Texas Judge: Extra Law Enforcement Staff Needed in Case Obama is Reelected

Judge Tom Head with Texas Gov. Rick Perry

You just can’t make this stuff up. Lubbock County Judge Tom Head appeared on Fox 34 News in Lubbock, TX on Monday night to warn the population of the danger that lies ahead if President Obama wins reelection in November. The threat is so serious that he wants to increase property taxes in order to increase salaries for attorneys in the DA’s office and hire seven more sheriff’s deputies to deal with the possible Obamapocalypse.

Judge Head said he and the county must be prepared for many contingencies, one that he particularly fears, is if President Obama is reelected.

“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?,” Head asked.

“I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.

“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say ‘you’re not coming in here’.

“And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him, I said ‘you gonna back me’ he said, ‘yeah, I’ll back you’. Well, I don’t want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.”

How on earth does the Stupid Party GOP find these people?

Apparently some people were a bit concerned about the good Judge’s remarks, so today he recorded a rambling video in which he attempted to “clarify” things. According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, the Sheriff has no recollection of any conversation with Judge Head about revolution or whatever Head is planning.

Just minutes ago, Sheriff Kelly Rowe said he’d never discussed any of the scenarios described by Head.

The White House media office had no immediate response Wednesday morning to Head’s remarks.

AJ reporter Andrea Sinclair is at the Lubbock County Commissioner meeting, and, Head said his remarks were taken out of context. He said he was referring to a “worst case scenario” if Obama is re-elected.

Sorry, Tom, that dog won’t hunt. Just like your fellow Stupid Party GOP members Todd Akin and Paul Ryan, you said what you said on videotape. We can all judge your remarks and their “context” for ourselves.


Late Evening News Reads: Cup of Tea?

Good Evening, getting ready to enjoy a couple old classic movies on TCM…so this will be a quick post.

I don’t think I am the only one that is getting fatigue from all this back and forth between the two political parties…Dak had a great post about it today, and it looks like many of you are bringing up the Tea Party. So for my first link, Special report: Tea Party grassroots army readies for battle | Reuters

For insight into the conservative Tea Party movement’s battle plan in 2012, check out Joe Dugan’s Google spreadsheets.

Dugan, 66, a retired manufacturing executive and chairman of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party, is particularly proud of the scoring system he’s devised for South Carolina legislators. Every vote by a member of the state’s House or Senate is recorded, with points awarded for those that reflect the conservative position.

“Let’s say you get above a five, we’ll actively campaign for your reelection,” Dugan says. “Below a three, then – Republican or Democrat – we’ll come after you.”

WTF?

“The Tea Party movement is more organized, more focused and more potent,” said Rep. Scott, who talks regularly to Dugan. “What happened in 2010 was not the end. It was just the beginning.”

Tea Party supporters now hold fewer sign-waving rallies, a hallmark of their early opposition to bank bailouts and President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform in 2009. But the movement isn’t losing steam.

Interviews with activists across 20 U.S. states indicate that Tea Party groups, far from fading, have evolved into an increasingly sophisticated and effective network of activists. They are working to unseat establishment Republicans who they believe have betrayed the principles of lower taxes, limited government, and free markets.

“Those who think the Tea Party is on the wane are in for a gigantic surprise in 2012,” says Debbie Dooley, co-organizer of the Atlanta Tea Party. “We have built a grassroots army and we will be a fine-tuned machine next year.”

So compare the threatening nature of this interview to these remarks from another Tea Party member, even though some of the right-wing leaning press are trying to make the man out as a “wannabe.”

Wannabe Tea Party politician unleashes racist Facebook screed against President Obama  – NY Daily News

A rabid Tea Party wannabe politician in California called for the assassination of President Obama and his “monkey children” in a recent Facebook rant – and then defended his right to do so Monday.

Jules Manson, who failed miserably in his 2011 bid for a City Council seat in Carson, Calif., urged the sickening reprisal, saying Obama’s support of a revised military authorization bill last week was an act of “treason” that “eroded” constitutional protections.

“It must be countered with assassinations onto them and their children,” he wrote in the original posting that has since been scrubbed from his Facebook profile.

“Assassinate the f—-n (N-word) and his monkey cWannhildren,” he prodded, according to a screen grab obtained by YourBlackWorld.com.

An angry backlash quickly ensued, and Manson, 48, toned down the vile rhetoric Monday while defending his right to spew hate.

They never want to own the violent actions and racist remarks from their members.

Ex-Carson Council candidate talks anti-Obama Facebook rant | abc7.com

Jules Manson, 48, posted the racially charged statement Sunday on his Facebook page. His post included the word, “assassinate,” referred to Obama using the N-word and referred to the president’s daughters as “monkey children.”

