Posted: August 7, 2018 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Climate change, Collusion, conspiracy, Danny O'Connor, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Great White Sharks, heat wave, Ohio 12 special election, Richard Nixon
Great white shark swims beneath paddleboarding man on Cape Cod last week.
We’re having an incredible heat wave in Boston, and I know we’re not alone. It’s hot just about everywhere. Today it’s supposed to hit 100 degrees here. Anyone who believes the climate isn’t changing is delusional.
Maybe the sharks are affected too, because we’ve had some Great White close encounters here in Massachusetts lately. The Boston Globe: Shark sightings force swimmers out of the water in Plymouth, Cape Cod.
Swimmers at Plymouth and Wellfleet beaches looking to catch a break from the oppressive heat were forced out of the water Monday afternoon after sharks were spotted lurking nearby.
Plymouth beaches were closed after a great white shark was seen off Manomet Point. Red flags were flying at the beaches as crews investigated, the Plymouth harbormaster tweeted shortly after 2:30 p.m.
Researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy were about a quarter-mile from Marconi Beach in Wellfleet when they saw a great white shark at around 1:45 p.m. They reported it to beach officials, and lifeguards promptly pulled everyone out of the water, Leslie Reynolds, chief ranger at the Cape Cod National Seashore, said. The beach was closed for an hour as a standard precautionary measure.
Also from the Globe: ‘It came right up, and opened its mouth’: Great white shark breaches water below boat.
State biologist Greg Skomal got an up-close look at a great white shark during a recent excursion off Cape Cod when one of the apex predators that researchers had been observing breached the water right beneath him, exposing its large teeth.
“Did you see that?! Did you see that?!” Skomal can be heard saying in a video posted by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Monday morning. “It came right up, and opened its mouth right at my feet!”
In the video, Skomal can be seen standing on the research boat’s pulpit, as the captain closes in on a shark. Skomal was using a long pole with a GoPro camera attached at the end so he could dip it into the water and capture footage of the shark. That’s when it suddenly breached the ocean’s surface.
“Oh!,” the boat’s captain, John J. King II, can be heard saying. “Holy crap! It dove right out of the water.”
Here’s the video. Be sure to put it on full screen and wait for the close-up.
Seriously though, have we already lost the fight to reverse climate change? That’s the argument put forth by Nathaniel Rich in last week’s New York Times Magazine: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.
The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for long-term disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario. Three-degree warming is a prescription for short-term disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities. Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree warming is the realistic minimum. Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable. The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.
Is it a comfort or a curse, the knowledge that we could have avoided all this?
Because in the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions — far closer than we’ve come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way — nothing except ourselves.
Check out the full story at the NYT.
Today there are some interesting primary elections and one special election to watch. Will we see portents of a blue wave in November?
Vox: Every August 7 primary election you should know about, briefly explained.
Voters head to the polls in five states Tuesday to test whether Democrats will get their “blue wave” on Election Day this fall.
The most heated race to watch is a special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, where a Democrat hasn’t won since the 1980s. Despite big spending by Republicans, a huge ground push, and even campaign appearances by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, polls show the Democrat, Danny O’Connor, might actually beat Republican Troy Balderson.
Washington state’s top-two primary will be a similar test of how Democrats might perform in historically conservative districts.
In a governor’s race in Michigan and a House race in Kansas, meanwhile, Democrats will test whether the future of the party is rooted in its progressive wing.
To win back a House majority in November, Democrats will have to triumph in historically red districts, as they did in Pennsylvania earlier this year when Conor Lamb pulled off a surprise victory. Some big wins on Tuesday night could be another sign that a wave year is possible.
Read the details at Vox.
On Sunday, we watched Trump incriminate himself and throw his own son under the bus on Twitter. Will Don Jr. be indicted? Charles Savage at The New York Times: Donald Trump Jr.’s Potential Legal Troubles, Explained.
“I did not collude with any foreign government and did not know anyone who did,” Donald Trump Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017. But his participation in the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, as well as another meeting, has put that claim under scrutiny.
Ahead of the meeting with Russians, an intermediary promised Donald Trump Jr. that a “Russian government attorney” would provide “very high level” dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” He wrote back, “If it’s what you say I love it.”
