Wednesday Reads

The Striped Towel, Marie Fox

The Striped Towel, Marie Fox

Good Morning!!

I’m finally back home in Greater Boston. Last night at around 5PM, I almost teared up when I saw the sign reading “Massachusetts Welcomes You,” with the little chickadee on it. I’m so torn, because I love Indiana too; but I’ve lived in Boston since 1967–47 years–and I love it here too!

Here I am, 66 years old, and I have no idea what to do with the rest of my life. Should I move back to Indiana where my mother lives or should I stay here where I’ve lived for most of my life? And will I even have a choice? I can’t stay where I’m living indefinitely, and there’s no way I can afford an apartment in the Boston area unless I manage to get into subsidized elderly housing. It would be much cheaper to to live in Indiana.

I have no idea what will happen, and I’m not sure how much control I’ll have over it anyway. I guess I just have to keep on truckin’ and try not to agonize too much about the future.

Anyway, the new continues onward no matter where I am. Here are some stories that caught my attention today.

Hillary on The Daily Show

On last night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart tried to cajole Hillary Clinton into saying whether or not she’ll run for president in 2016. According to The Week, 

At the beginning of Tuesday night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart states (almost) unequivocally that his guest, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is declaring her candidacy for president in 2016 on his show. (Spoiler: She doesn’t.) But Clinton all but agrees with Stewart when he declares her candidacy for her, even knowingly answering all the right questions on his career aptitude test. If Clinton’s candidacy is supposed to be a long tease, maybe we’re approaching the denouement.

Clinton laughs a lot in the interview, and it’s clearly a friendly audience, but Stewart actually asks some interesting, tough questions. He also playfully tells her that nobody cares about her book, Tough Choices, and calls her out when she darts around his barbs. In fact, for somebody supposed to be a “terrible politician,” she fields the questions and turns around the criticism pretty skillfully.

Really? A “terrible politician?” That must be why she was elected to the Senate twice and why she won more primary votes than Barack Obama in 2008 (Yes, Virginian, Obama was nominated only with help from Superdelegate votes and Michigan Votes taken from Hillary and handed over to him by the Rules Committee.) In fact, she’s such a “terrible politician” than her former rival nominated her as his Secretary of State.

Sigh . . . Why don’t people actually watch and listen to Hillary herself instead of buying into the propaganda from her obsessed critics? Here is the Daily Show video from You Tube (I hope it doesn’t get taken down):

And BTW, “progressives,” getting Elizabeth Warren to run against Hillary for the nomination is a good recipe for electing Mitt Romney in 2016. From HuffPo: Ready For Warren Campaign Launches To Convince Elizabeth Warren To Run For President

WASHINGTON — An enthusiastic band of activists has launched a campaign to slow the momentum of Hillary Clinton and convince Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that she should run for president in 2016.

“I think there’s an opportunity for us to convince her if we’re really able to make the case as to why we think she’s the right person,” said Erica Sagrans, who has signed on as the Ready For Warren campaign manager.

The group already has a Facebook pageTwitter account and a new website with a petition encouraging Warren to run.

Sagrans, who worked on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, will be joined by political activist Billy Wimsatt, who previously founded the League of Young Voters and is going to be a senior adviser to the new group.

Reached for comment, Lacey Rose, Warren’s press secretary, told HuffPost, “No, Senator Warren does not support this effort.”

I love Liz, but she had no political experience before running for the Senate two years ago, she is approximately the same age as Hillary, and she doesn’t have the connections to raise the necessary money. Please grow up or shut the fuck up, assholes.

beach reading1

Old Fogies of the GOP

At Vox, Matthew Yglesias asks, “How long can the GOP last as the cranky oldster party?”

You can tell it’s the dog days of summer because some of Washington’s finest minds are spending their time debating the inherently unknowable question of whether today’s teenagers will grow up to be Republicans. Jon Chait says no way, but Harry Enten and John Sides and David Leonhardt say maybe….

More interesting than asking whether people born in the 1990s will be voting GOP in the 2020s, I think, is asking what kind of a GOP it would have to be for them to vote for it. As an older member of the left-leaning youth cohort, I was really struck by something John Boehner said four summers ago. He complained that the Democratic majority that existed that summer, paired with Barack Obama, was “snuffing out the America that I grew up in.”

Boehner was born in 1949 and presumably isn’t nostalgic for the sky-high income tax rates (or strong labor unions) of his youth. So what was so great about it? The racial and gender discrimination? In practice, he probably didn’t have anything at all in mind — he’s just mixing up disagreement with aspects of the Democratic agenda (the specific issue under discussion was the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill) with a generalized nostalgia for his youth. That probably resonates with a lot of older Americans, but while today’s teenagers might well turn against some of the failings of Obama-era liberalism, they’re unlikely to be pining for a return to Mad Men social norms….

There’s something very oldsterish about contemporary conservative politics. The constant bickering about Ronald Reagan is very odd to anyone too young to have any particular recollection of the Reagan years. Calling a group of people “Beyoncé Voters” as an insult is weird. Some of this oldsterism is just tics, but some of it has policy implications. The sort of budgetary priorities that call for huge cuts in all domestic spending, except no cuts at all for anyone born before 1959 is kind of weird. The huge freakout over New York City starting a bicycle program last summer was bizarre. It’s easy to imagine a political party that’s broadly favorable to low taxes and light regulation without sharing this particular set of tics. And then there was the time George Will wrote a column-length rant against blue jeans.

