05/08/2011 archive

Rant of the Week

Late Night Funnies

Even though it was a serious news week, late night comedians still has the nation laughing. Here’s the best of the best.


Thanks to TheMomCat I’ve discovered the trick to embedding Olbermann videos from Friends of Keith.

He has a store of readings from James Thurber and since I’m a huge fan of Thurber (Keith too) I thought I’d share some with you.

The Casebook of James Thurber

As read by Keith.

On This Day In History May 8

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.

Click on images to enlarge

May 8 is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 237 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1973, A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the American Indian Movement members occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of the infamous massacre of 300 Sioux by the U.S. 7th Cavalry in 1890, ends with the surrender of the militants.

AIM was founded in 1968 by Russell Means, Dennis Banks, and other Native-American leaders as a militant political and civil rights organization.


Their actions were acclaimed by many Native Americans, but on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Oglala Sioux Tribal President Dick Wilson had banned all AIM activities. AIM considered his government corrupt and dictatorial, and planned the occupation of Wounded Knee as a means of forcing a federal investigation of his administration. By taking Wounded Knee, The AIM leaders also hoped to force an investigation of other reservations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and broken Indian treaties.


The Wounded Knee occupation lasted for a total of 71 days, during which time two Sioux men were shot to death by federal agents. One federal agent was paralyzed after being shot. On May 8, the AIM leaders and their supporters surrendered after White House officials promised to investigate their complaints.


In 1975, two FBI agents and a Native-American man were killed in a massive shoot-out between federal agents and AIM members and local residents. In a controversial trial, AIM member Leonard Peltier was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms.


The U.S. government took no steps to honor broken Indian treaties, but in the courts some tribes won major settlements from federal and state governments in cases involving tribal land claims.

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour: Joining Christiane this week are:

President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Tom Donilon to defend the killing of OBL;

Former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice to defend Pres Bush not killing OBL and torturing everyone under the pretext of finding the elusive one;

Liz Cheney, Co-Founder of Keep America Safe, Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy Magazine and The New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright discuss whether this successful mission changes the torture debate and if Pakistan is a credible partner in the fight against terrorism;

And finally a round table of guests, including Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper, Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz and Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas join Christiane and George Will to discuss the very latest on how the Obama administration is moving forward after taking out Bin Laden

On Bill Maher’s Real Time, he ran a video from his show in 2007 where Christiane said OBL was hiding in a mansion in Pakistan. Somebody in the CIA should have asked her. Ya think.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Scheiffer’s guests are  Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense discussing what’s next in the war on terror And what’s the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations.

The Chris Matthews Show: This week’s guests are Helene Cooper, The New York Times White House Correspondent, Rick Stengel, TIME Managing Editor, David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist and

Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times Pentagon correspondent tackling what else but

After bin Laden, What’s Our Biggest Threat Now?

How Fast Can We Leave Afghanistan?

Meet the Press with David Gregory: This week Mr. Gregory has achieved an all time low in assembling a group of war crime and Bush apologists that include: Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Former CIA Director General Michael Hayden and Former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani who will discuss if the world is safer.

Seriously, could this be worse?

Also White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon to do some more explaining.

The round table guests are: Bob Woodward, Katty Kay, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Mike Murphy

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Tom Donilon is gonna need to rest his vocal cords. The only other guest discussing OBL will be Senate Foreign Relations Ranking Member, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN).

NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen will discuss Libya and former Congressman Tom Davis and former Obama White House aide Anita Dunn will talk about other political happeings.

Something else happened besides killing OBL?

If you’re a Mom, Happy Mother’s Day, go back to bed. Everyone else pamper a Mom.

Glenn Greenwald: The Osama Bin Laden Exception

When I first wrote about the bin Laden killing on Monday, I suggested that the intense (and understandable) emotional response to his being dead would almost certainly drown out any discussions of the legality, ethics, or precedents created by this event. That, I think, has largely been borne out, at least in the U.S. (one poll shows 86% of Americans favor the killing, though that’s hardly universal: a poll in Germany finds 64% view this as “no reason to rejoice,” while 52% believe an attempt should have been made to arrest him; many European newspapers have harshly criticized U.S. actions; and German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s declaration of happiness over bin Laden’s death provoked widespread criticism even in her own party). I expected — and fully understand — that many people’s view of the bin Laden killing is shaped first and foremost by happiness over his death.

But what has surprised me somewhat is how little interest there seems to be in finding out what actually happened here. We know very little about the circumstances of bin Laden’s killing, because the U.S. government has issued so many contradictory claims, which in turn contradict the reported claims of those at the scene. When I wrote about this on Monday, I said that the use of force would be justified if, as the U.S. Government claimed, he was violently resisting his capture. But that turned out to be totally false. It’s now beyond dispute that bin Laden was unarmed when killed and there was virtually no violent resistence in the house. Still, the range of possibilities for what actually happened is vast — everything from he was lunging for his AK-47 to he was already captured when shot (in front of his family) to the order from the start was to kill, not capture, him — and I personally don’t see how it’s possible to assess the justifiability (or legality) of what took place without knowing which of those are true.

David Sirota: The High Cost of Cheap War

It seems only fitting that in the very month the Terminator sci-fi franchise predicted the rise of militarized artificial intelligence, the Guardian of London reported on a British Ministry of Defence analysis warning that drone warfare may be creating an “incremental and involuntary journey towards a Terminator-like reality.”

The report’s life-imitating-Skynet idea of robots ultimately making combat decisions is certainly scary-but still a bit fantastical. The more frightening part of the analysis was its look at how roboticized war may already be prompting governments to “resort to war as a policy option far sooner than previously.”

