03/24/2011 archive

from firefly-dreaming 24.3.11

Essays Featured Thursday the 24th of March~

KT Tunstall starts the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

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

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

Older women with longer hair is on mplo‘s mind in Thursday Open Thoughts

Cornucopia Thursday, a weekly feature from Ed Tracey brings a delightful collection of items and ….well, just plain whimsy…..


Thought provoking Trunk Sniff’n Dust by Wendys Wink republished with permission by RiaD

I LOOKED INTO HER EYES an introspective look, from Xanthe

from Timbuk3: The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time!

Tonight #97

Round of 16 Part 1

When last we listened to men in squeeky shoes it was a night of upsets with half the contests going against the seeded teams.  The severe underdog triumphs were Virginia Commonwealth, Marquette, and Florida State but Arizona also won against form.

Sunday’s Results

Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score Region
2 *North Carolina 29 – 7 86 7 Washington 25 – 11 83 East
1 *Duke 34 – 4 73 8 Michigan 21 – 14 71 West
1 *Ohio St. 35 – 2 98 8 George Mason 29 – 6 66 East
4 Texas 29 – 8 69 5 *Arizona 30 – 7 70 West
3 Purdue 27 – 8 76 11 *Virginia Commonwealth 26 – 11 94 Southwest
3 Syracuse 27 – 8 62 11 *Marquette 23 – 14 66 East
1 *Kansas 36 – 2 73 9 Illinois 23 – 14 59 Southwest
2 Notre Dame 29 – 7 57 10 *Florida St. 25 – 10 71 Southwest

Ah, it seems like yesterday but it was actually the day before that and it was women.  As I said before it’s time to root for those you hate less, not many underdogs today except for Butler and Arizona.

UConn Huskies

UConn Husky, symbol of might to the foe.

Fight, fight Connecticut, It’s vict’ry, Let’s go. (go. go. go)

Connecticut UConn Husky,

Do it again for the White and Blue

So go--go--go Connecticut, Connecticut U.


Connecticut, Conneticut Husky, Connecticut Husky

Connecticut C-O-N-N-U!

As the top Google Blogger reports, the lyrics are “deeply stupid” and it’s hard to admit that as a member of the Marching Band I was required to memorize them and sing them a cappella at each home game.

Of course I was heavily medicated at the time.

Current Matchups

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
7:15 pm CBS 2 San Diego St. 35 – 2 3 Connecticut 30 – 9 West
7:27 pm TBS 2 Florida 30 – 7 3 BYU 34 – 4 Southeast
9:45 pm CBS 1 Duke 34 – 4 5 Arizona 30 – 7 West
9:57 pm TBS 4 Wisconsin 26 – 8 8 Butler 24 – 9 Southeast

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.

Evening Edition

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

  • West strikes deep in Libya, Misrata, Ajdabiyah besieged

    By Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy

    TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Western warplanes hit military targets deep inside Libya on Thursday but failed to prevent tanks reentering the western town of Misrata and besieging its main hospital.

    Air strikes destroyed government tanks on the outskirts of rebel-held Misrata, but other tanks inside the city were not hit, a resident said, underlining the difficulty of the U.N. backed military mission to protect Libyans from Muammar Gaddafi.

  • Turkey and France clash over Libya air campaign

    by Ian Traynor

    Tension mounts over military action as Ankara accuses Sarkozy of pursuing French interests over liberation of Libyan people

    Turkey has launched a bitter attack on French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s and France’s leadership of the military campaign against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, accusing the French of lacking a conscience in their conduct in the Libyan operations.

    The vitriolic criticism, from both the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the president, Abdullah Gül followed attacks from the Turkish government earlier this week and signalled an orchestrated attempt by Ankara to wreck Sarkozy’s plans to lead the air campaign against Gaddafi.

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”

Dean Baker: The Imaginary World in Which Washington Lives

It is a beautiful spring day in Washington. This is a nice respite from the horrors taking place in Japan and the ever-growing nuttiness of D.C. politics. Enjoying the weather provides a nice alternative to listening to the news or reading the newspaper.

