April 30, 2013 archive

Apr 30

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The Stars Hollow Gazette

Apr 30

Who could have foreseen?

Oh, wait- EVERYBODY!

Obama’s budget puts House Democrats in bind

By: Alex Isenstadt, Politico

April 30, 2013 05:00 AM EDT

How large a role Medicare and Social Security play in the 2014 debate remains to be seen – Democrats intend to highlight issues like immigration and gun control, with an eye toward driving minority and younger voters to the polls. But they also want to use entitlements as part of a broader message branding Republicans as overly ideological and uncaring about the middle class.

Driving home that theme, some Democrats say, will be tricky after the president’s controversial endorsment of chained CPI, a stingier way of calculating growth in Social Security benefits, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts.

“It is highly problematic,” said one Democratic pollster and veteran of congressional races, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to be seen as picking a fight with the White House. “There is no question the entitlement debate makes for an easy campaign ad.”



In an interview with CNN after Obama unveiled his budget earlier this month, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon called the plan “a shocking attack on seniors.”

“I’ll tell you when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country,” he said.

Walden’s remarks drew criticism from some in the GOP, which has come out in favor of chained CPI as a way of reducing the deficit. But the NRCC chairman’s point was made: Republicans had been given a free opportunity to hit back on entitlements, long a Democratic trump card.

Brock McCleary, a GOP pollster and former NRCC deputy political director, said Republicans couldn’t expect to gain an advantage on who’s most likely to defend programs but could try to fight the issue to a draw.

“The president has very clearly shown the way for how Republicans can keep voters in the lurch about which party is going to protect entitlements,” he said.

Electoral victory my ass.

Apr 30

Cartnoon

Apr 30

Market Value

This piece of meta arcana might be of some interest to historians of DocuDharma but I think it’s instructive for different reasons than you might.

My final dispute with budhy revolved around enforcing our rules about I/P discussions (which btw, are strictly enforced now- don’t even go there).

I was always the bad cop so buhdy could be the good one and everybody’s… well buddy.

No problem, I don’t really care what people think of me, honestly- look at what I write.

But this time buhdy yanked my Admin so I quit.  I was already carrying the site, all the promotions were mine, half the essays.

Do it without me asshole.

And I started my own site, The Stars Hollow Gazette, within a month and it costs $15 dollars.  You know, like less than my Cable TV.

Now I don’t care to pretend that I could do it without TheMomCat who is even more hard core than I am and I am more than eternally grateful.  No, we are not married.  I’m fully capable of relationships with women that are not sexually based or exploitative even though I’m chromosome damaged.

Anyway buhdy couldn’t keep up and in less than six months announced his intention to close this site.

And now my main point

At the time of my dismissal I offered buhdy $500 for the site.  He countered with $5000 which I could have paid but thought was outrageously over valued.

When he abandoned DocuDharma I repeated my offer to which his reply was “It will be a cold day in hell…”

So I consulted with TheMomCat who said- “I’ll not give him a dime.”

“Ok, so long as that bastard ek has nothing to do with it.”

Emily and Richard have been happily (ok, at times not so happy, but that’s how it works) married for over 50 years and I’m reasonably sure we’re a DNA match.  Now if you want to call me a name that’s fair game but you don’t need to drag mom and dad into the fight.

Well, guess what happened.

So what would it take?

Everything has a price.

I know people, you do too.  How many pianos?

Apr 30

On This Day In History April 30

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.

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April 30 is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 245 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1900, Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express.

John Luther (“Casey”) Jones (March 14, 1863 – April 30, 1900) was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee, who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad (IC). On April 30, 1900, he alone was killed when his passenger train, the “Cannonball Express,” collided with a stalled freight train at Vaughan, Mississippi, on a foggy and rainy night.

His dramatic death, trying to stop his train and save lives, made him a hero; he was immortalized in a popular ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, an African American engine wiper for the IC.

Death

On April 29, 1900 Jones was at Poplar Street Station in Memphis, Tennessee, having driven the No. 2 from Canton (with his assigned Engine No. 382 ). Normally, Jones would have stayed in Memphis on a layover; however, he was asked to take the No. 1 back to Canton, as the scheduled engineer (Sam Tate), who held the regular run of Trains No. 1 (known as “The Chicago & New Orleans Limited”, later to become the famous “Panama Limited”) and No. 4 (“The New Orleans Fast Mail”) with his assigned Engine No. 382, had called in sick with cramps. Jones loved challenges and was determined to “get her there on the advertised” time no matter how difficult it looked.

A fast engine, a good fireman (Simeon T. Webb would be the train’s assigned fireman), and a light train were ideal for a record-setting run. Although it was raining, steam trains of that era operated best in damp conditions. However, the weather was quite foggy that night (which reduced visibility), and the run was well-known for its tricky curves. Both conditions would prove deadly later that night.

