Moments of Lucidity, Working the SEO and a Weekend Filled with “Fear and Darkness” …Oh Yeah, this is an open thread too.

c1407bb0d326d9cc7b36793cbec25dabGood Evening!

Hey, how is everyone doing?

Hope you will bear with me a few paragraphs while I ramble on a little, with a quick observation and story before I get to the few links I have for you tonight.

Y’all know that I was recently put on Topamax for my epilepsy…and as a bonus, it would help my debilitating migraines. I’ve mentioned the dopamax effect it has had on me, and you have probably noticed the other side effect, shall we say dopamax induced blogging Tourette syndrome.

My mom was the one who pointed it out to me last week. While reading one of my posts she said out loud, “JJ, what a foul mouth you have.” Of course, her bit of criticism surprised me, considering that the woman knows every other word out of my mouth is damn, shit, asshole….well, you get the picture. But, what my mom was commenting on was that my posts of late have become more “colorful,” in that I was dropping shit bombs left and right. (Not only shit bombs, but several ass holes and even a few fuck wads.)

I think this is a side effect of the topamax. What I usually could control in my writing is now finding it’s way in uncontrollable outbursts…dopamax induced blog…shit…swear word…damn…Tourette syndrome….ass…ass…asshole fuck fest.

Wow, don’t know where that came from. (My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my comments…this is meant as a joke, to be taken in a humorous way and not intended to degrade or demean anyone who suffers from dopamax induced uncontrollable curse word blogging or Tourette Syndrome.)

Which leads me to this little story…here in the land of Banjoville, we have a bit of an ongoing scandal, what I call Cheergate.  It seems that a lot of the parents are pissed off that their girls did not make the competition cheerleading team. So, it was decided that a new open tryout will be held.  Obviously, this is not fair, and reeks of sour grapes and bullshit…so being the woman I am, I took it upon myself to call the powers that be and voice my opinion.

Now, since the dopamax makes me completely loopy, imagine my surprise when I had a few moments of lucidity and spoke in a coherent manner….even talking in words more than three syllables long. According to my mom, who was listening to most of my side of the conversation, I was impressive…sounding like a real professional, mentioning Georgia High School Sports Associations, Rules and Regulations and I have to say, whatever was said, it sure did shut the principal up…they had no response.  Of course, moments after I hung up the phone I couldn’t even remember what the hell I said. It was so bad that when I tried to explain to my daughter what happened, all I could get out was…”It had to do with lying and making something up, it begins with an f or an s and it has more than 2 syllables.”  Who the hell knows what word I was trying to tell her.

Well, now and then we all have our moments of clarity…even if they are just fleeting at that.

One more thing, a mention about the blog. Wow, we have had so many hits the past couple of weeks. It is quite something to see the numbers of people visiting our little blog that come from all over the world…Google is a strange and wondrous thing.  Kind of like the catch 22 you have with the SAG card in acting. You can’t get an acting gig without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without the acting gig. We got big notice with the Google gods a couple of weeks ago with Boston Boomer’s Too Good Looking post, and with that surge in hits and outside links…it makes getting those higher ranking search results a lot more frequent.

So, the reason I mention this is just to say hello to any new readers out there who do come back and give Sky Dancing another look, we are glad you are here! (And to our regular readers, y’all know that obviously goes without saying…)

Now…for the links.

Y’all may have missed this, it is magnificent!

Jon Stewart Tears Apart NRA’s False Choice Between Freedom And ‘Obama-Sponsored Government Mom Rape’ | Mediaite

Jon Stewart opened Monday night’s edition of The Daily Show by looking back at the weekend’s NRA convention and its not-so-singular focus on guns. With Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and others in attendance, Stewart realized, “this is the same lineup, with the same laundry list of conservative grievances, that we saw at CPAC a month and a half ago.”

