03/25/2012 archive

Rant of the Week: Glenn Greenwald, Bill Maher, Andrew Sullivan

Glenn Greenwald was a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher and exposes just how hypocritical Maher and Sullivan are.

One irony is that it was preceded by a discussion of hate crimes prosecutions (in the context of the Trayvon Martin and Tyler Clementi cases) in which both Maher and Andrew Sullivan insisted that Americans have the inviolable right to express even the most hateful and repellent opinions without being punished for it by the state, yet were both supportive of the Awlaki killing, an act grounded overwhelmingly if not exclusively in the U.S. government’s hatred and fear of his political speech. The discussion also included Brown University’s Wendy Schiller.

2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship: Regional Finals Day 2

Well, that kind of sucked the fun right out of it.  At least I got to sing Bill Orange.

Last Night’s Results-

Result Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
72-68 4 *Louisville 27-9 7 Florida 23-10 West
70-77 1 Syracuse 32-2 2 *Ohio State 28-7 East

Bear down you Bears of old Baylor U

We’re all for you, GO BEARS!

We’re gonna show dear old Baylor spirit through and through

We’re gonna fight them with all our might you Bruins bold

And win all our victories for the Green and Gold.

B-A-Y-L-O-R, Baylor Bears Fight.

Tonight’s Action-

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
2 pm CBS 1 Kentucky 35-2 3 Baylor 30-7 South
5 pm CBS 1 North Carolina 32-5 2 Kansas 30-6 Mid West

On This Day In History March 25

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.

March 25 is the 84th day of the year (85th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 281 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in history, two tragic fires occurred in New York City. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire claimed 146 lives and 79 years later, in 1990, the Happy Land fire killed 87 people, the most deadly fire in the city since 1911.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent immigrant Jewish women aged sixteen to twenty-three. Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. People jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

The factory was located in the Asch Building, at 29 Washington Place, now known as the Brown Building, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.


The Triangle Waist Company factory occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors of the Asch Building on the northwest corner of Greene Street and Washington Place, just to the east of Washington Square Park, in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. Under the ownership of Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the factory produced women’s blouses, known as “shirtwaists.” The factory normally employed about 500 workers, mostly young immigrant women, who worked nine hours a day on weekdays plus seven hours on Saturdays.

As the workday was ending on the afternoon of Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire flared up at approximately 4:45 PM in a scrap bin under one of the cutter’s tables at the northeast corner of the eighth floor. Both owners of the factory were in attendance and had invited their children to the factory on that afternoon. The Fire Marshal concluded that the likely cause of the fire was the disposal of an unextinguished match or cigarette butt in the scrap bin, which held two months’ worth of accumulated cuttings by the time of the fire. Although smoking was banned in the factory, cutters were known to sneak cigarettes, exhaling the smoke through their lapels to avoid detection. A New York Times article suggested that the fire may have been started by the engines running the sewing machines, while The Insurance Monitor, a leading industry journal, suggested that the epidemic of fires among shirtwaist manufacturers was “fairly saturated with moral hazard.” No one suggested arson.

A bookkeeper on the eighth floor was able to warn employees on the tenth floor via telephone, but there was no audible alarm and no way to contact staff on the ninth floor. According to survivor Yetta Lubitz, the first warning of the fire on the ninth floor arrived at the same time as the fire itself. Although the floor had a number of exits – two freight elevators, a fire escape, and stairways down to Greene Street and Washington Place – flames prevented workers from descending the Greene Street stairway, and the door to the Washington Place stairway was locked to prevent theft. The foreman who held the stairway door key had already escaped by another route. Dozens of employees escaped the fire by going up the Greene Street stairway to the roof. Other survivors were able to jam themselves into the elevators while they continued to operate.

Within three minutes, the Greene Street stairway became unusable in both directions. Terrified employees crowded onto the single exterior fire escape, a flimsy and poorly-anchored iron structure which may have been broken before the fire. It soon twisted and collapsed from the heat and overload, spilling victims nearly 100 feet (30 m) to their deaths on the concrete pavement below. Elevator operators Joseph Zito and Gaspar Mortillalo saved many lives by traveling three times up to the ninth floor for passengers, but Mortillalo was eventually forced to give up when the rails of his elevator buckled under the heat. Some victims pried the elevator doors open and jumped down the empty shaft. The weight of these bodies made it impossible for Zito to make another attempt.

The remainder waited until smoke and fire overcame them. The fire department arrived quickly but was unable to stop the flames, as there were no ladders available that could reach beyond the sixth floor. The fallen bodies and falling victims also made it difficult for the fire department to approach the building.

