September 2011 archive

2011 AL Playoffs- Devil Rays at Rangers

First of all, computer alert.  Not for you, it’s all about me.  I was installing some upgrades and had a very hard crash (though not a data crash, so it could be much much worse).  Anyway I’m on my loaned emergency laptop and while it’s a pain at least you’ll get something.

Though not too much, tonight you’ll mostly have to make your own fun.

Our opening game is Devil Rays v. Rangers.  I don’t know much about the Junior League because they don’t play Baseball but some kind of designated hitter derby that somewhat resembles Baseball.  I do know how to root which is against any team that has the slightest association with the Bushies (that would be the Rangers).

I know this is a great disappointment to my BoSox fan neighbors (pretty much everywhere in Connecticut except Fairfield County where they are Yankees all the way) who are still smarting with resentment over The Great September Fold.

All I can say is that as a Mets fan you get used to it.

I’ll not be following this game in particular very closely since I’m still up to my elbows in wires, nor can I promise the Yankees/Tigers matchup at 8:30 will get more attention unless I am successfull in my repairs.

I will however have it on in the background and will be trying to grasp the main themes.

As always your contributions are most welcome below.

Obama Owns This Economic Mess

Vice President Joe Biden said it:

“Even though 50-some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that’s not relevant,” the vice president said. “What’s relevant is we’re in charge.”

Biden added that he doesn’t blame people who are mad at the administration, and said it is understandable and “totally legitimate” for the 2012 presidential election to be “a referendum on Obama and Biden and the nature and state of the economy.”

And American’s agree that the economy “stinks”:

Three years after a financial crisis pushed the country deep into recession, an overwhelming number of Americans — 90% — say that economic conditions remain poor.

The number, reported Friday in a new CNN/ORC International Poll, is the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency and a significant increase from the 81% who said conditions were poor in June.

The persistent pessimism indicates that Americans are feeling a level of hardship in line with the official statistics. Unemployment stands at 9.1%, economic growth is barely above stall speed, and the housing market remains tied in knots.

To add to this Democrats dispirited about voting:

Click on image to enlarge

In thinking about the 2012 presidential election, 45% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, while nearly as many, 44%, are less enthusiastic.


Democrats’ muted response to voting in 2012 also contrasts with Republicans’ eagerness. Nearly 6 in 10 Republicans, 58%, describe themselves as more enthusiastic about voting.


What was that about electoral victory?

H/t AMERICAblog for links

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”.

Paul Krugman: Phony Fear Factor

The good news: After spending a year and a half talking about deficits, deficits, deficits when we should have been talking about jobs, job, jobs we’re finally back to discussing the right issue.

The bad news: Republicans, aided and abetted by many conservative policy intellectuals, are fixated on a view about what’s blocking job creation that fits their prejudices and serves the interests of their wealthy backers, but bears no relationship to reality.

Listen to just about any speech by a Republican presidential hopeful, and you’ll hear assertions that the Obama administration is responsible for weak job growth. How so? The answer, repeated again and again, is that businesses are afraid to expand and create jobs because they fear costly regulations and higher taxes. Nor are politicians the only people saying this. Conservative economists repeat the claim in op-ed articles, and Federal Reserve officials repeat it to justify their opposition to even modest efforts to aid the economy.

Robert Sheer: The Men We Trusted to Lead Us

Now he tells us. On Wednesday Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke referred to the nation’s unemployment rate as a “national crisis,” an obvious if depressing fact of life to the 25 million Americans who have been unsuccessfully attempting to find full-time employment.

But to finally hear those words from the man George W. Bush and Barack Obama both appointed to lead us out of the great recession is a bracing reminder of how markedly the policies of both those presidents have failed: “We’ve had close to 10 percent unemployment now for a number of years, and of the people who are unemployed, about 45 percent have been unemployed for six months or more,” Bernanke said. “This is unheard of.”

