January 2013 archive

On This Day In History January 28

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.

January 28 is the 28th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 337 days remaining until the end of the year (338 in leap years).

On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominates Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. After a bitterly contested confirmation, Brandeis became the first Jewish judge on the Supreme Court.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Brandeis quickly earned a reputation in Boston as the people’s attorney for taking on cases pro bono. Brandeis advocated progressive legal reform to combat the social and economic ills caused in America by industrialization. He met Woodrow Wilson, who was impressed by Brandeis’ efforts to hold business and political leaders accountable to the public, during Wilson’s 1912 campaign against Theodore Roosevelt. Brandeis’ early legal achievements included the establishment of savings-bank life insurance in Massachusetts and securing minimum wages for women workers. He also devised what became known as the Brandeis Brief, an appellate report that analyzed cases on economic and social evidence rather than relying solely on legal precedents.

Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Europe. He enrolled at Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of twenty with the highest grade average in the college’s history.

Brandeis settled in Boston where he became a recognized lawyer through his work on social causes that would benefit society. He helped develop the “right to privacy” concept by writing a Harvard Law Review article of that title, and was thereby credited by legal scholar Roscoe Pound as having accomplished “nothing less than adding a chapter to our law”. Years later, a book he published, entitled Other People’s Money, suggested ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts, which partly explains why he later fought against powerful corporations, monopolies, public corruption, and mass consumerism, all of which he felt were detrimental to American values and culture. He also became active in the Zionist movement, seeing it as a solution to the “Jewish problem” of antisemitism in Europe and Russia, while at the same time being a way to “revive the Jewish spirit.”

When his family’s finances became secure, he began devoting most of his time to public causes and was later dubbed the “People’s Lawyer.” He insisted on serving on cases without pay so that he would be free to address the wider issues involved. The Economist magazine calls him “A Robin Hood of the law.” Among his notable early cases were actions fighting railroad monopolies; defending workplace and labor laws; helping create the Federal Reserve System; and presenting ideas for the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He achieved recognition by submitting a case brief, later called the “Brandeis Brief,” which relied on expert testimony from people in other professions to support his case, thereby setting a new precedent in evidence presentation.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, his nomination was bitterly contested, partly because, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible. . . [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.” He was eventually confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22 on June 1, 1916, and became one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the high court.

Late Night Karaoke

Psychic Reading Apocalyse Ranch

Welcome, come one and all to the first annual psychic reading at the Apocalypse Ranch. Will Obama declare martial law over raw milk vaccine deniers Sandy Hook Googleopians 911 truthers OWS past participants Oath Keepers from Arizona and or drone hackers anonymous and or Gordon Duff from Veterans Today.  What is real?  We have zero clue and we are going to have continued zero clue as THE news reads like a zombie survival game.  A Belgian MP said it so eloquently, what is fuck you in French/Belgian, no, I mean several times.  Zebignew Bresinski must be completely pissed.  They, them them, the Illuminati, well the entire world is saying fuck you to well the western world.  I kind to celebrate this but not.

So, how difficult is it to own a gun in Japan?

Applicants first must go to their local police station and declare their intent. After a lecture and a written test comes range training, then a background check. Police likely will even talk to the applicant’s neighbors to see if he or she is known to have a temper, financial troubles or an unstable household. A doctor must sign a form saying the applicant has not been institutionalized and is not epileptic, depressed, schizophrenic, alcoholic or addicted to drugs.

Gun owners must tell the police where in the home the gun will be stored. It must be kept under lock and key, must be kept separate from ammunition, and preferably chained down. It’s legal to transport a gun in the trunk of a car to get to one of the country’s few shooting ranges, but if the driver steps away from the vehicle and gets caught, that’s a violation.

There are 120,000 registered gun owners and more than 400,000 registered weapons, yet the most current official statistics from 2011 show that 7 people were killed by guns while 9 were killed by scissors. Obviously Japan needs to enact a Constitutional Amendment outlawing the sale of scissors.

First, anyone who wants to get a gun must demonstrate a valid reason why they should be allowed to do so. Under longstanding Japanese policy, there is no good reason why any civilian should have a handgun, so – aside from a few dozen accomplished competitive shooters – they are completely banned.

Virtually all handgun-related crime is attributable to gangsters, who obtain them on the black market. But such crime is extremely rare and when it does occur, police crack down hard on whatever gang is involved, so even gangsters see it as a last-ditch option.

There is no good reason why a civilian should own a handgun.

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Separation by degrees

On This Day In History January 27

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.

January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 338 days remaining until the end of the year (339 in leap years)

On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers. All shared an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge, as well as an opinion that in a time of discovery, invention, change and mass communication, Americans were becoming more curious about the world around them. With this in mind, the men drafted a constitution and elected as the Society’s president a lawyer and philanthropist named Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Neither a scientist nor a geographer, Hubbard represented the Society’s desire to reach out to the layman.