The flood of nonsense in the traditional news outlets just continues to grow. At the top of the list is the steady stream of senators or members of Congress whose response to higher gas prices is to insist on drilling in every square inch of environmentally sensitive territory in the country. This is supposed to reduce our dependence on imported oil and lower the price of gas. Both sides of this assertion are absurd.

Glen Greenwald: The Manipulative Pro-War Argument in Libya

Advocating for the U.S.’s military action in Libya, The New Republic‘s John Judis lays out the argument which many of his fellow war advocates are making: that those who oppose the intervention are guilty of indifference to the plight of the rebels and to Gadaffi’s tyranny


Note how, in Judis’ moral world, there are only two possibilities: one can either support the American military action in Libya or be guilty of a “who cares?” attitude toward Gadaffi’s butchery. At least as far as this specific line of pro-war argumentation goes, this is just 2003 all over again. Back then, those opposed to the war in Iraq were deemed pro-Saddam: indifferent to the repression and brutalities suffered by the Iraqi people at his hands and willing to protect his power. Now, those opposed to U.S. involvement in the civil war in Libya are deemed indifferent to the repression and brutalities suffered by the Libyan people from Gadaffi and willing to protect his power. This rationale is as flawed logically as it is morally.

Harold Meyerson: The mind-set that survived the Triangle Shirtwaist fire

The seamstresses were just getting off work that Saturday, some of them singing a new popular song, “Every Little Movement (Has a Meaning of Its Own),” when they heard shouts from the eighth floor just below. They saw smoke outside the windows, and then fire. As David Von Drehle recounts the ensuing catastrophe, in his award-winning book “Triangle,” just a couple minutes later the ninth floor was fully ablaze.


Businesses reacted as if the revolution had arrived. The changes to the fire code, said a spokesman for the Associated Industries of New York, would lead to “the wiping out of industry in this state.” The regulations, wrote George Olvany, special counsel to the Real Estate Board of New York City, would force expenditures on precautions that were “absolutely needless and useless.”

“The best government is the least possible government,” said Laurence McGuire, president of the Real Estate Board. “To my mind, this [the post-Triangle regulations] is all wrong.”

Such complaints, of course, are with us still. We hear them from mine operators after fatal explosions, from bankers after they’ve crashed the economy, from energy moguls after their rig explodes or their plant starts leaking radiation. We hear them from politicians who take their money. We hear them from Republican members of Congress and from some Democrats, too. A century after Triangle, greed encased in libertarianism remains a fixture of – and danger to – American life.

On This Day in History March 24

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 24 is the 83rd day of the year (84th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 282 days remaining until the end of the year.

March 24th is the 365th and last day of the year in many European implementations of the Julian calendar.

On this day in 1989, Exxon Valdez runs aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska.

The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound‘s Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters. As significant as the Valdez spill was-the largest ever in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill-it ranks well down on the list of the world’s largest oil spills in terms of volume released. However, Prince William Sound’s remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane and boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The oil, originally extracted at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, eventually covered 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of coastline, and 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean. Then Exxon CEO, Lawrence G. Rawl, shaped the company’s response.

Timeline of events

Exxon Valdez left the Valdez oil terminal in Alaska at 9:12 pm on March 23, 1989, bound for Long Beach, California. The ship was under the control of Shipmaster Joseph Jeffrey Hazelwood. The outbound shipping lane was obstructed with small icebergs (possibly from the nearby Columbia Glacier), so Hazelwood got permission from the Coast Guard to go out through the inbound lane. Following the maneuver and sometime after 11 p.m., Hazelwood left Third Mate Gregory Cousins in charge of the wheel house and Able Seaman Robert Kagan at the helm. Neither man had been given his mandatory six hours off duty before beginning his 12-hour watch. The ship was on autopilot, using the navigation system installed by the company that constructed the ship. The ship struck Bligh Reef at around 12:04 a.m. March 24, 1989.

