Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christopher Potts

Professor Potts from Stanford University , to infinity, and beyond.

Relevant Data Board of Advisors

Christopher Potts, Ph.D. Appointed to Relevant Data Corp Scientific Board of Advisors

What is Going On!


A Banker Speaks, With Regret

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Published: November 30, 2011

If you want to understand why the Occupy movement has found such traction, it helps to listen to a former banker like James Theckston. He fully acknowledges that he and other bankers are mostly responsible for the country’s housing mess.

As a regional vice president for Chase Home Finance in southern Florida, Theckston shoveled money at home borrowers. In 2007, his team wrote $2 billion in mortgages, he says. Sometimes those were “no documentation” mortgages.

“On the application, you don’t put down a job; you don’t show income; you don’t show assets,” he said. “But you still got a nod.”

“If you had some old bag lady walking down the street and she had a decent credit score, she got a loan,” he added.

Theckston says that borrowers made harebrained decisions and exaggerated their resources but that bankers were far more culpable — and that all this was driven by pressure from the top.

“You’ve got somebody making $20,000 buying a $500,000 home, thinking that she’d flip it,” he said. “That was crazy, but the banks put programs together to make those kinds of loans.”

Especially when mortgages were securitized and sold off to investors, he said, senior bankers turned a blind eye to shortcuts.

“The bigwigs of the corporations knew this, but they figured we’re going to make billions out of it, so who cares? The government is going to bail us out. And the problem loans will be out of here, maybe even overseas.”

One memory particularly troubles Theckston. He says that some account executives earned a commission seven times higher from subprime loans, rather than prime mortgages. So they looked for less savvy borrowers — those with less education, without previous mortgage experience, or without fluent English — and nudged them toward subprime loans.

These less savvy borrowers were disproportionately blacks and Latinos, he said, and they ended up paying a higher rate so that they were more likely to lose their homes. Senior executives seemed aware of this racial mismatch, he recalled, and frantically tried to cover it up.

Theckston, who has a shelf full of awards that he won from Chase, such as “sales manager of the year,” showed me his 2006 performance review. It indicates that 60 percent of his evaluation depended on him increasing high-risk loans.

In late 2008, when the mortgage market collapsed, Theckston and most of his colleagues were laid off. He says he bears no animus toward Chase, but he does think it is profoundly unfair that troubled banks have been rescued while troubled homeowners have been evicted.

When I called JPMorgan Chase for its side of the story, it didn’t deny the accounts of manic mortgage-writing. Its spokesmen acknowledge that banks had made huge mistakes and noted that Chase no longer writes subprime or no-document mortgages. It also said that it has offered homeowners four times as many mortgage modifications as homes it has foreclosed on.

Still, 28 percent of all American mortgages are “underwater,” according to Zillow, a real estate Web site. That means that more is owed than the home is worth, and the figure is up from 23 percent a year ago. That overhang stifles the economy, for it’s difficult to nurture a broad recovery unless real estate and construction revive.

All this came into sharper focus this week as Bloomberg Markets magazine published a terrific exposé based on lending records it pried out of the Federal Reserve in a lawsuit. It turns out that the Fed provided an astonishing sum to keep banks afloat — $7.8 trillion, equivalent to more than $25,000 per American.

The article estimated that banks earned up to $13 billion in profits by relending that money to businesses and consumers at higher rates.

The Federal Reserve action isn’t a scandal, and arguably it’s a triumph. The Fed did everything imaginable to avert a financial catastrophe — and succeeded. The money was repaid.

Yet what is scandalous is the basic unfairness of what has transpired. The federal government rescued highly paid bankers from their reckless decisions. It protected bank shareholders and creditors. But it mostly turned a cold shoulder to some of the most vulnerable and least sophisticated people in America. Last year alone, banks seized more than one million homes.

Sure, some programs exist to help borrowers in trouble, but not nearly enough. We still haven’t taken such basic steps as allowing bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of a mortgage on a primary home. Legislation to address that has gotten nowhere.

My daughter and I are reading Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” aloud to each other, and those Depression-era injustices seem so familiar today. That’s why the Occupy movement resonates so deeply: When the federal government goes all-out to rescue errant bankers, and stiffs homeowners, that’s not just bad economics. It’s also wrong.

NYT

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Bleak Cairo, a Call for Optimism

By WAEL GHONIM

Published: November 28, 2011

Cairo

PEOPLE in the street ask me: “Where is Egypt heading? Were we mocked?” They lament, “The revolution is stolen; the revolution is dead; the revolution is lost. We were deceived. History is repeating itself.”

Indeed, as Egyptians went to the polls yesterday for the first parliamentary elections since President Hosni Mubarak resigned in February, there was much to be pessimistic about: polarization, alienation, the absence of any clear sign that the military council would hand over authority to an elected president next year, uncertainty over the outcome of the election and a crisis of confidence within political movements and parties.

Months have gone by without any meaningful change in how the country is governed. The military is not listening to the angry youths who led the revolution; some have been arrested, tried in military courts and thrown into military prisons. Leaders of the former regime have been tried in ordinary courts, despite the gravity of their crimes against the nation. Each day that passes without a clear road map for radical change in the management of our country leads young people to feel more frustrated and driven to escalate the situation.

But I believe that anyone participating in effecting change cannot be a pessimist. This is why, when it comes to Egypt’s future, I am an optimist. Revolution is a process; its failure and success cannot be measured after only a few months, or even years. We must continue to believe.

Egyptians have many demands. We want the military to quickly present a timetable for a complete transfer of power to civil authorities elected by the people: the People’s Assembly (lower house), the Shura Council (upper house) and the presidency. We want the security system to be rebuilt, based on respect for human rights. We want the military to open dialogue with the young people, and to increase transparency by communicating openly through the media. We want a strong government with the authority to fight rampant corruption within its own institutions.

My parents grew up in a corrupt regime, a security state dominated by one man, without any opportunity to express themselves. They were taught to chant proverbs like “live your life and mind your own business,” “one who fears, lives in peace,” “walk alongside the wall,” “cowardice is the highest morality.”

A mentality born of repression cannot be changed overnight. And yet I am optimistic, for the following reasons.

First, a large sector of Egyptian society, especially the younger generation, has overcome its fears to speak out about issues that only a few months ago would have been too frightening and intimidating to discuss openly. Even if, as critics say, they number merely 1 million people — 1 million out of 82 million — they constitute a critical mass with the ability to influence the inner circles of power, and the potential to become the conscience of a nation.

A second factor is the spread of mass media. In the past, the success or failure of a revolution depended partly on who controlled the media. Today more than 15 million Egyptians are connected to the Internet, where they can monitor the situation, speak out against corruption and resist any attempt to brainwash them with deceitful propaganda. With ease, young people can make and share short films, spread ideas or write songs for their cause.

