30 November, 2011
So how did it fare?
Not well. The show’s been living on Monday nights at 8pm, facing stiff competition from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and CBS’s comedy block (How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, and Mike and Molly). The ratings have been dismal: just 1.4 adults in the 18-49 rating for last week’s finals. All and all, a total flop.
But here’s the twist in all this: The Sing-Off is actually the best reality singing competition on television. Far better than American Idol, The X Factor, and The Voice combined. Because unlike those other shows, The Sing-Off features:
Driving home, the world rushed in. He saw a tree that Jennifer told him was, in fact, a cement divider. He saw exit signs and recognized letters but could not read the words. He saw the water below a bridge and that the water was moving. He told Jennifer, "I'm thrilled. It's endless. This is thrilling."
Welcome to the wonderful world of the Republican Party. Or rather: to the distorted world of its presidential campaign. For months it has coiled through the country like a traveling circus, from debate to debate, from scandal to scandal, contesting the mightiest office in the world — and nothing is ever too unfathomable for them… These eight presidential wannabes are happy enough not only to demolish their own reputations but also that of their party, the once worthy party of Abraham Lincoln. They are also ruining the reputation of the United States.
Gingrich cements the new orthodoxy of the GOP:
Waterboarding is by every technical rule not torture. [Applause] Waterboarding is actually something we’ve done with our own pilots in order to get them used to the idea to what interrogation is like. It’s not — I’m not saying it’s not bad, and it’s not difficult, it’s not frightening. I’m just saying that under the normal rules internationally it’s not torture.
I think the right balance is that a prisoner can only be waterboarded at the direction of the president in a circumstance which the information was of such great importance that we thought it was worth the risk of doing it and I do that frankly only out of concern for world opinion. But we do not want to be known as a country that capriciously mistreats human beings.
The problem is not caprice. The problem is torture. Waterboarding by every conceivable rule is torture. No court has ever found otherwise in any country that adheres to the Geneva Conventions or the UN Coinvention on Torture signed by Ronald Reagan. Several federal court opinions define waterboarding as torture. The US government executed Japanese military leaders following World War II for waterboarding. It was judged torture in the 1926 Mississippi Supreme Court case, which Gingrich as a "historian" should know by now. It is featured in Cambodia's Museum of Torture to commemorate the abuses of the Khmer Rouge. As the UN Rapporteur on torture has said:
I don’t think there is any question, any serious question. I mean it’s a question of severity. If you think that waterboarding is not severe mistreatment you don’t really know what waterboarding is. … I mean if you then redefine upwards the severity standard to say that it’s only severe if it’s organ failure or death, then you know you’re really very clearly distorting the sense of the words and you know words have to be interpreted in treaty language, they have to be interpreted in their plain meaning and their plain meaning couldn’t be more clear in the case of waterboarding.
This is not an opinion. It is a fact. What Gingrich has said is untrue. It cannot stand. What the last president authorized was torture, a war crime under domestic and international law.
What the Occupiers actually need to do is elect Occupy-approved candidates to Congress. If they do not do this, then their movement is meaningless – which it is, of course; but the ongoing lack of Congressional representation that is beholden to the Occupy movement will merely make that fact more obvious, more quickly (and to more people). And note that I did not write ‘have Occupy-friendly advocates in Congress:’ it’s not enough to have sitting progressive Democrats show solidarity. They don’t need Occupier support to keep their seats, you see; which limits the amount of change that Occupiers can force them to support.
And, in case nobody’s ever pointed this out to the Activist Left, let me be the first: sometimes you have to use the stick on your party’s politicians. To paraphrase Machiavelli… it’s great if your politicians love you, but it’s even better if they’re also slightly afraid of you, too. And they have to keep being slightly afraid of you, which means that you have to sustain your original effort and make it clear that you’re still paying attention to their shenanigans. In other words, electing like-minded public officials is a process, not an event (Tea Party activists, please take note).
The Ministry is also featuring on its website a series of short videos that, in an almost comically heavy-handed way, caution Israelis against raising their children in America -- one scare-ad shows a pair of Israeli grandparents seated before a menorah and Skypeing with their granddaughter, who lives in America. When they ask the child to name the holiday they're celebrating, she says "Christmas." In another ad, an actor playing a slightly-adenoidal, goateed young man (who, to my expert Semitic eye, is meant to represent a typical young American Jew) is shown to be oblivious to the fact that his Israeli girlfriend is in mourning on Yom HaZikaron, Israel's memorial day.
