November 12, 2011 archive

Nov 12

Congressional Game of Chicken: Super Committee Insane Tax Proposal

Cross poated from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Scarecrow at FDL observed this morning, “Dems discover GOP is nuts. Who knew?” I have no idea what took them so long but I am worried that they will just enable the insanity by going along with INSANE ideas like making the Bush tax cuts permanent for tax increases that will impact on the already tax burdened 99%.

Brian Buetler at TPM thinks that the Super Committee is heading for a catastrophe:

A key member of the Senate Democratic leadership team has openly predicted the panel will gridlock and fail, and placed the blame squarely on Republicans.

As GOP committee members met privately, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen – a Democrat on the panel – told Bloomberg, “You need to close some of these tax loopholes and you need to generate additional revenue. And so that balance is going to be important. We saw the dueling letters just last week. We had a bipartisan group in the House that said, ‘Look, everything is on the table including revenues – tax revenues.’ And within 24 hours you had 33 [Republican] Senators say, ‘no new net tax revenues.'”

Republicans responded with a trial balloon, provided first to Wall Street Journal editorial writer Stephen Moore. “One positive development on taxes taking shape is a deal that could include limiting tax deductions, perhaps by capping write-offs on charities, state and local taxes, and mortgage interest payments as a percentage of each tax filer’s gross income,” he wrote. “In exchange, Democrats would agree to make the Bush income-tax cuts permanent. This would mean preventing top rates from going to 42% from 35% today, and keeping the capital gains and dividend tax rate at 15%, as opposed to plans to raise them to 23.8% or higher after 2013.”

That “trial balloon” is in now way a “positive development” for the economy or the 99%:

This isn’t offered as a concession Republicans are willing to make in exchange for entitlement cuts – a key Democratic demand. It’s designed as a concession Republicans are willing to make if Democrats will agree to make all of the Bush tax cuts permanent – and thereby throw away an enormous amount of leverage they have over Republicans who are committed to extending them.

Democrats, thus, would be expected to agree to throw in entitlement cuts anyhow , just because. And to underscore the downside, the non-partisan Congressional score keepers would likely score this as a giant budget buster – not the trillion-plus-dollar deficit reducing deal the panel is supposed to be pursuing.

Yes, this is another version of the insanity of the last 30 years that keeps getting a resuscitated like a bad plot in a porn flick. And the Democrats are just realizing that this latest rewrite is INSANE:

A Democratic aide with knowledge of the GOP offer called their ideas “ludicrous”

“This is another effort for them to spin that they are being reasonable, but what they’ve put on the table is so insanely unreasonable that I actually think it moves the ball in the opposite direction,” the aide told NBC News.

“It’s devious, because it looks in some respects reasonable on the surface, but it’s a totally unreasonable proposal.”

According to the aide, in order to raise $300 billion in tax revenue and lower the top individual tax rate to 28 percent, you would need to “decimate all tax expenditures” and increase taxes on capital gains and dividends, something he doubts Republicans would support.

It’s unclear whether the $300 billion would be part of a deficit reduction deal with overall savings north of $2 trillion, or, more likely, a minimum package of $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Aides are split over how lofty of a target to set.

The aide also noted that CBO has reported that making the Bush tax cuts permanent would increase the deficit by $4 trillion in the next 10 years.

The reality check here is that you cannot raise $300 billion dollars in tax revenues and drop the top rate to 28 percent without touching capital gains and dividends. Republicans really want those Bush tax cuts made permanent do badly they are willing to pretend that they are throwing Grover Norquist off the bus. Reality, Grover, while feigning strong disapproval, is most likely praying that this passes.

 

Nov 12

What’s Cooking: Stuffing the Turkey Or Not

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Don’t stuff the turkey, stuff a pumpkin. Most chefs, and one of my personal favorites for cooking turkeys, Alton Brown, do not recommend stuffing the turkey for numerous reasons, the main one is salmonella:

   When it comes to turkey, Stuffing Is Evil. That’s because stuffing goes into the middle of the bird and is extremely porous. That means that as the turkey around it cooks, juices that may contain salmonella bacteria soak into the stuffing, which then must be cooked to a minimum of 165°F in order to be safe. Getting the stuffing to this temperature usually means overcooking the turkey.

   The way I see it, cooking stuffing inside a turkey turns the turkey into a rather costly seal-a-meal bag. If you’re a stuffing fan, I suggest cooking it separately (in which case it’s “dressing,” not stuffing) and inserting it into the bird while it rests. Odds are no one will notice the difference.

