February 20, 2011 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these articles-

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Sunday Train: Making a ‘national HSR plan’ into a National Network

enter Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Way back before the Super Bowl, the White House had a series of exciting announcements, covered at The Transport Politic under the heading The White House Stakes Its Political Capital on a Massive Intercity Rail Plan.

That article is accompanied by the map reproduced here ~ and I stress that the map if Yonah Freemark’s work, not a map presented by the White House ~ of what a HSR system that rises to the “80% of Americans” target would look like.

And one reaction to that map is the same as the reaction to the designated DoT HSR corridors: how is that a national network? Its just bits and pieces.

How to fix this image problem, while also providing a substantial upgrade to the program, below the fold.

All Mobbed Up

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

One of the things about Juries is that they are ‘finders of fact’.  After a Jury has determined the ‘facts’ of a case you can pound the table all you want, but it better be about the law, otherwise you’re just pounding the table.

So upon his conviction we can say that it’s factually true that former Juvenile Court Judge Mark Ciavarella took $997,600 from prison developer Robert Mericle, which he also failed to report on his financial disclosure forms or pay taxes on.

Now Ciavarella’s attorneys claim this is a mighty ‘victory’ for their client since he was not found guilty of actually ‘Extorting’ the money and intend to appeal and, like the abusers of Bonasera’s daughter, he walked out of the courtroom free pending.

What prosecutors chose not to make an issue of is exactly what ‘services’ Mark Ciavarella provided for nearly $1 million.

He sentenced hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent children to prison ruining their lives and those of their families.

Now on the bribery, failure to disclose, and tax evasion counts, Ciavarella is technically liable for up to 157 years of hard time and he’s already been ordered to forfeit the money, but even if he loses his appeal he’s unlikely to serve more than 12 or 15 years.

I personally think that’s too good for someone who’s systemically perverted our justice system and the rule of law from a position of public trust, privilege, and power.  He should rot in Spandau for the rest of his long, long miserable life and die alone, despised and forgotten.

Oh, you want to know about the all mobbed up thing.

Pa. judge guilty of racketeering in kickback case

Associated Press

6 hours ago

Officials disclosed for the first time Friday that they were led to the judges by the reputed boss of a northeastern Pennsylvania Mafia family. William D’Elia – who regularly met for breakfast with Conahan – became a government informant after his 2006 arrest on charges of witness tampering and conspiracy to launder drug money.

“D’Elia led us to Judge Conahan,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Zubrod. “From there we began to focus on them, the financial dealings between Judge Conahan, Judge Ciavarella, Mericle, Powell.”

I said that I would see you because I had heard that you were a serious man, to be treated with respect. But I must say no to you and let me give you my reasons. It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling which they consider a harmless vice. But drugs, that’s a dirty business.

Six In The Morning

Gaddafi fights for his future as up to 200 die in Benghazi

 


Regime accused of hiring foreign mercenaries as clashes between supporters and pro-democracy demonstrators in the country’s second city escalate

By Andrew Johnson and Susie Mesure Sunday, 20 February 2011

Libya was approaching a “tipping point” last night as widespread protests against Colonel Gaddafi’s regime were met with increasing violence from security forces.

Dozens of protesters were reported killed by sniper fire from security forces in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, yesterday when violence flared again as crowds clashed after funerals for people killed in fighting on Friday. “Dozens were killed. We are in the midst of a massacre here,” one eyewitness reported.

Clashes were reported in the town of al-Bayda, where dozens of civilians were said to have been killed and police stations came under attack. In all, the death toll was reported to have reached 120. Doctors from Aj Jala hospital in Benghazi confirmed 1,000 people had been injured.

Campaign Manifesto #2: In Which We Travel To Wisconsin

So when we were last together, as you all know, I announced that I’m fake running for Congress in Washington State’s 8th District-and that I’m doing it because, so far as I know, the best way to get a candidate to truly “come out Liberal” is to be a fake candidate…and to make good and sure The Campaign isn’t out chasing money when it’s being done.

Having made the announcement, we’re already making our first campaign trip-and oddly enough, our first trip as a Congressional candidate will take us to Madison, Wisconsin, where we’ll link up with a few folks who, apparently inspired by me, have taken to the streets in a very big way.

When we get there I’ll need a parka, a nice hat, a thermos of coffee, and a big fat Sharpie-so let me go get it all together, and then we’ll be on our way.

Late Night Karaoke

Howard Beale’s Nightmare

“We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true. But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We’re all you know. You’re beginning to believe the illusions we’re spinning here. You’re beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube. You eat like the tube. You raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness — you maniacs! In God’s name you people are the real thing, WE are the illusion.”

 – Howard Beale from the movie Network

 When the movie Network was released 35 years ago it was considered a satire. No one at the time could imagine how far the standards of television, and society in general, would decay.

 Today it is considered prophesy.

 While the character Howard Beale touched on the merging of fiction and reality, I doubt that creators of the movie could have dreamed where it would lead us today.

