We need a laugh…Yes? Open thread!

Good Evening

Geez, I can’t look at the news…what is it with all the cannibal stories? One in Miami, One in Baltimore and then I see something about that former porn star that is wanted for the gruesome murder and things he did to his boyfriend….I mean, I read that Luka was a necrophiliac, but he is also a cannibal? (That last link goes to The Sun, perhaps they had Luka’s phone tapped?)

Anyway, so we have all these disgusting news stories filled with tales of freakishly evil stuff on one hand…and then we have the disgusting, bullshit political maneuverings of John Edwards on the other. So tonight let’s have an open thread about something funny. Damn!

Let’s start with some funny violence…as in Stooges funny.

And of course we have raw oyster stew, Curly isn’t a cannibal in this clip…but that oyster sure has one hell of a personality:

Here is a bit done live, in Slowly I Turn, jealous lovers and Niagara falls, what could be better:

For a bit of variety, how about Abbott and Costello doing the same Niagara sketch.

Okay enough of the vaudeville, and lets move onto something classier, say a funny scene from Broadway? (And this one has a corpse reference.)

Wow, look at the time….one more and off we go….

Okay, I have tried to put together a group of funny things…it is an open thread, post what you like…but let’s try to keep it funny, yes?


Breaking News: Jury Reaches Verdict in John Edwards Trial

Well, the time has come…

Verdict Reached In John Edwards Trial | TPM Livewire

Jurors have reached a verdict in the John Edwards trial, NBC News reports. The verdict is expected to be announced in about 10 minutes. For an overview of the major trial figures, head here.

We will post the verdict shortly…See below for updates!

Here are a few links for you:

Edwards jurors reach verdict on 9th day of deliberations – CNN.com

John Edwards trial verdict – US politics live | World news | guardian.co.uk

John Edwards arrives at the federal courthouse in Greensboro

John Edwards at the federal courthouse for jury deliberations in Greensboro, North Carolina. Photograph: John Adkisson/Reuters

2.50pm:John Edwards verdict: a unanimous verdict has been reached on only one count – count three apparently – of illegal campaign contributions related to John Edwards supporter Bunny Mellon.

It appears that the jury has been sent back to the court jury room for further deliberation on other counts, although Fox News is reporting “Jury deadlocked on most counts”.

What all this means will become clear soon. We hope.

Jury only unanimous on one charge in John Edwards case – This Just In – CNN.com Blogs

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] The prosecution has asked for the jury to go back in the jury room to deliberate. The defense has asked for a mistrial on the remaining counts.

The judge is taking a five minute recess on the matter. The judge has the option to issue an “Allen charge,” which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.


Thursday Reads

Good Morning!! I’ve got a mixed bag of reads for you this morning, so I hope there will be something her to interest you.

Did you see the piece in The New York Times on Obama’s “secret kill list?” Very creepy. The article makes it clear that President Obama is actively engaged in decisions about which “terrorists” to target with drone attacks.

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

At Slate, William Saletan breaks down the problems with the Times story and explains why the supposedly strict rules for choosing which people to target are really pretty meaningless.

To understand the Times story, you have to go back to a speech given last month by John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser. Brennan argued that the administration was waging drone warfare scrupulously. He described a rigorous vetting process. The Times report, quoting some officials and paraphrasing others, largely matches Brennan’s account. But on two key points, it undermines his story. The first point is target selection. Brennan asserted:

The president expects us to address all of the tough questions. … Is this individual a significant threat to U.S. interests? … Our commitment to upholding the ethics and efficacy of this counterterrorism tool continues even after we decide to pursue a specific terrorist in this way. For example, we only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing. This is a very high bar. … Our intelligence community has multiple ways to determine, with a high degree of confidence, that the individual being targeted is indeed the al-Qaida terrorist we are seeking.

The rules sound strict. But reread the fourth sentence: “We only authorize a particular operation against a specific individual if we have a high degree of confidence that the individual being targeted is indeed the terrorist we are pursuing.” The phrase “against a specific individual” hides the loophole. Many drone strikes don’t target a specific individual. To these strikes, none of the vetting rules apply.

