Saturday, August 20, 2011

Last Call

Libyan rebels, having surrounded and isolated Tripoli over the last week, today launched an offensive into the heart of Qaddafi's dwindling territory.

"The revolution from inside Tripoli has officially started (Saturday) evening in many parts ... of Tripoli, and is expected to spread to all of Tripoli," said Jumma Ibrahim, a rebel spokesman from the western mountain region around Zintan.

Hours after the comments were made, and intensified fighting was reported in the Libyan capital, a message from Gadhafi was broadcast on state-run TV.

In the live audio address, the Libyan leader blasted the rebel "traitors" and the NATO forces backing them as unethical and intent on destroying the county and ruining lives. And as he had done in a speech six days earlier, he tried to rally citizens to his side.

"A great thing, anyway, that despite the Christian air raids, you continue to be up in Tripoli," he said, an apparent reference to those who listened to his speech from Green Square. "March forward, march forward, march forward."

Heavy clashes broke out Saturday night in at least one neighborhood in Tripoli, marked by intense gunfire, explosions and people screaming as they ran through the street, a resident told CNN.

Gunfire and explosions have become normal occurrences in the capital, but CNN personnel on the ground for weeks report that the fighting appeared to be among the most intense yet.

"Most of the neighhoods in Tripoli are rising up," Jumma Ibrahim said.

If this is the final chapter in Qaddafi's 42-year reign (and it looks like it is, Qaddafi has no fuel for his vehicles or tanks now) then I'm hoping that behind the scenes some sort of effort is being made for a peaceful transition to rebel control.

I've been a pretty heavy critic of the effort in Libya, but it's looking like that there may be a happy ending to this tale.  Maybe.  We'll see.

Moving Forward At Your Own Perry-il, Part 6

This is getting exhausting, folks...but Rick Perry is pretty much political herpes.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has never been paid a government salary of more than $150,000, became a millionaire while in public office through well-timed sales in the Texas real estate market.

The Republican presidential hopeful bought property from friends and political allies and sold to Texas businessmen, such as computer magnate Michael Dell, and in the process made more than $1 million. Perry’s income also was supplemented by stock sales, according to his tax returns and county land and tax records.

The transactions have drawn criticism from Democrats and ethics experts because, at times, they involved people who would benefit from their ties to the governor and because Perry always came out on top in the real estate deals. 

But hey, IOKIYAR.   Meanwhile, Gov. Goodhair has his own plans for executive orders in the White House.

Rick Perry has many ideas about how to change the American government's founding document. From ending lifetime tenure for federal judges to completely scrapping two whole amendments, the Constitution would see a major overhaul if the Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate had his druthers.

Perry laid out these proposed innovations to the founding document in his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington. He has occasionally mentioned them on the campaign trail. Several of his ideas fall within the realm of mainstream conservative thinking today, but, as you will see, there are also a few surprises.

Among Perry's changes, ending lifetime tenure for federal judges, allowing a 2/3rds vote in Congress to overrule any SCOTUS decision, a balanced budget amendment and scrapping the 16th and 17th Amendments, ending national income tax and direct voting for senators, not to mention the end of same-sex marriage and abortion...and putting that in the Constitution as well.

I recall another Texas Republican who had no problem trying to change the Constitution, and the country was much worse off because of him.  The pushback on Perry has been brutal this week...and it's only his first week as a candidate.

Why Chris Christie Will Never Be President

Same reason Jon Huntsman will never be:  he believes in humans causing climate change.

According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, governor Chris Christie joined Presidential candidate Jon Hunstman in coming out in full support of the issue. "Climate change is real," Christie told reporters. "Human activity plays a role in these changes, and it is impacting our state."

Christie, a huge favorite among the Tea Party and other right wing groups,  was a major skeptic of climate change as of last year. But after attending a conference of environmentalists in May, the Garden State top executive  began to adopt a viewpoint still very unpopular in conservative circles, leading to possible criticism from his most ardent supporters.

Despite his current stance, Christie did veto a bill that would have required New Jersey to stay in a regional program intended to curb greenhouse gases.

Like Huntsman he doesn't believe in it enough to actually do anything about it.  But the notion of a national Republican who believes in it is actually newsworthy.  Think about that for a while. 

Yeah, there's a difference between the two parties.


It's a bad news day for Springfield.

Springfield, MO — Three people are now charged with misdemeanour child endangerment after police said they left 10 kids in a hot SUV for hours, while they sat in a Springfield bar, drinking.

