04/07/2011 archive

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 40 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Japan disaster zone hit by new powerful quake

by Hiroshi Hiyama, AFP

2 hrs 47 mins ago

TOKYO (AFP) – A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake late on Thursday hit the same area of Japan that was ravaged by disaster a month ago, seismologists said, prompting a local tsunami alert.

Power was cut to parts of the northeast of the country, much of which is still struggling with the effects of the monster tsunami that roared ashore four weeks ago.

The new quake caused a handful of injuries, national broadcaster NHK said, but there were no reported deaths. The tsunami alert was later cancelled after no deadly wave materialised.

from firefly-dreaming 07.4.11

This is an Open Thread

Essays Featured Thursday the 7th of April:

Late Night Karaoke takes us Higher & Higher, mishima DJs

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

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

mplo ponders Fiction and/or real life in books and movies in Thursday Open Thoughts

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

fake consultant has a fascinating hypothesis On Reincarnation, Or, Was Glenn Beck Just Promoted?

Cactus Syrup & Sheriff Sam from Wendys Wink, republished by RiaD

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

Tonight #87  

join the conversation! come firefly-dreaming with me….

Another Elite Failure

I can’t emphasize enough how fundamentally stupid, greedy, and vain our Versailles Aristocrats are.

Blame Mayor Bloomberg for Cathie Black Fiasco

Dan Collins, Huffington Post

Posted: 04/ 7/11 12:18 PM ET

Cathie Black was Mayor Bloomberg’s disaster – one of a long line he’s perpetrated since being elected to a third term. The fact that the mayor picked someone to run the schools who had no experience in education or, perhaps more critically, New York politics, was astonishing. The mayor is genuinely devoted to the public schools. He built his political career around improving them.

And then, out of some whim we may never really understand, he plopped them in the lap of a publishing executive who was looking for a way to re-start a shaky career, whose only real qualification was that she hung around in the same crowd as the mayor.

I think ‘ordinary people’ understand this kind of narcissistic nepotism quite well.  What qualifications does Luke Russert have?  How about Brian Deschane?

Gov. Walker’s Free Market Approach to Governing

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Unfortunately, many working people (or, as we like to call them, “limited cost resources”) are jealous of your $81.5K salary. They’re complaining that you’re not up to the job. Citing your youth, your lack of a college education and any real-world work experience, as well as your aptitude for drunk driving, they’re suggesting that you don’t have the needed experience to serve as one of the state’s chief regulators.

Of course, they ignore your most important qualification: your father’s ability to donate to Gov. Walker’s campaigns. Given your other qualifications, that’s the best $121.7K your dad ever spent. But more important than that, its an example of how free market principles can be applied to government to make your life better–you’re living the new American dream, my friend.

That’s not to say that your other major qualification won’t serve you well. The ability to pass out, face down, on various lawns and bushes should give you an edge as an environmental regulator.

I doubt EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has ever regained consciousness with a hunk of grass stuck to her eye, a centipede crawling up her nose, and the words “pig fucker” emblazoned across her forehead in indelible ink, nor has she exterminated an invasive beetle species using a 60% alcohol solution suspended in vomit. You certainly have the edge there.

Herr Doktor Professor

It’s not like Paul Krugman has been silent about Paul Ryan’s glitter and unicorns magical thinking budget, but it’s been spread across several blog posts and kind of hard to integrate.

Fortunately Scarecrow over at Firedog Lake has done the heavy lifting for me-

Krugman Exposes GOP Ryan’s Unicorn Budget, Catches Heritage Burying Number

By: Scarecrow, Wednesday April 6, 2011 8:26 pm

Paul Krugman spent Wednesday combing through the details of Tea-GOP genius Paul Ryan’s budget and in a series of blog posts utterly destroyed the Ryan budget’s phony math, implausible assumptions and unicorn forecasts. Kudos to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for picking this up.

Krugman once called Ryan a “flim flam” man, a virtual con artist, and yesterday, he proved it. Let us count the ways.

Here’s the Maddow clip-

Scarecrow summarizes 8 recent posts by Krugman who is back at it again today-

Pointing out that this is a return to Coolidge era spending.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the racist secessionist traitors of the Republican Party are unhappy with the results of The War of Rebellion and wish to revisit it.

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”

E. J. Dionee, Jr.: For moderates, no more fence-straddling on the budget

Political moderates and on-the-fencers have had it easy up to now on budget issues. They could condemn “both sides” and insist on the need for “courage” in tackling the deficit.

Thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and the Republicans’ maximalist stance in negotiations to avert a government shutdown, the days of straddling are over.