The Happy Land fire was an arson fire which killed 87 people trapped in an unlicensed social club called “Happy Land” (at 1959 Southern Boulevard) in the West Farms section of The Bronx, New York, on March 25, 1990. Most of the victims were ethnic Hondurans celebrating Carnival. Unemployed Cuban refugee Julio Gonzalez, whose former girlfriend was employed at the club, was arrested shortly after and ultimately convicted of arson and murder.

The Incident

Before the blaze, Happy Land was ordered closed for building code violations in November 1988. Violations included no fire exits, alarms or sprinkler system. No follow-up by the fire department was documented.

The evening of the fire, Gonzalez had argued with his former girlfriend, Lydia Feliciano, a coat check girl at the club, urging her to quit. She claimed that she had had enough of him and wanted nothing to do with him anymore. Gonzalez tried to fight back into the club but was ejected by the bouncer. He was heard to scream drunken threats in the process. Gonzalez was enraged, not just because of losing Lydia, but also because he had recently lost his job at a lamp factory, was impoverished, and had virtually no companions. Gonzalez returned to the establishment with a plastic container of gasoline which he found on the ground and had filled at a gas station. He spread the fuel on the only staircase into the club. Two matches were then used to ignite the gasoline.

The fire exits had been blocked to prevent people from entering without paying the cover charge. In the panic that ensued, a few people escaped by breaking a metal gate over one door.

Gonzalez then returned home, took off his gasoline-soaked clothes and fell asleep. He was arrested the following afternoon after authorities interviewed Lydia Feliciano and learned of the previous night’s argument. Once advised of his rights, he admitted to starting the blaze. A psychological examination found him to be not responsible due to mental illness or defect; but the jury, after deliberation, found him to be criminally responsible.

Found guilty on August 19, 1991, of 87 counts of arson and 87 counts of murder, Gonzalez was charged with 174 counts of murder- two for each victim he was sentence maximum of 25 years. It was the most substantial prison term ever imposed in the state of New York. He will be eligible for parole in March 2015.

The building that housed Happy Land club was managed in part by Jay Weiss, at the time the husband of actress Kathleen Turner. The New Yorker quoted Turner saying that “the fire was unfortunate but could have happened at a McDonald’s.” The building’s owner, Alex DiLorenzo, and leaseholders Weiss and Morris Jaffe, were found not criminally responsible, since they had tried to close the club and evict the tenant.

2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Regional Semifinals Day 2

UConn Husky, symbol of might to the foe.

Fight, fight Connecticut, It’s vict’ry, Let’s go.

Connecticut UConn Husky,

Do it again for the White and Blue

So go–go–go Connecticut, Connecticut U.


Connecticut, Connecticut Husky, Connecticut Husky

Connecticut C-O-N-N-U!

UConn should have no trouble with Penn State, nor Notre Dame the Bonnies.  We root for the ‘Zags because TheMomCat likes their name.

Hey, could be uniform color.

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
11 am ESPN 3 Texas A&M 24-10 2 Maryland 30-4 South
1:30 pm ESPN2 1 Notre Dame 32-3 5 St. Bonaventure 31-3 South
3:30 pm ESPN2 1 UConn 31-4 4 Penn State 26-6 East
5:30 pm ESPN2 2 Kentucky 27-6 11 Gonzaga 28-5 East

What You Need to Know

The tragic murder of a 17 year old black walking home in the rain by a so-called neighborhood watchman who apparently chased him down and shot him because this young black man “looked suspicious” has dominated the news this past week. It has the media and the country enraged about the law in Florida that allowed the perpetrator to not just walk away, but walk away never having been questioned by the police about what occurred and walk away with the gun that killed an unarmed child. This man is still free, still unquestioned by authorities and still armed.

MSNBC’s Up with Chris dedicated its entire two hours to a discussion about the public call for justice, how these “Stand Your Ground” laws that allowed his assailant to walk were passed by state legislatures and the ramifications. The Up w/ Chris Hayes panel, The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Nation‘s Liliana Segura, the Bernard Center’s Michelle Bernard, and former police officer Peter Moskos, discuss the case in detail and the national cause it has become.

The tragedy of Trayvon Martin

Gun lobby influence on ‘Stand Your Ground’

Lisa Graves, the executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, joins the Up w/ Chris Hayes panelists to discuss “Stand Your Ground” and the nationwide gun lobby.

Now We Know: Increase of justified homicides in Florida

MSNBC host Chris Hayes and his panel share what they know from the week’s news, including reports that the number of justified homicides in Florida has increased since the state’s “Stand Your Ground” bill was signed into law.


