Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Call

The life sentence in Egypt of former strongman Hosni Mubarak may be a moot point if the ex-dictator has the temerity to up and die on everyone this week.

Egypt's jailed ex-strongman Hosni Mubarak clung to life Tuesday despite slipping in and out of consciousness, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

The spokesman, Gen. Marwan Mustapha, said Mubarak's condition had stabilized "and a number of doctors from the prison authority are monitoring him," along with physicians from the armed forces.

"He does go in and out of this state of unconsciousness, but new equipment has been installed in the ICU room of the hospital on Saturday to accommodate his fragile situation," Mustapha said. "His two sons are beside him, and his wife visited him today."

Mubarak, 84, was sentenced to life in prison on June 2 for the killing of pro-democracy demonstrators during the 2011 revolt that toppled him. He was already suffering from health problems and attended court on a gurney -- but Mustapha said rumors that Mubarak had died were false.

It's funny.  If his regime had lasted another year, Mubarak would be too sick to carry on anyway.  Looks like this may be one of the shorter life sentences in history.

Don't cry for me, Egypt, the truth is I never left you.  Upside:  the people demanding Mubarak being put to death may get their wish, thus satisfying pretty much 100% of the population in the "life sentence vs. death" argument.  He gets both.  Everyone wins.

Gabby's Legacy

Democrats easily retained Congresswoman Gabby Gifford's seat in Arizona in yesterday's special election as former Giffords aide Ron Barber won over Republican challenger Jesse Kelly by 8 points, 53-45.

Giffords had hoped for such a result when she handpicked Barber, her longtime Democratic district director and friend, after she resigned in January to focus on recovering from a brain injury suffered in the shooting. Democrats were keen on keeping the toss-up seat in their hands before the fall elections.

Barber represents Congressional District 8 for six months and is running for a full term in the newly drawn District 2 during the regular fall elections.

Kelly, a 30-year-old construction-project manager and former Marine who narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010, also plans to compete for the full term.

But he could encounter Republican resistance to a third try after his loss to to Barber. Two other GOP candidates, including a potential rising star, retired Air Force pilot Martha McSally, have filed to compete for the full term.

McSally finished second to Kelly in the April primary, despite little initial name recognition and modest fundraising. Her brand of spunky conservative feminism and story of becoming the Air Force’s first female combat pilot stirred many voters. A little-known Republican county worker, Mark Koskiniemi, is also on the ballot for the fall.

Barber, 66, is slated to face Tucson doctor and state Rep. Matt Heinz in the Democratic primary.

The problem is the newly redrawn districts will make it very tough for Democrats to keep the seat in November.  Tuscon will become the 2nd district, while a lot of votes will be shifted next door along the Mexico border to Democrat and Progressive Caucus head Raul Grijalva in the 7th.  Ed Pastor in the 4th still looks good, but the newly redrawn second is now extremely competitive, and Arizona Republicans are confident they've stowed all the Latino vote in the 7th and the African-American vote in the 4th, leaving the other 6 districts as easy GOP wins for the next ten years.

Barber can at least make it a bit more even, but it will be difficult at best.

Greek Fire, Part 62

The unquenchable Greek Fire is burning through Europe, and in Greece itself, panic buying and bank runs are now accelerating.

Greeks pulled their cash out of the banks and stocked up with food ahead of a cliffhanger election on Sunday that many citizens fear will result in the country being forced out of the euro.

Bankers said up to 800 million euros ($1 billion) were leaving major banks daily and retailers said some of the money was being used to buy pasta and canned goods in case of shortages, as fears of returning to the drachma were fanned by rumors that a radical leftist leader may win the election.

The last published opinion polls showed the conservative New Democracy party, which backs the 130-billion-euro ($160 billion) bailout that is keeping Greece afloat, running neck-and-neck with the leftist SYRIZA party, which wants to cancel the rescue deal.

SYRIZA says if they win, they're nullifying the bailout, which means an almost certain forced exit from the Euro, a series of bank holidays, and the return to the drachma at a massive anyone keeping cash in the bank, that is.  The smart people are getting their euros out now, which is causing something of a self-fufilling meltdown.

