Live Blog: New York’s Primary Democratic Candidate Debate (CNN PLEASE stop this now!)

voodoodolls2Good Evening and welcome to the HooDoo that I do so well  to get this to be the last of these things!!!

Tonight’s debate will be broadcast by CNN at 9 pm EST from Brooklyn.  It’s the Brooklyn Finger Wagger vs. the C-Town Policy Wonk!  How nasty will the pokes and punches get?

… with the Democratic race dragging on into the spring, fresh tensions are bubbling up to the surface.
Pointing to issues like Clinton’s ties to Wall Street and her vote for the Iraq War, Sanders said over the weekend that when it comes to Clinton’s judgment, “something is clearly lacking.” The senator also went on to tell CNN’s Jake Tapper that he found Clinton’s recent remarks about young voters — in which she said they sometimes buy into incorrect information and “don’t do their own research” — to be “a little bit condescending.”
Things grew even more heated when the Sanders campaign put out a press release questioning Clinton’s credibility this week — an attack that was met with ferocious pushback.
“Let’s be very clear. This is a character attack. This is exactly what @BernieSanders pledged to his supporters that he wouldn’t do, ” tweeted Nick Merrill, Clinton’s traveling press secretary.

img_1635The primary will be Tuesday, April 19th and the last poll shows the momentum is in Clinton’s column.  Here are this weeks latest polls via RCP.  Notice the all have Clinton way way way up!!!

Thursday, April 14

Race/Topic(Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination FOX News Clinton 48, Sanders 46 Clinton +2
2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination CBS News Clinton 50, Sanders 44 Clinton +6
New York Democratic Presidential Primary NBC 4 NY/WSJ/Marist Clinton 57, Sanders 40 Clinton +17
Wednesday, April 13
Race/Topic(Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
New York Democratic Presidential Primary Siena Clinton 52, Sanders 42 Clinton +10
Maryland Democratic Presidential Primary NBC 4/Marist Clinton 58, Sanders 36 Clinton +22
Tuesday, April 12
Race/Topic(Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
New York Democratic Presidential Primary Quinnipiac Clinton 53, Sanders 40 Clinton +13
New York Democratic Presidential Primary NY1/Baruch Clinton 50, Sanders 37 Clinton +13
New York Democratic Presidential Primary PPP (D) Clinton 51, Sanders 40 Clinton +11
Connecticut Democratic Presidential Primary Emerson Clinton 49, Sanders 43 Clinton +6
Monday, April 11
Race/Topic(Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
New York Democratic Presidential Primary NBC/WSJ/Marist Clinton 55, Sanders 41 Clinton +14
New York Democratic Presidential Primary Monmouth Clinton 51, Sanders 39 Clinton +12
Sunday, April 10
Race/Topic(Click to Sort) Poll Results Spread
New York Democratic Presidential Primary FOX News Clinton 53, Sanders 37 Clinton +16
Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential Primary FOX News Clinton 49, Sanders 38 Clinton +11

Wonkette even agrees with me.  Please let this be the last one!!!!  I can’t take his stump speech any more. I can’t take the finger wagging. I can’t take watching Hillary try to act dignified during all of this!!!

I also can’t take any more of Wolf Blitzer!

But, here I am and here we are.

WHOA HEY it’s been a minute since we’ve had one of these debate-styley things! But things have been getting super UGLY in the Democratic race, so they need to do this again, obviously. Bernie was like “I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING DATES!” and Hillary was like “I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL ON A DIFFERENT DAY WHEN YOU ALREADY HAVE A THING, COME AT ME, BRO!” Seriously, that is how it happened, according to Politico. Anyway, they all moved their hair appointments around on their Google calendars, so they can debate in New York City tonight.

So, this one is going to have a lot of stuff thrown at Bernie, I guarantee.  First, there’s the “corporate whore” kerfuffle.  Then there’s the law suit against Bernie’s Buddies in Gun Manufacturing by the parents and relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims.  Then, there’s the comment today about how Martin Luther King was a class warrior instead of all that racism stuff in his speeches and the marches and all that.  Then there’s Bernie and Jane’s taxes which we never See, Jane, See. 

So, I’m sure all that will be on the agenda tonight.il_570xN.810139456_l8mz

Meanwhile, I just bought some wine and I’m hunkered in here!

Hang in there!  If the polls are right, the Atlantic Seaboard is about to deliver us from any more of these “debates”.  Meanwhile, I have the next little doll all lined up!!!   So stay tuned …

 

 


Thursday Reads: Obama KOs Perry, and Other News

22cambridge_span

Good Morning!!

Yesterday President Obama met with Texas Governor Rick Perry to discuss the so-called “immigration crisis.” Perry had initially refused to shake hands with the President as Obama disembarked from Airforce One, but Perry ended up doing it anyway.

From Mediaite: Rick Perry Admits Defeat, Shakes President Obama’s Hand.

Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) was determined not to shake President Barack Obama’s hand when he arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth airport on Wednesday. But in the end, it appears he just couldn’t help himself.

As CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said while Obama was descending the steps of Air Force One, “I’m anxious to see if the governor Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, is there at the bottom of the stairs to receive the president of the United States.”

The anchor betrayed some surprise when Perry walked across the tarmac to greet Obama, shaking his hand and walking side by side to Marine One, where they would have a private meeting about the current crisis at the border.

It’s been ages since I’ve watched CNN, but it sounds like Wolf and his network are practically outdoing Fox News. Do they not see the racial implications of a Republican Governor resisting shaking hands with an African-American President?

On Monday, the Austin American-Statesman reported: Rick Perry declines Obama offer for ‘quick handshake’ at Austin airport.

Gov. Rick Perry Monday turned down what he characterized as President Barack Obama’s offer for a “quick handshake on the tarmac” at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Wednesday, but said he would juggle his schedule to accommodate a “substantive meeting” with the president on the border crisis any time during his two-day visit to Texas.

In a letter to the president, Perry wrote, “I appreciate the offer to greet you at Austin-Bergstrom Airport, but a quick handshake on the tarmac will not allow for a thoughtful discussion regarding the humanitarian and national security crises enveloping the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. I would instead offer to meet with you at any time during your visit to Texas for a substantive meeting to discuss this critical issue. With the appropriate notice, I am willing to change my schedule to facilitate this request.”

“At any point while you are here, I am available to sit down privately so we can talk and you may directly gain my state’s perspective on the effects of an unsecured border and what is necessary to make it secure,” Perry wrote the president.

