I got an e-mail this morning from Dakinikat saying that she arrived safely late last night and is completely exhausted. Hopefully, she’ll get to see her Dad today and give him a great big hug.
Now let’s see what’s going on in the world this morning.
I’ve got to be honest, I’m confused about the latest GOP Benghazi hearings. I have no idea what the fuss is all about, and I really don’t even want to try to figure it out. Apparently, car thief and arsonist Darrell Issa just can’t let go of Benghazi, and is going to keep right on harping on it until someone figures out a way to stop him. I’m going to highlight some articles on this “controversy,” but, as I said, I can’t really explain it.
First, the allegations of wrongdoing:
A veteran diplomat gave a riveting minute-by-minute account on Wednesday of the lethal terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, last Sept. 11 and described its contentious aftermath at a charged Congressional hearing that reflected the weighty political stakes perceived by both parties.
During a chaotic night at the American Embassy in Tripoli, hundreds of miles away, the diplomat, Gregory Hicks, got what he called “the saddest phone call I’ve ever had in my life” informing him that Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was dead and that he was now the highest-ranking American in Libya. For his leadership that night when four Americans were killed, Mr. Hicks said in nearly six hours of testimony, he subsequently received calls from both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama.
But within days, Mr. Hicks said, after raising questions about the account of what had happened in Benghazi offered in television interviews by Susan E. Rice, the United Nations ambassador, he felt a distinct chill from State Department superiors. “The sense I got was that I needed to stop the line of questioning,” said Mr. Hicks, who has been a Foreign Service officer for 22 years.
He was soon given a scathing review of his management style, he said, and was later “effectively demoted” to desk officer at headquarters, in what he believes was retaliation for speaking up.
After the disrupted phone call with Ambassador Stevens, Mr Hicks said he received calls from Libyans using the ambassador’s phone who said they had the envoy with them.
But Mr Hicks decided not to act on the calls, fearing an ambush.
So the “whistleblower” chose not to do anything? What is his complaint then?
UN Ambassador Susan Rice has been the focus of outrage from Republicans in Congress, for giving the news media what has been acknowledged as an incorrect explanation for the attack.
She said on a Sunday chat show on 16 September that the attack had grown out of an anti-US protest, while other officials have said they knew at the time it was an organised, armed assault, possibly by an Islamist militant group.
“My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” Mr Hicks said on his reaction to her interview.
I guess it’s still about Susan Rice. . . Or more likely, it’s about Hillary Clinton and attempts to hobble any plans she may have to run for president.
Three State Department officials on Wednesday provided a riveting, emotional account of last year’s fatal attack on U.S. installations in eastern Libya as they accused senior government officials of withholding embarrassing facts and failing to take enough responsibility for security lapses.
The testimony provided new details on the Sept. 11, 2012, assaults on U.S. installations in Benghazi and their aftermath. But the new information failed to break the political logjam the attacks spawned, with Republicans and Democrats offering starkly different interpretations of what happened and who within the U.S. government is to blame.
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) opened the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing by saying that panel Democrats had “mostly sat silent” while Republicans tried to wrest the truth from an uncooperative Obama administration.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the senior Democrat on the committee, countered that Issa’s GOP majority had launched a “full-scale media campaign . . . of unfounded accusations to smear public officials.”
But in expanding the narrative of the intensely politicized episode, the witnesses raised fresh questions about whether then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her deputies were sufficiently engaged in assessing the security posture of diplomatic posts last year.
Time Magazine’s Michael Crowley: Terror, Security, and Hillary 2016: Making Sense of the Benghazi Hearings
The hearing by the Republican-led House Government Oversight & Reform Committee was not the first on the events surrounding the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans. Hillary Clinton, who was running the State Department at the time of the attack, testified for hours back in January. But the story was given fresh dramatic life and new narrative details through the testimony of two self-described whistle blowers who had not previously spoken in public: Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism; Gregory Hicks, the former deputy of mission in Libya. Joining them was Eric Nordstrom, a former regional security officer in Libya, who had previously testified on the issue.
But “[c]ould the U.S. military have done more to help?”
Not according to the Pentagon – and the hearing’s key witness. Aircraft that might have buzzed the compound where the second pair of Americans died – and scared the militants away — were 900 miles north in Italy. “Time and distance are a tyranny of their own,” Admiral James Stavridis, who responded to the attacks as the NATO commander, told Congress earlier this year. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated it would take as long as 20 hours to get the planes above Benghazi. Hicks testified that he asked the U.S. defense attaché in Tripoli if planes could be scrambled to help those under attack in the CIA annex in Benghazi, a battle that unfolded hours after the initial assault on the nearby U.S. consulate, which killed Stevens, and led to two more American deaths. “He said that it would take two to three hours for them to get on site, but that there also were no tankers available for them to refuel,” Hicks said Wednesday. “And I said, ‘Thank you very much,’ and we went on with our work.” Hicks also testified that a four man team of Green Berets in Tripoli were denied a request to deploy to Benghazi the morning after the attack began, though officials doubt they could have arrived early enough to save lives at the CIA annex.
