Friday Nite Lite: Monster Mash

Its Friday, let’s get the party started…

I think we will start with the latest whine fest over at the Romney camp:

8/19 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Election 2012 | Mike Luckovich

mike081912

Which is kind of ridiculous when you consider the way the GOP is reacting to the latest Biden gaffe.

GOP attacks Biden – Political Cartoon by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - GOP attacks Biden

Race Baiting – Political Cartoon by Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Phil Hands - Race Baiting

Or, you can make a claim that both parties are a nightmare:

Cagle Post » Attack Ads

Attack Ads © Pat Bagley,Salt Lake Tribune,Attack Ads, Presidential, Obama, Romney, Negative Ads, Advertising, Negative Advertising, Jason, Diogenes, Freddy Krueger

It has been a week since Romney announced Ryan as his choice for VP, so there are a lot of cartoons on Ryan, and his budget:

Cagle Post » Pauls Plan

Pauls Plan © Tim Eagan,Deep Cover,tax,cuts,romney,ryan,rich,poor,romney-ryan

Cagle Post » Make Them Bite

Make Them Bite © Bruce Plante,Tulsa World,ryan,budget,catch,fish,plan,ryan-medicare

Cagle Post » Romney Figurehead

Romney Figurehead © John Darkow,Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri,Mitt Romney, Ryan, Budget, Sail, Complete, Figure Head, Pirate, Ship, Ocean, Medicare, Cuts

Atlas – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Atlas

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Paul Fell, Artizans Syndicate – 08/13/2012

Cartoon by Paul Fell -

Don’t Romney and Ryan look like a couple of horror movie monsters in that one above?

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Ted Rall, Universal Press Syndicate – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Ted Rall -

Cagle Post » Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan © Bob Englehart,The Hartford Courant,Paul Ryan,Mitt Romney,poor,middle class,romney ryan

Chris Britt on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent

Steve Sack on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent

AAEC – Political Cartoon by David Horsey, Los Angeles Times – 08/14/2012

Cartoon by David Horsey -

The next batch of cartoons is on Voter ID Laws:

Cagle Post » Voter ID Laws

Voter ID Laws © Adam Zyglis,The Buffalo News,gop, platform, voter id laws, vote, voting rights, pennsylvania, ohio, state, ballot box, fraud, election, corruption, presidential, race, 2012

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

And now a few that touch on subjects we have been talking about lately.

Cagle Post » Putin Riot

Putin Riot © Oliver Schopf,Der Standard, Austria,putin,riot,sword,violence

You may have read that the judge gave Pussy Riot two years in prison for their 40 seconds of protest…

Cagle Post » PUSSY RIOT

PUSSY RIOT © Randy Bish,Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,RUSSIA, HOOLAGINISM, PUSSY RIOT

Cagle Post » Drought Relief

Drought Relief © Joe Heller,Green Bay Press-Gazette,Drought Relief, farm bill, food stamps

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News – 08/13/2012

Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson -

Connie will like this one coming up:

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader – 08/17/2012

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Cagle Post » The BIG Picture

The BIG Picture © Bill Day,Cagle Cartoons,GOP,extremism,woolly mammoth

And finally, in celebration of Julia Child:

Cagle Post » Julia Child centennial

Julia Child centennial © Dave Granlund,Politicalcartoons.com,Julia Child, cooking, legend, TV, 100, centennial, bon appetit

Have a lovely Friday evening…this is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Anti-Putin, Anti-Woman and Good for Canada!

Good Morning!

Let’s start the day off with the latest news about Syria:

Peacekeepers attacked in Syria as U.S. accuses Russia of supporting regime

The U.S. accused Russia of escalating the Syrian conflict by sending attack helicopters to President Bashar Assad‘s regime, and U.N. observers were attacked Tuesday with stones, metal rods and gunfire that blocked them from a besieged rebel-held town where civilians were feared trapped by government shelling.

UPDATE 3-US worried Russia may be sending Syria helicopters | Reuters

* Clinton says helicopter sale would escalate conflict

* Syria conflict is civil war, UN official says

* Pentagon buys helicopters from Russian arms exporter (Adds senator holding up nomination of Pentagon official)

The United States is worried Russia may be sending Syria attack helicopters and views Russian claims that its arms transfers to Syria are unrelated to the conflict there as “patently untrue,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.

The comments came as the Pentagon found itself on the defensive for doing business with Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, given concerns in Congress about the firm’s role in arming the Syrian regime.

The 15-month-old conflict in Syria has grown into a full-scale civil war, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday.

More on that statement from the UN: Syria in civil war, U.N. official says

Syria’s 15-month uprising has grown into a full-scale civil war where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are trying to recapture swathes of urban territory lost to rebels, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday.

“Yes, I think we can say that,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous said when asked if the Syrian crisis could now be characterized as a civil war.

“Clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territory in several cities to the opposition and wants to retake control of these areas,” he said.

His remarks, the first time a senior U.N. official has declared Syria’s conflict is a civil war, came as the United States said Russia could be sending attack helicopters to Syria.

