04/03/2011 archive

Evening Edition

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

  • French seize Ivory Coast main airport as fighting rages

    by Christophe Parayre – 48 mins ago

    ABIDJAN (AFP) – The French army took over Ivory Coast’s main airport Sunday as the battle for Abidjan raged into a fourth day and rival leaders blamed each other for chilling massacres in the west.

    The French Licorne (Unicorn) force took control of the airport in the main city Abidjan and Paris reinforced its troops in the city with 300 men as more than 1,500 foreigners sought refuge at a French military camp amid violence and looting in the city.

  • Brega battle rages as another Kadhafi man quits

    by Marc Burleigh – 57 mins ago

    NEAR BREGA, Libya (AFP) – The oil town of Brega saw heavy fighting on Sunday as rebel forces advanced only to fall back again after being ambushed by forces loyal to Moamer Kadhafi, who was hit by another defection.

    Former foreign minister and UN General Assembly president Ali Treiki became the latest official to abandon Kadhafi, after the flight to Britain of foreign minister and regime stalwart Mussa Kussa earlier in the week.

  • 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament Women’s Semi Finals

    NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2011

    The Aggies extract their revenge.  UConn cruises.

    Tuesday’s Results

    Seed Team Record Score Seed Team Record Score Region
    1 *Connecticut 36 – 1 75 2 Duke 31 – 4 40 East
    1 Baylor 34 – 3 46 2 *Texas A&M 31 – 5 58 Southwest

    All too easy.

    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!

    Notre Dame is just another Big East meeting, but they are the second best team in the Big East and it’s never an upset when a 2 seed beats a 1 seed.

    What it looks like (and all the vapid emptyheaded announcers want, watch the bias or better yet turn off the sound) is that we’re going to have a Stanford/UConn rematch in the final.

    Sadly I must agree since a large part of the Aggies’ motivation over Baylor was revenge, but you never know and that’s why you play the games.  Aggies would certainly be an easier matchup.

    Current Matchups

    Time Seed Team Record Region Seed Team Record Region
    7:00 pm 1 Stanford 31 – 2 West 2 Texas A&M 31 – 5 Southwest
    9:30 pm 1 Connecticut 36 – 1 East 2 Notre Dame 29 – 7 Southeast

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

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

    If you like a more traditional bracket try this NCAA one, they also have a TV schedule.

    Rant of the Week: Anthony Weiner

    This week Anthony Weiner has been the highlight of the week in the news with his sharp wit that targets the hypocritically stupid in Congress. This week his appearance at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner in Washington, DC. His self deprecating humor and spot on jokes are as funny as they are truthful. There are a few comedians who want to know who his writers are.

    Embrace it, “Boner”

    On This Day In History April 3

    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 3 is the 93rd day of the year (94th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 272 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1948, President Harry S.Truman signs Foreign Assistance Act.

    President Harry S. Truman signs off on legislation establishing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, more popularly known as the Marshall Plan. The act eventually provided over $12 billion of assistance to aid in the economic recovery of Western Europe.

    In the first years following the end of World War II, the economies of the various nations of Western Europe limped along. Unemployment was high, money was scarce, and homelessness and starvation were not unknown in the war-ravaged countries. U.S. policymakers considered the situation fraught with danger. In the developing Cold War era, some felt that economic privation in Western Europe made for a fertile breeding ground for communist propaganda.

    The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the large-scale economic program, 1947-1951, of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger economic foundation for the countries of Europe. The initiative was named after Secretary of State George Marshall and was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. Marshall spoke of urgent need to help the European recovery in his address at Harvard University in June 1947.

    The reconstruction plan, developed at a meeting of the participating European states, was established on June 5, 1947. It offered the same aid to the Soviet Union and its allies, but they did not accept it. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948. During that period some US $13 billion in economic and technical assistance were given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation. This $13 billion was in the context of a U.S. GDP of $258 billion in 1948, and was on top of $12 billion in American aid to Europe between the end of the war and the start of the Plan that is counted separately from the Marshall Plan.

    The ERP addressed each of the obstacles to postwar recovery. The plan looked to the future, and did not focus on the destruction caused by the war. Much more important were efforts to modernize European industrial and business practices using high-efficiency American models, reduce artificial trade barriers, and instill a sense of hope and self-reliance.

    By 1952 as the funding ended, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels; for all Marshall Plan recipients, output in 1951 was 35% higher than in 1938.[8] Over the next two decades, Western Europe enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity, but economists are not sure what proportion was due directly to the ERP, what proportion indirectly, and how much would have happened without it. The Marshall Plan was one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level-that is, it stimulated the total political reconstruction of western Europe.

    Belgian economic historian Herman Van der Wee concludes the Marshall Plan was a “great success”:

       “It gave a new impetus to reconstruction in Western Europe and made a decisive contribution to the renewal of the transport system, the modernization of industrial and agricultural equipment, the resumption of normal production, the raising of productivity, and the facilitating of intra-European trade.”

    George Catlett Marshall (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American military leader, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. Once noted as the “organizer of victory” by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II, Marshall served as the United States Army Chief of Staff during the war and as the chief military adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As Secretary of State, his name was given to the Marshall Plan, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

    Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

    Punting the Punditsis 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”.

    The Sunday Talking Heads:

    This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Ms Amanpour will look at the budget showdown in Washington and the conflict in Libya with guests Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and General Jim Jones, Ret.

