Monthly Archive: February 2012

Feb 29 2012

Hi-Yo Silver

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

His father Giuseppe was an inspector of slaughter houses until he was arrested in 1796 for French Revolutionary sympathies by the Austrians.  While he was imprisoned his wife and son moved to Bologna were she made a living singing in theaters and upon Giuseppe’s release he joined her as a horn player in the bands where she sang.

Because his grandmother couldn’t handle him while his mom and dad were on the road, Rossini was apprenticed to a pork butcher and received his first musical instruction, which was not of very high quality.  After about 3 years he switched to a blacksmith and found some better teachers.  He had composed 6 String Sonatas by the age of twelve.

By the time he was 14 he had already composed his first Opera (though it would not be staged until he was 20) and he also gained admission to the Bologna Conservatory where he studied for 4 years before the debut of his first commercial production.

Italian music is all about the Opera and it’s hard to find a composer of note who hasn’t written a dozen or two.  Rossini’s rise to fame was meteoric and by 21 he had already retired and had to be coaxed out of it at 23 when he received an offer from a Naples theater impresario he couldn’t refuse.  In return for one Opera a year, 200 ducats a month and a cut from the tables in the theater Casino.

The Barber of Seville, while one of Rossini’s most famous, premiered to some controversy.  Giovanni Paisiello had already written a fairly popular Opera with the same name and subject 25 years earlier and his supporters protested the opening with boos and cat-calls.

After his return to the stage Rossini produced about 20 Operas by 1823, some of the librettos of which were highly bowdlerized to appeal to the tastes of his audience.  In 1822 he married one of his leading ladies and made a trip to Vienna where he was highly celebrated.  After that he went to London where George IV gave him 7000 pounds for 5 months work, and then to Paris where he made 800 pounds a year as the Director of the Theatre des Italiens plus a contract from Charles X for 5 Operas a year.

He stayed there for 5 years before returning to Bologna in 1829.  After that he composed but sporadically.  His first wife died in 1845, he remarried in 1846.  After leaving Bologna in 1848 due to the political unrest he eventually took up permanent residence in Paris where he devoted himself to the life of a foodie.  At the time of his death in 1868 he was acclaimed as the greatest composer of Opera ever known.

The piece I have selected tonight is one of his Sins of Old Age, Salon Music he composed at his home in Paris after his retirement.  This particular one, La Regata Veneziana, is a three song cycle posted by GermanOperaSinger and featuring Renata Tebaldi.  She was born in Pesaro, the very same town as Rossini.

Feb 29 2012

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”.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day

New York Times Editorial: Women’s Health Care at Risk

A wave of mergers between Roman Catholic and secular hospitals is threatening to deprive women in many areas of the country of ready access to important reproductive services. Catholic hospitals that merge or form partnerships with secular hospitals often try to impose religious restrictions against abortions, contraception and sterilization on the whole system.

This can put an unacceptable burden on women, especially low-income women and those who live in smaller communities where there are fewer health care options. State regulators should closely examine such mergers and use whatever powers they have to block those that diminish women’s access to medical care.

Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, for example, recently turned down a bid by a Catholic health system to merge with a public hospital that is the chief provider of indigent care in Louisville. He cited concerns about loss of control of a public asset and restrictions on reproductive services.

Katrina vanden Huevel: Why the GOP can’t win Michigan in November

Tonight we will learn what pundits and politicos have been clamoring to find out: whether Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum will win the Michigan primary. And yet, for all the attention paid to the primary, especially given Romney’s Michigan roots, relatively little focus has been given to the more important story: that come November, neither of these candidates has much of a chance of carrying the state. After all, it is in Michigan that a battle over perhaps the defining issue of 2012 – the role of government in America’s recovery and it’s future – is playing out beneath the headlines. And it’s a battle Republicans are losing.

