SDB Evening News Reads for 082311: Libya, No Townhalls For You, Maxine …Say the word “Black”

Good Afternoon…or should I say Evening.

Wow, what a news day today…with the earth shattering earthquake that hit Virginia, to the earth shattering news that Libyan Rebels have invaded the Mad Dog’s compound…there is just so much to report on.

First, I know I am sounding like a broken record, but this Hurricane Irene is something people in the possible track should pay attention to:

Hurricane IRENE

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Forecast Cone for Storm Center

Click image to zoom in – Download GIS data
Other images: 5-Day track on3-Day track on3-Day track off

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

 

Hey, being born and raised in Florida…you get used to paying attention to Hurricane Warnings when they are issued. So keep an eye on Irene.

Alright, now here is what is going on in Libya:

Libya Live Blog | Al Jazeera Blogs

Al Jazeera staff and correspondents update you on important developments in the Libya uprising.

Al Jazeera is not responsible for content derived from external sites.

AJE Live Stream – Special Coverage: Libya Uprising – Tweeting revolutions

Rebels Overrun Gadhafi Compound – WSJ.com

Libyans poured into streets surrounding Moammar Gadhafi’s fortress-like compound in Tripoli on Tuesday, after rebels captured it following fierce street battles against forces loyal to the longtime ruler.

Streets around the Bab al-Aziziya compound rang with mortars, heavy machine-guns and antiaircraft guns throughout much of the day as rebels took up positions around the symbolic heart of Col. Gadhafi’s regime.

[0823libyass04] Associated Press

An explosion hit near Gadhafi’s main compound in the Bab al-Aziziya district in Tripoli on Tuesday.

Rebels are looting Gaddafi’s stuff, and walking out of the compound with clothing and other Gaddafi items, the look of joy on their faces is really something to see…But of course, Gaddafi is nowhere to be found…

I am going to move on to the US political front.

Obama is getting it from both sides today, first I will point out what the GOP Post that has this offering today:  Obama’s claim that GOP is holding up trade deals – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post

“Let’s pass trade deals to level the playing field for our businesses. . . ..These are common-sense ideas – ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The only thing holding them back is politics. The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back. That’s what we have to change.”

— President Obama, weekly address, Aug. 20, 2011

Those were pretty tough words by the president over the weekend — “the only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party,” referring to bills he suggests are bottled up in Congress, including free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Not so fast, cry the Republicans: The White House has never submitted the trade bills to Congress for approval. The issue is so confusing — and Obama has been demanding immediate action for so long — that one White House spokesman actually expressed surprise this month when reporters noted the trade bills have not been submitted.

“Have we not sent them over?” asked Josh Earnest, drawing laughter from the press corps. “I mean, look, clearly the legislative mechanics are something that I’m not intimately steeped in.”

And now for Maxine Waters latest smack down, what a woman!

Waters to Obama aide: Say ‘black’ – Jennifer Epstein – POLITICO.com

Maxine Waters speaks at a news conference. | AP Photo

‘Let me hear you say ‘black’, Maxine Waters said. | AP Photo Close

Rep. Maxine Waters and other black leaders lobbed heated questions at one of President Barack Obama’s top jobs advisers Monday, pressing him to confirm the White House is focusing on creating jobs in struggling African-American communities — and to say the word “black.”

Don Graves, the executive director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, said at a nighttime forum at a black church in Miami that the president is “focused on every community across the country,” The Miami Herald reported.

And here is the best part…Gotta love Maxine!

But when he added that “certain communities have been hit harder than other communities,” Waters pushed him. “Let me hear you say ‘black,’” the California Democrat said.

As the crowd cheered, The Washington Post said in its report on the Congressional Black Caucus-sponsored event, Graves quietly said: “black, African-American, Latino — we’re going to focus on getting people back to work.”

Graves replied “quietly,” oh I bet…sounds more like he responded “sheepishly” to me!

Waters is one of the only politicians making connections with the people lately…Invisible Town Hall Revolution Gets Bigger and Bigger | FDL News Desk

Chris Bowers notes a couple of my posts about the invisible town hall revolution, supplementing it with other examples of protests and progressive questioners at GOP town hall meetings from around the country. He writes:

These actions are truly widespread. As such, it’s worth wondering why the media coverage has primarily been restricted to local news and not become a significant national narrative. A rationale sympathetic to the national political media would argue that these town halls lack the threat of imminent violence that was simmering in 2009, thus rendering the 2011 iteration both tame and repetitive as a story. A less sympathetic rationale would be that the national political media is simply differential to the angry conservatives, who are believed to have dominated electoral politics for decades and are thus allocated disproportionate attention.

