Daily Archive: 02/10/2011

Feb 10 2011

Evening Edition

In summary-

All the speculation about Mubarak resigning was wrong.  His defiant speech vowing to remain in power until September and assignment of unspecified powers to his crony, the torturer Suleiman, infuriated the crowd in Liberation Square.

They had already decided to march on the Presidential Palace when the torturer Suleiman got on the air and with not so veiled threats told people to go home and back to work.

Every one of the TV gas bags has no clue and they’re spouting constant bullshit.  Likewise all the wire services I normally use.

It will take much longer to search for non Egypt related news because I don’t trust any of the Egyptian stuff at this point and there is a ton of it, burying everything else.

Evening Edition will appear later, if at all.  As always this is an Open Thread.

Special No Egyptian Edition

Now with 49 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 IMF chief urges global monetary reform

by Veronica Smith, AFP

8 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Thursday said the currencies of China and other emerging economies should play a greater role in global finance, as part of a bid to promote monetary stability.

Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the 187-nation International Monetary Fund, backed the inclusion of the yuan in a basket of currencies that makes up the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights, a type of reserve currency.

Strauss-Kahn also advocated an expanded role for the SDR to help to bolster the monetary system in the face of damaging volatility.

Feb 10 2011

Mubarak To World: I Fart In Your General Direction

Photobucket

I Taunt You

Well, once again the pundits have shown that they can get it wrong.  Very wrong.  Today’s supposed love fest, to be commenced when Mubarak would go somberly on TV and announce in tones reminiscent of Richard Nixon that he was stepping down or ceding power, is canceled.  Until further notice.  Mubarak insists he will remain  Apparently until he is forced to leave.

And he’s served notice that the force requiring him to leave isn’t going to come from the millions of demonstrators.  Or from the US and EU, which have propped up this tyrant, our Man in Cairo, democracy be damned, for thirty years.  No.  He’s going to stay the course.

Said the tyrant petulantly in today’s television speech:


“We will not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations,” Mr. Mubarak said, implying that pressure to resign came from abroad as opposed to masses of people demanding his ouster through his country.

Well, ok, then.  That will put the US and the EU and pro-democracy forces across the world on notice and in their place.

Let the demonstrations continue.  This guy clearly has to go.

Feb 10 2011

from firefly-dreaming



Regular Daily Features:

Essays Featured Thursday, February 10th:

come firefly-dreaming with me….

Feb 10 2011

Under The Radar: Open Thread

Or the stuff you won’t hear from the MSM. The blogosphere is a big place and there is a lot going on that gets lost in all those pixels. The subtle background, the nuances to the top political news that don’t get aired in prime time. Lots of stories get buried or just ignored in news dumps. The White House does it all the time releasing stories late on Friday nights in hopes that in the rush to start the weekend and the media misses, or decides its not important enough.

* Not really under the radar but with all the news breaking about Egypt it is in a “holding pattern”. From Politico:

Sen. Jon Kyl announces his retirement from Senate

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced Thursday that he would retire after his current term, creating the fifth open seat Senate race of the 2012 cycle.

Speaking at a press conference in Phoenix, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate said, “There’s more to life than being a United States senator. I never anticipated I would be in public service for 26 years.”

* A list of the “insane” witnesses that testified before Ron Paul’s House Energy and Commerce committee. Be prepared, the next two years are going to be quite amusing.

The Parade of the Republican “Kooks” and Shills

Testifying on the GOP’s behalf today: A man who calls Lincoln a “horrific tyrant” and an all-star cast of polluters

The Koch brothers have bought the government on e congress critter at a time. The Koch Committee’s Big Oil Witnesses For Upton-Inhofe Pollution Act

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), who has received $9,000 from Koch Industries since 2008, will chair the subcommittee hearing on the Upton-Inhofe “Energy Tax Prevention Act,” hatched at a secret meeting between the bill’s sponsors and polluter lobbyists. The Republican witness list is a cavalcade of the nation’s worst polluters and oil-funded ideologues.

* The subjucation and legalized murder of women sponsored by the American Taliban.

‘Forcible Rape’ Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding

by Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON — After significant public blowback, House Republicans last week promised to drop a controversial provision in their high-priority No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act that would redefine rape. But almost a week later, that language is still in the bill.

Last week, a spokesman for the bill’s principal sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), said, “The word forcible will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment.” The Hyde Amendment bans taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions, except in cases of incest and rape — not just “forcible rape,” as the Smith bill, H.R. 3, would have it.

But as The New York Times first noted on Wednesday, the “forcible rape” language remains. Ilan Kayatsky, a spokesman for New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top-ranking Democrat on the House judiciary subcommittee focusing on constitutional issues, told The Huffington Post that while Nadler hopes the bill will soon be changed, they have been treating it as it’s written.