Third, a new sector of civil society has emerged, working quietly to redirect the country’s course. Previously, most volunteer work was in the form of short-term aid to the poor. Such charity, benevolent as it was, failed to provide real solutions to the underlying problems of joblessness, powerlessness and voicelessness. Now many groups are starting to apply systematic pressure on the authorities. Labor and agriculture unions have been formed; trade unions, freed from state control, have held real elections.

Fourth, Egypt is a young society. Half of Egyptians are under the age of 25, compared to a world average of 44 percent (33 percent in the United States). Comfortable with technology, and characterized by rebelliousness, fearlessness and risk-taking, these young people have the frame of mind required for the next stage of Egypt’s revolution. Many are well educated and well employed, in a strong position to contribute to the renaissance of the country.

Finally, an unprecedented number of youths are engaged in political activities, from founding or joining political parties to running as candidates in the parliamentary elections. This is particularly healthy because it generates the political experience needed in the long run to lead the country.

I am optimistic because a courageous Egyptian faced an armored vehicle and forced it to stop. I am optimistic because a group of lawyers demanded the right of Egyptians living abroad to vote in national elections. I am optimistic because children as young as 10 have taken part in the demonstrations against the military, chanting, “the people want to bring down the regime.” I am optimistic because 18 million people turned out in March to vote in a referendum on constitutional changes.

The issue is not absolute optimism, but optimism through action. Beyond a demonstration or a sit-in or a march, our revolution will succeed only if we transform anger and fear into real actions intended to solve real, specific problems.

Be optimistic: we are writing history.

Wael Ghonim is a computer engineer and Internet activist. This essay was translated by Clement Salama from the Arabic.

NYT

News On relevant Science

Occupy Campus

Ravens Use 'Hand' Gestures to Communicate: Scientific American

Ravens Use 'Hand' Gestures to Communicate: Scientific American

Miley Cyrus Rocks!

Texas Drought Is Revealing Secrets of the Deep - NYTimes.com

Texas Drought Is Revealing Secrets of the Deep - NYTimes.com:

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 25, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Concierto De Pablo Milanes En Miami 2011 - YouTube

Concierto De Pablo Milanes En Miami 2011 - YouTube

Finally!


Oops


Jewish Mathematicians?

You cannot find the Bernoulli family, nor Jacopo Francesco Riccati in the Wikipedia list.

Jewish mathematicians.

I am not Jewish, but my wife and children are.

I had a dear friend in Puebla, Germán Martínez Hidalgo. He and his children love books, they keep all the ones he collected.

Is this trait indicative of something?

Go Danny, Go!

Socialists Lose to Popular Party in Vote in Spain - NYTimes.com

Socialists Lose to Popular Party in Vote in Spain - NYTimes.com

Shame on the Chancellor

Yukiya Amano and Jesús Orozco Henríquez

Amano and Orozco are agents of powerful governments. Amano represents the US and Orozco represents Mexico.

Orozco is the First Vice Chair of CIDH

Where exactly they represent them?

The Japanese is saying Iran has weapons of mass destruction in the IAEC, the Mexican says that Calderón won the 2006 Mexican election fair and square, in the IACHR. By his efforts the Mexican Government may burn the ballots of that sham election, and we will never know who got more votes then.

Little men, doing the bidding of big guys.

Pitiful.

How do I know?

I read Proceso. , and watch Democracy Now! :)

Read the New Yorker post by Hersh here.

Here is an excerpt:

"The shift in tone at the I.A.E.A. seems linked to a change at the top. The I.A.E.A.’s report had extra weight because the Agency has had a reputation for years as a reliable arbiter on Iran. Mohammed ElBaradei, who retired as the I.A.E.A.’s Director General two years ago, was viewed internationally, although not always in Washington, as an honest broker—a view that lead to the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. ElBaradei’s replacement is Yukiya Amano of Japan. Late last year, a classified U.S. Embassy cable from Vienna, the site of the I.A.E.A. headquarters, described Amano as being “ready for prime time.” According to the cable, which was obtained by WikiLeaks, in a meeting in September, 2009, with Glyn Davies, the American permanent representative to the I.A.E.A., said, “Amano reminded Ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the group of developing countries], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.” The cable added that Amano’s “willingness to speak candidly with U.S. interlocutors on his strategy … bodes well for our future relationship.”
It is possible, of course, that Iran has simply circumvented the reconnaissance efforts of America and the I.A.E.A., perhaps even building Dick Cheney’s nightmare: a hidden underground nuclear-weapons fabrication facility. Iran’s track record with the I.A.E.A. has been far from good: its leadership began construction of its initial uranium facilities in the nineteen-eighties without informing the Agency, in violation of the nonproliferation treaty. Over the next decade and a half, under prodding from ElBaradei and the West, the Iranians began acknowledging their deceit and opened their enrichment facilities, and their records, to I.A.E.A. inspectors.
The new report, therefore, leaves us where we’ve been since 2002, when George Bush declared Iran to be a member of the Axis of Evil—with lots of belligerent talk but no definitive evidence of a nuclear-weapons program.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2011/11/iran-and-the-iaea.html#ixzz1eLwOFpO7"

Boring Cruel Romantics

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: November 20, 2011

There’s a word I keep hearing lately: “technocrat.” Sometimes it’s used as a term of scorn — the creators of the euro, we’re told, were technocrats who failed to take human and cultural factors into account. Sometimes it’s a term of praise: the newly installed prime ministers of Greece and Italy are described as technocrats who will rise above politics and do what needs to be done.

I call foul. I know from technocrats; sometimes I even play one myself. And these people — the people who bullied Europe into adopting a common currency, the people who are bullying both Europe and the United States into austerity — aren’t technocrats. They are, instead, deeply impractical romantics.

They are, to be sure, a peculiarly boring breed of romantic, speaking in turgid prose rather than poetry. And the things they demand on behalf of their romantic visions are often cruel, involving huge sacrifices from ordinary workers and families. But the fact remains that those visions are driven by dreams about the way things should be rather than by a cool assessment of the way things really are.

And to save the world economy we must topple these dangerous romantics from their pedestals.

Let’s start with the creation of the euro. If you think that this was a project driven by careful calculation of costs and benefits, you have been misinformed.

The truth is that Europe’s march toward a common currency was, from the beginning, a dubious project on any objective economic analysis. The continent’s economies were too disparate to function smoothly with one-size-fits-all monetary policy, too likely to experience “asymmetric shocks” in which some countries slumped while others boomed. And unlike U.S. states, European countries weren’t part of a single nation with a unified budget and a labor market tied together by a common language.

So why did those “technocrats” push so hard for the euro, disregarding many warnings from economists? Partly it was the dream of European unification, which the Continent’s elite found so alluring that its members waved away practical objections. And partly it was a leap of economic faith, the hope — driven by the will to believe, despite vast evidence to the contrary — that everything would work out as long as nations practiced the Victorian virtues of price stability and fiscal prudence.

Sad to say, things did not work out as promised. But rather than adjusting to reality, those supposed technocrats just doubled down — insisting, for example, that Greece could avoid default through savage austerity, when anyone who actually did the math knew better.

