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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

31 July 2007

Tuesday's Word: water table

The water table or phreatic surface is the surface where the water pressure is equal to atmospheric pressure.

A sustainable amount of water within a unit of sediment or rock, below the water table, in the phreatic zone is called an aquifer. The ability of the aquifer to store groundwater is dependent on the primary and secondary porosity and permeability.

1 Form
1.1 Surface topography
1.2 Perched water tables
2 Fluctuations
2.1 Seasonal fluctuations
2.2 Long term fluctuations
3 See also

The form of a water table may change and vary due to seasonal changes, topography and structural geology. In undeveloped regions, or areas with high amounts of precipitation, the water table roughly follows the contour of the overlying land surface, and rises and falls with increases or decreases in infiltration. Springs and oases occur when the water table reaches the surface. Springs commonly form on hillsides, where the earth's slanting surface may "intersect" with the water table. Other, unseen springs are found under rivers and lakes, and account for the base-flow water levels in water bodies.

Surface topography
Within an aquifer, the water table is rarely horizontal, but reflects the surface relief due to the effect of gravity.[citation needed] In hilly regions, the variation in gradient give rise to rivers, springs or oases when the water table intersects the surface. It should be noted that the water table does not always mimic the topography due to variations in the underlying geologic structure (i.e. - folded, faulted, fractured bedrock).

Perched water tables
A perched water table (or perched aquifer) is an aquifer that occurs above the regional water table, in the vadose zone. This occurs when there is an impermeable layer of rock or sediment (aquiclude) or relatively impermeable layer aquatard above the main aquifer but below the surface. If a perched aquifer's flow intersects the Earth's surface, at a valley wall for example, the water is discharged as a spring.


Seasonal fluctuations in the water table. During the dry season, river beds may dry up. In some regions (Great Britain for example), winter precipitation is often higher than summer precipitation and so the groundwater storage is not recharged in summer. Consequently, the water table is lower in the summer period yearly. This disparity between the level of the winter and summer water table is known as the zone of intermittent saturation, wherein the water table will fluctuate in response to climatic conditions.

Long term fluctuations
Fossil water is groundwater that has remained in an aquifer for millennia, and occurs mainly in deserts. Fossil water is non-renewable by present day rainfall due to its depth below the surface, and any extraction ('mining') causes a permanent change in the water table in such regions.

Your blog author has been trying to find water filters. He is beginning to think it would be easier to drill a well.



25 July 2007

Thursday's Quote: Roz Savage

Jessie is the intern for the Blue Frontier Campaign, and has been helping out with all kinds of things, including organising the launch event on July 10, and shopping for things I needed for the boat (grease pencil, toothpaste, sunshades, 12 lb of jerky, and various other random items). But possibly her greatest contribution arrived by email today - a sea shanty:

Landed person: How long have you been in the wilderness? (at sea?)

Crew: All me bloomin' life, mam!
Me mother's a mermaid
Me father's king neptune
I was born on the crest of a wave
And rocked in the cradle deep!

Seaweed and barnacles are me clothes
Every tooth in me head is a marlin spike
Every hair on me head is hemp.
Every bone in me body's a spar.

And when I spits, I spits tar.
I's hard I is I ar.

Very Pirates of the Caribbean. I especially like the penultimate line - "I's hard I is I ar". On the Atlantic I found little mantras and affirmations very useful in keeping me going at the oars, and I think this will be an excellent new one.

Speaking of sea shanties, shortly I will be publishing my favourite playlists to iTunes, so you will be able to imagine yourself there in the boat with me, listening along to what I'm listening to. All you'll have to do is throw buckets of saltwater over yourself at regular intervals, and you'll have yourself a pretty authentic ocean-rowing experience...

This blog wishes Roz fair weather and calm seas!

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17 July 2007

Tuesday's Word: Wrestling

Wrestling is the act of physical engagement between two competitors competing for a physical advantage. It is the oldest form of martial arts, as part of human display behaviour constituting a human universal, practiced in various forms of folk wrestling all over the world. Physical techniques which embody the style of wrestling are clinching, holding, locking and leverage. Avoiding potentially lethal techniques, wrestling has aspects of ritual fighting, but its basic principles are closely related to those of military hand to hand combat or self-defence systems.

