Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"JOHANNESBURG — With pressure for video replay mounting after two blatant missed calls at the World Cup, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said soccer's governing body will reopen the issue after the tournament.
Blatter said Tuesday that FIFA deplores "when you see the evidence of refereeing mistakes." It would be "a nonsense" not to consider changes, he said..."
"Reporting from Washington — Robert Carlyle Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat who was often called the conscience of the Senate for his devotion to the system of constitutional checks and balances and the prerogatives of power, died early Monday. He was 92.
Byrd, who served longer and cast more congressional votes than any other member of Congress in U.S. history since taking office in January 1959, died at Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va., a family spokesman said..."
Update: On his radio show today Huckabee Halftruth said he figured Sen,Byrd was right lobbying God to move the Pearly Gates to West Virginia. I betcha there's quite a few West Virginians who will say they're already there.
"Russia's Foreign Ministry says allegations of a Russian spy ring in the United States are "groundless" and "unseemly."
A statement released by Russia's Foreign Ministry voiced regret that the arrests of 10 alleged spies in the United States came as President Barack Obama had moved to "reset" relations with Moscow..."
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
"...There's been something of a split over the escrow fund between GOP elected leaders, who have mostly refrained from criticizing it, and conservative opinion-makers, who have compared it to some of the worst acts of tyranny in human history. Here you can see Palin, a celebrity quasi-candidate, throwing her lot in with the lurid interpretation favored by conservative thought leaders.
In response to Palin's reading recommendation, Jake Tapper Tweeted a good question for Palin: "Respectfully, are you comfortable w/ his references to Hitler and the Reichstag? "Obviously, she is."
"...If Ms. Kagan is confirmed after US Senate hearings scheduled to start June 28, then the court will have certain demographics represented in numbers that 50 years ago would have seemed unimaginable: three women, three Jews, six Roman Catholics. Kagan's confirmation also would mean that, for the first time, the court would be left without any white Protestant males, who until 1993, commanded a majority of the court.
Yet as commentators, court watchers, and interest groups remind us, a cast of nine characters made up of two religions, three races, one sexual orientation, and an all-Ivy-League pedigree are hardly avatars of the nation's self-image..."
"A military source close to Gen. David Petraeus says one of the first things the general will do when he takes over in Afghanistan is to modify the controversial rules of engagement to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy. Troops on the ground and some military commanders have said the strict rules -- aimed at preventing civilian casualties -- have effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs..."
But weren't these rules imposed by Obama?
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I'm not saying that's what happened here, but I'm sure Gen. McChrystal is familiar with old school transactional analysis and since there are so few thinkers left today (as opposed to reacters -- 'bots of both the Left and Right persuasion), a clever man could easily pull off this ploy with none of the Villagers noticing and few of the general population getting it either.
You might even find a high profile meat puppet. Who knows.
Gates advocated keeping McChrystal, source says - CNN.com: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but Gates was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr..."
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Op-Ed Columnist - Faustus Makes a Deal - NYTimes.com
"...Bitterly and too late, Dr. Faustus saw that liberals can’t have their way and still win elections in places like North Carolina, Ohio and Missouri. Bitterly and too late, Dr. Faustus recognized that economic policies are about values. If your policies undermine personal responsibility by separating the link between effort and reward, voters will punish you for it.
Bitterly and too late, Dr. Faustus acknowledged that after a period of overconsumption, Americans now see debt as the primary threat to their well-being. Dr. Faust and his fellow liberals may see themselves as the champions of the little guy, but in the new age of austerity, many voters see them as protectors of the special interests, as the guardians of the unaffordable promises.
Republicans have their own problems. They’ve begun over-reading their ideological mandate without the usual intervening step of actually winning an election. But the big story is that liberals have failed to create a governing center-left majority. If they can’t do it in circumstances like these, when will they ever?
Dr. Faustus fell back into despair. His soul will spend all eternity trapped in Glenn Beck’s microphone."
