Saturday, January 15, 2011

Via SacBee:

Via SacBee:

Via JMG: Tucson Shooting Victim Arrested For Saying "You're Dead" To Guns Advocate

One of the victims in last Saturday's shooting in Tucson was arrested today after saying, "You're dead," to a man advocating for gun ownership. The arrest of Eric Fuller, 63, came at a taping of ABC's Town Hall, which was being moderated by Christiane Amanpour.
Toward the end of the taping, Amanpour brought up the issues of gun safety and mental health. As one member of the audience stood up and expressed his support for gun ownership, Fuller, seated near the front in an area reserved for victims and special guests, appeared increasingly frustrated and agitated. Fuller then swiveled in his chair, raised his camera and took a photo of the pro-gun speaker, muttering, "You're dead," according to Joel Tranter, who was sitting behind him. "I told him, 'You need to be respectful. You need to calm down,'" Tranter said. "He said, 'What'd you do, vote for this guy?'" As police officers approached to escort Fuller outside, he turned and shouted at the audience: "You whores!" The rest of the taping continued without incident and wrapped up about five minutes later. Outside, Fuller was arrested for making threats, said Capt. Byron Gwaltney of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
According to a local Tucson television station, Fuller's comments were directed at Tuscon Tea Party founder Trent Humphries, who garnered some poor press of his own on Thursday when he blamed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for not carrying a firearm to prevent her own shooting.

Law & Order: UK - Lessons in British Justice

JMG Quote Of The Day - Maine Gov. Paul LePage

"Tell 'em to kiss my butt. They are a special interest. End of story. And I'm not going to be held hostage by special interests. And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they'd like about it." - Tea Party-backed Maine Gov. Paul LePage, after refusing to attend an NAACP-sponsored event honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. LePage has an adopted son from Jamaica.

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Via Truthout; Obama Ignores Eisenhower at Country's, World's Peril

Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout: "Although the cold war ended two decades ago with the collapse of the Soviet Union, recent presidents have found no way out of increased military deployments and expenditures, nor have they challenged the national security influence of the military. No president since Eisenhower has genuinely understood the dangers of the Pentagon's increasing influence over our national security policy."

Read the Article

Via Truthout: Why We Should Take Jared Loughner's Politics Seriously

Steve Striffler, Truthout: "Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, however, holding muddled political views does not in and of itself necessarily make Loughner mentally ill, unstable, crazy, or even particularly unusual. It makes him American and peculiarly so. In the college classroom, at political events and in grassroots organizing meetings, it does not take long to find many young (and not so young) people who hold what many of us consider to be an oddly contradictory collection of political views.... In a world where fragments of information come from so many sources, it often leads them to the odd place where any explanation of the world is as good as any other, where there is no conceptual rudder for judging one theory or idea against another."

Read the Article

Via JMG: Ron Reagan Jr: Dad Was Showing Signs Of Alzheimer's While Still President

In his coming book, Ron Reagan Jr. says that his father was showing the early signs of Alzheimer's while still in office. Reagan Jr. says that he won't discuss the book until its release, but U.S. News & World Report today published several excerpts discussing the former president's state of mind while in office, closing with this paragraph from the book.
"I've seen no evidence that my father (or anyone else) was aware of his medical condition while he was in office. Had the diagnosis been made in, say 1987, would he have stepped down? I believe he would have. Far less was known about the disease then, of course, than is known now. Today we are aware that the physiological and neurological changes associated with Alzheimer's can be in evidence years, even decades, before identifiable symptoms arise. The question, then, of whether my father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's while in office more or less answers itself."

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Via JMG: American Family Association: Satan Is Making People Criticize Sarah Palin

"The hatred directed at her is mindless, it is baseless, it is utterly irrational, and it is disturbing to an alarming degree. When we look into the face of the unvarnished and seething meanness focused on Ms. Palin, we are looking into the face of evil. We are looking into the face of Satan himself, who is the ultimate source of this vitriol and toxic hate." - American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer.