Not to mention Will’s wildly out-dated views on rape. Frankly, I think a lot of powerful Democrats are aging badly too. I’d like to see some of them move on and make room for some new blood. But let’s begin with the Republicans.

Beach Recliner, Candace Lovely

Beach Recliner, Candace Lovely

Speaking of cranky old folks, Dick Cheney has been all over the media lately, and I’ve had it up to here (point to neck).

From Politico: Cheney family sounds off after Iraq protests.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday defended the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq, calling it “absolutely the right thing to do.”

“I believed in it then, I look back on it now, it was absolutely the right thing to do,” the Wyoming Republican said with regard to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Cheney made his comments at a POLITICO Playbook lunch conversation with his wife, Lynne, and daughter Liz at Washington’s Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, a lively event that featured jokes, a standing-room-only crowd and a few interruptions — protesters delayed the event twice, screaming at the former vice president for being a “war criminal.”

Notice the quotes around “war criminal,” as if that were hyperbole. I’m afraid not, Politico.

Mike Allen, POLITICO’s chief White House correspondent, began the event by asking Dick Cheney about his decision to lambaste the Obama administration over its foreign policy, particularly in contrast to former President George W. Bush, who has declined to criticize the president since he left office.

Citing a decades-long precedent of former presidents refusing to criticize their successors, Cheney said: “I’m not bound by those strictures.”

Of course not. Cheney has never been bound by any “strictures,” even as a young man when he managed to obtain five draft deferments while others his age were fight and dying in another pointless war he supported.

Solitude, Woman at the Beach, Rita C. Ford

Solitude, Woman at the Beach, Rita C. Ford

Fortunately, we have Charles Pierce: THINGS IN POLITICO THAT MAKE ME WANT TO MAINLINE ANTIFREEZE, PART THE INFINITY.

Its puerilty has finally crossed over into indecency. Its triviality has finally crossed over into obscenity. The comical political starfcking that is its primary raison d’erp has finally crossed over into $10 meth-whoring on the Singapore docks. Once a mere surface irritation, Tiger Beat On The Potomac has finally crossed over into being a thickly pustulating chancre on the craft of journalism. It has demonstrated its essential worthlessness. It has demonstrated that it has the moral character of a sea-slug and the professional conscience of theTreponema pallidum spirochete. Trust me. Stephen Glass never sunk this low. Mike (Payola) Allen has accomplished the impossible. He’s made Jayson Blair look like Ernie Pyle.

It’s not just that TBOTP invited the Manson Family of American geopolitics to come together for an exercise in ensemble prevarication. It’s not just that the account of said exercise is written in the kind of cacophonous cutesy-poo necessary to drown out the screams of the innocent dead, and to distract the assembled crowd from the blood that has dripped from the wallet of the celebrity war-criminal leading the public display. And it’s not as though this was a mere interview—a “get” that could help you “win the morning (!).” In that, it might have been marginally excusable. No, this was one of Mike Allen’s little grift-o-rama special events—a “Playbook lunch,” sponsored by that noted mortgage fraud concern Bank Of America. There’s an upcoming TBOTP “event” in L.A. that is sponsored by J.P. Morgan. I know what Mike Allen is, but I am so goddamn tired of haggling about the price. Here’s how TBOTP‘s own account of the event begins.

Sing it with us: “Here’s the story of a man named Cheney …” Dick, Lynne and Liz Cheney had a message they wanted to send with their appearance at POLITICO’s Playbook lunch on Monday: We’re a family, we’re happy together, we joke together, and we’re beating the drum for an aggressive foreign policy together. It’s almost as if the Cheneys were the Brady Bunch—if the Brady Bunch had started a hawkish think tank and were warning the country about the failures of President Barack Obama’s leadership around the world.

Yes, and if Mike were an authoritarian greed-monkey with a borrowed heart that he declined to employ in any meaningful sense, if Carol were a lifelong scold and nuisance pretending to be a historian, and if Marcia were a talentless clown who, if it weren’t for the largesse of Mike’s friends and their foundations, would be selling phony subprime packages to the blind from a strip-mall in Kannapolis. Also, whatever editor it was who passed on the tone of this account should be sent back to the oyster cannery where they found him.

Please go over to Esquire and read the whole thing. It’s highly therapeutic. And here’s another counterpoint from The New York Daily News: Dick Cheney interview drowned out by hecklers Monday in D.C.

Cheney also told Jake Tapper than he doesn’t think Republicans should try to impeach President Obama, even though he is “the worst president of my lifetime.” How magnanimous of dear old Dick!

 

 Other News . . .

MSNBC,  Obama admin to join voting rights cases in Ohio and Wisconsin.

Bob Cesca, Protesters Carrying Firearms March Against Immigrant Children in Michigan.

The Arizona Republic, Arizona politician mistakes ‘Y’ campers for migrant children.

Huffington Post,  Americans Are Too Stupid For GMO Labeling, Congressional Panel Says.

Jonthan Chait, Diane Ravitch: Campbell Brown Shouldn’t Worry Her Pretty Little Head About Education Policy.