Eventually the speakers did get to the primary issue of guns, with Glenn Beck going after President Obama for his “tactics of fear and darkness.” Stewart congratulated Beck for acknowledging that “fear mongering is wrong” before playing another clip of him saying, “the only difference between your mom and sister getting raped and then walking home unmolested is a gun.”

“At the heart of the NRA’s message,” Stewart said, is “don’t let liberals say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun control. Let us say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun-a-pa-looza!” But, of course, the NRA’s real mantra comes from executive Wayne LaPierre: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Based on Beck’s warnings against tyranny, the “government is the bad guy.” But based on LaPierre’s praise of the Boston police, “government is the good guy.” By the end of the segment, Stewart said he believes we all want the same thing: for “bad guys not to have guns.” While he and other Democrats want background checks, it appears some on the right want to “wait for a bad guy to draw and then draw faster.”

But if that’s the case, he said, “stop pretending that background checks are the last barrier standing between a free America and Obama-sponsored government mom rape.”

You have to go and see the clip…I know that I quoted most of the Mediate post, but seriously, Stewart just nails it…and that summary is just right.

There was also this from Ian Reifowitz: Gun Owners of America Is ‘Primarying’ the NRA From the Right

The NRA is even more extreme than it was just a few years ago. And that’s saying something. We’ve seen the shift in their rhetoric and in their policy positions. They just elected a new president, James Porter, who called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression,” who referred to Barack Obama as a “fake president,” and who believes that one of our highest priorities should be to train and arm all our citizens so that, when the time comes, they can “fight tyranny.”

Wow. Take a deep breath. Yes, the new NRA president is a far right-wing extremist whose rhetoric makes his predecessor, David Keene, look like a Rockefeller Republican.

That is no news to us of course,

There’s no one simple reason why the NRA has moved even further to the right in recent years. Certainly, the right wing overall has become more extreme and paranoid since the election (and reelection) of President Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has plenty of material on the most extreme among them.

But within the gun movement, we are seeing something very specific, something that has a parallel within Republican electoral politics as a whole. In the last few years, conservative — not moderate but conservative — Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and Robert Bennett of Utah were defeated in reelection bids by insurgents who have come at them from the right. This is exactly what is happening to the NRA.

I didn’t see much room to the right of the NRA. At least I figured that any group to their right would have to be so extreme as to be unable to achieve any kind of influence. Wow, was I wrong. Gun Owners of America, led by its executive director, Larry Pratt, has done exactly that. The New York Times gave them a large degree of “credit” for mobilizing conservative opposition to the recent gun control package on Capitol Hill.

And I don’t think the word “extremist” truly captures where Pratt stands. Pratt’s been fomenting hatred and paranoia about President Obama’s desire to create a private army, and claimed that the president was “definitely capable” of using that army to start a race war.

The things Pratt has said should have made him 100 percent persona non grata to any senator or congressman. That he and his organization were able to spearhead a lobbying campaign in the halls of Congress tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s tolerance of hateful, bigoted extremism.

Again nothing new there….

But this kind of extremism represents a real challenge to the NRA. If they don’t step up, they could lose credibility and eventually even leadership of the gun movement to a group like Gun Owners of America. GOA’s website prominently features a statement from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the gold standard for extremism among national politicians, praising it as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”

Notice who that praise is aimed at. The implication is that the NRA is a bunch of weak-kneed compromisers, squishy moderates. You want a real gun rights organization, then come over to the GOA.

There’s no formal primary, no election day where the NRA and the GOA are on competing ballot lines. But make no mistake that there is a competition. The NRA has a huge head start, and should have no trouble winning. But they aren’t taking any chances. The NRA won’t be out-crazied by anyone.

Uh…Okay then.

Hmmmm.

Personally, I think they are all batshit crazy fuck-faced asshole bastards with tiny dicks and even smaller brains! (Same goes for the women gun-nuts too…sans penises.)

Anyway, I will end this post with this cartoon…

NRA Takes a Turn to the Right – Political Cartoon by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. – 05/07/2013

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - NRA Takes a Turn to the Right

Y’all have a great evening, my daughter has a chorus concert tonight so I won’t be around until late.

