Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

Well, we dodged a bullet yesterday when Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour announced that he won’t be running for president in 2012. Whew! I really didn’t want a president who would decorate the Oval Office with Confederate Civil War memorabilia, did you? Newsweek, January 2010:

The Republican governor of Mississippi keeps a large portrait of the University Greys, the Confederate rifle company that suffered 100 percent casualties at Gettysburg, on a wall not far from a Stars and Bars Confederate flag signed by Jefferson Davis.

Not to mention a guy who praised the segregationist Southern “citizens councils” in an interview with the Weekly Standard. And the fact that Barbour talks like he has a mouthful of marbles doesn’t help either.

We won't have him to kick around anymore

Politico has an analysis of why Barbour “pulled the plug,” which basically boils down to he really didn’t want to go through the aggravation. The story ends this way:

There were also nagging concerns among GOP insiders about the prospect of nominating a deep-South governor with an accent matching his Delta roots to take on the country’s first black president.

Barry Wynn, a former South Carolina Republican chairman, put it politely after hearing Barbour speak in the state earlier this month: “There’s a perception that he might be more of a regional candidate.”

Gee, no kidding. Like I said, we dodged a bullet. But there are plenty of other creepy Republicans out there to take his place. In fact Ron Paul is getting ready to announce another campaign for president.

Speaking of creepy Republicans, Donald Trump claimed today that President Obama’s birth certificate is “missing.”

When asked from whom he received the information, Trump said he didn’t want to say and that he feels bad about the situation.

“I’d love for him to produce his birth certificate so that you can fight one-on-one,” Trump said in an interview set to air Monday. “If you look at what he’s doing to fuel prices, you can do a great fight one-on-one, you don’t need this issue.”

CNN’s Gary Tuchman also interviewed the former director of the Hawaii Department of Health, who said she has seen the original birth certificate in the vault at the Department of Health.

Trump supporter Franklin Graham, son of Billy, is also on the birther bandwagon.


Meanwhile, multiple media outlets are talking about Trump’s generous campaign contributions–to Democrats. In fact, Trump recently donated $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s campaign for Chicago Mayor. From CNN:

Shortly before announcing interest in pursuing the GOP presidential bid, Republican Donald Trump gave $50,000, his largest campaign contribution in Illinois, to Democrat Rahm Emanuel, who was running for mayor, in December 2010….

Rahm’s brother Ari, who is co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, represents a majority of Hollywood’s celebrity elite, including Trump….

Records from the Illinois State Board of Elections show that Trump has made various sizable donations to Democratic causes in Illinois.

From Salon’s War Room:

When [Ed] Rendell entered Pennsylvania’s 2002 gubernatorial race, Trump committed himself to the former Democratic National Committee chairman’s cause. Between December 2001 and Election Day ’02, Trump personally gave $27,000 to Ed Rendell’s gubernatorial campaign. He also chipped in $5,000 more at the end of 2003, when Rendell was finishing up his first year in office.

Mind you, Rendell’s victory in 2002 was by no means a foregone conclusion. He faced a serious threat in the May Democratic primary from Robert Casey, then the state’s treasurer and the son of a former governor. The sharpest ideological difference between the two men may have been on abortion: Rendell was pro-choice, while Casey was pro-life (like his father, who was denied a speaking slot at the 1992 Democratic convention in part because of it). During the primary campaign, Trump provided Rendell with $6,000. Rendell ended up beating Casey by 13 points.

Trump is supposedly the one of the biggest contributors to Charlie Rangel ever, yet he is supposedly running as a Republican.

And then we have our current president, who is a Republican who ran as a Democrat in 2008. I posted this in comments on the morning thread yesterday, but I can resist doing it again. It’s so funny to see former Obama supporter (why?) Eric Alterman comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter.

Stylistically speaking, Barack Obama could hardly be further from Jimmy Carter if he really had been born in Kenya. Carter was a born-again Baptist who was raised on his father’s peanut plantation and supported George Wallace on the road to the Georgia state house. Barack Obama—well, you know the story. But the two men have a great deal in common in their approach to the presidency, and not one of these similarities is good news for the Democrats or even for America. Both men rule without regard to the concerns of the base of their party. Both held themselves to be above politics when it came to making tough decisions. Both were possessed with superhuman self-confidence when it came to their own political judgment mixed with contempt for what they understood to be the petty concerns of pundits and party leaders. And worst of all, one fears, neither one appeared willing to change course no matter how many storm clouds loomed on the horizon.