Wrestling popularity has grown so much that market demands for staged wrestling have caused the development of professional wrestling.

Ancient Greek wrestlers (Pankratiasts)Contents
1 Wrestling in Ancient history
2 Etymology
3 Wrestling disciplines
3.1 Greco-Roman wrestling
3.2 Freestyle wrestling
3.3 Grappling
3.4 Beach wrestling
3.5 Judo
3.6 Collegiate wrestling
3.7 Folk wrestling
4 Uses of wrestling
4.1 Wrestling as a martial art
5 See also
6 References

Wrestling in Ancient history

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel; illustration by Gustave Doré (1855)One early (probably circa 1500 BC) description of wrestling appears in the Old Testament book of Genesis, chapter 32; it depicts the patriarch Jacob wrestling with the Angel, for which Jacob was subsequently renamed Israel. (Israel translates to "wrestles (or struggles) with God".)[1]

The Mahabharata, one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, describes the encounter between the accomplished wrestlers of Bhima and Jarasandha; "grasping each other in various ways by means of their arms, and kicking each other with such violence as to affect the innermost nerves, they struck at each other's breasts with clenched fists. With bare arms as their only weapons roaring like clouds they grasped and struck each other like two mad elephants encountering each other with their trunks".[2]

Shuai Jiao (Chinese Wrestling) is arguably the most ancient of all Chinese martial arts, with a reported history of over 4,000 years. (The date may be legendary, but wrestling was reportedly used by the Yellow Emperor during his fight against the rebel Chih Yiu and his army in 2697 BC.) During these matches, the combatants reportedly wore horned helmets that they used to gore their opponents while using a primitive form of grappling. This early style of combat was first called Jiao Ti (butting with horns). Throughout the centuries, the hands and arms replaced the horns while the techniques increased and improved. The name Jiao Ti also changed over time, both through common usage and government decree.[3]

According to Scott T. Carroll, the first documented evidence of wrestling in Egypt appeared circa 2300 BC, on the tomb of the Old Kingdom philosopher Ptahhotep. During the period of the New Kingdom (2000-1085 B.C.), additional Egyptian artwork (often on friezes), depicted Egyptian and Nubian wrestlers competing. Carroll notes striking similarities between these ancient depictions and those of the modern Nuba wrestlers.[4]

During the period of Ancient Greece (1100 to 146 B.C.), Greek Wrestling was a popular form of martial art in which points were awarded for pinning a competitor's back to the ground, forcing a competitor to submit or by forcing a competitor out of bounds (arena).[5] After the Roman conquest of the Greeks, Greek Wrestling was absorbed by the Roman culture and became Roman Wrestling during the period of the Roman Empire (510 B.C. to 500 A.D.).[citation needed]

Look up Wrestling in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.The term wrestling is an Old English word that originated some time before 1100 A.D. It is perhaps the oldest word still in use in the English language to describe hand to hand combat.[6] The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines wrestling as 'a sport or contest in which two unarmed individuals struggle hand to hand with each attempting to subdue or unbalance the other'.[7]

Look up Grappling in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.It is common in parts of the English-speaking world to use 'wrestling' (noun) and 'grappling' synonamous,[8] in particular synonymously with submission wrestling but this is grammatically incorrect.

