February 2013 archive

Who knew they sold meatballs?

Ikea withdraws meatballs in Europe, 21 nations hit

By Karl Ritter, Associated Press

February 25, 2013

Ikea’s North America branch said the U.S. stores get their meatballs from a U.S. supplier.

“Based on the results of our mapping, we can confirm that the contents of the meatballs follow the Ikea recipe and contain only beef and pork from animals raised in the U.S. and Canada,” Ikea North America spokeswoman Mona Astra Liss said in a statement.

Ikea is known for its assemble-it-yourself furniture but its trademark blue-and-yellow megastores also have cafeteria-style restaurants offering Swedish dishes such as meatballs served with boiled or mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam.

European Union officials met Monday to discuss tougher food labeling rules after the discovery of horse meat in a wide range of frozen supermarket meals that were supposed to contain beef or pork. So far those foods include meatballs, burgers, kebabs, lasagna, pizza, tortelloni, ravioli, empanadas and meat pies, among other items.


With what sport is Wimbleton commonly associated?

No, try again.

Oh, I thought I said it badly.

Nothing to see here-

So not the drones you are looking for.

Robert Gibbs: I was told not to ‘acknowledge’ drones


2/25/13 8:14 AM EST

“Here’s what’s inherently crazy about that proposition,” he said. “You’re being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists. So you’re the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program … pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I think in many ways and I think what the president has seen – and I have not talked to him about this, I want to be careful. This is my opinion. But I think what the president has seen is our denial of the existence of the program when it’s obviously happening undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.”

The Future of War in the Developed World

by Ian Welsh

2013 February 23

(T)he US military, the most expensive, most powerful military in the world, lost in Iraq (they had to pay bribes to leave). They are losing in Afghanistan.  In Mexico the state has been unable to control drug gangs.  In Lebanon, the IDF, the most powerful military in the Middle East, was defeated by Hezbollah. Hezbollah also won the e-lint war against the IDF.

Technology is not necessarily on the side of the great powers, of the big armies.  IEDs are cheap, any halfway competent mechanic can make them with materials that are readily available even in Afghanistan.

They are weapons whose widespread use can and will destroy nations by destroying the peace and stability required for prosperity and normal life.

But they are very, very effective.  They will work in virtually any nation if a large enough portion of the population wants them to work.

Do not think that the more intelligent members of current elites don’t know this. They understand what many on the left don’t: that first world militaries can be defeated, have been defeated, and that it can happen in their own countries.

And I suspect they are very very scared.  The surveillance state, routine assassinations by the executive, the loss of habeas corpus, and so on, are their response.  Total surveillance, and the ability to take people out anywhere, any time, is their answer, which is why I keep saying that I will know people are serious about revolution when they take out surveillance systems as a matter of routine, when surveillance becomes ethically anathema.

(M)ilitaries are very fightable, but such fights leave countries in ruins.  If the elites continue on their current course, in many first world countries, Iraq and Afghanistan and Mexico are the future.  People with no future will fight, and too many people now know how this form of war works.

This is the future of war.  If elites continue on their path of unaccountability, their insistence on destroying the future, and their crushing of prosperity, this is what will happen.

“The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.”- Mao Tse-Tung

Pentagon Orders F-35 Jets Grounded


Published: February 22, 2013

The suspension of flights comes at an awkward time for the military, which is facing automatic budget cuts that could slow its purchases of the planes.

The Pentagon estimates that it could spend as much as $396 billion to buy 2,456 of the jets by the late 2030s. But the program, the most expensive in military history, has been plagued by cost overruns and delays, and it could easily become a target for budget cutters.

The F-35 was conceived as the Pentagon’s silver bullet in the sky – a state-of-the art aircraft with advances that would easily overcome the defenses of most foes. The radar-evading jets would dodge sophisticated antiaircraft missiles and give pilots a better picture of enemy threats while enabling allies, who want the planes, too, to fight more closely with American forces.

But the ambitious aircraft instead illustrates how the Pentagon can let huge and complex programs veer out of control. The program has run into other technical problems and nearly doubled in cost as Lockheed and the military’s own bureaucracy failed to deliver on the most basic promise of a three-in-one jet that would save taxpayers money and be delivered speedily.

On This Day In History February 25

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.

February 25 is the 56th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 309 days remaining until the end of the year (310 in leap years).

On this day in Japan, the Plum Blossom Festival is held. The Festival at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto is one one of the most beautiful. The shrine was built in 947, to appease the angry spirit of bureaucrat, scholar and poet Sugawara no Michizane, who had been exiled as a result of political maneuvers of his enemies in the Fujiwara clan.