It hasn’t always been this way, of course. Bill Clinton was the first Democrat to win Michigan in twenty years, and even in the years since, the state has been a perpetual part of the presidential battleground. But this year it looks like it won’t even be close. A February NBC/Marist poll has the president beating Romney by 18 points in Michigan and Santorum by 26.

Jessica Valenti: The GOP’s Long War Against Women and Sex

Aspirins and short skirts and contraception, oh my! The last few weeks have seen a slew of Republican gaffes concerning women’s sexuality. From Rick Santorum’s billionaire supporter Foster Friess’s waxing nostalgic about the good old days when women put aspirin “between their knees” in lieu of contraception to an online furor over whether the young conservative women at CPAC dressed too provocatively-the GOP has a major woman problem on their hands.

Their fear of sex-of women’s sexuality in particular-has become a major media talking point, and a source of outrage among American women. But what I don’t understand is why anyone is surprised. Republicans have long based their agenda for women in a deep-rooted disdain for all things female. We’ve been down this road many, many times before.

When a picture of Congressman Darrell Issa’s all-male panel on birth control (the make-up of which prompted several Democratic women to walk out of the hearing) hit the Internet and mainstream media-I couldn’t help but be reminded of a similar picture of George W. Bush signing the “partial birth” abortion ban, surrounded by a group of smiling clapping men. All men. (Santorum was one of them.)

Maureen Dowd: G.O.P. Greek Tragedy

Rick should scat.

Mitt Romney needs to be left alone to limp across the finish line, so he can devote his full time and attention to losing to President Obama.

With Sanctorum and Robo-Romney in a race to the bottom, the once ruthless Republican Party seems to have pretty much decided to cave on 2012 and start planning for a post-Obama world.

Not even because Obama is so strong; simply because their field is so ridiculously weak and wacky.

John McCain has Aeschylated it to “a Greek tragedy.” And he should know from Greek tragedy.

Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto: What’s the Matter With Arizona?

Nothing. My home state does not suffer from a fundamental political or societal flaw. There are a number of things that I do not like about Arizona, namely S.B. 1070, tent city Joe Arpaio and finger-wagging Jan Brewer. But to understand Arizona and that nothing’s the matter with it, you have to understand its Western personality, one that is volatile and quirky. It is a personality that is forged by an inheritance of populist politics and idiosyncratic political leaders.

One hundred years ago this month, Arizona was the last state in the continental United States to gain statehood. While the political machines in New York, Baltimore and Chicago were grinding out back-room deals, Arizona was only beginning to think about statehood. As Tom Schaller points out in his book, Whistling Past Dixie, the later incorporation of the Mountain West states meant a later start to political development in this region. As a result, states west of the Mississippi do not have deep partisan roots that anchor their political systems.

Politics in the West has been and continues to be candidate-centered. The same state that elected Barry Goldwater to the Senate is the same state that in 1974 elected Raúl Castro, Arizona’s first Latino governor. Arizona is also a state where in 2002 and 2006 voters simultaneously elected Democrat Janet Napolitano as governor and Republican Jan Brewer as secretary of state.

Ilyse Hogue: In Defense Of ‘The Help’

Standing at the center of a circle of women, a housekeeper tells of finally fixing herself a meal after working seven straight hours, only to have the mistress of the house storm into the kitchen and throw the pan of food into the sink, banning “that ethnic food” from her home. Next up, a nanny recounts the most recent day when after working eleven hours straight, her employers requested that she stay late into the night to care for the children. Unable to jeopardize her job, she stayed, going one more night without seeing her own children. The other women in the circle nod in weary recognition and, in turn, tell their own stories.

These are not scenes from the popular and controversial movie, The Help. These are twenty-first-century experiences being shared at the Los Angeles gathering of the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance (NDWA) this past weekend. The women present call themselves “the real-life help,” and the meeting was held in conjunction with the Oscars to remind Americans enamored with the Hollywood vision of civil rights era maids asserting their dignity that things have not changed as much as we might think.

