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Hydrangeas. June, 2012. Photo credit: joanneleon
Tragedy in life normally comes with betrayal and compromise, and trading on your integrity and not having dignity in life. That's really where failure comes.

~Tom Cochrane  

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Egypt election result - live updates

• Shafiq and Morsi supporters in rival rallies ahead of results
• Reports of back room deals with military council
• Turkey says downed jet was not spying on Syria

Fisk (who is in Tahrir Square right now, prior to the announcement of the winner):
Late for the revolution, Muslim Brotherhood take over Tahrir Square

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood came in their tens of thousands to Tahrir Square yesterday to tell the Egyptian army to return to their barracks and transfer power to a national government without further delay.

And they were only 17 months late. Almost a year and a half ago, while the young of Egypt died for their revolution, the bearded gentlemen who run this brave, hitherto sub-clandestine organisation were face-to-face with Omar Suleiman, a former vice-president for the ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, trying to negotiate a seat in government. But there they were yesterday, revolutionaries to a man. Woe to Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's former prime minister, if the results of last week's vote are released and he is declared president tomorrow. A Mubarak clone if ever there was one.

[ ... ]

"There are two scenarios for this crisis situation: Morsi is like a hat you cannot wear. The other – well, if Shafiq is president, there will be blood, though only for a limited time. Because the big generals in the army will never be able to govern Egypt. Every home here in Egypt has a soldier in the army – and they will never allow these old men to govern. The army is on the side of the people."

Political Scientists Are Lousy Forecasters

Political scientists are defensive these days because in May the House passed an amendment to a bill eliminating National Science Foundation grants for political scientists. Soon the Senate may vote on similar legislation. Colleagues, especially those who have received N.S.F. grants, will loathe me for saying this, but just this once I’m sympathetic with the anti-intellectual Republicans behind this amendment. Why? The bill incited a national conversation about a subject that has troubled me for decades: the government — disproportionately — supports research that is amenable to statistical analyses and models even though everyone knows the clean equations mask messy realities that contrived data sets and assumptions don’t, and can’t, capture.

It’s an open secret in my discipline: in terms of accurate political predictions (the field’s benchmark for what counts as science), my colleagues have failed spectacularly and wasted colossal amounts of time and money. The most obvious example may be political scientists’ insistence, during the cold war, that the Soviet Union would persist as a nuclear threat to the United States. In 1993, in the journal International Security, for example, the cold war historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote that the demise of the Soviet Union was “of such importance that no approach to the study of international relations claiming both foresight and competence should have failed to see it coming.” And yet, he noted, “None actually did so.” Careers were made, prizes awarded and millions of research dollars distributed to international relations experts, even though Nancy Reagan’s astrologer may have had superior forecasting skills.

Everything you need to know about Obamacare and SCOTUS in one post

The Supreme Court is expected to decide sometime this week whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Here’s a brief refresher course on what they’re deciding, what’s at stake and what happens next.

Want to live longer? Move to New York

New Yorkers can add another item to an ever-growing list of things to feel vastly superior about: Their life expectancy is quickly outstripping the rest of the country’s, recently overtaking ulta-healthy Boston.

Greek PM and finance minister to miss key EU summit due to health problems
Foreign minister and outgoing finance minister will instead attend talks where Greece will ask for austerity concessions

Under a coalition programme seen by Reuters on Saturday, the government will seek tax cuts, extra help for the poor and unemployed, a freeze on public sector lay-offs and more time to cut its deficit, responding to pressure from a society facing its fifth year of recession.

The programme is likely to run into strong opposition from Greece's eurozone partners, notably paymaster Germany, who have offered adjustments but no radical rewrite of conditions.

Another consequence of austerity policies?
London 2012 Olympics: hotel prices fall as visitor rush fails to materialise
The cost of a London hotel room during the Olympic Games has dropped sharply, as an expected surge in bookings has failed to materialise.

Tourism chiefs confirmed the fall, which comes after Locog, the games’ organisers, released thousands of unwanted hotel rooms in the capital and hoteliers began to abandon minimum stay rules, allowing tourists to book one or two night stays.

Floods force hundreds to leave homes
Flash floods forced hundreds of people to leave their homes, after a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours.

Cumbria, Lancashire and West Yorkshire were the worst hit counties as rivers burst their banks and drains failed to cope with the deluge. In some places the water was waist high and emergency services had to rescue people by boat.

