Wednesday Reads: OBL, Twisters and Homeless Kids


Good morning! I am very happy …I am writing this post on my new laptop. Thanks again for this gift, buying a new laptop is something that was completely and utterly impossible for me to do on my own.

Starting Monday next week I will begin posting Evening Reads, every weekday (Monday-Friday) at 6 PM EST. They will be something like our Morning Reads, sort of a quick round-up of news links and commentary that have happened during the day while many readers were at work. You can come to Sky Dancing and get your newsy fix every morning with our Morning Reads.  Then get caught up on the day’s news every evening Monday through Friday with our Evening Reads.

So, let’s get to this morning’s round-up.

With OBL taking up most of the headlines, I thought I would post this link from MoJo.  It has done the work for us…Bin Laden Reading Guide: How to Cut Through the Coverage | Mother Jones

Elsewhere in Mother Jones, David Corn analyzes the political gamble Obama took in authorizing the attack, Dave Gilson breaks down the numbers behind the most expensive manhunt in history, and Josh Harkinson rounds up ten ways the right is spinning bin Laden’s death. Adam Weinstein reports on the reactions of bin Laden’s supporters as well as active-duty soldiers, Stephanie Mencimer checks in on the tea party, and Mike Mechanic pulls together a slideshow of major daily front pages.

The death of Osama bin Laden has sent news organizations scrambling for details on how it happened, where it happened, and what it all means. We’ve rounded up some of the best coverage, being careful to note what’s been said, what’s already being disputed, and what still remains to be seen.

So if you want a pretty good summary of what the media has been reporting about OBL, then click that link above for the rest of the MoJo article.

Pannetta is making the rounds, and here are some of his comments and statements.

From Taylor Marsh – – News, Opinion and Weblog on Progressive Politics

The White House has done an edit on their original story due to “fresh” information, saying Osama bin Laden’s wife wasn’t killed, but also that he wasn’t armed, even though he “resisted.” As Jay Carney said today, “resistance does not require a firearm.”

CIA Director Panetta’s first interview was with PBS News Hour, with Jim Lehrer.

Panetta: President Obama Couldn’t See Bin Laden’s Death, but Received ‘Geronimo’ Signal | The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour | PBS

In a newsmaker interview with Jim Lehrer on Tuesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta describes the final tense seconds of the commando raid on the compound housing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan — and the culmination of a nearly 10-year manhunt.

Panetta told Lehrer neither he nor President Obama watched the actual shooting of bin Laden as it happened. Panetta spoke from CIA headquarters about the military intelligence operation that led to the al Qaeda leader’s death.

“Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. There were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally Adm. [William] McRaven came back and said he had picked up the word ‘Geronimo,’ which was the code word that represented they got bin Laden,” he said.

When Lehrer asked if bin Laden said anything to the commandos, Panetta said: “To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything.”

Lehrer also asked about the uncertainty surrounding whether bin Laden was actually in the compound and whether he fired back at the Navy SEALS.

What do you think of this statement: Panetta said: “To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything.”

So he did not have any weapons….and he did not have time to say anything…hum? But he resisted? Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is gone. (Really glad.) However, the latest revisions of the raid are a bit concerning to me.

There are a lot of questions about if this raid was “legal”  and this article from Der Spiegel ask some important questions.

Justice, American Style: Was Bin Laden’s Killing Legal? – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

Americans are celebrating, but there are serious doubts about whether the targeted killing was legal under international law and the laws of war.

US President Barack Obama gets precious few opportunities to announce a victory. So it’s no wonder he chose grand words on Sunday night as the TV crews’ spotlights shone upon him and he informed the nation about the deadly strike against Osama bin Laden. “Justice has been done,” he said.

It may be that this sentence comes back to haunt him in the years to come. What is just about killing a feared terrorist in his home in the middle of Pakistan? For the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and for patriotic Americans who saw their grand nation challenged by a band of criminals, the answer might be simple. But international law experts, who have been grappling with the question of the legal status of the US-led war on terror for years, find Obama’s pithy words on Sunday night more problematic.

Please read the entire article and let me know what you think about it in the comments…

Here is some reaction to OBL’s death from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Sticks With Bin Laden – Eric Trager – International – The Atlantic

Most of yesterday’s headlines proclaiming the death of Osama bin Laden used epithets like “terror mastermind” or “bastard” to refer to the internationally feared mass murderer. (That latter headline is from the New York Post.) But in its first public statement on the killing of bin Laden, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood used the honorific term “sheikh” to refer to the al-Qaeda leader. It also accused Western governments of linking Islam and terrorism, and defended “resistance” against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as “legitimate.”