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And now for something completely different...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two from Truthout (Yay Obama!):

David Swanson | What Eisenhower Got Wrong
David Swanson, War is a Crime: "Fifty years ago this Monday, President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell address in which he famously warned of the dangers of influence on our government by the 'military industrial complex.' Our current Secretary of War, Robert Gates, has proposed to retire this year and has recommended that his successors stop increasing the military budget. But Eisenhower didn't just bring this up on his way out the door."
Read the Article

Poll: Obama Rebounding, Would Beat GOP Rivals, Crush Palin
Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers: "President Barack Obama has bounced back from his low point after November's elections and enjoys stronger support heading into the 2012 election cycle, particularly against Sarah Palin, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll released Thursday. Obama's fortunes appear to be rising along with the country's. The poll found a jump in the number of people who think the country's heading in the right direction. Also, the president probably benefited from the productive post-election session of Congress."
Read the Article  

Via JMG: The Big Blue Horrible

reposted from Joe

Rachel Maddow- Stars realigning for 13th sign_ ophiuchus

Via JMG: Photo Of The Day - Inside Westboro

From Life's photo essay, Inside The Westboro Baptist Church.

(Tipped by JMG reader Andi)

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Via JMG: Waistline Chart


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Via SacBee: The 'Big One' might be a flood

By Matt Weiser
California has more risk of catastrophic storms than any other region in the country – even the Southern hurricane states, according to a new study released Thursday. - Read More

Via Utne: Debunking the Birdpocalypse

The Audubon Society says that all the bird die-offs in recent weeks are not a sign of the environmental apocalypse.

Read More >>

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SARAH PALIN: The Lester & Charlie Remix!

Palin's Breath

Via JMG: Back In The 1970s You Were Totally Wearing The Wrong Gold Chain

Astronomers say that position of the Earth is totally different than when astrology was dreamed up 3000 years ago. Therefore, your sign isn't really what you think it is.
"This is not something that happened today. This has gone on for thousands of years," said astronomer Parke Kunkle. The star doctors say Earth is currently in a different spot in relation to the Sun, and its equatorial alignment has changed from 3,000 years ago when the study of astrology began -- back when 12 zodiac signs were assigned to 12 different periods of the year. Those signs you were born into are different now because the Earth's wobble on its axis has created a one-month bump in the alignment of the stars, according to Kunkle. "Because of this change of tilt, the Earth is really over here in effect and Sun is in a different constellation than it was 3,000 years ago."
So you're supposed to subtract one month to get your "real" sign. This is where you say, "Oh, I just knew I was really a Virgo!"

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: The Angry Traveler's Guide

I'm not getting Greece.


reposted from Joe

Via JMG: NORTH CAROLINA: Tea Party-Backed School Board Reinstitutes Segregation

Wake County, North Carolina Republicans swept onto the Raleigh school board with the backing of the Tea Party are abolishing the busing of minority students from poor neighborhoods into better-funded school districts.
The new school board has won applause from parents who blame the old policy - which sought to avoid high-poverty, racially isolated schools - for an array of problems in the district and who say that promoting diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools. "This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s - my life is integrated," said John Tedesco, a new board member. "We need new paradigms." But critics accuse the new board of pursuing an ideological agenda aimed at nothing less than sounding the official death knell of government-sponsored integration in one of the last places to promote it. Without a diversity policy in place, they say, the county will inevitably slip into the pattern that defines most districts across the country, where schools in well-off neighborhoods are decent and those in poor, usually minority neighborhoods struggle.
The NAACP has filed a lawsuit. Wake County's school superintendent has resigned in protest. His expected replacement is a Tea Party activist and retired general who lists himself as a fan of Glenn Beck on his Facebook page.

reposted from Joe

Via Truthout: Storytelling as Organizing: How to Rescue the Left From Its Crisis of Imagination

Adam Kader, In These Times: "In an editorial in In These Times' November 2009 issue, reflecting on the right's success at re-framing the healthcare reform debate in its favor, Kevin O'Donnell wrote, 'When it comes to messaging, Republicans believe in science. Democrats don't.' To their detriment, 'Democrats cling to the idea, disproved by science and electoral experience, that if you present the facts, people will reason their way to the right conclusion.' Republicans, on the other hand, know to use 'simple words, short sentences and a heavy dose of repetition.'"