Feb 29 2012

The Slave of Duty

The Pirates of Penzance was the only Gilbert and Sullivan opera to have its official premiere in the United States. At the time, American law offered no copyright protection to foreigners. After their previous opera, H.M.S. Pinafore, was a hit in London, over a hundred American companies quickly mounted unauthorised productions, often taking considerable liberties with the text and paying no royalties to the creators. Gilbert and Sullivan hoped to forestall further “copyright piracy” by mounting the first production of their next opera in America, before others could copy it, and by delaying publication of the score and libretto. They succeeded in keeping for themselves the direct profits of the first production of the opera by opening the production themselves on Broadway, prior to the London production. They also operated U.S. touring companies. However, Gilbert, Sullivan, and their producer, Richard D’Oyly Carte, failed in their efforts over the next decade, to control the American performance copyrights over their operas.

Libretto a la Boise State.

Hail, Hail the Gang’s All Here!

Part the first-

The “stage business” is not properly conveyed by mere reading or listening but is faithfully transmitted by our modern minstrels from the debut on New Year’s Eve 1879.

Feb 29 2012

On This Day In History February 29

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.

February 29 is the 60th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 305 days remaining until the end of the year.

February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years.

On this day in 1940, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar

On February 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An epic Southern romance set during the hard times of the Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories. However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar. [..]

Her most famous role was as Mammy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind. Directed by Victor Fleming and based on the best-selling Margaret Mitchell novel of the same name, the movie remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when inflation is taken into account. Although she was honored with an Oscar, liberal African Americans sharply criticized McDaniel for accepting a role in which her character, a former slave, spoke nostalgically about the Old South.

McDaniel’s film career declined in the late 1940s, and in 1947 she returned to radio as the star of the nationally broadcast The Beulah Show. In the program, she again portrayed an effervescent Southern maid but in a markedly un-stereotypical manner that won praise from the NAACP. In 1951, while filming the first episodes of a television version of the popular show, she had a heart attack. She recovered to do a few more radio programs but in 1952 died of breast cancer at the age of 57.

Feb 29 2012

Michigan/Arizona Primary Open Thread

I don’t expect you to care about the Insane Clown Posse any more than I do, but I was born in Michigan so I suppose I should say something about it.

On the Yuper side my Grands had one of the very first cable companies since reception was extremely bad.  On the Troll side my Greats were early investors in GM and Smuckers and basically cut off my Grandad because he married a poor crippled girl.

We visited Troll side most often and it’s flat.  The big ski hill is a mountain of garbage and you can see the weather coming for miles and miles.  Gran knew Mike Moore and didn’t like him, thought he was a smart ass.

One thing a lot of people don’t internalize is that Michigan has a large population of Dutch Reformed Calvinists of the George C. Scott Hardcore type which explains their swing state status.  I’ve been to Grand Rapids and I found most of the people to be pleasant enough, but we didn’t talk politics.

Arizona has more Mormons than you think (like Nevada).

Whatever happens I’m pretty sure we can count on continued hilarity.

Feb 28 2012

Setting the Stage for Keystone XL Approval

Is anyone surprised that the White House has given its blessing to Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline plan to build an portion of the oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas despite rejection of the company’s earlier application in January? After all the protests last year to stop the construction and the Republican congressional maneuvering to force the president’s decision, it certainly appears that the Republicans and the oil companies will win but that shouldn’t be a surprise considering this president’s penchant for siding with the ruling class against the best interests of the country’s needs. This project won’t create jobs or reduce the price of gas, not now or in the future:

“As the President made clear in January, we support the company’s interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production,” Carney said in a statement. [..]

But if the argument for building Keystone is to generate new oil within the United States and bring down gas prices, TransCanada’s plans don’t deliver. In fact, environmental groups say, TransCanada’s plans for Keystone mean more domestic oil will head overseas and a potential spike in gas prices. [..]

