SDB Evening News Reads for 122811: Obama/Clinton and Miss Taylor’s M00ses

Good Evening!

Let’s start this post off with a link I found on Drudge…that should give you a heads up:

ROBERT REICH: Get Ready For A Obama-Clinton Presidential Ticket

My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.

So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.

The orgasm continues…

The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats haven’t had since FDR. Twelve years gives the party in power a chance to reshape the Supreme Court as well as put an indelible stamp on America.

Reich ends it with a slogan of epic proportions, like something on a Ritz Cracker box:

Obama-Clinton in 2012. It’s a natural.

In Russia, the man who has designed Putin’s rise to power, and his constricting grip on control…has been reassigned. Surkov, Architect of Putin’s Political System, Is Reassigned

The Kremlin on Tuesday announced the reassignment of Vladislav Y. Surkov, the architect of the highly centralized political system that has come under waves of protest from middle-class Muscovites over the last month.

Mr. Surkov, a former advertising prodigy, coined the term “sovereign democracy” to describe his system, which preserved the electoral process but hollowed out institutions capable of challenging the Kremlin’s power. He created an array of political tools — the youth movement Nashi, the United Russia party and the overwhelming force of fully controlled television — that helped Vladimir V. Putin consolidate his authority during his first two presidential terms.

The last several months have exposed many of those tools as outdated, and Mr. Surkov had become a lightning rod for a rising generation of Russians raised on the Internet, who are calling for an end to the manipulations.

Surkov will now oversee modernization and innovation as Deputy Prime Minister…and have no role in domestic politics. The man taking his place as,

…deputy head of the presidential administration, will be filled by his rival Vyacheslav Volodin, a top United Russia official and longtime Putin loyalist who is vacating a spot as deputy prime minister.

Here is what Surkov had to say about the reassignment:

Asked by a journalist from Interfax on Tuesday why he was leaving, Mr. Surkov first answered, “Stabilization devours its own children.”

A report on the numbers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty for 2011 have been released. Of course, there is a few days left in the year so the total number may rise.  Report: 173 law enforcement officers killed on duty in 2011

In-the-line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers jumped 13% in 2011 compared to last year, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

A total of 173 federal, state and local officers have been killed in the United States, and the year is not quite over yet.

Gunfire accounted for the largest number of deaths, claiming 68 officers. That represents a 15% increase from 2010.

“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a written statement.

“Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day — and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them.”

I won’t make a comment about that statement from Holder, with all the Fast and Furious stuff still going on…

The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund notes that for the first time in 14 years, more police and other law enforcement agents died in shootings than in traffic accidents. This year, 64 officers were killed either in car or motorcycle crashes, or by being struck by vehicles while on the job.

“Drastic budget cuts affecting law enforcement agencies across the country have put our officers at grave risk,” said Craig Floyd, the chairman of the memorial fund. Floyd and others have expressed concerns that in these tight economic times, there have been reductions in training and equipment for police.

[…]

Florida has had the largest number of officer deaths this year — a total of 14. That was followed by Texas with 13, New York with 11, and 10 fatalities in both California and Georgia.

It gives me chills to think that my friend is one of those 10 fatalities in Georgia. Firearm deaths have increased 70% since 2004…Where is that picture of Santorum with the bright orange NRA hunting cap?

santorum_hunting_122611.jpg

The New York Times has been having one of those weeks…you may remember the foreign correspondent pensions being frozen, the sale of 16 regional papers and the article about staffers “profound dismay” with management, well today 8 Million New York Times Subscribers Got Cancelled By Mistake. The NYT sent out email to subscribers of home delivery stating that they had to resubscribe to the paper. New York Times says mea culpa after oops email to 8 million people

More than 8 million people received an erroneous email from the New York Times Co. telling them that they would no longer be receiving home delivery of the newspaper.

The email, sent Wednesday, was a mistake, the company said.

“A Times employee inadvertently sent an email that was intended for a short list of people to a long list of people,” said Eileen Murphy, a Times Co. spokeswoman.

Why does this make me think of the subtitles in the opening credits of Monty Python’s Holy Grail?

Particularly this part:

We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have
been sacked.

[…]

We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those
responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked
have been sacked.

[…]

The directors of the firm hired to continue the credits after the other
people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been
sacked.
The credits have been completed in an entirely different style at
great expense and at the last minute.

Of course, you must remember that a bunch of moose tales, Liz Taylor moose costumes and llamas were the reasons behind the “sacking.”

Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty…

So I am off to attend to my moose bite and feed my:

40 SPECIALLY TRAINED
ECUADORIAN MOUNTAIN LLAMAS
6 VENEZUELAN RED LLAMAS
142 MEXICAN WHOOPING LLAMAS
14 NORTH CHILEAN GUANACOS
(CLOSELY RELATED TO THE LLAMA)
REG LLAMA OF BRIXTON
76000 BATTERY LLAMAS
FROM “LLAMA-FRESH” FARMS LTD. NEAR PARAGUAY

…have a lovely evening.


Four NYT Journalists Missing in Libya

Anthony Shadid

This is very disturbing.

Four New York Times journalists disappeared while reporting on fighting in Libya, the newspaper said Wednesday.

Editors at the newspaper said they last heard from the journalists on Tuesday as they were covering the retreat of rebels from the town of Ajdabiya. Libyan officials told the newspaper they are trying to locate the four, executive editor Bill Keller said in a statement.

“We are grateful to the Libyan government for their assurance that if our journalists were captured they would be released promptly and unharmed,” Keller said.

The missing journalists are Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter Anthony Shadid, the newspaper’s Beirut bureau chief; Stephen Farrell, a reporter and videographer; and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario. In 2009, Farrell was kidnapped by the Taliban and later rescued by British commandos.

Anthony Shadid has won two Pulitzer Prizes, including one in 2010 for reporting on Iraq at the Washington Post.

Lynsey Addario

Lynsey Addario is a brilliant photographer who was a 2009 recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant. You can view some of her work here and here.

According to CNN,

Libyan government forces said Wednesday that they have no information about where the journalists may be and that, if they were picked up by the Libyan military, they would be returned to Tripoli.

CNN quotes from an e-mail Addario sent to CNN correspondent Ivan Watson on Monday:

Addario called the Libya story “one of the most dangerous” of her career.

The e-mail said, “qaddafi’s forces heading back east, and the rebels are surrendering along the way…so exhausted. this story has been one of the most dangerous i have ever covered. getting bombed from the air and by land, with no cover, and no flack and helmet.”

Of the other missing writer and photography, CNN says:

Farrell routinely reports from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Before joining The New York Times in 2007, he worked for the Times of London. In April 2004, he was kidnapped on assignment in Iraq.

Hicks, a staffer for the paper, is based in Istanbul and has served as an embed in Afghanistan.

Tyler Hicks

Here is a recent post at the NYT Lens blog, with photos by Tyler Hicks along with his reflections on covering the Libyan conflict.

Stephen Farrell was taken prisoner by the Taliban in 2009. The Guardian has a report about the British soldier who died rescuing Farrell in Afghanistan.

Stephen Farrell

There is some good news. Guardian UK journalist Abdul-Ahad has been freed.

Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi national, and Andrei Netto, a Brazilian journalist, were taken into custody on 2 March.

They were held in a prison outside Tripoli after being picked up in Sabratha, a coastal town.

Netto was released last week, but Abdul-Ahad, an award-winning correspondent was held until Wednesday.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has said that Abdul-Ahad “is safely out of Libya”.

The recent conflicts in the Middle East have been dangerous for journalists. I only hope that these four fine journalists will soon be found safe and unhurt.