Saturday, October 15, 2011

Last Call

Some 20,000 or so folks in Times Square and Washington Square Park this evening for Occupy Wall Street as the movement went global today.

Linking up with the Occupy Wall Street protests that began in New York, tens of thousands of people around the world took to the streets Saturday to reiterate their anger at the global financial system, corporate greed and government cutbacks.

Rallies were held in more than 900 cities in Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States, with some of the largest occurring in Europe. The demonstration in Rome turned violent, but crowds elsewhere were largely peaceful.

“What’s exciting about what’s happening is a sense of international solidarity,” said Ben Walker, 33, a university teacher from Norwich, England, who was carrying a tent and planning on camping overnight near the London Stock Exchange. 

Here in the states, part of the movement has been for people to close their bank accounts with the Too Big To Fail banksters and open accounts at local credit unions.  When folks tried to do this in NYC today at a Citibank branch, they were arrested.

And yes, when you are arresting people for closing their bank accounts, you lose, Wall Street. 

President George Gun Walker Bush

The silliness that is the effort to turn the  "Gun Walker/Operation Fast and Furious" poutrage from the right into Eric Holder's head on a pike (and a space reserved on the GOP Lannister clan's ramparts for President Obama) is nothing more than the usual selective amnesia, considering the program to "walk" firearms across the Mexican border in order to track their routes through the drug cartels started guessed it...Dubya and friends.

TPM has obtained the documents relating to another Bush-era ATF operation (on top of Operation Wide Receiver) which deployed the "gun walking" tactic. The development was first reported by Pete Yost of the Associated Press.
In fact, ATF officials wrote in 2007 that the gun walking tactic had "full approval" of the U.S. Attorney's Office being run by an interim Bush appointee and that the U.S. Embassy in Mexico was "fully on-board."
Under DOJ policy, illicit arms shipments are supposed to be intercepted whenever possible. But the emails show that just like in Operation Fast and Furious, official planned to allow guns to "walk" across the border and into Mexico in an attempt to identify traffickers higher up in the operation (rather than low ranking "straw purchasers," who are difficult to prosecute thanks to the lack of an anti-trafficking gun law).
On Sept. 27, 2007 -- when the Justice Department was reeling from the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- ATF agents in Phoenix and Mexico were conducting partial surveillance of suspects who purchased numerous weapons at a federally licensed firearms dealership.
After they watched the group purchase 19 weapons on Sept. 21 and 24 and additional weapons on Sept. 27, they watched as the weapons crossed the border into Mexico.
So yeah, the Bushies did this not once, but twice:  once with Wide Reciever under Gonzo, and now with this second program under interim AG Pete Keisler and Gonzo's replacement, Michael Mukasey.  It was only under Holder some 3+ years later did people come forward to say that all of a sudden the program was somehow an issue, and it was only after the GOP took control of the House earlier this year.  Now, the same program that was run by the ATF with no problem for years suddenly turned into President Obama's Katrinagatewhatever (the same exact argument can be made for Solyndra).

Republicans didn't care when the program was running under Bush.  All of a sudden, House Republicans are spending all their time building idiotic politics like this into "Obama scandals" when they should be working on improving the economy and creating know I can't even type that with a straight face anymore, they just hate President Obama so much they'll try to throw Bush-era federal employees and law enforcement under the bus to target the President.

Even worse is our lovely "liberal" media which has really dropped the ball on both Solyndra and Fast and Furious.

Worthless assholes, all of them.

Judgment Call

I can't before recall a Catholic church official being indicted before over the ongoing child abuse scandal in the priesthood, but in Kansas City an indictment has just been handed down.

The Roman Catholic bishop of Kansas City, Robert Finn, and the diocese he leads have been indicted by a county grand jury on a charge of failure to report suspected child abuse in the case of a priest who had been accused of taking lewd photographs of young girls.

The indictment is the first ever of a Catholic bishop in the 25 years since the scandal over sexual abuse by priests first became public in the United States.

Bishop Finn is accused of covering up abuse that occurred as recently as last year — almost 10 years since the nation’s Catholic bishops passed a charter pledging to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities.

The bishop has acknowledged that he knew of the existence of the photos last December but did not turn them over to the police until May.

During that period Bishop Finn and the diocese had reason to suspect that the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, might subject a child to abuse, the indictment said, citing “previous knowledge of concerns regarding Father Ratigan and children; the discovery of hundreds of photographs of children on Father Ratigan’s laptop, including a child’s naked vagina, upskirt images and other images focused on the crotch; and violations of restrictions placed on Father Ratigan.”

