03/21/2014 archive

March Madness 2014: Men’s Round of 64 Day 2 Evening

Network Time Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
TBS 6:55 8 Memphis (23 – 9) 9 George Washington (24 – 8) East
CBS 7:10 1 Wichita State (34 – 0) 16 Cal Poly (14 – 19) MidWest
TNT 7:20 6 N. Carolina (23 – 9) 11 Providence (23 – 11) East
truTV 7:27 5 Virginia Commonwealth (26 – 8) 12 Stephen Austin (31 – 2) South
TBS 9:25 1 Virginia (28 – 6) 16 Coastal Carolina (21 – 12) East
CBS 9:40 8 Kentucky (24 – 10) 9 Kansas State (20 – 12) MidWest
TNT 9:50 3 Iowa State (26 – 7) 14 N.C. Central (28 – 5) East
truTV 9:57 4 UCLA (26 – 8) 13 Tulsa (21 – 12) South

March Madness 2014: Men’s Round of 64 Day 2 Evening

Network Time Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
TBS 6:55 8 Memphis (23 – 9) 9 George Washington (24 – 8) East
CBS 7:10 1 Wichita State (34 – 0) 16 Cal Poly (14 – 19) MidWest
TNT 7:20 6 N. Carolina (23 – 9) 11 Providence (23 – 11) East
truTV 7:27 5 Virginia Commonwealth (26 – 8) 12 Stephen Austin (31 – 2) South
TBS 9:25 1 Virginia (28 – 6) 16 Coastal Carolina (21 – 12) East
CBS 9:40 8 Kentucky (24 – 10) 9 Kansas State (20 – 12) MidWest
TNT 9:50 3 Iowa State (26 – 7) 14 N.C. Central (28 – 5) East
truTV 9:57 4 UCLA (26 – 8) 13 Tulsa (21 – 12) South

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: Suppressing the Vote

If a federal judge’s disappointing ruling this week on a voter registration case is allowed to stand, state lawmakers around the country could well make it harder for eligible citizens to register to vote in federal as well as state elections. [..]

Federal District Judge Eric Melgren ruled on Wednesdayhttp://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html] that the commission had acted “in excess of its statutory authority” because the federal law “has not pre-empted state laws” that require documents proving citizenship. Under the Constitution, states have the power to decide who may vote, while the federal government has the final say in how, where and when voting occurs.

But the legal dispute should not distract anyone from recognizing the underlying purpose of laws like these and their close relative, voter ID laws. They are intended to keep eligible voters from the polls.

Paul Krugman: The Timidity Trap

There don’t seem to be any major economic crises underway right this moment, and policy makers in many places are patting themselves on the back. In Europe, for example, they’re crowing about Spain’s recovery: the country seems set to grow at least twice as fast this year as previously forecast.

Unfortunately, that means growth of 1 percent, versus 0.5 percent, in a deeply depressed economy with 55 percent youth unemployment. The fact that this can be considered good news just goes to show how accustomed we’ve grown to terrible economic conditions. We’re doing worse than anyone could have imagined a few years ago, yet people seem increasingly to be accepting this miserable situation as the new normal. [..]

In other words, Yeats had it right: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. [..]

About the worst: If you’ve been following economic debates these past few years, you know that both America and Europe have powerful pain caucuses – influential groups fiercely opposed to any policy that might put the unemployed back to work. There are some important differences between the U.S. and European pain caucuses, but both now have truly impressive track records of being always wrong, never in doubt

Sadhbh Walshe: Why do we let 80,000 Americans suffer a ‘slow-motion torture of burying alive’?

Solitary confinement’s psychological effects are obvious enough. But you have to hear it from the prisoners to be truly horrified

Sarah Shourd still has nightmares about the 13 months she spent in solitary confinement in Iran. “It reduces you to an animal-like state,” she tells me. Shourd recalled the hours she spent crouched down at the food slot of her cell door, listening for any sign of life. Or pounding on the walls until her knuckles bled. Or covering her ears to drown out the screams – the screams she could no longer distinguish as her own – until she felt the hands of a prison guard on her face, trying to calm her. [..]

