Posted: January 15, 2022 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Donald Trump, fascism, FBI, January 6, Merrick Garland, snowstorm, Tonga, tsunami, volcano eruption, winter weather
By German cartoonist Rudi Herzlmeier
The temperature here in the Boston area was 1 degree this morning. We had wind chill temperatures around -20 overnight and today will see -11 wind chills. Winter weather this year has been weird everywhere. For the past couple of weeks here, we have been alternating between freezing cold and unseasonably warm days.
Today a massive winter storm is moving from the upper Midwest into the South. Eventually the storm will move up the coast and into New England as a “southeaster.” So far it looks like my area will miss the heavy snow. I hope that prediction holds! I feel for those of you who live down south.
CNN: Where to expect snow in the days ahead as a massive storm system moves south.
A massive storm system that’s dumping several inches of snow on the central US is expected to move toward the southeast Saturday, prompting the governors of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to declare states of emergency ahead of a crippling ice and snow event.
More than 65 million people in the affected areas are under winter weather alerts, the National Weather Service said.
“A strong developing storm over the Lower Mississippi Valley will move eastward to the Southeast by Sunday morning, then head northeastward to the northern mid-Atlantic by Monday,” the National Weather Service Prediction Center said early Saturday.
Rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain — or a combination of all of those — will make travel difficult over the three-day holiday weekend across the Eastern US.
A swath of 8 to 12 inches of snow was recorded across portions of North Dakota on Friday.
From there, the system dove deeper south, heading into Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas where it delivered rain and snowfall.
“How fast surface temperatures fall below freezing, and therefore, how fast rain changes to snow will play a big role in determining just how much snow accumulates,” said the NWS office in Topeka, Kansas.
Throughout Saturday the storm system will bring heavy bands of snowfall to the Mid-South and Tennessee Valley.
Localized areas of Tennessee could see snow totals exceeding 6 inches as the storm continues its eastward track toward the Southern Appalachians.
There’s lots more winter weather news to read at that CNN link.
By Rudi Herzlmeier
Out on the West Coast, there’s another type of natural disaster warning. The New York Times: Tsunami Reported in Tonga After an Underwater Volcano Eruption.
A four-foot tsunami wave was reported to have hit Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa, on Saturday, sending people rushing to higher ground. Witnesses said ash had fallen from the sky, after an underwater volcano erupted earlier near the remote Pacific nation.
The volcano, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, is about 40 miles north of the Pacific archipelago’s main island, Tongatapu.
The Bureau of Meteorology in Australia reported the tsunami on Twitter. But communication with Tonga was disrupted, according to The Associated Press, so there were no immediate official reports of injuries or the extent of the damage.
The Tonga Meteorological Service issued a tsunami warning for the archipelago on Saturday evening. On their Facebook pages, the meteorological services for nearby Fiji and Samoa also issued alerts, advising people to stay away from low-lying coastal areas.
The National Tsunami WarninI g Center in the United States issued a tsunami advisory for the West Coast on Saturday morning Pacific time, including the Washington and Oregon coast, with the National Weather Service in Portland reporting possible one- to three-foot waves in Newport, Ore., Long Beach, Wash., and Seaside, Ore. “First wave may not be the highest,” and later waves may “be larger,” the tweet said.
I think I’d rather have a snowstorm.
Unfortunately, I guess I’ll have to get to the politics news now. I want to recommend three long reads and then I’ll list some links to other interesting stories.
First a piece by Yale philosophy professor and fascism expert Jason Stanley at The Guardian, published last month: America is now in fascism’s legal phase.
Let us be reminded that before there is a final solution, there must be a first solution, a second one, even a third. The move toward a final solution is not a jump. It takes one step, then another, then another.”
So began Toni Morrison’s 1995 address to Howard University, entitled Racism and Fascism, which delineated 10 step-by-step procedures to carry a society from first to last.
Morrison saw, in the history of US racism, fascist practices – ones that could enable a fascist social and political movement in the United States.
Cats out for a walk, Rudi Hurzlmeier
Writing in the era of the “super-predator” myth (a Newsweek headline the next year read, “Superpredators: Should we cage the new breed of vicious kids?”), Morrison unflinchingly read fascism into the practices of US racism. Twenty-five years later, those “forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems” are closer than ever to winning a multi-decade national fight.