And really, you can’t tell the difference in the flavor of either the turkey or the stuffing. Stuffing can be put in a pan or decorative baking dish to bake but I came across a decorative idea from the New York Times Dining & Wine section: Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin. The dish is vegetarian friendly and gluten free. It can also be baked in smaller pumpkins or squash to make individual servings, just adjust the baking time.

Ingredients:

   1 6 1/2- to 7-pound sugar pumpkin, or other pumpkin suitable for eating

   1 tablespoon vegetable oil

   1 onion, finely chopped

   3 cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 halved

   1 cup dried cranberries

   1 teaspoon ground ginger

   1 teaspoon allspice

   1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

   Finely grated zest of half an orange

   2 cups basmati rice

   4 cups vegetable stock

   Salt

Preparation:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a kettle with water, and bring to a boil. About an inch below the top of the pumpkin’s ”shoulders,” about where it would be cut to carve a jack-o’-lantern, slice a lid from top of pumpkin, and set it aside. Remove seeds and fibrous flesh from inside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil, and sauté the onion until it is softened. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the cranberries, ginger, allspice, saffron and orange zest. Add the rice, and stir until it is glossy. Pour in stock, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat as low as possible. Cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile rub the inside of pumpkin with cut garlic clove, and rub with some salt to taste.

3. When rice has cooked for 15 minutes, it will be damp and not very fluffy. Adjust seasoning to taste, and spoon into pumpkin cavity. Press lid firmly on top. It may sit above stuffing a bit like a jaunty cork. Wrap bottom two to three inches of pumpkin in a double layer of foil to protect it from contact with water during baking. Place in a roasting pan, and add about 1 inch of boiling water to pan.

4. Bake the pumpkin until it is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 1/2 hours. (If there is resistance when pumpkin is pierced, allow more baking time.) To serve, remove pumpkin from pan, and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Discard foil, and place pumpkin on a serving platter. Slice into segments like a cake. Place a wedge of pumpkin on each serving plate, and mound with rice stuffing.

YIELD: 8 to 10 servings

Nov 12

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Regular Features-

These Weekly Features-

And these special features-

This Special Feature-

Join us tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM EST for F1: Yas Marina live from Abu Dhabi

This is an Open Thread

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Nov 12

Cartnoon

This weekend’s episodes originally aired August 14, 2004

Invictus Interruptus, Season 2, Episode 2, Part 1

Invictus Interruptus, Season 2, Episode 2, Part 2

Nov 12

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 57

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

OccupyWallStreet

The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

Joan Baez @ Occupy Wall Street Foley Sq (11/11/11) Veteran’s Day “Where’s My Apple Pie?”

Joan Baez sings in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street “My Apple Pie” a song she wrote in the 70s changing lyrics to “Time To Occupy”

Occupy Wall Street Had A Big Concert Yesterday, And It Proved That Things Have Changed

On Veteran’s Day, we set out to write about Occupy Wall Street without any idea of what to expect. We had word that there were going to be demonstrations all over the city- one in Central Park, and a concert in Foley Square.

We devoted the most time to the concert, where around 300 people stood smiling in the cold. Joan Baez was headlining, and it seemed like a good opportunity for pictures.

Check out the pictures

But it ended up being much more- because it was there that we noticed something had happened to Occupy Wall Street without it trying, and perhaps without it knowing. The amorphous movement had become a structured thing.

In the early days, we would enter the park and ask questions. We would receive answers, but they were without authority. ‘Well, this is what you should know, but I am no one to tell you. We all speak for each other in this place.’

Now it’s different. Occupy Wall Street now has a structure and a culture all its own, developed rapidly though the use of technology, the confrontation of adversity, and self-imposed isolation. They do, after all, live in a park on their own.

On Veteran’s Day it all showed. [..]

Nov 12

Lay Off Santa!

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Nov 12

We did it?

There are a couple of reasons why I’m not just posting Dora The Explorer singing ‘We Did It’ and only one of them is that there are no good YouTubes.

Politico: Obama to delay Koch Bros-Keystone pipeline until after 2012 election

By Gaius Publius, Americablog

11/10/2011 01:55:00 PM

A cynic could read that phrase “avoid ecologically sensitive areas” as “avoid politically resistant areas” – but that’s not us. We live in Hope (and politely ask for Change).

