February 2013 archive

Feb 28

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

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Feb 28

Funny, eh?

Feb 28

Bob Woodward- Sellout

Ok, so it’s been obvious for years that Bob Woodward of Watergate fame is nothing but a toady bootlicker of a Versailles Villager but I need a title and talk about jumping the shark!

(h/t Atlantic Wire)

Bob Woodward embodies US political culture in a single outburst

Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian

Thursday 28 February 2013 07.57 EST

How ironic that this comes from the reporter endlessly heralded for having brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency on the ground that Nixon believed himself above the law. Nixon’s hallmark proclamation – “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal” – is also apparently Bob Woodward’s.

All of this, of course, is pure pretense. Is it even remotely plausible that Obama is refraining from engaging in military action he believes is necessary out of some sort of quaint deference to the law? Please. This is a president who continued to wage war, in Libya, not merely without Congressional authorization, but even after Congress expressly voted against its authorization. This is a president who has repeatedly argued that he has the right to kill anyone he wants, anywhere in the world, not only due to Congressional authorization but also his own Commander-in-Chief powers. If Obama really wanted to deploy that second aircraft carrier, he would do so, knowing that journalists like Bob Woodward and members of both parties would cheer him. This is just a flamboyant political stunt designed to dramatize how those Big, Bad Republicans are leaving us all exposed and vulnerable with sequestration cuts.

But whatever Obama’s motives might be, the fact is that what we call “law” really does require some cuts in military spending. To refuse to do so would be to assert powers not even most monarchs have: to break the law at will. Woodward is right about one point: not only would prior presidents have been willing to do this, this is exactly what they did. Indeed, George Bush’s entire presidency was explicitly predicated on the theory that the president has the power to break the law at will whenever he deems that doing so promotes national security. That America’s most celebrated journalist not only supports this, but demands that all presidents follow this model of lawlessness, is telling indeed.



Bob Woodward, with one rant, expressing the core values of America’s media class. The president is not constrained by law (contemptuously referred to as “this piece of paper”). He not only has the right but the duty to do anything – even if the law prohibits it – to project military force whenever he wants (even though the Constitution mandates as his prime duty not to Keep Us Safe but rather that he “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” and thus must swear as his oath “to the best of [his] ability [to] preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”). The US must act as empire, dominating the world with superior military force if it wants to stay safe. Any reduction in military spending and deployment will endanger us all.

It’s to be expected that these authoritarian and militaristic values shape political leaders and their followers. That these values also shape the “watchdog” media class, as embodied by one of their “legends”, explains much about US political culture generally.

Bob Woodward fulfills an important function. Just as Tim Russert was long held up as the scary bulldog questioner who proved the existence of an adversarial TV press while the reality was that, as Harper’s Lewis Lapham famously put it, he maintained “the on-air persona of an attentive and accommodating headwaiter”, the decades-old Woodward lore plays a critical role in maintaining the fiction of a watchdog press corps even though he is one of the most faithful servants of the war machine and the national security and surveillance states.

Feb 28

Cartnoon

Washington Numbers.

Feb 28

On This Day In History February 28

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.

February 28 is the 59th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 306 days remaining until the end of the year (307 in leap years)

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

History of DNA research

DNA was first isolated by the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher who, in 1869, discovered a microscopic substance in the pus of discarded surgical bandages. As it resided in the nuclei of cells, he called it “nuclein”. In 1919, Phoebus Levene identified the base, sugar and phosphate nucleotide unit. Levene suggested that DNA consisted of a string of nucleotide units linked together through the phosphate groups. However, Levene thought the chain was short and the bases repeated in a fixed order. In 1937 William Astbury produced the first X-ray diffraction patterns that showed that DNA had a regular structure.

In 1928, Frederick Griffith discovered that traits of the “smooth” form of the Pneumococcus could be transferred to the “rough” form of the same bacteria by mixing killed “smooth” bacteria with the live “rough” form. This system provided the first clear suggestion that DNA carries genetic information, the Avery-MacLeod-McCarty experiment, when Oswald Avery, along with coworkers Colin MacLeod and Maclyn McCarty, identified DNA as the transforming principle in 1943. DNA’s role in heredity was confirmed in 1952, when Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase in the Hershey-Chase experiment showed that DNA is the genetic material of the T2 phage.