Read the Article

Two from Truthout:

Few Solutions Emerge After Loughner Shootings
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "As speculation continues over what motivated Jared Loughner's shooting spree in Tucson Saturday, his actions have had a sobering effect on an increasingly hostile political atmosphere. Debates between elected officials and members of the news media are often heated. But recent months have seen an increase in a type of hateful rhetoric among politicians, public servants and pundits alike that is intended to simply demonize opponents rather than argue with them."
Read the Article

Remarks by the President at a Memorial Service for the Victims of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona (Video)
President Barack Obama: "To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants who are gathered here, the people of Tucson and the people of Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today and will stand by you tomorrow. There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: The hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy will pull through."
Read the Article

Keith Olbermann - Rep. Giffords' Intern Daniel Hernandez On Memorial

Via JMG: Rush Limbaugh's Tucson Billboard

Copyranter notes: "It's actually been there for quite some time. I know, because my girlfriend's mother lives in Tucson. It's of course via the radio station, not Limbaugh. Though, I'm sure he—or his "people"—had to approve it before it was erected."

(Via - Towleroad)

reposted from Joe

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Join the Coffee Party Movement

"I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations." Thank you for your vision and the healing words, Pres. Obama!
We must talk with each other "in a way that heals, not a way that wounds," says the president.

Via JMG: Sarah Palin Charges Critics With "Blood Libel" Over Arizona Shooting

This morning Sarah Palin at last broke her silence over the Arizona shooting, issuing a nearly eight-minute video in which she charges the media with "blood libel" for linking conservatives to the tragedy. Politico reports:
Palin has faced criticism for images that look like gun crosshairs to identify the districts of Democrats who were vulnerable in the 2010 elections, that of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot on Saturday. Responsibility lies “not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election,” Palin said. Palin placed blame on the media.”[E]specially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn,” she said. “That is reprehensible.”

Sarah Palin: "America's Enduring Strength" from Sarah Palin on Vimeo.

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Via JMG: U.S. Life Expectancy Declines

Newly released data from the federal government show a slight decrease in life expectancy for residents of the United States. According to the report, West Virginia is the worst state for mortality, with a death rate there that is almost 1.5 times greater than Hawaii, where people are living the longest.
Data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that life expectancy for most American men was 75.3 years in 2008, down by one-tenth of a year from 2007. Women also saw a drop in the number of years they can expect to live, from 80.4 years to 80.3 years, the data show. Black men, on the other hand, bucked the trend and reached a record-high life expectancy of 70.2 years in 2008, up by 0.2 years compared to 2007. They were still the shortest-lived Americans, though, with life spans around 10 years less than white women, who have the highest life expectancy, followed by black women and white men. The pattern of white women enjoying the longest lives and black men the shortest has held true for nearly three decades, but life expectancy for all groups has generally increased over those 30 years.
Alzheimer's is now the sixth-leading cause of death. Overall, the United States now ranks 49th worldwide for life expectancy. In 1950, the U.S. ranked fifth.

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Via JMG: Everywhere But Florida

CNN notes that snow is currently on the ground in 49 out of 50 states. Only Florida has escaped.
After big snow and ice events in the Southeast, Plains, and Midwest this week, 49 out of the 50 states currently have snow on the ground – yes, even Hawaii, where snow falls in Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea all winter. The only state that has avoided this icy blast is Florida. Does that make you want to go on a nice, warm vacation to the Sunshine State? You're not alone. Put another way, that means snow is present in 69.4 percent of the lower 48, which is more than double than December. This is extremely unusual, though it's hard to put a date on when this last happened because records aren't kept on this kind of event.
(Via - Towleroad)

Labels: ,

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Via JMG: Jewish Groups Denounce Sarah Palin's Usage Of The Term "Blood Libel"

Think Progress reports that Jewish groups are denouncing Sarah Palin's usage of the term "blood libel." As most of you doubtlessly know, "blood libel" refers to the anti-Semitic claim that Jews use the blood of Christian babies to make matzoh. Such claims have been used to murder hundreds of Jews.

