Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Last Call

Conservatives are screaming themselves hoarse over President Obama even mentioning that Bin Laden was turned into compost on his watch.  Now a number of Navy SEAL vets are attacking their Commander-in-Chief, saying he deserves zero credit.

Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.

‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice - it was a broader team effort.’

 Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that Mr. Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid.  ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’ 

Oh, so you mean the headline should be "Republican veterans attack Commander-in-Chief for making correct call."  Now, when have we run across Republican veterans going after a sitting CiC?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) continued to hammer the Obama re-election team over its use of the death of Osama bin Laden in a campaign commercial, echoing Mitt Romney's statement that any president - including Jimmy Carter - would have made the same call.

“I say any president, Jimmy Carter, anybody, any president would have, obviously, under those circumstances, done the same thing.  And to now take credit for something that any president would do is indicative of take over campaign we're under -- we're -- we're seeing…So all I can say is that this is going to be a very rough campaign," McCain told Fox News in an interview set to air Monday night. "And I've had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes.  And, you know the thing about heroes, they don't brag.”

If the President is Barack Obama, he gets nothing.   The black guy should be impeached for even mentioning the fact he did something that Bush didn't do for, oh, seven plus years.  After all, when Bush didn't kill or capture Bin Laden, he kept us safe through his failure.  These guys keep bringing up Jimmy Carter as a mantra.


Remember, Republicans want you to think that getting rid of the guy who was responsible for killing 3,000 New Yorkers was a failure on the President's part, and want you to punish him in November for it.  That's where we are right now with our "patriotic" friends on the right.  He's guilty of making George W. Bush look bad, and that's an unpardonable sin.

The Kroog Versus Diggy Diggy Hole

Paul Krugman.  Ron Paul.  The Bloomberg TV top card fight between the King of the Keynesians and the Gollum of Goldbugs is pretty gripping stuff here, even for laymen.  For econ nerds like myself, it's watching Optimus Prime and Megatron slugging it out for 20 minutes.  Grab some popcorn and pull up a chair for this one:

Love this. Ron Paul opens up with about 5 minutes of stump speech, but Krugman is having none of Paul's "get off my lawn" crap and goes after him on policy arguments and doesn't back down. It's a good battle and Paul gets increasingly desperate at it progresses as Krugman points out that austerity is killing Europe. I'd like to see a longer debate on this, frankly. Do watch the whole thing.

Rupert's Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Morning

It seems that Britain MP's have decided that Rupert Murdoch running a major media empire in their midst is not in Blighty's best interests.

Global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is not a "fit and proper person" to run a major international company, British lawmakers investigating phone hacking at his tabloid the News of the World reported Tuesday. The ruling could prompt British regulators to force him to sell his controlling stake in British Sky Broadcasting, a significant part of his media empire.

This one's pretty big, folks. It means whether or not old Rupert here was actually the fellow behind the phone hacking nonsense, British lawmakers have decided that he should be held responsible for it. Bloomberg News is even more blunt:

Murdoch “turned a blind eye and exhibited willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications,” the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said in a report published in London today. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organization and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corp.”

Ouch. The question now is the level of punishment that Murdoch and News Corp will receive. It could be nothing. It could be having to divest itself of all B Sky B holdings. We'll see. But this is the first real blow to Murdoch we've seen from the fallout of the phone hacking, and I'm betting it won't be the last.  The Guardian article contains the full text of the Select Committee report and opens with this:
Labour MPs and the sole Liberal Democrat on the committee, Adrian Sanders, voted together in a bloc of six against the five Conservatives to insert the criticisms of Rupert Murdoch and toughen up the remarks about his son James. But the MPs were united in their criticism of other former News International employees.
The cross-party group of MPs said that Les Hinton, the former executive chairman of News International, was "complicit" in a cover-up at the newspaper group, and that Colin Myler, former editor of the News of the World, and the paper's ex-head of legal, Tom Crone, deliberately withheld crucial information and answered questions falsely. All three were accused of misleading parliament by the culture select committee.

Interesting breakdown of the votes there.  We'll see how this treacle rolls downhill.

StupidiNews! Potpourri Stupidity

Short bits of stupidity from all over.

