Evening News: Before the results…

We will be having a live blog tonight as the results for the Michigan and Arizona Primaries come in. Michigan polls close at 8pm local time and Arizona’s closes at 7pm local time.

So before the “fun” begins, I thought it would be good to get the evening news roundup out-of-the-way.

First some humor…then the tough stuff…and then the finale…its a good one.

You just know the comedians and satirists are itching for a Santorum nomination.

Yup, that is about the right shade of pea green…don’t you think.

Now for the news…

I wonder how long it will take the clown brigade to hop on this news item from the Washington Post:  Portions of 9/11 victims’ remains taken to landfill, report says –

Some small portions of unidentified human remains recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., were incinerated and ultimately dumped in a landfill, the Defense Department acknowledged Tuesday.It was the first time that the Pentagon has said that some remains of Sept. 11 victims taken to the Dover Air Force Base mortuary later ended up in a landfill.

We have a suit and pair of shoes tucked away in our basement that has human remains and ash from the towers…my guess is lots of those remains went home on the trains and buses on September 11th, 2001.

I just don’t like these people using someone’s misery to campaign against each other.

Here are some links about the results expected today…you can pretty much guess what is being said.

After Many Momentum Shifts, Michigan Is Too Close to Call – NYTimes.com

People sometimes apply the term “tossup” a bit too broadly, using it to refer to anything close enough that they don’t want to render a prediction about it.

In Michigan, however, the term is appropriate. Rick Santorum, who once trailed Mitt Romney badly in the state, then surged to a clear lead there, then saw Mr. Romney regain his footing and pull back ahead, appears to have some late momentum in the race — perhaps just enough to win, and perhaps not.

In fact, after adding in a poll from Public Policy Polling that showed Mr. Santorum ahead by five points in interviews conducted on Monday night, our forecast model of the state briefly showed a tie, with Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum each at 37.6 percent of the vote.

George Stephanopoulos has this question…which is on everyone’s minds. /snark. What Happens if Rick Santorum Wins Michigan?

That’s the question I asked ABC News contributor Matt Dowd ahead of tonight’s primary. Mitt Romney has been bouncing up and down in the polls of his home state, and is now neck and neck with Rick Santorum.

“If Rick Santorum wins tonight it’s the equivalent of a 9.0 on a Richter scale. I mean it is going to shake Washington, it’s going to shake Republican establishment it’s just going to shake things to their very core,” Dowd told me. “And I think what you’re going to see are the conversations that have been going on behind quiet doors saying we need another candidate in this race.”

But how can another Republican jump in?  After Super Tuesday, the filing deadlines will be open in only seven states.  Even if a candidate can manage to get on the ballot – and win every one of those states – he or she will still have fewer than a third of the delegates needed for the nomination.

Dowd says Republicans could recruit another candidate to shake things up and “demonstrate that these guys are not the guys that are most electable.”

“They may not be able to win the number of delegates, but if nobody gets the majority of the delegates going into the convention, if somebody comes out from behind the scene and shows up tomorrow or in the next week or two they could actually show that they could win this,” Dowd said on “GMA.”

Video interview at the link.

Whoa…What a minute…did someone say something about recruiting other candidates?  Huh? Still pushing that meme I see…Damn they really hate Mittens.

And only after backlash like those cartoons up top has Santorum walked back his vomit comment.

Santorum regrets ‘throw up’ response to Kennedy speech

Rick Santorum regrets saying that he wanted to “throw up” in response to watching a video clip of President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech about the separation of church and state.

“I wish I had that particular line back,” Santorum said Tuesday on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.

From that display of histrionics yesterday while defending his remarks, I don’t think he really wants to take that line back…

I know that you’ve heard me say it before, never underestimate the power of the Jesus Freaks. Case in point: Santorum on top in second straight Ohio poll

I guess I should also add violence loving Waffle House customers to that list as well: How Mitt Romney booked Kid Rock

And now for the finale…this is for all those sheep out there voting for Santorum in Michigan, because the big orange site told you to:   ‘Oldest sheep’ dies after falling off cliff

I cannot embed the video, but you have to watch it…and listen to what the owner says. It is priceless!

A ewe, thought to have been a contender for the title of world’s oldest sheep, has died after falling off a cliff.

An ear tag on the blackface ewe, nicknamed Methuselina, showed that she was 25 years and 11 months old.

Her owner, John Maciver, said he her longevity down to her good teeth which allowed her to graze easily.

See you all later tonight!


Wednesday Evening Round-up: What a difference a bandana makes…

Good Evening!

Still in limbo about my husband’s promotion…at least the migraine is gone…but today I got a little something in the mail, and it made me feel very bright and colorful.  I used to wear these bandanas all the time when my hair was falling out because of all the health problems I had experience. (For a couple of years it was shaved like a crew cut…and the bandanas became a sort of signature for me.)

Anyway, it just is nice to be able to slap a piece of cloth on your head and make a change…of changing my mood…I guess that is about all I can do at this point…adjust my mood and my attitude. I don’t know, maybe it had more to do with the loving kindness my brother Denny showed me today.  He saw me bringing down another basket of dirty clothes from upstairs and said to me “I can take those down to the basement.” Denny is overweight too and more prone to falling than I am, I told him no thanks I can do it, and he said…”I don’t want you break your neck.” Of course, with his Downs, it is sometimes hard to understand what he says…but it was clear to me that he would have rather his own neck get broke…yes, like my mother observed, he does love me, like I love him…even though we fight and argue with each other. Just wanted to share that bit of tenderness and caring…we need more of that in this world.

Well, here is what’s going on in the world today.

I want to start with Syria, and this link from Amnesty International.  Particularly pay attention to the item the tank is about to run over…in the picture below:

Syria: Death toll rises as bombardment of civilian areas escalates in Homs | Amnesty International

The Syrian security forces’ assault on Homs has grown increasingly deadly.

© AFP/Getty Images

At least 377 civilians have been killed in Homs in recent days as Syrian security forces escalated their shelling of civilian neighbourhoods in the besieged city, according to information received by Amnesty International.

On Wednesday, reports also emerged of a military build-up in the city of Hama, 50 km to the north.

The latest surge in casualties chimes with remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that the international community’s failure to act had “emboldened” the Syrian military assault.

“The international community must not stand idly by while Homs and other Syrian cities come under fire and civilians are dying in droves,” said Ann Harrison, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“As the debate over how the UN should react to Syria’s brutal crackdown has moved from the Security Council – where Russia and China continue to shield the Syrian government – to the General Assembly, the security forces have only stepped up their attacks.”

Yes, that is a child’s soccer ball…and just a bit further to the right you can see another child’s basketball. The power and ruthlessness of Assad’s regime is literally squashing the young people’s hopes for Syria’s future.

I have some more links for you on Syria below:

Assad offer of Syrian multi-party elections branded laughable by US | World news | The Guardian

Syria troops hit Hama; Homs oil line attacked – CBS News

The UN is having another vote tomorrow…UN General Assembly schedules on Syria – CBS News

The U.N. General Assembly scheduled a Thursday vote on an Arab-sponsored resolution strongly condemning human rights violations by the Syrian regime and backing an Arab League plan aimed at ending the 11-month conflict.