Two notes: (1) Obama thinks this delay is an argument for voting for him in 2012. (2) That assumes he won’t hand you your hat the minute he never has to face another voter – for the whole of the rest of his life.

So a question for you: Is Obama’s decision to delay a Tar-Sands decision a reason to support him in 2012, or just the opposite?

Obama Punts Keystone Pipeline Decision Until After 2012 Election

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Thursday November 10, 2011 12:47 pm

The fact that the Obama administration is at least delaying the decision is a partial victory for environmentalists and grassroots activism. The delay proves massive protests and civil disobedience can have an impact on those in power. Getting a President to even delay plans to approve a huge project proposed by big oil is a monumental feat.

Given the concerns about potential health and safety risks to the Agallala aquifer over which the current route would pass, there are compelling, legitimate reasons to consider alternative routes.  Unfortunately, this move may only punt a decision to approve the pipeline until after the election.  It strongly feels like an act of pure political cynicism from President Obama, instead of a sincere response to the concerns of regular Americans.

Once Obama gets young environmentalists to vote for him in 2012, and he no longer needs to worry about facing the voters again, I suspect he plans to quickly approve the pipeline with a slightly different route, ignoring all other environmental concerns.

U.S. Delays Decision on Pipeline Until After Election

By JOHN M. BRODER and DAN FROSCH, The New York Times

Published: November 10, 2011

While environmental groups welcomed their temporary victory on the pipeline project, some expressed skepticism about the president’s motives. Glenn Hurowitz, an environmental activist and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, said the delay could leave the final decision in the hands of Mr. Obama’s Republican successor.

“This decision just puts off a green light for the tar sands by a year,” Mr. Hurowitz said in an e-mailed statement. “That’s why I’m a little dismayed at suggestions that this kick-the-can decision means environmentalists will enthusiastically back President Obama in 2012. Is the price of an environmentalist’s vote a year’s delay on environmental catastrophe? Excuse me, no.”

I personally put more faith in the fundamental economic unfeasibility of the project.

Keystone XL: Pipe Dreams

By Paul Tullis, BusinessWeek

November 10, 2011, 5:15 PM EST

TransCanada has already blown through more than a billion dollars on the XL without laying an inch of pipe inside the U.S., buying up rights-of-way and stockpiling steel along the U.S. portion of the route in anticipation of receiving a permit.



Even if TransCanada gets its go-ahead, however, building the pipeline is a significant risk, not only for TransCanada, but also for Suncor Energy (SU), Total (TOT), Shell, and the rest of the companies involved in the mining and drilling and upgrading of Alberta’s oil. The price to produce a barrel of oil from the sands could soar if producers are forced to assume some currently external costs, such as the huge carbon emissions produced by extracting bitumen, the thick, sour form of crude found in Alberta tar sands. It’s a cost already being addressed in multiple markets, such as California and Europe. There is mounting evidence of negative health effects on local populations exposed to mercury, arsenic, and other toxins used in oil-sands extraction-a huge potential liability. Producers will also need to address new cleanup measures. One plausible scenario: The pipeline gets built, but oil sands production remains prohibitively expensive.



(O)il sands production is expensive, which is why few outside Canada had heard of it until oil went (and stayed) above $60 or so a barrel in the middle of the last decade, and profitable production began to look possible. There isn’t nearly enough demand within Canada, however, to use up the 3.2 million barrels a day the industry hopes to be producing in Alberta by 2019. Hence the need for a pipeline. “The oil sands market will not grow if it can’t access new markets,” says Jackie Forrest of Colorado-based energy research firm IHS-CERA (IHS).

Alberta’s oil is relatively expensive to produce because tar sands are hard to get out of the ground, and once unearthed, the bitumen is hard to separate from the rest of the muck. Two metric tons of tar sands yield just one barrel of oil that’s of a grade most refineries can handle. Unlike other forms of oil, bitumen also requires “upgrading” before it can be transported. “It’s too thick to meet pipeline specs,” says Forrest. This pre-refining process costs money and energy. It dilutes the bitumen with natural gas condensate, which usually contains the carcinogen benzene. Despite the upgrading, bitumen remains a challenge to refine; it’s better suited for road asphalt than transport fuel.