BEAVER, Pa. (AP) — Police say two teenage girls who fell asleep while sunbathing on a rural Pennsylvania road have been struck by a car. The Beaver County Police Department tells WTAE-TV (http://bit.ly/KoTXi9 ) that 13-year-olds Samantha Schermanhorn and Kaylie George were hit by the vehicle Sunday afternoon. Two of Samantha's cousins tell the station that their 19-year-old brother had stopped at a stop sign and made a turn before striking the girls with his car.
Jesus take the wheel.  But even He wouldn't likely think someone would be so stupid as to fall asleep in the middle of the road.

A 21-year-old woman stopped a deranged father who was slashing his son's arms in a San Diego cemetery, U-T San Diego reports.
Jaymisha Pires was visiting the Mount Hope Cemetery on Saturday afternoon with a friend when they spotted the man with three young children. He began slashing his 8-year-old son, saying, "We're going to Jesus."
The man, identified as Joseph Ramirez, 30, of San Diego, pushed his son aside and fled, but was tackled by a 60-year-old security guard. Pires' friend wrapped a T-shirt around the boy's bleeding arms before he was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Finally, we caught one before it happened.  I hope Mr. Ramirez gets the help he needs, but thank goodness his son was spared.

The New York mother who was fired after she donated her kidney to save her boss's life demanded that the woman return the organ. "You hate me so much, and I'm so despicable -- give me my kidney back!" wailed 47-year-old Debbie Stevens, of Long Island.
Her employer at Atlantic Automotive Group, Jackie Brucia, also 47, thanked Stevens for the gift Monday -- and then "wished her the best."

This is problematic because Stevens didn't actually give Brucia her own kidney, but donated one so that Brucia would be bumped up faster, which worked.  She blames Brucia for taking advantage of her, but I have to say that if you let yourself go to such extreme lengths, you can't really cry foul later.  Stevens donated a kidney to a man in Missouri.  Brucia's kidney was the gift of another donor.  While Stevens got the shaft, there is no kidney-swapping way to make this right.

Rethinking The Phrase "I Can't"

A woman named Lee Hee-Ah started playing the piano when she was seven.  She was born without limbs below the knee, and only four fingers.  It was likely suggested in hopes it would encourage dexterity and range of motion, but turned her into an amazing classical musician.

Please click here to watch the video.  It's ten minutes long, but the first ninety seconds is enough to show you the heart of her story.  With ten musical fingers I could never come close, and for those who play if you notice how perfect her timing is it will blow your mind.

The next time you want to say you can't, realize you may well be using the wrong word.  You may (even rightly so) be making a choice or drawing a line on what you are willing to do.  There are only a few people like Lee Hee-Ah, who make life happen after being dealt a few serious setbacks.  She's amazing by any standards, but I hope you go see for yourself.  

Ritchie Wretch

The always awesome Yellow Dog has the roundup of everything you need to know of the latest embarrassing scandal here in the Bluegrass State:  former KY GOP Ag Commissioner Ritchie Farmer's massive fraud, corruption and double-dealing while in office.  Joe Sonka, Page One Kentucky, Barefoot & Progressive all get in on the action on this week's big story.

A distant relative of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer worked in the Department of Agriculture for nearly five years as an amusement ride inspector despite never receiving certification to do the work.

George "Doug" Begley worked from July 1, 2007, to March 12 inspecting amusement park rides in Eastern Kentucky, according to documents obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader under the state's Open Records Act.

 Documents in Begley's personnel file show he voluntarily accepted a demotion to the department's fuel-testing division in March after Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who took office in January, discovered that Begley never received his certification.

And so on and so forth.  The real issue of course is the fact that Farmer's replacement, Jamie Comer, is even more of a wingnut asshole who is already taking all the credit for cleaning house.

What should have been new computers for employees, ended up missing from the Department of Agriculture office all together. State Auditor Adam Edelen says the man who was supposed to be leading the office took them. Of the three they were able to get back, they say they have no way of knowing what work was being done with them. "The hard drives were wiped in a way that would be beyond the capability to a lay person," explains Edelen.