In a YouTube video posted on Monday, Trevor Eckhart showed how software from a Silicon Valley company known as Carrier IQ recorded in real time the keys he pressed into a stock EVO handset, which he had reset to factory settings just prior to the demonstration. Using a packet sniffer while his device was in airplane mode, he demonstrated how each numeric tap and every received text message is logged by the software.
29 November, 2011
Be a Jerk: The Worst Business Lesson from the Steve Jobs Biography - Tom McNichol - Business - The Atlantic
By 3 o'clock that afternoon, the five people huddled in Anders' one-bedroom apartment realized they were in serious trouble. As the militants seized control, there were fewer English speakers on the radio net. Codename Palm Tree had fled. After the last holdouts in the chancery's vault radioed their surrender, the only voices coming through the box were speaking in Farsi. The embassy was lost. The escapees were on their own.
Facebook had a "Verified Apps" program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn't.
Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn't.
28 November, 2011
The truth is messy. It doesn’t fit into narratives, and it’s often uncomfortable. But damn it, it’s the truth. If the left decides to completely divorce itself from reality at the same time the right does, then we are in trouble — big trouble.
So, lefties, I am asking you politely: please stop. Stop pretending that questionable sources are the gospel truth. Stop pretending that rumor and innuendo are the same as facts. Stop listening to anything Moore and Wolf and Hamsher are saying — because their concern for the truth is roughly the same as that of Hannity and Limbaugh and Coulter, and believe me, it pains me to say that, but it’s true.
27 November, 2011
Republicans want voters to believe that the supercommittee failed because Obama didn’t show leadership. No one in the White House will admit to a conscious decision to let the supercommittee combust on its own, but that was the practical result. Obama did inject a plan of his own into the deliberations with a 65-page roadmap that the White House released right after Labor Day. It incorporated elements of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, which Obama had created but then largely ignored.
26 November, 2011
This is such a basic concept, and so familiar to the growing ranks of commuter relationships, or to a relationship of lovers, who see each other only periodically for intense bursts of pleasure. I’m surprised we don’t have any equivalent word for this subset of relationship bliss. It’s a handy one for modern life.
25 November, 2011
As soon as the Brits had the opportunity to get off their bicycles they did, with car ownership increasing rapidly in the post-war years, and continuing to remain high. This despite the fact that, as in the Netherlands, campaigns to improve London’s bicycle provisions and encourage a return to bicycle use have been happening since the 1970s.
It's worth noting that Mr. Wax subsequently applied to Harvard's Law School, was far more successful, and to this day works as a lawyer.
Transcript follows. Image from Bill Shapiro's excellent book, Other Peole's Rejection Letters.
February 11, 1957
Dear Mr. Wax:
In reply to your recent letter, I regret that we must inform you that Princeton University has no Law School.
Joseph L. Bolster, Jr.
Mr. Harvey Wax
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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24 November, 2011
But for all the footage available, and despite the $4 billion or so the NFL makes every year by selling its broadcast rights, there's some footage the league keeps hidden.
“Mahna Mahna”: How a ditty from a soft-core Italian movie became the Muppets’ catchiest tune. - Slate Magazine
23 November, 2011
Prosecutors allege the 45-year-old woman was seeking revenge on a man who she'd had sexual encounters with over four meetings -- and who had just unfriended her on Facebook, among other rejections.
This could be done by simplification. If the laws are too numerous and too complex to be intelligently understood and applied, three things happen. Corruption leads to unethical thievery and dishonest special pleading. Confusion leads to inaction and non-enforcement (which then renders all of the diverse regulations useless to the cause of protecting the tax-paying citizenry.) Complexity leads to human error and unintended consequences. Nobody in their right minds should feel safe or liberated while they live under a government that is too complex to adequately monitor or understand.
“The whole thing was a general pain,” Don Craven, a trustee of the Curran-Gardner Township Public Water District, said Tuesday.
“First, they tell us that it’s the first instance of cyber hacking in the entire world, and everyone goes nuts. Now, all of a sudden, they tell us it’s not.”
Penn State scandal: How what happened in State College forced me to confront my own abuse. - Slate Magazine
I have spent the better part of my life working to cover wounds from my own childhood abuse, about which I have never spoken publicly. In fact, I’ve hardly talked about it at all; I can count on two hands the number of people who know anything about it. Some of my siblings will learn of it from this article.