The contemporary American fascist movement is led by oligarchical interests for whom the public good is an impediment, such as those in the hydrocarbon business, as well as a social, political, and religious movement with roots in the Confederacy. As in all fascist movements, these forces have found a popular leader unconstrained by the rules of democracy, this time in the figure of Donald Trump.
Morrison’s interest was not in fascist demagogues or fascist regimes. It was rather in “forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems”. The procedures she described were methods to normalize such solutions, to “construct an internal enemy”, isolate, demonize and criminalize it and sympathizers to its ideology and their allies, and, using the media, provide the illusion of power and influence to one’s supporters.
Philosophers have always been at the forefront in the analysis of fascist ideology and movements. In keeping with a tradition that includes the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno, I have been writing for a decade on the way politicians and movement leaders employ propaganda, centrally including fascist propaganda, to win elections and gain power.
Often, those who employ fascist tactics do so cynically – they do not really believe the enemies they target are so malign, or so powerful, as their rhetoric suggests. Nevertheless, there comes a tipping point, where rhetoric becomes policy. Donald Trump and the party that is now in thrall to him have long been exploiting fascist propaganda. They are now inscribing it into fascist policy.
The article is very long, but well worth reading. Remember, Hitler got many of his ideas from the Jim Crow South.
Here’s another long read by Jason Palidino at a new on-line news site, Grid: Why didn’t the FBI see the Capitol siege coming?
In the lead-up to the Capitol siege, the FBI received at least a dozen warnings about the possibility of violence that day (see timeline below.) When the day came and the Capitol barricades fell, it became evident the FBI largely ignored them all.
The warnings came from all sides: regional law enforcement, social media platforms, Congress (specifically the House and Senate intelligence committees), a top defense official, extremist watchdogs, right-wing experts, journalists and even three different components within the FBI itself.
By Rudi Herzlmeier
Grid reviewed every public statement FBI officials made about the bureau’s intelligence leading up to the siege to understand how the FBI explained its posture on Jan. 6. We read hundreds of pages of FBI briefings and press statements, FBI officials’ testimony before Congress and public comments in news reports.
We found that the FBI has given at least five different explanations for why it failed to heed these warnings and take steps to foil the Capitol attack or help other agencies prepare a sufficient response. Some of them support arguments the FBI should get more money and legal authorities. But given what we now know, none of them holds up.
“They’re following the same blueprint as 9/11,” said Mike German, a former undercover FBI agent and author of “Disrupt, Discredit and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy.” He is a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. “First they say, ‘We had no intelligence,’ then say, ‘Our authorities prevented us from getting the intelligence,’ which is not true.”
The institutional lack of introspection, while unsurprising, is deeply worrisome, German and others agree. The threat of political violence — particularly from the right, and targeting democratic institutions and political leaders — is higher than at any point in modern history. Many key indicators point in one direction: Extremist violence is reportedly surging, and threats against election officials and members of Congress are increasing. The threat of lethality from domestic violent extremist groups “is higher than it ever was,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress last May.
If the FBI remains blinkered to the most serious and likely threats, Jan. 6 might not be its last major failure. American democracy has largely survived the violence of Jan. 6, and the Department of Justice has undertaken a historic effort to investigate, indict and prosecute hundreds of participants — who might never have stormed the Capitol in the first place if the FBI had heeded clear warnings and taken proper steps to prevent the attack.
Palidino goes on to refute the five main excuses the FBI has given for it’s failure to respond to the many warnings they received before January 6. It appears that the bureau is still focusing more on left wing protestors than on right wing violence, despite the public claims of director Chris Wray.
The final long read is by Jennifer Taub at The Washington Monthly: Merrick Garland’s Trump Problem—and Ours.
Timing is everything. When it comes to free and fair elections and ensuring that Donald Trump and fellow authoritarians do not pull off a successful coup, we are nearly out of time. At least 19 states have added laws that make it more difficult to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, and 49 state legislatures are considering voting restrictions, including, most ominously, measures that would take election management out of the hands of secretaries of state and hand it over to GOP-controlled legislatures. We have until November 8to fix this.
Espresso by rudi Hurzlmeier
The prosecution of the former president is on a slower timeline. This includes not only the criminal investigations being pursued in Georgia by the Fulton County district attorney, and in New York by the state attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney, but also any investigations emanating from the U.S. Department of Justice. But that’s okay; Merrick Garland is no longer the problem or the solution.
