Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last Call

Dana Milbank may be a nimrod most of the time, but at least he recognized the absurdity of Wednesday's impromptu House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearings where good ol' "national security" Republicans Darrel Issa and Jason Chaffetz all but revealed to the world that yes, the CIA had a facility in the Benghazi, Libya embassy compound.

Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the first to unmask the spooks. “Point of order! Point of order!” he called out as a State Department security official, seated in front of an aerial photo of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, described the chaotic night of the attack. “We’re getting into classified issues that deal with sources and methods that would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this.”

A State Department official assured him that the material was “entirely unclassified” and that the photo was from a commercial satellite. “I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz continued. He went on to say that “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.” 

Well let's see, now why would an innocent-looking annex freak Rep. Chaffetz out?  Well, that's because it wasn't an innocent-looking compound annex.  Who else besides diplomats hang out in embassy compounds?  If you said "duh, the CIA" then congratulations, you're smarter than a Republican.  Libyans knew it.  We of course knew it.  Everybody knows it.  We don't just publicly say "Hey, our spies are hanging out here next to the embassy.  We thought you should know."  That's why we tell people "It's an innocent-looking embassy compound annex" because it's hidden in plain sight.  You're not supposed to confirm this to anyone who is watching.

In other words, Jason Chaffetz just blew the CIA's Libya embassy cover.  In public.  On television.   And people wonder why I think Republicans in Congress are worthless on national security.  They can't even keep their OWN mouths shut.

Now that Chaffetz had alerted potential bad guys that something valuable was in the photo, the chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), attempted to lock the barn door through which the horse had just bolted. “I would direct that that chart be taken down,” he said, although it already had been on C-SPAN. “In this hearing room, we’re not going to point out details of what may still in fact be a facility of the United States government or more facilities.”

May still be a facility? The plot thickened — and Chaffetz gave more hints. “I believe that the markings on that map were terribly inappropriate,” he said, adding that “the activities there could cost lives.”

All but tipping off anyone with half a brain that the Benghazi annex was in fact the CIA's little home in Libya.  Good work, moron.  What started out as yet another of Issa's witch hunts against the Obama administration, this time against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has now turned into Republicans pointing out just where our CIA spies are hanging out in Benghazi.

Just thinking about it gives me a headache.

An Assault On The Common Senses

"Real Housewives of Miami" star Peter Rosello was arrested for battery today after socking a homeless man in the balls last week, this according to law enforcement.
20-year-old Rosello -- the son of housewife Alexia Echevarria -- was arrested for simple battery, which was categorized as a felony on the police report because Rosello attacked a homeless person.

He snuck up on an innocent man and punched him in the groin.  A privileged brat with the soul of a turnip exposed the worst of himself, and was caught on camera.

What a jackass.  I hope he serves time for it, and learns a lesson.

In another case of "simple assault" a teen is arrested for sucker punching a random person in the street, who just happened to be a teacher.   The man was walking in downtown Pittsburgh when the teenager attacked.  There is no word on what will happen to the teen, but the teacher will likely never see justice for what happened to him one random crazy day.

Alex Karras 1935 - 2012

His rendering of his own roguish personality led to several appearances on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,” and in the 1970s he played numerous guest roles on series television, on shows like “McMillan & Wife,” “Love, American Style,” “M*A*S*H” and “The Odd Couple,” in which he played a comically threatening man-mountain, the jealous husband of a woman who had become friendly with Felix (Tony Randall). Perhaps most memorably, he played Mongo, a hulking subliterate outlaw who delivers a knockout punch to a horse, in the Mel Brooks Western spoof “Blazing Saddles.”

In 1975 he played George Zaharias, the husband of the champion track star and golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias, in the television movie “Babe.” The title role was played by Susan Clark, who became his wife, and from 1983 to 1989, they starred together in the gentle sitcom “Webster,” about a retired football player who takes in a black boy (Emmanuel Lewis), the orphaned young son of a former teammate.

But Karras, at 6 feet 2 inches and 248 pounds — large then but smaller in comparison with today’s N.F.L. linemen — first earned fame as a ferocious tackle for the Lions. He anchored the defensive line for 12 seasons over 13 years, 1958 to 1970.

Karras was an awesome character, and you would be surprised at how much he did.  The full article does a terrific job of listing his acting and sports credentials.  Some I never knew, many I had long forgotten.  He was settling down and relatively quiet by the time I was born.  What I will always remember him for are the Johnny Carson appearances.  He had so much charisma, and was ruthlessly and fearlessly honest.  He may not have always been popular, but he had a strict zero-tolerance policy for BS.