Let me single out in particular the European Central Bank (E.C.B.), which is supposed to be the ultimate technocratic institution, and which has been especially notable for taking refuge in fantasy as things go wrong. Last year, for example, the bank affirmed its belief in the confidence fairy — that is, the claim that budget cuts in a depressed economy will actually promote expansion, by raising business and consumer confidence. Strange to say, that hasn’t happened anywhere.

And now, with Europe in crisis — a crisis that can’t be contained unless the E.C.B. steps in to stop the vicious circle of financial collapse — its leaders still cling to the notion that price stability cures all ills. Last week Mario Draghi, the E.C.B.’s new president, declared that “anchoring inflation expectations” is “the major contribution we can make in support of sustainable growth, employment creation and financial stability.”

This is an utterly fantastic claim to make at a time when expected European inflation is, if anything, too low, and what’s roiling the markets is fear of more or less immediate financial collapse. And it’s more like a religious proclamation than a technocratic assessment.

Just to be clear, this is not an anti-European rant, since we have our own pseudo-technocrats warping the policy debate. In particular, allegedly nonpartisan groups of “experts” — the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Concord Coalition, and so on — have been all too successful at hijacking the economic policy debate, shifting its focus from jobs to deficits.

Real technocrats would have asked why this makes sense at a time when the unemployment rate is 9 percent and the interest rate on U.S. debt is only 2 percent. But like the E.C.B., our fiscal scolds have their story about what’s important, and they’re sticking to it no matter what the data say.

So am I against technocrats? Not at all. I like technocrats — technocrats are friends of mine. And we need technical expertise to deal with our economic woes.

But our discourse is being badly distorted by ideologues and wishful thinkers — boring, cruel romantics — pretending to be technocrats. And it’s time to puncture their pretensions.

NYT

Robert Hass

Wikipedia Courageous Poet Laurate NYT

LIFE, I found myself thinking as a line of Alameda County deputy sheriffs in Darth Vader riot gear formed a cordon in front of me on a recent night on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, is full of strange contingencies.  The deputy sheriffs, all white men, except for one young woman, perhaps Filipino, who was trying to look severe but looked terrified, had black truncheons in their gloved hands that reporters later called batons and that were known, in the movies of my childhood, as billy clubs.

The first contingency that came to mind was the quick spread of the Occupy movement. The idea of occupying public space was so appealing that people in almost every large city in the country had begun to stake them out, including students at Berkeley, who, on that November night, occupied the public space in front of Sproul Hall, a gray granite Beaux-Arts edifice that houses the registrar’s offices and, in the basement, the campus police department.

It is also the place where students almost 50 years ago touched off the Free Speech Movement, which transformed the life of American universities by guaranteeing students freedom of speech and self-governance. The steps are named for Mario Savio, the eloquent undergraduate student who was the symbolic face of the movement. There is even a Free Speech Movement Cafe on campus where some of Mr. Savio’s words are prominently displayed: “There is a time ... when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part.” 

Earlier that day a colleague had written to say that the campus police had moved in to take down the Occupy tents and that students had been “beaten viciously.” I didn’t believe it. In broad daylight? And without provocation? So when we heard that the police had returned, my wife, Brenda Hillman, and I hurried to the campus. I wanted to see what was going to happen and how the police behaved, and how the students behaved. If there was trouble, we wanted to be there to do what we could to protect the students.

Once the cordon formed, the deputy sheriffs pointed their truncheons toward the crowd. It looked like the oldest of military maneuvers, a phalanx out of the Trojan War, but with billy clubs instead of spears. The students were wearing scarves for the first time that year, their cheeks rosy with the first bite of real cold after the long Californian Indian summer. The billy clubs were about the size of a boy’s Little League baseball bat. My wife was speaking to the young deputies about the importance of nonviolence and explaining why they should be at home reading to their children, when one of the deputies reached out, shoved my wife in the chest and knocked her down.

Another of the contingencies that came to my mind was a moment 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan’s administration made it a priority to see to it that people like themselves, the talented, hardworking people who ran the country, got to keep the money they earned. Roosevelt’s New Deal had to be undealt once and for all. A few years earlier, California voters had passed an amendment freezing the property taxes that finance public education and installing a rule that required a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature to raise tax revenues. My father-in-law said to me at the time, “It’s going to take them 50 years to really see the damage they’ve done.” But it took far fewer than 50 years.

My wife bounced nimbly to her feet. I tripped and almost fell over her trying to help her up, and at that moment the deputies in the cordon surged forward and, using their clubs as battering rams, began to hammer at the bodies of the line of students. It was stunning to see. They swung hard into their chests and bellies. Particularly shocking to me — it must be a generational reaction — was that they assaulted both the young men and the young women with the same indiscriminate force. If the students turned away, they pounded their ribs. If they turned further away to escape, they hit them on their spines.

NONE of the police officers invited us to disperse or gave any warning. We couldn’t have dispersed if we’d wanted to because the crowd behind us was pushing forward to see what was going on. The descriptor for what I tried to do is “remonstrate.” I screamed at the deputy who had knocked down my wife, “You just knocked down my wife, for Christ’s sake!” A couple of students had pushed forward in the excitement and the deputies grabbed them, pulled them to the ground and cudgeled them, raising the clubs above their heads and swinging. The line surged. I got whacked hard in the ribs twice and once across the forearm. Some of the deputies used their truncheons as bars and seemed to be trying to use minimum force to get people to move. And then, suddenly, they stopped, on some signal, and reformed their line. Apparently a group of deputies had beaten their way to the Occupy tents and taken them down. They stood, again immobile, clubs held across their chests, eyes carefully meeting no one’s eyes, faces impassive. I imagined that their adrenaline was surging as much as mine.

My ribs didn’t hurt very badly until the next day and then it hurt to laugh, so I skipped the gym for a couple of mornings, and I was a little disappointed that the bruises weren’t slightly more dramatic. It argued either for a kind of restraint or a kind of low cunning in the training of the police. They had hit me hard enough so that I was sore for days, but not hard enough to leave much of a mark. I wasn’t so badly off. One of my colleagues, also a poet, Geoffrey O’Brien, had a broken rib. Another colleague, Celeste Langan, a Wordsworth scholar, got dragged across the grass by her hair when she presented herself for arrest.

I won’t recite the statistics, but the entire university system in California is under great stress and the State Legislature is paralyzed by a minority of legislators whose only idea is that they don’t want to pay one more cent in taxes. Meanwhile, students at Berkeley are graduating with an average indebtedness of something like $16,000. It is no wonder that the real estate industry started inventing loans for people who couldn’t pay them back.

“Whose university?” the students had chanted. Well, it is theirs, and it ought to be everyone else’s in California. It also belongs to the future, and to the dead who paid taxes to build one of the greatest systems of public education in the world.

