07/17/2011 archive

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert

Anti-frack Attacks


To promote fracking, Talisman Energy releases Talisman Terry the Frackosaurus, the funnest energy extraction-based character since Mountaintop Mining Manny.

FIFA World Cup 2011




You see, you have to make it long because you don’t hear it much.

It’s indicative of a flaw in my character that I’m uninterested in pitcher’s duels and Football.  Outside my jingoistic sports nationalism I doubt I’d be covering the event at all, not because I’m misogynous- I like womens’ Basketball better than mens’, but I also like scoring and there isn’t any.

Japan is the compelling underdog story.  Punching above their weight in a bid for redemption after a natural disaster (not quite sure how a trivial sporting victory does that, but I’m sure that just like underpants it leads to profit somehow).

On the other hand you have our bodice ripping titans striding Gulliver-like onto the field amid mindless chants of USA!  USA!

Sigh.  I told you I’m the wrong guy to convey the earth shattering importance of the occasion, I’m much better with the trivial and mundane.

Unlike some matches we are in fact guarenteed a victor if only by penalty kick shootout after 90 minutes of a scoreless tie.  Don’t laugh, that’s how we won over Brazil.

I do know enough to recognize that Japan plays ball control and the game itself is all about making the shot angle as acute as possible so the effective size of the goal is reduced.

Like Hockey except for the teeth on the ice.

So if you feel inclined to expose my ignorance of the nuances of the noble game feel free to do so below.

On This Day In History July 17

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.

Click on images to enlarge

July 17 is the 198th day of the year (199th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 167 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1998, a diplomatic conference adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of March 2011, 114 states are party to the statute. Grenada will become the 115th state party on 1 August 2011. A further 34 states have signed but not ratified the treaty. Among other things, the statute establishes the court’s functions, jurisdiction and structure.

Under the Rome Statue, the ICC can only investigate and prosecute in situations where states are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. Thus, the majority of international crimes continue to go unpunished unless and until domestic systems can properly deal with them. Therefore, permanent solutions to impunity must be found at the domestic level.


Following years of negotiations aimed at establishing a permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals accused of genocide and other serious international crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and the recently defined crimes of aggression, the United Nations General Assembly convened a five-week diplomatic conference in Rome in June 1998 “to finalize and adopt a convention on the establishment of an international criminal court”. On 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 countries abstaining.[5] The seven countries that voted against the treaty were Iraq, Israel, Libya, the People’s Republic of China, Qatar, the United States, and Yemen.

On 11 April 2002, ten countries ratified the statute at the same time at a special ceremony held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, bringing the total number of signatories to sixty, which was the minimum number required to bring the statue into force, as defined in Article 126. The treaty entered into force on 1 July 2002; the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date. The statute was modified in 2010 after the Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda, but the amendments to the statute that were adopted at that time are not effective yet.

The Rome Statute is the result of multiple attempts for the creation of a supranational and international tribunal. At the end of 19th century, the international community took the first steps towards the institution of permanent courts with supranational jurisdiction. With the Hague International Peace Conferences, representatives of the most powerful nations made an attempt to harmonize laws of war and to limit the use of technologically advanced weapons. After World War I and even more after the heinous crimes committed during World War II, it became a priority to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes so serious that needed to be called “against humanity”. In order to re-affirm basic principles of democratic civilisation, the alleged criminals were not executed in public squares or sent to torture camps, but instead treated as criminals: with a regular trial, the right to defense and the presumption of innocence. The Nuremberg trials marked a crucial moment in legal history, and after that, some treaties that led to the drafting of the Rome Statute were signed.

UN General Assembly Resolution n. 260 9 December 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, was the first step towards the establishment of an international permanent criminal tribunal with jurisdiction on crimes yet to be defined in international treaties. In the resolution there was a hope for an effort from the Legal UN commission in that direction. The General Assembly, after the considerations expressed from the commission, established a committee to draft a statute and study the related legal issues. In 1951 a first draft was presented; a second followed in 195] but there were a number of delays, officially due to the difficulties in the definition of the crime of aggression, that were only solved with diplomatic assemblies in the years following the statute’s coming into force. The geopolitical tensions of the Cold War also contributed to the delays.

