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Archive for July 5th, 2011

Early Morning Swim

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Early Morning Swim

The Worst
Another Murdoch scandal comes and might as well go in this country.

pic via sirenmedia at flickr.com

The American press has long managed not to report on the phone-hacking scandal that Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper ‘News of the World‘ perpetrated. One never knows when Rupert will get out his check book for you to work at the Wall Street Journal or FoxNews so why harm your future prospects with actual journalism?

But maybe, just maybe, the actions of Murdoch’s minions have finally gone too far.

In 2002 a teenage English girl Milly Dowler disappeared — News of the World Reporters tapped into her telephone messages during the police investigation. Bad enough, but that is not all:

News of the World journalists intercepted – and deleted – the voicemail messages of Milly Dowler.

The messages were deleted by journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance in order to free up space for more messages. As a result friends and relatives of Milly concluded wrongly that she might still be alive. Police feared evidence may have been destroyed.

If there’s a low-class act of faux journalism to be performed in this world it has Murdoch’s fingers all over it.

Yet, magically, the malfeasance never gets reported here.

Late, Late Night FDL: America
Neil Diamond–America and Boston Pops 2009: Stars and Stripes Forever

Neil Diamond–America

Happy 4th of July, Pups…!

And just for Suz…!

Boston Pops 2009: Stars and Stripes Forever

What’s on your mind tonite…?


Independence From Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Independence From Obama

By Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Boeing

By Eric Allie, Caglecartoons.com

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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GOP Governor Pushes Contentious Change

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

GOP Governor Pushes Contentious Change
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s new Republican Gov. John Kasich is a study in contradictions. He is candid yet secretive. He is acerbic yet personable. He…

Religious? Older? Western? Male? Tories Have Your Vote: Poll
Two months in and Canadians have no regrets about how they voted in the last federal election. According to the latest polling results from…

Independence Day Celebrated With Fireworks, Parades
NEW YORK — The nation’s most extravagant display of July 4 fireworks Monday was a triumphant celebration that turned sober briefly to commemorate the 10-year…

Nation’s Largest Education Union Endorses Obama’s Re-Election
CHICAGO — The nation’s largest education union has endorsed President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Members of the National Education Association voted to support Obama…


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Presented By:

SC Lt. Gov. Reimburses Campaign For Cash Spent On Playstation, Women’s Clothes
South Carolina Lt. Governor Ken Ard (R) has settled his 107 ethics violations with the State Ethics Commission, and agreed to pay a $48,400 fine, cover the cost of the investigation, and reimburse his campaign for $12,121 in illegal expenditures….

Idaho Lawmaker Who Drunkenly Stole Car Gets Off With Misdemeanor
After he stole a Ford Excursion and drove it with a .15 blood alcohol content — almost twice the legal limit — John McGee was charged with felony grand theft and faced the prospect of a hefty jail sentence. The…


Happy Independence Day 2011

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Happy Independence Day 2011


Super PACS Could Define Presidential Campaign

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Super PACS Could Define Presidential Campaign
The Washington Post reports a new breed of “super PACs” and other independent groups “are poised to spend more money than ever to sway federal elections.”

“The rise of these independent groups, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and other wealthy donors and spend it to help their favored candidates, could end up defining the 2012 campaign. But some of the groups could also pose a threat to established campaigns, which may find it difficult to stop them from wandering off message or committing strategic blunders.”

Romney Flops Back on the Recession
The New York Times notes that Mitt Romney has returned to his original claim that President Obama “made the recession worse” after denying he had made such a claim, despite repeatedly doing so since launching his presidential campaign.

Speaking at an Independence Day parade in New Hampshire, Romney told the crowd, “the recession is deeper because of our president…it’s seen an anemic recovery because of our president,” before flatly saying that the president “made the recession worse.”

The Absurdity of Soundbites
The BBC has a bizarre interview with British Labour leader Ed Miliband who responded to every question with the same statement.

Damon Green, the ITV News correspondent who did the pooled story, told The Guardian that the interview was “so absurd” that it is only “perfectly proper” that the full un-edited version of it “has found its way onto YouTube… to be laughed at along with all the clips of cats falling off sofas”.

Gingrich Suggests Campaign is in Debt
Newt Gingrich told the Los Angeles Times that his upcoming fundraising report will be bleak.

Said Gingrich: “The fact is a month of media barrage is painful, and it slowed a lot of things down. Our numbers will not be as good as we would like, and candidly, the consultants left us in debt. But every single week since they left we’ve been cutting down the debt, and we raise more than we spend in a week.”


