Issues the Day After - Lessons Republicans Can Teach Us (5:46) - Click for Podcast
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Republicans have provided the nation with an important lesson on Obama foreign policy. They have done it without words.
Ferguson - Publishing the Addresses of Those We Accuse (7:28) - Click for Podcast
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How should we react when home information of a controversial figure is published? Does have to it depend on politics?
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The written attack on Malia and Sasha Obama, essentially characterizing them as brats in bar fly clothing, was cheap and petty. Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger reports on one reaction. Patti Davis gives some public advice based on her own experience as President Ronald Reagan's daughter.
PZ Myers, writing for Pharyngula, tells of the adventures of a critic of video game misogynism. She meets rape threats and other online abuse with an amazingly creative response. Even more amazing is the subsequent filing of lawsuits. Unexpected, even from adults with the minds of excessively coddled pre-adolescents.
Rumproast gets serious as he narrates the personal evolution of his view of the religious right. A rare, solemn, explanation that avoids the preachiness that tempts us when we look at helpless, often willful, ignorance.
Whenever I want an informed perspective on world events, I go to Infidel 753. Now Infidel explains the role of group identity in both oppression and liberation. We religious types can benefit in another way as well. Infidel incorporates his jaundiced view of spiritual beliefs as a source of sectarian tribalism. It's an outside view of ourselves that we need to take seriously.
I have a hard time listening to Reverend Al. I know it is unfair of me to be put off by his bombastic style. Style is not always substance. The substance of his history may put me on more solid ground. I see him as a rhetorical thug. At The Intersection of Madness and Reality Alinda surveys opinions posted by Ferguson protestors about Al Sharpton and discovers hot hostility.
News Corpse watches Fox so we can save our precious bodily, uh, brain cells. Did you know that Tea Party people are so industrious, working at hard honest labor, they have never held protests? Laura Ingraham maintains just that.
Marc McDonald, of BeggarsCanBeChoosers, is awestruck by Thom Hartmann as he politely, respectfully, vigorously destroys right wing Dinesh D'Souza in debate. "Um, yeah you actually did say it. It's right here in your book. See here?" Sure beats the shoutfests that are so often passed off as discourse.
Thanksgiving weekend? Really? Now that Republicans, in the dead of night, have released the news that Benghazi was never, ever, a scandal, Jon Perr at Perrspectives wonders how Democrats would have reacted to the same opportunity to create partisan accusations from horrible tragedy. He finds that there is actually no need to wonder.
The Big Empty consults a crystal something and discerns a plausible political future for Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Conservative James Wigderson celebrates the napkin birth of the Laffer Curve. A few years ago, I observed that conservatives themselves don't actually believe in the Laffer Curve. Back in 2008, I found the reality based Laffer Curve in a revealing overlap with the napkin version. It looked kind of humorous to me, and I felt the need to jog the memory of friends who had somehow forgotten that I am hilarious.
Max's Dad briefly abandons his periodic awesome rant for awesome cinematic criticism. He goes after a movie that adopts as its protagonist a sleazy, lowlife, anti-ethical, betrayer of every principle, every friend, and every unfortunate victim of circumstance. When he can't find enough victims, he creates them. It is an exact fit for the role of news photographer. Max loves him, and the movie. I've gotta go see it.
A generation ago, a bookstore proprietor saw me pick up a paperback by James Blish. "You know, he just died," she said sadly. "Yes," I replied solemnly. "And science fiction fans everywhere are celebrating." tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors seems to have only a slightly more respectful reaction to the collapse of The New Republic.
A friend so close we thought of him as family called to let us know he had been tested HIV positive and would be leaving town. My wife and I mourned. I have thought of him often in the years since. I think of him again as Mad Mike's America explains from personal experience the continuing effect of HIV on health and life.
- Blogenfreude at Stinque brings us a hilarious one minute video from Japan on the fastest, most explosive, shrimp preparation we are ever likely to see. No translation needed.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
A man was arrested during protests Wednesday evening in the Central West End after he drove through the crowd and later waved a gun at protesters.
The incident happened during a day of demonstrations that brought protesters to several sites in and around St. Louis.