I came to this conclusion after Attorney General Garland delivered a much-hyped speech commemorating the anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol. After considering his words, I opened a calendar and did the math. We’ll get to that math in a moment. But first, let’s be clear about what Garland did and didn’t promise.
After watching his talk and then reading the prepared remarks published on the DOJ website, I have this take: I fully trust Garland to prosecute Trump in connection with the events directly leading up to and surrounding the certification of the electoral vote on January 6. But I’m less sure how much Trump mischief that will include.
Why do I believe DOJ is currently investigating the former president? Some doubt it. There have been no leaks to the press. By comparison, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has been less circumspect. Committee members, including Republican Representative Liz Cheney, have made it clear that they are examining Trump’s legal culpability on a number of grounds. Garland will have access to whatever the committee uncovers, including the report they plan to issue as early as this summer. And if the panel, chaired by Representative Bennie Thompson, makes criminal referrals to DOJ, committee staff will turn over the evidence they have gathered.
In such a referral, the committee might reference several statutes that DOJ can use to prosecute the former president and others, including obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy, and seditious conspiracy. They might also use the wire fraud statute to charge those who raised funds off the Big Lie.
Read the rest at The Washington Monthly link.
More stories to check out:
Yahoo News: Fake electoral documents under new scrutiny as Trump prepares for Arizona visit.
CNN: Oath Keepers leader spewed anti-government hate for more than a decade. Alex Jones gave him the audience.
Emptywheel: The Structure of the January 6 Assault: “I Will Settle With Seeing [Normies] Smash Some Pigs To Dust.
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post: Kevin McCarthy’s coverup for Trump may be hiding knowledge of possible crimes.
Aaron Blake at The Washington Post: The conservative knives come out for Brett Kavanaugh.
The New York Times: Census Memo Cites ‘Unprecedented’ Meddling by Trump Administration.
What’s on your mind today? What stories are you following?
Posted: February 15, 2012 Filed under: 2012 primaries, birth control, children, Diplomacy Nightmares, Foreign Affairs, fundamentalist Christians, Health care reform, Human Rights, immigration, Injustice system, Israel, Japan, Marriage Equality, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Religious Conscience, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican presidential politics, SDB Evening News Reads, Syria, the GOP, Violence against women, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: Santorum, sex, TSA, tsunami
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
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.
Posted: December 14, 2011 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Japan, legislation, morning reads, religious extremists, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican presidential politics, Republican Tax Fetishists, Syria, Women's Rights | Tags: Bashar al-Assad, Belguim, Google Street View, Lowe's, Lunar Eclipse, Plan B, tsunami
Ah…that was quite a title, yes?
Well, I originally had this post called Red, Red, Moon…not Gingrich’s ass, but thought it would be a bit over the top. Of course I am referring to the latest Axelrod comment:
“The higher a monkey climbs on the pole the more you can see his butt.”.
I have personally used a monkey’s ass as an insult…in third grade, I told JoNell Costello that she had a face like a baboon’s ass. (Yes, I changed the name to protect the innocent.) It did not go over well, but it is a great memory for me because I was standing up for myself.
I’m mentioning it now because it ties in with some items I have for your morning news round up…so lets get to it.
Obama has already wimped out on the women’s front this past week…yes, that war reference is on purpose! Well, there are some Democrats in Congress who are really acting like Democrats.
It isn’t every day that 14 Senators aggressively call out their own party’s Health and Human Services Secretary, imply that a major decision made their own party’s adminstration was not based on science, and demand proof to the contrary. But that’s exactly what’s happening right now in the dust up over the Obama administration’s decision not to relax restrictions on access to Plan B.
Fourteen Democratic Senators have just sent this letter to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelieus, repeatedly insisting that she produce a convincing scientific rationale for the decision:
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We are writing to express our disappointment with your December 7, 2011 decision to block the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation to make Plan B One-Step available over-the-counter. We feel strongly that FDA regulations should be based on science. We write to you today to ask that you provide us with the rationale for this decision.