In addition, Perry actually said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday:

“I don’t believe he particularly cares whether or not the border of the United States is secure,” Perry said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” charging the president was either “inept” or had an “ulterior motive” in failing to secure the border.

Perry Obama

Back to the Mediaite story:

Following Perry’s letter, the Obama administration decided to invite the governor to join Obama at a previously scheduled meeting with faith leaders and elected officials in Dallas. Following that concession, Perry decided he would be comfortable greeting Obama on the tarmac, though he did not indicate whether he would deign to shake the president’s hand.

If Perry was wary of the type of photo-op that has haunted Republicans like Governor Chris Christie(R-NJ), and former Republicans like Charlie Crist, he can at least be thankful that the president did not try to hug him. Though, he did give him a few friendly pats on the back.

Mediaite thinks the photos will doom Perry’s chances for the 2016 Republican nomination; but after his performance in 2012, it seems pretty obvious that Perry himself will destroy his presidential hopes all by himself.

So what happened when the two men met? The New York Times reports: Obama Presses Perry to Rally Support for Border Funds. According to the authors, Jackie Calmes and Ashley Parker, Obama “directly challenged” Perry to convince Congressional Republicans to support $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with what Perry has called “a humanitarian crisis” — “thousands of Central American children who have crossed the Mexican border.”

Perry frown

And from The Wire: Rick Perry’s Immigration Meeting With Obama Produces Photo for the Ages.

So, how did President Obama’s meeting with Republican Governor Rick Perry go today? In a statement on Wednesday, Obama described the meeting as “constructive,” but, well, this photo also exists. It’s not immediately clear what the context of this photo was — Is Perry sad? Uncomfortable? Telling a funny story? Happy, but trying to look serious? Hmm. Perhaps someone made a joke at Perry’s expense? Or maybe Perry just makes the Robert De Niro shrug face a lot for no reason.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter right now. Until we know more about the context, the photo will be a Rorschach test. In the future, there will be Midrash about this photo.

A couple more links on the border crisis:

The Washington Post: Dana Milbank: In border crisis, Obama is accused of ‘lawlessness’ for following law.

A querulous quartet of conservatives took to the Senate floor Wednesday….to criticize the president for failing to visit the border during his visit to Texas this week, was coordinated by Sen. John McCain and included fellow Arizonan Jeff Flake and both of the chamber’s Texans, Sen. John Cornyn and the man McCain once dubbed a “wacko bird,” Sen. Ted Cruz.

“President Obama today is down in the state of Texas, but sadly he’s not visiting the border,” said Cruz, in a rare collaboration with McCain. “. . . He’s visiting Democratic fat cats to collect checks, and apparently there’s no time to look at the disaster, at the devastation that’s being caused by his policies. . . . It is a disaster that is the direct consequence of President Obama’s lawlessness.” ….

But this border crisis, sowed years ago and building for months, is neither a high crime nor a misdemeanor. It’s a humanitarian nightmare in which children, some as young as 4, can face physical and sexual abuse, injury and death in their lonely journeys. What’s upside-down about the Cruz-Palin argument is that this crisis has actually been brought about by Obama following the law.

The most obvious and direct cause of the flood of children from Central America is the 2008 human trafficking law that ended the rapid deportation of unaccompanied minors who come illegally from countries other than Mexico and Canada. The law essentially guarantees long stays for these immigrants by promising them a deportation process that can take 18 months, during which time they are often placed with family members who have little incentive to have the kids show up for hearings.

Lindsay Graham disagrees with his good buddy McCain, according to The Hill:

Republicans will take the political fall if they don’t provide emergency funds to address the immigrant crisis at the southern border, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned Wednesday.

A number of conservatives on Capitol Hill are pushing back hard against President Obama’s request for almost $4 billion to manage the spike of immigrants — thousands of them unaccompanied minors — that’s hit the Texas-Mexico border in recent months.

But Graham, a long-time supporter of an immigration system overhaul, said a failure to provide the funds will exacerbate the crisis while handing Obama and the Democrats a political victory ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“If we do that, then we’re going to get blamed for perpetuating the problem,” Graham told reporters on Wednesday.

Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that right wing Republicans acted against their political best interest.

In other news,

Mike Pence

Mike Pence

Another Republican Governor has made an ass of himself  (not for the first time). Indiana Governor Mike Pence has told state agencies to not to honor the hundreds of gay marriages that took place after a federal court in Indianapolis invalidated as unconstitutional Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

The memo from the governor’s chief counsel tells executive branch agencies to execute their functions as though the June 25 court order had not been issued.

Pence defended the memo Wednesday and the sentiment expressed in it Wednesday afternoon. He said it was his job as governor to carry out the laws of the State of Indiana.

“The State of Indiana must operate in a manner with the laws of Indiana. So we have directed our state agencies earlier this week to conduct themselves in a way that respects current Indiana law, pending this matter’s process through the courts,” Pence said.

A “disappointed” Beth White responded to Pence’s order:

“As Clerk of Marion County, I was proud our office was able to issue these licenses and officiate over 450 weddings for couples, many of whom have been in loving committed relationships for decades. Governor Pence owes these couples an explanation on why he continues to deem them as second class citizens. They legally obtained their license, paid the requisite fee and should be entitled to the same rights and privileges the rest of us enjoy.

It is time for our state leaders to put the issue behind us so that we can focus on strengthening the middle-class, investing in quality Universal Coin and rebuilding Indiana’s economy. Hoosier businesses depend on the best and brightest employees to compete in the global economy. Indiana is rolling up the welcome mat with this regressive stance on this issue. Although my opponent has a long history of opposing marriage equality, I call on Mrs. Lawson to reject Governor Pence’s ruling today. The Office of the Secretary of State should be welcoming to all employers choosing to invest or reinvest in Indiana. And that includes their prospective employees and their families. Hoosiers deserve common sense leadership that is focused on moving Indiana forward.”

Greenwald

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released an official statement in response to the latest article and statements by Glenn Greenwald that suggest without any supporting evidence that U.S. intelligence agencies are essentially duplicating the illegal actions of COINTELPRO from 1956-1971.

Joint Statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice on Court-ordered Legal Surveillance of U.S. Persons.

It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights.

Unlike some other nations, the United States does not monitor anyone’s communications in order to suppress criticism or to put people at a disadvantage based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

Our intelligence agencies help protect America by collecting communications when they have a legitimate foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose.

With limited exceptions (for example, in an emergency), our intelligence agencies must have a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to target any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident for electronic surveillance.