In the incident Wednesday night, a protest leader said four protesters were hit. A police spokeswoman said nobody was seriously hurt.
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From NBC News:
A math teacher saved the lives of 38 schoolchildren when she pulled over the bus she was driving Wednesday morning moments before it erupted in flames, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Kristina Buhrman's quick actions allowed her to usher out the Polk County middle school students to safety before anyone could be injured — or worse, NBC affiliate WESH reported.
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From KSWO-TV, Lawton, Oklahoma:
PHOENIX (AP) - A 7-year-old racial profiling case against an Arizona sheriff known for immigration enforcement is about to enter a new phase as a judge considers whether to seek punishment against the lawman for disregarding the court's orders.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow will hold a hearing Thursday to discuss appointing a prosecutor to press a contempt-of-court case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who could face punishment ranging from daily fines to jail time if he is found to be in contempt.
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With the government set to shut down in a week, Nancy Pelosi is flexing her muscles.
In a closed Democratic whip meeting Thursday morning, the House minority leader warned Democrats not to rush to support the Republican efforts to fund the government until they see what’s in the bill.
“If we stay together, we have leverage,” Pelosi said in the small session. She also told her colleagues that if the GOP goes “further to the right” to garner Republican support, Democrats will drop off.
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Warren Buffett has said he's willing to "put money" on Hillary Clinton winning the 2016 presidential race. Turns out, he really meant it.
The Oracle of Omaha gave the maximum donation allowed to Ready for Hillary last quarter, his first-ever check to the sort of independent political groups that he's scorned in the past.
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My opinions on world events are generally tentative. I am cautious on forming judgments on the chaotic number of moving parts that set up the world stage. Time eventually provides a degree of clarity. I have stronger opinions about cold war approaches and the disaster in Vietnam than I once did. I see the lies and misdirection surrounding the Iraq invasion differently now than I did at first.
Sometimes clarity begins a little sooner.
The Russian invasion of the Crimean Peninsula and Vladimir Putin's post invasion saber rattling became Republican talking points leading up to the 2014 elections.
Mitt Romney suggested that Vladimir Putin was a realist, but President Obama was naive.
The president's naivete with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia's intentions and objectives, has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face.
- Mitt Romney, Meet the Press, March 23, 2014
Rudy Giuliani had praise for Vladimir Putin's decisive leadership style and contrasted it with that of President Obama.
He makes a decision and he executes it, quickly. Then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader. President Obama . . . you gotta think about it, he’s got to go over it again, he’s got to talk to more people about it.
- Rudolph Giuliani, interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News, March 3, 2014
The House Republican chairman on Intelligence thought President Obama was simply outclassed.
Well, I think Putin is playing chess, and I think we're playing marbles. And I don't think it's even close.
- Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), on Fox News, March 2, 2014
The latest news indicates Putin is now in deep, and deeper, trouble at home. Oil prices are falling. The ruble is sinking. Inflation is projected to be a sky-high 9%. But experts say all of those problems combined do not come close to the financing crisis closing in on Putin. US sponsored sanctions have cut Russia off from Western financing. And Russia now owes more than 700 billion dollars to western banks.
Vladimir Putin seems to have found himself sitting on a pin with no place to put his feet.
So the economic, very big stick, very little bluster, strategy of President Obama worked after all.
In the months leading up to the 2014 elections, ISIL was a huge talking point for Republicans. The default position has always been to jump into the lead in military defense of our allies. In this case, pretty much every country in the region decided to hold back. Let the US take the lead.
And the expense.
And the losses.
The news this past week has been startling. Turkey has begun cooperating with some Kurdish factions battling Islamic extremists. Iraq has reached agreements on oil revenue sharing and financing of military efforts with the Kurds. With no apparent negotiations, our adversary Iran has, on their own, begun intensive bombing of ISIL strongholds. Other regional countries have decided to take responsibility for their own security. Experts say the ISIL advance has been halted and the extremist group is struggling to hold on to what they have. Even Facebook postings from religious extremists have turned from boastful to desperate.
So Obama's strategy, putting pressure on those who live in the region to defend themselves, seems to be working after all.
Leading up to the 2014 elections, the Ebola medical crisis was a huge talking point for Republicans. Even medical people bravely battling the illness were shunned rather than praised for their efforts.
