Tag: Open Thread

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Interestingly enough (to me) this will be my 155th essay on DocuDharma.

It’s kind of a little unfair to pfiore to really talk about baseball (which she had suggested as a topic when she asked me to do witr), but that sent me digging and really wishing for a good index search.  Maybe next revision which may come sooner or later depending on how pacified’s open source project is going.

Anyway pfiore remembered an essay where I talked about baseball and the one I think she is after is the one I wrote just before one of our Openings (there were about 6 or 7, as budhy got settled in his new digs).

So Today’s The Big Day!

When I think about blogging as art I see it as halfway between a Magazine and a TV Channel.  You have an audience for the Gilmore Girls and when they tune in they expect to see it.

But also a Community blog is a team effort, the kind of artistry you see on a Baseball Diamond between 9 people who love the game they play.  Sort of a dance, but competitive.

First day of the season.  Home opener.  Score is nothing nothing and anything can happen.

That said I expect we’ll get our asses kicked and be cleaning up the mess for weeks, but I love this game.

It’s a long season, 162 games at least.  I’m not disappointed in the talent, but we’ve never played together before and you can only expect miscommunication and errors.

It’s all good.

As we learn together we will get stronger as a team.  Pretty soon we’ll be turning those double plays and figure out where the bumps in the field are.  We have the pitching to succeed and the bullpen to close.

Now we just have to start scratching out the runs.

Four at Four

Some news and open thread.

  1. The New York Times reports Senate Panel Passes Bill to Limit Greenhouse Gases. “The Environment and Public Works Committee split largely along party lines on the bill, which calls for a roughly 70 percent cut from 2005 levels by 2050 in the production of carbon dioxide and other climate-altering pollutants. The legislation would limit emissions for virtually all sectors of the economy, but would allow swapping of pollution permits among carbon emitters.”

  2. In another potentially positive sign, the NY Times adds the EPA is prodded to require cuts in airliner emissions. After the Supreme Court told the Environmental Protection Agency they “had the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from automobiles”, the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New Mexico, the city of New York, and “several environmental groups filed petitions with the EPA Wednesday in an effort to force cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases from airliners, a rapidly growing source.”

  3. According to The Hill, Sen. Leahy postpones contempt vote. “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday postponed a vote on contempt resolutions against former White House adviser Karl Rove and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) objected to language in the measures. Committee rules allow for a one-week delay, so the vote will likely take place next Thursday. Committee approval of the resolution would trigger a full Senate vote on the resolutions early next year.”

  4. The haters win. The Hill reports Hate-crimes provision stripped from defense bill. “House and Senate votes on the 2008 defense authorization bill could be held as early as next week after conferees agreed Thursday to strip from the bill a controversial provision extending hate-crimes protections to gays… President Bush had threatened to veto the bill if it included the hate-crimes language, and conferees from both sides of the aisle and both chambers had warned that the Senate provision would jeopardize the passage of the entire defense authorization bill, which includes policies designed to help wounded soldiers and increase military pay.”

Docudharma Times Thursday Dec. 6

This is an Open Thread: Please Come Inside

Headlines for Thursday December 7:As N.H. Primary Nears, Clinton Clings to Narrow : Details in Military Notes Led to Shift on Iran, U.S. Says: U.S. military brass in Iraq resist quick drawdown : Japan’s Bloggers: Humble Giants of the Web

USA

Top U.S. military brass in Iraq resist quick drawdown

Commanders fear recent gains would be lost. The Pentagon, meanwhile, turns up pressure to bring more troops home.

By Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

December 6, 2007

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military’s internal debate over how fast to reduce its force in Iraq has intensified in recent weeks as commanders in Baghdad resist suggestions from Pentagon officials for a quicker drawdown.

Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the day-to-day military commander in Iraq, said he was worried that significant improvements in security conditions would sway policymakers to move too quickly to pull out troops next year.

“The most important thing to me is we cannot lose what we have gained,” Odierno said in an interview last week with The Times after he toured Nahrawan, a predominantly Shiite city of about 100,000 northeast of Baghdad with a market that is now showing signs of life. “We won’t do that.”

Details in Military Notes Led to Shift on Iran, U.S. Says

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 – American intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes last summer from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program, senior intelligence and government officials said on Wednesday.

The notes included conversations and deliberations in which some of the military officials complained bitterly about what they termed a decision by their superiors in late 2003 to shut down a complex engineering effort to design nuclear weapons, including a warhead that could fit atop Iranian missiles.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well, what I really want to do is just promote Tia’s Essay- Chanukah: first memory, but unaccustomed as she is to fame and glory, I’m inclined to let someone else accept the responsibility.