The National Geographic Society began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel. On January 13, 1888, 33 explorers and scientists gathered at the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., to organize “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” After preparing a constitution and a plan of organization, the National Geographic Society was incorporated two weeks later on January 27. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, eventually succeeded him in 1897 following his death. In 1899 Bell’s son-in-law Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor was named the first full-time editor of National Geographic Magazine and served the organization for fifty-five years (1954), and members of the Grosvenor family have played important roles in the organization since.

Bell and his son-in-law, Grosvenor, devised the successful marketing notion of Society membership and the first major use of photographs to tell stories in magazines. The current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of National Geographic is Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for the Society’s leadership for Geography education. In 2004, the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. was one of the first buildings to receive a “Green” certification from Global Green USA The National Geographic received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanity in October 2006 in Oviedo, Spain.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Mali conflict: AU set to discuss troop deployments

 The BBC 27 January 2013 Last updated at 06:56 GMT

African Union leaders are meeting to discuss the conflict in Mali, as members move to deploy troops to help the French-led operation there.

African states have pledged 7,700 troops to support French and Malian forces in their campaign against Islamist militants in northern Mali.

Only a small part of the African force has so far deployed.

French-led troops have retaken several towns since France intervened two weeks ago, and on Saturday captured Gao.

The French defence ministry said troops gained control of the city – northern Mali’s most populous – after securing the airport and a strategic bridge to the south.

Sunday’s Headlines:

On Japan’s school lunch menu: A healthy meal, made from scratch

‘Human safaris’ to end for Andaman trib

Are we seeing the last flight of the condor?

Iraqi troops killed, kidnapped in apparent revenge attack

Riots over Egyptian death sentences kill at least 32

Late Night Karaoke

Hillary: the reason we’re rootin’ tootin’ in bum-f***ing Timbuktu

Is because:  

“You can’t say because they haven’t done something they’re not going to do it.”

Clinton was talking about the trivially remote, non-chance that dirt-poor “terrorists” in Mali (AQiM! Who are totally dependent on the arms we supplied to Gaddafi’s opposition in Libya during our previous menage a trois with the formerly cheese-eating surrender monkeys) would attack the US of A, the richest, most prick-bristling aggressors in the history of the planet.  However incoherent and nonsensical, Clinton’s statement has an empty ring of truth, not only for Mali, but for every dirt poor country on the planet: just because they haven’t attacked don’t not mean they willn’t.  Which is identical in spirit to Dick Cheney’s barking paranoid 1% doctrine, except for being even further off the deep end, in that p = 0.01 of being “attacked out of nowhere” has been reduced by Clinton to a possibility so obscure as to be sub-threshold to a footnote of a fleeting thought that failed being written as a nano-dot on the back of a cocktail napkin during an alcoholic haze that would make Hunter Thompson swear off booze for realz.  I’m so old I remember when bum-fucking Timbuktu was a mythological nether world, but it seems we have finally taken a genuine interest in geography as the era of abundance and growth abruptly ends.

Meanwhile, it must have been Tuesday, because reality was observed in the form of a Belgian MP  putting his size 13 waffle-stompers into his parliament’s ass on the issue of supporting Western meddling in resource-rich regions of Africa.  It’s a friggin’ doozy of a smackdown, if you have any interest in reality refusing to be mugged by Clintonesque constructions.

(sorry, iframe won’t embed, so you have to click on the link.  Be sure to click on “cc” closed captions on the vid’s tool bar after the vid starts rolling, in case you don’t understand “fuck you” in French.)

What We Now Know

Up host Chris Hayes  discusses what we have learned this week about congressional gridlock, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “gentleman’s agreement” handshake with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the dwindling hope for considerable change to the filibuster. He is joined by Mike Pesca (@pescami), sports correspondent for National Public Radio; Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman (@Sum_Of_Us), executive director and founder of SumofUs.org and partner of Internet activist Aaron Swartz; Susan Crawford (@scrawford), author and  professor for the Center on Intellectual Property & Information Law Program at Carodozo School of Law; and Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisi), senior editor for The Atlantic.

Real Filibuster Reform Will Not Be Coming to the Senate

What Killed Filibuster Reform?

Scott Lemieux, The American Prospect

Senators have a disincentive for getting rid of the anti-majoritarian rule: It gives them more power.

The failure to reform the filibuster is a very bad thing. The question is why so many Democratic senators-including some blue-state representatives like Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer-showed so little inclination to act in the interests of progressive values.

One issue is that some senators may not accurately perceive the damage that the filibuster does to Democratic interests. [..]

The larger problem, however, is that even for senators who understand the history of the filibuster and its inherently reactionary effects, the filibuster represents a disjuncture between the interests of progressives as a whole and the individual interests of Democratic senators. Collectively, the filibuster makes it harder to advance policy goals. But on an individual level, the filibuster and the Senate’s other arcane minority-empowering procedures give senators far more power than ordinary members of a typical Democratic legislature (including the House of Representatives). This helps to explain why even relatively liberal senior members tend to be more reluctant to abandon the filibuster than newer Democratic senators; once you get used to power, it’s hard to give it up.

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Our regular featured content-

These weekly features-

And this featured article-

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Write more and often.  This is an Open Thread.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

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