As numerous medical societies and patient advocates have argued, improved access to birth control, including emergency contraception, has been proven to reduce unintended pregnancies. Nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the United States each year are unintended. Keeping Plan B behind the counter makes it harder for all women to obtain a safe and effective product they may need to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
We ask that you share with us your specific rationale and the scientific data you relied on for the decision to overrule the FDA recommendation. On behalf of the millions of women we represent, we want to be assured that this and future decisions affecting women’s health will be based on medical and scientific evidence.
And who are the senators that put there John Hancock on this letter?
Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Carl Levin (Mich.), John Kerry (Mass.), Tom Harkin (Iowa), Al Franken (Minn.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.). Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Good for them!
This leads us to the next Obama, “will he or won’t he” moment. I am talking of the House passing the Payroll Tax Cut extension with all that Keystone crap stuffed in the bill.
Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Tuesday passed a bill extending a cut in Social Security payroll taxes for 160 million Americans for another year. But the Democratic majority in the Senate vowed to reject the measure because of objections to other provisions, including one to speed construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Threats of veto? From Obama? (I wonder if he really means it…)
In general, the vote followed party lines. Ten Democrats voted for the bill, and 14 Republicans voted against it.
Less than an hour after the vote, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, went to the Senate floor and declared: “The bill passed by House Republicans tonight is a pointless partisan exercise. The bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. It was dead before it got to the Senate.”
Portrayed by House Republican leaders as an engine of job creation, the payroll tax bill became entangled Tuesday with a separate omnibus spending bill to finance much of the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
Democrats threatened to delay action on the spending bill to ensure that Republicans would address their concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline and other provisions of the tax measure.
So, what do you think will come of this monkey’s ass? (No derogatory sentiment against monkey asses, or monkeys for that matter, is meant by that statement.) I wonder what the odds are in Vegas on what action Obama will take…
Speaking of asses, do you think the recent Christine O’Donnell endorsement for Mittens is considered a “welcomed” endorsement or a “thanks but you shouldn’t have” endorsement?
Christine O’Donnell, the former Republican Senate candidate and a tea party favorite during the 2010 election, has officially endorsed Mitt Romney for president.
O’Donnell made her endorsement during an appearance this evening on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“It was not an easy decision because I too think any of our candidates would make a great president and a great candidate going against Barack Obama,” O’Donnell said. “But I think there are certain tie breakers and I know that in making my decision I might be hurting some people but I think infrastructure and executive experience are important, and for that reason I’m endorsing Mitt Romney.”
“I’m very happy,” she added. “This is not anti-[Newt] Gingrich or anyone else, it’s a pro Gov. Romney endorsement.
Oh, I can hear the commentary from those extremely devout right-wing Christians on the 700 Club now…A former witch endorsing a Mormon? I bet Newt is busting with appreciation of O’Donnell…
Newt is also busting with approval numbers from a recent NBC/WSJ poll…ready for it?
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken a commanding lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, hitting the 40 percent mark for the first time in the campaign, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Tuesday.
Gingrich is the first choice of 40 percent of Republican primary voters compared with 23 percent support for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the poll found.
Granted, Newt does not have such a high polling percent when paired with Obama, he is 10 points behind Obama, while Romney is just 2 points behind the “O” man.
Here are a few global news links, did you read about the vicious grenade attack in Belgium?
Eyewitness Greg Ienco: “We saw the explosions and the panic, it was quite incredible”
Police in Belgium are trying to determine what motivated a local man to open fire on a busy marketplace in Liege, killing at least four people.
Nearly 125 people were wounded, some critically, when 33-year-old Nordine Amrani fired bullets and hurled grenades before killing himself.
Police have said he was known to them for previous drugs and firearms offences and acted alone in the attack.
Authorities are looking for a motive in this attack:
Amrani, a resident of Liege, had been jailed for 58 months in September 2008 for possessing firearms and drugs, media reports said.
Officials did not confirm this, but said they were aware he had spent some time in prison.
“At no moment in any of the judicial proceedings against him was there a sign of unbalance,” Daniele Reynders, the public prosecutor for Liege, told reporters.
Amrani is reported to have been on parole and on Tuesday, had been asked to attend a police station for an interview in connection with charges against him.Instead, he took an assault rifle, revolver and hand grenades into the busy town centre square, close to the courthouse.
It is horrible…I feel terrible for those families, one of the victims who was killed was a 17–month old little girl.
