Open Thread

The Sound of Children

A wounded Palestinian child screams as she arrives at Shifa Hospital after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. Like tear-drops in rain.

Source: Fadi Adwan-Getty, Washington Post.

Husk at man alltid skal lese pakningsvedleggene for medisin man skal bruke. 1 omfatter ikke psykologhjelp, behandling hos kiropraktor eller behandling for språk – og taledefekter. Insomni: problemer med å sovne, urolig nattesøvn, problemer med å sove lenge nok ogeller dårlig søvnkvalitet.

402 replies on “The Sound of Children”

Seems our friends over in North Carolina are experiencing some technical difficulties. I’ll post a note as soon as I get more information.

UPDATE: normal service has resumed


Obama meets with liberal columnists.

Obama held a meeting with several columnists and liberal commentators this morning, following up on last night’s dinner with conservative writers, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting.

The group included the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson, the Wall Street Journal’s Gerry Seib, National Journal’s Ron Brownstein, the New York Times Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd, The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, among others.

Some of the writers there today are clearly on the liberal side, while others more moderate. Regardless, it’s still quite a contrast from yesterday’s dinner companions: George Will, Bill Kristol, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, and Paul Gigot.

continued on Politico

CQ Politics.

Senate Likely to Honor Obama Team’s Request for Digital TV Transition Delay.

The Senate is likely to push for a three-month delay of the Feb. 17 digital television transition, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV , D-W.Va., said Tuesday.

Citing pressure from the incoming Obama administration and what he described as mismanagement of the transition by the Bush administration, Rockefeller said a consensus is forming within the Senate to postpone the deadline.

Rockefeller said Obama transition team chief John Podesta, who wrote to House and Senate leaders last week asking for more time, has assured lawmakers that three months will be sufficient to prepare consumers. Rockefeller said he probably would like more time.

“I’d rather have three to six months, actually. But Podesta said they can do it in three,” Rockefeller said.

Current estimates put the number of affected analog-television watchers at 13 million to 16 million, he said. On the transition date, television stations will stop sending out analog signals and switch to all-digital broadcasts. Analog TV users will need converter boxes to keep receiving broadcasts.

Rockefeller is the incoming chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications policy, including the digital switch.

more on CQ Politics

CQ Politics.

What is the transition?

Television stations in the United States early next year will undergo the biggest change in broadcasting since the advent of color TV: They will cease their analog signals and start broadcasting entirely in digital.

The upcoming switchover on Feb. 17, 2009, is being called the digital television transition, or the “DTV transition” for short.

Congress directed U.S. broadcasters to turn off their analog signals in 2009 to free up the valuable airwaves those signals occupy. By powering down analog TV transmissions nationwide, broadcasters will clear those frequencies for use by next-generation wireless services and emergency responders.

At the same time, the DTV transition will allow TV stations to transmit sharper pictures, better sound and extra channels – all within fewer frequencies.

Australia is undergoing the same thing. We will have fifteen digital channels. The Howard Government like the Bush administration stuffed up the switch over. Berlin did a great job of digital TV and radio. They said here’s the change over date. Offer a larger selection of new services. Helped people that couldn’t afford it. Advertised heavily. When change over time came only a very small percentage weren’t ready. They did TV and radio at the same time.

more on CQ Politics

Digital TV and radio is a good way to show a government is doing something. It’s something people can see and grasp. Do it fast and efficiently and voters will pat you on the back. Especially the young tech savvy voters. Which is most of the young. It’s the same with the Internet. People will know they have a faster cheaper and more reliable service. Which is why I am surprised Kevin is taking so long with the broadband promise.

The war strategy which Friedman is heralding — what he explicitly describes with euphemism-free candor as “exacting enough pain on civilians” in order to teach them a lesson — is about as definitive of a war crime as it gets. It also happens to be the classic, textbook definition of “terrorism.”