At Salon, Jefferson Morley explores the death of one little girl who was “collateral damage” in one of Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan in 2010.

Around midnight on May 21, 2010, a girl named Fatima was killed when a succession of U.S.-made Hellfire missiles, each of them five-feet long and traveling at close to 1,000 miles per hour, smashed a compound of houses in a mountain village of Mohammed Khel in North Waziristan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Wounded in the explosions, which killed a half dozen men, Fatima and two other children were taken to a nearby hospital, where they died a few hours later.

Behram Noor, a Pakistani journalist, went to the hospital and took a picture of Fatima shortly before her death. Then, he went back to the scene of the explosions looking for evidence that might show who was responsible for the attack. In the rubble, he found a mechanism from a U.S.-made Hellfire missile and gave it to Reprieve, a British organization opposed to capital punishment, which shared photographs of the material with Salon. Reprieve executive director Clive Stafford Smith alluded to the missile fragments in an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times last fall. They have also been displayed in England.

“Forensically, it is important to show how the crime of murder happened (which is what it is here),” said Stafford Smith in an email. “One almost always uses the murder weapon in a case. But perhaps more important, I think this physical proof — this missile killed this child — is important to have people take it seriously.”

Tuna that is contaminated with Fukushima radiation has shown up in California.

Bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi turned up off the coast of California just five months after the Japanese nuclear plant suffered meltdown last March, US scientists said.

Tiny amounts of cesium-137 and cesium-134 were detected in 15 bluefin caught near San Diego in August last year, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels were 10 times higher than those found in tuna in the same area in previous years but still well below those that the Japanese and US governments consider a risk to health. Japan recently introduced a new safety limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram in food.

The timing of the discovery suggests that the fish, a prized but dangerously overfished delicacy in Japan, had carried the radioactive materials across the Pacific Ocean faster than those conveyed by wind or water.

There’s a new smartphone for those in Japan who want to know if they are in a “radiation hotspot.”

Mobile phone operator Softbank Corp said on Tuesday it would soon begin selling smartphones with radiation detectors, tapping into concerns that atomic hotspots remain along Japan’s eastern coast more than a year after the Fukushima crisis….

The smartphone in the company’s “Pantone” series will come in eight bright colors and include customized IC chips made by Sharp Corp that measure radiation levels in microsieverts per hour.

The phone, which goes on sale this summer, can also keep track of each location a user tests for radiation levels.

And get this– NASA says that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan “disturbed the upper atmosphere.”

The massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Fukushima, Japan, last year wreaked havoc in the skies above as well, disturbing electrons in the upper atmosphere, NASA reported.

The waves of energy from the quake and tsunami that were so destructive on the ground reached into the ionosphere, a part of the upper atmosphere that stretches from about 50 to 500 miles (80 to 805 km) above Earth’s surface.

Greg Sargent discusses the surreal double-standard that Romney is using to compare his record in Massachusetts with Obama’s record as President.

You really couldn’t make this one up if you tried.

The Romney campaign is out with a new press release blasting Obama for presiding over a “net” loss in jobs. As I’ve been saying far too often, this metric is bogus, because it factors in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs the economy was hemorrhaging when Obama took office, before his policies took effect.

But this time, there’s an intriguing new twist in the Romney campaign’s argument.

In the same release attacking Obama over “net” job loss, the Romney camp also defends Romney’s jobs record as Governor of Massachusetts by pointing out … that Romney inherited a state economy that was losing jobs when he took office.

Seriously.

Check it out.

At Alternet, Steven Rosenfeld lists “five reasons the ‘Geezer Empire’ of Billionaire Republicans Are Showering Romney With Cash.” I’m can’t really excerpt this one. You need to go read the article for yourself.

The British supreme court found that Julian Assange must be extradited to Sweden, but in a surprise reversal, Assange has been given 14 days to “consider a challenge to the judgment.”

Julian Assange’s fight against extradition to Sweden may stagger on to a second round at the supreme court after he was granted permission to submit fresh arguments.

Despite losing by a majority of five to two, his lawyers have been given 14 days to consider whether to challenge a central point of the judgment on the correct interpretation of international treaties.