Right Too Soon, Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Right Too Soon, Again
In the fall of 1970, a newly-minted graduate student at the University of Toronto, I was hired by the Canadian Zionist Federation to be its representative on campus. My first (actually, pretty much my only)?achievement in that position was to…


Douglas Feith and American Narcissism
The other day I argued we should rename the debate over American exceptionalism. Let’s refer to the Republican candidates’ ideology as American infallibility, since it’s distinguished by unwavering belief in the inherent justness of American cause. Think of it as…


?The Trip? and the Challenges of Friendship

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

?The Trip? and the Challenges of Friendship
I saw The Trip this weekend, which for reasons very particular to me, may be the movie I’ve enjoyed most so far this year. I liked Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop just fine, but The Trip is an even better movie about the craft of comedy. Much of the movie is Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon […]

I saw The Trip this weekend, which for reasons very particular to me, may be the movie I’ve enjoyed most so far this year. I liked Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop just fine, but The Trip is an even better movie about the craft of comedy. Much of the movie is Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon doing things like this:

The combination of the appeal of American popular culture filtered through the refinement and intelligence of English humor is sort of irresistible to me. But the movie also hit the sweet spot of something I’ve been thinking about a lot: the treatment of friendships as secondary to romances in most movies and television shows. It’s so rare that the relationship between friends is the most important thing in a movie. Friends are usually a facilitator to the traditional end of a comedy, a marriage (or at least permanent-seeming partnership) rather than the main event. I think that’s one of the reasons Bridesmaids has been so successful: it’s the friendship that matters, and the romantic and sexual relationships that are at the periphery. The groom in the titular wedding doesn’t even have a line.

In The Trip, there’s a pair of interesting imbalances between Coogan and Brydon. Coogan is more successful professionally, but he’s dissatisfied with his failure to make the leap into the first tier of actors alongside people like Michael Sheen, and he’s divorced and in the process of being left by his current girlfriend. Brydon, by contrast, is less famous, but he’s reconciled to it, making money off an iPhone app based on one of his characters, and incredibly happy with his wife and new baby. So even though Coogan has more material resources, he needs Brydon more than Brydon needs him, and he’s obviously deeply uncomfortable with that, and expresses that discomfort by being something of a jerk. But the malleability of friendship means that they can deal with it, that they can work through Coogan’s behavior to get to the root of his sadness, even if that means dealing with it obliquely by singing ABBA and testing their octave ranges. Anyway, it’s a warm, terrific movie, the cure for the common action movie.

The Declaration of Interdependence
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the […]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/07/Us_declaration_independence.jpg/200px-Us_declaration_independence.jpgWhen, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Okay, the Declaration of Interdependence sounds a lot like the Declaration of Independence.

By saying that it is a self-evident truth that all humans are created equal and that our inalienable rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our Founding Fathers were telling us that we are all in this together, that we are interdependent, that we have a moral duty to protect these inalienable rights for all humans. President Lincoln, perhaps above all others, was instrumental in making clear that the second sentence of the Declaration was “a moral standard for which the United States should strive,” as Wikipedia puts it.

The double appeal to “Nature” — including the explicit appeal to “the laws of Nature” in the first sentence — is particularly salient. For masters of rhetoric like the authors of the Declaration, a repeated word, especially in an opening sentence, is repeated for the singular purpose of drawing attention to it (see “Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1“).

Yes, the phrase “laws of nature” meant something different to Jefferson than it does to us (see here). But as a living document, and as a modern Declaration of Interdependence, the words have grown in meaning.

It is the laws of Nature, studied and enumerated by scientists, that make clear we are poised to render those unalienable rights all but unattainable for billions of humans on our current path of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions. It is the laws of Nature that make clear Americans can’t achieve sustainable prosperity if the rest of the world doesn’t, and vice versa.

Ironically — or perhaps intentionally — the toughest inalienable right to maintain is “the pursuit of happiness.” Certainly, the catastrophic global warming we know we face (thanks to our understanding of the laws of nature) threatens life and liberty (see “Memorial Day, 2030“).

But if we keep listening to the deniers and delayers, if we fail to sharply reverse our current emissions path nationally and globally, then we are headed toward 5°C (9°F) planetary warming by century’s end and 850+ ppm — with sea level rise of 4 to 6 feet or higher, rising perhaps a foot a decade or more for centuries, the U.S. Southwest and one third of the Earth’s habited land a permanent Dust Bowl, half or more species extinct, and much of the ocean a hot, acidic dead zone (see “Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water“).

Not bloody many people will be pursuing “happiness” under those conditions. They will be desperately trying to avoid misery, when they aren’t cursing our names for betraying our moral values.

If we don’t aggressively embrace the clean energy transition starting immediately — and help lead the entire world to a similar transition — then the Ponzi scheme we call the global economy will probably be in some stage of obvious collapse by our 250th anniversary, July 4, 2026.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

And so “happiness” is repeated also, underscoring its importance to the Founders. “Life” and “Liberty” are really the very minimum we owe our fellow humans. We have a moral obligation to work toward freedom from want and care for all.