“The sociopathic lust of a single war cheerleader can’t fairly be projected onto those who are actually prosecuting the war. But one can’t help noticing that this “teach-them-a-lesson” justification for civilian deaths in Gaza appears with some frequency among its advocates, at least among a certain strain of super-warrior, Israel-centric Americans — e.g.: Marty “do not fuck with the Jews” Peretz and Michael “to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause” Goldfarb — who love to cheer on Middle East wars from a safe and sheltered distance.”

Israeli Air Force Smart Bomb explodes with pinpoint accuracy over Gaza.

Kid Kebab

“Mustafa, daddy won’t be home for dinner tonight, sweetie.”

Half a world and half a century away, America’s fast-fry franchisers experienced a huge boost in sales when Dow Chemicals launched their Napalm Special Sauce.

And thankfully, to make the planet a safer place in the 21st Century, America presently exports (using only world’s-best-practice delivery systems) it’s high-tech “Sizzle and Sear” technology to approved franchisees at highly competitive prices.

Talk about pin-point accuracy….you do it so poignantly with just the well-chosen word and picture.
‘Sizzle and Sear’ indeed.
Lest we forget.

EU Observer.
Report cites need for eurozone central regulator.

An Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report published Wednesday (14 January) cites the need for centralisation of financial regulation in the euro area.

In a televised interview, senior OECD economist and head of the EU desk, Nigel Pain, said one way to achieve this aim “is to have an agency which oversees the work of the existing national supervisors.”
“A second way would be to set up a central agency with responsibility for actually supervising the large [financial] institutions directly”, Mr Pain continued, referring to the increased number of cross-border institutions that have sprung up in recent years.

The European Union has been highly critical in the role credit rating agencies have played in the financial disaster. Hence this bit is interesting.

The European Parliament is currently looking at measures regarding credit rating agencies put forward by Internal Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy.

continued in the EU Observer

EU Observer.

EU to launch biometric passports by summer.

MEPs on Wednesday (14 January) backed new rules on the introduction of biometric passports throughout the EU later this year, while exempting children under 12 years from having fingerprints included in their passports.

The rules were approved at a first reading by an overwhelming majority of MEPs – 594 against 51, while 37 abstained.

The parliamentarians underlined the need to improve document security in the EU by introducing “more reliable biometric data, namely fingerprints,” and highlighted the different criteria member states currently apply when checking the passport applicants’ identity.

“Many countries require that the citizen applying for a passport actually present him or herself in person, together with their documents and photographs, and in these cases the officials at the passport-issuing office can see if that person bears a resemblance to the photo presented,” Polish Christian Democrat Urszula Gacek said during a plenary debate on the issue in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

But in some states, in particular the UK, “applications by post are the norm, and the authenticity of the photo is only confirmed by a so-called ‘professional person’ who has known the applicant for at least two years,” she indicated.

continued in the EU Observer.

EU Observer.
Obama wants Europe to close Iran loopholes.

The incoming Obama administration will step up its calls on Europe to close legal loopholes allowing Iran to pursue its nuclear activities, outgoing US ambassador to Brussels Kristen Silverberg said on Tuesday (13 January).

“Iran is still taking advantage of their economic ties here in Europe,” Ms Silverberg said at a conference organised by the European Policy Centre, a Brussels-based think-tank.

continued in the EU Observer.

EU Parliament.

EU parliament backs pesticide regulations.

Environmentalists have welcomed the European parliament’s support for controversial new laws tightening pesticide use, amid warnings that the move could lead to an increase in food prices.

MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday voted in favour of legislation which could see more than 20 toxins taken off the market in European member states.

Under the proposals, more pesticide products will be available but a ban will be imposed on the use of certain chemicals.

I would be quite happy for Australia and the USA to copy this legislation. Although chemical companies have a habit of then dumping them on Third World countries. So maybe the United Nations needs to get involved as well.

continued in The EU Parliament.

UK unveils business loan scheme.

The British government has announced a scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses get access to credit.

The idea is to stop cash-starved firms going bust because they have been refused credit by banks.

It is the latest attempt by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is trailing in opinion polls and must fight an election within 18 months, to kickstart the UK economy.

