Sunday Reads: You are here


Sunday is usually regarded as a day of rest, the end of a busy tired week…that last day of the weekend. When I was younger, the sound of the ticking stop watch that was used as the opening credits for 60 minutes always solidified the fact that the countdown was on, Sunday was coming to a close. The time had come, get your things ready for Monday morning…another beginning, another week of school (or work) ahead.image

For almost a year now, Sunday has come to mean…for me at least, a day to recover from a week of drowning in my disgust at what this country is presenting to the world as it’s presidential election.

It is that feeling when you swallow something the wrong way, and it is painful as it tries to go down your throat. You cough and feel as though you can’t breathe. There is a sense of panic as you try and take  in some oxygen, but for those first seconds nothing can get in…even though you know it should work its way out shortly and you will be able to breathe normally after several moments of coughing and clearing your throat of what was so  difficult to swallow.

imageThis reoccurring simulated choking on not being able to swallow the daily offerings from Trump, the media, political pundits, politicians, surrogates, idiot supporters, white supremacist hate groups that are becoming legitimately recognized as a mainstream political party voice…that is too much to handle. It gets to the point where there is no recovery, you can’t catch your breath. I feel as though I am drowning in the hate and honestly, where in hell can Love Trump Hate?

(I really do not think that slogan does it for me…it never seemed to have enough umph. Maybe it is because I’ve always seen Trump and his supporters for what they really are: white supremacist. And that is something I’ve realized since day one, especially living here in Banjoville. )


I am not surprised at how bad things have gotten or how outrageous Trump’s statements and comments can be…I think we haven’t seen the worst yet. It just has reached a point where I can no longer take that Trump news bite, for fear it will be the fatal one.

That is why I’m so obviously absent from discussion on the blog.  I can’t talk or write about this Trump asshole anymore. The events surrounding the election is more than I can handle.

I know that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat will write far better on the subject than I ever could…but I am unable to cover this hateful shitty election any longer.

imageGoing forward my post will be focused on worldwide news, the usual suspects (women issues), human interest and of course…political cartoons. I must avoid fuck face and his cross burning hood wearing fan base.

As always the threads are open, so please discuss whatever and whoever you want to in the comments below…that includes Trump and his ultra right wing of destruction.

I will start off with a few links:

FDA Recommends Zika Virus Testing For All Donated Blood, Blood Components In US Territories : HEALTH : Tech Times

The Case of the Deadly Bagpipes | Mental Floss

Take a moment and assess your hobbies. Unless your idea of a good time is bungee jumping or scaling Mt. Everest, your favorite pastimes are likely pretty safe … right? Think again. Experts are calling upon doctors to consider the risks posed by patients’ hobbies after a British man died of a lung infection likely caused by his daily sessions on the bagpipe. They reported their findings in the journal Thorax.

imageAn Auditory Component to Autism – Scientific American

New evidence suggests people with autism can recognize feelings and other traits of humanness in voices as well as—or even better than—neurotypical people do

Woman Unleashes Crickets On NYC Subway And All Hell Breaks Loose [UPDATE]

UPDATE: The woman was later identified by outlets as Facebook user Zaida Pugh, who says she’s an actress and that the incident was a prank. “I did this to show how people react to situations with homeless people and people with mental health [issues],” Pugh told Fusion. “How they’re more likely to pull out their phone than help.” A police source told the New York Post that Pugh could be charged for the disturbance.


A woman selling crickets and worms on a New York City subway Wednesday threw them into a packed train and flew into a rage, causing chaos, the New York Post reported.

The woman entered the train and made overtures to passengers to buy her insects. A group of teens pushed the woman, causing her to “freak out” and release the bugs, the Post wrote. As she ranted and the bugs spread, commuters dispersed.

Go to the link to read the rest of the story and see video and comments…someone actually pulled the emergency break and the train was stuck for a while.


Wednesday Reads: Marta Superwoman, Viking Grill Bling, and a Women’s Revolution?

I have some interesting links for you this morning, so pour your cup of coffee and enjoy…

This first article is from a Dubai Newspaper:  gulfnews : Women’s rights — an unfinished revolution

Dubai: A hundred years ago, only two countries allowed women to vote. Today, it is a universal right, with a few exceptions. Yet, women around the globe still face a large number of unresolved issues.

Additional support is still needed, including more financial and legal support to women’s organisations — to increase women’s access to the legal system and their participation in both the judiciary and security systems — concluded a UN report on women titled Progress of the World’s Women in Pursuit of Justice.

“Implement gender-sensitive law reform” and “invest in women’s access to justice,” were also among the recommendations of the report, an advance copy of which was obtained by Gulf News and released this morning (4am UAE time).