The next night the students put the tents back up. Students filled the plaza again with a festive atmosphere. And lots of signs. (The one from the English Department contingent read “Beat Poets, not beat poets.”) A week later, at 3:30 a.m., the police officers returned in force, a hundred of them, and told the campers to leave or they would be arrested. All but two moved. The two who stayed were arrested, and the tents were removed. On Thursday afternoon when I returned toward sundown to the steps to see how the students had responded, the air was full of balloons, helium balloons to which tents had been attached, and attached to the tents was kite string. And they hovered over the plaza, large and awkward, almost lyrical, occupying the air.

Robert Hass is a professor of poetry and poetics at the University of California, Berkeley, and former poet laureate of the United States.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: November 20, 2011

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to Mario Savio, a spokesman for the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the 1960s. He was an undergraduate student, not a graduate student.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jacopo Riccati

"His father Ars Riccati came from a noble family who owned land near Venice. His father was the ConteMontino Riccati and his mother was from the powerful Colonna family. His father died in 1686, when Riccati was only ten, leaving him quite wealthy."


Wikipedia

Lucky guy!

Follow Sharif Kouddous

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Tahir Today

Lawmakers Concede Budget Talks Are Close to Failure - NYTimes.com

Lawmakers Concede Budget Talks Are Close to Failure - NYTimes.com

My Family and The Guerrero Dirty War

I am in an uncomfortable position. We are from Huitzuco. Recently young people have been killed there, [link]. My uncle was in charge of security during the dirty war in the 70s. Now the Rosendo Radilla case has become a cause celèbre. People under my uncle are responsible. Now my uncle is dead, and Rosendo also.

Where do I stand?

I left to California in 1973, when my uncle and the state were at war. Now my colleagues are from the side my uncle prosecuted. I want to believe, that it were his underlings who did the evil deeds. But is it reasonable? Even if he didn't know, he was responsible.

I feel awkward. I just hope nobody blames me. I kept my distance with my uncle and all the PRI government. My family in Huitzuco won the Revolutionary war, and then they ruled.

Fortunately (?) only a few people were guilty. The rest of us are "innocent". Besides nobody has been punished. Only President Calderón has apologized to the Radilla family.

Nobody is happy.

Differences in Revolutions

The Mexican Revolution was led by heads of households. Now it is young people putting their life on the line. New York, Cairo, Madrid, Athens, ... Young people are plenty upset. What are we all going to do?

Violent Clashes in Cairo Continue Into a Second Day

Protesters clashed with riot police in Tahrir Square.

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and LIAM STACK Published: November 20, 2011

The breadth and intensity of the clashes were reminiscent of scenes in February that led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, only this time the target of the protesters’ ire was the ruling military council and its leader, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Tear gas, bird shot and rubber bullets were all flying as the fighting grew more heated in the evening. At least three demonstrators were reported killed on Sunday.

By afternoon, at least 5,000 demonstrators were in the square, and the number quickly grew on a day that is traditionally the beginning of the Egyptian work week, when protests have tended to thin rather than surge. It was another indicator that the demonstrations against the military council have entered a new phase, bringing a wide swath of Egyptian society into the square to fight, and perhaps die, in order to force the military ruling council to change.

“I saw the revolution being slain so I had to come,” said Ahmed Hamza, 41, a lawyer, watching the fray. Like many in the square, he vowed to stay until the ruling military council committed to a swift exit from power but also said he feared the generals welcomed the chaos as pretext to cancel elections. “Today there will be violence.”

State media reported that as of late Saturday night, more than 700 people had been injured, including 40 riot police, and at least one civilian died Saturday of a gunshot wound. Protesters operated a makeshift field hospital in small mosque near the square, where doctors said Sunday morning that they had treated at least 400 people for serious injuries and hundreds more who suffered from tear gas.

At least three prominent political candidates suspended their parliamentary campaigns to focus on the crisis.

In a television interview late Saturday night, Gen. Mohsen Fungary, a spokesman for the ruling military council, promised a formal response the next day. He blamed demonstrators for igniting the violence, suggested protestors were “enemies” of Egypt, and he hinted that unnamed satellite news channels — presumably Al Jazeera — had played a role. “The youth are blinded to the reality of the situation,” he said.

Coming two days after a huge Islamist demonstration kicked off the weekend of protest, and just more than a week before the first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections, the outpouring of anger was the strongest rebuke yet with the military’s attempts to grant itself permanent governmental powers. And it was a reuniting of Islamist and liberal protest movements that had drifted apart since the early days of the uprising.

This time, instead of chanting for the fall of Mr. Mubarak, the demonstrators were chanting for the fall of the ruling military council that initially presented itself as the revolution’s savior.

“The generals said to us, ‘We are your partners,’ and we believed them,” said Tarek Saaed, 55, a construction safety supervisor who used a cane to walk among the boisterous crowds in the square. “Then the next day we find out they are partners with Mubarak,” he added, calling the day a turning point for Egypt.

The crowd only grew as state news media reported that the military said it would step back from a blueprint it had laid out this month for a lasting political role under the new constitution. Many of the protesters, and some outside observers, argued that the confrontation marked a significant setback to the military.

“The military council now feels that the political street will not accept that the military is going to hold the power for a long time,” argued Mahmoud Shokry, a former Egyptian ambassador and veteran political insider. “I think the military is going to reconsider the situation once more.”

After pledging to turn over power to civilians by September, the military has postponed the handover until after the ratification of a constitution and election of a president, sometime in 2013 or later. Then this month the military-led government put in writing a set of ground rules for a next constitution that would have given the military authority to intervene in civilian politics while protecting it from civilian oversight — setting off a firestorm.

“An extremely big mistake,” Mr. Shokry said.

Opposition to those guidelines brought the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group, back to the streets in force Friday as part of a rally tens of thousands of Islamists and a smaller contingent of liberals calling for an end to military rule.

In response, the military-led interim government announced Saturday morning that its constitutional guidelines would no longer be binding, only advisory. The government also revised the rules to say that the only role of the armed forces was protecting the country and “preserving its unity,” rather than the broader writ to guard Egypt’s “constitutional legitimacy.” Many, especially Islamists, believed the phrase had granted the authority to intervene at will in the civilian government.

In another bid to placate the protesters, the revisions also explicitly place the military under civilian government. “Like other state institutions,” the new text declares, the military should “abide by the constitutional and legislative regulations.”

“The president of the republic is the supreme commander of the armed forces and the minister of defense is the general commander of the armed forces,” the revised declaration said.

Still though, the military has not agreed to cede power once a Parliament is elected, or while the constitution is being drafted. Nor has it backed away from its right to set other nominating procedures for the constitutional drafting committee or to impose other rules on the final text.

Mayy el Sheikh, Dina Amer and Amina Ismail contributed reporting.

NYT

After Dictators Fall

Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia. Remind me of Mexico.

Today we celebrate the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

"Francisco I. Madero, a young man from a wealthy family in the northern state of Coahuila, stated in 1910 that he would be running in the next election against Díaz for the presidency. In order to ensure that Madero did not win, Díaz had Madero thrown in jail and then declared himself the winner. Madero soon escaped and fled for a short period of time to San Antonio, Texas, United States. On October 5, 1910, Madero issued a "letter from jail" called the Plan de San Luis Potosí, with its main slogan "free suffrage and no re-election." (Sufragio Efectivo, No re-elección) It declared the Díaz regime illegal and called for revolt against Díaz to overthrow the Porfiriato, starting on November 20."