But why is Bernanke just now discovering this after having overseen the Fed’s purchase of trillions in toxic mortgage-backed securities from the too-big-to-fail banks that sacrificed people’s homes in a giant Ponzi scheme? Why did he throw all of that money at the banks without getting anything back in the way of relief for the people the bankers swindled?

John Nichols: Club for Growth Pressures Republican Candidates to Choose China Over US in Currency Manipulation Fight

Just when you think that the race for the Republican presidential nomination could not get any more cruel and unusual, the party plays the next card off the bottom of the czazy deck.

Remember when Rick Perry got in trouble for correctly pointed out that bigots would deny immgrant youth an education don’t “have a heart”? Things turned so ugly that Perry had to come out for heartlessness.

Now, Mitt Romney is in trouble for opposing Chinese currency manipulation that harms the US economy.

Romney’s otherwise lame economic plan featured robust criticism of China for its money machinations. Indeed, Romney called for a “Reagan economic zone” of countries that don’t manipulate their currency.

That did not sit well with the Club for Growth, the exceptionally well-financed conservative pressure group that takes bushels of money from Wall Street speculators-who, of course, like nothing better than a little currency manipulation.

Chris Hedges: The Best Among Us

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

To be declared innocent in a country where the rule of law means nothing, where we have undergone a corporate coup, where the poor and working men and women are reduced to joblessness and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real business of the state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where you, as a citizen, are nothing more than a commodity to corporate systems of power, one to be used and discarded, is to be complicit in this radical evil. To stand on the sidelines and say “I am innocent” is to bear the mark of Cain; it is to do nothing to reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, to save the planet. To be innocent in times like these is to be a criminal. Ask Tim DeChristopher.  

Linh Dinh: Banker Brutality: Beyond Tony Bologna

At the Wall Street protest, a young woman carried a sign, “REVOLUTION IS FUN,” and I don’t doubt that she was having a great time, because it can be exhilarating to engage in a just and noble fight, and to feel that you are an agent of change, a participant in history even, and not just one of its faceless victims, as is the common lot. So fun, yes, at least for her, and at least up to that moment, until the violence explodes, as nearly always happens in anything approaching a political revolution.

The violence of September 24th, the 8th day of the anti-Wall Street Protest, appears to not have caused severe or permanent injuries, though it was brutal enough, and some outrage has even flared in the mainstream media. Anthony Bologna, a 28-year-veteran of the New York Police Department, has emerged as a clear cut villain. Without provocation, he pepper sprayed two young women in the faces, and for this he should certainly be fired, then locked up, but this commotion has overshadowed, at least momentarily, the real target and meaning of this protest. Though police brutality is never to be taken lightly, Occupy Wall Street is aiming to expose and hold to account goons much more vicious than any garden variety Anthony Bologna. Though they maim and cripple countless households, even entire countries, these bigger thugs are rarely condemned and never indicted. In fact, some are given plush jobs in the US Treasury, if not a Cabinet appointment.

Tom Engelhardt: Terminator Drones and Washington’s Field of Screams

The Latest in Guarding the Empire

In the world of weaponry, they are the sexiest things around.  Others countries are desperate to have them.  Almost anyone who writes about them becomes a groupie.  Reporters exploring their onrushing future swoon at their potentially wondrous techno-talents.  They are, of course, the pilotless drones, our grimly named Predators and Reapers.

As CIA Director, Leon Panetta called them “the only game in town.”  As Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates pushed hard to up their numbers and increase their funding drastically.  The U.S. Air Force is already training more personnel to become drone “pilots” than to pilot actual planes.  You don’t need it in skywriting to know that, as icons of American-style war, they are clearly in our future — and they’re even heading for the homeland as police departments clamor for them.

David Morris: GOP Goes Batty on the Postal Service

Will we let the Republicans destroy this most public of all public institutions?

In the next few days we may decide the future of the Post Office. The signs are not auspicious. President Obama has agreed to a plan to cut Saturday delivery. The Post Service’s management wants to close 2500 post offices immediately and up to 16,000 by 2020. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) has introduced a bill that could end free door-to-door delivery.Republicans have been railing at the government post office for many years. But for most of us, it is a “wondrous American creation”.