Ask yourself if the following story does not sound like another president we could name The gregarious Massachusetts pol, House Speaker Tip O’Neill, could hardly have been more eager to work with a Democratic president after eight years of Nixon and Ford. But when they first met, and O’Neill attempted to advise Carter about which members of Congress might need some special pleading, or even the assorted political favor or two with regard to certain issues, to O’Neill’s open-jawed amazement, Carter replied, “No, I’ll describe the problem in a rational way to the American people. I’m sure they’ll realize I’m right.” The red-nosed Irishman later said he “could have slugged” Carter over this lethal combination of arrogance and naivety, but it would soon become Carter’s calling card.

In some bad news for the radical right, the Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to Obamacare before it wends its way through the federal courts.

And in some good news for football fans, a district court has decided that

The NFL’s lockout is harming players and fans and is not in the public interest, District Judge Susan Nelson said in a ruling on Monday that granted the players’ request for an injunction to halt the work stoppage.

Nelson’s order to end the six-week lockout, imposed last month after a breakdown in talks over a new collective deal, is to be appealed by the NFL.

In an 89-page statement, the judge also accepted that the players dissolution of their union was valid and allowed them to act as individuals rather than be constricted by labor bargaining rules.

The Minnesota judge said in the absence of a collective bargaining process, which ended on March 11, antitrust policies come to the fore.

The plaintiffs in the case, led quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, argued they were suffering harm as a result of a lockout that stops them from reporting to work.

Here’s some more analysis of the decision at USA Today. I realize that I’m one of the few sports fans here at Sky Dancing, so I won’t burden you unduly. But I just want to say that the Red Sox have won five games in a row and are now only one game under .500–after starting the season with a string of pathetic losses. I know at least Pat Johnson will join me in cheering that news.

Daknikat wrote yesterday about the terrible flooding that was expected in Missouri. Well, it’s happening.

Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard on Monday in response to the flooding of the Black River near Poplar Bluff, Mo. The executive order came just three days after the governor declared a state of emergency from the tornado that tore through St. Louis last Friday.

“Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner has mobilized 200 citizen soldiers and airmen to report initially to the Poplar Bluff area to assist with flood relief there,” said Maj. Tammy Spicer, public affairs officer for the Missouri National Guard.

More from the Houston Chronicle: Residents flee as river overflows Missouri levee.

Thunder roared and tornado warning sirens blared, and all emergency workers in the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff could do Monday was hope the saturated levee holding back the Black River would survive yet another downpour.

Murky water flowed over the levee at more than three dozen spots and crept toward homes in the flood plain. Some had already flooded. If the levee broke — and forecasters said it was in imminent danger of doing so — some 7,000 residents in and around Poplar Bluff would be displaced.

One thousand homes were evacuated earlier in the day. Sandbagging wasn’t an option, Police Chief Danny Whitely said. There were too many trouble spots, and it was too dangerous to put people on the levee. Police went door-to-door encouraging people to get out. Some scurried to collect belongings, others chose to stay. Two men had to be rescued by boat.

“Basically all we can do now is wait, just wait,” Whitely said.

A Roosevelt would probably have created jobs by having people repair the nation’s rotting infrastructure. But, instead we got Barack “Hoover” Obama and the levees keep on failing.

Things are getting worse and worse in Syria, where there has been a brutal crackdown on protesters over the past several days. From CNN: Deadly attack on protesters raises questions about Syria’s stability

With reports emerging Monday that at least one high-ranking Syrian military commander refused to participate in a bloody, predawn raid that left dozens dead in the southern border city of Daraa — the heart of Syria’s weekslong civil unrest, questions are being raised about possible cracks in President Bashar al-Assad’s hold over the military.

The crackdown on anti-government protesters by Syrian forces escalated in recent days as demonstrators, emboldened by weeks of protests, called for the ouster of al-Assad. The crackdown culminated with the raid in Daraa where thousands of troops reportedly stormed the city and opened fire on demonstrators. It was an attack reminiscent of the brutal rule of al-Assad’s father, who once ordered the military to crush a revolt that resulted in the deaths of thousands.

“I think he’s clearly going toward the security solution, which is where he could be following in the steps of his father,” said Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

I’ve been hearing all day that Yemen’s president Saleh was renigging on his promise to step down soon, but Al Jazeera reports that there is an agreement between the government and opposition forces.

Yemen’s opposition has agreed to take part in a transitional government under a Gulf-negotiated peace plan for embattled leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to step aside in a month in exchange for immunity for him and his family.

A spokesman for an opposition coalition said on Monday that his group had received assurances in order to accept the deal.

“We have given our final accord to the [Gulf] initiative after having received assurances from our brothers and American and European friends on our objections to certain clauses in the plan,” Mohammed Qahtan said.

