Thursday, April 30, 2009

Headlines - Thursday




In this post about the Atlanta, GA teabaggers' convocation at the state capitol, Jim Galloway of the AJC mentioned that "today [April 26th] is Confederate Memorial Day." 

I must confess that I've never heard of such a thing.  To Wikipedia!

Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day (Tennessee) and Confederate Heroes Day (Texas), is an official holiday and/or observance day in parts of the U.S. South as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. 

Just when you think you've seen it all, here comes something that once again beggars the imagination.  Something which confirms that, no matter how far they have previously sunk, there is no depth to which the revisionist historians of the American south cannot sink in their quest to celebrate one of history's greatest evils and the monsters who caused it.

"Confederate heroes?"  There were no Confederate heroes, only massive numbers of relatively ignorant people duped into fighting and dying for the region's moneyed elite, goaded into violence by twisted racial propaganda and enough theological blasphemy to make the Dutch Reformed Church blush.

Now, 144 years after the end of their treasonous war against their brothers and sisters, they still have holidays which celebrate that massive betrayal, closing state offices.  Further, several states combine this observance with the federal day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.  But they're not racists!  There's no hard feelings about the Civil War!  Oh no, it's just a coincidence that Arkansas and Texas honor their homegrown traitors and terrorists on the same day the nation honors - halfheartedly, to be sure - the memory of the man who, more than any other, taught reconciliation between the races.

The only honor the Confederacy needs is to know the truth of what they did and why, to be glad they're dead and gone and to vow to never again betray one's fellow citizens.


Smithfield Foods is denying responsibility for the outbreak in Veracruz, Mexico, of the swine flu. They say they test and vaccinate the pigs they torture in their huge factory farm. They say none of the infected people had contact with hogs.

However, Smithfield's statement fails to mention that countless residents of La Gloria were routinely and relentlessly exposed to airborne droplets of pig feces and decayed tissue for an undetermined number of years, thanks to toxic and sick-making clouds blowing outward from Granja Carrol's so-called "oxidation ponds"--or pig sewage lagoons. And that they have long complained of respiratory illnesses, well before their children started dying in March.

Nor does the company's statement explain that contracting the H1N1 influenza virus does NOT necessarily require that one "have contact with hogs"; in fact, the flu virus is spread via tiny droplets of infected matter--feces, body fluids--that reach the mucous membranes and lungs when someone touches a contaminated surface before rubbing his eyes, for example, or when he unwittingly inhales airborne, virus-containing waste droplets floating around his town, courtesy of a nearby pig or poultry CAFO.

And there's something else--several things, actually--that Smithfield Foods left off its website: photographs of the Granjas Carrol plant itself. The photos are published on the news website Enlace Veracruz 212 (Veracruz Connection) - Analytical and Investigative Journalism. It must be said, these writer(s) and photographer(s) are very brave journalists indeed--for reasons both obvious and not-so-obvious: according to the accompanying article, speaking out against the Granjas Carrol operation has, disturbingly but not unsurprisingly, led to various residents being intimidated, threatened, and arrested by certain officials tasked with protecting the company's financial interests. (These images are, in a word, grisly. You've been warned.)

The infamous oxidation ponds, or pig-waste lagoons, filled with concentrated excrement, blood, and the rotting bodies of dead pigs; note the broken pipe.

Rotting pig carcass floating in the oxidation pond/pig-waste lagoon

Dead pigs, stacked on a wheeled cart and left out in the heat. It is not clear if these animals' bodies were destined for processing or disposal. 

More dead pigs left out to rot; scavenger animals got hold of these carcasses. As the Enlace Veracruz writer notes, "This is the how Granjas Carrol cares for its dead."

So, readers, are you horrified yet? And are you, too, wondering where on Earth the American mainstream media are?


It was decision day for the Bank of America on the future of Chairman Ken Lewis. And, Ken Lewis lost.

SEIU has led the effort to dump Lewis. Over the past couple weeks, SEIU along with, True Majority and a bunch of other groups collected more than 90,000 "taxpayer proxy cards." You know, as taxpayers, we are the largest shareholder in BofA, and those 90,000 taxpayers want Ken Lewis fired. The proxy cards were delivered at the meeting today


Obama just completed his first 100 days. But there was another 100 days as well. The Republican first 100 days... in opposition. And they didn't do so well. Here is Dan Balz in yesterday's Washington Post:

How much more can the Republicans take? Demoralized, shrinking and seemingly lacking an agenda beyond the word "no," Republicans today saw their ranks further thinned with the stunning news that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is switching parties and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat....