From the Jewish lobbying group, J Street:
J Street is saddened by Governor Palin’s use of the term “blood libel.” The country’s attention is rightfully focused on the memorial service for the victims of Saturday’s shooting. Our prayers continue to be with those who are still fighting to recover and the families of the victims. The last thing the country needs now is for the rhetoric in the wake of this tragedy to return to where it was before. We hope that Governor Palin will recognize, when it is brought to her attention, that the term “blood libel” brings back painful echoes of a very dark time in our communal history when Jews were falsely accused of committing heinous deeds.
From the National Jewish Democratic Council:
Instead of dialing down the rhetoric at this difficult moment, Sarah Palin chose to accuse others trying to sort out the meaning of this tragedy of somehow engaging in a “blood libel” against her and others. This is of course a particularly heinous term for American Jews, given that the repeated fiction of blood libels are directly responsible for the murder of so many Jews across centuries—and given that blood libels are so directly intertwined with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism around the globe, even today.
Most are noting that Palin's claim is especially offensive considering that Rep. Giffords is Jewish.

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Dear Daniel,

The bipartisan calls for a return to civility in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy in Arizona this past weekend lasted barely a day.

Americans have rightly begun to examine the recent escalation of vitriolic and incendiary rhetoric in our political discourse. While some initial speculation was too quick to point the finger of blame at specific instances of fear-mongering and violent rhetoric without knowing what actually influenced the gunman, when oft-verbally attacked elected officials are targeted for assassination, it's a matter of basic common sense to call for a toning down of the hateful accusations and hyperbolic hyping of false threats. By simply acknowledging the toxicity of this recent rhetoric, primarily by the Right Wing, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and many others have come under relentless attack.

Unfortunately, politicians and pundits on the Right are now responding the same way they always respond to criticism: deflection and denial. They are angry that they would be held accountable and are showing bitter defensiveness by going on the offense against anyone who raises uncomfortable truths like Sheriff Dupnik and some in the media. And they've childishly resorted to their own irrational finger pointing. Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Tea Party leaders and others on the Right are now claiming that the Tucson shooter Jared Loughner is a liberal because he listed Marx's Communist Manifesto among his favorite books (a ridiculous stretch since he also listed Mein Kampf and an Ayn Rand book). Rush Limbaugh said that the gunman has the "full support" of the Democratic Party. And Republicans from Lamar Alexander to Sarah Palin are pushing the message that merely discussing examples of the violent rhetoric which has come to define our political discourse is tantamount to contributing to the ongoing rancor.

In an especially twisted, yet familiar, example of right-wing logic, Arizona State Rep. Jack Harper is actually blaming Saturday's massacre on gun laws he sees as too restrictive and Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for apparently supporting those laws -- this, despite the fact that Arizona's laws were lenient enough for the clearly disturbed Loughner to obtain the 31-round-per-clip semi-automatic weapon he used in his attack.

And media stars like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have been quick to use their podiums to try to make this latest debate all about them. Although she holds no official office or leadership position, Palin addressed the country in a web video yesterday in which she decried any scrutiny of recent political rhetoric and even tried to make herself out as the real victim, going so far as to compare herself to Jewish victims of "blood libels."

Attempting to draw a line between what she sees as perfectly acceptable "free speech" and incitement, she said, "when we 'take up our arms,' we're talking about our vote." But isn't that exactly the point?  Using incendiary language, such as "taking up arms," can have consequences when there are individuals out there who might not grasp the metaphors, especially when it is accompanied by talk of "Second Amendment remedies" to an election not going the way one would like ... or campaign events at gun ranges ... or grave warnings about "death panels," a "tyrannical government," "Dangerous Liberals" and political opponents being "domestic enemies of the Constitution."

Meanwhile, as we reflect on this awful tragedy, and debate the nature of, well, our debate, the Right continues its pile-on of Sheriff Dupnik, smearing him for the supposed crime of calling it like he sees it while happening to be a registered Democrat.

The Sheriff's standing tall against the right-wing smear machine, but we encourage you to show your solidarity with him by signing on to a brief letter of support.

Thank you for your support and for all that you to defend our core values and the American Way ... it's never been needed more.

Michael B. Keegan signature
Michael Keegan, President

Via Truthout: William Rivers Pitt | Poor, Poor Sarah

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "Twenty people shot. Six killed. Fourteen wounded. And guess what? It appears Sarah Palin is the principal victim of the shooting. No, really. Don't believe me? Watch the video she posted to her Facebook page. There she sits, in front of a fireplace and beside an American flag like some cruel joke on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wreathing herself in pity because people are coming to the conclusion that politicians like her - the ones who have spent the last two years talking about guns and civil war and reloading and such - should bear some of the blame for what happened in Arizona."