The highly unusual legal development came after the supreme court justices decided that a public prosecutor was a “judicial authority” and that therefore Assange’s arrest warrant had been lawfully issued.

Assange, who is wanted in connection with accusations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, was not in court; there was no legal requirement for him to be present. According to his solicitor, Gareth Peirce, he was stuck in central London traffic and never made it to the court in Westminster. Assange denies the accusations.

At The Daily Beast, Malcolm Jones discusses how American culture has changed such that Bob Dylan has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jones points out that very few folk or rock musicians have been so honored. Certainly, Dylan is a “game changer”:

You don’t have to like or admire Dylan to admit that he was a game changer. He made folk music hip. He made rock lyrics literate or, put another way, he made his audience pay attention to lyrics because he made them mean something. He blew a hole in the notion that radio hits have to clock in at less than three minutes. He proved that you can stand on a stage with just a guitar and not much of a voice and hold people’s attention for, oh, about five decades. He wrote songs in his 20s that he can still sing today without a trace of embarrassment.

But he was once an “outsider.”

Dylan was distinctly an outsider, and there he remained for quite a while. It’s juvenile fun watching old press conferences when reporters did finally come calling later in the decade. The questions are so dorky. But what you realize is that the national press at that time had almost no one in its ranks that we would recognize as music writers. Most of the reporters sent to interview Dylan were 40-somethings in suits who treated him like Chubby Checker, just another flash in the pan phenom to be indulged. Instead, they found a musician who was the smartest man in any room, and someone who was more than happy to make fun of them (“You walk into the room, with your pencil in your hand …”).

The point is, in the mid-60s there really was an establishment and an anti-establishment (to be upgraded to a counterculture in a couple of years), and no one doubted which side of the line Dylan stood on. Back then, there were bitter fights over high culture and low, insiders and outsiders, and who got to say who was who. In 1965, the Pulitzer board refused to give a prize to Duke Ellington.

Over the years, all of that has more or less collapsed in on itself. Pulp fiction writers are in the American canon. Brian Wilson is understood to be a great American artist and not merely a great pop songwriter. The times did change, and Dylan was in the thick of making it happen.

But perhaps most telling is that Dylan is an old man now; his age is the one thing he has in common with others who have received the medal, but Jones says:

It’s cheap and easy to say that Dylan is now a member of the establishment. It’s also wrong, because there is no longer an establishment as we once knew it. And Dylan and his music had everything to do with that.

Interesting. So I’ll end with this:

What are you reading and blogging about today?


Evening News Reads: Freak Show and Violent Shootings

Good Evening

Warning, tonight’s post is a bit graphic.

There have been some violent, freakishly gory and strange events going on in North America lately. Is a full moon coming soon? I don’t know what else to say but just put the links out there.

In Seattle today, there were two shootings, and at the time of this post, 3 to 4 people are dead and the suspect may be in custody….or he may have shot himself.  This all happened near Washington University.

Police: Seattle cafe gunman may have shot self – CBS News

AFP: Seattle gunman shoots self after three killed in cafe

Woman dies in shooting outside Town Hall | Local News | The Seattle Times

I have many friends in Seattle, and one has a daughter that goes to WU… doesn’t it always make these violent mass shootings more worrisome when you know someone who lives where it happens.

In Indianapolis, another shooting has taken place:

Two dead, three wounded in Indianapolis shooting, police say | Reuters

A gunman killed one person and wounded three others at an apartment complex in Indianapolis on Wednesday, before turning the gun on himself, police said.

The shooter was hospitalized in critical condition but later died, according to interim Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Rick Hite.

Police did not identify the victims or the gunman and said they could not comment on possible motives.

Then of course there is the Zombie attack in Miami, which just gets more disgusting and disturbing as the days go by. Earlier there was a photo which was allegedly a picture of the victim when he was brought to the ER. It was horrible and has since been taking of the Albany news site, but there are still copies of it on the web. Here is a link to the Village Voice that has the image still up on it’s blog…it is graphic.

New video shows more grisly details of face-eating attack in Miami – Miami-Dade – MiamiHerald.com

Rudy Eugene walked naked alongside the MacArthur Causeway before pouncing on a homeless man he found dozing in the shade of the elevated Metromover train tracks.