The indictment was announced on Friday by the Jackson County prosecutor, Jean Peters-Baker. It had been under seal since Oct. 6 because the bishop was out of the country. He returned on Thursday. 

Coming from a long line of Catholics myself and raised as one, it fills me with anger that the church would not only let this happen, but work so diligently and in a non-Christian way to cover it up all these years.  I admit I've grown apart from the church and my current religious beliefs are agnostic at best, considering all the problems I've had with the church's views and actions over the last decade, especially.  On one hand, I fully support the Vatican's anti-death penalty stance and the church's call for a global social and moral imperative for assisting the world's poor.  On the other hand, I have major disagreements with the church on just about everything else from a social perspective: gay rights and same-sex marriage, contraception to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STDs, and of course a woman's right to control her own uterus.

The news that a sitting bishop is facing indictment for failure to report abuse of children is a major development.  I'm not a lawyer like ABL, but even I have to think that this is pretty unprecedented legally, and could possibly open the gates for much more legal action against various dioceses around the country.  What will become of the Bishop Finn case I don't know, but it's going to be uncharted waters here, legal waters that should have been plied a long time ago.

Bitter Blackberry Jam Continues

Backing up what I said about Blackberry users, this morning CNET columnist Jim Kerstetter tells RIM they are dead to him now.

I've stuck up for you for years. When the iPhone came out, I said, "Looks great, but what kind of security does it have?" When Google and its posse of handset makers started selling quite lovely smart phones, I said, "OK, sure, but what about network reliability?" And when Microsoft came out with its new Windows Phone stuff, I said--well, actually I didn't really say anything at all.

Here's the thing about BlackBerry users: We're people who, at least when it comes to our phones, appreciate function over form. We've stuck with our little, not terribly stylish bricks because they worked. They didn't drop calls at bad moments. The e-mail came in and was easy to access. The point was simplicity, lack of worry. It just worked.

But this may have put me over the edge. You broke my heart, RIM. You made me look all kinds of foolish. Saturday morning, I'll be looking for a new phone. I won't be visiting the BlackBerry section.
Blackberry users are fiercely loyal.  They are also learning there are more options than back when they committed themselves to the "bricks" that have  become commonplace.  RIM dominated when there was Blackberry and everyone else, they are floundering in a world full of competition and advancing technology. 

I had a Blackberry and went to a top performing Android. I never looked back, even to flip them off.  My blood pressure dropped at least 20 points and my ulcer retreated as soon as I was able to access my information without the spinning "I'm thinking" icon and the endless hoops one had to go through to take ownership of their device.

If you listen, you can hear the death rattle now.

"Was It Good For You?" "I Don't Remember!"

An item that LiveScience reported Tuesday about a 54-year-old woman who suffered temporary amnesia after having orgasmic sex with her husband is piquing interest today.

About an hour post-coitus, the unidentified woman went to the Georgetown University Hospital emergency room to report she could not remember the past 24 hours. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare form of sudden memory loss known as transient global amnesia, or TGA. They reported their findings in The Journal of Emergency Medicine.
I really don't have much to add.  The article goes on to say this can happen during many activities, but few would be as much fun to report.  I'm not sure if the husband would want the bragging rights from that, but if we have a slew of forgetful women... look out!

The Brave One Hundred

I'm not sure if this is reflective of how bad the situation is in central Africa, or if we just happen to have troops that are so well-trained that one hundred is all we need.

President Obama is sending a total of 100 troops into central Africa to help a resistance movement fight the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group known for committing atrocities across the continent.

The first troops left Wednesday and in the next month additional forces are set to deploy, including a second combat-equipped team, as well as communications and logistics personnel, Obama informed Congressional leaders in a letter sent Friday afternoon. The mission's goal is to remove LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield, according to the letter.

The U.S. troops will be there to "enhance regional efforts against the LRA" and will not engage LRA forces unless its necessary for self-defense, Obama wrote.

"In furtherance of the Congress's stated policy, I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield," Obama wrote. "I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa."

So is this better or worse than sending in ten thousand troops, for instance?  Yes, the Lord's Resistance Army and leader Joeseph Kony are pretty damn awful, but unless these guys are pure SPARTAAAAAA there's still only one hundred of them.  I'm not sure if a mini-deployment like this is going to make much of a difference.

Still, President Obama has made the right call on military matters before, you know?  If he says one hundred troops in an advisory capacity will do the job, then I'm inclined to believe him.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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