Daily Archive: 04/14/2013

Apr 14 2013

ACM: Maggie’s Dead, but Thatcherism lives on: Thoughts from a Beleaguered Island by NY brit expat

The state funding of a funeral for Margaret Thatcher (estimated cost £10m) and the claims that she was the greatest post-war prime minister mourning for “Boadicea in pearls” (yes, I couldn’t make that up) in the Commons is still not ringing true on the streets of Glasgow, Brixton, Leeds, and Bristol where impromptu parties celebrating her death sprung up; the police are so worried that they have started monitoring social media sites fearing demonstrations at the funeral.
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Given that the last funeral of this type for a politician (as opposed to a member of the royal family) was held for Winston Churchill, the “everything but state funeral in name” is causing a bit of a fuss, especially as austerity is taking food out of the mouths of the poor and disabled. The arrogance and cynicism of the ruling class in Britain in the face of the misery they are causing is making even the most resigned of the British population to grumble.

Apr 14 2013

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart

Empire of the Gun

The Senate preserves America’s right to sell weapons to international terrorists and drug lords.

Apr 14 2013

On This Day In History April 14

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 14 is the 104th day of the year (105th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 261 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln is shot in the head at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged,” as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Lincoln died the next morning.

The assassination of President of the United States Abraham Lincoln took place as the American Civil War was drawing to a close, just five days after the surrender of the commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, and his battered [Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant. Lincoln was the first American president to be assassinated, though an unsuccessful attempt had been made on Andrew Jackson in 1835.

The assassination was planned and carried out by well-known actor John Wilkes Booth as part of a larger conspiracy intended to rally the remaining Confederate troops to continue fighting. Booth plotted with Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson as well.

Lincoln was shot while watching the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln . He died the next morning. The rest of the plot failed. Powell only managed to wound Seward, while Atzerodt, Johnson’s would-be assassin, lost his nerve and fled.

Death of President Lincoln

Dr. Charles Leale, a young Army surgeon on liberty for the night and attending the play, made his way through the crowd to the door at the rear of the Presidential box. It would not open. Finally Rathbone saw a notch carved in the door and a wooden brace jammed there to hold the door shut. Booth had carved the notch there earlier in the day and noiselessly put the brace up against the door after entering the box. Rathbone shouted to Leale, who stepped back from the door, allowing Rathbone to remove the brace and open the door.

Leale entered the box to find Rathbone bleeding profusely from a deep gash that ran the length of his upper left arm. Nonetheless, he passed Rathbone by and stepped forward to find Lincoln slumped forward in his chair, held up by Mary, who was sobbing. Lincoln had no pulse and Leale believed him to be dead. Leale lowered the President to the floor. A second doctor in the audience, Dr. Charles Sabin Taft, was lifted bodily from the stage over the railing and into the box. Taft and Leale cut away Lincoln’s blood-stained collar and opened his shirt, and Leale, feeling around by hand, discovered the bullet hole in the back of the head by the left ear. Leale removed a clot of blood in the wound and Lincoln’s breathing improved. Still, Leale knew it made no difference: “His wound is mortal. It is impossible for him to recover”.

Leale, Taft, and another doctor from the audience, Dr. Albert King, quickly consulted and decided that while the President must be moved, a bumpy carriage ride across town to the White House was out of the question. After briefly considering Peter Taltavull‘s Star Saloon next door, they chose to carry Lincoln across the street and find a house. The three doctors and some soldiers who had been in the audience carried the President out the front entrance of Ford’s. Across the street, a man was holding a lantern and calling “Bring him in here! Bring him in here!” The man was Henry Safford, a boarder at William Petersen’s boarding house opposite Ford’s. The men carried Lincoln into the boarding house and into the first-floor bedroom, where they laid him diagonally on the bed because he was too tall to lie straight.

A vigil began at the Petersen House. The three physicians were joined by Surgeon General of the United States Army Dr. Joseph K. Barnes, Dr. Charles Henry Crane, Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott, and Dr. Robert K. Stone. Crane was a major and Barnes’ assistant. Stone was Lincoln’s personal physician. Robert Lincoln, home at the White House that evening, arrived at the Petersen House after being told of the shooting at about midnight. Tad Lincoln, who had attended Grover’s Theater to see Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, was not allowed to go to the Peterson House.

Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton came and took charge of the scene. Mary Lincoln was so unhinged by the experience of the assassination that Stanton ordered her out of the room by shouting, “Take that woman out of here and do not let her in here again!” While Mary Lincoln sobbed in the front parlor, Stanton set up shop in the rear parlor, effectively running the United States government for several hours, sending and receiving telegrams, taking reports from witnesses, and issuing orders for the pursuit of Booth.

