Daily Archive: 04/05/2011

Apr 05 2011

2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2011

Well you can hardly be more wrong than I was on Sunday.  Never let it be said I’m unwilling to admit it when I am.

Sunday’s Results

Seed Team Record Score Region Seed Team Record Score Region
1 Stanford 31 – 3 62 West 2 *Texas A&M 32 – 5 63 Southwest
1 Connecticut 36 – 2 63 East 2 *Notre Dame 30 – 7 72 Southeast

Now TheMomCat has expressed a preference for the Aggies while I am sticking with my Big East obsession.

This is the 24th and final entry in this year’s coverage, though I do have some meta points to make after I recover from the ordeal.

The Final

Seed Team Record Region Seed Team Record Region
2 Notre Dame 30 – 7 Southeast 2 Texas A&M 32 – 5 Southwest

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.

Apr 05 2011

Evening Edition

Once again I’ll be hosting the Evening Edition while ek hornbeck sets up for tonight’s Women’s Final of the NCAA Championship Tournament on CBS at 9 PM.

  • Ivory Coast’s cornered Gbagbo flees to bunker, seeks exit deal

    by Fran Blandy – Tue Apr 5, 12:43 pm ET

    ABIDJAN (AFP) – Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo hunkered down in a bunker at his home Tuesday and tried to negotiate an exit deal after being cornered by his rival’s forces, as his own troops silenced their weapons.

    Having resisted calls to cede power to internationally recognised president Alassane Ouattara for four months, Gbagbo was now trying to strike a deal to quit, according to former colonial power France.

  • Obama warns shutdown would hurt economy

    By Andy Sullivan and Alister Bull – 1 hr 13 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned on Tuesday that a federal government shutdown would seriously disrupt the U.S. economy, after Republican and Democratic leaders failed to make headway on a budget deal.

    With the clock ticking toward a government shutdown on Friday, Obama said he would call negotiators from both parties back to the White House if necessary to break an impasse.

  • Apr 05 2011

    Feeling motivated yet?

    Herr Doktor Professor

    The Threat Within

    In 2005, the de facto Democratic leader was Nancy Pelosi. And she never bought into either the crisis-mongering or the Beltway desire to prove oneself “serious” by courageously agreeing to hurt ordinary Americans to make the nation safe for high-end tax cuts. She maintained a steely resolve: this privatization shall not pass.

    Pelosi is still there. But Barack Obama is now the party’s leader. And let’s be frank: Obama still, after all that has happened, seems devoted to the dream of transcending partisanship, a dream he tries to serve by being nice to Republican ideas no matter how terrible those ideas are.



    The great danger now is that Obama – with the help of a fair number of Senate Democrats – will kill Medicare in the name of civility and outreach.

    Apr 05 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”

    New York Times Editorial: Cowardice Blocks the 9/11 Trial

    Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. described a federal court trial for the self-professed mastermind of Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, as “the defining event of my time as attorney general.” On Monday, Mr. Holder’s dream for demonstrating the power of the American court system crumbled when he announced that the trial would take place not in New York City or anywhere in the United States but before a military commission at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp.

    That retreat was a victory for Congressional pandering and an embarrassment for the Obama administration, which failed to stand up to it.

    Dean Baker: It’s Time for Representative Ryan to Man Up

    Congressman Paul Ryan is the new darling of both the Republican Party and the major media outlets. He has put forward bold plans for dismantling Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In Washington policy circles, this passes for courage. Congressman Ryan is prepared to tell tens of millions of workers that they can no longer count on a secure retirement and decent health care in their old age. In Washington policy circles, this passes for courage.

    Outside of Washington, people have a different conception of bravery. After all, over the last three decades the policies crafted in Washington have led to the most massive upward redistribution in the history of the world. The richest 1 percent of the population has seen its share of national income increase by close to 10 percentage points. This comes to $1.5 trillion a year, or as Representative Ryan might say, $90 trillion over the next 75 years. That’s almost $300,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

    Chris Hedges: This Is What Resistance Looks Like

    The phrase consent of the governed has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.

