President Bashar al-Assad’s forces renewed a ground and aerial bombardment of Aleppo on Friday, extending efforts to crush rebels in Syria’s commercial capital in what the United States said it feared could become a massacre.
Insurgents targeted army roadblocks and security installations, with both sides avoiding close-quarters warfare in the city of 2.5 million people, Syria’s biggest urban centre.
The U.S. State Department said credible reports of tank columns moving on Aleppo, along with air strikes by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, represented a serious escalation of Assad’s efforts to crush a rebellion that began 16 months ago.
"This is the concern: that we will see a massacre in Aleppo, and that’s what the regime appears to be lining up for," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
“Consists of (i) 1,849,036 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned by
Bain Capital Fund VI, L.P. (“Fund VI”), whose sole general partner is
Bain Capital Partners VI, L.P., whose sole general partner is Bain
Capital Investors VI, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W.
Mitt Romney, (ii) 2,104,694 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned by
Bain Capital VI Coinvestment Fund (“Coinvest Fund”), whose sole general
partner is Bain Capital Partners VI, L.P., whose sole general partner
is Bain Capital Investors VI, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned
by W. Mitt Romney, (iii) 96,419 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned
by Sankaty High Yield Asset Partners, L.P. (“Sankaty”), whose sole
general partner is Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, LLC, whose
managing member is Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, Ltd., a Bermuda
corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney, (iv) 385,675 shares of
Class A-1 Common Stock owned by Brookside Capital Partners Fund, L.P.
(“Brookside”), whose sole general partner is Brookside Capital
Investors, L.P., whose sole general partner is Brookside Capital
Investors, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney,
(v) 6,164 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned by PEP Investments PTY
Ltd. (“PEP”), whose controlling persons are Timothy J. Sims, Richard J.
Gardell, Simon D. Pillar and Paul J. McCullagh, (vi) 161,215 shares of
Class A-1 Common Stock owned by BCIP Associates II (“BCIP II”), whose
managing partner is Bain Capital, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly
owned by W. Mitt Romney, (vii) 34,702 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock
owned by BCIP Trust Associates II, L.P.(“BCIP Trust II”), whose general
partner is Bain Capital, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by
W. Mitt Romney, (viii) 26,043 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned by
BCIP Associates II-B (“BCIP II-B”), whose managing partner is Bain
Capital, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney,
(ix) 10,221 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned by BCIP Trust
Associates II-B, L.P. (“BCIP Trust II-B”), whose general partner is
Bain Capital, Inc., a Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt
Romney, and (x) 50,349 shares of Class A-1 Common Stock owned by BCIP
Associates II-C (“BCIP II-C” and collectively with BCIP II, BCIP Trust
II, BCIP II-B and BCIP Trust II-B, the “BCIPs” and the BCIPs, Fund VI,
Coinvest Fund, Sankaty, Brookside and PEP, collectively, the “Bain
Capital funds”), whose managing partner is Bain Capital, Inc., a
Delaware corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.”—
Since we know a thing or two about SEC filings, we thought we’d try to clear the air [around the filings indicating when Romney left Bain Capital], or at least shed some new light. In doing so, we came across a very complicated footnote in this 10-K filed by pizza chain Domino’s on March 28, 2001, a little over two years after Romney says he stepped down from Bain. We haven’t found anyone else who’s delved into this particular footnote, so we decided to take a shot at it.
We haven’t actually printed this out, but the footnote appears to take up a chunk of a single page on pg. 54, which, trust us, is long for a single footnote. That it’s part of a normally routine disclosure known as Item 12: Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management makes it even more unusual. The footnote tries to explain the 4.7 million shares of Domino’s owned by Bain Capital Funds. (For more details on Bain’s connection to Domino’s, this Boston Globe story is a good primer). [Above is] the footnote in its entirety[.]
By our count, there’s just shy of 20 different entities described in that footnote, with Romney listed as the “sole owner” of most of the underlying companies, which makes it one of the more complicated footnotes we’ve come across.
The reason for this exponential leap in political spending, if you talk to most Democrats or read most news reports, comes down to two words: Citizens United. The term is shorthand for a Supreme Court decision that gave corporations much of the same right to political speech as individuals have, thus removing virtually any restriction on corporate money in politics. The oft-repeated narrative of 2012 goes like this: Citizens United unleashed a torrent of money from businesses and the multimillionaires who run them, and as a result we are now seeing the corporate takeover of American politics.
As a matter of political strategy, this is a useful story to tell, appealing to liberals and independent voters who aren’t necessarily enthusiastic about the administration but who are concerned about societal inequality, which is why President Obama has made it a rallying cry almost from the moment the Citizens United ruling was made. But if you’re trying to understand what’s really going on with politics and money, the accepted narrative around Citizens United is, at best, overly simplistic. And in some respects, it’s just plain wrong.
From the forthcoming debut LP “The Heist”, which is being independently released on 10.09.2012.
As part of a partnership with Music for Marriage Equality campaign, Sub Pop Records will release this track digitally on 7/24 and as a limited run 7” vinyl on 7/31, available through Sub Pop direct sales and http://www.subpop.com.
