Friday Reads: Get ready for 2020! Out with the Olds!

Image result for New Years Eve vintage photosGood Morning Sky Dancers!

It’s hard to believe we’re careening towards 2020.  I’m reading for the year to get started in many ways because I really would like us to find a way to dump Trump.  My New Year’s resolution is just plain “Out with the Olds”. However, I realize that it’s likely to be a brutal year because thugs never go quietly into the night no matter which way they’re turned out and that’s if he gets turned out at all.

We’re going to have to take the bad with the good and hope that the good outweighs the bad.

The political season will be brutal.  I can only wonder what horrid lies and diatribes we’ll get at the State of the Union Address.  There are a few early trends on what may be ahead.

First, it appears that 2020 is stacking up for a historical gender gap in voting.  This comes via CNN.  Women hate Trump. They really hate him and in increasing numbers.

If President Donald Trump loses in 2020, it will be at the hands of women.

An examination of recent CNN polls reveal that we could be looking at a record gender gap in the 2020 presidential election. For simplicity’s sake, I’m comparing Former Vice President Joe Biden (the leader in the Democratic primary polls) to Trump. In general election matchups against all the leading Democratic candidates, a greater than 25-point gender gap existed.

Biden has held a 60% to 36% lead over Trump among women in an average of our last two (October and December) CNN/SSRS polls. The same polling put Trump up 52% to 42% among men voters. When you combine Biden’s 24-point lead among women and Trump’s 10 point lead among men, this makes for a 34-point gender gap.

Gender gaps have been getting larger in recent years. From 1952 to about 1980, there really wasn’t a gender gap in presidential elections. So this isn’t just about Trump.

Still, this 34-point gender gap would be a significant increase from what we saw in 2016. In that election, the gender gap was 25 points. This, itself, was a record gender gap for any presidential election dating back to 1952. In fact, no presidential election had previously featured a gender gap of even greater than 20 points.

The gender gap becoming larger would fit with what we’ve seen in the Trump era. There was a larger gender gap in the 2018 House midterm election (23 points) than in any previous midterm.  

But what’s causing an escalation in the gender gap from even 2016 and 2018? It’s women turning even more against Trump than they were previously.

Image result for New Years Eve vintage photos

That’s some really good news right there except the Biden part. The Hill reports that it will be a “bloody primary” season and that no one candidate appears to have a lock on it as of right now.

Democrats are bracing for a long, drawn-out primary season.

With just six weeks until the Iowa caucuses, some Democrats say they don’t expect a likely nominee to emerge anytime soon after early-voting states hold their contests. Instead, they’re preparing for a bruising four-way match-up that could drag on for months as candidates compete for the chance to challenge President Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have consistently topped nationwide polls, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg remain key contenders who show no signs of slowing down.

“It’s going to be uglier than ugly,” one Democratic strategist said, pointing to surveys showing there is no clear winner across the first four states in the nominating process. “It’s going to be a bloody slugfest. And the thing a lot of us fear is that Trump will benefit from all of it.”

Democrats have focused their efforts on electability, making the case for rallying behind the kind of candidate who can topple Trump. Some Democrats say that while a progressive candidate can energize the party’s base and win in the primary, it would be much more difficult for that same White House hopeful to win the general election against Trump.

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, argued that because the top candidates each have strong pockets of support, the primary may even lead to a brokered convention in July.

“Although people always say that, this time it could be true,” Zelizer said. “Democrats are so desperate to defeat Trump they have very different visions of how to do this and won’t concede easily.”

The party’s top four candidates — two progressive candidates and two moderate candidates — are indicative of where the Democratic Party is right now, said Democratic strategist Michael Trujillo.

Maybe more of us need to adopt Mona’s policy .  “I refuse to allow those who don’t recognize my full humanity to expect politeness of me,” she said.

Over time, she’s developed a reputation for telling the patriarchy and its footsoldiers—as she calls the white women who believe in polite feminism—to fuck off, literally. Cursing is a very important aspect of Eltahawy’s feminism; the third chapter in her latest book is titled “profanity.” On Twitter, where Eltahawy is known for telling people to “fuck off, kitten,” she’s amassed a following of over 300,000.

“I will not be civil to those who do not recognize my full humanity,” she explains.

