Daily Archive: 05/30/2015

May 30 2015

The Untold Story of the Hunt for Snowden

During his interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman in London’s Ecuadoran Embassy, Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange gives the inside story of the grounding of Ecuadoran President Evo Morales’ plane.

Transcript can be read here

May 30 2015

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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Trevor Timm: Can you tell the difference between Bush and Obama on the Patriot Act?

Dick Cheney and George W Bush were widely condemned by Democrats for their baseless fear-mongering to pressure members of Congress into passing expansive surveillance laws that infringed on American’s civil liberties. Unfortunately, with parts of their Patriot Act set to expire on Monday, the Obama administration is playing the very same game that its own party once decried hyperbolic and dishonest – even after a Justice Department report released last week concluded that the expiring section used to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk has never been vital to national security.

See if you can tell the difference between the Obama administration’s statements about the renewal of the Patriot Act and those from the Bush administration when they wanted Congress to renew some of the controversial mass surveillance authorities they passed after 9/11.

Dave Johnson: Fast Track Hits House Next Week; Clinton Must Speak Up

The House is expected to vote on fast track trade promotion authority as soon as next week. If it passes, the corporate-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a done deal — even though it is still secret. Why is presidential candidate Hillary Clinton still silent on this? [..]

There is no question that TPP is on the wrong side of this, and will result in even more hardship for the very people Clinton says she is campaigning to help. Fast Track preapproves TPP and the vote is coming up very, very soon.

Staying on the fence on this one is a mistake. By staying on the fence she risks being remembered as “No-Position Clinton” on the issue that matters most.

Eugene Robinson: Islamic State: What Would Republicans Do?

Critics of the way President Obama is dealing with the Islamic State should be required to specify what alternative steps they would take-and how their strategies would make a difference.

Republican presidential candidates are unanimous in charging that Obama’s handling of Iraq and Syria has been all wrong. But when pressed to lay out a specific plan of action and explain why they believe it would work better than what Obama is doing now, they tend to mumble and look for ways to change the subject.

Oh, there’s no shortage of tough-guy rhetoric that sounds as if it were stolen from a big-budget Hollywood action movie. Actually, some of it was stolen from a big-budget Hollywood action movie: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., appropriates Liam Neeson’s signature line from the movie “Taken,” shifts it from the first-person singular to the plural, and declares to terrorists, “We will look for you, we will find you and we will kill you.” [..]

Eventually, one hopes, some candidate will come up with credible alternatives to Obama’s Mideast policies. So far, not even close.

George Zornick: The Push for Debt-Free College Is Hitting the Big Time

When we last checked in with the activist push to make debt-free college part of mainstream Democratic politics, a little over one month ago, it was off to an impressive start. Three Democratic Senators and a handful of House members had signed on to bicameral resolutions championing the idea, including high-ranking Democrats like Steve Israel and Chris Van Hollen.

More members signed on in the following weeks, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which is spearheading the effort, announced Wednesday that nine more Democratic Senators joined as co-sponsors. This brought the total to twenty in the Senate-close to half the caucus-and sixty overall.

That’s a pretty stunning level of support behind an idea that basically didn’t exist in formal terms six weeks ago.

Joan Walsh: GOP trolls set a dangerous trap for Dems: Why zombie centrism would doom the party

A dumb argument that Obama has dragged his party too far left would be laughable — except some Dems believe it too

Former Bush advisor Peter Wehner is stuck in the 1980s, and he thinks the country should remain stuck there, too. His bewildering New York Times op-ed, “Have Democrats moved too far left?” (no question mark needed; he clearly believes they have), would be laughable – except some centrist Democrats share his nostalgia for the Reagan era, and his loathing of Elizabeth Warren-style liberalism.

Wehner uses a tired template worn out by Mitt Romney to no avail in 2012: Barack Obama is more liberal than the centrist, sensible Bill Clinton, and the country is going to reject him and the party he’s led off the deep end.  That didn’t work out for Romney, and it won’t go well for Wehner and the GOP. [..]

There are in fact real battles within the Democratic Party over the issues of economic opportunity, most notably on trade. But the notion that Democrats have moved farther left than the GOP has moved right is laughable. In the Obama years, Republicans haven’t just repudiated liberalism, they’ve repudiated their very own policies – on the individual mandate for health insurance, cap and trade approaches to climate change, immigration reform, the earned income tax credit, infrastructure spending.

In the meantime, we’ve had a 35-year experiment in Republican policies on crime, opportunity and poverty – and they’ve failed. Welfare reform didn’t end either poverty or single parenthood. Mass incarceration criminalized more than a generation of black men, further destroying their communities. And the Bush tax cuts didn’t create jobs; they led to record deficits and came with the worst crash since the Great Depression.

Marcy Wheeler: The Benghazi outrage we actually should be talking about

Newly revealed documents show how the CIA stood by as arms shipments from Libya enabled the rise of ISIS

What did the CIA know and when did they know it?

That’s the real question that ought to be raised by a recently declassified Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The August 2012 document describes how the U.S. ended up on the same general side in the Syrian Civil War as Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor to ISIS. “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning,” the report explained. Meanwhile, “[w]estern countries, the Gulf states, and Turkey are supporting” rebel efforts against the Assad regime in a proxy war, putting them on the same side as, if not working together with, the terrorists now overrunning Iraq. [..]