In Syria, the numbers of people who have been killed in connection with the uprising and protest of the Syrian government has grown…
At least 32 people were killed across Syria on Tuesday, including seven members of the security forces, amid rising sectarian tensions in some places, opposition groups said.
The deaths added to a toll that was estimated by a United Nations official on Monday at more than 5,000 people since the uprising began in March.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 19 people died in the northern province of Idlib, near the Turkish border, when security forces loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad fired at them. Five were killed in the province of Homs, in central Syria, and one in the nearby province of Hama.
In addition, seven members of the security forces were killed in an attack on their military vehicle in the Bab al-Hawa area in Idlib Province, according to the observatory, an opposition group based in London. The attack, it said, was in retaliation for the shooting of antigovernment protesters earlier in the day in the province.
It seems like the spilling of Syrian blood is showing no signs of stopping.
The violence came amid the backdrop of worsening sectarian tensions in Homs, which is populated by a Sunni Muslim majority and a minority of Alawites, a heterodox Muslim sect from which Mr. Assad draws much of his leadership. Mohammed Saleh, an activist from Homs, said that two Alawites were kidnapped in Homs on Tuesday, and that one of them was the brother of Yasser Jawhar, an opposition activist who was jailed for 12 years.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said on Monday that the death toll was now 1,000 higher than the estimate she had released at the beginning of the month. Ms. Pillay said that this number included civilians, army defectors and soldiers who refused to shoot at protesters. It did not, however, include security forces killed by the opposition.
That is the only response I can muster…
Google Street View explores post-tsunami Japan, the Google camera cars have documented the before and after street views of areas hit by the Japanese tsunami in March. That link will take you to a gallery of photos. (And you thought the images from space of before and after the tsunami were devastating.) This brings the devastation up close and personal.
I know that the recent “American Muslim” ad boycott decision from home improvement, and terrorist super store, Lowe’s has been discussed here on Sky Dancing, but I had to include a link to this video from Jon Stewart.
Lowe’s Boycott Of TLC Muslim Reality Show Leaves Jon Stewart Flabbergasted
Aasif Mandvi, the Daily Show’s senior Muslim correspondent’s report in front of the Denver Lowe’s is fabulous! Take a look at Mediaite link above.
And now I will end with an amazing image of this weekend’s Red Moon, a total lunar eclipse, what a beautiful picture:
This spectacular image by photographer Joseph Brimacombe shows the moon in a startling bl0od-red color this weekend during a total eclipse. The Universe Today explains the coloration this way:
The red tint of the Moon during an eclipse is caused by sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere, in effect projecting the colors of all the world’s sunsets onto the Moon’s near face.
Brilliant isn’t it?
We had an overcast night in Banjoville, so the view was obscured…but this picture is magnificent and I am so happy to share it with you!
That is all for me today, catch y’all later in the comments!
What are you reading and blogging about? Get to it!
(Wow, like Elaine, I went a little overboard with my exclamation points! Perhaps I should not use them so haphazardly…)
Posted: December 7, 2011 Filed under: child sexual abuse, children, Civil Rights, corruption, Human Rights, immigration, Main Stream Media, morning reads, racism, Republican politics | Tags: Fukushima, Japan, Magnetic pole reversal, Pear Harbor, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, tsunami
Good Morning, there is new information about the Tsunami that struck Japan nine months ago. ‘Merging tsunami’ amplified Japan carnage
The massive tsunami generated by the March 2011 earthquake off the coast of northeastern Japan was a “merging tsunami” — a type of tsunami long thought to exist, but seen now for the first time, scientists report.
The magnitude-9.0 Tohoku-Oki temblor, the fifth-most powerful quake ever recorded, triggered a tsunami that doubled in intensity over rugged ocean ridges, amplifying its destructive power at landfall, as seen in data from NASA and European radar satellites that captured at least two wave fronts that day.
The fronts merged to form a single, double-high wave far out at sea. This wave was capable of traveling long distances without losing power. Ocean ridges and undersea mountain chains pushed the waves together along certain directions from the tsunami’s origin.
The data from the merging tsunami is helping scientist discover why a massive wave can cause so much destruction in one area, yet leave other areas relatively unscathed.
“It was a one-in-10-million chance that we were able to observe this double wave with satellites,” said study team member Y. Tony Song, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who presented with team member C.K. Shum of The Ohio State University.