“I think it is clear that despite all the enormous progress in the past 100 years on women’s rights and access to justice, there are still problems in every region,” said New-York based Laura Turquet, the lead report author from UN Women, the organisation which replaced Unifem.

There is more work to do, and one of the key areas that need to be addressed is legal protection in issues of Domestic Violence.

On another front, today there are nearly 600 million women around the world who don’t have the legal protection against domestic violence, and this is an awful reality in contrast to other “relieving” facts, Turquet said.

“Two-third of the countries in the world now have laws in place to outlaw domestic violence.
“It is a big step forward for women in every region, but I think that 66 countries still don’t have these laws which is also very shocking,” Turquet said.
Yet “violence against women is a grave issue, but it is not the only issue that is very important,” she added.

The women in western countries definitely have their own problems to deal with, and anyone reading this blog knows, we talk about the war against women going on here in the US…but read on as the article discusses the Fair Pay Act here in America:

Obstacles facing women exist there, too, though of a different nature. “The right of women to receive payment equal to that which men receive for the same work … is one of the challenges that still exists to a great extent in Europe and Northern America as well as other countries,” the lead author of the UN report said.

“What this shows us is that women’s rights is not an issue just for poor countries or one region,” Turquet stressed, adding, “it is actually an issue for all regions. I am from the United Kingdom and there are still big challenges for women rights in the UK as well.”

** Updated 9:33 EST**

Just wanted to add this link to an article in Guardian about the UN report:

UN Women justice report: get the data | Global development |

A woman folds her ballot paper at a polling station in Kampala, Uganda, during the 2006 election

A woman folds her ballot paper at a polling station in Kampala, Uganda. The UN Women’s report looks at how many women hold seats in parliament. Photograph: AP

How many women hold seats in parliaments around the world? Which countries have laws against domestic violence, including marital rape? The flagship report of the UN’s newest agency – UN Women – published on Wednesday, takes a close look at women’s legal rights around the world.

The 2011 Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice report is a global survey of women’s access to justice – looking both at legislation passed by governments and the steps taken (or not taken) to implement those laws. The “paradox” confronted by the report is that despite the recent and rapid expansion of women’s legal entitlements, what is written in the statute books does not always translate into real progress on equality and justice on the ground.

The report looks at which countries have passed special legislation on women’s political rights and economic opportunities and on women’s reproductive health and rights. It looks at which countries have laws against domestic violence, sexual harassment and marital rape. It catalogues data on development indicators related to women, and looks country-by-country at women’s participation in politics.

legal rights mapped Women’s legal rights interactive. Click image to see the map

**Updated to include new link to Guardian.

I found this next research study very interesting, and I believe that many of you will too…especially with the growing numbers of Autism affecting our children.  New Autism Study Implicates Environmental Factors –

A new study of twins suggests that environmental factors, including conditions in the womb, may be at least as important as genes in causing autism.
The researchers did not say which environmental influences might be at work. But other experts said the new study, released online on Monday, marked an important shift in thinking about the causes of autism, which is now thought to affect at least 1 percent of the population in the developed world.

“This is a very significant study because it confirms that genetic factors are involved in the cause of the disorder,” said Dr. Peter Szatmari, a leading autism researcher who is the head of child psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at McMaster University in Ontario. “But it shifts the focus to the possibility that environmental factors could also be really important.”

Please click the link above to read more statistics about the study, and get a better understanding of what we are learning about other factors which could be involved in autism.

Susie Madrak has this to say about the Obama Administration Offers ‘Tens of Billions’ in Medicare, Medicaid Cuts in Exchange for Tax Increases | Crooks and Liars

While there’s certainly some pressure to get some kind of debt ceiling deal, does offering up Medicare as a human sacrifice seem like the smartest plan for a second term – especially when it’s the same issue the Republicans rode to victory in the mid-terms?

I can’t think of anything intelligent to say about this “proposal” from the Obama camp…just one thought keeps going through my head…”We’re F’d!”

Hubble has taking its millionth photograph. That is amazing isn’t it? This link has some cool pictures, give it a look see.  PICTURES: Hubble Space Telescope Hits Millionth Observation Milestone – Kenneth Chamberlain –

In its 21-year history, Hubble has recorded 50 terabytes of images and other scientific data, according to NASA. Despite Hubble’s usefulness to scientists around the world, its lifespan is coming to a close. Its last servicing mission from a space shuttle was designed to keep the telescope going only until about 2013.

