Saturday Reads: We’re Having A Heat Wave Edition

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Good Morning!!

The long weekend continues, and so does the heat wave here in Greater Boston. This is our second heat wave of this summer. I know these are just normal temps for you hardy souls in the South, but for us Northerners, it’s quite a shock to the system.

From The Boston Globe: As heat wave hits, region falls under a sultry spell.

The torpor-inducing temperatures, expected to last through Sunday, will feel hotter than the last, said Bill Simpson, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Friday’s high was 95 degrees with 55 percent humidity, he said, but the heat index, which combines temperature and relative humidity to measure how hot it feels, hit nearly 100. There will be no relief until Monday, he said, when temperatures should cool to the mid- to low-80s.

In Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino issued a heat advisory through the weekend, urging residents to stay hydrated and in the shade or air conditioning….

To stave off the heat, many turned to ice. The number of convenience stores and restaurants needing extra ice rose “exponentially” since the beginning of the heat wave, said Charlotte Ploss, sales manager at Brookline Ice & Coal, which specializes in ice delivery. The phones there rang nonstop Friday morning and afternoon, sometimes with customers requesting ice for the second or third time of the day.

One supermarket ordered 4 tons of ice, Ploss said. A restaurant called for so many ice refills that Brookline Ice & Coal offered use of a company trailer, which holds 3,000 pounds of ice. Because the restaurant does not have enough space for the trailer, its owner is parking it in his driveway, she said.

So what else is going on? The President of Venezuela has offered asylum to Edward Snowden. From Reuters via the NYT:

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offered asylum to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on Friday in defiance of Washington, which is demanding his arrest for divulging details of secret U.S. spy programs.

“In the name of America’s dignity … I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to Edward Snowden,” Maduro told a military parade marking Venezuela’s independence day.

“He is a young man who has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the United States spying on the whole world.”

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How Snowden would get to Venezuela from Moscow if he accepts the offer no one knows as yet.

There are no direct commercial flights between Moscow and Caracas, and the usual route involves changing planes in Havana. It is not clear if the Cuban authorities would let him transit….

One alternative flight plan would involve an aircraft taking off from Moscow, refueling in Vladivostok, and then continuing east over the Pacific to South America.

Nicaragua has also said it would consider offering Snowden asylum. Both Venezuela and Nicaragua have questionable human rights records; but no doubt, Snowden supporters will find ways to explain all that away.

The Washington Post has a feature on Sarah Harrison, “the woman from Wikileaks” who accompanied Snowden to Moscow and is reportedly still there.

Harrison began working with WikiLeaks in August 2010 on the internal vetting of confidential U.S. documents supplied by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, which the site later released. At some point that year, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Harrison and Assange became intimately involved. They cautioned that the relationship was not Harrison’s prime motivation in championing the WikiLeaks cause.

“She is firmly committed to what WikiLeaks is trying to do; she believes 100 percent in the mission,” one of the people said. “Any suggestion that her relationship with Julian is what has compelled her to do the things she has would be a totally wrong assumption.”

Although those who know her as an Assange confidante describe her as more comfortable behind the scenes, Harrison now finds herself in the spotlight. She has raced across continents to aid Snowden, assisting in his flight from Hong Kong and his search for asylum from Moscow. On Friday, Venezuela and Nicaragua offered Snowden asylum. All the while, she has has maintained a low profile and refrained from public statements.

Read the rest at the link.

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In Chile, another human rights issue has arisen once again–the right of girls and women to control their own bodies. USA Today reports: Child’s pregnancy sets off Chile abortion debate.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The case of a pregnant 11-year old girl who was raped in Chile by her mother’s partner has set off a national debate about abortion in one of the most socially-conservative countries in Latin America.

Chileans were outraged on Friday after state TV reported that the girl is 14 weeks pregnant and was raped repeatedly over two years. Police in the remote southern city of Puerto Montt arrested her mother’s partner, who confessed to abusing the fifth grader. The case was brought to their attention by the pregnant child’s maternal grandmother.