Assembly spokeswoman Nihal Saad said Wednesday that the vote will take place Thursday afternoon. There are no vetoes in the 193-member world body and U.N. diplomats said the resolution, which already has 60 co-sponsors, is virtually certain to be approved.

While General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding, they do reflect world opinion on major issues and supporters are hoping for a high “yes” vote to deliver a strong message to President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions have been private, said Arab countries on Tuesday rejected amendments to the nonbinding resolution proposed by Russia, which has been one of Syria’s strongest backers.

The amendments, obtained by The Associated Press, are similar to the last-minute amendments Moscow proposed to a Security Council resolution aimed at stopping the brutal crackdown in Syria. When the resolution’s sponsors rejected those amendments, Russia and China vetoed the resolution on Feb. 4.

The amendments Russia has stipulated are as follows:

One called on “all sections of the Syrian opposition to dissociate themselves from armed groups engaged in acts of violence” and urged countries with influence to prevent continued violence by such groups. The other demanded that the withdrawal of all Syrian armed forces from cities and towns — which is called for in the Arab League plan — take place “in conjunction with the end of attacks by armed groups against state institutions and quarters of cities and towns.”

Sticking with world news a bit more, I finished reading the book Banality of Evil, by Hannah Arendt. So naturally this article from the Guardian popped out at me. Adolf Eichmann’s capture, as told by the Mossad, in Israel exhibition | World news | The Guardian

Exhibition in Tel Aviv on capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann

A German-made Leica camera, a briefcase with a small hole in it and a strip of film at an exhibition on the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann in the Beit Hafutsot Museum in Tel Aviv. Photograph: Jim Hollander/EPA

There is the comb, the cigarette holder and the house keys he had on him when he was captured; the needle used to sedate him during his abduction from Argentina to Israel; and the booth in which he sat during his trial.

Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, has lifted a veil of secrecy to display publicly for the first time documents, equipment, artefacts and personal testimonies relating to the capture, abduction and trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal who was hanged in Israel almost 50 years ago.

Operation Finale, an exhibition at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, is curated by a serving Mossad officer, who can only be named as Avner A. Ninety per cent of the material on display comes from the Mossad archives, the first time in the agency’s history that it has opened its vaults.

A little background…

Eichmann was in charge of implementing Hitler’s Final Solution for the Jewish people, in which six million people died. After the war he was captured by Allied forces but escaped and fled to Argentina. There, a Holocaust survivor whose daughter was dating Eichmann’s son became suspicious about the identity of the boy’s father, and Israeli intelligence was alerted.

A complicated operation, involving about a dozen agents, most now dead, was prepared and executed in May 1960. Eichmann, who was living in Buenos Aires under the alias Ricardo Klement, was surreptitiously photographed and the images compared to those from his SS file. From the shape of his ears it was concluded that Eichmann and Klement were the same person.

The curator says he is still getting bits and pieces of the story from those who come to see the exhibit:

The exhibition has had an unbelievable response since opening last week, Armoni said. After it ends in April, the organisers hope to take it abroad.

Avner A, the curator with 25 years service as a Mossad agent, says the story is still incomplete. “Every day I find something new, often from small stories of people coming to see the exhibition,” he said. “My role is to find all these small pieces and put them together. I am still investigating. We still don’t have the whole story. But this is as close as we can get.”

This is one exhibit I would love to see.

Now for a story out of North Carolina: Deported Dad Begs North Carolina To Give Him Back His Children – COLORLINES

Every morning since the first of his three boys was born in 2007, Felipe Montes would wake early and prepare breakfast for his wife and children, get his boys ready for their day, change them, feed them and when he could not arrange a ride with another family member, drive them to daycare. Then he’d go to work at a landscaping company for the next 9 hours and return home in time to cook his children dinner. “I love my kids to death,” Montes said recently. “When they were born, it’s something so wonderful you can’t explain.” Now, Montes may never see them again.

In late 2010, Montes was deported to Mexico after nine years in the United States—cuffed and loaded into a van by federal immigration officials who drove him from his hometown of Sparta in the rural North Carolina mountains to an immigration detention center.

Read the rest of the story at the link, it tells of Montes wife…

…fell on hard times. She was pregnant with their third child and was surviving on disability payments that she received each month due to illness. Without Felipe’s income and support she could not keep her family afloat. Less than two months after their baby was born, just two weeks after Felipe was loaded onto a plane and deported to Mexico, the Allegheny County child welfare department took the children from Marie and put them in foster care.

It is so sad to read stories like this. Maybe Atrios has a point here: Eschaton: Other People Need To Suffer

Repeating myself for the millionth time here, but I really wasn’t being hyperbolic when I wrote that the people who run the world are sadists. They apparently truly believe that only through the mass suffering of people other than themselves can paradise be achieved. Then the question becomes, of course, whose paradise?

I have a few more articles about the GOP’s hand in dealing out the “suffering” to share with you. (I won’t quote some of the articles,  but you can read them if you have the time.)

Does the GOP care about Latino voters? – Dana Milbank -The Washington Post

Santorum: Birth control ‘harmful to women’ – Right Turn – The Washington Post

Why birth control is a good wedge issue against the GOP – The Plum Line – The Washington Post

Glenn Beck Launches ‘We Are All Catholics Now’ Movement | Mediaite

Little Green Footballs – The Republican Party’s Deranged War on Women’s Rights

Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins on Birth Control – Ladies Of Maine, We Adore You – Esquire

Well, here’s something of a shock. Those noted pillars of Jell-O, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, the two women who always hold the key to the golden stables wherein are kept the snow-white unicorns of bipartisanship, are getting all Serious And Thoughtful again about the accommodation that the president has proposed between the legitimate funding of women’s health-care and the obsessive fantasies about ladies and their ladyparts that plague various clerical busybodies and their public enablers. I am paraphrasing there a bit…

[…]

Both Snowe and Collins are co-sponsors of the bill proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Phenom) that would allow any employer to deny contraceptive coverage if he were too cheap to provide it… er… had religious objections to it.

[…]

Who will be the first mainstream pundit to use their wavering to demonstrate that the president’s accommodation is “losing bipartisan support” because of the “ongoing controversy” ginned up by a group of people whose moral outrage should be roundly ignored until a few more of them are in the hoosegow? (My money’s on E. J. Dionne.) Said it before, will say it again: This doesn’t become a winning issue for the president unless he goes out and sells it, hard.

Here is some more on the Health Care Reform Act, from Maddow. We all know the GOP is against the Health Care Reform Act, and yes…it isn’t what we wanted, with the no single payor thing…and had Obama not followed the big Insurance companies wishes to the T when the bill was drafted, things sure as hell would have been better…however, there is some good that will come out of it.  The Maddow Blog – Who benefits from health care reform?

Kaiser Family Foundation

Just about every American stands to get new benefits from the Affordable Care Act, if and when it’s fully implemented. Even those who like their current coverage will get some additional piece of mind from consumer safeguards.

