June 2014 archive


A documentary about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the slide to the Great War.

Now personally I think the roots of the Great War go much deeper than presented here, at least to the Franco-Prussian War, but it will take longer than I have today to develop them so you’ll just have to wait.

On This Day In History June 29

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.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 29 is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 185 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1928, The Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in Staten Island, New York are both opened.

The Outerbridge Crossing is a cantilever bridge which spans the Arthur Kill. The “Outerbridge”, as it is commonly known, connects Perth Amboy, New Jersey, with the New York City borough of Staten Island and carries NY-440 and NJ-440, each road ending at the respective state border.

The bridge was named for Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge (sometimes pronounced “ooterbridge”) the first chairman of the then-Port of New York Authority and a resident of Staten Island. Rather than call it the “Outerbridge Bridge” the span was labeled a “crossing”, but many New Yorkers and others mistakenly assume the name comes from the fact that it is the most remote bridge in New York City and the southernmost crossing in New York state.

It is a steel cantilever construction, designed by John Alexander Low Waddell and built under the auspices of the Port of New York Authority, now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which currently operates it.

It opened simultaneously with the Goethals Bridge on June 29, 1928. Both spans have similar designs. Neither bridge saw high traffic counts until the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 1964. Traffic counts on both bridges were also depressed due to the effects of the Great Depression and World War II.

The Outerbridge Crossing carried 32,438,000 vehicles (both directions) in 2006, or approximately 90,000 each day. Tolls are collected in the eastbound direction only. In early 2009, the cash toll was $8 for passenger vehicles. Users of E-ZPass pay a toll of $6 during off-peak hours (outside of 6-9 am and 4-7 pm).

In 2003, the Port Authority raised the speed limit for the three inner E-ZPass lanes at the toll plaza from 15 mph to 25 mph, separating these lanes from the rest of the eight-lane toll plaza by a barrier. Two years later, the tollbooths adjacent to the 25 mph E-ZPass lanes were removed and overhead gantries were installed with electronic tag readers to permit E-ZPass vehicles to travel at 45 mph in special high-speed lanes.[9] Motorists using the high-speed E-ZPass lanes cannot use the Page Avenue exit, which is located immediately after the toll plaza.

In recent years, the bridge has undergone numerous repair jobs as a result of the high volume of traffic that crosses the bridge each day.

The Goethals Bridge connects Elizabeth, New Jersey to Staten Island (New York City), near the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, Staten Island, New York over the Arthur Kill. Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the span was one of the first structures built by the authority. On the New Jersey side it is located 2 exits south of the terminus for the New Jersey Turnpike-Newark Bay Extension. The primary use for this bridge is a connection for New York City to Newark Airport. The bridge has been grandfathered into Interstate 278, and named for Major General George Washington Goethals, who supervised construction of the Panama Canal and was the first consulting engineer of the Port Authority.

A steel truss cantilever design by John Alexander Low Waddell ], who also designed the [Outerbridge Crossing. The bridge is 672 ft (205 m) long central span, 7,109 feet (2,168 m) long in total, 62 feet (19 m) wide, has a clearance of 135 feet (41.1 m) and has four lanes for traffic. The Port Authority had $3 million of state money and raised $14 million in bonds to build the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing; the Goethals bridge construction began on September 1, 1925 and cost $7.2 million. It and the Outerbridge Crossing opened on June 29, 1928. The Goethals Bridge replaced three ferries and is the immediate neighbor of the Arthur Kill Rail Bridge. Its unusual mid-span height was a requirement of the New Jersey ports.

Connecting onto the New Jersey Turnpike, it is one of the main routes for traffic between there and Brooklyn via the Staten Island Expressway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Until the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was completed in 1964 the Goethals Bridge never turned a profit. The same happened to the Outerbridge Crossing. The total traffic in 2002 was 15.68 million vehicles.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Iraq receives Russian fighter jets to fight rebels

 29 June 2014 Last updated at 07:13


Iraq says it has received the first batch of fighter jets it ordered from Russia to help it as it fights an offensive by Sunni rebels.

The defence ministry said five Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft would enter service in “three to four days”.

The insurgents control large swathes of the north and west after a string of attacks over the past three weeks.

On Saturday, the government said it had retaken the northern city of Tikrit, but rebels dispute this.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Syria charity blames red tape for closure of Aleppo hospital

If King Canute had a roads policy… North Carolina’s Highway 12 is at the centre of a ferocious and politically charged dispute

India’s uranium mines expose villages to radiation

‘She had too much ABCD’: the tale of one divorced Nigerian girl

History divides Bosnia once again, this time over World War I centenary

Late Night Karaoke

I won’t hold my breath…

Is this the beginning of the end of the age of legal government spying?

Trevor Timm, The Guardian

Saturday 28 June 2014 07.45 EDT

The US supreme court’s unanimous 9-0 opinion this week requiring police to get a warrant before searching your cellphone is arguably the most important legal privacy decision of the digital age.

One of the most contentious issues in courts high and low right now is the extent to which your cellphone location information should fall under the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Whether you’re on a call or not, your phone emits a signal to cell towers that pinpoints your exact whereabouts, 24/7. And the cops believe – as they do for most things digital – that they can get that information without a warrant. Two appeals courts have, sadly, agreed with them, but two weeks ago, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important decision: yes, your location information should be protected.

Roberts did throw a wrench into the NSA’s main defense for what it does: self-policing. The NSA’s argument has always been essentially this: we don’t need court oversight over our massive surveillance machine because our internal privacy controls are so good.

