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May 20, 2012 archive
May 20 2012
May 20 2012
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House a vote of 299 – 110. It passed without the bipartisan amendment that was proposed by Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) which would have prohibited indefinite detention without due process . It failed by a vote of 243 – 173. House Republicans piled on the fear factor with accusations that the amendment and its supporters were “soft on terrorist”. Adam Serwer recounts in his article in Mother Jones how Smith and Amash were accused of having “[collaborated on a nefarious plot to undermine national security”:
“Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) accused the lawmakers of wanting to “coddle terrorists,” while Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) warned that under an amendment they’d introduced, “as soon as a member of Al Qaeda sets foot on US soil, they hear you have the right to remain silent.” National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who has never heard of a same-sex marriage supporting, pro-financial regulation liberal who wasn’t secretly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, wrote that their proposal was the result of “libertarian extremists” teaming up with liberals with an “obsession” with giving “more rights” to “mass murderers.” ”
We now know that there are 231 paranoid delusion Republicans in the House that no longer believe in the rule of law or the Constitution of the United States:
“As Smith pointed out during yesterday’s floor debate, the Fifth Amendment says no “person” shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law. It doesn’t say “citizen,” and the text of the Constitution uses both words enough that it’s clear the framers understood the difference. “Your beef is with James Madison,” Smith told Thornberry on Thursday. So keep in mind, when Republicans like Rooney say that Smith and Amash want to “coddle terrorists,” they’re not necessarily talking about some heavily armed Al Qaeda fighter in Kandahar. They’re potentially talking about you.”
Besides passing without the Smith/Amash amendment, the $642 billion bill breaks a deficit-cutting deal with President Barack Obama and restricts his authority in an election-year challenge to the Democratic commander in chief. The bill also calls for construction of a missile defense site on the East Coast that the military opposes, and bars reductions in the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Against the request of the Chamber of Commerce and business community, strong GOP allies, the Republicans passed an amendment limiting funds for institutions or organizations established by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea:
“The chamber supports Senate ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty “because it would provide clear legal rights and protections to American businesses to transit, lay undersea cables, and take advantage of the vast natural resources in and under the oceans off the U.S. coasts and around the world,” executive vice president R. Bruce Josten said in a statement. He noted that the Defense Department supports the treaty.
Tea party Republicans and other conservatives have expressed concerns about the treaty impinging on U.S. sovereignty.”
President Obama has threatened to veto this bill, not for the lack of the restriction on indefinite detention but mainly because of restrictions on the implementation of the New START treaty; limits on reductions for the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal; and new restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees. Moreover, the White House objected to the overall size of the bill, which surpasses President Obama’s request by $3.7 billion and exceeds the Budget Control Act spending caps by $8 billion. I’ll believe that when it happens.
May 20 2012
Which European leader is serious about economic recovery?
Merkel, her ministers and their parliamentary secretaries of state will see their wages rise in three stages between now and August 2013, until they all get 5.7 percent more. It is the first pay raise that the German cabinet has taken in twelve years. [..]
She has been the chief advocate of austerity in the eurozone during the debt crisis, earning her criticism from some quarters, notably Greece and more recently France, whose new leader Francois Hollande wants to focus on growth.
As opposed to this:
France’s new government has held its first cabinet meeting and announced a 30% pay cut for President François Hollande and all his ministers.
A campaign promise, the cut reduces Mr Hollande’s monthly salary from 21,300 euros to 14,910 (£12,000; $19,000).
The cut contrasts sharply with predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to increase his pay on entering office.
May 20 2012
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
May 20 is the 140th day of the year (141st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 225 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day on 1896, the six ton chandelier of the Palais Garnier falls on the crowd resulting in the death of one and the injury of many others. The falling of one of the counterweights for the grand chandelier resulted in the death of one person.
This incident, as well as the underground lake, cellars, along with the other elements of the Opera House even the building itself were the inspirations of Gaston Leroux for his classic 1910 Gothic novel, The Phantom of the Opera.
The ceiling area, which surrounds the chandelier, was given a new painting during 1964 by Marc Chagall. This painting was controversial, with many people feeling Chagall’s work clashed with the style of the rest of the theater.
The Palais Garnier, known also as the Opéra de Paris or Opéra Garnier, but more commonly as the Paris Opéra, is a 1,600-seat opera house on the Place de l’Opéra in Paris, France, which was the primary home of the Paris Opera from 1875 until 1989. A grand building designed by Charles Garnier in the Neo-Baroque (or “Baroque Revival”) style (it is also said to be of the related Second Empire style), it is regarded as one of the architectural masterpieces of its time.
Upon its inauguration during 1875, the opera house was named officially the Académie Nationale de Musique – Théâtre de l’Opéra. It retained this title until 1978 when it was re-named the Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris. After the opera company chose the Opéra Bastille as their principal theatre upon its completion during 1989, the theatre was re-named as the Palais Garnier, though Académie Nationale de Musique is still sprawled above the columns of its front façade. In spite of the change of names and the Opera company’s relocation to the Opéra Bastille, the Palais Garnier is still known by many people as the Paris Opéra, as have all of the several theatres which have served as the principal venues of the Parisian Opera and Ballet since its initiation.
The Palais Garnier was designed as part of the great reconstruction of Paris during the Second Empire initiated by Emperor Napoleon III, who chose Baron Haussmann to supervise the reconstruction. During 1858 the Emperor authorized Haussmann to clear the required 12,000 square metres (1.2 ha) of land on which to build a second theatre for the world-renowned Parisian Opera and Ballet companies. The project was the subject of architectural design competition during 1861, and was won by the architect Charles Garnier (1825-1898). The foundation stone was laid during 1861, with the start of construction during 1862. Legend is that the Emperor’s wife, the Empress Eugénie, asked Garnier during the construction whether the building would be built in the Greek or Roman style, to which he replied: “It is in the Napoleon III style, Madame!”
May 20 2012
Greek cash withdrawals raise fear of run on banks
A leftist leader’s call to nationalize banks has unnerved middle-class Greeks, whose withdrawals are fueling a drain on deposits of about $1 billion a day from an already threatened financial system.
Eva, a well-groomed pensioner, grasps her creamy white purse, glancing impatiently at her gold Cartier watch as she waits for the manager of an Athens bank. She is offered tea, cookies and orange juice, none of which the state bank usually provides, and none of which Eva accepts.
“I’m concerned,” says the 82-year-old, who declined to give her last name because she was involved in a private transaction. “I’m thinking of withdrawing all my savings.”
Greek banks have been bleeding money since inconclusive elections this month, and the rise of a Marxist-Leninist leader bent on bustingBerlin’sausterity crusade, plunged the country into the biggest political crisis in decades and raised the specter of a devastating default.
By Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times
May 20 2012
These Weekly Features-
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This Featured Article-
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