For almost 18 grisly minutes, Eugene savaged his victim, punching him and stripping the man’s pants before gnawing off the homeless man’s face — all as cars and cyclists rolled by on the busy causeway on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The new details of the horrific attack were captured in additional video footage taken by security cameras at the nearby Miami Herald building.

18 minutes? Think about that…

Face-chewing victim face surgery, long recovery  | ajc.com

Police union officials representing the officer said the scene on the MacArthur Causeway was one of the goriest they had ever seen.

“He had his face eaten down to his goatee. The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth,” said Sgt. Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police.

Poppo has been in critical condition in recent days, but police didn’t give an update on his condition Wednesday.

And if this was all just too crazy, over in Canada there has been strange things going on too.

Check out this headline:

The Press Association: Porn star hunted over body parts

You read that right…

Canadian police hunt male porn star over posted hand, foot | The Australian

Canada Severed Foot

A police officer removes a package from the Conservative Party headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, containing a severed human foot. Source: AP

POLICE have launched a hunt for a male porn star after a human hand was found in the mail at an Ottawa post office, and a decomposing foot was sent to Canada’s ruling Conservative Party.

A nationwide warrant has been issued for Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov.

Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreniere told a press conference the suspect has no criminal record and asked the public’s help in tracking him down.

Police in Ottawa had previously disclosed that both packages were sent to Ottawa from Montreal.

The gruesome discoveries, described by Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews as “very disturbing,” were made hours after a severed torso was also discovered by a janitor in Montreal early Tuesday in a suitcase in a pile of garbage.

Mr Lafreniere said the finds are thought to be linked after an investigation brought them to a Montreal apartment that is believed to be scene of the dismembering.

Luka Rocco Magnotta video allegedly shows suspect dismembering victim | News | National Post

Slaying suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta once dated Karla Homolka

This is all so crazy…

I will post updates to Seattle in the comments, and a few other strange news items that caught my eye.


Commonplace Lying Liars and Big Fat Lying Liars and their Big Fat Lies

Far be it for me to complain about other states’ crazy Republican governors.  The Wisdom Beings know that my crazy Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is right up there with the worst of them.  After all, how many folks can say their governor helped kidnap and physically abuse  a young woman in the name of an exorcism and then wrote about it as a spiritual experience in their school newspapers?

Chris Christie–pardon the pun–is big among Republican circles these days because he supposedly is showing how failed economic policies aren’t really failing.  This appears to be a Republican obsession these days.  Of course, they are failing, have failed and will fail.  So, what do you do when the facts just can’t be changed?  You lie.

Chris Christie–pardon the pun–is a big fat lying liar.

Paul Krugman mentioned this offhandedly last week. Chris Christie is trying to run on the idea of “The Jersey Comeback”.  The problem is that it’s not the least bit true.  Ask any one that actually lives in New Jersey and check out their stats.  This isn’t stopping Christie from peddling his big fat lies as a big fat lying liar. You can check a really astounding FRED graph at that Krugman site that shows exactly how bad the employment situation is in New Jersey when compared to New York and Pennsylvania.

One real problem with living in New Jersey is that the state’s two major cities are, of course, New York and Philadelphia — which means that even if you live here, policy and politics reporting tends to be sparse. So it wasn’t until the latest budget fiasco surfaced that I even knew that Christie was running on the theme of the “Jersey Comeback”.

And now that I know, I wonder what on earth he’s talking about …

I’m actually not sure why NJ is doing so much worse than New York or Pennsylvania, and I doubt that Christie has much to do with it, but he’s the one trying to claim credit for … what?

Of course, his response to this chart would probably be to yell insults at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So, the funny thing is that Economist Stan Collender took Krugman’s back-of-the-napkin–with no offense intended to the NYT–analysis and lit it on fire. I’ve taught from both Krugman and Collender’s books.  I follow their research.  Both are terrific scholars.  Both also blog with intense shrillness when they bump into just plan out and out lying.  This brings us back to the Big Fat Lying Liars that are all over the Republican Party these days.  Collender does the shrill one one better writing “Is This The Economic Dark Ages In The U.S?”  I’ve quoted the entire thing because it’s so succinct I couldn’t just excerpt it.  The goddess of fair use will have to forgive me along with Dr. Collender.

