Things to do when you’re 62:
KEY WEST, Fla. — Looking dazed and sunburned, U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad walked on to the Key West shore Monday, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage.
It was Nyad’s fifth try to complete the approximately 110-mile swim. She tried three times in 2011 and 2012. She had also tried in 1978.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Moe wants you all to know that she’s under the weather—a fractured elbow–and will be posting infrequently for a while; a Saint Patrick’s Day post is a strong possibility, however. Elvis bless her, and let’s hope she heals quickly.
Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee attributed today’s deadly massacre in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut to the lack of God and religion in public schools.
Addressing the tragedy on Fox News, Huckabee dismissed calls for stricter gun control and claimed that future violence can be prevented by solving matters of “the heart” and turning to God.
Here. Fuck him. And the God and Guns he clings to.
The Guardian newspaper has been ‘live-blogging’ developments as they happen in Toulouse, France, where police have named and cornered a suspect in those multiple killings.
Even a paper with the tremendous staff resources of The Guardian can only report what they know and many aspects and events are not understood at first. Details unfold over the hours, and eventually a fuller picture emerges.
Their live-blog is as good an example as I’ve ever seen of how the reporting process works, how the various elements evolve into a narrative with each bit of new information . . . in other words, it shows how it’s done (or how it should be done). You can also see early reports – often inaccurate – become clearer over time as professionals stay with the story and push for more facts.
Worth a look if you’ve the time. (I’ve bookmarked it so I can check back and see what happens next.)
(FOX News and the rest of the GOP gasbaggery establishment were outraged when Obama didn’t support recently overthrown Arab leaders who had been our friends – even if their countrymen had not. Wonder what they’ll say now?)
Palavi ascends the Peacock Throne
In October of 1979, under political pressure, Jimmy Carter made the disastrous decision to allow the newly overthrown dictator, the Shah of Iran, to come to the US for ‘medical treatment’. That didn’t work out so well. A month later, the US Embassy in Tehran was stormed by angry Iranians. They took 66 Americans hostage and held them until the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.
When the Shah requested ‘medical’ asylum, US-Iranian relations were already shaky and Carter himself at first was opposed to the idea. But he allowed himself to be convinced since the Shah had been one of ‘our’ guys, pretty much installed on the Peacock Throne by the CIA.
And here we go again – sorta. I worried about this in a post last month. And now the Obama Administration is going ahead. They’ve agreed to take in President Salah of Yemen – who resigned yesterday (leaving his own people in charge) – for ‘medical’ treatment. (Salah had already been treated in Dubai – where the care is superb.) He says he’ll return. Yup.
Certainly Yemen isn’t Iran and the recently ‘resigned’ Salah isn’t the Shah. But his authoritarian regime killed hundreds of protestors and relations between us are not particularly friendly.
Do we ever learn?
Posted in Current Events, Government, History, Media, Middle East, Obama
Tagged Arab Spring, history, Iran, Media, Middle East, news, Salah
There’s really nothing that doesn’t outrage certain elements of the right wing noise machine. Here’s a screen grab from memorandum today. If you’re not familiar with this particular website, it provides a running aggregation of political news. Note the media sites that listed (“Discussion”) who’ve seized on this newest manufactured scandal:
Apparently the presence of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton is the reason for angst. Politico provides context:
“This was an event for local school children from the Washington DC area and for hundreds of military families. If we wanted this event to be a secret, we probably wouldn’t have invited the press corps to cover it, release photos of it to Flickr, or post a video from it on the White House website,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. “Even Johnny Depp’s fans knew about it and posted on their website. . . .
The official White House social media releases and the reporter pool dispatches from the party do not mention either Burton or Depp, but the Depp fan site JohnnyDeppNews.com reported that the actor was in attendance with Burton. And the Nashville Tennessean also reported that both Depp and Burton were at the White House for the party. Then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs addressed the event in his briefing, but did not go into any detail.
Expect FOX News to devote several segments to this tonight.
Posted in Cable News, Current Events, Holidays, Media, Obama, partisanship, Politics
Tagged Cable News, Media, news, partisanship, right wing noise machine
Happy New Year and Elvis bless us, everyone.
