It turns out that the little owl dubbed Owl Jolson isn't a youngster but a saw-whet, a species of owl "that only grows to a height of 7 or 8 inches and to a weight of about 3 ounces."
It turns out that I don't even have to explain why I'm offering this story, even though I'm coming late to it, of an owl-in-a-shoebox turned in at the NYC Parks Department's HQ in the Arsenal in Central Park. For once it's not only safe but gratifying to venture into the comments sections, and here's a comment that explains as well as I could why I'd rather spotlight this story tonight than, well, anything else I can think of.
It is really nice to read a story about people coming together to help a little injured living creature in need. Thank you for the wonderful story. Good luck, little owl and thank you to all the kind humans involved in the little owl's rescue and healing. May we all be as compassionate to the hurt and lost and may we all receive such compassion when we find ourselves vulnerable and unwell. Please keep us updated.
-- commenter JH of Brooklyn, responding to
Andy Newman's nytimes.com update on Owl Jolson
ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE | October 12, 2012, 6:39 PM | 19 Comments
In a Shoebox, an Owl and a Mysteryt'
By ANDY NEWMAN
Update, Oct. 15 | The owl appears to have head trauma but is recovering at a wildlife center on Long Island. Read the follow-up post. [No need to click through;. You'll find the follow-up post below. -- Ed.]
A man walked into the parks department's headquarters in the Arsenal in Central Park on Friday afternoon and handed over a shoebox.
"He didn't stay, he didn't give a name," said Vickie Karp, a parks spokeswoman. "He just said, 'Here's an owl.'"
The man said the owl had flown onto his property in Sea Gate, Brooklyn, several days ago and had been sitting on the ground for a couple of days, Ms. Karp said.
The owl (see video below) was small. At first, parks workers thought it was a fledgling.
But Rob Mastrianni, an urban park ranger for the department who specializes in raptors, immediately recognized it as an adult northern saw-whet owl, a species that only grows to a height of 7 or 8 inches and to a weight of about 3 ounces. Saw-whets live in Canada and sometimes spend the winter in New York.
The owl refuses to fly, but the reason was not immediately clear, Ms. Karp said. Sometimes when saw-whets are frightened, she said, they will simply stay very still and appear very calm. The owl, dubbed Owl Jolson, has been turned over to rehabilitation experts at the Wild Bird Fund.
ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE | October 15, 2012, 5:10 PM | 12 Comments*
Rescued Owl Is Getting 'Cage Rest'
By ANDY NEWMAN
The grounded saw-whet owl we wrote about on Friday after it was dropped off at the parks department's headquarters in a shoe box is recovering quietly at a wildlife rehabilitation center on Long Island.
The little owl (saw-whets are among the smallest owl species, and this owl weighs three ounces) was first taken to the Wild Bird Fund on the Upper West Side, where rehabilitators recognized signs of head trauma.
"He had a bad head bang," said Rita McMahon, the director of the bird fund. "His left eye was more closed, and the pupil was dilated. It seemed like there was a bit of swelling."
To recover, Ms. McMahon said, the owl needs some time, and a cage big enough to flap around in, so on Saturday the bird was sent to Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation in Massapequa, N.Y.
There, Bobby Horvath, who has worked with many injured New York City raptors, reported Monday afternoon that the owl was spending a lot of time "just kind of hunkered down," though he added, "It becomes alert when we open the cage to drop food in."
One of the owl's wings is a bit droopy, Mr. Horvath said, but X-rays showed no broken bones, so the prognosis for full recovery and release (in Brooklyn, where the owl was found) remains good.
"It's just nutrition, cage rest, and we've got him on pain medication and an anti-inflammatory," Mr. Horvath said. "For now, you just keep it dark, quiet and as calm as possible."
Alice Rivlin has been one of the chief cheerleaders for the Grand Bargain.