“Six days a week it delivers an average of 563 million pieces of mail-40 percent of the entire world’s volume”, observes BusinessWeek. “For the price of a 44ยข stamp (the lowest postal rate in the world), you can mail a letter anywhere within the nation’s borders. The service will carry it by pack mule to the Havasupai Indian reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Mailmen on snowmobiles take it to the wilds of Alaska. If your recipient can no longer be found, the USPS will return it at no extra charge. It may be the greatest bargain on earth.”

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Your Bloguero, as you may have already noticed, is a complete optimist.  He actually believes along with Dr. King that things bend toward justice.  Eventually.  And this drives your Bloguero to be extremely persistent.  He wants to do some serious bending.  You might even think of him as obsessed.  And nothing drives your Bloguero more than the plight of those who are always screwed.  There are a number of subtopics to this, ways that this happens, but somehow for your Bloguero it always eventually comes down to state killing, the death penalty.  State killing is always a huge thorn in your Bloguero.

Your Bloguero has been railing against the death penalty for decades. He’s successfully defended people charged with capital crimes.  And he’s been aggravated by and writing about state killing for a while.  In 2002, when there were too many recipients to keep track of, he moved the informal anti-death penalty emails he wrote to a list serve, Yahoo groups.   Your Bloguero started writing those emails in 1999 or 2000.  Maybe it was earlier.  The initial response from some recipients, including family members, was instructive. “How,” some wrote, “Can you get involved in this horror and care about these worthless scum.  Don’t send me any more of this [expletive deleted].”  OK.  Your Bloguero struck their names from the address block and forged on.  “You have compassion for these horrible people.  You should have more for those around you.”  OK.  Strike the name and move on.  Etc. Repeat and repeat again. The complaints were legion.  Your Bloguero, however, knows how to use a delete button, and he did.  Frequently.

When your Bloguero started the Dream Antilles more than six years ago, his initial intention was to promote his 2005 novel, The Dream Antilles. That didn’t last long.  Your Bloguero does not stay on topic well, especially when the topic is commercial.   Your Bloguero doesn’t care very much for commerce. Soon the plight of those who are always screwed became unavoidable.  Of course.  How could it not?  Yes, it was always present in the literature from Latin America your Bloguero loves to write about, but then the Blog swerved headlong into politics.  And of course, as soon as it swerved, along came all of your Bloguero’s many arguments about state killing.  Does the Dream Antilles now have more politics than literature?  Who knows?  Your Bloguero is not the best curator if the goal is to maintain balance.  Yes, your Bloguero wishes there were more about books.  More about Paco Ignacio Taibo II.  More about Skarmeta.  More about Cortazar.  Martin Solares.  The list of authors is enormous.  And there could be more about that if the states would just moderate the rate at which they were executing people.  

When your Bloguero didn’t feel that there was enough readership at The Dream Antilles, he cross posted at other Blogs, especially bigger group ones.  There, particularly at the Orange Blog that shall not be named, your Bloguero was surprised.  There he encountered more people who wrote to provoke your Bloguero and assert that they had no problem with state killing.  Worse, there were some who were actually in favor of it and argued that it was just.  These comments, which your Bloguero generally perceived as the menacing handwork of paid trolls or [expletives deleted] agents provocateurs, who needed to get a life, were always annoying. But your Bloguero knows how to ignore them, and ignore them he did.  Your Bloguero tries not to feed their anger.  Or their wallets.

Fast forward to killing Troy Davis. And this week, the echoes continue at the Dream Antilles, even as they fade to quiet in the Trad Media.

The  Banality Of Death takes note of Florida’s killing of Manuel Valle on Wednesday.  Valle was killed for a crime more than 30 years ago.  He was 61.  The execution was barely noticed. It was the fourth execution of the week.  Your Bloguero believes this is one of the best pieces he has written in a while.