But Eltahawy’s rhetoric is driven by more than shock value. It is rooted in her own horrific sexist experiences across the globe, and her commitment to eradicate them for herself and other women in the future. We spoke to Eltahawy about what the last decade taught her about feminism and what needs to happen in the next decade for a true feminist revolution.

VICE: Take me back to a decade ago. What did your feminism look like and what brought you there?

MONA ELTAHAWY: I always say I was traumatized into feminism. I go all the way back to when my family moved from Cairo to London, and then we moved from the U.K. to Saudi Arabia and what I learned on those journeys. Very quickly, what I learned in the U.K. was that very little was expected of Arab-looking women because my white teachers kept asking me, “What does your father do that brought you to London from Cairo?” They never bothered to ask what my mother does, and both my parents were on government scholarships to study for a PhD in medicine. It never occurred to my white teachers in London in the mid 70s that my mother could be studying her PhD. And then when we moved to Saudi Arabia, I saw what happened. My mother couldn’t drive anymore. We were utterly dependent on my father to take us everywhere. So those experiences in the U.K. and Saudi Arabia back to back were a reminder of how universal patriarchy is everywhere you go.

But the years 2009 and 2010 brought me to a really pivotal moment in my life, and that was when the revolution in Egypt started. For me personally, the revolution led to the dying of the old Mona and this coming out of this new Mona because in November of 2011, almost exactly eight years ago, Egyptian riot police beat me and broke my left arm and my right hand and sexually assaulted me. I was detained for 12 hours. You very rarely get a before-and-after moment in your life where you can actually point to a moment and say, this is my moment. But that was my moment. The last decade was that moment when I survived. And I survived by the old Mona dying and this Mona coming to be.

Related image

And, this from Mashable, just about sums up the last decade: “2010s = 1984: The decade we finally understood Orwell”  written by Chris Taylor.

Don’t call him Winston Smith. Call him Mr. 2019. Because it’s looking increasingly like we live in Oceania. That fictional state was basically the British Isles, North America, and South America. Now the leaders of the largest countries in each of those regions — Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro — are men who have learned to flood the zone with obvious lies, because their opponents simply don’t have the time or energy to deal them all.

As we enter 2020, all three of them look increasingly, sickeningly, like they’re going to get away with it. They are protected by Party members who will endure any humiliation to trumpet loyalty to the Great Leader (big shout-out once again to Sen. Lindsay Graham) and by a media environment that actively enables political lies (thanks, Facebook).

All the Winston Smiths of our world can see what the score really is. It doesn’t seem to make any difference. But hey, at least we’re all finally aware of the most important line in 1984, which is now also its most quote-tweeted:

Yes, Virginia, there is no impeachment!  Huhn?

Image result for New Years Eve vintage photos

And as we approach New Year’s Eve and Day and the entire freaking year, let’s just think, out with the old, in with the new.  That includes old white dudes like Trump, Biden, and Bernie. Out  out  OUT!!!

And I continue to debate the folks that say just vote for whoever looks bestest to beat Trump regardless of the fact that some one like Bernie has no plans, past history of accomplishment, or for that matter real grasp of anything beyond what the wobbles thought about way back when.  OR, that Biden has actively written and passed legislation hurting women, the black community, and every one that’s ever incurred a debt.  You want to trade one dotard for another?

So, here’s USA Today with a riff on the thought that just elect some one to Dump Trump. “Beating Donald Trump in the 2020 election isn’t everything; it’s the only thing”.

But there is also a warning in it: Few of the ideas being debated are getting much traction beyond Democratic true believers. And even many Democrats are ready to see some winnowing of the field in the early caucus and primary states.

This is a pretty good indication that the party’s voters should focus largely on one overriding issue: which of the candidates is best equipped to defeat Donald Trump next November.

In just a few short years, Trump has promoted the interests of U.S. foes, needlessly run up massive government debts, thwarted progress on climate change, done palpable harm to America’s health care system, and turned the once-proud party of Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan into an adulation cult.

Ridding the nation of his unfit leadership is far more important than who has the most extensive plan to hand out free money (we’re looking at you, Andrew Yang) or require everyone to get their health care through an expanded Medicare (Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders).

The Democrats need a nominee who can go toe-to-toe with Trump, explain to the electorate why he is so wrong in so many ways, and build a consensus on taking the nation in a new direction.