Monday, June 21, 2010
"The country that invented the Walkman may be back on track to burnish its image as a technological pioneer. Right now, more than 4.7 million miles from Earth, is a revolutionary spacecraft that could be the future of interstellar travel. Japan's space program, JAXA, confirmed on June 10 they had successfully unfurled the world's first solar sail — a spacecraft that uses the velocity of sunlight to propel it. Then, just three days later, Japan announced what could be an even more impressive accomplishment: a spacecraft that left Earth seven years ago had returned home. Before brilliantly burning up over Australia, the ship ejected a soccer-ball-sized pod — a modest container that may contain the first fragments of an asteroid ever brought to earth and provide clues about the origins of our planet. Not bad for a spacecraft running three years behind schedule and without three of its four engines..."
'Emboldened by the recent passage of the nation's toughest law against illegal immigration, the Arizona politician who sponsored the measure now says he wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented parents.
The highly controversial measure has sparked debate across the nation, with the basic question being: "Should U.S. citizenship be a birth right?..."'
Sunday, June 20, 2010
"Can you hear it in the wind?
Suddenly, this is the word on everyone’s lips — Hillary!
Sally Quinn of WaPo, the grande dame of all that is socially correct, who called Hillary ‘a tortured person who doesn’t know what she wants,’ who accused her of all manner of evil over the years, now wants Hillary and Biden to change places. Quinn says “Hillary Clinton should be Obama’s vice president” and opines…"
Long but good comment; read the rest at the link.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"...It would seem that things are pretty straight forward, if you put politics aside. But when do we ever put politics aside in this country anymore? So we get Rush Limbaugh blaming the Sierra Club, Sarah Palin blaming environmentalists, Republicans trying to pin the disaster on President Obama (with the nonsensical and illogical Katrina-BP comparisons), and a parade of leaders (most, but not all, Republicans) standing up for BP (like John Boehner, parroting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saying tax payers should help BP pay for the cleanup). We have also experienced a line of politicians (again, mostly Republicans, but not all, including Democrat Mary Landrieu) saying that despite the oil disaster in the Gulf, we should keep drilling. Rep. John Culberson, a Republican from Texas, wrote a letter to President Obama opposing the moratorium on off-shore drilling, saying that the BP spill was nothing but a "statistical anomaly" since only "0.001 percent spilled" in the past. I wonder if Culberson would also argue that the nuclear reactors in Chrenobyl are safe, since they operated fine for nearly a decade with only one incident..."
"...AT&T senior vice president for external and legislative affairs Jim Cicconi commented on the FCC NOI to say "It will create investment uncertainty at a time when certainty is most needed. It will no doubt damage jobs in a period of far-too-high unemployment. It will also undermine the FCC's own goals for the National Broadband Plan."
Really? No, seriously. Because, if that is true, we need to know about it. We need the facts to be a part of this open dialog so we can consider the full ramifications of altering the scope of FCC authority over broadband service providers. So, if you can actually back that alarmist statement up, please contribute those facts to the process.
In a statement issued from the FCC following Thursday's vote, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski notes, "It's not hard to understand why companies subject to an agency's oversight would prefer no oversight at all if they had the chance.
That is true. However, the United States has been experiencing the painful effects of reduced or failed oversight--the collapse of Wall Street, the ongoing BP oil spill fiasco--so you'll have to forgive us for not trusting the altruistic intentions of corporate America.
What is the broadband industry afraid of? It's a public debate, not an FCC directive. The point of the NOI is to provide an opportunity for all parties to weigh in. Instead of whining and complaining about the audacity of the FCC for moving the discussion forward, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, or any other interested party, should participate in the democratic process to determine the best solution..."
"...Angle appears to be concerned about what might be called a Rand Paul effect - a critical focus on her positions in the wake of a primary victory that thrusts a candidate onto the national stage. She traveled to Washington this week to meet with Republicans but would not answer questions from national reporters, opting instead to do a small number of interviews with conservative media outlets..."
Friday, June 18, 2010
"...Even more recently, reporter Bigad Shaban of CBS affiliate WWL in New Orleans accompanied U.S. David Vitter (R-La.) on a tour of spill-affected areas Monday. They stopped off at the Fort Jackson Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Buras, La., but Shaban and his cameraman were denied entry. Coast Guard officials told the men that their presence would "hurt" the wildlife being treated there. Vitter attempted to intervene, but according to Shaban's account of the incident on Shaban's Twitter feed, Coast Guard officials asked to speak to Vitter "in private." According to Shaban, Vitter commented, "I'm no wildlife expert, but that's BS."
