July 17, 2011 archive

Winners and Losers


Almost all of us are losing the game that Congress and Obama are playing in the White House, but thousands of winners are swarming through offices and committee rooms all over Capitol Hill.


Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“F-f-f-f-f-f-f-fire!” – Beavis

I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I’ve been mostly impervious to the wonders of the natural world though I believe I have mentioned that it takes only some disappearing clouds and a bench to amuse me for hours.

Fireflies are a phenomena I knew only in the abstract until fairly recently.  I had never seen any.

And it wasn’t some sort of great paradigm shifting universe changing moment either.  I was walking to my car and I looked across the field where I was parked and saw lights moving around and then winking out and after a few moments of brain churning I snapped my fingers and said (audibly and to myself because I’m not at all worried people will think I’m crazy, I know it’s true), “Dang, those are Fireflies.  So that’s what they look like.”

Ok, so maybe I didn’t use the ‘dang’ word.

Now like ear worms they turn up all over and moments ago I had one dangle six inches in front of my nose until I finally had to shoo them away because I don’t much like bugs.

I’m not sure this story has much of a point except to remind myself that as Yogi (Berra) says- “You can see a lot just by observing.”

And now for some pic-a-nic baskets Boo-Boo.


Sylvester and Tweety MysteriesOutback Down Under, Episode 11, Part 2

‘Jobless veterans, US national disgrace’

I Demand a War Tax and call it that, it’s been over a decade and counting of No Sacrifice by the Country as we demanded Sacrifice of our Soldiers and their Families, with multiple tours in two occupation theaters!

Those of us who were born during or in the years shortly after World War II grew into what our grand parents and parents with the help of our Government investments were building, joining in as we joined the workforce professions to build for our children, from the needed education professions to the skilled trades once professions.

On This Day In History July 17

While mishima is on hiatus, I will be cross posting some of our daily and weekly features from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

July 17 is the 198th day of the year (199th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 167 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1998, a diplomatic conference adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of March 2011, 114 states are party to the statute. Grenada will become the 115th state party on 1 August 2011. A further 34 states have signed but not ratified the treaty. Among other things, the statute establishes the court’s functions, jurisdiction and structure.

Under the Rome Statue, the ICC can only investigate and prosecute in situations where states are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. Thus, the majority of international crimes continue to go unpunished unless and until domestic systems can properly deal with them. Therefore, permanent solutions to impunity must be found at the domestic level.


Following years of negotiations aimed at establishing a permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals accused of genocide and other serious international crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and the recently defined crimes of aggression, the United Nations General Assembly convened a five-week diplomatic conference in Rome in June 1998 “to finalize and adopt a convention on the establishment of an international criminal court”. On 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 countries abstaining.[5] The seven countries that voted against the treaty were Iraq, Israel, Libya, the People’s Republic of China, Qatar, the United States, and Yemen.

On 11 April 2002, ten countries ratified the statute at the same time at a special ceremony held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, bringing the total number of signatories to sixty, which was the minimum number required to bring the statue into force, as defined in Article 126. The treaty entered into force on 1 July 2002; the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date. The statute was modified in 2010 after the Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda, but the amendments to the statute that were adopted at that time are not effective yet.

The Rome Statute is the result of multiple attempts for the creation of a supranational and international tribunal. At the end of 19th century, the international community took the first steps towards the institution of permanent courts with supranational jurisdiction. With the Hague International Peace Conferences, representatives of the most powerful nations made an attempt to harmonize laws of war and to limit the use of technologically advanced weapons. After World War I and even more after the heinous crimes committed during World War II, it became a priority to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes so serious that needed to be called “against humanity”. In order to re-affirm basic principles of democratic civilisation, the alleged criminals were not executed in public squares or sent to torture camps, but instead treated as criminals: with a regular trial, the right to defense and the presumption of innocence. The Nuremberg trials marked a crucial moment in legal history, and after that, some treaties that led to the drafting of the Rome Statute were signed.

UN General Assembly Resolution n. 260 9 December 1948, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, was the first step towards the establishment of an international permanent criminal tribunal with jurisdiction on crimes yet to be defined in international treaties. In the resolution there was a hope for an effort from the Legal UN commission in that direction. The General Assembly, after the considerations expressed from the commission, established a committee to draft a statute and study the related legal issues. In 1951 a first draft was presented; a second followed in 195] but there were a number of delays, officially due to the difficulties in the definition of the crime of aggression, that were only solved with diplomatic assemblies in the years following the statute’s coming into force. The geopolitical tensions of the Cold War also contributed to the delays.

Trinidad and Tobago asked the General Assembly in December 1989 to re-open the talks for the establishment of an international criminal court and in 1994 presented a draft Statute. The General Assembly created an ad hoc committee for the International Criminal Court and, after hearing the conclusions, a Preparatory Committee that worked for two years (1996-1998) on the draft. Meanwhile, the United Nations created the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR) using statutes-and amendments due to issues raised during pre-trial or trial stages of the proceedings-that are quite similar to the Rome Statute.

During its 52nd session the UN General Assembly decided to convene a diplomatic conference for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, held in Rome 15 June-17 July 1998 to define the treaty, entered into force on 1 July 2002.

Late Night Karaoke

America: “Life is no longer worth living with David Brooks.”

Today, in a sad, yet courageous affirmation of “life worth living,” America announced that it no longer wished to extend its marginal existence under the cursed journalistic blight of David Brooks, whose most recent unspeakable transgression against human decency, a remorseless and uncontrollable intrusion of his recurring parricidal fantasies masquerading as ethical pragmatism, manifested itself as a sudden and conspicuous discoloration and wilting of America’s pestered soul.

The country is broke because of health care, Brooks asserts.  

The fiscal crisis is driven largely by health care costs.

He baldly states this whopper without making so much as a pipsqueaking reference to multiple stupid and endless wars of aggression, decades of historically incomprehensible tax cuts for the wealthy, and pathologically self-defeating bailouts for the prodigal malefactors of imaginary wealth on Wall Street.  Nor does he even manage to mention the ungodly profits driving health care costs through the roof, to the point where we have worse health care at twice the cost compared to other industrialized nations.

The real problem, according to our maggot-brained buffoon and his editors at the NYT, is our old, selfish and sickly geezers on life support who are stealing money, freedom, and opportunity from the young.  The old should demand to die, “to confront death and their obligations to the living,” the self-enclosed, life-impersonating skin-bag actually opined in one of America’s top dying newspapers.

Fault Lines Outsourced: Clinical trials overseas

As US pharmaceutical companies move their operations abroad, India has become a testing ground for trial medicines.

Instead of testing trial medicines on Americans, more and more of these tests are being carried out on poor people in faraway places. Russia, China, Brazil, Poland, Uganda and Romania are all hot spots for what is called clinical research or clinical trials.

Now employing CROs – or clinical research organisations – the industry is big business, worth as much as $30bn today.

One country has experienced a boom like no other in this industry – India. Spoken English, an established medical infrastructure, welcoming attitudes toward foreign industry and, most importantly, legions of poor, illiterate test subjects that are willing to try out new drugs have transformed the Indian landscape into a massive testing ground for pharmaceuticals.

Fault Lines’ Zeina Awad travels to India to see what the clinical research practices look like on the ground. What role are the US regulatory bodies playing in overseeing the trials? Are participants aware that they are taking part in a clinical trial? Is the testing being held up against international ethical standards?

Two Very Scary Things

When in doubt . . . Wash