In 1953, James D. Watson and Francis Crick suggested what is now accepted as the first correct double-helix model of DNA structure in the journal Nature. Their double-helix, molecular model of DNA was then based on a single X-ray diffraction image (labeled as “Photo 51”) taken by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling in May 1952, as well as the information that the DNA bases are paired – also obtained through private communications from Erwin Chargaff in the previous years. Chargaff’s rules played a very important role in establishing double-helix configurations for B-DNA as well as A-DNA.

Experimental evidence supporting the Watson and Crick model were published in a series of five articles in the same issue of Nature. Of these, Franklin and Gosling’s paper was the first publication of their own X-ray diffraction data and original analysis method that partially supported the Watson and Crick model; this issue also contained an article on DNA structure by Maurice Wilkins and two of his colleagues, whose analysis and in vivo B-DNA X-ray patterns also supported the presence in vivo of the double-helical DNA configurations as proposed by Crick and Watson for their double-helix molecular model of DNA in the previous two pages of Nature. In 1962, after Franklin’s death, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. However, Nobel rules of the time allowed only living recipients, but a vigorous debate continues on who should receive credit for the discovery.

Feb 28

Late Night Karaoke

Feb 28

Congressional Game of Chicken:This Is Not The Policy You’re Looking For

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

MSNBC’s “The Last Word” guest host Ezra Klein translates Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee lecturing Congress that the austerity of sequestration is a really bad idea for the economy:

“Given the still-moderate underlying pace of economic growth, this additional near-term burden on the recovery is significant,” Bernanke told his students, who included a number of right-wing Republican diehards, such as Senator Bob Corker, of Tennessee, and Patrick Toomey, of Pennsylvania. “Moreover, besides having adverse effects on jobs and incomes, a slower recovery would lead to less actual deficit reduction in the short run.”

Translated from Fed-speak, that meant that congressional Republicans have got things upside down. Bernanke has warned before about the dangers of excessive short-term spending cuts. But this was his most blunt assertion yet that Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, et al. should change course. “To address both the near- and longer-term issues, the Congress and the Administration should consider replacing the sharp, frontloaded spending cuts required by the sequestration with policies that reduce the federal deficit more gradually in the near term but more substantially in the longer run,” Bernanke said. “Such an approach could lessen the near-term fiscal headwinds facing the recovery while more effectively addressing the longer-term imbalances in the federal budget.”

Here is Ezra’s translation of Chairman Bernanke’s “Yoda Speak”:

Feb 28

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

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The Stars Hollow Gazette

Feb 27

Shell Will Not Drill In The Arctic In 2013

Well, if you’ve been following the news, it’s really kind of obvious that this was going to happen.

The Shell high tech, best in the industry effort is basically 1 Ship, 1 Rig, and a Barge.

The ship is the Noble Discoverer, an obsolete hunk of junk with barely the power to get out of its own stink when the engines are working which they seldom do.  They couldn’t even muster enough steam to get it out of the way of Alaskan property taxes.

The Coast Guard found a lack of preventive maintenance and “systematic failure” led the Discoverer to experience a loss of its propulsion system and an explosion in its exhaust system.



The Coast Guard reportedly found that the Discoverer is not able to maintain sufficient speed at sea to maneuver safely in all conditions without a tow; multiple dead end wires and improper wire splices in the engine room; main engine cooling water contaminated with oil and sludge.

In addition, the vessel experienced an abnormal propeller shaft vibration on the way back from the Arctic in November, requiring the crew to shut down the vessel’s main engines and have the rig towed to the Port of Seward.

Oh, and it catches fire all the time too.

The Coast Guard inquiry began after the ship had propulsion problems while pulling into Seward, Alaska last November. Earlier that month, a fire broke out in the rig stack on the vessel while it was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It was swiftly put out by personnel on board the Discoverer and no one was injured.

After exploding in flame in Dutch Harbor, missing the January 1st property tax deadline, and collecting 16 major Coast Guard citations for safety violations the ship is being floating drydocked to South Korea for repair since it’s too unseaworthy to sail there on its own.  It won’t arrive until late spring to say nothing of the time needed for repair (unless they determine that it’s fit only for razor blades).

Then there is the Kulluk which when last we checked was doing a pretty good job of grinding itself to razors near Kodiak after it broke it’s tow.  It’s headed to South Korea too though it’s still a Keystone(XL) Cops comedy of errors.

The Corbin Foss, one of Seattle-based Foss Maritimes’ tugboats, hit the port side of the Ocean Wave, a Crowley Marine Services tug, around 5:30 p.m. Friday in Killiuida Bay on the eastern side of Kodiak Island, where the Kulluk is anchored while awaiting Coast Guard approval to leave, said Petty Officer David Mosley.

