October 13, 2009 archive

Afternoon Edition

About the Afternoon Edition

I feel there are some meta aspects about how I choose and present my stories that will enhance your understanding of what you are reading and how you can use it.

I am not Magnifico

News Digest was not my idea and I was but a reluctant contributor and still am.  To me it is a mere chore and my real challenge is to systematize my data collection to a sufficient extent that I can concentrate on content, presentation, and organization.

Those of you who have actually been able to experience a real programming environment will appreciate the combination of brief, visual c++, and some useful tools like the greenleaf window (character based) libraries.

Pretty easy to do some data management and prototyping; less so using Microsoft tools if you ask me, but the market has spoken.

In any event by limiting myself to one source of pretty uniform content I’m usually able to reduce my hand formatting and data collection times to a little over 2 hours daily for an output of 30 to 60 stories.

The reason I cut it off at 60 is because as JekyllnHyde has observed there is a limit on essay size, though you can always revise and expand through comments and traffic here has not yet reached the extent that you can’t duplicate the effects of pre-posting through pre-organizing (which I have demonstrated on numerous occasions Watson).

Magnifico disagrees with me about the number of stories to present you.  He thinks it’s distracting and provides more commentary to focus your attention on particular issues.

I think it’s more important to keep you in touch with events you’re not seeing.

On being a filter

I look at over 500 stories an essay.  I choose those I think will interest my audience or outrage them.

One of the reasons I use this source is it’s predictive of the content on your typical dead tree daily.

Out of that I deselect the too short to quote and the done to death.  If the take of each wire service is significant I include them all without apology.  I also follow the forgotten.

Of the categories I originally included I’m no longer tracking the ‘mosts’ (popular, emailed, and viewed).  Science gets it’s own section when I remember I’m supposed to do it (like today).  Politics is virtually entirely bullshit and you have to harvest your Business section after 6 pm (or better yet between midnight and 6 am) if you want topicality.

And you run out of room.

Presentation and Organization

Oh for HTML Pagemaker.

The colors are rotated to visually distinguish each story for your eyes and draw your attention!  They are not at all related to topic.

To the extent that things are organized it’s mostly by the order in which they were captured and where.  Those are the pink headlines and more importantly the source attributions.

Now if I were more efficient I might improve my organization… or not.

How to use this

Hopefully as illumination!  Each selection is intended to inspire it’s own essay.  Failing that to make you aware of something you’ve not seen elsewhere or remind you of conventional wisdom.

Sometimes I can’t restrain myself, but the commentary is not the message.

Link the source and not me.  My reward is the “heh, scooped” I utter whenever Rachel or Keith or any of the Usual Suspects cover my clues.

And don’t think I don’t gloat.

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.  46 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Romanian govt falls on no confidence vote

by Mihaela Rodina, AFP

Tue Oct 13, 11:24 am ET

BUCHAREST (AFP) – Romania’s centre-right government collapsed Tuesday after losing a no-confidence vote, plunging the country further into political turmoil as it seeks to exit a deep recession.

It is the first time since the fall of the communist regime at the end of 1989 that a Romanian government has been toppled in such a manner.

With Romania mired in recession and just over a month to go before presidential elections, a total of 254 parliamentary deputies and senators voted to oust Prime Minister Emil Boc and his Liberal-Democrats and 176 voted against, said parliamentary secretary Valeriu Zgonea.

Some Herbal Wonders

A Gentle Way of Healing…

I read with great interest randgrithr’s Essay on Swine Flu and encourage her to write more about the “New Dark Ages”!!! Our conversation there reminded me that yeah, I am an herbalist, and maybe I should offer some of what I know to those among us are wondering about how to stay healthy while the Murder-by-Spreadsheet crowd is busy robbing us blind for nothing.

First (I guess) I should say that the “active ingredients” in most drugs – including synthetics – are called alkaloids. Opium, for instance, is an alkaloid. Alkaloids are chemical compounds that contain nitrogen, which gives them an alkaline base. Life from bacteria to fungi to plants and animals all produce alkaloid compounds, usually extracted via an acidic extraction method. Quinine, cocaine and nicotine are further examples, as are a great many of the compounds identified as “active” in other natural sources that end up getting synthesized by Big Pharma and sold for way too much money to sick people who can’t afford it.

The difference between synthetic drugs and natural herbal remedies is significant. When you use an herbal extract or tea, you’re also getting a host of associated natural compounds that can boost the effects and/or dampen harmful effects. Plus, natural compounds come in the proper chirality for life, thus are readily absorbed by the body and put to good use. Synthetics often have backwards compounds that life can’t use, and these are either useless or harmful depending on what it is you’re using and how it is put to use in your body.

Turns Out It Is Not The Republicans After All

Simulposted at Daily Kos


For the eight years of the Bush Reign Of Terror when America passed an obscene tax break for the Rich, invaded a country to capture Osama bin Laden…and didn’t, and then abandoned THAT war and invaded another country with no real evidence that it was threat, (even though they tortured a bunch of people to get them to say that there was a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq and had to manufacture piles of “evidence” and make Colin Powell lie to the UN) corrupted the United States Department of Justice to shield themselves from investigations, and politicized scientific information to prevent any progress on Climate Crisis, and appointed toadies and lackeys to the SEC and every other regulatory agency while repealing or ignoring key financial regulations that eventually led to a worldwide economic meltdown….during which the rich ALSO grew richer…

Life was simple.