Brown told the House of Commons: “This is real help for business now. It is targeted and focused, it is funded and it is additional to what has been done before.”

continued on Euronews

CBS News.

House Votes To Expand Health Care For Kids.

The House voted Wednesday to expand government-sponsored health care to 4 million more children of working families, making a down payment on President-elect Barack Obama’s promise to provide universal health care to all Americans who want it.

After the bill’s passage, Mr. Obama said he hoped the Senate acts with the “same sense of urgency so that it can be one of the first measures I sign into law when I am president.”

“In this moment of crisis, ensuring that every child in America has access to affordable health care is not just good economic policy, but a moral obligation we hold as parents and citizens,” Mr. Obama said.

The bill, passed by an overwhelming 289 to 139 vote, would increase federal taxes on cigarettes by 61 cents to a dollar a pack to pay the $32.3 billion cost of expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program for the next 4½ years. Departing President George W. Bush vetoed similar legislation twice in 2007.

Stuff you George Bush!

continued on CBS News

Let’s see now.
Looking ahead to next weeks TV guide on wed 21 Jan.

On the ABC TV1 There’s THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT OBAMA from 12.30pm-1.30pm.
On SBS, there’s a positive feast of the same from
Meanwhile, on 7 we have a bit of sanity for the true blue Aussies with the tennis……
But I’m a little puzzled by dear old channel 10.

The Ongoing Saga Of Missing E-mails.

There was quite a hullabaloo a year ago when the White House disclosed that from the beginning of the Bush Administration until October 2003, it had been tossing out official e-mails like so much spam.

The story came to light as Rep. Harry Waxman D-Calif., who was then head of the House Oversight Committee, was holding hearings into a statement from then White House spokesman Tony Fratto that no e-mails were missing.

Fratto’s comment was a shift from a previous declaration from the administration in 2007 that it was uncertain if any e-mails were missing. It was also a shift from what was said three years ago, when Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald reported that “we have learned that not all e-mail of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system.” Fitzgerald made the comments as the White House scrambled to explain how the identity of CIA agent Valierie Plame had been leaked.

Now, in the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the missing e-mails, the White House has changed its position again – saying that it has “made great progress accounting for e-mails.”

continued on CBS News

Oops pressed send too fast. 🙂
Anyway…How come Oprah Winfrey is appearing on channel 10 and not at the biggest event of the decade? Does this mean (shock horror) that her show is not actually live to air? :mrgreen:

CBS News.

New “Cadillac One” Ready To Roll.

When Barack Obama heads for the stand where he’ll take the oath of office Tuesday, he’ll do it in a brand spanking new limousine.

It’s an ultra-tricked-out Caddy, dubbed “Cadillac One.”

Finding out details about the special car hasn’t been easy, but CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier has done some digging.

Details about the new limo have been closely guarded. It’s been kept under wraps — literally — and will be until it’s shown to the world sometime this week.

“It’s a new look. It’s a refreshing, kind of expressive, more vibrant new look,” says Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell.

The more they protect him the better.

He can probably watch himself in the parade an a TV in the car. While his kids watch Bugs Bunny on their own sets. Michelle will be watching how Oprah Winfrey is handling the coverage. 😆
continued on CBS News

Thanks for that link.
An excellent overview and should be required reading!
Have emailed it to friends.

Poll: Solid support for Obama’s economic plan.

A solid plurality of the American public supports the economic stimulus plan that President-elect Barack Obama has proposed, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

But the public also is concerned that the stimulus’ price tag might be too expensive and would increase the U.S. deficit.

“They want to do something and want to see it done,” says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “But what they’re warning [Obama] collectively is — be careful.”

In the poll, 71 percent say they approve of the way Obama is handling his transition — a number virtually unchanged from last month’s survey.

continued on MSNBC

328 Jen He is an absolutely great dad. He will be an absolutely great President, if not the best.

Some blacks choose inauguration over work.

Coming a day after Martin Luther King holiday, many will extend the break.

Asante Bradford gave his bosses nearly three months notice that he would not be at his desk on Jan. 20.