David Dayen says there will be no Grand Bargain in the lame duck, and that's why Obama says he'll veto anything in the lame duck that doesn't allow the high-end tax cuts to expire. Ezra Klein says the plan is to put the screws to the Republicans (and not incidentally, to seal the Grand Bargain with Social Security and Medicare). Well, at least it gives us some time to organize. But the odds are stacked against us, and we're going to have to raise holy hell:
Basically, the Obama Administration (and this is all contingent on them winning the election) has decided to take the advice of a lot of folks on the left and use the leverage inherent in the way the fiscal slope operates. With no plan, all the Bush tax cuts expire, including the tax rates on the wealthy. This turns around completely the dynamic of the negotiation. Instead of trying to decouple the top marginal tax rates with the other ones, Democrats could offer a pure tax cut package to compensate for whatever they feel should have been extended. And Republicans will be in the position of rejecting a tax cut for a broad mass of the American people.
But that?s not all the White House wants to do. The sequester will also begin if there?s no agreement, with the cuts split between defense and discretionary programs, but programs for the poor like Medicaid, as well as Social Security and the bulk of Medicare (there?s a 2% across-the-board cut to reimbursement rates), held harmless. The payroll tax cut will expire (and save your breath, AARP, that ship has sailed). Extended unemployment insurance benefits will expire. The alternative minimum tax for the 2012 tax year will not be patched. Tax extenders for a variety of businesses will not be extended.The Obama Administration looks at that prospect and sees a leverage opportunity.
I?ve called this the GOP?s dual-trigger nightmare. It?s bad for the economy, but it also effectively ends our deficits with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts more progressive than anything any Democrat has dared propose. Republicans absolutely can?t let it happen. But the only way they can stop it from happening is to make a deal.
The administration hopes this deal will include more than just deficit reduction. They also see it as a vehicle for infrastructure investment and tax reform. They think there?s some chance that parts of the American Jobs Act, like the hiring tax credits, could sneak through the door, too. There?s even talk of using it to address climate change, though everyone agrees that?s unlikely. Whatever ends up in the final deal, there?s little doubt that it will be a big deal, and it?s likely to come together fairly quickly in the first year. The White House ? and the expiring tax and spending provisions ? won?t give Republicans any other choice.
In a way, the Obama administration?s plan for a second term is much like their plan for the first term: Make a deal with Republicans. Get a big bipartisan solution to our problems. But the means are almost precisely the opposite. Where in the first term, the hope was that they could reach out, talk through the issues, and come to an agreement, the plan for the second is to push the Republican Party off the fiscal cliff, and then force them to reach out in order to get pulled back up.
I think it?s wrong to distrust the source here. This is the plan. The sweeteners to the grand bargain will be some infrastructure investment and maybe job creation tax credits.But what this is really called is a budget. In other words, the Obama Administration will do nothing in the lame duck, nor will their allies in Congress, and then, they will propose a large mix of spending, tax and social insurance changes ? i.e., a budget. The budget will attempt to make trade-offs that supplant the tax rates and spending cuts from the fiscal slope.
The question becomes why, if this is such an advantageous position for Democrats to find themselves in, is it necessary to loop in programs like Medicare, which was substantially altered by the Affordable Care Act in ways that we don?t know will work yet, and Social Security, which has nothing to do with the budget? The answer: because. The elites want a deal on these issues, and the Administration thinks they?ve figured out a way to secure that deal.
A rapidly developing story.A Swedish-flagged, Finnish sailing vessel, the SV Estelle, is the latest boat full of supplies, international relief supporters, human rights activists, and progressive political figures to attempt to break the illegal Israeli[...]
Read The Full Article:
Today I am preparing for the next debate, which will be about foreign policies. This will my most challenging debate, as I generally have never had many foreign polices (not that I am not a well-traveled wealth unit, Mr. Diary?and my intricate knowledge of the tax codes of small island nations is, I believe, unmatched).