Wikipedia

The Revolution was called for November 20, 1910, at 6:00 PM!

That was only the beginning. Actually in Puebla City, battles started on November 18. Aquiles Serdán was killed that day, in 1910.

After Gaddafi, and his son was killed in Lybia, now the Chief Criminal Operator behind that dictatorship has been captured (below).

If Mexico is any indication, a lot of blood is going to be shed.

Good luck, Arab brothers and sisters.

As far as I am concerned, today is Revolution Day, i.e. a Holiday. No classes tomorrow.

Libya: Abdullah Sanusi, Gaddafi’s Masterspy, Captured

Photo: Abdullah Al-Senussi, head of the Libyan Intelligence Service speaks to the media in Tripoli in this August 21, 2011 photo.

Sebha, Libya— One of the most feared and influential Muammar Gaddafi’s men, Abdullah Sanusi, has been captured in southern Libya, one day After Gaddafi’s son Seif was arrested in the same region of the country.

Sanusi is believed to be responsible for most of the crimes committed against the Libyan people during the 42 years of Gaddafi’s rule.

He is also well aware of the most sensitive dealings made by Gaddafi inside and outside Libya. He supervised terrorist operations outside Libya.

Sanusi participated in the economic and political corruption schemes that characterized the Gaddafi’s era who took the control of Libya since 1 September 1969 until October 2011.

In other words, Sanusi can be viewed as the black box of the Gaddafi regime. He has been indicted by International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Tripoli Post

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What Happened in Russia in 1998?

"The third subseries, released in 1984, were analogous to System/370 with some original enhancements, and included 1016, 1026, 1036, 1046 and 1066. ES 1066 had up to 16M RAM and operated at 5.5 MIPS. The fourth subseries had no direct IBM analogs and included 1130, 1181 and 1220. The last machine in the series, ES 1220, released in 1995, supported a number of 64-bit CPU commands, 256M RAM and operated at 7 MIPS, but was not successful; only 20 such machines were ever produced, and in 1998 the whole production of ES mainframes was stopped." Wikipedia

Heaven Is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Massachusetts, where she has inspired acts of extreme giddiness. By REBECCA TRAISTER Published: November 18, 2011

On the campaign trail in Massachusetts last month with the Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, I bore witness to acts of extreme giddiness: a 20-year-old student jumping up and down, exclaiming, “Oh, my God, I am obsessed with her”; a third-year law student of Warren’s comparing her to a superhero (“Wonder Woman wishes she could be Professor Warren”); a man stopping Warren on the street and introducing himself as the guy who recently passed her a mash note on a plane (“I was hitting on you,” he said).

Warren has been something of a left-wing idol for a couple of years now. While heading Congressional oversight of TARP, she more than anyone asked tough questions about what, exactly, was done with all that bank bailout money. And on her subsequent mission to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which was designed to enforce long-ignored rules meant to protect consumers entering into everything from credit-card agreements to mortgages — Warren became a regular guest of Bill Maher’s and Jon Stewart’s, and both went weak for the straight-talking professor. Stewart told her he wanted to make out.

But this fall, at exactly the time our economic forecasts started souring again and Barack Obama appeared to be at his most ineffectual, Warren’s entrance into the race for Ted Kennedy’s old seat turned her from a cult-hero crusader into something far bigger. A clip of Warren at a fund-raiser in Andover, Mass., talking about how “there’s nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” reminded liberals that there was someone out there who could still articulate a muscular progovernment worldview. “If more Democrats were able to make the case for the underlying social contract as effectively, our discourse would be vastly less mind-numbing,” wrote Steve Benen in a Washington Monthly article that summed up what many liberals across the country were feeling.

Over its first weeks, Warren’s campaign raised an impressive $3.15 million, about 70 percent of which came from out of state and 96 percent from donors giving $100 or less. That last metric is crucial, because a consumer advocate who recently said, “The people on Wall Street broke this country,” is not likely to enjoy big-ticket backing from the financial sector. By late October, three of her biggest primary challengers had dropped out.

Even though she’s running for the Senate and not for the presidency, the early devotion to Warren recalls the ardor once felt by many for Obama. On its face, this is odd: Warren is not a world-class orator, she is not young or shiny or new, she doesn’t fizz with the promise of American possibility that made the Obama campaign pop. Instead, she’s a mild-mannered Harvard bankruptcy-law professor and a grandmother of three, a member of the older-white-lady demographic (she’s 62) that was written off in 2008 as being the antimatter of hope and change.

And yet, on a deeper level, her popularity makes perfect sense. Embracing Warren as the next “one” is, in part, a way of getting over Obama; she provides an optimistic distraction from the fact that under our current president, too little has changed, for reasons having to do both with the limitations of the political system and the limitations of the man. She makes people forget that estimations of him were too overheated, trust in his powers too fervid. As the feminist philanthropist Barbara Lee told me of Warren, “This moment of disillusion is why people find her so compelling, because she brings forth the best in people and she brings back that excitement.”

At the annual Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus dinner at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Warren, who was not part of the night’s program, cruised from table to table before the event, introducing herself to guests and blithely ignoring an M.C.’s request for people to settle down. Slipping out the door as the program began, Warren was swarmed by a trio of college students. There was actual shrieking. When I observed to Warren that she has fangirls, she replied, “I know,” with a self-assuredness that female candidates have often found difficult to convey.

“It makes me feel very responsible,” she said as she watched the young women disappear into the night. “Very excited, but very responsible.”

Among other things, what Warren offers is a reasonable, expert face for the free-floating anger currently on display at Occupy Wall Street and elsewhere. She can get wonky about the economy when she wants to, but what sets her apart is her ability to tell a coherent, populist story about it in a way that other members of her party are either unwilling or unable to do.

She has had plenty of practice talking about these issues. When she was a bankruptcy-law scholar, Warren spent decades interviewing not only judges and lawyers but also people filing for bankruptcy. In the process, she upended the assumption that Americans who were going broke were merely irresponsible overspenders. She and her two collaborators (Jay Lawrence Westbrook and Teresa A. Sullivan) argued, long before the collapse of the banks and the mortgage crisis, that years of deregulation left an American economy so fragile that families could be pushed into bankruptcy by a single factor, like job loss, divorce or illness.

It also helps that Warren has never run for office before. Like Obama in ’08, she’s a blank screen onto which admirers can project whatever they most want to see. Over the course of her career, Warren has been able to advocate for struggling people without actually having to work for­— and thus inevitably disappoint — them. What her admirers on the left see is a woman who rises above everything wormy in Washington, including indiscriminate partisan loyalty. As chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel monitoring TARP, Warren barbecued not just Bush’s Treasury chief, Hank Paulson, but also Obama’s appointee, Tim Geithner. In public hearings in 2010, she pressed Geithner on the banking system’s exposure to bad commercial loans and failures with the home-mortgage-foreclosure program. A believer in a regulated market who used to be a Republican, Warren refused to tell me whether she voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, remarking that even her husband of 30 years, “doesn’t know who I voted for, and he sleeps with me.”

