Archive for January 2nd, 2010

Bowl Day Open Thread: Sugar Daddy Edition

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Last game of the day has Florida versus Cincinnati meeting up in the Sugar Bowl.

And now, the saddest day in the life of the Division III Millsaps Majors:

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Late Afternoon/Early Evening Open Thread

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Coming up on Sunday Kos …

  • The recent health care debate has led the traditional media to fixate on the meme of “Democrats Divided”. Steve Singiser thinks that the divide on the other side of the partisan coin is deeper, and may well have bigger implications for the 2010 elections.
  • DemFromCT looks back at health, health reform, and public health stories for the year. What did we see coming in 2008? What didn’t we? And what can we see for 2010?
  • We may never know what to call them, but that doesn’t mean we should forget them — no matter how great the temptation.  Devilstower says Remember the Naughts.
  • With 2009 now in the rearview mirror, Steve Singiser will review the year in voter sentiment, using our own Daily Kos State of the Nation Tracking Poll.

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Bowl Day Open Thread: Grandaddy Of Them All Edition

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

It’s time for the Ducks versus the Bucks (okay, okay, Buckeyes).

And here’s one of the crazier trick plays of all time:

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It’s Not a New Decade. Yes, It Is! No, It Isn’t!

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

The late Stephen J. Gould and the late Arthur C. Clarke got into a good-hearted dispute about whether the new millennium started January 1, 2000, or January 1, 2001. Gould even wrote a wonderful, tidbit-filled book called Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist’s Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown.

“Precisely arbitrary” captured it exactly right. But we can be counted upon to argue about when each decade and each century starts right up until the fourth millennium begins on January 1, 3000 3001 3000.

If it really matters to you – and if it does, you might try getting out more – you can dig as deeply as you want into this dispute. For instance, check out what Jan Zuidhoek has to say at Millennium Mistake. And there’s also this.

At its root, the argument stems from the fact that the creators of the Western calendar were not Mayans or Hindus, peoples with both the concept and a symbol for zero. Hence, our calendar recognizes no year zero. Every decade begins not in the year ending in a 0, but ending in a 1, 2011, not 2010.

The only problem being, that in popular parlance, it doesn’t make sense to call the decade of the ’90s, 1991-2000. And how does 2011 fit into the decade of the ’00s?  

Advocates of the no-year-zero approach argue that the 6th century priest-scholar Dionysius Exiguus forces us to accept that the new decade won’t start until 2011. It was he who first calculated in AD 532 (by means not wholly clear) the time when Jesus Christ was conceived and born. Exiguus apparently knew about the concept of zero, but he didn’t have the symbol and wrote his conclusions with Roman numerals. He went directly from 1 BC to AD 1, dates now scientifically notated as 1 BCE and 1 CE.

Subsequently, when it was discovered that the time in office of Quirinius (the Roman governor of Syria) and the death date of Herod (the Roman puppet-king of Judaea) didn’t match up with biblical references for them, the 1 BCE calculation flew out the window. Using these references, the actual third millennium may have begun in 1996.

Whether or not you believe Jesus even existed, however, let’s cut poor old Dionysius Exiguus some slack for argument’s sake. Assume that he was right in his probably politically motivated calculation that Jesus was born December 25, 1 BCE. Exiguus, who apparently understood zero but had no symbol for it, did what historians still do – set the beginning of the year 1 CE right after 1 BCE. No zero in between. So, that put the beginning of Jesus’s second decade on the planet in the year 11 CE and the second decade of the third millennium at 2011.

But if there were a year zero, which, logically speaking, there must be, it would mean that the second decade of Jesus’s life began in the year 10 CE, and thus 2010 marks the beginning of the second decade of the third millennium.

When astronomers count, they do include a year zero, thanks to the work of Jacques Cassini in 1740. Many countries have legally adopted this approach to counting the decades and centuries. For astronomers, the new decade begins in 2010.

So, 12 months from now, when you encounter somebody arguing whether the second decade of the 21st Century is a year old or just beginning, make a suggestion that they take on a topic more worthy of exploration: such as whether Spam is real food.


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Midday Open Thread

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments
  • The United States continues to win hearts and minds in Iraq:

    Iraqis on Friday greeted news that criminal charges in the United States had been dismissed against Blackwater Worldwide security guards who opened fire on unarmed Iraqi civilians in 2007 with disbelief, anger and bitter resignation.  [...]

    Many Iraqis also viewed the prosecution of the guards as a test case of American democratic principles, which have not been wholeheartedly embraced, and in particular of the fairness of the American judicial system.