The Shame Of State Killing tells the story of the 1944 execution in Georgia of 5’1″ 95 pound George Stinney, Jr., who was then 14 years old.  Stinney is the youngest person executed in the US in recent history.  It is a story of state killing at its most barbaric.  One wonders whether the US has evolved beyond that.

Banned Books Week noted the ALA’s annual celebration of the First Amendment and provided a list of “challenged” and “banned” books.  Your Bloguero wishes he found it hard to believe that book banning continues in the US.

About That Disaster Aid shows the destruction of a roadway in Greene County, New York near where your Bloguero finds himself and inquires what it will take for Congress to get up some money so that there can be repairs and disaster aid.

Please Sign This Petition promoted a badly written, weakly conceived petition on the White House Web site to ban state killing.  Yes, it was badly written.  Your Bloguero doesn’t care.

The Back B minor Mass showed up at the Dream Antilles.  What a great performance.  Go ahead, click it.  You’ll be happy you did.

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now, it is actually a digest of essays posted in the past week at The Dream Antilles. Please leave a comment so that your Bloguero will know that you stopped by. Or click the “Encouragement Jar” if there is one. Your Bloguero likes to know you’ve visited.

A Day of Shame

The due-process-free assassination of U.S. citizens is now reality

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Friday, Sep 30, 2011 06:31 ET

It was first reported in January of last year that the Obama administration had compiled a hit list of American citizens whom the President had ordered assassinated without any due process, and one of those Americans was Anwar al-Awlaki.  No effort was made to indict him for any crimes (despite a report last October that the Obama administration was “considering” indicting him).  Despite substantial doubt among Yemen experts about whether he even has any operational role in Al Qaeda, no evidence (as opposed to unverified government accusations) was presented of his guilt.  When Awlaki’s father sought a court order barring Obama from killing his son, the DOJ argued, among other things, that such decisions were “state secrets” and thus beyond the scrutiny of the courts.  He was simply ordered killed by the President: his judge, jury and executioner.  When Awlaki’s inclusion on President Obama’s hit list was confirmed, The New York Times noted that “it is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing.

What’s most striking about this is not that the U.S. Government has seized and exercised exactly the power the Fifth Amendment was designed to bar (“No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law”), and did so in a way that almost certainly violates core First Amendment protections (questions that will now never be decided in a court of law). What’s most amazing is that its citizens will not merely refrain from objecting, but will stand and cheer the U.S. Government’s new power to assassinate their fellow citizens, far from any battlefield, literally without a shred of due process from the U.S. Government.  Many will celebrate the strong, decisive, Tough President’s ability to eradicate the life of Anwar al-Awlaki — including many who just so righteously condemned those Republican audience members as so terribly barbaric and crass for cheering Governor Perry’s execution of scores of serial murderers and rapists — criminals who were at least given a trial and appeals and the other trappings of due process before being killed.

From an authoritarian perspective, that’s the genius of America’s political culture.  It not only finds way to obliterate the most basic individual liberties designed to safeguard citizens from consummate abuses of power (such as extinguishing the lives of citizens without due process).  It actually gets its citizens to stand up and clap and even celebrate the destruction of those safeguards.

So there you have it.  An American Citizen murdered for ‘thought crime’ at the whim of our unconstitutional monarch.

Obama: A disaster for civil liberties

He may prove the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties.

By Jonathan Turley, The L.A. Times

September 29, 2011

Protecting individual rights and liberties – apart from the right to be tax-free – seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly. Soon after his election, various military and political figures reported that Obama reportedly promised Bush officials in private that no one would be investigated or prosecuted for torture. In his first year, Obama made good on that promise, announcing that no CIA employee would be prosecuted for torture. Later, his administration refused to prosecute any of the Bush officials responsible for ordering or justifying the program and embraced the “just following orders” defense for other officials, the very defense rejected by the United States at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public-interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama’s personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. Indeed, only a few days after he took office, the Nobel committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize without his having a single accomplishment to his credit beyond being elected. Many Democrats were, and remain, enraptured.