A day after Barack Obama’s historic presidential win, Bradford knew he wanted to be able to whoop it up when Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first black chief executive — and that he couldn’t do that at work.

“I decided if I couldn’t be (in Washington D.C.), I’m just going to take the day off, just so I can scream and holler,” said Bradford, 40, who works for the state of Georgia as a liaison to the entertainment industry. He plans to watch the festivities at home with friends.

Just blacks? That’s a bit racist isn’t it? 😈

continued on MSNBC

The Votemaster.
Lawsuits Abound in Minnesota

Both Norm Coleman (R) and Al Franken (D) have filed lawsuits in Minnesota. A three-judge panel has been appointed by the state Supreme Court to handle the case. One judge was appointed to the bench by a Democratic governor, one by a Republican governor, and one by an independent governor. Coleman has asked for thousands of pages of documents and Franken has asked to be seated now on a provisonal basis. This will be a full-blown court case, with witnesses, site visits, and more. The battle could go on for weeks or months.

more on the Votemaster

All Good Things Must Come to an End

It appears that in spite of posting this the Votemaster hasn’t been able to keep from posting.

Well, at least a slow down. This site has been faithfully updated every day for over a year. With the election of Al Franken now almost certain, all the 2008 races are now finished and the real world is calling, so the update rate will now drop to maybe once a week or so, depending on when there is news about the 2010 races. So check back maybe once a week and use the “Previous report” link above to see if you missed anything. In 2010 the update rate will probably increase as news about the midterm elections picks up. One good site to look at for up-to-the-minute political news is Political Wire.

He’s hardly missed a day. If you want to read more after this page just click next report.

more on the Votemaster.

Now this is very good.

Ivorians hail first home-built buses.

Commuters in Ivory Coast can now travel around town on the first ever buses designed for and built in the region.

The engineering arm of the national transport company, Sotra, decided it could save money and create a bus better suited to African conditions.

“We want the transfer of technology in Africa, and we want to build our own buses with our own specification,” says Sotra’s director Mamadou Coulibaly.

“In Europe the technology is very sophisticated with lots of electronic devices. In Africa we don’t need this.

“We just need robust buses because our roads are not very well done like in Europe. This is an African design for Africa.”

The first three buses hit the streets on Thursday, and more of the vehicles are rolling off the production line.

continued on the BBC News site

BBC News.

This from the same article.

“It’s not true that if you’re in a civil war you can’t do things because you see yourself that during the crisis we tried to build big projects.”

BBC News

(what does that say about me?)
Rather like being the short one in the class for a change.

If I write like this HELLO MEGAN, that means I am shouting at you. So if I write like this CHRIS B does that mean I am bossy?

Don’t worry megan- all it means is that I finally worked out what the shift button is for! 🙄

Who me?

Serious switch on.
The home and end keys are very handy. When you are typing they will take you to the start of a line or the end of the line you are typing.

Hi everyone, a lurker here, can anyone tell me what tv stations are broadcasting the inauguration on, we have Austar (Foxtel for country), or how I can find out? Thanks. Keep up the hard work I read the comments most days.

Legs pumping powerfully like a Hanna-Barbera character suspended by the physics that is the province of animated cartoons, Obi is ready and wants to hit the ground running on I-Day. He hath so spoken.

The Kid’s A-team comprises a mixed bunch of inspired choices and potential disasters and not one of his lieutenants will want to be the first to get the arse from an historic first Obama Cabinet. In order to “make his mark” he’ll deed to deal swiftly with fuck-ups. There’s a lot at stake here.

The surge of goodwill BHO is currently experiencing will soar into the seventies approval ratings next week with all the attendant I-Day palava, so he’ll have plenty of political capital to spend on the Big Decisions that he’ll have to make immediately.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man; will POTUS 44 be as good as his hype?

Civilization, as it’s loosely termed, can barely wait to find out.