It’s a rant that Manson wishes he could take back.

“Basically, I mustered the most hateful and vile words I could think of to express my hurt and contempt for the president. However, I went too far. That’s all that was. It was harmless. I’m not the least bit racist at all,” Manson told Eyewitness News.

Manson has since apologized for the statement, but the damage was done. The Secret Service got wind of it and is now conducting an investigation to determine if Manson is a genuine threat to the first family.

“I consented to the search of my home, my vehicle and my person as well. Now, they’re questioning my family,” Manson said.

Manson considers himself a Libertarian and was angered by language in the Defense Authorization Act that he and others say could deny Americans their civil rights.

Manson insist he is not a racist…cough…cough…

Then you have this bit of New Jersey Tea Party conspiracy theory run amok Tea Party raises fear of UN at Ocean County freeholder meeting | The Asbury Park Press NJ | APP.com

Conspiracy fears over a United Nations plot to establish a one-world government in which property rights can be voided, brought a dozen Tea Party activists to Wednesday’s meeting of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders.

Specifically, Ocean County Tea Party members voiced concern with Gov. Chris Christie’s strategic plan for targeting growth in New Jersey and the county’s update of its own master development plan.

“I’m not attacking the need for planning and I’m not attacking the need for good environmental stewardship,” said David Sharp, 75, of Waretown. “What I am concerned about … a thing called Agenda 21 that has crept into the policy making of many government agencies.”

According to literature from the John Birch Society, Agenda 21 would mandate national service, control the size of families, reduce the amount of goods and services individuals can purchase and use, and virtually eliminate private ownership.

“Under the U.N. plan, the role of the government is to control the individual for a greater good in a global community,” Sharp said. “Quote, ‘Rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.’ That scares me and I see that happening in our country.”

And lastly:

In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts – The Washington Post

If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas.

In the past year, three state agencies have been abolished and 2,050 jobs have been cut. Funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed. The new Republican governor rejected a $31.5 million federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes Obama’s health care law. And that’s just the small stuff.

A new “Office of the Repealer” has been created to reduce the number of laws and regulations, and the Repealer is canvassing the state for more cut suggestions.

In the upcoming legislative session, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) plans to roll out proposals to change the way schools are funded, taxes are levied and state pensions are administered.

A year after voters vaulted hundreds of tea party candidates to power in Washington and in state capitals, the movement’s goals are being pursued aggressively in states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas.

It is enough to give one the tea party willies…

“It’s a revolution in a cornfield,” said Arthur Laffer, the 71-year-old architect of supply-side economic theory and former economic adviser for President Ronald Reagan who is now working with the governor. “Brownback and his whole group there, it’s an amazing thing they’re doing. Truly revolutionary.”

Brownback, 55, declined to be interviewed for this article but has said he wants to turn his small farming state into a national showcase for the virtues of limited government.

“The states are to be the laboratory for democracy,” he said recently at a dinner at the Kansas Policy Institute, a think tank in Wichita. “Why not here and why not us and why not now?”

Talk of the tea party fading is a bit optimistic, the people behind the movement are still there and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere any time soon.


Elite Conspiracy Theories and the Arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Dominque Strauss-Kahn and wife Anne

When one of us common people questions the Bush failures before 9/11 or the Warren Commission’s insistence that JFK was killed by a lone gunman, we are laughed at by the corporate media and lectured by politicians. But when one of the Global Elite gets in trouble, conspiracy theories are suddenly in vogue. Now that a global banker and possible candidate for the French presidency is accused of a sexual attack on a lowly hotel maid, elite conspiracy theories are running rampant in the U.S. and international media. I’ll give you a few examples.

At the Pakistan Observer, Ali Ashraf Kahn argues that Strauss-Kahn had to brought down, first because he would very likely have beaten the “American poodle Sarakozi” in a race for the presidency of France, and second because he (Strauss-Kahn) had offended the international banksters and corporations by proposing more liberal policies at the IMF which would have been a threat to the dollar. According to Ali Ashraf Kahn, getting rid of Strauss-Kahn would–along with U.S. military actions in Libya and Pakistan–would help to “save American predominance in the world.”

This incident goes to prove the hidden agenda of an international vested interest group trying to build and secure an American Empire for their master, which has not spared even Strauss-Kahn, who has been fixed in a rape attempt with a 32 year old hotel maid in a country where teen aged unwed mothers are a normal accepted feature. The former French Foreign Minister Strauss-Kahn, once if he was elected as president of France would have worked to strengthen the Euro to bring down dollar, which was of serious concern for the Federal Reserve Board in the already ongoing currency war with China. John F. Kennedy, US president was murdered for his only sin of canceling Federal Reserve Act of 1913 in 1963, when for the first time dollar currency was issued with the seal of US government, soon after his assassination President Lyndon B. Johnson revived this Act to continue their financial exploitation.