Is it really likely that all these presidents have suffered from the same character flaws? Suppose you’re trying to find dates online, and everybody you meet turns out to be too ugly. Might it be possible that the problem isn’t the attractiveness of the single people in your town but rather your standards?
The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it.
Where the so-called "brinicle" met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish.
The unusual phenomenon was filmed for the first time by cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the BBC One series Frozen Planet
It's been just over a month since the capture and death of Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy, ending his 42-year reign. Since then, the rebels have declared that the nation is liberated, installed a transitional government, and started the process of writing a constitution. Still, substantial problems remain. Pockets of fighting have erupted among rival tribes and some rebels have refused to give up their cache of weapons. Doctors continue to struggle to treat the wounded and sick, with a few of the most severely injured being sent to rehabilitation centers in Boston and elsewhere. Last weekend, Khadafy’s son, Seif, was captured and could face war crimes for his part in the conflict. -- Lloyd Young (EDITOR'S NOTE: We will not post a Big Picture on Friday, November 25, due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.) (40 photos total)
And now, a fortnight later, with the damage already done, The Wall Street Journal has joined those ranks, running a story that not only fails to be timely, but is also hardly fair and blatantly unbalanced.
It’s shocking and discouraging–if not completely unsurprising, given how this month has gone–to see a major newspaper give a forum to a disgruntled former employee for the voicing of grievances. Vicky Triponey, the former (and disgraced) Vice President for Student Affairs at Penn State, clearly went to the newspaper, selling a story, and in another sad chapter of this affair, the Journal bought it.
THE American government is keen to show its commitment to security in Asia by putting boots on the ground there. As this analysis shows, the number of American troops (Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force active duty personnel) in Asia is only slightly smaller than the number in Europe, where Americans in uniform are largely a hangover from the carve-up of the continent at the Yalta conference in 1945.
As Kyl leaves the Senate, he will be remembered as a lawmaker who intended to be not factual but destructive.
They're a multiplatinum, groundbreaking band with scores of fans -- in fact, when Fallon's show first launched, the idea of them becoming a group with a day job (or, rather, a late-night job) was baffling.
The gig worked out because Fallon's show is innovative and has a loose fan intimacy. The Roots' cred came out unscathed, and Fallon has always treated them as part of the cast, not backup singers.
And while host Fallon may have over 4 million Twitter followers, the band's de facto leader Questlove is no slouch with 1.7 million.
He hasn't made any conciliatory statements. Fallon's word will likely be the last one -- but it still means only one of the show's stars apologized.
22 November, 2011
Here’s one example, from a very fine reporter at Politico whom I do not mean to pick on:
As I drank coffee and tried to frame questions in my mind, a crime reporter in Ju�rez was cut down beside his eight-year-old daughter as they sat in his car letting it warm up. This morning as I drove down here, a Toyota passed me with a bumper sticker that read, with a heart symbol, i love love. This morning I tried to remember how I got to this rendezvous.
I was in a distant city and a man told me of the killer and how he had hidden him. He said at first he feared him, but he was so useful. He would clean everything and cook all the time and get on his hands and knees and polish his shoes. I took him on as a favor, he explained.
I said, “I want him. I want to put him on paper.”
And so I came.
21 November, 2011
Four degrees of separation.
The idea of ‘six degrees of separation’ -- that any two people are on average separated by no more than six intermediate connections -- was first proposed in 1929 in a short story by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy, and made popular by the John Guare play and movie, Six Degrees of Separation. The idea was first put to the test by Stanley Milgram in the 1960’s. Milgram selected 296 volunteers and asked them to dispatch a message to a specific individual, a stockholder living in the Boston suburb of Sharon, Massachusetts. The volunteers were told that they couldn’t send the message directly to the target person (unless the sender knew them personally), but that they should route the message to a personal acquaintance that was more likely than the sender to know the target person. Milgram found that the average number of intermediate persons in these chains was 5.2 (representing about 6 hops). The experiment showed that not only are there few degrees of separation between any two people, but that individuals can successfully navigate these short paths, even though they have no way of seeing the entire network.