Read the Article

Via SacBEE: Tea party joins fray in exploiting Tucson shooting - GROUP SENDS OUT A FUNDRAISING PLEA

Within hours of the deadly rampage in Arizona on Saturday, several liberal commentators rushed to the conclusion that the gunman must have been influenced by the inflammatory rhetoric of tea party activists, Sarah Palin and others on the right.     
Within those first hours, and the days after, the nation’s focus should have been on the victims – U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the attack, and the 18 other people who were either killed or wounded. By speculating on motives and rushing toward an indictment, tea party critics attempted to exploit a national tragedy for their own purposes.    Sadly, the Tea Party Express is engaged in its own form of exploitation in the aftermath of this carnage. On Tuesday morning the group e-mailed a fundraising plea – “Please stand with Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh + Tea Party” – that urged supporters to help it raise money so it could counter “the attack on conservatives.”    “Many in the media and the political Left are nonetheless still trying   to use this awful tragedy to make people think that somehow Limbaugh, Palin and the tea party were responsible for this attack,” the e-mail reads.    “They are doing it for one reason: It is an attempt to silence us and make this patriotic, constitutionalist movement controversial – so they can try and stop the momentum this tea party movement has built.”    Hold on a moment: Weren’t the real victims of Saturday’s shooting the 19 people killed or wounded and their families, friends and co-workers? Reading the Tea Party Express’ fundraising plea, you might think otherwise.      “Guess what, friends – we are not going to back down. Not when we have nothing to apologize for, and certainly we won’t just sit back while the media and liberals think they can slander us by calling us responsible for mass murder.”    Nothing to apologize for?    For more than a year, tea party activists have accused President Obama and other opponents of nothing short of treason. Their followers have openly carried guns to rallies. Their leaders have talked of “Second Amendment solutions.” Sarah Palin and others have used militarist language, including a tweet to followers last year: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!”     
While such actions and language likely had no bearing on alleged assailant Jared Loughner, it certainly has contributed to an atmosphere where violence is possible.       
It is also laughable to see the Tea Party Express, based in Sacramento and headed by veteran consultant Sal Russo, claim that “the media” is out to get it.     
The Tea Party Express has a close relationship with Palin and a media megalith on its side, including Fox News, Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and others. Plus, numerous mainstream newspapers have condemned the rush to judgment by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and other liberal commentators, as The Bee did on Monday.    The Tea Party Express could provide a real service to the nation if it would stop with the victimization and urge its supporters to tone down the rhetoric. Instead, it sends out an e-mail saying, “We want to have our largest fundraising day in the history of our organization.”     
Is this how the tea party wants to be part of the healing process?   
Tea Party Express fundraiser Sal Russo, left, looks over a TV ad with Bobby Cullen in February 2010.    Renée C. Byer Bee file, 2010

Via SacBEE: Hateful speech is nurturing environment for hateful acts

On the day Christina Taylor Green was born, 19 men using four hijacked airplanes left a pristine American morning forever stained with blood.    As she was entering life, the rest of us were absorbing a lesson in how mean life can be. We saw proud towers disintegrate like sand castles, mangled bodies pulled from rubble, people with tear-streaked faces holding up photos of missing loved ones. And there bloomed in us a sense of union strong as blood ties, a renewed reminder of who we are.     

We are Americans. “All” of us.    For some, it was likely a revelation. After all, we are quicker to define ourselves in tribal terms than national ones. We are African-American women. We are Jews. We are Southerners. We are conservatives. We are Mexican immigrants. We are gays.    

But the events of that baby’s birth   day showed that others do not see the fine distinctions into which we put so much stock. That day they told us, with unmistakable clarity: You are all Americans, whatever else you are.     

Christina Taylor Green was shot Saturday at a supermarket near Tucson. She was among six people killed in the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona. Thirteen were wounded, including Giffords, who was shot through the brain. She is still fighting for life at this writing.     

Her alleged assailant is Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old Army reject kicked out of a community college in   September for behavior his classmates found threatening and bizarre. 