Doctors say the girl’s life and that of the fetus are at high risk. But in Chile, ending the pregnancy is not an option.

Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons until they were outlawed in 1973 by Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. The current government of conservative President Sebastian Pinera has opposed any loosening of the prohibition.

One has to assume that Republicans here in the U.S. are applauding this horror, since they keep trying to limit women’s autonomy with nightmare legislation in numerous states. The latest is Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker just signed a draconian new anti-abortion bill. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Friday requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges, and abortion clinics responded by immediately suing state officials over the measure.

The law — signed Friday by Walker in a private ceremony — would cut the number of clinics offering abortions in Wisconsin from four to two, and one of the remaining clinics would have to dramatically cut the number of abortions it provides, according to the operators of the clinics.

“When women don’t have access to safe, legal abortions, there are health consequences and women die,” said Teri Huyck, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin….

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed the lawsuit in federal court in Madison. They brought it against Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross and the members of the state Medical Examining Board — all of whom have authority to enforce the law or issue sanctions.

It will be heard by U.S. District Judge William Conley. It was unclear whether he would take action before the law takes effect Monday.

The National Journal is bullish on the latest jobs report. The Really Great News From the June Jobs Report: the April and May Numbers

Happy jobs day! First, the immediate good news: The June report showed the U.S. economy added 195,000 in June, strongly beating expectations in the 150,000-165,000 range. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, was unchanged at 7.6 percent.

But now for the really good news: We were quite wrong about job gains in April and May. Initial reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a jobs gain of 149,000 in April and 175,000 in May. In the latest reports, those numbers were revised upward to 199,000 in April and 195,000 in May. That’s a combined gain of 70,000 jobs from earlier reports. So, since April, it turns out that the economy has actually gained nearly 200,000 new jobs a month.

They admit the unemployment situation is still pretty horrible overall. Read about it at the link.

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Here’s a wacky story out of Texas: Gun owners march on Houston police station with shotguns and assault rifles.

A group of gun owners and gun rights advocates celebrated Independence Day on Thursday by marching on the headquarters of the Houston Police Department while carrying an array of shotguns and assault rifles. According to the Washington Examiner, the group was organized via Facebook and numbered about 25 attendees.

“It’s Independence Day — where it all started,” said shotgun toting protester Jenn Kroll, to the Houston Chronicle. “What better day to show our rights?”

“If you don’t use your rights, they can take them away,” Ed Aldredge of Sugar Land said. Aldridge brought along his 11-year-old son, Austin, who carried a .22-caliber rifle.

No mention in the story about how Houston police reacted to the march.

Violence continues in Egypt where the army and Morsi supporters are battling each other. From BBC News:

More than 30 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in Friday’s violence following the ousting of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, it has emerged.

At least 12 died in Alexandria, and eight in two separate clashes in Cairo, the Health Ministry said….

Mr Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, is in detention.

Some senior figures of his Muslim Brotherhood movement have also been held.

Early on Saturday, state media reported the Brotherhood’s deputy leader Khairat el-Shater had been arrested at his Cairo home on suspicion of incitement to violence.

The Tamarod [Rebel] movement – which organised recent anti-Morsi protests – accused the ousted president of pursuing an Islamist agenda against the wishes of most Egyptians, and of failing to tackle economic problems.

So…quite a bit of news for a long holiday weekend. What are you reading and blogging about today?

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43 Comments on “Saturday Reads: We’re Having A Heat Wave Edition”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great Saturday, Everyone!!

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Being rather “confined”, I have been doing a lot of reading lately. The one I am working on now is a book by Howie Carr (I know, I know!) about John Martaromo, the killer of 19, possibly 20 people, from the Winter Hill Gang, who made a “sweetheart deal” with the FBI and only served 12 years for his crime in exchange for testifying against Whitey.

    I have also been watching “bits and pieces” of the Trayvon Martin case, holding off judgment until all facts were presented. Though the defense is now being heard, I have already reached my conclusion. Zimmerman is guilty of second degree murder. Period.

