Tag: Open Thread

Four at Four

Some Friday afternoon news and open thread.

  1. The Guardian reports Cyclone Sidr kills more than 600 in Bangladesh. “Relief workers today struggled to reach devastated parts of Bangladesh after a powerful cyclone ripped through the country, leaving a trail of destruction that claimed more than 600 lives. Cyclone Sidr hit the country’s south-west coast yesterday after racing up the Bay of Bengal at a speed of 150mph. The winds triggered a five metre (15ft) high tidal wave that washed away three coastal towns. The government’s disaster agency put the confirmed number of dead at 606, but there were fears the death toll would rise considerably.”

  2. BBC News reports IPCC to warn of ‘abrupt’ warming. “Climate change may bring “abrupt and irreversible” impacts, the UN’s climate advisory panel is set to announce. Delegates to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed a summary of its landmark report during overnight negotiations here. Discussions were said to have been robust, with the US and other delegations keen to moderate language.” Typical and unacceptable.

    Among its top-line conclusions are that climate change is “unequivocal”, that humankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases are more than 90% likely to be the main cause, and that impacts can be reduced at reasonable cost.

    Reuters adds that “running to over 3,000 pages, the reports on the causes, consequences and possible remedies for climate change are being turned into a summary for policy-makers to make progress on the issue at the Bali meeting which is expected to lay down the climate change agenda after Kyoto’s first period ends in 2012.”

    AFP reports “The report will be officially adopted on Saturday, followed by a press conference attended by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon… After Saturday, attention shifts to a key meeting in Bali, Indonesia, where governments must set down a “roadmap” for negotiations culminating in a deal to slash carbon emissions and help developing nations cope with climate change.”

  3. The Independent reports US power company linked to Bush is named in database as a top polluter.

    An American power company with close financial links to President George Bush has been named as one of the world’s top producers of global warming pollution.

    The first-ever worldwide database of such pollution also reveals the rapid growth in global-warming emissions by power plants in China, South Africa and India. Power plants already produce 40 per cent of US greenhouse gas and 25 per cent of the world’s.

    But it is the enormous carbon footprint of Southern Company – among the largest financiers of Republican Party politicians – which has raised eyebrows. Southern’s employees handed George Bush $217,047 to help him get elected twice, and they and the company have contributed an extraordinary $6.2m to Republican campaigns since 1990 according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.

    A single Southern Company plant in Juliette, Georgia already emits more carbon dioxide annually that Brazil’s entire power sector. The company is in the top two of America’s dirtiest utility polluters and sixth worst in the world.

  4. The New York Times reports a Federal appeals court rejects fuel standards on trucks. “A federal appeals court here rejected the Bush administration’s year-old fuel-economy standards for light trucks and sport utility vehicles on Thursday, saying that they were not tough enough because regulators had failed to thoroughly assess the economic impact of tailpipe emissions that contribute to climate change. A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, voided the new regulations for 2008-2011 model year vehicles and told the Transportation Department to produce new rules taking into account the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The court, siding with 4 environmental groups and 13 states and cities, also asked the government to explain why it still treated light trucks – which include pickups, sport utility vehicles and minivans – more mildly than passenger cars.”

So, what else is happening?

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Fall is election time for capo di tutti.  Currently the Corleones are content to watch from a distance for the most part.  After Michael and I cleaned up the joint and moved to Nevada things have been quiet for the family, not that we haven’t seen a few bodies buried.

This is real politics-

Harold is a veteran who has run before and lost, to both me and Michael among others.  This time he was unopposed until 2 days before the election.  He has the very best resume among all the current members.

A lock?

We have planning meetings where we democratically develop our platform (have an agenda? nobody comes).  At one meeting this year that Harold attended (because that’s what you do as a candidate) he vociferously opposed a really stupid idea which was adopted.

There was a really talented gal who will do an outstanding job, all of the retired capi had been recruiting her all year, but she would only run if her arch enemy (not Harold at all) ran.

So she got an email that Harold had been a supporter of this ludicrous notion (which would have been ignored anyway and which was a total lie), and on the spot her Al Gore campaign started and in three days she was capo di tutti.

Badda Bing.

Hmm… what does Don Vito notice?

Who was in that poorly attended meeting?  Who has relationships with our new Capo?  Are they attempting to clear the field?

That is politics.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

I suppose I should come up with some Thanksgiving content but it’s kind of hard since it’s not such a big deal holiday for the Gilmores.

The menu is very traditional- Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Wild Rice, Baked Sweet Potatoes (that’s for me), Acorn Squash (also mine), Broccoli and Cauliflower (everybody likes that), Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Jelly (the canned kind with the ridges in it, even have special serving pieces), Tossed Salad with 3 kinds of Dressing (all bottled), Jello Salad, Olives (black and cocktail), Sweet Pickles, Carrots, Celery, Cottage Cheese, and Gravy, Sour Cream and Butter.  Cheese and Crackers (at least 4 types of each), Mixed Nuts, Chips and Dip (California Onion, is there any other?) with wine and the finger food while the table is prepared, Apple and Pumpkin Pies (the audience is not at ALL the same) with Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, and Sharp Cheddar (for the Apple, really worth a try if you haven’t) for dessert.