But researchers won’t be without orbiting telescopes, which are often necessary to obtain the clearest observations in light that is filtered out by Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to other telescopes currently in orbit, NASA plans on launching Hubble’s successor, of sorts, the James Webb Space Telescope, in 2015. In preparation for that launch, NASA has requested about $373 million for FY2012, and plans on similar amounts in following years.

I hope that NASA gets the funding for this Hubble successor, it would be a shame to loose our eye on the edge of the universe.

Well, the Women’s World Cup is now taking place in Germany. So here is a cool look into one of the stars of this years World Cup.  Meet Marta, The Star Of The Women’s World Cup

Marta Vieira da Silva, also known simply as Marta, is probably the Women’s World Cup’s biggest star. Let’s learn a little more about the athlete sometimes called “Pele in a skirt.”

The article gives a cool bio and some examples of what an amazing athlete this woman is.

And lastly, this link from HNN to a Guadian article made me laugh…just thinking about Viking Grill flashing as they smile while welding their battle axes against helpless monks in Ireland….Incisor raiding: Viking marauders had patterns filed into their teeth | History News Network

The fashion for dental bling goes back 1,000 years, according to a new discovery by archaeologists. Long before contemporary trends for gold dental caps or teeth inlaid with diamonds became popular, young Viking warriors were having patterns filed into their teeth.

If their intention was to intimidate the enemy, they failed: the evidence has come from front teeth from a pit full of decapitated skeletons, found during roadworks in Dorset and now believed to be victims of a massacre of Viking invaders by local Britons.

The front teeth have horizontal lines that were so neatly filed, archaeologists believe it must have been done by a skilled craftsman rather than by their owners, and the process undoubtedly would have been excruciating….

Excruciating? Those Vikings are tough ass warriors. I am sure they were well intoxicated when getting etched or engraved, that moldy rye bread mixed with mead could really give you hallucinations and get you through almost any kind of physical pain…

What are you reading and thinking about today?

Thursday Reads: Lying Politicians vs Truly Egregious Behavior; Crazy Republicans; and More

Good Morning!!

I’m sick and tired of the Weiner story, and I know most of you are too; but I just want to highlight a few reactions that I found interesting–all G rated.

I love this Lambert post, especially this part:

ZOMG!!!!!!! Offensive behavior online!!!!!!!! [Too tired for the riffs about the pearl clutching and the fainting couch.]

Anyhow, so Weiner’s an asshole. And so what. As William Gibson said:

“Fortunately,” he said, “it isn’t about who’s an asshole. If it were, our work would never be done.”

Love that quote! As Lambert points out, these “ethics” investigations never seem to happen to people who engage in torture, election fraud, or handing over the U.S. treasury to banksters.

Speaking of assholes, Andrew Breitbart claims he still has one more “lewd picture” of Weiner that he hasn’t released–and it’s not the one going around today. Talk about an evil human being. Breitbart is disgusting. If you read to the end of that piece, you’ll find out Breitbart’s notions of female sexuality.

One person who seems to have a little sympathy for Weiner is Charlie Rangel.

“His most serious problem is keeping his wife and family together at this time,” Rangel said in an interview on Fox Business Network set to air Wednesday evening.

Rangel did not suggest that Weiner resign. Here’s what he had to say about “ethics” investigations:

“They may do that, and God knows, I know what people feel they have to do as politicians to protect themselves. It’s totally unbelievable, but it happens,” Rangel said. “They love you, but they love themselves better and they make political decisions not to how it affects you, but to how it affects them and their reelection.”

They are all slime, yet they presume to sit in judgment on others. What Weiner did makes me sick, but the rest of them make me even sicker.

Melanie Sloan of CREW says there is a double-standard operating in the many calls for Weiner to resign.

“This is a massive overreaction and I don’t understand it,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

She points out that Charlie Rangel was censured for serious ethical breaches, yet was not forced to resign.

Sloan explained that the mounting pressure on Weiner may stem in part from the early precedent set by House Speaker John Boehner when, at the first sign of sexual misconduct, he urged Reps. Mark Souder (R, Ind.) and Chris Lee (R, N.Y.) to resign, even though their behavior didn’t appear to involve any abuse of their office.

“A lot of people really hate Weiner, too,” she said, referring to Weiner’s colleagues in the House, some of whom are said to have been rankled by his personality and frequent media appearances.

What about Weiner’s denials before he owned up?

“A politician lying is not that unusual,” Sloan said. “If the new standard is that politicians are out the second they lie to us, then a lot of politicians could be gone.”

How true.

As egregious as Weiner’s behavior was, it wasn’t a crime. Here’s an example of truly egregious behavior: U.S. pediatrician on trial for raping toddlers

A Delaware pediatrician went on trial for allegedly raping or sexually exploiting 86 young patients, all girls except one and almost all younger than three.

