04/02/2011 archive

Evening Edition

Once again I’ll be hosting the Evening Edition while ek hornbeck sets up for tonight’s Men’s Final Four of the NCAA Championship Tournament.

  • Battle for Abidjan rages, carnage in western Ivory Coast

    by Thomas Morfin – 1 hr 41 mins ago

    ABIDJAN (AFP) – Heavy artillery fire and explosions shook downtown Abidjan Saturday on the third day of a fierce battle for the city, as rival forces were accused of massacring hundreds in western Ivory Coast.

    Cornered, but clinging on, strongman Laurent Gbagbo brushed off calls by world leaders to step down amid an offensive by troops backing the internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara in Abidjan.

  • Japan nuclear struggle focuses on cracked reactor pit

    By Kiyoshi Takenaka And Chisa Fujioka – Sat Apr 2, 12:40 pm ET

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese officials grappling on Sunday to end the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl were focusing on a crack in a concrete pit that was leaking radiation into the ocean from a crippled reactor.

    Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it had found a crack in the pit at its No.2 reactor in Fukushima, generating readings 1,000 millisieverts of radiation per hour in the air inside the pit.

  • Random Japan


    A motorist in quake-hit Iwate died of carbon monoxide poisoning while waiting for gasoline in a line that stretched longer than a kilometer. The man had been trying to keep his car warm with a kerosene heater.

    Billionaire US investor Warren Buffett apparently believes that the earthquake “is the kind of extraordinary event that creates a buying opportunity for shares in Japanese companies.”

    It was reported that Kansai Electric Power Co. will invest up to ¥100 billion in an effort “to make its nuclear plants more resistant to earthquakes and tsunami.” Maybe they could ask Warren Buffett for some help.

    The speaker of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly was forced to apologize after calling earthquake-inflicted damage at a local government office “a divine fortune.” The pol had opposed a plan to move all municipal offices to the damaged building.

    It was reported that some teachers and school officials in Tohoku are holding graduation ceremonies at evacuation centers. Others are visiting their students’ homes to hand-deliver diplomas.

    The central government is mulling whether to establish a full-fledged federal agency that would specifically deal with post-quake reconstruction.

    2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament Men’s Semi Finals

    Sunday was a great day for upsets.  As a matter of fact not a single #1 seed is left in it and the highest seed is Connecticut at a 3.  Of course your Cinderella story is Virginia Commonwealth which played it’s way in and has won 4 games since then.

    Sunday’s Results

    Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score Region
    1 Kansas 37 – 3 61 11 *Virginia Commonwealth 28 – 11 71 Southwest
    2 North Carolina 30 – 8 69 4 *Kentucky 35 – 8 76 East

    Tonight we’ll see all 4 men’s teams.  I’ll of course be rooting for the representative from The Big East, the one with the deeply stupid fight song-

    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!

    We’ll start out with the matchup of the underdogs, Butler and Virginia Commonwealth.  Though Commonwealth out Cinderella’s Butler this year, Butler is no favorite and was last year’s shocker going down in the finals to Duke by a mere 2 points.

    As for Connecticut it’s never a shock when a 4 takes out a 3 but I think they match up well against Kentucky and despite what the idiot commentators say The Big East is the deepest, toughest conference in College Basketball and has been for years.

    Current Matchups

    Time Seed Team Record Region Seed Team Record Region
    6:09 pm 8 Butler 26 – 9 Southeast 11 Virginia Commonwealth 28 – 11 Southwest
    8:49 pm 3 Connecticut 32 – 9 West 4 Kentucky 35 – 8 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.

    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.

    A Versatile Vegetable for a Chilly Spring


    Spring vegetables aren’t here quiet yet – and if the weather doesn’t improve soon, they may not arrive for a while. Until then, there’s a fine alternative: Swiss chard.

    This leafy green, hearty enough to withstand the cold but more delicate in flavor than kale and collards, has been finding its way into all sorts of comforting dishes in my kitchen, from pastas to soups to stir-fries. It’s the most versatile of greens, and an excellent source of calcium and potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene.

    Orecchiette With Swiss Chard, Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

    Onion Pizza With Ricotta and Chard

    Bruschetta With Swiss Chard and Smoked Trout

    Swiss Chard and Chickpea Minestrone

    Stir-Fried Swiss Chard and Red Peppers

    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”

    New York Times Editorial: Gov. Cuomo’s Budget

    New York’s lawmakers passed a $132.5 billion budget before the April 1 deadline, a rare event. That is, on the whole, a political win for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who cut $10 billion out of it.