    Why? He lied to Sean Hannity when he stated that he never heard of the “stand your ground law” until after the incident he declared was “god’s will”. At the same time, his teacher in criminal law testified that he awarded him an “A” in the course that covered that segment of the law when he was a student in his criminal justice class.

    If you can sit there and lie about something easily proven you can lie about anything. This guy, so eager to be a law enforcement officer, was playing both John Wayne and Gary Cooper in order to impress the police and shooting an unarmed kid was his way of proving his intent.

    None of this would have happened had he followed orders and remained within the vehicle until the police arrived but when you lie about something that later proves false, then drag in the “god’s will” defense as justification, you need to pay the price for behaving like a self righteous cowboy

    The last thing that has caught my attention is the murders and mayhem committed by this “talented” Patriots player who seemed to also be a law unto himself. The cover up of his past behavior was known early on and continued through his college years and no one knew it?

    But he could throw a ball and perhaps bring victory to a team “so pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. Disgusting,

    Other than this, I am “baking” here in Western MA.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi Pat,

      I’m “baking” too. I got up at 4:30 because it was just too hot to sleep. Just one more day of this after today. It’s supposed to cool down on Monday. I’m reading “Devil in a Blue Dress,” by Walter Mosley. Unfortunately, I’m almost done with it. He can sure write! I ordered two more books by him already, but I won’t get the till Monday or Tuesday.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Venezuela completely controls the internet and media.

  4. cygnus says:

    Sorry if this has already been linked to here, I haven’t been able to keep up.
    Nice piece of Rodham history

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Greenwald publishes story on US spying in Brazil.

    RIO – In the last decade, people residing or in transit in Brazil, as well as companies operating in the country, have become targets of espionage National Security Agency of the United States (National Security Agency – NSA, its acronym in English). There are no precise figures, but last January Brazil was just behind the United States, which had 2.3 billion phone calls and messages spied.

    It’s showing documents to which O GLOBO had access. They were collected by Edward Joseph Snowden, technical computing networks in the past four years he worked in the NSA program from about 54 000 employees of private companies subcontracted – such as Booz Allen Hamilton and the Dell Corporation.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Breaking: Plane crash in SF. Asiana airlines plane full of people, crash landed. Tail came off? People trapped in burning plane.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Big tar sands explosion in Quebec.

    Huge explosions hit Quebec town as freight train carrying hundreds of tons of crude oil derails. Up to 1,000 people evacuated and around 30 buildings destroyed

  8. RalphB says:

    Priceless!

    Costa Rica ‘accidentally’ legalises gay marriage

    Gay marriage is already legal in over a dozen nations worldwide, but Costa Rica may yet set a remarkable precedent – by being the first to allow same-sex unions by mistake.

    This week, the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly voted for a change to its “Law of Young People”, which covers social services and marriage laws. It was only once the bill had passed did unwitting conservative lawmakers realise that their liberal counterparts had inserted language that could open the door to civil unions for gay couples.

    Outraged Christian conservatives have demanded that Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, pictured, veto the legislation when it crosses her desk. But Ms Chinchilla has refused to oppose the bill’s passage.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Glenn Greenwald attacks Adam Serwer’s father on Twitter.

    • RalphB says:

      That’s far too typical!

      • roofingbird says:

        What’s typical? That a man who purportedly has oodles of mediation creds sends a tweet that can’t be seen as anything but a dig? Or that Greenwald tried to fight back without knowing whom he was fighting?

        • bostonboomer says:

          All he had to do was look at the man’s twitter page and read his credentials which are listed there. What’s “typical” is that Glenn Greenwald is almost always highly defensive and very rude to anyone who questions him or criticizes him even mildly.

          What’s wrong with a dig anyway? All Greenwald does anymore is hype his story on twitter. Lots of people are getting tired of it. If he were confident in what he’s doing he wouldn’t need to attack people right and left–he even attacked one woman using a rape analogy! Do you support that?

          If GG would come up with some meaningful revelations, there would be fewer people questioning his motives. Unfortunately all he publishes is boring info about the U.S. spying on other countries and collaborating with European countries to share intel.