Kim Huynh, speaking for Friends of the Earth, accused the president of trying to have it both ways by touting his commitment to clean energy “while simultaneously shilling for one of the dirtiest industries on Earth” by endorsing the pipeline’s construction.

“What the administration seems to be missing is that the southern segment of this pipeline would exacerbate air pollution in refinery communities along the Gulf Coast and threaten our heartland with costly spills — all for oil that likely won’t make it to Americans’ gas tanks,” Huynh said in a statement.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the International Program at the National Resources Defense Council, wrote in blog post:

So what exactly has TransCanada proposed today? TransCanada announced that it has let the State Department know that the company will submit a new application for a presidential permit for the northern portion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from the border crossing in Montana to Steel City, Nebraska on the Kansas border where an already existing part of the pipeline starts. TransCanada would supplement this application with the proposed route through Nebraska after that has been determined in cooperation with Nebraska. But there is some question as to how long this would take since Nebraska does not currently have laws in place to do this assessment. TransCanada will then apply separately to the various federal and state permits for the southern portion of the pipeline from Cushing Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

Raw tar sands oil going from the Midwest to the Gulf for refining means serious pipeline safety issues for landowners and environmental justice impacts of tar sands refining. Concerns of Texas landowners over TransCanada’s high-handed attempts to take their land through eminent domain will all remain the same in the case of an Oklahoma to Texas tar sands pipeline.

And the southern route pipeline will still provide the main service to oil companies that Keystone XL would provide: it will divert tar sands from the Midwest to the Gulf, raising American oil prices and likely also gasoline prices. An Oklahoma to Texas tar sands pipeline will mean more tar sands converted to diesel and available for export overseas. It will mean less tar sands remaining in the US, even while Americans bear the risks of the pipeline.

Bill McKibben, who has led protests against Keystone XL, gave the following response to the news:

“Transcanada’s decision to build its pipe from Oklahoma to Texas is a nifty excuse to steal some land by eminent domain. It doesn’t increase tar sands mining because there’s still no pipe across the Canadian border, but it’s the usual ugly power grab and land grab by the fossil fuel industry — we’ll do what we can to stand by our allies in that arid and beautiful land.”

The plight of Texas land owners was highlighted in Brain Buetler’s Talking Points Memo:

Julia Trigg Crawford, 53, of Lamar County, TX faced similar pressure. On Friday, a judge voided a temporary restraining order she’d secured against TransCanada on the grounds that the company is threatening to build the pipeline across a portion of her 600 acre property that archaeological authorities say is teeming with Caddo nation artifacts. It also threatens a creek she uses to irrigate her land and wells her family uses for drinking water.

“I do not want my place to be a guinea pig on this,” she told my by telephone. Those practical concerns lay atop a more fundamental question of whether a for-profit company should be able to seize private land for profit.

“I’m looking out my window every hour,” Crawford said. “While they don’t have a permit to build anything, they have the right to start construction…. A foreign for profit pipeline was allowed to condemn my land without my being allowed to talk to a judge.” [..]

The result: protests in Paris, Texas against the pipeline, on Crawford’s behalf.

“You could check off 20 different kinds of boxes, politically, professionally, temperamentally,” Crawford said. “We had Occupiers, Tea Partiers. This is about rights as a landowner.”

A Nebraska landowner, Randy Thompson told TPM in the same article how he was harassed by Transcanada after he withdrew his permission to survey his farm land in 2007.

“Once I found out a little bit more about what was going on, I rescinded that permission,” Thompson told TPM by phone on Sunday. “[W]e did meet with them once, maybe a couple times. We told them, you don’t have a permit yet, so we absolutely do not want this thing on our property. So until you actually get a permit we have no reason to have any further discussion about this. They continually called me, like once a month or whenever they felt like it. Kept the pressure on us. Made us an offer, $9000. Whatever the offer was, we just don’t want the damn thing on our property.” [..]