Earl Bradley has pleaded not guilty to 24 counts against him, and sat quietly in gray prison scrubs as a veteran state trooper spent hours Tuesday describing the doctor’s cache of home videos of the assaults.

They were so “horrible,” testified state police detective Scott Garland, a specialist in forensic computer evidence. “They were beyond anything I had ever witnessed. Nothing prepared me for it.”

And then there’s this: Casey Antony told a fellow inmate that she used chloroform to knock out her daughter Caylee when she (Casey) wanted to party.

And how about this?

Gaddafi bought Viagra-like pills for troops to attack women

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he may ask for a new charge of mass rape to be made against Gaddafi following the new evidence. The chief International Criminal Court prosecutor is expecting a decision from judges within days on his request for crimes against humanity charges against the Libyan leader.

“Now we are getting some information that Gaddafi himself decided to rape and this is new,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo told reporters.

He said there were reports of hundreds of women attacked in some areas of Libya, which is in the grip of a months-long internal rebellion.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said there was evidence that the Libyan authorities bought “Viagra-type” medicines and gave them to troops as part of the official rape policy.

“They were buying containers to enhance the possibility to rape women,” he said.

“We had doubts at the beginning but now we are more convinced that he decided to punish using rapes,” the prosecutor said. “It was very bad — beyond the limits, I would say.”

Let’s move on to the horrors of the Republican 2012 presidential field. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, voters aren’t ready for a Mormon president.

Sorry, Mitt. John Huntsman is also a Mormon. I guess voters don’t mind looney religionists as long as they claim to be Christians though. Have you heard about Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan?

Pawlenty calls for sweeping tax cuts dubbed by some as “breathtaking.” He’d cut the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 15 percent, and eliminate taxes on capital gains, interest income, dividends and inheritances. There would be two tiers of personal income taxes — 10 percent and 25 percent.

Pawlenty would require Congress to reauthorize all federal regulations and radically reshape the federal government by privatizing services such as the U.S. Postal Service and Amtrak. He also would support an ill-advised balanced budget amendment. You could almost hear the corporate special interests uttering “check, check and check!” as the South St. Paul truck driver’s son ticked off items on their wish lists and then one-upped them.

Just reading about it makes me want to run out into the street screaming and tearing my hair out.

Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are supposedly feuding now because Ed Rollins said that Bachman is more “serious” than Palin. I had to really look around to find an article that didn’t call it a “cat fight.” Here’s Rollins, quoted by NPR:

“Well I’m going to work for Michele Bachmann if she runs. That’s the one that intrigues me the most at this point and I think to a certain extent she’s articulate, she’s a conservative. She’s got a great story to tell. She’s on the Intelligence Committee. You know, she’s unknown to the national audience, but she’ll become known and that’s the candidacy that I’m going to work for if she runs.

“Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years. She got the vice-presidential thing handed to her. She didn’t go to work in the sense of trying gain more substance. She gave up her governorship. You know, I think Michele Bachmann and others have worked hard. She has been a leader of the Tea Party, which is a very important element here. She’s an attorney, done extraordinary things with family values and what have you. So I think she will connect. She’s a great, great communicator and I would say in the race today she is probably the best communicator.”

Kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it? Now check this out: Santorum Calls Abortion Exceptions To Protect Health Of The Mother ‘Phony’

Longshot GOP presidential hopeful and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum stomped for votes in Iowa on Tuesday, trumpeting his “culture wars” message. A longtime anti-abortion activist, Santorum is selling himself as the leading social conservative in a crowded field. Yesterday in West Des Moines, he made an appearance at a “crisis pregnancy center” called Informed Choices that tries to talk women out of having abortions. Santorum said that he “separates [himself] from the rest of the pack” and criticized the other candidates for simply “checking the box” on anti-abortion issues.

When discussing his track record as a champion of the partial birth abortion ban, Santorum dismissed exceptions other senators wanted to carve out to protect the life and health of mothers, calling such exceptions “phony”:

SANTORUM: When I was leading the charge on partial birth abortion, several members came forward and said, “Why don’t we just ban all abortions?” Tom Daschle was one of them, if you remember. And Susan Collins, and others. They wanted a health exception, which of course is a phony exception which would make the ban ineffective.

In other stupid Republican news, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had a painting of poor and homeless children removed from the governor’s mansion. From Mother Jones:

Walker has made headlines again after he removed a painting depicting three Wisconsin children—one had been homeless, one came from low-income family, and a third who had lost family members in a drunk-driving accident. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the painting was one of numerous pieces of art commissioned by the fund that operates the governor’s mansion—works that were intended to remind the governor of the constituents he or she represents.