When contacted by Yahoo! News for comment on these incidents, BP spokesman Mark Proegler told us that "there have been restrictions placed on photography in the wildlife area because we've been told that it could do harm" to the animals. When we asked about the incident involving Talon Security in Grand Isle, Proegler said: "We are not trying to prevent media access in any area, but we've heard about some incidents and we've gone back and shared our stance on this with Talon." Proegler also said that "we can't force our contractors to work with media if they choose not to."
"Thursday's broadband proceeding at the Federal Communications Commission has prompted another congressional challenge.
Shortly after the commission announced a public comment period on its "third way" to regulate broadband, Rep. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said he would soon introduce a bill that would reform the FCC and guard against unnecessary taxation and regulation of the Internet and other media services.."
"The outburst by Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas in support of BP underscored the potential peril for lawmakers forced to respond to crises involving industries vital to their regions, and whose bountiful donations finance their political campaigns.
Democrats continued to make use of Mr. Barton’s apology to BP, using it to portray Republicans as beholden to big oil. Mr. Barton, the senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, worked as a consultant to Atlantic Richfield Oil and Gas Company before being elected to Congress. He has long been one of the top beneficiaries of campaign donations from big energy companies, cornerstones of the Texas economy..."
Thursday, June 17, 2010
"...In the 18 months since he took the White House, President Obama has managed to reinvigorate this useless and worthless GOP, the opposition party that was on its deathbed, has deflated his own base, has alienated independents, hasn’t made any friends among Republicans although he has embraced many parts of George Bush’s horrendous policies while watering down or staying away from anything remotely Progressive. When he took power, the Democratic Party look as strong as it has ever been. The Party seemed poised to keep power for generations to come. Now, the question about the upcoming election is how bad a beating are the Democrats going to take in November..."
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"...That it wasn't contained is the real story here, one the media refuses to tell honestly. Obama's popularity has wrongly taken a hit here. It was the Bush administration that approved the license, it was the Bush administration cronies that allowed BP to dummy up inspections and set their own rules, and it was the Bush administration that, yet again, killed that region of the nation. BP, and if the testimony before Congress is any indication no oil company, should not have been allowed to drill without a massive contingency plan for the worst case scenario..."
Remember Senator Clinton.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Teacher Layoffs - Swampland - TIME.com
"I'm generally in favor of President Obama's efforts to prevent massive layoffs of public employees at the state and local level. But--you knew a "but" was coming, right?--there have to be some strings attached. I'm not sure Charles Lane is right that this isn't as bad as it seems. The pain won't be distributed equally. The districts that will be hit the hardest will be the poorest districts, which don't have the lush property tax base of the suburbs. And so, what to do? Which strings to attach?..."
Monday, June 14, 2010
"Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.
In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran..."
"Alvin Greene still has filed no paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, meaning it's still tough to know who, if anyone, he's working with.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
"...While it is important to note that both BP's and the administration's tepid responses to this catastrophe are unacceptable, it is also essential that the rest of the country understand that this feeling of neglect has festered amongst South Louisianians for generations. It's just one damned thing after another, so the anger rising out of the Gulf is not new.
For too long, the federal government and industry alike have simultaneously abused and neglected, patronized and plundered, and now polluted the people of Louisiana. And our plight now is a national emergency..."
" Looking to shift the focus of her nascent general- election campaign for Senate away from Barbara Boxer's hair and back to the economy, Carly Fiorina today deployed the age-old non-apology apology strategy: She said she regretted creating an unfortunate situation but stopped short of apologizing for mocking the Democratic senator's locks..."