Scientific studies have shown that it can take less than two days in solitary confinement for brainwaves to shift towards delirium or stupor (pdf). For this reason, the United Nations has called on all countries to ban solitary confinement – except in exceptional circumstances, and even then to impose a limit of no longer than 15 days so that any permanent psychological damage can be averted. Shourd spent a total of 410 days in solitary and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after her release. She still has trouble sleeping. But since returning home, she has spent much of her time trying to draw attention to the plight of more than 80,000 Americans who are held in isolation on any given day, some of whom do not count their stay in days or months, but in years and even decades.

John Glaser: The CIA impunity challenge

The intelligence agency – and the White House – are holding hostage the truth about torture

The White House and the CIA are currently engaged in an unrelenting battle to cover up the George W. Bush administration’s torture program and to maintain a system of impunity for what are obvious war crimes. Disturbingly, they are even willing to break the law – again – to win that battle.

The historic testimony given by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on the Senate floor on March 11 laid bare the efforts of the Central Intelligence Agency to block the publication of a 6,300-page investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee into the Bush-era interrogation program. She accused the CIA of violating both statutory laws and the Constitution.

Michael Cohen: The NRA’s surgeon general warning: a reminder of gun control’s scarlet letter

Dr Vivek Murthy believes what most Americans believe. But the only thing that stops a good guy against guns is the gun lobby

Few Americans have likely heard of Vivek Murthy, President Obama’s nominee to be the nation’s Surgeon General. But let me tell you, this guy has got some pretty nutty views.

Don’t believe me. Listen to what the National Rifle Association has to say about him (pdf): “Dr Murthy’s record of political activism in support of radical gun control measures raises significant concerns.”

“Radical gun control measures”! Go on.

Murthy has some crazy, crazy ideas about guns (pdf). For example, he wants to bring back the federal assault weapons ban. He supports universal background checks; mandatory-waiting periods of 48 hours for gun purchases, mandatory safety training for gun owners and limits on ammunition purchases. He even wants to do away with laws that would prevent doctors from discussing gun safety with their patients; he wants to see laws that prohibit physicians from documenting gun ownership be repealed; and he wants to restore CDC and NIH funding to conduct firearms research.

My gosh, this guy sounds like an extremist. Maybe even a Communist. Or perhaps … an ordinary American.

John Nichols: An 87 Percent Vote for a $15-an-Hour Wage

Political insiders and prognosticators at the national level were, barely a year ago, casting doubts on the question of whether proposing a great big hike in the federal minimum wage was smart politics. While President Obama had proposed a $9-an-hour wage, Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Congressman George Miller, D-California, broke the double-digit barrier with a $10.10-an-hour proposal. But there was still skepticism about whether raising wages for the hardest-pressed American workers was a winning issue.

Polls have since confirmed that Americans from across the political and ideological spectrum are overwhelmingly in favor of a substantial increase in the minimum wage. And election results are now confirming the sentiment.

Even as they reelected Governor Chris Christie last fall, New Jersey voters gave landslide support to a measure that not only raised the state minimum wage to $9 an hour but indexed future increases to keep up with inflation. On the same day, voters in Sea-Tac, Washington, approved a $15 hourly wage, while voters in Seattle elected socialist Kshama Sawant on a “Fight for $15” platform.

Now comes a powerful signal from Chicago.