From Think Progress today:
U.S. Receives Record Demand For Its Bonds Under Obama, Helping The Deficit | Bloomberg News reports that the U.S. government received record demand for its bonds in 2011, “pushing longer-maturity treasuries to their best performance since 1995 in a sign that President Obama may have little difficulty” financing the budget deficit. The European debt crisis is driving investors to buy U.S. assets, allowing the government to get an “all-time high bid-to-cover ratio of 9.07 for $30 billion of four-week bills it auctioned on Dec. 20 even though they pay zero interest.” Despite the GOP’s factually-challenged fear-mongering about the deficit, the high demand for U.S. bonds are “helping to contain borrowing costs and making it cheaper as a percentage of gross domestic product to finance deficits than when the nation last had budget surpluses.”
As the Islamists of 1979 were overthrowing their government, Jimmy Carter opened the door to a terrified Shah, citing ‘legitimate medical reasons’. There was political pressure from the Right to do so as Iran had been a US client state since our CIA (with the Brits) overthrew the last democratically elected Iranian government in 1953.
It went so well that irate Iranian students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage, holding them for 444 days.
Now the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is being admitted – for ‘legitimate medical reasons’. (The link doesn’t confirm that the decision has been made, but The NY Times says it’s a done deal.)
As Peter, Paul and Mary asked so many years ago, “When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?”.
Posted in Current Events, Government, History, Middle East
Tagged Arab Spring, foreign policy, history, Iran, Iran hostage crisis, Jimmy Carter, Politics, US foreign po
POSTED BY ORHAN
Several times a day what I read in the news makes me want to throw up, but this sentence on MSN took me way beyond the dry heaves to something I can only call brainpuke, the involuntary expulsion of ideas so vile that they and sanity cannot be retained by the mind simultaneously. Here we see the media in action, already manufacturing the “Iraq War” that will be inscribed in the history books:
President Barack Obama meets Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Monday, marking America’s exit from a war launched in a aerial “shock and awe” assault that went on to deeply wound both nations.
The notion of some sort of equivalence or mutuality of suffering between Iraq and the United States–some kind of shared pain experienced by both sides in this war, or even that it can be called a “war”: it was an invasion and occupation, on a false pretext, and it laid waste to a nation that had done nothing to ours; almost 5000 US soldiers dead, compared to between 100,000 and a million Iraqis; millions of internal and external refugees, infrastructure ravaged, cities reduced to rubble, children playing in streets strewn with depleted uranium, civil society extinguished, civil war continuing to rage–should be beyond the conceivable and the civilized; yet it’s what we need to believe and so we do, safely ensconced in our sense of moral certitude.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Despite the media hoopla and the Obama administration’s braggadocio surrounding the troop exit from Iraq, the US planned to maintain troops in the country indefinitely. The only reason for the withdrawal is that the Iraqi government refused to grant future immunity to US troops.
It was a slick move by Maliki, and demonstrates Obama’s lack of negotiating skills, even when he’s holding the big stick. He should have asked George W. Bush for advice.
In any event, only a neocon could be unhappy with the outcome: US troops out of Iraq.
POSTED BY ORHAN
According to today’s BBC, “an Iraqi judicial committee has issued an arrest warrant for the mainly Shia Arab country’s Sunni Arab Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi. The warrant was issued under anti-terrorism laws…”
The main Sunni political party is now boycotting the cabinet and accuses Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of “monopolizing power”.
Meanwhile Danny Schechter reports, “Maliki has dipped into Saddam’s playbook by deploying his own secret police and military to round up hundreds of former Baathist supporters…A US think-tank documenting his crackdown is saying that Maliki is primarily concerned with his own survival.” Sort of like, uh, Saddam Hussein. And, like Saddam, “he too uses his son, Ahmad, to evict US firms from the Green Zone in Baghdad and do his father’s forceful bidding. And human rights groups are criticizing him for running secret jails, imprisoning journalists and critics, and firing 100 professors from a university in Saddam’s old hometown of Tikrit.”
Schecter continues, “With Maliki now terrorizing his own enemies, often in the name of questionable “plots” to overthrow him, Iraq will remain volatile. Bear in mind that after all these years, the Iraqis are still suffering from a broken electricity system as well as serious food and medical shortages.”
Posted in Current Events, From Orhan's Perch, Iraq War
Tagged Barack Obama, Current Events, Iraq, Iraq War, Maliki, Nouri al-Maliki, Saddam Hussein, Tariq Al-Hashimi, United States
. . . I’m not one to miss any opportunity to gloat when it involves Donald Trump. The uber vulgarian will not be ‘moderating’ the NewsMax debate.