Too late. The perm's already set in this do.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
"I’m not going to deny that much of the problems that we are experiencing now are the direct result of eight years of Bush/Cheney abuse of laws, regulations, and the public trust. It would be really crazy for any one to deny that cutting taxes while waging two wars is abnormal and bad policy. It is also obvious that they followed the Reagan dogma of ‘starving the beast’ to the point that nearly every government regulator is understaffed, underfunded and demoralized. Each of these agencies have also been stacked with cronies that are less competent in the job responsibilities than their party loyalties and their belief that an unfettered corporation is a corporation that acts in the public trust. (Something that any student coming out of Microeconomics 101 should be able to argue against using any number of industries most notably the oil or finance industries where monopoly tendencies have been a historical reality.)..."
"- Nima has felt the force of a club come crashing down on his body in three separate beatings by Islamic security forces over the past year.
Azadeh repeatedly has tossed herself in the throes of mass protests through the streets of Tehran, engaging in the now well-known, cat-and-mouse game of people versus brute force.
Ehsan and Kianoosh refused to keep silent, speaking out until the only choice left was to leave their country. "It was like losing a piece of my body," said Ehsan..."
Friday, June 11, 2010
"A cashier's check with the line "Alvin M. Greene for Senate" hand-scrawled at the top started the Army veteran's rise to political victory in South Carolina.
The check for $10,400 went to the state's Democratic Party. It was the fee to enter the primary for one of South Carolina's US Senate seats..."
And the rest is weird history...
"The most important overlooked story of the past few weeks was overlooked because it was not surprising. Also because no one really wants to notice it. The weight of 9/11 and all its implications is so much on our minds that it's never on our mind.
I speak of the report from the Inspector General of the Justice Department, issued in late May, saying the department is not prepared to ensure public safety in the days or weeks after a terrorist attack in which nuclear, biological or chemical weapons are used..."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
"The Army has misidentified the graves of some of the war dead buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and in least one case buried the body of one service member on top of another, Defense officials disclosed Thursday..."
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
"A Texas pipeline tycoon who died two months ago may become the first American billionaire allowed to pass his fortune to his children and grandchildren tax-free..."
" Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said. They are at odds, however, over precisely how the milk should be conveyed.
A fatwa issued recently about adult breast-feeding to establish "maternal relations" and preclude the possibility of sexual contact has resulted in a week's worth of newspaper headlines in Saudi Arabia. Some have found the debate so bizarre that they're calling for stricter regulations about how and when fatwas should be issued. .."
" Voters appeared likely to shift the Netherlands to the right in national elections Wednesday dominated by concerns over the rising national debt and discontent over immigration.
The conservative VVD party under leader Mark Rutte holds a solid lead in opinion surveys, running on a deficit-busting, tough-on-immigration platform. The overtly anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, which wants a ban on all immigration from nonwestern countries, also appears set to book large gains, perhaps doubling its current strength in parliament..."
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
"...Senate Republicans reacted quickly to the speech, sending out a "best-of" list of instances in which Obama was "looking around for someone to blame."
The quotes showed Obama using Bush as a scapegoat for everything from the deficit to America's image abroad.Obama over the past 17 months has selectively blamed the Bush administration for the big problems he now faces..."
George Bush did not cause the Gulf oil leak. But that's about all he didn't do.
Monday, June 07, 2010
"...Unlike his unflappable temperament, his lingering failings should and could be corrected. And they must be if his presidency is not just to rise above the 24/7 Spill-cam but to credibly seize the narrative that Americans have craved ever since he was elected during the most punishing economic downturn of our lifetime. We still want to believe that Obama is on our side, willing to fight those bad corporate actors who cut corners and gambled recklessly while regulators slept, Congress raked in contributions, and we got stuck with the wreckage and the bills. But his leadership style keeps sowing confusion about his loyalties, puncturing holes in the powerful tale he could tell. His most conspicuous flaw is his unshakeable confidence in the collective management brilliance of the best and the brightest he selected for his White House team — “his abiding faith in the judgment of experts,” as Joshua Green of The Atlantic has put it..."
Sunday, June 06, 2010
"A rebounding Sandra Bullock made a surprise appearance at Spike TV's "Guys Choice" event Saturday night.
Spike says the stunner received a standing ovation at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif., when she accepted the "Troops Choice" Award for Entertainer of The Year..."