These court orders are issued by an independent federal judge only if probable cause, based on specific facts, are established that the person is an agent of a foreign power, a terrorist, a spy, or someone who takes orders from a foreign power.

No U.S. person can be the subject of surveillance based solely on First Amendment activities, such as staging public rallies, organizing campaigns, writing critical essays, or expressing personal beliefs.

On the other hand, a person who the court finds is an agent of a foreign power under this rigorous standard is not exempted just because of his or her occupation.

The United States is as committed to protecting privacy rights and individual freedom as we are to defending our national security.

Take from that what you will. The Greenwald cultists simply dismiss statements coming that from the Government as lies, and assume the worst. My tendency is to base my opinions on evidence. So far I haven’t seen evidence in anything coming from the Snowden leaks that NSA is specifically targeting people because of their political and/or religious beliefs. In my opinion the FBI has done this, but Greenwald’s latest article doesn’t even present valid evidence against the FBI.

On the other hand, I’d like to see Congress do a serious investigation of what NSA and other intelligence agencies are actually doing, and particularly I’d like the government to address the issue of whether the five Americans named in Greenwald’s article were actually targeted and why. The supposed targeting happened before 2008, so perhaps it wouldn’t hurt if more information were released about the reasons.

For further reactions to the latest claims from The Intercept and The Washington Post–and to the DNI/DOJ statement, check out  to the following links.

Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter, Greenwald’s Latest NSA Bombshell is an Incomplete Mess, Lacking Any Evidence of Wrongdoing. Here’s the lede:

Glenn Greenwald’s “grand finale fireworks display” finally appeared online early Wednesday and, indeed, there were fireworks but not the “spectacular multicolored hues” he predicted. The fireworks instead came in the form of a bombshell that exploded in a mushroom cloud of shoddy reporting and the usual hyperbolic, misleading accusations that have been the centerpiece of his brand of journalism for more than a year.

You need to read the entire article to understand Cesca’s article, so please go over there if you’re interested in this issue.

Driftglass,  Beware the Tingler: Glenn Greenwald, The Phantom Menace, and The Present Progressive Tense.

Marc Ambinder at The Week analyzes the IC official statement, What you need to know about the latest NSA revelations.

Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare: On Glenn Greenwald’s Latest.

That’s all the news I have room for today. What stories are you following? Please post your links in the comment thread, and have a terrific Thursday!


Thursday Reads

Childe Hassam - Two Women Reading

Childe Hassam – Two Women Reading

Good Morning!!

 

Wolf Blitzer must be celebrating this morning, because the mystery plane is back in the headlines.

Associated Press reports (via CTV):

SYDNEY, Australia — Investigators looking into the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane are confident it was on autopilot when it crashed in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean, Australian officials said Thursday as they announced the latest shift in the search for the jet.

After analyzing data exchanged between the plane and a satellite, officials believe Flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, based on the straight path it took, Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said.

“Certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel,” Dolan told reporters in Canberra, the nation’s capital.

Asked whether the autopilot would have to be manually switched on, or whether it could have been activated automatically under a default setting, Dolan replied, “The basic assumption would be that if the autopilot is operational it’s because it’s been switched on.”

But exactly why the autopilot would have been set on a flight path so far off course from the jet’s destination of Beijing, and exactly when it was switched on remains unknown.

The New York Times explains what likely happened:

Wolf plane

A report issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, outlining how the new search zone had been chosen, said that the most likely scenario as the aircraft headed south across the Indian Ocean on March 8 was that the crew was suffering from hypoxia or was otherwise unresponsive.

Hypoxia occurs when a plane loses air pressure and the pilots, lacking adequate oxygen, become confused and incapable of performing even basic manual tasks.

Pilots are trained to put on oxygen masks immediately if an aircraft suffers depressurization; their masks have an hour’s air supply, compared with only a few minutes for the passengers. The plane, which left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing, with 239 people aboard, made its turn south toward the Indian Ocean about an hour after it stopped responding to air-traffic controllers….

Evidence for an unresponsive crew as the plane flew south includes the loss of radio communications, a long period with no maneuvering of the aircraft, a steadily maintained cruise altitude and eventual fuel exhaustion and descent, the report said.

“Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive crew/hypoxia event type appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370’s flight when it was heading in a generally southerly direction,” the document said.

Based on the report, a new search zone has been designated, according to the LA Times:

Experts from Boeing and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board were among the specialists who helped define the zone, based on satellite data and analysis of previous similar incidents.

The new zone, about 1,100 miles west of Perth, Australia, is farther south than where previous intensive search efforts were carried out this spring after the plane vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard. The flight was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it went missing….

Australia Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the search was continuing with a mapping of the ocean floor in the newly defined area, to be followed by a comprehensive seafloor search.

The seafloor search, he said, should start around August and be completed within one year. The area is 58 miles wide and 400 miles long, covering an area as big as Lake Huron, the second-largest of the U.S. Great Lakes. By comparison, the area searched with a robotic, sonar-equipped submarine in May was about 330 square miles.

First gay marriage license issued in Indiana

First gay marriage license issued in Indiana

There was exciting news yesterday in the struggle to legalize same-sex marriage state by state.

From NPR: Federal Judges Reverse Gay-Marriage Bans In Utah, Indiana.

Utah and Indiana are the latest states to see their bans on same-sex marriage struck down by a federal court, following rulings in both states Wednesday that found the prohibition unconstitutional.

In Utah, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling striking down the state’s gay-marriage ban. And in Indiana,U.S. District Judge Richard Young made a similar ruling.

“It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples,” the three-judge panel in the Utah case said. The panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending its appeal, either to the entire 10th Circuit or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to The Associated Press.

In Indiana, Young wrote: “Same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana. … These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

Both decisions are significant in that they may influence decisions in other states.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, writes NPR in an email that the Utah decision “is very significant, as [it is] the first appellate court to address the marriage equality issue.

“The 4th Circuit [in Virginia] may well apply the reasoning of the 10th Circuit opinion, as will numerous district courts that have yet to rule,” he says.

“The Indiana ruling invalidating its ban today also used similar reasoning,” Tobias says. “All courts are finding that the bans violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.”

In another breakthrough, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has announced that she supports same-sex marriage. From The Washington Post: 

“A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” Collins said in a statement, adding later: “I have long opposed efforts to impose a federal ban on same-sex marriage. In both 2004 and 2006, I voted against amendments to the United States Constitution that would have banned same-sex marriages by preempting state laws.”

Collins joins three other Republican senators who publicly support gay marriage: Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Ill.).