[T]he Republican Party continues to contract, especially outside the South, and that it appears increasingly less welcome to politicians and voters who do not consider themselves solidly conservative. Northeast Republicans have gone from an endangered species to a nearly extinct species. Republicans lost ground in the Rocky Mountains and the Midwest in the last two elections. That's no way to build a national party.

Balz adds:

Republicans have been on a downward slide for the past four years, a decline that began not long after the reelection of former president George W. Bush in 2004. Many Republicans have blamed most of the party's problems on Bush's leadership. But the problems go deeper than any one person. Specter's shocking departure may provide a wakeup call to Republicans that a broad reassessment is now urgently needed.

It's not about George Bush. He was an abject failure, to be sure, but Republicans fool themselves when they blame Bush as some kind of aberration. The only problem, they say, is that Bush wasn't a true conservative. In fact, the only problem was that he was. He cut taxes. He took us to war, repeatedly. He deregulated and favored business over the individual. He opposed abortion and bashed the gays. And what did it get us?

The Republicans need to wake up and smell the Kool-Aid. George Bush didn't fail because he wasn't conservative enough. George Bush failed because he was a true Republican. 


Spain is not backing down on the Gitmo torture investigation. AP


Permanent Republican Majority

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s appearance at a Michigan county Republican Party event was scrapped this week after the county chairwoman said that hosting the moderate Utah governor would mean abandoning the party's conservative principles.




Obama hits back against Bybee's defense: "Legal rationales for torture memos were a mistake"


Yesterday the House passed President Obama's $3.4 trillion budget outline by a vote of 233-193. However, all House Republicans voted against the plan:

Not a single Republican voted for the measure; 17 Democrats, mostly from GOP-leaning districts, voted against it. The Senate will vote on the measure Wednesday afternoon.

The House GOP also voted in unison against the stimulus package in February -- despite President Obama's aggressive bipartisan outreach. In January, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that "it would be a great mistake for the House GOP to turn inward and simply become the party of 'no.'"


Arlen Sphincter's first vote as a Democrat 

In a 53-to-43 vote tonight, the Senate followed the House in passing President Obama's budget. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the budget resolution, but a number of key Democrats including Sens. Evan Bayh (IN), Robert Byrd (WV), Ben Nelson (NE), and most notably Arlen Specter (PA) voted against it. Just yesterday, Specter reportedly said to Obama, "I'm a loyal Democrat. I support your agenda." The budget resolution that passed tonight allowed for health care reform to be implemented using the budget reconciliation process, which Specter expressed his opposition to yesterday.


The state of New Hampshire fell victim to the Gay Marriage Flu sweeping the nation; its Senate and House have approved a marriage bill. Now they have to see if the governor will sign it. [Boston Globe]


Gay marriage fever upgraded to Level 5G

GOP hysterical over hate crimes bill because it would protect gay people:

Less than one month after she used the term "tar baby" on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) says the notion that Matthew Shepard murder was a hate crime was a "hoax"


Georgia governor candidate who has already admitted to having sex with a mule before finding God says he's ready to sacrifice his own son in an effort to get his state to secede from the union. Neal Horsley made national headlines when he posted the names, phone numbers and addresses of abortion doctors online. His "Nuremberg Files" website also crossed off the names of doctors as they were killed:


4,278 soldiers killed in Iraq; 679 in Afghanistan.

Another US drone kills at least 10 in Pakistan.

April is deadliest month in Iraq in over a year.

Yesterday in Iraq: 63 Iraqis killed and 108 wounded.


The prez targets the teabaggers

At his 100th-day town hall meeting in St. Louis, President Obama took direct aim at the "tea party" demonstrations that cropped up over the last month – and took a veiled shot at Fox "News," the network closely associated with the protests.

Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be
repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.

"Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, "let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security."

"But," Obama continued, "let's not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act."  


Tearful obstructionist has another hissyfit, but neglects to provide any sort of constructive countermeasures. Spray-tanned, whiny and clueless is no way to go through Congress, moron.

The top House WATB said Tuesday that the "liberal" bills being pushed by President Obama and congressional Democrats make him "want to throw up."

Permanent-Minority Leader John "butt-hurt" Boehner burbled in an interview that decisions such as closing Guantanamo Bay and releasing classified memos on CIA torture techniques reflect a dangerous, "piecemeal approach" to national security.

"They have no plan for taking on the terrorists, and they have no plan for keeping America safe," he whined to the Moonie Times.

Coincidently, Mr Boner did not offer any plan of his own. Huh.



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