I'll miss the old guy.

Mom Gives Her 11-Year-Old A Tattoo

A North Carolina mother was arrested after she gave her 11-year-old daughter a small heart-shaped tattoo near her shoulder, authorities said.
Odessa Clay, 30, of Greensboro, N.C., faces one count of tattooing a person under age 18.
It is illegal to tattoo a minor in North Carolina, regardless of parental consent.
The Havelock Police Department charged Clay, who has a few tattoos of her own, with the offense in late September.
In her defense, Clay said she did not know tattooing a minor, especially her own daughter, was illegal.

The phrasing is a little ambiguous.  It's hard to tell whether the mother tattooed the girl herself or merely took her to get it done.  If she took her somewhere, you would think they would know the law.  If she did it herself, I would imagine the health and hygiene issues equally important.

Either way, I'm frankly surprised it's against the law even with parental consent.  That was what got my attention even over the stupidity of putting a permanent mark on an 11-year-old girl.

Am I old fashioned?  Maybe.  I have several tattoos, all but one in easily hidden places.  I regret a few, not all.  But then I was also old enough to have known better, and this little girl doesn't even have that going for her.

Tell Me All Your Thoughts On God

LONDON — A letter in which Albert Einstein dismissed the idea of God as a product of human weakness is being sold on eBay for a starting price of $3 million.

The letter, handwritten in 1954, a year before Einstein's death, was addressed to philosopher Eric Gutkind. In it, Einstein discussed his views on religion, including calling "the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

An anonymous collector who bought the letter in 2008 is putting it on sale on online auction site eBay from Monday. The auction closes Oct. 18.
The Scream, and now this.  Why oh why can't I have millions just sitting around for times like this.

Seriously, Einstein was an amazing person, and anything from his hand would be of great value.  His ideas may cause discussion, which causes thinking, which is what Einstein would enjoy.

I Beg To Differ, Madam

A 23-year-old Texas mother who beat her daughter and glued her hands to a wall told a Dallas judge on Wednesday that she was a monster a year ago, but she has changed.
"Elizabeth Escalona is not a monster," she said of herself, according to a tweet by Dallas Morning News' crime reporter Scott Goldstein. "I want everybody to know that I'm not a monster. I love my kids. I love my babies."
Well, I hate to be the one to point out that you glued her hands to the wall and she lost skin.  I'd also not like to rehash the coma or the bleeding on the brain, or the bite marks.  No amount of counseling stops that.  You have to want to protect your children enough to take steps before it gets that far, or face the consequences.

Good people do bad things sometimes.  They don't do things so awful that a child's skin is peeled or put their kid in a coma.  Nobody is all good or all evil, but in her case the scales are indeed tipped towards monster.  Nothing less than a monster could have done such a thing.  A year doesn't bring an emotional and intellectual turnaround.  Even if it did, that little girl faced a monster that day, and this woman should pay for her actions no matter how sane and kind she's feeling now.

Lancing The Boil

The case that Lance Armstrong's entire cycling career was nothing but doping fueled cheating was laid out this week in a new report by the US Anti-Doping Agency, and it's pretty brutal across the board.

Armstrong used the banned drugs erythropoietin, or EPO, and testosterone, provided EPO to teammates and administered testosterone on at least one occasion, according to USADA. His teammate George Hincapie said Armstrong tranfused blood in every Tour de France from 2001 through 2005. He won all those races. Signs also point to Armstrong still blood-doping in 2009 and 2010, according to Christopher Gore, head of physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport.

“USADA found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Lance Armstrong engaged in serial cheating through the use, administration and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and methods and that Armstrong participated in running the U.S. Postal Team as a doping conspiracy,” USADA concluded. “So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sports history.”

Armstrong has repeatedly denied doping, saying he has never failed a drug test, and today his lawyer Timothy Herman called the USADA case “a government-funded witch hunt.”

Armstrong, 41, was banned for life from competitive cycling and all other Olympic-related sports and stripped of his Tour de France titles on Aug. 23 after opting not to fight USADA’s allegations. 

I have no sympathy for the guy.  Cancer or not, this guy's as crooked as they come.  He ran his entire team as a doping conspiracy to win at all costs, and in the end he finally got caught.  The fact that Armstrong refuses to contest the Tour de France wins pretty much seals it.

It's a sad story, but it's a 200-page report.  It doesn't look like they USADA was just idling messing around, either.

Chalk up another sports hero that was too good to be true...or honest, for that matter.


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