My guess is that Paul Krugman thought that this post was one of the more trifling economic-oriented pieces he has written in a while. It was short and probably took little time. It was also seemingly commonplace. After all, it was about a politician who said something inherently and obviously false.

But I found it to be extremely disturbing, not because it was off-the-wall — it’s anything but — but because it described a behavior — bald-face lying — that has become so blatant and commonplace among Republican policymakers on economic issues that any one of them who is even slightly honest and candid now would be both an absolute rarity and a welcome relief.

And the fact that the GOP lying about the economy…and especially the budget…is so accepted and expected means that any Republican who wasn’t jump-the-shark ridiculous on these issues wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the party much longer.

The obvious frustration that Krugman expresses in the post (not to mention the almost back-of-the-hand way he swats away Governor Chris Christie’s one-liner about the strength of the New Jersey economy and in the process makes the governor appear ridiculous to anyone who takes the time to look at the facts) mirrors what I was thinking when I posted this about House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week.

As I noted in the post, Boehner, who easily qualifies as the weakest and least effective Speaker in my lifetime and has to be included on the list of the all-time worst in U.S. history, demonstrated yet again that he’ll say and do anything to stay speaker even when what he’s saying about the budget can easily be shown to be nonsense and when he knowingly and without giving it a second thought  threatens the well-being of the U.S. economy.

I’d say this doesn’t bode well for the outcome of this year’s federal budget debate, but that’s both obvious and an understatement. It actually points to the a period in U.S. history that is very likely to be labeled by historians as its economic dark ages.

Krugman actually inkled something similar over the weekend in a interview with Raw Story where he said “This may be when it all falls apart”.

“We are living through a time where we face an enormous economic challenge,” he told RT’s Thom Hartmann. “We are facing — obviously — the worst challenge in 80 years and we are totally mucking up the response. We’re doing a terrible job. We’re failing to deal with it. All of the people, the respectable people, the serious people, have made a total hash of this. That is a recipe for radicalism. It is a recipe for breakdown.”

Krugman noted that the massive demonstrations in parts of Europe were reminiscent of the 1930s.

“There are a lot of ugly forces being unleashed in our societies on both sides of the Atlantic because our economic policy has been such a dismal failure, because we are refusing to listen to the lessons of history. We may look back at this thirty years from now and say, ‘That is when it all fell apart.’ And by all, I don’t just mean the economy.”

I have no idea why so many people seem so wedded to absolute lies.   Unfortunately, they are our policy makers.   Right now, they are so attached to their lies that it seems a lot of us think they are willing to bring down the entire country and it looks like they bloody well will do it too.  What really gets me is that so many stupid people seem to want to believe these lies.  What’s an economist to do but just be as shrill as possible.

  h/t to Ralph


Wednesday Reads: Just Don’t Get It

Good Morning

Maybe I am just a bit tired, maybe I am just suffering from PAD, but there are a lot of links picked up by Memeorandum lately, which I have no clue what is going on.

Aaron Walker and Brett Kimberlin…what a bunch of noise. So today’s links are not coming from Memeorandum.

As you may have already heard, Romney “clinched” the GOP nomination last night…

Updated: 11:45 p.m. ET

(CBS News) Nearly a year after announcing his presidential bid, CBS News estimates that Mitt Romney has earned the necessary delegates to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.

With 85 percent of the votes counted, CBS News projects that the former Massachusetts governor will win Tuesday’s Texas’ GOP primary, earning 70 percent of the vote and surpassing the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who announced earlier this month that he would no longer be actively campaigning in the race, earned 11 percent.

CBS News has been tracking delegates throughout the primaries and caucuses, including interviews with Republican delegates across the country. The former Massachusetts governor has amassed more than a thousand delegates from these contests and CBS News has also confirmed that he has the support of 83 of the 123 delegates who are Republican National Committee members and are free to support who they choose.

According to CBS News estimates, Romney will have 1,198 delegates following his victory in Texas.

