Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘Sad things’ Category

While Everyone Was Piling On A Person Not Named Pat Buchanan Or Bill Donohue For Alleged Anti-Semitic Comments….

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 8, 2010

The survivors of the USS Liberty observed the forty-third anniversary of the deaths of their comrades:

After surveilling USS Liberty for more than nine hours with almost hourly aircraft overflights and radar tracking, the air and naval forces of Israel attacked our ship in international waters without warning. USS Liberty was identified as a US naval ship by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft nine hours before the attack and continuously tracked by Israeli radar and aircraft thereafter. Sailing in international waters at less than five knots, with no offensive armament, our ship was not a military threat to anyone.

The Israeli forces attacked without warning and without attempting to contact us. Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded. The ship, a $40-million dollar state-of-the-art signals intelligence platform, was later declared unsalvageable and sold for scrap.

(sarcasm mod) Hey, but who cares about that? Look, Helen Thomas got ambushed by the son of a right-wing nutjob who posts videos of himself doing racist impressions of Mexicans on his website! Catching her off-guard is much more important than a bunch of old guys and their dead murdered buddies, Right? (/sarcasm)

Posted in hypocrites, IOKIYAR, israel, Sad things | 5 Comments »

US refinery capacity and workers at risk

Posted by Charles II on April 3, 2010

The following is something that I noticed two years ago, and led me to take profits in one refiner, fortuitously just before the price of oil collapsed (taking refinery margins with it). As long as safety is so problematic, I have no interest.

Aaron Clark, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Peter Robison, Bloomberg:

A blast and fire that killed five people at Tesoro Corp.’s Anacortes, Washington, refinery today may be the worst fatal accident to strike a U.S. refinery since a 2005 explosion killed 15 people at BP Plc’s plant in Texas City, Texas.

“It appears to have the most fatalities of any accident since BP Texas City,” Daniel Horowitz, a spokesman for the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, said in a telephone interview. “The board is extremely concerned about the pattern of safety problems in the refining sector.”…

…seven [workers] suffered burns, and five died. Two others remain in critical condition, Westfall said.

US refinery capacity is over-age [Anacortes was built in 1955], run at excessive capacity during some periods [that does not seem to have been a factor in this accident, since it was at 50% capacity], sometimes operated by under-trained staff, and otherwise a high-risk venture. In the Anacortes case, the crew was “cleaning a heat exchanger in a unit handling naphtha.” A guess might be that (a) they were in a hurry and didn’t wait for fumes to dissipate, and (b) there was improper grounding or an electrical fault in elderly equipment. But no hard information is available.

The status of refining is a danger to the US economy as well as a deadly threat to workers.

Posted in Oil, Sad things | 6 Comments »

Rest in peace, Ted Olbermann

Posted by Charles II on March 15, 2010

He had a hard last few months.

Donations to the National Association of Free Clinics in lieu of flowers.

Keith’s brief overview of his father’s life is here.

Posted in Keith Olbermann, Sad things | Comments Off on Rest in peace, Ted Olbermann

Beat the drum slowly

Posted by Charles II on January 27, 2010

Charles Lemos, Mydd:

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist, best known for his A People’s History of the United States has died of a heart attack while traveling in Santa Monica, California. An eternal optimism, he was a true progressive that understood the links between the rise of militarism and its impact on American democracy. He was 87.

Lemos has some excellent film, well worth watching.

Posted in historians, history, Sad things | Comments Off on Beat the drum slowly

Korea shock

Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2009

The former president of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun has committed suicide in the wake of a (probably politically-motivated) corruption investigation. He is accused of profiting from millions of dollars paid to family members. He was one of a generation of left-reformers that sought to clean up South Korea’s notably corrupt and undemocratic (and conservative) system. While in office, he made major strides in reconciliation between North and South, strides which his conservative successor has reversed. Whether he was or was not guilty of financial corruption, he was one of the rare leaders in Korea with political courage and compassion. From his obituary:

But in 1981 his work brought him in contact with a case of human rights abuse which he says changed his aspirations forever.

Mr Roh was asked to defend one of two dozen students arrested for possessing banned literature, for which they were detained and tortured for almost two months.

“When I saw their horrified eyes and their missing toenails, my comfortable life as a lawyer came to an end,” Mr Roh is quoted as saying.