The researchers think ridges and undersea mountain chains on the ocean floor deflected parts of the initial tsunami wave away from each other to form independent jets shooting off in different directions, each with its own wave front.
Wave heights from the Japanese earthquake are displayed here.
The sea floor topography nudges tsunami waves in varying directions and can make its destruction appear random. For that reason, hazard maps that try to predict where tsunamis will strike rely on sub-sea topography. Previously, these maps considered only topography near a particular shoreline. This study suggests scientists may be able to create maps that take into account all undersea topography, even sub-sea ridges and mountains far from shore.
Let’s stick with Japan’s Tsunami a bit more…there has been some new articles about Fukushima lately. Dakinikat posted some updates the other day, at Mother Jones they have gathered a round-up of new information. There may be some items you have missed. Fukushima Fallout | Mother Jones
- The Tokyo Electric Power Company estimates that of 45 tons of radioactive wastewater that leaked from the plant, some 40 gallons (150 liters) leaked into the Pacific Ocean in recent days, reports the New Zealand Herald.
- The Japanese milk-powder company Meiji, whose factory lies within 200 miles (320 kilometers) of the Fukushima plant, recalled 400,000 cans of baby formula after discovering 30.8 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilo in the product, reports the BBC. This level is considered within the safety range, though infants and children are more susceptible than adults to lower levels of exposure, and eating radiation is worse than external exposure. Until now, Meiji had been checking waterborne but not airborne radioactivity levels near their factory, reports the New York Times—hence the “new” findings.
Give that MoJo link a go and see a few more disturbing news items on the status of Fukushima nine months after the earthquake and tsunami.
Oh, and since the word fallout is fresh in your mind, did you hear the latest about Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona? Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Failed To Investigate Over 400 Sex Crimes, Including Molestations Of Undocumented Children | ThinkProgress
The AP reports that, over a three-year period ending in 2007, Arpaio “inadequately investigated” or in some instances didn’t even work more than 400 sex-crimes reported to his office. The cases “include dozens of alleged child molestations.”
In El Mirage, Arizona, where Arpaio provided contract services, he failed to follow through on at least 32 reported child molestations — with some victims as young as 2. Many of the children were undocumented immigrants. According to an El Mirage detective, Arpaio’s people essentially “put their feet on the desk, and that was that”
El Mirage Detective Jerry Laird, who reviewed some the investigations, learned from a summary of 50 to 75 cases files he picked up from Arpaio’s office that an overwhelming majority of them hadn’t been worked. That meant there were no follow-up reports, no collection of additional forensic evidence and zero effort made after the initial report of the crime was taken.
Of course, the fallout from this latest outrage is making a few headlines in the left leaning blogosphere. Arizona Outrage at Latest Sheriff Arpaio Fiasco, Calls for Resignation « SpeakEasy
In truth, reports on Arpaio’s extraordinary incompetence and oversight on sexual abuse cases have been well-documented for months — an ABC15 investigation earlier in the spring noted that “children who had the courage to come forward and say they were molested, raped or abused were simply ignored by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detectives.”
As part of a groundswell of outrage, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) called for Arpaio’s immediate resignation in a released statement today:
“This nothing-to-see-here attitude is the worst kind of unaccountable arrogance, and Mr. Arpaio needs to step down before any more damage is done to public confidence in our law enforcement and justice system,” Grijalva said. “The picture emerging — no follow-up, no investigation, no prosecution, no justice and a shield of silence after the fact — is not how we conduct law enforcement in this country. Enforcing laws against violent crime, whatever a victim’s legal status, is mandatory and not something we leave to individual communities as an open question. Selective enforcement undermines respect for our brave legal officers and is rightly not tolerated by the public.
“Mr. Arpaio might love headline-grabbing crackdowns and theatrical media appearances, but when it comes to the everyday work of keeping people safe, he seems to have lost interest some time ago. He should give the affected families a sense that justice is finally being done by taking the honorable route and resigning now.”
Arpaio is facing a federal court hearing on racial profiling and civil rights abuses…
Fox News is silent, a quick search on their website shows zero news reports about this extreme example of Arpaio’s continued racially motivated abuses. I know the lack of media coverage on this should not be such a shock, but we are talking over 400 sexual assault and abuse cases that were ignored specifically due to racism.
Moving on, because I am so inflamed about the Arpaio stuff, that I fear my fingers will melt the keys on the laptop as I type my disgust.
