Thursday Reads: This and That


Good Morning!!

This post is going to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that along with some eye candy for the classic film buffs out there–just because I’m feeling a little silly and mixed up today.

I haven’t been paying much attention to the situation in Egypt lately–except to notice out of the corner of my eye that it seems to be getting out of hand. Here are a few links on what’s happening now.

LA Times: Death toll in Egypt crackdown hits 525

CAIRO — The death toll in the violence that has engulfed Egypt climbed to 525 Thursday as the nation awoke to scenes of charred streets, battered cars, funerals and deepening divisions between Islamists and the largely secular military-backed government.

The Health Ministry reported that the dead, mostly supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, included at least 43 police officers. More than 3,700 people were also wounded in clashes that ignited Wednesday when security forces broke up two sit-ins by protesters loyal to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood claims at least 2,000 people were killed in street battles that swept the country. Many of the deaths occurred when riot police firing tear gas and automatic weapons stormed the six-week old Islamist rally outside the Rabaa al Adawiya mosque in Cairo.

The violence stunned world leaders, and Thursday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the U.N. Security Council move to condemn what he characterized as a massacre by Egyptian soldiers and security forces.

“I am calling on Western countries. You remained silent in Gaza, you remained silent in Syria. … You are still silent on Egypt. So how come you talk about democracy, freedom, global values and human rights?” he told a news conference.

The Daily Mail: Horrifying moment Egyptian protestors pushed an armoured police van 50ft off a bridge before officers were stoned by mob

The van plunged off the 6th October Bridge before demonstrators attacked the wreckage yesterday. It is not known how many people were on board and how many people survived the fall, but bloodied men were seen lying around the van moments afterwards. Unconfirmed reports on Twitter claimed five were dead.

The dramatic pictures show the van being ambushed by dozens of people before crashing through a protective fence on the bridge. It then falls upside down and then rolls onto its roof as it lands. Blood can then be seen on the ground as nearby police officers pull injured men out of the crushed vehicle.

See photos at the the link.

erroll flynn book

There is a lot of criticism of the Obama administration’s handing (or non-handling) of the situation. Some samples:

Slate: Lost In Egypt

The bloody crackdown began early Wednesday morning, as Egyptian riot police and plainclothes officers began their assault on the thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members who defied the government’s warnings to end their protests in support of the ousted former president, Mohamed Morsi. Security forces showed no restraint as they stormed the two massive sit-ins: Bulldozers cleared makeshift barriers, while snipers took aim at protesters and plumes of tear gas engulfed the streets. Hospitals were quickly overrun with the dead and wounded, and eyewitness reports described hallways slick with blood and lines of corpses with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, and chest. By the end of the siege, nearly 300 people were reported dead—including women and children—and it’s likely the death toll will climb higher.

It being August, the duty of offering the Obama administration’s first reaction to the Egyptian regime’s brutal attack fell to deputy press secretary Josh Earnest. The White House condemned the violence (as if it were being committed equally by both sides), asked that the military and security forces show restraint (while corpses were being counted), promised to hold the interim government accountable (as if the interim government were anything more than a fig leaf for the military), and suggested that an “inclusive process” would be best (that must not have occurred to the snipers as they reloaded their guns). In other words, it was the same talking points the administration has produced each time Egypt has erupted in a spasm of violence this summer. It is hard to imagine a more feckless response than the Obama administration’s approach to dealing with Egypt’s generals.

When asked whether the administration might want to revise its position on whether the July 3 ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president was a coup, Earnest replied, “It is not in the interests of the United States to make that determination.” That answer echoed State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s statement on July 26 that “we have determined legally that we do not need to make a determination.” In other words, we aren’t going to say and you can’t make us.

Erroll flynn reading

Business Insider: Obama Is Getting Shredded Over His Handling Of Egypt And Ongoing Support Of The Government

Both The Washington Post and The New York Times have printed scathing editorials that demand the U.S. suspend $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt after a military crackdown led to the deaths of more than 550 people, including two foreign journalists, on Wednesday.

From The Post:

“[T]he Obama administration is complicit in the new and horrifyingly bloody crackdown launched Wednesday by the de facto regime against tens of thousands of protesters who had camped out in two Cairo squares.”

“This refusal to take a firm stand against massive violations of human rights is as self-defeating for the United States as it is unconscionable.”

From The Times:

“President Obama must make clear his unequivocal opposition to the Egyptian military’s conduct. He can do so by immediately suspending military aid and canceling joint military exercises scheduled for September.”

