SDB Evening News Reads for 051911

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The worst thing about allergies is the sinus headache that makes me feel like an idiot. All that pressure seems to push whatever brain cells I have functioning out of my cranium faster than a GOP politician caves in to the religious nitwits that have taken over the Republican Party.

For commentary on the this, the best reporting of the recent Newt slam fest has to go to Jon Stewart.  When satire is more credible than the reporting from actual news media outlets, you gotta give props (proper respect) to The Daily Show.

Just click the following link for some real analysis of Newt’s latest remarks about his performance on Meet the Press this past Sunday.

Fast Dive – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 05/18/11 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

Continued on this link below….

Fast Dive – Sister Souljah Moment – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 05/18/11 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

And for some pointed discussion on the Rapture that is forecasted for Saturday…and how it relates to busting through the debt ceiling, check this out:

Debt to America – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 05/18/11 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

As I said up top, my mind is not functioning as it should, so pardon my half ass comments on today’s post. Here are some news items that are flying across the wires today…

David Dayen reports on the possible illegal activities of the foreclosure procedures when it comes to the county land records. I really hope something comes of this.

Off Register

Out of the 6,100 documents Thigpen examined, 4,500 showed signature irregularities. The name of one DocX employee, Linda Green, who was acting as a vice president for several major banks, was forged 15 different ways on the Guilford County documents, rendering them invalid. Thigpen’s investigation was one of the first systematic assessments of mortgage document fraud in the entire country, certainly more robust than anything conducted by state and federal regulators.

Here is a link to a discussion about this fraud between Dayen and Madrak…Thorough Look At Just One NC County Found Most Mortgage Docs Were Fraudulent | Crooks and Liars

Dave Dayen and I talked about this Tuesday night on my radio show (click here to listen) and he goes into more detail in this American Prospect article yesterday.

So Gov. Walker and Wisconsin are now following in Indiana’s big f-u to women footsteps.  Wisconsin Votes To End Family Planning Funds

Not satisfied with stripping benefits from state employees, Wisconsin Republicans voted to end about $1 million a year in family planning funding to Planned Parenthood and other health organizations, pushing its war on women and the working class to a frightening new level.

[…]

But the reality of the vote is that by eliminating the state’s only family planning program Wisconsin Republicans have put over 50 health care centers at risk of closing.  That means that low-income women in rural areas will lose access to basic reproductive health care since those services come almost exclusively from organizations like Planned Parenthood.

It also re-enforces a theme consistent among Republicans that women are not to be trusted to make their own health care decisions and need the state to make decisions for them.

It doesn’t stop, does it?

Obama gave his Middle East speech today. Before starting his speech, he gave some credit to the woman who deserves it, Hillary Clinton.

Remarks of President Barack Obama–As Prepared for Delivery–“A Moment of Opportunity” | The White House

I want to thank Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last six months that she is approaching a new landmark – one million frequent flyer miles. I count on Hillary every day, and I believe that she will go down as of the finest Secretaries of State in our nation’s history.

Obama officially came out and supported the 1967 boundaries between Israel and Palestine.

Obama Calls For Mideast Peace Deal Based on Israel’s Pre-1967 Borders – NYTimes.com

NationalJournal.com – Obama Urges Israel and Palestinians to Negotiate on Basis of 1967 Borders – Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let’s see what comes of his position on this…Netanyahu already rejects it:  Netanyahu Objects as Obama Endorses ’67 Borders – NYTimes.com

In other news, Goodwin Lui is out.  Cornyn: Democrats To Blame For Republican Filibuster Of Goodwin Liu | TPMDC

“Now what they want is for any Republican nominee, a nominee of a Republican President, to require 60 votes, whereas a nominee from a Democratic President get 51, and that’s just not fair,” Cornyn said. “So I think the same rules should apply. They basically rewrote the rules, and I’m saying we’ll play by the rules that they wrote.”

It is the first filibuster of a judicial nominee since 2005.

Let’s end with this about the Japanese Earthquake…

2011 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake: Surprising findings about energy distribution over the fault slip and stress accumulation in Japan Trench

Now, a study led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), published online in the May 19 issue of Science Express, explains the first large set of observational data from this rare megathrust event.

“This event is the best recorded great earthquake ever,” says Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory and lead author of the study. For scientists working to improve infrastructure and prevent loss of life through better application of seismological data, observations from the event will help inform future research priorities.

[…]

“The Tohoku earthquake was recorded by upwards of 10 times more sensors at near-fault distances than any other earthquake. This will provide a sharper and more robust view of earthquake rupture processes and their effects.”

Cool, innit?

Be sure to post any comments or links you want below.


The Changing Face of the MENA Region (Breaking News)

The WSJ reports that Yemeni President Saleh is working out a deal that will let him resign. The country’s leading general will also resign. The details will be released on Saturday.

“Both sides have agreed on the main points of departure, and Saturday is expected to be the day that Saleh and General Ahmar both step down,” according to a senior official familiar with the negotiations.

It couldn’t be determined which individuals were being considered as candidates for any transitional authority as talks continued late Thursday between the two leaders.

The support for mainstream opposition party leaders is unclear across the rugged and largely conservative country. Meanwhile, traditional tribal leaders who have great social standing would face problems exerting authority over rival tribes.

