February 3, 2014 archive

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Snowden: The ARD Interview

Ed Snowden gave an interview, in english, to German Public TV network ARD on January 26, 2014.

Recent Interview With Edward Snowden Blacked-Out by Major Media Outlets

WRITTEN BY: Martin Hempfling, College News

January 31, 2014

It seems the only thing George Orwell got wrong in writing 1984 was the year. We are clearly living in a surveillance state which is blatantly violating the Constitution of the United States. It’s interesting to consider those who label Snowden as a “traitor” because, as Snowden himself puts it: “If I am a traitor, who did I betray? I gave all my information to the American public, to American journalists who are reporting on American issues. If they see that as treason, I think people really need to consider who they think they’re working for.”

(h/t Nicole Belle @ Crooks & Liars)


On This Day In History February 3

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 3 is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 331 days remaining until the end of the year (332 in leap years).

On this day in 1959, “the music died” when rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.


The plane took off at around 12:55 AM Central Time. Just after 1:00 AM Central Time, Mr. Hubert Dwyer, a commercial pilot and owner of the plane, observing from a platform outside the tower, “saw the tail light of the aircraft gradually descend until out of sight.”

Peterson had told Dwyer he would file a flight plan with Air Traffic Control by radio after departure. When he did not call the Air Traffic Control communicator with his flight plan, Dwyer requested that Air Traffic Control continue to attempt to establish radio contact, but all attempts were unsuccessful.

By 3:30 AM, when Hector Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted authorities and reported the aircraft missing.

Around 9:15 AM, Dwyer took off in another small plane to fly Peterson’s intended route. A short time later, he spotted the wreckage in a cornfield belonging to Albert Juhl, about five miles (8 km) northwest of the airport.

The Bonanza was at a slight downward angle and banked to the right when it struck the ground at around 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). The plane tumbled and skidded another 570 feet (170 m) across the frozen landscape before the crumpled ball of wreckage piled against a wire fence at the edge of Juhl’s property. The bodies of Holly and Valens lay near the plane, Richardson was thrown over the fence and into the cornfield of Juhl’s neighbor Oscar Moffett, and the body of Peterson remained entangled inside the plane’s wreckage. Surf Ballroom manager Carroll Anderson, who drove the musicians to the airport and witnessed the plane’s takeoff, made positive identifications of the musicians.

All four had died instantly from “gross trauma” to the brain, the county coroner Ralph Smiley declared. Holly’s death certificate detailed the multiple injuries which show that he surely died on impact:

The body of Charles H. Holley was clothed in an outer jacket of yellow leather-like material in which four seams in the back were split almost full length. The skull was split medially in the forehead and this extended into the vertex region. Approximately half the brain tissue was absent. There was bleeding from both ears, and the face showed multiple lacerations. The consistency of the chest was soft due to extensive crushing injury to the bony structure.[…] Both thighs and legs showed multiple fractures.

Investigators concluded that the crash was due to a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error. Peterson, working on his Instrument Rating, was still taking flight instrumentation tests and was not yet rated for flight into weather that would have required operation of the aircraft solely by reference to his instruments rather than by means of his own vision. The final Civil Aeronautics Board report noted that Peterson had taken his instrument training on airplanes equipped with an artificial horizon attitude indicator and not the far-less-common Sperry Attitude Gyro on the Bonanza. Critically, the two instruments display the aircraft pitch attitude in the exact opposite manner; therefore, the board thought that this could have caused Peterson to think he was ascending when he was in fact descending. They also found that Peterson was not given adequate warnings about the weather conditions of his route, which, given his known limitations, might have caused him to postpone the flight.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

French School

Jon Stewart: State of the Union

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Jon Stewart: State of the Union

President Obama uses lessons learned from passive-aggressive Jewish mothers in his 2014 State of the Union address.

The 2014 State of the Union – Republicans Respond

Joe Biden does his thing, and Republican politicians react to President Obama’s State of the Union talking points.  

Band of Blockers

Republicans uninterested in bipartisanship decry President Obama’s lack of bipartisanship, and one Congressman gives a NY1 reporter the traditional Staten Island goodbye.

Late Night Karaoke

XLVIII: Broncos v. Seahawks

Let’s start at the top.  This is not the ‘Reefer Bowl’.  As poblano said Monday this is a pick ’em.  It’s actually incredibly rare that the two top teams in each Conference face each other, rarer still that the top offense (Broncos) faces the top defense (Seahawks).

Now poblano when pressed picks the Seahawks but I suspect that’s mostly based on sentiment and not statistics.  The Seahawks are the only team to have won Championships in both Conferences, but they’ve never really been very good and the rest of the teams in Seattle suck.

The Broncos have yet to recover from the Tebow incident and the Rockies, Avalanche, and Nuggets are legit (as long as they play at home).

Now me?  I agree with bmaz that this game will be decided not by how good the Seahawks defense is- Payton Manning, as much as you may hate him, will score some points.  It will be decided by how good the Bronco defense is and whether Russell Wilson can score more (he was an incredibly excellent draft pick, 75th in the 3rd round and has already performed well above that).  Now good Defense has won Superb Owls before, but the Seahawks is not that much better than the Broncos.  Broncos are 2 point favorites and will need to shut down the Seahawks ground game.

Weather will not be a factor though it might rain a little.

Now I know some of you are not at all interested in the Superb Owl and are looking to avoid it at all costs.  Here are some suggestions-

Alternative TV

And I know some of you watch it just for the ads ($4 Million for 30 seconds last I looked)-


You can always count on The Guardian to provide an offbeat take on American Throwball-


And serious ones too-

Why the NFL is a Billionaire Scam

The New York Times coverage is by comparison thin (WaPo non-existent, they’re too concerned about their imploding franchise).

This piece is an interesting comparison to the Wall Street Casino-

Big Time Betting

They also have a couple of interesting analysis pieces-


The Superb Owl below.