Saturday: Sailboats at Sunset

Escaping Dystopia 2011...

Morning, news junkies.

Chris Hedges ushered in 2011 by calling it a brave new dystopia. For a brief moment in time, the Egyptian and Wisconsin protests provided a glimmer of “there’s something happening here,” but then we were returned to our regularly scheduled dystopic nightmare. I don’t know about you, but lately I’m finding that the actual headlines these days sound more satirical than the ones in the Onion. They leave me either wanting to lolsob…or just sob. So, on that note…

Above, to the right… from National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel:

This photo of sailboats at sunset has us yearning for the sea, which makes it an Editors’ Pick for week one of our 2011 Traveler Photo Contest in the category of Outdoor Scenes. The photographer Ken Michael Jon Taarup writes, “Boracay has never ceased to amaze many people from all over the world. With its white crystal sand, pristine blue waters, and beautiful sunsets, this place still tops the list of the most visited and beautiful resorts in the Philippines.”

That’s so you have something calming to visualize while you read my Saturday picks.

Alright, grab your morning cuppa if you haven’t already, and read on.

Let’s just get the biggest distraction out of the way first…

Tornado aftermath: Pictures say a 1000 words

“Depressing women’s history news of the week”

Being pro-choice means understanding that self-determination for women regarding sex, sexuality, reproduction and motherhood is a fundamental precursor to womens’ ability to achieve their own educational, economic and familial aspirations, a fundamental precursor to the health and well-being of individuals and families, and a core condition of the long-term stability and health of society. It therefore also means understanding the profound connections for women–supported by more than ample evidence–between economic and educational status and unfettered access to comprehensive sexual health education, contraception, family planning services, and abortion care.

The War on Unions… now brought to you by Dems in MA?

The bill will take a month before coming to the state Senate, but the overwhelming vote in the House, and [Gov.] Patrick’s kinder, gentler rights-stripping plan, make it look like something’s going to happen in Massachusetts. Time to get out in the streets in another blue state.

“I’ve played at hundreds of protests and demonstrations, and this was really unique,” he said. “It was every segment of society. It was radical students and cops on the same side, and I’d never seen that before.”

Hillaryland

  • The otherwise serious and reliable Laura Rozen overreacted a bit to Hillary taking a few days of Easter R&R time off with her family. There’s a reason Hill was dubbed the “Energizer Secretary.” The woman works non-stop. She has a personal life that she’s entitled to attend to and/or just recharge every few years or so.

Click to view HQ. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When Bushies fight… Get out your popcorn

First of all, I didn’t have modest experience in management. Managing Stanford University is not so easy. But I don’t know what Don was trying to say, and it really doesn’t matter. Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.

As always, Black Agenda Report tells it like it is…

  • This is an instant classic! Please read and disseminate. Bruce A. Dixon’s Top Ten Answers To Excuses For Obama’s Betrayals and Failures. Note Number 9 — it’s for all the Obamaphiles who won’t accept that Obama is the third Bush-Cheney term. And, to quote a snippet from Numero Uno (Re: “It’s our fault the Obama presidency hasn’t kept its commitments. We need to ‘make him do it.’”):

You cannot make a US president do what he fundamentally doesn’t want to. Michelle Obama is nice to look at, but she is no Eleanor Roosevelt. Franklin Roosevelt used to publicly bask in the hatred of wealthy banksters. Barack Obama’s dream is mostly not to piss off rich people.

  • For more on the atrocities of Bush-Cheney III, give BAR’s April 25th podcast a listen. In the first segment BAR’s Glen Ford interviews Labor Notes editor Mark Brenner, who sees no growth and no jobs on the horizon and says:

“Absolute disaster for working folks. If we follow the Ryan plan or if we follow the Obama plan, none of it spells good news for the rest of us.”

  • In another segment, Clarence Thomas, former Local 10 union secretary-treasury, says what one needs to understand is that this is not simply an attack on public sector workers, it is also an attack on public services.” Thomas says the goal is to put labor back where it was before the New Deal, noting that it is a corporate and rightwing agenda in which “the Democratic party is complicit.”

The ongoing crackdown on dissidents: Syria, China

In response to the brutality of the crackdown, President Barack Obama signed an executive order today instituting sanctions against the Syrian intelligence agency and two of Assad’s brothers, a White House official confirmed. Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council voted in Geneva today to condemn the Syrian crackdown.

