April 27, 2011 archive

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

Wednesday is mishima’s well deserved day of rest

and these featured articles-

Tonight we look forward to another reminiscence from Translator about living in a small town with his series, My Little Town

The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is an Open Thread

Bernanke Press Conference Open Thread

I’m not even sure I’ll watch it because I’m sure I won’t understand most of it.  While fluent in C and Basic I don’t understand Fedese (if there is indeed any understanding of it and it’s not just insincere shamen babbling nonsense in tongues to confuse and impress the ignorant).

Clearly Samuelson economics works and in the words of Krugman (who only has a Nobel Prize in Economics)-

(R)ight now, we’re living in a world in which basic economics points to conclusions utterly at odds with what Very Serious People are supposed to believe, in which radical outsiders base their views on standard economics while orthodox types turn to heterodox, highly dubious speculations.

Econ 101, buttressed if you like by fancier New Keynesian models, says that contractionary fiscal policy is, well, contractionary. Yet much of the world of movers and shakers bought into the exotic notion that expectational effects – the confidence fairy – would make contractionary policy expansionary. And they clung to this belief even as the supposed historical evidence in favor of expansionary austerity was thoroughly debunked.

The blogosphere is full of intelligent questions that will never be asked but my favorite so far was propounded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (via dday).

Sanders’ report found-

(N)umerous instances during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 when banks took near zero-interest funds from the Federal Reserve and then loaned money back to the federal government on sweetheart terms for the banks.

The banks pocketed interest on government securities that paid rates up to 12 times greater than the Fed’s rock bottom interest charges.

“This report confirms that ultra-low interest loans provided by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis turned out to be direct corporate welfare to big banks,” Sanders said. “Instead of using the Fed loans to reinvest in the economy, some of the largest financial institutions in this country appear to have lent this money back to the federal government at a higher rate of interest by purchasing U.S. government securities.”

Chairman Bernanke, in light of this report, do you consider it good policy for the US to hand over money to the nation’s largest banks directly through this kind of scheme? Would it make just as much sense, if you find it good for the economy, to make the same investment strategy available to small businesses, states or the US government itself to deal with their budget problems? After all, it would take a true idiot not to make fantastic amounts of money if they can borrow at zero and loan money back at high rates. Why should individuals be deprived of this money-conjuring strategy?

Furthermore, shouldn’t those profits, rather than boosting the balance sheets of the large banks, have been put back into the economy? Shouldn’t that have been a condition of the direct subsidy?

I dare someone to ask that.

Anyway, your questions and reactions below and hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have some idea of what Bernanke actually said.

Where is the outrage? It’s Here

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

All in all I’d rather have been a judge than a miner. And what is more, being a miner, as soon as you are too old and tired and sick and stupid to do the job properly, you have to go. Well, the very opposite applies with the judges. ~~ Peter Cook

Jon Stewart asked where is the outrage over Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan that includes not only ending Medicare with a voucher system but also raising the eligibility age for Medicare. Yes, Medicare, not just Social Security as has been proposed by both Republicans and Democrats, including the White House, as if the one where not enough.

Under current law, you become eligible for Medicare on the day you turn 65. If the Republicans get their way, you wouldn’t become eligible for the new Medicare voucher until the day you turn 67.

The change would happen gradually, with the eligibility age rising two months every year, starting in 2022. And, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like that many people are between the ages of 65 and 67 anyway. But think for a second about who those people are–and the insurance options they’d have available to them without Medicare.

Remember, the House Republican budget would also repeal the Affordable Care Act. That would leave insurance companies free to charge higher premiums, restrict benefits, or deny coverage altogether to individual applicants who have pre-existing conditions. Given the relatively high incidence of conditions like hypertension, arthritis, and vision problems among older Americans, it’s safe to assume many seniors would have trouble finding affordable coverage–if, indeed, they could find coverage at all.

Economist Paul Krugman in his Conscience of a Liberal blog this morning points out that “in our increasingly polarized society, life expectancy is more and more a class-related issue.”

As the Social Security Administration has shown, the gap between life expectancy in the top and bottom halves of the wage distribution has risen sharply:


Since most of the corporate media is controlled by the right wing oligarchs, it’s a little difficult to get the real message out to the people or at least an unbiased reporting of what the Republicans have been plotting. The Murdochs and Redstones have controlled the message but because of shows like Jon’s, Stephen’s, Rachel’s and Keith’s, the real agenda is finally getting out there. Evidence the events in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio where the voters are enraged, we now need to take this to a national level. Witness also the latest DCCC message that call the Republicans out on their lies to constituents about Medicare in this MSNBC’s segment with Cenk Uygur:

Finally, we are starting these corporate puppets being held to account for their lies and hypocrisy. Now, throw all the bums out from top to bottom.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

The Delectable Pairing of Bread and Soup


   The simplest are made with thick, toasted slices of bread, sometimes rubbed with garlic, arranged in wide bowls and covered with soup. They can be topped with poached eggs for a satisfying meal.