Apparently the complaint is that the State Department didn’t order all military resources to get to Benghazi even though there was no way they could have gotten there in time to do anything to help?
So we’re back to preventing Hillary 2016?
Whether or not Republicans intended it, the shadow of national politics loomed over Wednesday’s hearing. Hillary Clinton completed a generally well-reviewed tenure of Secretary of State, as evidenced by her sky-high public approval ratings. But Benghazi is a clear black mark on her Foggy Bottom record, one that could haunt Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. Conservatives seized on Hicks’s testimony that, in a call with Clinton on the fateful night, he told her that a terrorist attack was underway–a fact that was slow to appear in the administration’s public rhetoric. Still, despite repeated discussion about what Clinton knew and when she knew it, no smoking gun emerged from Wednesday’s hearing, leading one Congressional Democrat to dismiss questions about her role as a “witch hunt.”
I guess that’s pretty much what it’s all about . . . A few more links:
“I think the notion of a quote, cover up, has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction attached to it,” former Ambassador Thomas Pickering said on MSNBC. He also rebutted claims that the review board tried to protect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from scrutiny:
PICKERING: I saw no evidence of it. She did publicly take responsibility for what happened below her and indeed one of the things the Congress did in preparing the legislation that established the Accountability Review Board was to say we don’t want a situation where heads of agencies take responsibility and then nobody who made the decision in the chain has to suffer any consequences for failure for performance. I believe in fact the Accountability Review Board did it’s work well. I think the notion of a quote, cover up, has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction attached to it.
Pickering offered to testify at the latest hearing, but Chairman Issa wouldn’t let him.
The “whistleblowers” at today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on what really happened in Benghazi, Libya last September were supposed to break the dam that would lead to President Obama’s eventual downfall, in the eyes of conservatives. Instead, these witness actually served to debunk several theories that the right-wing has pushed on Benghazi, leaving the hearing a fizzle for the GOP.
Read the explanations at the link.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) said Wednesday that he’s “fairly satisfied” with the Obama administration’s account of events that led to the deaths of American diplomats in Benghazi last year.
“We need to know were these people culpable or not. If they were, why are they still on the payroll? Other than that, I’ve been able to read all the cables. I’ve seen the films,” Corker told MSNBC. “I feel like I know what happened in Benghazi. I’m fairly satisfied.”
He cautioned House Republicans to be “respectful” if they probe the issue further.
“Look, if the House wants to have hearings,” he said, “I hope they’re done in a respectful way and hopefully it will shed some light on what happened.”
I guess that’s enough about Benghazi. I apologize for giving it so much space, but I thought if I were confused about this, some of you might be too.
A bit more news in the form of a link dump:
There has been another factory fire in Bangladesh! Reuters reports: Bangladesh factory fire kills eight; collapse toll tops 900
A DailyKos diary deals with a question that has been rattling around in my head: How did Jason Richwine Get a PhD from Harvard?
WBUR Boston University (NPR): Markey Edges Gomez In WBUR Senate Poll
The Hill on Suffolk University Poll: Markey builds strong lead over Gomez in Mass. Senate race
I realize the media is dying for another Scott Brown surprise, but it’s just not gonna happen.
Unfortunately, it looks like Huckleberry Closetcase will be back in 2014.
Chicago Tribune: Cleveland kidnapping: Bond for Ariel Castro set at $8 million
Why is he getting any chance of getting out on bail??
Could there be a worse idea by the candy industry? Kids would be getting that gum!
Sooooo . . . what’s new with you? What are you reading and blogging about today? Please share your links on any subject in the comment thread!
I have only a few links for you this morning. On Monday I went to the neurologist, and it turns out I did have a seizure last month. The doctor put me on Topamax, aka “dope-a-max.” As if I needed any more help in the loopy department…
The side effects are scary, I am very sleepy and my fingers are tingling like the dickens. One possible thing I am looking forward to, is this medication causes loss of appetite, weight loss and anorexia. I know there is no way in hell I will become anorexic, but shedding some pounds is a big plus. However, as my dad says…with my luck, fat chance.
On with the news reads.
WTF is it with the GOP and their hypocrite candidates? Mark Sanford wins GOP nomination in South Carolina
It makes me want to puke…meanwhile, in Queens, NY:
BTW, Smith is a Democrat…but he wanted to run on the Republican ticket.
What the senator, Malcolm A. Smith, wanted to do, the other man explained, was going to cost “a pretty penny.”
“But it’s worth it,” replied Senator Smith, a Democrat, according to a transcript of the January meeting. “Because you know how big a deal it is.”
His plan, described by federal prosecutors in a criminal complaint unsealed on Tuesday, was as ambitious as it was audacious. Mr. Smith was going to bribe his way onto the ballot to run for mayor of New York.
