March 16, 2013 archive

Mar 16

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The Stars Hollow Gazette

Mar 16

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Unlike many New York celebrations St. Patrick’s day remains true to its roots-

  • Find a Bar
  • Get puking drunk
  • Punch somebody

Fortunately queers get posted to the front like Bulls at Pamplona so that men in kilts going commando while wailing on sheep bladders generally avoid the riot.

Politicians walk alone so you can spit on them if you like, provided you have trained for range.

You should wear hip boots.

Update:

TheMomCat (who will be leading the commentary) suggests I include an Irish fighting song.

Mar 16

Cartnoon

Last episode.  Starting tomorrow We’ll take a 6 episode break with The Secret Life of Machines.

Mar 16

On This Day In History March 16

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.

March 16 is the 75th day of the year (76th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 290 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1802, The United States Military Academy, the first military school in the United States, is founded by Congress for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science.

Colonial period, founding, and early years

The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778, making it the longest continually occupied post in the United States of America. Between 1778 and 1780, Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain and high ground above the narrow “S” curve in the river enabled the Continental Army to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and dividing the Colonies. As commander of the fortifications at West Point, however, Benedict Arnold committed his infamous act of treason, attempting to sell the fort to the British. After Arnold betrayed the patriot cause, the Army changed the name of the fortifications at West Point, New York, to Fort Clinton. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War left various ordnance and military stores deposited at West Point.

“Cadets” underwent training in artillery and engineering studies at the garrison since 1794. Congress formally authorized the establishment and funding of the United States Military Academy on 16 March 1802,. The academy graduated Joseph Gardner Swift, its first official graduate, in October 1802; he later returned as Superintendent from 1812 to 1814. In its tumultuous early years, the academy featured few standards for admission or length of study. Cadets ranged in age from 10 years to 37 years and attended between 6 months to 6 years. The impending War of 1812 caused the United States Congress to authorize a more formal system of education at the academy and increased the size of the Corps of Cadets to 250.

In 1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer became the Superintendent and established the curriculum still in use to this day. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct. Known as the “Father of the Military Academy”, he is honored with a monument on campus for the profound impact he left upon the academy’s history. Founded to be a school of engineering, for the first half of the 19th century, USMA produced graduates who gained recognition for engineering the bulk of the nation’s initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads. The academy was the only engineering school in the country until the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. It was so successful in its engineering curriculum that it significantly influenced every American engineering school founded prior to the Civil War.

The Mexican-American War brought the academy to prominence as graduates proved themselves in battle for the first time. Future Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first distinguished themselves in battle in Mexico. In all, 452 of 523 graduates who served in the war received battlefield promotions or awards for bravery. The school experienced a rapid modernization during the 1850s, often romanticized by the graduates who led both sides of the Civil War as the “end of the Old West Point era”. New barracks brought better heat and gas lighting, while new ordnance and tactics training incorporated new rifle and musket technology and accommodated transportation advances created by the steam engine. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union and Confederate armies. Two hundred ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.

Mar 16

Late Night Karaoke

Mar 16

Court Rules for ACLU Against the CIA

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Apparently a federal court of appeals didn’t think that the Department of Justice’s argument that the CIA had no “intelligence interest” in drone strikes carried out by the United States government and the refusal to even admit in court that the program exists, was either believable or plausable. That nonsense ended today. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled today in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union request for information about the CIA’s drone program.

CIA Drone Strikes Case: Court Finds It Not ‘Plausible’ That Agency Has No Role

by Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court’s decision (pdf) that dismissed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CIA, ruling on Friday that it was neither “logical nor plausible” for the government to contend the agency had no interest in drone strikes.

“It is hard to see how the CIA Director could have made his Agency’s knowledge of — and therefore ‘interest’ in — drone strikes any clearer,” the ruling states. “And given these statements by the Director, the President, and the President’s counterterrorism advisor, the Agency’s declaration that ‘no authorized CIA or Executive Branch official has disclosed whether or not the CIA … has an interest in drone strikes,’ … is at this point neither logical nor plausible.”

Court Rejects CIA’s Drone Secrecy Arguments Because Obama, Brennan & Panetta Made Statements

by  Kevin Gosztola, FDL The Dissenter

Judge Merrick B. Garland wrote in the decision the question before the court was whether it was “logical or plausible” for the “CIA to contend that it would reveal something not already officially acknowledged to say that the Agency ‘at least has an intelligence interest’ in” drone strikes.

“Given the extent of the official statements on the subject, we conclude that the answer to that question is no.”

A statement by President Barack Obama, made during a Google+ Hangout in January 2012, statements from then-counterterrorism adviser John Brennan during a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center on April 30, 2012, and remarks made by then-CIA director Leon Panetta at the Pacific Council on International Policy in 2009 were all cited as “official acknowledgments that the United States has participated in drone strikes.” The acknowledgments made it implausible and illogical for the CIA to maintain “that it would reveal anything not already in the public domain to say that the Agency ‘at least has an intelligence interest’ in such strikes.”

“The defendant is, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency,” wrote Garland.

As the judge noted, Obama has “publicly acknowledged that the United States uses drone strikes against al Qaeda.” Brennan made statements that left no doubt that “some agency” operates drones. “It strains credulity to suggest that an agency charged with gathering intelligence affecting the national security does not have an ‘intelligence interest’ in drone strikes, even if that agency does not operate the drones itself.”

This is the press release from the ACLU:

DC Appeals Court Rejects CIA’s Secrecy Claims in ACLU’s Targeted Killing FOIA Lawsuit

Court Rules that CIA Cannot Deny “Interest” in Drone Program



March 15, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court ruled today that the Central Intelligence Agency cannot deny its “intelligence interest” in the targeted killing program and refuse to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests about the program while officials continue to make public statements about it.