The dynamic is not surprising-nations will inevitably be more willing to use warfare as a foreign policy tool if they possess instruments limiting the cost of waging war. By letting kids in Las Vegas drop remote-controlled bombs on kids in Pakistan, Yemen and now Libya, drones are one of those instruments. But they are only one of many. Indeed, while President Obama preposterously claimed this week that most Americans “know well the costs of war,” it’s quite the opposite: Most Americans have been insulated from those costs-and it’s no coincidence that as we’ve become more insulated, we’ve happily waged more frequent wars.

Joe Conason: Tough Enough

It is always a happy moment when Americans are reminded of our country’s greatness, especially when we are so often warned about its imminent decline-and the elimination of Osama bin Laden, fanatical murderer of thousands of Christians, Jews and Muslims, was certainly such a moment.

Especially for those of us who were living in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as those who died and their families, justice was finally done. From now on, the heroic pantheon associated with that infamous date will include not only the police officers, firefighters and rescue workers of 9/11, but the Navy SEALs and the military and intelligence officers who avenged them.

Everyone who feels pride and satisfaction in bin Laden’s fate must also acknowledge the bold action and sound priorities of President Obama, who has coolly and cleanly fulfilled a promise he made during his campaign. Maintaining the nation’s dignity and his own, he has handled the aftermath of the mission with precise correctness and stayed focused on the policy goals that guide his administration.

Six In The Morning

Nuclear agency is criticized as too close to its industry

Many experts say lax oversight played a key role in Japan’s crisis


In the fall of 2007, workers at the Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois were using a wire brush to clean a badly corroded steel pipe – one in a series that circulate cooling water to essential emergency equipment – when something unexpected happened: the brush poked through.

The resulting leak caused a 12-day shutdown of the two reactors for repairs.The resulting leak caused a 12-day shutdown of the two reactors for repairs.

The plant’s owner, the Exelon Corporation, had long known that corrosion was thinning most of these pipes.

F1: Istanbul Park

So tires are the story (3 Softs, 3 Hards for Qualifying and Race), along with the flexible front wing.  Red Bull was so confident they pulled their drivers out of the cars and saved the tires.  Everyone else did 2 laps on a fresh set of softs and now have only 1 set left.

Will this be significant?  Who knows?  Rain is not expected.

GP 2 will rubber in the track, barring catastrophic failure, tactical miscalculation, and aggressive driving they’ll finish the way they start.

So is Formula One boring?

Not the way Turn Left Bumper Cars are boring.  There you might as well ignore everything except the last 5 laps.  

Massa didn’t turn in a time for Q3.  Kobayashi may or may not start under the 107% rule since he coasted into the pits during Q1 with fuel problems.

Re-broadcast at 1:30 pm ET.

Pretty tables below.

Mothers’ Day

Mothers’ Day was officially established as a holiday in the United States by Pres. Woodrow Wilson on May 9, 1914.

The earliest call for the establishment of Mother’s Day in the US came in 1870 with the “The Mother’s Day Proclamation” written by Julia Howe, a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet. It was a pacifist reaction to the US Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. It was Ms. Howe’s belief that women had a responsibility to shape society at a political level.

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise all women who have hearts,

Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears

Say firmly:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of

charity, mercy and patience.

“We women of one country

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!

Blood does not wipe out dishonor

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have of ten forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace,

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality

May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient

And at the earliest period consistent with its objects

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions.

The great and general interests of peace.

Originally published as part of a series on History at Docudharma.

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for May 7, 2011-


Happy Mother’s Day

A DocuDharma tradition now on The Stars Hollow Gazette.

clip flowerI tease my mother by calling her Emily after Emily Gilmore both because overall my family reminds me very much of the Gilmores and because she’s never met a brand name she didn’t like whereas I’m perfectly content to buy generic.

I thank her among many things for a thorough grounding in the domestic and other arts.

Mom teaches first grade and is actually famous in a quiet sort of way.  The kind parents brag about and angle their kids for though she’s won national awards too.  Of course I owe everything I know about educating to her and among my own peers I’m considered an asskicking trainer.

She also insisted we learn to perform routine self maintenance, little things like laundry and ironing, machine and hand mending. basic cooking.  Of course she always indulged us with trips to museums and zoos, made sure we got library cards, did the usual bus driver thing to swim practice, had this huge second career as a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader for my sister.

At one point when I was old enough for it to make an impression she took her Masters of Fine Arts in Art of all things, so I know a little Art History with Far Eastern.  I understand how to bang out a copper pot and make silver rings because she took me to class once or twice.  She liked stained glass so much that she and dad made several pieces (you use a soldering iron and can cut yourself pretty bad so it’s a macho thing too).  They also did silk screening which taught me a lot about layout and graphic arts.

But she always liked fabric arts and in addition to a framed three dimensional piece in the living room, there are Afghans and rugs and scarves and pot holders and wash cloths and hats and quilts and dolls.

And the training kits and manuals for her mentorship programs, and the adaptations and costumes for the annual first and fifth grade play.  Did I mention she plays 3 instruments, though mostly piano?

She touch types too.

So to Emily, a woman of accomplishment and refinement, Happy Mother’s Day.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 39 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Kadhafi steps up assault on rebels across Libya

by Dominique Soguel, AFP

43 mins ago

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi’s troops unleashed a salvo of Grad rockets on towns in Libya’s western mountains Saturday, killing at least nine rebels as they pressed the insurgents on several fronts, rebels said.

Forces loyal to the Libyan strongman shelled fuel depots in Misrata and dropped mines in its harbour using helicopters bearing the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems, the rebels said as they braced for a fresh ground assault.

“It seems that the more desperate Kadhafi gets the more he unleashes his firepower on the people,” said Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice-chairman of the opposition National Transitional Council.