          Are you telling me you didn’t know that NSA does that? Foreign intelligence gathering is the primary function of NSA. These people have some kind of pie in the sky idea that there should be no intelligence gathering between countries. That is just bizarre and a radical proposal of something that will never happen.

          Please tell me, Roofingbird, why haven’t we learned anything about domestic spying on Americans? I thought that was the whole point of this exercise?

        • bostonboomer says:

          Here’s my opinion the Greenwald tweet–short and sweet. A person who would respond to a “dig” by telling an obviously serious person he’s never accomplished anything in his life is an an asshole not worth my attention. Period.

          I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would defend what Greenwald tweeted. And he compounded it today. I’m copying an RT, because I can no longer stand to look at GG’s arrogant face.

  10. newdealdem1 says:

    What perplexes me is that those who are aghast at the NSA spying are saying that those of us who bring up the (obvious) flaws and holes in the Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras scenario are intentionally trying to sway attention away from the NSA obstruction of the 4th amendment. Wrong! Life is not as simple as that as so many of those who continue to argue simplistically that Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras are irrelevant or beside the point of the exposed under belly of the NSA.

    I’m in my early 50’s and I cut my political infant gums on the Watergate hearings which made me into the liberal I am today and have been since I first saw John Dean testify (which had a great impact upon me) when I was 14. I was riveted by those hearings and while I cannot say it changed me politically because I don’t recall having any political leanings before those hearings, those hearings solidified my liberal outlook on life (and, I refuse to use the word “progressive” because imho, that’s the cowards way out of being labeled “liberal” which originated with the Reagan Administration who did everything they could to monsterize the word “liberal” as the new bogie man/woman and it stuck for decades).

    So, I and those us of who are skeptical of Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras who also object to the NSA’s infringement on our 4th amendment rights are no less fighting for liberty than those who inho naively see this as an either/or situation and it it not that.
    I have enormous respect the Daniel Ellsberg, but just because he has endorsed what Snowden did as similar to what he did, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with him and I don’t. Daniel Ellsberg stood his ground and didn’t leave the country to save his bacon. He stood his ground and faced the music which could have landed him in prison for life as a traitor but he never sought asylum in another country and he never planned to take a job so he could steal government docs in collusion with the NY Times. He never went to the NY Times letting them know what he was about to do in his future position with the government.

    But, that is exactly what Snowden did. He went to Greenwald and Poitras before he took his position with Booz Allen (whom I have no sympathy for and to which I’m virulantly opposed). The NY Times and Ellsberg had no prior agreement about what Ellsberg was about to do unlike the current situation with Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras. Viva la difference!

    Greenwald and Poitras could be accused of collusion with Snowden but those supporting what Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras did seemingly refuse to acknowledge the timeline of when Snowden took the NSA job with Booz Allen and when he met with Greenwald and Poitras. I don’t see how one could dismiss that timeline as insignificant. It goes to the heart of why this case is not at all similar to the Pentagon Papers and what Daniel Ellsberg did to eventually end the Vietnam War.

    I have enormous respect for journalists like Daniel Pearl, Anna Politkovskaya, Marie Colvin, Anthony Shadid, Michelle Lang, Anastasia Baburova, Veronica Guerin, Mika Yamamoto, Alan Berg. All of these men and women were killed/assassinated for their work. They walked the walk and not only talked the talk. Glenn Greenwald doesn’t even come close to these hero’s. Perhaps if he departs his safe haven in Brazil and puts his body where his mouth is, then I’d reconsider. I’m not holding my breath.

    I’m also waiting for Mr. Greenwald to speak out against the very real obstruction of voting rights and women’s rights in this country or even the economic rights of the middle class or working class who lost so much during the financial collapse of 2008. Where was he advocating for all of these things which, imo, endangers in a more egregious way, our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “crickets”.

