Tuesday Reads: Heroes and Villains

Good Morning!!

Well, the President gave another speech last night, and it frankly put me in mind of the movie Groundhog Day. I think Obama’s handlers should be told to keep him under wraps until such time as he actually has something to say. I’ve had it with this whole debt ceiling mess, and I’m not going to say anymore about it in this post.

Instead, here’s an inspiring story that Dakinikat called my attention to: German tourist rescued teens during Norwegian island massacre.

A German tourist is being hailed as a hero for rescuing at least 20 people from a gunman’s rampage on Utoya island in Norway, according to media reports.

Marcel Gleffe, 32, was with his family Friday at a campground across the water from the island when he heard gunshots, Der Spiegel reported. He and his family looked out from the shore, thinking it might be fireworks, but instead they saw a plume of smoke and a girl swimming frantically in the water and screaming.

Gleffe got into the boat he had rented and set off, Der Spiegel said. He was the first person to reach the island where Anders Behring Breivik gunned down dozens of youngsters at a summer camp….

“You don’t get scared in a situation like that, you just do what it takes. I know the difference between fireworks and gunfire. I knew what it was about, and that it wasn’t just nonsense.”

We need a lot more people like Marcel Gleffe in this world. And what do you know? Via The Hinky Meter, here’s another hero: David Kemp of Beaverton, Oregon.

Kemp knew something was wrong when he was jogging on the Seaside promenade Saturday and saw 6-year-old Hailey’s face as she struggled to get away from Knox when having a Fantastic Race on a group of people.

“She was scared to death – terrified,” Kemp said.

He asked Hailey if she knew the woman and she shook her head in horror.

“I knew there was a problem at that point (and) that this is very, very serious. This child is terrified,” he said.

He knew he had to do something, especially when he heard what sounded like a death threat.

“She kept telling Hailey: ‘I am your queen; I am going to take you to see our king, our Lord. I am taking you with me.'”

Kemp broke the woman’s grip on the little girl, and when the kidnapper tried to get away, he chased her down and held her till police arrived. This isn’t the first time Kemp has been a hero.

In 2004 he rescued a woman who was injured by a hit-and-run driver and left lying in the road. Then he found the car which led to an arrest.

He’s also chased down and caught a shoplifter running from a store and another time he caught a robber who just held up a Hallmark shop.

Finally, there’s Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, who was instrumental in ending the four-month-long NFL owners’ lockout. At the press conference announcing the agreement yesterday, Kraft apologized to the fans.

“First of all I’d like, on behalf of both sides, to apologize to the fans that for the last five, six months we’ve been talking about the business of football and not what goes on on the field and building the teams in each market, but the end result is we’ve been able to have an agreement that I think is going to allow this sport to flourish over the next decade and we’ve done that in a way that’s unique among the major sports that every team in our league, all 32, will be competitive, we’ve improved player safety, and we’ve remembered the players who have played in the past.

During the months of the lockout, Kraft was going back and forth between labor talks and his wife Myra’s bedside. She was ending a long battle with cancer, and was buried on Friday.

It’s difficult to imagine how trying – emotionally, physically, mentally – these last few weeks have been for Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as his beloved wife, Myra, was dying of cancer and difficult negotiations dragged on between NFL owners and players over the terms of a new collective-bargaining agreement.

[….]

“He is a man who helped us save football,” Jeff Saturday, the center for the Indianapolis Colts and a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, said Monday after the league’s players joined the owners in approving a new collective-bargaining agreement. “Without him, this deal does not get done.”

Kraft previously had made it possible for New England to keep its football team when he bought the Patriots in 1994 just as they were about to move to St. Louis. Kraft is proof that people can be wealthy and remain decent human beings.

Randy Vickers, America’s chief of cybersecurity has abruptly resigned without any explanation.

The director of the agency that protects the federal government from cyber attacks has resigned abruptly in the wake of a spate of hacks against government networks.
U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) director Randy Vickers resigned his position Friday, effective immediately, according to an e-mail to US-CERT staff sent by Bobbie Stempfley, acting assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications, and obtained by InformationWeek. A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson confirmed the email was authentic.

The DHS has not provided a reason for Vickers’ sudden departure and the spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, declined to discuss the matter further. Vickers served as director of US-CERT since April 2009; previously, he was deputy director.

Current US-CERT deputy director Lee Rock will serve as interim director until the DHS names a successor for Vickers, according to the email.

Was he forced out? Maybe we’ll learn more about this today.

David Neiwert is an expert on right wing extremist groups–he’s written two books about them–and he had a post up yesterday on Crooks and Liars about Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist/mass murderer. It would be hard to choose excerpts from the story–please read the whole thing if you can find time. One important point Neiwert makes is that Breivik is not “crazy,” he’s just a right winger with connections to a group in Norway that is similar to the Tea Party here.

Scott Shane had an excellent article yesterday in the NYT on the connections between Breivik’s sick ideology and a number of American bloggers and media personalities. Of course Dakinikat has been writing about this for the past couple of days also.

The Guardian UK has an in depth article about Breivik, his appearance in court, his threats that “more will die.”

The rightwing extremist who confessed to the mass killings in Norway boasted in court on Monday that there were two more cells from his terror network still at large, prompting an international investigation for collaborators.

After Anders Behring Breivik pleaded not guilty, despite admitting that he had carried out the attacks in Oslo and on Utøya island, officials said it was possible he had not acted alone.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo said Breivik had been calm in court and “seemed unaffected by what has happened”, adding that the suspect had told investigators during his interrogation that he never expected to be released.

“We can’t quite rule out that someone else was involved. This is partly based on the information that there are two other cells,” Hatlo said.

The prosecutor said he could not discuss whether Breivik had organised the cells or whether he was working alongside them. Police have said they have no other suspects at present.

It also emerged on Monday that Norway’s police security service had been alerted to a suspicious chemical purchase by Breivik in March, but had decided not to investigate further.

Norwegian officials have lowered the number of deaths from the attacks to 76.

At the Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg, who wrote about about right wing Christian fundamentalism, discusses Breivik’s hatred of women.

Conservatives worried about the Islamization of Europe often blame feminism for weakening Western societies and opening them up to a Muslim demographic invasion. Mark Steyn’s bestselling America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It predicted the demise of “European races too self-absorbed to breed,” leading to the transformation of Europe into Eurabia. “In their bizarre prioritization of ‘a woman’s right to choose,’” he argued, “feminists have helped ensure that European women will end their days in a culture that doesn’t accord women the right to choose anything.”

This neat rhetorical trick—an attack on feminism coupled with purported concern about Muslim fundamentalist misogyny—is repeated again and again in Islamophobic literature. Now it’s reached its apogee in mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik’s 1,500-page manifesto, “2083: A European Declaration of Independence.” Rarely has the connection between sexual anxiety and right-wing nationalism been made quite so clear. Indeed, Breivik’s hatred of women rivals his hatred of Islam, and is intimately linked to it. Some reports have suggested that during his rampage on Utoya, he targeted the most beautiful girl first. This was about sex even more than religion.

It’s a fascinating article with lots of psychological background on Breivik’s misogyny.

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