This is an open thread.


Friday Reads

Good Morning!

Banksy encapsulates my feelings on Romney/Ryan; future hell realm beings

So, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks.  I will once again be live blogging the Rising Tide conference of New Orleans Bloggers next Saturday.  The topic is Oil on the Water and it promises to be a great one (Number 7).  This evening I will be a guest on Loisirslit.  This is a radio show dedicated to giving the community of New Orleans information on ways to improve literacy, arts and music.  Its purpose is to inspire citizens to become change agents for these things in New Orleans.  I will be talking about Sky Dancing Blog andabout my role as a New Orleans Blogger at our little corner of the blogosphere.  I’m really excited about both of these projects and their role in shaping the city and its culture.   I’ve always believed that activism begins in the place where you have the most to lose. I will be bringing several people with me to the show.  The first is a representative from Rising Tide.  The second is my friend Otter who runs the Backyard Ballroom.  You may remember my adventures in playing the music for her play “Bourbon Street” a few years ago.  I’m hoping to get some tape to share with you.  We’ll be discussing our hopes for a New Orleans Renaissance. The panel–of which I am one of several people–will discuss the response to Hurricane Issac, our badly defunded and crippled criminal ‘justice’ system, and the quest for a New Orleans Renaissance.  I’m really excited to bring our community here into the spotlight.

Well, some of us in New Orleans are trying to keep it real.  The Republican party remains in the la la land of lies and obfuscation.

The Republicans appear to have nothing left this campaign season but a stack of lies.  BB told me about John Kasich’s outrageous lies and misogyny yesterday.  Try this one on for size: John Kasich: Political Spouses Are At Home Doing Laundry.  Is this the HEY! Iron MY Shirt moment of this election?

Only, his wife is actually a career woman and very active in other things outside the home.  This is not the party of respect for women no matter what their calling.

“It’s not easy to be the spouse of an elected official,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said at a rally for Mitt Romney in Cincinnati on Wednesday. “You know, they’re at home doing the laundry and doing so many things while we’re up here on stage getting a little bit of applause.” His comment set off a flurry of outrage .

But few have pointed out that for many years of Kasich’s political career, his wife worked outside of the home.

According to a 2010 article in The Columbus Dispatch, for nearly twenty years, until around 2002, Karen Kasich worked in marketing and public relations, serving most notably as vice president of public relations at Gerbig, Snell and Weisheimer, a healthcare advertising agency. The Kasichs began dating in 1989 and married in 1997, meaning that for much of the Governor’s political life (which began when he became a member of the Ohio Senate in 1978), Karen Kasich was working outside of the home.

Though she ended her almost two-decades-long professional career two years after giving birth to the couple’s twin daughters, she continues to stay highly involved in public life. Her official website states that she “is honored to have an opportunity to increase awareness on topics that are near and dear to her heart: children’s wellness and women’s heart health” and to this end she works with both The Partnership at Drugfree.org and Ohio Valley’s Go Red For Women Council. She’s run the Columbus and the Air Force marathons, she helped coach the girls’ soccer team, and she met her husband when she helped assemble the Ohio State University football guide and included a picture of the then-Representative.

It seems like Rush Limbaugh and Lynn Cheney are the only ones out defending Romney’s outrageous politicization of the death of US American diplomats through lies and disturbing sociopathic smirks. Limbaugh is on such a streak of unbelievable lies that one has to question if he’s gone back to using drugs.  Maybe Community College Flunk-Outs just shouldn’t be doing foreign policy.

Polite and serious pundits were shocked when Mitt Romney suggested, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus outright declared, that President Obama “sympathized” with those who killed American diplomats in Libya. But anyone familiar with the alternative universe version of Obama created by the right shouldn’t be too surprised. As TPM’s Josh Marshall wrote, the charge was “picked wholesale from the right-wing blogosphere.”

