March 2011 archive

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”

Malalai Joya: Kill Teams in Afghanistan: The Truth

The disgusting and heartbreaking photos published last week in the German media, and more recently in Rolling Stone magazine, are finally bringing the grisly truth about the war in Afghanistan to a wider public. All the PR about this war being about democracy and human rights melts into thin air with the pictures of US soldiers posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of innocent Afghan civilians.

I must report that Afghans do not believe this to be a story of a few rogue soldiers. We believe that the brutal actions of these “kill teams” reveal the aggression and racism which is part and parcel of the entire military occupation. While these photos are new, the murder of innocents is not. Such crimes have sparked many protests in Afghanistan and have sharply raised anti-American sentiment among ordinary Afghans.

I am not surprised that the mainstream media in the US has been reluctant to publish these images of the soldiers who made sport out of murdering Afghans. General Petraeus, now in charge of the American-led occupation, is said to place great importance on the “information war” for public opinion – and there is a concerted effort to keep the reality of Afghanistan out of sight in the US.

Robert Sheer: Obama’s Fatal Corporate Addiction

If it had been revealed that Jeffrey Immelt once hired an undocumented nanny, or defaulted on his mortgage, he would be forced to resign as head of President Barack Obama’s “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.” But the fact that General Electric, where Immelt is CEO, didn’t pay taxes on its $14.5 billion profit last year-and indeed is asking for a $3.2 billion tax rebate-has not produced a word of criticism from the president, who in January praised Immelt as a business leader who “understands what it takes for America to compete in the global economy.”

What it takes, evidently, is shifting profit and jobs abroad: Only one out of three GE workers is now based in the U.S., and almost two-thirds of the company’s profit is sheltered in its foreign operations. Thanks to changes in the tax law engineered when another avowedly pro-business Democrat, Bill Clinton, was president, U.S. multinational financial companies can avoid taxes on their international scams. And financial scams are what GE excelled in for decades, when GE Capital, its financial unit, which specialized in credit card, consumer loan and housing mortgage debt, accounted for most of GE’s profits.

Jeremy Scahill: The Dangerous US Game in Yemen

For months, thousands of Yemenis had taken to the streets demanding that Saleh step down, and the regime had responded consistently with defiance and brute force. But on March 21, a severe blow was dealt to Saleh that may prove to be the strike that sparked the hemorrhaging that ultimately brought down his regime. That day, the most powerful figure in Yemen’s military, Gen. Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, commander of the First Armored Division, threw his support behind the protests and vowed to defend Yemen’s “peaceful youth revolution.” Other senior military figures soon followed suit. Senior civilian officials, including scores of ambassadors and diplomats, announced their resignations. Important tribal leaders, long the most crucial element of Saleh’s grip on power, swung to the opposition.

On This Day in History March 31

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.

March 31 is the 90th day of the year (91st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, future first lady Abigail Adams writes to her husband urging him to “remember the ladies” when drafting a new “code of laws” for the fledgling nation.

While John Adams participated in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Abigail remained at their home in Braintree, Massachusetts, managing their daily affairs in his absence. At the same time that Adams was preparing to publish his “Thoughts on Government” essay, which outlined proposed political philosophy and structures for the new nation, Abigail pondered if and how the rights of women would be addressed in an American constitution.

Women’s rights

Adams was an advocate of married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. She is known for her March 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

John declined Abigail’s “extraordinary code of laws,” but acknowledged to Abigail, “We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.”

Braintree March 31, 1776

   Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it. I long to hear that you have declared an independancy and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

   That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

Opening Day

Ah Spring, that time of year when a young man’s (and many young women’s too) fancy turns to thoughts of…


It’s the perfect time of year.  Your team has never lost a game and even if you know in your heart of hearts that your star pitcher (Santana and Maine and pray for rain) is out for the entire season and you have an entirely new management team so this is probably going to be yet another of what the polite call “rebuilding” years where you cheat and watch the fast forward version because it’s slightly less painful and a bit more efficient of your time, you have a chance at the Pennant.

Since my team is the Mets they have a history of quick starts and Opening Day victories and the Marlins are just not that good, so it’s entirely possible that Saturday I’ll be able to brag about a share of the NL East lead for the last time this season.  They’re pitching Pelfrey who is the best they got.

“I am watching my local sports franchise engage in an even more pointless than usual sporting competition.” says Atrios, but that’s just what makes it so timeless.

Your enjoyment of it depends on your level of concentration and it’s easy to get distracted especially if your team is doing poorly.  It you are paying attention each pitch is like a forward pass and each hit like an interception.  It is a game you play to win no matter how long it takes, there is no end without a victor, no tying in Baseball.

A Season is a long, long time.  One hundred sixty two games.  Nobody’s had a perfect one yet, so you can’t sweat the small stuff and let a little slump throw you into a big one.

Opening Day Matchups-

Under The Radar: More Outrageous and Insulting

Some folks are determined to not only demonstrate that they are hypocrites but are hell bent to take this country back to the 1800’s. From abortion to GLBT to guns, the backward spiral continues

TAKE ACTION: Another DADT discharge? Sailor needs your help asap

Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL and I just sent out the following joint action alert to our email lists. This servicemember, Derek Morado, is having his DADT discharge hearing tomorrow, Thursday March 31. It’s absurd that the Pentagon is proceeding with DADT discharges even after the President signed the repeal legislation. But here we are.

