04/13/2011 archive

from firefly-dreaming 13.4.11

This is an Open Thread

Essays Featured Wednesday the 13th of April:

Highway Song begins the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

TheMomCat most kindly gives us a repeat performance of her Health & Fitness News.

Todays recipes focus on Desert!

originally posted on Saturdays at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Wednesday Open Thoughts from Youffraita are some great LoL’s

Today Gabriel D‘s Perfect Conversation discussion is centered on & around:

the idea of The Lottery Exemption


Pine Cones on the Stoop from Wendys Wink, republished by RiaD

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

Tonight #83

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Search for tar balls, answers a year after BP oil spill

by Mira Oberman, AFP

2 hrs 5 mins ago

GRAND ISLE, Louisiana (AFP) – A year after the worst maritime oil spill in history sullied the US Gulf Coast, men armed with shovels and a big yellow excavator are still digging up the sandy beach of Grand Isle, Louisiana in search of sticky tar balls.

“We’d like to tell people it’s over, but the oil will still wash up every time it storms,” said Jay LaFont, Grand Isle’s deputy mayor.

People here are used to dealing with disasters. They’ve had to rebuild from four major hurricanes — Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav — in the past five years alone.

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”

It’s Ladies’ Day. Scroll down for the gentlemen

Katrina vanden Heuvel: It’s the economic debate, not the U.S., that’s bankrupt

The government is open, but hope has lost its audacity.

After negotiations in which Republicans ended up gaining more cuts than they originally sought, President Obama chose to celebrate “the largest annual spending cut in history.” Lest we forget, these cuts total $78 billion from the president’s own budget, with programs for working and poor families taking the biggest hit. Any more triumphs like this and Obama will become a new American synonym for pyrrhic victory.

Lost in the coverage of the juvenile, perils-of-Pauline, last-hour rescue from a government closure is the substance of the deal. The great con of the Boehner-Tea Party good-cop, bad-cop negotiating pose is that it focuses attention on intra-party melodramas. The real deal gets lost in the noise.

Laura Flanders: Shareholders Fight Back as Democrats Compromise

The ink on the compromise that kept the government open, barely, isn’t even dry and they’re already talking about the next round of cuts in Washington.

The New York Times led off this week with an article about Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit by making unspecified “changes” to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Sure, it also mentions increasing taxes and cutting military spending, but when we’re embracing the conservative frame that entitlement programs are too big, that’s not much to cheer about.

Meanwhile, of course, CEOs are raking in the cash and still not hiring, at least not Americans. Daniel Costello wrote in the Times this weekend that top executive pay at 200 major companies was up 12 percent from last year-a median pay rate of $9.6 million. Viacom’s CEO made $84.5 million in just nine months, and Ray Irani at Occidental Petroleum’s pay went up 142 percent from last year.

Amy Goodman: U.S.-Backed Bloodshed Stains Bahrain’s Arab Spring

Three days after Hosni Mubarak resigned as the long-standing dictator in Egypt, people in the small Gulf state of Bahrain took to the streets, marching to their version of Tahrir, Pearl Square, in the capital city of Manama. Bahrain has been ruled by the same family, the House of Khalifa, since the 1780s-more than 220 years. Bahrainis were not demanding an end to the monarchy, but for more representation in their government.

One month into the uprising, Saudi Arabia sent military and police forces over the 16-mile causeway that connects the Saudi mainland to Bahrain, an island. Since then, the protesters, the press and human-rights organizations have suffered increasingly violent repression.

One courageous young Bahraini pro-democracy activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, has seen the brutality up close. To her horror, she watched her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent human-rights activist, be beaten and arrested.

Susan Feiner: GOP’s Attack on Child Labor Threatens Our Daughters

It’s Equal Pay Day, a time to remember those 600 extra hours that women work each year to catch up with male wages. For female teens exploitation at work is advancing, as GOP lawmakers in several states try to relax child labor laws.

It’s Equal Pay Day, a time to review the reasons why so many hard working women find themselves chronically running short on cash.

Women need to work 15 weeks into 2011 to earn what men earned in 2010. Think about all that work: 40 hours multiplied by 15 weeks. That’s 600 hours. On top of that work there’s the cooking, cleaning, picking up, dropping off, dressing and bathing.

But this is not news. We’ve been trying to get paycheck fairness for years.

What’s more notable right now is the GOP-led attack on child labor laws that will affect female teens disproportionately.

Ruth Marcus: On the budget, the White House is late to the game – again

I’m no sports nut but I’ve spent enough time at kids’ soccer games to understand that it’s impossible to score if you’re playing on the wrong side of the field.

Which is why I have found the White House strategy for dealing with Republicans on the deficit so befuddling.

