Sunday Reads

Morning everyone! Hope you had a safe Christmas and that Santa brought you all the goodies you wanted…If you missed some of the post yesterday, be sure to check them out. Dakinikat had an interesting piece about Lady X, and the discovery of a new species of ancient ancestors. I also had a post about the recent study which found the highly toxic chemical Hexavalent Chromium in the tap water of 31 US cities. We are snowed in here, and hopefully we will not lose power.

Here are a few news items going on:

Speaking of snow, all of you in the North East get ready for one mean ass blizzard. If we got 10 inches of snow here in Georgia, you all are probably going to get worse. Eastern Mass. braces for blizzard Monday commutes expected to be long:

Heavy Snow and a White Christmas

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for most of Eastern Massachusetts beginning at noon today, when a severe winter storm is expected to begin dumping 15 to 20 inches of snow on the region, likely bringing highway gridlock, power outages, and coastal flooding in its wake.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham said sustained winds of 35 miles per hour are likely to make visibility so limited that people should stay home if at all possible. The warning applies to all of Massachusetts east of Worcester, except for Cape Cod.

“It’s going to be heavy snow,” said Dunham, stationed at the weather service’s Taunton office. “Sometimes you refer to this kind of snow as ‘heart attack’ snow,” because it is so heavy for people to shovel. He said the storm may cause power outages and he urged people to keep batteries, portable radios, and other necessities on hand.

It looks like Manning is not doing very well. BBC News – Wikileaks suspect Bradley Manning’s health;declining; And considering the treatment he is getting, is no surprise to me…

The only person to visit Wikileaks suspect Pte Bradley Manning in custody other than his lawyer says his health has declined in the past four months.

US journalist David House, who has been visiting him since September, told the BBC World Service he looked “frazzled”. The Pentagon has denied it is mistreating Pte Manning. A Marine Corps spokesman said the military was keeping him “safe, secure and ready for trial”. Pte Manning faces up to 50 years in jail if convicted of leaking secrets.

Dak also found this from the New York Times, so I wanted to bring it up to the front page.

The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.

I am sure that she will post more on this later on…;)

Over in Pakistan, a female bomber kills 45 people at a food center.

KHAR, Pakistan (AP) – A burqa-clad female suicide bomber in Pakistan lobbed hand grenades, then detonated her explosive belt among a crowd at an aid center Saturday, killing at least 45 people in militants’ latest strike against the authorities’ control over the key tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Police believed it was the first time Islamic militants have sent a woman to carry out a suicide attack in Pakistan, where the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan against al-Qaida and the Taliban insurgents continues to spill over despite Islamabad’s repeated claims of victory on its side of the porous border.

President Obama issued a statement from Hawaii,

“Killing innocent civilians outside a World Food Program distribution point is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity.”

What can be said about something like this. I guess after so many of these suicide bombers, it reaches a point where you become numb to the news. Is it a disassociation that we have? I don’t know. I guess I have just become so used to this sort of killing.

There has been a lot going on over in Africa’s Ivory Coast.

Laurent Gbagbo: Democratic martyr turned dictator

The president of Ivory Coast promised a new kind of African leadership. But his refusal to accept defeat in the recent election is all too familiar.

This head of state doesn’t seem to have any trouble crushing “ebullience” now. Gbagbo’s intransigence, augmented by military force and rumoured “death squads”, has pushed his nation to the brink of a second civil war.

The 65-year-old’s defeat by opposition leader Alassane Ouattara in last month’s presidential election runoff has been recognised by the UN, the US, the EU, the African Union and former colonial power France – everyone, in fact, except Gbagbo himself.

From Minx’s Missing Link File: I missed this little nugget over the last few days, some of you may have seen it.

NM Gov Bill Richardson to replace Hillary Clinton at State Dept?

Numerous sources are pointing toward New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as possibly replacing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in 2011. Governor Richardson will be ending his term as Governor on December 31st after eight years in office and has just returned from North Korea after working in an “unofficial” capacity to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

I just can’t imagine someone else being Secretary of State, she does such a fabulous job.

For the Easy Like Sunday Morning…Here is the Winter Arts Calendar chosen by the Guardian’s critics:

Our critics pick the season’s highlights. From Elisabeth Moss on stage to Adele’s new album, these are the dates for your cultural diary

What are you finding interesting…and how was your holiday? I love reading your comments…


50 Comments on “Sunday Reads”

  1. TheRock says:

    Happy Boxing Day!!

    Thanks for the picker-upper Minx! Work has been slow, so this bit of political theater has been a nice distraction.

    Here is the difference b/w us and the Obots. When my hero the Bog Dawg does something I don’t like, I shout about it. He is WAY WAY WAY smarter than I, and yet and still I don’t see the benefit to this move….
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-12-25/news/ct-met-clinton-emanuel-mayor-race-12220101225_1_rahm-emanuel-policy-and-strategy-bill-clinton

    Excuse me, but who represents who?
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/census-hispanics-and-future-grand-old-party_524780.html

    I can’t tell you how worried I am about a 3am phone call….
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_koreas_clash

    Merry Christmas again everybody!!