Beginning three days after the vessel grounded, a storm pushed large quantities of fresh oil on to the rocky shores of many of the beaches in the Knight Island chain. In this photograph, pooled oil is shown stranded in the rocks.

According to official reports, the ship was carrying approximately 55 million US gallons (210,000 m3) of oil, of which about 11 to 32 million US gallons (42,000 to 120,000 m3) were spilled into the Prince William Sound. A figure of 11 million US gallons (42,000 m3) was a commonly accepted estimate of the spill’s volume and has been used by the State of Alaska’s Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. Some groups, such as Defenders of Wildlife, dispute the official estimates, maintaining that the volume of the spill has been underreported. Alternative calculations, based on an assumption that the sea water rather than oil was drained from the damaged tanks, estimate the total to have been 25 to 32 million US gallons (95,000 to 120,000 m3).

Identified causes

Multiple factors have been identified as contributing to the incident:

   * Exxon Shipping Company failed to supervise the master and provide a rested and sufficient crew for Exxon Valdez. The NTSB found this was wide spread throughout industry, prompting a safety recommendation to Exxon and to the industry.

   * The third mate failed to properly maneuver the vessel, possibly due to fatigue or excessive workload.

   * Exxon Shipping Company failed to properly maintain the Raytheon Collision Avoidance System (RAYCAS) radar, which, if functional, would have indicated to the third mate an impending collision with the Bligh reef by detecting the “radar reflector”, placed on the next rock inland from Bligh Reef for the purpose of keeping boats on course via radar.

In light of the above and other findings, investigative reporter Greg Palast stated in 2008 “Forget the drunken skipper fable. As to Captain Joe Hazelwood, he was below decks, sleeping off his bender. At the helm, the third mate never would have collided with Bligh Reef had he looked at his RAYCAS radar. But the radar was not turned on. In fact, the tanker’s radar was left broken and disabled for more than a year before the disaster, and Exxon management knew it. It was (in Exxon’s view) just too expensive to fix and operate.” Exxon blamed Captain Hazelwood for the grounding of the tanker.

Economic and personal impact

In 1991, following the collapse of the local marine population (particularly clams, herring, and seals) the Chugach Alaska Corporation, an Alaska Native Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It has since recovered.

According to several studies funded by the state of Alaska, the spill had both short-term and long-term economic effects. These included the loss of recreational sports, fisheries, reduced tourism, and an estimate of what economists call “existence value”, which is the value to the public of a pristine Prince William Sound.

The economy of the city of Cordova, Alaska was adversely affected after the spill damaged stocks of salmon and herring in the area. Several residents, including one former mayor, committed suicide after the spill.

Breaking: Portuguese Government Resigns After Austerity Vote Fails!

Good for them.  Go Vikings!  (We’re everywhere).

Portugal Yield Soars to 12-Year High as Socrates Quits; Irish Bonds Tumble

By Lukanyo Mnyanda and Keith Jenkins, Bloomberg News

Mar 24, 2011 5:26 AM ET

Socrates’s resignation is “another nail in the coffin in terms of a bailout package,” said David Schnautz, a fixed- income strategist at Commerzbank AG in London. “In terms of Ireland, Greece and Portugal, this may be another underlying burdening factor. It doesn’t seem to be the case that you can say that the possibility of default is off the table.”

Portugal’s government collapses

The Economist online

Mar 23rd 2011, 21:53

The death of Sócrates

IN IRELAND a bail-out by the euro zone’s rescue fund helped to force the government into calling (and losing) an early election. In Portugal an early election may force the government into accepting a bail-out. The question is: which government?