“In July 2010, we got a written letter from TransCanada, they told us if you don’t accept this within 30 days, we’re going to immediately start eminent domain proceedings against you,” Thompson said. “They didn’t say anything about a permit. I tried to contact the Governor’s office. All I got back was a form letter talking about the pipeline.”

If the White House thought for even a nanosecond that this would blunt Republican criticism of Pres. Obama, they are as deluded as the Republicans who say this will reduce the price of gas:

House Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio, said he will continue to stress that the Obama administration is blocking construction of the entire pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of western Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

“The president is so far on the wrong side of the American people that he’s now praising the company’s decision to start going around him,” Boehner said in a statement.

“But he can’t have it both ways,” Boehner said. “If the president thinks this project is good for America, he knows how to make it happen right away. Until he does, he’s just standing in the way of getting it done.”

The only thing that completing the southern portion of the pipeline will do is ease the glut of oil that is being stored in the Midwest. It won’t lower the price of gas because that oil will be exported to the global market where it will be resold at a higher price. That will drive up prices in the Midwest where gas prices have been kept low because of the lack of the pipeline.

The reality is oil prices will continue to be artificially high by the saber rattling over Iran. The best and easiest way for the President to immediately lower gas prices is to stop the phony rhetoric of a war with Iran. Repeat it loud and often, Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. That’ll work better than any environmentally unsafe pipeline.

Feb 28 2012

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: Not What Paul Volcker Had in Mind

The Volcker rule, a crucial provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, is supposed to stop banks from doing the sort of risky trading that was one of the big causes of the financial meltdown.

The banks hate the rule because less speculation means less profit and lower bonuses for traders and bank executives. And ever since it was signed into law in mid-2010, they have pressed Congress and regulators to weaken it. Sure enough, in late 2011, regulators issued proposed rules that are ambiguously worded and lack the teeth to rein in the banks. Paul Volcker – the former chairman of the Federal Reserve for whom the rule was named – and other reformers have rightly urged significant changes before the rule becomes final in mid-July. Regulators need to listen.

Barry Lando: The World Turns Its Back-Again

Thousands of largely unarmed people rise up against a brutal regime. In reaction, military commanders are dispatched to ruthlessly crush the revolt. Men, women and children are cut down in cold blood, houses and apartments destroyed, the streets littered with body parts and piles of the dead. Desperate appeals are made to the world for help, for arms, for medicines, for rescue.

The leaders of the world wring their hands and meet to deal with the horrific situation. Regrettably, there are too many reasons not to act, too many complications, too many subtleties. Sophisticated diplomats and heads of state understand these things. The slaughter continues.

One such meeting just ended in Tunis on Feb. 24, called to deal with the uprising in Syria. The other was held in Bermuda in April 1943, with delegations from the U.S. and Britain, to discuss the terrible predicament of the millions of Jews trapped in Hitler’s Europe.

George Zornick: White House Taking Heat on Afghanistan

There’s been a lot of bad news coming from Afghanistan in recent weeks-deep anti-American sentiment finally overflowed into violence when it was revealed American soldiers burned copies of the Koran at Bagram airbase on February 20. More than 30 people have been killed in revenge attacks, and 11,000 Afghans took to the streets in protest this weekend.

Two American troops were killed inside the Afghan Interior Ministry last week, also in response to the Koran burning, leading to the unprecedented removal of all military personnel from the government ministries. Given that this is the government the United States is trying to build up, it’s a troubling development to say the least, as is the fact that 10 of the last 58 coalition deaths have come at the hands of America’s Afghan partners.

Much to its credit, the White House press corps put press secretary Jay Carney through the ringer on the war yesterday-he was peppered through most of his daily briefing with smart, tough questions about the recent violence and the overall viability of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

Eugene Robinson: Santorum in the Extreme

For all his supposed authenticity, Rick Santorum is not what he seems. Beneath that sweater vest beats the heart of a calculating and increasingly desperate politician who has gone beyond pandering all the way to shameless demagoguery.