“The [Executive Order] is a watershed,” Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The Envoy. “This is the first time an Assad has been designated by the [U.S. government], and the first time the USG has issued an EO on human rights in Syria. Until a few months ago Human Rights was a distant fifth on our list of issues with Syria. Now it’s emerged as the center of our policy.”

Ms. Cheng was arrested on what was supposed to have been her wedding day last fall for sending a single sarcastic Twitter message that included the words “charge, angry youth.” The government, lacking a sense of humor, sentenced her to a year in labor camp.

Timeout: Art break

We’re about halfway through, so click to read the rest…

America’s Fastest Growing Cities

Kearney, NE: 3.5; West Lafayette, IN: 4.4; Lexington, MA: 4.5; Madison, AL: 5.6; Madison, WI: 6.0; Ballwin, MO: 6.4; Anchorage, AK: 6.5

Your “first wireless president” in action, progressives!

2012: Everybody was ‘carnival barking’…

  • Trump drops F-bombs — I suppose at the very least that qualifies him for the vice presidency (cf. Cheney, Biden).
  • Tea party continues to hang itself (Gallup polling). For anyone who still believes that Obama HAS to swing center-right until he is re-elected so that after that he can finally reveal himself for the liberal trojan horse he is: Ask yourself why Obama’s “bipartisanship” pivots around the 30% of Independents who have a favorable view of the tea party instead of the 43% who have an unfavorable view?
  • Steve M./No More Mister Nice Blog: BOYCOTT BIRTHERISM. As anyone familiar with my two cent rants knows, I think birtherism is another tool of the oligarchy keeping us from discussing anything of substance. Ann Dunham Obama gave birth to Barack in Hawaii (…and Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig in Alaska.) End of discussion. The media’s corporate sponsors want this distraction; if they didn’t, Trump would have gotten the media pariah treatment that Geraldine Ferraro got during the ’08 primaries for saying much less.

What the Oligarchy was doing (while America was watching Trump v. Obama and Wills & Kate)

Petraeus, 58, will hang up his uniform after almost 40 years in the military to take up the helm of the civilian intelligence agency in September. [...] CIA Director Leon Panetta, who Obama will announce today as his choice to succeed Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, only agreed to the request after a bit of arm-twisting in a meeting at the White House on Monday, the senior administration official also told journalists.

Panetta will continue Gates’ budget agenda

Gates’ unrivaled influence

All of the appointments–in particular Panetta as Robert Gates’ successor at DoD, Petraeus as CIA director (one of Gates’ many previous jobs), and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen to succeed Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan–show that Gates remains an unparalleled influence on Obama’s national security policy and personnel decisions.

Pakistan is the unspoken factor

Small claims suits help to hold corporations accountable for violations of law. Under this ruling, individuals would not be allowed to band together when they’ve been cheated. This means that corporations will only have to bribe and intimidate regulators, with the impunity of getting caught by a mass lawsuit. A lawyer won’t bother with an individual lawsuit for twenty bucks even if the fraud is clear. Multiply that by the thousands if not tens of thousands of cases like this and corporate America just got another windfall for their coffers.

The George W. Bush legacy continues unabated.

It also appears clear that the DOJ is strongly considering an indictment under the Espionage Act — an act that would be radical indeed for non-government-employees doing nothing other than what American newspapers do on a daily basis (and have repeatedly done in partnership with WikiLeaks).

  • These are just a few. Feel free to chime in and add more on what the powers-that-be have been up to this week!

This Day in History (April 30)

THE prestigious law firm King & Spalding has not fully explained its decision this week to stop assisting Congress in defending the law that forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage. But its reversal suggests the extent to which gay men and lesbians have persuaded much of the legal profession to accept the basic proposition that sexual orientation is irrelevant to a person’s worth and that the law should reflect this judgment. The decision cannot be dismissed simply as a matter of political correctness or bullying by gays.

Gay-rights supporters have transformed the law and the legal profession, opening the doors of law firms, law schools and courts to people who were once casually and cruelly shut out because of their sexual orientation.

But it was a process that took a half-century to unfold. In 1961, a Harvard-trained astronomer, Frank Kameny, stood alone against the federal government. Fired from his federal job simply for being gay, he wanted to petition the Supreme Court. But at a time when all 50 states still criminalized sodomy, even the American Civil Liberties Union declared it had no interest in challenging laws “aimed at the suppression or elimination of homosexuals.” Mr. Kameny wrote his own appellate brief; without comment, the court turned him away.