Tonight’s defeat of the minority Socialist government, led by José Sócrates (pictured), in a parliamentary vote on austerity measures-the fourth such package in 12 months-triggered his prompt resignation as prime minister. But it also created a political vacuum in which nobody may have enough authority to negotiate a bail-out

Portugal’s political turmoil and its urgent need for a rescue will create new problems at the EU summit, which is due to sign off on an effective expansion of the bail-out fund and a German-led “pact for the euro”. If EU leaders agree to bail out Portugal, they may find they have already used quite a big chunk of their fund. Judging by experience, the markets will then move on to attack the Spanish. The bail-out fund can easily finance Portugal. But it is not clear that it could deal with Spain.

Austerity Debate Fells Portugal’s Premier


Published: March 23, 2011

Ahead of the vote, Mr. Sócrates had warned that parliamentary rejection of his latest austerity measures would prompt him to quit. The main Social Democratic opposition party, however, had warned it would oppose an austerity package that would inflict further pain on Portuguese citizens, notably by raising taxes for pensioners.

Instead, the Social Democrats demanded a snap general election, possibly opening the door for the formation of a coalition government between Portugal’s main parties.

In the end, lawmakers from all five opposition parties rejected further austerity measures, leaving 97 Socialist lawmakers to vote in favor the plan, out of 230 members of Parliament.

And how is that Austerity thing working out for you?

In New Budget, Britain Sticks to a Path of Austerity, Despite Slowing Growth

By LANDON THOMAS Jr., The New York Times

Published: March 23, 2011

The government’s newly independent economic forecast body also lowered its estimate for growth in gross domestic product for 2011 to 1.7 percent from the 2.1 percent seen in November. For 2012, the forecast was trimmed to 2.5 percent, from 2.6 percent.

Mr. Osborne’s austerity budget comes at a time of growing political pressure for similarly minded governments in Europe. Irish voters recently voted out the long-ruling Fianna Fail party, which had agreed to terms on a tough bailout package with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou’s Socialist Party is rapidly losing popularity, and in Portugal, the government is teetering on a knife’s edge as opposition to its own austerity program builds

Why?  Because Economics has ceased to be even a “Social” Science and instead become a cult of greed and naked Mammon worship.

Nobodies of Macroeconomics (Very Wonkish)

Paul Krugman, The New York Times

March 21, 2011, 2:21 pm

And so I was somewhat stunned when, as the fiscal debate unfolded, we had all these Chicago types sneeringly asserting that “nobody”, except possibly people at “third-tier” departments, has believed for decades that fiscal expansion can actually expand demand; Obstfeld and Rogoff are pretty prominent nobodies. I was equally stunned by assertions that Ricardian equivalence would wipe out any expansionary effect from fiscal policy, and that government spending necessarily crowds out an equal amount of private spending, when influential modern papers have shown quite clearly, and as rigorously as anyone could want, that it just ain’t so.

But in retrospect, it’s quite clear: Lucas and Sargent declared final victory over all things Keynesian in the 1970s, and the closed minds of their followers were such that they didn’t even notice the revival of Keynesianism that took place over the three decades that followed.

And Brad is right: if you’ve reached the point where you don’t pay attention to anything that might disturb your orthodoxy, you’re not doing science, you’re not even pursuing a discipline. All you’re doing is perpetuating a smug, closed-minded sect.

Asymmetrical Ignorance (Wonkish and Self-Indulgent)

Paul Krugman, The New York Times

March 21, 2011, 5:32 pm

I know that RBC exists; I know how it works; I just think it’s wrong. That’s very different from the reaction of the freshwater types to Keynesian arguments, which makes it clear that they just don’t know that modern Keynesianism exists, and have no idea what underlies the arguments people on the other side are making. This is, by the way, not a new asymmetry: it’s been clear for decades that a grad student from Princeton or MIT, asked how an equilibrium business cycle type would answer a question, can do that; but a student from Minnesota or (less reliably) Chicago hasn’t the least idea how alternative models work.