    We will not halt the laying off of teachers and other public employees, the slashing of unemployment benefits, the closing of public libraries, the reduction of student loans, the foreclosures, the gutting of public education and early childhood programs or the dismantling of basic social services such as heating assistance for the elderly until we start to carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience against the financial institutions responsible for our debacle. The banks and Wall Street, which have erected the corporate state to serve their interests at our expense, caused the financial crisis. The bankers and their lobbyists crafted tax havens that account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade. They rewrote tax laws so the nation’s most profitable corporations, including Bank of America, could avoid paying any federal taxes. They engaged in massive fraud and deception that wiped out an estimated $40 trillion in global wealth. The banks are the ones that should be made to pay for the financial collapse. Not us. And for this reason at 11 a.m. April 15 I will join protesters in Union Square in New York City in front of the Bank of America.

    Apr 05 2011

    Obama: Another Cowardly Decision

    Again, Barack Obama changes his mind and does a complete reversal of doing what he said he would do. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This is the “change you can believe in”.

    In a Reversal, Military Trials for 9/11 Cases

    By Charlie Savage

    WASHINGTON – The Obama administration, ending more than a year of indecision with a major policy reversal, will prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other people accused of plotting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks before a military commission and not a civilian court, as it once planned.

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced on Monday that he has cleared military prosecutors at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to file war-crimes charges against the five detainees in the Sept. 11 case.

    Mr. Holder had decided in November 2009 to move the case to a federal civilian courtroom in New York City, but the White House abandoned that plan amid a political backlash.

    Of course this decision is being praised by the fear mongering cowards like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Lindsay Graham who opposed the trials being held in New York City because it was too dangerous, major trials are too expensive, too many secrets will be spilled, public trials will radicalize the enemy, the public doesn’t want it and on and on.

    This has been handled badly by Holder from the start. Instead of meeting with NYC officials, the mayor, police commissioner, etc, before he announced his plan last year to hold civilian trials in the city, the announcement came with little warning and no discussion. Of course they were all taken aback. There were hundreds of questions and no answers from the Obama DOJ. “Don’t worry, I’ve got this” is the typical Obama response to any concerns. Now Obama and all the his loyal supporters are laying the blame on congress for passing a bill that refused to fund the closing of Guantanamo and prevented bringing any of the detainees to the United States for trial. But did they challenge this law in the courts as being unconstitutional restriction on the ability of the Justice Department to prosecute these men fairly? No, Obama and Holder did not. Instead, as is typical of this administration, they dithered for a year and then caved.

    Dahlia Lithwick roundly criticizes this decisions that creates a “two-tiered system of justice”.

    Of course, exactly the same unpersuasive claims could have been made about every major criminal trial in Western history, from the first World Trade Center prosecution to the Rosenberg trial to the Scopes Monkey trial to Nuremburg. Each of those trials could have been moved to some dark cave for everyone’s comfort and well-being. Each of those defendants could have been tried using some handy choose-your-own-ending legal system to ensure a conviction. But the principle that you don’t tailor justice to the accused won out, and, time after time, the world benefited.

    But make no mistake about it: It won’t stop here. Putting the administration’s imprimatur on the idea that some defendants are more worthy of real justice than others legitimates the whole creeping, toxic American system of providing one class of legal protections for some but not others: special laws for children of immigrants, laws for people who might look like immigrants, different jails for those who seem too dangerous, special laws for people worthy of wiretapping, and special laws for corporations. After today it will be easier than ever to use words and slogans to invent classes of people who are too scary to try in regular proceedings.

    There may also be some ulterior motive for thees military commissions since the rules of evidence are different than in a civilian court that would exclude any evidence obtained through torture and the fruit of that poisoned tree. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a statement titled The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers “At Guantanamo, “Detainees Are Presumed Guilty” that enumerates the faults of these commissions despite the so-called revamping :

    “Despite some cosmetic changes since the Bush-era commissions, the commission rules still permit the government to introduce secret evidence, hearsay and statements obtained through coercion,” said the association’s Executive Director, Norman Reimer. “NACDL maintains that the rules and procedures for these commission trials raise serious questions about the government’s commitment to constitutional principles upon which our country was founded. “

    David Kaye at FDL gives some interesting argument for what may well have been a ruse by this administration that intends to use the tribunals as a propaganda tool and never challenged congress.