Osama Bin Laden

The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to bin Laden’s death may finally end the mythology — espoused frequently in the U.S. — that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power. This is, after all, precisely how Muslim Brothers describe their creed — “moderate,” as opposed to al-Qaeda, which is radical. “Moderate Islam means not using violence, denouncing terrorism, and not working with jihadists,” said Muslim Brotherhood youth activist Khaled Hamza, for whom the organization’s embrace of “moderate Islam” was the primary reason he joined.


Now in their most recent statement on the death of bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood has gone a step further. “The whole world, and especially the Muslims, have lived with a fierce media campaign to brand Islam as terrorism and describe the Muslims as violent by blaming the September 11th incident on al-Qaeda.” It then notes that “Sheikh Osama bin Laden” was assassinated alongside “a woman and one of his sons and with a number of his companions,” going on to issue a rejection of violence and assassinations. It goes on to ominously declare that the Muslim Brotherhood supports “legitimate resistance against foreign occupation for any country, which is the legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and international agreements,” and demands that the U.S., the European Union, and NATO quickly “end the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” It closes by demanding that the U.S. “stop its intelligence operations against those who differ with it, and cease its interference in the internal affairs of any Arab or Muslim country.”

I already question the Muslim Brotherhood’s representation of women…or should I say lack of representation of women. What do you think about this public statement? Here is Juan Cole’s comment about it:

The Muslim World Sounds off on Bin Laden’s Demise | Informed Comment

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said that Bin Laden was not representative of Islam and they condemned his methods. On the other hand, they objected to his having been killed rather than captured for trial.

Both the Brotherhood and Iran said that with Bin Laden’s death, the US had no reason to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan and should withdraw. The Iranian Shiite regime despises al-Qaeda, and the feeling is mutual, but is wary of the US military presence on either side of it.

Bin Laden’s passing is, then, an anti-climax. A nothing. Terrorism is just garbage, and produces nothing but garbage. It has mostly been taken out, with nothing but the stench hanging in the air. Most Muslims have moved on. So should Americans.

In fact, Americans should mark these days as an opportunity to recover our lost civil liberties.

Okay…I am moving on to other world news.  Syria, which has again violated it’s citizens human rights…Syria charges hundreds with degrading the state | Reuters

Hundreds of ordinary Syrians have been charged with “degrading the prestige of the state,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in President Bashar al-Assad’s drive to crush protests against his autocratic rule.

The charge, which carries a 3-year prison sentence, was lodged on Tuesday against hundreds of people detained in the last few days, particularly in the run-up to Friday prayers, which have seen increasingly large pro-democracy demonstrations.

“Mass arrests are continuing across Syria in another violation of human rights and international conventions,” said Observatory director Rami Abdelrahman.

Other rights organizations said many male detainees had been beaten severely in a campaign of arrests that included women, teenagers and the elderly but has failed to deter protesters’ appetite for reforms. Syria already has thousands of political prisoners.

 More killing in the Ivory Coast:   ‘Dozens killed’ in Ivory Coast clashes – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Dozens of people have reportedly been killed in the main city of Abidjan in fighting between Ivory Coast troops and the remnants of a militia loyal to deposed leader Laurent Gbagbo.

“We have seen many dead. We recovered 40 bodies over two hours, but we were forced to stop because he had no room left in our van,” said Franck Kodjo, an official at the International Committee of the Red Cross, adding at least five corpses were from Tuesday’s fighting.

A commander for the Ivorian army, known as the FRCI, said the remaining pro-Gbagbo fighters in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Yopougon were mostly Liberian mercenaries hired in the aftermath of the November election dispute.

“We are in the process of securing the town but there are heavy weapons,” the commander said. “We’re not the ones firing them, it is those we oppose, the Liberians,” he said.

According to the UN: Libyan refugee crisis worsening – Africa – Al Jazeera English

The UN has said that almost 40,000 people have fled fighting in Libya’s Western Mountains region in the past month.

Thousands of ethnic Berbers from Libya fled into Tunisia after a brief hiatus in their exodus last week because of fighting between Libyan government troops and opposition forces for control of a border crossing point.

“This past weekend, more than 8,000 people, most of them ethnic Berbers, arrived in Dehiba in southern Tunisia. Most are women and children,” a UNHCR spokesperson said on Tuesday.

UNHCR staff in Dehiba said the situation of the refugees was being made worse by a violent sandstorm that has battered the area, destroying hundreds of tents and two huge portable warehouses.

Here is some US news that may have gotten lost these past couple days.

Dakinikat sent me this link last night, the only thing I can say about it is this…those damn freakin’ PLUBs! Texas Legislature: If Planned Parenthood Sues We’ll Take Everyone’s Family Planning Money | RH Reality Check

The Texas legislature is quite literally holding poor women hostage in order to defund Planned Parenthood. The have now introduced a bill that will shut down the entirety of the state’s low income women’s health care and family planning program if Planned Parenthood or any other group that provides abortions sues and wins a ruling saying they should be a part of it.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Texas lawmakers inserted a poison bill into a women’s health program Tuesday in a move designed to ensure that groups like Planned Parenthood do not receive state funding.