But he needed help, from a disparate cast of characters, including a Republican City Council member from Queens, Daniel J. Halloran III, and two Republican leaders from Queens and the Bronx, Vincent Tabone and Joseph J. Savino. And he needed the help of the other man in the car, who, unbeknown to Mr. Smith, was a cooperating witness for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was recording the whole conversation.
There is a graphic here: Untangling the Arrests in the N.Y. Corruption Case
In Atlanta, cheating is in the news headlines these days. Here is coverage from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
CHEATING OUR CHILDRENBeverly Hall leaves the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday night. | Ben Gray/AJC
All but a few of the 35 educators indicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal have turned themselves in to authorities.
Raw: Hall arrives at jail
Shirley Franklin: ‘Lynch mob’
Beverly Hall’s bond lowered
Photos: Jail scene
Video: Educators surrender
Photos: Who is indicted
Gallery: AJC reports
Read the indictment
Join Twitter conversation
AJC: Cheating Our Children
AJC editor on CNN
What a mess!
There is also some sad news as well, yesterday Jane Henson passed away, she was 78. Jane Henson, matriarch to Muppets, dies at 78
This 1960 handout photo provided by The Jim Henson Company shows Jane Henson, right, with Jim Henson and the cast of Sam and Friends, in Washington. Jane Henson died in her Connecticut home on April 2, 2013 after a long battle with cancer. / AP Photo/The Jim Henson Company, Del Ankers
Those are some scary looking muppets, must be the earlier models….but then again, nothing is more frightening than Elmo…especially now that we know what made him laugh like that. (Oooo, that was a little over the top huh?)
Well, my fingers are feeling like they are falling asleep, just think of this as an open thread.
I have so many links for you this morning, let us start with a look at class warfare…I am reminded of the quote wrongly attributed to Marie Antoinette…Let them eat cake. Hamilton Nolan from the Gawker has a point….check it out: It Would Be Great if Millionaires Would Not Lecture Us on ‘Living With Less’
There is something about achieving great financial success that seduces people into believing that they are life coaches. This problem seems particularly endemic to the tech millionaire set. You are not simply Some Fucking Guy Who Sold Your Internet Company For a Lot of Money; you are a lifestyle guru, with many important and penetrating insight about How to Live that must be shared with the common people.
We would humbly request that this stop.
Meet Graham Hill. Graham Hill became a multimillionaire at a very young age when he sold his internet company in 1998. Good for him. We would not be telling you about Graham Hill at all, except for the fact that he wrote a remarkable op-ed in the New York Times Sunday Review yesterday in which he instructs you, the common man, on the virtues of “Living With Less.” He bases this prescription on the wisdom he has learned on his own personal journey, from millionaire with a big house and many material possessions to millionaire with a smaller house and fewer material possessions, but just as many liquid assets.
You can read Hill’s op/ed at that link, but I just want to post the last of this Gawker response, cause it is damn good.
A millionaire does not have the standing to tell regular people that money is overrated. Graham Hill moved into a smaller apartment and sold some of his stuff. But he sure as fuck didn’t empty his bank accounts. It’s easy not to have material things when you can just buy whatever you need, whenever you need it. ” My space is small. My life is big,” writes Hill. Of course it is! You can buy anything and go anywhere at any time, thanks to your vast wealth! The fact that a millionaire’s “life is big” offers little valuable wisdom to the common person. The presumptuousness is akin to a fat food critic walking out of a restaurant after a huge meal and telling a starving beggar on the curb, “Trust me—you don’t want to eat at this place.”
Money doesn’t matter at all, as long as you have too much of it.
Sure got that right, just like all these wealthy ass politicians that are dealing and scheming to do away with programs that are of no concern with them. (That also goes for the current president in the White House.) The White House Is for Sale Under Barack Obama, Too
On Wednesday night, at the swanky St. Regis Hotel three blocks north of the White House, President Barack Obama will schmooze with his biggest donors and most avid grassroots supporters at a “founder’s summit” for Organizing for Action, the controversial pro-Obama nonprofit group. OFA will use the email lists, social networks, and cutting-edge technologies honed during Obama’s reelection campaign to try to galvanize Americans in support of the president’s second-term agenda.
But watchdogs and reformers are up in arms after the New York Times revealed that supporters who raise or donate $500,000 or more will score invites to quarterly meetings with Obama and other exclusive perks unavailable to run-of-the-mill Obama supporters. “Access to the president should never be for sale,” said Common Cause president Bob Edgar.
Obama isn’t the first prez to do this, you can read more at the link, but it should not be surprising.
Oops, I got distracted, back to the issue of class. Well, I thought this was an interesting blog post over at Suburban Guerilla, written by OddManOut » Being white in Philly Mag
Chances are slim that Philadelphia Magazine‘s March cover piece, “Being White in Philly,” by Robert Huber, was meant as anything more than an exercise in cynicism. Huber had to know that his confused personal impressions regarding race relations didn’t add up to an actual story. And his editor surely saw that the piece was ill-conceived and unresolved, more likely to stir up resentment than encourage dialogue between black and white city residents.