[…]

As Sarah Kliff explained, the above image breaks down the nation by zip code, looking for households earning less than 400% of the federal poverty rate. “That’s an important number: Anyone earning below it will either qualify for subsidized health insurance, and anyone earning less than 133 percent of the poverty line becomes eligible for Medicaid.”

And yet another article on the latest GOP question for the masses: What Is Sex For?

What is the purpose of sex? Who should be able to have it, and at what cost?

Apparently, that was on many minds on Valentine’s Day. That’s when the Prospect‘s indefatigable Abby Rapoport told us that the Virginia House just voted to go full steam ahead on a personhood bill, which will define life as beginning from the very second that a sperm bashes its head into an ovum.

And don’t forget the latest from Christie…refusing to sign the marriage equality bill. And the opposition from the conservatives in the State of Washington…

What unites all these actions? The idea that we all should be punished someone for having sex for any purpose other than making babies. (See also: Catholic Bishops’ opposition to offering insurance—even to non-religious employees of its secular operations like hospitals and universities—that might cover contraception.)

Yesterday, too, Rick Santorum helpfully clarified that intellectual connection. (I know, you didn’t expect ever to see “Santorum” and “intellectual” in the same sentence.) Mr. Rick helpfully picked Valentine’s Day to tell us that, as president, he will use the bully pulpit to say that sex should be “special.”

Just a couple more links tonight. Female Passengers Say They Were Targeted for TSA Body Scanners | Threat Level | Wired.com

TSA agents in Dallas singled out female passengers to undergo screening in a body scanner, according to complaints filed by several women who said they felt the screeners intentionally targeted them to view their bodies.

One woman who flew out of Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport several months ago said a female agent sent her through a body scanner three times after the agent commented on her “cute” body.

“She says to me, ‘Do you play tennis?’ And I said, ‘Why?’‘You just have such a cute figure,’” Ellen Terrell recalled to CBS News in Dallas.

Terrell said the female agent appeared to be acting on a request from male agents who were in a separate room viewing the scans and who apparently asked the agent to send Terrell back through the scanner twice because the scan was blurry.

After the third scan, Terrell said the agent seemed frustrated with her co-workers in the screening room. “She’s talking into her microphone and she says, ‘Guys, it is not blurry, I’m letting her go,’” Terrell said.

Terrell, who was traveling with her husband at the time, told the TV station, “I feel like I was totally exposed. They wanted a nice good look.”

Ugh…from this kind of exposure to being subjected to a trans-vaginal sonograms, these people are interfering and taking way to much liberty from a woman’s personal space… It is sickening.

Lastly, an update on all the debris from Japan’s tsunami…it is heading to California, and what a mess it will be. 25 million tons of tsunami debris floating toward US shores | Fox News

Wrecked cars, portions of homes, boats, furniture and more — all swept up by the destructive, magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan 11 months ago — are on a slow-motion collision course with California.

But no one’s tracking the debris, Jim Churnside, a physicist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, told FoxNews.com.

“It would be really nice, but it’s really difficult,” Churnside expained.

The wreckage from the March 11, 2011, disaster could include virtually anything that floats, according to oceanographer and beachcomber Curtis Ebbesmeyer — and that includes portions of houses, boats, ships, furniture, cars and even human remains.

Independent models constructed by the NOAA and the University of Hawaii show a vast, loose debris field drifting inexorably toward Hawaii, California and Washington — the first fishing buoys reached the West Coast in mid December, Ebbesmeyer wrote in his “Beachcombers Alert” newsletter. The flotsam is expected to increase, with the bulk of the debris hitting some time in 2014.

“I would not be surprised to see some fishing vessels by April, and the main mass of debris start arriving a year from this March,” Ebbesmeyer told FoxNews.com.

There is a graphic that depicts the area of debris as it moves across the Pacific. It is huge…take a look.

That is all for now. We have a nice afternoon today in Banjoland, so I am going out to enjoy it. Catch y’all later tonight.


Friday Reads

Good Morning!

As you may know, one of my pet peeves is how right wing politicians distort historical figures and quotes to their advantage and very few journalists or people bother to spell check them.  Mitt Romney is going on using a George Patton quote and attributing it to one of my favorite founders, Thomas Paine.  Any one remotely familiar with the 18th century would know that “lead, follow, or get out of the way” couldn’t even be part of the lexicon.  But, never let a good opportunity to skew history the wrong direction get in the way of a pol in heat.

Fred Shapiro, editor of the authoritative Yale Book of Quotations published by Yale University Press, told BuzzFeed that “the notion that Thomas Paine said this is extremely ridiculous.”

“The diction and tone of ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way’ are, of course, far too modern to have been said by Thomas Paine,” Shapiro said.

A similar form of the quote — “push, pull, or get out of the way” — can be traced to a proverb dating back to 1909, according to Shapiro, who is the author of a forthcoming book on notable misquotes. And there is a newspaper mention of the quote from 1961, but it’s from the governor of Ohio. According to Paine biographer Craig Nelson, Paine “never said it. George Patton did.” (You can also find the quote attributed to Patton on the Internet).

In response to a request for comment on the Paine misquote, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul noted that the candidate had hedged a little bit: “In another era of American crisis, Thomas Paine is reported to have said, ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way.'”

University of Texas professor and Paine scholar William Scheick called Romney’s misquoting of Paine “another deplorable example of politicians distorting history to advance themselves and their shadowy supporters” and said that Paine “hardly is apt in Romney’s case.”

“For me, that’s the real story here — that Romney and his audience apparently have no clue to what a searing liberal freethinker Paine was,” said Scheick.

Don’t you just love the description “searing liberal freethinker”?  I might also add the man was a well-known critic of organized religion.  That’s hardly a combination of attributes for a leader that  you would think a Republican presidential wannabe would want thrown around these days.  I remember reading a biography of Thomas Paine in high school and thinking “wow”.  At the end of his days, Thomas Jefferson was one of the few folks that would even speak to him.  He was that scandalous. It is pretty well known that he moved from being a deist into the realm of atheism by his end days.  His most famous work is Age of Reason but he is also well known as a pamphleteer or the equivalent of a 18th century blogger.

What you may not know is that he was one of the most ardent and earliest supporters of emancipation for women.  One of his most famous works is called: An Occasional Letter on the Female Sex and includes many examples of how women have been subjugated to men.  Here, Paine channels his inner female to argue for emancipation.