That’s the charitable view. The uncharitable take on Santorum’s incendiary rhetoric is that he actually believes this stuff. Either way, it’s time for Republican voters to end his little electoral adventure and send him back to the cosseted life of a Washington influence-peddler.

The image of aw-shucks earnestness that improbably landed Santorum in the Republican Party’s Final Four was beginning to fade. Mitt Romney, who is nothing if not relentless, was beginning to climb back up in the polls, and Santorum risked becoming nothing more than the latest of a series of anti-Romneys to bite the dust. Something had to change-so, in recent days, Santorum’s avuncular smile has become a nasty sneer.

John Nichols: GOP Candidates Embrace Anti-Labor, Free-Market Fundamentalism

Much is being made, and appropriately so, about the extremism of the Republican presidential field when it comes to reproductive rights and ripping down Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state.

It is not just Rick Santorum. Three of the four Republican contenders for the presidency-the sometimes exception is Ron Paul-are running campaigns that position them as theocratic extremists of a far more radical bent than religious-right contenders such as Pat Robertson in 1988 or Gary Bauer in 2000.

But there was an ever more arch fundamentalism on display among the Republican contenders as they battled across Arizona and Michigan in anticipation of today’s critical primaries in those states.

Like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Maine Governor Paul LePage, they are anti-labor extremists whose opposition to free trade unions goes to extremes not seen since southern segregationists sought to bar unions because of their fear that white workers and people of color were being organized into labor organizations that would threaten “Jim Crow.”

Ari Berman: Who Will ‘Reagan Democrats’ Support in 2012?

In 2008, the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner described Macomb County, Michigan-home to the bellwether suburbs north of Detroit-as “90 percent white, half Catholic, 40 percent union families, one third over 60.” Macomb was once the most Democratic suburb in the country, giving LBJ 75 percent of the vote in 1964, but it swung sharply to Republicans in the 1980s and has been a pivotal swing county in the state ever since. Gore won it by two, Kerry lost it by one and Obama won it by eight.

The archetypal “Reagan Democrats” make up a fifth of Macomb’s electorate. These blue-collar, non-college-educated white voters abandoned the Democratic Party in the ’70s and ’80s, out of anger at Democratic support for policies like welfare and affirmative action, and leapt into the outstretched arms of Ronald Reagan, who won Macomb County by thirty-three points in 1984. They’ve been an important part of the GOP coalition ever since. “In the 2008 Michigan primary,” wrote National Journal’s Ron Brownstein, “57 percent of GOP voters lacked a college education and 75 percent earned less than $100,000 annually.”

Feb 28 2012

Pennies on the Dollar

Supreme Court won’t order emergency measures to prevent Asian carp from reaching Great Lakes

By Associated Press

Updated: Monday, February 27, 3:58 PM

Michigan and four neighboring states wanted the Army Corps of Engineers to install nets in two Chicago-area rivers and to expedite a study of permanent steps to head off an invasion by bighead and silver carp, which have advanced up the Mississippi River and its tributaries to within 55 miles of Lake Michigan. Scientists say if the large, prolific carp spread widely in the lakes, they could starve out native species and devastate the $7 billion fishing industry.



They advocate placing barriers in Chicago-area waterways to cut a link between the watersheds created more than a century ago when engineers reversed the flow of the Chicago River to flush the city’s sewage toward the Mississippi. A recent report by groups representing Great Lakes states and cities proposed three methods for doing so, with estimated costs as high as $9.5 billion.



The Obama administration has devoted more than $100 million to shielding the lakes from the carp and recently announced plans to spend $51.5 million this year. Plans include operating and monitoring an electric fish barrier near Chicago, stepped-up commercial fishing in the area, and field testing new strategies such as high-pressure underwater guns and pheromones that could lure carp into lethal traps.