    But the way he chose to do it will bring unnecessary pain to the less fortunate across the state, while allowing some of the richest residents to escape their share of the burden of a recession-era budget. Tellingly, legislators passed the 2011-12 budget behind locked doors early Thursday after angry protesters chanted in the Capitol corridors on Wednesday.

    Andy Worthington: Mocking the Law, Judges Rule that Evidence Is Not Necessary to Hold Insignificant Guantánamo Prisoners for the Rest of Their Lives

    If I was an American lawyer who had fought for many years to secure habeas corpus rights for the prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba – in other words, the right to ask an impartial judge to rule on my captors’ reasons for slinging me in a legal black hole and leaving me to rot there forever – the latest news from the Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. (also known as the D.C. Circuit Court) would make me sick in a bucket rather than believing any longer that the law – the revered law on which the United States was founded – can bring any meaningful remedy for the prisoners at Guantánamo.

    Treated as punchbags without rights when first picked up, mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the 172 men still held at Guantánamo are still treated with scorn by the administration of Barack Obama, the standard bearer of “hope” and “change,” who promised to close Guantánamo and to do away with “the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, [where] we have compromised our most precious values.” Instead, however, Obama has revealed himself to be nothing more than a hollow man whose ability to read from an autocue made him look caring, clever and capable when that was exactly the antidote we needed to eight years of Bush and Cheney.

    Joe Conason: Why the Reckless Republicans Win

    Scarcely any news story induces sleep as swiftly and surely as congressional budget negotiations-a topic that features politicians bickering loudly over huge dollar amounts that lack meaning for most people, while their public posturing reflects little of what is actually going on in the back channels.

    But it is also the story of a Republican minority within a minority that is getting its way because nobody else in Washington is reckless enough to promote a government shutdown.

    Reckless is the proper way to describe the Republicans’ position, because their demands clearly have so little to do with real fiscal and economic responsibility-and so much to do with satisfying the most extreme elements in their base.

    This Week In The Dream Antilles

    A week of perplexity.  A week of indolence.  A (last?) week of winter.  A week of introspection.  A week of distraction.  You name it.  In other words, your bloguero has his moods (read: excuses) for a week of low productivity.

    Sometimes it’s hard for your boguero to keep up.  Like everyone else riding this blue planet round the nearest star, your bloguero has concerns about survival.  His survival, the planet’s survival.  He doesn’t write a lot when he’s got worries about the state of the planet and its inhabitants.  And to confess, he is becoming slowly convinced that he’s silently and secretly being irradiated and mutated, as all of you are also, into a glowing, green,  cridaria.  One that doesn’t require any sea water.  One that is a giant, amoeba like, creeping, green ectoplasm.  In this progression, the end, and who knows how far away that might be, is looking like human silly putty.  Your bloguero has trouble typing when he’s worried that his fingers are being radiated into spongy tendrils.

    On the other hand, if we’re all really hurtling like crash test dummies into a future as glowing silly putty, this week’s blog output is the least of your bloguero’s concerns.  Or yours.

    On Thursday, in an effort to stave off life as Sponge Bob, your bloguero invited everyone to a Ceremony For Japan/Ceremonia Para Japon.  If as Dr. Emoto argues, water is responsive to prayer, your bloguero was in no mood to ignore the possibility of an energetic transformation of the ocean.  Alas, the news on Saturday suggests that this ceremony hasn’t prevented radiation from seeping into the Pacific Ocean.  The next thing your bloguero anticipates is the appearance of a particularly angry Rodan.

    And then there’s your bloguero’s slowly turning The Dream Antilles back to its original conception as a Lit Blog in The Market Of Dreams and the the Haiku that inspired it, which was in turn inspired by Eduardo Galeano.  Your bloguero enjoyed these two pieces and considered them among his best.  They weren’t cross-posted anywhere because, well, there really isn’t another place they fit.  Your bloguero hopes you enjoy them.

    Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is now posted early Saturday morning.   Your bloguero will see you next week, planetary and his psycho-emotional condition pe

    On This Day In History April 2

    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.