First of all, the actions are more widespread than even Bowers catalogs. Here’s a protest at Dave Reichert’s office. And here’s a town hall with Rep. Jim Renacci. And one with Rep. Mike Kelly. And one with Bill Huizenga. And Bill Shuster. And Elton Gallegly. And Brian Bilbray. And Nan Hayworth. And Jeff Denham. And Andy Harris. And Marsha Blackburn. And John Culberson. And Bill Johnson. And Mario Diaz-Balart. And Joe Wilson. I could go on. The numbers of actions are in the dozens, and may reach three digits.

Dayen reports that 60% of Congress is not holding town hall meetings, which is why I found this link from CounterPunch interesting:  David Martinez: Why, That Must be Nancy Pelosi!

If any one ever needed a better reason to throw the Democratic Party into the garbage can of history, last Tuesday night’s “Town Hall Meeting” in Oakland, California, was a perfect example of the party’s pathos, duplicity and outright arrogance.

The night had been billed as a chance for people to “tell their stories” directly to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland.

Here is where it gets good…

Then the event began, and the politicians filed onto the stage and were introduced. But first came stern warnings against anyone taking issue with Nancy Pelosi: Green For All’s Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins condescendingly explained to the assembled audience that this event was about “unity”, and that if we were “divided” our enemies would be made stronger. What she was really saying was that no one was going to be allowed to criticize the politicians on the stage. So she was basically calling for the antithesis of politics, which is at the very least about criticism.  She then demanded that the night’s story “will not be about the two people in the back who are angry at Leader Pelosi; tonight the story will only be about jobs!”

However, much to the event organizers’ chagrin, there were more than only two angry people in the room. As Pelosi took the stage, someone yelled “Sellout!” When Pelosi brought up the recent debt-ceiling agreement, several more people yelled at her “Well why did you vote for it then?” and the Congresswoman was forced to explain why she had sold out, saying that she had signed the budget deal to avoid the U.S. defaulting, and claimed that at least Medicare and Social Security had been saved. She neglected to mention that those programs can, and will, be put on the block by the “Super Congress” that is going to decide where the actual cuts will come from.

After a couple of more hecklers had been hustled out of the room by security, it was time for the “speakout” part of the event to start, and one by one, different people told their stories and made comments to the politicians on the stage. Everyone spoke of being out of work or too broke to make ends meet, and it was heartbreaking to hear from so many folks who were having such a rough time. One old man told the Congresspeople, “As far as I’m concerned, the Democratic Party no longer speaks for us, as they haven’t been standing up for workers or creating jobs.”

Pelosi said that the Democratic Party was going to work on “job creation” by rebuilding the US manufacturing sector. Martinez writes that he almost burst out laughing at that remark.

…after perhaps 45 minutes of people’s commentary, Pelosi announced that she would shortly be leaving to attend another event, but assured us that she would watch the rest of the people’s stories on videotape at a later date.

[…]

Then, to add insult to injury, instead of letting the remaining people have their chance to talk to the most powerful Democratic politician in the country, besides the president, the organizers announced that we would now watch a video about what other people were saying at events just like this around the country. The large video screens on the walls came to life and we began to watch a film about people doing exactly what we had been doing just five minutes prior. It was beyond ridiculous. It was kind of surreal.

So the people were then treated to a commercial…and sent home.  Take a look at the entire article, you won’t be disappointed.

Moving on to Texas…Even Teen Birth Rates Are Bigger in Texas | Mother Jones

Via Feministing, here’s a priceless video of Texas Gov. Rick Perry trying to explain that you should ignore his state’s high rates of teen pregnancy and just trust him that his abstinence-only sex education policy works. The clip is from a sit-down that Perry did with Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune in October 2010, before he threw his hat in the ring for the 2012 GOP presidential primary.

Smith asks why the governor continues to promote policies that simply tell kids not to have sex when the state has the third-highest teen pregnancy rate in the US. The state actually appears to rank fourth in teen pregnancies, but third in teen birth rates. It’s pretty bad either way.

Perry says that “Abstinence works,” and this is from “his own personal experience…” Oh, what could Jon Stewart or Colbert do with this tidbit of a quote?

