March 23, 2013 archive

What We Now Know

This week on Up with Chris Hayes we learned about the extreme impact climate change on our coastal cities. New research show storm surges like the one from Hurricane Katrina could become ten times more frequent. Host Chris Hayes and his guests Rashid Khalidi, professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University; Noura Erakat, adjunct professor at Georgetown University; Matt Duss, policy analyst at American Progress; and Ann Lewis, former advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discuss what they have learned this week.

More hurricane surges in the future

by Aslak Grinsted, Nils Bohr Institute

By examining the frequency of extreme storm surges in the past, previous research has shown that there was an increasing tendency for storm hurricane surges when the climate was warmer. But how much worse will it get as temperatures rise in the future? How many extreme storm surges like that from Hurricane Katrina, which hit the U.S. coast in 2005, will there be as a result of global warming? New research from the Niels Bohr Institute show that there will be a tenfold increase in frequency if the climate becomes two degrees Celcius warmer. The results are published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, PNAS.

NFL passes new helmet rule, eliminates ‘Tuck Rule’

by Jim Corbett, USA Today

The most controversial rules change passed at these now-concluded owners meetings will ban players from delivering forcible blows with the crown of the helmet. It was the biggest step aimed at making the game safer, particularly in regards to concussion prevention in these meetings that approved three new rules related to player safety. [..]

Wednesday’s other changes included passing a rule to fix the Thanksgiving Day challenge faux pas when Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz tried to challenge a Justin Forsett 81-yard touchdown run and his challenge negated the official’s ability to review the scoring play. Now a challenge of a play like that will result in a 15-yard penalty with the original play getting reviewed.

The other notable change? The infamous “Tuck Rule” is no more. The New England Patriots abstained from voting, as did Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, who was an Oakland Raiders executive in January 2002 when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s seeming fumble when his throwing arm came forward was ruled an incompletion. The Patriots went on to win that playoff game and eventually the Super Bowl.

No More Drones for CIA

by Daniel Klaidman, The Daily Beast

At a time when controversy over the Obama administration’s drone program seems to be cresting, the CIA is close to taking a major step toward getting out of the targeted killing business. Three senior U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast that the White House is poised to sign off on a plan to shift the CIA’s lethal targeting program to the Defense Department.

The move could potentially toughen the criteria for drone strikes, strengthen the program’s accountability, and increase transparency. Currently, the government maintains parallel drone programs, one housed in the CIA and the other run by the Department of Defense. The proposed plan would unify the command and control structure of targeted killings and create a uniform set of rules and procedures. The CIA would maintain a role, but the military would have operational control over targeting. Lethal missions would take place under Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which governs military operations, rather than Title 50, which sets out the legal authorities for intelligence activities and covert operations. “This is a big deal,” says one senior administration official who has been briefed on the plan. “It would be a pretty strong statement.”

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NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 1 Early Evening

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:40 ESPN2 (5) Colorado 25-6 (12) Kansas 18-13 South
6:35 ESPN2 (6) Nebraska 23-8 (11) Chattanooga 29-3 South
6:45 ESPN2 (4) Georgia 25-5-1 (13) Montana 24-7 West
6:50 ESPN2 (7) Texas Tech 21-10 (10) South Florida 21-10 West

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 5 Evening

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
5 CBS (1) Louisville 30-5 (8) Colorado State 26-8 Midwest
6 TNT (6) Arizona 26-7 (14) Harvard 20-9 West
7 TBS (4) St. Louis 27-6 (12) Oregon 27-8 Midwest
7:30 CBS (3) Marquette 24-8 (6) Butler 27-8 East
8:30 TNT (1) Gonzaga 32-2 (9) Wichita State 28-8 West
9:30 TBS (4) Syracuse 27-9 (12) California 21-11 East

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 1 Late Afternoon

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
4:05 ESPN2 (3) Texas A&M 24-9 (14) Wichita State 24-9 South
4:10 ESPN2 (4) South Carolina 24-7 (13) South Dakota St. 25-7 South
4:15 ESPN2 (5) Iowa State 23-8 (12) Gonzaga 27-5 West
4:20 ESPN2 (2) California 22-9 (15) Fresno State 24-8 West

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 1 Early Afternoon

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
1:35 ESPN2 (1) Connecticut 29-4 (16) Idaho 17-15 East
1:40 ESPN2 (3) UCLA 25-7 (14) Stetson 24-8 Midwest
1:45 ESPN2 (5) Michigan State 24-8 (12) Marist 26-6 East
1:50 ESPN2 (2) Tennessee 24-7 (15) Oral Roberts 18-12 Midwest

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 5 Afternoon

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
noon CBS (4) Michigan 27-7 (5) VCU 27-8 South
2:30 CBS (3) Michigan State 26-8 (6) Memphis 31-4 Midwest

On This Day In History March 23

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.

