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Archive for September 12th, 2011

Early Morning Swim

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Early Morning Swim

Late, Late Night FDL: Three Little Birds
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds and Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds

One more for good measure…

Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

There’s my ‘tribute’ to 9/11…

What’s on your mind tonite…?


Concern in New Egypt as Police Raid Al-Jazeera

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Concern in New Egypt as Police Raid Al-Jazeera
Egyptian police raided the Cairo offices of the news network Al-Jazeera on Sunday in what is being interpreted by some of Egypt’s revolutionaries as a crackdown on free expression and a continuation of some of the autocratic practices of the regime of ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. McClatchy reports that security police confiscated equipment and detained an engineer. Officials for the interim military rulers of Egypt blame the incident on bad paperwork, but the excuse isn’t flying and there are fears among some of the Tahrir Square protesters that their hard-fought freedom is threatened by this and more serious incidents.  —PZS McClatchy Newspapers: The contradiction of government policies put us in a complicated situation,” said Safwat el Alem, a professor of political media at Cairo University. “Am I supposed to believe the media minister when he confirms the protection of freedoms, or should I fear him when he announces laws banning the press from tackling vital issues and denying permits for media workers?” […] A blogger who’s been charged with spreading false rumors for publishing a lengthy article on torture by Egyptian police and soldiers said she was uncowed by the military’s hostility. “I will publish on the Internet, on the walls of Tahrir Square; I will write my stories on my shirts and stand in public for people to read it,” said Rasha Azab. “You will never be able to suppress us, not anymore.” Read more

Egyptian police raided the Cairo offices of the news network Al-Jazeera on Sunday in what is being interpreted by some of Egypt’s revolutionaries as a crackdown on free expression and a continuation of some of the autocratic practices of the regime of ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.

McClatchy reports that security police confiscated equipment and detained an engineer. Officials for the interim military rulers of Egypt blame the incident on bad paperwork, but the excuse isn’t flying and there are fears among some of the Tahrir Square protesters that their hard-fought freedom is threatened by this and more serious incidents.? —PZS

McClatchy Newspapers:

The contradiction of government policies put us in a complicated situation,” said Safwat el Alem, a professor of political media at Cairo University. “Am I supposed to believe the media minister when he confirms the protection of freedoms, or should I fear him when he announces laws banning the press from tackling vital issues and denying permits for media workers?”

[…] A blogger who’s been charged with spreading false rumors for publishing a lengthy article on torture by Egyptian police and soldiers said she was uncowed by the military’s hostility.

“I will publish on the Internet, on the walls of Tahrir Square; I will write my stories on my shirts and stand in public for people to read it,” said Rasha Azab. “You will never be able to suppress us, not anymore.”

Read more

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AP Review Downplays Threat From WikiLeaks Disclosures
An Associated Press inquiry into U.S. State Department sources who were outed in the latest unredacted WikiLeaks file dump found virtually no one who felt endangered by public knowledge of their involvement in U.S. government information gathering. The disclosures may make potential sources think twice about sharing information with the U.S., though, as they could fear their names appearing in print—a scenario that is likely to make work harder for American diplomats. Regardless of AP’s report, however, governments around the world continue to denounce WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, saying the group has put lives at risk. —ARK Associated Press: The Italian diplomat’s episode, along with similar stories from several other foreign lawmakers, diplomats and activists cited in the U.S. cables as sources to “strictly protect,” raises doubts about the scope of the danger posed by WikiLeaks’ disclosures and the Obama administration’s angry claims going back more than a year that the anti-secrecy website’s revelations are threatening lives around the world. U.S. examples have been strictly theoretical. … [An] Associated Press review of the sources found several of them comfortable with their names in the open and no one fearing death. Others are already dead, their names cited as sensitive in the context of long-resolved conflicts or situations. Some have publicly written or testified at hearings about the supposedly confidential information they provided the U.S. government. … [The] total damage appears limited and the State Department has steadfastly refused to describe any situation in which they’ve felt a source’s life was in danger. They say a handful of people had to be relocated away from danger but won’t provide any details on those few cases. Read more

An Associated Press inquiry into U.S. State Department sources who were outed in the latest unredacted WikiLeaks file dump found virtually no one who felt endangered by public knowledge of their involvement in U.S. government information gathering.