 

What stories are you following today?


Moments of Lucidity, Working the SEO and a Weekend Filled with “Fear and Darkness” …Oh Yeah, this is an open thread too.

c1407bb0d326d9cc7b36793cbec25dabGood Evening!

Hey, how is everyone doing?

Hope you will bear with me a few paragraphs while I ramble on a little, with a quick observation and story before I get to the few links I have for you tonight.

Y’all know that I was recently put on Topamax for my epilepsy…and as a bonus, it would help my debilitating migraines. I’ve mentioned the dopamax effect it has had on me, and you have probably noticed the other side effect, shall we say dopamax induced blogging Tourette syndrome.

My mom was the one who pointed it out to me last week. While reading one of my posts she said out loud, “JJ, what a foul mouth you have.” Of course, her bit of criticism surprised me, considering that the woman knows every other word out of my mouth is damn, shit, asshole….well, you get the picture. But, what my mom was commenting on was that my posts of late have become more “colorful,” in that I was dropping shit bombs left and right. (Not only shit bombs, but several ass holes and even a few fuck wads.)

I think this is a side effect of the topamax. What I usually could control in my writing is now finding it’s way in uncontrollable outbursts…dopamax induced blog…shit…swear word…damn…Tourette syndrome….ass…ass…asshole fuck fest.

Wow, don’t know where that came from. (My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my comments…this is meant as a joke, to be taken in a humorous way and not intended to degrade or demean anyone who suffers from dopamax induced uncontrollable curse word blogging or Tourette Syndrome.)

Which leads me to this little story…here in the land of Banjoville, we have a bit of an ongoing scandal, what I call Cheergate.  It seems that a lot of the parents are pissed off that their girls did not make the competition cheerleading team. So, it was decided that a new open tryout will be held.  Obviously, this is not fair, and reeks of sour grapes and bullshit…so being the woman I am, I took it upon myself to call the powers that be and voice my opinion.

Now, since the dopamax makes me completely loopy, imagine my surprise when I had a few moments of lucidity and spoke in a coherent manner….even talking in words more than three syllables long. According to my mom, who was listening to most of my side of the conversation, I was impressive…sounding like a real professional, mentioning Georgia High School Sports Associations, Rules and Regulations and I have to say, whatever was said, it sure did shut the principal up…they had no response.  Of course, moments after I hung up the phone I couldn’t even remember what the hell I said. It was so bad that when I tried to explain to my daughter what happened, all I could get out was…”It had to do with lying and making something up, it begins with an f or an s and it has more than 2 syllables.”  Who the hell knows what word I was trying to tell her.

Well, now and then we all have our moments of clarity…even if they are just fleeting at that.

One more thing, a mention about the blog. Wow, we have had so many hits the past couple of weeks. It is quite something to see the numbers of people visiting our little blog that come from all over the world…Google is a strange and wondrous thing.  Kind of like the catch 22 you have with the SAG card in acting. You can’t get an acting gig without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without the acting gig. We got big notice with the Google gods a couple of weeks ago with Boston Boomer’s Too Good Looking post, and with that surge in hits and outside links…it makes getting those higher ranking search results a lot more frequent.

So, the reason I mention this is just to say hello to any new readers out there who do come back and give Sky Dancing another look, we are glad you are here! (And to our regular readers, y’all know that obviously goes without saying…)

Now…for the links.

Y’all may have missed this, it is magnificent!

Jon Stewart Tears Apart NRA’s False Choice Between Freedom And ‘Obama-Sponsored Government Mom Rape’ | Mediaite

Jon Stewart opened Monday night’s edition of The Daily Show by looking back at the weekend’s NRA convention and its not-so-singular focus on guns. With Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and others in attendance, Stewart realized, “this is the same lineup, with the same laundry list of conservative grievances, that we saw at CPAC a month and a half ago.”

Eventually the speakers did get to the primary issue of guns, with Glenn Beck going after President Obama for his “tactics of fear and darkness.” Stewart congratulated Beck for acknowledging that “fear mongering is wrong” before playing another clip of him saying, “the only difference between your mom and sister getting raped and then walking home unmolested is a gun.”

“At the heart of the NRA’s message,” Stewart said, is “don’t let liberals say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun control. Let us say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun-a-pa-looza!” But, of course, the NRA’s real mantra comes from executive Wayne LaPierre: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Based on Beck’s warnings against tyranny, the “government is the bad guy.” But based on LaPierre’s praise of the Boston police, “government is the good guy.” By the end of the segment, Stewart said he believes we all want the same thing: for “bad guys not to have guns.” While he and other Democrats want background checks, it appears some on the right want to “wait for a bad guy to draw and then draw faster.”

But if that’s the case, he said, “stop pretending that background checks are the last barrier standing between a free America and Obama-sponsored government mom rape.”

You have to go and see the clip…I know that I quoted most of the Mediate post, but seriously, Stewart just nails it…and that summary is just right.

There was also this from Ian Reifowitz: Gun Owners of America Is ‘Primarying’ the NRA From the Right

The NRA is even more extreme than it was just a few years ago. And that’s saying something. We’ve seen the shift in their rhetoric and in their policy positions. They just elected a new president, James Porter, who called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression,” who referred to Barack Obama as a “fake president,” and who believes that one of our highest priorities should be to train and arm all our citizens so that, when the time comes, they can “fight tyranny.”