Saturday, June 05, 2010
'Last week the University of Virginia decided to fight a sweeping subpoena served upon the institution in late April. State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli subpoenaed documents in connection with five grants awarded to Michael Mann—a former UVA climate-change scientist who now teaches at Penn State. Cuccinelli is using a state fraud statute to demand thousands of e-mails between Mann and climate-change scientists around the world. The request was both broad and unprecedented. So the university filed a petition to quash the subpoena on various grounds. Academics across the country have raised alarms, signing petitions and urging Cuccinelli to back off, claiming that this novel use of prosecutorial power to investigate climate science in the academy constitutes a threat to free inquiry. (Disclosure: Richard Schragger was the principal author of such a letter from the UVA law faculty.) These letters and petitions often invoke the First Amendment and quote the U.S. Supreme Court to assert that the Constitution protects "academic freedom."...'
You can parse any legal argument you wish but in the end the effect will be the same-- a chilling effect on academic inquiry, for which we will all be the poorer. Of course, this could be a conservative wet dream-- a mechanism for turning higher education into Texas.
Friday, June 04, 2010
"...There are lots of things we could (and should) do to improve our schools.
But far too often “reform” means “cut teacher pay and eliminate tenure.”
In a perfect world:
Schools should double as daycare, but not by making teachers work more. We have the schools, we should be using them 7am-6pm m-f, all year round except for holidays.
Teachers should focus on teaching the basics between 9-3 pm, then we should re-fund arts, music, and athletics, and hire people to teach and supervise the kids mornings and afternoons. The 9-3 time period would be mandatory, but the 7-9 and 3-7 time periods would be optional (but free.)
We could expand student teaching and use the optional time for them to gain experience.
Teachers of core subjects (k-5) should work in teams, with each teacher focusing on a specialty. With 4 teachers rotating you could have 1 teacher focusing on math, another on reading, one on writing and another on social studies. Leave the kids in the same class and rotate the teachers.
I could go on and on . .."
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Tonight I saw TNT's little annoying screen popper-upper (something I would ban if I were King) saying that TNT had "More Movie Less Commercials." Grrrrrrrr! Of course, this error is repeated endlessly in checkout lines all over the English speaking world. Can you say "Ten Items Or Less?" Yep, you can, if you want to be illiterate. If the quantity can be counted, then use a form of "few." If the quantity cannot be discretely counted, then use a form of "less." If everyone would do that, there would be fewer communication mistakes and less confusion.
p.s. If you want to defend allowing illiterates to determine the fate of the language, go ahead. Don't expect me to endorse the idea.
"The ease with which the world's governments condemned Israel over the flotilla incident has been something to behold. The Jerusalem-based correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail could not help but notice: "The speed and intensity with which governments around the world condemned the Israeli behavior appear unprecedented." Why?
For starters, denouncing Israel for something like this is convenient for leaders who have failed repeatedly to do anything about more important and difficult problems such as Iran, North Korea or sovereign debt. Also, lesser nations learn by example: The Obama administration's unrestrained criticism of the Israeli government in March over East Jerusalem settlements lowered the threshold for teeing off on Israel..."
'..."It's not a crime to be beautiful or dress well, but if you ask 33-year-old Debrahlee Lorenzana they both can cost you your job.
"They pulled me aside and said I could not wear pencil skirts, turtlenecks, I cannot wear business suits that were fitted. Basically they said it drew too much attention," says Lorenzana...'
'... Though Krauthammer, unlike Palin, admits that hey, B.P. is also to blame, neither mentions that environmentalists have not pushed for drilling in deeper, more dangerous waters—in fact, they protested against drilling in deep and shallow waters. Daily Kos says the same thing, only angrier, for such is The Daily Kos Way. “Sarah, maybe you missed the memo, but us ‘extreme greenies’ are opposed to ALL drilling. We are opposed to any energy that ruins our lands and soils our waters. We are for alternative energy, and funding new technologies to replace oil in America...”'
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
"U.S. scientists developed a vaccine that could prevent breast cancer and save the lives of millions of women, Sky News reported Monday.
The treatment was tested on mice and showed "overwhelmingly favorable results...”
"Al-Qaida says its third-ranking leader has been killed in Pakistan, in what would be a major blow to the terrorist network. The terrorist network announced the death of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in a message posted on the Internet..."