Feb 10 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”

Essam El-Errian: What the Muslim Brothers Want

The Egyptian people have spoken, and we have spoken emphatically. In two weeks of peaceful demonstrations we have persistently demanded liberation and democracy. It was groups of brave, sincere Egyptians who initiated this moment of historical opportunity on Jan. 25, and the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to joining the national effort toward reform and progress.

In more than eight decades of activism, the Muslim Brotherhood has consistently promoted an agenda of gradual reform. Our principles, clearly stated since the inception of the movement in 1928, affirm an unequivocal position against violence. For the past 30 years we have posed, peacefully, the greatest challenge to the ruling National Democratic Party of Hosni Mubarak, while advocating for the disenfranchised classes in resistance to an oppressive regime.

Essam El-Errian is a member of the guidance council of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Roger Cohen: Wael Ghonim’s Egypt

CAIRO – The sea of people pulsated with energy, galvanized by the words of Wael Ghonim, the young Google executive who got the Mubarak treatment – 12-day disappearance, blindfolding, interrogation – before a tweet that will one day be etched in some granite memorial: “Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it.”

The fight goes on. In the Tahrir Square crowd, I ran into Ahmed el-Shamy, a Pfizer executive. He’s 54, and like many of his generation who have known only dictatorship since the coup of 1952, he can hardly believe his eyes. “Our youth makes fear history,” he said.

Ghonim’s tweet and a shattering TV interview afterward got Pfizer employees and much of Egypt re-energized in their quest for the dignity that comes with being actors in a nation’s destiny rather than its pawns. A sign I’ve seen sums things up: “Tahrir Square – closed for constitutional changes.”

(emphasis mine)

Robert Riech: Why the Republican Attack on “Job-Killing Regulations” Is Dumb

Republicans aim to end all “job-killing regulations” — especially those that, according to House Speaker John Boehner, are “strangling” business with detailed requirements over health, safety, the environment, corporate governance and finance.

Here’s another instance of where the White House’s attempt to preempt Republican rhetoric (the president said last week his administration would root out all nonsensical and inefficient regulation) ends up legitimizing it — and re-framing the public debate around an issue that’s hardly central to what ails America.

The reason we have continued sky-high unemployment has nothing to do with excessive regulation. There was no sudden outpouring of federal regulation in 2007 before the economy tanked and millions lost their jobs.

Robert Sheer: Hey Obama, Read WikiLeaks

After a good start, the Obama administration’s response to the democratic revolution in Egypt has begun to exude the odor of betrayal. Now distancing itself from the essential demand of the protesters that the dictator must go, the administration has fallen back on the sordid option of backing a new and improved dictatorship. Predictably, it is one guided by a local strongman long entrusted by the CIA, Vice President Omar Suleiman, described by U.S. officials in the WikiLeaks cables as a “Mubarak consigliere.” The script is out of an all-too-familiar playbook: Pick this longtime chief of Egyptian intelligence who has consistently done our bidding in matters of torture and retrofit him as a modern democratic leader. But this time the Egyptian street will not meekly go along.

Feb 10 2011

News from the Wild: WWL Headlines 2/10/11

I still don’t know who sent me flowers anonymously last Friday evening, to finish out my Birthday Week. They are gorgeous, but it is kind of creepy to not know. It did bring a moment of light to the worst Birthday of my Life in the worst year of my life wherein life and people keep randomly kicking us while we are down…. but I digress.

Diane Gee’s week in the Wild:

*270 Billion: Super Egypt Bowl wherein I discuss that the advertising budget alone could feed a third world nation, and why we are too distracted to rise up.

*Boat Notes starts a fiction series from an American on the coming next Flotilla to Gaza.

*Cede Arizona rants about the racist “Anchor Baby” legislation they want to pass.

*Reason to Believe is an introspective look at how differently we behave when supported.

John Kozy’s contribution is sublime!

*A Revolting World

Tinrose adds her personal stories from Tenacatita! This is the story I have been chronicling since last summer – wherein one rich and corrupt man stole a whole village and beach.

*Ghost Beach: Stealth Camping at Tenacatita- Part 1

*Ghost Beach: Stealth Camping at Tenacatita- Part 2

fake consultant adds a bit of poignant Snark:

*Oklahoma Shari’a Law Controversy: The Secret Plot Is Finally Uncovered

I think every other post on my FP has been cross-posted Port-Alliance wide, and I have to go inflate my tire in – 1 weather before work. So, please pop by WWL and check it out, in case you missed anything. I LOVE cross-posts, comments and contributions!

Feb 10 2011

On This Day in History February 10

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.

February 10 is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 324 days remaining until the end of the year (325 in leap years).