In a meeting three months before the election, Donald Trump Jr. met with another small group offering to help his father win the election. It included an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes who run Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. The younger Mr. Trump responded approvingly, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The New York Times.
Of course we all know by now that “collusion” is just another word for “conspiracy,” which can be a crime.
….lawyers instead talk about conspiracy: an agreement by two or more people to commit a crime — whether or not they end up doing so. A powerful tool for prosecutors, conspiracy charges allow them to hold each conspirator responsible for illegal acts committed by others in the circle as part of the arrangement. To convict someone of such a conspiracy, prosecutors would need to obtain evidence of an agreement to commit a specific crime….
A provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, Section 30121 of Title 52, broadly outlaws donations or other contributions of a “thing of value” by any foreigner in connection with an American election — or even an express or implied promise to take such action, directly or indirectly.
Depending on how a grand jury interprets the facts the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has gathered about the two Trump Tower meetings, it could find that the foreigners violated that law — and that Donald Trump Jr. conspired in that offense.
Another provision of the same statute makes it illegal for an American to solicit a foreigner for such illicit campaign help — again, even indirectly. If a grand jury were to interpret the evidence about Donald Trump Jr.’s words and actions as a solicitation, he could also be vulnerable to direct charges under that law, experts said.
Notably, the statute can be violated even if the promised or requested help is never provided.
Read the rest at the NYT.
At The Washington Post, William Ruckleshaus, who served as deputy attorney general under Nixon writes about Trump’s behavior: Only one other president has ever acted this desperate.
President Trump is acting with a desperation I’ve seen only once before in Washington: 45 years ago when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. Nixon was fixated on ending the Watergate investigation, just as Trump wants to shut down the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A lesson for the president from history: It turned out badly for Nixon. Not only could he not derail the investigation, but also, 10 months later, he was forced to resign the presidency.
In fact, in some ways, Trump is conducting himself more frantically than Nixon, all the while protesting his innocence. Nixon fought to the end because he knew that what was on the tape recordings that the prosecutor wanted would incriminate him. We don’t know what Trump is hiding, if anything. But if he is innocent of any wrongdoing, why not let Robert S. Mueller III do his job and prove it?
On the way Trump and his minions are attacking the investigation:
…the cynical conduct of this president, his lawyers and a handful of congressional Republicans is frightening to me and should be to every citizen of this country. We are not playing just another Washington political game; there is much more at stake.
The vehemence and irresponsibility of the rhetoric attacking the Mueller investigation tear at the very structure of our governance. Men who have sworn to use and protect our institutions of justice are steadily weakening them. Should the president finally decide to fire Mueller and put in place someone who will do his bidding, the country could be thrown into a political crisis that would scar our democracy and further erode the trust of our people in our governmental institutions.
We need leaders who tell the truth. This is not now happening. Mueller is living up to his superior reputation as a model public servant. His is a search for the truth; we should not complicate his job. Support him, and when he has finished his work, listen to what he has found.
Read the whole thing at the WaPo.
There are a lot more interesting reads out there today. Some to check out:
Forbes: New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting.
Rolling Stone: Rick Wilson: Trump’s Tweets May Actually Be His Undoing.
NBC News: Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants.
Politico: Manafort prosecution’s frustration with judge leads to fiery clashes.
The Washington Post: Trump’s political base is weaker than it seems, our new study finds.
Think Progress: Here’s what a new trove of Russian Twitter accounts tell us about Moscow’s support for Jill Stein.
Buzzfeed News: Accused Russian Agent’s Journey To Washington Began In South Dakota.
Franklin Foer at The Atlantic: How Trump Radicalized ICE.
What stories are you following today?
Posted: July 17, 2012 Filed under: Climate Change, Environment, Environmental Protection, Environmentalists, Great Britain, nature, open thread, Psychopaths in charge, religious extremists, science, SDB Evening News Reads, We are so F'd | Tags: australia, Bill Gates, Creationism, education, geoengineering, Great White Sharks, religious nuts, schools
I have just a few links for you tonight, starting with the latest shark attack in Australia. This Great White sounds like something out of the movie Jaws. Western Australia Shark Attack: Great White Bites Surfer Benjamin Charles Linden In Half
According to the Examiner, locals have nicknamed the large shark Brutus. Witnesses have described Brutus as being between 16 and 24-feet long.