I may have left out a couple, but I’m not as good as Emily.

Of the Turkey I get the giblets, the organ meat, which I like because they’re very different in flavor and texture from what you normally eat.  I’m not a vegetarian, I just like meatless Marinara better than ground beef Bolognese and if a meal doesn’t have meat in it that is so just not a big deal to me.

But the menus and rituals are very closely timed because it takes a while to turn out that kind of spread.  I won’t pretend the production staff is not segregated in it’s roles- Turkey preparation is ladies time from thawing it out as much as 2 days before (yeah it really takes that long for a big bird if you follow directions and do it in the refrigerator instead of cheating by soaking it in warm water- salmonela, isn’t he the Italian guy who lives down the street?).  None of that fancy Food Channel cooking neither, our Butterball is done when the thermometer pops up.

It is something of a rite of passage that moves around from house to house depending on the guest list.  My Aunty Mame will be visiting her daughter and family, so that will be a big deal, but the Gilmores are not traveling.

Nor will we be sticking to a schedule.  Since I’m currently not attached I get to do only the one on actual Thanksgiving with Richard and Emily (no Luke and the Kims for me this year).  My brother and sister and their emotional attachments will check in and out depending on their needs, one good thing about Thanksgiving food is that it re-heats real well.

So the meal will be peated and repeated all weekend until you are thoroughly sick of it, though I must admit a fondness for Turkey hash (Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, and little broken Turkey bits in Gravy) over noodles or rice- that usually happens around Tuesday.  And the TV will suck too, all this Sports crap and Holiday Parade programming and the knowledge that it’s time to go out there and consume.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

1 Domestic spying inquiry restarted at DoJ

By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer

39 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has reopened a long-dormant inquiry into the government’s warrantless wiretapping program, a major policy shift only days into the tenure of Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility was shut down last year, after the investigators were denied security clearances. Gonzales told Congress that President Bush, not he, denied the clearances.

“We recently received the necessary security clearances and are now able to proceed with our investigation,” H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel for the OPR, wrote to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. A copy of the letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained by The Associated Press.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Let’s assume for a moment that all our fondest hopes and dreams come true and on January 20th, 2009 we are looking at-

  • A Democratic President
  • Veto Proof Democratic Majorities in The House and Senate (Veto Proof >= Filibuster Proof for the constitutionally math impaired)
  • A substantially larger Progressive Caucus in those same bodies

In other words complete and total victory, our ears soothed by their lamentations (can you say “schadenfreude”).

What would you like to see next?

Now number one with a bullet for me is restoration of our Constitutional Liberty with subsequent prosecution for this gang of criminals and thieves that currently occupy our government.  Coming up second with a respectable effort is COMPLETE.  AND.  TOTAL.  WITHDRAWAL.  FROM.  IRAQ.  NOW!

Still there are other issues- Universal Health Care.  Global Warming.  Taxation.  Social Security.  Immigration.  Homeland Security.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few including some of my favorites, but I’ve left some in that don’t necessarily break progressive because they won’t all break that way due to our Entrenched Media Elite.

Among things I’m in favor of is progressive taxation in the FDR style complete with an absolute inheritance cap.  How much more than $100 million do you actually need to inherit from daddy Paris?  Social Security?  Why do you stop paying after the first $250K of income again?  Don’t even talk to me about getting your money in Capital Gains, it’s all regular income.  Sorry about your greens fees at the club old boy, maybe you can thrash a caddy to work out your frustration.

Now in fact I’m sure that the pain would need to be much greater to get anything near that enacted, but it’s not like things are going to be much better than they are right now and they could be far worse.  I think it’s a 50% chance we’ll be in a full blown recession with rampant inflation because of the collapse of the dollar.  There is no indication at all we will be out of Iraq.  I’ve read persuasive commentaries that the tipping point on climate change has already happened and the ugliness of that scenario is a gift that never stops giving.

Frankly (and here’s the big windup, you can stop paying attention soon) I think it’s highly UNlikely that we’ll be able to stop doing what we’re doing now.  And what is that?  Everything we can.  Specifically, but not limited to, applying pressure for progressive legislation to our Representatives and challenging the dominance of the Entrenched Media Elite.

Your suggestions below.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Intel official: Expect less privacy

By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 40 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.

Kerr’s comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.


Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

1 Publisher delays Potter reference work

By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press Writer

Fri Nov 9, 11:08 PM ET

NEW YORK – After being sued by J.K. Rowling, a publisher has agreed to delay its plans to release an encyclopedic reference work on the fictitious world of the Harry Potter novels.

RDR Books Publisher Roger Rapoport said he volunteered to halt typesetting on the planned “Harry Potter Lexicon” until a judge rules on whether the work constitutes a violation of Rowling’s intellectual property rights, or the copyright on her novels held by Warner Bros.

The book, drawn on material from the fan-created Harry Potter Lexicon Web site, had been scheduled for release on Nov. 28.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country; yet panics, in some cases, have their uses- the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before.  They are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.