Wrestling disciplines
Today, wrestling disciplines are broken down into two categories; International wrestling disciplines and folk wrestling disciplines. According to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, there are five current International wrestling disciplines acknowledged throughout the world. They are Greco-Roman Wrestling, freestyle wrestling, Sambo, Grappling, Beach Wrestling and Judo.[9]

Greco-Roman wrestling

A greco-roman wrestling match in the United States
Female wrestlingMain article: Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman is an International discipline and Olympic sport. "In Greco-Roman style, it is forbidden to hold the opponent below the belt, to make trips, and to actively use the legs in the execution of any action." That is, you are supposed to do everything with your upper body only.[10]

Freestyle wrestling
Main article: Freestyle wrestling
Freestyle wrestling is an International discipline and an Olympic sport. "In free style, it is allowed to hold the legs of the opponent, to make trips and to use actively legs on the execution of any action".[11]

Main article: Grappling
"Grappling, also called submission wrestling, refers to the gripping, handling, and controlling of an opponent without the use of striking, typically through the application of various grappling holds and counters to various hold attempts. Grappling can be used in both a standing position, where it is known as stand-up grappling, and on the ground, where it is known as ground grappling. Grappling is an essential part of both clinch fighting and ground fighting".[12]

Beach wrestling
Apparently in a bid to give wrestling greater appeal to television audiences, FILA adopted beach wrestling as an official discipline during 2004-2005. Beach wrestling is standing wrestling done by wrestlers, male or female, inside a sand-filled circle measuring 6 meters in diameter. There are only two weight categories, heavy and light. The objective is to throw your opponent or take your opponent to his or her back. The wrestlers wear swimsuits rather than special wrestling uniforms. Wrestlers may also wear spandex or athletic shorts.[13][14]

Main article: Judo
Judo (柔道, jūdō?), meaning "gentle way", is a modern Japanese martial art (gendai budō) and combat sport, that originated in Japan in the late nineteenth century. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an opponent to submit by joint locking the elbow or applying a choke.

Collegiate wrestling
Main article: Collegiate wrestling
Collegiate wrestling (sometimes known as folkstyle wrestling or scholastic wrestling) is the commonly used name of wrestling practiced at the university level in the United States. A very similar style is practiced at the high school and middle school levels, and also for younger participants. The term is used to distinguish the styles of wrestling used in other parts of the world, and for those of the Olympic Games: Greco-Roman wrestling, and Freestyle wrestling. There are currently five tiers of collegiate wrestling, that being NCAA division 1, 2, and 3, NJCAA, NAIA, and the NCWA. The collegiate season starts in late October and culimanates with the NCAA tournament held in March.

Folk wrestling

Burumbators on the traditional Nadam festival in Mongolia, near Ulanbataar
Jiu-Jitsu practitioners working in a half guardMain article: folk wrestling

Khuresh (Tuvan wrestling)There are almost as many folk wrestling styles as there are national traditions, because folk wrestling describes a traditional form of wrestling unique to a culture or geographic region of the world. Folk wrestling styles are not yet recognized Internationally. The following list provides examples of wrestling systems that fall into this category.

Yağlı güreş (Turkish oil wrestling) tournament in IstanbulDiscipline Origin
Mallayuddha, Pehlwani India
Pahlavani Iran
Böke Mongolia
Catch wrestling United Kingdom
Sambo Russia
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brazil
Collegiate Wrestling United States
Glima Iceland
Gouren France
Khuresh Mongolia
Lucha Canaria Spain
Lucha Leonesa Spain
Luta Livre Brazil
Schwingen Switzerland
Shoot wrestling Japan
Shuai jiao China
Ssireum Korea
Submission Wrestling Greece
Sumo Japan
Yağlı güreş Turkey

Uses of wrestling
Main article: Military education and training
Wrestling and combat\Military training have shared a close relationship throughout history.

Main article: Professional Wrestling
The popularity of hand to hand competitions throughout history has at times created a demand for staged wrestling matches.

Wrestling as a martial art
Wrestling has gained tremendous respect among martial arts practitioners, especially with the advent of mixed martial arts competition[citation needed]. Many fighters identify wrestling itself or Submission wrestling as their style of fighting. Wrestling forms the base of some of the most respected self-defense and mixed martial arts systems in the world, such as Shootfighting. Many professional fighters from the United States had competed in collegiate wrestling before their careers.

Today's Word is in honor of the Leljedal family of Pennsylvania. They are good friends and scholars with the best children in the world!