The shrine was dedicated to Michizane; and in 986, the scholar-bureaucrat was deified and the title of Tenjin (Heavenly Deity) was conferred.

The grounds are filled with Michizane’s favorite tree, the red and white ume or plum blossom, and when they blossom the shrine is often very crowded. Open-air tea ceremonies are hosted by geiko and apprentice maiko from the nearby Kamishichiken district. The plum festival has been held on the same day every year for about 900 years to mark the death of Michizane.

Sugawara no Michizane, August 1, 845 – March 26, 903, was a scholar, poet, and politician of the Heian Period of Japan. He is regarded as an excellent poet, particularly in Chinese poetry.

He was educated in a private school run by his father where he studies to become an official in the Court of the Japanese Emperor. His training and skill with Classical Chinese language and literature afforded him many opportunities to draft edicts and correspondences for officials in the Court in addition to his menial duties. Records show at this time he composed three petitions for Fujiwara no Yoshifusa as well as the Emperor. Michizane also took part in receiving delegations from the Kingdom of Parhae, where Michizane’s skill with Chinese again proved useful in diplomatic exchanges and poetry exchange. In 877, he was assigned to the Ministry of the Ceremonial, which allowed him to manage educational and intellectual matters more than before. While serving as governor of Sanuki Province, he intervened in a Court matter on the side Emperor Uda over Fujiwara no Mototsune and at the end of his term returned to the Court in Kyoto where he served in many positions.

He was appointed ambassador to China in the 890s, but instead came out in support of abolition of the imperial embassies to China in 894, theoretically in consideration for the decline of the Tang Dynasty. A potential ulterior motive may have lain in Michizane’s almost complete ignorance of spoken Chinese; most Japanese at the time only read Chinese, and knew little to nothing about the spoken language. Michizane, as the nominated ambassador to China, would have been presented with a potential loss of face had he been forced to depend on an interpreter. Emperor Uda stopped the practice of sending ambassadors to China by what he understood as persuasive counsel from  Michizane.

Within the end of Emperor Uda reign in 897, Michizane’s position became increasingly vulnerable. In 901, through the political maneuverings of his rival, Fujiwara no Tokihira, Michizane was demoted from his aristocratic rank of junior second to a minor official post at Dazaifu, in Kyushu‘s Chikuzen Province. After his lonely death, plague and drought spread and sons of Emperor Daigo died in succession. The Imperial Palace’s Great Audience Hall (shishinden) was struck repeatedly by lightning, and the city experienced weeks of rainstorms and floods. Attributing this to the angry spirit of the exiled Sugawara, the imperial court built a Shinto shrine called Kitano Tenman-gu in Kyoto, and dedicated it to him. They posthumously restored his title and office, and struck from the record any mention of his exile. Sugawara was deified as Tenjin-sama, or kami of scholarship. Today many Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to him.

Late Night Karaoke

The Oscars

The 2013 Oscars photo imagesqtbnANd9GcTaFOQ4v_nqGY2eBZVqU_zps30683ba3.jpg

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Speaking of boring-

No one man can be more corrupt than soccer can be boring.


Danica Patrick’s Love Life: The Daytona 500

Faithful readers already know what I think about Turn Left.

In the Roman form of chariot racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. These teams became the focus of intense support among spectators, and occasional disturbances broke out between followers of different factions. The conflicts sometimes became politicized, as the sport began to transcend the races themselves and started to affect society overall.

Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss.  Purple makes a fine winding sheet.

It’s hard to blame the technology, the cars and tracks can hardly be safer than they are.  It’s high speed bumper cars and the rules that create an environment where you can take out 12 of them at a time; and though 33 were injured, some critically, nobody died… yet.

To me the sport’s biggest sin is that it’s boring.  BORING!

Yup, that’s right, more boring than having Vettel dive into the front and drive off into the distance with Mark Webber in tow.

And that’s because nothing matters until the last 5 laps except for the accidents.

You know, like the whole track falling apart.

So let’s talk instead about Danica Patrick’s love life.

Patrick Was Leading Way Even Before Winning Pole

By VIV BERNSTEIN, The New York Times

Published: February 18, 2013

On the first day that drivers arrived at Daytona International Speedway for Speedweeks, the Daytona 500 and the celebrated start of Nascar’s 2013 Sprint Cup season, the story making headlines was Danica Patrick’s romantic relationship with the driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Her relationship with Stenhouse, an up-and-coming driver who will also be a rookie in the Sprint Cup this season, has only served to intensify the interest in everything she does on and off the track.