“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” Trump said in a statement. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”
That ‘conflict of interest’ thing didn’t occur to him until the RSVPs (the ones politely declining his invitation) started rolling in.
Thanks to aFrankAngle for this gem. He dropped it in comments on the last post.
According to the Weekly Standard (I know, sometimes too rapid linky-linky lands me in strange places), this is the architectural rendering of a pair of residential towers proposed for Seoul with what they’re calling a ‘cloud feature’ connecting the buildings. I’m speechless.
POSTED BY ORHAN
This week Frank Luntz, Republican spinmeister extraordinaire, spoke to the Republican Governors Association about how to “frame” Occupy Wall Street to the public.
“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,” said Luntz. “They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”
Luntz is a master of using language to trigger subtle emotional responses favorable to the speaker, and for years has been directing Republicans in how to effectively spin their message.
Since Republican politicians obediently follow Luntz’s dictates in lockstep, you’ll be hearing these memes from conservatives of all stripes as they spin OWS in the coming days and weeks. The rules are quite instructive, especially since almost all public speech by the political class is generally finessed in the same way. And Luntz is the very best; the Democrats don’t have anybody in his league. In fact, President Obama would do well to ponder rule 6 carefully.
1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’
“I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz said. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”
2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’
“If you talk about raising taxes on the rich,” the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But “if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes.”
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.’
“They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.” Continue reading
Posted in 2012 Elections, Current Events, elections, From Orhan's Perch, Government, Occupy Wall Street, Politics, Uncategorized
Tagged Current Events, Frank Luntz, government, language, Occupy Wall Street, Politics, Republicans, spin doctors
According to a tweet from NBC News’ Jamie Novogrod, [Michelle] Bachmann responded to the recent raiding of the British embassy in Iran, by saying that if she was President, she would close down the U.S. embassy there.
- Oh, what the hell . . .
Oh, and her short list for VP? Trump, DeMint and Rick Santorum. Unbeatable!
Posted in 2012 Elections, Congress critters, Current Events, Did I hear that right?, Meet the 112th!, Politics, Tea Party
Tagged Bachmann, elections, foreign policy, Iran, news, stupid
Mac this morning; from an article from Der Spiegel, the largest circulation newspaper in Germany, read all over the world. And this is what they think of our GOP clown train.
(To those who disdain all those ‘elite Europeans” – opinions matter. They matter in business, in investments, and in diplomatic relations. They really matter.)
The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates have shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation. . . .
They lie. They cheat. They exaggerate. They bluster. They say one idiotic, ignorant, outrageous thing after another. They’ve shown such stark lack of knowledge — political, economic, geographic, historical — that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein and even cause their fellow Republicans to cringe.
“When did the GOP lose touch with reality?” wonders Bush’s former speechwriter David Frum in New York Magazine. In the New York Times, Kenneth Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s former chief-of-staff, called this campaign season a “reality show,” while Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan confidante Peggy Noonan even spoke of a “freakshow.”
Here’s the Der Spiegel headline: A Club of Liars, Demagogues and Ignoramuses
They’ve got this part right:
So the US elections are a reality show after all, a pseudo-political counterpart to the Paris Hiltons, Kim Kardashians and all the “American Idol” and “X Factor” contestants littering today’s TV. The cruder, the dumber, the more bizarre and outlandish — the more lucrative. Especially for Fox News, whose viewers were recently determined by Fairleigh Dickinson University to be far less informed than people who don’t watch TV news at all.
I’m so proud.
Posted in 2012 Elections, Civics, Current Events, elections, Media, Politics, Tea Party, the nation
Tagged 2012 elections, America, debates, elections, Media, news, Politics, Republican candidates
This one falls under the radar because Herman Cain had sex again, but not only did a nuclear facility in Iran’s 3rd largest city explode – it was the second one in a month.
This will really help:
Major-General Giora Eiland, Israel’s former director of national security, told Israel’s army radio that the Isfahan blast was no accident. “There aren’t many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it’s the hand of God,” he said.
So the Jewish (and Christian?) god told them to smite those damn Muslims. That’ll go down well.
I just picked this up from Bartcop, where someone else picked it up from a facebook post. There was no link.