    What no commentator has stated thus far is the plain truth that the commissions’ main purpose is to produce government propaganda, not justice. These are meant to be show trials, part of an overarching plan of “exploitation” of prisoners, which includes, besides a misguided attempt by some to gain intelligence data, the inducement of false confessions and the recruitment of informants via torture. The aim behind all this is political: to mobilize the U.S. population for imperialist war adventures abroad, and political repression and economic austerity at home.

    Holder claims he wanted civilian trials that would “prove the defendants’ guilt while adhering to the bedrock traditions and values of our laws.” The Attorney General blamed Congress for passing restrictions on bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the United States for making civilian trials inside the United States impossible. Marcy Wheeler has noted that the Congressional restrictions related to the Department of Defense, not the Department of Justice, and there is plenty of reason to believe the Obama administration could have pressed politicians on this issue, but chose not to.

    This is such a farce that further exploits the victims of 9/11 when Holder dared claim “today’s decision as one of fairness to the 9/11 victims, who should have to wait no longer for their day in court”. Really? Then what took them two years? Human Rights First’s Daphne Eviatar said

    True respect for the 9/11 victims would have meant bringing the men suspected of the most heinous attack on U.S. soil in American history to trial in a public U.S. federal courthouse, for the victims and all the world to see. It would have meant securing solid verdicts that wouldn’t later be vulnerable to reversal by the Supreme Court, as would their convictions in a military commission. It would have meant presenting the voluminous evidence that prosecutors had amassed over the past decade detailing the crimes that each man had allegedly plotted and carried out. And it would have meant showcasing that the United States not only preaches about the importance of the rule of law around the world, but actually believes in and follows it here at home.

    snip

    But the administration had more than two years during which it could have transferred these men to federal courts and begun their prosecutions, and it didn’t. If the administration had moved these cases forward when it had ample opportunity, the convictions and sentences would likely have already been pronounced. Military commissions trials, meanwhile, will take at least twice that time to resolve, with the very possible result that either conviction or sentences will be overturned, given the commissions’ shaky legal grounding.

    There is no excuse for the tribunals. Human Rights First point out the fact that “civilian federal courts have have convicted more than 400 terrorists since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The discredited military commissions at Guantanamo Bay have convicted only 6, almost all via plea bargains that resulted in much lighter sentences due to the shaky legal ground of many of the military commission charges and procedures”.

    Obama is determined to continue with the Bush policies that have taken this country down the path that covers up war crimes and makes a mockery of our justice system.

    Apr 05 2011

    On This Day In History April 5

    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 5 is the 95th day of the year (96th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 270 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1774, Benjamin Franklin publishes “An Open Letter to Lord North”.

    On this day in 1774, Benjamin Franklin writes an open letter to Great Britain’s prime minister, Frederick, Lord North, from the Smyrna Coffee House in London. It was published in The Public Advertiser, a British newspaper, on April 15, 1774.

    Franklin’s tongue-in-cheek letter suggested that the British impose martial law upon the colonies and appoint a “King’s Viceroy of all North America.” Franklin satirically went on to suggest that such centralized power over “Yankee Doodles,” who had “degenerated to such a Degree” from their British ancestors, “that one born in Britain is equal to twenty Americans,” would allow the crown to collect its taxes, then sell their impoverished colonies and colonists to Spain.

    Smyrna Coffee House on St. James Street in London had been a meeting place of Whigs, or political liberals, since the 17th century. For Franklin to sign a letter drafted at Smyrna’s “A Friend of Military Government” was an obvious use of irony. The details of his purported plan for a military government, including the exclusive use of military courts in colonies known for their commitment to trial by jury, and “One Hundred to a Thousand Lashes in a frosty Morning” for offenders made Franklin s disdain for Lord North and his heavy-handed tactics clear.

    An Open Letter to Lord North

    For The Public Advertiser.

    To Lord North.