March Madness 2014: Men’s Round of 64 Day 2 Afternoon

Last Night’s Results

Seed School Record Seed School Record Score Region
6 Ohio State (25 – 10) 11 * Dayton (24 – 10) (59 – 60) South
2 * Wisconsin (27 – 7) 15 American (20 – 13) (75 – 35) West
8 Colorado (16 – 17) 9 * Pittsburgh (26 – 9) (48 – 77) South
5 Cincinnati (27 – 7) 12 * Harvard (27 – 4) (57 – 61) East
3 * Syracuse (28 – 5) 14 W. Michigan (23 – 10) (77 – 53) South
7 * Oregon (24 – 9) 10 BYU (23 – 12) (87 – 68) West
1 * Florida (33 – 2) 16 Albany (19 – 15) (67 – 55) South
4 * Michigan State (27 – 8) 13 Delaware (25 – 10) (93 – 78) East
7 * Connecticut (27 – 8) 10 Saint Joe’s (24 – 10) (89 – 81) OT East
2 * Michigan (26 – 8) 15 Wofford (20 – 13) (57 – 40) MidWest
5 * Saint Louis (27 – 6) 12 N.C. State (22 – 14) (83 – 80) OT MidWest
5 Oklahoma (23 – 10) 12 * N. Dakota State (26 – 6) (75 – 80) OT West
2 * Villanova (29 – 4) 15 Milwaukee (21 – 14) (73 – 53) East
7 * Texas (24 – 10) 10 Arizona State (21 – 12) (87 – 85) MidWest
4 * Louisville (30 – 5) 13 Manhattan (25 – 8) (71 – 64) MidWest
4 * San Diego St. (30 – 4) 13 New Mexico St. (25 – 10) (73 – 69) OT West

Today’s Schedule

Network Time Seed School Record Seed School Record Region
CBS 12:15 3 Duke (26 – 8) 14 Mercer (26 – 8) MidWest
truTV 12:40 6 Baylor (24 – 11) 11 Nebraska (19 – 12) West
TBS 1:40 7 New Mexico (27 – 6) 10 Stanford (21 – 12) South
TNT 2:10 1 Arizona (30 – 4) 16 Weber State (19 – 11) West
CBS 2:45 6 UMass (24 – 8) 11 Tennessee (22 – 12) MidWest
truTV 3:10 3 Creighton (26 – 7) 14 UL-Lafayette (23 – 11) West
TBS 4:10 2 Kansas (24 – 9) 15 E. Kentucky (24 – 9) South
TNT 4:40 8 Gonzaga (28 – 6) 9 Oklahoma State (21 – 12) West

On This Day In History March 21

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 21 is the 80th day of the year (81st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 285 days remaining until the end of the year.

March 21st is the common date of the March equinox (although astronomically the equinox is more likely to fall on March 20 in all but the most easterly longitudes). In astrology, the day of the equinox is the first full day of the sign of Aries. It is also the traditional first day of the astrological year.

On this day in 1804, the Napoleonic Code approved in France.

After four years of debate and planning, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte enacts a new legal framework for France, known as the “Napoleonic Code.” The civil code gave post-revolutionary France its first coherent set of laws concerning property, colonial affairs, the family, and individual rights.

In 1800, General Napoleon Bonaparte, as the new dictator of France, began the arduous task of revising France’s outdated and muddled legal system. He established a special commission, led by J.J. Cambaceres, which met more than 80 times to discuss the revolutionary legal revisions, and Napoleon presided over nearly half of these sessions. In March 1804, the Napoleonic Code was finally approved.

The Napoleonic Code, or Code Napoléon (originally, the Code civil des Français), is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified. It was drafted rapidly by a commission of four eminent jurists and entered into force on March 21, 1804. The Napoleonic Code was not the first legal code to be established in a European country with a civil legal system, it was preceded by the Codex Maximilianeus bavaricus civilis (Bavaria, 1756), the Allgemeines Landrecht (Prussia, 1794) and the West Galician Code, (Galicia, then part of Austria, 1797). It was, however, the first modern legal code to be adopted with a pan-European scope and it strongly influenced the law of many of the countries formed during and after the Napoleonic Wars. The Code, with its stress on clearly written and accessible law, was a major step in replacing the previous patchwork of feudal laws. Historian Robert Holtman regards it as one of the few documents that have influenced the whole world.