This will in my estimation destabilize and demoralize Korea. The present conservative government is not what Korea needs. In Asian terms, Roh has cleaned the slate of charges against him and his party… but is there a generation of leadership to follow?

Posted in Korea, Sad things | 1 Comment »

Socks Is About To Cross The Rainbow Bridge

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 15, 2008

Sad news about Betty Currie’s best friend:

Socks the cat, probably the most photographed presidential kitty in history, has cancer and isn’t expected to live. “His days are numbered,” says Barry Landau, a friend of Socks’ master, Betty Currie. Landau, a presidential historian and author of The President’s Table, tells our Suzi Parker that the Currie family could have put Socks on feeding tubes, but decided against it. “They fear he is too old,” adds Landau, who is writing a book on presidential inaugurations. And a second source told us that Socks is gravely ill.

[…]

In recent years, Socks has been hanging out at Currie’s Hollywood, Md., home and sometimes making guest appearances. But since we last wrote about Socks, his conditions have worsened and included weight loss and kidney problems. Southern Maryland Newspapers Online did a wonderful story about this last year, quoting Currie’s husband Bob saying what lots of us pet owners say: Socks “lives better than I do.”

Ave atque vale, Socks! You will be missed.

Posted in Bill Clinton, cats, Hillary Clinton, Sad things | 5 Comments »

In memory of Tanta

Posted by Charles II on November 30, 2008

Doris Dungey, whose columns at Calculated Risk were one of the few real sources of insight into the complex world of mortgages, died at the age of 47 of ovarian cancer in Columbus Ohio on November 30th, 2008. While she was undergoing treatment, she shared her wit and wisdom selflessly. Her Compleat ÜberNerd remains one of the few accessible sources of information on mortgages. I certainly relied on it.

A wish upon a fallen starDoris Dungey, known online as Tanta, one of the few people who clearly explained the mortgage crisis to us duffers. Image from Calculated Risk
(Image from Calculated Risk)

Spirit light,
Spirit bright,
Spirit guiding us through night,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Thank you for your keen insight.

Go with God, Tanta.
And keep a candle burning for us, your fans, who will follow all too soon.

And, yeah, it’s sappy, but I kinda think that she of The Mortgage Pig would have liked it.

Posted in Sad things | 2 Comments »

The good die young

Posted by Charles II on November 1, 2008

Sophia Tareen, Chicago Trib (via DK)

Christine A. Durbin, the oldest daughter of Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, died Saturday at age 40, according to a spokesman for the Democratic senator.

Christine Durbin died in a Washington, D.C.-area hospital from complications relating to a congenital heart condition. She had been hospitalized for several weeks….

“Most of the family was at her bedside when she passed away,” Shoemaker said.

My heart goes out to the Senator and his wife. It’s almost unendurable for a parent to have to bury a child.

Posted in Sad things | Comments Off on The good die young

The good may die young, but the great die very, very old

Posted by Charles II on October 31, 2008

“ ‘Curiosity never killed this cat’ — that’s what I’d like as my epitaph.” (via commenter D. Potter at The Sideshow)

Studs Terkel, free at last

After an amazing life, Studs Terkel is now at rest. Don’t bother to read The New York Times, unless you want the titles of Studs’ books. What you need to know about Studs Terkel is that he was a genuinely free man, that he loved people and cared about them, and was willing to put his neck in the noose for his fellow human being. And you can bet that he voted absentee.

You can listen to him here.

Posted in Good Things, history, Sad things | 3 Comments »

A Sad Anniversary

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 22, 2008

In the early months of her blogging career, Riverbend typically posted once or twice a week to fill us in on the events in post-Saddam Iraq.

By 2006, as conditions in Iraq deteriorated to the point where even electricity and water could no longer be relied upon even for those with backup sources of both, she was down to posting around once every two or three months.

Her last post was exactly a year ago: October 22, 2007, shortly after her family came to Syria for a second and likely final time.

I do hope that they are doing well. Perhaps she decided to stop blogging because she’s become a target for the various factions currently ripping her homeland to shreds. I hope that she’s still alive and maybe even happy at last.

Our thoughts are with you, River.

Posted in Iraq war, Sad things | 4 Comments »

 
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