The International Red Cross said the situation was deteriorating in several parts of Syria simultaneously as fighting intensifies.

There are more reports about the use of children as human shields…U.N. adds Syria to list of countries killing children

The U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, said the United Nations had also received credible allegations that the armed opposition, including the Free Syrian Army, had also used children during the 15-month conflict.

“There’s been extraordinary violence against children in Syria,” Coomaraswamy told reporters.

“Children as young as 9 years of age were victims of killing and maiming, detention, torture, arbitrary arrest and were used as human shields by the Syrian government forces, including the Syrian armed forces, the intelligence forces and the shabiha militia,” she said.

Those forces have also regularly raided and used schools as military bases and detention centers, Coomaraswamy added.

Here are some other links on the Syrian violence:

Russia, Soviet Style – NYTimes.com

U.S. Says Russia Supplies Syria with Combat Helicopters | World | RIA Novosti

News Wrap: Clinton Accuses Russia of Sending Attack Helicopters to Syria | PBS NewsHour | June 12, 2012 | PBS

Meanwhile, in Russia:

Protesters Defy Efforts to Muffle Anti-Putin Outcry –  This is an amazing series of photos that show thousands of Anti-Putin protestors in the streets.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/06/12/world/0612russia_337ss-slide-0LWY/0612russia_337ss-slide-0LWY-articleLarge.jpg

Tens of thousands of protesters thronged central Moscow in a drenching rain on Tuesday, voicing renewed fury at President Vladimir V. Putin and defying recent efforts by his government to clamp down on the political opposition movement.

The large turnout, rivaling the big crowds that had gathered at the initial antigovernment rallies in December, suggested that the tough new posture adopted by the Kremlin against the protests was emboldening rather than deterring Mr. Putin’s critics.

On Friday, Mr. Putin signed a new law that imposes steep financial penalties on participants in rallies that cause harm to people or property. On Sunday, officials arrested five more people on charges related to the last protest, which ended in a melee between demonstrators and riot police officers. And on Monday, the authorities searched the homes of several opposition leaders and issued summonses ordering seven of them to appear for questioning on Tuesday so they could not attend the rally.

Opposition issues manifesto, demands Putin quit

Participants of the June 12 opposition rally – the so-called March of Millions – have adopted the Free Russia Manifesto, which demands Vladimir Putin’s resignation, a snap State Duma vote and a new Constitution.

The protesters demand that a new law on parliamentary elections be developed, which would provide for “fair, transparent and competitive elections.” This bill should be adopted by the current parliament, which “would become its last and only” function, the document reads.

Then, a newly-elected parliament should work out a project for Russia’s Constitution, which would significantly limit presidential powers, giving more authority to MPs in terms of forming the government and holding parliamentary investigations.

The opposition also demands that the presidential time in office should be limited to either one six-year term or to two four-year terms. The parliament should also call a referendum on a project for the overhaul of the constitution.

Among other demands is the adoption of laws that guarantee local self-government and direct governors’ elections, as well as reforming of courts and law enforcement agencies.

The manifesto also points out that the difference between the living standards in Moscow and other Russian cities, which may lead to “civil confrontation and dissolution of the state.”

It continues…

“The population has a legal right for a peaceful mass protest in order to put pressure on power and to change it. Our fight for political rights is linked to economic rights. We seek changes at all levels of life,” said one of the opposition activists Evgenia Chirikova. She read the text of the document to the crowd which gathered at Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue.

Next week the March of Millions organizing committee is planning to decide on a date and the format of elections to a joint opposition body, Ilya Ponomarev, a deputy from the opposition Fair Russia party told Itar-Tass. The vote will be held on the internet, he said.

Wow, that is something to see. So in addition to these articles about Putin and the protestors, here are a few comics.

Back here in the states, Democrat to offer bill repealing ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws

The House Democrat who represents Trayvon Martin’s district will soon propose legislation repealing the nation’s “Stand Your Ground” laws, which are under a microscope following the shooting death of the Florida teenager earlier this year.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) said eliminating such laws might have prevented February’s fatal confrontation between the 17-year-old Martin, an unarmed African-American, and George Zimmerman, 28, an Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer carrying a 9mm handgun.

I don’t know about it preventing the killing, it seems to me Zimmerman would have done the same thing without the Stand Your Ground law. I still am thrilled that she is doing something about it however…These Stand Your Ground laws are horrible.

Wilson this week said the law threatens to enable “a horrendous crime.”

“The thought that George Zimmerman could get away with such a horrendous crime is a travesty of justice,” Wilson said Tuesday in a statement announcing her bill. “There are bills in other states known by different taglines that have the same unintended consequences as [Florida's] Stand Your Ground [law]. They should all be repealed.”

Wilson’s proposal — which she expects to introduce next week when the House returns from this week’s recess — would discourage “Stand Your Ground” laws by withholding some federal transportation dollars from states that adopt them.

Wilson’s bill has no chance of moving this year in the GOP-controlled House, but it will shine a brighter light on the nation’s gun laws as a number of states are eyeing adoption of legislation similar to Florida’s law.