As I hear of more Australians being harshly jailed overseas for what seem ‘not-so-serious’ misdemeanours, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is not just the US that is on the nose in some overseas quarters.
Oz customs are annoyed that I continue to travel on a non-Oz passport, but having spent many years overseas , am sensitive to the snap judgements made as I enter a foreign country.
(On a tangent…I’m still SO upset that Scott Rush &co were not arrested here in Australia and now face the death sentence. I grew up with the understanding that we should go to the police to stop people,even our kids, breaking the law. In the same desperate situation as a parent, I too would have asked the police to stop silly kids ruining their lives.
There but go I. )

Thank you paddy, I read Jack the Insider in the OO, and he is going to live blog at 3:30 am ( I guess on the 21st our time) so assumed that it would be on one of the American channels on pay teevee.

Since 1898, America’s most profitable export has been Death.

Smooth as a greased zephyr

The real scandal with Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama’s choice to head the Treasury Department, is his history of lax regulation—at least where his friends at Citigroup were concerned.

Ah…Well spotted Gravel.
I just checked on another TV program site and discovered that the good old ABC 1 is actually going to do it’s duty and cover the live event from 3.30am to 5.00am as well. 🙂
According to the program notes from this site.

Presented by Barrie Cassidy, live and uninterrupted from Washington DC. In a public ceremony at the Capitol building, Barack Obama will take the Oath of Office and deliver his Inauguration address to the American people.

Now comes the really hard decision about what to do for the inauguration.
Do we stay up till 3.00am on Wednesday morning so we don’t sleep in and miss it?
Or do we go to bed at an impossibly early hour on Tuesday evening and set the alarm clock?
Decisions………decisions. :mrgreen:

OMG!!! WTF is the fabulous Michele going to wear to Barry’s I-Day bash? I’m so totally beside myself with excitement. But let’s call a thread a thread, Ticster Fashionistas, that Election Night number was an absolute shocker. Da girl looked like an extra from an Alice in Wonderland set.

Maybe she could hold the garment over for a special guest appearance on Sesame St. down the road apiece.

Ecky – as I’ve commented previously , I would have to concur with Our Germaine’s assessment of A Butcher’s Apron as an apt description of Michelle’s Election night ensemble. (not to mention G’s world class review of the incredibly awful ‘Australia’, and also that Steve Irwin was a complete tool), but anyhow… here’s hoping that Michelle’s advisors go for something classic and dignified.

Pity Michelle.
Cringe as I think of some of my own sartorial ‘miss-taste’ moments, but at least they are safely in family albums and not for global consumption 🙂
Suspect most women would sympathise with her, especially when there was probably someone else advising her, and her own priorities were elsewhere.
Suspect she will play it safe this time.

“think of it as conservation of energy”
Ten trillion eletrons oscillate in grateful relief.

Good grief Jen (the capslock queen) and Ecky (the fashion nazi).
WTF’s wrong with a scrumptious butcher’s apron?
Much as I adore the sainted Germs. I have to disagree with her on Michele’s ladybird number.
[But I’d certainly agree with her take on “Australia”, Ms Botox and the execrable Irwin.]

I personally think that the magnificent Michele should do a nice Tina Fey impression and set the tongues *really* wagging. 👿
I can see it now……
Hey suck on this whitey. 😆

Oh , ok – perhaps I’m being a little harsh (on Michelle- not steve irwin , and don’t even get me started on Bindi), however I really hope and expect that at the inauguration for the first African American family OMG.. it’s just starting to sink in what an amazing visually historic as well as politically historic moment this will be), that their fashionistas and stylists etc get it right. Nothing to distract from the enormity , solemnity and Fucking Awesomeness of the moment he takes the oath of office.
Especially a world media focussing on the fact that Michelle’stockings didn’t match her handbag or whatever. And don’t think they won’t if given the chance.

Vale Patrick McGoohan indeed Ecky.
I thought I might revisit some of that marvelous stuff from “The Prisoner”. But a quick search on the google machine bought up the following insulting nonsense.

US readers can watch every episode for free here.
UK folk will have to spend money on the DVDs.