UPDATED. Golden Sacks: 23 billion in bonuses, pays only 14 million in taxes

 So Goldman Sacks is making big fat gobs of money off the financial crisis.

It plans to give out $23 billion, yes, that’s billion with a B, in “bonuses” (hm, we used to call that “embezzlement”) for it’s beloved employees hard work in milking a failing US economy to the ridiculous benefit of The Firm.

Last year, Goldman Sacks paid only 14 million dollars in taxes.  Worldwide.    

Okay, what is wrong with this picture ….?

And why can’t the government do something about it?

Oh right.  The government is owned by Golden Sacks.   Geithner?   Nobody can get him on the phone EXCEPT for Golden Sacks.  They call him all they want, and he calls them, too.   They’re BFF’s!

How much is $23 Billion dollars?

For one thing, it’s enough to send 460,000 full paying students to Harvard University for one year, or 115,000 for four years.

It’s enough to pay the health insurance premium for the average American family ($13,375) 1.7 million times.

It’s enough to upgrade 191 million computers to Windows 7 operating system (priced at $119.99), or to buy 115 million iPhones at $199.99 (provided the recipient was willing to sign a two-year contract).

Or, apparently, it’s enough to reward the employees of Goldman Sachs for a bonanza trading year, at a firm where average employee compensation was recently $622,000 — and likely to be greater this year.

The $23 billion figure could leave some American taxpayers woozy — the US government bailed out Goldman Sachs with a multi-billion payment last year, which the firm has since repaid.

But while Goldman is likely to pay its biggest bonuses ever to employees, the firm pays very little in taxes worldwide. In 2008, the company was said to have paid just $14 million in taxes worldwide, and paid $6 billion in 2007.

The firm’s corporate tax rate? About 1 percent. According a prominent tax lawyer, “They have taken steps to ensure that a lot of their income is earned in lower-tax jurisdictions.”

A 1 percent tax rate?  

This is the very epitome of “laughing all the way to the bank”.

I suppose it’s good to be King.   And the King of the world right now is Goldman Sachs.

They own the place.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gentle Activist

On this past Sunday evening, I sat with my daughter, a 7th grader, and went over homework with her. She needed colored pencils to complete an assignment for History. Teacher had talked to them about Columbus Day and the homework was to draw… the faux version of history taught to the poor leetle 5th graders on one page, and divided by the spiral bound, the true version on the other. (scans below in comments.LL) She colored while I read aloud to her from Zinn.  I know she is in a great (public) school, gifted and all that, plus an IB program, but still … maybe there is hope if middle school curriculum is embracing some truth in its history classes. Buffy St. Marie knows a thing or two about that concept.


Democracy NOW! aired a full hour yesterday evening with Buffy St. Marie. I only caught a few minutes of it while I was in my car, but I found the links as soon as I got back home, so I thought I’d share here in essay form. PLEASE take the time to go view/read transcript there.

She kind of made me cry a little.

Docudharma Times Tuesday October 13

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Congress Is Split on Effort to Tax Costly Health Plans

Decline of a tribe: and then there were five

Support Troops Swelling U.S. Force in Afghanistan

Memoir of a former abortion addict

Srebrenica: the search for a terrible truth goes on

British orphans adopted by Italian aristocracy fight for £1bn inheritance

Pakistani army facing threat from Punjabi, al-Qaida and Taliban militants

China court sentences six Uighurs to death

Britain steps up pressure on Iran with trading ban on big companies

Iraqis arrest former top aide in Saddam’s regime

China tightens grip on Africa with $4.4bn lifeline for Guinea junta

In Egypt and Saudi Arabia, succession looms

Iowa NAACP head needs a history lesson

Sioux City businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats got a surprising endorsement on Monday from Keith Ratliff, pastor of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines and president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP.

Vander Plaats was the front-runner in the Republican field until former Governor Terry Branstad entered the race. Ratliff said Vander Plaats’ position on same-sex marriage rights was “an important factor” in his endorsement.

Iowa NAACP head needs a history lesson

Sioux City businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats got a surprising endorsement on Monday from Keith Ratliff, pastor of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines and president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the NAACP.

Vander Plaats was the front-runner in the Republican field until former Governor Terry Branstad entered the race. Ratliff said Vander Plaats’ position on same-sex marriage rights was “an important factor” in his endorsement.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Warping Out:

(Click on image for larger view)

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

I know you have talent.  What sometimes is forgotten is that being practical is a talent.  I have a paucity for that sort of talent in many situations, though it turns out that I’m a pretty darn good cook.  🙂  

Let your talent bloom.  You can share it here.  Encourage others to let it bloom inside them as well.

Won’t you share your words or art, your sounds or visions, your thoughts scientific or philosophic, the comedy or tragedy of your days, the stories of doing and making?  And be excellent to one another!

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Native American Day in South Dakota (Irony & Vulcan Proverbs)

(Also available in Orange at Daily Kos)

Ironically, it’s Native American Day in South Dakota, but not in the United States as a whole.

South Dakota History

In 1989 the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation proposed by Governor George S. Mickelson to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between Native Americans and whites, to change Columbus Day to Native American Day and to make Martin Luther King’s birthday into a state holiday. Since 1990 the second Monday in October has been celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota.

Perhaps it’s time for a new twist on that old saying in United States poltics – As California South Dakota goes, so goes the nation.

Or to put it another way, why is South Dakota so far ahead of the rest of the country in recognizing there’s a problem and seeking to rectify it?

Overnight Caption Contest

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