Today at noon Eastern, the U.S. plays Germany in the World Cup.

world cup

CBS News reports, Team USA: “Everything’s on the line” for Germany match.

 

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the American team so far in the World Cup. The team that, on paper, many pundits didn’t expect to advance, now has a real shot at moving on to the second round. And as CBS News’ Elaine Quijano reports, that fate is hinged on beating or at least coming up even against one of the cup favorites, Germany.

Team USA was greeted with cheers from American fans Wednesday as they arrived in the Brazilian city of Recife.

Players spent the three days between matches recovering and regrouping after a physical first game against Ghana and an emotional tie against Portugal.

“This is the biggest game of a lot of our lives, so any fatigue in our legs will be erased,” said American midfielder Kyle Beckerman. “We’ve got to give everything we’ve got and more.”

Team USA began their World Cup run in the so-called “group of death,” but their aggression, attacks and overall stamina on the pitch have defied pundits who originally dismissed their chances of advancing.

“I think some people might be a little bit surprised at our results so far,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Wednesday. “We are by no means any underdog here in this tournament, but we know it’s the biggest hurdle we have to take now with Germany.”

Klinsman suggested that U.S. fans should take a day off work to watch the game, and wrote a letter to bosses asking them to excuse their employee’s absences, reports Reuters.

In the style of a ‘doctor’s note’, Klinsmann addresses employers and asks them to forgive their staff for their absence.

The letter was distributed on social networks by the U.S. Soccer.

“I understand that this absence may reduce the productivity of your workplace, but I can assure you that it is for an important cause,” wrote Klinsmann.

“The #USMNT (U.S. Men’s National Team) has a critical World Cup game vs Germany and we will need the full support of the nation if we are to advance to the next round.

“By the way, you should act like a good leader and take the day off as well. Go USA! Signed Jurgen Klinsmann, Head Coach, U.S. National team”.

And from Jake Simpson at the Atlantic: The Surprisingly High Stakes of the U.S.-Germany World Cup Game.

In the wake of the U.S. team’s heartbreaking come-from-ahead draw against Portugal in the World Cup on Sunday, soccer analysts and Twitter users scrambled to figure out the many ways the U.S. can still get to the next round. With a three-point lead over Portugal and Ghana in Group G, the Americans can advance even if they lose their match against Germany at noon Eastern today, depending on the outcome of the Portugal-Ghana game played at the same time. Deadspin has one of the better graphical breakdowns of every potential scenario for the U.S., including the dreaded drawing of lots.

All the focus on permutations and goal-differential scenarios has undercut the importance of today’s game for American soccer. There’s not as much at stake, goes the implication, because we can move ahead even if we lose to Germany. But this is about more than getting to the next round. This is an opportunity for the U.S. to face one of soccer’s elite teams on the biggest stage and prove it can hang with—even beat—any country in this World Cup.

Before the tournament, most people thought it would be an unlikely success for the U.S. just to get out of the so-called Group of Death and to the Round of 16. Now, after beating Ghana and dominating much of the game against Portugal, the U.S. can dream bigger. Beat Germany, and America wins its group for the second straight World Cup, a result nearly unthinkable when the draw was announced in December. Beat Germany, and the U.S. secures a favorable Round of 16 match most likely against Algeria or Russia, rather than a trickier faceoff with sneaky-good Belgium.

Just as important, a win would mean that the Americans have defeated one of soccer’s oligarchs at a World Cup, with both sides trying their best for a victory. That by itself would be a precedent-setting result.

People in Oklahoma are beginning to ask questions

about why their state has been having so many earthquakes all of a sudden, according to the Globe-Gazzette.com.

Barbara Brown poses for a photo on the front step of her home that now sits about one foot off the surface of her lawn, Saturday, June 21, 2014, in Reno, Texas.

Barbara Brown poses for a photo on the front step of her home that now sits about one foot off the surface of her lawn, Saturday, June 21, 2014, in Reno, Texas.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma residents whose homes and nerves have been shaken by an upsurge in earthquakes want to know what’s causing the temblors — and what can be done to stop them.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Thursday night for a town hall meeting on the issue.

Earthquakes used to be almost unheard of on the vast stretches of prairie that unfold across Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, but they’ve become common in recent years.

Oklahoma recorded nearly 150 between January and the start of May. Though most have been too weak to cause serious damage or endanger lives, they’ve raised suspicions that the shaking might be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.

Now after years of being harangued by anxious residents, governments in all three states are confronting the issue, reviewing scientific data, holding public discussions and considering new regulations. Thursday’s meeting in Oklahoma will include the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling and the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

Gee, do you suppose it could have anything to do with fracking? And what about all that wastewater that has to be disposed of in the fracking process? From Techsonia: Fracking Fluid Spills release Colloids that Pollute Groundwater.

According to a new research, wastewater contains substances that bind to pollutants and their release in soil leads to the ground water contamination as they get along with the water when it is soaked by earth.

In this study, flowback fluid from hydraulic fracturing was analyzed. Colloids are the charged particles and larger than molecules and have the potency to bind to sand grains. With the wastewater, colloids get released in to the ground water.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and was conducted by the researchers at the Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This study was done to determine the remaining colloids amounts in groundwater when the above soil got exposed to flowback fliud in a hydrofracking spills.

Ugh.

One last story . . .

Scientists have unearthed interesting facts about Oldest human faeces show Neanderthals ate vegetables.

Found at a dig in Spain, the ancient excrement showed chemical traces of both meat and plant digestion.

An earlier view of these early humans as purely meat-eating has already been partially discredited by plant remains found in their caves and teeth.

The new paper, in the journal PLOS One, claims to offer the best support to date for an omnivorous diet.

Poo is “the perfect evidence,” said Ms Ainara Sistiaga, a PhD student at the University of La Laguna on the Canary Islands, and the study’s first author, “because you’re sure it was consumed”.

Ms Sistiaga and her colleagues collected a number of samples from the remnants of a 50,000-year-old campfire in the El Salt dig site, a known Neanderthal habitation near Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.

So if you bought into the “cave man diet” AKA “Paleolithic diet” recommendations, you were scammed. These early Neanderthals even cooked vegetables and may have used plants for medicinal purposes. Read the whole article at the link. It’s fascinating.

Now . . . what stories are you following today? Are you going to watch the U.S.-Germany game? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread.

 


Tuesday Reads: Delusional Republicans, Complicit Media, and Lots More

off-to-see-the-wizard

Good Morning!!