It’s no secret that bitumen requires a robust price-per-barrel to be profitable, but what’s more recently become apparent is that oil-not just tar sands oil-also has a price ceiling. “Oil reaches a point where the global economy can’t sustain its price,” says Cogan. In other words, people will pay only so much for a gallon of gas: The number of miles driven in the U.S. fell for the first time in 2008, when oil peaked at $147 a barrel. According to Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Prize and The Quest, and chairman of IHS-CERA, that ceiling is somewhere between $120 and $150. At that point consumers behave more efficiently, regulators and legislators change policy, innovators innovate, and alternatives to petroleum, such as biofuels and electric cars, become competitive on price-all of which destroy demand for oil, including bitumen. To some extent, investors in oil sands development seem to have noticed this ceiling. After three straight years during which inflows averaged $16.6 billion, investment fell to $13.5 billion in 2009, a drop of nearly 35 percent from 2008, when oil prices peaked near the top of Yergin’s ceiling.

Much of tar sands oil is extracted by mining: basically, digging it up with enormous machinery. The problem is that a great deal of what can be extracted by mining already has been: Only 20 percent of Alberta’s oil sands is close enough to the surface to be mined. According to a 2009 report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, mining production will be flattening relative to other more expensive methods beginning as soon as next year.

These other methods are known collectively as in situ extraction, and largely involve heating deposits deep underground and sucking them up. (In situ is Latin for “in place.”) According to analysts at Deutsche Bank (DB) and Goldman Sachs (GS), in situ extraction raises the price of tar sands production by anywhere from $5 a barrel to as much as $35 a barrel, depending on the method used. In situ extraction has a much greater footprint on the boreal forest than mining. Already a Florida-size portion of the breeding habitat of 30 percent of the songbirds in the U.S. has been lost to oil sands development.

In situ extraction requires natural gas to heat water into steam; every gallon of oil produced needs up to four gallons of water, most of it coming from a river that has usage restrictions for much of the year. The steam is then injected underground, warming the oil sand until it liquefies sufficiently to flow into the well. Some of the water is used again, drawn from a toxic mixture that must be isolated.

All of this puts tremendous pressure on the economic viability of oil sands, especially if producers must bear all costs related to water scarcity, potential health problems, cleanup, and carbon emissions-almost none of which have been borne by producers up to this point. Treating spent water could add another 5 percent to extractors’ costs, according to a 2010 report co-authored by Cogan arguing that oil sands production might not be economic. When producers finish with the water, it ends up in “tailings ponds” along with the sand that’s been separated from the oil-reservoirs of petroleum-based sludge. “After 40 years of production, there’s 170 square kilometers of tailings ponds in northern Alberta-an area the size of Washington, D.C.,” says Nathan Lemphers, senior policy analyst at the Calgary-based Pembina Institute, a Canadian ecological think tank. Producers are supposed to clean them up, but according to a 2009 Pembina report, not a single one has so far been certified as “reclaimed” to government standards. Lemphers says that Suncor has made significant progress at one site known as Pond 1, but “it’s not an end point.”

“Tailings management has not been successful for economic, rather than technical reasons,” says Cogan. In other words, it can be done but no one’s been willing to put up the money. “In an industry that’s on the margins of profitability,” Lemphers adds, “it’s pretty risky to go out on a limb and implement new technology or a new operating strategy if not required to do so by regulation.” Pressure is growing on the industry. A tailings-management rule known as Directive 74 requires costly management of tailings ponds (though enforcement has been lax and only Suncor is currently in compliance, according to the Simon Dyer, policy directory at Pembina), and a new regional planning initiative may ask producers to undertake more-and more costly-tailings management. Cogan’s group at MSCI estimates that cleanup of toxic waste will soon add $1 to $4 per barrel to production costs. He has also looked at a number of the big oil sands players and concluded that heavier cleanup costs could substantially reduce profits.

As Phoenix Woman puts it-

Late Night FDL: Keystone XL – Because Everything Is Connected

By: Phoenix Woman, Firedog Lake

Thursday November 10, 2011 8:00 pm

TransCanada wants the Keystone XL pipeline so it can a) more readily reach ports capable of hosting supertankers and b) drive up (that’s right, drive up) the price of fuel in the Midwest. Here’s how it works:

The real reasons a pipeline is “needed” are not because TransCanada wants to put that oil in our cars or give us jobs, but because they want to get to a port to ship it overseas, and the British Columbia ports are too shoaled up to accommodate oil supertankers; the biggest boats they can handle are less than a thousand feet in length, and supertankers are typically well over 1,100 feet. (By the way, the unsuitability of the BC ports renders the “we’ll just sell it to China if you don’t buy it” argument ridiculous; without the BC ports, there’s no cost-effective way to get it to China, or any other country not named the U.S. of A.) As for the effect on US gas prices, check this out (courtesy of Bernie Sanders and The Guardian, which published what no major US paper likely ever would).