Here’s the Journal Sentinel on the painting by artist David Lenz:

In an interview, Lenz said he carefully selected the three children portrayed in “Wishes in the Wind.” The African-American girl, featured in a Journal Sentinel column on homelessness, spent three months at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with her mother. The Hispanic girl is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. And the boy’s father and brother were killed by a drunken driver in 2009.

“The homeless, central city children and victims of drunk drivers normally do not have a voice in politics,” Lenz explained in an email. “This painting was an opportunity for future governors to look these three children in the eye, and I hope, contemplate how their public policies might affect them and other children like them.”

He added: “I guess that was a conversation Governor Walker did not want to have.”

In other news, at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, 77 army cadets were struck by lightening and hospitalized. Let’s hope they’ll all be okay. The weather sure is strange this year!

I’ll end with this interesting story from the LA Times: Autism linked to hundreds of genetic mutations.

Autism is not caused by one or two gene defects but probably by hundreds of different mutations, many of which arise spontaneously, according to research that examined the genetic underpinnings of the disorder in more than 1,000 families.

The findings, reported in three studies published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, cast autism disorders as genetically very complex, involving many potential changes in DNA that may produce, essentially, different forms of autism.

The affected genes, however, appear to be part of a large network involved in controlling the development of synapses, the critical junctions between nerve cells that allow them to communicate, according to one of the three studies.

Although the work will have no immediate value to patients or their families, the insights provide a wealth of targets to pursue in developing treatments for the disorder, scientists said. Understanding the genetic causes of autism spectrum disorders may promote more accurate diagnoses, and research on synapse formation and function could yield treatments that address the flow of signals between nerve cells.

What are you reading and blogging about today? Please share!!

Midweek Tidbits from Sima

(or, I’m back!)

So the last couple months have been a real wringer for me. As many of you know, my mother lost her ability to walk and started to weaken due to progressive spinal deformation caused by arthritis. In early March she had a spinal operation which opened the holes which were pressing on her nerves and reconstructed her spine. 2 days after the operation she went into a ‘code’, the one just up from ‘code red’, and had to be rescued by a bunch of nurses and doctors. She told me that she can’t remember much about it except for one thing; she saw my sister standing at the end of a long tunnel, reaching towards her. And she said when she saw that she knew she couldn’t leave; my sister still needed her, we all still needed her.

After over a month in rehab and a month in a hospital bed at home, Mom’s walking again. She’s really weak and has turned over my sister’s strenuous care to me and my father. It’s been very interesting. My sister adores having me care for her, and once I got over the squick factor, I really like caring for her. We sing and giggle and have fun, and I feel like a kid again, sneaking my sister into my room after we were meant to be in bed so we could listen to music together. So there have been some good side effects to my Mom’s long wasting illness.

Recently the PBS News Hour ran a special series on Autism, which is what my sister ‘has’. The series was really good and went into the impact autism has on parents and siblings. I cried when the little girl talks about the future with her brother. She’s 8 and already sees it (Episode 1). And I cried when the older woman, in episode 5, wonders what is going to happen to her and her brother when her parents die. I so know those fears and feelings and I’m so angry at society for just abandoning us after the autistic (and retarded, and physically disabled, and downs syndrome and… you get the drift) kids leave school. Their lives do not end then!

Anyway if you are interested, you can watch the special on the ‘net, here. Each episode is only 10 to 15 minutes long. The links to each episode are along the right hand side of that page.

Brulee, the runt, in front. Her sister Decadence is behind. They were born only minutes apart.

My interest in animal welfare came a bit closer to home in the last few months, as 4 of my does gave birth in April and early May. Or I should say, 3 of them. The 4th has a false pregnancy, but she’s making milk and I’m not gonna complain! One of the does gave birth to 5 kids, all does. That’s pretty rare. Two of the kids were runts and needed 24/7 care. Unfortunately one of the kids passed on. She was simply too little and premature for me to keep alive, although I managed it for a month. The other little darling is doing great, and I offer a picture as a cute antidote to whatever is bothering you currently. It’s hard to tell from the pic, but she can basically fit in the palm of your hand. She’s a bit bigger now, but I can still hold her and support her completely in one hand.
Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday: Hillary, Jeannette, and Perditta

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for the funeral mass for former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, Thursday, March 31, 2011 in New York.

Morning, news junkies. Note: You’ll have to read all the way to the bottom of this one for the tie-in to “Jeannette” and “Perditta.” There’s also some comic relief from the Onion waiting there at the end as a reward for making it through. My Saturday reads are often on the ‘heavy’ side I know, and this weekend is no exception.