Authorities say Loughner has left a trail of Internet postings suggestive of a disturbed loner given to incoherent rantings and a belief that he has powers of mind control.    It was probably to be expected that the political spin was in motion before the bodies had even cooled. Tea party activist Judson Phillips quickly deflected blame for the tragedy. Giffords, he reportedly noted on his website, is “a liberal,” but, he said, “that does not matter now.”    Of course, if it didn’t matter, he wouldn’t have mentioned it. “At a time like this,” he said piously, “it is terrible that we do have to think about politics, but no matter what the shooter’s motivations were, the left is going to blame this on the Tea Party movement.”    It would indeed be specious and simplistic to blame that movement   for this massacre. That makes as much sense as Jerry Falwell blaming feminists and the ACLU for the 9/11 attacks or media reports blaming video games for Columbine. If authorities are correct, we already know whom to blame for this: Jared Lee Loughner. And he seems to have been motivated less by politics than by mental instability.     

That said, Phillips’ attempt at a pre-emptive defense suggests a certain guilt of conscience, a tacit acknowledgment that political discourse in this country has become a national disgrace, hateful, poisonous and coarse. And that the tea party movement bears a lion’s share of the onus for that. And that if the movement did not cause Saturday’s tragedy, it did create the atmosphere that made such a tragedy feel … inevitable.     

It was not the seed, but it was the soil.      
Media empires have been built and political careers advanced upon a kind of violent, proudly extremist rhetoric that has less to do with elucidating philosophical differences than with demonizing them, stoking division through hatred and fear of the other, whether the other be Mexican, Muslim, gay or a dreaded liberal. There is, we have been repeatedly told, a difference between people like that and “real” Americans.    
Something to keep in mind as we mourn the dead, among them a 9-year-old girl who aspired to help the less fortunate. On the day she was born, we remembered something important about ourselves.    
It was long forgotten by the day she died.    

  Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

Via SacBee: Thank You Rex Babin!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Via Truthout: Has American Education Peaked?

Marion Brady, The Washington Post: "American education has peaked. Accept it. It has serious SYSTEM problems, and the present crop of reformers is making those problems worse. We're not going to get the schools we need by doing longer and harder what we've been doing for the last 150 years. The notion that we're on the wrong education road is a really tough sell. President Obama doesn't think so. Neither does Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Governors Association, the think tanks, the mainstream media, most of the general public. Neither, sad to say, do many educators."

Read the Article

Via PBS: How Close Are We to Finding an Earthlike Planet?


And what constitutes an "earthlike planet" anyway?
The Kepler Space telescope has found a small, rocky planet, the smallest yet found orbiting a star outside our solar system, the Kepler team announced Monday at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The finding brings us a ste closer to the planet scientist's holy grail: a planet small enough and temperate enough to host life.

Scientists have found some 500 exoplanets beyond the solar system, but most are large gas planets, like Saturn or Jupiter, too gassy to support living things.

"What's extraordinary and important and unique about this new planet is that it's definitively solid," says Geoff Marcy, a University of California, Berkeley astronomer and a co-investigator on the Kepler team. "It's a big ball of rock like earth, and astronomers have never before discovered a planet that is definitively a solid piece of rock... This new planet reminds us more closely of home than any other before."

In Honor of 1.11.11 - Demetri Martin creates a 224-word palindrome poem: "Dammit I'm Mad"

Dammit I’m mad.
Evil is a deed as I live.
God, am I reviled? I rise, my bed on a sun, I melt.
To be not one man emanating is sad. I piss.
Alas, it is so late. Who stops to help?
Man, it is hot. I’m in it. I tell.
I am not a devil. I level “Mad Dog”.
Ah, say burning is, as a deified gulp,
In my halo of a mired rum tin.
I erase many men. Oh, to be man, a sin.
Is evil in a clam? In a trap?
No. It is open. On it I was stuck.
Rats peed on hope. Elsewhere dips a web.
Be still if I fill its ebb.
Ew, a spider… eh?
We sleep. Oh no!
Deep, stark cuts saw it in one position.
Part animal, can I live? Sin is a name.
Both, one… my names are in it.
Murder? I’m a fool.
A hymn I plug, deified as a sign in ruby ash,
A Goddam level I lived at.
On mail let it in. I’m it.
Oh, sit in ample hot spots. Oh wet!
A loss it is alas (sip). I’d assign it a name.
Name not one bottle minus an ode by me:
“Sir, I deliver. I’m a dog”
Evil is a deed as I live.
Dammit I’m mad.