Today, you can find Republican attacks on the medical approach of the Obama administration, but only with the help of search engines. It appears that the Obama strategy of listening to the experts and acting on their knowledge was the right approach. Now it seems impossible to get Republicans to pay attention to efforts at meeting the medical crisis at its source in Africa. Ending Ebola as a threat has become low priority for conservatives.
On all foreign policy issues, there are eventual lessons to be learned.
Republicans were furious at the administration's refusal to go to war with Russia. Sadly, we no longer have the benefit of Republican analysis. They have fallen silent.
Republicans were alarmed for the survival of our nation because the administration insisted those in the Middle East take up arms to defend themselves against Islamic extremists. Now it is difficult to hear the vigorous debate that had seemed so promising. We hear little from them on going to war.
Republicans had urged a strategy of panic at a medical crisis that now does not deserve their attention at all.
It can take years to draw lessons from history. It will take a while to learn all we need to learn about our strategy toward Russia, toward ISIL extremism, and toward the Ebola medical crisis. But one lesson took only a short time.
Issues are often raised because of real concerns. Sometimes they are lies, raised only for campaign purposes.
In this case, we could make the distinction the day after the election.
Iraq's central government appears to have settled a long-running dispute over sharing oil revenue with the country's autonomous Kurdish region, a rare and long-awaited sign of compromise as the country continues to struggle to retake territory lost to the Islamic State over the summer.
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From St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
ST. LOUIS • A volunteer group of security guards associated with the national constitutional rights organization Oath Keepers says it never abandoned its post in Ferguson after being targeted by police for operating without a license.
St. Louis County Police confronted the well-armed volunteers early Nov. 29 as they guarded the rooftops of buildings previously vandalized during unrest in Ferguson.
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From The New york Times:
WASHINGTON — Douglas W. Elmendorf is an obscure figure beyond a narrow radius around Capitol Hill. As the director of the Congressional Budget Office, his nuts-and-bolts job is to serve as the official scorekeeper on the price of legislation and the referee on the budgetary and economic impacts of policy, from the Affordable Care Act to an increase in the minimum wage.
So it is one of the stranger surprises of the midterm election fallout that the question of whether to reappoint him to his post has become a hot topic of debate — among Republicans.
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Ferguson protests were interspersed with incidents of violence and looting. Occasionally, police actions treated protests and violence with identical responses. The get-tough-with-everyone confirmed to many a prevailing culture that seemed, in turn, to confirm retroactively our worst suspicions about Darren Wilson.
Believing the Wilson story in its entirety required acceptance of an almost fairytale level of politeness on the part of the police officer. Wilson explains on camera how he respectfully requests two teens to get off a side street. When they protest that they are within a few houses of home, he gently suggests, "How about the sidewalk?" In contrast, a video of another recent occurrence shows Wilson bullying, then arresting, a citizen for recording him on a cell phone.
Small cities are permitted to push aside the highly professional protection of the St. Louis County Police in favor of their own small city forces. And there are financial incentives. Often, 40 to 60 percent of the revenues of these tiny cities comes from fines and tickets. Rental communities and non-resident drivers just passing through are seen as cash opportunities without the pesky bother of votes at election time. All that are needed are tough, very tough, points of contact.
The proliferation of municipal police departments and supporting court structures in St. Louis County forms a regional structure demanding a confrontational approach with anyone who appears on petty enforcement radar. A city official, faced with constant budgetary pressures, will be unlikely to restrain police enforcement. On the contrary, aggressive pursuit of minor violations is likely to be encouraged.
I am not alone in my skepticism of the official account of the Ferguson incident. My skepticism does not trump the clunky, sometimes corrupt, wheels of official justice. I do not know that I would have voted to convict had I been on a jury after an indictment that, as it turned out, never came. I do not even know whether I would have voted to return an indictment had I been on a grand jury. I suspect I might have gone beyond the prosecutor who took on the role of a partisan defense attorney, but who can know? I would have tried to put aside what I know in my heart in favor of the evidence as presented.
Not quite buried in news accounts of protest, violence, and frequent missteps of authorities, was an incident that should have enraged pretty much everyone on every side of every aspect of Ferguson events.