But tell me, do we really know who that is at this point?  Voters in Iowa sent Biden packing two times already? Are we supposed to wait for South Carolina to put his pasty ass first? I’m pretty sure neither Iowa or New Hampshire is going to do that.

But, any way, I digress, and I just want some peace and quiet a few days before the 2020 hell realm breaks lose.   Meanwhile, point me to the wine cave for poor people.

What’s on you reading and blogging list today? 

Sunday Reads: Missiles, Shuttles and Little Houses

That picture is for BB.

Good Morning

Don’t feel up for writing much this morning, so I apologize in advance.

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  My parents, living in Tampa at the time, tell tales of bomb drills…when you had to duck under your desk. As if that was really going to save you if the shit hit the fan.

Duck and Cover…

(Video at that link from South Park…third episode Volcano.)
Barbrady: Okay people, listen up. As we near the top of the mountain, the chances of our encountering some lava becomes great. Therefore, I have special ordered this training film to assist us in volcano safety. Mr Garrison, if you would, please?

[Garrison turns on the movie projector to watch a 1952 training video called Lava and You.]

Instructor: Hard bringers of sorrow, natural disasters can be the cause of troubling and undesirable stress – and a volcano is no exception. But what should you do if a volcano erupts near you or your family? Here, we see the Stevens family enjoying on their picnic. But suddenly, daughter hears a noise: it’s a volcano. Junior seems worried – but have no fear, Junior. Jane learned in school what to do when you hear a volcano erupt. [Jane uses a picnic blanket, covering her family] That’s right, Jane – duck and cover. [lava passes through blanket, leaving family unharmed] So what will you do when you hear a volcano erupting? That’s right, duck and cover. Looks like you got the idea. Duck and cover. Thank you and goodbye. [end of film]
Barbrady: Okay, any questions?
Chef: That has got to be the most ridiculous load of pig crap I have ever seen!
Barbrady: That’s enough outta you!

That is a spoof South Park did on this video:

And now….I’ve got some articles about the Cuban Missile Crisis from all over the world, even Cuba! So check these out:

From Cuba…October Missile Crisis Still an Issue Today – This link is pro Castro…just fyi.

From Scotland, Gerald Warner: Castro and Marxism won most from the Cuban missile crisis

Fidel Castro delivering a speech in October 1962 - the point 'Soviet ambitions were checked'Fidel Castro delivering a speech in October 1962 – the point ‘Soviet ambitions were checked’ARMAGEDDON, with the ­courtesy of four minutes’ warning: that was the prospect facing the world 50 years ago, as the Cuban missile crisis threatened thermonuclear war on a scale that experts today believe would have cost more than 200 million lives.With the passing of half a century and the declassification of many documents on both sides, certain perspectives have changed; but no new insight has discredited the notion that it was one of the most perilous moments in the Cold War.

From England: How Cuba won the missile crisis

President Kennedy On The Telephone

President John F Kennedy ‘never allowed the affair to escape from his capable hands’. Photograph: Art Rickerby/LIFE

Half a century ago, in October 1962, the world woke up to the Cuban missile crisis. The Russians were unloading nuclear missiles on Cuba, and the Americans were demanding they be withdrawn. For some people, perhaps for many, it seemed the moment to drag out the old evangelical poster: The End of the World is Nigh. One prominent anti-nuclear campaigner fled noisily to the west coast of Ireland, imagining mistakenly that there she might be safe. It was a frightening time. Even today I can remember the chill in the air, something not just the result of autumnal bad weather.

Video news story here: BBC News – Cuban missile crisis: The other, secret one

The Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 is generally accepted as the twentieth century’s moment of maximum peril.

On the 50th anniversary of the crisis, the BBC has had exclusive access to new information that paints an even more dangerous picture of how the crisis unfolded.

Papers to be published next week reveal that far from the crisis ending neatly with the deal struck by President Kennedy and Soviet leader Khrushchev at the end of October, there was a second secret stage to the crisis with staggering implications for the world.

Joe Matthews spoke to Dr Svetlana Savranskay, Director of Russia Programmes, National Security Archive in Washington DC, about her research and has this report.

Australia…down under: Fifty years since Soviets blinked over the Cuban missile crisis

Cuban missile crisis

John F. Kennedy chairs a US executive committee meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Source: Supplied

There is a nifty graphic at this Associated Press link: AFP: Cuban missile crisis: when the world held its breath

Just a few more, looking at these photographs is something…many of you probably have vivid memories of this.