  • The Washington Independent lists the top 10 conservatives that they think will “shape America’s political landscape in 2010″ — basically, it’s nutcases on parade.
  • Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is taking her job seriously:

    Less than a year into her tenure, that figurative badge of authority is unmistakable. Her aggressive moves to boost enforcement and crack down on businesses that violate workplace safety rules have sent employers scrambling to make sure they are following the rules.  [...]

    The changes are a departure from the policies of Solis’ predecessor, Elaine Chao. They follow through on President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to boost funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, increase enforcement and safeguard workers in dangerous industries.

  • Events in Iran seem to be on a seriously downward spiral.
  • News out of Montana that doesn’t include the words “Max” or “Baucus”:

    The Montana Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that state law protects doctors in Montana from prosecution for helping terminally ill patients die. But the court, ruling with a narrow majority, sidestepped the larger landmark question of whether physician-assisted suicide is a right guaranteed under the state’s Constitution.

    The 4-to-3 decision, in a case closely watched around the nation by physicians and advocates for the disabled and terminally ill, was a victory for the so-called death-with-dignity movement. But it fell short of the sweeping declaration advocates had hoped for.

  • The right-wing extremist group, Focus on the Family, plans to spend $4 million on Super Bowl ads. That would be as opposed to helping the sick or hungry.
  • An unhappy new year for Charlie Crist (R-FL)?

    Charlie Crist’s final year as governor begins like no other: with perilous poll numbers, his optimism worn thin and his shell of political Teflon deeply scratched.

  • Today’s gift to humanity from Americablog — hangover cures.
  • What an embarrassment Ann Coulter must be to her family.

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Bowl Day Open Thread: Fill in the Corporate Sponsor Edition

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

The bowl-a-thon continues — next up, it’s Penn State versus LSU in the Capital One Bowl, and West Virginia versus Florida State in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl.

And here’s a Top 10 trick plays video, with a mix from high school, college, NFL and even Canadian football.

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Bowl Day Open Thread: Outback Edition

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Today’s college football bowl-a-thon starts today with the Outback Bowl, featuring Northwestern and Auburn. Place your bets and discuss the game (or anything else you want).

And to warm up the crowd, the “most amazing, sensational, dramatic, heartrending, exciting, thrilling finish in the history of college football …”

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Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Happy New Year! If I had a nickel for every Republican columnist who uses “Heck of a job, Brownie” without realizing how damning that is for the last Republican administration and how it undermines a column’s worth of invective, I’d be a rich man.

Ellen Goodman:

There is something fitting about publishing my last column on the first day of a new year. January, after all, is named for the Roman god of beginnings and endings. He looked backward and forward at the same time. So, this morning, do I.

I wish I could find the right language to describe this rite of passage. Retirement, that swoon of a word, just won’t do. The Spanish translation, jubilación, is a bit over the top for my own mix of feelings.

Honor of placement at the top. Fare well, Ellen.

Paul Krugman:

It’s the season when pundits traditionally make predictions about the year ahead. Mine concerns international economics: I predict that 2010 will be the year of China. And not in a good way.

Don’t piss off our creditors, Paul. They might ask for the check.

Denis Dutton:

The Y2K catastrophe was promoted with increasing shrillness toward century’s end: headlines proclaimed a “computer time bomb” or “a date with disaster.” Vanity Fair’s January 1999 article “The Y2K Nightmare” caught the sensationalist tone, claiming that “folly, greed and denial” had “muffled two decades of warnings from technology experts.”

Wiseguys that don’t lift a finger to help nontheless benefit when others work to fix the problem. The Ant And The Grasshopper would be a more instructive fable to read than this.

Steve Case:

Now, this nation does a pretty good (albeit, costly) job of getting people well when they get sick. But we’re missing the larger question: What can we do to keep people from getting sick in the first place? The area that requires the greatest focus relates to chronic diseases.

Don’t smoke, and wear a helmet on a motorcycle. If you want to argue about that, don’t argue about health care costs.

LA Times:

Some of the Democrats’ most prominent figures, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, are in serious danger as they seek reelection. Both would probably lose if elections were held today.

“It all adds up to a pretty bad year for the party in power,” said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “How bad? I’m not sure we know yet.”

However, for all Republicans stand to gain, the party still has problems. Polls show that many voters, though unhappy with Democrats, are even less enamored of the GOP.

The Sophie’s Choice election? All elections are like that.

Charles Krauthammer: Well, it’s 2010. Did Obama fix everything yet? C’mon, he’s had all morning. And you owe me a nickel.

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Ringing in 2010

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

And now it’s the midwest’s turn to ring in 2010 …


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Ringing in 2010

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Let the east coast countdown begin …


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