From Sean Hannity:
We have another issue surrounding this, this, debacle in Ferguson. This one has to do with the media, with the New York Times releasing the actual home address of Officer Darren Wilson.
- Sean Hannity, Fox News, November 25, 2014 (recorded by Mediaite)
Hannity goes beyond the editorial standards of Fox News in that he is partly accurate. The New York Times did not release "the actual home address of Officer Darren Wilson" but they came close enough to have strayed over the line of responsible journalism. They included in a news story the town and street name. The Paper of Record also published the name of Darren Wilson's new wife.
A few seconds later, Hannity speaks for most conservatives in his sputtering anger.
Why would the New York Ti - if anything happens to that man, his family or that home, I hold them ... the, the culpability is with them.
It doesn't take long to share Sean Hannity's anger.
What, in any other circumstance, would be a fluff piece about a marriage includes the offending sentence.
Officer Wilson and [Wife's Name] own a home together on [Name of Street] in [Name of Town], Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a half-hour drive from Ferguson.
The piece includes unintended irony:
A clerk at the marriage license desk said on Monday that she was surprised that Officer Wilson went there, as opposed to another county or state — possibly Las Vegas, she said — where he could have filled out paperwork with a greater guarantee of privacy.
It also includes the reason the report should never have been published:
They have scarcely been seen there since Mr. Brown was killed on Aug. 9. Neighbors said that within a few days of the shooting, Officer Wilson and [his wife] abruptly left their home.
It does take me back to a name most folks have forgotten. A little kid, Graeme Frost, was nearly killed in a car accident. He barely pulled through. Treatment for his brain injury and his sister's cranial injury were made possible by a Maryland program designed for families with income a little too high for Medicaid. Without the program, Graeme and his sister would not have survived.
On September 29, 2007, the still disabled Graeme Foster spoke on radio in favor of expanding the program that had saved his life to cover children across the nation.
Most kids my age probably haven't heard of CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program. I know all about it, because if it weren't for CHIP, I might not be here today.
His message was a simple one:
I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I'm glad I could see them because of the Children's Health Program.
I just hope the President will listen to my story and help other kids to be as lucky as me.
Conservatives were enraged. Accusations included fraud and a family income far beyond the 45,000 his parents claimed. Each accusation was answered by careful research. Then conservatives hit hard. A message was posted on a conservative site that included the exact address to the Frost home. Another posted street directions to the house.
Other conservatives, Michelle Malkin among them, linked to the address. There was no objection raised by nationally known conservative figures to publishing the exact address of two disabled kids who had become targets of the unstable.
That was seven years ago. Perhaps standards have improved between 2007 and 2014. Or perhaps they are simply applied with an unfortunate selectivity.
Some of us do not share the antagonism many conservatives seem to have toward the disadvantaged, the marginalized, those struggling to escape poverty. Some of us do not agree that every black male should be viewed as a mortal threat, or that contempt-of-cop offenses should be met with deadly force.
But we can agree with our conservative brothers and sisters that publishing the town and street name of the residence of an accused police officer ought to be met with furious rage. It was wrong.
We can also wonder where our conservative fellow citizens were hiding when the media victims were two little kids who were recovering from almost fatal injuries.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
FERGUSON • Renewing the effort to bring healing to his shattered city, Mayor James Knowles III Sunday announced measures intended to increase the minority presence on the police force, open a dialogue between residents and law enforcement and encourage more officers to live in Ferguson.
In a message directed at activists continuing to protest the death of Michael Brown, Knowles also said the city will not give a severance package to Darren Wilson, the Ferguson officer who resigned Saturday nearly four months after shooting Brown.
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From the New York Daily News:
Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teenage years, but you’re a part of the first Family, try showing a little class. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the "good role model" department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised, public events.
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From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
A Minnesota Republican has resigned his county leadership post over some recent incendiary anti-Muslim posts on Facebook.
Jack Whitley announced that he was stepping down as Big Stone County Republican Party chairman Friday, days after his online screeds also got him fired from his job at an Ortonville hardware store. Among other things, Whitley had written that Muslims are “parasites” and “terrorists,” and that someone should “FRAG ‘EM!”
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