And now, two links on Women’s Rights…first from Cairo: Arab women cry for end to harassment

After years of enduring vulgar and degrading comments or worse by men on the streets of Egypt’s capital, Cairo University student Cherine Thabet decided she had enough.

“Do you know that it would be strange for a woman to leave her house and return without hearing two or three strangers’ opinions about her chest, in all kinds of colorful language,” she asked in a blog post. “Can you imagine that it is routine for a big man to stand quietly by as a woman gets groped?”

Her post received a torrent of comments from women throughout the Middle East who complained that they, too, are tired of a common practice of Arab men that is usually just whispered about by women.

“We should confront society [about this] as much as we can,” said Thabet, 21, who has been campaigning online, on the street and on Egyptian television about the issue since her post. “We should talk and talk [about it], so everyone understands what the problem is.”

Read the rest of it at the link…then take a look at this:

Healthcare, reproductive rights divide U.S., Canada in poll

On one side of the border, a woman can see a doctor for free and is guaranteed paid maternity leave. On the other, most women do not qualify for free healthcare and one in five under 65 does not have medical insurance.

These differences and others make Canada the best country among the world’s wealthiest nations to be a woman and keep the United States out of the top five, according to a poll of experts released on Wednesday by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The United States ranked sixth among the 19 countries in the Group of 20 economies, excluding the European Union economic grouping, in the global survey of 370 recognized gender specialists.

Germany, Britain, Australia and France followed Canada in that order, while India, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia polled the worst.

Even though there are many similarities between the US and Canada:

the countries are very different in the area of gender equality, the experts said. Canada’s constitution promotes and safeguards women’s rights while a lack of consensus over reproductive rights in particular erodes them in the United States, experts said.

“Canada leads the pack with its promotion of women’s access and opportunities across various sectors of society, including education, economic participation and healthcare,” said Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of the International Center for Research on Women in Washington, which took part in the survey.

The poll showed how the lack of universal health care and the struggle over abortion rights in the United States – important issues ahead of the November presidential election – were key to perceptions of women’s freedoms in the country, according to the experts polled.

Read on…

While a pregnant woman in Canada is guaranteed 15 weeks paid maternity leave, she receives no federally guaranteed time off with pay in the United States. If the expectant mother is one of the 16 percent of American women under 65 with no health insurance – according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – she may have to forgo adequate prenatal and postnatal care because she can’t afford it.

Canada also ranks better than the United States on maternal mortality, reporting 12 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008, half the number recorded in the United States, according to the United Nations.

POLITICS, TREATIES AND RIGHTS

While women’s political representation in Canada lags behind some G20 countries, it fares better than in the United States. Nearly a quarter of seats in Canada’s lower house of parliament are held by women, compared to 17 percent in the United States, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

“Our political participation levels, particularly in Congress, are embarrassingly low as compared to other countries in the G20, such as South Africa, Germany and Argentina,” said ICRW’s Kambou. In South Africa, women hold 42 percent of seats in parliament’s lower house.

Canada was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), often referred to as the international bill of rights for women.

The United States is the only democracy and the only G20 country that has yet to ratify CEDAW, primarily due to concerns of religious and social conservatives that it will undermine what they call “traditional family values”.

It is really a sad state of affairs for women in this country. Embarrassing too.

Aside from quality of health, the TrustLaw survey asked respondents to rank G20 countries in terms of the overall best and worst places for women and in the categories of freedom from violence, participation in politics, workplace opportunities, access to resources like education and property rights and freedom from trafficking and slavery.

(For full coverage of the poll visit g20women.trust.org)

(TrustLaw is a free legal news site run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. Visit trust.org/trustlaw. For more information on the TrustWomen Conference visit trustwomenconf.com)

HOW THEY RANK

Best and worst G20 countries for women

1. Canada 2. Germany 3. Britain 4. Australia 5. France 6. United States 7. Japan 8. Italy 9. Argentina 10. South Korea 11. Brazil 12. Turkey 13. Russia 14. China 15. Mexico 16. South Africa 17. Indonesia 18. Saudi Arabia 19. India

That is all I have for you today, please share your morning news with us…comment section is below!


Sunday Reads: Honestly, and I am being honest here…

Ron Paul is an ass.

Perhaps I should word that a bit differently…Ron Paul is a jackass…if you prefer.

Hell, ass is used in the bible so the fundies shouldn’t have a problem with it.

And honestly, I don’t care if they do have a problem with it.

I am not sure Ron Paul, and the rest of the PLUBs for that matter, are fully aware of just how ridiculous their argument about “abortion lovin’…full term, nine pound baby killers” sounds to a rational person. I’ve written my reaction to this below…but first, here are some thoughts on his “honest rape” statement from those around the blogosphere.

Late Night FDL: If It’s an Honest Rape… | Firedoglake

Just what is a dishonest rape?

I don’t understand this notion that women who support reproductive freedom, choice (and it is my body dammit), translates into “liking abortion,” as if needing an abortion is a desirable, even enjoyable situation.