Nothing more could be done for President Lincoln. At 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865, he died. He was 56 years old. Mary Lincoln was not present at the time of his death. The crowd around the bed knelt for a prayer, and when they were finished, Stanton said, “Now he belongs to the ages”. There is some disagreement among historians as to Stanton’s words after Lincoln died. All agree that he began “Now he belongs to the…” with some stating he said “ages” while others believe he said “angels”

Apr 14 2013

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Steve Kornacki: Steve Kornakci (@upwithsteve) debuted as the new host of Up Saturday morning. Steve’s guests this Sunday are Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) (@RepJerryNadler); former governor Eliot Spitzer (D- NY) (@EliotSpitzer); Neera Tanden (@neeratanden), president of the Center for American Progress; Maya Wiley (@mayawiley), founder & president of the Center for Social Inclusion; David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ), author, columnist and tax analyst; Mattie Duppler (@MDuppler), director of Budget & Regulatory Policy; and Mark Blyth, author and professor of Political Science at Brown University.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This Week‘s guests are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who will be on seven Sunday talk shows pushing his RW agenda on immigration reform;  Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY); and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

In this week’s Sunday Spotlight, legendary New York Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera, the last Major League Baseball player to wear Jackie Robinson’s number 42; and Yankees slugger Robinson Cano, who is named after the Brooklyn Dodgers legend and wears 24 (42 in reverse) in Robinson’s honor, discuss the new film “42″ and Jackie Robinson’s legacy.

The political roundtable tackle all the week’s politics, including the battle over immigration, gun control, and the budget, plus North Korea’s escalating threats, with ABC News’ George Will; House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL); Washington Post Columnist Ruth Marcus; and Wall Street Journal Columnist Kimberley Strassel.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA); Sen. Joe Manchin(D-WV); and Commander Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).

The panel will discuss the North Korean threat with The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius and The New York TimesDavid Sanger. Plus, what to watch for from the White House and Capitol Hill with The Cook Political Report‘s Amy Walter and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.

The Chris Matthews Show: Guests this Sunday are Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent; David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist; Nia-Malika Henderson, The Washington Post National Political Reporter; and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times journalist.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Guests on thie week’s MTP are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Lee and Gillibrand join a panel discussion with the BBC’s Katty Kay, New York Times Columnist David Brooks, and NBC News Political Director ,Chuck Todd.

As the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic Major League Baseball debut approches, a special discussion with filmmaker Ken Burns and Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowely’s guests are Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Republican Strategist Ana Navarro and the Wall Street Journal‘s Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib on President’s budget landing with a thud and Senator Rand Paul landing in some hostile territory.

Apr 14 2013

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Kerry in Japan for talks on North Korean tensions

14 April 2013 Last updated at 08:00 GMT


US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Japan, the last stop of his four-day Asian tour which has focused on tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has recently threatened attacks against South Korea and the US, sparking alarm in the region.

After meeting China’s top leaders on Saturday Mr Kerry said China was “very serious” in its pledge to help resolve tensions with North Korea, its ally.

Mr Kerry has said the US will defend itself and its allies from any attack.

Speculation has been building that the North is preparing a missile launch, following reports that it has moved at least two Musudan ballistic missiles to its east coast.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Guantanamo Bay – President Obama’s shame: The forgotten prisoners of America’s own Gulag

Film-maker captures Israeli spy chiefs’ doubts over covert killing operations

Anti-terror march in Munich ahead of NSU trial

Africa’s economic boom: Five countries to watch

Venezuela tightens security ahead of vote

Apr 14 2013

Formula One 2013: Shanghai

Well, that was some exciting Qualifying while I was distracted with my Java melt down.  Looking at the pretty table you’d say Red Bull finished uncharacteristically low, but that’s not the full story.  It seems that team McLaren isn’t the only one capable of making mind boggling race management mistakes as Webber was left to coast down the back stretch without even fumes during Q2 and, failing to have the requisite 1 Liter in the tank for testing, is starting from the back and really racing at the sufferance of the stewards.

That coupled with the abandonment of team orders by Red Bull signals more clearly than any amount of press gossip that there is a big problem in the paddock, though Webber has said publicly he has no intention of leaving the team mid-season.

The Pirelli Softs, which have never been raced to date, are terrible and the drivers hate them because big chunks of rubber start falling off about as soon as you leave the pit.  Pirelli for it’s part insists they are designed to the direction of the FIA competitiveness committee.  Well, you know what they say about things designed by committee.  No team at all was on the track during the first 10 minutes of Qualifying and both Vettel and Hulkenberg stayed in the garage during Q3 to save tires.

How bad are they?  At best they last for 5 laps and they’re really only good for 2 of those.  They have a 2 second a lap advantage over the Mediums at peak and a pit stop takes around 3 seconds.

Not counting getting in and out of the pit under pit lane speed restrictions.