Huber affected the “why can’t we all get along” tone of a white Rodney King, but with little bombs of condescension that could only have been meant to provoke:
But like many people, I yearn for much more: that I could feel the freedom to speak to my African-American neighbors about, say, not only my concerns for my son’s safety living around Temple, but how the inner city needs to get its act together.
Substituting “inner city” made Huber’s generalization seem even more insulting than it would have if he’d used “blacks.” His professed yearning to speak to his black neighbors reminds us that he didn’t quote, and perhaps didn’t even speak with, any black Philadelphians while doing his research (if you can call it that).
It seems the article was meant to piss off blacks while appealing to the magazine’s core demographic — reasonably well-off and well-educated whites who respond to ads for luxury cars and liposuction. Huber and Philly Mag were saying it’s OK for these whites to think of themselves as tolerant despite their fear and loathing of blacks; that it’s only natural to feel this way about people who, after all these years, still can’t get their act together.
Huber was writing more about class than race, but acknowledging this fact would have called attention to the superficiality of his analysis. He offered a brief history of white flight from Philly, but mentioned none of the underlying socioeconomic factors that have widened the gulf not only between whites and blacks but also between the well-off and poor of both races.
Hmmmm, I know Huber’s article is not the same as that op/ed from rich man Graham Hill, but it also seems to leave a bad aftertaste in the mouth. OddManOut continues:
There’s an even wider gulf between bad journalism and the truth. I was there, growing up in a Philly neighborhood that was transitioning from white to black in the 1960s-1970s, hanging out with other white kids who were engaged in an ongoing street war with black kids. The shootings and stabbings were manifestations of forces that all of us, black and white, couldn’t control or even understand.
These forces are still at work, and articles such as Huber’s do nothing to shed light on why they persist. But they do boost print sales and online traffic, and that’s the bottom line.
I guess this last sentence is in line with the Journalism post I wrote a few days ago. How the son of Fred Friendly stated, “making more money doing its worst…than it did doing its best.”
Alright, I am going to move on to the Vatican now. Here’s a few links on the Vatican’s selection of the new pope. According to Tommy Christopher over at Mediaite: MSNBC Contributor Compares The Vatican To The Soviet Union
But she meant it in the best way possible. On Tuesday morning, all three cable news networks devoted hours of airtime to complete coverage of Cardinals signing in for the latest conclave to elect a new pope, which made for television with all the electricity of a watch battery. On MSNBC, The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel broke up the monotony somewhat by telling fellow panelists that she was reminded of Soviet Russia, specifically “of the Communist Party. There is something about the need to have Kremlinology to understand who might be the next pope.”
Vanden Heuvel went on to explain that the next pope will need to be a reformer, along the lines of a Mikhail Gorbachev, to bring transparency to the Vatican. She also confessed to being a lapsed Catholic who agrees with E.J. Dionne that the next pope should be a nun…
Ditto on making the next pope a nun…but Tommy continues:
Although I only half-watched the coverage of what appeared to be the waiting room for the world’s slowest, yet busiest, doctor’s office, I am fairly confident that this was the most interesting thing said during the cumulative hours of cable news this morning. On CNN, without a trace of irony, they were talking about the betting line on who the next pope will be. On Fox News, Shep Smith was also talking about transparency, which is becoming one of the most overrated concepts in the media. It seems as though it’s more important to let people see the horrible things you’re doing than to do anything about it.
To be fair, I’m a much more lapsed Catholic than Katrina vanden Heuvel, so my level of investment in the new pope is lower than most, and while I begrudge no one their faith, the Vatican, as an institution, seems fatally flawed. Covering up and enabling child rape is something you shouldn’t even get one shot at, let alone several thousand. But even those who are considerably more forgiving than I am would be hard-pressed to find much of value in this saturation coverage of the papal conclave kickoff.
I agree with Christopher about the Vatican cover-ups, which goes without saying…but the Vatican is also filled with hypocrites. Check this out: As cardinals gather to elect Pope, Catholic officials break into a sweat over news that priests share €23m building with huge gay sauna
A day ahead of the papal conclave, faces at the scandal-struck Vatican were even redder than usual after it emerged that the Holy See had purchased a €23 million (£21 million) share of a Rome apartment block that houses Europe’s biggest gay sauna.
The senior Vatican figure sweating the most due to the unlikely proximity of the gay Europa Multiclub is probably Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples, who is due to participate in tomorrow’s election at the Sistine Chapel.
This 76-year-old “prince of the church” enjoys a 12-room apartment on the first-floor of the imposing palazzo, at 2 Via Carducci, just yards from the ground floor entrance to the steamy flesh pot. There are 18 other Vatican apartments in the block, many of which house priests.
The Holy See is still reeling from allegations that the previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, had quit in reaction to the presence of a gay cabal in the curia.
And with disgraced Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien lending new weight to charges of hypocrisy against the Church’s stance on homosexuality, La Repubblica newspaper noted that the presence of “Italy’s best known gay sauna in the premises is an embarrassment”.