“This is an important victory. It requires the government to retire the absurd claim that the CIA’s interest in the targeted killing program is a secret, and it will make it more difficult for the government to deflect questions about the program’s scope and legal basis,” said ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer, who argued the case before a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Appeals Court in September. “It also means that the CIA will have to explain what records it is withholding, and on what grounds it is withholding them.”

The ACLU’s FOIA request, filed in January 2010, seeks to learn when, where, and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how and whether the U.S. ensures compliance with international law restricting extrajudicial killings. In September 2011, the district court granted the government’s request to dismiss the case, accepting the CIA’s argument that it could not release any documents because even acknowledging the existence of the program would harm national security. The ACLU filed its appeal brief in the case exactly one year ago, and today the appeals court reversed the lower court’s ruling in a 3-0 vote.

“We hope that this ruling will encourage the Obama administration to fundamentally reconsider the secrecy surrounding the targeted killing program,” Jaffer said. “The program has already been responsible for the deaths of more than 4,000 people in an unknown number of countries. The public surely has a right to know who the government is killing, and why, and in which countries, and on whose orders. The Obama administration, which has repeatedly acknowledged the importance of government transparency, should give the public the information it needs in order to fully evaluate the wisdom and lawfulness of the government’s policies.”

Today’s ruling is at: aclu.org/national-security/drone-foia-appeals-court-ruling

Mar 16

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

For Flavor and Versatility, Add Bulgur

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread photo 07recipehealth-articleLarge_zps72e6f2af.jpg

   It comes in four different grades – fine (#1), medium (#2), coarse (#3), and very coarse (#4)- and each type lends itself to a particular kind of dish. In the Middle East pilafs are made with medium, coarse, and very coarse bulgur. Tabbouleh and kibbe are made with fine bulgur. In my kitchen I use the medium grind for a delicious breakfast porridge that has the flavor of a hearty cream of wheat, and I add it to breads and other baked goods. Coarse bulgur goes into pilafs and soups, casseroles and stuffed vegetables.

   I don’t know if bulgur is going to be the next quinoa – probably not, as these days so many people shun wheat. But if I had to choose one over the other for flavor and versatility, I’d go with bulgur. One thing it has going for it is that it can be reconstituted without cooking, though you can also cook it in boiling water (the grains will be a little fluffier if you do). As for the nutritional profile, whereas quinoa has a little more protein (4 grams per 100 grams of grain compared with bulgur’s 3), bulgur is less caloric (83 calories per 100 grams compared with quinoa’s 120), higher in fiber (4 grams versus 3), slightly lower in carbohydrates (19 grams compared with 21) and sodium (5 mg compared with 7).

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread With Bulgur

A quick and easy bread with a rich and nutty taste.

Bulgur, Spinach and Tomato Casserole

A simple, satisfying casserole with spinach and Middle Eastern-inflected tomato sauce.

Winter Tomato Soup With Bulgur

A thick, satisfying winter soup.

Bulgur Maple Porridge

A delicious and healthy morning meal.

Bulgur Bowl With Spinach, Mushrooms and Middle Eastern Nut and Spice Seasoning

A simple skillet supper with a savory mixture of mushrooms and spinach.

Mar 16

Random Japan

 photo DSC00150.jpg

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

According to financial disclosure statements, deputy prime minister Taro Aso is the proud owner of houses in Shibuya and Karuizawa; 360,398 shares of stock in 16 companies; and eight golf club memberships.

The government’s Council for Ainu Policy Promotion says it hopes to conduct Japan’s first-ever census of indigenous peoples.

Officials at the newly launched Nuclear Regulation Authority say they’ll digitize and publish online 900,000 pages of documents pertaining to the Fukushima disaster.

The NPA announced a plan to force “malicious cyclists”-i.e., those who have been busted for more than one traffic violation-to attend lectures on safe cycling.

A Cabinet Office survey has found that a plurality of Japanese “oppose revising the Civil Code to allow married couples to use separate surnames.”

Mar 16

United Steelworkers Union Has Hired Videographer Scott Prouty

WASHINGTON — Now that he’s gone public, Scott Prouty, the man behind the infamous “47 percent” video of Mitt Romney’s remarks at a Florida fundraiser, has been in talks to work for the United Steelworkers union in a role that’s yet to be determined, the head of the union told HuffPost on Thursday.

Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said the union met Prouty through Charles Kernaghan, a labor rights activist who heads the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, headquartered in Pittsburgh. Prouty had gotten in touch with Kernaghan, who’d been researching Bain Capital and outsourcing as Prouty anonymously disseminated his video last year. Gerard said that union officials met with Prouty at the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., in January, before the videographer was willing to go public.

Gerard explained his respect for Prouty, paraphrasing a quote from President Barack Obama that one voice can change a room, that room a city, that city a state, and so on. “I think Scott Prouty is one voice that changed the country,” Gerard said.

“He’s going to come work for us,” Gerard went on. “We’re going to sit down and talk. He has lots of skills, and we’ll try to put him in a place where he can use the skills he’s got.”

Prouty said in a brief phone call with HuffPost Thursday that he intends to take the job. “I’d be honored to be involved with them. I think they’re awesome people,” he said of the union. “There’s a good possibility it will work out.”

In addition to putting him to work, Gerard said the union will protect Prouty, given his new and overwhelming exposure. “No one’s gonna mess with him,” Gerard said.

Mar 16

Friday Night at the Movies

Terry Gilliam’s directorial debut.