    The roundtable with George Will, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times, Republican political strategist and former Pentagon spokesperson Torie Clark and David Ignatius of the Washington Post take on the “Obama Doctrine.”

    Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:Mr. Schieffer’s guests, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. will discuss Libya and the budget

    The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Katty Kay, BBC Washington Correspondent, Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Senior Editor, Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine Assistant Managing Editor and Norah O’Donnell, MSNBC Chief Washington  Correspondent will try to answer these questions:

    Is President Obama failing to lead?

    Could Republican red hots spoil the Party?

    Meet the Press with David Gregory: Exclisive interviews with Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) to discuss the budget and Libya.

    The roundtable guests are the president of the National Urban League, Marc Morial; Republican strategist and columnist for TIME Magazine, Mike Murphy; columnist for the Washington Post, EJ Dionne; presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin; and the chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Daniel Yergin.

    State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Guests are Gen. James Jones (Ret.), Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.

    Donna Brazile (the Obama loyalist) and Bill Bennett (the Islamaphobic bigot) will discuss the past week and what’s ahead.

    Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Guests are former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski (Mika’s dad) weighs in on the turmoil in the Middle East and America’s response.

    A roundtable discussion of Libya with  Bernard-Henri Lévy, French Envoy to the Libyan resistance, and the private citizen most responsible for getting the world to intervene in Libya, Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Robert Baer, a former CIA officer and author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism and Robert Worth, Middle East correspondent for the New York Times.

    In a separate interview, Noman Benotman, a Libyan who says he was there during the planning of 9/11 but now works on counterterrorism talks to Fareed about what al Qaeda could be up to in his homeland.

    And finally, a robot may have conquered Jeopardy, but are robots now conquering Afghanistan?

    Fareed may well be worth the effort to get up and watch. Bernard-Henri is a very interesting man.

    Six In The Morning

    How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico’s murderous drug gangs

    As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

    Ed Vulliamy

    The Observer, Sunday 3 April 2011

    On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

    During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.

    DocuDharma Digest

    Regular Features-

    Featured Essays for April 2, 2011-



    “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens.”

    Britney Spears, September 3, 2003

    “So what should I think about [the war in Libya]? If it had been my call, I wouldn’t have gone into Libya. But the reason I voted for Obama in 2008 is because I trust his judgment. And not in any merely abstract way, either: I mean that if he and I were in a room and disagreed about some issue on which I had any doubt at all, I’d literally trust his judgment over my own. I think he’s smarter than me, better informed, better able to understand the consequences of his actions, and more farsighted.”

    Kevin Drum, Friday, in Mother Jones

    As part of his consulting work my father comes in contact with law enforcement officials from around the country and one time he chanced to meet up with the CHP officer assigned to teach Britney how to use a child’s car seat.

    She’s a moron.

    So what should I think about Kevin Drum?

    Citizenship duties

    by Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com

    Saturday, Apr 2, 2011 12:03 ET

    (D)eciding that — once they’re in power — you’re going to relinquish your own critical faculties and judgment to them as a superior being, which is exactly what Drum (and Spears) announced they were doing. That form of submission is a definitively religious act, not a political one (Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding“). Venerating a superior being and blindly following its will is a natural human impulse, as it frees one of the heavy burden of decision-making and moral and intellectual judgment, and it also creates a feeling of safety and protection (hence the cross-cultural and sustained strength of religion, as well as the potent appeal of both political authoritarianism and personality cults).

    But “thinking” that way is an absolute abdication of the duties of citizenship, which compel holding leaders accountable and making informed judgment about their actions (it’s a particularly bizarre mindset for someone who seeks out a platform and comments on politics for a living). It’s also dangerous, as it creates a climate of unchecked leaders who bask in uncritical adoration. I honestly don’t understand why someone who thinks like Drum — whose commentary I’ve usually found worthwhile — would even bother writing about politics; why not just turn over his blog to the White House to disseminate Obama’s inherently superior commentary? And what basis does Drum have for demanding that Obama inform him or the nation of the rationale for his decisions, such as going to war in Libya; since Drum is going to trust Obama’s decisions as intrinsically more worthwhile, wouldn’t such presidential discussions be a superfluous act?

    It’s truly difficult to overstate just how antithetical this uncritical trust is to what the Founders assumed — and hoped — would be the cornerstone of the republic. Jefferson wrote in 1798: “in questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Adams, in 1772, put it this way: “The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” Four years later, his wife Abigail memorably echoed the same sentiment in a letter to him: “remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.”

    Even the most magnanimous leaders — perhaps especially them, given their belief in their own Goodness — are likely to veer into serious error, corruption and worse if they are liberated from a critical citizenry. Mindlessly cheering for a politician — or placing trust in their decision-making — is understandable a couple of months before an election when you’ve decided their re-election is important. But it’s wildly inappropriate any other time. And subordinating your own critical faculties to a leader’s is, at all times, warped, self-destructive and dangerous.

    Perhaps too charitably some have suggested it’s all an elaborate April Fools (h/t Corrente).

    from firefly-dreaming 02.4.11

    this is an Open Thread

    Essays Featured Saturday the 2nd of April:

    Late Night Karaoke Won’t Get Fooled Again, mishima DJs

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

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

    Finding silver linings is on Alma‘s mind in Saturday Open Thoughts

    A brand new piece of Saturday Art! from mishima‘s talented hands.


    Youffraita does Ramen Soup! (No, not THAT stuff — the real thing!)

    The most recent Popular Culture  from Translator “Pat” Boone