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Late Night Open Thread: Don Quixote

For Your Consideration: Supreme Court Replacements

Justice John Paul Stevens has announced his intentions to retire during the Obama administration. This is not unexpected news, he is 89 years old. There is now discussion and much  speculation about his replacement. The three names most prominently being discussed are:

   The White House has declined to comment on its preparations for selecting a successor, but those close to the process repeatedly have mentioned three names as likely to merit close consideration.

   One is Mr. Obama’s solicitor general, Elena Kagan, a former dean of Harvard Law School who was considered for the nomination that ultimately went to Justice Sonia Sotomayor […]

   Liberals see a surer voice in another finalist for last year’s vacancy, Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. On a court known for its intellectual heft, Judge Wood has proven a serious counterweight to such influential conservative judges as Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook, legal observers say […]

   A third oft-mentioned name is Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

   As a Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, Judge Garland oversaw investigations into the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski.

There is some wariness about SG Kagan who has defended executive power

This will not necessarily shift the Roberts Court but it will have a long term impact for the next generation.

h/t to David Dayen @ FDL

For Your Consideration: War Courts

The Obama administration disregard for the rule law and human rights continues

Guantanamo war court resumes hearings amid uncertainty


GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – Still operating under Bush-era policies that President Barack Obama last year called “a mess,” the Pentagon will resume military commission hearings for accused terrorists Wednesday in a top secret compound originally designed for the trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

War court critics denounced the decision to go ahead with hearings this week, saying that without new rules that the Obama administration has yet to complete, the commissions are operating with uncertain procedures.

“It’s really like a lame duck commission,” bristled Mike Berrigan, deputy chief defense counsel.


Among the questions the lack of a new manual of procedures leaves unanswered is whether a defendant could enter a guilty plea in a case where he might face the death penalty. Under military law, such a confession isn’t allowed, a requirement that stymied earlier efforts to try the 9/11 conspirators after they offered to confess to a judge directly without empanelling a jury.

Open Thread: Most Everyone’s Mad Here


This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Small, dark Easter eggs may be good for your heart

dark chocolate eggs

(Reuters) – Easter eggs may be good for you, but only if you eat small ones made from cocoa-rich dark chocolate, according to the latest in a string of scientific studies to show potential health benefits of chocolate.

German researchers studied more than 19,300 people over a decade and found those who ate the most chocolate — an average of 7.5 grams a day — had lower blood pressure and a 39 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke than those who ate the least amount of chocolate — an average of 1.7 grams a day.

But, the difference between the two groups was just under six grams (6g) of chocolate a day, less than one small square of an average 100g bar, they wrote in a study in the European Heart Journal to be published on Wednesday.

Chocolate contains flavanols, anti-oxidant flavanoids, that are found in coco, wine and vegetables. Flavanols aid the release of nitrous oxide from the cells that line the blood vessels, Nitrous oxide is a smooth muscle relaxant that once in the blood stream, causes the blood vessels to relax and widen thus reducing blood pressure. Dark chocolate containing 70% coco has also been linked to  reducing stress. Along with a healthy diet, exercise and changes in lifestyle, 100 gm of Dark chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. One word of caution, there are 500 calories in 100 gm of chocolate. Happy Easter

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

UN Donor Conference on Haiti

Tomorrow in NYC the UN Donors’ Conference for Haiti which will discuss the current and future needs of Haiti after the devastating Earthquake on January 12.

Tonight on Frontline they will air the documentary The World is Coming to an End

On Jan. 12, 2010, one of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history leveled the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Those responsible for handling the catastrophe, including the Haitian government and the United Nations, were among the victims. FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith bears witness to the scale of the disaster and takes viewers on a searing and intimate journey into the camps, hospitals and broken neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince. Featuring never-before-seen footage of the moments after the earthquake and interviews with top officials from Port-au-Prince to Washington, The Quake ultimately asks, how will the world respond?

The crisis for the Haitian people is still happening and getting worse with the rain. I don’t want to think of the catastrophe that awaits with the hurricane season but I must, so must the world.  