Tonight at her other gig we chatted a bit about Mormonism which led me to look up some Twain (here too).

Now I have to laugh a little bit because I’m a very pink Buddhist and I think all of it is rather silly and the story of Christ in North America no wackier than what comes from the pen of L. Ron Hubbard.

Still, there is the question of should we let this moment pass without examining the faith at all, one about which most Americans know as much as they do about… well, Islam for instance?

It is very personal and right off the top of my head I can name about a dozen massacres and wars over the meaning of the Trinity (which was settled at the Council of Nicea) because it’s a fairly common heresy.  Having a separate line of prophecy post Jesus and the Apostles and entirely different scriptures that are ‘corrected’ versions of the old and new testaments puts you smack dab in Allah territory if you ask me, but I’m no expert.

There should be no religious test for office, that’s what the Constitution says, and I don’t hate and despise Romney for being anything but a racist Republican who doesn’t think Muslims are fit to serve in the highest offices of the land.

Four at Four

Some news and open thread.

  1. Welcome to America – Guilty until proven innocent. The Washington Post reports Evidence of innocence rejected at Guantanamo. “Just months after U.S. Army troops whisked a German man from Pakistan to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002, his American captors concluded that he was not a terrorist… But the 19-year-old student was not freed… His attorneys, who sued the Pentagon to gain access to the documents, say that they reflect policies that result in mistreatment of the hundreds of foreigners who have been locked up for years at the controversial prison. The Supreme Court intends to weigh the legitimacy of the military tribunals at a hearing this morning.”

  2. The Hill reports Career foreign service officer targeted by Jack Abramoff. “Jack Abramoff called her the Wicked Witch of the West… And he wanted to burn her. Joan Plaisted, a career foreign service officer, was ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in 1998, when the island nation hired Abramoff and his firm to battle the United States on a multibillion-dollar aid agreement.” Ambramoff ran a “lobbying campaign to persuade members of Congress to discredit a U.S. diplomat by way of speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives… The campaign was ultimately scuttled when the republic’s president, Imata Kabua, canceled a 1999 visit that was to coincide with the denunciations.” This is a long scummy tale of Abramoff and the Republicans.

  3. According to The New York Times, Nevada cashes in on sales of federal land. “Tens of thousands of acres of federal lands in the Las Vegas area have been sold under an unusual law pushed through Congress nearly a decade ago by the Nevada delegation. The sales have grossed nearly $3 billion and counting. Because of a stipulation created by the Nevada legislators, the money has not been deposited into the general federal Treasury, but rather put in a special Treasury account to be spent almost exclusively in Nevada on a something-for-everyone collection of projects… Critics see it as having created a limitless federal bank account that has encouraged and subsidized unbridled growth at the expense of taxpayers from the 49 other states, all while Nevada continues to draw new residents as a low-tax state disinclined to pay for such projects itself.”

  4. According to the Miami Herald, The governor of Florida’s intervention may help save the manatees. “State wildlife managers, once set to strip the manatee of its ‘endangered’ status, may be poised to order a surprising change of course that would leave the iconic seacows atop Florida’s imperiled species list where they’ve been for decades… But questions from Gov. Charlie Crist appear likely to extend, perhaps indefinitely, a three-month reprieve the commission granted in September when Crist first stepped into the issue… ‘We need to protect these gentle creatures, and I’ve consistently felt that way,’ said Crist, who as a state senator pushed a bill to mandate propeller guards for boats.”

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

1 Dollar slips, euro gains credibility as viable rival

By Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor

Tue Dec 4, 3:00 AM ET

Washington – For over half a century, the US dollar has been the preeminent form of legal tender in the world. Much of today’s global trade is priced in dollars, even if the item in question isn’t being sold or bought by a US firm. Most of the foreign exchange held by national central banks is dollars  not British pounds, Chinese renminbi, or Japanese yen.

But in recent months, the king of currencies has taken it on the chin. Since August the dollar has shrunk about 6 percent in value, measured against an assortment of its fellows. Perhaps more important, it may be losing cachet overseas: Tourists can no longer pay in dollars to enter the Taj Mahal and other Indian national landmarks, for instance.

Is the dollar set to lose its top status and the national financial advantages that entails? It has swooned and recovered before, most notably in the 1970s and late 1980s.

But there’s a difference this time. The dollar has a credible rival: the euro.

Four at Four

Some news and an afternoon open thread.

