11/10/2011 archive

And you thought the storm was over.

Of the houses in my neighborhood the one which was perhaps the worst hit was flanked by 2 large Oaks.  They lost several limbs and detached some of the wires, though not evidently the electrical connection because when power was restored you could see smoke from their chimney and furnaces to not work at all without power.

Since it is unoccupied at the moment and not affecting service to the other homes it was understandably low on the priority list.

So yesterday the contractors for the Electric Company came and started clearing the debris, a job they were not particularly fussy about and in addition to the branches on the ground did some pruning with the Cherry Picker.

When I say not particularly fussy I mean that they sent several large chunks of wood bouncing off my utility lines and even when this was mentioned to them politely seemed rather indifferent to the potential consequences.

These did not manifest instantly, but soon enough I lost my dial tone and shortly after that my DSL.  I can’t say the phone company is unsympathetic to my plight since I’ve been unable to find a single human on their help line, just several robots telling me my problem has been noted and they get to it as soon as they can.

Monday, 8 pm at the latest.

And while I have hopes it might be fixed before that, it is also a holiday weekend.  Occasionally the DSL and Internet lights on my modem turn green and during those spells I’m trying to be as productive as I can manage under the circumstances, but it’s not very.

TheMomCat will attempt to keep the plates spinning, but it would be a great help if she didn’t have to do that and provide content too.  I’m hoping you’ll find ways to make your own fun.

As for Formula One, I’ll try and remember to amuse you with Max Mosley’s judgement against Rupert and Nigel and News of the World when my connection gets stabilized.

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”.

Dean Baker: Greece, Home of Democracy, Deprived of a Vote

Armed by Papandreou with a referendum, the Greek people had clout. Now, they’re powerless before the troika’s austerity plan

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou touched off a firestorm last week when he proposed putting the austerity package designed by the “troika” (the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Union) up for a popular vote. The idea that the Greek people might directly be able to decide their future terrified leaders across Europe and around the world. Financial markets panicked, sending stocks plummeting and bond yields soaring.

However, by the end of the week, things were back under control. The leaders of France and Germany apparently laid down the law to Papandreou and he backed off plans for the referendum. While the government is in the process of collapsing in Greece, the world can now rest assured that the Greek people will not have an opportunity to vote on their future.

Matt Taibbi: Why Mitt Romney’s Entitlement-Privatization Plan Is Crazy

David Brooks, the (gratuitous insult deleted), wrote this this morning entitled “Mitt Romney, the Serious One.” In it, he explained how Romney’s recent decision to unveil a plan for reforming the entitlement system “demonstrates his awareness of the issues that need to define the 2012 presidential election.”

   Romney grasped the toughest issue – how to reform entitlements to avoid a fiscal catastrophe – and he sketched out a sophisticated way to address it.

So we had a giant financial crash in 2008 that necessitated a bailout costing a minimum of nearly $5 trillion and perhaps ultimately costing $10 trillion more, we have foreclosure crisis with more than million people a year losing their homes, and we have a burgeoning European debt disaster that threatens to devastate the global financial system – and the chief issue facing the country, according to Brooks and the Times, is reforming the entitlement system?

Gail Collins: That Old Gang of Mine

If only he’d written them on his wrist.

The most recent Republican debate will be remembered forever as the time Rick Perry announced that as president he’d immediately close down three federal agencies and then could remember only two. (“Commerce. Education. What’s the third one?”)

He appeared to be asking Ron Paul, who gave him the wrong answer. There we were, back in third grade, peeping at the next kid’s paper. Except for the part where everybody in class is running for president.

So much for Governor Perry, who went out not with a bang but an “oops.”

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Sorry, GOP: It Looks Like America’s Bullsh*t Detector Just Went Off

It’s great when we can disagree in a civilized way, but it’s getting pretty hard to avoid the conclusion that the phrase “right-wing logic,” as delivered by the GOP and mimicked by Mitt Romney, has become the mother of all oxymorons. They tell us corporations are people. But people? Not so much. That Right used that argument that in yesterday’s elections, but it’s starting to look like voters in swing states and the heart of Red America have had enough.

They love to preach the “corporate personhood” principle. IBM, Goldman Sachs, Halliburton: They’re people! Why, they can even “speak”! Sure, they may be limited to the crude vocabulary of millions and billions, but you gotta admit: Come election time, they’re fluent in it.