    My LORD, All your small Politicians, who are very numerous in the English Nation, from the patriotic Barber to the patriotic Peer, when big with their Schemes for the Good of poor Old England, imagine they have a Right to give Advice to the Minister, and condemn Administration if they do not adopt their Plan. I, my Lord, who have no mean Opinion of my Abilities, which is justified by the Attention that is paid to me when I harangue at the Smyrna and Old Slaughter’s, am willing to contribute my Mite to the public Welfare; and have a Proposal to make to your Lordship, which I flatter myself will be approved of by the Ministry, and if carried into Execution, will quiet all the Disturbances in America, procure a decent Revenue from our Colonies, make our royal Master (at least there) a King de facto, as well as de jure; and finally, as it may be managed, procure a round Sum towards discharging the national Debt.

    My Scheme is, without Delay to introduce into North America a Government absolutely and entirely Military. The Opposition which some People suspect would be made by the Colonies, is a mere Bugbear: The Sight of a few Regiments of bold Britons, appearing with Ensigns displayed, and in all the Pomp of War, a Specimen of which may be seen every Summer at the Grand Review on Wimbledon Common, with that great Commander G —— l G —— e at their Head, accompanied with a Detachment from the Artillery, and Half a Dozen short Sixes, would so intimidate the Americans, that the General might march through the whole Continent of North America, and would have little else to do but to accept of the Submission of the several Towns as he passed. But as the Honour would be too great for one Man to reduce to absolute Subjection so great an Extent of Territory, I would propose that a separate Command be given to L —— d G —- G —— e, who by his animated Speeches in the House, and coinciding so entirely with your Lordship’s Opinion on the proper Methods for humbling America, deserves a Share in the Fame of such a grand Exploit. Let him have one half of the Army under his Direction, and march from New York to South Carolina. No one can object to the Nomination, as his Military Prowess is upon Record. The Regiments that are in America, with those who are about to embark, will be amply sufficient, without being at the Expence of sending more Troops. Those who served in America the last War, know that the Colonists are a dastardly Set of Poltroons; and though they are descended from British Ancestors, they are degenerated to such a Degree, that one born in Britain is equal to twenty Americans. The Yankey Doodles have a Phrase when they are not in a Humour for fighting, which is become proverbial, I don’t feel bould To-day. When they make this Declaration, there is no prevailing on them to attack the Enemy or defend themselves. If contrary to Expectation they should attempt an Opposition, procure Intelligence when it happens not to be their fighting Day, attack them and they will fly like Sheep pursued by a Wolf. When all North America have thus bent their Neck to the Yoke designed for them, I would propose that the Method made use of by the Planters in the West Indies may be adopted, who appoint what they call a Negro Driver, who is chosen from among the Slaves. It is observed that the little Authority that is given him over his Fellow Slaves, attaches him to his Master’s Interest, and his Cruelty would be without Bounds were he not restrained; but the Master is certain, that the utmost Exertion of Strength will be exacted by this cruel Task-master for the Proprietor’s Emolument. Let all the Colonists be enrolled in the Militia, subject of course to Martial Law. Appoint a certain Number of Officers from among the conquered People, with good Pay, and other Military Emoluments; they will secure their Obedience in the District where they command. Let no other Courts be allowed through the whole Continent but Courts Martial. An Inhabitant, who disobeys an Order, may by a Court Martial be sentenced to receive from One Hundred to a Thousand Lashes in a frosty Morning, according to the Nature of his Offence. Where Punishment is thus secure, this Advantage will accrue, that there will not be the same Necessity of hanging up so many poor Devils as in this free Country; by which Means the Service of many an able Man is lost to the Community. I humbly propose that the General and Commander in Chief be vested with the Power, and called by the Name of the King’s Viceroy of all North America. This will serve to impress the Americans with greater Respect for the first Magistrate, and have a Tendency to secure their Submission. All Orders issuing from this supreme Authority to have the Force of Laws. After this happy Change of Government, how easy to collect what Taxes you please in North America. When the Colonists are drained of their last Shilling, suppose they should be sold to the best Bidder. As they lie convenient for France or Spain, it may be reasonably expected one of those little Powers would be a Purchaser. I think Spain is to be preferred, as their Power hath more of the Ready than France. I will venture a Conjecture, that the Ministry might get at least Two Millions for the Soil, and the People upon it. With such a Sum what glorious Things might he not atchieve! Suppose it should be applied towards the Payment of one hundredth Part of the National Debt, I would give him an Opportunity of drawing down upon him the Blessing of the Poor by making him to take off the Halfpenny Duty on Porter. Considering the probable Stability of the present Ministry, this Honour may be reserved for your Lordship.