The disclosures may make potential sources think twice about sharing information with the U.S., though, as they could fear their names appearing in print—a scenario that is likely to make work harder for American diplomats. Regardless of AP’s report, however, governments around the world continue to denounce WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, saying the group has put lives at risk. —ARK

Associated Press:

The Italian diplomat’s episode, along with similar stories from several other foreign lawmakers, diplomats and activists cited in the U.S. cables as sources to “strictly protect,” raises doubts about the scope of the danger posed by WikiLeaks’ disclosures and the Obama administration’s angry claims going back more than a year that the anti-secrecy website’s revelations are threatening lives around the world. U.S. examples have been strictly theoretical.

… [An] Associated Press review of the sources found several of them comfortable with their names in the open and no one fearing death. Others are already dead, their names cited as sensitive in the context of long-resolved conflicts or situations. Some have publicly written or testified at hearings about the supposedly confidential information they provided the U.S. government.

… [The] total damage appears limited and the State Department has steadfastly refused to describe any situation in which they’ve felt a source’s life was in danger. They say a handful of people had to be relocated away from danger but won’t provide any details on those few cases.

Read more

Related Entries



Military Jets Escort Flights To Safety After Suspicious Activity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Military Jets Escort Flights To Safety After Suspicious Activity
NEW YORK — Fighter jets escorted two flights â?? one to New York City, another to Detroit â?? after passengers’ use of the bathrooms aroused…

David de Sola: Remembering 9/11 a Decade Later
Looking back on it now with the benefit of a decade of hindsight, that day had a profound impact on me in ways I couldn’t have imagined at the time.

Jonathan Richards: Danger Ahead

Leonie Haimson: Obama’s Speech to Congress: So Why Am I Skeptical?
We’ve witnessed several years of this administration generally unconcerned about rising class sizes and teacher layoffs. The truth is that for the past two years, their priorities have pointed in an entirely different direction.


Florida ACLU Files Suit Against State’s Welfare Drug Testing Law

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Florida ACLU Files Suit Against State’s Welfare Drug Testing Law
The Florida ACLU has filed suit against a state law requiring welfare applicants to first pass a drug test before receiving benefits. The suit claims the Florida law violates the Fourth Amendment by requiring welfare applicants to submit to “suspicionless…

Lindsey Graham Backs Federal Voter ID Law, Calls Restrictions ‘The Future Of The Country’
Congress should follow in the steps of state legislatures and pass a federal voter ID law that requires voters to present photo identification at the polls, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Thursday.


President Perry’s Reign in Headlines

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

President Perry’s Reign in Headlines


Perry Seen as Most Electable by Republicans

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Perry Seen as Most Electable by Republicans
A new CNN/Opinion Research survey finds Rick Perry leading Mitt Romney in the GOP presidential race by double-digits, 32% to 21%, with Ron Paul at 13% and all other candidates in single digits.

Most interesting is that Perry’s biggest strength may be the electability factor, with 42% saying he has the best chance of beating President Obama next year. Some 26% say Romney has the best chance of defeating the president.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “That may go a very long way toward explaining his rise in the polls, since three-quarters of all Republicans say they would prefer a candidate who can beat President Obama over one who agrees with them on major issues.”

Why Tomorrow’s Special Elections Worry Democrats
With voters in New York’s 9th congressional district and Nevada’s 2nd congressional district preparing to vote in special elections on Tuesday, The Hotline looks at why the likely results in these two races scare Democrats.