Yesterday the House Republicans made a so-called “counteroffer” to President Obama’s initial proposal for avoiding the fiscal cliff that basically consists of the Romney/Ryan plan that voters already rejected. The plan called for cutting Medicare by raising the eligibility age to 67, cutting Social Security by change the COLA, and supposedly “raising revenues” without raising rates on the rich–with specifics to be determined next year.

The White House rejected the offer immediately as basically a joke and will not be making a counteroffer, according to CNN’s Jessica Yellin.

Senior administration officials said the offer House Speaker John Boehner submitted to the White House on Monday wasn’t serious enough to merit a counter-proposal from the administration. So the president’s team plans to wait for the GOP to come around on the idea of raising tax rates or let the nation go over the fiscal cliff.

In a statement Monday White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer blasted the Republican plan, arguing it “does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill.”

Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Republicans have gone over the rainbow and have lost touch with reality. They simply can’t accept that they lost the election, and they just aren’t in “Kansas” anymore.

The talk in DC is that the Republicans have talked about a “doomsday plan,” actually another tantrum in which they metaphorically throw themselves down on the House floor screaming and kicking until they get their way. According to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl:

Republicans are seriously considering a Doomsday Plan if fiscal cliff talks collapse entirely. It’s quite simple: House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.

Two senior Republican elected officials tell me this doomsday plan is becoming the most likely scenario. A top GOP House leadership aide confirms the plan is under consideration, but says Speaker Boehner has made no decision on whether to pursue it.

Under one variation of this Doomsday Plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote “present” on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.

It’s a mystery what Republicans think they would gain by doing this, so I guess the childish temper tantrum metaphor continues to fit.

What bothers me even more than the Republicans’ nonsensical refusal to accept reality is that the media has apparently decided to go over the rainbow too and pretend that the childish tantrums make some kind of sense. During the presidential campaign, I got the feeling that corporate “journalists” were beginning to face up to reality when they began actually admitting that Mitt Romney’s was telling bald-faced lies with regularity. But no–they’re returned to the default position of pretending that “both sides do it.” A few days ago, Michael Grunwald wrote a great piece about this at Time’s Swampland blog: Fiscal Cliff Fictions: Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It.

It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.

I’ve written a lot about the GOP’s defiance of reality–its denial of climate science, its simultaneous denunciations of Medicare cuts and government health care, its insistence that debt-exploding tax cuts will somehow reduce the debt—so I often get accused of partisanship. But it’s simply a fact that Republicans controlled Washington during the fiscally irresponsible era when President Clinton’s budget surpluses were transformed into the trillion-dollar deficit that President Bush bequeathed to President Obama. (The deficit is now shrinking.) It’s simply a fact that the fiscal cliff was created in response to GOP threats to force the U.S. government to default on its obligations. The press can’t figure out how to weave those facts into the current narrative without sounding like it’s taking sides, so it simply pretends that yesterday never happened.

Dakinikat has written about this repeatedly, of course, but it’s nice to see it in the corporate media for a change.

Speaking of media madness, I don’t watch CNN much anymore but it seems like any time I click by the channel one of two people is on the air–Wolf Blitzer or Erin Burnett. Do they even have any other reporters working there in the afternoon an evening?

What’s the deal with having Erin Burnett covering serious news stories, even foreign policy stories? Burnett’s background is as co-anchor of a show on CNBC as an adviser to Donald Trump on Celebrity Apprentice! She recently “interviewed” Julian Assange and failed to ask him even one significant question.

Unfortunately, I don’t get Current TV, but apparently Cenk Uygur has been criticizing Burnett relentlessly for the past couple of years. Most recently, he accused her of ‘Guarding The Fortress’ By Abetting Gutting Of Medicare. From Mediaite:

“Erin Burnett is someone that represents the rich, powerful, the establishment, in my opinion,” Cenk said, “and you can see it in her CNN reports all the time.”

Cenk set up a clip from Burnett’s show, in which Rep. [Peter] DeFazio explains how deficit reduction can be achieved without gutting Medicare benefits. “Listen to her be incredibly incredulous about this,” he said, before playing a few snippets from OutFront.

“(President Obama) has said ‘Yes, I support raising the age on Medicare from 65 to 67,” Burnett says. “Simpson-Bowles talked about raising the age. Most people do, and say that’s really going to be the only way to get out of this. You really think we don’t have to make real changes, or is that just, I understand your constituents don’t want you to say anything…”

The implication is that DeFazio is opposing the change on nakedly political grounds, and not the merits of the policy.

“That doesn’t deal with the cost of prescription drugs,” Rep. Defazio replied, “and with overpriced and unnecessary medical care.”

“Fair,” Burnett interjects, as the clip cuts ahead to Burnett saying “Interesting point, but I still find it a little bit hard to believe. when you say we don’t have to make substantive change to a program that’s going to consume all of our federal spending if we keep going the way we’re going, we do need to make substantial changes. It’s going to hurt.”

See what I mean? As Dakinkat has said, CNN is trying to compete with Fox News, though not very successfully. But why are they doing it when their ratings keep falling? And why don’t they hire some real reporters?

Have you heard that former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has begun blogging at right wing conspiracy site World Net Daily? According to Raw Story, Santorum’s first post is about a supposed UN conspiracy involving Harry Reid.

In keeping with the WND tradition of promoting various fringe conspiracies, Santorum’s debut column claimed that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has an objective of “ceding our sovereignty to the United Nations.”

Santorum warned that a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty adopted in 2006 “has much darker and more troubling implications” than to simply improve the treatment of disabled people in other countries.

The staunchly anti-abortion Republican worried that the treaty would “put the government, acting under U.N. authority, in the position to determine for all children with disabilities what is best for them.”

And taking that thought to its absurd conclusion, Santorum suggested that the U.N. treaty would have meant the death of his daughter, who has a rare genetic disorder.

Sigh…

In more serious news, a very sad story this morning: David Oliver Relin, co-author of the book Three Cups of Tea, has committed suicide. Last year I wrote about a 60 Minutes report on the other co-author Greg Mortenson’s fabricated stories in the book. Relin was very disturbed by the revelations and had become deeply depressed, according to the NYT.

David Oliver Relin, a journalist and adventurer who achieved acclaim as co-author of the best seller “Three Cups of Tea” (2006) and then suffered emotionally and financially as basic facts in the book were called into question, died Nov. 15 in Multnomah County, Ore. He was 49.

His family said Mr. Relin “suffered from depression” and took his own life. The family, speaking through Mr. Relin’s agent, Jin Auh, was unwilling to give further details, but said a police statement would be released this week.