I believe my primary foreign policy argument in the debate will be that this other person's foreign policy is bad. That should serve well enough; the problem is elaborating on that theme for 90 minutes. This has, unfortunately, forced me into consultations with my foreign policy advisers. They are as disturbing a group as I remember, but at least their policy prescriptions remain consistent. I am to argue for war with Iran, because they may possibly be harboring weapons of mass destruction. I am to argue for increased vigilance towards the Soviet Union, because we do not like them. I am to mention that China is very bad, because they manipulate currencies (I have had wonderful dealings with China in the past, and as far as I know currencies are among the better things in this world to manipulate, so this particular argument has always baffled me, but my advisers keep insisting on its brilliance).
There is also something about Libya, but it is confusing and I never remember it right.
In other news, yesterday I attended a benefit dinner in which the purpose was to dress in very expensive clothes and humorously insult people. I am very good at both dressing in expensive clothes and insulting people, so it was quite an enjoyable experience. I believe I demonstrated both skills admirably.
As we head into the weekend, we were treated to another day filled with data points from which all sides can draw comfort, as well as consternation. In a sign that the cycle is drawing to a close, there is no "Friday light" load of polls this week, as 36 more polls enter into the database. A fair number of them, despite being part of the Friday news dump, are bound to draw serious attention.
And, no, I am not talking about the first (and, undoubtedly, only) poll out of the District of Columbia.
Conservatives (and I say this with a smirk) will be embracing PPP today, as their new post-debate polls actually gave Mitt Romney infinitesimal leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those on the left, meanwhile, can look to marginally better national numbers, as well as two polls (albeit sponsored by Democratic groups) giving the president a lead in both North Carolina and Nevada.
The big picture is a muddy one, at best. The early indicators are that the second debate has not matched the first debate in its ability to reshape the polls. But, as I cautioned yesterday, it is way too early to gauge an impact. Indeed, the immediate aftermath of the 1st debate left us with the initial impression that its impact was muted, as well.
More on that in a little bit. For now, though, on to the numbers:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney 51, Obama 45 (LV); Romney 48, Obama 47 (RV)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Gravis--R): Romney 46, Obama 44
NATIONAL (IBD/TIPP Tracking): Obama 47, Romney 45
NATIONAL (Ipsos/Reuters Tracking): Obama 46, Romney 43 (LV); RV Unavailable at press time
NATIONAL (PPP Tracking): Obama 48, Romney 47
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney 48, Obama 48
NATIONAL (Univ. of Connecticut): Obama 48, Romney 45
CALIFORNIA (PSRA for Reason-Rupe): Obama 53, Romney 38
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (PPP for Washington City Paper): Obama 88, Romney 8
FLORIDA (CNN/ORC): Romney 49, Obama 48 (LV); Obama 50, Romney 43 (RV)
FLORIDA (Fox News): Romney 48, Obama 45 (LV); Romney 47, Obama 45 (RV)
FLORIDA (Rasmussen): Romney 51, Obama 46
IOWA (PPP): Romney 49, Obama 48
MISSOURI (Rasmussen): Romney 54, Obama 43
NEVADA (Mellman Group for Americans United for Change--D): Obama 51, Romney 43
NEW HAMPSHIRE (PPP): Romney 49, Obama 48
NORTH CAROLINA (Grove Insight for Project New America--D): Obama 47, Romney 44
NORTH CAROLINA (TelOpinion for the NC Republican Party): Romney 49, Obama 45
OHIO (Fox News): Obama 46, Romney 43 (LV); Obama 46, Romney 41 (RV)
OREGON (SurveyUSA): Obama 49, Romney 42
UTAH (Utah State Univ.): Romney 74, Obama 21
VIRGINIA (Rasmussen): Romney 50, Obama 47
WISCONSIN (Rasmussen): Obama 50, Romney 48
CA-SEN (PSRA for Reason-Rupe): Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) 60, Elizabeth Emken (R) 34A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
HI-SEN (Benenson Strategy Group for the Hirono campaign): Mazie Hirono (D) 56, Linda Lingle (R) 38
MO-SEN (Harstad Research for the DSCC): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 47, Todd Akin (R) 35, Jonathan Dine (L) 8