Wow. Take a deep breath. Yes, the new NRA president is a far right-wing extremist whose rhetoric makes his predecessor, David Keene, look like a Rockefeller Republican.

That is no news to us of course,

There’s no one simple reason why the NRA has moved even further to the right in recent years. Certainly, the right wing overall has become more extreme and paranoid since the election (and reelection) of President Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has plenty of material on the most extreme among them.

But within the gun movement, we are seeing something very specific, something that has a parallel within Republican electoral politics as a whole. In the last few years, conservative — not moderate but conservative — Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and Robert Bennett of Utah were defeated in reelection bids by insurgents who have come at them from the right. This is exactly what is happening to the NRA.

I didn’t see much room to the right of the NRA. At least I figured that any group to their right would have to be so extreme as to be unable to achieve any kind of influence. Wow, was I wrong. Gun Owners of America, led by its executive director, Larry Pratt, has done exactly that. The New York Times gave them a large degree of “credit” for mobilizing conservative opposition to the recent gun control package on Capitol Hill.

And I don’t think the word “extremist” truly captures where Pratt stands. Pratt’s been fomenting hatred and paranoia about President Obama’s desire to create a private army, and claimed that the president was “definitely capable” of using that army to start a race war.

The things Pratt has said should have made him 100 percent persona non grata to any senator or congressman. That he and his organization were able to spearhead a lobbying campaign in the halls of Congress tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s tolerance of hateful, bigoted extremism.

Again nothing new there….

But this kind of extremism represents a real challenge to the NRA. If they don’t step up, they could lose credibility and eventually even leadership of the gun movement to a group like Gun Owners of America. GOA’s website prominently features a statement from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the gold standard for extremism among national politicians, praising it as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”

Notice who that praise is aimed at. The implication is that the NRA is a bunch of weak-kneed compromisers, squishy moderates. You want a real gun rights organization, then come over to the GOA.

There’s no formal primary, no election day where the NRA and the GOA are on competing ballot lines. But make no mistake that there is a competition. The NRA has a huge head start, and should have no trouble winning. But they aren’t taking any chances. The NRA won’t be out-crazied by anyone.

Uh…Okay then.

Hmmmm.

Personally, I think they are all batshit crazy fuck-faced asshole bastards with tiny dicks and even smaller brains! (Same goes for the women gun-nuts too…sans penises.)

Anyway, I will end this post with this cartoon…

NRA Takes a Turn to the Right – Political Cartoon by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. – 05/07/2013

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - NRA Takes a Turn to the Right

Y’all have a great evening, my daughter has a chorus concert tonight so I won’t be around until late.

This is an open thread.


One of Us: Open Thread

FREAKS_Freaks01_493x750_100920061722 Good Evening

I thought we needed some fun tonight, and since Dak already wrote about the real Freaks earlier today, we will just have a few laughs…

If you have not seen Jon Stewart the past few days, you have missed some great bits.  Just check it out,  Jon Stewart: U.S. May Be ‘F**ked,’ But At Least We Don’t Have Meteors And Horse Meat In Our Burgers

 

Stewart first took on the growing scandal in England over horse meat found in Burger King burgers, saying that at least Americans can expect grade A ground beef that’s processed and assembled in factories. Only three countries on record eat horse, Italy, France, and Kazakhstan; the latter led Stewart to create a new dish: KFH (Kentucky Fried Horse). “If the bucket doesn’t look at you, it’s free.”

Horse D’oeuvre – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 02/19/13 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

The second part of this link is a laugh riot…Jon highlights something I have never seen before…a mass cow tipping.

Stewart then turned to the meteor that exploded over Russia, but what interested Stewart more than the meteor itself was how Russians reacted to it. He showed how the only reason there is so much footage of the meteor is because cars in Russia have cameras installed on the dashboards. After seeing one Russian’s unfazed reaction to the exploding meteor, Stewart asked, “Is everyone in Russian society just that jaded?”

But then Stewart showed clips of other weird car-cam moments, and could only conclude that Russians see “so much crazy shit,” a meteor isn’t really that surprising.

How I Meteored Your Motherland – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 02/19/13 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

Oh that is beautiful…tanks, drunks, men with hatchets and the average Russian woman.

Stewart also kicked the ass of both distinguished Lady from South Carolina, and the king of Sunday talk shows: Jon Stewart Destroys McCain For Hagel, Benghazi Outrage, And Iraq: ‘You Don’t Get To Pull… That Sh*t’

Jon Stewart tonight took on Republican senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain for their hyped-up outrage over Benghazi that led both to support holding up Chuck Hagel‘s nomination for Defense Secretary in order to get answers. Stewart tore into McCain specifically for having the hubris to demand answers for Benghazi when he did no such thing regarding the Iraq war and his motivations for blocking Hagel were not exactly free of personal bias.

Stewart is on fire!

In other news, the world of flight celebrated an anniversary today.

Today in Geek History, the First Flying Car Left the Ground

Remember when we didn’t have flying cars? Remember when all we could do is zoom around in two dimensions like suckers? Life was simpler then. Anyway, that’s the wistful reality that inventor/aviator Waldo Waterman was hoping for us. You see, today in 1937, the first “flying car” left the ground.