But not all protesters are going along.

many pro-democracy protesters, who are not members of the coalition that agreed to the peace talks, appear to be unconvinced by the Gulf-proposed deal and have called for fresh demonstrations, as security forces continued their crackdown.

In Libya, the fighting continues to be centered in the city of Misurata.

The battle for Misurata, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past two months, has become the focal point of the armed rebellion against Gaddafi since fighting elsewhere is deadlocked.

Images of civilians being killed and wounded by Gaddafi’s heavy weapons, have spurred calls for more forceful international intervention to stop the bloodshed.

NATO’s mandate from the UN is to try to protect civilians in Libya, split into a rebel-run east and a western area that remains largely under Gaddafi’s control.

While the international coalition’s air attacks have delivered heavy blows to his army, they have not halted attacks on Misurata, Libya’s third largest city, with a population of 300,000.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by insects. I loved to read books about ants, spiders, and other such creepy-crawly critters. Truthfully, I still find them interesting. Here’s a story about fire ants and how they cooperate to protect the group in an emergency.

When flood waters threaten their underground nests, fire ants order an immediate evacuation. They make their way to the surface and grab hold of one another, making a living raft that can sail for months.

The extraordinary survival tactic, which can involve entire colonies of more than a hundred thousand ants, has been captured on film by US engineers who used the footage to help unravel how the insects co-operate to overcome nature’s dangers.

Time-lapse film of the ants in action reveals that pockets of air get trapped between them and around their bodies, helping them breathe if the raft is pushed under the water.

In normal circumstances the ants lock legs, and sometimes mandibles, to form a floating mat that sits on top of the water through a combination of surface tension and buoyancy.

“Even the ones at the bottom remain dry and able to breath because they are not actually under the water,” said Nathan Mlot, a PhD student at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

If only we humans would get together and cooperate like that!

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

26 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. madamab says:

    Ha! I knew Trump was full of sh*t about the BC. No, he is not the one to uncover the “truth” about Obama. Clearly he is involved with a lot of Democratic operatives, including “Rahmbo.” No Dem is going to blow the whistle on Obama’s bogus narrative, and Trump won’t do it either. “Missing,” my butt!

    Maybe WikiLeaks should take a crack at researching Obie “WTF” Kenobi’s life story. They seem to be the only group who can find anything out these days.

    BTW, that quote from Carter is telling. I remember him being like that – thinking he didn’t have to sell his agenda because the American people would be smart enough to know he was right. 🙄

    However, I don’t see Obama being like that AT ALL. Carter took definite stands and actions meant to bring about concrete goals. Does anyone else think Obama does that?

    Obama is a bad man who does bad things. Carter was a good man who didn’t get how to speak to the American people. There is a big difference between the two, IMO.

    • Branjor says:

      Maybe WikiLeaks should take a crack at researching Obie “WTF” Kenobi’s life story. They seem to be the only group who can find anything out these days.

      But do they have the inclination to go after Obama? If I recall correctly, Assange said that *Hillary* should resign.

    • bostonboomer says:


      You’re right, Carter did seem to have a few core values. Obama doesn’t. But he does have that same “above it all” attitude that Carter had.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Eric Alterman’s comparison of Carter to Obama is telling with one slight difference: Obama will be re elected judging from the candidates already declaring from the GOP so far. A twist of fate that allows Obama to sleep well at night. What a sorry excuse for a leader.

    And like you bb, the Sox are on a roll!

    For those of us in the Red Sox nation who live and die by their losses and victories, I am breathing a sigh of relief. Go Sox!

    • Pilgrim says:

      There’s a little caveat tucked into your prediction about Obama being re-elected. It is, in your words, based on the GOP candidates declaring…..”so far”

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Because any candidate, declared or otherwise, is going to have to “genuflect” this time out to the Tea Party. No other way around it if that person wants support.

        No moderate GOP candidate can hope to make that leap this time around.

        A moderate GOP candidate, if there is any such animal left in that party, will wait it out until after 2012 because that race will be a deciding factor for the nation at large: whether the Tea Party finally reaches its demise or whether is climbs to further ascent will be decided by the voters who have had to sit back and watch this group attack programs and policies that go after the lower and middle class with a vengence.

        This will be the watershed moment to determine if we are to be led by radicals which will be the deciding factor to those in the GOP who come forth with reasonable resolve rather than surgical procedures.

      • Pilgrim says:

        Although I mustn’t be dogmatic, I am willing to leave my mind’s door ajar, open to the possibility that future months may yet unfold in ways not now expected.

        One reads that Republicans are not happy with the “so far” candidates.

        I believe that there are many reasonable Republicans. One hopes that they could become engaged and be dispositive.