Video is there at the link…

By now you have heard about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, this is a link to a Spiegel article:  A Future for DSK? French Socialists Wary of Strauss-Kahn’s Return – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

While Socialists in France are pleased that charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn have been dropped, they are wary of the role he might play in next year’s French presidential elections. Party leaders appear to be keeping a cautious distance.

The news that charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped in New York on Tuesday has been greeted by France’s Socialist Party in Paris’ Rue Solferino with a sigh of relief. Only three days before the summer meeting of Socialists in La Rochelle, the rumors, suspicions and accusations against Strauss-Kahn and his alleged rape of Nafissatou Diallo, a housekeeper at New York’s Sofitel, will come to an end for the time being. Just two months before the Socialists will hold their primary election ahead of French presidential elections in 2012, they can finally put an end to the endless American drama surrounding their fellow party member.

For the time being is right…End of Rape Case Brings the French Relief, and Political Questions – NYTimes.com

Many also noted that a civil case against him is still pending in New York, and the complaint filed by a French, Tristane Banon, who said he tried to rape her in 2003. French prosecutors are investigating. Her lawyer, David Koubbi, said that Ms. Banon’s case and credibility were not damaged by the events in New York and that Ms. Banon “is combative” and “saddened” by what happened to the accuser in New York, Nafissatou Diallo, “because she believes her.”

In London, the toxicology reports are back from Amy Winehouse’s autopsy: Amy Winehouse toxicology reports showed ‘no illegal substances’ | Music | The Guardian

The family of Amy Winehouse has revealed toxicology reports showed there were “no illegal substances” in her body at the time of her death.

The 27-year-old singer was found dead at her north London home last month. Her family said the reports showed alcohol was present in her body, but it is not yet known if it contributed to her death.

Well, that is quite a bit of news for you to digest, will see you later in the comments!


Sunday Reads: Monster Weeds, Taxing the Poor and Beware of Full Moons

Good Sunday Morning!

Yesterday was a very sad day in the music world.  Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home. She was 27 years old and as Dakinikat mentioned in the comments, there have been many other musicians in the past that upon reaching the age of 27,  also left this world too soon.  So here is a link to a series of images and stories… Dead At 27: Nine Artists Gone Too Soon | Billboard.com

An uncanny number of musicians have passed away at age 27, and with the passing of Amy Winehouse today (July 23), the club has unfortunately recieved a new member. Here we reflect on some of the 27 Club’s most notable members: Kurt, Janis, Jimi and Jim may be gone, but none of them are forgotten.

With her heartfelt songs about love and heartbreak powered by her alluring alto vocals, Amy Winehouse‘s prowess laid in her fearlessness to showcase her vulnerability. Unfortunately, the British soul singer’s potential and success were overshadowed by her addiction to alcohol and drugs. As Winehouse sold millions of albums and won numerous awards, Winehouse was personally tormented by substance addiction, eating disorders and destructive relationships, most notably with her husband Blake Fielder-Civil. In May 2011, at the advice of her father, Winehouse checked into rehab. On July 23, two months later, police found the singer dead at her London loft. At the time of the announcement, a cause of death was still undetermined.

Winehouse had an amazing voice, and like so many other musicians, led a tortured life…a self inflicted tortured life. I always thought her singing reminded me of Janis Joplin.  Of course no one had a set of pipes like Janis, but Amy Winehouse had a familiar emotion in her voice. A sadness and deep emotion that comes with a difficult life.  So sad indeed.

This week has been such a difficult one for me personally, and perhaps for many of you as well. I know there was no full moon, but it sure as hell felt like there was.  So maybe this is why the following story jumped out at me this week.  STUDY: After Full Moon, Lions Likely to Eat Humans – International Business Times

That midwives’ tale about crazy and strange “events” happening when a full moon is out isn’t merely a myth.  Now a study coming out of Africa is saying that lions are most likely to eat human beings following a full moon. Lions are predators that hunt most successfully in the dark, which surprises their prey.

The research analyzed records of some 500 lion attacks on Tanzanian villagers between 1988 and 2009, and also the size of lions’ bellies.  The lions killed and ate humans in two-thirds of the attack, and the majority of the attacks  happened between dusk and 10p.m. when the moon is faint or below the horizon.

The findings also revealed 30 percent more attacks in the second half of the moon cycle, also when there was minimal moonlight.