The Western Australia Department of Fisheries set up baited traps near the attack site in an attempt to catch the shark, according to the Australian. A helicopter and boat search was also launched in an effort to recover the body, but it has not been found.
Although the gruesome incident was the fifth deadly shark attack reported off the coast of Western Australia in the past 10 months, some local surfers aren’t likely to be deterred.
“Once you are a surfer — and only a surfer knows the feeling — we cannot stop surfing. We are addicted,” surfing competition organizer Peter Dunn told Fox News, calling the attack a “tragic loss.”
According to the International Shark Attack File, there were 12 deaths from unprovoked shark attacks around the world in 2011. But although shark attacks often make news, some activists point out that humans are a greater threat to sharks than sharks are to humans.
I still think it is crazy to go surfing when there is such a threat out there. The reason I put this link up anyway is because at the bottom of the page there are pictures of various kinds of sharks. Some of them look extra-terrestrial.
On to another link that may make some of you cringe as well: US geoengineers to spray sun-reflecting chemicals from balloon
Two Harvard engineers are to spray sun-reflecting chemical particles into the atmosphere to artificially cool the planet, using a balloon flying 80,000 feet over Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
The field experiment in solar geoengineering aims to ultimately create a technology to replicate the observed effects of volcanoes that spew sulphates into the stratosphere, using sulphate aerosols to bounce sunlight back to space and decrease the temperature of the Earth.
David Keith, one of the investigators, has argued that solar geoengineering could be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming, but other scientists warn that it could have unpredictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth’s weather systems and food supplies. Environmental groups fear that the push to make geoengineering a “plan B” for climate change will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Keith, who manages a multimillion dollar geoengineering research fund provided by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, previously commissioned a study by a US aerospace company that made the case for the feasibility of large-scale deployment of solar geoengineering technologies.
Please go to the link to read the rest. It makes me think of those science fiction films from the fifties and sixties.
Speaking of going backwards, to a different time. Check it out…we aren’t the only ones with the christian fundamentalist wrecking out schools: Creationist groups win Michael Gove’s approval to open free schools
Michael Gove has backed creationists’ proposals for free schools in Sunderland, Sevenoaks and Nottinghamshire. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
The education secretary, Michael Gove, has approved three free schools run by groups with creationist views, including one with a document on its website declaring that it teaches “creation as a scientific theory”.
Grindon Hall Christian school in Sunderland, a private school due to reopen in September with state funding, says on its website that it will present creationism as science and affirm the position that Christians believe God’s creation of the world is “not just a theory but a fact”.
Ministers have also approved a free school in Sevenoaks, Kent, that says on its website it will teach in RE classes that “God made the world”, while a third free school, in Nottinghamshire, is a fresh proposal from a group initially turned down over creationism.
In the US, where the campaign for creationism has been stronger, the states of Louisiana and Tennessee have recently passed laws allowing the science underpinning evolution to be critiqued in the classroom. But the creationist lobby has been less successful in gaining a foothold in Britain.
Secular groups have been concerned that the free schools policy – which allows parents, charities or faith groups to set up new schools – would allow the state-funded teaching of creationism.
Ugh, I feel sick. What the hell is happening to us? One of the free schools has this on its website:
Grindon Hall says it teaches evolution as “an established scientific principle, as far as it goes”. However, the school’s policy document adds: “We believe no scientific theory provides – or ever will provide – a satisfactory explanation of origins, ie why the world appeared, and how nothing became something in the first place.”
The principal says that document is “obsolete” and that they would not teach creationism in science….personally the whole idea of creationism is obsolete. These extremist are taking over everywhere!
So, this is an open thread, have at it!
Posted: October 23, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, 2012 presidential campaign, Africa, anonymous, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Health care reform, health hazard, immigration, income inequality, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, MENA, morning reads, racism, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, toxic waste, U.S. Politics | Tags: #OWS, Alabama, Algae, australia, food stamps, Great White Sharks, hate crimes, Jeff Sessions, Lake Erie, Michele Bachmann, Mississippi, SNAP
We write these morning posts the night before, and I am writing this one watching the Wisconsin v Michigan State…its a good game…at least no blow out! (Wow, the last few seconds of the game were something to see. Michigan pulled a Hail Mary and Wisconsin deflected the pass in the end zone right into the hands of a Michigan player who fought his way to a touchdown.)
