Daily Archive: 01/27/2011

Jan 27 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 61 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Uganda gay rights activist murdered

by Ben Simon, AFP

10 mins ago

KAMPALA (AFP) – A Ugandan gay rights activist whose name and picture were published in a homophobic tabloid has been murdered at his home, police and his lawyer told AFP Thursday, sparking international concern.

David Kato, 43, was killed on Wednesday with initial investigations showing that a man entered his home in the capital Kampala and struck him on the head before fleeing, his lawyer John Francis Onyango said.

Police chief Kale Kayihura said the killing had nothing to do with Kato’s gay rights activism.

Jan 27 2011

US Foreign Policy: Ignoring the Revolutions

In case you missed it because the American MSM mostly buried it, Tunisia had a revolution overthrowing it’s US backed dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia with most of his family. The upheaval arouse from the streets out of the frustrations of a well educated public that is suffering with high unemployment and skyrocketing prices for basics. The streets protesters were joined by the police and the military. The “revolution” is spreading across Africa to Egypt with major protests in the streets condemning the rule of ailing President Hosni Mubarak and his hand pick successor, his businessman son. Inspired by the Tunisian revolution, Egypt poverty stricken youths have taken to the streets demanding the end of Mubarak’s 30 year rule.

For decades, Egypt’s authoritarian president, Hosni Mubarak, played a clever game with his political opponents.  

He tolerated a tiny and toothless opposition of liberal intellectuals whose vain electoral campaigns created the facade of a democratic process. And he demonized the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood as a group of violent extremists who posed a threat that he used to justify his police state.

But this enduring and, many here say, all too comfortable relationship was upended this week by the emergence of an unpredictable third force, the leaderless tens of thousands of young Egyptians who turned out to demand an end to Mr. Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Now the older opponents are rushing to catch up.

“It was the young people who took the initiative and set the date and decided to go,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Wednesday with some surprise during a telephone interview from his office in Vienna, shortly before rushing home to Cairo to join the revolt.

ElBaradei, who has been targeted for assassination by Mubarak supporters, is returning to Egypt today. in his  statement issued prior to his departure, ElBaradei has some disparaging comments about Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton:

   When Egypt had parliamentary elections only two months ago, they were completely rigged. The party of President Hosni Mubarak left the opposition with only 3 percent of the seats. Imagine that. And the American government said that it was “dismayed.” Well, frankly, I was dismayed that all it could say is that it was dismayed. The word was hardly adequate to express the way the Egyptian people felt.

   Then, as protests built in the streets of Egypt following the overthrow of Tunisia’s dictator, I heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assessment that the government in Egypt is “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”. I was flabbergasted-and I was puzzled. What did she mean by stable, and at what price? Is it the stability of 29 years of “emergency” laws, a president with imperial power for 30 years, a parliament that is almost a mockery, a judiciary that is not independent? Is that what you call stability? I am sure not. And I am positive that it is not the standard you apply to other countries. What we see in Egypt is pseudo-stability, because real stability only comes with a democratically elected government..

   If you would like to know why the United States does not have credibility in the Middle East, that is precisely the answer…

(emphasis mine)

Now, it has spread to one of the poorest Mideastern countries, Yemen, as their youth take to the streets to protest their government.

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Yemen, one of the Middle East’s most impoverished countries and a haven for Al Qaeda militants, became the latest Arab state to witness mass protests on Thursday, as thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in the capital and other regions to demand a change in government. . . . . .

The demonstrations on Thursday followed several days of smaller protests by students and opposition groups calling for the removal of President Ali Abdallah Saleh, a strongman who has ruled this fractured country for more than 30 years and is a key ally of the United States in the fight against the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. . . . . .

Yemen’s fragile stability has been of increasing concern to the United States. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a visit to Sana earlier this month, urged Mr. Saleh to open a dialogue with the opposition, saying it would help to stabilize the country. His current term expires in two years, but proposed constitutional changes could allow him to hold onto power for longer.

How many despotic regimes will the US continue to bolster? For how long? US policy in the region has been on the wrong track for decades. Time to reassess is coming fast.

Jan 27 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Robert Reich: The President Ignored the Elephant in the Room

The president’s new emphasis on the importance of investing in education, infrastructure, and basic research in order to build the nation’s long-term competitive capacities is appropriate. For the last three decades the federal government’s spending on these three essentials has declined as a percentage of its total spending, arguably threatening America’s technological and economic leadership.

But the president’s failure to address the decoupling of American corporate profits from American jobs, and explain specifically what he’ll do to get jobs back, not only risks making his grand plans for reviving the nation’s “competitiveness” seem somewhat beside the point but also cedes to Republicans the dominant narrative.