The party of Lincoln has, tragically, abandoned the values embraced and articulated by its greatest thinker and rhetorician — and those embraced and articulated by our Founders in the Declaration see (WashPost: “The GOPs climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion”).

When is the last time a major conservative politician ever talked about “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” except to mock the entire notion (see Gingrich sums up GOP ethos: “I am not a citizen of the world! I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous”).

We live in unique times. We must all hang together or we will surely all hang separately.

Happy Interdependence Day Century!


NEA endorses Obama for reelection despite teachers’ discontent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

NEA endorses Obama for reelection despite teachers’ discontent

The governing body for the National Education Association voted Monday to endorse President Obama for reelection in 2012, handing him an early campaign boost despite widespread dissatisfaction among teachers about federal education policies.

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the 3.2-million-member union, said in a statement that Obama shares the group’s vision for America. “He has never wavered from talking about the importance of education or his dedication to a vibrant middle class,” he said.

The endorsement from the nation’s largest union is one of the first from organized labor, traditionally a key source of votes and campaign volunteers. Many teachers are worried about the prospect of a Republican in the White House, particularly as their rights to organize are being challenged by GOP lawmakers in Ohio and Wisconsin.

Read full article >>

Burmese diplomat seeks asylum in U.S.

The second-ranking diplomat at the Burmese Embassy in Washington has decided to defect and is seeking asylum in the United States.

Deputy Chief of Mission Kyaw Win, 59, confirmed Monday that he is leaving his post to protest what he says are his government’s human rights violations and sham elections, and because he is afraid for his and his family’s lives.

Kyaw Win, who declined a phone interview, sent a letter Monday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in which he laid out his reasons for defecting, talked about his experiences as one of Burma’s top diplomats and sided with international human rights groups who have accused Burmese military leaders for years of abusing their countrymen. The letter was obtained by The Washington Post and confirmed as authentic by Kyaw Win.

Read full article >>

One Republican race, two starting points

AMHERST, N.H. — The GOP presidential hopefuls who hit the campaign trail on the Fourth of July spent their time doing much the same thing — over and over again. They walked and waved their way through parades, shook hundreds of hands, and dropped by back-yard cookouts, capitalizing on the day’s patriotic fervor to try to make inroads in key early states.

But their time on the hustings underscored that while their method of face-to-face retail politics is the same, their starting points for the Republican nomination race are miles apart: One race begins in this primary-obsessed state, where Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. marched in the same parade; another begins in Iowa, where Rep. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich saw the same flags and smiling faces as they walked down Main Street in Clear Lake, shaking hands and posing for pictures.

Read full article >>

Voters angry about Minnesota shutdown give Republican lawmaker an earful at July Fourth parade

EAGAN, Minn. — As Republican Sen. Ted Daley hustled up Yankee Doodle Road in the lineup for Eagan’s Fourth of July parade, some of his constituents wondered loudly why he wasn’t at the state Capitol 10 miles to the north trying to end the state government shutdown that was in its fourth day.

“Go get your job done!” shouted Bill Egan, a 52-year-old salesman who said he’s disgusted by the standoff between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republicans who control the Legislature.

The two have been at odds over the state budget since they were sworn in early this year. Republicans want to limit state spending to $34 billion, the amount the state is expected to bring in over the next two years, while Dayton wants to raise income taxes on the state’s top earners to provide $1.8 billion more to keep up with growing demand for state services and prevent cuts to social programs and public colleges.

Read full article >>


The Consequences of Killing Gadhafi

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 5th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

The Consequences of Killing Gadhafi
Evan Thomas, Washington Post
Is the United States government trying to kill Moammar Gaddafi? Not officially. For the record, the United States is supporting a NATO mission to protect civilians from Gaddafi’s forces. NATO jets are bombing Gaddafi’s command and control centers. If Gaddafi dies, it may be from a French bomb. But the United States pays more than a fifth of NATO’s costs and provides at least some of the high-tech intelligence used in bombing runs.

Celebrate Freedom and Those Who Serve

End of Our Property-Holders’ Democracy
Michael Barone, DC Examiner
One of the interesting things about our country, the independence of which the Founders declared 235 years ago today, is that we have been a property-holders' democracy. This is not something the Founders originally advocated. While they protested taxation by a British parliament in which they were not represented, they did not think that everyone had a right to vote. Like their British contemporaries, they thought that only those property-holders should vote. Otherwise representatives elected by the poor majority would vote to take away the property of the rich minority.But in the early…

The Lasting Lessons of Independence
Jennifer Braceras, Boston Herald
The Fourth of July. Flags, fireworks and burgers on the grill. Today Americans from all walks of life will head to the park or to the beach with coolers of cold beverages to celebrate the . . . ?Constitution? Mayflower Compact? Universal Declaration of Human Rights?Sadly, many Americans do not know that what we celebrate today is the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.