MO-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 51, Todd Akin (R) 43
OH-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 49, Josh Mandel (R) 44
PA-SEN (Garin-Hart-Yang for the Casey campaign): Sen. Bob Casey (D) 52, Tom Smith (R) 39
PA-SEN (Susquehanna Research for the PA Republican Party): Tom Smith (R) 48, Sen. Bob Casey (D) 46
UT-SEN (Utah State Univ.): Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) 67, Scott Howell (D) 24
NH-GOV (PPP): Maggie Hassan (D) 45, Ovide Lamontagne (R) 43
NC-GOV (TelOpinion for the NC Republican Party): Pat McCrory (R) 51, Walter Dalton (D) 37
UT-GOV (Utah State Univ.): Gov. Gary Herbert (R) 76, Peter Cooke (D) 17
IL-08 (Anzalone-Liszt for the League of Conservation Voters): Tammy Duckworth (D) 54, Rep. Joe Walsh (R) 39
NY-18 (Siena): Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) 49, Sean Patrick Maloney (D) 42
enlargeLast year I wrote about Tagg Romney's firm Solamere Capital, and Mitt Romney's $10 million investment in the firm. Crack investigative reporter Lee Fang picked up that report and released many, many more details about Tagg, Solamere, and the opaque transactions that would shield Mitt Romney from basic blind trust laws if he were (gulp!) elected in November. Here's a taste of that report:
The claim that Solamere Group didn?t invest directly in Solamere Advisors, the firm employing former Stanford employees, appears to have been an attempt to shield Mitt Romney. Mitt invested about $10 million into Tagg?s Solamere Capital venture, which would suggest Mitt has a direct financial relationship with folks involved in a Ponzi scheme. That?s because Solamere Capital pools together investment money to co-invest in other companies.
According to this form and this form filed with the SEC, Solamere Group owns a large stake in Solamere Advisors (referred to in the documents as ?CAMG Solamere.?) So it is impossible to argue that Solamere Capital?the Romney family?s investment company?does not have direct financial ties with Solamere Advisors, the firm filled with executives who sold CDs as part of the Stanford fraud. The Stanford scandal is second only to the case of Bernie Madoff.
The disclosures are made on part of the SEC website enhanced by the new Dodd-Frank law, the Wall Street reform Romney says he wants to repeal.
So what does this have to do with Ohio? Well, one of the investments Solamere has made, according to Fang's deeper investigative report at The Nation was in HIG Capital:
Meanwhile, HIG Capital?one of the largest Solamere partners, with nearly $10 billion of equity capital?owns a number of other firms that are closely monitoring the federal government.
Brad Friedman dug into HIG Capital, and guess what? HIG Capital owns a substantial piece of a company that makes voting machines! And those voting machines are used in Ohio, among other places.
Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.
"Several tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney's tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital," Bello and Fitrakis wrote. "A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O'Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election."
Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.
I'm not writing this to be defeatist as much as I am to illustrate how critical Ohio is to this election. First we have Secretary of State Husted trying to limit early voting, which works to the benefit of Democrats as a general rule. That fight appears to be over, finally.
But the polls are tight. Really tight. Republicans have tossed many, many roadblocks in the way, and now we have news that once again, the damned voting machines are going to be an issue. Not only an issue, but one that directly benefits the Romney family, and possibly Mitt Romney indirectly.
Whatever the outcome of this election in November, there should be a movement to ditch these voting machines. They undermine confidence in election integrity and by extension, the democratic process. It's time to get on the paper ballot bandwagon and do what Ireland did: Ditch them all.
Clint Eastwood's daughter Francesca told TMZ that she won't be voting for Mitt Romney, despite her father's endorsement of the GOP candidate.[...]
Read The Full Article:
From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE?
