Daily Archive: 05/31/2015

May 31 2015

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – Democalypse 2016 – Fire Hazard

Jon has made up his mind that he’s leaving. But the temptation to change his mind if Donald Trump throws his hat in the ring just might make him change his mind.

Democalypse 2016 – Becoming a Fire Hazard

Bernie Sanders Kicks Off His Presidential Campaign

May 31 2015

On This Day In History May 31

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.

Click on image to enlarge

May 31 is the 151st day of the year (152nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 214 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1859, Big Ben goes into operation in London

The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high St. Stephen’s Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on this day in 1859.

After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster–the headquarters of the British Parliament–in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower. The royal astronomer, Sir George Airy, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, including twice-a-day checks with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While many clockmakers dismissed this goal as impossible, Airy counted on the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a formidable barrister known for his expertise in horology, or the science of measuring time.

Denison’s design, built by the company E.J. Dent & Co., was completed in 1854; five years later, St. Stephen’s Tower itself was finished. Weighing in at more than 13 tons, its massive bell was dragged to the tower through the streets of London by a team of 16 horses, to the cheers of onlookers. Once it was installed, Big Ben struck its first chimes on May 31, 1859. Just two months later, however, the heavy striker designed by Denison cracked the bell. Three more years passed before a lighter hammer was added and the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired.

Great Bell

The main bell, officially known as the Great Bell, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster. The bell is better known by the nickname Big Ben.

The original bell was a 16.3-tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 6 August 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by John Warner & Sons. The bell was named in honour of Sir Benjamin Hall, and his name is inscribed on it. However, another theory for the origin of the name is that the bell may have been named after a contemporary heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt. It is thought that the bell was originally to be called Victoria or Royal Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria, but that an MP suggested the nickname during a Parliamentary debate; the comment is not recorded in Hansard.

Since the tower was not yet finished, the bell was mounted in New Palace Yard. Cast in 1856, the first bell was transported to the tower on a trolley drawn by sixteen horses, with crowds cheering its progress. Unfortunately, it cracked beyond repair while being tested and a replacement had to be made. The bell was recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13.76-tonne (13 1/2 ton) bell. This was pulled 200 ft up to the Clock Tower’s belfry, a feat that took 18 hours. It is 2.2 metres tall and 2.9 metres wide. This new bell first chimed in July 1859. In September it too cracked under the hammer, a mere two months after it officially went into service. According to the foundry’s manager, George Mears, Denison had used a hammer more than twice the maximum weight specified. For three years Big Ben was taken out of commission and the hours were struck on the lowest of the quarter bells until it was reinstalled. To make the repair, a square piece of metal was chipped out from the rim around the crack, and the bell given an eighth of a turn so the new hammer struck in a different place. Big Ben has chimed with an odd twang ever since and is still in use today complete with the crack. At the time of its casting, Big Ben was the largest bell in the British Isles until “Great Paul”, a 17 tonne (16 3/4 ton) bell currently hung in St Paul’s Cathedral, was cast in 1881.

May 31 2015

Mr. Smith

It galls me to write anything approving of a Republican let alone one named after Ayn Rand who is buckets full of crazy but sometimes, even in D.C., reality creeps in.

Folks, we live in a spy state culture that equals anything Orwell imagined and the Stasi implemented.  They spy on us not because we are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, but so they can blackmail us into snitches on our friends, neighbors, and family.

I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans.  The callous use of general warrants and the disregard for the Bill of Rights must end.  Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people.  That’s why two years ago, I sued the NSA.  It’s why I proposed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. It’s why I have been seeking for months to have a full, open and honest debate on this issue- a debate that never came.

So last week, seeing proponents of this illegal spying rushing toward a deadline to wholesale renew this unconstitutional power, I filibustered the bill.  I spoke for over 10 hours to call attention to the vast expansion of the spy state and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.

Then, last week, I further blocked the extension of these powers and the Senate adjourned for recess rather than stay and debate them.

Tomorrow, we will come back with just hours left before the NSA illegal spying powers expire.  Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security.

I believe we must fight terrorism, and I believe we must stand strong against our enemies.  But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not.  There has to be another way.  We must find it together.

So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program.

I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty.

Sometimes when the problem is big enough, you just have to start over. The tax code and our regulatory burdens are two good examples.

Fighting against unconditional, illegal powers that take away our rights, taken by previous Congresses and administrations is just as important.

I do not do this to obstruct. I do it to build something better, more effective, more lasting, and more cognizant of who we are as Americans.

Ugh.  I stand with Rand.  I am now taking a very long shower, maybe two.

Link

May 31 2015

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:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Democratic presidential candidate former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson; potential GOP candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

The roundtable guests are: Republican strategist and pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson; Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson; and Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, managing editors of Bloomberg Politics .

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: This is Mr. Schieffer’s last show. His guests are: Potential GOP candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and CIA Director John Brennan.