Via JMG: Glenn Beck: Then And Now

Glenn Beck in 2005: "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"

Glenn Beck in 2011: "Sixty percent of Americans say the rhetoric in America has nothing to do with the shooting. It's -- it's quite honestly an abomination that it's only 60 percent of the American people. I don't understand how rhetoric had anything to do with it."

What would Glenn Beck be saying today if somebody had shot Michael Moore?

Via JMG: Dan Savage Remixes Sarah Palin

This will be the cover of this week's issue of The Stranger, for whom Dan Savage is editor. Embiggen for the names.

reposted from Joe

Monday, January 10, 2011

Via Truthout: William Rivers Pitt | The Wrath of Fools: An Open Letter to the Far Right

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "This is not the end of the story, but is just the beginning. The good people of the United States of America, the true patriots, have finally seen you with your media-painted masks ripped off. They have seen what comes to pass when hate, venom, ignorance and violence goes unchecked and unanswered. You have been exposed, and the fact that it took such an unimaginably horrific act for that exposure to take place only increases the fierceness with which you will be answered. You will be repudiated, not with violence, but with the scorn and rejection you so richly deserve. Spin it as you will, scramble all you like. You are found out, and you have nowhere to hide."

Read the Article

Via People For the American Way:


Dear Daniel,

All of us at People For the American Way are saddened by this past weekend's tragedy in Arizona. Our thoughts are with Representative Giffords and all of the victims of Saturday's shooting as well as their families.

Members of Congress have been united in denouncing the attack and calling for support of the victims. And voices from all sides, in government and the media alike, have been calling for a toning down of overheated rhetoric... it's good to see even those responsible for some of the most egregious examples of this overheated rhetoric are now calling for a return to civility. But amidst calls for responsibility, we are also seeing efforts to demonize truth tellers and censor the important debate we need to have about how to curb the dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, the most visible law enforcement official handling the incident thus far, has come under attack from the Right for speaking the truth. He has acknowledged that the Tucson gunman, Jared Loughner, appears to be a deeply disturbed individual. But the sheriff has rightly noted that the increased inflammatory and violent rhetoric over the last several years in our national political debate has created a dangerous climate that could contribute to senseless acts of violence like this one, which claimed the lives of six innocent people: nine-year-old Christina Green; Dorothy Morris, 76; U.S. District Judge John McCarthy Roll, 63; Phyllis Schneck, 79; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; and Giffords’ director of community outreach, Gabe Zimmerman, 30.

In discussing the current environment, Sheriff Dupnik said, "I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol." And:
"We have become a very angry country, part of it very ugly. And that even though we have free speech in this country, constantly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making the people angry at government ... may benefit some party, but I think those people have to consider that they may have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future."
The sheriff's remarks are honest and accurate, and reflect a fundamental understanding of law enforcement. They are not attempts to politicize this tragedy in any way. Nonetheless, in a classic diversionary tactic, he has been attacked by right-wing politicians like Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Fox News, who accuse him of "speculation" and departing from the supposedly-required "just the facts" approach to criminal investigations, even though his observations clearly are important to understanding any act of violence, even by a mentally ill individual, committed against a background of hateful and violent rhetoric.

How long until Sheriff Dupnik is featured on Glenn Beck's chalkboard?

It's important that when someone gets smeared and attacked for telling the truth, we stand up to defend them. If you would like to show your support for Sheriff Dupnik, please take a moment to sign a letter solidarity with him against the increasing smears he is facing from the Right.

Sheriff Dupnik is doing this country a huge favor by acknowledging the potentially dangerous consequences of the hateful and violent rhetoric we are experiencing. Discussion of the shooting in Tucson dominated the weekend news shows, and some politicians have been quick to dismiss any mention of specific incidences of right-wing rhetoric. But the way to correct a problem has never been to ignore the fact that it exists in the first place.

This weekend's tragedy is a stark reminder that things have gotten way out of hand. It's time to walk it back.

Michael B. Keegan signature
Michael Keegan, President
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