Thursday Reads

The view from my front door

Good Morning!! Isn’t it fun to look out your window and see a coating of ice all over everything? Especially when you already have mountains of snow out there. I plan to spend much of the day throwing ice pellets around and trying to chip the pile of ice that a snowplow left at the end of my driveway. Oh joy!

So what’s in the news this morning? Let me see….. I thought I’d post some video of Noam Chomsky discussing the Egyptian protests on Democracy Now.

NOTE: There are more parts to the Chomsky interview that you can watch at Democracy Now.

That’s the view from a real leftist. Have you heard what Tony Blair had to say about the situation?

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair explained Tuesday that the embattled Egyptian president was “immensely courageous and a force for good.”

Appearing on CNN, Blair praised Mubarak’s role in brokering peace between Israel and Palestine. The former prime minister is now an envoy to the peace process….

…where you stand on him depends on whether you’ve worked with him from the outside or on the inside,” Blair replied. “And for those of us who worked with him over the — particularly now I worked with him on the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians, so this is somebody I’m constantly in contact with and working with.”

George Soros expressed his ideas about Egypt in today’s Washington Post.

President Obama personally and the United States as a country have much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for dignity and democracy. This would help rebuild America’s leadership and remove a lingering structural weakness in our alliances that comes from being associated with unpopular and repressive regimes. Most important, doing so would open the way to peaceful progress in the region. The Muslim Brotherhood’s cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system. As regards contagion, it is more likely to endanger the enemies of the United States – Syria and Iran – than our allies, provided that they are willing to move out ahead of the avalanche.

The main stumbling block is Israel. In reality, Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks. And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is no longer monolithic or the sole representative of the Jewish community. The main danger is that the Obama administration will not adjust its policies quickly enough to the suddenly changed reality.

I am, as a general rule, wary of revolutions. But in the case of Egypt, I see a good chance of success. As a committed advocate of democracy and open society, I cannot help but share in the enthusiasm that is sweeping across the Middle East. I hope President Obama will expeditiously support the people of Egypt.

Here’s an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about why both the U.S. and Egyptian government were unprepared for the Egyptian uprising.

A close look at how Egypt’s seemingly stable surface cracked in so short a time shows how Egypt’s rulers and their Western allies were caught almost completely off guard as the revolution unfolded, despite deep concerns about where Egypt’s authoritarian government was leading the country.

From the moment demonstrators began pouring into the street, those leaders have been scrambling to keep up, often responding in ways that have accelerated the crisis.


…last week, tens of thousands of Egyptians began taking to the streets, flooding into the central Tahrir Square after pitched battles with thousands of riot police. It became the largest popular protest in Egypt since the so-called Bread Riots against rising prices in 1977.

Mr. Mubarak’s regime was stunned. “No one expected those numbers that showed up to Tahrir square,” said Ali Shamseddin, a senior official with the National Democratic Party in Cairo.

In faraway Washington, the demonstrations were only starting to register. Last Tuesday’s State of the Union address, delivered the day the protests started, had only a short section on foreign policy. President Barack Obama planned to nod to the democratic movement that swept away the ruler of Tunisia, a place “where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator,” the speech read.

After that, it’s kind of embarrassing that Obama is clearly more concerned about “stability” (oil?) in Egypt than the “will of the people.”

Trees uprooted by Cyclone Yasi

We had a gigantic storm here in the U.S., but the one in Australia might have been worse. From the Daily Telegraph: Cyclone Yasi: Queensland wakes to widespread devastation

As the winds dropped on the coast and locals emerged from cyclone bunkers and evacuation centres, they found widespread damage, especially in the coastal communities of Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell.

Driving winds of 180mph had uprooted trees and torn roofs and walls from homes and businesses.

During the morning, dangerous storm surges were causing flooding in low-lying urban areas in the cities of Cairns and Townsville and the authorities urged residents to stay indoors.


In total, 170,000 properties were without power and thousands of people were likely to be left homeless after their homes were severely damaged by the worst cylone to hit Australia since 1918. Storm surges and flooding were also rolling into low-lying areas and inundating homes throughout the morning. Compounding the crisis, saltwater crocodiles had been spotted in floodwater.

Yikes! At least my power didn’t go out, and there aren’t any crocodiles out there.

That’s all I’ve got. What are you reading and blogging about this morning?

25 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. zaladonis says:

    Anderson Cooper gets punched “like six times!” by an extremist.

  2. zaladonis says:

    Late to the party again, I just now heard the term “frugal fatigue.”

    Apparently Americans are tired of not spending and denying themselves, saving money is passe and self-indulgence has made a comeback.

    Turns out Americans today just don’t have the attention span for an economic crisis.

    • Sima says:

      I kind of feel the same way. It seems like everything I save just goes out the window to pay bills, so to heck with it. Then I think about giving money to the credit card sharks, and I start saving again. Heh.

      Actually I’ve saved up so we can get chickens. Yay! We are planning the coop now. And our farm business should actually make a bit more money this year. In our second year we went into the black, but only by a little bit. This year I’m expecting much more. I’ve given us five years to make a full living off it. Budgeting that was hard!

      • paper doll says:

        Actually I’ve saved up so we can get chickens

        I’m like soooo jealous! We have no yard at all. If we did, I’d have some chickens

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Okay Zal. I am still reading the post I missed, but your comment here about Americans not having the attention span for an economic crisis is priceless. Love it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I guess it’s easier if you just don’t have any money.