I’d like to start with a story I touched on in a roundup about a month ago. You may recall that I linked to Glen Ford/BAR’s commentary on the pogrom-like massacre against sub-Saharan black migrant workers in Libya, at the hands of so-called anti-Gaddafi rebels. The Western media has virtually blacked this story out–or if they are covering it in any substantive or sustained way other than in passing, I must have missed it over the past month. Leave it to the WSWS (World Socialist Web Site) to have one of the few informative pieces I’ve seen covering the story at all (h/t paperdoll for pointing me to it.) The WSWS piece references a March 22nd article, in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung by Gunnar Heinsohn (which cites as its source a report by Zimbabwean journalist and documentary filmmaker Farai Sevenzo).

From the WSWS link:

The article states:“Because mercenaries from Chad and Mali are presumed to be fighting for him [Gaddafi], the lives of a million African refugees and thousands of African migrants are at risk. A Turkish construction worker told the British radio station BBC: ‘We had seventy to eighty people from Chad working for our company. They were massacred with pruning shears and axes, accused by the attackers of being Gaddafi’s troops. The Sudanese people were massacred. We saw it for ourselves.’

The zombie in place of the fourth estate, our corporate US media, has either glossed over or omitted the massacre altogether. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, unsurprisingly, has had more to say on the killings than I’ve seen from CNN or Fox over the last few months combined. Again, from the WSWS link:

On February 28, the Arab TV station Al Jazeera reported the racist massacre of black African workers by so-called “freedom fighters” as follows: “Dozens of workers from sub-Saharan Africa, it is feared, have been killed and hundreds are hiding because angry opponents of the government are hunting down black African mercenaries, witnesses reported…. According to official reports, about 90 Kenyans and 64 people from southern Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and Burundi landed in Nairobi today.

One of them, Julius Kiluu, a 60-year-old construction manager, told Reuters: ‘We were attacked by people from the village. They accused us of being murderous mercenaries. But in reality they simply refuse to tolerate us. Our camp was burnt down. Our company and our embassy helped us get to the airport.’“Hundreds of black immigrants from the poorest African countries, who work mainly as low-wage day labourers in Libya, have been wounded by the rebels. From fear of being killed, some of them have refrained from going to a doctor.”

I went digging for the Al Jazeera report:

“But why is nobody concerned about the plight of sub-Saharan African migrants in Libya? As victims of racism and ruthless exploitation, they are Libya’s most vulnerable immigrant population, and their home country governments do not give them any support,” Hein de Haas, a senior fellow with the International Migration Institute, writes in his blog.

In clicking on the link to de Haas’ blog and perusing the comments, I stumbled upon a link to this February blog post at the Independent by Michael Mumisa: Is Al-Jazeera TV complicit in the latest vilification of Libya’s Blacks?

Mumisa wrote:

Even Al-Jazeera TV has based most of its news coverage of bands of marauding savage Africans on information posted via tweeter, facebook, and other social networks. That there may be African mercenaries operating in Libya is very possible but there are also credible reports from Serbian military sources as well as other Western agencies that Serbian mercenaries are fighting to protect Muammar Gaddafi. Yet nothing has been said about Gaddafi’s Serbian and Russian mercenaries.

Black Africans have always been a ‘visible’ and persecuted minority in Libya. By giving credence to potentially dangerous and unverified reports and rumours posted on social networks without taking into consideration the racial context of Libyan society Al-Jazeera and other foreign media outlets are complicit in the latest vilification and scapegoating of Libya’s Black minorities and its African migrant workers.

I don’t claim to be an expert on what’s happening on the ground in Libya, but I would like some answers on the deaths of these migrant workers. I would really love to hear someone put this humanitarian issue to Madame President Hillary Clinton for comment.

Switching gears now… because yep, you heard me correctly…

I just called her Madame President Hillary Clinton.

If the aliens visiting for the upcoming royal wedding were to observe what was going on right now, what else would they conclude? Hillary’s leading, Obama’s not, and everyone knows it.

Nothing new there, of course, except for the part about everyone knowing it. If Obama is the Where’s Waldo president, our media was the Where’s Waldo fourth estate in 2008, as well as during the entire past decade. That Where’s Waldo media, by the way, very much included left blogistan, guilty of its own version of the “Village” insularity and hegemony in the traditional media that the prog blogs cut their teeth railing against.

In 2008, access was more important than our country’s future to journalists and bloggers, and I have no reason to believe in 2012, the story will be any different.