And if you really want to experience an early morning yuk factor, take a look at this link which features a real commercial for that gay sauna: Vatican Building Houses Gay Sauna
One more pope story, actually it is an interactive… from the Guardian: Choose your own pope – with our interactive Pontifficator
I’m going to go ahead and give you the rest of today’s news reads via a Link Dump:
This little nugget about the latest Bush candidate, from LG&M: The Little Brown One
Looks like there is some talk about men in a powerful positions who sexually assault women, via the Independent: Petronella, paedophilia, and the wrong lesson to draw from Olivier’s pass
Over at the Guardian, a story about the Generation self: what do young people really care about?
Salon discusses the paleo-diet: “Paleofantasy”: Stone Age delusions
Susie Madrak has this to say over at C&L… Sources: Koch Brothers May Buy The L.A. Times. Stay Tuned
And we will end with a little history: Aelfthryth, Queen of England
What are you all reading and blogging about today?
It was a busy day for me yesterday, and as usual, I am late to catch up…because of this I am writing the post this morning in a fog. So if any of the links below are repeats, I am sorry.
Yesterday Boston Boomer wrote about the court battle as BP Goes on Trial over 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Well, there were also some new developments in that other environmental disaster in Louisiana known as the Assumption Parish Sinkhole. Increased seismic activity halts work at giant Louisiana sinkhole
Officials say they have put a hold on all work directly connected to the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish due to increased seismic activity.
The seismic monitoring in the past 24 hours turned up what appears to be an increase in the underground movement of fluids in the area of the failed Oxy 3 cavern.
Just like in the past, officials say the underground movement is also likely connected to trees falling into the sinkhole and an increase in hydrocarbon odors.
Analysts say even though there appears to be no additional significant threat to the general area, until the underground activity slows down again, operations directly on the sinkhole have been suspended.
The main sinkhole has reached more than 800 feet in diameter and the western wall continues to collapse.
Two weeks ago, officials reported about 5,000 square feet fell in on the southwest side of the sinkhole, officials call this sloughing.
The Texas Brine people say this is part of the stabilization process. I don’t know about the technical aspects of the whole thing…but as the BP trial gets underway, Assumption Parish residents turn to lawmakers, seeking buyouts of property near sinkhole
Frustrated Assumption Parish residents displaced by a massive sinkhole that has swallowed 9 acres of land near their homes asked lawmakers Tuesday to assist them in getting buyouts of their property.
People who packed a hearing of the Senate and House natural resources and environment committees described 200 days of disruption and uncertainty since an August evacuation order of 150 homes.
They talked of children moved from schools and scared of their own houses, retirement dreams upended and families struggling to pay two mortgages while they decide what to do with their future and with their now nearly-worthless property.
“This has taken too damn long and people need to be bought out. They can’t go back,” said Henry Dupre, an Assumption Parish police juror.
Dakinikat has written repeatedly about Jindal’s record in recent weeks, this op/ed from The Advocate focuses on his response to the big ass hole in Jindal’s backyard…Inside Report: Sinkhole critics: O, Governor, where art thou?
For months now, a vocal group of activists and residents has found fault with Gov. Bobby Jindal over his absence from the scene of the Bayou Corne sinkhole.
Why, they ask, has he not made the commonly seen leadership visit to a disaster area that, while brief, boosts morale and provides hope?
Sinkhole activist John Achee Jr., a regular critic of Jindal and state government’s handling of the sinkhole and salt dome regulation, leveled this complaint again during a Feb. 19 joint hearing of the House and Senate committees on Natural Resources.
He called Jindal’s absence “disheartening” and “very concerning.”
“This to me is unacceptable and cannot or should not be tolerated,” said Achee, a polarizing figure himself over his criticisms of Jindal and state and parish government.
In response, Jindal’s press office provided its answer, quoting the governor as saying he receives regular updates and that state agencies have put out abundant resources in response to the sinkhole under his orders.
No matter how many times your subordinates send them, though, news releases will never be the same as a handshake, a pat on the back and encouraging words directly from the governor.
This perceived inattention has given Jindal’s critics a useful symbol for the way, they say, state government has inadequately responded to the Assumption Parish disaster and regulated salt dome operators.
The absence has also fit neatly into the narrative of an insulated governor with eyes on Washington 2016 and not Louisiana 2013.
But these complaints, it seems, could be neutralized for most with one helicopter ride to the command post in Bayou Corne.
So why not?
Jindal’s press office did not respond to requests for comment.
It seems to me Jindal’s non-existent response should be no surprise to anyone who reads our blog regularly, but I don’t think a helicopter fly over is going to help things. That Op/Ed is written by David Mitchell, maybe Kat can fill us in on what she thinks about this other mark against her governor. When I see the horror stories out of Louisiana, it makes me feel my hell pit of Banjoland is a cakewalk.