The author of this article appears to have a problem understanding the distinction between rape and consensual sex that results in pregnancies, but I’ll let that go for the moment. Kahn explains that Strauss-Kahn was trying to make radical changes at the IMF–so much so that Strauss Kahn won high praise from Joseph Stiglitz, which was apparently the final “kiss of death.”

Strauss-Kahn was trying to move the bank in a more positive direction, a direction that didn’t require that countries leave their economies open to the ravages of foreign capital that moves in swiftly-pushing up prices and creating bubbles, and departs just as fast, leaving behind the scourge of high unemployment, plunging demand, hobbled industries, and deep recession. Strauss-Kahn had set out on a “kinder and gentler” path, one that would not force foreign leaders to privatize their state-owned industries or crush their labour unions. Naturally, his actions were not warmly received by the banker’s mafia and multi national corporations who look to the IMF to provide legitimacy to their ongoing plunder of the rest of the world. These are the people who think that the current policies are “just fine” because they produce the desired results they’re looking for, which is bigger profits for themselves and deeper poverty for everyone else.

I have to admit, I’m in sympathy with those goals. There’s a lot more, so read the whole thing if you want more detail.

The next conspiracy theory is from Uganda. The author, Dr. Kihura Nkuba, also argues that Strauss-Kahn’s attack on the U.S. dollar is what led to his downfall. Nkuba says that police in the racist U.S. would never take the word of a poor black woman against that of a powerful white man unless motivated by a political conspiracy.

A woman from West Africa, assaulted by a famous white male, a future president of France, to be listened to by the New York Police, is amazing. But is it? [….]

New York police has [sic] been rummaging through DSK’s diaries, hotel registries, phone records, yearbooks and have made sure that the “great seducer” always appears handcuffed and dressed in a “pervie” raincoat with three-days stubble before they parade him in front of the media. He gets this treatment even though he has no criminal record and nothing, but the sketchy accusations of a room service cleaner.

What is his real crime? Strauss-Kahn was mounting an attack against the dollar and had called for a new world reserve currency that would challenge the dominance of the dollar and protect against future financial instability. He suggested adding emerging market countries’ currencies, such as the Yuan, to a basket of currencies that the IMF will administer to add stability to the global system….Strauss-Kahn saw a greater role for the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights, (SDRs) which is currently composed of the dollar, sterling, euro and yen, over time but said it will take a great deal of international cooperation to make that work.”

I love the way these male authors toss aside the charges against Strauss-Kahn–in Nkuba’s case, while complaining about racial prejudice. I guess he goes by the “bros before hos” rule: racism bad, sexism invisible.

Naomi Wolf also has a conspiracy theory about the Strauss-Kahn arrest that goes along with her defense of Julian Assange against sexual abuse charges in Sweden. She begins by comparing the NYC police response to the Strauss-Kahn case with the case of two of New York’s “finest,” Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, who are on trial for raping a woman in Manhattan.

According to Wolf,

Moreno and Mata have not been asked to strip naked for “evidence” photos, were not initially denied bail, and were not held in solitary confinement, and are not being strip-searched daily. Their entire case has followed the usual timetable of many months, as evidence was gathered, testimony compiled and arguments made.

On the other hand, Wolf writes,

After a chambermaid reportedly told her supervisor at the elegant Sofitel hotel that she had been sexually assaulted, the suspect was immediately tracked down, escorted off a plane just before its departure, and arrested. High-ranking detectives, not lowly officers, were dispatched to the crime scene. The DNA evidence was sequenced within hours, not the normal eight or nine days. By the end of the day’s news cycle, New York City police spokespeople had made uncharacteristic and shockingly premature statements supporting the credibility of the victim’s narrative — before an investigation was complete.

The accused was handcuffed and escorted before television cameras — a New York tradition known as a “perp walk.” The suspect was photographed naked, which is also unusual, initially denied bail and held in solitary confinement. The Police Commissioner has boasted to the press that Strauss-Kahn is strip-searched now multiple times a day — also unheard-of.

I didn’t know that Strauss-Kahn was being subjected to daily strip-searches, but it seems to be true, according to the New York Post.

Prison brass and the NYPD have an airtight plan to safeguard the jet-setting French moneyman by having him isolated, chained, shackled — and repeatedly strip-searched — before and after court appearances, including a bail hearing newly scheduled for today.

“He will be strip-searched when he leaves Rikers Island. He will be strip-searched when he arrives in court. He’s strip-searched when he leaves court, and he’s strip-searched when he gets back to Rikers,” said Norman Seabrook, head of the correction officers union.