Sarkozy Didn’t Read the Bill

Pardon. M. le Président, avez-vous lu la législation ?

At Columbia University yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy both chastised and praised the US for the passage of the Health Insurance Bill:

“Welcome to the club of states who don’t turn their back on the sick and the poor,” said Sarkozy. He also added: “When we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it’s difficult to believe. The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them … is something astonishing to us.”


“If you come to France and something happens to you, you won’t be asked for your credit card before you’re rushed to the hospital.”

M. Sarkozy hasn’t read the bill, obviously.

This Week in Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness. This is an Open Thread.

Tuberculosis: Drug-Resistant Strains Still Spreading at Deadly Rates, W.H.O. Report Says

Drug-resistant tuberculosis killed about 150,000 people in 2008, and half of all the world’s cases are thought in be in China and India, the World Health Organization said in a report last week.

No one knows the exact number of cases of the two types of drug-resistant TB, called MDR and XDR for multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant.

A few places, like Peru and Hong Kong, have fought the disease effectively, as New York City did in the early 1990s. Progress has been made in parts of Siberia, but in another region of Russia, more than a quarter of all cases are drug-resistant. And in Africa, a vast majority of cases have probably not even been diagnosed, the report said.

Even standard tuberculosis takes six months to cure with a four antibiotic cocktail. But the drugs cost only $20 and are relatively easy to take. Drug-resistant forms can take two years and require dangerously toxic drugs that cost $5,000 or more per person; they usually emerge when public health officials fail to ensure that patients with regular TB take their drugs daily.

As is now custom, I’ll try to include the more interesting and pertinent articles that will help the community awareness of their health and bodies. This essay will not be posted anywhere else due to constraints on my time. Please feel free to make suggestions for improvement and ask questions, I’ll answer as best I can.  

Late Night Open Thread: Spring

CNN Finally Gets It

What digby said:

CNNs Rick Sanchez was all confused about why so many people might suddenly be in favor of the HCR bill when they thought it was a bad idea before. Blitzer explains:


Well, you know, when people are asked, we did that poll CNN Opinion Research Poll, that said, “you like this health care bill or not like it”, we just assumed that the people who said they didn’t like it didn’t like it because it was too much interference, or too much taxes or whatever.

   But if you take a closer look at people who didn’t like it, about 12% of those people who said they didn’t like it they didn’t like it because they didn’t think it went far enough. They wanted a single payer option, they wanted the so-called public option, they didn’t like not from the right, they didn’t like it because it wasn’t left or liberal enough.

   That’s how you got 50% of the American people who said, “we don’t like this plan.” But only about 40 or 38% were the ones who said it was too much government interference.

That’s so interesting, don’t you think? Maybe Blitzer should put something in the suggestion box about that.

(emphasis mine)

Well, like DUH!. If the news media had really watched the polls all along they would have known this and maybe, just maybe, there would have been a Public Option in this bill to offset the mandates and taxes.  

The Monster That Won’t Go Back in the Closet: Up Dated

This is just lovely. Isn’t wonderful when someone you really dislike starts to get what they deserve? Well, the Republi-won’t’s and their billionaire supporters created the Tea Party as a supposed “non-partisan, grassroots” activist group. Their main agenda was shouting down the Health Insurance Bill. Now, they won’t shut up about open rebellion, survivalist tactics, out right hate speech and openly carrying weapons. The Tea Partiers have not so subtly hinted that they would like to over throw the government.

The Tea Party’s right wing extremist agenda is now hurting the Republicans in the poll heading into the 2010 Midterm Elections. Quinipiac conducted a poll which showed that most Tea Partiers are white, Republican, more women than men and less educated. They also believe the government does too much.

They view the Republican Party as soft and ineffective. In certain districts if they ere to run their own candidates if would cut into votes for the Republican on the ticket, giving the advantage to the Democrat. This is what happened in the NY-23.

The Republicans have created a monster that will not go back in the closet and it is no longer lurking under the bed..  

Late Night Open Thread: Most Everyone’s Mad Here

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