Roberts, however, ridicules this theory in his Riley opinion: the government promised the court it would create “government agency protocols” and make sure not to abuse its power if allowed to continue searching cellphones without a warrant. “Probably a good idea,” Roberts wrote after going into detail about the historical origins of the Constitutional right to privacy, “but the Founders did not fight a revolution to gain the right to government agency protocols.”

(T)he cloud has always terrified privacy advocates because of what’s known as the “third party doctrine”, devised by the supreme court in the pre-digital era. The theory, as law professor Daniel Solove explained this week, “holds that if data is known to a third party, then there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in that data (and, as a result, no Fourth Amendment protection at all).”

But Roberts called into question this distinction when he wrote that it “generally makes little difference” whether data in your cellphone is stored locally or in the cloud. This may seem like a throwaway line, but it could hold significant sway down the road.

…but it would be nice if so.


On This Day In History June 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.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 28 is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 186 days remaining until the end of the year.

In common years it is always in ISO week 26.

This date is the only date each year where both the month and day are different perfect numbers, June 6 being the only date where the month and day are the same perfect number.

On this day in 1919, Keynes predicts economic chaos

At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. The English economist John Maynard Keynes, who had attended the peace conference but then left in protest of the treaty, was one of the most outspoken critics of the punitive agreement. In his The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in December 1919, Keynes predicted that the stiff war reparations and other harsh terms imposed on Germany by the treaty would lead to the financial collapse of the country, which in turn would have serious economic and political repercussions on Europe and the world.


A decade later, Hitler would exploit this continuing bitterness among Germans to seize control of the German state. In the 1930s, the Treaty of Versailles was significantly revised and altered in Germany’s favor, but this belated amendment could not stop the rise of German militarism and the subsequent outbreak of World War II.

In the late 1930s, John Maynard Keynes gained a reputation as the world’s foremost economist by advocating large-scale government economic planning to keep unemployment low and markets healthy. Today, all major capitalist nations adhere to the key principles of Keynesian economics. He died in 1946.

Governments ignore Keynes at their own peril.

The Breakfast Club (Goodbye To All That)

Quick, what do these things have in common besides being music related?

Karl Michael Ziehrer – Das dumme Herz

Sergei Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major

Richard Strauss – Alpine Symphony

Maurice Ravel – Piano Trio in A Minor

Edward Elgar – Sospiri

Tanbûrî Cemil Bey – Nihâvend Şarkı

(Well, maybe.  Best I could do.)

Ottorino Respighi – Sinfonia Drammatica

Charles Ives – Violin Sonata No. 3

Maybe this will give you a hint-

More, including the answer and obligatories. below the fold.

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan

 photo top16_zps4479829f.jpg

Japanese Twitter users square off in Adios Guy Photoshop Championship

   Master Blaster

With the Japanese national team’s hopes of winning the World Cup championship dashed far too early this year. Japan’s soccer fans were left with mere scraps of enjoyment they once had in the tournament. Luckily though, every World Cup has its ancillary breakout star.

Last time, we saw the mystical talents of Paul the Octopus, and now the world finds itself staring in wonder at the phenomenon Japan has dubbed Adios Ojisan (Adios Guy). For those not familiar, Adios Ojisan was a guy in the audience of the Chile/Spain match (among others) holding up an iPad which read “Adios Spana.”

And so, with Team Japan out of the running, let us enjoy some highlights from the Adios Spana Photoshop Championship currently being held on Twitter!

Health and Fitness News

Broccoli, Stems and All

Broccoli, Stems and All photo recipehealthpromo-tmagArticle_zps18f8c7fa.jpg

Once upon a time, when you bought broccoli you bought the whole vegetable, stems and crowns. Then it became customary for grocery store produce departments to separate the crowns from the stems and to sell the crowns at a premium.

I’m not a fan of this practice, because I like both parts of the broccoli plant. The stems and crowns are equally nutritious when it comes to calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, protein and vitamin A. The only nutrient that appears to be more concentrated in the crowns is beta carotene.

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Pre-Summer Greek Salad With Shaved Broccoli and Peppers or Beets

Uncooked, paper-thin broccoli keeps its shape and color, but absorbs a dressing.

Stir-fried Broccoli Stalks and Flowers, Red Peppers, Peanuts and Tofu

Cutting broccoli stalks into two-inch julienne is almost like adding yet another vegetable to this quick stir-fry.

Pan-Fried Broccoli Stems

A swift way to turn broccoli into an irresistible snack or side dish.

Pasta With Mushrooms and Broccoli

Cooked separately, broccoli stems and flowers have different textures and shades of green.

Spring Rolls With Shredded Broccoli Stems, Vermicelli and Red Pepper

You can save time on these light, pungent spring rolls by using the already shredded broccoli stems available in some supermarkets.

Reclaiming Our History

 photo TransJustice_zps9b0ed6eb.jpg

Forty-five years ago tomorrow, just after midnight, when the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, the police handcuffed transgender women, sex workers, and homeless youth, who were herded out of the bar and loaded into paddy wagons.

That was all routine.  What was not routine was that the people being rounded up fought back.

TransJustice, sponsored by the Audre Lorde Project celebrated today as the 10th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice, gathering at Christopher Street Pier from 2pm to 5pm.  Representing Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) People of Color, TransJustice insists, among other items, that it is time for TGNC people to take back Stonewall from its whitewashed history.

We live in a time when oppressed peoples including people of color, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women and TGNC people, and poor people are underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state.  We must unite and work together towards dismantling the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia that permeates our movements for social justice, while also celebrating the victories and strides for the rights of TGNC POC.  Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC rights will not be undermined and together we will not be silenced!

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