If a woman were to defend the cause of her sex, she might address him in the following manner:

“How great is your injustice? If we have an equal right with you to virtue, why should we not have an equal right to praise? The public esteem ought to wait upon merit. Our duties are different from yours, but they are not therefore less difficult to fulfill, or of less consequence to society: They are the fountains of your felicity, and the sweetness of life. We are wives and mothers. ‘Tis we who form the union and the cordiality of families. ‘Tis we who soften that savage rudeness which considers everything as due to force, and which would involve man with man in eternal war. We cultivate in you that humanity which makes you feel for the misfortunes of others, and our tears forewarn you of your own danger. Nay, you cannot be ignorant that we have need of courage not less than you. More feeble in ourselves, we have perhaps more trials to encounter. Nature assails us with sorrow, law and custom press us with constraint, and sensibility and virtue alarm us with their continual conflict. Sometimes also the name of citizen demands from us the tribute of fortitude. When you offer your blood to the State think that it is ours. In giving it our sons and our husbands we give more than ourselves. You can only die on the field of battle, but we have the misfortune to survive those whom we love most. Alas! while your ambitious vanity is unceasingly laboring to cover the earth with statues, with monuments, and with inscriptions to eternize, if possible, your names, and give yourselves an existence, when this body is no more, why must we be condemned to live and to die unknown? Would that the grave and eternal forgetfulness should be our lot. Be not our tyrants in all: Permit our names to be sometimes pronounced beyond the narrow circle in which we live. Permit friendship, or at least love, to inscribe its emblem on the tomb where our ashes repose; and deny us not that public esteem which, after the esteem of one’s self, is the sweetest reward of well doing.”

As I said, it’s really hard for me to imagine Willard thinking that he is quoting Paine.  He obviously knows not what of he speaks in many ways.

 Sabrina Rubin Erdely has written an incredible account of the “One Town’s War on Gay Teens” in this month’s Rolling Stone. The town is none other than Anoka, MN who is represented in congress by the dread Pirate Bachmann and her faux therapist, closeted husband Marcus. The personal stories of several teens is detailed and gut-wrenching. So much for Minnesota nice.

Against this supercharged backdrop, the Anoka-Hennepin school district finds itself in the spotlight not only for the sheer number of suicides but because it is accused of having contributed to the death toll by cultivating an extreme anti-gay climate. “LGBTQ students don’t feel safe at school,” says Anoka Middle School for the Arts teacher Jefferson Fietek, using the acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning. “They’re made to feel ashamed of who they are. They’re bullied. And there’s no one to stand up for them, because teachers are afraid of being fired.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a lawsuit on behalf of five students, alleging the school district’s policies on gays are not only discriminatory, but also foster an environment of unchecked anti-gay bullying. The Department of Justice has begun a civil rights investigation as well. The Anoka-Hennepin school district declined to comment on any specific incidences but denies any discrimination, maintaining that its broad anti-bullying policy is meant to protect all I students.

Meanwhile, I continue to wonder if any Republican presidential candidate has read that bible they keep thumping.  Here’s the latest example of  audacious  insensitivity from Rick Santorum.

GOP contender Rick Santorum had a heated exchange with a mother and her sick young son Wednesday, arguing that drug companies were entitled to charge whatever the market demanded for life-saving therapies.Santorum, himself the father of a child with a rare genetic disorder, compared buying drugs to buying an iPad, and said demand would determine the cost of medical therapies.

“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” Santorum said, “but paying $900 for a  drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”

The mother said the boy was on the drug Abilify, used to treat schizophrenia, and that, on paper, its costs would exceed $1 million each year.

Santorum said drugs take years to develop and cost millions of dollars to produce, and manufacturers need to turn a profit or they would stop developing new drugs.

“You have that drug, and maybe you’re alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug,” Santorum said. “There are many people sick today who, 10 years from now, are going to be alive because of some drug invented in the next 10 years. If we say: ‘You drug companies are greedy and bad, you can’t make a return on your money,’ then we will freeze innovation.”

Santorum told a large Tea Party crowd here that he sympathized with the boy’s case, but he also believed in the marketplace.

Then there’s “I don’t care about poor people Willard”.  Do these guys even think before they speak?  I really like this Pierce description in an article where he rips austerity a new one.  We have to be punished for suffering, for not surviving their financial abuses, and for not being patient enough.  Hallelujah  and trickle it down Big Brother!

The idea of poverty’s being a sin that requires ritual purification before redemption runs pretty deeply in this country. When Jonathan Edwards delivered his great sermon, Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God, I doubt whether even that unbending piece of Puritan iron realized how many of his fellow citizens would be so willing to be the servants of that god, seeking to punish their fallen brethren. There has always been a strong view in our politics that pain can purify the nation. Especially the pain of other people, less-worthy-people. Sinners.

We are falling like dim children, like the suckers we always are, to the notion of the deserving and undeserving poor, the have-less-and-lesses are being pitted against the have-littles, and the have-nots. That’s what Willard Romney’s been about the last couple of days. He wants to find a way to harness the fear people have of becoming poor to his advantage at the expense of the people who actually are. That is the basis of the entire public career of Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, and the whole party has signed the guestbook into his little S&M parlor of a budget.

Speaking of Big Brother References, I just finished an interesting novel about religious cults, domestic violence and alternative realities called 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  I’m checking the sky for two moons these days.  I totally recommend it.  It’s literary.  It’s unusual.  It’s got marvelous character development and descriptions and a plot that is amazing.  Here’s the NYT review from October. Aomame makes the girl with the dragon tatoo look like a conformist and weakling.  It was a very long read and didn’t always capture me, but it is still worth the time. It starts out with what seems like two completely unconnected characters and events and then weaves all the connections from there on out.

One of the many longueurs in Haruki Murakami’s stupefying new novel, “1Q84,” sends the book’s heroine, a slender assassin named Aomame, into hiding. To sustain her through this period of isolation she is given an apartment, groceries and the entirety of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.”

For pity’s sake, if you have that kind of spare time, follow her lead. Aomame has the chance to read a book that is long and demanding but well worth the effort. The very thought of Aomame’s situation will pain anyone stuck in the quicksand of “1Q84.” You, sucker, will wade through nearly 1,000 uneventful pages while discovering a Tokyo that has two moons and is controlled by creatures that emerge from the mouth of a dead goat. These creatures are called Little People. They are supposed to be very wise, even though the smartest thing they ever say is “Ho ho.”

You can see the Times reviewer was not enthralled.  I was frankly happy to read something not so cookie cutter for a change. So, I guess that’s what’s on my mind these days since I’ve had plenty of bedrest and time on my hands. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: After the Strike Round-up…“Vado a bordo, cazzo!” Edition

Good Evening!

We’re baaaaaack!  Or should I say, we are back on board?

So, did you miss us? If you did, I certainly hope you sent a message to your congresscritters about stopping SOPA/PIPA.

Since we have been post free and comment free this Wednesday, today’s evening reads is going to be a big fat juicy one! Lots of links for you today, so grab your afternoon drink of choice and let’s get down to business.

I’ll go ahead and break the links down into sections.

First lets dive into the ripple effect today’s blackout is having on the proposed SOPA/PIPA bills. Hmmm…what shall we call this section? How about “Catching up on the Blackout Revolution!”

It looks like the blackout may be working, for now…but concerns about the bills being slipped through within a larger piece of legislation are still in the backs of people’s minds.

First a few video links:

You may have already seen this video via vimeo…

Here is a clip from RT News, discussing the blackout from a foreign press point of view…

From the Video Cafe at Crooks and Liars…MSNBC Brings on MPAA Lobbyist Chris Dodd for ‘Fair and Balanced’ Discussion on SOPA Protest | Video Cafe

MSNBC decided to bring on recently retired Senator and now lobbyist for the motion picture industry, Chris Dodd, for a nice “fair and balanced” discussion on the blackout. Dodd more or less accused the web sites participating in the blackout of acting like a bunch of spoiled children and offered little in the way of details to address the concerns of those who are against the legislation.