    April 2 is the 92nd day of the year (93rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 273 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1513, Ponce de Leon discovers Florida. Near present-day St. Augustine, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon comes ashore on the Florida coast, and claims the territory for the Spanish crown.

    Although other European navigators may have sighted the Florida peninsula before, Ponce de Leon is credited with the first recorded landing and the first detailed exploration of the Florida coast. The Spanish explorer was searching for the “Fountain of Youth,” a fabled water source that was said to bring eternal youth. Ponce de Leon named the peninsula he believed to be an island “La Florida” because his discovery came during the time of the Easter feast, or Pascua Florida.

    First voyage to Florida

    Ponce de Leon equipped three ships with at least 200 men at his own expense and set out from Puerto Rico on March 4, 1513. The only contemporary description known for this expedition comes from Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, a Spanish historian who apparently had access to the original ships’ logs or related secondary sources from which he created a summary of the voyage published in 1601. The brevity of the account and occasional gaps in the record have led historians to speculate and dispute many details of the voyage.

    The three ships in this small fleet were the Santiago, the San Cristobal and the Santa Maria de la Consolacion. Anton de Alaminos was their chief pilot. He was already an experienced sailor and would become one of the most respected pilots in the region. After leaving Puerto Rico, they sailed northwest along the great chain of Bahama Islands, known then as the Lucayos. By March 27, Easter Sunday, they reached the northern end of the Bahamas sighting an unfamiliar island (probably Great Abaco).

    For the next several days the fleet crossed open water until April 2, 1513, when they sighted land which Ponce de Leon believed was another island. He named it La Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). The following day they came ashore to seek information and take possession of this new land. The precise location of their landing on the Florida coast has been disputed for many years. Some historians believe it occurred at St. Augustine; others prefer a more southern landing at a small harbor now called Ponce de Leon Inlet; and some argue that Ponce came ashore even further south near the present location of Melbourne Beach.

    After remaining in the vicinity of their first landing for about five days, the ships turned south for further exploration of the coast. On April 8 they encountered a current so strong that it pushed them backwards and forced them to seek anchorage. The tiniest ship, the San Cristobal, was carried out of sight and lost for two days. This was the first encounter with the Gulf Stream where it reaches maximum force between the Florida coast and the Bahamas. Because of the powerful boost provided by the current, it would soon become the primary route for eastbound ships leaving the Spanish Indies bound for Europe.

    Six In The Morning

    Kadafi government rebuffs Libya rebel cease-fire offer

    After rebels refused for weeks to negotiate with Moammar Kadafi’s regime, a rebel leader offers a cease-fire if Kadafi agrees to withdraw his forces from besieged cities and permit peaceful protests.

    By Borzou Daragahi and David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times

    Reporting from Tripoli and Benghazi, Libya- Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi’s regime brusquely swatted down a truce offered by rebels Friday and continued to pummel opposition positions in both the eastern and western sections of the country.

    After rebels had refused for weeks to negotiate with Kadafi’s government, the leader of the opposition’s national council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, offered a cease-fire if Kadafi agreed to withdraw his forces from besieged Libyan cities and permitted peaceful protests.

    But Musa Ibrahim, a spokesman for the regime, dismissed the offer as a trick.

    School House Rock: “I’m Just A Bill”

    At the beginning of the new congressional session, the House Republicans decided that they would read the Constitution, selectively leaving out a couple of amendments. They then passed new rules stating that each bill would meet constitutional requirements and a few other rules that they have selectively applied. A mere three months after reaffirming their commitment to the constitution, they proceeded to trash it and amazingly pass a completely unconstitutional bill that, fortunately, will never become a law, no matter how much Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) would wish.

    “What this bill says is it reiterates again the deadline, and that the Senate should act before the deadline, and that’s what the American people are expecting. The bill then says if the Senate does not act, then H.R. 1 [the House-passed bill] will be the law of the land.”

    Cantor conveniently forgets that bills, even symbolic ones, cannot become law without also passing the Senate and getting the President’s signature.

    Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) took to the House floor to explain to the how a bill is passed to the Tea Party Republicans (including mine, oy). Weiner laid it out in the simplest of terms using a children’s book, “House Mouse, Senate Mouse,” in which the “Squeaker of the House” and the “Senate Mousejority Leader” compromise on a national cheese.

    DocuDharma Digest

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    Featured Essays for April 1, 2011-


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