“When he arrives to the courthouse, he’s going to be put in an isolated cell away from other inmates,” said Seabrook. “This is for fear that another inmate would try to kill him to make a name for himself.”

Yet, as Wolf points out, hotel maids are routinely subject to sexual attacks during their work. Her conspiracy theory is that in the modern surveillance state,

men like former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was investigating financial wrongdoing by the insurance giant AIG, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Strauss-Kahn — whose efforts to reform the IMF gained him powerful opponents — can be, and are, kept under constant surveillance. Indeed, Strauss-Kahn, who had been the odds-on favorite to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s French presidential election, probably interested more than one intelligence service.

This does not mean that Strauss-Kahn is innocent or that he is guilty. It means that policy outcomes can be advanced nowadays, in a surveillance society, by exploiting or manipulating sex-crime charges, whether real or inflated.

She has a pretty good point there. But the maid who reported Strauss-Kahn’s attack was a member of a union, as Dean Baker pointed out. Could that be why her employer made sure she was treated well by the police?

The reason that this is an important part of the story is that it is likely that Strauss-Kahn’s alleged victim might not have felt confident enough to pursue the issue with either her supervisors or law enforcement agencies, if she had not been protected by a union contract. The vast majority of hotel workers in the United States, like most workers in the private sector, do not enjoy this protection.

Dean Baker was also disappointed in Strauss-Kahn’s arrest, because whether or not he is guilty, his resignation spells the end of reform at the IMF.

Reading all these arguments for a conspiracy against Dominque Strauss-Kahn has given me pause. It certainly makes sense that the U.S. government would want to end his tenure at the IMF and prevent him from becoming President of France. But how could they know he would attack a hotel maid? Does the conspiracy require her involvement? That’s the serious hangup I have in buying into these authors’ claims–much as I do always enjoy a good conspiracy theory.

Patrica J. Williams touches all the bases in an article about the case at NPR. On the conspiracy issue, she argues for a skeptical approach to conspiracy theories, while keeping an open mind.

Politics is a complicated, dirty business, as the impeachment hearings of President Clinton ought to have instructed us. (Who guessed back then that Newt Gingrich, while skewering Clinton’s morals, was cheating on his then-wife with his present wife?) For Americans, who by and large have never heard of DSK, the possibility of his arrest being a set-up is inconceivable. But in the immediate aftermath of his detention, a majority of French citizens believe he has been purposely brought down. Why? Dominique Strauss-Kahn was well on track not just to become France’s president but its first Jewish president. As head of the IMF, he led that institution in a distinctly progressive manner. He sharply critiqued corrupt American bankers and banking practices and, early on, predicted the collapse of the mortgage market. As a center-left Socialist party member, he was close to negotiating a European Union bailout for Greece. And his elimination from the election empowers the candidacy of Marine LePen, head of the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic National Front party, whose popularity, alarmingly enough, currently polls higher than that of Nicolas Sarkozy.

I’m certainly going to keep all this in mind as I follow the developments in the Strauss-Kahn case. I’d love to know what you all think about it too, so please chime in!


Tuesday Reads: Osamarama

Good Morning!! Grab your coffee and pull up a chair. I’ve got some interesting links for you this morning. It’s mostly Osama-related with a few non-Osama links thrown in.

I guess we need to brace ourselves for 24/7 Osama bin Laden news until further notice. The White House is leaking information in dribs and drabs, the corporate media is in hysteria mode, and the conspiracy theories are already spreading like wildfire.

The biggest problem for the Obama administration is going to be the supposed “burial at sea.” Let’s hope they have extensive photo and video evidence that that actually took place. Some 9/11 relatives are very upset about this. They wanted to see the body.

Rosaleen Tallon kissed her three children good night and went to sleep feeling at peace. The terrorist responsible for the death of her brother, New York firefighter Sean Patrick Tallon, was dead. Her two boys and her little girl had been assured that the “bad man” behind the attacks that claimed their uncle was gone.

But when Tallon awoke Monday to the news that Osama bin Laden had been buried at sea, she was stunned. That was one corpse she would like to have seen for herself, Tallon said, her fiery words underscoring the change this suburban science teacher has undergone in the last decade.

“I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I was a little dismayed — a lot dismayed,” Tallon said as her 20-month-old son, Paddy, nestled in her arms while savoring a red lollipop. “I think that was too hasty. I would’ve liked the American people to say without a shadow of a doubt, ‘Yes, that’s him.’ “

Hey, why didn’t they put bin Laden’s body in the Capital rotunda and let people view it until they had their fill? But seriously, the “burial at sea” thing is really problematic. At Corrente, Lambert isn’t buying it.

But how are we going to drag the body through the streets, if it’s floating in the Indian Ocean somewhere? Can’t anybody here play this game?