It’s now taken for granted on the far right that the statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemning the anti-Islamic film that sparked the violence (which was expressly not authorized by the Obama administration) is tantamount to ”apologizing to Al-Qaida,” as Fox News host Steve Doocy said this morning. But for those prone to believe Obama is a secret Muslim radical, or at least feckless enough to sympathize with them, there’s always been that one key bit of evidence that even a heavy does of cognitive dissonance can’t ignore — Obama authorized the mission that killed bin Laden.

Well, Rush Limbaugh today finally offered a Unified Theory of Obama’s Radical Muslim Sympathies, with a clever workaround for the bin Laden thing: Al-Qaida intentionally “gave up Osama Bin Laden” in order to “mak[e] Obama look good.” The “wild theory,” as Limbaugh himself call it, flagged by Media Matters, says al-Qaida wants to keep Obama in power because the Democrat is bad for Israel, so Islamists have a better chance of destroying the country than under a Republican president:

Liz Cheney has come up with a totally off-the-wall idea that apologies caused the attacks now that we know that Romney’s assertion that the apology came after the attack is completely untrue.  This party not only has a war on women, it has declared war on Truth, Reason, and Reality.

As GOP foreign policy hands balk at Mitt Romney’s statements about the attacks on American diplomats in Libya and Egypt, the governor’s campaign and its surrogates continue to push the line that Obama’s “weak” foreign policy and his purported “apologies” for America invited the violence:

– LIZ CHENEY: “Apologizing for America, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies and slashing our military are the hallmarks of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy.” [Romney Press Release, 9/12/2012]

– SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): “The United States is weak and withdrawing and that’s why you’re seeing a lot of leaders reacting.” [Today Show, 9/13/2012]

— SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “What foreign policy? The policy of appeasement. Yes, it’s happening as a result of that.” [The Hill, 9/13/2012]

These direct swipes at the State Department and Hillary Clinton’s leadership of the state department goes beyond the pale.   Are you aware that the Cairo Embassy is actually run by a woman who has been a Clinton, Bush and Obama Appointee?  Ambassador Anne Patterson is one of the most experienced foreign service officers in the diplomatic corps.

Meanwhile, back here in reality where people actually count, SOS Clinton takes time to condemn the violence triggered by religious nuts offending other religious nuts.

Today, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani launched the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Before addressing the first session of this Strategic Dialogue, Secretary Clinton commented on events unfolding in the world. The Secretary said:

“We are closely watching what is happening in Yemen and elsewhere, and we certainly hope and expect that there will be steps taken to avoid violence and prevent the escalation of protests into violence.

“I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. Let me state very clearly — and I hope it is obvious — that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. And as you know, we are home to people of all religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims. And we have the greatest respect for people of faith.

“To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence. We condemn the violence that has resulted in the strongest terms, and we greatly appreciate that many Muslims in the United States and around the world have spoken out on this issue.

“Violence, we believe, has no place in religion and is no way to honor religion. Islam, like other religions, respects the fundamental dignity of human beings, and it is a violation of that fundamental dignity to wage attacks on innocents. As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion, the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace. It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful: to promote better understanding across countries and cultures. All governments have a responsibility to protect those spaces and people, because to attack an embassy is to attack the idea that we can work together to build understanding and a better future.”

You can read the Secretary’s full remarks here.

So, would all those Romney backing assholes that call themselves Hillary supporters like to refer to her as an apologist for the sake of consistency or should we think any kind of rationality out of insane right wing nuts is just expecting a bull to give milk?   Again, I find every voting strategy other than voting for Romney/Ryan rational.   Supporting bigotry, racism and lies is unacceptable in my ethos.

There are lots of right wing lies going on about this event.  One of the big ones is that the Marines at the Cairo Embassy weren’t allowed live ammo.  Again, this swipe at Hillary Clinton’s leadership is purely political and aimed at making the Obama administration weak for the benefit of Chicken–4 time draft dodger–Mittens.  This outright lie was hyped by a Fox guest and is all over right wing blogs right now. The Marine Corps itself has discredit this LIE.