    My Lord, excuse the Crudity of these indigested Hints, which your Wisdom is so capable of improving; and believe me, with infinite Respect, Your Lordship’s Most obedient Humble Servant, A Friend to Military Government.

    Smyrna Coffee-House, April 5.

    The Public Advertiser, April 15, 1774

    Apr 05 2011

    Six In The Morning

    Heavy fighting loosens Gbagbo’s grip



    TIM COCKS AND ANGE ABOA ABIDJAN, CôTE D’IVOIRE – Apr 05 2011

    Sustained machinegun and heavy weapons fire rang out from the direction of the palace in the commercial capital Abidjan before dawn in the heaviest fighting since soldiers backing presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara entered the city five days ago, a Reuters witness said.

    A spokesperson for Ouattara’s government said late on Monday his troops had already taken control of Gbagbo’s official presidential residence, but his statement could not be independently verified.

    Apr 05 2011

    DocuDharma Digest

    Regular Features-

    Featured Essays for April 4, 2011-

    DocuDharma

    Apr 05 2011

    2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

    No upsets.

    Saturday’s Results

    Seed Team Record Score Region Seed Team Record Score Region
    8 *Butler 27 – 9 70 Southeast 11 Virginia Commonwealth 28 – 12 62 Southwest
    3 *Connecticut 33 – 9 56 West 4 Kentucky 35 – 9 55 East

    So this is it.  If you like rooting for the underdog Butler is your pick (BTW Dad- Indianapolis, Indiana).  Their Bulldog mascot got a special pass from the NCAA to be at tonight’s game and the Husky didn’t (I don’t even think they have a real live Husky mascot, it’s not like ‘Handsome Dan’ or ‘Lassie’ so it’s really no big deal).

    On the other hand Connecticut has little enough to be proud about unless you think taking a piece of wood and selling it as Nutmeg is cool.  Or the Slave Trade and Cotton Gin.  Or Sewing Machine Sweat Shops.  Or Guns.

    I do think the Connecticut Compromise was a good idea even though the Senate has become disfunctional.  It’s their own damn fault, there is no Constitutional basis for the filibuster other than allowing each house to set its own rules.

    So I’ll be rooting for the team with the deeply stupid fight song again-

    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.

    C-O-N-N-E-C-T-I-C-U-T

    Connecticut, Conneticut Husky, Connecticut Husky

    Connecticut C-O-N-N-U!

    The Final

    Seed Team Record Region Seed Team Record Region
    3 Connecticut 33 – 9 West 8 Butler 27 – 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.

    Apr 05 2011

    Evening Edition

    Once again I’ll be hosting the Evening Edition while ek hornbeck sets up for tonight’s Men’s Final of the NCAA Championship Tournament on CBS at 9 PM.

    Sept. 11 suspects to be tried at Guantanamo Bay

    By James Vicini And Phil Stewart – 22 mins ago

  • WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a political setback for President Barack Obama, the United States said on Monday it would try self-professed September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-conspirators in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay and not in a U.S. civil court as Obama hoped.

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference the decision was necessary because Congress had imposed “unwise and unwarranted restrictions” that blocked the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States.

  • So, Mr. Rule of Law, did you think perhaps to challenge the congressional action in the courts? But then, under the rule of law, Khalid and the others would most likely have to be released

  • UN, French forces attack Gbagbo bases in Ivory Coast

    by Thomas Morfin – 50 mins ago

    ABIDJAN (AFP) – French and UN helicopters opened fire on the Ivory Coast presidential palace and bases of strongman Laurent Gbagbo Monday amid an all-out offensive to make him quit the presidency.

    The helicopters targeted the presidency, Gbagbo’s residence and military barracks in the main city Abidjan hours after fighters for internationally recognised leader Alassane Ouattara launched a new offensive to unseat him.