There is a green menace attacking Lake Erie…it’s toxic but not radioactive…and there is a gray monster on the prowl in Australia. More on this at the end, think of it as your morning terror tease.
I’m going to stick with the US for a bit, and then hit the world news.
Occupy is taking up residence in a new location. This time in a swank Connecticut neighborhood, specifically on the front lawn of GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s house. Which I think is fabulous!
It seems that Occupy is getting threats from all sides. Susie Madrak had a post on her blog about Anonymous taking down a servers of a company that hosts an underground child pornography site. Looks like there is some trash talk going on, threats are being made and references to NYPD beating some Occupy ass…Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » No good deed goes unpunished Give that link a click if you want to read the instant messages between Anonymous and the Lolita kiddie porn site.
When a foreign press outlet is praising a politician from the US, it makes you wonder why our own US media hasn’t picked up on it. On Friday, the Guardian ran a story about Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders: America’s No1 socialist makes his move into the mainstream
Bernie Sanders sits in his Senate office and reflects on another unexpected twist in his already unusual political life. As the only self-proclaimed socialist to sit in the US Congress, Sanders is long used to surviving in the political wilderness. But Sanders is now having to get used to a different environment altogether: the mainstream.
His constant slamming of Wall Street, his critiques of big business and the excesses of money in politics, as well as his call for a defence of American jobs, have become hot issues in US politics. The senator from Vermont is now a regular on American TV screens and rapidly becoming a fixture of US politics and a hero to many on the left.
The white-haired and irascible Sanders, 70, who is famed for his blunt outspokenness, almost became bashful at the thought that his exile from the mainstream appears to be ending.
It’s about damn time too!
“It’s, you know, nice to know that positions you have been advocating for years are now getting out to Main Street, and that millions of people are beginning to say: enough is enough,” he told the Guardian.
Is this, at last, his political moment? “Yeah, it is,” he said, and then he details why, in a typically long, passionate, Sanders-style explosion of stream-of-consciousness explanation.
“If you were to speak to any audience in America and you say: there’s something wrong with our system when the crooks on Wall Street, through their recklessness and criminal behaviour, are able to cause a recession, which has resulted in so much suffering to people, and then they get bailed out by the American people and then three years later end up making more money than they ever have before: people go nuts!”
He pauses for breath to think about the situation. “The short answer to
your question is: ‘Yes’,” he says.
Give the rest of the article a read, Sanders has been doing interviews quite a lot lately, and he is making sense. Maybe people are starting to take notice.
Help my memory a bit, cause this next link seems like deja vu. Bachmann on the Spot In Iowa Michele Bachmann was talking to a group of people at a town hall and took a question from a woman who had no health insurance…and the answer sounds like something Ron Paul and Santorum and one of the other GOP bozo candidates has said recently.
“My son is 22 and he’s on an expanded Medicaid program that’s under Obamacare,” the woman said to Bachmann. “You often talk about stopping Obamacare. I want to know what you’re going to do . . . I can’t afford $1,000 a month.”
The woman shook her head and looked annoyed as the 55-year-old Minnesota congresswoman recalled her parents paying $5 when she visited the doctor as a child in Iowa. She blamed federal government intervention for raising prices, and contended that increasing competition among insurance companies and reining in medical malpractice costs will help make health insurance more affordable. She also suggested private charity as an option.
“We will always have people in this country through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won’t be able to afford health care,” Bachmann said. “That’s just the way it is. But usually what we have are charitable organizations or hospitals, who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can’t afford it. But what we have to do is be a profitable nation that’s growing, so that we can pay for those people who can’t afford it through no fault of their own. Once Obamacare is gone, this is what we have to do.”
Oh yeah, private charity…these GOP asshats are so quick to suggest begging for help…just as fast as they are in denouncing poor people in need who are on government assistance.