All proceeds will benefit marriage equality in Washington State.
A suicide bomber struck the National Security building in the Syrian capital Wednesday, killing the defense minister and President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law - the harshest blow to the Syrian regime since the uprising began.
Syrian state-run TV says the blast came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials in Damascus, where four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels have sent tensions soaring.
Rather remarkable piece for its wide-angle (somewhat partisan) POV:
Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard, argued in an email to the Times that a merit based system can quickly convert into an entrenched hierarchy as a result of the accumulation of excessive wealth and income:
The greatest danger is that high inequality creates a society in which wealthy ‘crony capitalists’ dominate corporate and government policies and use their wealth to subvert market competition and to corrupt democracy in order to maintain their position atop the income hierarchy.
Campaign contributions are among the most important weapons deployed by new corporate elites. The finance industry, for example, has given more money, $19 million, to the Romney campaign than any other sector, quadrupling its nearest competitor, real estate, which contributed 4.8 million.
At a more mundane level, the use of campaign contributions by those who have become wealthy in an “opportunity society” to protect predatory practices can be seen in recent donations by payday loan and auto-title lending companies, which are often located near military bases. Bloomberg Businessweek reported a surge in contributions from these firms to Romney’s super PAC, Restore Our Future, from mid-January through the end of February 2012. The contributions followed Romney’s denunciation on January 4th of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which is preparing to regulate the payday loan industry and other “non-bank” lenders — as “perhaps the most powerful and unaccountable bureaucracy in the history of our nation.” ….
The screwed generation also enters adulthood loaded down by a mountain of boomer- and senior-incurred debt—debt that spirals ever more out of control. The public debt constitutes a toxic legacy handed over to offspring who will have to pay it off in at least three ways: through higher taxes, less infrastructure and social spending, and, fatefully, the prospect of painfully slow growth for the foreseeable future.
In the United States, the boomers’ bill has risen to about $50,000 a person. In Japan, the red ink for the next generation comes in at more than $95,000 a person. One nasty solution to pay for this growing debt is to tax workers and consumers. Both Germany and Japan, which appears about to double its VAT rate, have been exploring new taxes to pay for the pensions of the boomers.
Corn sex is complicated. As Michael Pollan observes in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” the whole affair is so freakishly difficult it’s hard to imagine how it ever evolved in the first place. Corn’s female organs are sheathed in a sort of vegetable chastity belt—surrounded by a tough, virtually impenetrable husk. The only way in is by means of a silk thread that each flower extends, Rapunzel-like, through a small opening. For fertilization to take place, a grain of pollen must land on the tip of the silk, then shimmy its way six to eight inches through a microscopic tube, a journey that requires several hours. The result of a successfully completed passage is a single kernel. When everything is going well, the process is repeated something like eight hundred times per ear, or roughly eighty thousand times per bushel.
It is now corn-sex season across the Midwest, and everything is not going well.
Opening to “The Big Heat” by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker. Chilling (no pun intended). Scary. Necessary. It’s short. Read it. (via changetheratio)
We have less of a handle on pollution. We do know that nutrients, particularly nitrogenous ones, are increasing not only in coastal waters but also in the open ocean. This change is accelerating. And we know that coral reefs just can’t survive in nutrient-rich waters. These conditions only encourage the microbes and jellyfish that will replace coral reefs in coastal waters. We can say, though, with somewhat less certainty than for overfishing or ocean acidification that unstoppable pollution will force reefs beyond their survival envelope by midcentury.
This is not a story that gives me any pleasure to tell. But it needs to be told urgently and widely because it will be a disaster for the hundreds of millions of people in poor, tropical countries like Indonesia and the Philippines who depend on coral reefs for food. It will also threaten the tourism industry of rich countries with coral reefs, like the United States, Australia and Japan. Countries like Mexico and Thailand will have both their food security and tourism industries badly damaged. And, almost an afterthought, it will be a tragedy for global conservation as hot spots of biodiversity are destroyed.
Syrian opposition activists said more than 200 people were killed in a Sunni village on Thursday by government forces using tanks and helicopters, which, if confirmed, would be the worst in a series of massacres that have convulsed Syria’s increasingly sectarian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
In the press room, the CNN producer is still on the conference call with the network executives. Within moments of having confirmed that the mandate was invalidated – a couple of seconds, at most – he reads two-thirds of the way down page 3 of the syllabus, “Chief Justice Roberts concluded in Part III-B that the individual mandate must be construed as imposing a tax on those who do not have health insurance, if such a construction is reasonable.” He immediately recognizes that the Court has turned to an alternative defense of the government, and says into both phones, “Wait, wait.”
But it is already too late. CNN has been carefully orchestrating its transformation into a shockingly efficient news distribution company. They have been planning to saturate every screen in reach with this story as fast as possible, and the producer’s initial go-ahead pulled the trigger. On the air, Wolf Blitzer is sending the coverage to the Courthouse steps. And as planned the reporter is putting her phone down to go on the air, which cuts herself off from the only CNN employee with access to the opinion.