And also as well, from GottaLaff:

Is this what you call “small government”? Because, call me crazy, but your government intrusion into women’s reproductive rights isn’t exactly hands-off.

Misogyny is never pretty.

First, what exactly is the definition of an “honest rape.” Ron Paul, What Exactly Is An “Honest Rape” | Care2 Causes

Just in case there was any question, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is no friend to women. The latest evidence came during an interview on CNN where he told Piers Morgan that only in cases of “honest rape” would he consider abortion acceptable, and even then in he would just advise the woman to go to the emergency room for “a shot of estrogen.”

“Honest rape”. So, where do we begin?

I guess I would start by asking Paul to follow-up on just what exactly constitutes an “honest” rape. What kind of evidence would we need to show a lack of consent? Does a woman need to have signs she resisted? How much resistance counts before a rape goes from being “fraudulent” to being “honest”? Can spousal rape ever be “honest”? What about other forms of familial rape? What exactly is the bright line here?

Let’s be honest, Paul and his cohorts of misogynistic hate don’t have an exact definition of honest rape, because in their mind…women have to be submissive, men must control them.  To them women are not deserving of respect, period. They see women as second class citizens.  Women do not warrant the distinction of enjoying the same “rights” and “privileges” as men, therefore, women have no real cause to cry rape.

So with that kind of mindset, the phrase “honest rape” is nothing more than a condescending jab to put women in their place.

As I was looking up news items on Paul’s honest rape statement I ran across this, Belief in sex consent studied as rape definition.  It is an article dated June 5th 1980, and it regards a case where a man is accused of raping a woman. The defense in this case asked,

…whether a man should be convicted of rape if he honestly believes his victim consented to intercourse.

Citing a recent Canadian Supreme Court decision which said:

..honest belief is a legitimate defense.

The Canadian Supreme Court ruling, which “drew the women’s wrath…” is described in detail here.

I use this archaic decision from Canada to make a point about the status of women according to Ron Paul, and his attitude that men draw the line when it comes to any issue regarding women.

Listen to his story about some woman, I guess I should preface that with “abortion liking” woman, who attempted to have a discussion about Paul’s pro-life stance on a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.  Paul uttered phrases like “abortion liking” and aborting 7 month fetuses and killing a nine pound baby a day before it emerges from the womb…

He says the women tell him he is not defining abortion the same way they are defining abortion, in other words, that he is taking it out of context…but his response is to disregard the woman’s point entirely…in his mind he is right, the women who try to argue with him are not worthy enough for his consideration.

The entire episode is something we see repeatedly. Obviously, it is ridiculous for me to even try to explain the anti-woman message he is delivering in these interviews. I guess I should just go back into the kitchen and make him some pie…because servitude is the bottom line when it comes to the opinion of women from people like Ron Paul.

Nope, there is no such thing as rape, or a woman’s right to say no, or a woman’s right to make their own decisions as an individual identity. In Paul’s world, men have that “right” to honestly believe women are not equal to men.

Read the rest of this entry »


SDB Evening News Reads for 122811: Obama/Clinton and Miss Taylor’s M00ses

Good Evening!

Let’s start this post off with a link I found on Drudge…that should give you a heads up:

ROBERT REICH: Get Ready For A Obama-Clinton Presidential Ticket

My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.

The orgasm continues…

The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats haven’t had since FDR. Twelve years gives the party in power a chance to reshape the Supreme Court as well as put an indelible stamp on America.

Reich ends it with a slogan of epic proportions, like something on a Ritz Cracker box:

Obama-Clinton in 2012. It’s a natural.

In Russia, the man who has designed Putin’s rise to power, and his constricting grip on control…has been reassigned. Surkov, Architect of Putin’s Political System, Is Reassigned

The Kremlin on Tuesday announced the reassignment of Vladislav Y. Surkov, the architect of the highly centralized political system that has come under waves of protest from middle-class Muscovites over the last month.

Mr. Surkov, a former advertising prodigy, coined the term “sovereign democracy” to describe his system, which preserved the electoral process but hollowed out institutions capable of challenging the Kremlin’s power. He created an array of political tools — the youth movement Nashi, the United Russia party and the overwhelming force of fully controlled television — that helped Vladimir V. Putin consolidate his authority during his first two presidential terms.

The last several months have exposed many of those tools as outdated, and Mr. Surkov had become a lightning rod for a rising generation of Russians raised on the Internet, who are calling for an end to the manipulations.

Surkov will now oversee modernization and innovation as Deputy Prime Minister…and have no role in domestic politics. The man taking his place as,

…deputy head of the presidential administration, will be filled by his rival Vyacheslav Volodin, a top United Russia official and longtime Putin loyalist who is vacating a spot as deputy prime minister.

Here is what Surkov had to say about the reassignment:

Asked by a journalist from Interfax on Tuesday why he was leaving, Mr. Surkov first answered, “Stabilization devours its own children.”