“And if suspending a $1.3 billion subsidy does not do the trick, it will at least tell rank-and-file Egyptians that the United States is no longer underwriting repression.”

More examples at the link.

Things aren’t looking very good in Iraq either.

From Reuters: Baghdad bomb attacks kill at least 33

A series of car bombs in Baghdad killed at least 33 people and wounded more than 100 on Thursday, with one near the “Green Zone” diplomatic complex, fuelling a death toll that has soared since the beginning of the year to levels not seen since 2008.

Militant groups, including al Qaeda, have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government, raising fears of a return to full-blown sectarian conflict after U.S. troops withdrew 18 months ago.

Iraqi police sources said one bomb exploded just 200-300 meters (yards) outside Baghdad’s international zone, close to Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, killing four and wounding 12 people….

Since the start of the year, attacks using multiple car bombs have become an almost daily occurrence, killing scores of people in Iraq, including during a religious holiday last weekend when bombers targeted families celebrating outside.

Each of the past four months has each been deadlier than any in the previous five years, dating back to a time when U.S. and government troops were engaged in battles with militiamen.

Back in the USA, veteran newsman Jack Germond died yesterday at age 85. From The Baltimore Sun:

Jack W. Germond, the irascible, portly columnist and commentator who was a fixture on the American political scene for nearly 50 years, including nearly 20 of them in The Baltimore Sun’s Washington bureau, died Wednesday morning of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in Charles Town, W.Va. He was 85.

“Jack was a truly dedicated reporter and had an old-fashioned relationship with politicians. He liked them, but that did not prevent him from being critical when they did bad things and behaved badly. That was a trademark of Jack’s,” said Jules Witcover, his longtime writing partner.

“Jack enjoyed his life and work. He personified that,” said Ernest B. “Pat” Furgurson, former chief of The Sun’s Washington bureau. “He had a positive personality, but when he was bitching about something, and in that mood, he’d suddenly say, ‘Isn’t this a great job?'”

He used to be on TV a lot, and I always liked him. He was a real old-time journalist who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.


More news from our crumbling country: Republicans are still crazy.

Rand Paul: ‘I Don’t Think There Is Any Particular Evidence’ Of Black Voters Being Prevented From Voting (Think Progress)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a tea party senator with a long history of opposition to civil rights laws, told an audience in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday that there is no evidence of black voters being excluded from the franchise. According to local NPR host Phillip Bailey, Paul said that he does not believe “there is any particular evidence of polls barring African Americans from voting,” during aspeech to the non-partisan Louisville Forum.

If Paul is not aware of the evidence indicating widespread efforts to prevent African Americans from voting, then he must not be looking very hard. During the 2012 election, black and Hispanic voters waited nearly twice as long to cast a ballot as white voters. In Florida, lines of up to six hours led an estimated 201,000 people to become frustrated and leave the polls. These lines existed largely because of a voter suppression bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) which reduced early voting hours in the state. After the election, top Republicans admitted that the purpose of cutting early voting was to reduce Democratic turnout. One Republican operative conceded that early voting was cut on the Sunday proceeding Election Day because “that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.”

Meanwhile, voter ID laws are rampant in states led by conservatives, despite the fact that these laws cannot be justified by any legitimate purpose. Although their proponents routinely claim that an ID requirement is necessary to prevent voter fraud at the polls, such fraud barely exists. According to one study, just 0.0023 percent of votes are the product of in person voter fraud. Meanwhile, even conservative estimates suggest that 2 to 3 percent of legitimate voters will turn turned away by a voter ID law — and these voters are disproportionately African American.

And Texas Republicans are beyond the pale: Rep. Stockman invites Obama rodeo clown to perform in Texas.

A conservative Texas lawmaker is inviting a rodeo clown banned from the Missouri state fair to perform in the Lone Star State instead.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) says that the unidentified rodeo clown and his colleagues have been unfairly targeted by liberals “to create a climate of fear.” He invited them to come perform at a fair in his southeastern Texas district instead.

“Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in a statement issued by his office Wednesday. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between Texans value free and open political speech.  I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers.”

Missouri state and fair officials reacted swiftly over the weekend after a rodeo clown donned a mask of President Obama and asked people if they want to see the president “run down by a bull.”

The White House declined to comment on the disgusting display of racism and disrespect for the office of the President.

Hillary Clinton is getting job offers from academia, according to Politico.