    Hillary 2012

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Thanks for those links Rock, honestly…with so much going on at my house yesterday, this Sunday Reads post is not really up to my standards. I apologize.

      • purplefinn says:

        Minx, no apology necessary! Thanks for all you do, and the goodwill you spread. I like that it’s explicit and implicit in the daily reviews that people can share links.

      • Minx, the links mean you have started a conversation and gotten people talking and sharing 🙂 it means you’ve done good.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Thanks you two. Hey, I got something funny…you may laugh. My husband is a huge Republican, and we are always getting into it about our differences of opinion. Well, one of the gifts he gave me for Christmas was Glenn Beck’s book, The Christmas Sweater. Ha…now do I read it, or hide it somewhere. Ugh…

        • Sweet Sue says:

          My husband was a Republican when we married, twenty five years ago.
          Now, he’s a true blue liberal, so maybe there’s hope for your beloved.

        • Yikes! I’d put it next to Michael Moore books if you have any, Lol

          • Minkoff Minx says:

            Ha, I have managed to quietly get rid of the previous “gifts” he has bestowed on me before…all the Michael Savage books and believe me, there have been a lot of those.

          • Michael Savage books sound like the kind of “gifts” that cats bring inside the house from outdoors.

          • dakinikat says:

            At least cats shouldn’t know better… One of my pet peeves about my ex is that his gifts to me always were more things he wanted than me. It’s like he was deliberately avoiding figuring out what I might like.

          • grayslady says:

            I don’t think it was just your ex, Kat. I had to start submitting a wish list (in various price ranges) in order to get anything that I really wanted. Guys–and a lot of gals–just don’t give much thought to gifts. With my best friend, I just listen and observe throughout the year, and then I sort of tuck those thoughts away until its time to buy presents, since he always says he doesn’t need anything–which, of course, isn’t true. Now, I have him trained to ask what it is I’d like. Works much better.

          • NW Luna says:

            Yeah, I’ve learned that if there’s something I really want, I have to buy it myself!

  2. zaladonis says:

    The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.

    From Gitmo to our President taking the authority to order the assassination of citizens, to Wikileaks, and probably many instances in between, our government is circumventing our system of justice to the point it becomes a shell of its former self.

  3. Good morning Minx and thanks for the wonderful roundup! I’m so glad you linked to the Lady X and Chrome 6 stories so more people get a chance to read them.

    BB, Seriously, and all the rest of our Northeastern Sky Dancers: stay safe and warm! While I miss waking up to white Decembers, because that’s what my earliest childhood memories are mostly of, I don’t think I could handle a blizzard. Too spoiled by Houston weather.

    I’m actually in the Austin area right now (’til Monday)–no snow here, just some rain on Xmas eve. It’s 28 degrees outside and I’m all bundled up.

    On that Bill Richardson rumor–I put that story in my Saturday reads too. It’s from the Examiner, so that puts it in a very iffy chatter category right off the bat. Plus haven’t we had enough jokers in this Administration & the last one too for that matter? On the bright side of the dark side, were this rumor to ever pan out, that would continue the trend of over a decade without a white male Sec of State. So that’s an interesting sort of benchmark.

  4. fiscalliberal says:

    One of the things I admire about Hillary is she knows her own mind and picks her options very carefully. My view is she took Sec of State from a intelectual curiosity perspective and has found that under Obama, she is piloting a ruderless ship of state. I suspect that she is getting tired of it and will exit as soon as possible in a nice fashion.

    Richarson is a Newt Gingrich type of wanta be. I suspect this is a trial baloon sent up by himself. After he stabbed Hillary in the back in the primary and his petulant response, he has little credibility in the Clinton camp. However I suspect he will fit in very well in the Obama Administration. Obama owes him something for backstabbing Hillary.

  5. Ruh Roh, death panels are baaaack /snarkfont

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/us/politics/26death.html

    NYT: Obama Returns to End-of-Life Plan That Caused Stir

    WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

    • More from the link:

      Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

      The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

      Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

      While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.

      • NW Luna says:

        This is just infuriating. Advance directives are something that my hospital is required to ask patients about when they check in for surgery. And everybody, no matter their age, needs an advance directive. You never know what could hit you (literally) the next day.

        Providers have always been able to discuss advance directives at any time with patients. You just bill for it under the category of total time face-to-face, more than 50% in counseling.

        It’s much better to discuss these things early than when your loved one is unconscious from a car accident or complications from surgery. I would hope providers would discuss details such as that tube feeding does not eliminate choking, that artificial food and fluid is not always beneficial, that sufficient pain medication can always be given, etc. Choices of options can be very individual.

        Having a special Medicare billing code might be helpful, if it covers sufficient time. I suspect it won’t, and that conscientious providers will continue to spend uncompensated time with patients discussing these complicated and sensitive topics.

        Our healthcare “system” is so F’d.