More broadly, I do pay attention to contrary arguments and points of view. I don’t make economists who I consider consistently wrong-headed part of my daily reading, since life is short, but I check in whenever I have reason to think that they’re making a case I need to take seriously. Regular readers may remember, for example, how I responded to fiscal policy critiques by Alesina and others – not by sneering at their academic qualifications, not by pulling rank, but by explaining why I didn’t trust their evidence; a lack of trust borne out a bit later by researchers at the IMF.

The point is that it’s OK to consider other economists, even a whole school of thought, wrong; what’s not OK is to be so closed-minded that you aren’t even aware that there are not obviously stupid people who disagree with you.

“Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don’t forget to pay the debt.”

(h/t Chris in Paris @ AmericaBlog)

Can you eat gold?

You can take all the gold in the world and put it in two Olympic swimming pools.

There is not an economy on the planet that ties its economy to gold. Not one. You haven’t been able to turn a note in to gold in decades. It is a medieval view of the modern world. Steve, do you use a calculator or an abacus?

Olympic swimming pools are 8 lanes wide and 50 yards long.

(h/t John Amato @ Crooks and Liars)

Six In The Morning

Tokyo radiation fears spark run on bottled water

More countries impose curbs on imports of Japanese food

msnbc.com news services

TOKYO – Workers doled out bottled water to Tokyo families Thursday after residents cleared store shelves because of warnings that radiation from Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear plant had seeped into the city’s water supply, while more countries imposed curbs on imports of Japanese food.

Engineers are trying to stabilize the Fukushima nuclear facility nearly two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami battered the complex and devastated northeast Japan.

Japan’s nuclear safety agency said Thursday that three workers have been exposed to radioactive elements and injured while laying electric cables. Two of the workers were taken to a hospital for treatment, spokesman Fumio Matsuda said.

Tokyo’s 13 million people have been told not to give infants tap water because of contamination twice the safety level.

Are we still in America?

Why Governor LePage Can’t Erase History, and Why We Need a Fighter in the White House

Robert Reich

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maine Governor Paul LePage has ordered state workers to remove from the state labor department a 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history. Among other things the mural illustrates the 1937 shoe mill strike in Auburn and Lewiston. It also features the iconic “Rosie the Riveter,” who in real life worked at the Bath Iron Works. One panel shows my predecessor at the U.S. Department of Labor, Frances Perkins, who was buried in Newcastle, Maine.

Frances Perkins was the first woman cabinet member in American history. She was also one of the most accomplished cabinet members in history.

She and her boss, Franklin D. Roosevelt, came to office at a time when average working people needed help – and Perkins and Roosevelt were determined to give it to them. Together, they created Social Security, unemployment insurance, the right of workers to unionize, the minimum wage, and the forty-hour workweek.

The Governor’s spokesman explains that the mural and the conference-room names were “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.”

Big business and Wall Street thought Perkins and Roosevelt were not in keeping with pro-business goals. So they and their Republican puppets in Congress and in the states retaliated with a political assault on the New Deal.

Roosevelt did not flinch. In a speech in October 1936 he condemned “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt October 31, 1936

On the eve of a national election, it is well for us to stop for a moment and analyze calmly and without prejudice the effect on our Nation of a victory by either of the major political parties.

The problem of the electorate is far deeper, far more vital than the continuance in the Presidency of any individual. For the greater issue goes beyond units of humanity–it goes to humanity itself.

In 1932 the issue was the restoration of American democracy; and the American people were in a mood to win. They did win. In 1936 the issue is the preservation of their victory. Again they are in a mood to win. Again they will win.

More than four years ago in accepting the Democratic nomination in Chicago, I said: “Give me your help not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people.”

The banners of that crusade still fly in the van of a Nation that is on the march.

We have not come this far without a struggle and I assure you we cannot go further without a struggle.

For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master.

Unfortunately we can’t say that today.  In 2006, 2008, and 2010 the American people voted against a corrupt Washington establishment and continual War.

And in 2012 we’ll vote the same way again.

How many politicians do we have to fire before they get this simple message?

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 23, 2011-


Load more