Another example of this crap can be seen in the latest from Senator Jeff Sessions…Sen. Jeff Sessions Tries To Cut Food Stamp Funding
Senator Jeff Sessions is very, very, very worried about fraud, waste and abuse within the Federal food stamp program (SNAP). So worried he has introduced an amendment to cut funds to the program because he’s certain there are just a bunch of poor deadbeats out there taking advantage of the Feds’ largesse.
The press release from his office on Friday says it all:
Consider the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP”—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP is the largest item in Agriculture Department’s budget. Spending on food stamps has surged over the last decade. It’s nearly doubled since President Obama took office. And in the appropriations bill before us this week, Senate Democrats propose another increase that would quadruple food stamp spending from what it was in 2001.
Eleven million more Americans are on food stamps now than when President Obama first took office. The size of the benefit has increased 31 percent since 2008. When the food stamp program was expanded nationally in the 1970s, food stamps were used by 2 percent of the population. At the beginning of the last decade, they were used by 6 percent of the population. Today that figure has risen to 13 percent—one in eight Americans. This seven-fold increase in food stamp usage demands honest examination.
It’s time to look under the hood.
You can take a look at the rest of the press release at that link above…what an ass, I can’t stand these people. They have absolutely no good will towards their fellow man…hmmm, I can hear Sessions now…jabbering about workhouses and decreases in the surplus population.
Alright, I’m doing it again…by that I mean writing about Alabama and the anti-immigration law. This time let’s look at what ripple reaction this law is creating when it comes to white kids bullying Hispanic children. After Alabama law, Hispanic kids being bullied
Spanish-speaking parents say their children are facing more bullying and taunts at school since Alabama’s tough crackdown on illegal immigration took effect last month. Many blame the name-calling on fallout from the law, which has been widely covered in the news, discussed in some classrooms and debated around dinner tables.
Justice Department officials are monitoring for bullying incidents linked to the law.
“We’re hearing a number of reports about increases in bullying that we’re studying,” the head of the agency’s civil rights division, Thomas Perez, said during a stop in Birmingham.
The article talks about a group of kids playing basketball.
It was just another schoolyard basketball game until a group of Hispanic seventh-graders defeated a group of boys from Alabama.
The reaction was immediate, according to the Mexican mother of one of the winners, and rooted in the state’s new law on illegal immigration.
“They told them, `You shouldn’t be winning. You should go back to Mexico,”‘ said the woman, who spoke through a translator last week and didn’t want her name used. She and her son are in the country illegally.
As if these kids don’t have enough to worry about. Now they have to deal with the additional hate this law is bringing towards the Hispanics in the state.
But hate is not a new problem in the deep south, as this next disturbing article from CNN shows us. Teen murder suspect carried ‘backpack of hatred’
Editor’s note: This story contains language that some readers may consider offensive. For more on this story, watch “Mississippi Still Burning?” on CNN Presents, Sunday, October 23, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.
To get to Brandon, you have to drive across the Pearl River, a boundary that seems to separate black Mississippi from white.
In the town’s center, a monument stands honoring the confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War.
This mostly white town in mostly white Rankin County is about a 30-minute drive from Jackson, Mississippi. It’s here in Brandon that some residents say a gang of teenagers expressed their strong racial prejudice — sometimes through violence.
These residents say the teens were friends with and often led by Deryl Dedmon, now 19 and facing capital murder and hate crime charges for the killing of James Anderson, a black man, who died after he was beaten and run over by a truck in Jackson, according to police. Dedmon has pleaded not guilty and his attorney has refused to answer CNN’s repeated requests for comment.
Another teen, John Aaron Rice, was charged with simple assault. He has not entered a plea. The other five teens who were there have not been arrested or charged, though officials say they may still be indicted .
I urge you to read the entire article, because it touches on the extreme hate these young men have towards blacks, and their lack of conscience when it comes to their killing of James Anderson. A killing that was caught on surveillance cameras.
“They were looking for black people. They were looking for a black person to assault,” said Mississippi’s Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith.
Shortly after he allegedly drove the truck over Anderson, Dedmon boasted and laughed about the killing, according to testimony given by some of the teens to detectives.