A report on the numbers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty for 2011 have been released. Of course, there is a few days left in the year so the total number may rise.  Report: 173 law enforcement officers killed on duty in 2011

In-the-line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers jumped 13% in 2011 compared to last year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

A total of 173 federal, state and local officers have been killed in the United States, and the year is not quite over yet.

Gunfire accounted for the largest number of deaths, claiming 68 officers. That represents a 15% increase from 2010.

“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a written statement.

“Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day — and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them.”

I won’t make a comment about that statement from Holder, with all the Fast and Furious stuff still going on…

The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund notes that for the first time in 14 years, more police and other law enforcement agents died in shootings than in traffic accidents. This year, 64 officers were killed either in car or motorcycle crashes, or by being struck by vehicles while on the job.

“Drastic budget cuts affecting law enforcement agencies across the country have put our officers at grave risk,” said Craig Floyd, the chairman of the memorial fund. Floyd and others have expressed concerns that in these tight economic times, there have been reductions in training and equipment for police.

[…]

Florida has had the largest number of officer deaths this year — a total of 14. That was followed by Texas with 13, New York with 11, and 10 fatalities in both California and Georgia.

It gives me chills to think that my friend is one of those 10 fatalities in Georgia. Firearm deaths have increased 70% since 2004…Where is that picture of Santorum with the bright orange NRA hunting cap?

santorum_hunting_122611.jpg

The New York Times has been having one of those weeks…you may remember the foreign correspondent pensions being frozen, the sale of 16 regional papers and the article about staffers “profound dismay” with management, well today 8 Million New York Times Subscribers Got Cancelled By Mistake. The NYT sent out email to subscribers of home delivery stating that they had to resubscribe to the paper. New York Times says mea culpa after oops email to 8 million people

More than 8 million people received an erroneous email from the New York Times Co. telling them that they would no longer be receiving home delivery of the newspaper.

The email, sent Wednesday, was a mistake, the company said.

“A Times employee inadvertently sent an email that was intended for a short list of people to a long list of people,” said Eileen Murphy, a Times Co. spokeswoman.

Why does this make me think of the subtitles in the opening credits of Monty Python’s Holy Grail?

Particularly this part:

We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have
been sacked.

[…]

We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those
responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked
have been sacked.

[…]

The directors of the firm hired to continue the credits after the other
people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been
sacked.
The credits have been completed in an entirely different style at
great expense and at the last minute.

Of course, you must remember that a bunch of moose tales, Liz Taylor moose costumes and llamas were the reasons behind the “sacking.”

Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty…

So I am off to attend to my moose bite and feed my:

40 SPECIALLY TRAINED
ECUADORIAN MOUNTAIN LLAMAS
6 VENEZUELAN RED LLAMAS
142 MEXICAN WHOOPING LLAMAS
14 NORTH CHILEAN GUANACOS
(CLOSELY RELATED TO THE LLAMA)
REG LLAMA OF BRIXTON
76000 BATTERY LLAMAS
FROM “LLAMA-FRESH” FARMS LTD. NEAR PARAGUAY

…have a lovely evening.


Happy Christmas Sunday Reads!

Vintage Ad, Lucky Strikes Santa...It's Toasted!

Good Morning, did Santa make a visit to your house last night?

Late last night, or perhaps it was early this morning, I was walking toward a cup of water I had resting on my night stand…and what do you think I saw? It was my own twisted version of the T-Rex water cup ripple scene from Jurassic Park. Only instead of a big huge hungry T-Rex making the water ripple as he walked towards the tasty Jeeps with the soft gooey filling, you know, the kids being the chewy center…my water cup ripples were caused by the weight of my fat ass as it walked across the wood floor of my bedroom…oh the horror.

Yes, I was actually causing a tremor of T-Rex proportions…And I have to say, that tremor was not due to holiday goodies and treats…I’m blessed with this sonic wave boom boom year round!

So, let’s get down to the bits of seasonal cheer…here are your morning reads for this Christmas Day, 2011.

I will start with some newsy links, and then get to a host of good holiday fun.

Airlines cleared to use Santa’s short-cut

Hard-pressed airlines have been handed the perfect Christmas present: permission to fly twin-jet aircraft over the North Pole, saving millions on fuel costs, opening up new destinations and reducing damage to the environment.

The easing of rules about how close twin-jets must keep to diversion airports means faster, cheaper and cleaner flights.

Until now, America’s aviation regulators have insisted that the nearest suitable place to land must be no more than three hours away. That has now been extended to five-and-a-half hours – so long as the airline meets a series of criteria, from additional equipment to special training.

That should make folks like Sir Richard Branson happy…

The latest news out of New Orleans: New Orleans Gets a Good Defense Lawyer

The New Orleans public defense system used to be famous. Or, more accurately, infamous: attorneys not showing up for trial or doing puzzles during hearings. A man convicted because his lawyer didn’t bother to track down the video that would have confirmed his alibi. Another man jailed for stealing $50 waiting more than 400 days to be interviewed by his court-appointed defender. Thanks in part to the Big Easy, Louisiana has the distinction of being the state with the highest rate of wrongful convictions and one of the highest reversal rates of capital convictions in the country. As one public defender cracks, “It’s no coincidence that a lot of the major Supreme Court criminal cases end with ‘v. Louisiana.'”