  1. The Chicago Tribune reports Blacks hit hard in drug sentencing, study finds. “African-Americans in Cook County were imprisoned for drug offenses at 58 times the rate of white people-the seventh-worst racial disparity among large counties nationwide, according to a new report. The Justice Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank advocating alternatives to prison for social problems, was set to release a study Tuesday detailing the different treatment white and black drug offenders receive under the criminal justice system. The institute found that nationwide, African-Americans are imprisoned for drugs at 10 times the rate of white people.”

  2. According to McClatchy Newspapers, Iraqis in Syria face food shortages. “Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Syria face a bleak winter, with rising fuel costs that could leave many without enough money for food, the director of the World Food Program said… About a third of Iraqi respondents in a recent United Nations study said they skipped one meal a day to feed their children. Nearly 60 percent said that they’re buying cheaper, less nutritious food to cope with a dramatic increase in prices. With the weather turning colder and heating prices rising, humanitarian workers predict more Iraqis will go hungry in order to keep up with rent and utilities.”

    Meanwhile, The New York Times reports Red Crescent says 25,000 Iraqi refugees have returned. “At least 25,000 Iraqi refugees have returned to their beleaguered homeland from Syria since mid-September, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by the Iraqi Red Crescent. The figure represents a fraction of the estimated 1.5 million Iraqis who fled to Syria in recent years to escape the sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing in Iraq… The refugees are finding an altered landscape, with neighborhoods largely ethnically homogenous, reshaped by sectarian strife. Unemployment also hovers at roughly 40 percent, and corruption is rampant, with many people paying bribes to obtain jobs.”

  3. The Sydney Morning Herald reports from the IPCC conference that the US still all talk at Bali, and no steps on climate. “The US has failed to offer any hope it will embrace binding targets to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, on the first day of the United Nations climate conference in Bali. But its negotiators are promising to be ‘very open and flexible’ in the talks aimed at a new global agreement to slow down dangerous climate change.” As Spiegel reported yesterday, the Bush administration is determined to obstruct any possible progress out of Bali.

  4. The Guardian reports Honey ‘beats cough medicine’. “A clinical trial has found that honey is more effective at soothing a sore throat than a common active ingredient in children’s cough medicines. Honey has been used for centuries to relieve a tickly throat and scientists now believe it may be effective because it has constituents that kill microbes and acts as an antioxidant. That means it might prevent damage inside cells from chemical byproducts of their activity. The study compared buckwheat honey with dextromethorphan, an ingredient in a range of branded medicines.”

Docudharma Times Tuesday Dec.4

This is an Open Thread: For the Curious

Headlines for Tuesday December 4: Editorial
Evolution and Texas: On Thrill Rides, Safety Is Optional: For Congress, election imperils balanced budget: Bay Area counties toughest on black drug offenders: S African miners strike on safety

USA

Editorial

Evolution and Texas

Published: December 4, 2007

Is Texas about to become the next state to undermine the teaching of evolution? That is the scary implication of the abrupt ousting of Christine Comer, the state’s top expert on science education. Her transgression: forwarding an e-mail message about a talk by a distinguished professor who debunks “intelligent design” and creationism as legitimate alternatives to evolution in the science curriculum.

In most states, we hope, the state department of education would take the lead in ensuring that students receive a sound scientific education. But it was the Texas Education Agency that pushed out Ms. Comer after 27 years as a science teacher and 9 years as the agency’s director of science.

On Thrill Rides, Safety Is Optional

No Federal Oversight of Theme Parks

By Elizabeth Williamson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 4, 2007; Page A01

In December 2005, 9-year-old Fatima Cervantes and her 8-year-old brother boarded a Sizzler ride at a carnival in Austin, thrilled to climb into one of the candy-colored cars on rotating arms. But shortly after their blue car started whirling, Fatima slipped beneath the lap bar and was thrown onto the platform, where a metal arm crushed her head.

Since 1997, Sizzlers have been involved in at least four other deaths and dozens of injuries in the United States. Noting similarities in several accidents, a group of 25 state inspection chiefs requested in June that the ride’s manufacturer, Wisdom Industries, take immediate measures to prevent “an unacceptable level of ejection risk.”

The Stars Hollow Gazette

I remember the best sliding day ever.

The Episcopal Church next to the library had three parking lots connected with driveways that sloped fairly steeply.

Conditions were perfect, ice storm following a light snow.  When you came to the piles at the bottom of the last lot it was easy enough to crunch through the crust and slow down.  You were headed up slope anyway weinie.

Had perfect equipment too.  Runner polished and waxed Flexible Flyers.  Belly skates.