[ ... ]

“Countless homes and businesses were under water in the centre. A lot of a people cannot remember anything like this in the last 24 years.”

If this turns out to be true, it could be huge, and really good news for people who are sensitive to gluten.
Heritage wheat could let gluten-sensitive people eat bread again

One of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll find out I’m gluten-intolerant, because there is almost nothing I love to eat more than really good bread. (I know that there is bread made with non-wheat flour, but … it’s just not the same.) But it turns out, according to Pacific Standard, that there’s a strain of heritage wheat that even gluten-sensitive people might be able to digest. It’s nutty-tasting, and it has an excellent name: “einkorn,” which I’m going to roughly translate as The One True Grain.

How Peabody gets dirt-cheap land and the rest of us get a gigaton of carbon pollution

On Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is scheduled to hold an “auction” for 721 million tons of taxpayer-owned coal in the Powder River Basin.

This is for the North Porcupine tract, and like the South Porcupine tract that BLM leased to Peabody last month — even though this coal is owned by you and me — the lease was drawn up by Peabody itself for its own profit. This is what’s known as a “lease by application,” and under BLM’s corrupt coal-leasing program, Peabody will almost certainly be the only bidder and pay next to nothing.

Libya Democracy Clashes With Fervor for Jihad

In an unfolding contest here over the future of the Islamist movement, Mr. Hasadi’s vision of peaceful change appears ascendant. For the West, his success may represent the greatest promise of the Arab Spring, that political participation could neutralize the militant strand of Islam that has called thousands to fight and die in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

That hope for democracy, however, is now imperiled by lawlessness in Libya, signs of sectarian war in Syria and military rule in Egypt. In Egypt, especially, the generals’ attempts to thwart an Islamist electoral victory could validate militant arguments about the futility of democratic reform.

[ ... ]

Some in the West fear militants will find new staging grounds. In Darnah, which the United States Army says sent more jihadis to fight the United States in Iraq than any other town its size, Mr. Qumu and other militants still command a following, according to local officials and residents. Many blame Islamist militants for a spate of violent crimes, including the bombing of Mr. Hasadi’s empty Mercedes-Benz.

But many former jihadis here say they have put their faith in elections, starting with a vote for a Libyan national assembly expected next month.

“We want our politics to be like Israel,” said Mosab Benkamaial, 25, referring to the Jewish state’s melding of religious identity and electoral democracy. Mr. Benkamaial, who was captured by United States troops in Baghdad, now runs Darnah’s most popular restaurant, a kebab grill called Popeye’s.

We need this kind of attitude in the U.S.  Granted, all of this might be politically motivated, to some extent as the opposing party is now in power.  {The article says that MPs from all parties are calling for it though.)  But the last time I looked, Bush had an R next to his name and the opposing party is in power in this country too.  Or so I thought.
Blair blocked Cabinet from hearing legal advice on Iraq
MPs demand recall of Chilcot inquiry to question former PM over revelation in Campbell diaries

MPs demanded an emergency recall of the Chilcot inquiry last night after new revelations that Tony Blair blocked the Government's most senior lawyer from explaining to Cabinet the legality of the war in Iraq.

According to the newly published full version of Alastair Campbell's diaries, the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wanted to "put the reality" to cabinet ministers that there was a case against, as well as for, military action in March 2003. But, according to his former spin doctor, the then Prime Minister feared that the legal opinion was too "nuanced" and would allow the war's ministerial critics Robin Cook and Clare Short to say that the case had not been made.

[ ... ]

MPs from all parties urged Sir John Chilcot, who has finished taking evidence and is now preparing his report into the Iraq war, to reconvene a special session to hear from Mr Blair, Mr Campbell and Lord Goldsmith. The former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: "According to the diaries, Tony Blair was determined that the decision should not rest with the Cabinet and overruled his Attorney General. Sofa government prevailed at the expense of constitutional requirements. The diaries prove that once a decision to go to war against Iraq had been taken, intelligence and legal advice was manipulated to support that decision."

Blog Posts of Interest

The ACA ruling: What the Court will decide on DailyKos by Adam B

"The Invisible War"; a disturbing film that screams for action on DailyKos by Shockwave
Transgender marriage strikes fear on DailyKos by rserven

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