Over the next quarter-century, lifted by gales of change in sexual morality and in the status of women, gay-rights advocates mobilized at every level of the legal profession.

Well, that’s it for me…have at it in the comments!

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]

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24 Comments on “Saturday: Sailboats at Sunset”

  1. It would have been funny to see Hillary debate this putz in ’08. She could have asked him, “Mr. Romney, why didn’t you call me and ask how it should work?” Lol.

    • dakinikat says:

      He was for it before he was against it … Those establishment republicans love that mandate. It was the core of the heritage foundation plan. I can’t see how he can get away from that realistically. That and the fundies will stay home rather than vote for a Mormon.

    • This is really weird. My original comment here about Romney that I put at the very top is gone (and all the nesting under it about Romney went to hell too). Don’t see it anywhere in the filters either…just poof!

      Maybe WordPress doesn’t like Romney either, LOL

      Anyhow here’s what I wrote originally:

      Mittens in NH, twists himself around the Romney-Obamacare question…

      Romney on healthcare: Obama should have asked me if it worked

      http://tinyurl.com/42t8ydh

      “I went to work to try to solve a problem,” Romney said of the Massachusetts law, which has drawn comparisons to the law championed by President Obama. “It may not be perfect — by the way, it is not perfect — some parts of that experiment worked, some parts didn’t, some things I’d change.”

      Some conservative critics have dubbed the law “RomneyCare,” noting its inclusion of a mandate requiring people to purchase health insurance.
      Romney, meanwhile, blasted the federal healthcare law as “unconstitutional,” warning, “it will bankrupt us.”

      “You will note that [Obama] and the Democrats constantly want to give me credit for their plan,” Romney said, alluding to recent comments from Obama and national Democrats likening the two plans. “You know there’s a method to their madness. But let me tell you this, if and when I have the occasion to debate President Obama, I’m gonna ask him this question: ‘Mr. President, why didn’t you call me and ask how it worked?'”

      Asshat (to borrow from The Rock)

      “Beaches and Speeches” 2012! (It’s a Hillary thing)

  2. Guess who said this:

    “Hells no. I would not vote to increase that debt ceiling.”

    Answer here:

    http://tinyurl.com/3dsj4of

    Meanwhile…

    Latest from Gallup

    http://tinyurl.com/3nqev72

    Good news: Neither Party Has Big Edge on Most Major U.S. Issues

    Bad news: Americans see Republicans as better able to handle the budget

    gallup

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I want to scream every time the MSM seek out Sarah Palin for a comment about anything.

      She makes no sense, it is clear she has no grasp on any issue that is not a “talking point” of the moment, and to consider even for the tiniest fraction of a second that she has a minimum understanding of economics is an affront.

      The media has wasted so much time covering this insipid person and affording her a measure of credibility when it is clear she is one of the most ill informed and intellectually challenged people to ever grace the national stage is maddening.

      She resigns midway from her role as an elected governor of a state that has roughly 1 million people and the media behaves as if she were a senior statesman.

      Incredible.

      • Palin and Trump could run on the same ticket…

        “Hells No, Motherf’rs 2012!

        Don’t vote for us, we’re just here to make Obama look tolerable by comparison.”

  3. Hooray… Down with (the appropriately named) Dickey-Wicker!

    Court Victory For Supporters Of Federally Funded Embryonic Stem Cell Research:

    http://tinyurl.com/3rxbv4u

    The court found that the law–the Dickey-Wicker Amendment enacted in 1996–is “ambiguous” and that the NIH has “reasonably concluded” that while the law bans federal funding for the destructive act of deriving cells from an embryo “it does not prohibit funding a research project in which an hESC will be used.”

  4. TheRock says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself… :)

    Hillary 2012

  5. joanelle says:

    Great start to the weekend – Wonk! Thanks :)

  6. jillforhill says:

    In a 2008 republican debate on CNN, someone brought up the Clintons and Romney went after Hillary. Romney called Hillary out for a stament she said about the economy and republicans and he also said he would tell her to her face.
    The first thought that came to my mind was bring it on Romney.

    PS-I am disappointed in th way Hillary is handling the China DOS attack. Hopefully,Hillary will bring it up when she has talks with China that are coming up soon.

    • Romney also enjoyed saying that stale punchline about “Bill Clinton with nothing to do in the WH.”