In the 1990s, Mr. Relin established himself as a journalist with an interest in telling “humanitarian” stories about people in need in articles about child soldiers and about his travels in Vietnam.

“He felt his causes passionately,” said Lee Kravitz, the former editor of Parade who hired Mr. Relin at various magazines over the years. “He especially cared about young people. I always assigned him to stories that would inspire people to take action to improve their lives.”

Relin obviously had no idea that his co-author Greg Mortenson was a fabulist.

And another sad story from the Times: Homeless Man Is Grateful for Officer’s Gift of Boots. But He Again Is Barefoot. You probably heard about the police officer who recently took pity on a homeless man whose feet were freezing and bought him a pair of $100 boots. Unfortunately the boots put the man’s life at risk.

After Officer Lawrence DePrimo knelt beside a barefoot man on a bitterly cold November night in Times Square, giving him a pair of boots, a photo of his random act of good will quickly took on a life of its own — becoming a symbol for a million acts of kindness that go unnoticed every day and a reminder that even in this tough, often anonymous city, people can still look out for one another.

Officer DePrimo was celebrated on front pages and morning talk shows, the Police Department came away with a burnished image and millions got a smile from a nice story.

But the unnamed homeless man was living in another, more painful reality.

His name is Jeffrey Hillman, and on Sunday night, he was once again wandering the streets — this time on the Upper West Side — with no shoes.

The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Skechers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.

“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”

Meanwhile, years of Republican rule in New York City have led to skyrocketing homelessness in the city. From Alternet: How One GOP Plutocrat Helped Make 20,000 Kids Homeless

There are 20,000 kids sleeping in homeless shelters in New York City, according to the city’s latest estimate, a number that does not include homeless kids who are not sleeping in shelters because their families have been turned away. Up to 65 percent of families who apply for shelter don’t get in , and their options can be grim.

“Some end up sleeping in subway trains,” Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless, tells AlterNet. “Some go to hospital emergency rooms or laundromats. Women are going back to their batterers or staying in unsafe apartments.”

Families that make it into shelters are taking longer to leave and move into stable, permanent housing. Asked by reporters why families were staying 30% longer than even last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “… it is a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”

Man, that’s cold. Bloomberg could probably help all those homeless kids with money out of his own pocket and not even notice it, but instead he has banned gifts of food to the homeless even after Hurricane Sandy!

The edict, issued last March by Mayor Bloomberg, is part of a larger move by the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) that dictates serving sizes and other nutritional requirements. These include limits on calorie contents, minimum fiber amounts and condiment recomendations [sic]….

Mayor Bloomberg’s clampdown on food donations can be seen as a greater restriction on New Yorker’s freedom to eat or drink what they want. He banned the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces last September, baby formula to new mothers in local hospitals last July, smoking in parks and open spaces in May 2011, implemented a plan in January 2010 to cut the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant food, forced fast food restaurants to post calorie content in October 2007, and forbid restaurants from using trans fats in cooking oils in 2006.

Real human beings are cold and hungry, and Bloomberg is worried about calorie control and nutritional requirements!

Uh-oh. This post has gotten way too long and I’m way to late in putting it up, so I’ll end on this down note. I hope you’ll have some more upbeat stories to share in the comments.


Wednesday Reads: No Nothing Nada

Good Morning!

Man, trying to find articles for today’s morning reads was excruciating.  When a trending topic is Fox News ridiculous paper clip bash on Obama’s use of a large black plastic clip to hold together his American Jobs Act, you know the pickings are going to be slim.

Since I’ve mentioned the damn thing, might as well post some links on that:

Obama’s bill makes it illegal to discriminate against unemployed – The Hill’s Floor Action

President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which he presented to Congress on Monday, would make it illegal for employers to run advertisements saying that they will not consider unemployed workers, or to refuse to consider or hire people because they are unemployed.

The proposed language is found in a section of the bill titled “Prohibition of Discrimination in Employment on the Basis of an Individual’s Status as Unemployed.” That section would also make it illegal for employers to request that employment agencies take into account a person’s unemployed status.

It would allow for people to sue companies if they were discriminated against because of long-term unemployment. Of course, the rich and employed GOP Reps are not going for it. One in particular, and surprise he is from Texas, Rep.Louie Gohmert has said it will create a new class of sue happy people, and the trial lawyers will be the ones who get new jobs…

“So if you’re unemployed, and you go to apply for a job and you’re not hired for that job, see a lawyer,” Gohmert said on the House floor. “You might be able to file a claim because you got discriminated against because you’re unemployed.”

He said this provision would only discourage companies from interviewing unemployed candidates, and would “help trial lawyers who are not having enough work,” since there are about 14 million unemployed Americans.

“That’s 14 million potential new clients that could go hire a lawyer and file a claim because they didn’t get hired even though they were unemployed,” he said.

Take a minute to read some of the comments on that link…there are some who realize the problem, and think it is a good addition to the AJA bill. But then read some of the vile comments that readers make, reminiscent of the debate crowd cheering for allowing uninsured people to drop dead, it is downright frightening.

There has really been a growing disgust for the long-term unemployed, have you noticed it? The “Us and Them” viewpoint is getting louder and more abrasive. The language that some people are using when discussing the unemployed has become as nasty as the language they use when talking about welfare mothers.  Maybe these hateful people would like to see a big scarlet U mandate on the unemployed, make it a condition to get your unemployment check…you must have a U sewn onto your clothing, which they will inspect when you go to pee in a cup for that pre-funding drug test you’ll have to pay for.

Just a side note, my mind has wandered. Yesterday my son asked if anything as horrible as the Holocaust could ever happen again.  His actual question was could there be another Hitler, would Hitler be able to get away with killing all those people today. And the answer I gave him was yes.  I don’t mean that ovens for the unemployed will pop up across the US, but damn…the tension is rising all over the world.  Austerity is giving hate a fertile breeding ground, this bad economy is bringing out the worst in people who are not being affected negatively by this Age of Austerity. </sidenote>

A new plan has been suggested by some Democrats in office.  Liberal Democrats announce jobs platform to the left of Obama’s – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room

At a news conference, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said Obama’s proposal was a good start, but that their own agenda would do even more to put people to work.

The CPC platform focuses on six areas for job creation and calls for a national infrastructure bank, green technology investment, new public-sector spending for job creation and closing tax loopholes and subsidies for big American businesses as well as discouraging large bonuses for CEOs of big corporations.