“Just as Democratic victories in the Deep South in ’08 foreshadowed a historic year for the party, a loss in solidly-Democratic New York City will be ominous for Obama and downballot Democrats. With both Obama and Congress viewed unfavorably, the conventional wisdom was that there was a broad anti-incumbent sentiment that could threaten members from both parties. But if Democrats lose a seemingly-safe seat in New York and aren’t even close in a Republican-leaning one in Nevada, it’s looking like voters are still taking their anger out on Democrats. The results are also worrisome for Senate Democrats, who need to hold onto nearly all the battlegrounds.”


Fareed Zakaria’s Problem — and Ours

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Fareed Zakaria’s Problem — and Ours
Many people defer to Fareed Zakaria’s virtuosity and ubiquity as the neo-liberal consciousness-shaper of the moment. An immigrant from India and a Muslim by background whose parents have been prominent in Indian politics and news media, he owes a lot…


Palestinian Strategy
There has been a great deal of anxious speculation about what Palestinians really want, the speculation tied to the questionable mandate of a president who has not stood for election since 2005 (and his prime minister who was never elected…

Why Obama’s Beltway Apologists are Letting Us Down
This essay, which has been linked hundreds of times since it went up two days ago on Huffington Post (it’s now on Alternet, too), is as long (4300 words) as it is damning. I hope that you’ll copy it onto…



McKibben: ?Constantly and Disastrously? Leaking U.S. Pipelines Are the Mess in the Middle of the Keystone XL Debate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

McKibben: ?Constantly and Disastrously? Leaking U.S. Pipelines Are the Mess in the Middle of the Keystone XL Debate
NY Times:  “Since 1990, more than 110 million gallons of mostly crude and petroleum products have spilled from the nation’s mainland pipeline network” [see figure, click to enlarge]. by Bill McKibben, in a DailyKos repost Yesterday, the front page of the New York Times carried one of those stories that reminds you why it’s a […]

NY Times:  “Since 1990, more than 110 million gallons of mostly crude and petroleum products have spilled from the nation’s mainland pipeline network” [see figure, click to enlarge].

by Bill McKibben, in a DailyKos repost

Yesterday, the front page of the New York Times carried one of those stories that reminds you why it’s a good thing we have reporters.

Two weeks after a State Department report, speaking in the hermetically sealed tones of bureaucrats, predicted ‘minimal environmental impact’ from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the Times investigation found that in fact pipelines already crisscrossing America are leaking constantly and disastrously, that the federal agency assigned to protect them is so chronically understaffed, and that as a result they’ve left the “too much of the regulatory control in the hands of pipeline operators themselves.”

Not surprisingly, this  “self-regulation” works about as well as fox oversight of the poultry industry. For instance, in Michigan a 35-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River “once teeming with swimmers and boaters, remains closed nearly 14 months after an Enbridge Energy pipeline hemorrhaged 843,000 gallons of oil that will cost more than $500 million to clean up.”

And, “this summer, an Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying oil across Montana burst suddenly, soiling the swollen Yellowstone River with an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude just weeks after a company inspection and federal review had found nothing seriously wrong.”

These are the kind of concerns that caused the Republican governor and senator from Nebraska to last week demand that the White House refuse a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which will cross, among other features, the Sand Hills of the Cornhusker State, not to mention the Oglalla Aquifer.  And the pipeline will carry oil that’s actually hardly oil at all—in the words of the Times story,  what comes from the tar sands of Alberta is “a gritty mixture that includes bitumen, a crude drawn from Canadian oil sands that environmentalists argue is more corrosive and difficult to clean when spilled.”

The tarsands are a mess at their origin, where an area the size of European nations has been wantonly trashed to get at the oil, wrecking indigenous cultures and lives. They’re a mess at the end, when refineries will turn them into gasoline that, when burnt, carry enough carbon to, in the words of NASA’s James Hansen, mean “game over” for the climate.

But the Times story also makes painfully clear that they’re a mess in the middle. The good news is President Obama can stop them all by himself. We’ll find out before the year is out whether he listens more to the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal (an enthusiastic backer of the pipeline), or the front page of the New York Times. Whether, that is, he listens to money or to science.

by Bill McKibben of Tar Sands Action

Related Post:


Flying on 9/11

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Flying on 9/11

Veronica Lopez thought about changing her ticket, but she decided that she needed to fly on Sept. 11, 2011.