It won’t get there or be fixed any time sooner than the Noble Discoverer.

And then there was the Arctic Challenger a useless dockside Queen an “Ice Breaking Barge” with no utility except as a floating hole which on a calm tranquil September day in Puget Sound had its super high tech blowout containment unit crushed like a beer can at half its rated depth.

So-

Shell Vessels Sidelined, Imperiling Arctic Plans

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, The New York Times

Published: February 11, 2013

The new potential delay in drilling does not necessarily doom Shell’s seven-year, $4.5 billion quest to open a new oil frontier in the far north, but it may strengthen the position of environmentalists who have repeatedly sued to stop or postpone exploration that they claim carries the risks of a spill nearly impossible to clean up.

It may also give the Obama administration considerably more time to decide whether to allow Shell to continue operations in two Arctic seas after repeated accidents, failed inspections and mechanical problems that have called into question the company’s safety management

And today-

Shell Suspends Drilling for Arctic Ocean in 2013

By DAN JOLING Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska February 27, 2013 (AP)

Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it will not drill for petroleum in the Arctic Ocean in 2013.

The problem with our elites is that they’re massive morons and inbred idiots.

Feb 27

On This Day In History February 27

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.

February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 307 days remaining until the end of the year (308 in leap years).

On this day in 1827, New Orleanians take to the streets for Mardi Gras with groups of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebrations.

The celebration of Carnival–or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent–spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

History

The celebration of Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers. The first record of the holiday being celebrated in Louisiana was at the mouth of the Mississippi River in what is now lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, on March 3, 1699. Iberville, Bienville, and their men celebrated it as part of an observance of Catholic practice.

The starting date of festivities in New Orleans is unknown. An account from 1743 notes that the custom of Carnival balls was already established. Processions and wearing of masks in the streets on Mardi Gras took place. They were sometimes prohibited by law, and were quickly renewed whenever such restrictions were lifted or enforcement waned. In 1833 Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a rich plantation owner of French descent, raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration.

James R. Creecy in his book Scenes in the South, and Other Miscellaneous Pieces describes New Orleans Mardi Gras in 1835:

   Shrove Tuesday is a day to be remembered by strangers in New Orleans, for that is the day for fun, frolic, and comic masquerading. All of the mischief of the city is alive and wide awake in active operation. Men and boys, women and girls, bond and free, white and black, yellow and brown, exert themselves to invent and appear in grotesque, quizzical, diabolic, horrible, strange masks, and disguises. Human bodies are seen with heads of beasts and birds, beasts and birds with human heads; demi-beasts, demi-fishes, snakes’ heads and bodies with arms of apes; man-bats from the moon; mermaids; satyrs, beggars, monks, and robbers parade and march on foot, on horseback, in wagons, carts, coaches, cars, etc., in rich confusion, up and down the streets, wildly shouting, singing, laughing, drumming, fiddling, fifeing, and all throwing flour broadcast as they wend their reckless way.

On Mardi Gras of 1857, the Mystick Krewe of Comus held its first parade. Comus is the oldest continuously active Mardi Gras organization. It started a number of continuing traditions. It is considered the first Carnival krewe in the modern sense. According to one historian, “Comus was aggressively English in its celebration of what New Orleans had always considered a French festival. It is hard to think of a clearer assertion than this parade that the lead in the holiday had passed from French-speakers to Anglo-Americans. . . .To a certain extent, Americans ‘Americanized’ New Orleans and its Creoles. To a certain extent, New Orleans ‘creolized’ the Americans. Thus the wonder of Anglo-Americans boasting of how their business prowess helped them construct a more elaborate version of the old Creole Carnival. The lead in organized Carnival passed from Creole to American just as political and economic power did over the course of the nineteenth century. The spectacle of Creole-American Carnival, with Americans using Carnival forms to compete with Creoles in the ballrooms and on the streets, represents the creation of a New Orleans culture neither entirely Creole nor entirely American.”

In 1875 Louisiana declared Mardi Gras a legal state holiday. War, economic, political, and weather conditions sometimes led to cancellation of some or all major parades, especially during the American Civil War, World War I and World War II, but the city has always celebrated Carnival.

Feb 27

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Triple 8

Feb 27

Cartnoon

What’s unusual about this one is the sketch lasts for the whole episode.

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