In Texas there is a heated Runoff Set in G.O.P. Race for Senate

Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst failed to win enough votes in the Republican primary on Tuesday to avert a runoff with Ted Cruz, a Houston lawyer who cast the election as a battle between the moderate Republican establishment and Tea Party conservatives.

Cruz is seen as a darling for the Tea Party, and you know he got the grizzly bear endorsement…

As Texas solicitor general, Mr. Cruz won cases before the United States Supreme Court that, among other things, defended the right to have a monument to the Ten Commandments at the state Capitol. He received support from Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, and the former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, endorsements that Mr. Dewhurst cast as outside meddling in state politics.

I know that there has been talk that the tea party is fading, I don’t think so.

Speaking of right-wing conservatives, I was wondering how long it would take for the PLUBs to latch on to Chen Guangchen. Abortion foes see ally in Chinese activist

Conservatives are seizing on the high-profile story of Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist who recently arrived in the United States, hoping that the spotlight on his human-rights work will bolster their efforts to curb abortions domestically and in China.

Anti-abortion groups, including National Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List, are highlighting Chen’s work exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in China in hopes it will help them in passing U.S. legislation banning abortions performed because of a child’s gender. Chen’s plight also has led congressional Republicans to plan hearings this summer on the one-child policy.

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is citing Chen’s work in its critique of President Obama’s record on human rights. Particularly, Romney’s campaign officials argue Obama has been weak on the one-child rule, China’s much-publicized population-control measure, which has been criticized as an under-recognized human-rights abuse.

Romney was also critical about Obama’s policy with Syria, in light of the latest massacre. Here is the latest on the U.S., allies expel Syrian diplomats over massacre

The United States and 10 other countries expelled Syrian diplomats Tuesday after blaming government forces for last week’s massacre of more than 100 villagers in central Syria, but they again stopped short of calling for more aggressive action to end the violence.

Despite expressions of outrage and agreement that the situation in Syria has reached what U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan called a “tipping point,” the Obama administration and its major allies said they would continue to rely on diplomatic, political and economic pressure against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Seeing all those little bodies wrapped in sheeting laid out on the floor was so disturbing and upsetting.

Others used sharper language to assign blame for one of the worst atrocities since the anti-
Assad Syrian uprising began 14 months ago.

“These were regime-sponsored thugs who went into villages, went into homes and killed children at point-blank range and their parents,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. She said the Syrian “thug force mirrors the same force that the Iranians used” to put down a nascent political uprising in 2009 and suggested that Assad was acting on Iran’s advice and assistance.

I know today’s links are few, but I’ve got a sick kid on my hands…and he’s got a fever. So please help me out, and post links to things you are reading and blogging about today.


Romney is at it again…

This time he is sticking his bully nose into the issue of Syria…

Romney Condemns Obama’s Syria Policy – NYTimes.com

Syria over the weekend has presented Mitt Romney with a new opportunity to sound a familiar theme: that President Obama’s foreign policy is feckless and lacking in courage.

Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, condemned Mr. Obama on Tuesday for a “policy of paralysis” toward Syria that he said had allowed President Bashar al-Assad to “slaughter 10,000 individuals.”

But Mr. Romney’s own prescriptions for ending the mounting death toll in Syria have been less definitive than his denunciations of the president.

No kidding…

He called for the United States to “work with partners to organize and arm Syrian opposition groups so they can defend themselves” — a policy that goes somewhat further than Mr. Obama’s but falls short of the airstrikes advocated by Republicans like Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The White House has rejected arming rebel groups, saying it does not know enough about them and does not want to “further militarize the situation.” But the question of whether to arm the Syrian opposition has also split Republicans.

Such caution, from both the incumbent and the challenger, reflects the complexities of the Syrian uprising as well as the recognition that Americans have little appetite for another large-scale military engagement.

Even human rights groups are not demanding intervention.

“No human rights organization wants to criticize the administration for failing to do something we haven’t yet asked them to do,” said Tom Malinowski, the head of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch. “We see more complexity and risk in Syria because of the sectarian dimension and the weakness of the opposition.”

In situations like this, it seems like Romney should keep his big mouth shut…Maybe I am wrong?

This is an open thread, I had a sick kid tonight so I am running behind…