We saw this flying car when we went to the Hazy Hanger during our trip to Washington, DC. They are so cool.

Lake Tahoe…I often wonder about all those mob hits that must litter that cold lake bottom. This next link makes that phrase “swim with the fishes” even more significant. Monster Goldfish Found in Lake Tahoe

A new kind of lake monster has been found, in the depths of Lake Tahoe: gigantic goldfish. Researchers trawling the lake for invasive fish species scooped up a goldfish that was nearly 1.5 feet long and 4.2 pounds.

“During these surveys, we’ve found a nice corner where there’s about 15 other goldfish,” environmental scientist Sudeep Chandra of the University of Nevada, Reno, told LiveScience. “It’s an indication that they were schooling and spawning.” The arrival of the fish, which were probably dumped there by aquarium owners, has Chandra worried — goldfish are an invasive species that could interfere with Lake Tahoe’s ecosystem.

Wow, that goldfish would need a big ass fish bowl.

This is an open thread.

Oh, and by the way…Freaks will be shown on TCM Saturday April 20th, at 8pm.


Open Thread: Stephen Colbert Enters Race for Republican Nomination

Reuters:

The Comedy Central funny man announced his intention to run for president of the “United States of America of South Carolina” at the taping of his show Thursday night and will try to compete in South Carolina’s GOP primary Jan. 21.

“I’m proud to announce I plan to form an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my candidacy,” Colbert said….

While Colbert won’t actually compete for the GOP nomination in the general election, this may give Republicans another option beyond Mitt Romney in a pivotal state. Every Republican presidential candidate since 1980 has won South Carolina’s primary.

“Clearly my fellow South Caroliniacs see me as the only Mitternative,” Colbert said.

The decision followed the news that Colbert is polling higher than Jon Huntsman in South Carolina–at 5%.

On tonight’s Daily Show, Colbert transferred control of his super PAC to Jon Stewart, since candidates aren’t permitted to have super PAC’s

If only he could participate in the debates!


Sunday Reads: The Almighty Hand and Being Mad as Hell!

Painting by Mark Webster via Daily Painters Blog

Good morning all! It is Sunday and I have lots of things to share with you. We all might be able to identify with this first link. It seems that the GOP are the way they are because of the way their brains are functioning.

NationalJournal.com – Could Politics Be Hard-Wired? – Thursday, April 7, 2011

Republicans and Democrats remained implacably opposed over the budget right up to the shutdown deadline this week. They can’t agree on how to improve health care, on defense spending, or even on what the American people want most. Could the differences be biological?

Researchers in the United Kingdom think so. They published a study in Current Biology this week showing they could see political differences in the brain.

MRI scans might also be able to reveal a person's political leanings.

They did magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scans on dozens of young London university students who were willing to define their political leanings as liberal or conservative. The differences could be seen in their brains.

Self-described conservatives had noticeably more brain cells in the amygdala—the so-called fear center. This little area of the brain is linked with detecting emotions in others, as well.

Liberals, in contrast, had well-developed regions in the anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region linked with coping with change and uncertainty.

So the fear center has more brain cells in the conservative? That explains some of their ridiculous ideas…but does not tell me why they have become such Fetus Fanatics. As Dakinikat has pointed out, the Republicans have not always been PLUBs.

There was a “grand compromise” this past Friday night…and according to Richard (RJ) Eskow: Why Progressives Keep On Losing and the Right Keeps On Winning

Congratulations! The “grand compromise” will cut nearly thirty nine billion dollars in needed government spending, which proves how “serious” everyone is about reducing the deficit. The grand compromisers could have cancelled the next ten years of tax subsidies for oil companies and cut the deficit by forty billion, but apparently that’s not how serious people do things.

If the Republican Party were singing to its base today, the song would be the theme from Friends, “I’ll Be There For You.” And the Democrats would be singing “You Always Hurt the One You Love.” We’re being told we should celebrate a “compromise” in which Democrats gave up $38.5 billion in spending cuts, when the original Republican demand was for $32 billion. That means the Democrats only gave the Republicans 20% more (20.2135%, to be precise) than they originally demanded.

Now, I don’t agree with Eskow on the following:

And progressives can’t be blamed for helping to elect a president who either misrepresented his positions on a number of issues or reversed himself once he was elected. (A sample: the health excise tax, which he opposed and later actively worked to enact; the individual mandate for health care coverage, which he opposed and then supported; some matters of civil liberties; and science policy).

[…]

Despite the naysayers, the nation elected a President who presented himself as an unambiguous progressive and gave him both houses of Congress too. So it can be done. So what keeps going wrong, over and over?

Nope, excuse me, but there are many progressives out there who had Obama pegged from the beginning. So don’t try to give excuses for the Left’s utter hook line and sinker reaction to the One,  or as Pelosi said, the gift from God…

Dakinikat has written some great post on this lately, but I thought I would link to some other articles.  I will leave the commentary on this to the expert.
Budget deal leaves liberals disheartened – Abby Phillip – POLITICO.com

The $38.5 billion deal brokered between Republicans and President Barack Obama on Friday night may have resolved the immediate threat of a government shutdown. But it didn’t take long for many liberal Democrats to begin to realize that there might be not much cause for celebration in the substance of that deal.