NOTE On the bright side, this does explain why the corpse wasn’t a festive centerpiece at the White House Correspondents Dinner. I’d been wondering about that.

Perhaps Lambert will be pleased to know that the folks over at Alex Jones’ Infowars agree with him. Here’s a sample of the posts going up over there.

Inside Sources: Bin Laden’s Corpse Has Been On Ice For Nearly a Decade

A multitude of different inside sources both publicly and privately, including one individual who personally worked with Bin Laden at one time, told us directly that Osama’s dead corpse has been on ice for nearly a decade and that his “death” would only be announced at the most politically expedient time.

That time has now come with a years-old fake picture being presented as the only evidence of his alleged killing yesterday, while Bin Laden’s body has been hastily dumped into the sea to prevent anyone from finding out when he actually died.

In April 2002, over nine years ago, Council on Foreign Relations member Steve R. Pieczenik, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, and James Baker, told the Alex Jones Show that Bin Laden had already been “dead for months”.

Pieczenik would be in a position to know such information, having worked directly with Bin Laden when the US was funding and arming the terror leader in an attempt to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the late 70′s and early 80′s (a documented historical fact that talking heads in the corporate media are actually denying today in light of developments).

“I found out through my sources that he had had kidney disease. And as a physician, I knew that he had to have two dialysis machines and he was dying,” Pieczenik told Jones during the April 24, 2002 interview.

Intel Chief: They Killed “Make Believe Osama”

Former Pakistani intelligence chief Hamid Gul went on the Alex Jones Show today and characterized the unverified assassination of Osama bin Laden as symbolic theater.

Gul said the event was a “make believe drama” designed to be used for Obama’s upcoming re-election campaign.

The supposed hit as described by the government and the corporate media is the “stuff of folk lore, for legend-making and the ballad,” Gull explained.

Hamid Gull went on to cite the late Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, who told David Frost in late 2007 that Osama bin Laden was murdered by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who is also one of the men convicted of kidnapping and killing journalist Daniel Pearl.

Apparently the right wing blogs are also claiming the Navy Seal secret operation was a complete fake, except they think Osama is still alive. Here’s a report at Think Progress: Meet The Deathers: Andrew Brietbart Website Pushing Conspiracy Theory That Osama Might Not Be Dead

Mere hours after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, supported by incontrovertible DNA evidence, the conspiracy theorists are hard at work. Andrew Breitbart, a prominent right-wing commentator with close ties to the Republican Party and the Tea Party, is pushing the theory on his website Big Peace.

On Breitbart’s website, J. Michael Waller, suggests Obama take a number of extraordinary steps so he can “make sure [Osama] is dead.” Pictures are apparently not enough. Walker asserts that he needs to be able to “walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it.”

See? They needed to lay the corpse out in the Capital rotunda so that every American who wanted to feast his or her eyes on it. Hell, maybe Lambert’s right–they should have dragged it through the streets to satisfy the more bloodthirsty among us. {Sigh….} I have a feeling that pretty soon I’m going to get very tired of hearing about Osama bin Laden.

In case you believe that Osama was really killed by Navy Seals in the past few days, here is a fascinating article at Wired’s Danger Room blog on the advanced technology used by the folks who hunt terrorists. Apparently they carry around thumb and eye scanners to identify the culprits they are looking for. That’s in addition to taking DNA samples.

At the Wall Street Journal, Ralph Gardener asks, “Is fist-pumping the right reaction?” He never really answers the question, but I found myself disturbed by the reactions last night too. But hey, Americans are generally pretty tacky–just look at the TV shows they watch nowadays. Hoarders? American Idol? Geeze.

At CNN there is an article about the “spending spree” that followed the 9/11 attacks.

In the decade between Sept. 11, 2001, and the death of Osama bin Laden on Sunday, the U.S. government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars with the aim of making Americans safer.

Agencies were created, expanded or given new missions. The government hired thousands of new employees to analyze intelligence, track terror financing and support the nation’s rapidly expanding national security apparatus.

Gee, can I get a dispensation from paying for all that–like all the religious nuts who don’t want to pay for abortions or dispense birth control pills or provide medical care for women who get abortions?

I’ll end with a few non-Osama-related news stories. A former Chicago Bears player who committed suicide by shooting himself through the heart (to preserve his brain for study) has been found to have had severe brain damage.

On Monday, scientists at Boston University who examined Duerson’s brain tissue said he suffered from a “moderately advanced” case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head.

His brain showed pronounced changes in the frontal cortex amygdala and the hippocampus, which control judgment, inhibition, impulse, mood control and memory, said Dr. Ann McKee, a co-director of the Center for Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Bedford VA CSTE Brain Bank.

