April 21, 2012 archive


This week’s episodes originally aired October 21, 2005.

Duck Dodgers Master & Disaster, Season 3, Episode 17

On This Day In History April 21

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here. (Click on image to enlarge.)

April 21 is the 111th day of the year (112th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 254 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, British troops under the command of General William Tryon attack the town of Danbury, Connecticut, and begin destroying everything in sight. Facing little, if any, opposition from Patriot forces, the British went on a rampage, setting fire to homes, farmhouse, storehouses and more than 1,500 tents.

The British destruction continued for nearly a week before word of it reached Continental Army leaders, including General Benedict Arnold, who was stationed in nearby New Haven. Along with General David Wooster and General Gold Silliman, Arnold led a contingent of more than 500 American troops in a surprise attack on the British forces as they began withdrawing from Danbury.

Sybil Ludington (April 16, 1761- February 26, 1839), daughter of Col. Henry Ludington, was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who became famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert American colonial forces to the approach of enemy troops.

The Ride

Ludington’s ride started at 9:00 P.M. and ended around dawn. She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. This is especially remarkable because modern day endurance horse riders using lightweight saddles can barely ride such distances in daylight over well marked courses (see endurance riding). She rode through Carmel on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highwayman with her father’s musket. When, soaked from the rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march.

The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,

Sybil, who, a few days before, had passed her sixteenth birthday, and bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak. One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburgh, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.

The men arrived too late to save Danbury, Connecticut. At the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, however, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound.

The Necessity of a Fair Economy

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one” ~ Robert Reich

Economist and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich was a guest on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show to discuss the economy, taxes, and that state of our political system. In a three part extended interview , Sec. Reich discusses taking back of our democracy from the special interests and “the conditions that he believes will lead to the formation of a legitimate third party in the United States.”

Why a Fair Economy is Not Incompatible with Growth but Essential to It

One of the most pernicious falsehoods you’ll hear during the next seven months of political campaigning is there’s a necessary tradeoff between fairness and economic growth. By this view, if we raise taxes on the wealthy the economy can’t grow as fast.

Wrong. Taxes were far higher on top incomes in the three decades after World War II than they’ve been since. And the distribution of income was far more equal. Yet the American economy grew faster in those years than it’s grown since tax rates on the top were slashed in 1981. [..]

What we should have learned over the last half century is that growth doesn’t trickle down from the top. It percolates upward from working people who are adequately educated, healthy, sufficiently rewarded, and who feel they have a fair chance to make it in America.

Fairness isn’t incompatible with growth. It’s necessary for it.

Why “We’re on the Right Track” Isn’t Enough, and What Obama’s Plan Should Be For Boosting the Economy

President Obama’s electoral strategy can best be summed up as: “We’re on the right track, my economic policies are working, we still have a long way to go but stick with me and you’ll be fine.”

That’s not good enough. This recovery is too anemic, and the chance of an economic stall between now and Election Day far too high. [..]

The President has to offer the nation a clear, bold strategy for boosting the economy. It should be the economic mandate for his second term.

It should consist of four points:  

First, Obama should demand that the nation’s banks modify mortgages of homeowners still struggling in the wake of Wall Street’s housing bubble – threatening that if the banks fail to do so he’ll fight to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act and break up Wall Street’s biggest banks (as the Dallas Fed recently recommended).

Second, he should condemn oil speculators for keeping gas prices high – demanding that the oil companies allow the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation to set limits on such speculation and instructing the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute oil price manipulation.

Third, he should stand ready to make further job-creating investments in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and renew his call for an infastructure bank. And while he understands the need to reduce the nation’s long-term budget deficit, he won’t allow austerity economics to take precedence over job creation. He’ll veto budget cuts until unemployment is down to 5 percent.

Finally, he should make clear the underlying problem is widening inequality. With so much of the nation’s disposable income and wealth going to the top, the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power it needs to fire up the economy. That’s why the Buffett rule, setting a minimum tax rate for millionaires, is just a first step for ensuring that the gains from growth are widely shared.

But even before any of what Sec. Reich has put forth, President Obama needs to fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and appoint Sec. Reich, Prof. Bill Black and Paul Krugman to his Economic Advisory Council.

The Faux Wars According to Fox

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

When is a war not war? According to Fox News, it’s when it involves women. Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart did a pithy take down of the Fox Faux pout-rage that has attracted the ire of Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who has his rosary in a knot, declaring a war on Jon Stewart. If it’s as successful as The National Organization for Marriage’s boycott of Starbuck’s for its support of marriage equality, it will probably result in a ratings spike for The Daily Show.