Well no shit sherlock? *I’m afraid that sort of attitude will get you SFA in the way of income and certainly no DVD sales.

as for What To Do on Inauguration Night paddy – why, what else than be in the company of our own select group of Obi fans (Obamabots I believe is the correct term) and swim synchronistically on our High Horses in the pool that is Politics101…
and gloat
:mr green:

Remember visiting Port Meiron in the UK where they filmed “The Prisoner”.
A wonderful series and sad to see another page turned.

what about the guy from Fantasy Island, while we are being all moribund?
And what about John Howard and George Bush?

Just in …
NYT: Israel Strikes U.N. Complex in Gaza Strip

GAZA — Amid reports that a United Nations building had been hit, Israeli forces shelled areas deep inside Gaza City and edged forward Thursday, sending thousands of panicked residents fleeing from their homes, witnesses said.

Among the buildings hit in the center of Gaza City, the witnesses said, was one housing the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that assists Palestinian refugees and another occupied by several media organizations.

Mine? :vomiting in toilet:
wish there was an emoticon for that.
Anyhow…. time for a new thread given the twin delights of Obama’s inauguration and the demise of the Bush Regime…
can’t remember how to do it though, so Ticksters… do your stuff.

Ah yes jen, I can’t wait to hear the splashing of synchronicity.
As you and and perhaps even that Growler personage, along with the estimable Herr Doctor from another galaxy…… frolic in the limpid pools of hope and joy on that great and wondrous day.
[Goodness me! What have they put in this bottle of shiraz?]

Help ticsters!! That bloody rRon’s gone and spiked my drink.
Next thing you know, I’ll be posting on Poll Bludger and reading Andrew Bolt’s blog. 😆

jen at 383
If you have some words in mind – just write it up as a comment over on the editorial policy page and I’ll move it into a new thread for you.

ah paddy – salad days indeed.
I almost miss the inevitable postings of ‘How Much Better It All Would Have Been if Hillary was the Chosen One.’ from our spanish trio,
and ironically it appears that I have become the holder of the Upper/lower case conundrum thatwas our r/Ron’s…
I do miss Diogenes though.

That’s bloody awful news.
Looking at the pic on your NYT link, it appears that this link I posted yesterday *is* a genuine cam feed from Gaza.
(Albeit an occasionally flaky one and no doubt on an occasional replay loop.)
I saw that same building on fire a few hours ago. Plus watching the link during realtime dawn in the mid-east. The feed showed dawn breaking at the correct time.

It seems that Obama’s inauguration can’t come fast enough for those poor sods in Gaza.
The amount of ill will that Israel is accruing by the hour simply beggars belief. 🙁

362 GhostWhoVotes Thanks for that. Got stuck on it for 1/2 hour. Gave up and sent it to my kids. 😈

jen I think you had better go back to that assertiveness course again. The effect is wearing off. But watch out JOHN & betty are doing the dominant & submissive course in the building next door. Don’t go in the wrong place. 😈

jen I’m (sadly) convinced that this really *is* about domestic Israeli politics and their upcoming elections. 🙁
While it’s all too easy for us to make judgments from the other side of the planet, when *we’re* not the ones in the hot seat……
The sort of sick irony involved, of a supposedly secular Jewish state, running a virtual concentration camp, while denying it’s Arab citizens the right to stand for parliament….. It leaves me speechless at the horror of it all.

We can only hope that Obi and Hilary make this little nightmare their No1 priority.

There are an *awful* lot of people over in the mideast who are looking for change they can believe in.

paddy- it’s up to us too. We must make it clear to israel that we who support their right to a homeland will not tolerate thier abuse of human rights and their violation of the very principles that they exist by.

I watched the 7:30 Report tonight and the damage inflicted by the rockets Hamas fired is real – holes in the grond and a sense of dread. but… the damage inflicted by the WarMachine of the US is palpably horrendous. Children with limbs blown off, parents who have lost their entire family of children, homes and businesses destroyed and a swelling hatred among moderate Palestinians for Israel and it’s supporters (us) that is chilling in its potential repercussions. Osama bin Laden is thanking his Allah as the new recruits line up – what fucking madness these warriors visit upon us all.

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