While we will never know if it was true in 1929, the scale and international reach of Facebook allows us to finally perform this study on a global scale. Using state-of-the-art algorithms developed at the Laboratory for Web Algorithmics of the Università degli Studi di Milano, we were able to approximate the number of hops between all pairs of individuals on Facebook. We found that six degrees actually overstates the number of links between typical pairs of users: While 99.6% of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops), 92% are connected by only four degrees (5 hops). And as Facebook has grown over the years, representing an ever larger fraction of the global population, it has become steadily more connected. The average distance in 2008 was 5.28 hops, while now it is 4.74.
Thus, when considering even the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra or the Peruvian rainforest, a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend. When we limit our analysis to a single country, be it the US, Sweden, Italy, or any other, we find that the world gets even smaller, and most pairs of people are only separated by 3 degrees (4 hops). It is important to note that while Milgram was motivated by the same question (how many individuals separate any two people), these numbers are not directly comparable; his subjects only had limited knowledge of the social network, while we have a nearly complete representation of the entire thing. Our measurements essentially describe the shortest possible routes that his subjects could have found.
A couple of Yale Law professors make the case for a first-year rebate option:
Consider the innovative employment policy of the Internet shoe seller Zappos. At the end of a four-week training course, Zappos offers new employees a one-time offer of $3,000 to quit. In part, the company uses the offer as a screening device. If you’re the type who prefers a quick three grand to the opportunity to work at a great company, then Zappos isn’t the place for you.
Law schools might analogously offer to rebate half of a student’s first-year tuition if the student opts to quit school at the end of the first year. (If the student has taken out government loans, this rebate would first go to repay this debt.) A half-tuition rebate splits the loss of an aborted legal career between the school and the student. Each has skin in the game, so students will not go to law school lightly, and law schools will have better incentives not to admit students likely to fail.
We all understand the necessity to compromise, but we would expect to enjoy benefits from such compromise that are commensurate to our superior leverage. Let’s review the scorecard of the debt deal:
Benefits for Democrats
- Obamacare is preserved and shielded from cuts
- Obama-era discretionary and mandatory spending levels are permanently enshrined
- All welfare programs are exempt even from baseline cuts
- After accruing $4 trillion in debt, Obama gets green light to run up an additional $2.1 trillion
- Obama doesn’t have to request another politically damaging debt increase – until after the election
- The creation of Supercommittee charged with deficit reduction, not spending cuts, opens the door for tax increases, while endangering Bush tax cuts – an opportunity they would have never enjoyed
- Failure of Supercommittee leads to automatic cuts in defense – an opportunity they would have never enjoyed
- Dems are not forced into transformational change with passage of BBA
- The deal overwrote the entire Ryan budget, obviating any further GOP leverage on budget policy for the rest of the year
Benefits for Republicans
- $917 billion in baseline discretionary cuts over 10 years
- The creation of 18th debt commission is somehow the Republican part of the deal
- There is a required vote on a BBA
- The only saving grace is Phil Gramm’s jujitsu plan to preempt sequestration with an alternative privileged amendment that repeals Obamacare with a simple majority. Will they have the guts to use it?
As The Hill reporter Molly Hooper noted last week, “Democrats’ Satan Sandwich is starting to taste pretty good.”
20 November, 2011
19 November, 2011
ECONOMISTS are constantly urging governments to adopt policies that would reduce global imbalances—which, in crude terms, means that China should slash its current-account surplus and America its deficit. Yet they ignore the biggest imbalance of all: the current-account surplus that planet Earth appears to run with extraterrestrials. In theory, countries’ current-account balances should all sum to zero because one country’s export is another’s import. However, if you add up all countries’ reported current-account transactions (exports minus imports of goods and services, net investment income, workers’ remittances and other transfers), the world exported $331 billion more than it imported in 2010, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook. The fund forecasts that the global current-account surplus will rise to almost $700 billion by 2014.
This is what happened. You are responsible for it.
18 November, 2011
SCARBOROUGH: Wait, but hold on. I think you have a fair point, but before you finish, let me interrupt you.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small Himalayan country east of Nepal, nestled between China and India, with an estimated population of 700,000. Last month, Bhutan celebrated the wedding of monarch Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the fifth Druk Gyalpo ("Dragon King"), to 21-year-old commoner Jetsun Pema, now Druk Gyal-tsuen ("Dragon Queen") of Bhutan. The deeply traditional nation has been slow to adopt modern development; a country-wide ban on television and the Internet was only lifted in 1999, and only after the previous king abdicated power in 2006 did the nation have its first parliamentary elections. Bhutan, often rated as one of the happiest countries in the world, is the birthplace of the concept of "gross national happiness," an alternative to the more traditional measure of gross domestic product. The popular Oxford-educated king is now seeking to strengthen ties with other nations while preserving as much of Bhutan's independence and culture as possible. Collected here are recent images of people and places within the Kingdom of Bhutan. [38 photos]
Tom Friedman, November 16.