The team in the best shape on tires is Mercedes who have a fresh set for both (you have to start the tires you qualified on) and Grosjean of Lotus and di Resta of Force India also have a pair.

Expect the rest of the field to start Mediums and hope to advance as the top 10 pit on lap 2 or 3.  Button and Vettel will also start Mediums.

And at that the Mediums last none too long.  Last year Rosberg won on 2 stops.  This year almost everyone will have to make 3 (at least) and since you only get 3 sets of each unless it rains (which is not expected) cars might be on rims at the finish.

Formula One Management is having some trouble with ratings due to its switch from broadcast to cable (in Europe) and the unpopularity of the Shanghai race in particular.

Grand Prix Racing Faces a Test in New Shift to Pay TV

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: April 12, 2013

Last year, the annual global television viewing figures for the series were slightly lower than in 2011, according to statistics released by FOM in February. This was attributed in part to a drop in viewers for the Chinese race.

As Formula One has fought to keep its audience in Europe watching the growing number of Grands Prix in Asia, it has set the Asian start times later in the day to allow for late-morning viewing in Europe. As a result, however, the races compete for local audiences with local sports and have lost local viewers.

“A small handful of territories didn’t meet expectations in terms of reach, with the Chinese market suffering a decrease, which could not be absorbed by a significant number of increases elsewhere,” Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One promoter, said in February.

Some loss of viewers is a result of a change in the very underpinnings of the Formula One success story: a continuing move from free-to-air broadcasts of the races to pay television.

The biggest such shift began last year in Britain, the traditional heart of Formula One. For the first time, the BBC went from full coverage of all races on free TV to showing only half of the races and the pay-TV company British Sky Broadcasting bought rights to show all the races. The trend has continued this year, with coverage in France, Italy and the Netherlands moving to subscription channels. In France, the free broadcaster TF1, which had shown the series for two decades, was out-bid by Canal Plus, which acquired rights to show the series on pay-TV for the next three years.

Bernie defends China as a strategic market though so it looks like the 10 year old Shanghai race will survive despite the cutting of some historic venues in Europe.  All I can say is it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.  I hope he dies destitute and is buried in a pauper’s grave.


Protests held in Bahrain ahead of Formula One

Al Jazeera

12 Apr 2013 20:19

Thursday night’s demonstration came as a report by Human Rights Watch said that police have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in bid to head off protests.

“Your race is a crime,” the protesters chanted, referring to motor racing bosses who have insisted on keeping the Bahrain Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar, witnesses said.

Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed since February 2011.

Last year’s Formula One event went ahead against an ugly backdrop as police responded to protesters who were throwing petrol bombs by using tear gas, sound bombs and birdshot.

Pretty tables below.

Apr 14 2013

What We Now Know

New Up host Steve Kornacki continues the traditional last segment of  highlighting what we have learned this week and asking his guests who they know know. Steve guests are former Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY); Rebecca Traister, Salon.com; Bertha Lewis, the Balck Institution; and Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner (D).

Dan Winslow pushes FEC on gay couples’ cash

by Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico

Dan Winslow, a state representative casting himself as the moderate choice in the April 30 GOP primary for John Kerry’s Senate seat, on Friday filed a request with the regulatory agency asking it to treat married gay couples’ contributions the same way it treats those from married straight couples.

Doing so would essentially disregard the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal law – and is being challenged in a pending Supreme Court case.

Gold, Long a Secure Investment, Loses Its Luster

by Nathaniel Popper, The New York Times

Gold, pride of Croesus and store of wealth since time immemorial, has turned out to be a very bad investment of late. A mere two years after its price raced to a nominal high, gold is sinking – fast. Its price has fallen 17 percent since late 2011. Wednesday was another bad day for gold: the price of bullion dropped $28 to $1,558 an ounce.

It is a remarkable turnabout for an investment that many have long regarded as one of the safest of all. The decline has been so swift that some Wall Street analysts are declaring the end of a golden age of gold. The stakes are high: the last time the metal went through a patch like this, in the 1980s, its price took 30 years to recover.

Positive Remarks on Female Politicans’ Appearance Hurts Them

by Sarah Seltzer, The Jewish Daily Forward

Think it’s no big deal that President Obama called Attorney General Kamala Harris the best looking Attorney General? I didn’t. Sure, I thought that it was an irritating reflection of sexism but not a big cause for banner waving. I particularly felt this way because of the outcry’s implicit condemnation of, well, me. Perhaps I too often make comments about the appearance of others, particularly those I see as interesting or attractive. I also believe that the affirmation of a public and powerful African-American woman’s beauty remains a novel and positive development in our screwed up racist culture. [..]

Now we have empirical reasons to explain why these words, mild as they were, were wrong. A study released by the Women’s Media Center’s Name It/ Change It campaign today indicates that any attention – any at all – to a female political candidate’s appearance damages her standing. [..]