And here are a couple basic links discussing the blackout:

Your SOPA and PIPA Crash Course – Truthdig

SOPA, PIPA, Righthaven, NewsRight – and going dark | Pam’s House Blend

For a geeky way to understand and follow the events of today, this flowchart is fantastic, take a look at it: Choose Your Own PIPA-SOPA Protest Adventure [Flowchart] | Geekosystem

Let’s focus on the effects of the blackout, from the users point of view. From gamers to right wing megalomaniacs to students, this blackout has given many time to think and ponder just how important freedom of speech on the web is…

First let me say that I would never do a report that relied on Wikipedia…that said, here are a few tweets from the crowd who depends on their Wiki resources.

Wikipedia Blackout | Tweets From Students | SOPA | PIPA | Mediaite

Just like Jon Hendren’s Christmas brat list, fellow Internet superstar Katie Notopoulos’ tweet curation is a brilliant way to peek into a world of obliviousness. Apparently some people just have a hard time accepting an important symbolic gesture when that big book report is on the line.

Here’s a sample:

Don’t these people know who to actually look something up other than on the Wikipedia site? Sorry, but this is a bit ridiculous. Hopefully, these people will stop a minute and realize just what the blackout was about…and that their complaints are proving the point!

From the Gaming perspective: EA Speaks Out on SOPA | Piki Geek

SOPA is a hot topic among gamers, and understandably so. The effect the bill would have on the gamer community would be huge, as much of our culture revolves around the internet with things ranging from streams, to Let’s Play videos on YouTube, to sites like this one. So, it’s reasonable to want to know what our favorite game companies feel about the bill, especially since the ESA has put their support behind it.

Responding to a user on reddit, EA’s head of corporate communication, Jeff Brown detailed their lack of a stance on the legislation.

“EA has not expressed a position on SOPA,” Brown said, “We never supported so, naturally, never withdrew. We tried to correct the record but there is still plenty of confusion.”

Brown went on to point out that while the ESA supports SOPA, not all of publishers and developers that are members individually support it.

From some of the Wikipedia’s volunteer editor’s standpoint: Today’s e-Reads: Some Wikipedia Editors Question Blackout; E.U. to Decide Soon on Google Probe – Juliana Gruenwald and Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com

Some of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors are criticizing the site’s decision to protest controversial antipiracy legislation by blacking out the site, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal editorial also assailed the blackout protest by many websites.

Murdoch has been in a furry today, thank you Boston Boomer for these next three links on Murdoch’s reaction to the blackout…it was a big help as I was putting this long post together.

The Story Behind Rupert Murdoch’s Rants About Google and SOPA – Forbes

How Rupert Murdoch’s Fear Is Getting in the Way of Internet TV – Technology – The Atlantic Wire

Rupert Murdoch tweets his fury at Google in US piracy row – Telegraph

From a legal perspective, the First Amendment and connecting it to the “corporations are people” decision, this is a good one: The Volokh Conspiracy » The Google Anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act Statement, Corporate Speech, and the First Amendment

Following Citizens United, I heard many people argue that the Court was wrong because corporations should not be seen as having First Amendment rights — not just that they do have First Amendment rights but that there’s some special compelling interest that justifies restricting corporate speech about candidates, but that corporations aren’t people and therefore can’t have First Amendment rights at all. (UPDATE: I don’t agree with this, for reasons that include those briefly sketched here, but I set those arguments aside for now.) Let me then ask this question of our readers who take this view:

Today, Google’s U.S. query page features an anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act statement from Google. Say that Congress concludes that it’s unfair for Google to be able to speak so broadly, in a way that ordinary Americans (including ordinary Congressmen) generally can’t. Congress therefore enacts a statute banning all corporations from spending their money — and therefore banning them from speaking — in support of or opposition to any statute. What would you say about such a statute?

Here is the “Abuse of power” angle: SOPA Blackouts: Free Speech or ‘Abuse of Power’? – Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com

Among the thousands of lesser-known websites that blocked access to their content or posted statements against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, were big names such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, and the online news aggregator Reddit.

But the names not on the list highlight a fine line for companies that depend on neutrality to maintain their credibility.

While they oppose the legislation, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter, whose CEO called the blackouts “foolish,” decided to sit the protest out.

Google, which is so sensitive to its neutral reputation that it recently punished itself after inappropriately promoting its own web browser, was among those taking a middle road. The search giant remained up and operating but blacked-out its logo and linked to a petition against the bills.

And now for the important reactions to the blackout, meaning the change in various congresscritter support for the bills…Support for Internet Bill Wanes as Protests Spread – NYTimes.com

A freshman senator, Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, was first out of the starting gate Wednesday morning with his announcement that he would no longer back antipiracy legislation he had co-sponsored. Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who heads the campaign operation for his party, quickly followed suit and urged Congress take more time to study the measure, which had been set for a test vote next week.

By Wednesday afternoon, Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and one of the Senate bill’s original co-sponsors, called it “simply not ready for prime time” and withdrew his support.

[…]

Protests organized in the real world drew far less attention. A rally convened in Midtown Manhattan outside the offices of Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who co-sponsored some of the proposed legislation, drew a few hundred protesters.

Members of Congress, many of whom are grappling with the issues posed by the explosion in new media and social Web sites, appeared caught off guard by the enmity toward what had been a relatively obscure piece of legislation to many of them. The Internet sensibility of the Senate was represented a few years ago in remarks by the late Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, who called the Internet “not a big truck” but a “series of tubes” — an observation enshrined in the Net Hall of Shame.

In reaction to the pending legislation, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia went dark. Google’s home page had a black banner across its home page that led to pointed information blasting the bills.

Such new-media lobbying was having an impact.

Give that New York Times a read through, it has more info on the support flip-flops the blackout seems to have influenced today.

More on the “…new-media lobbying” i.e. blackout that is having an impact. Oh yes it is…Terry to remove name from bill – Omaha.com

Rep. Lee Terry said Tuesday that he will pull his name as a co-sponsor of a heavily debated bill that has taken aim at online piracy and intellectual property protection.

The Nebraska Republican co-sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, because of the economic impact that online piracy has on the U.S. economy, said Charles Isom, a Terry spokesman.

But after waves of negative sentiment toward the bill from free speech and civil rights groups, technology companies and others, Isom said, Terry has concluded that SOPA, as currently drafted, isn’t the solution.

SOPA blackout leads co-sponsors to defect – Jennifer Martinez and Tony Romm – POLITICO.com

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who was a co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act — became the latest lawmaker Wednesday to pull his support. In the House, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), originally a co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act, pulled his name from the list of sponsors on Tuesday. A spokesman for Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), meanwhile, told the Omaha World-Herald on Wednesday that the congressman is also unable to support SOPA as written.

The widespread Internet protest is even bringing new Washington voices into the fray. Mostly silent in the debate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) tweeted Wednesday he doesn’t back the bills.