[…]

The study suggests that other predators, such as the wolf that comes to mind in association with the moon, may be most dangerous following a full moon when the night is dark.

“The full moon is a reliable indicator of impending danger, perhaps helping to explain why the full moon has been the subject of so many myths and misconceptions,” say researchers.

If anyone lives in an area where lions and tigers and bears roam the streets, beware of those full moons.  So if lions eat more humans during a full moon,  I wonder if that also goes for politicians in Washington, DC?

On to a beast of another kind, monster super weeds are becoming a big problem in farm country.  It may not be radiation that turns these weeds into mutants…it’s genetic engineering.  Monsanto-Resistant Weeds Take Root, Raising Food Prices | Fast Company

weeds

For decades, farmers had it relatively easy when it came to weeds infesting their soil: apply herbicides, wait for the weeds to die and grow more crops. Those salad days, alas, are coming to an end.

A new series of studies released by Weed Science this month finds at least 21 weed species have become resistant to the popular herbicide glyphosate (sold as Monsanto’s Roundup), and a growing number survive multiple herbicides, so-called “super-weeds.” The same selection pressure creating bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics is leading to the rapid evolution of plants that survive modern herbicides. If the trend continues, yields could drop and food costs climb as weeds grow more difficult to uproot.

The herbicide resistance issue is becoming serious,” said journal editor, William K. Vencill, in a recent statement. “It is spreading out beyond where weed scientists have seen it before.” More than 11 million acres, up from just 2.4 million in 2007, are now infested with Roundup-resistant varieties. The herbicide, a relatively low-impact chemical since it biodegrades quickly, has ranked among the most popular for farmers since Monsanto introduced its genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops that are unaffected by the chemical, accounting for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.

The article goes on to give an example of these super weeds. Pig weed, which can grow three inches a day and is tough enough to damage farm equipment has grown herbicide resistant…leading to stronger toxic chemical herbicides and extreme plowing, both of which will cause even more damage to the environment.

Personally, I would like to see one of these pig weeds go at it with some of these damn political assholes. Well, there is always the next full moon…it is pretty damn pathetic when the only hope you have for any good to come in these horrible economic times is a giant monster pig weed, going up to Obama and doing its best impression of Rick James.  There may be some of you who do not know what I am talking about…so I give you this.  After you see it, you will “get it.”

Oh, to tell Obama…what did the five fingers say to the face…but even then I don’t think it will “slap” any sense in him.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  So, this article from the Wall Street Journal was published this week, and it just highlights one of Bachmann’s ridiculous ideals:  Bachmann: Everybody Should Pay Taxes – Washington Wire – WSJ

Republican presidential candidates have been resolutely opposed to tax increases in the debate over the nation’s budget straits, but Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann this week suggested there’s one group that needs to be paying more: poor people who pay nothing now.

At a town-hall meeting Tuesday given by the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce in Columbia, a questioner noted that major U.S. corporations are paying “very few dollars of federal income taxes, if any.” He prefaced his point by saying the Bible advises us to render unto Caesar what Caesar is due.

Ms. Bachmann turned the conversation elsewhere: “Part of the problem is today, only 53% pay any federal income tax at all; 47% pay nothing,” the former federal tax attorney said. “We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something, even if it’s a dollar.”

Why is it always the ones who have shit loads of dollars, who bring hell on the ones who have absolutely no dollars?

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  Here is an interesting look at the big news outlet magnate, Rupert Murdoch, by comparing him to the Orson Welles’s character Charles Foster Kane, who of course was based on William Randolph Hearst. There is a link to listen to this radio broadcast. Enjoy it…Milos Stehlik views Rupert Murdoch through ‘Citizen Kane’ | WBEZ

It is one of the most famous and enigmatic words uttered in film: as he dies, Charles Kane, wealthy newspaper baron, whispers his last word, “Rosebud.” The scene from the Orson Welles masterpiece Citizen Kane, references the name painted on a small sled that Kane had as a child, implying that this was the only happy time in his life.

Kane was loosely based on real-life newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, whose own “Xanadu” is the famous Hearst Castle at San Simeon, California.

In real life Hearst, urged on by his top gossip columnist, Louella Parsons, tried to stop Citizen Kane from reaching the screen. His efforts to condemn the film to oblivion nearly succeeded. Today, it commands mythic status.

Have a fabulous Sunday, and be sure to post some links to things you are reading today.