But that was before Katrina. “When the storm hit, it certainly did better than any lawsuit could have done to show the problem,” says Derwyn Bunton, the chief of the Orleans Public Defenders. Katrina demolished the city’s public defense system: The lawyers were funded by traffic fines, and there was no traffic anymore. Civil rights activists, lawyers, and the Justice Department stepped in, and by August 2007, a brand new OPD office was ready to do things differently.

Hmmm…maybe Dakinikat can give us the inside scoop on what she is hearing about the “new and improved OPD.”

Gorbachev is trying to give Putin some good advice: Gorbachev urges Putin to step down after protests

The 80-year-old Gorbachev carries little weight in Russia today. And while many Russians have grown weary with Putin’s rule, his opponents are split among numerous groups. They have no clear leader who could challenge Putin in the March presidential election.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators cheered opposition leaders and jeered the Kremlin in the biggest show of outrage yet against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s 12-year rule.

The Moscow demonstration was even bigger than a similar rally two weeks ago, signaling that the protest movement ignited by the fraud-tainted 4 December parliamentary election may be growing. Protest were also held in dozens of other cities and towns across Russia.

Rally participants densely packed a broad avenue, which has room for nearly 100,000 people, about 2.5 kilometers (some 1.5 miles) from the Kremlin, as the temperature dipped well below freezing. They chanted “Russia without Putin!”

A stage at the end of the 700-meter (0.43 mile) avenue featured placards reading “Russia will be free” and “This election Is a farce.” Heavy police cordons encircled the participants, who stood within metal barriers, and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

Alexei Navalny, a corruption-fighting lawyer and popular blogger, electrified the crowd when he took the stage. A rousing speaker, he had protesters shouting “We are the power!”

I wish that the US press would cover more of these protest in Russia, you get the feeling that the MSM does not want to open a big can of worms.

Did you hear about some new evolution discoveries: 600-Million-Year-Old Microscopic Fossils Upend Evolution Theory

A remarkable new fossil discovery of amoeba-like micro-organisms that lived 570 million years ago could make scientists rethink some widely-accepted theories about how complex life on Earth first evolved from a single-celled universal common ancestor.

[…]

The scientists say they were surprised when the results indicated the fossilized cell clusters were not animals or embryos. That is because it had long been thought that fossils showing this apparent pattern cell division represented the embryos of the earliest animals.

Instead, they say the finely detailed X-ray images exposed features pattern that led them to conclude the organisms were, “the reproductive spore bodies of single-celled ancestors of animals.”

The scientist claim that what has been written about microscopic fossils for the last ten years is “flat out wrong.” More in-depth explanations at the link.

And this last newsy link, Just say no to Christmas?

Susan Lee, a divorced mother of three in New York City, is taking a drastic step this year. “No Christmas for me,” she says. “No gifts, no turkey, no tree, no kidding.”

Lee, 41, a marketing consultant, says she needs a break from the stress and spending that are integral parts of the holiday. Her kids will celebrate a traditional Christmas with their dad, but she’s ignoring all the rituals.

“I start dreading Christmas from the time the decorations go up in the stores,” she says. “It stopped being fun for me, so I’ll find out this year if I can do without it altogether. I think it will be a relief. It already is.”

Oh, what a joy it must be to get out of the Christmas celebrations all together.  This year I was lucky, my daughter wrapped all the presents…even her own, which is something of a tradition in my family, I started wrapping all the presents when I was about 9 or 10.

Alright, now we get to the good stuff…hope you enjoy these links after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »


Wednesday Reads: History…War on Christmas, War in Iraq, and the Fog of War

Peace River Citrus...tasty orange juice, freshly squeezed.

Good Morning!

Ooof, that is quite a lot of war in the title for today’s post…lots of things to share with you this morning. It’s been raining pretty steady and the wind is whipping up the cows in the pasture down here in Banjoland.

Today’s post is going to focus on a theme that revolves around History…but first, a quick article about  something meteorological.

This weather link is so damn cool!

I saw this article when it was first published earlier this week, and planned on using it for today…Weird Kelvin-Helmholtz Wave Clouds over Birmingham and let me tell you, it is freaky!

While driving through Birmingham, Alabama, Redditor alison_bee couldn’t help but notice the bizarre, repetitive wave shapes appearing in the clouds near the horizon. While these strange cloud formations look otherworldly, they’re an example of what’s called Kelvin-Helmholtz instability — which is a pretty awesome name for a spectacular phenomenon.

What did I tell you?

Heres what Redditor and meteorologist zensunnioracle had to say:

Meteorologist here. These are indeed Kelvin-Helmholtz waves. What is happening is that the nocturnal near-surface layers (lowest 50-100m) of the atmosphere are much more stable than the layers above it in the mornings. Until the ground heats up due to daytime heating, the surface layers stay more stable than the air over it. Kelvin-Helmholtz waves occur when the wind shear between the layers destabilizes the topmost portion of that stable layer, and entrains the air into the unstable layer. What you see is stable air being lifted, cooled, and condensed so that this process becomes visible, though this commonly happens many places without being visible.