      • zaladonis says:

        That’s it, bb.

        There are a lot of Americans who haven’t been hit hard yet, they think they were but they have a job and enough to either save some or indulge themselves but not enough to really afford it. Then, I bet dollars to donuts, once they start spending that little bit it becomes habit again and out come the credit cards. A dinner out here, a little trip there – indulgences they will have nothing to show for.

        We are headed for a fall. Worse than 2008.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    My car looks like a glazed donut out there and Johnny Weir would be at home practicing his skating moves in my driveway!

    Like you, I will be spending a good portion of the day sprinking the asphalt with sand so the mail lady won’t break her neck delivering more unwanted catalogues to my mailbox!

    More snow predicted for Saturday and another storm supposedly coming by midweek.

    Who ordered this stuff anyway?

    • bostonboomer says:


      I just hope I can get rid of the ice in one day. It’s only 19 degrees right now and I don’t think it’s supposed to get above freezing today. What really worries me is the pile of ice at the end of my driveway (the plow came after I took the picture).

      • zaladonis says:

        I just went out and tried to shovel the ice at the end of ours and it’s impossible with a snow shovel. Hard as rock. The regular shovels are in the barn behind the snow/iced in drift. I’m just staying home until the spring thaw.

      • bostonboomer says:


        If you have any of those white or green ice melt pellets, they really help. Just keep sprinkling them on the ice bridge and then wait about half and hour, and then try. I’ve gotten about 1/3 of my pile moved so far. Unfortunately, the piles at the end of my driveway are at least 8 feet high, so it’s difficult to figure out where to put the new stuff.

    • grayslady says:

      Wow! I’m grateful we don’t have ice, as well as the snow. Had to call the post office this morning to explain that until and unless a front loader starts removing snow in our development, there is no way any postal delivery person is going to make it to my mailbox. Even I can’t reach my mailbox! We all thought we were pretty lucky and industrious yesterday to clear our driveways, but we still only have a one-way street in terms of road clearance. I don’t think most of the plow operators could even make it into work yesterday.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The administrator at my university couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to get to class yesterday, but where I am everything was a solid sheet of ice by about 10AM yesterday. I live on a very high, steep hill. No one around me got out and I never a saw anything go down the road except plows all day. I may have missed some cars going by, but I know there couldn’t have been many.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Our collective attention span lasts about 48 hours then on to the next one.

    Tuscon is but a memory and gun control has disappeared from most of the coverage.

    What is really going on in Iraq these days? Anyone?

    Gas prices are quietly rising and we may be faced with $4.00 a gallon by Summer which will really play havoc on an already faltering economy.

    So much for the “lower tone” urged after the Tuscon shootings with Bill O’Reilly calling “left wing liberals” anti Amierican.

    How “clean” is the Gulf since the BP disaster? Dakinikat is one of the few reporting on this one.

    How much coverage is given to Scalia and Thomas making political appearances before Right Wing groups when their positions demand a sense of neutrality? Not much.

    More attention is paid to the likes of Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, or the latest celebrity who misbehaves than to concrete issues that determine our lives.

    Not sure how soon we will be diverted from the ongoing Mideast uprising but I can almost predict that by the end of next week the reporters and cameras will be pulled from that region and most of the coverage will appear “below the fold”.

  5. paper doll says:

    what Tony Blair had to say about the situation?

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair explained Tuesday that the embattled Egyptian president was “immensely courageous and a force for good.”

    In other words : the funds were deposited in my account , thank you

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    I can’t begin to express my disgust at the coverage today of Obama making a speech at a “National Prayer Day” meeting and discussing his faith.

    Please! This is so wrong. Keep your religious beliefs to yourself!

    I am so sick to death of these politicians imposing their beliefs on the rest of us.

    This is still a nation that should honor the separation of church and state.

    This is so wrong.

    • zaladonis says:

      Pat, I could throw up listening to the disingenuousness.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        What a group of hypocrites! What utter bullsh*t!

        This has no place in the public sector.

      • zaladonis says:

        I guess Reverend Wright’s invitation got lost under the bus.

      • dakinikat says:

        This group of radical Christianists are the same ones complaining about radical Islamists. It’s just more onward Xtian soldier. They should spend a lot more time with history books to figure out exactly which set of priests from which set of old roman religions made up the one they’re parading around the public square. This is a sad day for the country with its roots and values firmly planted in the age of Reason, not the dark ages.

    • juststoppingby says:

      OK, good, I’m not alone. My God!…pun intended…I’m watching and thinking, is this for real?

      (I swear I saw an “It’s All About ME” banner behind him.)

      • zaladonis says:

        (I swear I saw an “It’s All About ME” banner behind him.)

        Just beyond his halo.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        He thanks God for bringing him Michele whose duty it seems is to remind him of his daily chores. Then a “hat tip” to of all people Tom Colburn who would have abortion doctors jailed and women punished for exercising their right to choose.

        Anyone want to know why this nation is so f*cked up? This is probably the primary reason right there: people so anxious to gain a vote they are all too eager to maximize their “humility” by invoking religion in the public discourse.

        Dispensing forthwith with the Council on Faith Based Initiatives would be a start. Our tax dollars paying for close minded clerics inserting their beliefs into our laws is not too far a cry from Sharia crapola they decry elsewhere.

      • zaladonis says:

        Remember when Democrats knew how evil the Religious Right was? Well now they’re holding hands and praying together.

        I’m not anti religious like, say, a Bill Maher is, but this is way too much.