Jul 09 2010
Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and contemplate the day.
Glen Greenwald again starts at the top with his continued skewering of the MSM hypocrisy, asking us to consider who has been forced out of the so-called “Liberal Media”
CNN yesterday ended the 20-year career of Octavia Nasr, its Atlanta-based Senior Middle East News Editor, because of a now-deleted tweet she wrote on Sunday upon learning of the death of one of the Shiite world’s most beloved religious figures: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah . . . . One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.” That message spawned an intense fit of protest from Far Right outlets, Thought Crime enforcers, and other neocon precincts, and CNN quickly (and characteristically) capitulated to that pressure by firing her. The network — which has employed a former AIPAC official, Wolf Blitzer, as its primary news anchor for the last 15 years — justified its actions by claiming that Nasr’s “credibility” had been “compromised.” Within this episode lies several important lessons about media “objectivity” and how the scope of permissible views is enforced.
In an up date to his column, Glen addresses some of his harshest critics on his views on Israel. Glen concludes
I view the increasingly unhinged attacks by the worst neocon elements to be a vindication of what I’m doing. I see them as pernicious and destructive, and genuinely welcome their contempt.
That applies to just about any of the unreasonable, unhinged responses from the “neocon elements”.
Jul 09 2010
On July 9, 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then an outer-suburb of London. Twenty-one amateurs showed up to compete in the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. The winner was to take home a 25-guinea trophy.
Tennis has its origins in a 13th-century French handball game called jeu de paume, or “game of the palm,” from which developed an indoor racket-and-ball game called real, or “royal,” tennis. Real tennis grew into lawn tennis, which was played outside on grass and enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late 19th century.
In 1868, the All England Club was established on four acres of meadowland outside London. The club was originally founded to promote croquet, another lawn sport, but the growing popularity of tennis led it to incorporate tennis lawns into its facilities. In 1877, the All England Club published an announcement in the weekly sporting magazine The Field that read: “The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, propose [sic] to hold a lawn tennis meeting open to all amateurs, on Monday, July 9, and following days. Entrance fee pounds 1 1s 0d.”
The All English Club purchased a 25-guinea trophy and drew up formal rules for tennis. It decided on a rectangular court 78 feet long by 27 feet wide; adapted the real tennis method of scoring based on a clock face–i.e., 15, 30, 40, game; established that the first to win six games wins a set; and allowed the server one fault. These decisions, largely the work of club member Dr. Henry Jones, remain part of the modern rules.
Jul 08 2010
Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and try not to get too depressed
Glen Greenwald continues holding journalists feet to the fire on transparency
Journalists like to claim that they are devoted to transparency, but it’s striking how so many of them exempt themselves and their own media outlets from those “principles.” Here are five recent, somewhat similar episodes illustrating that syndrome:
Joe Conason tells us to listen to Niall Ferguson on the Federal deficit and then ignore his bad advice
Before the inquiring minds at the Aspen Ideas Festival go totally gaga over Niall Ferguson, perhaps they ought to know a little more about the British historian’s keen desire to punish our pampered working families, and how he would prefer to see us spend our dollars.
As a celebrity intellectual, Ferguson much prefers the broad, bold stroke to the careful detail, so it is scarcely surprising that he endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s “wonderful” budget template, confident that his audience in Aspen would know almost nothing about that document. For Ferguson, the most beguiling quality of Ryan’s budget must be its bias against the working and middle classes and in favor of the wealthy. But as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities revealed in a scorching review, the plan doesn’t work even on its own terms.
Jul 08 2010
Let Freedom Ring. Your morning open thread
On this day in 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8.
In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Jul 07 2010
As many here in the Northeast already know, it’s hot. Temperature in many places are in triple digits, coupled with high humidity and stagnant air. It can be life threatening. The entire region is under a heat alert and many cities have poor air quality alerts.
Most people know to wear cool, loose clothing, drink plenty of non-alcoholic, decaffeinated beverages and stay in the shade, air conditioning or a room with windows open and fans. Take cool showers. You should also limit exercise to very early morning hours. Although in this heat with temperatures already pushing 90 at 7 AM, it might be a good idea to forgo exercise altogether, especially for those on medication for hypertension, cardiac disease or diabetes. Many cities have cooling centers for those without air conditioning and places, like NYC, are extending the hours of municipal pools and beaches keeping lifeguards on duty until dusk.
