January 27, 2014 archive

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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.


Excuses To Do Nothing

What is becoming clear is that tomorrow’s “big” State of the Union speech will be a vacuous exercise in gasbaggery.  Not that they aren’t all that way, but this one is so obvious that even the Beltway Bootlickers are compelled to notice it.

For Obama, Investing in Brighter Futures Remains a Tough Sell

By JOHN HARWOOD, The New York Times

JAN. 26, 2014

As aides draft their 2015 budget plan, their 2014 version shows this bottom line for Mr. Obama’s sixth year in office: Government investments in infrastructure, research and development, and education and training, at 3.3 percent of the nation’s economy, match the level from President George W. Bush’s sixth year in office.

“It has not been possible to significantly shift the needle,” said Laura D’Andrea Tyson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who headed Mr. Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. “We should be raising those levels, and we’re not.

“I guess the good news,” Ms. Tyson added, “is that the share hasn’t been plummeting.”

Over the last half-century, though, it has plummeted. Spending on what the federal government classifies as investments peaked in 1968 at 6.6 percent of the economy, twice the current proportion.

“We’ve been playing on a Reagan playing field – a cut-government, shrink-programs field – since 1981,” (Democratic Senator from New York) Mr. Schumer said in an interview. “It’s all turning around now.”

Yah think?  Really?

Oh, and I’d never use plummeted, plummeted.  How about ‘falling’ idiot?  Buy a damn Thesaurus you cheap bastard.

The Drone War

Considering that much of the operations against terrorists is a mere chimera designed to keep money flowing into the pockets of the grifters and con artists of the military industrial security state, it’s hard to look at the ‘zero option’ as a scary concept.

Afghanistan Exit Is Seen as Peril to Drone Mission


JAN. 26, 2014

If Mr. Obama ultimately withdrew all American troops from Afghanistan, the C.I.A.’s drone bases in the country would have to be closed, according to administration officials, because it could no longer be protected.

The C.I.A.’s drone bases in Afghanistan, including one in the eastern part of the country, allow operators to respond quickly to fresh intelligence. The proximity to Pakistan’s tribal areas also allows the Predator drones and their larger, faster cousin, the Reaper, to fly longer missions without having to return to base.

Other allied countries are within the Reaper’s range – in the Persian Gulf, for example. But the distances would be too great to carry out drone operations effectively, officials said, and it is very unlikely that any of those nations would approve launching the diplomatically sensitive strikes missions from their soil.

This is bad news only if you think the indiscriminate remote bombing of wedding parties and shepherds and the first responders who come to identify the dead and tend the wounded is a good idea.

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