“When you look at it microscopically, it’s undisputable,” said McKee, who has detected CTE in approximately 40 of the 50 brains she has examined, a pool that includes athletes and military veterans.

Known for his aggressive and hard-hitting defense, Duerson is the 14th of 15 former NFL players studied at the brain bank to be diagnosed with CTE. Overall, the condition has been found in more than two dozen deceased professional football players.

Football should really be banned, at least for kids. It will never happen though.

Astronomers create 3D map of 3-Billion-Year-Old Universe

Using light from 14,000 distant yet powerful cosmic beacons, astronomers have pieced together the largest and most detailed 3-D map of the ancient universe.

Previous versions plotted the locations of galaxies within 7 billion light-years of Earth. The new version, however, charts clouds of hydrogen in a swath between 10 billion and 12 billion light-years away — farther in distance and deeper in time than any 3-D map before it.

The hydrogen clouds could help answer some of astronomers’ more profound questions about the universe, including the nature of dark energy.

“We’re looking for a bump in the data that may tell us how fast universe is expanding,” said cosmologist Anže Slosar of Brookhaven National Laboratory, one of the researchers who presented the map May 1 at the American Physical Society meeting in Anaheim, California. “We don’t have enough data to see the bump yet, but we expect to get there in a few years.”

Julian Assange says that Facebook is an “appalling spying machine.”

Asked about his thoughts on the role that social media has played in shaping the recent revolutions in the Middle East, the WikiLeaks founder went in another direction. “Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented,” he said. “Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to U.S. intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo — all these major U.S. organizations have built-in interfaces for U.S. intelligence. It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for U.S. intelligence to use.”

He continued, still not answering the question: “Now, is it the case that Facebook is actually run by U.S. intelligence? No, it’s not like that. It’s simply that U.S. intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure on them. And it’s costly for them to hand out records one by one, so they have automated the process. Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them.”

If you like to look at the night sky, there will be a nice show this month when Venus and Jupiter appear very close to each other. May 11 is the day to check them out, I guess.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


TGIFriday Reads

Good Morning!

Well, it’s getting to be the silly season.  Now we have Republicans who were for oil subsidies before they were against them or against them before they were for them.  Evidently, angry town hall participants can’t figure out why oil companies that keep making record profits while gouging at the pump deserve huge tax breaks. So, Republicans are making up their minds as they go along.  Here’s one such example from the Wonk Room:  Paul Ryan Endorses Ending Oil Subsidies, Even Though He Voted For Them

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) agree.d to end subsidies to oil companies during a town hall in Waterford, Wisconsin, this morning, eliciting great applause from an overflow crowd in a very conservative section of his district. “We also want to get rid of corporate welfare,” Ryan insisted. “So we propose to repeal all that”

But Ryan voted twice this year to actually extend subsidies to oil companies, once on a motion to recommit on a shorter-term continuing resolution and again when he supported an amendment to the initial House CR. The Ryan budget, meanwhile, doesn’t specifically target oil subsidies, but only generally promises to end “corporate welfare.”

Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) also indirectly endorsed ending subsidies to the oil industry, before walking back his support.

CBS Reporter Lara Logan is offering up more information on her ‘merciless’ assault  during the Egyptian uprising.  Logan was separated from her colleagues for about 25 minutes.

She declined to go into more detail about the assault but said: “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

After being rescued by a group of civilians and Egyptian soldiers, she was swiftly flown back to the United States. “She was quite traumatized, as you can imagine, for a period of time,” Mr. Fager said. Ms. Logan said she decided almost immediately that she would speak out about sexual violence both on behalf of other journalists and on behalf of “millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.”

It appears the Lake Havusu Arizona Newspaper filed to see Barack Obama Senior’s immigration file.  Their EXCLUSIVE–“Dad’s Immigration File Offers More Evidence Of Obama’s Birthplace” is an interesting read.  Sounds like Harvard couldn’t get rid of this particular Obama soon enough.  This really brings an interesting contrast to the President’s Book “Dreams of my Father”.

The documents also show that the CIS investigated the elder Obama as a polygamist, having a wife in Kenya and a “wife and child in Honolulu.” Dahlim’s memo adds that “Polygamy is not an excludable or deportation charge as Subject is a non-immigrant.”

Documents show that Obama, Sr. was denied an extension on his student visa in July, 1964, in part because Harvard University, where Obama, Sr., was a Ph.D. candidate, sought his removal. Obama Sr. eventually left the United States willingly after becoming an illegal alien for remaining in the country past the expiration of his visa.

An INS investigator, M.F. McKeon, wrote “They (Harvard officials) weren’t very impressed with him and asked us to hold up action on his application until they decided what action they could take in order to get rid of him. They were apparently having difficulty with his financial arrangements and couldn’t seem to figure out how many wives he had.”