In response, the U.S Marine Corps discredited the rumor, calling it “not accurate.” From the Corps congressional liaison’s memo:

The Ambassador did not impose restrictions on weapons or weapons status on the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group (MCESG) detachment.  The MCESG Marines in Cairo were allowed to have live ammunition in their weapons.  The Ambassador and Regional Security Officer have been completely and appropriately engaged with the security situation. Reports of Marines not being able to have their weapons loaded per direction from the Ambassador are not accurate.

Additionally, as Mother Jones points out, a glance at the State Department’s guidelines reveals that an ambassador could not give such an order. Accordingly to State Department regulations, Marines may be assigned “duties other than those previously described in this section to the Marines as may be required by urgent or security-related circumstances requiring immediate action,” but “[s]uch duties shall not contravene established Department or Marine Corps policy and shall not unduly jeopardize the safety or well-being of any Marine.”

 

I’m shuddering at the thought of having any Republican near the Fed right now.  Here’s a Guardian article on ‘Ben Bernanke rescues the US economy from the nihilism of the right’.  My guess would be that Romney wouldn’t care if the economy crashed because he’d just take his family and plant his ass where his money is.

Still, one can only imagine the teeth-gnashing and frothing at the mouth from conservatives and libertarians that will greet Thursday’s announcements.

It’s hard to know if the Republicans simply want to destroy the economy in order to deny Obama re-election, or if they really believe that Bernanke is corrupting the soul of America. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. It’s what Ben Bernanke does that matters.

Contrast this act of lashing himself to the mast to the hesitant and diffident statements made by the Fed chairman earlier this year, in which he admitted that the economy was doing poorly but wouldn’t commit to doing anything about it. And compare earlier statements of angst over tarnishing the Fed’s “hard-won inflation credibility” to the more recent statement of concern about the fate of America’s unemployed. Back then, it was clear that Bernanke, the clear-minded professor who knew what needed to be done, had been sidelined by Bernanke, the brow-beaten and bullied. Not any longer.

I suspect that the right’s unyielding and vitriolic nihilism towards the economy has been an education for Professor Bernanke. From Thursday’s actions, we can only infer that it has finally freed Chairman Bernanke to do the right thing.

 I have a feeling that Bernanke will eventually change his voter registration.  I’m not sure what to, but I’m pretty positive that he’s too smart to be a Republican or to back Romney.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sky Dancing Joins The Strike!

Sky Dancing supports the Blackout against SOPA/PIPA

It shows what can happen when corporations or the government can shut down any website.

Without court orders.
Without any way to appeal.

SOPA/PIPA is trivial for hackers to circumvent, but legitimate websites would have no recourse.

Stop American Censorship

Email or call your Congresspeople.

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Monday Reads

Good Morning!

We’ve had some cold gloomy weather down here in New Orleans.  I hope all those bowl game tourists brought their coats. It’s made for a depressing weekend.  It seems like most of the news I’ve been finding matches the weather too.  Another presidential election year is upon us and we’re looking at the Grinch getting the Republican nomination. Soon, all poor children will be required to mine the coal so the Grinch can place them in every one’s stockings. Well, that’s the east coast poor children.  Those poor children in the middle of the country will be fattening up turkeys for the 1 percent to eat.  I’ll bet Mitch can make a $10,000 bet on which of the kids will have it worse!

First up is an interesting read from the Business Insider that once again shoots down the meme that the rich create jobs.  There are so many economic fairy tales around these days it’s hard to know which one to shoot down next. The bottom line is pretty much something we’ve talked about for some time.  If you build it and no one comes, you don’t create anything but one more bankruptcy.  It’s the consumer demand that creates economic growth.

