and the tax was never effectively collected.

Opposition to the Stamp Act was not limited to the colonies. British merchants and manufacturers, whose exports to the colonies were threatened by colonial economic problems exacerbated by the tax, also pressured Parliament. The Act was repealed on March 18, 1766 as a matter of expedience, but Parliament affirmed its power to legislate for the colonies “in all cases whatsoever” by also passing the Declaratory Act. This incident increased the colonists’ concerns about the intent of the British Parliament that helped the growing movement that became the American Revolution.

Mar 18 2011

Six In The Morning

‘Everyone at the power plant is battling on, without running away’

Glenda Kwek

March 18, 2011 – 3:54PM

“Please dad come back alive,” the tweet read.

As foreigners boarded charter flights to leave Tokyo amid radiation fears from a troubled nuclear power plant in Japan’s north, 180 workers toiled tirelessly at the facility in a race to stop a full meltdown.

Messages from the Fukushima Fifty – named because they work in shifts of 50 people – are emerging a week after the massive earthquake and tsunami damaged cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The workers have been battling to keep fuel rods in the plant’s reactors from overheating and melting down by pumping seawater manually into the cores.

Mar 18 2011

Taking Back America: The Imperial President

At his Balkinization site, Jack Balkin discusses how he had predicted the current state of increased national surveillance that were put in place by George W. Bush during the “war on terrorism”. It would not matter if the president was a Democrat or a Republican because it has little to do with 9/11 but more about the National Security State that was created after World War II and it would be expected that these policies would be expanded.

Barack Obama has largely confirmed these expectations, much to the dismay of many liberals who supported him. After issuing a series of publicly lauded executive orders on assuming office (including a ban on torture), he has more or less systematically adopted policies consistent with the second term of the George W. Bush Administration, employing the new powers granted to the President by Congress in the Authorization of the Use of Military Force of 2001, the Patriot Act of 2001 (as amended), the Protect America Act of 2007, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 and the Military Commissions Acts of 2006 and 2009. These statutory authorizations have created a basic framework for the National Surveillance State, and have made Obama the most powerful president in history in these policy areas.

In spite of all the flowery rhetoric in public, behind the curtain Barack Obama is an extension of what is turning into an Imperial Presidency. This issue goes hand in hand with the expansion of the Military Industrial Complex that President Eisenhower warned of in his farewell address. David Swanson, author, blogger, and activist, and Bruce Fein, a constitutional and international lawyer discuss the current state of the growing surveillance state that is is making an end run Bill of Rights protections and expectations about procedure. The following four videos that were made on March 17 and moderated by attorney and author, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute are well worth the time.

Mar 18 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 17, 2011-


Mar 18 2011

Under the Radar: Too Busy For Words

The news is just flying off the “wires” and through the “tubes”. So, in an Attempt to keep up with some really important developing events, a quick summery of the big stuff and some of the related details.

    This is obviously not the optimum solution but Qaddafi is a lunatic. Both MSF and the ICRC have pulled out of Behghazi yesterday and most of the news media is gone.
  • UN Security Council Approves No-Fly Zone Over Libya

    Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi have driven back rebels to the eastern city of Benghazi this week. And after weeks of ambiguity about an official position on Libya, the Obama administration yesterday said the U.S. would support military action beyond a no-fly zone to prevent a humanitarian disaster. “We need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved, and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk,” U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said.

    With a UN Security Council resolution authorizing military action in Libya looming, Qaddafi today warned rebels in Benghazi, “We are coming tonight.” He promised amnesty for those who surrender, but added that his forces will show “no mercy or compassion” to those who resist.

    But just minutes ago, the UN Security Council voted 10-0 to authorize the no-fly zone and any measures necessary to protect civilians from attacks by Qaddafi’s forces. Five countries abstained from the vote, including Russia and China. A UN source tells ThinkProgress that the resolution also demands an immediate cease fire and rules out any foreign occupation of any part of Libyan territory.

  • Britain, France and US prepare for air strikes against Gaddafi

    British, French and US military aircraft are preparing to defend the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi after Washington said it was ready to support a no-fly zone and air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

    Jets could take off from French military bases if a no-fly zone is approved in a fresh United Nations security council resolution authorising “all necessary measures short of an occupation force” to protect civilians.

    France, which has led the calls for a no-fly zone along with Britain, has offered the use of military bases on its Mediterranean coast about 750 miles from the Libyan coast. Several Arab countries would join the operation.

    I doubt that the UN or the US will do much about this, other than a “tsk, tsk” from Hillary:
  • America rebukes Bahrain after violent crackdown on demonstrators

    Hillary Clinton condemns the rulers in Manama for not showing restraint as Shia-Sunni tensions mount around the Middle East

    The capital, Manama, was under curfew from 4pm to 4am, and the government was using emergency laws to ban public gatherings. The central square known as Pearl Roundabout, which had been a base for the protest movement, was violently cleared by riot police.

    Troops and riot police then moved on to locations across the city, including the Salmaniya medical clinic , which had become a second focal point of demonstrations. Doctors reported being attacked in wards and claimed power to part of the hospital had been turned off. The government said it was pursuing “thugs and outlaws”.

    “We have been chased, attacked and locked inside the grounds,” one doctor told the Guardian. “But the worst thing is … that we have been stopped from reaching patients.”

    Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis is just getting worse by the hour. The weather has been cold and it has snowed to add insult to injury
  • Japan holds the line in nuclear plant crisis

    # NEW: An emergency generator running at one unit is sending power to two others

    # Cooling efforts are “somewhat effective,” TEPCO says

    # Helicopters and trucks spray water onto No. 3 reactor housing

  • Japan disaster: U.S. starts to evacuate Americans using charter flights

    The U.S. government is arranging charter flights to evacuate Americans from Japan, according to a message issued Thursday by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. The action came after the State Department upgraded its advisory on Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis from an alert to a warning that said Americans in Japan “should consider departing.”