Missile gets makeover on 50th anniversary of Cuban crisis

The Cold-War era Nike Missile Base is seen in Everglades National Park in this undated aerial view released to Reuters October 12, 2012. REUTERS-National Park Service-Handoout
Miami area high school students at the George T. Baker Aviation school prepare to attach ailerons to a 41-foot surface-to-air Nike Hercules missile as they restore it at the school in Miami, Florida October 10, 2012. REUTERS-Joe Skipper
Those are students at a Miami high school restoring one of the Nike Hercules missiles…the photo above it is the base in the Florida Everglades where the Nike missiles were based at.
There is a nice long read here at this link: Cuban Missile Crisis Beliefs Endure After 50 Years – ABC News
And new documents are being released, RFK documents on Cuban missile crisis to be released With the Soviet papers and new information coming forward, it should be an interesting thing to see.
You can always learn something new about old events, even heavily covered ones like the Cuban Missile Crisis.To that end, the National Archives on Thursday will release more than 2,700 pages of papers from its Robert F. Kennedy collection, many of them dealing with the Cuba crisis that became the most dangerous moment of the Cold War.”The National Archives is pleased to open these materials as the nation and the world mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis,” said David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States. “Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy played a crucial role in the peaceful resolution of the crisis, and researchers and the public are keenly interested in the information and insights contained in these documents.”
You can go online and view the documents…they are being posted at 8:30 am today.
This VOA article touches on Cuban Missile Crisis Lessons for Iran.
News reports from Pakistan on Sunday said that Malala Yousafzai has about a 50-50 chance of survival, maybe a little better, according to her doctors. She remains stable but unconsciousin an army hospital in Rawalpindi.Military doctors have reportedly consulted with two civilian Pakistani neurosurgeons who have recommended that Ms. Yousafzai be sent abroad for treatment. President Obama also has offered U.S. medical assistance to the Pakistani government, including a military air ambulance.Dr. Khalid Butt, a former army physician, in a letterto the Dawn newspaper, said “we may lose Malala Yousafzai if we do not send her to Dubai or the UK immediately,” adding that “armed forces doctors are not very proficient in complicated injury cases in peacetime.”He asked military leaders to stop “dilly-dallying” and not make it “a matter of ego and send Malala somewhere where she can be treated better.”
That is not very promising.
The Endeavour is taking longer to get to its new home.  Endeavour: Shuttle’s predicted arrival now later than 5 a.m. –
They are chopping trees down, and using iron steel plates to keep the road from buckling under the weight.

After a daylong series of delays stemming from trees bordering the street and a particularly narrow stretch of road, the space shuttle Endeavour is not expected to arrive at its final destination until after 5 a.m. Sunday.

The shuttle, now at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Leimert Park, will turn right onto Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard sometime before midnight. It will then creep along in the predawn darkness, never exceeding 1 mph, for the last leg of its final journey,

“It’s not the turning–the turning is easy. We can turn this thing 360 degrees in place if we have to,”  said Ken Carryion, project manager for Sarens, the company controlling the transporters on which Endeavour rests. “it’s limited visibility. Even though we have light, it’s not the same as daylight.”

There are some cool photos here: PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A.

The rest of today’s links will be in a link dump. It is 2:30 and my pillow is calling me.
Have a wonderful Sunday…and please share your memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis with us…

Evening round-up and stuff…

Good Evening

Tonight there is a new South Park, and even though it is infantile and completely offensive, I love it!

The description for the episode involves a “star athlete.”

As a concerned parent, Randy radically changes the way football is played at South Park Elementary. The new version of the game quickly becomes the nation’s most popular sport. One gifted student emerges as a star athlete in Sarcastaball.

Could it be Butters? Is that who’s standing up front in this photo?

Those helmets look like tin foil, and i’m not sure how much protection the bras are going to be, but knowing South Park, I’m guessing these are some of the decided-on new safety regulations – and part of the new sport of “Sarcastaball”!

So…we have for you a quick link evening reads. Let’s see what happened today. Hmmmm…

The latest out of Spain is heartbreaking. As Susie Madrak says, it’s not good.