March 23 is the 82nd day of the year (83rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 283 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1775, Patrick Henry voices American opposition to British policy

During a speech before the second Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry responds to the increasingly oppressive British rule over the American colonies by declaring, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Following the signing of the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Patrick Henry was appointed governor of Virginia by the Continental Congress.

Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 – June 6, 1799) was an orator and politician who led the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786. Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is well remembered for his “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he is remembered as one of the most influential exponents of Republicanism, promoters of the American Revolution and Independence, especially in his denunciations of corruption in government officials and his defense of historic rights. After the Revolution, Henry was a leader of the anti-federalists in Virginia who opposed the United States Constitution, fearing that it endangered the rights of the States, as well as the freedoms of individuals.

American Revolution

Responding to pleas from Massachusetts that the colonies create committees of correspondence to coordinate their reaction to the British, Henry took the lead in Virginia. In March 1773, along with Thomas Jefferson and Richard Henry Lee, Henry led the Virginia House of Burgesses to adopt resolutions providing for a standing committee of correspondents. Each colony set up such committees, and they led to the formation of the First Continental Congress in 1774, to which Henry was elected.

Patrick Henry is best known for the speech he made in the House of Burgesses on March 23, 1775, in Saint John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. The House was undecided on whether to mobilize for military action against the encroaching British military force, and Henry argued in favor of mobilization. Forty-two years later, Henry’s first biographer, William Wirt, working from oral testimony, attempted to reconstruct what Henry said. According to Wirt, Henry ended his speech with words that have since become immortalized:

“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!”

The crowd, by Wirt’s account, jumped up and shouted “To Arms! To Arms!”. For 160 years Wirt’s account was taken at face value, but in the 1970s historians began to question the authenticity of Wirt’s reconstruction.[8] Historians today observe that Henry was known to have used fear of Indian and slave revolts in promoting military action against the British, and that according to the only written first-hand account of the speech, Henry used some graphic name-calling that failed to appear in Wirt’s heroic rendition.

In August 1775, Henry became colonel of the 1st Virginia Regiment. At the outset of the Revolutionary War, Henry led militia against Royal Governor Lord Dunmore in defense of some disputed gunpowder, an event known as the Gunpowder Incident. During the war he served as the first post-colonial Governor of Virginia and presided over several expeditions against the Cherokee Indians, who were allied with the British.

Henry lived during part of the War at his 10,000-acre Leatherwood Plantation in Henry County, Virginia, where he, his first cousin Ann Winston Carr and her husband Col. George Waller had settled. During the five years Henry lived at Leatherwood, from 1779 to 1784, he owned 75 slaves, and grew tobacco. During this time, he kept in close touch with his friend the explorer Joseph Martin, whom Henry had appointed agent to the Cherokee nation, and with whom Henry sometimes invested in real estate, and for whom the county seat of Henry County was later named.

In early November 1775 Henry and James Madison were elected founding trustees of Hampden-Sydney College, which opened for classes on November 10. He remained a trustee until his death in 1799. Henry was instrumental in achieving passage of the College’s Charter of 1783, an action delayed because of the war. He is probably the author of the Oath of Loyalty to the new Republic included in that charter. Seven of his sons attended the new college.


NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 1 Morning

Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
11:05 ESPN2 (8) Vanderbilt 20-11 (9) Saint Joseph’s 23-8 East
11:10 ESPN2 (6) Oklahoma 22-10 (11) Cent. Michigan 21-11 Midwest
11:15 ESPN2 (4) Maryland 24-7 (13) Quinnipiac 30-2 East
11:20 ESPN2 (7) Syracuse 24-7 (10) Creighton 24-7 Midwest

a baby murdered, but it’s all about the guns

Literally within hours of the Sandy Hook massacre on 14 December 2012, some of my pro-gun Facebook connections started moaning about how libruls would use the tragedy to swoop in and take away their guns.

Really???? Really??? I told them: please, have some decency… can we wait at least a week before hearing you all crying about your guns. Twenty little kids… they were just little kids, and six adults have been murdered.