If you have pets, keep their water bowls full with clean fresh water, keep them indoors or provide an airy, shaded place. Limit their exercise, as well, to early morning and after sundown.
Relief is expected on Friday when a cold front pushes through bringing thunder showers and cooler temperatures for the weekend. Meanwhile stay cool and wet, inside and out.
Jul 07 2010
Your morning Open Thread
On this day in 1930, construction of the Hoover Dam begins. Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest manmade structures in the world.
Although the dam would take only five years to build, its construction was nearly 30 years in the making. Arthur Powell Davis, an engineer from the Bureau of Reclamation, originally had his vision for the Hoover Dam back in 1902, and his engineering report on the topic became the guiding document when plans were finally made to begin the dam in 1922.
Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States and a committed conservationist, played a crucial role in making Davis’ vision a reality. As secretary of commerce in 1921, Hoover devoted himself to the erection of a high dam in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. The dam would provide essential flood control, which would prevent damage to downstream farming communities that suffered each year when snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and joined the Colorado River. Further, the dam would allow the expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and would provide a dependable supply of water for Los Angeles and other southern California communities.
Jul 07 2010
Happy Birthday, Ringo.
Ringo Starr is turning 70 on Wednesday. It feels as though youth itself is now 70 years old.
I wasn’t yet 6 when the Beatles played their last live performance atop the Apple Corps building on Savile Row in London, January 1969. They split four years before I got my first Beatles album. Still, I can keep track of my teenage years by Beatles songs I happened to be enthralled with at the time. Forty years after they broke up, my 6-year-old son is learning to play “Eleanor Rigby” on the piano.
Ever since Ringo Starr vowed, on a well-known cover of Buck Owens’s hit “Act Naturally,” that he’d become “the biggest fool to ever hit the big time,” the renowned rock ‘n’ roll drummer has done all right for himself. As a member of the Beatles and as a solo artist, Mr. Starr has sold more than a few records, won some Grammy Awards and even had a minor planet named for him. But on Wednesday Mr. Starr will reach a very special milestone: he turns 70 years old.
As you’d expect, he plans to mark the occasion with a little help from his friends, and anyone else he can round up. Finding himself in New York on the big day, he is celebrating with a private event in the morning at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square; Hard Rock International is honoring the day at locations around the world. (Details are at ringostarr.com.)
In the evening he will perform a concert at Radio City Music Hall with his All Starr Band, which includes Edgar Winter, Gary Wright and Rick Derringer.
Jul 06 2010
An Alternet story from yesterday contemplates the reason for women dominating the rank of the Tea Party movement. According to a Quinipiac poll the the TP is 55% women and Slate 6 of the 8 Tea Party Patriots are women and 15 of the 25 state coordinators are women. Like the men, they are predominantly white, Christian and “middle class”. It ain’t just angry white men.
July 5, 2010 Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party would have far less appeal to voters who are frightened by economic insecurity, threats to moral purity and the gradual disappearance of a national white Christian culture.
Most Americans are not quite sure what to make of the sprawling right-wing Tea Party, which gradually emerged in 2009 and became a household name after it held nationwide Tea Party rallies on April 15th 2010, to protest paying taxes. Throwing tea overboard, as you may remember, is an important symbolic image of the colonial anger at Britain’s policy of “taxation without representation.”
Jul 06 2010
Browsing the op-ed pages of the print media and an open thread to vent. Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and contemplate the day.
Paul Krugman came down on Republicans who think they will get elected by punishing the unemployed by blocking Unemployment benefits.
By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do – including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain – improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.
By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”
Jul 05 2010
The Associated Press owes China an apology according to Glen Greenwald this morning, that is if the press continues to follow the Bush regime’s definition of what constitutes “torture”.
China sentenced an American geologist, Xue Feng, to eight years in prison for spying and collecting state secrets. During his detention, Feng was tortured as the article points out by
stubbing lit cigarettes into his arms in the early days of his detention.
But, but…according to John Yoo of torture memo fame:
Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mental pain or suffering to amount to torture (under U.S. law), it must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years.
So why, as per Glen, does the AP owe China an apology? Heh. Hypocrisy, thy name is the “Press”.