Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Headlines - Tuesday December 7

Sucks to be us. Obama caved. And the Social Security theft is already being sold as a way to pay for the Rich Boy tax cuts (h/t Digby, who has a great article up). Bloomberg:
Lawmakers may embrace plans by President Barack Obama's debt commission to curb the costs of Social Security and $1 trillion in tax breaks even as comprehensive deficit reduction hinges on whether both parties seek confrontation or accommodation.
Palin goes camping with Kate plus 8 Gosselin kids. Add Octomom and you have the publicity whore trifecta.
Dear Republicans:
Wisco: Republicans agree to only wound the hostage.

Bill-O the Clown is calling to execute the guys who leaked the recent diplomatic cables as 'traitors.'  How about a fair balance, Bill-O?  We'll execute the cable leakers provided we also execute all the guys who were behind the  exposure of Valerie Plame (and thereby exposing all her undercover contacts and other agents)?  Yep, I'll looking at you Dick Cheney!



PZ Meyers: While we're busy playing in the creationist theme park ...

…take a look at the depressing state of American education. This is the gloomiest article I've seen on the American future.

Add to this clear evidence that the U.S. education system, that source of future scientists and innovators, has been falling behind its competitors. After leading the world for decades in 25- to 34-year-olds with university degrees, the country sank to 12th place in 2010. The World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly half of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are now foreigners, most of whom will be heading home, not staying here as once would have happened. By 2025, in other words, the United States is likely to face a critical shortage of talented scientists.

That hasn't even gotten to the predictions yet. That's a description of our current status.

You know, in ten years the Chinese tourists will be flocking to the bargains and sights of an economy in the toilet, and they will be booking tours to the Ark Encounter. And they will point and laugh and laugh and laugh. While proud Kentuckians will be scrabbling to sell them cheap plastic souvenirs in their new, low-paying jobs in the service industries.


political pictures - MIRACLES


Executive power.


New poll finds sharp rise in Afghans who believe attacks on US forces are justified.

Awesome. The "good" news from that poll is that we are viewed as equally culpable as Al Qaeda.

Great. Let's stay a few more years!


Check out the latest clip from Sarah Palin's Alaska.

I love this Andrew Sullivan line.

What's particularly awesome about SPA is that each episode is obviously crafted around a "Sarah's-Just-So-Darn-Great" arc followed swiftly by the brutal murder of various life-forms.


Team Obama thinks they've established the President as a reasonable man. And, everything they're doing now is with an eye to the reelection of Mr. Reasonable. Unfortunately, it looks like the tax cut deal, much like the 2009 stimulus, won't work as intended. And, that will end up having a negative impact on the reeclection, according to
Professor Krugman.

Krugman was absolutely right about the stimulus -- as was Joseph Stiglitz. But, no one in the administration pays them any heed because they're only Nobel Prize winning economists -- and Team Obama is comprised of the smartest people in the history of the world. 


Maybe ugly paranoia doesn't sell so well afterall

Common Dreams

Hey, some vaguely, slightly, possibly good news! Latest cable ratings show Rachel Maddow's viewership up 20%, and Glenn Beck's - minus his 140 advertisers - down a whopping 36%. So the loonies get the press, but not the viewers? It's a start.

Operative words are "vaguely, slightly, possibly good news". Even down by 36% Miss Becky still gets several times Ms. Maddow's viewers. In other words, less crazies are still more crazies.

Julian Assange was arrested in London this morning. This backgrounder on his charges has some facts and speculation about Swedish rape law.

Update: Assange had an op-ed published in the Australian today:

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain's The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

[...]Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.


This interactive diabetes map is the scariest thing I've seen in a long time. The only places that approach the South in incidence of diabetes are a few reservation counties in the Plains and West. Is there something more than a poverty diet that explains this?


After all the pain, the worry, the roller coaster of possibility and disappointment, it comes to this.


The first rule of American politics is that presidents get elected by promising to keep the American people safe from one peril or another, real or imagined.

The converse of that rule is that no American president ever got elected by promising to keep the American people safe from themselves. Carter tried and lost. Mondale tried and got stomped. Others tried and were crushed before they got out of the gate.

It doesn't work, which is unfortunate because, sadly, the problem with America these days is mostly...us Americans.

Half of us can't be bothered to pay the slightest attention to what our country is doing or why, and more or less half of the rest get our ideas of right and wrong piped directly into our heads from Rupert Murdoch or Glenn Beck or "Focus on the Family" or all of the above.

Keep reading:


Eric Holder, aka Barney Fife at work.


Finally, the Times notices the Spanish story

You know, the one about how our government "persuaded" the Spanish government to clamp down on the judge who was looking into the use of torture by Americans? The one that our national press was studiously ignoring?

The New York Times finally mentioned it, but
they buried it inside of one of their blogs, where they linked to a story in El PaĆ­s. That took some real courage, guys.

Funny thing.
The U.S. claims universal jurisdiction for crimes of torture, but oh, how this Administration and the previous one squealed when the Spaniards tried to do it.
In climate solidarity, Palestinian firefighters help Israelis fight wildfire

In a demonstration of solidarity in the climate crisis, Palestinian firefighters were some of the first to help Israel fight the unprecedented wildfires in the divided nation. The fires are caused by record heat and drought, a predicted consequence of the long-term climate change in the region spurred by fossil fuel pollution. A team of 21 Palestinian firefighters from the Bethlehem civil defense team left the southern West Bank in four fire engines at 4 am Sunday, and "were received respectfully" by Israeli teams, Bethlehem Civil Defense Chief Ibrahim Ayish told the Jerusalem Post:

After all, we're dealing with a humanitarian issue which knows no borders.(when it comes to Israel needing something anyway)

The solidarity shown by the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, the United States, and others who have come to Israel's aid in the face of climate disasters is precisely what is needed among the political and corporate leaders who have gathered in Cancun to make progress ending the pollution that is boiling our entire planet.


Chuck Norris: Atheist National Park Service Sullying Founding Fathers

Chuck Norris has a personal pastor for all of his various organization, because, well, karate needs pastors, of course. But when that pastor visited Independence Hall in Philadelphia to learn about the religion of our nation's founding fathers, he instead was led on a tour by a guide who, rudely, only talked about the Constitution and forming a republic and the Liberty Bell and such. But doesn't the National Park Service, which oversees the historic site, know that Christianity is the most important aspect of everything that is good in the world, such as white men like the founding fathers? Sounds like those pine tree jockeys need some sense uppercutted into them.

If there's one thing Chuck cares about, besides Jesus, it's context:

Last week, I detailed seven occasions in the past few months at which President Obama omitted the words "by their Creator" from direct quotes of the Declaration of Independence


Keep reading: http://wonkette.com/431746/chuck-norris-atheist-national-park-service-sullying-founding-fathers#more-431746


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