For the crime of being hungry and out of work, cops in Madrid fire on protestors:

Raw footage shows chaos inside a busy Madrid subway station after riot police opened fire on protesters.  This is not going to end well once these images are disseminated in Spain. More than 50% of the population under 25 is unemployed.  Think about that.  There are approximately 2 million young people without jobs, many with a penchant for anarchy, and now they have a chip on their shoulder in the form of riot police shootings and vicious beatdowns of comrades in joblessness.

Have you seen the latest about Libya? Here is a link for you, and I am not sure how to make of it: Media Silent After Intelligence Sources Claim Obama Admin. Misrepresented Facts About Libya Attack

According to veteran reporter Eli Lake, unnamed sources within America’s intelligence community confirm that they knew that the 9/11/12 attacks on America’s embassy in Libya were pre-planned and executed by members of Al Qaeda within 24-hours of the event. This information directly contradicts Obama administration officials, notably United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice who appeared on several Sunday news programs on September 16 insisting that the attack resulted from spontaneous protests relating to an anti-Islamic internet video. Lake published this report in the Daily Beast at 4:45 a.m. EDT

There is also news that Mona Eltahawy was arrested: Activist arrested in New York for defacing anti-Muslim poster

Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy, who was arrested for defacing the poster on the New York subway. Photograph: Dan Callister

Mona Eltahawy, the prominent Egyptian-American writer and activist, has been arrested in New York after spraying paint over a controversial poster on the subway that has been condemned for equating Muslims with “savages”.

The posters were put up in the city by the anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative, led by Pam Geller. They were approved by a US court, which ruled that they were “political” statements and protected by the first amendment, which guarantees free speech.

The poster states: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” Between two Stars of David, it adds: “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

Good for her, I support Israel however I don’t support hate…and that Pam Geller is a part of this crap says all we need to know.

I had put this up in today’s comments but I thought it was something to front page: Mitt Romney’s ‘Them’ Problem

The candidate will directly address the voters, making a spare, authentic, heart-to-heart appeal that he cares about how “too many Americans” are suffering.

And then he says it.

“President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families. The difference is my policies will make things better for them.”


Mitt Romney keeps talking about the people whose votes he needs as “them.”

In the 47 percent video, it was “those people.”

“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said.

But presidential elections are always about the grand national us. They are about we, the people. And when it come to a candidate, they are about me and you.

As Bill Clinton famously said, “For too long we’ve been told about ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Each and every election we see a new slate of arguments and ads telling us that ‘they’ are the problem, not ‘us.’ But there can be no ‘them’ in America. There’s only us.”

That statement elides a lot of social divisions, but Clinton was right that as a matter of politics that’s how you have to talk win. Even George W. Bush ran as “a uniter, not a divider.

Makes me think of the song…from Pink Floyd.

Another link from The Atlantic: Will This Video Sink Tommy Thompson’s Wisconsin Senate Hopes?

Footage from June shows the GOP candidate promising to “do away with Medicaid and Medicare.”

Memo to Republicans: Just stay away from cameras, all cameras. And if you can, travel back in time and implement this advice in April or so.


The quote that’s causing Thompson grief is this one:

Who better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinelexplains that Thompson — who was previously governor and also secretary of Health and Human Services during the George W. Bush administration, is referring to welfare reform during his term as governor.

Meh, it has gotten to the point that any word out of the mouth of Republicans makes me sick…not that those Democrats are any better but damn!

Like this, which we touched on this morning: Rant o’ the Day: Virginia GOP Affiliate Ignores Orders to Remove Racist Obama Imagery from Facebook  Take a look at that…ABL does a good job with this one.

Want more Right-wing crazy? Why Sexual Fundamentalists Dominate Politics and How We Can Stop Them

During the 2008 presidential election, historian and political commentator Nancy Cohen became interested in how sex has changed American politics. She was so intrigued by the gender issues that surfaced around Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin that she began working on what would become Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America . The book is a meticulously researched political history of the Democratic self-destruction and Republican stealth that has allowed many of the gains of the sexual revolution to be lost.

In a political climate where women have to debate scientific inaccuracies stated by Republican politicians about “legitimate rape,” where women who use birth control are maligned as “sluts,” and where all-male congressional hearings are held to determine women’s right to control their own bodies, Delirium is a welcome font of clarity. Although Cohen couldn’t have anticipated the degree to which sexual rights would be the focus of the 2012 election, her book provides germane guidance for progressive activists who wish to secure four more years of a Democratic presidency.