14 July 2007

Jess's Quiz to Counter Evil

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

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Bastille Day

Bastille Day is the French national holiday, celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is called "Fête Nationale" ("National Holiday"), in official parlance, or more commonly "quatorze juillet" ("14th of July"). It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the storming of the Bastille was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French "nation", and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution.

1 Current festivities
2 History
2.1 The Storming of the Bastille
2.2 The Fête de la Fédération
2.3 Origin of the present holiday
3 References
4 Trivia
5 External links

Current festivities

Jacques Chirac reviewing troops on the 2003 Bastille Day parade.
14 July is the French Bastille day, simply called 14 Juillet or less commonly but more officially Fête nationale (though it is generally referred to as Bastille Day in English). Many cities hold fireworks during the night. Many dancing parties are organised (bals du 14 juillet) and it is customary that firefighters organise them (bals des pompiers). Those celebrations take place from 13 July at night to 14 July.

The day officially celebrates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, though it is often associated, even in France, with the Storming of the Bastille. Military parades, called Défilés du 14 juillet, are held on the morning of 14 July, the largest of which takes place on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris in front of the President of the Republic.

The parade opens with cadets from certain schools (École Polytechnique, Saint-Cyr, École Navale, and so forth), then other infantry troops, then motorised troops; aviation of the Patrouille de France flies above. In recent times, it has become customary to invite units from France's close allies into the parade; for instance, in 2004 during the centenary of the Entente Cordiale, British troops (the band of the Royal Marines, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Grenadier Guards and King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery) led the Bastille Day parade in Paris for the first time, with the Red Arrows flying overhead.

The parade also involves the French Republican Guard, and occasionally (non-military) police units; it always ends with the much-cheered and popular Paris Fire Brigade (which, exceptionally, has military status in France). Traditionally, the students of the École Polytechnique set up some form of joke.

The president then gives an interview to members of the press, discussing the situation of the country, recent events and projects for the future. He also holds a garden party at the Palais de l'Elysée.

Bastille Day also falls during the running of the Tour de France, and is traditionally the day upon which French riders will make a special effort to take a stage victory for France.


Storming of the Bastille

On 5 May 1789, Louis XVI convened the Estates-General to hear their grievances. The deputies of the Third Estate representing the common people (the two others were clergy and nobility) decided to break away and form a National Assembly. On 20 June the deputies of the Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath, swearing not to separate until a Constitution had been established. They were gradually joined by delegates of the other estates; Louis started to recognize their validity on 27 June. The Assembly re-named itself the National Constituent Assembly on 9 July, and began to function as a legislature and to draft a constitution.

In the wake of the 11 July dismissal of the royal finance minister Jacques Necker, the people of Paris, fearful that they and their representatives would be attacked by the royal military, and seeking to gain arms for the general populace, stormed the Bastille, a prison which had often held people arbitrarily jailed on the basis of lettre de cachet. Besides holding a large cache of arms, the Bastille had long been known for holding political prisoners whose writings had displeased the royal government, and was thus a symbol of the absolutism of the monarchy. As it happened, though, at the time of the siege in mid-July 1789 there were only 7 inmates, none of great political significance.

When the crowd—eventually reinforced by mutinous gardes françaises—proved to be a fair match for the fort's defenders, the commander of the Bastille, Governor de Launay capitulated and opened the gates in order to avoid a mutual massacre. However, possibly because of a misunderstanding, fighting resumed. Ninety-eight attackers and just one defender had died in the actual fighting, but in the aftermath, De Launay and seven other defenders were killed, as was the 'prévôt es marchands' (roughly, mayor) Jacques de Flesselles.

The storming of the Bastille was more important as a rallying point and symbolic act of rebellion than a practical act of defiance.

Shortly after the storming of the Bastille, on 4 August feudalism was abolished and on 26 August, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed.

The Fête de la Fédération

Main article: Fête de la Fédération

The Fête de la Fédération of the 14 July 1790 was a huge feast and official event to celebrate the uprising of the short-lived constitutional monarchy in France and what people of the time considered to be the happy conclusion of the French Revolution.