In the final hours before the federal government was to run out of money April 8, Democrats homed in on attempts by Republicans to pass anti-abortion policy riders that would defund women’s health programs and Planned Parenthood. But soon after the deal was struck, Democrats turned back to a debate not about where to cut, but whether there should be cuts at all – and who should bear the brunt of the burden.

Princeton University professor Paul Krugman noted that by agreeing to this level of budget cuts, Obama had accepted the premise that the economy has recovered enough to withstand the withdrawal of federal spending. Despite the fragile economic recovery, the economy is still not strong enough, Krugman argued.

“It’s worth noting that this follows just a few months after another big concession, in which he gave in to Republican demands for tax cuts,” Krugman said in his New York Times column on Saturday. “The net effect of these two sets of concessions is, of course, a substantial increase in the deficit.”

But it seemed that the Obama administration had long ago abandoned that line of argument.

Pulling the Plug on Working Families to Give Tax Cuts to Millionaires | Crooks and Liars

The Ryan budget is a remarkable document: all of its budget cuts hammer working class families, seniors, and students — while all of its tax cuts go straight to millionaires. It does almost nothing to deal with the deficit, yet still manages to deal a death blow to virtually every member of the working middle class and everyone trying to work their way into it. It is especially hard on seniors and the most vulnerable in society in the midst of the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, doing serious economic damage to anyone who isn’t a millionaire, oil company, or Wall Street bank. The good news, for those who are millionaires? They get so many economic benefits it will be hard to keep track of them all.

Why Defunding Planned Parenthood is Bad Economics » New Deal 2.0

The Guttmacher Institute has found that for every dollar invested in family planning about four are saved. Why is that? Pregnancy is very expensive, as is raising a child, for women who can’t afford it. “There is no better preventative investment than family planning,” Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler says. After all, the cost burden shifts to the public sector for children who are born into poverty.

But there’s another cost that all of us feel when women are denied access to family planning: “Women can’t do their jobs, create new jobs, or add to the country’s economic well-being if they can’t control their fertility,” she points out. Women make up nearly half of the workforce and help drive the U.S. economy. If we’re constantly at risk of becoming pregnant all the time, it is very difficult to do our jobs, particularly with the lack of social programs that benefit us or help with balancing work and family. “It’s as important a tool to us as education and health care,” she says.

What Planned Parenthood actually does – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post


(Planned Parenthood)

With Planned Parenthood being either the major obstacle to a budget deal or one of the major obstacles to a budget deal, it’s worth taking a minute explaining what they do — and what they don’t do.

As you can see in the chart atop this post, abortion services account for about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities. That’s less than cancer screening and prevention (16 percent), STD testing for both men and women (35 percent), and contraception (also 35 percent). About 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s users are over age 20, and 75 percent have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. Planned Parenthood itself estimates it prevents more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year, and 220,000 abortions. It’s also worth noting that federal law already forbids Planned Parenthood from using the funds it receives from the government for abortions.

Charles the Bald

I think that Boston Boomer mentioned this earlier in the week:  ThinkProgress » Idaho Rejects Rape Exception In Abortion Bill Because ‘The Hand Of The Almighty’ Was At Work

But this year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, state Republican lawmakers found plenty of reasons to advocate for it. State Rep. Shannon McMillan (R) argued that women who were impregnated under “violent circumstances” should have no choice because it’s not the fetus’s fault. State Rep. Brent Crane, the bill’s sponsor, took it a step further. Believing that “tragic, horrific” acts of rape or incest are the “hand of the Almighty,” Crane said women should trust God to turn the consequences of their sexual assault into “wonderful examples”:

“Is not the child of that rape or incest also a victim?” asked Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton. “It didn’t ask to be here. It was here under violent circumstances perhaps, but that was through no fault of its own.”[…]

The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.”

Charles the Bald, with the Pope and "The Church" below him at his feet. The Hand of God giving him the power to rule directly...

The recent invocation of the hand of the almighty in Idaho made me think of the artwork from the Middle Ages. Specifically around the time of the Holy Roman Empire.  During the Carolingian Empire, when Medieval thought of the Divine Right of Kings was being “discussed” or should I say “fought” between rulers like Charlemagne and Charles the Bald, and the Pope…power was seen as coming directly from God to the King, and not from God through the Papacy…the actual Hand of God would be used in art to depict the idea… in the two images above, see the Hand coming down from the Heavens as if to say…”That’s my boy!”

This next picture below comes from the Secretary of State website, and the blog Dipnote:

This week's photo of the week comes to us from USAID and shows women and children at a health clinic at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Haiti. USAID implements America's foreign economic and humanitarian assistance program in Haiti. To achieve their goal to reduce poverty and build democracy in Haiti, USAID/Haiti has six areas of focus: health, democracy, environment, economic growth, education and food security. Read more by clicking the photo above.

Okay, this next link is from No Quarter, and in noooooo way implies that the ideas and thoughts presented on the NQ blog are in any way the same as my own…I link to it because it does raise a big question…Is The MSM Hiding Attacks On Women Journalists? : NO QUARTER

Again? So it would seem. This time, it is in Palestine by Hamas Security officers. But I bet you haven’t heard a word about it, have you? Had it not been for Phyllis Chesler, I wouldn’t have known, either.