The most important reason the theory that “rich people create the jobs” is absurd, argues Nick Hanauer, the founder of online advertising company aQuantive, which Microsoft bought for $6.4 billion, is that rich people do not create jobs, even if they found and build companies that eventually employ thousands of people.

What creates the jobs, Hanauer astutely observes, is the company’s customers.

The company’s customers create demand for the company’s products, which, in turn, creates the need for the employees to produce, sell, and service those products. If those customers go broke, the demand for the company’s products will collapse. And the jobs will disappear, regardless of what the entrepreneur does.

That’s actually some good common sense but it’s backed up by economic theory.  Supply without demand just rots in the fields and molds in the warehouse.  Which brings me to Paul Krugman who says it’s time to call this economic situation a depression.  That’s also something we’ve bandied about here.  I’d say skydancers are pretty prescient, wouldn’t you?

It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.

On that last point, I am not being alarmist. On the political as on the economic front it’s important not to fall into the “not as bad as” trap. High unemployment isn’t O.K. just because it hasn’t hit 1933 levels; ominous political trends shouldn’t be dismissed just because there’s no Hitler in sight.

Krugman takes the rest of the column outlining some of the abysmal politics and economics in Europe.  I just keep checking the calendar to see if we some how time tripped back to the 1930s and some how forget what we learned the last time out.  Looking at things from a war build-up point a view, there’s this link to “Obama Raises the Military Stakes: Confrontation on the Borders with China and Russia” from Global Research. This is how some leftwing thinkers see the latest in US outreach in Asia.

November 2011 is a moment of great historical import: Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.

Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime and aerial armada facing the Chinese coast – an overt policy designed to weaken and disrupt China ’s access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia . Obama’s declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base-building and economic alliances was directed against China , challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obama’s iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.

“Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region … The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay … As we end today’s wars [i.e. the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan]… I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority … As a result, reduction in US defense spending will not … come at the expense of the Asia Pacific” (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).

The precise nature of what Obama called our “presence and mission” was underlined by the new military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia ( Darwin ) directed at China . Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China . Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam , Philippines , and Brunei in the South China Sea . Even more seriously, Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan , Taiwan , Singapore and South Korea , as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along China ’s coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”. It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join …

Obama’s presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China .

Pakistan is threatening to shoot down all US drones. Tis the season to be jolly!!!

According to the new Pakistani defense policy, “Any object entering into our air space, including U.S. drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” a senior Pakistani military official told NBC News.

The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all U.S. personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan

I wonder if people in North Dakota have the same option?  Here’s the Daily Mail headline on your Daily Moment of Orwell: Local cops using Predator drones to spy on Americans in their own backyards.

One of the only confirmed uses of predator drones by local law enforcement came in June when a sheriff near Grand Forks, North Dakota, went looking for six stolen cattle.

When he arrived at the farm of Rodney Brossart, he was threatened by three men with guns and forced to retreat.

The Brossarts were known for being armed, anti-government separatists. So Sheriff Kelly Janke, who patrols a county of just 3,000 people, called in a Predator drone to look out over the 3,000-acre farm where the family was armed with rifles and shotguns.

With the help of a drone, summoned from nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base where it was patrolling the US-Candida border, the sheriff was able to watch the movements of everyone on the farm from a handheld device that picked up the aircraft’s video footage.

He and his deputies waited until they could see the Brossarts put down their weapons. Then they stormed the compound and arrested Rodney Brossart, his daughter and his three sons on a total of 11 felony charges. No shots were fired.

And he recovered the cattle, valued at $6,000.

The sheriff says that might not have been possible without the intelligence from the Predators.

‘We don’t have to go in guns blazing. We can take our time and methodically plan out what our approach should be,’ Sheriff Janke told the Times.

All of the surveillance occurred without a search warrant because the Supreme Court has long ruled that anything visible from the air, even if it’s on private property, can be subject to police spying.

Back to the Grinch that’s stealing Willard’s inevitability.