On this day in 1937, Roberta Flack is born in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and was raised in Arlington, Virginia.

During her early teens, Flack so excelled at classical piano that Howard University awarded her a full music scholarship. She entered Howard University at the age of 15, making her one of the youngest students ever to enroll there. She eventually changed her major from piano to voice, and became an assistant conductor of the university choir. Her direction of a production of Aida received a standing ovation from the Howard University faculty. Flack is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and was made an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma by the Eta Delta Chapter at Howard University for her outstanding work in promoting music education.

Flack became the first African-American student teacher at an all-Caucasian school near Chevy Chase, Maryland. She graduated from Howard University at 19 and began graduate studies in music, but the sudden death of her father forced her to take a job teaching music and English for $2800 a year in Farmville, North Carolina.

Flack then taught school for some years in Washington, DC at Browne Junior High and Rabaut Junior High. She also taught private piano lessons out of her home on Euclid St. NW. During this period, her music career began to take shape on evenings and weekends in Washington, D.C. area night spots. At the Tivoli Club, she accompanied opera singers at the piano. During intermissions, she would sing blues, folk, and pop standards in a back room, accompanying herself on the piano. Later, she performed several nights a week at the 1520 Club, again providing her own piano accompaniment. Around this time, her voice teacher, Frederick “Wilkie” Wilkerson, told her that he saw a brighter future for her in pop music than in the classics. She modified her repertoire accordingly and her reputation spread. Subsequently, a Capitol Hill night club called Mr. Henry’s built a performance area especially for her.

When Flack did a benefit concert for the Inner City Ghetto Children’s Library Fund, Les McCann happened to be in the audience. He later said on the liner notes of what would be her first album “First Take” noted below, “Her voice touched, tapped, trapped, and kicked every emotion I’ve ever known. I laughed, cried, and screamed for more…she alone had the voice.” Very quickly, he arranged an audition for her with Atlantic Records, during which she played 42 songs in 3 hours for producer Joel Dorn. In November 1968, she recorded 39 song demos in less than 10 hours. Three months later, Atlantic reportedly recorded Roberta’s debut album, First Take, in a mere 10 hours. Flack later spoke of those studio sessions as a “very naive and beautiful approach…I was comfortable with the music because I had worked on all these songs for all the years I had worked at Mr. Henry’s.”

Flack’s version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” hit number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

Flack’s Atlantic recordings did not sell particularly well, until Clint Eastwood chose a song from First Take, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, for the sound track of his directorial debut Play Misty for Me; it became the biggest hit of the year for 1972 – spending six consecutive weeks at #1 and earning Flack a million-selling gold disc. The First Take album also went to #1 and eventually sold 1.9 million copies in the United States. Eastwood, who paid $2,000 for the use of the song in the film, has remained an admirer and friend of Flack’s ever since. It was awarded the Grammy Award for Record Of The Year in 1973. In 1983, she recorded the end music to the Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact at Eastwood’s request.

Flack soon began recording regularly with Donny Hathaway, scoring hits such as the Grammy-winning “Where Is the Love” (1972) and later “The Closer I Get to You” (1978) – both million-selling gold singles. On her own, Flack scored her second #1 hit, “Killing Me Softly with His Song” written for Lori Lieberman in 1973. It was awarded both Record Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female at the 1974 Grammy Awards. Its parent album was Flack’s biggest-selling disc, eventually earning Double Platinum certification.

In 1999, a star with Flack’s name was placed on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. That same year, she gave a concert tour in South Africa, to which the final performance was attended by President Nelson Mandela.

In 2010, she appeared on the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, singing a duet of “Where Is The Love” with Maxwell.

Flack is also a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; her appearance in commercials for the ASPCA featured The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

Feb 10 2011

Six In The Morning

Keeping Him Silent  

Chen Guangcheng describes being held at home and watched around the clock since his release from prison five months ago

Secret video shows house arrest Chinese lawyer

A Chinese grassroots lawyer says he and his family have been held in their home and watched around the clock since his release from prison five months ago, in a secretly filmed video smuggled out of their village.

Chen Guangcheng is one of the country’s best known activists, a self-taught legal advocate who fought on behalf of women who had suffered forced abortions and sterilisations.

Rights groups have expressed grave concern for him and his family and the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, raised his case in a speech shortly before the Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit to the US last month.  

Feb 10 2011

Business: The Rising Price of Groceries and Twitter

Here comes another assault on your pocket book. Grocery store prices for just about everything from meat to soda will be expected to spike. On of the budgets cuts that Congress could make that might ease the pain at the checkout counter and the gas pumps is to end the billions that are wasted subsidizing ethanol production which not only costs more to produce than a gallon of gas but pollutes more in its production.