Even though many Democrats admit in private that they are shocked by Obama’s position on civil liberties, they are incapable of opposing him. Some insist that they are simply motivated by realism: A Republican would be worse. However, realism alone cannot explain the utter absence of a push for an alternative Democratic candidate or organized opposition to Obama’s policies on civil liberties in Congress during his term. It looks more like a cult of personality. Obama’s policies have become secondary to his persona.

Ironically, had Obama been defeated in 2008, it is likely that an alliance for civil liberties might have coalesced and effectively fought the government’s burgeoning police powers. A Gallup poll released this week shows 49% of Americans, a record since the poll began asking this question in 2003, believe that “the federal government poses an immediate threat to individuals’ rights and freedoms.” Yet the Obama administration long ago made a cynical calculation that it already had such voters in the bag and tacked to the right on this issue to show Obama was not “soft” on terror. He assumed that, yet again, civil libertarians might grumble and gripe but, come election day, they would not dare stay home.

This calculation may be wrong. Obama may have flown by the fail-safe line, especially when it comes to waterboarding. For many civil libertarians, it will be virtually impossible to vote for someone who has flagrantly ignored the Convention Against Torture or its underlying Nuremberg Principles. As Obama and Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. have admitted, waterboarding is clearly torture and has been long defined as such by both international and U.S. courts. It is not only a crime but a war crime. By blocking the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for torture, Obama violated international law and reinforced other countries in refusing investigation of their own alleged war crimes. The administration magnified the damage by blocking efforts of other countries like Spain from investigating our alleged war crimes. In this process, his administration shredded principles on the accountability of government officials and lawyers facilitating war crimes and further destroyed the credibility of the U.S. in objecting to civil liberties abuses abroad.

On This Day In History September 30

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.

September 30 is the 273rd day of the year (274th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 92 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1791, The Magic Flute, Die Zauberflote, an opera in two acts composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, premiered in Vienna at the Freihaus-Theater auf der Wieden. Mozart conducted and Schikaneder played Papageno, while the role of the Queen of the Night was sung by Mozart’s sister-in-law Josepha Hofer. This was Mozart’s last opera.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 14

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza ๐Ÿ˜‰

New York Unions are at last coming out to support Occupy Wall St:

Despite the common cause, the city’s established left did not initially embrace the protest, which began Sept. 17 and has been made up mostly of young people angry about the widening income chasm in the country, the growing influence of money on politics and police brutality, among other issues.

But as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board. They are motivated perhaps by a sense of solidarity and a desire to tap into its growing success, but undoubtedly by something else too-embarrassment that a group of young people using Twitter and Facebook have been able to draw attention to progressive causes in a way they haven’t been able to in years.

The protestors have transformed the park into a village of sorts, complete with a community kitchen, a library, a concert stage, an arts and crafts center and a media hub. All of that has enabled them not just to sustain the action but to build momentum. And as celebrities like Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons and Cornel West have joined in, the city’s traditional activists have been forced to jump into the fray.

“It’s become too big to ignore,” said one political consultant.

Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday’s demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.

“We’re getting involved because the crisis was caused by the excesses of Wall Street and the consequences have fallen hardest on workers,” a spokesman for TWU Local 100 said.

Transport Workers Union Votes Unanimously to Support Occupy Wall Street

We spoke to TWU Local 100’s spokesman Jim Gannon, who told us that the executive board voted unanimously last night at their regular monthly business meeting to support Occupy Wall Street. TWU Local 100 has 38,000 members, the vast majority of whom work in New York City transit. (TWU has 200,000 members in 22 states.) Gannon said, “A motion was brought up to endorse the protests’ goals; I don’t know why it took us so long to do it. Right now we’re going to be involved in a march and rally on the 5th of October. We’ll gather at City Hall at 4:30 and march to Zuccotti Park.”