The event took place on the Champ de Mars, which was at the time outside of Paris. The place had been transformed on a voluntary basis by the population of Paris itself, in what was recalled as the Journée des brouettes ("Wheelbarrow Day").

A mass was celebrated by Talleyrand, bishop of Autun. The very popular General La Fayette, as both captain of the National Guard of Paris and confidant of the king, took his oath to the Constitution, followed by the King Louis XVI.

After the end of the official celebration, the day ended in a huge four day popular feast.

Origin of the present holiday

On 30 June 1878, a feast had been set in Paris by official decision to honour the Republic (the event was immortalised by a painting by Claude Monet). On the 14 July 1879, another feast took place, with a semi-official aspect; the events of the day included a military review in Longchamp, a reception in the Chambre of Deputies, organised and presided by Léon Gambetta, and a Republican Feast in the pré Catelan with Louis Blanc and Victor Hugo. All through France, as Le Figaro wrote on the 16, "people feasted a lot to honour the Bastille".

On the 21 May 1880, Benjamin Raspail presented a law proposal to have "the Republic choose the 14 July as a yearly national holiday". The Assembly voted the text on 21 May and 8 June. The Senate approved on 27 and 29 June, favouring 14 July against 4 August (honouring the end of the feudal system on 4 August 1789). The law was made official on 6 July 1880, and the Ministry of the Interior recommended to the prefects that the day should be "celebrated with all the brilliance that the local resources allow". Indeed, the celebrations of the new holiday in 1880 were particularly magnificent.

In the debate leading up to the adoption of the holiday, Henri Martin, chairman of the French Senate, addressed that chamber 29 June 1880. "Do not forget that behind this 14 July, where victory of the new era over the ancien régime was bought by fighting, do not forget that after the day of 14 July 1789, there was the day of 14 July 1790. … This [latter] day cannot be blamed for having shed a drop of blood, for having divided the country. It was the consecration of unity of France. … If some of you might have scruples against the first 14 July, they certainly hold none against the second. Whatever difference which might part us, something hovers over them, it is the great images of national unity, which we all desire, for which we would all stand, willing to die if necessary."


13 July 2007

Friday the 13th!

A Friday occurring on the 13th day of any month is considered to be a day of bad luck in English, German and Portuguese-speaking cultures around the globe. Similar superstitions exist in some other traditions. In Greece and Spain, for example, Tuesday the 13th takes the same role. The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia (a word that is derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Παρασκευή, δεκατρείς, and φοβία, meaning Friday, thirteen, and phobia respectively; alternate spellings include paraskevodekatriaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia) or friggatriskaidekaphobia, and is a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a phobia (fear) of the number thirteen. *

Bad luck for whom?

Earlier Thursday, Bush said a report on U.S.-set benchmarks for Iraq shows "satisfactory progress" in eight areas. He admitted that there is "more work to be done."**

George Bush! It seems his "principle" is only as deep as the Republicans' numbers to keep Dems from voting us out of an unwinnable war and impeachment for him and Cheney! Awww!


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12 July 2007

Thursday's Quote: Aristotle

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then,
is not an act, but a habit."

This week's quote comes by suggestion of mi amigo, John Pritchard. Gracias!

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10 July 2007

Tuesday's Word: desalination

Desalination refers to any of several processes that remove excess salt and other minerals from water in order to obtain fresh water suitable for animal consumption or irrigation, and if almost all of the salt is removed, for human consumption. Sometimes the process produces table salt as a by-product. Desalination of ocean water is common in the Middle East (because of water scarcity) and the Caribbean, and is growing fast in the USA, North Africa, Singapore, Spain, Australia and China.[citation needed] It is used also on ships, submarines and islands. Desalination typically requires large amounts of energy as well as specialized, expensive infrastructure, making it very costly compared to the use of fresh water from rivers or wells (bores).
Desalination of brackish water is done in the United States in order to meet treaty obligations for river water entering Mexico. Several Middle Eastern countries have energy reserves so great that they use desalinated water for agriculture. Saudi Arabia's desalination plants account for about 24% of total world capacity. The world's largest desalination plant is the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant (Phase 2) in the United Arab Emirates. It uses multi-stage flash distillation, dual-purpose and it is capable of producing 300 million cubic meters of water per year.