His panel guests are: Peggy Noonan,The Wall Street Journal; Dan Balz, Washington Post; David Ignatius Washington Post; and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson, who will take over the reins at “Face The Nation” next week.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on Sunday’s “MTP” are: former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA); Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT); former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and Nuala O’Connor, President & CEO, The Center for Democracy and Technology.

The panel guests are: Chris Matthews, Host of MSNBC’s “Hardball“; Manu Raju, POLITICO; Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report and Sara Fagan, former White House Political Director for President George W. Bush

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: GOP presidential candidate former NY Gov. George Pataki; Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); and Sen. Angus King (I-ME).

May 31 2015

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

 Kansas college student killed in mosque attack called a ‘hero

   

By Kevin Conlon and Greg Botelho, CNN

He was a Kansas college student who had returned home in order to get married.

And then after that, Abduljaleel Alarbash planned to leave Saudi Arabia and head back to Wichita State University, where the electrical engineering major was an honor roll student.

It appeared like it was nothing but good times ahead for “Jalil,” as his college buddies called him.

Until Friday, when the 22-year-old’s life was cut short by a suicide bomber outside of a mosque in Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, its second on a Shiite mosque in as many weeks.

The blast also killed Jalil’s brother, Mohammed, and their cousin, Alarbash’s father, speaking in Arabic, said in a video posted Saturday.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Greece suffering as insecurity surrounding debt crisis kills businesses across the country

UN firms stance as peacekeeper child sex abuse allegations grow

 A Man in Full: To Hell and Back in the Chinese Healthcare System

IS group destroys notorious Syria prison as regime accused of barrel bomb killings

What does the Justice Dept. have on FIFA? A deep dive into the indictment. (+video)

May 31 2015

The Breakfast Club (Saints)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

Breakfast Tune: Kid Thomas Band at Preservation Hall: When the Saints Go Marching In (1982)



Banjo solo starts at 3:37

Today in History


The Johnstown Flood kills more than 2,200 people in Pennsylvania; Israel hangs ex-Nazi official Adolf Eichmann; Bombing suspect Eric Rudolph caught in North Carolina; Actor-director Clint Eastwood born. (May 31)

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

May 31 2015

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Migration?

The migration of refugees from conflict torn Libya has become a huge humanitarian crisis for European nations, especially Italy. But the solution to stemming the tide of thousands fleeing the region by vessels used by human traffickers isn’t the way.

EU to launch Mediterranean naval mission to tackle migrant crisis

EU ministers have agreed to launch a sea and air mission that could in its later phases destroy vessels used by human traffickers, which have carried an estimated 1,800 migrants to their deaths in the Mediterranean this year.

An intelligence-gathering operation will herald the mission’s first phase, with the UK expected to offer drones and surveillance equipment as a partial riposte to calls for it to take in more refugees.

In later phases, hostile vessels suspected of harbouring migrants could be boarded, searched, seized or disposed of in Libyan territory or international waters – as long as a chapter 7 UN resolution to authorise the use of force to do so is obtained first. [..]

The mission’s rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as “the next step in terms of operational details”. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said.

The operation will have its headquarters in Rome and be run by an Italian rear admiral, Enrico Credendino, with an initial year-long mandate.

Concerns about the militarisation of the migrants issue will probably be raised at the UN, though, with Libya already describing the mission as very worrying, citing concerns over its potential to mistakenly target fishermen’s boats.

Refugee rights groups fear that bombing the escape routes of people fleeing for their lives from Syria, Eritrea and west Africa – where most migrants begin their journeys – will simply lead to more deaths, away from the public spotlight.

During his interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman in London’s Ecuadoran Embassy, Wikileaks’ founder Julina Assange revealed that Wikileaks has released documents that detail the EU plans for the military intervention against “refugee boats” in Libya and the Mediterranean

Today, WikiLeaks is releasing two classified EU documents, outlining the planned military intervention against boats travelling from Libya to Italy. The more significant of the two documents was written by the combined military defence chiefs of the EU member states. The plan was formally approved by representatives from all 28 countries on 18 May 2015.

Importantly, one of the documents acknowledges that “the political End State [of the military intervention] is not clearly defined” and recommends that the European Commission issue further guidance.

The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure. It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe. The EU member states’ military chiefs advice is that there is a need to:

   “[draw] on the full range of surveillance, intelligence and information capabilities available to MS [member states] and Partners, and supported by Brussels (inter alia EEAS [European External Action Service] Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity – SIAC)“.

The plan also acknowledges the possibility of EU military use of force against groups such as ISIL “within the Libyan sovereign area”:

   “the threat to the force should be acknowledged, especially during activities such as boarding and when operating on land or in proximity to an unsecured coastline, or during interaction with non-seaworthy vessels. The potential presence of hostile forces, extremists or terrorists such as Da’esh [ISIL] should also be taken into consideration“.

The documents mark a departure from previous EU military strategy in its overt targeting of civilian infrastructure in Libya. Numerous EU countries, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom participated in NATO-led air strikes on Libya in 2011.



Transcript can be read here