Temperamentally, Warren presents as the opposite of certain bombastic and arguably chauvinistic members of Obama’s economic team. Katherine Porter, a former student who is now a bankruptcy-law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said that “a strong epithet for Elizabeth is ‘golly gee.’ ” Warren told me of an afternoon, about 10 years ago, when she picked up her office phone and was shocked to hear a man cursing on the other end. “I thought, Whew! My first obscene phone call!” Just before hanging up, Warren paused. The accent sounded familiar. She put the receiver back to her ear, waiting for the speaker to take a breath before asking, “Senator Kennedy?” It was indeed the man whose old seat she is now competing for, phoning from the Senate cloakroom to report that Democrats had unexpectedly won a fight over bankruptcy legislation. “He was so revved up!” Warren said.

But the expectation that she’s Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle also allows Warren to wield a shiv. Carol Kenner, a retired bankruptcy judge, recalled watching her friend Warren, who went to college on a debate scholarship, fiercely engage another legal scholar who was attacking her. “It’s exercise for her,” Kenner said, “like swimming a faster lap.”

While fighting for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren told The Huffington Post that if she didn’t wind up with a strong consumer agency, her second choice would be “no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor,” a phrase that has already been overlaid on images of Wall Street protesters in a Republican attack ad. Questioned at the time on CNBC about words that sounded “unnecessarily aggressive,” Warren replied: “Gee, I don’t know. That doesn’t seem aggressive at all to me.”

Warren’s fierceness in the land of suits has earned her plenty of enemies, but it has also mobilized a demographic yearning for a candidate to call its own. Congress remains only 16 percent female, and Massachusetts has an especially long and rotten history of women in politics. Since Puritans settled there in the early 17th century, more Massachusetts women have been hanged in the Salem witch trials (14) than have been elected to the House of Representatives (4), the Senate (0) or the governor’s mansion (0, though Jane Swift served as acting governor from 2001 to 2003). Backed by politically engaged women most recently frustrated by the lackluster campaign of Martha Coakley, who lost disastrously to Scott Brown in 2010, Warren is very likely to benefit from four centuries worth of pent-up energy.

The cost of that energy is that she will be asked to live up to a fantasy that has plagued other history-makers: that by virtue of being different from those who preceded her, she will govern differently.

“If you look at countries that have elected women presidents,” Barbara Lee told me, “very often, they’ve elected a woman when things were so bad they gave the woman a chance.” I suggested that the instance in which power is handed over only when it becomes so gnarled that it ceases to be any kind of power at all is a grim victory.

Lee nodded. “Whatever it takes,” she replied.

The question of what it would take for Warren to maneuver through the Senate is particularly prickly given that Warren’s aims sound as outsize, and perhaps as naïve, as the expectations of her followers.

“I don’t want to go to Washington to be a co-sponsor of some bland, little bill nobody cares about,” she told me. “I don’t want to go to Washington to get my name on something that makes small change at the margin.” Responding to my suggestion that she must run a grass-roots campaign in part because she won’t have support from banks, Warren said: “That’s absolutely true if you think the objective is to win. For me, it’s about more than that.”

And those last words, which edge into cliché, provide a hint of the central tension she’ll face over the next year. She has derived her strength from the candor and specificity of her speech, but that strength is sapped as soon as she starts dealing in the anodyne language of political campaigns. In the past, Warren has been clear that she doesn’t take to being reined in. At the start of a lecture she gave at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2010, while she was setting up the C.F.P.B., she groused about living “in a world in which someone has to read my speech in advance.” Twenty minutes later, she went off-script, complaining, “I hate being tied to something; I feel like this is a boring speech.”

She insists that regulation of her words is less of a problem now that she’s a candidate, technically answering to voters and not to the federal government. But asked by phone if her communications team felt anxiety about her perceived liberty on this account, she replied, “Oh, they’re anxious, you bet,” and joked that she could hear her campaign spokesman “on the other end of this call, breathing heavily.”

You can see the transformation happening already. When pressed on what kind of formidable legislation she would actually pursue in the Senate, Warren’s organization served up a snoozy list of the priorities that Democrats have been talking about for years: she will push for spending on infrastructure, education and renewable energy. She will work to strengthen labor unions and advocate for the reregulation of the big banks while easing regulations that make it difficult for small businesses and community banks to compete with giants.

These are fine notions; there’s a reason they’ve long been the mainstays of an imagined liberal revolution. But they’re also the ideas that cause Congress to immediately grind to a halt and that, when packaged in nonspecific campaign-speak, are quickly drained of meaning.

Warren’s stated commitment to going out on her shield also sets her up for charges of inconsistency or hypocrisy. Already Warren has been nudged for accepting PAC money; for hiring a lobbyist, Doug Rubin, to advise her campaign; and for accepting a $1,000 donation from a General Electric lobbyist. Recently, the right has made hay of her half-million-dollar-a-year income, presenting the illogical but perhaps resonant argument that a wealthy person fighting for less wealthy people must be a false prophet.

Some critics also argue that Warren will need to recalibrate her message so that it is less about the terrible things that have befallen the middle class and more about how voters can empower themselves. “The danger of her campaign is that it is predicated on the notion that people are victims,” says Jim Kessler, a senior vice president for policy at Third Way and former policy director for Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. “If her entire campaign is about how people need to be rescued from powerful forces around them, I think it will be more limited in its appeal than what it could be.” Kessler adds that he nonetheless believes that Warren will prevail.

How to sell hope when so many feel hopeless is Warren’s biggest messaging challenge. Her supporters may be willing to forget the past four years and renew their faith in her as their next salvation, but Warren clearly thinks about the dissonance of what happened when the last change-peddlers hit Washington.

“I thought, 2008, that’s it, that is the watershed moment,” Warren says. “We put sensible people in the House, in the Senate and in the White House.” But even with the new leadership, Warren said, “the people who broke the market doubled down on the failed policies. This was not supposed to happen. But it did happen.”

Warren described how, in her work for the C.F.P.B., she was flabbergasted by the “phalanxes” of lobbyists who forced her to move aside in Congressional hallways; by how, after a meeting, she might head back to her office to look up figures while lobbyists would “get on cellphones to an army of well-trained lawyers preparing to do a customized memo.”

Warren’s frankness about the forces lined up against the current administration gets muddied when she talks about what she herself would be up against. In fact, one of her chief psychological strategies seems to be turning a blind eye to depressing realities. She told me of how, while working in Washington, reports said “there were now a zillion lobbyists for every single member of Congress.” Warren said, “I just had to look away, because no reasonable person would have kept on fighting at that point.” When I suggested that should she become a senator, her office would also be overrun with lobbyists, she laughed as if the thought were preposterous. “Mmm, that will be fun,” she said. “I just want to savor that image.”

