Prime Time

Haven’t I told you TV has jumped the Shark?

Can it be time for Throwball again?  Cinncinati @ Dallas and the only interesting question about it is if Keith still has his gig.

Something, Something, Something… Dark Side.


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Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US urges focus on clean-up, sea damage after BP spill

by Kerry Sheridan, AFP

Sun Aug 8, 12:46 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US officials on Sunday urged further study of the damage done to the environment by BP’s broken well, and said clean-up efforts must continue despite claims that much of the oil had vanished from the Gulf of Mexico.

“I think what we need to understand is there’s a lot of oil that’s been taken care of. There’s a lot of oil that’s still out there,” said Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen on CNN.

“You need to keep a steady hand at the tiller here, keep this cleanup going,” he said, describing it as a “catastrophe for the people of the Gulf” and calling for a close study of the damage done to the environment.

2 Afghan police probe foreign medic killings

by Claire Truscott, AFP

6 mins ago

KABUL (AFP) – Police on Sunday were investigating the killing of eight foreign medics, including six Americans, shot dead in remote northern Afghanistan, as US authorities flew the bodies back to the capital.

The bullet-riddled bodies of five men, all Americans, and three women, an American, a German and a Briton, were found in the northeastern province of Badakhshan on Friday, according to the provincial police chief.

Two Afghans were also killed in the attack and one survived.

3 Moscow chokes under smog as travellers trapped

by Stuart Williams, AFP

1 hr 1 min ago

MOSCOW (AFP) – Thousands of air travellers were stranded Sunday as Moscow choked in the worst smog in living memory from spreading wildfires that threatened a second Russian nuclear facility.

Iconic buildings like the Kremlin towers and the city’s wedding-cake Stalin-era skyscrapers were obscured by the acrid smoke, while Saint Petersburg and neighbouring Finland were also starting to feel the effects.

The wildfires have sparked a major crisis in western Russia, killing 52 people and sending authorities scrambling to protect strategic sites, including the country’s main nuclear research facilities.

4 Actress, agent set to challenge Campbell diamonds testimony


Sun Aug 8, 12:28 pm ET

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Supermodel Naomi Campbell’s testimony at Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial is likely to be challenged on Monday when a Hollywood film star and a modelling agent take the stand.

Both Mia Farrow and Carole White are liable to contradict Campbell when they take the stand at the “blood diamonds” trial of the former Liberian president at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.

Court documents suggest that White will testify that Campbell knew in advance she would get diamonds from Taylor after a dinner in South Africa in 1997 — and that she seemed disappointed with the “pebbles” she had received.

5 Third spacewalk needed to fix station cooling system: NASA


Sat Aug 7, 7:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Astronauts need to conduct an extra, third spacewalk outside the International Space Station after their efforts Saturday to repair a failed cooling system on the orbiter fell short, NASA said.

“I really think we’re going to end up with three EVAs,” or extra vehicular activities, ISS manager Michael Suffredini said after US astronauts completed a first spacewalk in which they ran into trouble trying to unhook and remove the busted module that has caused the cooling problem.

A second spacewalk has already been scheduled for no earlier than Wednesday, but NASA said it was clear that a third walk was now needed.

6 Washington vows no slack-off in Gulf oil cleanup

By Todd Eastham, Reuters

59 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The government vowed on Sunday that operations to completely clean up BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and compensate those affected would not slacken off despite the success in halting the leak.

Some Gulf Coast beaches and fisheries were reopening after the world’s worst offshore oil accident, as optimism grew for a final kill of the blown-out BP well this month, the top U.S. spill response official said on Sunday news shows.

But in comments aimed at reassuring anxious Gulf Coast residents worried about their future livelihoods, response chief retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, and White House Energy Adviser Carol Browner, acknowledged that much still remained to be done to restore the oil-hit coastal region.

7 Group denies Afghan Taliban claims over dead workers

By Paul Tait, Reuters

2 hrs 33 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – An international Christian aid group denied on Sunday Taliban accusations that its team of foreign medical workers killed in Afghanistan’s remote northeast had been proselytizing.

The bodies of 10 medical aid workers, eight foreigners and two Afghans, were flown by helicopter from Badakshan province back to Kabul on Sunday, the U.S. embassy in the Afghan capital said, confirming that six of the dead were American.