It was just my sister and I on this particular occasion and after the obligatory high speed suicide runs that day’s particular pleasure was how many 360s you could throw before the end.

We were adventurous sliders on our block.  The regular run took you through 6 hedges in 5 back yards before it dumped you spark shedding and grinding out in the street.  Special favorites got to use the popular kids’ ‘Devils Drop’, but I was never that popular and I didn’t like it so much as you usually ended up with your head next to a tree.

Four at Four

Some news and afternoon open thread.

  1. Climate talks take on added urgency after IPCC report, according to The New York Times. Thousands are gathered in Bali for a new round of climate talks to replace the expiring Kyoto treaty, “but few participants expect this round of talks to produce significant breakthroughs… By far, the biggest obstacle to forging a new accord by 2009 is the United States, analysts say. Senior Bush administration officials say the administration will not agree to a new treaty with binding limits on emissions… In his latest statement on climate change last Wednesday, Mr. Bush said, ‘Our guiding principle is clear: we must lead the world to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and we must do it in a way that does not undermine economic growth or prevent nations from delivering greater prosperity for their people.'” Arghhhh!

  2. According to Spiegel, the US seeks alliance with China and India to block climate protection. “In the run-up to the Bali Climate Conference that opened Monday, the administration of US President George W. Bush established contact with representatives of the Chinese and Indian governments in an attempt to curb progress on climate protection initiatives, SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned from a source familiar with the White House’s Bali strategy. According to the source, Washington is hoping that the two greenhouse gas emitters will openly declare during the conference that they are unwilling to accept any binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases — at least not as long as the US is unwilling to do more or if the Western industrial nations do not provide them with more financial aid for climate protection initiatives. If successful, the US could use the tactic to prevent itself from becoming an isolated scapegoat if negotiations in Bali end in a stalemate.” When will other nations use economic clout, such as sanctions and carbon tariffs, against eco-terrorist nations?

  3. The Hill reports Waxman seeks Mukasey’s help in CIA leak probe. “Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is asking new Attorney General Michael Mukasey to help him advance a probe into the leak of the name of a CIA operative to the media. Waxman, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, petitioned Mukasey in a letter Monday to side with Congress in a battle with the White House over whether special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald can release ‘key documents’ to the panel… The panel is investigating circumstances surrounding the leak of the name of Valerie Plame Wilson to the media.”

  4. The Washington Post reports a Rare, “mummified” dinosaur unearthed in North Dakota. In 1999, “a high school student hunting fossils in the badlands of… North Dakota discovered an extremely rare mummified dinosaur that includes not just bones but also seldom seen fossilized soft tissue such as skin and muscles… The 25-foot-long hadrosaur found by Tyler Lyson in an ancient river flood plain in the dinosaur-rich Hell Creek Formation is apparently the most complete and best preserved of the half-dozen mummified dinosaurs unearthed since early in the last century… Although described as ‘mummified,’ the 65 million-year-old duckbilled dinosaur would be better described as “mineralized”. National Geographic News and Wired has pictures and more!

Docudharma Times Monday Dec.3

This is an Open Thread for the Curious

Headlines for Monday December 3: Arab-American paratrooper faces deportation after Afghan service :New Orleans Hurt by Acute Rental Shortage: Obama’s Gains Show Volatility Of Iowa Contest: Chavez Loses Constitutional Vote

USA

Arab-American paratrooper faces deportation after Afghan service

· Highly decorated sergeant ordered to stand trial

· Anti-discrimination committee protests

Ed Pilkington in New York

Monday December 3, 2007

The Guardian

A highly decorated Arab-American sergeant in the US army, who is currently serving as a paratrooper in Afghanistan, faces deportation on his return to the United States because of an irregularity in his immigration papers.

Sgt Hicham Benkabbou has been served with an order to stand trial for deportation as soon as he arrives home, despite the fact that he has been on active service in Afghanistan for almost two years with the 508th parachute infantry regiment, known as the Red Devils.

Weekend News Digest

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Putin party scores landslide win in Russian election

by Sebastian Smith, AFP

1 hour, 3 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin’s party won a huge majority in Russian parliamentary elections Sunday tainted by fraud allegations, early results showed, paving the way for the Kremlin leader to retain power after leaving office.

The United Russia Party won 62.3 percent of the vote, according to official results with 12 percent of the ballots counted and with opposition complaints mounting.

United Russia and its allies, A Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party would enter the State Duma with a collective 86.3 percent of the vote, according to an exit poll by the All-Russian Centre for the Study of Public Opinion.

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