Since we started this post on one GOP Gov with eyes on the White House, let us look at another governor who fancies himself as a possible candidate in 2016. Chris Christie Medicaid Plan To Offer Coverage To Poor New Jersey Residents
Christie, a potential 2016 presidential contender who is up for reelection this year, defied conservative opponents of Obamacare by embracing one of its key components when he announced his plan to the Democratic-controlled state legislature in Trenton. So far, more than a dozen Republican governors, including Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Perry of Texas, have declared their opposition to the Medicaid expansion.
“After considerable discussion and research, I have decided to participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. While we already have one of the most expansive and generous Medicaid programs in the nation, including the second highest eligibility rate for children, we have an opportunity to ensure that an even greater number of New Jerseyans who are at or near the poverty line will have access to critical health services beginning in January of 2014,” Christie said.
Expanding Medicaid in New Jersey would provide new health care coverage to an estimated 291,000 people through 2022, according to an analysis released by the Urban Institute and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in November. New Jersey would spend an additional $1.5 billion and receive $15.4 billion from the federal government to finance the expansion during that time period, the report predicted.
Even the folks at Hot Air are complaining about the big man from the Garden State. You can Google this next link, I just don’t have the energy to deal with trolls today. CPAC source: Christie wasn’t invited this year because he has a “limited future” in the GOP; Update: Sandy relief and Medicaid? « Hot Air
Hard to argue with that assessment today of all days, but … Mitt Romney’s also been invited this year. The future doesn’t get any more limited than that.
Also, since when is one’s prospects in the GOP a litmus test for whether you’re CPAC-worthy or not? Every time someone objects to GOPround’s exclusion, the rejoinder inevitably comes that it’s the “Conservative Political Action Conference,” not the “Republican Political Action Conference.” Okay, in that case, who cares about Christie’s future in the GOP? Either his ideas are conservative enough or they aren’t.
Verdict: They aren’t.
I think all those CPAC members are still pissed with Christie’s little sitcom, or after-school special, Barack and the Fat Man.
Guess Fox News hasn’t gotten the memo: Same Day Christie Embraces Obamacare, Fox’s Eric Bolling Tells Conservatives He’s Their 2016 Savior
Bolling advised his fellow Republicans that they must embrace Christie as the future leader of their party.
The Five hosts noted that Bill O’Reilly told Fox’s audience on Monday that the GOP needs a leader who can articulate a conservative message and “fight back” against the press in order to move the country to the right.
Andrea Tantaros warned that the GOP has a big challenge in the effort to “fight back dependency.” She said that the future political battles Republicans will have to wage will become harder as the populace becomes more comfortable with government-backed programs that ensure financial security.
“I hate all this,” Bolling said of infighting within the GOP about the future direction of the party. “They need to get together and form one party that has a big tent for everyone; whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, male, female.”
“Bill O’Reilly’s right,” added Bolling . “You need someone who’s charismatic. He’s got to be a leader. And, this one: the way O’Reilly puts it, ‘fight back the media jackals.’ That’s Christie.”
Bolling continued to make the case for Christie as the natural leader of the Republican Party moving into the next election cycle. However, he anticipated that the party’s conservative wing will have problems embracing Christie due to the unorthodox positions on issues like global warming and gun control.
I could make a comment about how anyone would have problems “embracing” Chris Christie, but since my ass is just slightly smaller than his, I won’t.
Okay, because I’m writing this post on the quick, here are a few other stories in link dump fashion. Let’s stick with US news, shall we?
Franklin Sain, a 42-year-old Colorado Springs man, was arrested last Friday for threatening Colorado lawmaker Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) over gun control legislation that she is currently sponsoring and that recently passed in the state House.
Franklin Sain is accused of threatening Fields and her daughter using racial and sexual slurs.
Fields told KOA Radio that she does not know Sain, and said “All I know is the kinds of things that he said were very inappropriate, and they’re alarming, and they were very intimidating.”
There are many misspelled words and incorrect grammar usage in the messages, and they appear as written in the affidavit, along with censoring of offensive words.
According to an affidavit, one of the letters alleged to have been written by the Colorado Springs man reads, “Rhonda Fields, mother of [Field's daughter]. Death to both.” The letter goes on to say “There will be blood! I’m coming for you, N—– B—-.”
In one of the emails, Sain allegedly wrote, “hopefully somebody Gifords [sic] your asses with a gun.”
The following is one of seven emails police say Sain sent to Fields:
“THANKS N—– C—! You really think passing nay more laws will stop gun violence? You and that other N—– OBAMA are living in fantasy land. Chicago and DC have the most strict gun laws in the nation and more people die from gun violence than anywhere. You f—ing c—s are pathetic excuse for civil servants. Hell, n—–s love shooting themselves with GATS, isn’t that what your people call it. What you have done here is creater [sic] criminals out of law abiding citizens, and put yourself out of a job. You politicians have no idea what you are even doing anyway, do you know how long it takes some to change a magazine, less than a second, so what if some with experience decides to flip out and bring their gun in with 5 or so 10 round magazines, they can do the same amount of damage. Limiting magazine sizes is stupididty, [sic] and will not work…”
Then the most unhinged of Sain’s messages also refers to Field’s daughter:
Rhonda Fields, N—– C—, Mother of —–, Death to Both, All N—– Back to Africa, F— you, F— Your Laws, I Keep my 30 Round Magazines, There Will Be Blood!, I’m Coming For You, N—– B—-
Sain told police that he didn’t mean to threaten Fields, and regrets the language he used. He has no prior record, and is the chief operating officer at SofTec Solutions in Englewood, Colorado, where he does consulting work for the government and private organizations
House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and two other Democratic Reps also received similar threatening messages.