“I support intellectual property rights, but I oppose SOPA & PIPA,” DeMint tweeted. “They’re misguided bills that will cause more harm than good.”

And this from The Maddow Blog – Senator Blunt withdraws sponsorship of PIPA, blames Senator Reid I especially love the picture associated with this post at Maddow!

Photo: Andrew Dallos

Protesting today in New York, where Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are both listed as supporters of PIPA. Click for whip list.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has pulled his sponsorship of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. He writes:

“American innovation is a cornerstone to our nation’s economic growth, and job creators have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of rogue internet sites.
“While I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill – to protect against the piracy of lawful content.

“Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. But unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid is pushing forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work.
“That is why I’m withdrawing my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act.

“The right to free speech is one of the most basic foundations that makes our nation great, and I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans’ right to free speech in any medium – including over the internet.
“I continue to believe that we can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward.”

We trust that Senator Blunt’s decision had nothing to do with Vice magazine exposing him earlier today as a violator of copyright laws himself. In the last 24 hours, Senators Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, and Jeff Merkley have come out against PIPA. Senator Ben Cardin, a cosponsor of PIPA, said earlier this week that he won’t vote for it.
UPDATE: Senator Tim Holden, another cosponsor, withdraws his support. And Senator John Cornyn.

Look for more links in the comment section.

Moving on, we come to the Global “Extra Extra” portion of the post…after the jump…as I said this is a looooong ass post!

Read the rest of this entry »


Forget “frothy”, Slimy is a better adjective

I really never thought we’d have to front page Rick Santorum.  He’s a two term senator from Pennsylvania with more corruption and crazy problems than Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann combined.  Yesterday, TV news was full of reporters following the man around New Hampshire.  I spent a bit of time on twitter trying to get them to ask relevant questions like “Do you regret your association with Jack Abramhoff?”  It took a group of college students to get “man on dog”, sex-obsessed Santorum to get his freak on.  He was heartily booed for suggesting gay marriage would lead to polygamy.  Yes, Santorum’s culture war is probably his hallmark.  That and his battle with Google and the man on dog sex attribution.  Cannonfire has a piece up today on Santorum’s really weird brand of Catholicism.  (Think Mel Gibson.) However, what really has me jumping up and down is the level of corruption that characterized Santorum’s years in the senate.

Santorum’s tenure includes a fake charity, a fake leadership PAC and a level of man on lobbyist coziness that would make Tom Delay blush.  It actually makes me wonder why Santorum isn’t sharing a jail cell with Delay or wasn’t taken down during the Abramhoff scandal. When you Google Santorum, the results should read a slimy mixture of corruption and sanctimonious blather.  Philly News Writer Will Bunch has a laundry list of Santorum’s shocking abuse of public office. It’s enough to make me mourn for the loss of Michelle Bachmann.  She was just plain crazy.  Santorum takes corruption to a whole ‘nother level.  These are only Bunch’s top 5.

1. This compassionate Christian conservative founded a charity that was actually a bit of a scam. In 2001, following up on a faith-based urban charity initiative around the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia, Santorum launched a charitable foundation called the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation. While in its first few years the charity cut checks to community groups for $474,000, Operation Good Neighbor Foundation had actually raised more than $1 million, from donors who overlapped with Santorum’s political fund raising. Where did the majority of the charity’s money go? In salary and consulting fees to a network of politically connected lobbyists, aides and fundraisers, including rent and office payments to Santorum’s finance director Rob Bickhart, later finance chair of the Republican National Committee. When I reported on Santorum’s charity for The American Prospect in 2006, experts told me a responsible charity doles out at least 75 percent of its income in grants, and they were shocked to learn the figure for Operation Good Neighbor Fund was less than 36 percent. The charity – which didn’t register with the state of Pennsylvania as required under the law — was finally disbanded in 2007.

2. Likewise, a so-called “leadership PAC” created by Santorum that was supposed to fund other Republicans instead seemed to mostly pay for the lifestyle of Santorum and those around him. My investigation of the America’s Foundation PAC showed that only 18 percent of its money went to fund political candidates, less — and typically far less — than any other “leadership PACs.” What America’s Foundation did spend a lot on with what looked like everyday expenses, including 66 trips to the Starbucks in Santorum’s then hometown of Leesburg, Va., multiple fast-food outings and expenditures at Wal-Mart, Target and Giant supermarkets. Campaign finance experts said the PAC’s expenses – paid for by donations from wealthy businessmen and lobbyists – were “unconventional,” at best and arguably not legal. Santorum also funded his large Leesburg “McMansion” with a $500,000 mortgage from a private bank run by a major campaign donor, in a program that was only supposed to be open to high-wealth investment clients in the trust, which Santorum was not, and closed to the general public.

3. Santorum was never above mingling his cultural crusades with the everyday work of raising political cash. In 2005, Santorum made headlines – not all positive – for visiting the deathbed of Terri Schiavo, the woman at the center of a national right-to-die controversy.What my Philadelphia Daily News colleague John Baer later exposed was that the real reason he was in the Tampa, Fla., area was to collect money at a $250,000 fundraiser organized by executives of Outback Steakhouses, a company that shared Santorum’s passion for a low minimum wage for waitresses and other rank-and-file workers. Santorum’s efforts were also aided by his unusual mode of travel: Wal-Mart’s corporate jet. And he canceled a public meeting on Social Security reform “out of respect for the Schiavo family”  even as the closed fundraisers went on.

4. Santorum didn’t seem to be against government waste when it came to his family. During his years in the Senate, Santorum raised his family in northern Virginia and rarely if ever seemed to use the small house that he claimed as his legal residence, in a blue-collar Pittsburgh suburb called Penn Hills. So Pennsylvania voters were shocked when they found out the Penn Hills School District had paid out $72,000 for the home cyberschooling of five of Santorum’s kids, hundreds of miles away in a different state. The cash=strapped district was unsuccessful in its efforts to get any of its money back from Santorum.

5. Washington’s lobbyist culture — Santorum was soaking in it. The ex-Pennsylvania senator spent much of his final years in government trying to downplay and defend his involvement in the so-called “K Street Project,” an effort created by GOP uber-lobbyist and tax-cutting fanatic Grover Norquist and future felon and House majority whip Tom DeLay. By all accounts, Santorum was the Senate’s “point man” on the K Street Project and he met with Norquist — at least occasionally and perhaps frequently — to discuss the effort to sure that Republicans were landing well-paying jobs in lobbying firms that were seeking to then access and influence other Republicans.

Marcus Stern and Kristina Cooke at Reuters remind us that Santorum was knee deep in the excesses of the K Street Project.  What I wonder is if this information will come out soon enough to stop Santorum’s momentum? Santorum has so many questionable ties to lobbyists that it’s hard to come away from any reading of articles about him not feeling the need for a shower.  It’s not just his senatorial past that is in question, however.  This particular item is from his current antics as a lobbyist.  Santorum has made his millions in the last few years on deals like this.

For example, his million-dollar-plus 2010 income included payments from a lobbying firm, an energy company engaged in controversial “hydrofracking” and a hospital conglomerate that was sued for allegedly defrauding the federal government.