“I ran that nigger over,” Dedmon allegedly said in a phone conversation to the teens in the other car. He repeated the racial language in subsequent conversations, according to the law enforcement officials.
“He was not remorseful, he was laughing, laughing about the killing,” said Smith.
The local police do not seem too concerned, as one of the teenage witnesses says,
“I’ve even heard it out of some of the police officers’ mouths,” he said. “This is their statement: ‘Well, Deryl was a good kid. He just made one bad mistake.”
Yeah, he got caught.
Alright, that is it for the US, let’s go global…
The fighting in Kenya is getting more complicated. We’ve seen the abduction of tourist and aid workers, now the possibility of more targeted violence on foreigners is giving the US Embassy reason to issue a warning. U.S. Embassy in Kenya warns citizens of ‘imminent threat’
The U.S. Embassy in Kenya warned American citizens Saturday of an “imminent threat of terrorist attacks” after Kenya sent troops across the border into Somalia to pursue suspected Islamic militants from Al-Shabaab.
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua told CNN about the advance this week, which marks a dramatic shift in security tactics for the east African powerhouse.
“This is to inform U.S. citizens residing in or visiting Kenya that the U.S. Embassy in Kenya has received credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks directed at prominent Kenyan facilities and areas where foreigners are known to congregate, such as malls and night clubs,” the U.S. Embassy said in an emergency message.
It looks like other Eastern African nations are backing Kenya’s offensive in Somolia.
African Union peacekeepers are seen in the Deynile district of the capital Mogadishu, Somalia, October 20, 2011.
The six-nation east African regional group the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has pledged full support for Kenya’s military offensive against al-Qaeda linked militants in southern Somalia. Other countries in the region are considering joining the effort as the militants appear to be losing their grip on the famine-stricken Somali countryside.
Reports are coming in that suggest Kenyan soldiers are making their way toward the rebel held port of Kismayo.
IGAD held an extraordinary ministerial level meeting Friday, five days after Kenya launched an offensive against al-Shabab. More than two battalions of Kenyan troops backed by air power streamed into southern Somalia after Shabab rebels were blamed for a series of kidnappings of foreign tourists and aid workers.
A communiqué issued after the brief meeting in the Ethiopian capital welcomes Kenya’s move to scale up security operations.
In other Africa news, Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been declared the most powerful women in Africa by Forbes Magazine.
As if winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize wasn’t enough, Forbes Magazine, one of the most influential business publications in the United States, has, in its maiden Africa issue, honored President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia by naming her the most powerful woman on the African continent, among 20 women listed.
According to the first issue of Forbes Africa Magazine, which went on sale October 1, President Sirleaf tops the list of most powerful African women, with Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Malawi’s Vice President Joyce Banda in second and third place, respectively. The list includes 11 women from South Africa alone.
The run off election will be held in November, I hope Sirleaf keeps her position as president. We’ll keep you posted as Liberia moves towards that run off vote.
Boston Boomer mentioned Cannonfire’s take on the “convenient” death of Gaddafi in her Saturday morning post. I want to bring your attention to this post over at Emptywheel. The OTHER Saudi Assassination Plotter Got a Reduced Sentence in July
This post from Cannonfire reminded me how convenient for our country it is that Moammar Qaddafi was executed rather than captured alive and tried: he will not be able to tell anyone, now that he’s dead, how Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who under torture provided one of the casus belli for the Iraq war, came to be suicided in a Libyan prison just as Americans started focusing on torture in 2009.
That, plus the death of the Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud, made me think of another plot Qaddafi brings to his grave: that he had purportedly arranged to assassinate then Crown Prince now King Abdullah. The evidence to support that plot mostly came from Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a prominent American Muslim who was arrested in 2003 on charges he violated trade sanctions against Libya.
Anyway, thinking about the similarities between that case and the Scary Iran Plot led me to consult Alamoudi’s docket (most of which is not available online). What happens to a guy convicted in connection with plotting with a nasty African dictator as we launch the war to finally kill that dictator?
Well, it turns out that at about the time it was clear we’d stick around to ensure Qaddafi died in this kinetic action, a sealed document got filed in Alamoudi’s case. And, on July 20, 2011, Alamoudi got about 30% knocked off his sentence, from 276 months to 197.