      • bostonboomer says:

        I think it’s funny how the media keeps harping on how well Romney is doing in NH. NH always supports candidates from New England. There is absolutely nothing surprising or unique about that.

        • yeah I am surprised anyone is surprised. The real telling thing about the polling that I have seen so far is that Obama could be defeated but not by anyone likely to run. the GOP slate is so bad that only romney is remotely competitive — and that’s just in NH really, because of the New England factor.

          • dakinikat says:

            You can tell the old GOP establishment is dismayed but what did they expect? They’ve played that extremist base of theirs to the point all their dogs have those fleas then some. No northeastern republican is going to go over with that crowd. They’ve overplayed the elitist label so much its hitting their own.

      • paper doll says:

        Excellnt point BB.

    • bostonboomer says:

      If there were a New England Democrat running against Obama, that person would be leading in NH polls too.

  7. Fannie says:

    What! Top Ten answers to Excuses for Obama’s betrayals and failures………hell he’s proud to be a phony, and as about as good as apple pie.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    This is such a great week-in-review. I have several links open now that I have to go read. Thanks, Wonk!

  9. paper doll says:

    Lord knows I never got the Obama “charm” It was always WTF? when that was written up. I can’t hear two words from him without wanting to throw my apron over my head and run of the house, or just scream back…it’s extreme flight or fight when Barry appears.

    However Romney seems even worse…he ‘s so oily he makes used car salesmen look like Honest Abe’s. I think he resents having to pretend he gives a shit and that sabotages his own effort! lol! That ridiculous smile you can see when he just remembered to turn it on…lol!

    I shouldn’t give him ideas, but his shtick is waaay out of date …Mitt, you gotta act like you don’t care, that you are too cool to care.It’s either being cool or chest thumping like Trump, ingratiating yourself ( or ugh….trying too…) is political poison imo…..My consulting fee bill is in the mail…

    Great post as always! :)

    • paperdoll, I never got the Obama charm either. His 2004 DNC speech sounded like the same ol’ baloney to me. I thought it was patronizing the way the media was surprised he could string two words together.

      Romney is worse, imho, though marginally. They both take empty suitin’ to a level Bush was incapable of. They try to polish and dumb down at the same time, all while they take whatever position one moment that they can reverse the next.

      Can’t you just imagine an Obama/Romney debate? “I was for it before you were against it before I was against it and you were for it!”

      • paper doll says:

        Can’t you just imagine an Obama/Romney debate

        To be honest, my mind won’t go there! lol! too depressing.

        Bush didn’t care how dumb he looked doing the phony shit the office requires…that gave him a type of freedom. He might even have believed the shit…..Obama and Romney care about how they dumb they might seem and don’t believe…so you get the conflicted facial/words that ramps up the insincere level to the point where it’s all one notices…. at least for me. Yes Romney is just marginally worse ,but even so that is significant because I didn’t think it was possible to grate on me more than Bush/Obama lol! The funny thing is they have not yet dragged out Mitt’s bloopers and dumb sayings. This guy is not the sharpest blade in the drawer as they say. Really some GOP governor who hasn’t slashed the social safety net (if such a creature exists )could have an an opening here … Mitt hasn’t governed in a long time. As BB points out NE guys do well in NE. It’s only a real story if they are crushing people there

  10. stacy says:

    Great round-up Wonk!

    Two things- Romney may be ahead in NH but he isn’t even liked very much here in MA. He spent most of his time as Governor traveling around the country in the run-up to his run for POTUS.

    Second- I know I harp on this alot, but our policy regarding China is a disgrace. Not only to do we refuse to speak out in a meaningful way against their most brutal crackdown in DECADES, but we won’t even call them out on their unfair trade practices and currency manipulating, even though it has disastrous economic consequences.

    I’m very interested in why China has spent the last 2+ years engaging in these brutal crackdowns. Many in the US argued some years ago that as China became more wealthy and economically powerful, it would result in a liberalization of their government. That has turned out to be patently false. Also, the State Dept. has been engaging in so-called “Human Rights Dialogues” with China and I received a notice that they will be having another one in May and I’m wondering if China is using these dialogues to essentially pretend like they are interested in reform, all the while being more brutally repressive than they have been in decades. In other words, are they using the United States as cover and if so, should the Secretary of State refuse to have any more of these dialogues until they do something like release Liu Xiaobo and and Ai WeiWei?