  6. Frank Rich: Who Killed the Disneyland Dream?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opinion/26rich.html

    This month our own neo-Kennedy president — handed the torch by J.F.K.’s last brother and soon to face the first Congress without a Kennedy since 1947 — identified a new “Sputnik moment” for America. This time the jolt was provided by the mediocre performance of American high school students, who underperformed not just the Chinese but dozens of other countries in standardized tests of science, math and reading. In his speech on the subject, President Obama called for more spending on research and infrastructure, more educational reform and more clean energy technology. (All while reducing the deficit, mind you.) Worthy goals, but if you watch “Disneyland Dream,” you realize something more fundamental is missing from America now: the bedrock faith in the American way that J.F.K. could tap into during his era’s Sputnik moment.

    How many middle-class Americans now believe that the sky is the limit if they work hard enough? How many trust capitalism to give them a fair shake? Middle-class income started to flatten in the 1970s and has stagnated ever since. While 3M has continued to prosper, many other companies that actually make things (and at times innovative things) have been devalued, looted or destroyed by a financial industry whose biggest innovation in 20 years, in the verdict of the former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, has been the cash machine.

    • dakinikat says:

      You’re better off being a plumber these days than a teacher or a civil engineer. The only public service growth area is prison guard and that’s even by meted out to the for profit sector.

    • purplefinn says:

      I am reminded of G. W. Bush’s exhortation to “go shopping” after 9/11. The more the populace spends the richer the top 1% get. “Shop ’til you drop” out of the middle class. The overclass values the less educated consumer. Starve the schools and families, then beat the teachers over the head for our country’s failure to value and provide. It’s a lesson in how to decimate one’s country from inside while pointing the finger at teachers and external terrorists. From “home of the brave” to “gated community of the terrorized.”

      Keep exposing the lies!

      • Woman Voter says:

        Bush II’s Iraq WAR that is now led by Obama isn’t working out so well, especially for Christians in Iraq and the protections for religious minorities is not good and they continue to be attacked. When will these WARS finally be over, when will the US finally bring local countries to help out in the stabilization of the region? What was the real goal of the WAR and why aren’t there any hearings and any questions being asked of Cheney and Bush II?
        Iraqi Christians Forced to Flee in Face of Attacks

  7. Peg says:

    This is nice. Hope it’s true.

    Sotomayor, Kagan shift Supreme Court debates to the left

    “…Gone are the mismatches where the Scalia wing overshadowed reserved and soft-spoken liberals like now-retired Justices David H. Souter and John Paul Stevens. Instead, the liberals often take the lead and press attorneys defending the states or corporations…”
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-na-court-arguments-20101226,0,7120648,full.story

  8. glennmcgahee says:

    Looking at pictures of Richardson. Its clear he’s growing the old man pony tail. YUK!

  9. Minkoff Minx says:

    Wow, I am so thankful to all our Sky Dancing readers for posting links in the comments section. Those are some juicy links…now I got to go read them all.

  10. Silent Kate says:

    I think it’s interesting in that Richardson article Axelrod hints at big changes and Obama is reading a book about Reagan. I’d prefer he read a book about FDR. Do we really need him acting any more like Reagan?

  11. Minkoff Minx says:

    Ooof! You all in the Northeast better take care…Zal, you got lots of Pop Tarts in the pantry? Y’all be sure to stay informed about the weather warnings.

    The Associated Press: Snow storm bears down on Mid-Atlantic, Northeast

    The Northeast is expected to get the brunt of the storm. Forecasters issued a blizzard warning for New York City for Sunday and Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will reduce visibility to near zero at times. A blizzard warning was also in effect for Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts including Boston, with forecasters predicting 15 to 20 inches of snow. A blizzard warning is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph.
    As much as 18 inches could fall on the New Jersey shore with wind gusts over 40 mph.
    Baltimore and Washington were expected to get 6 inches or more of snow, with surrounding areas forecast to have as many as 9, the weather service said.
    By early Sunday, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency.

    • Delphyne says:

      It’s begun here in New Jersey – light snow, cold and quite windy. A perfect day for staying inside and making some tomato sauce for pasta – which is what’s for dinner today.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Delphyne that sounds good! Sunday was always the day for Spaghetti in my Sicilian household. Just be sure that you have lots of stuff in case you lose power. This is some heavy snow.

  12. Boo Radly says:

    I am totally bumfuzzled by this:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-clinton-emanuel-mayor-race-12220101225,0,410348.story

    Bill Clinton to campaign for Emanuel…say it isn’t so! Sorry if this has already been discussed.

    • Thanks for the link, Boo Radly. Can’t say I am surprised, though as Seriously often says, if I were Bill, I’d let all these donkeys “kick rocks” instead of campaign for them.

  13. NW Luna says:

    Some good news:

    ‘Chocolate cough remedy’ in sight. A chemical in cocoa could soon be turned into a medicine for persistent cough, researchers claim.

    Scientists are carrying out the final stages of clinical trials of a drug that contains theobromine, an ingredient found in chocolate and cocoa. ….
    And being flavourless, it can be taken by those who dislike chocolate.

    Theobromine is thought to work by inhibiting the inappropriate firing of the vagus nerve, which is a key feature of persistent cough.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12048275

    Oh, “flavorless.” Well, I’m sure they’ll add chocolate flavoring to it!