Documents show that Harvard officials considered Obama, Sr. to be a “slippery character,” and conspired with the INS to have him deported.

After raising nearly every racist dogwhistle in the play book,  Donald Trump Bristles at Claim He’s a Racist.  Gee, why would anyone think that when the guy questions how the President–a legacy who graduated summa sum laude from Harvard–got into Harvard in the first place.

Trump tells TMZ … “That is a terrible statement for a newscaster to make.  I am the last person that such a thing should be said about.”

Bob Schieffer delivered a scathing statement against Trump Wednesday night on the “CBS Evening News,” reacting to Trump’s insinuation that President Barack Obama may not have had the grades to get into Harvard.

Schieffer said, “That’s just code for saying he got into law school because he’s black.  This is an ugly strain of racism that’s running through this whole thing.”

We asked Trump if he was suggesting Obama got into Harvard Law School through affirmative action.  He said, “Affirmative action is out there.  It’s a program that is available. But I have no idea whether it applies in this case.  I’m not suggesting anything.”

Politically-motivated accusation and innuendo is nothing new–as pointed out by Politico–but does Trump’s birther agenda shift the practice to a new low because it rose to the level of a media feeding frenzy?

Lurid conspiracy theories have followed presidents for as long as the office has existed. Yet even Obama’s most recent predecessors benefited from a widespread consensus that some types of personal allegations had no place in public debate unless or until they received some imprimatur of legitimacy — from an official investigation, for instance, or from a detailed report by a major news organization.

“There are no more arbiters of truth,” said former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. “So whatever you can prove factually, somebody else can find something else and point to it with enough ferocity to get people to believe it. We’ve crossed some Rubicon into the unknown.”

It’s hard to imagine Bill Clinton coming out to the White House briefing room to present evidence showing why people who thought he helped plot the murder of aide Vincent Foster— never mind official rulings of suicide — were wrong. George W. Bush, likewise, was never tempted to take to the Rose Garden to deny allegations from voices on the liberal fringe who believed that he knew about the Sept. 11 attacks ahead of time and chose to let them happen.

Well, at least it’s Friday!  So, what’s on your reading and blogging list this morning?


Tuesday Reads

Good Morning politics junkies!! I’ve got a few juicy reads for you today, so let’s get right to it.

First up, the ongoing protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s attempted union-busting in Wisconsin. There already have been a couple of polls showing that the majority of Americans support the fight for workers’ rights, and specifically the right of public employees to bargain collectively.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) announced last night that if Wisconsin voters could have a “do over,” Walker would not win the election for Governor.

if voters in the state could do it over today they’d support defeated Democratic nominee Tom Barrett over Scott Walker by a a 52-45 margin.

The difference between how folks would vote now and how they voted in November can almost all be attributed to shifts within union households. Voters who are not part of union households have barely shifted at all- they report having voted for Walker by 7 points last fall and they still say they would vote for Walker by a 4 point margin. But in households where there is a union member voters now say they’d go for Barrett by a 31 point margin, up quite a bit from the 14 point advantage they report having given him in November.

It’s actually Republicans, more so than Democrats or independents, whose shifting away from Walker would allow Barrett to win a rematch if there was one today. Only 3% of the Republicans we surveyed said they voted for Barrett last fall but now 10% say they would if they could do it over again.

Fascinating, huh? In addition, the results of the latest NY Times/CBS poll shows majority support for public employee unions.

Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.

Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along similar party lines. A majority of respondents who have no union members living in their households opposed both cuts in pay or benefits and taking away the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

A couple of days ago, the Los Angeles Police Protective League blog urged support for Wisconsin publish employees who have been protesting in Madison for more than a week now.

An attack on the collective bargaining process in any of the 50 states is an attack on every unionized worker in America. California, long a pro-labor state, is no exception. Following the Wisconsin governor’s lead, a Republican state assemblyman from Costa Mesa has announced legislation to eliminate collective bargaining for pension benefits by California’s public employees. While Assemblyman Allan Mansoor’s bill – aimed at addressing the increasing costs of retired public employees – stands little chance of passage in the Democrat-controlled Legislature, it serves as a reminder that we must remain vigilant and prepared to take action whenever our basic union rights are threatened.

President Obama actually spoke in vague terms (does he ever get specific?) about union workers. I won’t bother to quote his meaningless words; I just want to note that Scott Walker responded to Obama’s remarks–and, if anything, he was more vague and meaningless than Obama. What a pair!

In Libya, vicious tyrant Muammar el-Qaddafi (or Gadhafi, or Gaddafi–or however the heck you spell it) is getting more out of touch with reality with each passing day. From The New York Times:

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya is deep into a fantasy world. In an interview with ABC News, he insisted that his people “love me,” blamed the courageous uprising against his rule on “terrorists” and refused to take responsibility for his many crimes.