WTF? That is all I can say.
Latest news out of South Carolina: One student dead after South Carolina university shooting
A 19-year-old student died following a shooting on Tuesday at a residence hall of a South Carolina university near the resort area of Myrtle Beach, and authorities were searching for a gunman, university officials said.
Meanwhile in Connecticut: 2 Missing Children, Grandmother Found Dead in Conn.
And over in Illinois, Robin Kelly wins Illinois Democratic primary on gun control.
The headlines for California: Slayings of 2 officers in Santa Cruz mark ‘darkest day,’ chief says
This last link is written with Georgia in mind, but it deals with immigration news hitting most states: Feds free illegal immigrants in Georgia, other states
Y’all have a great day, and let us know what you are reading and blogging and thinking about today.
This past week I was watching TCM, and realized just how whacked out this world has become. Well, not this world, more specifically our world…here in the US.
Here is what I mean…while watching Anna and the King of Siam, the one with Irene Dunn and Rex Harrison, one particular scene got me thinking.
Remember when the King summons Anna one late night, because he has a question to ask her about the Bible and Moses claim of how long it took God to make the world ?
King: Mem, I think your Moses shall have been a fool.
King: Moses, Moses, Moses. I think he shall have been a fool. Here it stands, written by him: ‘The world was created in six days. ‘
King: Then what is your opinion of this thing as stated by Moses?
Anna: Your Majesty…the Bible was not written by men of science. It was written by men of faith. It was their explanation of the miracle of creation… which is just as great a miracle… whether it took six days or many centuries. I think science does not contradict the Bible. It has only made us more aware of how great the miracle was.
King: Well, I still think your Moses shall have been a fool. You may go.
I think the King would thing our current day GOP representatives are fools. What do you think?
I have to say, the GOP is not only “stupid” it is “crazy!”
Anyway, here are your links for today, the GOP has started blaming the Sequester on Obama…
From the Maddow Blog: The 2011 ransom note and the GOP’s sequester
A Republican National Committee spokesperson, echoing his party’s favorite new talking point, insists this is all President Obama’s fault.
Tim Miller obviously isn’t the only one making this argument. On the contrary, every speech, interview, and press release I’ve seen from GOP officials in recent weeks includes an obligatory reference to Obama having come up with the sequester.
This next link makes me thing that perhaps the GOP are not completely “stupid” by showing they are a little frightened of Ashley Judd making a run on Mitch McConnell. From Vanity Fair: Karl Rove, Apparently Not a Fan of Kiss the Girls, Launches Aggressive Anti–Ashley Judd Campaign
As evidenced by his embarrassing Election Night temper tantrum last fall, Karl Rove is not one to concede easily. Not when it comes to presidential elections; caloric restrictions, we guess; and completely speculative political runs by Hollywood figures. Proving the latter point, the Republican strategist’s American Crossroads Super PAC unveiled a digital ad against Ashley Judd on Wednesday. It has previously been reported that Judd is considering a senatorial run against Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the considerably less photogenic Senate minority leader who was voted the nation’s least popular senator late last year.
Emptywheel takes a look at a new law per Homeland Security: Every Laptop and Cell Phone in Detroit (and Dearborn) Can Be Searched at Will
I’m not really sure how Detroit is supposed to pursue an arts-based resurgence if the Department of Homeland Security maintains that it can seize any electronics along the nation’s borders — which extend 100 miles and therefore include the bulk of the population of Michigan.
This next link was very interesting, a quick look at the Dawes Act in relation to Labor Laws: This Day in Labor History: February 8, 1887 – Lawyers, Guns & Money
On February 8, 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Severalty Act into law. The Dawes Act created a process to split up Indian reservations in order to create individual parcels of land and then sell the remainder off to white settlers. One of the worst laws in American history, the Dawes Act is not only a stark reminder of Euro-American colonialism and the dispossession of indigenous peoples, but also of the role dominant ideas of work on the land have in promoting racist and imperialist ends.
We might not think of the Dawes Act as labor history. But I want to make the beginning of a case that it is absolutely central to American labor history, a point I will expand upon in the future. Labor history is not just unionism. It is histories and traditions of work. The Dawes Act was absolutely about destroying traditions of Native American labor and replacing it with European notions of rural work. That it did so while opening more land to white people was a central benefit.
Read the rest at the link.