Here we are in America again on the eve of a major budgetary decision by yet another bipartisan “supercommittee,” and does anyone know what President Obama’s preferred outcome is? Exactly which taxes does he want raised, and which spending does he want cut? The president’s politics on this issue seems to be a bowl of poll-tested mush.
Paul Krugman, November 17:
Oh, and let me give a special shout-out to “centrist” pundits who won’t admit that President Obama has already given them what they want. The dialogue seems to go like this. Pundit: “Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?” Mr. Obama: “I support a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes.” Pundit: “Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?”
You see, admitting that one side is willing to make concessions, while the other isn’t, would tarnish one’s centrist credentials. And the result is that the G.O.P. pays no price for refusing to give an inch.
New York Times columnists don't go after one another by name, adhering to a longstanding policy of warmth and kindness. It's left up to other columnists to criticize Friedman by name, and point out that almost nothing he pines for in his occasional "o, grand bargain, where are thou" columns has been rejected by Barack Obama.
With coffee supplies running short, prices escalated at a rapid clip, outpacing even gasoline’s monumental ascent. Between spring 2010 and spring 2011, coffee roughly doubled in price. On the futures exchange in New York City, the price per pound crossed a frightening milestone—the $3 mark—hitting a three-decade high on May 3, 2011.
Additionally, throughout my coverage of OWS, various police officials in plainclothes have refused to identify themselves upon request — a violation of NYPD patrol guide procedure 203-09, effective June 27, 2003, which states that all “members of the service” are required to “courteously and clearly state [their] rank, name, shield number and command, or otherwise provide them, to anyone who requests [they] do so. [They also must] allow the person ample time to note this information.”
17 November, 2011
16 November, 2011
15 November, 2011
8:40 a.m., Paresky: There was report of a student who had fallen in the snack bar area. Officers responded and immediately called 911. Village Ambulance arrived and transported the student to North Adams Regional Hospital (NARH).
9:00 p.m., Dodd House: Based on a tip, officers were sent to check on illegal drug activity. Williamstown Police Department (WPD) was contacted and asked to respond. The drug task officer obtained a search warrant. Two people were arrested.
9:10 p.m., Jewish Religious Center: A fire alarm was caused by smoke from an oven. Students saw flames and used an extinguisher to put the fire out.
7:25 a.m., Greylock Parking Garage: A student who had reserved a Zipcar reported that someone was sleeping in it. Officers identified a student curled up with a blanket sleeping in the back seat of the car. The student in the car removed his belongings from the car, and the student waiting took the car.
1:05 p.m., Spencer House: A report was filed that on the first floor of the library, someone had burned all of the lower cabinet shelving in the fireplace. For kindling, they used some of the pages from one of the books in the library. Evidence of smoking on the roof area outside of a common room was also documented.
12:33 a.m., Prospect: Security received a call from a student reporting a racist writing on the wall outside of a bathroom.
1:45 a.m., Hubbell: A report was filed of an odor of marijuana. Officers responded and found a student making marijuana brownies. WPD was asked to respond, and a civil citation was issued.
2:40 p.m., Latham St.: Students were reported making off with four traffic cones, walking down the street and taking a right on Water Street. A local resident advised officers that he witnessed the students with the cones enter the house at 112A Water Street.
2:38 a.m., Tyler House: A student reported that someone spit on his door, laughed and ran.
A reader writes:
In another life, I spent a significant amount of time working in penitentiaries, doing drama therapy with pedophiles. I learned a lot – so much of which I wish I could forget these days. I realize that we have to presume innocence, but the data about Sandusky is overwhelming - It parallels everything I learned about pedophiles during my years of working with them.
They organize their lives around their obsession. They structure their lives in such a way as to continue their abuse. They are extremely devious, and will go to great lengths to get what they want. And, if not caught early enough, they can end up with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of victims. (One particularly disgusting inmate described at length the kits he carried with him at all time – one in his home, one for travel, one in his car. They included Vaseline, candy, toys, towels, etc. He was constantly in search of victims. His entire life was structured around that search.)