Legislation that would renew a program to help poor women now has a provision that would shut it down immediately if a group that provides abortions files and wins a lawsuit to participate in the program. The Senate Health and Human Services approved the measure 5-1.

Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, said the move was necessary to make sure that no organization that provides abortions will receive any state money to provide any kind of health service.

“The legislature has clearly tried to cut off funding for these entities, only to have it restored by lawsuit,” Deuell said. “We do not want this to happen again … if abortion providers are able to sue and win — they have to win the suit — the program will cease to operate.”

Even better, almost all of the funding for the program that would be eliminated comes from the federal government, not the state. But they would rather toss it all out, and leave poor women without any health care, and especially birth control, if not doing so means Planned Parenthood might get a dollar of it.

The recent outbreak of tornadoes is officially in the record books. Deadly Tornado Outbreak Biggest in U.S. History – Truthdig

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service have reported that the spate of tornadoes that tore across the American South last week, killing hundreds of people and wrecking much of the region, was the largest in U.S. history. —ARK


The three-day period from 25-28 April saw 362 tornadoes strike, including some 312 in a single 24-hour period.

The previous record was 148 in two days in April 1974.

The tornadoes and the storm system that spawned them killed at least 350 people in Alabama and six other states. It was the deadliest outbreak since 1936.

Can you believe that…312 tornadoes in a single 24 hour period. Wow.  My dad found some ripped up tar paper around our house this week, and no one is getting a new roof around here.  He is convinced it is debris from the tornadoes that hit Northwest and Northeast Georgia.

This next link reminded me of all the funerals after September 11th…I cannot even imagine what these communities are going through. After deadly twisters, towns cope with multiple funerals | Reuters

As state officials continue to count the dead, the recovery effort for friends and relatives must include the painful task of burying them. Nearly 350 people died in seven states last week, the second-highest recorded death toll from tornadoes in U.S. history.

Some people have insurance to cover funeral costs, while others have turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help, said Paul Rollins, Jr., a funeral director at Rollins Mortuary in Tuscaloosa.

This last link is something from a couple days ago. With all the hype over the bin Laden raid and death, and the fact that we still have a major problem with our economy, I thought it illustrated a point very well. Yglesias » Orlando Fact Of The Day

Michael Winerip in the NYT: “There are 2,953 homeless students attending Orange County Public Schools, up from 1,463 in 2008.”

A reminder that you don’t win the future by allowing sky-high unemployment to persist for years.

So what are you reading today?

38 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: OBL, Twisters and Homeless Kids”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I’m so glad you got your computer, Minx!

  2. freespirit says:

    Thank you for mentioning the twisters. Between the Royal Wedding and the killing of Osama, there has not been a great deal of coverage of the devastation in the Deep South. Many communities have been affected – loss of lives and property. Both the good and the bad in humanity have been revealed, as is always the case when disaster strikes. Many people are sacrificing of their time, possessions, and finances to help their fellow Americans in need, while others are taking advantage of the tragedy, looting and stealing from those who are unable to protect what’s left of their homes and property.

    The tornadoes left much human suffering and devastation – and now, in many areas, rivers are flooding, presenting additional challenges. The hits just keep on comin’

    Just wanted to say thanks for mentioning the disasters.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Press Storm had a request for money for baby formula, but no link to donate? I was sent a PayPal link but no recipient?

      Does anyone have the link for the baby formula, in the tornado hit areas? Also, I think the death toll is going to be higher as some people at risk still hadn’t made contact with First Responders.

      Sending positive thoughts to them and hoping they get what they need.

    • Fannie says:

      Hey freespirit, it is forecast to be the worst flooding since they have kept records.

      Several of my families have been affected but no lost of lives.

      Hope all is well with you.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I am there with you Freespirit…the MSM dropped the tornado stories to cover an elite royal wedding.

  3. okasha says:

    Every Tuesday, I have dinner with a group of women friends. These are educated women, most with advanced degrees, and all but one politically well left of center. Last night we talked quite a bit about bin Laden.

    Not one of the group believes he’s really dead. It’s not that a raid to kill him is implausible. It’s the contradictory versions coming out of official sources–his wife identified the body; no, she was killed when he used her as a human shield; no, she’s alive–and the purported disposal of the body in the sea.

    • Branjor says:

      I fear we’ll never know the truth. But if the whole thing was staged, why the conflicting versions? Wouldn’t they have had their story all set and ready to go beforehand?