Looks like that python hunt in the Everglades isn’t doing so hot: Florida Python Challenge Unsuccessful – Everglades Burmese Python Hunt Not Going Well
The idea for the competition — which ends on Sunday, the first day of the unloved Year of the Snake — was partially brain-fathered by Gov. Rick “I’ve ridden elephants — I’ve never tried to shoot one” Scott. The hope was to at least partially rid the land of the invasive Burmese pythons that have set up their own stronghold. The guy or team that grabs the most wins $1,500. The one who snags the longest, gets $1,000. Over 1,500 people from across the nation have waded into the park so far, and some, like the two dehydrated men, who are from Tennessee, have slept in their cars during the hunt. It costs them $25 to participate.
But even before the rescue, the competition hasn’t been going too well. As of Tuesday, only 50 had been captured. Not that it would’ve really mattered. As U.S. Geological Survey python expert Robert Reed told us a few weeks ago, “You won’t find any fewer than 10,000. But between 10,000 and 100,000? That’s anyone’s guess.”
Okay, from nasty snakes to cute puppies, Pooches on parade: man’s best dressed friend at carnivals across the world
Here’s a selection of dogs that are making a statement in dog parade sections of carnivals around the world.
Click here to view the gallery
Last night on Discovery, they had their show on The Giant Squid. This next article is also about squid, the flying kind…Revealed: the secret that makes flying squid faster than Usain Bolt
Scientists in Japan have calculated that squid can fly through the air faster than Usain Bolt can run, in a study that confirms the extraordinary aerial prowess of the edible mollusc.
A study based on photographs of flying squid in the Pacific Ocean estimates that they can reach a speed of up to 11.2 metres per second, which is significantly faster than the 10.31 metres per second that Bolt averaged in the 100 metre final at the London Olympics.
Over the past few years, a number of anecdotal accounts have emerged of squid streaking through the air above the sea for several metres and now a team of Japanese marine biologists have photographed them doing it en masse.
Be sure to take a look at that link, there are some images and diagrams that are so interesting…not only from the nature perspective, but also on aerodynamic and hydrodynamic levels as well.
We started this post talking about stupidity and now we end it with a few links about stupidity. The first one is real, Thieves jailed after losing £2m loot
Two inept thieves who stole Chinese artefacts worth £2m from a museum but then could not find where they had stashed them were handed lengthy jail sentences.
These guys couldn’t remember where they stashed the loot. Guess in real life there are crooks that are too dumb and stupid to become successful crooks.
Earlier this week TCM also had another great film, Big Deal on Madonna Street, which if anyone has a chance to see it…needs to see it. It is hilarious. An Italian film from back in the late 50′s, in fact this link below is from the New York Times original review of the film, published in November 23, 1960. Movie Review – Big Deal on Madonna Street – The Screen: Italian Parody of ‘Rififi’:'Big Deal on Madonna Street’ in Premiere Toto Among Bungling Burglars at the Paris –
A LONGTIME popular subject for vaudeville and music-hall farce, the butter-fingered burglar who thoroughly goofs while trying to rob a safe, is given a full-scale treatment and knocked out by a top name cast in the new Italian comedy, “The Big Deal on Madonna Street.” Directed by Mario Monicelli, one of the bright new directors on the Italian scene, this eventually explosive kit of cut-ups opened at the Fine Arts yesterday.
Obviously the film was calculated as an out-and-out parody of the French melodrama, “Rififi,” which was a bit in Italy. For the “big deal” referred to in that title (which was not the Italian title, by the way) is the contemplated burglary of a smalltime jeweler’s safe, and the fellows who conspire to do it try to lay out their plans in the same “scientific” fashion as did the robbers in that serious French film.
But, of course, they are not successful. In the first place, they have a terrible time getting all of their elements together and headed the same way. There’s that nice fellow (Marcello Mastroianni) who has a wife temporarily in jail and so has to mind the baby, which takes a lot of would-be burglar’s time. Then there’s the former prizefighter (Vittorio Gassman) who finds himself much more interested in the maid in the apartment through which the burglars will have to travel than he is in the burglary itself.
There’s the youngster (Renato Salvatori) who falls hopelessly and helplessly in love with the guarded sister of another of the conspirators (Tiberio Murgia), a Sicilian of hot and vengeful moods. There’s the little shrimp (Carlo Pisacane) who is forever concentrating on food. And finally there is the “expert,” a role that the wonderful Toto plays.
This “expert” acknowledged as a genius in the business of blowing safes, knows all the techniques, all the laws, all the loopholes and all the slang words for the chisels and drills. He gives an exquisite lecture (which nobody quite understands). But he gracefully takes a powder when it comes time to the job.
And when that time comes, everybody—everybody who is left—becomes all thumbs. They sneeze, drop their tools with a horrible clatter, they drill holes into water pipes that jet cold streams and they set up a monstrous apparatus with which they laboriously punch through a wall—into an easily accessible adjoining room. At that point, in the cold, gray morning, they all give up and go home.
It was sooooo damn good, see a few clips at the TCM link below, you will not be disappointed.
Well, I know this was a major link dump, but please enjoy these morning’s reads and try to stay warm. What are you reading and thinking about today?