That is all I have for you tonight…enjoy your evening!

SDB Evening News Reads for 122911: Woman of the Year

Good Evening…

Pardon the lameness of this post, I was hit with a migraine and it is a bad one…so I will make it a short evening reads.

On Jezebel a big vote is going on!

h/t Wonk sent me this: Vote For Jezebel’s Woman of the Year

Vote For Jezebel's Woman Of The Year

Hillary Clinton
Mona Eltahawy
Leymah Gbowee
Gabrielle Giffords
Melissa McCarthy
Iman al-Obeidi
Elizabeth Warren
Dr. X

The nominations for Jezebel’s Woman of the Year are in, and while it was a tough decision, we’ve managed to narrow the field down to eight frontrunners. Read more about them below, then cast your vote!

Polls close at midnight on Thursday, Dec. 29, so make sure to cast your vote for Woman of the Year before then!

In Tennessee, another voter is being disenfranchised, this time it is a 93 year old woman who cleaned the Capitol for 30 years…

A 93-year-old Tennessee woman who cleaned the state Capitol for 30 years, including the governor’s office, says she won’t be able to vote for the first time in decades after being told this week that herold state ID failed to meet new voter ID regulations.

Thelma Mitchell was even accused of being an undocumented immigrant because she couldn’t produce a birth certificate:

Mitchell, who was delivered by a midwife in Alabama in 1918, has never had a birth certificate. But when she told that to a drivers’ license clerk, he suggested she might be an illegal immigrant.

Thelma Mitchell told WSMV-TV that she went to a state drivers’ license center last week after being told that her old state ID from her cleaning job would not meet new regulations for voter identification.

A spokesman for the House Republican Caucus insisted that Mitchell was given bad information and should’ve been allowed to vote, even with an expired state ID. But even if that’s the case, her ordeal illustrates the inevitable disenfranchisements that result when confusing voting laws enable state officials to apply the law inconsistently.

This is bullshit!

As ThinkProgress reported, one 96-year-old Tennessee woman was denied a voter ID because she didn’t have her marriage license. Another senior citizen in Tennessee, 91-year-old Virginia Lasater, couldn’t get the ID she needed to vote because she wasn’t able to stand in a long line at the DMV. A Tennessee agency even told a 86-year-old World War II veteran that he had to pay an unconstitutional poll tax if he wanted to obtain an ID.

What a great way to pick and choose who gets to vote!

In other GOP news, Perry is just applying the PLUB mantra…he is pledging to ignore any decision from SCOTUS that will strike down “Personhood” amendments and laws.

At a radio forum sponsored by the anti-abortion and anti-birth control group Personhood PersonhoodGov. Rick Perry said that he would refuse to obey a Supreme Court decision striking down the group’s signature anti-choice proposal:

QUESTION: You have agreed to “endorse legislation making clear that Fourteenth Amendment protections apply to unborn children” . . . . What happens if the U.S. Supreme Court attempts to strike down this legislation, and replace it with one of its own edict denying the inalienable right to life for all persons born or unborn? Would you enforce the inalienable right to life or the Court’s opinion as the law?

PERRY: Well, obviously you enforce the right to life opinion.

Perry’s promise to openly defy the Supreme Court is disturbing, but it is also far from original. Fellow candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have also pledged to treat binding Supreme Court opinions as if they were merely optional, and Gingrich even supports legitimizing his radical view of the Constitution through a campaign of intimidation against judges who disagree with him.

These candidates for the GOP are ridiculous, how the hell are they getting away with this kind of crap?

Last link for you tonight, and I am off to hide under my covers…Mystery behind Hitchcock’s Birds is solved at last!

It has taken 50 years, rather than the shorter running time of one of his famous horror films, but Alfred Hitchcock’s most enduring whodunit appears to have finally been solved.

Scientists at Louisiana State University claim to have discovered why thousands of seagulls began killing themselves along the coast of northern California in the summer of 1961.

The mysterious avian deaths, in which many of the birds flew, Kamikaze-style, into houses along the Monterey Bay shore, south of San Francisco, were cited as one of the major inspirations for Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds.

Now a team of marine biologists, who have been conducting post-mortems of seabirds killed during the 1961 incident, have reached a credible conclusion about their deaths: the creatures were poisoned.

I did not know there was an actual event where seabirds went berserk.