Edelen says they are just one example of the many ways former Commissioner Richie Farmer was taking advantage of his role and the taxpayer dollars. "The former Commissioner had state employees on state time take him hunting and shopping, build a basketball court in his backyard, mow his lawn and even chauffeur his dog."

Current Commission Jamie Comer says he ordered the internal audit when his new staff started coming forward with concerns about their old boss. It looks at everything from hiring practices to the money spent starting back in January 2004 when Farmer took office. Edelen says they are only now uncovering the claims because people finally felt safe to speak up.

"This was a climate where staff was directed not to use email. There was a calculated effort to run the office for the benefit of the former Commissioner and folks who got in the way tended to be punished," says Edelen.

Farmer was just corrupt and stupid.  He's also counting on being a former UK college basketball star to get him out of this mess.  He's got another thing coming.  Comer is ambitious and a lot smarter, and he's figured out that he can propel his career rocket quite a distance if he stuffs Farmer in the fuel tank and lights this candle.

Of course, all that depends on Jack Conway, the current Attorney General.  He'd be the man who would have to serve up Farmer's head on a pike.  If he does, he removes a rival for Dinosaur Steve's job in 2015...only to open to door to Comer being able to make his bones and become an even more dangerous one down the road.  On the other hand, should Oldage Mutant Nimrod Turtle retire in 2014, all bets are off.

We'll see where this goes.

The Austerians Get The Boot

With ten countries in Europe now in the midst of a double dip recession (Spain officially made it ten with their 0.3% GDP contraction numbers on Monday and if you're wondering, the other nine are Britain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Czech Republic, and Slovenia) elections this year are going to be a referendum on the austerity measures ripping into the pocketbooks and wallets of the EU's middle class.  France's Sarkozy government looks to be the first to fall on Sunday, and it won't be the last as Socialist candidate Francoise Hollande is poised to take victory on a platform of reversing steep social cuts.

The American Prospect's Yannis Palaiologos dissects Hollande's rise:

Francois Hollande has long made it clear that he will not be the obedient junior partner to Angela Merkel that Nicolas Sarkozy has been. In particular, he has issued calls for a renegotiation of the fiscal compact agreed by 25 out of 27 EU members earlier this year, to make it more growth-friendly. He has insisted that without a supplementary package of pro-growth measures, he will refuse to ratify it. the German chancellor insists that the pact is not negotiable, but Hollande claims to have support for his approach from many European governments, including conservative ones. As he stated in a television appearance last Thursday: “It is not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe." Even internally, Merkel cannot ratify the fiscal compact without support from the SPD, which, emboldened by Hollande, is demanding a stimulus program for weaker European economies as the price for its support. The fact that Mario Draghi himself, the head of the arch-conservative European Central Bank, spoke, after the first round of voting in France and the resignation of the Dutch prime minister, of the need for a “growth compact” to complement the agreement to tighten fiscal rules is a signal that the eurozone may, finally, be moving in a different direction.

This is not to underestimate the task facing Hollande and the European pro-growth alliance he hopes to lead. A party man without previous governmental experience, he is expected to goad the notoriously stubborn Merkel into a U-turn that, to be meaningful, will need to go beyond a relaxation of the pace of fiscal adjustment. Countries with strong public finances and high competitiveness will need to embrace stimulative short-run policies, which will increase consumption, allow the troubled countries of the periphery to export more and improve growths prospect throughout the continent. They will also have to accept some form of a joint guarantee of the debt of eurozone member-states, to put to bed once and for all market fears about a break up of the euro. The French Socialist must, at the same time, deal with deficits and structural sclerosis at home, the latter an area he has shown little inclination to tackle. It is a tall order but, as things stand, its success may be the eurozone’s last chance.

And Greece is also facing a round of parliamentary elections in the coming weeks as well, which could seriously change the political landscape in that country.  We'll see how it pans out, but Hollande is leading in all the polls right now because the French right remains split between Sarkozy and hard right National Party conservative Marine Le Pen.  Le Pen in fact has all but publicly said that she wants Hollande to win in order for him to fail so tremendously that she becomes the new de facto leader of the opposition with Sarkozy discredited.

2012 is not just about US elections, after all.


Related Posts with Thumbnails