“We cannot live in fear,” said Lopez, who was born in Cuba, became an American citizen in the early 1970s and travels frequently for work. “We must continue with our lives.”

So on Sunday she boarded a plane from Reagan National Airport.

Read full article >>

Retired Justice David H. Souter, ‘the luckiest guy,’ returns to his books

Some people seemed like they’d be naturals for the Supreme Court, but it never happened. No opening on the court materialized when they hit their prime, or the wrong president was in office when the chance presented itself.

Some people seemed like naturals, and it worked out. John G. Roberts Jr. and Elena Kagan, for instance, were mentioned as potential stars early in their careers. Roberts was 37 and Kagan 39 when presidents of their parties tried to put them on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a staging ground for future high-court justices.

Read full article >>

Republicans still shopping for a presidential nominee

No dramatic gaffe or sudden change in direction explains how Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota fell out of favor with Republican voters — almost as quickly as she won them over when she joined the presidential race in June.

What does explain Bachmann’s precipitous rise and fall is the fact that Republicans, despite their urgent desire to defeat President Obama next year, still aren’t sure exactly what they want in his replacement.

Read full article >>

Richardson rebuffed in effort to free Alan Gross

The Cuban government has rebuffed a mission by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to free a U.S. government contractor jailed in Havana, even ruling out a visit with the man, Richardson said Sunday.

Richardson vowed to remain in Cuba until he was allowed to see jailed American Alan P. Gross.

“We were supposed to leave yesterday. We’ve extended our stay in the hotel. My position is, I’m not planning to leave until I get a chance to visit Alan Gross,” Richardson said in a telephone interview from Havana.

Read full article >>


Giuliani, Bush Shamefully Cashed In on the Horror

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 12th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Giuliani, Bush Shamefully Cashed In on the Horror
Paul Krugman, NYT
s it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?Actually, I don't think it's me, and it's not really that odd.What happened after 9/11 "” and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not "” was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror.

An Impeccable Disaster in Europe
Paul Krugman, New York Times
On Thursday Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank or E.C.B. — Europe’s equivalent to Ben Bernanke — lost his sang-froid. In response to a question about whether the E.C.B. is becoming a “bad bank” thanks to its purchases of troubled nations’ debt, Mr. Trichet, his voice rising, insisted that his institution has performed “impeccably, impeccably!” as a guardian of price stability. Paul Krugman Indeed it has. And that’s why the euro is now at…

A Refresher Course in Job Creation 101
Robert Samuelson, Newsweek
WASHINGTON — We need a refresher course in Job Creation 101 to judge how much, if at all, President Obama's proposed $447 billion program of spending increases and tax cuts might revive America's sputtering job machine.Recall that the private sector is the main employment engine. Businesses create jobs when two conditions are met. First, extra demand for their products justifies more workers. Second, the extra demand can be satisfied profitably. There are qualifications to these generalizations (startups, for instance), but these are the basics.As for government, it's less a…

If Obama Is a One-Term President
Julian Zelizer, New York Times
“I’D rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” President Obama confessed to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer last year. Other than the “really good” part, Republicans would be happy to see this wish fulfilled.With waning approval ratings and a stagnant economy, the possibility that Mr. Obama will not be re-elected has entered the political bloodstream. 

How We Mourned, Why We Fought
Philip Klay, New York Daily News
The day Osama Bin Laden died, I learned one of my former Marines was permanently blind. He was recovering from an IED strike and I'd called to check in. Months back they'd said his vision loss was temporary. As it turned out, he'd regained peripheral vision, but no more. The Corps had trained him as a journalist. Now he couldn't read.Three hours later I learned Bin Laden was dead: news that should have felt like closure, but didn't. One of my Marines was blind, and though I wanted to tie in Osama's death and 9/11 to make sense of it, I couldn't.