I didn’t see it at the time, but perceived later that most of us seemed to make the story about people killed by guns, gun deaths, statistics, and the guns don’t kill people, people do litany. But just maybe there was something deeper to understand… twenty little kids gunned down in an elementary school… what really happened to bring us to that sad and mournful December day?

Now another child, a baby boy, has been shot and murdered in his stroller in Brunswick GA. I still can’t grasp it: why the kids alleged to have committed this horrific act shot the baby in the stroller after shooting the woman in the leg… why didn’t they take her purse… and without witnesses, it seems to me to have more questions than answers.

And yet, with all of the strangeness of the story, those damned guns steal the spotlight. See, I think there are far more important elements in either story than the use of guns…  

CIA Drones War Shift To Pentagon

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Earlier this week it was leaked to the press by those “anonymous White House sources” that the CIA’s drone program would be gradually transferred to the Pentagon supposedly making oversight by Congress more transparent and according to Daniel Klaidman, who first reported the shift at the Daily Beast it would also toughen the “criteria for drone” strikes and “strengthen the program’s accountability:”

Currently, the government maintains parallel drone programs, one housed in the CIA and the other run by the Department of Defense. The proposed plan would unify the command and control structure of targeted killings and create a uniform set of rules and procedures. The CIA would maintain a role, but the military would have operational control over targeting. Lethal missions would take place under Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which governs military operations, rather than Title 50, which sets out the legal authorities for intelligence activities and covert operations. [..]

Officials anticipate a phased-in transition in which the CIA’s drone operations would be gradually shifted over to the military, a process that could take as little as a year. Others say it might take longer but would occur during President Obama’s second term. [..]

uring that time, CIA and DOD operators would begin to work more closely together to ensure a smooth hand-off. The CIA would remain involved in lethal targeting, at least on the intelligence side, but would not actually control the unmanned aerial vehicles. Officials told The Daily Beast that a potential downside of the agency’s relinquishing control of the program was the loss of a decade of expertise that the CIA has developed since it has been prosecuting its war in Pakistan and beyond. At least for a period of transition, CIA operators would likely work alongside their military counterparts to target suspected terrorists.

Spencer Ackerman at The Wire, doesn’t think that this is much of a change. The CIA will still be involved telling military personnel what and who to target. Nor does Ackerman think that the program will be more transparent:

The congressional reporting requirements for so-called Title 50 programs (stuff CIA does, to be reductive) are more specific than those for Title 10 (stuff the military does, to be reductive). But the armed services committees tend to have unquestioned and broader oversight functions than the intelligence committees enjoy, not to mention better relationships with the committees: Witness the recent anger in the Senate intelligence committee that the CIA lied to it about its torture programs. The military is more likely than the CIA to openly testify about future drone operations, allow knowledgeable congressional staff into closed-door operational briefings and allow members of Congress to take tours of drone airbases.

As, Klaidman pointed out this could lead to even less transparency since there is nothing in the law that requires the military to account for its lethal operations while the CIA is obligated to report its activities.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee which has oversight of the CIA, expressed her concerns

Feinstein told reporters her “mind, certainly, is not made up.” But she quickly added she has reservations about turning over to the military the CIA’s armed drone fleet and the missions they conduct.

   During the last few years, she said, “We’ve watched the intelligence aspect of the drone program: how they function. The quality of the intelligence. Watching the agency exercise patience and discretion,” Feinstein said.

   “The military [armed drone] program has not done that nearly as well,” she said. “That causes me concern. This is a discipline that is learned, that is carried out without infractions…. It’s not a hasty decision that’s made. And I would really have to be convinced that the military would carry it out that way.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) preferred the program be transferred to Defense bringing it under the House and Senate Armed Services Committees:

“I believe the majority of the responsibility for this should rest with the military,” McCain told reporters Tuesday. [..]

“The majority of it can be conducted by the Department of Defense,” McCain said. “It’s not the job of the Central Intelligence Agency. … It’s the military’s job.”

Transferring the program to the Pentagon — and under the auspices of the House and Senate Armed Services committees — would create more “openness” and “oversight” and public hearings about the program, he said.

In reality, the Obama administration would still be running a secretive and questionably legal program.

Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” gives a a short history of the CIA and talks with former congressman and now MSNBC contributor, Patrick Murphy, who served on the House Armed Services Committee, about oversight of the drone program.

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