As spectacular as these waves are here on Earth, the same forces create similar patters on the gas giant planets like Saturn and Jupiter. While those are some truly enormous waves, these pictures from alison_bee should show that the Earthbound variety aren’t to be sneezed at either.

Video of these clouds as they roll over the city at the link…

Do you remember that hostage situation in a Russian cinema back in 2002? European Court Orders Russia to Pay Victims of 2002 Theater Siege

The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay more than $1.3 million to victims of the government’s mishandled attempt to end the siege of a Moscow theater in 2002.

The Strasbourg-based court ruled Tuesday that Russia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by a lack of planning and poor execution of the rescue operation.

Chechen militants refused to surrender after a standoff at the Dubrovka theater lasting several days, leading Russian security forces to launch a raid on the theater, where the militants were holding more than 800 people hostage. The troops fired an unidentified gas into the theater to try to knock out the militants, but nearly 130 hostages died in the attempt.

In addition, the report stated that Russia did not provide adequate medical aid to the hostages after its rescue effort and failed to conduct an effective investigation of the tragedy.

This comes at a time when tensions are running high in Russia, as Peggy Sue described it in a post last week, The Russian Winter.

Well, the Arab Spring is still ongoing, I thought this next post was interesting because it discusses British History in the Middle East, and the lessons that should be learned. The ‘Arab spring’ and the west: seven lessons from history

talat harb 1956/2011

October 2011: Egyptians in Talat Harb square, Cairo, protest against military rule; October 1956: Egyptians demonstrate in the same square against British-French invasion. Photograph: Getty/Associated Press

There’s a real sense in which, more than any other part of the former colonial world, the Middle East has never been fully decolonised. Sitting on top of the bulk of the globe’s oil reserves, the Arab world has been the target of continual interference and intervention ever since it became formally independent.

Carved into artificial states after the first world war, it’s been bombed and occupied – by the US, Israel, Britain and France – and locked down with US bases and western-backed tyrannies. As the Palestinian blogger Lina Al-Sharif tweeted on Armistice Day this year, the “reason World War One isn’t over yet is because we in the Middle East are still living the consequences”.

Just a side note, I think the comparison of those two photos is a perfect introduction to this article.

The Arab uprisings that erupted in Tunisia a year ago have focused on corruption, poverty and lack of freedom, rather than western domination or Israeli occupation. But the fact that they kicked off against western-backed dictatorships meant they posed an immediate threat to the strategic order.

Since the day Hosni Mubarak fell in Egypt, there has been a relentless counter-drive by the western powers and their Gulf allies to buy off, crush or hijack the Arab revolutions. And they’ve got a deep well of experience to draw on: every centre of the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Yemen, has lived through decades of imperial domination. All the main Nato states that bombed Libya, for example – the US, Britain, France and Italy – have had troops occupying the country well within living memory.

If the Arab revolutions are going to take control of their future, then, they’ll need to have to keep an eye on their recent past. So here are seven lessons from the history of western Middle East meddling, courtesy of the archive of Pathé News, colonial-era voice of Perfidious Albion itself.

Please go to the link to read about the seven lessons, the first one is a big lesson that we will probably never learn…there are also embedded videos to support the article, some go back to Libya and Jerusalem in the 1930’s.

And for another History Lesson, there is a lengthy timeline here at this link to MoJo: Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq

George Bush Dr. Strangelove

At A congressional hearing examining the march to war in Iraq, Republican congressman Walter Jones posed “a very simple question” about the administration’s manipulation of intelligence: “How could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?”

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, responded with an equally simple answer: “The vice president.”

Oh… this is extremely detailed, so just go read the entire thing! Perhaps it will make you remember some of the events listed, as it made me recall them, in my mind’s vivid memory.

History has yet to write the story of Bradley Manning, however, Amy Goodman has done a good job of reporting on his case. Amy Goodman: Bradley Manning and the Fog of War

Accused whistle-blower Pvt. Bradley Manning turned 24 Saturday. He spent his birthday in a pretrial military hearing that could ultimately lead to a sentence of life … or death. Manning stands accused of causing the largest leak of government secrets in United States history.

Goodman explains the reasons for his “imprisonment” and gives a summary of what his outlook may be:

Back in the Fort Meade, Md., hearing room, defense attorneys painted a picture of a chaotic forward operating base with little to no supervision, no controls whatsoever on soldiers’ access to classified data, and a young man in uniform struggling with his sexual identity in the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Manning repeatedly flew into rages, throwing furniture and once even punching a superior in the face, without punishment. His peers at the base said he should not be in a war zone. Yet he stayed, until his arrest 18 months ago.

Since his arrest, Manning has been in solitary confinement, for much of the time in Quantico, Va., under conditions so harsh that the U.N. special rapporteur on torture is investigating. Many believe the U.S. government is trying to break Manning in order to use him in its expected case of espionage against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It also sends a dramatic message to any potential whistle-blower: “We will destroy you.”