The pipeline is the only way the frozen tar sands muck – which must be specially and expensively treated for it to even be able to flow in a pipe in the first place – can be made profitable for TransCanada.

Emphasis mine.  Well, except the ‘up’ which is in the original.

If you don’t like Phoenix Woman’s references you can check out this yellow bordered News Corp publication called The National Geographic for Harper and TransCanada’s plan B.

Nov 12

Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One

A Story of the 1%

Originally posted at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I think this story stands alone- ek.

Well, there are a couple of different threads going on in the world of Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One (which Bernie works very hard to make the same thing).

Just two days ago Bernie was in Munich testifying in the Gribkowsky Case.  Bernie’s story is that his $44 Million payment wasn’t a bribe to ensure that Gribkowsky sold the interests of the Kirsh Group at a loss so that it wouldn’t trigger the profit sharing agreements, INSTEAD it was extortion money given Gribkowsky so he wouldn’t testify that Ecclestone’s (then) wife’s $8 Billion Trust Fund was in fact under Bernie’s control, allowing him to evade $3.2 Billion in taxes and penalties (here and here also).

You see, that makes it so much better.

Like James Murdoch however, Bernie still faces contradiction under oath from a lawyer associated with Bambino Trust and other Formula One related entities, Stephen Mullins; but we’ll get back to Jimmy-boy later.

2012 is the last year teams will be racing under the current extension of the Concorde Agreement between the Formula One Teams Association, CVC, and the FIA and Scuderia Marlboro UPC and McLaren at least (just the current 2nd and 3rd most powerful teams this season and 1st and 2nd historically).  Just as he did in 2005, Bernie seems poised to give Maranello an exclusive bribe to stay loyal, this time $100 Million in ‘chump change’.  FOTA canceled a scheduled meeting this weekend.

Still, Ecclestone is under increasing pressure, summarized in this extensive Bloomberg article

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and the Agnelli family’s Exor SpA want to buy the 63.4 percent of Formula One owned by London- based buyout firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. through its Jersey, Channel Islands-based holding company Delta Topco Ltd.

The would-be buyers are pushing ahead despite News Corp.’s run-ins with U.K. authorities over a phone-hacking scandal involving one of its newspapers, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Bernie’s continued control is complicated by the fact that he only owns a 5.3% direct stake while 15% is owned by his ex-wife’s Bambino Trust.

The Bloomberg piece also reports this incident-

It was 10 a.m. on a June day in 2005 as fans filed into their seats for the U.S. Grand Prix. Two days earlier, a Michelin & Cie.-made tire on Toyota team driver Ralf Schumacher’s car had burst on turn 13 and the auto smashed into a wall at 175 miles per hour, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue.

The tiremaker said it couldn’t rule out more accidents.

As the managers gathered around, Ecclestone called Max Mosley, president of Formula One’s ruling body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), at home in Monaco in a last-minute attempt to persuade him to alter the racetrack layout so the grand prix could proceed smoothly.

Mosley was unmoved, according to Paul Stoddart, then owner of the now-defunct Minardi team, who was in the trailer. He wouldn’t change the rules.

With the 1 p.m. start nearing, the crowd swelling toward 120,000 and a public relations disaster looming, Ecclestone lost his temper and swore at Mosley, by Stoddart’s account. As if on cue, irate fans hurled beer cans onto the racetrack after 14 of the 20 cars withdrew from the race.



For his part, Ecclestone now says Mosley was “probably right” to stop the race because the FIA president could have faced a murder charge if another crash on the same turn caused a fatality.

Nice guy eh?  Mosley’s intervention was probably the only thing that prevented a Dan Wheldon incident.

Max, for all his reported goose stepping sado-masochistic sex romps, had a relatively good week; winning a $51,000 verdict against News of the World and Nigel Thurlbeck for invasion of privacy, while James Murdoch sat before a Parliamentary inquiry again-

Murdoch’s Former Allies Deliver a Counterpunch

By RAVI SOMAIYA, The New York Times

Published: November 11, 2011

The two men had presented a united front with Mr. Murdoch through years of scrutiny since the scandal surfaced in 2006. But that cracked after Mr. Murdoch’s first round of testimony, in July, as the panel tried to determine how long he had known of potentially rampant hacking at The News of the World, now defunct.