The framework includes a $227 billion jobs bill sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) that aims to create 2.2 million jobs through funding for school improvement, police and firefighter services, local healthcare providers, the Early Head Start program and park-improvement services.

Schakowsky’s proposal would be funded by separate legislation, also sponsored by her, that raises taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Her legislation would also cut subsidies for major oil companies and close tax loopholes for corporations that hire employees outside the United States.

While the progressive Democrats’ proposals focus on new spending, Obama’s jobs package includes mostly tax cuts, including an extension and expansion of the payroll tax cut introduced this year.

I’m glad there are some Dems actually doing something productive, but come on…get real! You think any spending bill that is funded by raising taxes on those very people who would rather see a poor man die is gonna get passed.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) stressed that it was important for Democrats to not cave in on pieces of either Obama’s jobs plan or the CPC’s job-creation agenda.

“Half a loaf is not enough in the United States of America,” Woolsey said. “The whole proposal is what we must have now.”

Yeah, no kidding…but even going out and taking this CPC plan out to the people seems like a stretch to me. Maybe it will be well accepted, but when I hear the folks around my part of Banjoland, they are all speaking the Fox News language of no more debt, don’t have money to pay for new projects that would create jobs. And these are people who are suffering from underemployment and unemployment. It is like they repeat the same phrases they hear fron Neal Boortz and Rush and the other right wing loud mouths, and it is just not repeating, it is parroting the tone and expression of the talking heads that really make me cringe.

Oh, and I want you to look at the comments on this post as well.  I don’t know, but I have found myself looking at what people are saying on the articles I read.  It usually makes me feel even more discouraged but maybe I am just over all the crap plans these politicians are proposing.

Speaking of crap, Austerity crap that is: IMF: Austerity boosts unemployment, lowers paychecks – The Washington Post

These past few years, the Republican line on job creation has been simple: Cut government spending, tame the deficit, and unemployment will fall. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the day after, but soon. “To put it simply,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R- Va.) said last spring, “less government spending means more private-sector jobs.” But that’s not exactly a rigorous study. So here’s a rigorous study.

In a new paper for the International Monetary Fund, Laurence Ball, Daniel Leigh and Prakash Loungani look at 173 episodes of fiscal austerity over the past 30 years—with the average deficit cut amounting to 1 percent of GDP. Their verdict? Austerity “lowers incomes in the short term, with wage-earners taking more of a hit than others; it also raises unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment.”

More specifically, an austerity program that curbs the deficit by 1 percent of GDP reduces real incomes by about 0.6 percent and raises unemployment by almost 0.5 percentage points. What’s more, the IMF notes, the losses are twice as big when the central bank can’t cut rates (a good description of the present.) Typically, income and employment don’t fully recover even five years after the austerity program is put in place.

How many studies and reports is it going to take to make these people realize Austerity isn’t the answer.  It only brings on more income inequality, lower incomes get lower, higher incomes get higher.

Some austerity programs can be harsher than others. The IMF study notes that plans to reduce the deficit can be particularly brutal if central banks “do not or cannot blunt some of the pain through a monetary policy stimulus.” (In 1992, Italy and Finland took steps to rein in their deficits but mitigated the discomfort by depreciating their currencies and boosting exports.) Meanwhile, if multiple countries are all carrying out austerity at the same time, the overall pain is likely to be greater. This sums up the current debt crisis in the euro zone: Individual euro member states can’t depreciate their own currencies because they’re all on the euro; the European Central Bank isn’t providing much monetary stimulus; and the economically ailing countries are all dragging one another other down.

But this IMF paper isn’t new proof that austerity doesn’t work in a bad economy, we have read Dakinikat’s posts about this…her little fingers must be so bruised and callused from typing the same words repeatedly.

This looks like a good time to post this link, h/t Maddow Blog:

BTS | Maps of Structurally Deficient Bridges on the National Highway System

A visual map of US bridges that need improvements.  It’s from information gathered a few years ago, so there are probably more little green dots on that map now…but it illustrates a point. A painful one at that.

Hmmm, that word green reminds me, there is more news about the Solyndra mess: Emails: Obama White House Monitored Huge Loan to ‘Connected’ Firm – ABC News

Newly uncovered emails show the White House closely monitored the Energy Department’s deliberations over a $535 million government loan to Solyndra, the politically-connected solar energy firm that recently went bankrupt and is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

The emails were “shared” with ABC…I get an image of the parking garage scene in All The President’s Men…

…internal emails uncovered by investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee that were shared exclusively with ABC News show the Obama administration was keenly monitoring the progress of the loan, even as analysts were voicing serious concerns about the risk involved. “This deal is NOT ready for prime time,” one White House budget analyst wrote in a March 10, 2009 email, nine days before the administration formally announced the loan.

“If you guys think this is a bad idea, I need to unwind the W[est] W[ing] QUICKLY,” wrote Ronald A. Klain, who was chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, in another email sent March 7, 2009.

Whoa…the plot appears to be getting thicker doesn’t it.

Ah, the word “thick” brings me to the topic of my last links for the day. Michele Bachmann, and believe me this GOP candidate is about as “thickheaded” as they come.  By thickheaded I mean she is clueless…a moron.

Michele Bachmann: U.S. Immigration ‘Worked Very, Very Well’ Under The Asian Exclusion Act | ThinkProgress

In 1924, Congress passed a package of immigration laws — including the National Origins Act and the Asian Exclusion Act — establishing a quota system giving preferential treatment to European immigrants. Under these laws, the number of immigrants who could be admitted from a given country was capped at a percentage of the number of people from that nation who were living in the United States in 1890. Because Americans were overwhelmingly of European descent in 1890, the practical effect of these laws was an enormous thumb on the scale encouraging white immigration.

These quotas were eliminated by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, an act which is widely credited for opening up our nation to new Americans of Asian and Central and South American descent. At last night’s CNN/Tea Party Republican presidential candidates’ debate, however, Bachmann claimed this decision to eliminate our past, misguided immigration policy was a big mistake.

The immigration system in the United States worked very, very well up until the mid-1960s when liberal members of Congress changed the immigration laws. What works is to have people come into the United States with a little bit of money in their pocket, legally, with sponsors so that if anything happens to them they don’t fall back on the taxpayers to take care of them.

It not only barred Asians from immigrating to this country, it also made the Asians that were already here ineligible for citizenship.

See, she’s a moron!