The fight over spending this fiscal year is a case in point. The prospect of a Republican takeover of the House was evident well before the election. The inevitable result was going to be more draconian cuts than would have been required if the spending bills were passed beforehand.

In the aftermath of the Democrats’ losses, the entire debate played out in terms they were destined to lose. If the argument is framed solely in terms of budget cuts, Republicans always win: They are willing to out-cut Democrats. That inescapable tilt was exacerbated by the virtual absence of a White House message about the impact of a shutdown or the cuts themselves.

Dana Milbank: Obama’s birth secret revealed

The birthers have come back to life.

Donald Trump has soared to the top of the Republican presidential polls, thanks in part to the whimsical candidate’s claim that he has hired investigators to hunt down President Obama’s birth certificate in Hawaii. He’s tied for first place with Mike Huckabee, who has said Obama grew up in Kenya. The fading Sarah Palin, swallowing her earlier disavowal of the birther libel, is now asking questions about where the president was born.

Let’s hope Trump’s gumshoes don’t succeed in locating the secret document, for if they do they will learn the horrible, gruesome truth: Obama was born a moderate. In fact, and I have this straight from the vital records people in Honolulu, he was the bastard child of an unholy union of pragmatism and centrism.

Dean Baker: Some Market Discipline for Economists

The IMF lashes itself for failing to foresee the crisis, but the only remedy would be the hazard of unemployment for its economists

Last month, the International Monetary Fund’s independent evaluation office issued a remarkable report. The report quite clearly blamed the IMF for failing to recognise the factors leading up to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and to provide warning to its members so that preventive actions could be taken:

   “It [the report] finds that the IMF provided few clear warnings about the risks and vulnerabilities associated with the impending crisis before its outbreak. […] The IMF’s ability to correctly identify the mounting risks was hindered by a high degree of groupthink, intellectual capture, a general mindset that a major financial crisis in large advanced economies was unlikely, and inadequate analytical approaches.”

The report noted that several prominent economists had clearly warned of the dangers facing the world economy prior to the collapse that began in 2007. One of these economists was Raghuram Rajan, who was actually the chief economist at the IMF when he gave a clear warning of growing financial fragility back in 2005. Yet these warnings were, for all practical purposes, ignored when it came to the IMF’s official reports and recommendations to member countries.

How Low Will They Go?

The Obama administration has gone over to the dark side with stretching the “terrorist” category, going far further that Bush or Cheney would ever had dreamed. They have now compared an uprising in 1818 by the Seminole tribes in Florida to Al Qaeda to justify prosecutions of detainees at Guantanamo

Bitter analogy in war crime case: Indians, al Qaeda

By Carol Rosenberg

Seminoles in 1818 similar to al Qaeda in 2001? Some Pentagon prosecutors appeared to make this analogy to support a Guantánamo war crimes conviction, then clarified in a war court filing.

Pentagon prosecutors touched off a protest – and issued an apology this week – for likening the Seminole Indians in Spanish Florida to al Qaeda in documents defending Guantánamo’s military commissions.

Citing precedents, prosecutors reached back into the Indian Wars in arguments at an appeals panel in Washington D.C. Specifically, they invoked an 1818 military commission convened by Gen. Andrew Jackson after U.S. forces invaded then-Spanish Florida to stop black slaves from fleeing through a porous border – then executed two British men for helping the Seminole Indians.

Navy Capt. Edward S. White also wrote this in a prosecution brief:

“Not only was the Seminole belligerency unlawful, but, much like modern-day al Qaeda, the very way in which the Seminoles waged war against U.S. targets itself violate the customs and usages of war.”

A native American advocacy group complained to the military court. Defense lawyers for two Yemenis convicted of war crimes at Guantánamo countered that the behavior of Jackson, the future U.S. president now on the $20 bill, was no shining example of American military justice.

A politically ambitious Jackson, defense lawyers wrote, waged “an illegal war” that set fire to entire Indian villages “in a campaign of extermination.”

In the legal precedent, U.S. troops convicted two British traders, Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert Ambrister, for helping the Seminoles and escaped slaves and sentenced them to a whipping. Jackson, a slave owner, declared the punishment too soft. He had them executed.

Florida historians are familiar with the episode.

“Arbuthnot was hanged from the yard arm of his own ship,” said University of Florida history professor Jack Davis. “Ambrister was killed by firing squad.”

At issue in the Court of Military Commissions Review is whether a newly minted post 9/11 war court crime – providing material support for terror – is legitimate for prosecution at a war crimes tribunal.