Fascinating narrative timeline of the SCOTUS healthcare mandate judgement and what cable news got wrong.
“At one point, Mr. Romney declared that “I would probably bring in McKinsey,” the management consulting firm, to help him set up his presidential cabinet, a comment that seemed to startle the editors and left Mr. Murdoch visibly taken aback.”—the last act of classic leadership considered as a service delivered by management consultants. shoot me… (via rickwebb.net)
TheWikileak articlesare beginning to come out in greater numbers. At least one of the president’s emails discussed articles published on Syria Comment. –this is one, for example, is a comment by Elie Elhadj, who wrote about Syria’s very serious water crisis on the pages of SC –hereandhere.This is a small bit of the original article:
“Investment in irrigation agriculture, which uses huge volumes of Syria’s finite water resources should be shifted to investing in low water using manufacturing industries based on rate of return criterion instead of political convenience or personal interest. Foreign currencies generated from exporting manufactured products, or from reducing the importation of manufactured goods, would be used to import foodstuffs. Agriculture in arid/semi arid Syria should be left to rain fed lands, with investment in modern technology to improve the yield and quality of rain fed produce. It should be remembered that irrigation schemes have left the water balance in five of Syria’s seven basins negative. In addition to the billions of dollars wasted on white elephant irrigation schemes, what a terrible loss of water that is!
All of Syria’s cotton production is done on irrigated lands, not rain fed. Of Syria’s estimated 13 billion m3 of irrigation water more than 4 billion m3 is used to grow cotton. A cotton t-shirt requires about 2.7 tons of water to produce. Cotton requires four times as much water to grow as wheat.
Syria’s emphasis on irrigation has been wrong. Syria should invest in improving the yield of rain fed lands. There was a threefold increase in the productivity of water in rain fed wheat production in north-west Europe between 1800 and 1950. And a further trebling by 1990. …
Must be very odd for pro Syria watchers to peek behind the curtain and see their own work and commentary included. Independent of what happens to Assad, the email trove will be a fascinating dataset.
The gargantuan new release, which WikiLeaks has titled the Syria Files, was announced in an event at the London Press Club Thursday morning by Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks staffer and sometimes-assistant to the group’s founder Julian Assange, who remains hidden in London’s Ecuadorean embassy seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning for alleged sex crimes.
WikiLeaks describes the data dump as having come from 680 different domain names and 678,000 individual email addresses, with more than a million recipients. Given that broad sweep, it’s difficult to imagine what sort of insider or external hacker might even have access to so many institutions: The most likely explanation may be a leak or outside data breach at one or several of Syria’s Internet service providers. As usual, WikiLeaks has kept its source anonymous.
In fact, the Syria Files may be so large and varied that even WikiLeaks has little idea what it has on its hands. For now, only a few dozen of the files, dated from 2006 to the present, have been publicly released and analyzed by WikiLeaks’ media partners, the Associated Press and a collection of small newspapers.
“Everyone knows that the key to winning as a big-time coach is keeping your players eligible. Some of that effort is legal, some not. Give the players tutors and gut courses, or even have someone write term papers for them. Get the campus police and the local cops to cooperate. Hey, boys will be boys. Overlook. Blind eye. Forgive them their trespasses as game day approaches. Keep them eligible. Joe Paterno was a football coach all of his long, adult life. Like all coaches, after a while, keeping your players eligible is second nature. When his old assistant was in trouble, that must’ve kicked in. Joe Paterno kept Jerry Sandusky eligible. If he has a legacy, that’s it.”—Joe Paterno’s Legacy: Protect Players At All Costs by Frank Deford (via npr)
At its basis it’s an Alan Turing issue: what’s the relationship between the cognition systems of these artists, who are human beings, and the computational systems that are their means of artistic expression?
In some ways it’s a traditional art-critic problem, like with, say, two violinists. You’ve got the elderly virtuoso violin player who’s flawless but kind of sawing away, and his nephew the wild man who’s bringing the house down by playing like a passionate slob. A matter of taste, and the wild guy is going to grow into the old guy, that’s metabolic.
However, computational systems aren’t analog violins. They’re unstable, fluid, and dynamic — they’re platforms, environments, ecosystems. They’re kits and they’re clouds. They’re languages, and sketchbooks, and compilers, and compositors. I could give you more of these synonyms, similes, and metaphors. Like I said, I’m a writer, I’ve got plenty.
This is the ugly side of the Greatest Generation. The time of Emmet Till‘s slaughter, and even before it, is the time in America for which Sorkin and Romney unthinkingly pine as being the best we can do, America at her pinnacle. They fetishize the old days as being some idyllic wonderland when everyone was strong, honest, and hardworking. They complain that they are too good and smart for the modern world, all while neglecting to notice that blacks or women or gay people never join them in their cheerleading for the 1940s and ‘50s.
Beyond the commentary and analysis above, I have to also link NYT’s Watching Syria’s War browser app my colleagues put together. It’s online media from the conflict, what’s known about the context and what isn’t.