But the lobbyists will be there. Zillions of them. And while Warren may see through their customized memos, that doesn’t mean she won’t burn hours engaging with lobbyists or that she won’t be forced to cut deals with them.

“As a friend of hers, I worry about whether it’s the highest or best use of an extraordinary person’s capabilities to be in the United States Senate,” says Rob Johnson, a former economist for the Senate Banking Committee. He added that he doesn’t question Warren’s integrity, “but with regard to anyone’s capacity to be functional in Washington, it’s a long shot in the other direction.”

If Washington were a place where one brave politician is able to triumph, Warren wouldn’t be running for the Senate at all; she’d be running the consumer-protection agency she created. But Obama didn’t even nominate her for the position. Perhaps he didn’t want to have the fight with Republicans determined to block her; perhaps he was worn down by those on his own team who didn’t mesh with Warren or by Democrats like Chris Dodd, who suggested publicly that she lacked the managerial experience to run the agency. But that’s the point: Warren is headed toward a legislative body that will most likely wear her down, too. She will be pushing her attempts at substantive change right up against the same Republicans whose very existence cowed a president, in a Senate that now requires 60 votes to pass a greeting card.

And it’s not just Republicans who won’t be lining up alongside Warren. There are Democrats who talk a good game on financial reform but remain deeply and firmly beholden to banks. Members of her own party may hate Warren more than her ideological opponents, because if in fact she is as uncompromised as her acolytes think her to be, she is going to make them look bad.

Tim Geithner was rumored to have opposed Warren’s appointment to head the C.F.P.B. after the public scrutiny she subjected him to, while Democrats like Dodd found ways to discredit Warren without publicly assailing her vision of an economically just America. Criticism of Warren has already included gender-inflected barbs designed to diminish her, like anonymous leaks out of the Treasury Department about how Warren focused more on media appearances and repainting her office than on setting up an agency.

Warren described her motivation to enter politics by recalling the time Barney Frank called her to the Capitol during the first days of writing the latest financial-regulation bill. Warren didn’t understand much about the process but observed as representatives argued about individual issues until Frank asked, “Can everybody live with that?” When he was met with nods, he said, “Done!” and aides wrote down the agreed-upon language. Warren watched the process several times before Frank asked if anyone had anything else to add.

“I said, ‘What about credit-reporting agencies?’ ” Warren said, noting that the bill should include monitoring to make sure those companies engaged in fair practices. “Barney looks around the room and says, ‘Anybody got a problem with that?’ And they say, ‘No,’ and he says ‘Done!’ and everybody writes it down. I thought, Whooaah.” Credit-reporting jurisdiction was added to the bill. “That was the first time,” she said, “that I understood — and real well — what it means to be in the room.”

Having the right person in the room can mean something. It just doesn’t change everything.

It’s not that Warren’s supporters shouldn’t get lathered up about her. Staid appreciation for competent candidates has never made ballot boxes burst, and political dedication by its nature requires a degree of magical thinking: a privileging of optimism over lived experience.

But many of the people looking to Warren, as they did to Obama before her, are expecting material things — like readable credit-card pitches or safe bridges or jobs or a vote on a bill to create jobs — that are, at the moment, figments as imaginative as dragons and their slayers. And that’s dangerous, because when the person we decided was going to fix it all isn’t able to change much, it’s not just that we get blue but also that we give up. We mistake the errors of our own overblown estimations for broken promises. And instead of learning, reasonably, that one person can’t do everything, we persuade ourselves that no person can do anything.

The key is not just emotional investment in election-year saviors but also an engagement with policy. A commitment to organized expressions of political desire — like those that have been harnessed so effectively in recent years on the right — have been absent for far too long in Democratic politics. Now, with labor protests, campaigns to block voter suppression and personhood measures and the occupations of cities around the nation, there seem to be some small signs that liberals are remembering that politics requires more of them, that they need movements, not just messiahs. But their engagement must deepen, broaden and persist beyond last week’s elections and well beyond next year’s elections if there is any chance for politicians like Warren to succeed.

Because while she might provide her supporters and her constituents a voice that, if properly tuned, will rattle doors that are now gummed shut, what Elizabeth Warren cannot do is fix this mess herself.

Taken From NYT

Neutrino Finding Is Repeated in Second Experiment, Opera Scientists Say - NYTimes.com

Neutrino Finding Is Repeated in Second Experiment, Opera Scientists Say - NYTimes.com

Heaven Is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren - NYTimes.com

Heaven Is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren - NYTimes.com

Qaddafi Son Seif al-Islam Is Captured in Libya - NYTimes.com

Qaddafi Son Seif al-Islam Is Captured in Libya - NYTimes.com

Friday, November 18, 2011

Can a Country be Stolen?

Here in Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) won the presidency in 2006, and earlier Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano won the presidency in 1988.

 What happened?

 In both cases thugs stole the country.

 First it was Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and then the current Mexican President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa.

How could that be? In Mexico injustice is rampant. Next year AMLO will run again.

 Will we allow our country to be stolen from us one more time? The election is July 1. Wikipedia

Check this site.

 Maybe that is what the Mayans predicted. December 21, 2012, won't exist.

I always liked this:

"Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth."


One Hundred Years of Solitude.


Listal.com

Pancho the Astrophisicist

Vlad Teichberg

Wall Street Rallies Around Brown for Senate Race - NYTimes.com

Wall Street Rallies Around Brown for Senate Race - NYTimes.com

Ydanis Rodriguez

Ydanis Rodriguez Recounts Being Arrested Near Zuccotti Park - DNAinfo.com

Ydanis Rodriguez Recounts Being Arrested Near Zuccotti Park - DNAinfo.com

Occupy Wall Street protests aren't over by a long shot - NY Daily News

Occupy Wall Street protests aren't over by a long shot - NY Daily News

Russell Simmons

Quantum Theory's 'Wavefunction' Found to Be Real Physical Entity: Scientific American

Quantum Theory's 'Wavefunction' Found to Be Real Physical Entity: Scientific American

Neutrino Experiment Replicates Faster-Than-Light Finding: Scientific American

Neutrino Experiment Replicates Faster-Than-Light Finding: Scientific American

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Poll picks Lopez Obrador as presidential candidate of leftist Democratic Revolution party

By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 12:57 PM

MEXICO CITY — The man who narrowly lost Mexico’s last presidential election will try again next year after winning an opinion poll released Tuesday by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party.

Six thousand voters were polled, half by an agency picked by the winner, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and the others by one chosen by his rival, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

Ebrard conceded, saying he wanted to put an end to divisions within the party.

“A divided left would only take Mexico to the precipice,” he said.

The party known as the PRD is the first of three major parties to pick a candidate before the campaign officially begins in February.

Lopez Obrador lost to President Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party by half a percentage point in 2006 and he never recognized Calderon’s victory, claiming fraud.