In listening to the Costas interview, I was drawn back to my days spent in the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons in Bridgewater, MA. First, Sandusky exhibits no affect in the interview. There is no outrage, no emotion, no anger, no sadness. Imagine, just for a moment, if YOU were innocent and accused of these horrific crimes. Your emotional state would be intense. His is anything but. This is, sorry to say, classic pedophile affect.
Second, and most compelling, is his answer to the question: “Are you sexually attracted to young boys – to underage boys?”
Obviously, if he were innocent, there is only one answer to this question: “No!” (Again, imagine if someone asked you that question. There would be only one answer and it would be emphatic, and probably outraged.)
But, listen carefully to his response. First, he repeats the question - twice. Next, he outlines his “enjoyment” of young people. Then, he says he “loves to be around them.” Finally, he catches himself and eventually gets to “No,” nearly fifteen seconds after the question is posed. Again, this is classic pedophile. He first attempts to explain himself – almost getting lost in that explanation – before he finally comes to the only obvious answer.
However, he has no problem answering this question: “Are you a pedophile?” The answer to that question is quick: “No.”
Why? Because, he absolutely doesn’t believe – in any way – that there is anything wrong with what he has done. He doesn’t believe that pedophilia is wrong – pedophiles never do. They construct vast and complex justifications for their actions, usually centering on the victim, what the victim wanted, and how much pleasure they give their victim. The term itself – pedophilia – is anathema, because it defines, as abnormal, an activity and way of life that they view as perfectly legitimate.
Train wrecks, airplane crashes, drownings, unusual deaths and fatalities.
Meetings where action of statewide interest is taken or a prominent person speaks.
Riots, demonstrations, strikes.
Major fires, explosions, chemical spills.
Major crime, raids, jail breaks, bank robberies, hate/bias crimes or incidents.
Weather news, including ice and hail storms, heavy snow, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, flooding, heavy and damaging rainstorms, record heat and cold.
Human interest stories; the odd, the offbeat, the heartwarming; whatever makes people laugh or cry.
Stories on members of the media or public who are having government access (FOI) problems.
I’m agreed that Chancellor Merkel has no intention of being the chancellor who threw Europe away, but both at home and abroad she faces some challenging constraints. I think there is a non-trivial chance that events could move too far, too fast for her to step in. Some kind of banking crisis in France, for example, could create an immense and overwhelming mess. Anything that affects France’s credit rating could lead to a position in which no simple and effective solution could be put in place quickly enough to stop an unpredictable and uncontrollable set of financial consequences. Chancellor Merkel does not have a free hand at home; the German Constitutional Court and fractious coalition partners are watching her closely.
14 November, 2011
Other pictures show enormous concentric circles radiating on the ground, with three jets parked at their centre.
In one picture from 2007, a mass of orange blocks have been carefully arranged in a circle. In a more recent image, however, the blocks, each one the size of a shipping container, appear to have been scattered as far as three miles from the original site.
Another image shows an array of metallic squares littered with what appears to be the debris of exploded vehicles while another shows an intricate grid that is some 18 miles long.
All of the sites are on the borders of Gansu province and Xinjiang, some less than 100 miles from Jiuquan, the headquarters of China's space programme and the location of its launch pads.
The Post reached a new low in MSM glorification of these parasites the other day, when the whole front of the Style section described how “A Square Gets Hip” and “improvises a vibrant urbanism,” illustrated with a huge map showing the encampment, which appears to have named the paths crossing the square after Occupy heroes, including Che Guevara and Angela Davis (what, no Stalin Boulevard?).
Fire hoses and tear gas, the sooner the better.
12 November, 2011
In video form:
Along the same lines, a Gallup poll from a couple weeks ago shows that the Electoral College is highly unpopular:
Nearly 11 years after the 2000 presidential election brought the idiosyncrasies of the United States' Electoral College into full view, 62% of Americans say they would amend the U.S. Constitution to replace that system for electing presidents with a popular vote system. Barely a third, 35%, say they would keep the Electoral College.
11 November, 2011
Semer rests his opinions as a lawyer and an Adjunct Professor of Transactional Law at Columbia Univ. in NYC. He takes what I believe is the majority opinion as to Coach Paterno's decisions which is that he did the least he could do to cover himself but owed a moral duty to do more.
I too am an attorney, a criminal defense lawyer, a former special prosecutor, and an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy, and as to his judgment of Paterno I completely disagree with Professor Semer. I think Paterno did what was both morally and legally correct.