Writing in the latest edition of the journal Nature Geoscience, the researchers say that they examined the stomach contents of seagulls and turtles collected during the period, and discovered unusual quantities of a nerve-damaging toxin called domoic acid. The acid, which most likely came from anchovies and squid which formed part of the birds’ natural diet, can sometimes cause brain damage. In severe cases, it leads to them becoming confused, suffering seizures, and dying.

Sibel Bargu, leading the research, said domoic acid was found in 79 per cent of the plankton ingested by anchovies and squid. Over a short period, that would become sufficiently concentrated to cause fatal injuries to predators who ingested the creatures.

Although this theory has previously been cited as a potential explanation for the 1961 event, Ms Bargu writes, no direct evidence has been obtained by scientists to support it. Until now. “Here we show that plankton samples from the 1961 poisoning contained toxin-producing Pseudo-nitzschia, supporting the contention that these toxic diatoms were responsible for the bird frenzy that motivated Hitchcock’s thriller,” she writes.

The toxic domoic acid is connected with runoff of pesticides. The report notes that there was a large housing boom in the area at the time, and that leaking domestic septic tanks could be the reason behind the large amounts of acid that were found in the birds food sources.

Have a good evening, and go vote for Jezebel’s Woman of the Year!

Wael Ghonim Speaks

Al Jazeera English clip of what as far as I can tell are Wael Ghonim’s first public comments after being released today, made at his home:

Wael also gave an interview that is making waves across Egypt.

The Guardian — “Facebook campaigner Wael Ghonim strikes a chord on Egyptian television“:

Google executive’s emotional interview after his release hailed as a landmark moment in Egypt revolt

Egyptian Wael Ghonim, talks at his home in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. Wael Ghonim at his home in Cairo on Monday. Photograph: Ahmed Ali/AP

An emotional television interview given by a young Egyptian Google executive who was arrested after playing a key role in using the internet to spark the uprising against Hosni Mubarak is being hailed as a landmark moment in the ongoing revolt after it struck a chord across Egypt and beyond.

Wael Ghonim, a marketing manager who became a hero to anti-government protestors after he went missing on 27 January, confirmed in the interview following his release that he was behind a highly influential Facebook page that helped lead to what he described as “the revolution of the youth of the internet.”

Before his appearance on Monday on a privately owned Egyptian television channel, the father-of-two was held in repute by many who believed that he was the anonymous activist behind a Facebook page named after a young Egyptian businessman whose death at the hands of police in June set off months of protests.

The page, “We are all Khaled Said“, became one of the main tools for organising the demonstrations that started the revolt in earnest on 25 January.

However, Ghonim’s stature across the country now appears destined to rise dramatically if the post-interview reaction on the internet is anything to go by. Calls are being made for him to stand as president. Others predicted that his performance, which was being acclaimed as a tour de force of calm but explosive political passion, would inevitably boost the numbers of those attending the latest mass demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir square and elsewhere this morning.

I am not a hero. I only used the keyboard, the real heroes are the ones on the ground. Those I can’t name,” said Ghonim, who sobbed throughout the interview, which ended with him being overcome with emotion as he was shown images of some of those who died in the uprising.

This appears to be the scene at the end where Ghonim becomes overwhelmed and leaves the studio upon being shown images of people who died in the protests:

Translation of Ghonim’s words in the above clip, as provided by a comment left on the youtube:

“I’m so sorry, but I swear by God, we are not to blame. It’s the fault of those in power, who refuse to step down. I want to go.”

I see a longer clip from the interview and even a translated transcript of the full interview, but I caught this retweeted on Mona Eltahawy‘s twitter:

@RamyYaacoub is going to subtitle the Ghonim interview tonight (EST).

RamyYaacoub says the video will be coming up shortly, so I’ll add that when it becomes available.

Also Mona tweeted this about 4 hours ago, and it’s being retweeted a lot:

#Egypt revolution isn’t 1 person but mass uprising. Needs a face or else #Mubarak‘s war of attrition will wearit down. Make @Ghonim face NOW

This is an open thread to discuss the protests in Egypt and other developments in the Middle East.


RamyYaacoub had video editor issues, so he’s just posted his transcript here with timestamps. Also, Alive in Egypt has overlaid captions on the youtubes: Part I | Part 2 | Part 3 | Last Part

And, a memorial page: — Egypt Remembers.