Again, his past is even more fraught with behavior that looks a lot like being a senator for hire. So much for hyper-morality.

But the rubric “K Street Project” came to encompass the entire climate of cozy cooperation between Republicans and lobbyists.

When Republicans won control of the House in 1994, House Majority Leader Tom Delay and others organized regular meetings with lobbyists that reviewed K Street job openings with an eye toward filling them with party loyalists, who would in turn steer support and donations to the members.

By 2001, Sen. Santorum was also holding one-hour breakfast meetings with lobbyists on alternating Tuesday mornings at 8:30 a.m.

In 2004 he denied being involved with Norquist’s effort to staff K Street. But Santorum convened Senate Republicans to discuss the appointment of Democrat Dan Glickman as head the Motion Picture Association, according to Roll Call, a newspaper covering Capitol Hill.

“Yeah, we had a meeting, and yeah, we talked about making sure that we have fair representation on K Street. I admit that I pay attention to who is hiring, and I think it’s important for leadership to pay attention,” he told the paper at the time.

In 2006, as the influence-peddling scandal that sent lobbyist Jack Abramoff to jail unfolded, Santorum said he was ending the breakfasts in his conference room. However, his staff confirmed to Washington newspapers that they resumed almost immediately, on the same day and at the same time, at a location off the Capitol grounds.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington  named Santorum among three “most corrupt” senators in 2005 and 2006.  The 2006 report accuses Santorum of “using his position as a member of Congress to financially benefit those who have made contributions to his campaign committee and political action committee.” 

Despite a number of denials, there is evidence that Santorum and Abramhoff had met on the infamous Marianas Islands scam.  I wrote about this last March.  It is a horrifying example of modern slavery.  The story includes all kinds of immoralities like forced prostitution and abortions of young girls that were supposedly hired to work in garment factories in this US commonwealth territory  that is not covered by US labor laws.  The Delay Republicans held the associate companies up as beacons of capitalism.  Abramhoff says that he didn’t have any associations with Santorum but Roll Call and other sources show quite the opposite story.

Santorum definitely left the Senate through the revolving door.

Within months of leaving the Senate, Mr. Santorum joined the board of Universal Health Services, where he collected $395,000 in director’s fees and stock options before resigning last year. He also became a consultant to Consol Energy, after years of advocating drilling and extraction policies helpful to the company, a Pennsylvania gas and coal producer. And he consulted for the American Continental Group, a lobbying firm whose clients won earmarks he sponsored.

Its hard to reconcile this level of prostitution with a morality crusader, isn’t it?  But, there it is and if you goggle Santorum’s name and add lobbyist, corruption, K Street or any other number of combinations that go beyond the frothy mix definition, you’ll see the vast documentation.  It’s hard to imagine the tea party diehards getting behind a man with this kind of background.  Even Bill O’Reilly took issue with Santorum’s views on the rights of states to outlaw contraception with Santorum’s odd explanation that contraception put things out of the proper ‘order’.  Every thing about Santorum screams odd and narcissistic.

There’s been a reason that this man has been scraping along the bottom of the Republican presidential wannabe heap for some time.  My only hope is that when he is sent packing, that nearly every politician will want to avoid the stench and that will put an end to Santorum’s lucrative lobbying career as well.  In the mean time,  get ready for a few weeks of  the puppy dog press following Santorum around New Hampshire and South Carolina asking banal questions when they should be shouting  “show us your ill-got money”.  This guy may have had a coal miner grandfather, but he’s a total gold digger now.  What’s worse?  One man and one dog or one Senator and an army of lobbyists?  Evangelical Republicans, you’ve been Rick-Rolled!

I apologize to any earth worms I may have unintentionally insulted by the title of this thread.


SDB Evening News Reads for 051711

Chan Lowe—Tribune Media Services

Good evening, the weather has been unseasonable cool here in Banjoland.  I can tell my poodle is cold because he keeps lying down on the laptop adapter. Those doodads are always a bit on the warm side. Anyway, lets get on with the show…

For anyone who questioned the veracity of DSK’s victim in the violent assault that took place on Saturday, shame on you! And as a side note, this headline from ABC makes me angry, can you guess why?  Dominque Strauss-Kahn’s Accuser Inconsolable After Alleged Attack – ABC News

The Manhattan hotel chamber maid allegedly sodomized by IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is still reeling from the attack, crying inconsolably three days after the French politician allegedly assaulted her, her brother said.

“If this happened in France it would have been very different,” the brother said, added that he believed in the U.S. judicial system and that his sister would testify against Strauss-Kahn.

“We trust this American justice is different than European justice,” he said. “She trusts American justice.”

Over in France they are bothered for a different reason. It seems French newspapers are reprinting photos taken from American photographers and in France, images of this accused man in handcuffs is against the law. I understand the point of being innocent until proven guilty…and can appreciate the possible prejudice that can come of seeing an image of DSK in “criminal” disarray.  However, if that is what the man looks like…so be it.  France Calls for Restraint in Airing Strauss-Kahn Images – WSJ.com

France’s broadcasting watchdog called on the country’s television channels to use restraint in showing footage of International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs, highlighting Europe’s increasingly cautious reaction to the arrest and detention of the man until recently seen as a favorite to become France’s next president.

The broadcasting authority issued a release Tuesday reminding networks that French law prohibits them from airing images of people in handcuffs, or otherwise restrained, until they have been convicted by a court.

At least Spain’s finance minister has the right idea about this.

“For the time being we must let justice take its course, but the charges are extremely severe,” Spain’s finance minister, Elena Salgado, said on the sidelines of a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels. Ms. Salgado said her solidarity is firstly with the woman who has allegedly suffered an assault.

One thing is certain, this next link sure will keep DSK out of the spotlight for a few brief moments.  Carla Bruni pregnancy ‘announced’… in wake of Strauss-Kahn sex scandal – Telegraph

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is expecting a child with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president’s father confirmed yesterday, in what commentators noted was extraordinarily good timing for the deeply unpopular leader.

Here is an opinion piece from the Washington Post.   Men’s club: John, Dominique and Arnold – PostPartisan

Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn and Ensign aren’t the first to humiliate themselves and their families. And they won’t be the last, unfortunately. But these Y-chromosome transgressions just might cease if the electorate and men followed the advice dispensed today by former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (D) on Twitter:

Another guy guv admits 2 cheating on his wife. Maybe we need more women governors. Guys: keep ur pants zipped, for Pete’s sake.#Arnold

This next article is another Opinion piece, but has a better grasp at the problem with the Media’s job of reporting the story. How the Media’s Getting the Strauss-Kahn, Ensign Scandals Wrong – Susan Milligan (usnews.com) First, Milligan takes issue with the term “Mistress” and its negative connotations of women. The word defines a woman as “property” of the man.

