Archive for January, 2010

Battlefield Britain Episode 7: Culloden

January 31, 2010

Seventh of this 8 part series.

Britain is a country that has been forged by centuries of warfare. Each episode charts one key battle which could have gone either way, and did much to shape the nation that Britain is today. Dynamic father-and-son team Peter and Dan Snow, together with historical renactors, give the soldiers perspective on what it must have been like to ride, march, fly and sail into battle. Episodes include: Boudicca’s Revolt, The Battle of Hastings, Battle for Wales, Spanish Armada, Battle of Naseby, Battle of the Boyne, Battle of Culloden, and the Battle of Britain.

Battlefield Britain Episode 6: Boyne

January 28, 2010

Sixth of this 8 part series.

Britain is a country that has been forged by centuries of warfare. Each episode charts one key battle which could have gone either way, and did much to shape the nation that Britain is today. Dynamic father-and-son team Peter and Dan Snow, together with historical renactors, give the soldiers perspective on what it must have been like to ride, march, fly and sail into battle. Episodes include: Boudicca’s Revolt, The Battle of Hastings, Battle for Wales, Spanish Armada, Battle of Naseby, Battle of the Boyne, Battle of Culloden, and the Battle of Britain.

Bottlenose Dolphins Mud-Ring Feeding

January 25, 2010

Battlefield Britain Episode 5: Naseby

January 25, 2010

Fifth of this 8 part series.

Britain is a country that has been forged by centuries of warfare. Each episode charts one key battle which could have gone either way, and did much to shape the nation that Britain is today. Dynamic father-and-son team Peter and Dan Snow, together with historical renactors, give the soldiers perspective on what it must have been like to ride, march, fly and sail into battle. Episodes include: Boudicca’s Revolt, The Battle of Hastings, Battle for Wales, Spanish Armada, Battle of Naseby, Battle of the Boyne, Battle of Culloden, and the Battle of Britain.

Flying With the Fastest Birds on the Planet

January 23, 2010

Golden Eagle

Peregrine Falcon & Gos Hawk

Stewart Pwns Olbermann

January 22, 2010


Note; linked to Daily Beast because can’t get Comedy Central link to work.

Battlefield Britain Episode 4: Spanish Armada

January 22, 2010

Forth of this 8 part series.

Britain is a country that has been forged by centuries of warfare. Each episode charts one key battle which could have gone either way, and did much to shape the nation that Britain is today. Dynamic father-and-son team Peter and Dan Snow, together with historical renactors, give the soldiers perspective on what it must have been like to ride, march, fly and sail into battle. Episodes include: Boudicca’s Revolt, The Battle of Hastings, Battle for Wales, Spanish Armada, Battle of Naseby, Battle of the Boyne, Battle of Culloden, and the Battle of Britain.

Talking About Activist Judges

January 22, 2010

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority re-wrote the Constitution to give corporations — never mentioned in the Constitution — the same right to influence the electoral process as ‘We the People.’ As the NYT’s Adam Liptak explains,

Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court … ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

The justices did what many, on both sides of the aisle, feared for months it would do: hold that long-standing restrictions on corporate campaign spending violate the First Amendment.

The five opinions in Thursday’s decision ran to more than 180 pages, with Justice John Paul Stevens contributing a passionate 90-page dissent. In sometimes halting fashion, he summarized it for some 20 minutes from the bench on Thursday morning.

Joined by the other three members of the court’s liberal wing, Justice Stevens said the majority had committed a grave error in treating corporate speech the same as that of human beings.

The only (tiny) silver lining is that the ruling leaves the door open for legislative measures to push back against excessive influence of corporate funding:

Eight of the justices did agree that Congress can require corporations to disclose their spending and to run disclaimers with their advertisements, at least in the absence of proof of threats or reprisals. “Disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way,” Justice Kennedy wrote. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented on this point.

Prop 8 Was a Front Organization for Religious Groups

January 21, 2010

The transcripts for the Prop 8 trial are now online. Brian Moulton looks over the documents and finds clear evidence that not only were some churches very involved, but they tried to hide their involvement:

Perhaps the most interesting evidence presented so far were documents that detailed the coordination involved between the Catholic and Mormon churches and the Yes on 8 campaign. A letter from the Yes side’s leader thanked the Catholics for their “unusual” support and the Mormons for their “financial, organizational, and managerial contributions.” The Courage Campaign quotes a document between the Yes campaign and the LDS church as saying, the church will “… not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved.”

“Plausible deniability”. In other words, Prop 8 was a front organization for religious groups to strip others of their civil rights on doctrinal grounds. And it was governed by a Big Lie, which is odd for a church to endorse, don’t you think?

Paul Volcker (Finally) Prevails

January 21, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reports a shift in policy regarding big banks, showing Paul Volcker’s opinion is finally taken in account:

The past decade saw widespread consolidation among large financial institutions to create huge banking titans. If Congress approves the proposal, the White House plan could permanently impose government constraints on the size and nature of banking.

Mr. Obama’s proposal is expected to include new scale restrictions on the size of the country’s largest financial institutions. The goal would be to deter banks from becoming so large they put the broader economy at risk and to also prevent banks from becoming so large they distort normal competitive forces. It couldn’t be learned what precise limits the White House will endorse, or whether Mr. Obama will spell out the exact limits on Thursday.

Mr. Obama is also expected to endorse, for the first time publicly, measures pushed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, which would place restrictions on the proprietary trading done by commercial banks, essentially limiting the way banks bet with their own capital. Administration officials say they want to place “firewalls” between different divisions of financial companies to ensure banks don’t indirectly subsidize “speculative” trading through other subsidiaries that hold federally insured deposits.

This is good news insofar as it seems to show that the “big banks are indispensable” pablum has worn out in the WH.