Normally the No. 1 would depart Memphis at 11:15 PM and arrive in Canton (188 miles to the south) at 4:05 AM the following morning. However, due to the delays with the change in engineers, the No. 1 (with six cars) did not leave Memphis until 12:50 am, 95 minutes behind schedule.

The first section of the run would take Jones from Memphis 100 miles south to Grenada, Mississippi, with an intermediate water stop at Sardis, Mississippi (50 miles into the run), over a new section of light and shaky rails at speeds up to 80 mph (129 km/h). At Senatobia, Mississippi (40 miles into the run) Jones passed through the scene of a prior fatal accident from the previous November. Jones made his water stop at Sardis, then arrived at Grenada for more water, having made up 55 minutes of the 95 minute delay.

Jones made up another 15 minutes in the 25-mile stretch from Grenada to Winona, Mississippi. The following 30-mile stretch (Winona to Durant, Mississippi) had no speed-restricted curves. By the time he got to Durant (155 miles into the run) Jones was almost on time. He was quite happy, saying at one point “Sim, the old girl’s got her dancing slippers on tonight!” as he leaned on the Johnson bar.

At Durant he received new orders to take to the siding at Goodman, Mississippi (eight miles south of Durant, and 163 miles into the run) and wait for the No. 2 passenger train to pass, and then continue on to Vaughan. His orders also instructed him that he was to meet passenger train No. 26 at Vaughan (15 miles south of Goodman, and 178 miles into the run); however, No. 26 was a local passenger train in two sections and would be in the siding, so he would have priority over it. Jones pulled out of Goodman, only five minutes behind schedule, and with 25 miles of fast track ahead Jones doubtless felt that he had a good chance to make it to Canton by 4:05 AM “on the advertised”.

But the stage was being set for a tragic wreck at Vaughan. The stopped double-header freight train No. 83 (located to the north and headed south) and the stopped long freight train No. 72 (located to the south and headed north) were both in the passing track to the east of the main line but there were more cars than the track could hold, forcing some of them to overlap onto the main line above the north end of the switch. The northbound local passenger train No. 26 had arrived from Canton earlier which had required a “saw by” in order for it to get to the “house track” west of the main line. The saw by maneuver for No. 26 required that No. 83 back up and allow No. 72 to move northward and pull its overlapping cars off the south end, allowing No. 26 to gain access to the house track. But this left four cars overlapping above the north end of the switch and on the main line right in Jones’ path. As a second saw by was being prepared to let Jones pass, an air hose broke on No. 72, locking its brakes and leaving the last four cars of No. 83 on the main line.

Meanwhile, Jones was almost back on schedule, running at about 75 miles per hour toward Vaughan, unaware of the danger ahead, since he was traveling through a 1.5-mile left-hand curve which blocked his view. Webb’s view from the left side of the train was better, and he was first to see the red lights of the caboose on the main line. “Oh my Lord, there’s something on the main line!” he yelled to Jones. Jones quickly yelled back “Jump Sim, jump!” to Webb, who crouched down and jumped about 300 feet before impact and was knocked unconscious. The last thing Webb heard when he jumped was the long, piercing scream of the whistle as Jones tried to warn anyone still in the freight train looming ahead. He was only two minutes behind schedule about this time.

Jones reversed the throttle and slammed the airbrakes into emergency stop, but “Ole 382” quickly plowed through a wooden caboose, a car load of hay, another of corn and half way through a car of timber before leaving the track. He had amazingly reduced his speed from about 75 miles per hour to about 35 miles per hour when he impacted with a deafening crunch of steel against steel and splintering wood. Because Jones stayed on board to slow the train, he no doubt saved the passengers from serious injury and death (Jones himself was the only fatality of the collision). His watch was found to be stopped at the time of impact which was 3:52 AM on April 30, 1900. Popular legend holds that when his body was pulled from the wreckage of his train near the twisted rail his hands still clutched the whistle cord and the brake. A stretcher was brought from the baggage car on No. 1 and crewmen of the other trains carried his body to the depot ┬Ż-mile away.

Apr 30

Late Night Karaoke

Apr 30

They Hate Us For What We Are Doing

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The High Cost of Government Secrecy

Columnist Glenn Greenwald explains what the Boston bombings and U.S. drone attacks have in common, and how secrecy leads to abuse of government power.

“Should we change or radically alter or dismantle our standard protocols of justice in the name of terrorism? That’s been the debate we’ve been having since the September 11th attack,” Greenwald tells Bill. “We can do what we’ve been doing, which is become a more closed society, authorize the government to read our emails, listen in our telephone calls, put people in prison without charges, enact laws that make it easier for the government to do those sorts of things. Or we can try and understand why it is that people want to come here and do that.” [..]

“There certainly are cases where the United States has very recklessly killed civilians,” he tells Bill. “So at some point, when a government engages in behavior year after year after year after year, that continues to kill innocent people in a very foreseeable way, and continues to do that, in my mind that reaches a level of recklessness that is very similar to intentional killing.”



Transcript can be read here