“I don’t mind answering questions about the other stuff,” she added. “But I get that it’s not about racing. It’s nice to change the tone of the questions because of what’s going on, on the track. That is a really good sign, and I like that.”

Either way, it’s all good for Nascar. Patrick made the rounds of many of the major television talk shows Monday morning, giving the sport some much needed publicity. Nascar has had a drop in attendance and television ratings in recent years. The marketing game plan is to focus on drivers, and nobody does a better job of self-marketing than the 30-year-old Patrick.

“Driver star power is something we’re going to bang on from a marketing perspective in ’13 and in ’14, ’15, ’16,” said Steve Phelps, Nascar’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “It will all be about the drivers.

“Listen, she is a marketing phenomenon,” Phelps said. “I think putting her on the biggest stage that we have, the Sprint Cup, and have her run a full season, will only help her.”

He asked rhetorically: “Do I believe that she needs to win in order to continue that momentum that she has seen so far? I don’t. Would it add to it? Would it kind of plus-up the whole thing? I do.”

To be continued, as Patrick moves through the week and heads to the pole Sunday, with 500 miles in front of her and the remaining skeptics in the rear.

ek, are you implying that we’re living in the decadent final days of empire with bread and circuses to placate the proletariat?

Ahem, let me clear my throat.


Enjoy the race, I’ll be back for the last 5 laps to see how things turned out.

On This Day In History February 24

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.

February 24 is the 55th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 310 days remaining until the end of the year (311 in leap years).

On this day in 1803, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, decides the landmark case of William Marbury versus James Madison, Secretary of State of the United States and confirms the legal principle of judicial review–the ability of the Supreme Court to limit Congressional power by declaring legislation unconstitutional–in the new nation.

Marbury v. Madison is a landmark case in United States law and in the history of law worldwide. It formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. It was also the first time in the world that a court invalidated a law by declaring it “unconstitutional.”

This case resulted from a petition to the Supreme Court by William Marbury, who had been appointed by President John Adams as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the documents, but the court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, denied Marbury’s petition, holding that the part of the statute upon which he based his claim, the Judiciary Act of 1789, was unconstitutional.

Marbury v. Madison was the first time the Supreme Court declared something “unconstitutional,” and established the concept of judicial review in the U.S. (the idea that courts may oversee and nullify the actions of another branch of government). The landmark decision helped define the “checks and balances” of the American form of government.

The Issue

There are three ways a case can be heard in the Supreme Court: (1) filing directly in the Supreme Court; (2) filing in a lower federal court, such as a district court, and appealing all the way up to the Supreme Court; (3) filing in a state court, appealing all the way up through the state’s highest courts, and then appealing to the Supreme Court on an issue of federal law. The first is an exercise of the Court’s original jurisdiction; the second and third are exercises of the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction.

Because Marbury filed his petition for the writ of mandamus directly in the Supreme Court, the Court needed to be able to exercise original jurisdiction over the case in order to have the power to hear it.

Marbury’s argument is that in the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction over petitions for writs of mandamus. This raises several issues that the Supreme Court had to address:

  • Does Article III of the Constitution create a “floor” for original jurisdiction, which Congress can add to, or does it create an exhaustive list that Congress can’t modify at all?
  • If Article III’s original jurisdiction is an exhaustive list, but Congress tries to modify it anyway, who wins that conflict, Congress or the Constitution?
  • And, more importantly, who is supposed to decide who wins?
  • In its answer to this last question, the Supreme Court formalizes the notion of judicial review. In short, the constitutional issue on which Marbury v. Madison was decided was whether Congress could expand the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

    Six In The Morning

    On Sunday

     France’s military operation in Mali in ‘final phase’

    BBC 24 February 2013 Last updated at 00:02 GMT

    French President Francois Hollande has said his country’s forces are engaged in the “final phase” of the fight against militants in northern Mali.

    He said there had been heavy fighting in the Ifoghas mountains, where members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) were thought to be hiding.

    Mr Hollande also praised Chadian troops for their efforts in the same area.

    Thirteen Chadian soldiers and some 65 militants were killed in clashes on Friday, according to the Chadian army.

    Chad’s government has promised to deploy 2,000 troops as part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (Afisma).

    US drones

    Speaking in Paris on Saturday, President Hollande said “heavy fighting” was taking place in the far north of Mali, near the Algerian border

    Sunday’s Headlines:

    Rescuers fear India will drop new law banning child labour

    War on terror is the West’s new religion

    ElBaradei calls for Egypt vote boycott, poll date moved

    ‘Second Generation Red’ fall in behind Xi Jinping

    Israeli Oscar contenders force citizens to confront uncomfortable questions

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