This year marks the last reunion for Pearl Harbor veterans in Hawaii…70 years since the attack, and many people who experienced it first hand are gone… Fewer Veterans to Remember Pearl Harbor Day – NYTimes.com
Emerie Aresenaul, front, with other Pearl Harbor survivors.
For more than half a century, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association gathered here every Dec. 7 to commemorate the attack by the Japanese that drew the United States into World War II. Others stayed closer to home for more intimate regional chapter ceremonies, sharing memories of a day they still remember in searing detail.
But no more. The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time — of age, of deteriorating health and death — the association will disband on Dec. 31.
“We had no choice,” said William H. Eckel, 89, who was once the director of the Fourth Division of the survivors’ association, interviewed by telephone from Texas. “Wives and family members have been trying to keep it operating, but they just can’t do it. People are winding up in nursing homes and intensive care places.”
Harry R. Kerr, the director of the Southeast chapter, said there weren’t enough survivors left to keep the organization running. “We just ran out of gas, that’s what it amounted to,” he said from his home in Atlanta, after deciding not to come this year. “We felt we ran a good course for 70 years. Fought a good fight. We have no place to recruit people anymore: Dec. 7 only happened on one day in 1941.”
The fact that this moment was inevitable has made this no less a difficult year for the survivors, some of whom are concerned that the event that defined their lives will soon be just another chapter in a history book, with no one left to go to schools and Rotary Club luncheons to offer a firsthand testimony of that day. As it is, speaking engagements by survivors like Mr. Kerr — who said he would miss church services on Sunday to commemorate the attack — can be discouraging affairs.
This reminded me of the The Civil War, and the moving images that were filmed of the reunions at Gettysburg. Here is the New York times article commemorating the last reunion of the Blue and Gray… at the 75th Anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg. At the end of this post I’ve embedded a few videos that show film of the 75th Anniversary Reunion of Gettysburg. The last one has the only recorded rebel yell…it is fascinating stuff. (Nope, does not sound like the Duke Boys at all, yeeeehaw.)
Two links left for y’all, some have heard about 2012 and the idea of the magnetic poles reversing in a rapid manner, causing chaos and destruction. The end of the world, unless you are lucky enough to get a seat on one of the “arks.” But scientist are saying that Magnetic pole reversal not a sign of doomsday | Space | EarthSky
Scientists understand that Earth’s magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to ‘south.’
A schematic diagram of Earth’s interior and the movement of magnetic north from 1900 to 1996. The outer core is the source of the geomagnetic field. Graphic Credit: Dixon Rohr / NASA
This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth’s poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today’s magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth’s destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be ‘no.’
This is a very meaty post, so the best thing to do is just click the link and read the rest of the article.
Alrighty then…we have come to the part about the malicious joy of epic proportions.
The Germans have a word for it, Schadenfreude.
Here is my take on it, you all have seen Antiques Roadshow…yes? Well it all started in England, and as an example of the kind of twisted humor the British are known for, the fans of the show in England don’t watch it for the high value finds some people have lying around their attics. They watch it for the gotcha moment, when someone has a priceless armoire, that would have been worth millions, if only they didn’t refinish it and take all that “ugly” patina off. I put the ugly in quotation marks, because the malicious joy only gets better when it is revealed that the person knew they were going on Antiques Roadshow and refinished the item specifically to make it look nicer and worth more money.
So, in Japan this week, there was a chain reaction car pile up that makes my sadistic laugh bellow at the crash’s magnificence…
Video: Huge Ferrari pileup is world’s most expensive crash – Autoblog UK
No less than eight Ferraris were involved in a supercar pileup that could very well be the most expensive in history, in car damage terms.
A Lamborghini Diablo, a Nissan GT-R and three Mercs were involved in the bizarre smash on the Chugoku Expressway, south-west Japan, this weekend.
Only cuts and bruises are reported, but the damage is estimated at 3.9 million US dollars.
The accident was completely avoidable, it seems one driver got cocky and tried to overtake another vehicle…he lost control on the wet road (Yes, it was not the best of conditions anyway…) and slammed into the barrier, causing the car to bounce back into the traffic of luxury cars.
Picture gallery is at the link.
Well that is it, be sure to check out the videos below and have a wonderful Wednesday!