Trinidad and Tobago asked the General Assembly in December 1989 to re-open the talks for the establishment of an international criminal court and in 1994 presented a draft Statute. The General Assembly created an ad hoc committee for the International Criminal Court and, after hearing the conclusions, a Preparatory Committee that worked for two years (1996-1998) on the draft. Meanwhile, the United Nations created the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) using statutes-and amendments due to issues raised during pre-trial or trial stages of the proceedings-that are quite similar to the Rome Statute.

During its 52nd session the UN General Assembly decided to convene a diplomatic conference for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, held in Rome 15 June-17 July 1998 to define the treaty, entered into force on 1 July 2002.

La La La La La Land

Can Obama Pull a Clinton on the GOP?

Robert Reich

Friday, July 15, 2011

Some in the White House and on Wall Street assume the anemic recovery will turn stronger in the second half of the year, emerging full strength in 2012. They blame the anemia on disruptions in Japanese supply chains, bad weather, high oil prices, European debt crises, and whatever else they can come up with. These factors have contributed, but they’re not the big story.

When the Great Recession wiped out $7.8 trillion of home values, it crushed the nest eggs and eliminated the collateral of America’s middle class. As a result, consumer spending has been decimated. Households have been forced to reduce their debt to 115% of disposable personal income from 130% in 2007, and there’s more to come. Household debt averaged 75% of personal income between 1975 and 2000.

We’re in a vicious cycle in which job and wage losses further reduce Americans’ willingness to spend, which further slows the economy. Job growth has effectively stopped. The fraction of the population now working (58.2%) is near a 25-year low-lower than it was when recession officially ended in June 2009.

Wage growth has stopped as well. Average real hourly earnings for all employees declined by 1.1% between June 2009, when the recovery began, and May 2011. For the first time since World War II, there has been a decline in aggregate wages and salaries over seven quarters of post-recession recovery.

This is not Bill Clinton’s economy. So many jobs have been lost since Mr. Obama was elected that, even if job growth were to match the extraordinary pace of the late 1990s-averaging 300,000 to 350,000 per month-the unemployment rate wouldn’t fall below 6% until 2016. That pace of job growth is unlikely, to say the least. If Republicans manage to cut federal spending significantly between now and Election Day, while state outlays continue to shrink, the certain result is continued high unemployment and anemic growth.

Electoral Victory my ass.

Brits Arrest Brooks In Murdoch Wiretap Scandal

The British are not looking kindly on Rupert Murdoch’s wiretap scandal that erupted over two weeks ago. Murdoch, who is the chairman and CEO of News Corporation, shut down the tabloid, News of the World, when it was revealed that they had hacked the cell phone and erased messages of a missing girl who was later found dead. Rather than just fire the executive, Rebekah Brooks who allowed the phone hacking, he fired over 130 people in an attempt to protect his “protégé”. Ms Brooks who resigned Friday from Murdoch’s operations, was arrested “by appointment” in London on Sunday.

Brooks was due to give evidence before MPs on the culture select committee on Tuesday.

An arrest by appointment on a Sunday by police is unusual.

In a statement the Met said: “The MPS [Metropolitan police service] has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.

“At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.

“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

The scandal has also embroiled the UK police who have been accused of being too close to News Corps, not scrutinizing the complaints and bribe taking.

The scandal has embroiled Britain’s police, who are accused of being too close to News Corp, of accepting cash from the now defunct News of the World tabloid that was at the heart of the scandal, and from other newspapers, and of not doing enough to investigate phone-hacking allegations that surfaced as far as back as 2005.

Britain’s senior police chief Paul Stephenson came under renewed pressure late on Saturday after it emerged he had stayed at a luxury spa at which Neil Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor, was a public relations adviser.

A police statement said Stephenson did not know of Wallis’s connection with the spa, and his stay was paid for by the spa’s managing director, a family friend with no links to his professional life.

Stephenson already had come under fire after his force said Wallis, who has been arrested over the phone-hacking scandal and is free on bail, had been hired as a consultant by the police.

The investigation has spread to the US. The FBI is now investigating possible phone hacking of 9/11 survivors cell phone.