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07 July 2007

Happy 07/07/07!

As luck would have it, weddings soar 7/7/07

Friday, July 06, 2007
Bill Lubinger
Plain Dealer Reporter

The calendar has dealt a hand Saturday that has tens of thousands of hopeful brides and grooms, birthday celebrators and the numerically superstitious betting the house.

It's July 7 - 7/7/07 - the ideal sequence for a day (and maybe a lifetime?) of luck extraordinaire.
With so many lucky sevens falling on a Saturday, the hopeful are letting it ride.

About 12,000 couples get married on a typical Saturday in July, said Melissa Bauer, spokeswoman for theknot.com, a wedding-planning site. Tomorrow, almost three times as many will walk the aisle, she said, partly because of an extended holiday weekend, but mostly it's the promise that the number 7 holds.

Oh, and Bloggers, if the luck doesn't hold I know a good lawyer!


06 July 2007

Profile in Courage: Roz Savage

Dunked But Not Daunted: Open Letter to Geoff Holt
18 May 2007

Dear Geoff

I read your very eloquent blog about Monday's events - I am most impressed, and I think you put your side of the case extremely well.

I can't believe that the press would be so ignorant and cruel as to make negative comments about your brave attempt. In that vein, here is one of my favourite quotes, which I originally found a long time ago in Pete Goss's book Close to the Wind, although I have seen it many other places since:

It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who knows great enthusiasm, great devotion and the triumph of achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while doing greatly - so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat...

Meantime, I hope this is giving you time to get over your cold. All the best - and better luck next time! ;-)

Bloggers, Roz Savage is an inspiration to the mortal among us. Bonne chance! www.RozSavage.com


04 July 2007

Independence Day

In the United States, Independence Day (commonly known as "the Fourth of July","July Fourth", or even simply "The Fourth") is a federal holiday celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Fireworks have been associated with the Fourth of July since 1777.

Why the fourth?

Though the Fourth of July is iconic to Americans, some claim the date itself is somewhat arbitrary. New Englanders had been fighting Britain since April 1775. The first motion in the Continental Congress for independence was made on June 4, 1776. After hard debate, the Congress voted unanimously, but secretly, for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 2 (see Lee Resolution). The Congress reworked the text of the Declaration until a little after eleven o'clock, July 4, when the twelve colonies voted for adoption and released a copy signed only by John Hancock, President of the Congress, to the printers. (The New York delegation abstained from both votes.) Philadelphia celebrated the Declaration with public readings and bonfires on July 8. Not until August 2 would a fair printing be signed by the members of the Congress, but even that was kept secret to protect the members from British reprisals.*

John Adams, credited by Thomas Jefferson as the unofficial, tireless whip of the independence-minded, wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams was off by two days, however. Certainly, the vote on July 2 was the decisive act. But July 4, 1776 is the date on the Declaration itself. Jefferson's stirring prose, as edited by the Congress, was first adopted by the July 4th vote. It was also the first day Philadelphians heard the official news of independence from the Continental Congress, as opposed to rumors in the street about secret votes.


Happy Independence Day, Bloggers! Remember, we have survived much worse than the corrupt Bush Administration.

*Where have we heard this before--Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame?


03 July 2007

Tuesday's Word: commute

Commutation of sentence involves the reduction of legal penalties, especially of terms of imprisonment. Commutation is normally linked to prisoners' good behaviour. In the United States, reduction of sentence is handled by an executive head of government; In federal cases this is the U.S. Department of Justice, although the President of the United States also holds the power to commute sentences. State sentences are usually handled by the governor's office. Unlike a pardon a commutation does not nullify the conviction and is often conditional.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Monday spared I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby from prison, commuting the former White House aide's 30-month prison term.