Ryan’s truly outrageous proposal, built on heaping sacrifice onto the poor, slashing scholarship aid to college students and bestowing benefits on the rich, ought to force middle-of-the-roaders to take sides. No one who is even remotely moderate can possibly support what Ryan has in mind.

Greg Mitchell: Dan Ellsberg and ‘Saving Private Manning’

After many months in the shadows, Pvt. Bradley Manning, who sits in the brig at the Quantico base in Virginia in near-solitary confinement, has recently drawn some high-level defenders, from Hillary Clinton’s former chief spokesman at the State Department to editors at The New York Times and The Guardian.   But none of them stand by Manning for his alleged crimes – he’s accused of leaking a massive number of classified documents to WikiLeaks — but instead  protest the conditions of his harsh confinement.

One person, however, has spoken up for Manning for his actual (alleged) actions as a whistleblower ever since his arrest last May. That would be Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked The Pentagon Papers four decades ago. He was even arrested twice in two days last month as part of his pro-Manning activism.

Ari Berman: Government Shutdown? Blame GOP Heartlessness and Democratic Cowardice

InTrade says there’s a 52 percent chance there will be a government shutdown before July. The brinksmanship and theatrics aside, I’ve long believed a shutdown would be averted and a budget deal reached for 2011-12. Now I’m not so sure. Some in the GOP are eagerly cheering on the prospect of a shutdown (literally), with the conservative Republican Study Committee even unveiling a countdown clock on its website (as of this post, there’s two days, ten hours, three minutes and five seconds left).

Glenn Greenwald: The Impotence of the Loyal Partisan Voter

Rachel Maddow last night issued a very harsh and eloquent denunciation of Obama’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a military commission at Guantanamo rather than a real court. At the end of her monologue, Maddow focused on the contrast between how the Republicans treat their base and how Democrats treat theirs, specifically emphasizing that the White House announced this decision on the same day it kicked off Obama’s re-election bid. About that point, Rachel said this:

   A Democratic President kicks his base in the teeth on something as fundamental as civil liberties — he puts the nail in the coffin of a civil liberties promise he made on his first full day in office — and he does it on the first day of his re-election effort. And Beltway reaction to that is. . . huh, good move. That’s the difference between Republican politics and Democratic politics. The Republicans may not love their base, but they fear them and play to them. The Democratic Party institutional structures of D.C., and the Beltway press in particular, not only hate the Democratic base — they think it’s good politics for Democratic politicians to kick that base publicly whenever possible.

   Only the base itself will ever change that.

How will that happen? How can the base itself

possibly change this dynamic, whereby politicians of the Democratic Party are not only willing, but eager, to “kick them whenever possible,” on the ground (among others) that doing so is good politics? I’d submit that this is not only one of the most important domestic political questions (if not the most important), but also the one that people are most eager to avoid engaging. And the reason is that there are no comforting answers.

Amanda Marcotte: How The “U-Word” Exposes the Anti-Choice Movement

Periodically in politics, there are events that create a dual reaction in all thinking people: 1) peals of laughter at the absurdity of it all and 2) the dreaded realization that many of our leaders are completely out of touch.  Such was the dual reaction to the news that the Republican leadership of the Florida state legislature wishes to censor the word “uterus” from being said aloud in their chambers, in response to a Democrat making a joke about how his wife should incorporate her uterus if she wants to maintain her right to bodily autonomy.  Obviously, the Republicans really just didn’t like the joke, which hit too close to home, and were looking for an excuse to condemn it.  But the excuse was real life concern trolling, in the guise of claiming “uterus” was a dirty word, with a side  helping of “think about the children!”

The internet responded with the requisite contempt to this censorship.  The hashtag #uterus exploded, and the general sentiment was that people who can’t tolerate hearing the syllables you-ter-us spoken aloud should not be filing 18 separate bills aimed at snatching control of the organs away from the rightful owners.  If you want to control something that badly, you should be able to say it out loud.

Ray McGovern: Military Tribunal May Keep 9/11 Motives Hidden

The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.

The Likud Lobby and their allied U.S. legislators can chalk up a significant victory for substantially shrinking any opportunity for the accused planners of 9/11 to tell their side of the story.

What? I sense some bristling. “Their side of the story?” Indeed! We’ve been told there is no “their side of the story.”

Robert Sheer: The Peasants Need Pitchforks

A “working class hero,” John Lennon told us in his song of that title, “is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/ But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: “Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income-an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

Gail Collins: Medicine on the Move

Sometimes, you really do want to tell the medical profession to just make up its mind.

We got word this week that estrogen therapy, which was bad, is good again. Possibly. In some cases.

This was not quite as confusing as the news last year that calcium supplements, which used to be very good, are now possibly bad. Although maybe not. And the jury’s still out.