      • okasha says:

        Not saying the whole thing was staged–only that there is disbelief that Osama was killed.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t doubt that he was killed, but I’m troubled by the many conflicting stories and I don’t understand why the body wasn’t kept for autopsy.

      • okasha says:

        Whatever the truth may be, expect doubts to flare up big time now that Obama has refused to release photographic documentation. This is stupid.

    • paper doll says:

      Not saying the whole thing was staged–only that there is disbelief that Osama was killed.

      With good reason…what is so hard about sticking to one story line? Something radical like…. the truth ? Police 101 : a changing story makes you a suspect

    • madaha says:

      I do believe he’s dead, but there is a lot weird about this. Jon Stewart last night poked fun at Pakistan for not knowing where OBL was, when it was so obvious, but my thought was: if it was that obvious, then WE had to have known all along! Our CIA isn’t that obtuse. I’m even wondering if we let him get away on purpose (to prolong the wars?) at Tora Bora, and even helped to shelter him. Why did we go in to kill him now? And why was capture and trial never EVEN on the table? (I remember that being the case 10 years ago). To me it seems that OBL had information we couldn’t allow to come out, so trial could not be an option. It’s all very very shady. I do believe he was stormed and killed, but why now? And what backroom deals were there, with the Saudis and Pakistanis? And it was clearly illegal to shoot an unarmed man, which now comes out was the case.

      • madaha says:

        oh, and I’ll rejoice when the wars are over. Not because some defunct old man was killed.

      • madaha says:

        oh and remember when Bush scandalously said how OBL just wasn’t on his list of priorities?

        To me that’s a dead giveaway – one of his Freudian slip/accidental admissions.

      • madaha says:

        basically I think that that the Afghan war has been very very profitable for *certain* people, and now that it’s not, and we’re bleeding $$ like crazy, we need an excuse to bring it to an end (which I’m glad of). But I think we’ve been sheltering and using OBL all along, and simply stated, he’s no longer of use to us. And he must be killed, rather than tried and brought to justice, because he would “talk”. OBL was an excuse for us to invade 2 sovereign countries, so he would not have been of use to us to capture right away. (Even though we knew where he was from the beginning)

  4. mjames says:

    Your new laptop works beautifully. I’m so happy for you.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Here’s an interesting story:

    Daughter, 12, saw killing of unarmed bin Laden

    OSAMA bin Laden was unarmed and with members of his family – including his 12-year-old daughter – when he was shot dead by US special forces on Monday, according to new details that emerged yesterday.

    The daughter has claimed that she watched as her father was captured alive and shot before being dragged to a US military helicopter, Arabic news network al-Arabiya quoted Pakistani officials as saying.

    Al-Arabiya quoted security sources saying bin Laden family members – including six children, one of his wives and a Yemeni woman who may be their personal doctor – had been taken to hospital in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.

    • fiscalliberal says:

      I wonder if Al Jesera and international media will be able to interview the people who survived. I would presume they are under Pakistani control.

    • Fannie says:

      Wait a minute, while watching the Navy seals production tape on tv, you see that OBL is wheeled away on a gurney to the helicopter, and is not shown as being dragged.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Do you have a link to that tape? I haven’t seen it.

      • Fannie says:

        Actually that was an animation done on CNN, where someone recreates what events took place, and may not include factual events. I recall seeing the helicopters, then the soldiers decend on the building, going from flight of rooms and you see the lights (firing of weapons) in room………then the rapid movement of soldiers wheeling OBL on a gurney to the helicopter. I don’t know if this animation was done by CNN or Navy Seals or whoever, but is being replayed over and over by CNN.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Here’s another article at

      The daughter says her father was executed after being taken alive. That’s certainly problematic.

      No arms or explosives were found in the house and no shots were fired at American forces, according to Pakistanis.

      bin Laden’s son was either injured or killed and was the only other person/body taken in the helicopter. Why don’t we know what happened to him or his body?

  6. dakinikat says:

    This is cute. Good to see all the girls doing PE.

  7. joanelle says:

    Yay – for you and your new laptop!

  8. jawbone says:

    So glad you have a new PC, Minx — and I’m still in awe of what you managed to do without ready access to the famiy PC! My hat’s off to you (were I wearing one).

  9. jawbone says:

    Today Show segment on parenting discussed how to talk to children about the killing of OBL.

    It includes a lesson on how to teach acceptance of extra judicial killings.

    Question from mother of 3 girls, oldest 12, who asked their mother why OBL had not been taken to jail “where all the bad people go.”

    Psychiatrist(?) said it was tricky because we’re taught that’s how the justice system works in this country, but parents can tell children that:

    “While this guy was alive, people were frightened of what he could do next no matter where he was, so the people who are in charge of the safety of this nation made a decision that he couldn’t be alive.” (Rush transcription mine)

    Teach your children well….. And they will learn this lesson.