But “womanizer” is worse, since it turns an entire sex into a collective object to be used or victimized by men. Strauss-Kahn has been described in the media as a notorious “womanizer,” a term that treats women almost as badly as the IMF chief allegedly has done. It also makes the man sound like the hapless victim of irresistible female charms. If Strauss-Kahn did was he has been accused of doing–sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a maid at a fancy New York hotel–he’s not a “womanizer.” He’s a violent criminal, and needs to be punished for it. It’s actually the perpetrators who like to describe themselves in such roguish ways: convicted Washington state sex offender Donald “Theo” Holmes, who admitted having impregnated mothers and daughters in the same house, summed himself up this way: “I’m a womanizer.” A state psychologist who examined him had a different view: “psychopathic sexual predator.”

She ends with this statement:

Strauss-Kahn has been accused of a violent assault…The media can do better than to define the women in such dismissive terms.

Amen!

Santorum is at it again…Santorum: What does McCain know about torture? – War Room – Salon.com

John McCain has been on something of a crusade this week on the question of how we found Osama bin Laden, giving speeches and writing Op-Eds outlining his position that it was not torture of detainees that led the U.S. to its man.

Now comes presidential candidate and “enhanced interrogation” supporter Rick Santorum arguing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show that McCain simply “doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.” Yes, he’s talking about the same John McCain who, in his five and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, was interrogated during a program of beatings and torture.

What an idiot…hey “Santorum,” you sir are an ass!

The Coast Guard has closed the Mississippi River at Natchez, and as a result crop prices are beginning to rise. As if the price of bread wasn’t high enough.

On to the recent news about the federal audits performed on Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.  Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers [EXCLUSIVE]

The audits accuse the five major lenders of violating the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law crafted as a weapon against firms that swindle the government. The audits were completed between February and March, the sources said. The internal watchdog office at HUD referred its findings to the Department of Justice, which must now decide whether to file charges.

Okay, I am no expert in all this finance stuff…but I do think my family is one of the victims of the “swindle” during the foreclosure of our home by BoA.

The audits conclude that the banks effectively cheated taxpayers by presenting the Federal Housing Administration with false claims: They filed for federal reimbursement on foreclosed homes that sold for less than the outstanding loan balance using defective and faulty documents.

Two of the firms, including Bank of America, refused to cooperate with the investigations, according to the sources. The audit on Bank of America finds that the company — the nation’s largest handler of home loans — failed to correct faulty foreclosure practices even after imposing a moratorium that lifted last October. Back then, the bank said it was resuming foreclosures, having satisfied itself that prior problems had been solved.

Fannie Mae mysteriously became the holder of the Note for our house and within a week the foreclosure was completed. BoA sold the house for 60,000, got TARP funds to cover the balance on the house…which was 140,000, and we still are getting monthly mortgage bills from Bank of America.  The greed is sickening.

Hopefully some sort of justice will be the out come of this next link:  N.Y. State Investigates Banks’ Role in Fiscal Crisis – NYTimes.com

The requests for information by Mr. Schneiderman’s office also seem to confirm that the New York attorney general is operating independently of peers from other states who are negotiating a broad settlement with large banks over foreclosure practices.

By opening a new inquiry into bank practices, Mr. Schneiderman has indicated his unwillingness to accept one of the settlement’s terms proposed by financial institutions — that is, a broad agreement by regulators not to conduct additional investigations into the banks’ activities during the mortgage crisis. Mr. Schneiderman has said in recent weeks that signing such a release was unacceptable.

In other Business News, you know that big Arctic Oil deal between BP and Russia? Well it is kaputs…Agreement Between BP and Russian Oil Giant Collapses – NYTimes.com

The disputed share swap and oil exploration agreement between BP and the Russian state-owned company Rosneft has collapsed, leaving some BP investors questioning the company’s future strategy and freeing Rosneft to look for a new partner in Russia.

On to some quick links to World News.

Libyan oil minister Shokri Ghanem ‘defects’ – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Libya’s oil minister has reportedly defected and fled to Tunisia.

Shokri Ghanem, who also chaired the National Oil Corporation, is said to be on his way to the Tunisian capital, Tunis. Hoda Abdel Hamid, one of Al Jazeera’s correspondents in Libya, said a border guard confirmed the defection. “He told us the minister had crossed into Tunisia two days ago and that he was alone, not with his family,” she said.

[…]

Ghanem has been in charge of the oil ministry since 2006 and was previously prime minister. His oil ministry is the biggest income generater for the country. Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves, at 41.5 billion barrels.

Interesting huh? I wonder who will fly the coop next.

The next two links are very upsetting to read.

Ex-Rwanda army chief sentenced for genocide – Africa – Al Jazeera English

The genocide lasted 100 days and left 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, dead [EPA]

The UN court for Rwanda has handed the general who was army chief during the country’s 1994 genocide a 30-year jail term for his role in the mass killing, including calling for the murder of ethnic Tutsis.

Syrian mass grave found near Deraa, residents say | World news | The Guardian

Syrian protester says: 'Yes for freedom, no to violence'. Deraa residents have reported a mass grave

A Syrian protester displays Arabic words on his hands: ‘Yes for freedom, no to violence’. Residents of Deraa, the centre of the uprising, have reported the finding of a mass grave. Photograph: Muzaffar Salman/AP

Thirteen bodies have been retrieved from a mass grave in Deraa, the hub of Syria‘s protest movement, according to residents cited by rights organisations.

People from the southern city say hundreds are unaccounted for since a crackdown on protests began on 18 March and intensified when the army moved in on 25 April to try to quash unrest against Bashar al-Assad’s 11-year rule.

Its very distressing to read about the mass graves in Syria. One entire family was among the dead. Really do not know what else you can say about this. Why the silence from Obama? Can someone explain that to me?

I’ll end this post with a couple video clips. We need some sort of upbeat ending to this post.  The first link is a real “feel good” video. The second clip is a satire on the ranting Pro-Life big mouths.

You may remember this post from a few months back.  Playing For Change, Playing For Peace « Sky Dancing  Well, their new album is coming out at the end of the month. So here is a sample of the CD Songs Around The World. Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.

Playing For Change | Three Little Birds

This video is the first track on our new album, PFC 2 – Songs Around The World, coming May 31st!! (click here to pre-order) We begin the journey in West Africa, in the ancient village of Kirina, Mali. The instruments start to play, and we hear the familiar words “don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.” This timeless message invites us on a musical journey through time and space. Together we continue to connect the world through music.


Playing For Change | Three Little Birds

I can’t get that Playing for Change video to embed. So please click that link to see it.

I hope you enjoyed that clip, and for something a little more disturbing…this tidbit from Squidbillies.  Dougal County Commissioner and Wealthy Businessman Dan Halen is getting the county residents up in arms.

Dan Halen reveals the horrible truth to Dougal County: the government wants to add fluoride to their drinking water.

You see, for Dan Halen “Live Begins at Arousal.” A word of warning, this show is very offensive…but living in the area of North Georgia this cartoon is making fun of, I can’t help but find the humor in it. Think Deliverance with a large dose of Seth MacFarlane.  This particular clip is not so bad, in fact it sounds a lot like Rush or Beck or any of the GOP PLUBs out there now.

So if you watch it…just keep this in mind.  I warned you. 😉

That is it for me, what are you doing this fine Tuesday evening?