Or the recent federal study that suggested women be told to stop checking their breasts for lumps. Or the recommendations on when to get a mammogram, which seem to fluctuate between every five years and every five minutes.

We certainly want everyone to keep doing studies. But it’s very difficult to be a civilian in the world of science.

Amy Goodman: One Guantanamo Trial That Will Be Held in New York

On the same day President Barack Obama formally launched his re-election campaign, his attorney general, Eric Holder, announced that key suspects in the 9/11 attacks would be tried not in federal court, but through controversial military commissions at Guantanamo. Holder blamed members of Congress, who he said “have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States.” Nevertheless, one Guantanamo case will be tried in New York. No, not the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any of his alleged co-conspirators. This week, the New York state Supreme Court will hear the case against John Leso, a psychologist who is accused of participating in torture at the Gitmo prison camp that Obama pledged, and failed, to close.

The case was brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) on behalf of Steven Reisner. Reisner, a New York psychologist and adviser to Physicians for Human Rights, is at the center of a growing group of psychologists campaigning against the participation of psychologists in the U.S. government’s interrogation programs, which they say amounts to torture. Unlike the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the largest association of psychologists in the world, has refused to implement a resolution passed by its membership barring APA members from participating in interrogations at sites where international law or the Geneva Conventions are being violated. Reisner, a child of Holocaust survivors, is running for president of the APA, in part to force it to comply with the resolution.

On This Day In History April 7

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 7 is the 97th day of the year (98th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 268 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1948, The World Health Organization is founded. WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on April 7, 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health Organization, which was an agency of the League of Nations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the original agencies of the United Nations, its constitution formally coming into force on the first World Health Day, (April 7, 1948), when it was ratified by the 26th member state. Jawaharlal Nehru, a major freedom fighter of India had given an opinion to start WHO. Prior to this its operations, as well as the remaining activities of the League of Nations Health Organization, were under the control of an Interim Commission following an International Health Conference in the summer of 1946. The transfer was authorized by a Resolution of the General Assembly. The epidemiological service of the French Office International d’Hygiène Publique was incorporated into the Interim Commission of the World Health Organization on January 1, 1947.


Apart from coordinating international efforts to control outbreaks of infectious disease, such as SARS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, and HIV/AIDS, the WHO also sponsors programmes to prevent and treat such diseases. The WHO supports the development and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, pharmaceutical diagnostics, and drugs. After over two decades of fighting smallpox, the WHO declared in 1980, that the disease had been eradicated – the first disease in history to be eliminated by human effort. The WHO aims to eradicate polio within the next few years.

The organization develops and promotes the use of evidence-based tools, norms and standards to support Member States to inform health policy options. It regularly publishes a World Health Report including an expert assessment of a specific global health topic. The organization has published tools for monitoring the capacity of national health systems and health workforces to meet population health needs, and endorsed the world’s first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit for Zimbabwe (from 3 October 2006), making it an international standard.

In addition, the WHO carries out various health-related campaigns – for example, to boost the consumption of fruits and vegetables worldwide and to discourage tobacco use. The organization relies on the expertise and experience of many world-renowned scientists and professionals to inform its work. Experts met at the WHO headquarters in Geneva in February, 2007, and reported that their work on pandemic influenza vaccine development had achieved encouraging progress. More than 40 clinical trials have been completed or are ongoing. Most have focused on healthy adults. Some companies, after completing safety analysis in adults, have initiated clinical trials in the elderly and in children. All vacciness so far appear to be safe and well-tolerated in all age groups tested.

The WHO also promotes the development of capacities in Member States to use and produce research that addresses national needs, by bolstering national health research systems and promoting knowledge translation platforms such as the Evidence Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet). WHO and its regional offices are working to develop regional policies on research for health – the first one being the Pan American Health Organization/Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO/AMRO) that had its Policy on Research for Health approved in September 2009 by its 49th Directing Council Document CD 49.10.

WHO also conducts health research in communicable diseases, non-communicable conditions and injuries; for example, longitudinal studies on ageing to determine if the additional years we live are in good or poor health, and, whether the electromagnetic field surrounding cell phones has an impact on health. Some of this work can be controversial, as illustrated by the April, 2003, joint WHO/FAO report, which recommended that sugar should form no more than 10% of a healthy diet. This report led to lobbying by the sugar industry against the recommendation, to which the WHO/FAO responded by including in the report the statement “The Consultation recognized that a population goal for free sugars of less than 10% of total energy is controversial”, but also stood by its recommendation based upon its own analysis of scientific studies.