GetEqual and AMERICAblog will be providing Derek a list of everyone who signs our petition on his behalf, he’ll then take those names into the hearing with him.

Indiana GOP Rep Says Women Will Pretend To Be Raped To Get Free Abortions

   TURNER: With all do respect to Rep. Riecken, I understand what she’s trying to do. But as you know that when the federal health care bill was going through Congress there was a lot of discussion whether this would allow for abortion coverage and of course we were all told it would not. And the bill, my house bill 1210, would prevent that for any insurance company to provide abortion coverage under federal health care bill. This [amendment] would open that window and I would ask you to oppose this amendment.

   I just want you to think about this, in my view, giant loophole that could be created where someone who could – now i want to be careful, I don’t want to disparage in any way someone who has gone through the experience of a rape or incest – but someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.

Chris Smith’s African Abortion Adventure

Most members of Congress spent last week’s recess back in their districts, talking to their constituents and getting a sense of what Americans want their elected officials to be doing back in Washington. But Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, had other plans: He spent part of the break on a taxpayer-funded trip to Kenya, where he slammed the country’s new constitution for allowing abortions in cases when the health of the mother is at risk.


Smith wasn’t just meeting with Kenyan politicians and activists during his time in East Africa-he was actively politicking. On March 21, Smith spoke at an event on the new constitution sponsored by the Kenya Christian Professional Forum in Limuru, a town about 35 miles outside Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. A staffer for the US-based group Center for Reproductive Rights, which recently opened an office in Nairobi, took notes during the speech. In it, the congressman reportedly called for “a world free of abortion.” Smith also accused “pro-abortion NGOs” of having “hijacked” the maternal mortality issue in order to legalize the killing of the unborn, CRR says.

Jan Brewer Signs Controversial Abortion Bill Into Law

PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into law a controversial bill that makes the state the first in the nation to outlaw abortions performed on the basis of the race or gender of the fetus.

Six In The Morning

Libya rebels flee eastward by the hundreds

Kadafi’s forces appear poised to take Port Brega after pushing the opposition fighters out of Ras Lanuf, another oil refinery city.

By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times

March 31, 2011

Reporting from Port Brega, Libya- Dispirited rebel fighters continued their headlong retreat across eastern Libya on Wednesday, surrendering a strategic oil city they captured just three days earlier and fleeing eastward by the hundreds.

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi appeared poised late in the day to seize a second oil refinery city, Port Brega, as rebels in gun trucks near the city turned and fled at the sound of exploding rockets and artillery. Kadafi’s men had pushed rebels out of Ras Lanuf, site of a petrochemical complex and port, on Wednesday morning.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for March 30, 2011-


On the Immorality of Supporting an Amoral Dictator

The responses to my previous entry were exactly what I hoped they would be: lively.  And I’m not done yet, not by a long shot.  I’m going to expand upon a comment I made in the other thread.

It is Immoral Not to Challenge Obama and the Democrats in 2012

I seem to recall that someone, late last month, posted an entry arguing that it is immoral for Democrats not to run a primary challenge against Barry Obama in 2012, in light of the things he’s done to institutionalize Bush-Cheney crimes.  (Glenn Greenwald chronicled the latest violation of the Constitution by Obama on his own blog, which you can read here).  This argument is proven truer every day as more crimes are committed against the Constitution and as the concept of the rule of law is increasingly marginalized.

At what point will party loyalists realize that their political organization will not survive if they continue to support this right-wing dictator who has proven to be even worse than his right-wing predecessor?

For that matter, at what point do we as a movement acknowledge that politics and morality are inextricably bound?

from firefly-dreaming 30.3.11

Essays Featured Wednesday the 30th of March:

It’s Ghost Town at Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

TheMomCat most kindly gives us a repeat performance of her Health & Fitness News.

Todays recipes focus on Frittatas

originally posted Saturday at The Stars Hollow Gazette

In Youffraita‘s  Wednesday Open Thoughts  Hoss & the Leprechauns will have you grinning.

How to Grow Vegetables with Little Water from patric juillet shares tricks for making container gardening easier.


From RiaD‘s how-to-gardening series Get Growing: Onions & Leeks.

Afternoon music from Timbuk3: The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time!

Tonight #93

Evening Edition

  • Libyan rebels flee east from Gaddafi bombardment

    By Alexander Dziadosz – 1 hr 15 mins ago

    AJDABIYAH, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebels fled in headlong retreat from the superior arms and tactics of Muammar Gaddafi’s troops on Wednesday, exposing the insurgents’ weakness without Western air strikes to tip the scales in their favor.

    It had taken more than five days of allied bombardment to destroy government tanks and artillery in the strategic town of Ajdabiyah before rebels rushed in and chased Gaddafi’s troops 300 km (200 miles) west in a two-day dash along the coast.

  • Japan urges calm over food export fears

    By Shinichi Saoshiro And Risa Maeda – 2 hrs 37 mins ago

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan called on the world not to impose “unjustifiable” import curbs on its goods as French President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to arrive on Thursday, the first leader to visit since an earthquake and tsunami damaged a nuclear plant, sparking the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

    In a briefing to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Japan said it was monitoring radioactive contamination to prevent potential food safety risks and would provide the WTO with quick and precise information.

  • Load more