These corporations are endowed with freedom of speech, say Mitt and Friends, but employees of the same corporations aren’t – especially when that speech involves forming a union. Follow the logic and the conclusion is inescapable: the Right believes that the company is a person but the people who work for it aren’t.

Got that?

Michelle Chen: Tar Sands Protest Shows Unity, Tension in Green-Labor Alliance

Thousands gathered near the White House on Sunday to say no to the Keystone oil pipeline. The human chain the protesters formed symbolized unity among environmentalists, youth, indigenous groups and other communities, all calling for decisive political action against climate change and fossil fuels.

But the emergent coalition has encountered fissures between environmental and economic goals. Pipeline boosters have controversially claimed that some 20,000 jobs are at stake in the project, which would channel notoriously dirty tar sands oil (PDF) from Alberta to Texas. Activists have challenged and debunked the fuzzy math surrounding the projections of new jobs and “energy security,” and say environmental destruction shouldn’t trump narrow economic arguments, anyway. But tell that to struggling construction workers and others frustrated at Washington’s failure to alleviate the jobs crisis–some of the same folks you might find nearby at an Occupy DC rally.

Jim Hightower: Don’t Just Salute Veterans, Rally With Them

Here’s a surprise that the power elites really hate to see: Many members of the 1 percent are joining the “We are the 99 percent” movement in various Occupy Wall Street protests.

I don’t mean that corporate CEOs and hedge fund billionaires are suddenly in the streets to show solidarity with millions of Americans who’re fed up with the systemic inequality and corruption infesting our economic and political systems. No, no – those swells aren’t about to dirty their Guccis with any street action. Rather, I’m talking about another, extra-special 1 percent of our society – the soldiers who’ve been the “boots on the ground” in Washington’s long misguided and bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This Veterans Day, thousands of vets from America’s abused “war class” are not marching in little feel-good parades. Instead, they’re rallying with the Occupy movement, expressing their anger at being used in two senseless wars that enriched corporate contractors while the troops lucky enough to come home alive can’t find decent jobs and are shorted on the health and education programs they desperately need.

Paul Hogarth: Across the Country, Voters Reject Right-Wing Extremists

While San Francisco elections were largely anti-climactic, across the country voters rejected en masse the right-wing Tea Party politics that have plagued national politics. Nowhere was it more obvious than Ohio – where voters decisively, by a 2-1 margin, crushed Republican Governor John Kasich’s attack on public employees. In Maine, voters rescued same-day voter registration from the right-wing Governor – as marriage equality advocates prepare to go back to the ballot next year. And even in Mississippi, voters rejected an extreme measure that would define a fetus as a person. After polls closed on the East Coast and before they closed in San Francisco, I followed these results on my laptop – giddy with excitement, as if America had finally awaken from a coma and was back. I hadn’t felt this much hope and optimism about politics since 2008.

Once it became clear that Ohio’s Issue 2 – which would take away the right of the state’s public employees to collectively bargain – was going down in flames, Governor Kasich made a televised concession speech. It was defensive and defiant (he said he would “take a deep breath” and “assess where the voters are” at least three times), while trying to save face about how his intentions had “always just been” to “help create jobs” in Ohio.

Robert Parry: An Iraq-WMD Replay on Iran?

The American public is about to be inundated with another flood of “expert analysis” about a dangerous Middle Eastern country presumably hiding a secret nuclear weapons program that may require a military strike, although this time it is Iran, not Iraq.

In the near future, you will be seeing more satellite photos of non-descript buildings that experts will say are housing elements of a nuclear bomb factory. There will be more diagrams of supposed nuclear devices. Some of the same talking heads will reappear to interpret this new “evidence.”

You might even recognize some of those familiar faces from the more innocent days of 2002-2003 when they explained, with unnerving confidence, how Iraq’s Saddam Hussein surely had chemical and biological weapons and likely a nuclear weapons program, too.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 55

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

Crosby Nash Occupy Wall Street 11.8.11 Teach Your Children.

Occupy Wall Street protesters pass through Newark on way to Washington

NEWARK – Twenty-two protesters planning to walk 240 miles to Washington, D.C., hiked through Newark on Broad Street about 6 p.m. tonight bearing backpacks, dish soap and American flags.

These mobile Occupy Wall Street protesters hoped to gather supporters as they walk through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, on their way to Washington for a protest planned for Nov. 23.