The plutocrats could use a good knee-capping

Charles Blow of the New York Times has noticed that our decadent empire is in decline, and “It’s time for us to stop lying to ourselves about this country,” because among industrialized countries “we are among the worst of the worst.”  

How dare you notice, sir?  And since when is the NYT making such embarrassing revelations publicly?  To paraphrase Colbert, Americans don’t want to know how vile and corrupt our plutocratic overlords are, and the media used to have the courtesy not to tell us.

It’s all about inequality

State of Working America has some interactive graphs showing average incomes of the top 10% (in red hues) and bottom 90% (in blue) of wage earners between 1917 and 2008.  Moving the vertical bars in their graphs allows the user to select and summarize intervals of interest.  Data were compiled by economist Emmanuel Saez at UC Berkeley.

From 1917 to 1970 the bottom 90% of wage earners took home 72% of income growth, whereas the top 10% earners took home 28%.  The top 1% (light pink) took the smallest proportion of growth, whereas the next two largest income earners (rose and maroon)took the largest shares of the 28% cut.

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Over the past forty years or so, income inequality has ballooned.  Specifically, from 1970 to 2008, the top 10% wage earners took home all the growth in incomes.  The top 1% took the majority of that growth.  The bottom 90% got nothing.  For the past 40 years, the vast majority and poorest Americans have gotten nothing.  Bupkis.  Goose eggs. Zilch.  All the money has gone to the very top, the worst of the worst, for forty fucking years.

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This trend of the uber-wealthy getting uber-wealthier while the rest of us “suck on it” is only accelerating.  From 2000 to 2007 the top 1% took 75% of all income growth.

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Charles Blow of the New York Times has noticed that our decadent empire is in decline, and “It’s time for us to stop lying to ourselves about this country,” because among industrialized countries “we are among the worst of the worst.”  

How dare you notice, sir?  And since when is the NYT making such embarrassing revelations publicly?  To paraphrase Colbert, Americans don’t want to know how vile and corrupt our plutocratic overlords are, and the media used to have the courtesy not to tell us.

Share of the wealth: Income growth

State of Working America has some interactive graphs showing average incomes of the top 10% (in red hues) and bottom 90% (in blue) of wage earners between 1917 and 2008.  Moving the vertical bars in their graphs allows the user to select and summarize intervals of interest.  Data were compiled by economist Emmanuel Saez at UC Berkeley.

From 1917 to 1970 the bottom 90% of wage earners took home 72% of income growth, whereas the top 10% earners took home 28%.  The top 1% (light pink) took the smallest proportion of growth, whereas the next two largest income earners (rose and maroon)took the largest shares of the 28% cut.

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Over the past forty years or so, income inequality has ballooned.  Specifically, from 1970 to 2008, the top 10% wage earners took home all the growth in incomes.  The top 1% took the majority of that growth.  The bottom 90% got nothing.  For the past 40 years, the vast majority and poorest Americans have gotten nothing.  Bupkis.  Goose eggs. Zilch.  All the money has gone to the very top, the worst of the worst, for forty fucking years.

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Exploding Health Care Costs:

The Housing Bubble Collapse:

The Bail-outs: Privatizing profits and socializing losses:

alphabet soups, GSEs

Our exploding national debt:

Wingnut incoherence

They don’t call it “America’s Shittiest Website” for nothing.

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Charles Krauthammer (who is a dead ringer for Wile E. Coyote, amirite?) shot himself in the foot the other day by criticizing CPAC, where Dick Cheney just awarded Don Rumsfeld the “Defender of the Constitution” award, as a conservative “weird fringe group…not Twilight Zone fringe. It’s more off shore, you know floating on a raft out there in the Gulf of Mexico.”  He is still waiting for his slower-than-usual nerve conduction to signal the grave owie in his brain.  There appears to be a concerted effort by some conservatives to distant themselves from Tea Baggers, lest they influence Presidential nominations.  

Pardon me for wasting everyone’s time by remarking that conservatives are dummies, but since I’m on the subject, I can’t help noticing that the geniuses at Red State think that Planned Parenthood is engaged in teenage sex trafficking.  Maybe they’re still star-bursting over the wild successes of Levi and Bristol.

Finally, I know John Cole has turned over a new leaf since the interminable Iraq war began, and I thank him for that, but am I wrong in getting the willies when I see this kind of nostalgia?  Isn’t that a little too close for comfort?

What’s for Dinner? v5.30: New Cooking Book

Hello, all!  Tonight I am publishing the introduction to a new cooking book that I have in the works.  It is not so much a cook book as it is a guide for people who have not cooked much before, or who want to improve their skills.  It will also have information that even experienced cooks will find interesting.  I do not want it to be a very big book, because I really think that the essentials of cooking well are not that complicated.

Besides, there are lots of good recipe books available, and I want this to be a little different.  It is intended to more like a operator’s manual for the kitchen.

The introduction will be essentially all of the extended text box except for my signoff.  I would appreciate any suggestions for improvement in the comments, and hope that the purpose of the book is clear from the introduction.  Without further ado, here we go.  By the way, I have not given the work a name yet.