25-year-old Mackisha B. Johnson and 38-year-old Christopher M. Jones are behind bars.

This was within a few miles of my house.  I know stupid is everywhere, but it sure seems to be closing in on me.

Taking Stupid To Exciting New Levels

Republic, MO is in the news again, this time for even worse stupidity than banning books from the high school library.  Maybe they should have been paying attention to the students coming to them with a report of rape.  Keep in mind as you read this that there is DNA recovered from semen that is an exact match, and the boy accused has since admitted his guilt.

A lawsuit filed against the Republic School District alleges school officials failed to protect a middle school girl from a male classmate who harassed her, sexually assaulted her, and raped her.

In its written response, the school district denies all allegations in the suit and calls the claims frivolous.

The suit, filed July 5, alleges when the girl — a special education student — told officials about the harassment, assault and rape that occurred during the 2008-09 school year, they told her they did not believe her. She recanted.

The suit also alleges that, without seeking her mother’s permission, school officials forced the girl to write a letter of apology to the boy and personally deliver it to him. She was then expelled for the rest of the 2008-2009 school year and referred to juvenile authorities for filing a false report.

As mandated reporters, it isn't up to the school to decide guilt or innocence. It is their job to report it regardless of what they think happened. And to force the alleged victim to write a letter of apology without a thorough investigation is just more stupidity than I can bear. When it happened again, she was afraid to report it (after being expelled I can't imagine why) but when she was examined there was evidence of sexual assault as well as a DNA sample matching the attacker she named, the school's response erased any hope of common sense entering the story:

The girl failed and neglected to use reasonable means to protect her self, the response says. Any damages the girl may have sustained, “were as a result of the negligence, carelessness, or conduct of third parties over whom the District Defendants had neither control nor the right to control,” according to the school district response.
The old rape fallback defense: I guess they think if she hadn't made herself so damned available this wouldn't have happened.  If only she had reached out for help.  Oh wait, she did and they didn't do so much as check into things before dismissing her.  How was it that she was blown off and then expelled without an official investigation?  Or even a half-assed one?

Book banning is small potatoes compared to this.  I waited to see what might come out, but when I read about the physical evidence I knew the original reports were close.  Even the smallest town school should understand the definition of mandated reporting and the expected process for any situation like this.

Another Poll-arized Moment

Everything you need to know about race relations in the US summed up in one poll:

new civil rights laws.gif

A little over half of blacks (52%) say that new civil rights laws are needed in this country, while 15% of whites agree.

And that's pretty much it. "We've got a black President, what more could you possibly want?"

Turns out plenty.  We'd like this kind of garbage to stop, for one.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has denied that he "promised" Tea Party leaders in Arizona to investigate the validity of Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate to determine the president's eligibility for the 2012 election ballot.

Arpaio said he met in his office Thursday with a Tea Party group which presented him with 242 signatures asking for the investigation.

"What I have agreed to do, contrary to some published media reports, is simply look at the evidence these people have assembled and examine whether it is within my jurisdiction to investigate the document's authenticity," Arpaio said in a written statement Friday.

The Worldnet Daily website said Tea Party leaders in Surprise met with Arpaio and WND senior reporter Jerome Corsi Thursday to express concern that a fake birth certificate would be used to document Obama's eligibility to run in Maricopa County. 

By the way, also in that Gallup poll?  59% of African-Americans think government should have a major role in America, 32% a minor one in protecting and improving the social position of minorities.  Whites?  19% and 50%, respectively...and 30% think government should have no role in that whatsoever.

So when Tea Party folks scream that "we need smaller government!" what they're really saying is "We need a government that helps those people less."  Republicans are more than happy to oblige.

From The Party Line To The County Line

President Obama's weekly address went straight after Congress for refusing to pass any sort of job measures as our economy moves into a dereliction double dip.

A vacationing President Barack Obama accused Congress on Saturday of holding back the economic recovery by blocking "common sense" measures he said would create jobs and help growth.

In remarks recorded on Wednesday on his campaign-style bus tour in Illinois and aired during his holiday in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama said the stalled construction, trade and payroll tax bills could give a boost to the economy.

"The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That's the problem right now. That's what's holding this country back," the president said in his weekly radio address, which is also transmitted on the Internet.

The President is expected to push new legislation in September after the Labor Day recess.  Frankly, he doesn't have much of a choice.  The President's numbers are getting soft, to put it mildly.  Republicans know that if they block everything and the government isn't allowed to do much of anything to help with jobs, voters will take it out on President Obama.

They're absolutely counting on it.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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