In Chesler’s excellent post, “Arab Spring: Male-on-Female Atrocities In Gaza Disappeared By The Western Media,” she details what eight, that is 8, women journalists endured while trying to cover – get this – a Unity rally (more on that below).

Ironic, ain’t it?

Anyway, one would have thought after what happened to Lara Logan, and a number of other women journalists in Egypt recently, that maybe, just maybe, the MSM would be better about covering these sorts of attacks. And one would be wrong:

Last month, at least eight Muslim Palestinian female journalists were physically beaten with clubs, iron chairs, and fists, stabbed, and tortured with electric shocks by male Hamas security forces in the Gaza strip. Their cell phones, laptops, documents, and cameras were confiscated. They were also arrested. Some were forced to sign a document “pledging to refrain from covering such events again.”

The “events” were a series of pro-unity rallies organized by Palestinian youth on Facebook (!) which demanded an end to the dispute between Islamist Hamas and a presumably more moderate Fatah.

So much for the Arab “spring,” and the purposefully misguided Western (and these heroically naïve youthful demonstrators’) belief that the increasingly well organized Islamist Middle East will really rise up on behalf of human rights and women’s rights—without which there can be no democracy.[snip]

[…]

Oh, I should add, not only were these women beaten, and had stun guns used on them, but one was literally stabbed in the back. By a member of the Hamas Security force, that is, as this article highlights, Gaza Cops Use ‘Beatings, Stun Guns’ On Women Reporters.

It is remarkable, isn’t it? That these attacks on women journalists are not being covered by the MSM still? Is it because it doesn’t fit the narrative? So it would seem. What a shame that the small window that opened when Lara Logan was brutally assaulted closed so quickly. That is telling in and of itself about our media, about journalism, and about news in general.

These women in Palestine deserve better. They deserve more. They deserve to not have their stories swept under the proverbial rug by their fellow journalists. Their voices deserve to be heard. Hear them now.

 

Journalists have been missing in Libya as well: Journalists under attack in Libya: The tally – Blog – Committee to Protect Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of American freelance journalist Matthew VanDyke, who has been missing in Libya since mid-March, according to his family and news reports. He is among 15 reporters either missing or in government custody in Libya.

To see more about recent attacks on journalists, go to the home page of Press Freedom Online – Committee to Protect Journalists

Thanks to Dak for this next link: Waking the Lion | Politics | Vanity Fair

Turning his camera on Egypt’s 18-day miracle, Jonas Fredwall Karlsson captures face-to-face the thrilling, tech-savvy tide that drew all eyes to Tahrir Square, swept away Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule, and set off similar protests across the Middle East. Ron Beinner reports, while Henry Porter dissects the protesters’ world-altering triumph: an anger that defied death, the ingenuity that stymied a brutal police state, and a sense of freedom that will never be lost.

Be sure to look at the pictures in the gallery at the link above.

More is going on in MENA, and with all the news about the budget, it has not gotten the attention it deserves. So take a look at the items below.

Gbagbo forces attack Ouattara base in Abidjan – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, Cote d’Ivoire’s incumbent president, have fired mortars at the hotel where the Ivorian leader’s internationally recognised rival is based.

<pMigrants forced to fight for Gaddafi – Features – Al Jazeera English>

‘They said we must stay to fight when the Americans come,’ a Ghanaian worker tells Al Jazeera from a refugee camp.

Among the reports of atrocities occurring in Libya are claims from African migrants that they were abducted and forced to fight with Gaddafi’s forces.

Nearly all migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who arrive at the desert refugee camp in Tunisia, have fled in fear of violent reprisals by Libyans who accuse them of being mercenaries. The extent to which Gaddafi’s military has used foreign mercenaries, or press-ganged migrants into fighting, remains unclear.

A former Nigerian police officer, who had worked in Libya for eight years as a technician, alleges he was abducted in mid-March at a military checkpoint in Tripoli, along with other men from Ghana, Mali and Niger, before being taken to a military centre.

“There was up to 100 people in the courtyard and military trucks were arriving and leaving with more people. They started beating people, I saw them shoot one Ghanaian in front of me. The atmosphere was very intimidating,” he explained. “They put us into a vehicle and we were driven into the desert. I saw an oil refinery, there was evidence of bomb strikes, burnt out vehicles and a strong smell. I think it was Ras Lanouf.”

A Ghanaian worker claimed to have been abducted by Libyan military when they stormed his house in Sirte.

“They asked us why we were trying to leave the country and that we must stay to fight for when the Americans come,” he explained. “We were taken to a police station and then to an underground hospital which they ordered us to clean.”

BBC News – Yemen unrest: Hundreds injured in Sanaa protests

Hundreds of anti-government protesters are reported to have been hurt in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, a day after similar clashes in the city of Taiz.

The BBC correspondent in Sanaa says the area has been blocked off by army trucks, and single gunshots echo through the city.

Doctors say at least a dozen people have gunshot wounds, and others were treated for the effects of tear gas.

The country has seen weeks of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

President Saleh earlier recalled his ambassador to Qatar after dismissing a proposal by the Gulf states for him to step down.