Hmmmm, interesting indeed…I’m sure Gaddafi took some big ass secrets with him to hell…and it wouldn’t surprise me if a bunch of “cleaners” from the CIA are working to make sure those secrets don’t come out.
There is an interesting article cited over at History News Network, some of you may want to click over there and check it out: Yoani Sanchez: The Deaths of Dictators: Neither History Nor Their People Will Ever Absolve Them
Ceausescu was in his helicopter, Saddam Hussein was hiding in a hole, Tunisia’s Ben Ali fled into exile, Gaddafi fled in a convoy and ended up hiding in a drainpipe. The autocrats escape, they leave, they don’t sacrifice themselves in the palaces from which they dictated their arbitrary laws; they do not die seated in the presidential chairs with a red sash across their chests. They always have a hidden door, a secret passage through which they can scurry away when they sense danger. Over decades they build their secret bunkers, their protected “ground zeros” or their underground refuges, because they fear that the same people who applaud them in the plazas can come for them when they lose their fear. In the nightmares of the dictators, the demons are their own subjects, the abyss takes the form of mobs who want to bring down their statues, spit on their photos. These despotic gentlemen sleep lightly, alert to the cries, the hammering on the door… they live with premonitions, often of their deaths.
I would have liked to see Muammar Gaddafi before a court, indicted for the crimes he committed against his country. I think the violent deaths of the satraps only gives them an aura of martyrdom they do not deserve. They must be left alive to hear the public testimony of their victims, to see their countries move forward without the hindrance they represented, and to observe the fickleness of the opportunists who once supported them. They must survive to witness the dismantling of the false history they rewrote, to see how the new generations begin to forget them, and to hear the diatribes, the scorn, the fiercest criticism. To lynch a despot is to save him, to offer him an almost glorious way out that spares him the lasting punishment of being judged before the law.
It’s a good piece, check it out.
Yay, it is now time for the links to your morning terror tease.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: View from space: Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie | Water | EarthSky Yuk…check out the green sludge that can be seen from space.
The green plumes shown in these images is the worst algae bloom North America’s Lake Erie has experienced in decades. The bloom is primarily microcystis aeruginosa, an algae that is toxic to mammals, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. These images were acquired by the The Landsat-5 satellite in early October, 2011. The reasons for this year’s giant bloom are complex, say scientists, but might be related to a rainy spring and invasive mussels.
The Landsat-5 satellite acquired the top image on October 5, 2011. Vibrant green filaments extend out from the northern shore. Several days of calm winds and warm temperatures allowed the algae to gather on the surface. The bloom intensified after October 5, and by October 9—when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite acquired the lower image—the bloom covered much of the western basin.
Algae blooms were common in the lake’s shallow western basin in the 1950s and 60s. Phosphorus from farms, sewage, and industry fertilized the waters so that huge algae blooms developed year after year. The blooms subsided a bit starting in the 1970s, when regulations and improvements in agriculture and sewage treatment limited the amount of phosphorus that reached the lake.
Microcystis aeruginosa produces a liver toxin, microcystin, that commonly kills dogs swimming in infected water and causes skin irritation for people. Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, measured 50 times more microcystin in Lake Erie in the summer of 2011 than the World Health Organization recommends for safe recreation.
Ewww…taking a dip in that lake…makes me sick just thinking about it. One thing though…who would go swimming in Lake Erie in the first place? Isn’t it one of the most polluted bodies of water within the US? Didn’t catch on fire back in the day because of all the chemicals dumped in the water?
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: Just a note, it ain’t that easy…check out this image…
Great white sharks are a protected species in Australia. Photograph: Brandon Cole
I was planning on using the Guardian article that picture is from but there has been a third fatality since that article was published Saturday morning. Diver killed by great white in third fatal attack in weeks
A great white shark killed an American diver yesterday in the third fatal shark attack in recent weeks off the coast of Western Australia.
The state government has promised to hunt the killer and is considering more aircraft surveillance off west-coast beaches. Australia averages fewer than two fatal shark attacks a year.
Truly frightening stuff…talk about needing a bigger boat!
Well that is it for your Sunday Morning Reads, catch y’all later in the comments!