Hillary Clinton is fielding offers from colleges and universities — including Harvard and her law school alma mater, Yale — to give her a formal academic role, a move that would give her a platform outside her family’s foundation….

The advantage to Clinton of an academic platform, beyond the scope of her policy interests, could be huge for someone considering a presidential run. It would provide her with a credible backdrop for speeches and events that would take her outside of a hotel ballroom or something sponsored by her family’s foundation or another outside group.

Hmmm…. I’m sure the Politico gang would much prefer to see Hillary in academia rather than the White House.

On the chance Clinton doesn’t run for president, academia would be a potential next act for her careerwise.

The schools have included the Harvard Kennedy School, Yale, New York University — where her daughter, Chelsea, has a title — and the Baruch College discussions, the sources said. One source indicated there are others as well who have approached Clinton about an academic partnership, going back to when she was still at Foggy Bottom.

Okay, there’s a mish-mash of news and “views” to give you a start on your Thursday. Now what stories are you interested in today? Please share your links in the comment thread.

30 Comments on “Thursday Reads: This and That”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    California Supreme Court rejects bid to revive Prop 8.

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to revive Proposition 8, ending the last remaining legal challenge to same-sex marriage in the state.

    Meeting in closed session, the state high court rejected arguments by ProtectMarriage, Proposition 8’s sponsors, that only an appellate court could overturn a statewide law.

    A federal judge in San Francisco declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010, and state officials refused to appeal. ProtectMarriage did appeal, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that initiative sponsors have no right to defend their measures in federal court. The decision left in place the ruling by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

    In its challenge before the state’s highest court, ProtectMarriage argued that a single judge lacked the authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment. The group also contended that Walker’s injunction applied to two counties at most and that state officials had overstepped their authority by ordering county clerks throughout California to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

    State officials countered that the challenge was a veiled attempt to persuade a state court to interfere with a federal judge’s order in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

    • peej says:

      “The more science discovers about how the universe works, the more regressive Republican thinking becomes. This trend is observable and repeatable.”

      Too true. What I find incredible about the religious extremism in this country is just that very fact – how more Medieval their thinking becomes. I’m not making that remark as a hyperbolic cut. I mean, literally, beliefs that can only be described as Pre-Modern – like demon possession, for instance. The kinds of irrational beliefs that, in the past, led to vindictive persecutions and witch hunts. The rule of law be damned when God’s law reigns supreme.

      • dakinikat says:

        The party has been taken over by the xtian fundamentalists. It’s the same mentality that’s in the muslim extremists. They’d be doing worse things–like bombing schools–if we didn’t live in a society with a huge criminal justice system. They’re having to work around the system by funneling money to their madrassas and out of public schools instead. Less obvious terrorism but terrorism all the same.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Totally with you on those thoughts. Both groups think life was better during biblical times. Too bad there isn’t a time machine that we could use to send them back to those “better” times. Of course, the 1st thing they’d miss are their guns & bombs.

    • Geez, I don’t know how much more of this shit I can take BB. I am really getting the feeling like I am swimming in a vat of bullshit that is drowning my spirit.

  2. Fannie says:

    Peej – I wanted to let you know if found a little happiness in calling the lady that I had shouting match with the day before…………….just to let you know there is HOPE.

    • peej says:

      Fannie! Wonderful! Yes, there is hope! I hope your conversation went well, and I hope she was receptive to your point of view. Were you able to discuss your concern for respect for the presidential office?

      You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the inappropriate extent to which the President’s critics have gone, and I have to say I’ve never seen anything like it. To some degree all politicians are open to legitimate criticism and even political satire, but what has occurred with Barack Obama (and I’d include Michelle too) isn’t legitimate criticism or political satire. I don’t agree with all of Obama’s economic approach, but I have to say he and the First Lady have weathered the horrid treatment they’ve received with remarkable grace and dignity. I really do believe that history will not look fondly on those who have behaved like uncivilized beasts, but Barack and Michelle Obama, regardless of how much one agrees with them politically, will be viewed favorably. They will be regarded as paragons of integrity.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Robert Reich
    In response to my post a few days ago, asking you whether you worried about the loss of Main Streets and bookstores, the decline of good jobs with good wages, and sweatshop labor — and whether you nonetheless bought stuff through Walmart or Amazon, sought discount flights, and got the lowest-priced deals you could find regardless of where the goods came from or how they were made:

    Some of you said you had no choice but to shop for the lowest price because you had to stretch your dollars. You just didn’t make enough money to be “socially responsible.” That’s understandable. Workers are consumers, and people trapped in low-wage jobs can’t be expected to promote, through their purchases, an economy offering higher living standards than they themselves experience. And that’s precisely the problem. More and more Americans are falling into that same trap, competing over a smaller and smaller share a total economy whose largest shares are going to an ever-smaller number.