Which brings me to my next set of links…

Hillary, Obama, Polls, and 2012/The Donald Goes Birther week-in-review

The latest results are from a March 25-27 Gallup poll conducted while the United States was actively involved in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, a policy Clinton reportedly advocated. The same poll finds Clinton rated more positively than other top administration officials. Obama receives a 54% favorable rating, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, 52%, and Vice President Joe Biden, 46%.

  • A CNN/Opinion research poll from March 11 to 13 yielded pretty much the same results: 2 in 3 Americans have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, with 92% of Democrats, 64% of Independents, and 35% of Republicans (or 83% of liberals, 80% of moderates, and 42% of conservatives) giving her a thumbs up. (That’s nearly identical to the Gallup findings from the end of March: 92% of Dems, 62% of Indies, and 40% of Repubs.) How’s that for “likeable enough” and “polarizing”? Agree or disagree with her, what people have for Hillary–which Obama can’t win with his empty speeches and voting “present”–is respect for her substance, diligence, and commitment. You not only know where she stands on Libya, you know she won’t half-ass it, she won’t vote present like Obama and she won’t cut Bush-like corners either–it’s clear that she’s giving it her all and she’s all in, even if you disagree with her.

It doesn’t look like Florida will be losing its status as one of the most competitive states in the country at the Presidential level next year- voters in the state are almost evenly divided on Barack Obama’s job performance and although he leads all six of the Republicans we tested him against, some of the margins are quite close. […] Mitt Romney does the best, trailing Obama 46-44. […] former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who trails Obama 48-45 in the state. Obama would start out in a slightly healthier position against four other Republicans we tested. He leads Rudy Giuliani by 6 points at 48-42, Mike Huckabee by 7 at 50-43, Newt Gingrich by 8 at 50-42, and Sarah Palin by 13 at 52-39.

Obama’s not likely to win Michigan by his blowout margin of 16 points in 2008 again but if the state voted today he would have an easier time taking it than either John Kerry in 2004 or Al Gore in 2000 did. Mitt Romney does the best of the Republicans against Obama, but still trails 48-41. […] Obama could be vulnerable in Michigan for sure. But consider this- despite that weak 78% approval with Democrats, he gets 85-90% of the Democratic vote against each of these five Republicans. There are enough Democrats who don’t like Obama that a Republican could get the support necessary across party lines to win the state- it’s just far from clear that any of these Republicans could get the support necessary across party lines to win the state.

  • And, in more “coming home to Obama” news… according to a Harvard survey, the “Waiting on the World to Change” generation has fallen back into their Obama-Hope coma (via TPM). If you read the fine print, though, the survey was taken from February 11 to March 2, i.e. before Obama’s (non-)war in Libya. Regardless, it’s not like younger voters are going to vote for whatever horrific candidate the GOP nominates anyway. But, will they show up with the enthusiasm of “being part of something historic and cool” that they did in 2008? I officially left the under 30 demographic last week, and one of the saddest things to watch about US politics over the last three years is how Obama crushed some pretty earnest, if misplaced, idealism on the part of many of my and my kid sister’s peers. I’m sure they’ll still vote for him, but it will be out of fear of the Republican being worse, not out of hope. Obama 2012 is all about cynicism. So was Obama 2008. Again, people just didn’t know it yet.
  • Also buried in the Harvard survey under the headline is this finding: 42% of young voters approve of Obama on the economy, while 55% disapprove. So, it’s not like “kids today” are completely oblivious to their own destruction under this president. There’s just no meaningful alternative.

There’s a good chance that Trump’s flirtation with the GOP will be over as soon as this season of Celebrity Apprentice ends, and that his real motivation is jealousy that Obama is starring in what he sees as the world’s highest-rated reality-TV show: President of the United States. But if you think there’s any chance he’ll actually throw his hat in the ring, consider this: The only consistent position Trump has taken so far is that in 2011, he’s against whatever Obama is for.


  • This one is a bit of a ‘where foreign policy meets domestic policy’ read…[USAID’s Rajiv] Shah: GOP budget would kill 70,000 children. Josh Rogin at FP’s The Cable has the details at the link. Once again, I must point out that we have a Madame President Hillary Clinton on the global stage at a time when her strength, stature, and ‘smart’ power on the domestic stage could have been very well-utilized. (As, Jon Corzine let slip at a party in the summer of 2010… “She would have been able to handle this Congress.”) Still, Hillary and her people at the State Department are doing everything they can from within their foreign policy context to push back on the GOP’s fiscal irresponsibility.


Japanese authorities on Friday were struggling with a new problem at the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant: where to put tons of radioactive water.