His supporters occupied the Zocalo, the main plaza in Mexico City, and blocked the city’s elegant Reforma Avenue for weeks to demand that Lopez Obrador be awarded the presidency, protests that helped erode support for the party.

Lopez Obrador, 58, is a former mayor of Mexico City.

Former Mexico State Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, is leading in all polls ahead of the July presidential vote.

The PRI held power for seven decades until its defeat in 2000, and polls show it making a comeback across the nation, partly due to weariness with 11 years of National Action governments and horror at the estimated 40,000 drug war deaths that have stained the country since Calderon ramped up the fight against cartels by sending troops into Michoacan, his home state.

Democratic Revolution, meanwhile, has been split by feuding and it has lost much of its support even in its strongholds.

Preliminary results show the PRI winning Sunday’s gubernatorial election in the state of Michoacan. The PRD has governed there for 10 years, but it finished third behind National Action.

Recent polls show that the PRI even has a chance to win back the mayorship of Mexico City, where the PRD has governed since 1997.

The majority of Mexican voters are centrists whose biggest concerns according to recent polls are security and the economy. Ebrard, 52, has argued that he appeals to a broader segment of voters outside the party, while Lopez Obrador, who got his start as a political organizer, is more leftist.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Washington Post

Poll picks Lopez Obrador as presidential candidate of leftist Democratic Revolution party - The Washington Post

Poll picks Lopez Obrador as presidential candidate of leftist Democratic Revolution party - The Washington Post

Police Oust Occupy Wall Street Protesters at Zuccotti Park - NYTimes.com

Police Oust Occupy Wall Street Protesters at Zuccotti Park - NYTimes.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

John Cardy

Recently Cardy found the role of c, the conformal anomaly in other branches of Physics, [link]

Read more below on the a-anomaly. Congratulations John!

I met John at UCSB. Smart guy.


Proof found for unifying quantum principle : Nature News & Comment

Proof found for unifying quantum principle : Nature News & Comment

Proof Found for Unifying Quantum Principle: Scientific American

Proof Found for Unifying Quantum Principle: Scientific American

New Physics at LHC? An Anomaly in CP Violation | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine

New Physics at LHC? An Anomaly in CP Violation | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine

Amy Goodman

Amy, what can I say?

I admire you so much.

Wikipedia

We Are The Many: Makana



H. Gobind Khorana, 1968 Nobel Winner for RNA Research, Dies - NYTimes.com

H. Gobind Khorana, 1968 Nobel Winner for RNA Research, Dies - NYTimes.com

At Google X, a Top-Secret Lab Dreaming Up the Future - NYTimes.com

At Google X, a Top-Secret Lab Dreaming Up the Future - NYTimes.com

As Small Towns Wither on Plains, Hispanics Come to the Rescue - NYTimes.com

As Small Towns Wither on Plains, Hispanics Come to the Rescue - NYTimes.com

Our Solar System May Have Lost a Fifth Giant Planet - TIME

Our Solar System May Have Lost a Fifth Giant Planet - TIME

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The New Progressive Movement

Protesters severely disrupted operations at the Port of Oakland, Calif., earlier this month.
By JEFFREY D. SACHS Published: November 12, 2011
OCCUPY WALL STREET and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.
Thirty years ago, a newly elected Ronald Reagan made a fateful judgment: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Taxes for the rich were slashed, as were outlays on public services and investments as a share of national income. Only the military and a few big transfer programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits were exempted from the squeeze.
Reagan’s was a fateful misdiagnosis. He completely overlooked the real issue — the rise of global competition in the information age — and fought a bogeyman, the government. Decades on, America pays the price of that misdiagnosis, with a nation singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges of our time.
Washington still channels Reaganomics. The federal budget for nonsecurity discretionary outlays — categories like highways and rail, education, job training, research and development, the judiciary, NASA, environmental protection, energy, the I.R.S. and more — was cut from more than 5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the 1970s to around half of that today. With the budget caps enacted in the August agreement, domestic discretionary spending would decline to less than 2 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the decade, according to the White House. Government would die by fiscal asphyxiation.
Both parties have joined in crippling the government in response to the demands of their wealthy campaign contributors, who above all else insist on keeping low tax rates on capital gains, top incomes, estates and corporate profits. Corporate taxes as a share of national income are at the lowest levels in recent history. Rich households take home the greatest share of income since the Great Depression. Twice before in American history, powerful corporate interests dominated Washington and brought America to a state of unacceptable inequality, instability and corruption. Both times a social and political movement arose to restore democracy and shared prosperity.
The first age of inequality was the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century, an era quite like today, when both political parties served the interests of the corporate robber barons. The progressive movement arose after the financial crisis of 1893. In the following decades Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson came to power, and the movement pushed through a remarkable era of reform: trust busting, federal income taxation, fair labor standards, the direct election of senators and women’s suffrage.
The second gilded age was the Roaring Twenties. The pro-business administrations of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover once again opened up the floodgates of corruption and financial excess, this time culminating in the Great Depression. And once again the pendulum swung. F.D.R.’s New Deal marked the start of several decades of reduced income inequality, strong trade unions, steep top tax rates and strict financial regulation. After 1981, Reagan began to dismantle each of these core features of the New Deal.
Following our recent financial calamity, a third progressive era is likely to be in the making. This one should aim for three things. The first is a revival of crucial public services, especially education, training, public investment and environmental protection. The second is the end of a climate of impunity that encouraged nearly every Wall Street firm to commit financial fraud. The third is to re-establish the supremacy of people votes over dollar votes in Washington.
None of this will be easy. Vested interests are deeply entrenched, even as Wall Street titans are jailed and their firms pay megafines for fraud. The progressive era took 20 years to correct abuses of the Gilded Age. The New Deal struggled for a decade to overcome the Great Depression, and the expansion of economic justice lasted through the 1960s. The new wave of reform is but a few months old.
The young people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have started America on a path to renewal. The movement, still in its first days,  will have to expand in several strategic ways. Activists are needed among shareholders, consumers and students to hold corporations and politicians to account. Shareholders, for example, should pressure companies to get out of politics. Consumers should take their money and purchasing power away from companies that confuse business and political power. The whole range of other actions — shareholder and consumer activism, policy formulation, and running of candidates — will not happen in the park.  
The new movement also needs to build a public policy platform. The American people have it absolutely right on the three main points of a new agenda. To put it simply: tax the rich, end the wars and restore honest and effective government for all.
Finally, the new progressive era will need a fresh and gutsy generation of candidates to seek election victories not through wealthy campaign financiers but through free social media. A new generation of politicians will prove that they can win on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and blog sites, rather than with corporate-financed TV ads. By lowering the cost of political campaigning, the free social media can liberate Washington from the current state of endemic corruption. And the candidates that turn down large campaign checks, political action committees, Super PACs and bundlers will be well positioned to call out their opponents who are on the corporate take.
Those who think that the cold weather will end the protests should think again. A new generation of leaders is just getting started. The new progressive age has begun.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the author, most recently, of “The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity.”
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