That’s the date for a congressional committee to decide whether to support President Obama’s extension of Bush-era tax cuts.

On this Day In History November 10

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.

November 10 is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 51 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1975, the 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board.

SS Edmund Fitzgerald (nicknamed “Mighty Fitz,” “The Fitz,” or “The Big Fitz”) was an American Great Lakes freighter launched on June 8, 1958. At the time of its launching, it was one of the first boats to be at or near maximum “St Lawrence Seaway Size” which was 730 feet (220 m) long and 75 feet (23 m) wide. From its launching in 1958 until 1971 the Fitzgerald continued to be one of the largest boats on the Great Lakes.

Final voyage and wreck

Fitzgerald left Superior, Wisconsin on the afternoon of Sunday, November 9, 1975 under the command of Captain Ernest M. McSorley. It was en route to the steel mill on Zug Island, near Detroit, Michigan, with a full cargo of taconite. A second freighter under the command of Captain Jesse B. “Bernie” Cooper, Arthur M. Anderson, destined for Gary, Indiana out of Two Harbors, Minnesota, joined up with Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, being the faster ship, took the lead while Anderson trailed not far behind. The weather forecast was not unusual for November and called for a storm to pass over eastern Lake Superior and small craft warnings.

Crossing Lake Superior at about 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph), the boats encountered a massive winter storm, reporting winds in excess of 50 knots (93 km/h; 58 mph) with gusts up to 86.9 knots (160.9 km/h; 100.0 mph) and waves as high as 35 feet (11 m). Visibility was poor due to heavy snow.  The Weather Bureau upgraded the forecast to gale warnings. The freighters altered their courses northward, seeking shelter along the Canadian coast. Later, they would cross to Whitefish Bay to approach the locks.When the storm became intense, the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie were closed.

Late in the afternoon of Monday, November 10, sustained winds of 50 knots were observed across eastern Lake Superior. Anderson was struck by a 75-knot (139 km/h; 86 mph) hurricane-force gust. At 3:30 pm, Captain McSorley radioed the Anderson to report that she was taking on water and had top-side damage including that the Fitzgerald was suffering a list, and had lost two vent covers and some railings. Two of the Fitzgerald’s six bilge pumps were running continuously to discharge shipped water.

At about 3:50 pm, McSorley called the Anderson to report that his radar was not working and he asked the Anderson to keep them in sight while he checked his ship down so that the Anderson could close the gap between them. Fitzgerald was ahead of Anderson at the time, effectively blind; therefore, she slowed to come within 10 miles (16 km) range so she could receive radar guidance from the other ship. For a time the Anderson directed the Fitzgerald toward the relative safety of Whitefish Bay. McSorley contacted the U.S. Coast Guard station in Grand Marais, Michigan after 4:00 pm and then hailed any ships in the Whitefish Point area to inquire if the Whitefish Point light and navigational radio beacon were operational. Captain Cedric Woodard of the Avafors answered that both the light and radio direction beacon were out at that moment. Around 5:30 pm, Woodward called the Fitzgerald again to report that the Whitefish point light was back on but not the radio beacon. When McSorley replied to the Avafors, he commented, “We’re in a big sea. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

The last communication from the doomed ship came at approximately 7:10 pm, when Anderson notified Fitzgerald of an upbound ship and asked how it was doing. McSorley reported, “We are holding our own.” A few minutes later, it apparently sank; no distress signal was received. Ten minutes later Anderson could neither raise Fitzgerald by radio, nor detect it on radar. At 8:32 pm, Anderson was finally able to convince the U. S. Coast Guard that the Fitzgerald had gone missing. Up until that time, the Coast Guard was looking for a 16 foot outboard lost in the area. The United States Coast Guard finally took Captain Cooper of the Anderson seriously shortly after 8:30 pm. The Coast Guard then asked the Anderson to turn around and look for survivors.

The Edmund Fitzgerald now lies under 530 feet of water, broken in two sections. On July 4, 1995, the ship’s bell was recovered from the wreck, and a replica, engraved with the names of the crew members who perished in this tragedy, was left in its place. The original bell is on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in Michigan.

The Witch of November I am a sailor. Blessed Be

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 11.09.2011

Worst Persons: Michele Bachmann, Bill O’Reilly, Joe Paterno