Marcy Wheeler at FDL comments that “our government is siding with slavery, genocide of Native Americans, and Andrew Jackson’s illegal belligerency, it is citing our own country’s illegal behavior-to find some support for the claim that material support is a military crime.”

Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson sent a letter of apology to the Seminole tribe but didn’t back away from the analogy.

But Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson made clear in the single-page letter that the U.S. government was standing by its precedent from Gen. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Wars in its bid to uphold the life-time conviction of Osama bin Laden’s media secretary at Guantánamo’s Camp Justice.

Johnson delivered a speech at the Pentagon in commemoration of Martin Luther King day that twisted Dr. King’s antiwar philosophy into support for the Afghan and Iraq wars.

What Marcy said:

And so it is that our government clings desperately to one of the darkest chapters of our history to legitimize its current actions. Rather than reflect on what that means-how damning it is that we can point only to Andrew Jackson’s illegal treatment of Native Americans to justify our current conduct-the government says simply, “a precedent is a precedent!”

Obama’s boys have now thrown Native Americans under the bus. Welcome, my friends, you have lots of company.

On This Day In History April 13

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 13 is the 103rd day of the year (104th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 262 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1742, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah premieres in Dublin, Ireland.

Nowadays, the performance of George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah oratorio at Christmas time is a tradition almost as deeply entrenched as decorating trees and hanging stockings. In churches and concert halls around the world, the most famous piece of sacred music in the English language is performed both full and abridged, both with and without audience participation, but almost always and exclusively during the weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas. It would surprise many, then, to learn that Messiah was not originally intended as a piece of Christmas music. Messiah received its world premiere on this day in 1742, during the Christian season of Lent, and in the decidedly secular context of a concert hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel, and is one of the most popular works in the Western choral literature. The libretto by Charles Jennens is drawn entirely from the King James and Great Bibles, and interprets the Christian doctrine of the Messiah. Messiah (often but incorrectly called The Messiah) is one of Handel’s most famous works. The Messiah sing-alongs now common at the Christmas season usually consist of only the first of the oratorio’s three parts, with “Hallelujah” (originally concluding the second part) replacing His Yoke is Easy in the first part.

Composed in London during the summer of 1741 and premiered in Dublin, Ireland on 13 April 1742, it was repeatedly revised by Handel, reaching its most familiar version in the performance to benefit the Foundling Hospital in 1754. In 1789 Mozart orchestrated a German version of the work; his added woodwind parts, and the edition by Ebenezer Prout, were commonly heard until the mid-20th century and the rise of historically informed performance.

#Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement

Stephen Colbert has had a grand time taking on Sen. Jon Kyl’s blatant lie on the Senate floor that Planned Parenthood is using 90% of its services for abortion, when it’s actually about 3%. Kyl’s spokes person tried walking back the lie but Stephen took it to Twitter creating this hash-tag, #Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement

Transcript provided by Bruin Kid @ Daily Kos

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for April 12, 2011-


I Guess that Kos has booted me.

I am not fooling anyone here.  I wrote for Kos for almost a decade, and got many excellent thoughts from the members there.  Now that site does not recognize me.  Perhaps it is an accident, but unless I find out better, I will not post there again.  I am torn, because many folks there kept me alive.

I am livid, however, that I get an error that I am not authorized to be there.  Well, to hell with them!  I contributed hundreds of articles there, and tens of thousands of comments and replies there as well.  I think that Markos took advantage of me, and I will not attempt to try to get back in those good graces.  I should have made $98 per hour delivering the information that I did.  I am GOOD!

I will not contribute anything to Kos tomorrow except to say that I am done there. I hope that DD and TSHG will make up for it.

Warmest regards,


Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Russia celebrates Gagarin’s conquest of space

by Stuart Williams, AFP

Tue Apr 12, 12:15 pm ET

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia on Tuesday marked a half century since Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, the greatest victory of Soviet science which expanded human horizons and still remembered by Russians as their finest hour.

President Dmitry Medvedev hosted a glittering Kremlin reception that brought together legendary cosmonauts and astronauts with the rarely seen widow of Gagarin, and pledged that space exploration would remain a priority for modern Russia.

“Fifty years ago, Yuri Gagarin opened a new era in human history,” Medvedev said as Gagarin’s widow Valentina Gagarina looked on along with their two daughters.

from firefly-dreaming 12.4.11

Essays Featured Tuesday the 12th of April:

In Late Night Karaoke mishima has No Time

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

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

The Anniversary of the beginning of theAmerican Civil War is on puzzled‘s mind in Tuesday Open Thoughts

in Gabriel D‘s Perfect Conversation discussion is centered on & around Framing redux


In yet another fascinating edition of Book Nook, the bi-weekly series,  Xanthe reviews The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

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

Tonight #84

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