The NBC News-Marist polls showed Gingrich leading Romney in South Carolina by 42 percent to 23 percent. An October poll by the same organizations showed Gingrich at 7 percent in the Palmetto State. In Florida, Gingrich leads Romney 44 percent to 29 percent. There Gingrich has gained 38 percentage points since October.

The rapid movement highlights the remarkable rise of Gingrich as the caucuses and primaries near. Republican voters have shifted allegiances repeatedly this year and a number of state polls have shown that they are not firmly locked in behind any candidate at this point.

In New Hampshire on Sunday, Romney picked up the endorsement of Manchester Mayor Ted Gastas. But he was the target of a scathing editorial in the Union Leader, which earlier endorsed Gingrich. The headline read “Romney’s desperate hours.”

January’s coming and sooner or later, some of these folks are going to run out of money.  There seems to be quite a few irrelevant candidates in the race right now.  Maybe super Jeb is waiting in the wings? So here’s a good way we now MIttens is tres desperate.  Here’s the TPM headline: Romney Presses Ann Coulter Into Surrogate Duty.

Turn on the radio here and you’re going to get a taste of how hard Mitt Romney is working to stamp out Newt Gingrich’s support with conservatives.

In a new radio ad launched by the Romney campaign in Iowa last week, Romney turns to conservative fire-breather Ann Coulter to make the case that he’s the most electable candidate in the Republican race. Having made a living off saying things that no politician would likely wish to be closely associated with, it’s an interesting choice — and a sign that Romney is going all out to cast himself as the more pure conservative choice to Gingrich.

Coulter endorsed Romney a month ago (after dissing him before that) and the Romney ad grabs a clip of her talking up her candidate on Fox and Friends in November.

Here’s a ghost of nightmares past.  Noriega has been extradited to Panama for trial. The link goes to a BBC TV report.

The former leader of Panama, General Manuel Noriega, has returned to his home country 22 years after being forcibly removed from power by the US.

The 77-year-old was extradited from France, where he had been in prison on money laundering charges.

He is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail after being convicted in absentia for murder, corruption and embezzlement while he was in power.

OOOH, baby it’s cold outside.


What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sky Dancing Friday Evening News

Good Evening…It’s Friday!!!!

Dakinikat gave us some good news today, the Sky Dancing Blog is number 83 on Technorati’s US Politics Top 100 List…awesome! That means we have moved up another 10 spots in US Politics blogs. We have also moved up in the Top 100 Politics blog list as well, we are currently at 103. That is up 22 spots since last week.

Okay, for today I have a few links for you that you may have missed. Today’s news that Obama can add another assassination to his list of accomplishments should give those on the left, who still support him, the final kick in the ass. Obama is not a progressive democrat!  Let’s see what justifications the Villagers come up for his latest “Bushesque” move.  On Tennessee Guerilla Women: Jonathan Turley: Obama Is Worst President Ever On Civil Liberties

Speaking of President Obama’s unprecedented order of the targeted killing of U.S. citizens, Jonathan Turley weighs in (before today’s report of the successful Obama-ordered due-process-free assassination of a U.S. citizen) on President Obama’s status as “the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties:”

One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public-interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama’s personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. .. It’s almost a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence. Even though many Democrats admit in private that they are shocked by Obama’s position on civil liberties, they are incapable of opposing him. . It looks more like a cult of personality. Obama’s policies have become secondary to his persona.

For many civil libertarians, it will be virtually impossible to vote for someone who has flagrantly ignored the Convention Against Torture or its underlying Nuremberg Principles. . . In time, the election of Barack Obama may stand as one of the single most devastating events in our history for civil liberties. Now the president has begun campaigning for a second term. He will again be selling himself more than his policies, but he is likely to find many civil libertarians who simply are not buying.

This was before the assassination we saw today…Hey, I realize the target was dangerous, but as a US citizen he deserved his right’s to due process.  I think this sets a huge precedent, and I find it disturbing to see news and legal pundits gloss over this fact.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

That embed is not working too well, here is the direct link: Is our government really broken?