Two months after the report laying out AQI support for the rebels – another of the documents obtained by Judicial Watch shows – the DIA provided a detailed description of how weapons got shipped from Benghazi to Syria, presumably for rebel groups. “During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the [Qaddafi] regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012,” the report explained, “weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria.”

The report obtained by Judicial Watch says that the weapons shipments ended in “early September of 2012.” But note what event this second report conspicuously does not mention: The Sept. 11 attack on the State Department and CIA facilities in Benghazi at the same time that the flow of weapons stopped.

May 30 2015

On This Day In History May 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.

Click on image to enlarge

May 30 is the 150th day of the year (151st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 215 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1922, Former President William Howard Taft dedicates the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall on this day in 1922. At the time, Taft was serving as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Taft remains the only former president ever to hold a seat on the Supreme Court. He served from 1921 to 1930. He recalled his time on the court as his most rewarding career, later saying in his memoirs, I don’t remember that I was ever president.


The Lincoln Memorial, designed after the temples of ancient Greece, is significant as America’s foremost memorial to their 16th president, as a totally original example of neoclassical architecture, and as the formal terminus to the extended National Mall in accordance with the McMillan Plan for the monumental core of Washington.

Demands for a fitting memorial had been voiced since the time of Lincoln’s death. In 1867, Congress heeded these demands and passed the first of many bills incorporating a commission to erect a monument for the sixteenth president. An American, Clark Mills, was chosen to design the monument. His plans reflected the bombastic nationalistic spirit of the age. His design called for a 70-foot (21 m) structure adorned with six equestrian and 31 pedestrian statues of colossal proportions, crowned by a 12-foot (3.7 m) statue of Abraham Lincoln. However, subscriptions for the project were insufficient and its future fell into doubt.

The matter lay dormant until the turn of the century, when, under the leadership of Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, six separate bills were introduced to Congress for the incorporation of a new memorial commission. The first five bills, proposed in the years 1901, 1902, and 1908, met with defeat; however, the final bill (Senate Bill 9449), introduced on December 13, 1910, passed. The Lincoln Memorial Commission had its first meeting the following year and President William H. Taft was chosen as president. Progress continued at a steady pace and by 1913 Congress had approved of the Commission’s choice of design and location. However, this approval was far from unanimous. Many thought that architect Henry Bacon’s Greek temple design was far too ostentatious for a man of Lincoln’s humble character. Instead they proposed a simple log cabin shrine. The site too did not go unopposed. The recently reclaimed land in West Potomac Park was seen by many to be either too swampy or too inaccessible. Other sites, such as Union Station, were put forth. The Commission stood firm in its recommendation though, feeling that the Potomac Park location, situated on the Washington MonumentCapitol axis, overlooking the Potomac River and surrounded by open land, was an ideal site. Furthermore, the Potomac Park site had already been designated in the McMillan Plan of 1901 to be the location of a future monument comparable to that of the Washington Monument.

With Congressional approval and a $300,000 allocation, the project got underway. On February 12, 1914, an inauspicious dedication ceremony was conducted and following month the actual construction began. Work progressed steadily according to schedule. However a few changes did have to be made. The statue of Lincoln, originally designed to be 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, was later enlarged to 19 feet (5.8 m) to prevent it from being dwarfed by its huge chamber. As late as 1920, the decision was made to substitute an open portal for the bronze and glass grille which was to have guarded the entrance. Despite these changes, the Memorial was finished on schedule. In a (May 30) celebration in 1922, Commission president William H. Taft dedicated the Memorial and presented it to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it for the American people. Lincoln’s only remaining son, 79 year old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance.

May 30 2015

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Seafood Conundrum

 photo fish-stew-mediterranean-articleLarg.jpg

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

The scientific dispute over what’s safe and what’s not has raged for many years, but I was heartened to see that even a watchdog group like the Environmental Defense Fund can find a range of fish and shellfish make for safe and sustainable choices. I know from experience that many of them can make for fine meals; I’ll be offering a few examples this week.

As for the best ways to cook fish, there are many. I tend to go for methods that don’t leave a lingering smell in my kitchen, such as roasting in a covered baking dish or in individual foil packets, poaching in a stew, or slow-steaming in the oven. I steam mollusks like mussels and clams in wine in a wide pan or a pot, and serve them with the broth. On warm nights, I love to grill fish outdoors

~ Martha Rose Shulman ~

Easy Fish Stew With Mediterranean Flavors

This is a typical fisherman’s stew. No need to make a fish stock; water, aromatics and anchovies will suffice.

Spanish-Style Shrimp With Garlic

Serve with rice, or if serving in earthenware dishes, with crusty bread for dipping.

Grilled Sardines

If you’ve only had sardines from a can, you may turn up your nose at them. Fresh ones will change your mind. Brush them with olive oil, toss a few sprigs of rosemary onto a hot grill, and grill them.

Baked Halibut With Tomato Caper Sauce

This is a pungent tomato sauce that I learned to make in Provence. It goes well with any type of robust fish.

Whole Rainbow Trout Baked in Foil

It’s easy to find farmed rainbow trout these days. They’re usually boned and “butterflied” – opened up, with the halves still attached.

May 30 2015

Friday Night Movie

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men?

The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.  Crime does not pay.

The Shadow knows.