Only if you believe the old saw, “you only hurt the ones you love.” More details from CNN:

Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi flatly denied Monday the existence of the protests threatening to end his 41-year rule, as reports of fighting between government forces and rebels raged another day.

In a joint interview with ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour and the BBC, Gadhafi also denied using force against his people, Amanpour reported. Excerpts of the interview were posted on the networks’ websites.

“No demonstration at all in the streets,” he said, speaking at a restaurant in Tripoli.

Told by the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen that he had seen demonstrators in the streets that morning, Gadhafi asked, “Are they supporting us?”

“They love me, all my people with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people,” he said.

Now those are truly spectacular delusions!

At Al Jazeera, there’s a great article on revelations about the Gaddafi family drawn from cables released by Wikileaks.

For my fellow conspiracy buffs, here’s a fascinating story from Salon about the latest appeal for parole by RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan.

More than four decades after Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, his convicted murderer wants to go free for a crime he says he can’t remember.

It is not old age or some memory-snatching disease that has erased an act Sirhan Bishara Sirhan once said he committed “with 20 years of malice aforethought.” It’s been this way almost from the beginning. Hypnotists and psychologists, lawyers and investigators have tried to jog his memory with no useful result….

“There is no doubt he does not remember the critical events,” said William F. Pepper, the attorney who will argue for Sirhan’s parole Wednesday. “He is not feigning it. It’s not an act. He does not remember it.”

Of course he doesn’t remember it. He’s a “Manchurian Candidate.”

Pepper also suggests Sirhan was “hypno-programmed,” turning him into a virtual “Manchurian Candidate,” acting robot-like at the behest of evil forces who then wiped his memory clean. It’s the stuff of science fiction and Hollywood movies, but some believe it is the key.

I’m going to leave you with this video of an enraged husband yelling at Christian Taliban pickets outside an abortion clinic where he and his wife went for help with a terrible medical problem. Thanks to Dakinikat who sent this to me last night.

What are you reading and blogging about today?


Did Bush and Obama make a secret deal in 2008?

Around the time George W. Bush’s memoir was released, Alex Barker posted this bizarre anecdote at the Financial Times’s Westminster Blog.

George W. Bush’s bombastic return to the world stage has reminded me of my favourite Bush anecdote, which for various reasons we couldn’t publish at the time. Some of the witnesses still dine out on it.

The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his successor.

Naturally the election came up in conversation. Trying to be even-handed and polite, the Brits said something diplomatic about McCain’s campaign, expecting Bush to express some warm words of support for the Republican candidate.

Not a chance. “I probably won’t even vote for the guy,” Bush told the group, according to two people present.“I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me.”

Time Magazine later quoted a Bush “spokesman,” who said Barker’s anecdote was “ridiculous and untrue.”

“President Bush proudly supported John McCain in the election and voted for him,” said Bush spokesman David Sherzer to Politico.

Nevertheless, President Obama has gone to great lengths to protect members of the Bush administration from any accountability for the crimes they committed while in office. The Justice Department defended John Yoo, author of the torture memo. Justice also went to court to defend the Bush administration’s use “state secrets privilege” to excuse NSA domestic spying. They defended Donald Rumsfeld against charges related to torture.

Recently it was learned from formerly secret cables released by Wikileaks that the Obama administration pressured Spain to drop criminal charges against six Bush officials. David Corn writes:

In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.

The Bush officials were charged with

“creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture.” The six were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon’s former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel.

The Republicans who helped Obama pressure Spain were Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.). Corn again:

Back when it seemed that this case could become a major international issue, during an April 14, 2009, White House briefing, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the Obama administration would cooperate with any request from the Spaniards for information and documents related to the Bush Six. He said, “I don’t want to get involved in hypotheticals.” What he didn’t disclose was that the Obama administration, working with Republicans, was actively pressuring the Spaniards to drop the investigation.

In general, as anyone with half a brain has noticed, the Obama administration has carried on Bush’s policies and sometimes has taken them even further–for example with Obama’s claiming the power to unilaterally order the assassination of American citizens.

Why would Obama defend Bush administration policies so assiduously? Is it just because Obama wants to hold onto the “enhanced” executive powers that Bush claimed during his tenure as president? Or are these two supposed political opponents actually engaged in a collaborative effort to expand the powers of the presidency?

Let’s look back at the 2008 general election campaign. In late September, Barack Obama and John McCain were preparing for the first presidential debate, to be held at the University of Mississippi on September 26, shortly after news of the financial meltdown broke. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had proposed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to Congress on September 20. Read the rest of this entry »