Robert Sheer: Hogwash, Mr. President

What is the state of the union? You certainly couldn’t tell from that platitudinous hogwash that the president dished out Tuesday evening. I had expected Barack Obama to be his eloquent self, appealing to our better nature, but instead he was mealy-mouthed in avoiding the tough choices that a leader should delineate in a time of trouble. He embraced clean air and a faster Internet while ignoring the depth of our economic pain and the Wall Street scoundrels who were responsible-understandably so, since they so prominently populate the highest reaches of his administration. He had the effrontery to condemn “a parade of lobbyists” for rigging government after he appointed the top Washington representative of JPMorgan Chase to be his new chief of staff.

The speech was a distraction from what seriously ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment and a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions making the bankers whole. Instead the president conveyed the insular optimism of his fat-cat associates: “We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.” How convenient to ignore the fact that this bubble of prosperity, which has failed the tens of millions losing their homes and jobs, was floated by enormous government indebtedness now forcing deep cuts in social services including state financial aid for those better-educated students the president claims to be so concerned about.

Laura Flanders: Protests in Cairo Forgotten by Obama

In the State of the Union speech, Barack Obama did get applause for saying that the United States stands with the people of Tunisia. Now, he didn’t mention the two decades of support the US had given the dictatorship.

The president did not have anything to say about Egypt-where thousands of people, inspired by Tunisia, were taking to the streets to protest their own repressive government-another one the United States has backed for years. Secretary of State Clinton’s official word is that the Egyptian government was “stable.” Aha. She said it’s “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests” of its people. And she urged “restraint” as they suppressed protesters.

Jan 27 2011

On This Day in History January 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 27 is the 27th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 338 days remaining until the end of the year (339 in leap years)

On this day in 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers. All shared an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge, as well as an opinion that in a time of discovery, invention, change and mass communication, Americans were becoming more curious about the world around them. With this in mind, the men drafted a constitution and elected as the Society’s president a lawyer and philanthropist named Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Neither a scientist nor a geographer, Hubbard represented the Society’s desire to reach out to the layman.

History

The National Geographic Society began as a club for an elite group of academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel. On January 13, 1888, 33 explorers and scientists gathered at the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., to organize “a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.” After preparing a constitution and a plan of organization, the National Geographic Society was incorporated two weeks later on January 27. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, eventually succeeded him in 1897 following his death. In 1899 Bell’s son-in-law Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor was named the first full-time editor of National Geographic Magazine and served the organization for fifty-five years (1954), and members of the Grosvenor family have played important roles in the organization since.

Bell and his son-in-law, Grosvenor, devised the successful marketing notion of Society membership and the first major use of photographs to tell stories in magazines. The current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of National Geographic is Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for the Society’s leadership for Geography education. In 2004, the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. was one of the first buildings to receive a “Green” certification from Global Green USA The National Geographic received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanity in October 2006 in Oviedo, Spain.

Jan 27 2011

Six In The Morning

They’re Number1 In Guns And The NRA Likes It That Way Number2? Yemen  



Amid gun lobby criticism, assault weapons reporting rule delayed



The White House, facing fierce criticism from the gun lobby, has delayed approval of a proposed rule that federal law enforcement officials say could help them stanch the flow of U.S. assault rifles and other high-powered weapons to Mexico’s drug cartels.

The proposed rule, announced by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms acting director Kenneth Melson on Dec. 20,  would require U.S. firearms dealers in four southwest border states to report multiple sales of long guns, such as semi-automatic assault rifles which are frequently purchased by so-called “straw buyers” for the cartels. Melson had said he expected the proposed “emergency rule” would receive approval in early January 2011.

Jan 27 2011

Prime Time

Double barrel Nova (it means won’t go in Spanish).  Unmemorable “reality” TV.

Now, would you like to learn to shoot?

I can already.

Oh, I saw. Very American. Fire enough bullets and hope to hit the target.

Later-

Dave in repeats from 1/11.  Jon has Jonathan Alter (ugh), Stephen Michael Waldman.  Conan hosts Nick Thune, Jon Cryer, and Motorhead.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Jan 27 2011

Political Capital For Sale to the World’s “Scuzziest Dictators”

Rachel Maddow describes several political operatives who have squandered their political clout by representing nefarious overseas actors like Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Jean-Paul “Baby Doc” Duvalier, dictators in places like the Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea and the governments of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia that fund organizations that plot terrorist attacks against the United States and its citizens.

Both Bob Barr and Rudy Guiliani have indicated that they are interested in running for president in 2012.

In a lame defense of Mark Penn, the PR firm, Burson Marsteller, said it was unfair “to tie the company’s current leader to former clients that predated him. Penn joined Burson Marsteller in 2005, years after the junta, Indonesia and Saudia Arabian clients contacted the firm.”

Shortly after the Tuscon shootings, Mr. Penn let loose with this little “bomb” on November 4, 2010 when he told Chris Matthews that what Obama really needs to reconnect to the American electorate is an “Oklahoma City moment”. Both sides are guilty of this kind of political rhetoric but at least the left acknowledges that it has to stop and there is a need for a change in tone.