But as this last link points out, Bachmann isn’t the only thickheaded one these days.  Tommy Christopher discusses how the Media Fails The Public By Allowing Michele Bachmann To Spread HPV Vaccine Misinformation CNN NBC | Michele Bachmann | HPV vaccine fail | Mediaite

Within the past 24 hours, I have watched at least three different mainstream journalists allow Rep. Michele Bachmann to claim that the HPV vaccine is “dangerous,” and that it might cause “mental retardation,” without challenging her, or notifying their audiences (of millions) that the vaccine is safe. First, Wolf Blitzer let it sail by during last night’s CNN/Tea Party debate, then CNN’s John King followed suit during a post-debate interview, and The Today Show‘s Matt Lauer skated by it Tuesday morning. These journalists are failing their most important function, to act in the public’s interest.

…someone at CNN should have checked it out during the time between Blitzer’s question and John King’s post-debate interview.

But there’s simply no excuse for Lauer’s failure to challenge Bachmann the following morning. She didn’t bring up the HPV vaccine, Lauer did, and he already knew she was going around claiming that it’s harmful. Hell, without knowing anything about HPV, any reporter would challenge the “evidence” as Bachmann presented it.

This isn’t about making Michele Bachmann look stupid. While Blitzer, King, and Lauer could have asked her to respond to the science that refutes her claims, they could also have simply paused to mention that the CDC, the FDA, and every non-quack in the known world says the vaccine is safe. Ten seconds. In each case, though, these journalists were more concerned about refereeing a food fight between Bachmann and Rick Perry, so their massive audiences got a dose of real poison: misinformation about a life-saving drug.

CNN is running a segment with Dr. Cohen that tries to put the right information about the vaccine out there, but will it reach the same volume of people as the high-profile debate? I doubt it.  Tommy Christopher goes on to write,

Let’s set aside the politics of this for a moment (and I’m biting through my lip to do that). Whether you think the vaccine ought to be mandatory or not, it is imperative that people making the choice whether to vaccinate their kids (or themselves) have accurate information. The HPV vaccine prevents a virus that causes cervical cancer, so this is a life-and-death issue.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the HPV vaccine is as safe, if not safer than, any other vaccine. Only .05% of patients who took the vaccine reported any adverse effects at all, and of those, 8% were considered serious, and none (zero) of them could be linked to the vaccine itself. You’d get more reports than that from people who ate a Tic Tac.

The window in which the vaccine is not unlimited, either. It’s only proven effective for ages 12-26. Whatever your beliefs about the government’s ability to mandate the vaccine, I would hope that everyone would bear in mind that not every sex act is a sin (or even consensual), and that not every sin deserves to be punished with cancer.

A point many have made about this HPV vaccine. Sex isn’t always consensual.

Now, people have every right in the world to be skeptical of science, but they need to be told about the science. If even one person dies because Michele Bachmann scared them out of taking the HPV vaccine (well-meaning though she may be), that will be a tragedy, one that could have been avoided if the media did its job.

The media has neglected its job enough lately. They need to step up and ask the questions that need to be asked. Otherwise, the term “free press” will be just a worthless phrase…how can anything be “free” if it is getting its advertising and sponsor revenue from people who have a specific agenda. Hey, and remember, “people” includes corporations, cause corporations are people too.

That’s is it for me, the cool side of the pillow is calling me. Share some thoughts and I’ll catch y’all later in the comments.


Hillary says No

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has released an interview with SOS Hillary Clinton. Blitzer asked if she was going to either serve a second term or run for President in 2012.  This is pretty clear evidence the Clinton is planning on returning to private life shortly. Blitzer interviewed Clinton during her visit to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on March 16, 2011.

Q- If the president is reelected, do you want to serve a second term as secretary of state?

No

Q- Would you like to serve as secretary of defense?

No

Q- Would you like to be vice president of the United States?

No

Q- Would you like to be president of the United States?

No

Q- Why not?

Because I have the best job I could ever have. This is a moment in history where it is almost hard to catch your breath. There are both the tragedies and disasters that we have seen from Haiti to Japan and there are the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that we see right here in Egypt and in the rest of the region. So I want to be part of helping to represent the United States at this critical moment in time, to do everything I can in support of the president and our government and the people of our country to stand for our values and our ideals, to stand up for our security, which has to remain first and foremost in my mind and to advance America’s interests. And there isn’t anything that I can imagine doing after this that would be as demanding, as challenging or rewarding.

Q- President of the United States?

You know, I had a wonderful experience running and I am very proud of the support I had and very grateful for the opportunity, but I’m going to be, you know, moving on.

Q- I asked my viewers and followers on Twitter to send questions and a lot of them said, “Ask her if she’ll run in 2016 for the presidency.” A lot of folks would like to you to do that.

Well that’s very kind, but I am doing what I want to do right now and I have no intention or any idea even of running again. I’m going to do the best I can at this job for the next two years.

Clinton also spoke of democratic reforms in Egypt while visiting that nation and Tunisia. She was greeted with protests in Tunisia.

Clinton toured Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the pro-democracy uprising that led to last month’s resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Clinton said visiting the square was a “great reminder of the power of the human spirit and desire for freedom and human rights and democracy.”

She was welcomed by Egyptian citizens and shook hands with passersby in the square before meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

Before leaving for Tunisia on Wednesday, Clinton was set to meet with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa. Moussa, 74, is a veteran Egyptian diplomat and has announced his candidacy for the country’s presidency.

Clinton also met with pro-democracy activists and members of Egypt’s civil society. She is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Egypt since the anti-government protests.

Clinton arrived in Cairo Tuesday after attending a Group of Eight foreign ministers’ meeting in Paris.

After wrapping up talks in Egypt, she travels to Tunisia – the starting point of the pro-democracy movement that has swept through much of the Middle East and North Africa this year.

Dozens of Tunisians took to the streets in Tunis on Wednesday to protest against Clinton’s visit.  The demonstrators said they oppose foreign intervention in their country.

There appears to be no break through in her meetings with the G8 in terms of backing a no-fly zone for Libya.  While she met with Egypt’s Prime Minister, some details of their meeting have not been released.

On Tuesday, Clinton issued a strong statement of praise for Egypt’s political revolution, declaring she was “deeply inspired” by the dramatic change and promising new assistance for America’s longtime Middle East ally.

Clinton pledged $90 million in emergency economic assistance during a meeting in Cairo with Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby. She is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Egypt since the overthrow of Mubarak.

“The United States will work to ensure that the economic gains Egypt has forged in recent years continue, and that all parts of Egyptian society benefit from these gains,” a State Department statement noted.

She’s not yet discussed her plans after she retires from the position of US Secretary of State.