Now about that Title Fraud “Settlement”.

Feb 28 2012

A History of AIDS

Not qualified to judge the veracity of this, simply drawing it to your attention.

Colonialism in Africa helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago

By Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin, Washington Post

Published: February 27

Scientists had long known that a blood sample, preserved from 1959, showed that HIV had been circulating in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo, for several decades before the virus first drew international attention in the 1980s. In 2008, evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey sharpened that picture when he reported in the journal Nature the discovery of a second sample of the virus, trapped in a wax-encased lymph node biopsy from 1960.

By comparing these two historic pieces of virus and mapping out the differences in their genetic structures in his lab at the University of Arizona, Worobey determined that HIV-1 group M was much older than anyone had thought. Both samples of the virus appeared to have descended from a single ancestor at some time between 1884 and 1924. The most likely date was 1908.

Taken together, these two discoveries offered the clearest clues to the birth and early life of the epidemic.

Feb 28 2012

State Mandated Assault On Women

The assault on women is not isolated to the Virginia legislature. There are currently bills in 27 states that require unnecessary procedures to obtain an abortion. The only purpose for those procedures is to humiliate women seeking a procedure they have a right to obtain.

   Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions, but state legislators are still expected to pass a bill that mandates abdominal ultrasounds and adds other significant requirements for women seeking abortions.

   In recent years, this common diagnostic tool has taken a greater role in abortion-related legislation. Seven states require ultrasounds before abortions. Twenty states regulate some aspect of ultrasound exams, including requiring abortion providers to give women the option to view the image or listen to the fetal heartbeat if an ultrasound is performed.

   Eleven other states have legislation pending. If all of the measures pass, more than half of the states will have laws governing ultrasound exams before abortions. “I think we’re in the middle of a wave of ultrasound bills,” said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health.

As David Dayen at FDL News Desk explains these requirements force the woman to make an extra trip to the doctor at her own expense. Ultrasounds are rarely medically necessary in the first few weeks of pregnancy. There is only one reason for it to be require: to heap shame and guilt on the woman getting her to stop the abortion. In the states where this is mandated, there has been no precipitous drop in abortion rates.

Angi Becker Stevens of RH Reality Check explains the ony purpose of the Michigan bill is humiliation:

In Michigan, House Bill 4433 would expand the state’s already-present requirements for pre-abortion ultrasounds. If passed (a likely outcome in Michigan’s strongly anti-choice state government) the law will require pre-abortion ultrasounds to be conducted with the “most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment available,” further defined as the equipment which “is capable of providing the most visibly clear image of the gross anatomical development of the fetus and the most audible fetal heartbeat.” While the bill states that a woman be given the “option” to view the ultrasound or not, it also mandates that the monitors must be turned toward the woman, so that her only way of not viewing the image is to close her eyes or turn her head away. The bill also requires that the professional performing the ultrasound give a detailed description of the fetus’ current developmental stage, and must offer the woman a printed ultrasound image.

Requiring transvaginal ultrasounds would violate women by invading their bodies. Turning an ultrasound monitor toward a woman and attempting to force her to view the images even if she does not want to see them is an act of emotional and psychological violation. Both are medically unnecessary and needlessly cruel and patronizing. And neither should ever be mandated by a state’s government.

While the procedure may provide the physician with needed information there is no reason to force the woman to view the screen, hear the fetal heartbeat or the a detailed description of the fetus. A woman who has made the decision to terminate her pregnancy is not going to change her mind at this stage. Using hack psychology has no medical value and is just another assault on her person.

Since all the publicity about the Virginia bill mandating state rape with a transvaginal untrasound, there is increasingly vocal and organized opposition to these bills as Rachel Maddow highlighted

If you really want to raise your blood pressure and have a strong stomach, you can read the transcript of a live interview with Gov. Bob McConnell from WTOP. I won’t elaborate.

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