   Other bread soups are thick, paplike dishes: chunks of bread are added to the soup and simmered until they break down, thickening the broth. The most famous Italian versions are pappa al pomodoro and ribollita, which is usually made with leftover bean and vegetable soup that is reheated and blended with bread.

   Portugal has an array of bread soups called açordas, too, but the Mediterranean region isn’t the only place to look for them. In Scandinavia, you’ll find soups made with dark bread and beer, as well as one of my favorites, a sweet apple spice soup thickened with whole-grain bread.

Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup

Majorcan Bread and Vegetable Soup

Apple-Spice Breakfast Soup

‘Bouillabaisse’ of Fresh Peas With Poached Eggs


Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders.

–Veterans Fast for Life

Rest 4


Southern Fried Rabbit


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

First I’d like to draw your attention to this excellent 3 part series by Alexandra Odynova of The Moscow Times

From a section of the last piece titled More Disasters Ahead?

The key problem, he (Glushchenko) said, is plant lifetime – which is limited at 25 to 30 years but routinely extended for financial reasons by many countries.

Of the 444 reactors currently in operation worldwide, 178 have exceeded their lifetime. In Russia, 19 out of 32 reactors will be working past their expiration date by 2013, Glushchenko said.

There is no better illustration to his point than the Fukushima plant, which was commissioned in 1971 and also had its official lifetime extended.

Despite warnings from global nuclear safety bodies, Fukushima continued to operate – until a tsunami hit in March, disabling the emergency generators and putting the reactor on the brink of a meltdown. A handful of “nuclear samurais” are still trying to clean up the disaster, much like Glushchenko and his team did at Chernobyl 25 years ago.

“Liquidators” is what the 600,000 Russians who worked on containing Chernobyl called themselves.  From The Telegraph

Chernobyl’s managers initially tried pumping water into the reactor core but when this proved unsuccessful they turned to dumping boron carbide and a total of 4,000 tons of lead, sand and clay on the facility.

The material was dropped from helicopters, and pilots on the initial flights received abnormal doses of radiation as they hovered in stationary mode over the reactor.

Later they dumped their loads while moving over the reactor, causing additional destruction around the area that may have assisted the spread of the radiation.

In October, a concrete shelter, called a sarcophagus, was completed to prevent further leakage of radiation from reactor number four and allow the other reactors at the Chernobyl plant to continue producing power for Ukraine.

How are things going at our new Chernobyl?

Leaks Probed as Japan Moves to Cool Reactors

By MITSURU OBE, The Wall Street Journal

APRIL 26, 2011, 5:35 A.M. ET

(A)n apparent leakage in the pressure vessel of the No. 1 reactor has left the fuel partially exposed above the level of the cooling water, with a steady supply of fresh water keeping it cool. By filling up the entire containment vessel, Tepco hopes to submerge both the fuel and the pressure vessel in water.

Concerns also have grown about a possible leak in the spent fuel pool of Reactor No. 4, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman of the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. The pool holds the most fuel rods among the complex’s six reactor buildings, including both spent and active nuclear fuel.

A week-old operation to drain radioactive water from the complex continues to suffer fresh setbacks. While the operator has focused on dealing with water in Reactor No. 2, seen as the most radioactive in the complex, the flooding situation has slowly deteriorated in Reactors Nos. 3 and 4, where the levels of water in the basements of their respective turbine buildings have increased in the last 10 days.

Radiation contamination also has spread from the turbine building of No. 3 to the Reactor No. 4 turbine building, raising the possibility that water in No. 4 may need to be cleansed of radiation before being stored in one of the makeshift tanks Tepco is planning to build.

BREAKING!: Ezra Klein goes hours without a Category Error!

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I won’t link Ezra directly because as far as I’m concerned he’s not just a poor writer and below average intellect, he’s also a thoroughgoing Beltway Buttkissing hypocritical “pretend” liberal.

But that won’t stop my pointing out like a broken clock, he’s right for once.

Ezra Klein: Obama is "a moderate Republican of the early 1990s"

by Gaius Publius, Americablog

4/26/2011 01:05:00 PM

(T)his is just the logical endpoint of two years spent arguing over what Barack Obama is – or isn’t. … We’ve obsessed over every answer except the right one: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican of the early 1990s.

First, the “Obama is a Republican” meme is getting mainstreamed. Great news. Time to call it right, in the same way that Krugman is starting to call it right – out loud.

Second, Klein seems to be bending over to praise Republicans; either that, or he’s an admirer himself, and sincerely so. We need to acknowledge that about Klein. (In that sense, this is a “state of the Klein” piece as much as a “state of the Obama” article.)

(h/t lambert)

Late Night Karaoke

Never Mind the Birth Certificate, Show Me Your Law Degree

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He broke the law.

I’m not a lawyer. I don’t even pretend to be one on the Internet but the above statement, according to the Constitution of the United States, is just so egregiously wrong that it is hard to believe that it was uttered by a lawyer much less one that purports to be a “Constitutional Law Professor” and sits in the Oval Office. If I were a lawyer, I’d be embarrassed by this man claim to be a member of my profession. As a citizen of the Unites States, I am more than embarrassed, I am ashamed.