    Which is why consumers can’t possibly do this alone. And why we need a political movement to reverse these trends — including, at the least, these ten essential steps: (1) a living wage and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit, (2) an exemption on the first $15K of income from Social Security taxes and elimination of the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes, (3) a new WPA and CCC, and major infrastructure investments, to put the long-term unemployed back to work, (4) early childhood education for all, high-quality K-12 for all, and access to affordable higher education, (5) a single-payer healthcare system, (6) an easy way to form unions through simple up-or-down votes at the workplace, (7) a higher marginal income tax on top earners, more tax brackets at the top, a wealth tax, and a tax on financial transactions; (8) a resurrection of Glass-Steagall and a cap on the size of the biggest Wall Street banks, (9) a ban on gerrymandered districts, voter-suppression laws, and other means of blocking the majority’s will, and (10) reversal of “Citizen’s United” (by constitutional amendment if necessary), strict campaign-finance limits, public financing of elections, a resurrected “fairness doctrine” for the media, and stricter limits on the “revolving door” between government and industry or Wall Street.

    We can do all of this. Just look at what the Progressives accomplished between 1901 and 1916, or the New Dealers between 1933 and 1941, or the proponents of the Great Society in the 1960s. (If you don’t think reforms like this are possible, you’re part of the problem.)

    From RR’s facebook page

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Joan Walsh: Obama’s fumbling comments fuel controversy over Fed pick — Rushing to defend Larry Summers while ignoring slurs against Yellen isn’t doing either candidate a favor

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Bradley Manning supervisor ‘ignored photo of soldier dressed as woman’

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    bb, I hope you won’t be offended but my favorite part of your post are all of the Erroll Flynn photos. I never missed any of his films when they were on tv when I was a kid. I so love Robin Hood.

    • peej says:

      Errol Flynn is one of my favorites too, ecocat. Robin Hood is among my all time favorites. I also love Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains. Loved Olivia de Havilland’s costuming as well.

      • Beata says:

        I also love Errol Flynn. And I don’t think Claude Rains ever gave a bad performance in any of his many films. I saw him again in “Now Voyager” on TCM this week. One of my favorite films of all time.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Basil Rathbone, the ultimate Sherlock Holmes until recently. Is anyone watching Sherlock on PBS? For me, this is the best adaptation since Rathbone’s portrayal. Both of the actors who play Sherlock & Dr. Watson are superb – Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman (Bilbo in the Hobbit).

        I rarely like the villains and Claude Raines was the consummate villain in 30s & 40s films. He was, along with Cary Grant & the glorious Ingrid Bergman, wonderful in Notorious. I don’t think there has ever been an actor as versatile and convincing as Cary Grant. He could be devious, villainous, oh so charming and laugh out loud funny (Bringing Up Baby anyone?).

        • Beata says:

          I agree about Cary Grant. Extremely versatile. He made it all look effortless. He was so funny in ( among other films ): “The Philadelphia Story”, “The Awful Truth” and that hilarious shower scene in “Charade”. Easy on the eyes, too.

        • You should take a look at this video on Notorious:

    • bostonboomer says:

      Not at all. I was hoping you’d like them!

    • Yeah, the Flynn pics were my favorite too.

  7. RalphB says:

    Heh no kidding!

    High Noon for CrazyPants?

    Patrick B. Pexton, former Washington Post ombudsman, has one piece of advice for new owner Jeff Bezos: fire Jennifer Rubin. In a briskly indisputable judgment he says “She’s just plain bad. She doesn’t travel within a hundred miles of Post standards.”

  8. RalphB says:

    Thank goodness that academia and politics are not mutually exclusive for Hillary. Would make a great post to run from for her.

  9. RalphB says:

    TBOTP: Bush daughter: Hillary Clinton should run

    President George W. Bush’s daughter Barbara said she would like to see Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016.

    Barbara Bush, 31, called Clinton “unbelievably accomplished” in an upcoming interview with People magazine, saying she wants to see the former first lady mount a campaign.

    Bush’s comments came up during an interview primarily about her work as the CEO of the nonprofit Global Health Corps, through which she works with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

    “We want results. We work with people doing great work,” she said of the partnerships.