And what I know is complicated. But, beyond complications — and I really believe this with all my heart — there’s this, and this is exclusively my opinion: Joe Paterno has lived a profoundly decent life.
While democratic institutions need reform to build in dialogue between citizens and experts, they should not be bypassed. By cutting dialogue and diversity for concealed and unaccountable decision-making, "nudge" politics attacks democracy's core. We should not give in to temptation - and save our benevolent meddling for family reunions.
Soldiers opened fire on Mertzbach's car after it failed to stop at a temporary checkpoint between Yatta and Hebron in the southern West Bank, reported Haaretz.
Mertzbach was killed, while two passengers in the vehicle were wounded and taken to hospital.
That makes it all the more remarkable that these leaders have now
largely accepted the normative principle that regime legitimacy can be
forfeited at a certain level of internal violence. Nobody would say that
the Arab League has acted effectively to defend this new norm --
the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, the decimated civil society of Bahrain,
and the grim stalemate in Yemen attest all too clearly that they have
not. But they now speak almost all speak the language of international
norms against impunity. Norms do not need perfect behavioral compliance
for them to be significant in international relations. The simple fact
that both popular and official Arab political discourse now begins from
the premise that domestically violent regimes should be sanctioned or
even removed from power has already significantly changed the game of
10 November, 2011
The 1% are the very best destroyers of�wealth the world has ever seen | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
The psychopathic traits on which the bosses scored so highly, Board and Fritzon point out, closely resemble the characteristics that companies look for. Those who have these traits often possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations.
Yusuf Raza Gilani said after meeting Manmohan Singh the next full round of talks would be "more constructive".
Mr Singh said he welcomed the "positive movement" from the meeting.
Talks between the two nations were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks which India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
But earlier this year, leaders vowed to resume their dialogue and find ways to build trust and promote peace.
A reader writes:
As a Pennsylvanian, as a Penn State fan, and as a survivor, I feel strongly compelled to provide some perspective here. What's happening at Penn State is a tragedy of epic proportions. The community is really struggling to reconcile the horror of the actions and inactions with a coach, a program, and a university that have done so much for so many players, students, and communities literally for generations now. As Shakespeare wrote at the end of Romeo and Juliet, "All are punished."
Those who cheer Joe's immediate departure as well as those who insist that he stay are BOTH off key. Given Joe's admission that this is the tragedy of his life, and that he wishes he had done more, the Board of Trustees had no choice but to let him go immediately. But to cast extreme judgment on him and the Penn State community at this very particular, very hurtful, and very confusing moment in time is to be blind to who he has been and what he has done over the past 60+ years. And it's also to be callous to a glorious community about which you apparently know very little, and most importantly, to the victims of Sandusky and all victims, everywhere.
There are countless, non-cultish reasons why Joe Paterno and Penn State are so revered. From his insistence on academic excellence, to a squeaky clean record in terms of abindance to the rules in an era when they are regularly bent and broken, to his investment in his players rather than an exploitation of them, to the millions of ways he has given back to the community, to his loyalty to what was once a sleepy agricultural school to what is now one of the premier universities in the country (which also happens to have the largest alumni membership in the world), Joe Paterno has demonstrated and personified what it is to do things the right way AND win while doing it. If there aren't already, there will be books written about Joe and the fundamental goodness of the Penn State community that he helped build. Joe's example has been without match, which is why this epic mistake is so pointed and devastating to anyone who's ever been impacted by him.
As for the reaction of the students, they are kids - give them time and space to sort through this and process what has happened. If you've never been disappointed by anyone you've ever held in the utmost of esteem, you might not understand. But if you have, try to remember the confusion, disappointment, and compassion you likely felt all at once in that moment of time.
Finally, one thing is for certain, and you can trust me on this: hysteria and self-righteous proclamations from any side in instances like this do NOTHING for the victims. Nothing. They only make it worse. They pick at wounds, and they stunt the healing process that survivors need. Yes - survivors want justice for their perpetrators and greater awareness of a problem that is everywhere. But more than anything, we want calm, compassion, and healing. For everyone. Even the perp and those who could have done more. It's the only way that we as survivors, or as a family, or as a community, can move on positively and constructively.
So if you want to actually do something constructive about this rather than disparage a grieving and confused community as cultists and immoral neanderthals, you can encourage everyone to wear blue - the color of child abuse awareness - this Saturday. It's a start...