Not just worse than Bush but worse than Richard Nixon, too. I can’t imagine Eric Holder telling Obama to say he “mispoke”.

Teddy Partridge: On Bradley Manning’s Guilt, Who Will Be Barack Obama’s John Mitchell?

Immediately upon reading Michael Whitney’s post about President Barack Obama’s statement to Logan Price about Bradley – “we are a nation of laws…. he broke the law!” – I was reminded of Richard Nixon’s statement about Charles Manson in the midst of his trial:

   “Here was a man who was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason.”

What I didn’t recall from that time was that John Mitchell, easily American history’s crookedest Attorney General ever, was at Nixon’s side when he made that statement in Denver. He recognized right away that there was a serious problem with Nixon’s statement:

   “This has got to be clarified,” he told Presidential Aide John Ehrlichman immediately afterward.

Even in an era of news moving only as fast as the wire services, reporters rushed to telephones and the story moved. In half an hour, White House press secretary Ron Ziegler appeared before reporters:

   After some minutes of verbal fencing, Ziegler agreed that Nixon’s words about Manson should be retracted. When Ziegler told Nixon what had happened, the President was surprised: “I said ‘charged,’ ” he replied.

Which, of course, Nixon had not said. And, as in Obama’s case, there was video.

   During the 3½-hour flight back to Washington, Mitchell persuaded Nixon to put out a statement backing Ziegler up. It read in part: “The last thing I would do is prejudice the legal rights of any person in any circumstances. I do not know and did not intend to speculate as to whether or not the Tate defendants are guilty, in fact, or not.”

Michael Whitney: Obama on Manning: “He Broke the Law.” So Much for that Trial?

This is the President of the United States speaking about a US military soldier detained for almost a year on charges of leaking classified (but not top secret, the level of files released by Ellsberg) documents. Manning’s lawyer is considering considered (corrected: his transfer made the writ moot) filing a writ of habeus corpus for the length of time and totality of abuse suffered by Manning while in military custody.

President Obama has already made up his mind. He thinks Manning “broke the law.” It’s no wonder he considered Manning’s abuse to “meet our basic standards” when he thinks Manning is already guilty.

This is vile.

As a reminder: the Pentagon plans to hold Manning indefinitely. Might as well, since they think he’s guilty already.

Glen Greenwald: President Obama Speaks on Manning and the Rule of Law

But even more fascinating is Obama’s invocation of America’s status as a “nation of laws” to justify why Manning must be punished. That would be a very moving homage to the sanctity of the rule of law — if not for the fact that the person invoking it is the same one who has repeatedly engaged in the most extraordinary efforts to shield Bush officials from judicial scrutiny, investigation, and prosecution of every kind for their war crimes and surveillance felonies. Indeed, the Orwellian platitude used by Obama to justify that immunity — Look Forward, Not Backward — is one of the greatest expressions of presidential lawlessness since Richard Nixon told David Frost that “it’s not illegal if the President does it.”

But it’s long been clear that this is Obama’s understanding of “a nation of laws”: the most powerful political and financial elites who commit the most egregious crimes are to be shielded from the consequences of their lawbreaking — see his vote in favor of retroactive telecom immunity, his protection of Bush war criminals, and the way in which Wall Street executives were permitted to plunder with impunity — while the most powerless figures (such as a 23-year-old Army Private and a slew of other low-level whistleblowers) who expose the corruption and criminality of those elites are to be mercilessly punished. And, of course, our nation’s lowest persona non grata group — accused Muslim Terrorists — are simply to be encaged for life without any charges. Merciless, due-process-free punishment is for the powerless; full-scale immunity is for the powerful. “Nation of laws” indeed.

And lest we forget that last year this same president appointed himself not only judge and jury but executioner as well.

U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

By Scott Shane, April 6, 2010

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

The Bush/Cheney cabal may have shredded the Constitution, this president wants to bury it.

“Gray Eagle Draws First Blood” in Afghanistan

Gray Eagle 2


Gray Eagle Draws First Blood

Service sources have confirmed that the U.S. Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS has participated in its first lethal combat engagements in Afghanistan.

“For QRC 2 we have already fired in anger and we have destroyed some of the enemy. So we had ‘a first.’ We had a Gray Eagle up there, we lased/self designated and we killed an enemy. Then we lased another target for an A-10 and it dropped something onto [the target] and also took out the enemy. So we are weapons capable.”

“Gray Eagle Draws First Blood” in Iraq

Gray Eagle 2

Gray Eagle Draws First Blood

Service sources have confirmed that the U.S. Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS has participated in its first lethal combat engagements in Afghanistan.

“For QRC 2 we have already fired in anger and we have destroyed some of the enemy. So we had ‘a first.’ We had a Gray Eagle up there, we lased/self designated and we killed an enemy. Then we lased another target for an A-10 and it dropped something onto [the target] and also took out the enemy. So we are weapons capable.”

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