    Finally, what I do appreciate about all of these revelations about the NSA (which has been pointed out has been reported on before some years ago with little if no public reaction especially from the new media) is that hopefully we can finally have an adult discussion about what we are all willing to give up (or not) in terms of privacy for security. It’s about time we had this conversation but I don’t have kiss the virtual rings of Snowden or Greenwald or profess my undying loyalty to either to have that long overdue conversation.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thank you, NewDealDem. You wrote:

      So, I and those us of who are skeptical of Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras who also object to the NSA’s infringement on our 4th amendment rights are no less fighting for liberty than those who inho naively see this as an either/or situation and it it not that.

      Yes!! That’s exactly my point. I was excited when the first stories came out, but once I realized that Snowden and Greenwald weren’t really interested in reformed U.S. intelligence gathering, I started getting a bad feeling. Then Snowden revealed who he was and made the story all about him. Unfortunately Greenwald and Gellman haven’t published anything that we didn’t already know about years ago and they haven’t shown any evidence of abuses–although I have no doubt there have been abuses.

      I’ve heard that The Guardian has chosen not to publish a lot of the docs they got from Snowden; they’ve published only about 25%, by their own admission. They have also admitted (see Charlie Rose interview) that they showed the docs to US and UK governments before publishing. What’s that all about?! So maybe they have some info that is more revealing. If so, why haven’t they published it?

      Today there is a new development that seems to indicate that Laura Poitras and Wikileaks were colluding with Snowden before Glenn Greenwald got involved. It could turn out that Greenwald was used to cover Wikileaks’ involvement, which might explain some of his anger and defensiveness.

    • RalphB says:

      Thank you so much for expressing that better than I ever could! That is the point.

  11. newdealdem1 says:

    Just one more thing while I’m up and relatively cognizant :’) In regards to that letter that Snowden was supposed to have written: here is that statement as posted by BB on July 1st.


    Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

    Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

    One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

    On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

    This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

    For decades the United States of America have [sic] been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

    In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

    I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

    Edward Joseph Snowden

    Monday 1st July 2013″

    When I read that statement, two things popped out at me as proof that Mr. Snowden did NOT write this statement. The reason these two things popped out is that I have been an Anglophile for over 30 years. Part of my love of most things British is my love of English literature (especially during the Bloomsbury period of the early 20th Century). I’ve learned to recognize the difference between British English and American English.

    Those two things are as follows: When the British write or speak about government they use the plural “have” instead of the singular “has” as annotated in the above letter in the fourth paragraph, first sentence as follows:

    “For decades the United States of America have [sic] been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum.”

    This sentence is not incorrect when written by a British person. “the United States of America have” is accurate if written by a British person. If this letter was written by an American, it would have read” “the United States of America has…” using the singular verb.

    The second clue that this letter wasn’t written by an American (Snowden) is the date format used to close the letter. The British format of annotating a date is just as it appears in that letter: the Day is first, then the month followed by the year. If an American wrote that letter, we would use the Month/Day/Year.

    My conclusion. Edward Snowden did not write that letter. A British person wrote it. Someone from Wikileaks wrote it, either Assange or Sarah Harrison who has been accompanying Snowden on his “other than American” tour.

    I almost feel sorry for Snowden. This is not the star of “his” show.

    The second clue t

    • bostonboomer says:

      I noticed that “have” right away (I think I used (sic) when I posted it). It sounded to me as if it had been written by a foreign speaker. I assumed it was Assange.

    • cygnus says:

      Actually, in American English, one can accord the verb in such a situation with either the singular group, or the multiplicity of individuals. EIther is grammatically correct.

      Many of us who have lived in foreign lands write out the date like that to avoid confusion, especially when addressing an international audience. I always do that with dates because I continually second-guess myself on which is correct relative to where I am. I have international friends who have expressed the same quandary and solution.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Have you ever heard an American use “have” in that situation? Americans refer to “the United States” as a singular noun.

  12. newdealdem1 says:

    One correction:

    From the incorrect: “This is not the star of “his” show.”

    To the correct: Snowden is not the star of “his” show.

    Note: I’ve not had access to the internet consistently since 7/1, so I’m only now catching up with everything.

    Good night, Sky Dancing peeps.