It also precipitated the resignation of Les Hinton, head of News Corp’s Dow Jones & Co, who was chief executive of News International and Ms Brooke’s boss at the time of the hacking and brought even further scrutiny of the tight knit board of directors.

And how is Fox News handling this? heh

More predictably, support has also come from News Corp’s right-leaning cable channel Fox News, where there has been a reluctance to devote as much time to the story as other outlets, especially the left-leaning MSNBC network. A recent episode of the show Fox and Friends featured a media consultant, Robert Dilenschneider, who said that the scandal was being overplayed and Murdoch had “done all the right things”.

Le Tour- Stage 15

Limoux to Montpellier 120 miles.

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

So Alberto gives up another 2 Seconds to Andy.  No big deal right?  He’ll make it up in the Time Trial.

Time ticks on filled with wouldas, shouldas, and couldas.

This was Contador’s bread and butter on his home court, there is no reason to expect it gets any better.  Who are the best of the rest?

Smart money is on the two Schlecks even though they’re not the trialers Alberto is reputed to be.  Cadel Evans- Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!  Basso.  Sammy Sanchez if you simply must root for a Spaniard (you Alonso fans know who you are).  Cunego is not too far behind.

But pretty much everyone else is and though the Alps are not very far away it’s the same legs as the Pyrenees.

A person who could surprise is Voeckler, he is after all actually wearing the maillot jaune and did much better than expected in the High Mountains.  He’s 1:40 clear of the competition and it could be a magical year for the Frenchman even though fairytales are usually found in the fiction section.

Today’s Stage is the last flat before Paris with just one piddly category 4 so you can expect a sprinter show.  The checkpoint is right before the finish and I expect that someone will gun for the double.

Tomorrow is the second rest day, but I’ll be posting on the results and setup for the Alps.  At 2:45 ET the U.S. Women’s Football Team will be competing for the World Cup against Japan on ESPN and unless some kind and more knowledgeable person posts first I’ll be covering that later.

Vs. joins in progress at 8 am.

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: Guests: Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jacob Lew and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) discuss the stand-off over the debt ceiling in separate interviews.

The Roundtable with George Will, Cokie Roberts, Matt Dowd and senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl, as well as freshman Tea Party member Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) take a stab at the the problem.

Like you’re expecting a rational debate from this group?

The New Yorker’s media columnist Ken Auletta discusses the Murdoch Mess and 1999 World Cup star Brandi Chastain gives an analysis of today’s Women’s World Cup Final between the US and Japan.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:The guests are Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is at the negotiating table and brings us the latest from the talks; plus Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) give us their take.

Not a lot of balance there, Bob

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent, John Heilemann, New York Magazine National Political Correspondent, Joe Klein, TIME Columnist and Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst will discuss:

Big Irony: If the GOP Denies Barack Obama A Debt Package, Does It Boost Obama For 2012?

Michele Bachmann and Her Family Clinic’s Therapy For Gays

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Guests are Jacob Lew, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin(D-IL).

The roundatable discussion of the obvious with Ohio Governor John Kasich (R); Chairman and CEO of Honeywell, David Cote; former mayor of New Orleans, now president of the National Urban League, Marc Morial; Chief Economist for Mesirow Financial Diane Swonk; and CNBC’s David Faber.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Guest will include a very busy man, Jacob Lew, Sen. Lindsey (don’t trust me, I lie) Graham (R-SC), former New York City mayor Rudy(9/11, 9/11) Giuliani, former Biden chief of staff, Ron Klain, and former GOP Rep. Tom Davis.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: Guests are Larry (I help create this mess)Summers.

I strongly suggest getting your coffee and breakfast and join us while we Live Blog the 15th Stage of Le Tour de France at 8:00 AM EDT.

Two Very Scary Things

When in doubt . . . Wash

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Obama welcomes Dalai Lama to China’s anger

By Shaun Tandon, AFP

1 hr 2 mins ago

US President Barack Obama on Saturday defied warnings from China and welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House, urging respect for human rights and cultural traditions in Tibet.

China immediately lodged a protest and accused Obama of undermining relations between the world’s two largest economies by meeting with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, who has spent more than a half-century in exile.

The White House choreographed the visit to be low key, holding it on a weekend in the mansion’s private residence. The White House later released a photo of a tieless Obama listening pensively to the robed monk.