- In the 1930s and 40s factory workers, miners, and laborers demonstrated for better and safer working conditions.
- They were first ignored, then mocked, then violent conflict erupted. Even the US army was called to “maintain order”. A number were killed. The result was the union movement.
- In the 1950s and 60s, blacks demonstrated for equal rights. They were first ignored, then mocked, then shot, beaten, attacked with dogs and fire hoses, some were killed. But the result was civil rights/anti discrimination laws.
- In the 1960s and 70s there were demonstrations against the Vietnam War. First ignored, then mocked, then the clubs, fire-hoses and bullets came out. But the result was the war ended!
- Today we have financial inequality and corporate abuse. Some chose to demonstrate,. They were at first ignored, then mocked, and now the violence has begun. I believe that the result will be that the people will prevail!
I’d add that it took street marches, protests and violence for over 30 years until women got the right to vote in 1920. Later, mountains of anti-discrimination legislation resulted from the feminist protest movement of the 70’s.
That’s the way stuff happens. That’s the way we were born as a nation.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mohandas Ghandi
Posted in Civics, corporate power, Current Events, economy, feminism, History, Occupy Wall Street, Plutocrats, Politics, the future, the nation
Tagged history, income inequality, OWS, political reform, protest movements
Until we end state-sanctioned execution in this country, we are diminished as a people. It’s a stain on our national character, a moral failure. Death at the hand of the state is the very hallmark of tyranny, and has no place in a modern open society.
So good for Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon, who just stopped executions in his state by executive order.
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced today he will not allow the execution of Gary Haugen — or any death row inmate— to take place while he is in office. The death penalty is morally wrong and unjustly administered, Kitzhaber said.
“In my mind it is a perversion of justice,” he said at an emotional news conference in Salem.
Via friend Jane here are six minutes liberals need to watch. In the liberal view, there are two sides to Obama, which we’ve created as promise vs. reality. Lately we’ve been focused on the ‘why doesn’t he do more!’ side.
Here’s a calm, rational Democrat reminding us of ‘the promise’ side. Save this one to watch periodically if you haven’t time now. An outtake from him about the volatility in the Middle East these days:
I haven’t seen a single image of a [US] flag being burned. Before 2008, that would have been unimaginable.
Posted in 2012 Elections, Current Events, elections, Government, Health care reform, immigration, Media, Middle East, Obama, partisanship, Politics, war
Tagged Democrats, elections, liberal, news, Obama, Politics
Who gives a speech wearing a hat?
Wonder no more. It’s gay stuff!!! Teh sex stuff!!! The dreadful gay agenda stuff and poor Penn State!! He had to speak up:
Despite the almost religious promotion of homosexuality now in evidence at all too many of America’s institutions of so-called “higher learning,” it’s hard to believe that they would thus willingly sacrifice themselves to the gods of “political correctness,” especially given the fact that the zealous advocates of homosexual rights are still pretending to draw the line at the sexual abuse of children.
Maybe he sniffs an opening in the GOP field. C’mon down Alan, join the party!
Now, a few weeks after Move Your Money Day, comes Shop Local Saturday. And why not. I don’t know where this project originated, but it’s a perfectly logical segue. There are dozens of local videos from around the country here.
From the transcript of Cain’s interview at the Milwakee Journal-Sentinel
He defended his view that presidents and presidential candidates don’t need to be immersed in the fine print of world affairs – they simply need to be leaders who can surround themselves with the right people and sift through their advice.
“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.
So he’s saying he will make decisions on which advisor to believe, and he doesn’t need any personal knowledge to evaluate that advice. Okay.
“I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president (people say) you need to have the answer. No, you don’t! No, you don’t! That’s not good decision-making,” said Cain.*
Having the answer is not good decision-making. Doing what someone else has decided is good decision-making. Okay that too.
The constant iteration ‘I’ll listen to the commanders on the ground’. is nonsense. The generals’ job is to determine a strategy to fulfill the mission as defined by civilians, in the person of the CinC. (Has there ever been a general for whom more troops and more weapons is not the answer to everything?) That statement almost always goes unchallenged.
*I guess the man means: I’m not supposed to know anything about the Constitution.
Posted in 2012 Elections, Current Events, Did I hear that right?, elections, Government, Pet peeves, Politics, war
Tagged 2012 elections, Cain, foreign policy, news, Politics, Republican candidates