Two dead as Egyptian army forces protesters out of Tahrir Square | Amnesty International

Amnesty International today condemned the excessive use of force used by the Egyptian army when at least two protesters were reportedly killed when soldiers attempted to disperse those gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Protesters told Amnesty International the army used sticks, electric batons, shot in the air and drove armored vehicles into the protest causing a number of injuries.

Some 15 people were also reportedly detained, as well as six army officers who joined the protest.

“The Egyptian authorities have once again failed to respect the right to peaceful protest by using the same tactics of repression as those of the former government,” said Amnesty International.

“All those arrested for merely exercising their right to protest peacefully must be released immediately and an independent investigation begun into these disturbing events.”

Thousands of protesters had gathered in Tahrir Square following Friday prayers to demand the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and other officials suspected of corruption and human rights violations.

[…]

“The image the Egyptian army is trying to project greatly contradicts with reports of it torturing and otherwise ill-treating those it detains, including carrying out ‘virginity tests’ on women detainees,” said Amnesty International.

“They must ensure that no such treatment is no longer meted out to anyone detained by them.”

Okay, this next link is something I thought you all would find real interesting. I have added this book to my AMAZON cart. This is just a quick quote below, however I would really hope you just click the link and read the entire book review…Karen Lee Wald: Cuba From the Other Side – Book Review – Truthdig

I thought it would be helpful if people who are always hearing and reading about the “repression of dissidents” in Cuba and jump to their defense could also hear the other side: what happened to the thousands of people whose lives were affected by the actions of terrorists from inside and outside the country. I thought it would put a human face on the statistics regarding the material and human damage caused by counterrevolutionaries and mercenaries who are euphemistically called “dissidents” or “anti-Castro militants.”

“Voices From the Other Side” does this. But it also does a great deal more.

I did not realize that the debris from the Japanese Tsunami would reach our Pacific Coast as described below, but just imagine the image of all those houses floating in the vast ocean. It must be so surreal, like Dorothy’s house flying through the sky…out of place and very alone.

Japan Earthquake – Debris West Coast – Fukushima | Mediaite

The devastation in Japan after the massive earthquake and tsunami last month appears to have no end, and within a year’s time much of what was destroyed may end up on U.S. shores. Scientists are now predicting that it will take a year for the wreckage from towns essentially erased off the map to end up in Washington, Oregon and California, wreckage including whole houses, cars, and human remains.

Yesterday we lost one of the best directors ever to come out of Hollywood. Sidney Lumet dies aged 86 | Film | guardian.co.uk For a complete rundown of his movies, this next link from IMDB is the best. Sidney Lumet: 1924-2011

Director Sidney Lumet, whose gritty portraits of New York City earned him four Oscar nominations for Best Director for films such as Dog Day Afternoon and Network, died Saturday of lymphoma at his home in Manhattan; he was 86.

From Minx’s Missing Link File: One of Fox News lunatics is out! So I thought that these two articles from C and L are the best at reviewing the events that led up to the mad chalkboards. A look back on Beck’s nutty Fox News career: Turning discourse into a series of stunts | Crooks and Liars

Now, there are plenty of things to object to about Glenn’s trainwreck of a career at Fox, particularly the noxious and yet little-noticed way he almost effortlessly mainstreamed extremist ideas and rhetoric, most recently with his full-bore descent into promoting John Birch Society conspiracism. Undoubtedly, Beck’s relentless fearmongering and the vicious eliminationism of his rhetoric were important components of what made Beck so toxic. Media Matters has compiled an impressive list of the “50 Worst Things Glenn Beck Said On Fox News” that gives a pretty good rundown — but is really only a start.

And for your viewing pleasure: Jon Stewart’s Epic Parody Of Glenn Beck | Video Cafe

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the week: Some Medieval History for you…Queening: Chess and Women in Medieval and Renaissance France – Medievalists.net

Queening: Chess and Women in Medieval and Renaissance France

By Regina L. O‘Shea

Master’s Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2010

Abstract: This work explores the correlation between the game of chess and social conditions for women in both medieval and Renaissance France. Beginning with an introduction to the importance and symbolism of the game in European society and the teaching of the game to European nobility, this study theorizes how chess relates to gender politics in early modern France and how the game‘s evolution reflects the changing role of women. I propose that modifications to increase the directional and quantitative abilities of the Queen piece made at the close of the fifteenth century reflect changing attitudes towards women of the period, especially women in power. In correlation with this, I also assert that the action of queening, or promotion of a Pawn to a Queen, demonstrates evolving conceptions of women as well. This work seeks to add to the growing body of work devoted to the exploration of connections between chess and political and social circumstances during the periods under consideration. As the question of the interconnectedness between the game and gender relations is in its beginning stages of exploration, this thesis is offered as a further analysis of the gender anxieties and conceptions present in the game‘s theory and history.

So what are you reading about today? Give it to me baby…..


Late Night: A Little Levity

By CarlosLatuff:

(Cartoon) #Mubarak got the chair, Egyptian people got the POWER! #Jan25 #Egypt

This is from Jon Stewart last week, but since we’re living a Groundhog’s day nightmare with both Mubarak and Fox News, this is still entirely applicable to today (H/T Minkoff Minx):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And, because I still prefer Stephen Colbert over Stewart (sorry Jon)… another clip from last week, again not all that much has changed:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is a late night open thread. Do your thing in the comments!