They have the same effect on secret traitors, many a disguised Tory has lately shown his head.

I have been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used numberless arguments to show them their danger; but it will not do to sacrifice a world either to their folly or their baseness.  The period is now arrived in which either they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both must fall.

And what is a Tory?  What is he?  Every Tory is a coward; for servile, slavish, self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism; and a man under such influence, though he may be cruel, can never be brave.

But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn between us, let us reason the matter together: Your conduct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thousand of you has heart enough to join him.  He is as much deceived by you as the American cause is injured by you.  He expects you will all take up arms, and flock to his standard with muskets on your shoulders. Your opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him personally, for ’tis soldiers, and not Tories, that he wants.

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the Tories- “Well! give me peace in my day.”  I consider W the greatest enemy the Tories have.  He is bringing a war into their country which, had it not been for him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of.

Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it.  Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands.  Throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but show your faith by your works.

It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all.  The far and the near, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike.  The heart that feels not now is dead, the blood of your children will curse your cowardice which shrank back at a time when a little might have saved the whole and made them happy.

‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but one whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.  My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light.

Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.  I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one.  There are persons too who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful.

It is the madness of folly to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice.  Even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war.

He is mercifully inviting you to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues or fools that will not see it.  I dwell not upon the vapors of imagination, I bring reason to your ears and, in language as plain as A B C, hold up truth to your eyes.

I thank God, that I fear not.  I see no real cause for fear.  I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it.

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils.

Look on this picture and weep over it!  And if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.

Tom Paine

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well I hope we all remember what it was like to vote, it was only yesterday.  For me the experience was somewhat new.  Connecticut has used lever machines all my (voting) life.

This time there was a station to answer questions about the new procedure (and of course I stopped and let them explain because I have NO intention of going uncounted) then the usual “Show me your license”.  This year, there was some confusion because Kirk the clerk was on the wrong page, but I gently corrected him.  Someday I’m afraid I’ll be disenfranchised just because I prefer to use initials, but it’s not that big a town and everyone knows ek because I am such a character.

At the next station I was handed a big paper ballot that looked exactly like the sample ballot they used to give us in school (they also had mini training machines), the type they normally paste up outside the gym just before you enter in case you haven’t been paying attention.

They have brought back the party lines which were banned some years ago in hopes on making our elections more “non-partisan”.  I’m glad that now there is a clear distinction between the party that actively promotes torture and the party that merely tolerates it.

When I took my AP history exam the one question I “blew” was, “What electoral invention was imported from Australia in the late 1800’s?”

My answer was “kangaroos” which was not really wrong because the “secret” ballot is also called a “kangaroo” ballot because of the origin of that innovation.  Even today if you vote in a small place like Dixville Notch at the Town Meeting you do it in public.

Now that’s Democracy.

In the current case though, it was easy to see that I had voted straight party line Democratic because the ballot was so big that it really didn’t fit in the plain manila (another location name) “privacy” folder, and besides you had to feed it face up through the ballot reader so it was clearly visible to the two election monitors, one from each party.

I don’t mind.  I’m proud of my vote.

Outside the polls I ran into Tom, my elementary school friend from the Democratic Party and I asked him, “Why don’t we have someone running for every available office?”

“Not enough candidates.  You should run.”

Alas I am unelectable.  How about you?

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Deadliest year for US troops in Iraq
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 6 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military announced six new deaths Tuesday, making 2007 the bloodiest year for American troops in Iraq despite a recent decline in casualties and a sharp drop in roadside bombings that Washington links to Iran.

With nearly two months left in the year, the annual toll is now 853 – three more than the previous worst of 850 in 2004.

But the grim milestone comes as the Pentagon points toward other encouraging signs as well – growing security in Baghdad and other former militant strongholds that could help consolidate the gains against extremists.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

I’m often called on to speak in public and I’ve never been afraid of it.

Eyeballs don’t intimidate me, perhaps because I’m terribly nearsighted.  óò

Nor am I shy in crowds.  I have problems with intimacy.

While I was an up and coming politician, visiting the locals cultivating votes, I ran up against an attractive female type.

She was a new member, yet very influential.  She was good looking and outgoing, a recruiter and a motivator, destined for greatness (which she achieved).

After the meeting she came up to me at the bar (and if you don’t hang out you will never succeed) and ran her fingers through my hair.

And I flinched.

She said- “Funny.  Most guys enjoy it when I do that.”

Weekend News Digest

The Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Pakistani police detain 500 activists
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer
12 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Police rounded up hundreds of opposition leaders and rights activists Sunday after Pakistan’s military ruler suspended the constitution, ousted the top judge and deployed troops to fight what he called rising Islamic extremism.

Increasingly concerned by the unfolding crisis, the Bush administration said Sunday that American aid to Pakistan would be reviewed. The U.S. has provided about $11 billion to Pakistan since 2001, when Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, allied with the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Some of the aid that goes to Pakistan is directly related to the counterterrorism mission,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters traveling with her. “We just have to review the situation. But I would be very surprised if anyone wants the president to set aside or ignore” the responsibility to national security that can come through such cooperation, she said.

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