And at a billion a day and rising, things are getting downright scary in Europe now.  Here's a hint:  Greek banks don't have a lot of actual physical cash on hand (like any fractional reserve banking system), so those who wait, lose.

This is getting ugly and fast, folks.

70 Years Ago Isn't That Far Back

Consider how far the world has come in seventy years.  It's easy to forget that in our grandparent's generation, the world was still fighting on a scale never before experienced.  And yet, it isn't that long ago when you consider Anne Frank.  She could have made it easily to 83 if she had been allowed the opportunity.  One lifetime.  We are just one long lifetime removed from so many global firsts, mostly of the unwanted kind.

Seventy years ago, on her 13th birthday, Anne Frank received what would become the world's most famous diary.
The red-checkered notebook was given to Frank by her father, Otto, on June 12, 1942—22 days before Frank and her German-born Jewish family went into hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
"I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone," Frank wrote in the diary on the same day. "And I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support."
Frank died in 1945 in a German concentration camp—crazy to think that Frank would've been just 83 today had she survived.

Her story should never be forgotten, and thanks to that diary it won't be.  The story of oppression, fear, and survival is a snapshot of one of the most violent and dangerous times ever.  And without vigilance and bravery, we could easily find ourselves there again.

When we talk about war, regardless of the countries involved, it's the Anne Franks of the world who remind us who we really are.

"Little Darth Vader" Having Open Heart Surgery

May the Force be with him.
Max Page, the 7-year-old who played a miniature Darth Vader in Volkswagen’s popular Super Bowl commercial in 2011, will undergo open-heart surgery in Los Angeles on Wednesday to repair a congenital heart defect, according to ad agency Deutsch LA. The goal of the surgery is to repair a hole in his heart and replace his pulmonary valve.
Max appeared with his mother, Jennifer Page, on TODAY in February 2011 after the Super Bowl ad gained instant fame. In the ad, Max dresses as a mini Darth Vader and attempts to use the Force around the house to no avail before being surprised that he can start his father’s Volkswagen with the wave of a hand.
There are entries from the mother, telling the story of how Max has comforted her and accepted that he has to have the surgery.  It's heartbreaking, but less so that his future without the operation.

Here's hoping for you, kid.  

Painted Into A Corner

You know that portrait of Breitbart in heaven with a sword going for a cool 4 grand?

Consider your mind blown.
It was apparently stolen and photoshopped from a video game.

And thus, the circle of stupid involving every possible aspect of this man's existence is now complete.

She Coulda Been A Pretender

Folks, Birther Queen and maniac Orly Taitz didn't run for Senate in California's primary last week because she thought she would win.  She ran because she knew she would lose.

Defeated U.S. Senate candidate Orly Taitz said Wednesday that her loss was likely caused by rigged voting machines.

Writing on her blog Wednesday morning, the Orange County resident said: "At the moment nobody has a clue how these machines are programmed. There is a high probability that different values were given to votes cast for different candidates."

Before the election, Taitz told Patch she suspected widespread voter fraud was responsible for the nation's high incumbency rate.

"How can it be that the members of Congress, which have an approval rating of 9 to 11 percent, can be reelected on average 90 percent of the time?" she said. "Something is very wrong with this system."

This was not the first time Taitz has claimed fraud in her bid for office. Two years ago, she lost to Damon Dunn during the Republican primary and then sued Dunn, claiming fraud. The case was thrown out of court in May.

At that time, the court said Taitz "provided no legal basis" to explain why her opponent's past voter registration constituted fraud.

Oh there's a shocker.  Taitz having no legal basis for her insanity.

Now, having said that, there are issues with voting machines in this country, and Brad Friedman at Brad Blog has done an outstanding job of continuing to expose the very real efforts to shape and control our country through voting machine fraud and has done so for years now.  

But to see Oily Taint here co-opt Brad's stuff here because she claims she clearly won and was only defrauded out of her Senate seat is just mind-numbingly pathetic.

Even for her. 


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