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:

Up with Chris Hayes:This Sunday’s Up guests are Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins), author of The God Delusion and The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True; Steven Pinker (@sapinker), cognitive scientist, professor at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined; Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism; Jamila Bey (@jbey), host of The Sex, Politics, and Religion Hour on the Voice of Russia Radio Network and contributor to the Washington Post blog “She the People”; Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God and senior editor at The Atlantic; and Jamie Kilstein (@jamiekilstein), comedian and co-host of Citizen Radio.

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show: MHP’s guests were not listed at this time.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This weeks guests are Obama senior advisor David Plouffe and former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

The roundtable guests are ABC’s George Will and Cokie Roberts, Democratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, political strategist and ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd, and “Nightline” co-anchor Terry Moran.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are presidential hopeful Rick Santorum; plus, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI); Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Norah O’Donnell.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests Kelly Evans, CNBC Reporter; David Leonhardt, The New York Times Washington Bureau Chief; Gloria Borger, CNN Senior Political Analyst; and John Heilemann, New York Magazine National Political Correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Sunday’s guests are White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

The rountable panel guests are former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R); head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous; NPR’s Michele Norris; presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; and the New York TimesDavid Brooks.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Florida’s Governor Rick Scott (R), Time Magazine‘s Mike Duffy and USA Today‘s Susan Page.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

U.S. Plans No Charges Over Deadly Strike in Pakistan


WASHINGTON – The United States military has decided that no service members will face disciplinary charges for their involvement in a NATO airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, an accident that plunged relations between the two countries to new depths and has greatly complicated the allied mission in Afghanistan.

An American investigation in December found fault with both American and Pakistani troops for the deadly exchange of fire, but noted that the Pakistanis fired first from two border posts that were not on coalition maps, and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops. Pakistan has rejected these conclusions and ascribed most of the blame to the American forces.

Sunday’s Headlines:

The murderous demon of race still stalks this land

Clooney’s satellites reveal secrets of Sudan’s army

Amid bombings, Iraqi family celebrates a wedding and good grades

In Mexico, tens of thousands gather before Pope Benedict’s Mass<‘br>

Berlin artists’ lock-in protest to halt developers

Formula One 2012: Sepang

Are the wheels coming off Formula One?

It would be irresponsible not to speculate.  All is not well in Ecclestone land.  His agreement with the Formula One Teams Association expires next season and despite sweetheart deals to keep Red Bull (easily the most financially committed Team sponsor) and Ferrari (some would argue the most historic marque) in line and claims to have a majority of teams in favor of a new arrangement, dissatisfaction is rampant among those getting the shaft and his attempts to raise $10 Billion in new capital through an IPO are stalling in a bad economy with even his pets refusing to invest and tracks looking for ways out of their unprofitable contracts.

Ferrari faces it’s third or fourth uncompetitive season in a row, Mercedes is about ready to bolt, and the field fillers are finding the Washington Generals too expensive losers.  Renault has never been happy and is distancing itself as fast as its contracts allow even though they produce what is probably the best and most reliable power plant.

And the cars are U-G-L-Y ugly.

Lotus Renault had an overnight fire that destroyed its hospitality suite and damaged its garage.  Raikkonen (whom I think is not having a bad return from retirement compared to Schumacher) and Kovalainen have 5 grid penalties for various violations.  It is cloudy and hot at Sepang.

Repeats @ 3 pm today and Noon Tuesday.

Pretty tables below.

2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Regional Semifinals Day 1 Evening

Women’s College Hoopies is one area where I am intensely partisan- Lady Huskies all the way.  Therefore I’ll be rooting against Stanford in the nightcap simply because they’re a threat (also they don’t post their overall record which is a pain in the ass).

Likewise I’m a Big Easter and the latest defections, despite being teams I would ordinarily favor, have only hardened my antipathy toward the ACC and it would be a pleasure to see St. John’s, which has little enough to brag about since the Carnesecca Sweater hey days kick some Duke.

Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! U-rah! Saint John’s

Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! U-rah! Saint John’s

Fight, you Johnnies! Fight you Johnnies!

Stand and fight like men for old Saint John’s.

Fight, you Johnnies! Fight you Johnnies!

You are Alma Mater’s own true sons.

Show the world what S J U can do;

The fighting Johnnies spirit will win through.

Make the vict’ry greater for your dear old Alma Mater and the Cardinal and Blue.

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
9 pm ESPN 2 Duke 26-5 3 St. John’s 24-9 West
11:30 pm ESPN2 1 Stanford 33-1 5 South Carolina 25-9 West