Why did they join? “Well, actually, the protesters, it’s pretty courageous what they’re doing,” he said, “and it’s brought a new public focus in a different way to what we’ve been saying along. While Wall Street and the banks and the corporations are the ones that caused the mess that’s flowed down into the states and cities, it seems there’s no shared sacrifice. It’s the workers having to sacrifice while the wealthy get away scot-free. It’s kind of a natural alliance with the young people and the students — they’re voicing our message, why not join them? On many levels, our workers feel an affinity with the kids. They just seem to be hanging out there getting the crap beaten out of them, and maybe union support will help them out a little bit.”

Union Members, Wall Street Protesters to Converge at Police Plaza

The pepper-spraying incident has galvanized support for the protesters, said Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociologist who will be at the Friday’s rally on Police Plaza.

“It’s turned something that was a fairly small group of people, operating somewhat under the media radar, into something that’s getting significant press coverage and a lot of support,” he said.

Vitale is one of several members of the executive council of CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress – a union of 20,000 faculty and staff – who have signed on to a statement condemning the pepper-spraying of several female protesters last Saturday by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna. The incident, which was caught on video that subsequently went viral, has prompted an investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

Protest Police Harassment, Brutality & Attacks

When:Fri, September 30, 4pm – 5pm

Where: Liberty Square (map)


** In order not to conflict with the already called demonstration at One Police Plaza on Friday, this action is now moved to FRIDAY and MARCHES TO ONE POLICE PLAZA



The NYPD is out of control!

Come out FRIDAY 4:00 at the Occupy Wall Street site, Broadway & Liberty, for a demonstration and MARCH to One Police Plaza


For more information call the Solidarity Center 212-633-6646 Called by BAIL OUT THE PEOPLE MOVEMENT

Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Worst Persons 9.28.2011

Worst Persons: Dick Morris, Sen. Rand Paul and CNN’s Dana Loesch

Find out why Dick Morris is WORSE; Sen. Rand Paul is WORSER; and CNN’s Dana Loesch is the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD for Sept. 28, 2011.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now wit 39 Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Ancient river-like volcanoes formed Mercury’s plains

By Kerry Sheridan, AFP

3 hrs ago

The planet closest to the Sun had plenty of its own heat to release billions of years ago and erupted in vast river-like volcanoes that oozed around its northern pole, said a study out Thursday.

For more than three decades, scientists have thought volcanoes may have helped craft Mercury’s smooth northern plains but they have learned much more since a NASA spacecraft began orbiting Mercury for the first time this year.

A series of reports in the journal Science describe what NASA’s MESSENGER probe — which stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging — has found since it began circling Mercury in mid-March.

Breaking: “We Need $12 Trillion Or All These Kids Die”

The Onion hit a nerve with the Capital Police in Washington, DC today as it broke its latest political satirical story via Twitter:

BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building.

BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen. #CongressHostage

Arlington gun shop confirms Rep. @EricCantor bought 6 semi-automatic handguns, 3 rifles & 600 clips of ammo last month #CongressHostage

Extra demands include transport to Dulles airport with fueled-up private jet waiting on runway. McCain expected to fly it. #CongressHostage

Obama on bullhorn: “John, I know you can hear me in there. Please, you don’t need to do this.” #CongressHostage

Typical of most “very serious” bureaucracies the US Capitol Police released a statement to the press that gave the tweets and the story credibility as reported by the “very serious” Politico:

It has come to our attention that recent twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol. Conditions at the U.S. Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.

Of course Talking Points Memo, in need of some “very serious” news for today, ran with the story on their front page and, of course no one would talk to their reporter:

When contacted by TPM, Sgt. Schneider declined to comment on what the Capitol Police might be doing to investigate the matter, saying that the police do not discuss the preliminary stages of a law enforcement investigation.

The Onion has not immediately responded to TPM’s request for comment.

Anyway, according to the latest Tweets from The Onion, the 4 PM deadline has passed and, as is typical of this Congress:

UPDATE: Hostage Negotiation Talks Stall In Congress #CongressHostage

This hostage situation could go on for months or years. We’ll keep you updated on what the “very serious” people in our Nation’s Capitol are doing to end this stand off.

h/t Talking Points Memo DC for the screen shot of The Onion‘s Front Page

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