The World Health Organization’s suite of health studies is working to provide the needed health and well-being evidence through a variety of data collection platforms, including the World Health Survey covering 308,000 respondents aged 18+ years and 81,000 aged 50+ years from 70 countries and the Study on Global Aging and Adult Health (SAGE) covering over 50,000 persons aged 50+ across almost 23 countries. The World Mental Health Surveys, WHO Quality of Life Instrument, WHO Disability Assessment Scales provide guidance for data collection in other health and health-related areas. Collaborative efforts between WHO and other agencies, such as the Health Metrics Network and the International Household Surveys Network, serve the normative functions of setting high research standards.

WHO has also worked on global initiatives in surgery such as the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and the Guidelines for Essential Trauma Care focussed on access and quality. Safe Surgery Saves Lives addresses the safety of surgical care. The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is in current use worldwide in the effort to improve safety in surgical patients.

Six In The Morning

As Mexicans protest, a new mass grave is found

‘It seems that we are like animals that can be murdered with impunity,’ says poet whose son was killed


MEXICO CITY – Fifty-nine bodies were found buried Wednesday in a series of pits in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas, as people marched in protest against on going drug cartel violence.

The bodies were discovered near the site where suspected drug gang members massacred 72 migrants last summer, officials said.

Security forces stumbled on the site as they were investigating reports that passengers had been pulled off several buses by gunmen

in the area in what may have been an attempt at forced recruitment by a drug gang.

Time To Stand Up To The Radical Right, Barack

The Federal Government is being held hostage by a few radical right corporate puppets that want to destroy this country’s social safety net and further shift the wealth from majority to the wealthy with more tax cuts for corporations, millionaires and estates and destroy Medicare and Mediciad for the elderly and neediest Americans. The assault is now be led by the pretty boy, Paul Ryan (R-WI), who defeated Russ Feingold in November (a lot of buyer’s remorse in that state). Last night President Obama had a late night meeting with Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner with no success at a compromise to avoid a shut down of the federal government this weekend. For what’s at stake here, Mike Lux hits it on the head, “All the hue and cry about this year’s budget fight – whether or not we’ll have a government shutdown; whether we’ll cut $33 billion or $40 billion out of the remainder of this year’s budget – is a minor sideshow compared to the implications of the Ryan budget.”

Mike explains just what those some of those implications are for senior citizens:

With his proposal, Ryan will radically cut and privatize Medicare, ending the guarantee of health care to our senior citizens; radically cut Medicaid and throw it into a block-grant program that will end any guarantee of coverage for the poor, people with disabilities, and many, many children; deliver breathtakingly large tax cuts to the wealthy while raising taxes for the middle class. As far as I can tell, more than 90 percent of his cuts impact either low-income people or senior citizens who are currently middle class but might no longer be if these Social Security and Medicare cuts go through. As to who benefits, while some things remain vague (like which middle-class taxes will have to go up to cut down the revenue losses because of lower taxes in the high-end brackets), it is likely that more than 90 percent of the benefits go to the very wealthy, who not only get to keep their Bush tax cuts but get some big and lucrative new tax cuts besides. As Citizens for Tax Justice (pdf) notes, under Ryan’s proposal, the federal government would collect $2 trillion less over the next decade, yet require the bottom 90 percent to actually pay higher taxes. Ryan leaves a lot details out, but if you read in between the lines, it is clear that the reason certain details are missing is because of how awful they are.


Without Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, retirees would live in poverty, and family incomes would be wiped out trying to take care of parents, grandparents, and disabled family members. Without unions, wages and benefits would be ever more stagnant, or would decline in many sectors. Without student loans, fewer young and poor people would make it onto the first rungs of the ladder into the middle class. Without rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in our schools, fewer American businesses would be able to compete in the world economy. Without research and other government investments, the technological breakthroughs that have helped fuel our economic growth over the last 70 years would stop happening. And without some restraint on the power of multinational companies, our economy would be rocked by more financial collapses, and our pluralistic democracy will get more and more dysfunctional.

And this is what the callously, heartless, self centered, Tea Partier, Republican Eric Cantor said the other day:

So 50 percent of beneficiaries under the Social Security program use those moneys as their sole source of income. So we’ve got to protect today’s seniors. But for the rest of us? Listen, we’re going to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office‘s (CBO) analysis of Ryan’s plan:






The rest of it is even worse and pure fantasy that included “wildly optimistic revenue assumptions that dramatically changed the effect the plan would have on the federal debt.”

OK, Barack, it’s time for you to not cross that line you drew and stand up for the people.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for April 6, 2011-


recently in the rAw

Some weeks are rAwer than usual.

For the moment, a barebones look a recent writing in the rAw posts.

Please bear with us as we deal with new management, members missing for a variety of reasons, and vexing computer problems at casa melvin.