A conviction remains on Scooter Libby's record, and he must still pay a $250,000 fine.

The prison time was imposed after a federal court convicted Libby of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of the name of a CIA operative.
A commutation is distinct from a pardon, which is a complete eradication of a conviction record and makes it the same as if the person has never been convicted.
Bush has only commuted Libby's prison term, which means that the conviction remains on Libby's record and he must still pay a $250,000 fine. He will be on probation for two years.
Commutations are rarely granted, says CNN's chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. A commutation is a total right of the president and it cannot be challenged by any attorney or court, he said.
It's the fourth time Bush has issued one.
Earlier Monday, a federal appeals court unanimously ruled that Libby could not delay serving his sentence, which would have put Libby just weeks away from surrendering to a prison.
In a written statement commuting the prison sentence, issued hours after Monday's ruling, Bush called the sentence "excessive," and suggested that Libby will pay a big enough price for his conviction. Watch what signal critics say Bush's decision sends »
"The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting," he said.
The president, who has been under great pressure to pardon Libby, said Libby was given "a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury."
Libby can still appeal his conviction. And if the appeal fails or is still in process at the end of Bush's term, the president could grant Libby a full pardon.
Libby's conviction is linked to the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.
An outraged Joe Wilson, Plame's husband, spoke to CNN shortly after the ruling. Wilson had gone public with allegations that the Bush administration had "twisted" the evidence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, and prosecutors argued that Libby disclosed her employment as part of an effort to discredit him.
"I have nothing to say to Scooter Libby," Wilson said. "I don't owe this administration. They owe my wife and my family an apology for having betrayed her. Scooter Libby is a traitor."
Libby was not accused of disclosing Plame's identity himself. But at trial, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told the jury that Libby's actions left "a cloud over the White House" by obstructing the leak probe.
In a statement issued Monday night, Fitzgerald took issue with Bush's description of the sentence as "excessive," saying it was "imposed pursuant to the laws governing sentencings which occur every day throughout this country."
"It is fundamental to the rule of law that all citizens stand before the bar of justice as equals," Fitzgerald said. "That principle guided the judge during both the trial and the sentencing."
Plame had worked in the CIA's counter-proliferation division before the March 2003 invasion. She told a congressional committee in March that her exposure effectively ended her career and endangered "entire networks" of agents overseas.
Her husband said Bush's action today demonstrates that the White House is "corrupt from top to bottom."
Clemency petitions are normally reviewed by the Justice Department, which investigates the case and seeks input from the federal prosecutor who brought the case before issuing a recommendation to the president. A government official said that Bush did not consult with the Justice Department before rendering his decision.
Reaction on Capitol Hill was swift. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the president had "abandoned all sense of fairness when it comes to justice."
"The president's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence does not serve justice, condones criminal conduct, and is a betrayal of trust of the American people," she said.
One of the few members of the GOP backing Bush, House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, said the commutation was "the right thing to do."
"The prison sentence was overly harsh, and the punishment did not fit the crime," Blunt said.
Plame's name became public when Robert Novak named her in his column on July 14, 2003.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has admitted he disclosed the information to a reporter. Novak pointed to another "senior administration official" -- Bush political adviser Karl Rove -- as the second source for his column.
No one has been charged with leaking classified information in the case, but a jury found Libby guilty of trying to deceive investigators and a grand jury during the investigation.
Bush was under great pressure to grant a pardon to Libby.
Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is the highest-ranking White House official ordered to prison since the Iran-Contra affair.
Polls suggest the American public may not be happy with Libby's commutation.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll taken in March asked if Bush should pardon Libby -- 69 percent said no, 18 percent said yes.
Ted Wells, an attorney for Libby, issued a statement late Monday saying that Libby and his family "wish to express their gratitude for the president's decision."
"We continue to believe in Mr. Libby's innocence," Wells said. "Scooter and his family appreciate the many Americans who have supported them over the last two years."

Well, Bloggers, have you had enough of these thugs? How many of you still think Bible thumpers need to be voting?


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