        Sometimes mass insanity seems to hold sway for a time, and sometimes under-currents shift and cause a change in the general consciousness.

        Might such a phenomenon come soon and correct some of the present silliness? Who knows. Not I. But I keep the door of my mind ajar and wait to see what time will bring.

  3. Delphyne says:

    And like the Bronx Zoo Cobra tweeting her adventures out on the town, the Long Form Birth Cert is now tweeting:


  4. Peggy Sue says:

    I do wonder what exactly Donald Trump is up to. At first, I really thought this was a publicity stunt. Now, I’m not so sure. But the Donald’s sudden turn to all things Right Wing doesn’t pass the smell test, and the birther issue is expanding to records, records, records. Trump is now saying Obama in no way had the grades to make the Ivy League. And, of course, these are just more records/transcripts never released. I wouldn’t be surprised if the question of passport[s] doesn’t come up. But Trump as a solid, I’ve-seen-the-Glory Republican? I don’t buy it.

    What I do buy is that his maybe, maybe-not run for the WH is shining a harsh light on our whole electoral process. You might think The Donald was threatening Democracy itself the way the pundits and political class is going on. If he’s such a clown why waste time and headlines trying to destroy him? I rather like watching the political elites from both sides sputter and spit over the possibility of a Trump presidency.

    But Trump himself? He’s up to something.

    As for the news on Haley Barbour? The man made the right choice. Last night, I listened to a rep from Florida’s Whig Party on John Smart’s blogradio show. Yes, there is a Whig party! I easily checked that off as ‘not an alternative.’ Entertaining at least. As one responder [tamerlane] replied to the question: What is a Whig?

    ‘a libertarian with farty old religion added in.’

    The beat goes on!

  5. Delphyne says:

    Today is also the 25th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl. I found this video on FB, posted by The Nobel Women’s Initiative, to be compelling and so very, very sad:

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    OMG..have you seen this??????

  7. madaha says:

    I was incredibly disturbed to read this:

    seems to me like they’ll target people unfairly with these extra requirements, and it will only promote inequality, and much much worse. 😦

    • bostonboomer says:

      WTF?! Are they going to try to keep us from expatriating? Why not just put up an “iron curtain?”

      • madaha says:

        well, there is that fence along the southern border…..which can be used to keep us in too!

        I just put in to renew my passport – I hope it comes through! I’m going to try to teach english overseas or something, and get the hell outta here.

      • The form reads like a method to deny someone a passport when the gov’t can’t (or won’t) state an explicit reason to do so. Obviously it’s wide open for all kinds of abuse. The form even apparently asks for contact info of all witnesses of your birth. Strange sort of request from an Administration that would like us to sympathize with the president because his xenophobic detractors don’t even believe he is a natural born US citizen.

  8. Delphyne says:

    One of the comments in the article linked to the State Dept website and said this:

    I hate to interrupt such a lovely sequence of senseless ranting, but the form in question is meant *only* for people who don’t have *any* of the following documents: an existing passport; a certified birth certificate; Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth; Naturalization Certificate; or Certificate of Citizenship. This means 99.99% of applicants will not need to fill this out… and the form makes life a little easier for the remaining 0.01% who currently have to battle with this:


    Primary evidence is here:


    • madamab says:

      Yes, I thought it was something like that.

      There is a lot of “ZOMG! Hillary is teh eeeevil!” stuff starting to come out from certain sources. I think a little judicious application of disbelief is in order in all of these cases.

      • madaha says:

        the possibility for abuse is still there. And is Hillary in charge of this kind of paperwork for citizens, or foreign policy? It didn’t even occur to me that she would have anything to do with this – this is “homeland security”=citizen repression nonsense.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Ezra Klein breaks the news three years too late:

    Obama revealed: A moderate Republican

    Oh, and we were saying that all along

    • madamab says:

      And yet, Ezra thinks this is a GOOD THING because “moderate Republican” policies have been “wildly successful.”

      There is no one more willfully stupid than a mainstream “progressive.”

    • Peggy Sue says:

      These people were never Democrats, not in the traditional FDR style. I’ve come to the conclusion that neo-libs and neo-cons are basically the same frightful animal. Maybe I was a little late catching on, but both persuations mean ruination for the country and serfdom for all.

      Sorry but anyone who didn’t see Barack Obama for what he was and wasn’t in 2008 was either willfully blind or an absolute fool.

      • paper doll says:

        Sorry but anyone who didn’t see Barack Obama for what he was and wasn’t in 2008 was either willfully blind or an absolute fool.

        yup…and sometimes both!

  10. foxyladi14 says:

    60 so young.prayers for the family