Jeffrey Toobin’s take on the legality of this assassination is in the first minute, you can watch the rest of his interview…When I saw this live earlier today, my first reaction was Toobin you are an idiot.  (Check out the things he says about Clarence Thomas.)

And as far as Obama is concerned, this next link should give you a laugh:  Chris Wallace Praises President Obama’s War On Terror During Fox News Segment | Mediaite

When news broke earlier this morning that a U.S. missile had reportedly killed Anwar al-Awlaki, most reporters were focused on the details (and ethical questions) surrounding the news. But by this afternoon, cable news analysts started to consider what sort of impact this story has on the world of politics. Case in point, Fox News’ Chris Wallace suggested to Studio B host Shep Smith that the so-called “war on terror” is a political strength for the Obama campaign, noting his administration has taken down the “two greatest threats to America.”

RELATED: Watch: President Obama Comments On Death Of Anwar al-Awlaki

Shep introduced the segment, and Wallace said of the president’s record on fighting terrorism in the context of a political strength or weakness (rough transcript provided by TVEyes):

Remember, this was the guy who, when he ran four years ago, Hillary Clinton was saying, “what happens if there is a phone call at 3:00 in the morning?” There was talk of his dealing with former terrorists and all of that and now when it comes to the war on terrorism President Obama legitimately looks like a tough guy stepping up involvement in Afghanistan and kept us in Iraq but he plans to have us out by the end the year, and he has greatly increased the number and the effectiveness of drone attacks and not only in Pakistan but now as we see in Yemen, and he has taken out, you could argue the two greatest threats to America, Osama bin Laden and al-Alwlaki.

Yes, Obama is getting praise from Fox News…what more can you say about that.

I also want to update you on a couple of PLUB news that was reported today.

Kansas – Judge Refuses to Block Abortion Law – NYTimes.com

A federal judge on Thursday declined to halt a Kansas law that limits the availability of insurance coverage for abortions. The American Civil Liberties Union had requested a temporary injunction against the law, which was approved by the Legislature this year, while the group fights the law in court. Judge Wesley Brown of Federal District Court said the A.C.L.U. of Kansas and Western Missouri had failed to prove its contention that the Legislature had approved the law to make it more difficult to receive abortions in the state. The law, which took effect in July, bars insurers from offering coverage for abortions as part of basic health plans. Exceptions are made if a woman’s life is at risk. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled to be held next month.

I sure am glad I don’t live in Kansas…the PLUBs must be rejoicing this decision.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina: ACLU challeges new N.C. abortion law in court – latimes.com

The American Civil Liberties Union and four other groups sued to challenge a new North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to display and describe ultrasound images of a fetus.

The suit, filed in federal court Thursday, alleges that the statute violates the constitutional rights of women and healthcare providers and intrudes on women’s private lives.

“Politicians have no business forcing healthcare providers to push a political agenda on their patients,” Bebe Anderson, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which joined in the suit, said in a statement.

The statute, passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature in July over the veto of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, also requires a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.

The suit seeks an injunction to block the law, which is set to take effect Oct. 26.

Sigh….

This last video link is a “feel good” story. Sarah Churman, 29, was born deaf and has used hearing aids all her life.  Deaf woman hears her voice with new hearing implant – The Feed – CBS News

Her husband shot this heartwarming video of activating her implant and “hearing myself for the first time.”

Sarah writes on her YouTube channel: “I had an implant put in 8 weeks ago called The Esteem Implant by Envoy Medical. I was born deaf and have worn hearing aids from the age of 2, but hearing aids only help so much. I have gotten by this long in life by reading lips. This was taken as they were activating the implant.”

The high-tech Esteem implant is embedded in her ear and works off of ear drum vibrations, unlike most hearing aids which use microphones and speakers. Sarah may have been able to hear some things before, but never like this. The joy and tears on her face can attest to that.

Have a wonderful Friday evening!