Contents of the Code

The preliminary article of the Code established certain important provisions regarding the rule of law. Laws could be applied only if they had been duly promulgated, and only if they had been published officially (including provisions for publishing delays, given the means of communication available at the time); thus no secret laws were authorized. It prohibited ex post facto laws (i.e., laws that apply to events that occurred before them). The code also prohibited judges from refusing justice on grounds of insufficiency of the law-therefore encouraging them to interpret the law. On the other hand, it prohibited judges from passing general judgments of a legislative value (see above).

With regard to family, the Code established the supremacy of the husband with respect to the wife and children; this was the general legal situation in Europe at the time. It did, however, allow divorce on liberal basis compared to other European countries, including divorce by mutual consent.

How We Can Take Back the Internet

Here’s how we take back the Internet

Transcript can be read here

Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives – and the laws that protect it. “Your rights matter,” he says, “because you never know when you’re going to need them.” Chris Anderson interviews, with special guest Tim Berners-Lee.

US Military Personnel Sickened By Fukushima Radiation

U.S. Sailors and Marines Allege Fukushima Radiation Sickness

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

Three years have passed since the earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The tsunami’s immediate death toll was more than 15,000, with close to 3,000 still missing. Casualties are still mounting, though, both in Japan and much farther away. The impact of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown on health and the environment is severe, compounded daily as radioactive pollution continues to pour from the site, owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO.

In an unusual development, more than 100 U.S. Marines and Navy sailors have joined a class action suit, charging TEPCO with lying about the severity of the disaster as they were rushing to the scene to provide humanitarian assistance. They were aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and other vessels traveling with the Reagan, engaged in humanitarian response to the disaster. The response was dubbed “Operation Tomodachi,” meaning “Operation Friendship.”

Three years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, scores of U.S. sailors and marines are suing the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, for allegedly misleading the Navy about the level of radioactive contamination. Many of the servicemembers who provided humanitarian relief during the disaster have experienced devastating health ailments since returning from Japan, ranging from leukemia to blindness to infertility to birth defects. We are joined by three guests: Lieutenant Steve Simmons, a U.S. Navy sailor who served on board the USS Ronald Reagan and joined in the class action lawsuit against TEPCO after suffering health problems; Charles Bonner, an attorney for the sailors; and Kyle Cleveland, sociology professor and associate director of the Institute for Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University’s Japan campus in Tokyo. Cleveland recently published transcripts of the Navy’s phone conversations about Fukushima that took place at the time of the disaster, which suggest commanders were also aware of the risk faced by sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan.

Documents Show the Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

By Harvey Wasserman, Huffington Post

A stunning new report alleges the U.S. Navy knew that sailors from the nuclear-powered USS Ronald Reagan took major radiation hits from the Fukushima atomic power plant after its meltdowns and explosions nearly three years ago.

If true, the revelations cast new light on the $1 billion lawsuit filed by the sailors against Tokyo Electric Power. Many of the sailors are already suffering devastating health impacts, but are being stonewalled by Tepco and the Navy. The Reagan had joined several other U.S. ships in Operation Tomodachi (“Friendship”) to aid victims of the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami. Photographic evidence and first-person testimony confirms that on March 12, 2011 the ship was within two miles of Fukushima Dai’ichi as the reactors there began to melt and explode. In the midst of a snow storm, deck hands were enveloped in a warm cloud that came with a metallic taste. Sailors testify that the Reagan’s 5,500-member crew was told over the ship’s intercom to avoid drinking or bathing in desalinized water drawn from a radioactive sea. The huge carrier quickly ceased its humanitarian efforts and sailed 100 miles out to sea, where newly published internal Navy communications confirm it was still taking serious doses of radioactive fallout. Scores of sailors from the Reagan and other ships stationed nearby now report a wide range of ailments reminiscent of those documented downwind from atomic bomb tests in the Pacific and Nevada, and at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.