Corn Futures Spiking as USDA Reports Decrease in Supply

The outlook for international food and grain supplies is looking more uncertain after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported projections that corn supply would decrease to lowest level in 15 years according to the Wall Street Journal.

The supply of corn has been depleted for a multitude of reasons including increased ethanol production, increased livestock feeding, and resulting rises in international demand. Luke Chandler, a commodity research analyst for Rabobank, has suggested that ethanol production has “changed [markets] in a structural way” and that the recovery for prices will take substantial time.

Consumption rates as evidenced by the USDA report show that the 12.4 billion bushels harvested in the US agricultural sector will decrease to 651 million bushels by August 31, 2011.

Say it isn’t so:

Is Twitter worth $10bn?

Talks with potential suitors Facebook and Google reportedly value Twitter at $8-10bn

Twitter has been holding talks with potential suitors including Facebook and Google that could value the micro-blogging site at $10bn (£6.2bn), according to reports.

The early stage talks are not believed to have progressed far but, according to the Wall Street Journal, one thing has been agreed on: the loss-making firm is worth somewhere between $8-10bn.

Twitter is a private company and does not disclose its revenues. Last year it is estimated to have had revenues of $45m but ended the year making a loss as the firm spent on hiring and new data centres. This year Twitter’s revenues are expected to more than double to between $100-110m.

Feb 10 2011

Reporting the Revolution: Day 17 Up Date 2030hrs EST

BREAKING: Reports indicate Mubarak will possibly step down in an address to the Egyptian people tonight.  It is unclear if he intends to hand over power to Suleiman or a Military Council and whether or not new elections will be held in 60 days.- ek

This is a Live Blog and will be updated as the news is available. You can follow the latest reports from AL Jazeera English and Al-Masry Al-Youm: English Edition

class=”BrightcoveExperience”>The Guardian has a Live Blog from their reporters in Egypt that refreshes automatically every minute.

Al Jazeera has a Live Blog for Feb 10

Also follow the Live blog at mishima’s Ignoring Asia.

As you can see we now have the live feed from Al Jazeera English.

Up Date 2030hrs EST: Here is the written statement issued by the White House from President Obama regarding today’s events:

The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.

As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.

We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek. Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.

The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.

US and world wrongfooted by Mubarak as White House tries to keep up

By refusing to leave office, the Egyptian president has exposed Obama’s inability to decisively influence the country

The Obama administration has been embarrassingly wrongfooted as Hosni Mubarak confounded expectations by refusing to stand down.

The Egyptian president’s speech came only hours after Barack Obama and the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, had appeared to give credence to rumours that he was heading for the exit.

The decision by Mubarak to transfer presidential power to his vice-president, Omar Suleiman, but not leave office caused dismay in the US and around the world. The British government issued a cautious statement saying it was looking closely at Mubarak’s and Suleiman’s speeches, but the disappointment felt by the White House was shared in private in London and elsewhere.

The Obama administration has been putting pressure on Mubarak since last week to stand down straight away, but Mubarak, in what appeared to be a direct snub to the US president, said he would not bow to international pressure.

Up Date 1730hrs EDT: After listening closely to Mubarak’s words and the translation. He said that he has given some powers to Suleiman. That may refer to some of the responsibilities that he has already given Suleiman to meet with the opposition groups. He also reiterated changes to the constitution which he has also said he would do.. Here is the video of his speech from CNN with the simultaneous English translation:

Up Date 1645hrs EST: Suleiman has spoken, blaming outsiders, imploring demonstrators to go home and has been promptly ignored. The demonstrators are peaceful and loud, refusing to leave the Tahrir Square until Mubarak steps down.

Up Date 1630hrs EST: In a rambling, sadly defiant statement, Hosni Mubarak refused to step down. My understanding is that he said he would transfer power to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman. This is completely unacceptable to the crowds in Tahrir Square and they are now marching to the presidential palace where the speech. A speech from Suleiman is expected but at this point I think it will fall on deaf ears.

Mubarak Refuses to Step Down

CAIRO – President Hosni Mubarak told the Egyptian people Thursday that he would delegate more authority to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, but that he would not resign his post, contradicting earlier reports that he would step aside and surprising hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered to hail his departure from the political scene.

In a nationally televised address following a tumultuous day of political rumors and conflicting reports, Mr. Mubarak said he would “admit mistakes” and honor the sacrifices of young people killed in the three-week uprising, but that he would continue to “shoulder my responsibilities” until September, and did not give a firm indication that he would cede political power.

Even as Mr. Mubarak spoke, angry chants were shouted from huge crowds in Cairo who had anticipated his resignation but were instead confronted with a plea from the president to support continued rule by him and his chosen aides. People waved their shoes in defiance, considered an insulting gesture in the Arab world.

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