For now, Manning sits attentively, reports say, facing possible death for “aiding the enemy.” The prosecution offered words Manning allegedly wrote to Assange as evidence of his guilt. In the email, Manning described the leak as “one of the more significant documents of our time, removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of 21st century asymmetrical warfare.” History will no doubt use the same words as irrefutable proof of Manning’s courage.

There are so many things going on these days that indicate a change in the rights and liberties of American citizens. We are in the process of losing these rights in this Bush/Obama Administration.

I love this history theme for today’s post…here is another article from Truthdig: William Pfaff: History Tells Us Not to Dismiss a Democratic Challenge to Obama

A week ago, in the Providence Journal newspaper (in Rhode Island), the publisher of Harper’s Magazine, John R. MacArthur, wrote that President Barack Obama, through expedient political compromises, has lost the moral authority that an American president must command, and therefore has lost his right to a second presidential term. Mr. MacArthur quotes in support of his argument the veteran journalist Bill Moyers, who was a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s staff from 1965 to 1967, and since has become a prominent commentator on public television and in liberal and Democratic Party circles.

Just click the link to read the rest…and there is a note at the end of the post you may find interesting too. (Especially those following the Euro/EU economic news.)

And for the last link, we’re going Medieval…on the Right and Left’s perceptions of the “War on Christmas.”  Illuminating the “The War on Christmas” — Got Medieval

No snark today, just a few pretty medieval pictures interspersed with thoughts on this whole War on Christmas thing that you hear so much about these days.

At heart, I think, the War is a matter of incompatible perception. One camp looks at Christmas and sees this:

British Library MS Additional 52539, f. 2 (click-expandable)

And the other, this:

British Library MS Egerton 2045, f. 95 (click to expand)

Behold, a pair of “Adoration of the Magi”.* Neither version looks very much like the medieval marginalia this series typically features** but they both muck about with the page’s margins, nevertheless, so they’re fair game.

The second adoration is actually the most properly called “marginalia”; look closely, and you’ll see there’s a tiny rectangle of text there in the middle of the page, barely a half line of scripture.  Everything else–Jesus and Mary, the three magi and their retainers, the gifts, the castle, even the camel–is located fully within the page’s sumptuously decorated margin, a margin that has expanded so as to nearly blot out the page’s text.

Likewise with the first; it’s marginal, if only just.  While it’s technically a “historiated initial,” if you squint at the lower left quadrant, you’ll see that the kneeling cup-bearing servant is slipping out into the margin.  Everyone else is crowded in so that there’s no room left for him to stand in the main image.

Which one is the metaphor for the Christmas War-Uponers, and which the Christmas Defense Squad?

There is so much one can learn about the attitudes and thought process of the Medieval mind through the art of page decorations.

As the above blog post analyzes the pictures of Christmas, that include the Savior, an occasional Christmas “Beasty” and all the other familiar characters, i.e. the Three Wise Men, I wonder what the three idiots on the curvy couch would have to say about all this marginalization going on.

So this is your History Lesson for the day, what else are you reading and thinking about? See y’all later in the comments.

Hmmm…that makes me think of the phrase, See You in the Funny Papers.


In the Land of White Ribbons

First we had the Arab Spring then the European Summer.  The American Autumn manifested itself in the Occupy Wall St. Movement.

Welcome the Russian Winter.

Saturday nearly 35,000 young, mostly university-educated protesters, the new Russian middle class, gathered in Moscow in peaceful demonstration.  Reportedly, a police presence on the order of 50,000 greeted them.  But still they came and marched to voice opposition to Russia’s recent election results.  Vladimir Putin’s party won the parliamentary election after multiple reports of election fraud and ballot box stuffing.  For instance, in Chechnya [hardly a place of Putin-love] the party pulled 94% of the vote.  Putin has announced his plans to run in Russia’s March presidential elections to the dismay of many citizens, who charge that fraud and corruption run rampant throughout the country’s political system.

Demonstrators, donning white ribbons, marched in various cities around the country to say: Enough is enough.

Dismissed by the official Russian press, the white ribbon demonstrators were ignored by state television, which focused on small, flag-waving pro-Putin groups. How did the word get out?  Social media—Facebook and twitter.

In an attempt to disrupt the protests, Russian authorities circulated rumors that young men present at the rallies could be stopped by police and conscripted into the army.  Health officials reportedly warned citizens to stay home for fear of contracting a virulent flu or Sars.  Twitter feeds were jammed and robo-calls flooded phone lines with messages of state propaganda.

Sound vaguely familiar?

How much press is OWS getting today with its West coast port demonstrations?  How many words have been spent denigrating protesters as un-American losers, slackers, even dangerous criminals?  Let’s not forget the MSM’s reluctance to cover OWS, the strange lack of network film footage during police actions, particularly as the encampments were dismantled.  Twitter feeds jammed, cameras turned off.

Still, the world is watching.  The world is pushing back.  Everywhere.