Warning: Video contains Adult Material that some may fond offensive.  

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan



   Empress Michiko decided to forego the standard dress-and-heels ensemble in favor of traditional kimono and wooden sandals when she attended a memorial for victims of the March 11 quake/tsunami. It seems she was worried that she might have to spring into action if the Emperor, who had recently undergone heart bypass surgery, started to go down, and high heels just might not cut it under those circumstances.

   Speaking of ailing Emperor Akihito, it was reported that he twice had to have fluid drained from his chest after his heart surgery.

   In Iran, thousands of women have been training in the way of the ninja, but it’s more for fitness and protection, their instructor says, not to unleash an army of trained female assassins on an unsuspecting world, as some Western media have speculated.

   Maya Nakanishi, a 26-year-old paralympian who lost her right leg in a work accident five years ago, put out a calendar featuring semi-nude photos of herself to raise funds to get her to London for the Games this summer. You go girl!

   A 33-year-old train conductor was arrested for grabbing the boobs and nether regions of a 16-year-old high-school girl on an out-of-service Odakyu Romance Car. He is also accused of “committing sexual acts” with the same girl at a karaoke shop and in a hotel on two other occasions. Hold on… sounds he was just trying to add some romance to an ongoing relationship.

   Meanwhile, a 23-year-old art teacher at a junior high school in Kagawa Prefecture was canned after surreptitiously snapping photos of students’ snappers up their skirts while on the job.

   Ninety-two people wolfed down as many fermented beans as they could during a natto-eating contest in Ibaraki Prefecture. A 27-year-old from Nara was crowned king of the natto-eaters after downing 350 grams of the sticky stuff in 27.7 seconds.

Popular Culture (Music) 20120420: Jim Croce

James Joseph Croce (aka “Jim”), was born on 19430110 in South Philadelphia.  If a tragedy had not intervened, he likely would still be with us.  Unfortunately, he was killed in an aeroplane crash on 19730920, not yet 31 years old.

Croce had the unusual ability to write both comedic and serious material with aplomb (I always wanted to work that word into a piece).  Only a few writers have been able to do this, and for the most part he wrote his own material.  He did record some material written by others, but what artist has not?

He also had the ability to attract a very diverse listenership.  My father was about as opposed to popular music as could draw breath, but love “You Don’t Mess around with Jim”!  Let us take a few minutes to look at the way too short life and listen to some of the work of this talented writer and performer.


A cross cultural explanation from my point of view about contemporary isms.

For reference?

Well there is the excellent at it’s start but much degraded upon it’s continuation movie “God Bless America”.  Now available on commercial Verizon pay per view.  Very embarassed to recommend but it plays into my Prof Panarin end of the empire themes.

Seamus Johnston: …as confident as any innocent person can be in this country.

Seamus Johnston, 22, is a Pennsylvania transman who was expelled from The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown for using the men’s locker room on the campus in January, despite the University’s order that he not do so.  Pitt-Johnstown also filed three misdemeanor charges against Mr. Johnston relative to the incident, charging him with disorderly conduct, defiant trespass and indecent exposure.

Mr. Johnston has now filed a complaint with the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations charging the University of Pittsburgh with discrimination, alleging that the school violated the Pittsburgh city code relating to sex and handicap.  Mr. Johnston was adjudged to be fully disabled by the Social Security Administration last May “for a variety of emotional liabilities including gender identity disorder”.  Mr. Johnston has been on hormone therapy for 10 months.

Specifically charged with knowing of or allowing the discrimination to continue are Chancellor Mark Nordeberg, Provost Patricia Beeson, General Counsel Jerome Cochran and attorney Ted Fritz.  Pitt and the individuals have 30 days to respond to the complaint.

The University of Pittsburgh is not taking Mr. Johnston’s complaints lightly.  Due to a series of bomb threats at Pitt’s Oakland Campus (which is the downtown Pittsburgh branch of Pitt), Pitt apparently gave Mr. Johnston’s name as a possible suspect as a disgruntled student.   FBI agents interviewed Johnston and his transwoman wife, Katherine Anne McCloskey, 56, on April 11.  On April 12, Johnston and McCloskey were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury investigating the bomb threats on April 17.

McCloskey and Johnston said they believe Pitt officials gave their names to federal investigators because of an ongoing legal dispute Johnston has with the university.