Any remaining bonds between them shattered after Mr. Murdoch’s second round, on Thursday. In both appearances before the parliamentary committee, he was asked sharp questions about clear evidence of broader hacking that circulated among his executives in 2008. Mr. Murdoch sought to deflect the panel’s focus from himself and toward Mr. Myler and Mr. Crone.

After the first round, the two men released a statement rejecting Mr. Murdoch’s testimony that they had not informed him of evidence suggesting more widespread hacking: an e-mail that indicated more than one reporter at The News of the World had used information from hacked voicemail messages for stories. On Thursday, after Mr. Murdoch said their statements were “inconsistent and not right” and “misleading,” the rejoinder was swift.

“It is regrettable,” Mr. Crone counterpunched in a statement, “but I can perfectly understand why James Murdoch felt the need to discredit Colin Myler and myself. The simple truth is that he was told by us in 2008 about the damning e-mail and what it meant in terms of wider News of the World involvement.” He concluded: “At best, his evidence on this matter was disingenuous.” Mr. Myler, too, said he stood by his account.

You are of course welcome to join me at 7 am tomorrow for the penultimate race at Yas Marina– ek.

Nov 12

On this Day In History November 12

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

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.

November 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 49 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, Upon hearing of England’s rejection of the so-called Olive Branch Petition on this day in 1775, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John:

The intelegance you will receive before this reaches you, will I should think make a plain path, tho a dangerous one for you. I could not join to day in the petitions of our worthy parson, for a reconciliation between our, no longer parent State, but tyrant State, and these Colonies. — Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices.

The previous July, Congress had adopted the Olive Branch Petition, written by John Dickinson, which appealed directly to King George III and expressed hope for reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain. Dickinson, who hoped desperately to avoid a final break with Britain, phrased colonial opposition to British policy as follows:

“Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defence, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.”

Abigail Adams’ response was a particularly articulate expression of many colonists’ thoughts: Patriots had hoped that Parliament had curtailed colonial rights without the king’s full knowledge, and that the petition would cause him to come to his subjects’ defense. When George III refused to read the petition, Patriots like Adams realized that Parliament was acting with royal knowledge and support. Americans’ patriotic rage was intensified with the January 1776 publication by English-born radical Thomas Paine of Common Sense, an influential pamphlet that attacked the monarchy, which Paine claimed had allowed “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”

Nov 12

Late Night Karaoke

Nov 12

Translator is Coming Back from Vacation 20111111

This might sound like a trivial entry, but it is not.  I have been sort of burnt out writing almost continuously for the past many months.  It would be different if I were paid for it, but I am not.  I do it as a labor of love, and also have the calling to be a teacher.  I just did not have the heart in me to write Popular Culture last Friday, and that carried over to Pique the Geek Sunday, and My Little Town Wednesday.

There are several reasons for that.  For one, the comments, tips, and recs just do not seem to be coming like they used to do.  That is probably my fault.  I believe that the quality of my pieces has sort of slipped here of late, and I sincerely apologize for that.  There is a reason, but it is personal.

Nov 12

Random Japan

Photobucket

A LIKELY STORY

A burly American golfer at Tama Hills found himself part of a unique “hole-in-one” when he fell into an eight-foot deep sinkhole that opened up beneath him on the fairway. He climbed out and finished his round, as you do.

Mountain climber Nobukazu Kuriki was forced to abandon his climb up Mount Everest-the mountain with the biggest tits in the world, as the boys from Monty Python once pointed out-just 1,000 meters from the summit when crows ate his food supply.

It was reported that Princess Mako, the oldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, said on her 20th birthday that “she will try to act appropriately as an adult as she has come of age.” Where’s the fun in that? Time to party, we say.

Need proof that Japan has gone cat crazy? It may have all started with Hello Kitty, but now we have a couple who created a “cat town,” a mall operator who started a “cat idol group,” and a virtual town that elected a cat as mayor.

“Noda enjoyed loach soup in Seoul on Tuesday night,” proclaimed the headline on the Kyodo story, referring to Japan PM Yoshihiko Noda, who famously compared himself to a loach in an election speech.

A man was arrested for leaving the dead body of his dear old dad in a closet in Kanagawa. No relation to a rotting corpse found in a wooden box in a Kanagawa apartment, vacant since May. Is there a shortage of cemeteries in Kanagawa, by any chance?

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