This Day in History (April 2nd)

Stressors the general public typically don’t have to deal with such as deployments, temporary duty assignments, permanent change of station assignments every few years or less, exercises and so many other requirements can take a toll on these families, since autistic kids have such a hard time adapting to change.

Following her election as a representative, Rankin’s entrance into Congress was delayed for a month as congressmen discussed whether a woman should be admitted into the House of Representatives.

Finally, on April 2, 1917, she was introduced in Congress as its first female member. The same day, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress and urged a declaration of war against Germany. On April 4, the Senate voted for war by a wide majority, and on April 6 the vote went to the House. Citing public opinion in Montana and her own pacifist beliefs, Jeannette Rankin was one of only 50 representatives who voted against the American declaration of war. For the remainder of her first term in Congress, she sponsored legislation to aid women and children, and advocated the passage of a federal suffrage amendment.

  • “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” –Jeannette Rankin
  • Back in January, I wrote about the Jeannette Rankin Brigade, so instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ll just quote myself:

Today is January 15, 2011… Eighty-two years ago, in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. Thirty-nine years later, in 1968, the Jeannette Rankin Brigade gathered in DC to protest the Vietnam War (links go to two great photos). At the end of the march, the 88-year old Rankin–on behalf of a delegation of women that included Coretta Scott King–presented to then-House Speaker John McCormack a petition calling for an end to the war (link takes you to another amazing photo).

Updates and Closing Thoughts on Libya

FP’s latest brief at the time of my writing this post (Friday mid-morning/noon):

A senior aide to Saif al-Qaddafi is reportedly in London for secret talks with British authorities. Following yesterday’s defection of Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, rumors have swirled of other high-profile defections from the Qaddafi regime. Ali Abdussalam el-Treki, a former U.N. envoy who had also reportedly defected on Thursday, denied the rumors, but said that he is trying to negotiate a ceasefire. Libyan officials have now posted guards to prevent other defectors from leaving.Members of NATO are warning Libya’s rebels not to attack civilians, or they will face the same airstrikes that have been directed at Qaddafi’s troops. The BBC is reporting that seven civilians were allegedly killed in a coalition airstrike near Brega.

More from the BBC link just above:

All the dead were between the ages of 12 and 20, Dr Refardi said. Nato says it is investigating the claim.

The news comes as opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil said the rebels would agree to a ceasefire if Col Muammar Gaddafi’s troops withdrew from cities.

“We agree on a ceasefire on the condition that our brothers in the western cities have freedom of expression and also that the forces that are besieging the cities withdraw,” he told a news conference in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

But he said the rebels would not back down on their demand that Col Gaddafi must go.

So it sounds like Gaddafi’s hold is sliding, but who knows how things will be by the time you see this post on Saturday morning.

At any rate, I wonder what Jeannette Rankin and her anti-war brigade would say to this woman (via FP/Blake Hounshell, A Bright Voice from Libya’s Darkness):

What does grief and courage sound like? It sounds a lot like the voice of Perditta Nabbous, the wife of Libyan citizen journalist Mohammed Nabbous, 27, who was shot and killed last Saturday by forces loyal to Muammar al-Qaddafi. Mohammed was the charismatic voice and face of Libya al-Hurra, the online TV station he set up in the early days of the uprising. Mo, as his many fans and supporters around the world called him, was attacked while trying to record footage from Benghazi.


She is 8 months pregnant. “I want Mohamed’s child to live,” she told me.

Her voice growing stronger, she called for the U.S.-led strikes on Qaddafi’s air defenses and troops to continue. Here it is in her own words. I can’t put it any more powerfully than this:

“We started this in a pure way, but he turned it bloody. Thousands of our men, women, and children have died.

We just wanted our freedom, that’s all we wanted, we didn’t want power. Before, we could not do a single thing if it was not the way he wanted it.

All we wanted was freedom. All we wanted was to be free. We have paid with our blood, with our families, with our men, and we’re not going to give up.

We are still going to do that no matter what it takes, but we need help. We want to do this ourselves, but we don’t have the weapons, the technology, the things we need. I don’t want anyone to say that Libya got liberated by anybody else.

If NATO didn’t start moving when they did, I assure you, I assure you, half of Benghazi if not more would have been killed. If they stop helping us, we are going to be all killed because he has no mercy anymore.

Remember Rankin’s warning that “you can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”

I’m torn between Jeannette’s voice and Perditta’s.

I find myself increasingly hoping against hope that things turn out for the best in Libya and the rest of the MENA region and for us all.

That’s pretty much it for me. What’s on your blogging list this Saturday?

If you made it to the end, here you go… as promised… The Onion: American Dream Declared Dead As Final Believer Gives Up

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]