The Pentagon is currently holding a presser and has announced that they’re no longer ‘detecting’ Libyan planes in the air. NATO and the UN are expected to make an announcement shortly that NATO will be taking over the No-fly efforts. I just read some interesting analysis at Juan Cole’s Informed Consent on the Top Ten Accomplishments of the UN’s no-fly zone efforts. Cole says the French have also verified that Gadhafi’s air attacks have stopped and that his planes are grounded.  There is also this tidbit.

The participation of the Muslim world in the United Nations no-fly zone over Libya has been underlined. The measure was called for by the Arab League, which has not in fact changed its mind about its desirability. Qatar is expected to be flying missions over Libya by this weekend. Other Arab League countries will give logistical support.

It is significant that the Arab League is supporting this action.  The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)–an organization that is an essential part of my research on trade–is also trying to curb problems in Bahrain. This is significant because it shows that region is actively trying to create situations to jointly improve the conditions in the region.

Meanwhile, the people of Syria may be closer to the goals of their mostly peaceful protests. Syria is one of the most repressed countries in the region and has been under martial law for 50 years.  Clashes between protesters and the government have increased recently.

President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public pledge to look into granting Syrians greater freedom on Thursday as anger mounted following attacks by security forces on protesters that left at least 37 dead.

Syrian opposition figures said the promises did not meet the aspirations of the people and were similar to those repeated at regular Baath Party conferences, where committees would be formed to study reforms that do not see the light of day.

“The leadership is trying to absorb the rage of the streets. We want to see reform on the ground,” said a protester in the southern city of Deraa.

A hospital official said at least 37 people had been killed in the southern city of Deraa on Wednesday when security forces opened fire on demonstrators inspired by uprisings across the Arab world that have shaken authoritarian leaders.

While an aide said Assad would study a possible end to 48 years of emergency rule, a human rights group said a leading pro-democracy activist, Mazen Darwish, had been arrested.

It’s exciting to watch the move to democracy and modernity in a region known for strongmen dictators, kings, and harsh political oppression.  This will be an interesting situation to watch. I only hope that the people get what they are hoping for and that modernity and better treatment of women are part of the equation.  Some of the states–like Qatar and the UAE–are further along in this pursuit than others.  Yemen and Syria are perhaps the most dangerous parts of the equation.  The Shia-Sunni dynamic is present and that always makes for a delicate situation.

Also, SOS Hillary Clinton will be making a statement shortly.  We will try to keep you updated and give you interesting links as these new developments unfold.


Update Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant: Obama Speaks…Breaking News Libya and Bahrain

Friday fall-out: A graphic showing the path of the nuclear plume as predicted by the UN

This is a live blog thread to update our readers on the situation in Japan, Obama is set to give a statement shortly, and we will have a live blog on his press conference in the comment section below.  CNN is reporting that Obama will not take any questions during this statement…no surprise there right?  Anyway…Here are some links to live updates and latest news regarding the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan.

Kyodo News

Reuters

NHK World News

NHK Live News Stream

Recent articles of note:

Then we get this news from the UN Nuclear Agency:

I think these conflicting reports make the situation worse in the eyes of those in Japan.  The main thing to take away from all this is that those of us on the West Coast of the US are safe, in that the radiation in the plume  cloud will be greatly reduced by the time it gets to our shores…even in Hawaii. However, the real concern is in Japan. That is where the focus of worry should be. There are huge populations in and around the area of this nuclear power plant. These people are the ones whom we should concentrate our thoughts…prayers and hopes toward.  It is heartbreaking to see the desperation and emotional toll this is placing on the Japanese citizens and the local government officials that are directly affected by the Nuclear Crisis.

Obama made a “surprise” visit today to the Japanese Embassy in DC, to sign a condolence book. Why do I get the vision of his message looking like something out of a High School Yearbook…

To Japan: Best Wishes! Your BFF Barack Obama 🙂

Okay, that may be a bit harsh, and not to trivialize the situation of the disaster in Japan, but after all the partying and March Madness Picks…I really have a hard time comprehending any “real” message being sent from this president.

On a side note, I do not know if many of you watch the Little League World Series, but teams from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia  and Japan were actually in the semi and final rounds of this past years Series.  Just to put the news in perspective…and to give it some context in relation to a simple game of baseball, and the connection between our countries kids and the kids in these countries devastated by conflict and natural disasters.

News on Libya, Bahrain and MENA:

I want to also take some time to update you on Libya and Bahrain.

Video: Libya – Rebels Claim To Drive Back Pro-Gaddafi Forces Around Eastern Town Of Ajdabiyah | World News | Sky News

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has vowed to retake the main rebel stronghold of Benghazi and warned there would be no mercy for those who do not put down their weapons.

In a radio address, the Libyan leader told residents that unarmed people have nothing to fear from the army, but every home will be searched.

Col Gaddafi promised to pardon rebels in Benghazi who surrender, saying his forces would not pursue those who drop their weapons and flee.

But he said “for those who resist there will be no mercy or compassion”.

It comes as his forces reportedly carried out air strikes on the outskirts of the country’s second city, which is home to a million people.

Look here for other articles on the no-fly zone and journalist that are missing in Libya:

Bahrain police round up opposition leaders and take over hospital – Telegraph

Bahrain’s police rounded up opposition leaders at gunpoint and took over a major hospital as it continued a violent crackdown on a protest movement despite international calls for restraint.

Of course for recent updates on all situations:
AJE – Al Jazeera English

Look for more updates below in the comment section, feel free to post anything y’all find…