Friday Margaret & Helen Blogging
The intertubes' feistiest 80-somethings weigh in from their undisclosed binder:
The Mitt who showed up to the debate this week is the same one who has been showing up in politics for years---the one who will say anything to get elected. Well. I?m done. I?ve seen and heard quite enough and I am voting for President Obama. ...Worse: he'll reassemble the same backup band.
The Republicans say that Obama can?t run on his record. Really? You want to talk about records? Mitt Romney was born wealthy, married wealthy and will most likely die wealthy. Bully for him. The other guy is [a] black man born in America in 1961 to a single white woman. He went on to become President of the United States. I?d say there?s no contest. Thanks to Republicans, Obama inherited the biggest mess since the great depression and in his first year in office prevented a total economic meltdown.
As for Mitt?s record---he was a bully in high school and got pretty upset when his father wasn?t elected President. At the age of 46 he was bored with making more money so he decided to become a Republican simply to challenge Ted Kennedy for the Senate. By the way, he claimed that he was more Pro-Choice than Teddy. He lost. Then he spent millions of his own fortune to get himself elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002. Four years later he left with an approval rating so low he ranked 48 out of the 50 Governors. Most of the middle class in Massachusetts got frustrated with his taxes which Mitt called fees---license fees, gun fees, gas fees, college fees? He left with a 38% approval rating. ?
I know no one wants to drag up George Bush?s name because what?s done is done. Lord knows I would like to forget him. But I take issue when Mitt and the Republicans try to blame all of Bush?s problems on the black guy who moved into the neighborhood. I say bullshit. Mitt Romney is George Bush all over again---same song, second verse.
Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
In his effort to appear on as many morning and late night shows before Election Day, President Barack Obama appeared on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart last night. Stewart talked to him about his record, his first debate performance, whether his[...]
Read The Full Article:
This reminds me of that old story about the man who kills both his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court -- because he's an orphan. I guess I should be used to the idea of a two-tiered justice system by now - but I'm not. If Gupta does get this kind of special treatment, we might as well give up the illusion of a democracy:
Federal prosecutors want Rajat K. Gupta, once one of the world?s most prominent businessmen, to spend as much as 10 years in prison for insider trading.
Mr. Gupta?s defense lawyers would rather he spend time in Rwanda.
It is just the latest intriguing twist in the case of Mr. Gupta, who was convicted of leaking boardroom secrets about Goldman Sachs to the hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.
On Wednesday, prosecutors and defense lawyers filed sentencing memos to Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is scheduled to sentence Mr. Gupta on Oct. 24 in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Gupta is the former head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and the most influential of the 69 individuals convicted in the government?s sweeping insider-trading crackdown.
Mr. Gupta?s lawyers have pleaded for a lenient sentence of probation, accompanied by an order that he perform community service. Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta, made an unusual request in recommending that Mr. Gupta, who has played a leadership role in a variety of global humanitarian causes, be sent to Rwanda.
?The Rwandan government has expressed support for a program of service in which Mr. Gupta would work with rural districts to ensure that the needs to end H.I.V., malaria, extreme poverty and food security are implemented,? Mr. Naftalis wrote.
Mr. Gupta is hoping that Judge Rakoff is swayed by the more than 400 letters of support submitted on his behalf, including one from Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist, and Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general.
The letters depict a man who, but for his insider-trading conviction, has led an exemplary life.
Miles D. White, the chief executive of the pharmaceutical giant Abbott, wrote, ?Rajat?s contributions to global welfare ? in business, in philanthropy, in education, in civil society ? have been rivaled by very few people.? Mr. Gupta?s leadership on global health issues has ?made a real difference in the lives of literally millions of people around the world,? Mr. Gates wrote.
The government, however, is asking that Mr. Gupta be sentenced to between 8 years and one month to 10 years and one month, a range based on a formula in the federal sentencing guidelines. ?Gupta?s crimes are shocking,? wrote Richard Tarlowe, a federal prosecutor. ?Gupta had achieved extraordinary personal success and was at the pinnacle of a profession built on protection client confidences.?