The International Assistance Mission (IAM) had said the victims were members of its 12-strong eye care team that had been working in Badakshan and neighboring Nuristan.

8 BlackBerry in bid to address Saudi security concerns

By Souhail Karam and Diana Elias, Reuters

Sun Aug 8, 12:11 pm ET

RIYADH/KUWAIT (Reuters) – BlackBerry maker and Saudi mobile firms are testing three servers to send communications and data through Saudi Arabia before Canada to address Riyadh’s concerns over security, a Saudi official said on Sunday.

Pressed by security authorities, the Saudi telecom regulator has given the kingdom’s three mobile carriers until Monday to fulfill unspecified requirements before it proceeds with a threat to shut down the BlackBerry’s Messenger.

The ban was meant to be enacted on Friday and would have affected some 700,000 users in the kingdom.

9 Afghanistan says to "deal with" security firms

By Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters

Sun Aug 8, 8:46 am ET

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan security forces will be more than capable of safeguarding the country, the government said on Sunday, repeating in some of its strongest criticism yet that troublesome Western private security units should be disbanded.

Siyamak Herawi, a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said the push to scrap firms employing tens of thousands of private security guards was linked to Karzai’s 2014 timetable for Afghan forces to take over all security and operational responsibilities from U.S. and NATO-led forces.

“The government wants to deal thoroughly with the companies and now that the capacity of the Afghan government is gradually increasing those entities in need of security individuals can use organized and educated Afghan soldiers,” Herawi told Reuters.

10 Gulf seafood industry tries to shake an oily image

By MARY FOSTER and BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press Writers

2 hrs 18 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – Those who rely on the Gulf of Mexico’s rich fishing grounds say there’s a new crisis brewing – convincing skeptical consumers that the seafood they harvest and sell is safe to eat.

The Gulf’s fisheries are beginning to reopen more than three months after the oil began gushing from the sea floor, but those in the seafood industry say that doesn’t mean everything has returned to normal.

“We have a huge perception problem,” said Ewell Smith, director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. “We have lost markets across the country, and some of them may be lost for good.”

11 Gulf shrimpers pray for good season amid oil spill

By KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press Writers

44 mins ago

THERIOT, La. – Docked boats were bedecked with fluttering red, white and blue streamers and rainbows of balloons in a bayou-country, pre-shrimp season tradition known as the “Blessing of the Boats.”

On the menu? Heaping trays of barbecued chicken, smoked sausage and potato salad – but no crabs or shrimp.

Blame the BP oil spill. The company has plugged the leak and announced Sunday that cement sealing the busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico had hardened, clearing the path for the final phase of drilling a relief well.

12 Victims of Afghan massacre gave years of service

KRISTEN WYATT and ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writers

14 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – One gave up a lucrative practice to give free dental care to children who had never seen a toothbrush. Others had devoted whole decades of their lives to helping the Afghan people through war and deprivation.

The years of service ended in a hail of bullets in a remote valley of a land that members of the medical team had learned to love.

The bodies of the 10 slain volunteers – six Americans, two Afghans, a German and a Briton – were flown Sunday back to Kabul by helicopter, even as friends and family bitterly rejected Taliban claims the group had tried to convert Afghans to Christianity.

13 Slain doctors brought medical care to Afghanistan

By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 26 mins ago

DENVER – Members of a medical team gunned down in Afghanistan brought some of the first toothbrushes and eyeglasses villagers had ever seen and spent no time talking about religion as they provided medical care, friends and aid organizations said Sunday.

Dr. Thomas Grams, 51, quit his dental practice in Durango, Colo., four years ago to work full-time giving impoverished children free dental care in Nepal and Afghanistan, said Katy Shaw of Global Dental Relief, a Denver-based group that sends teams of dentists around the globe. He was killed Thursday, Shaw said, along with five other Americans, two Afghans, one German and a Briton.

“The kids had never seen toothbrushes, and Tom brought thousands of them,” said Khris Nedam, head of the Kids 4 Afghan Kids in Livonia, Mich., which builds schools and wells in Afghanistan. “He trained them how to brush their teeth, and you should’ve seen the way they smiled after they learned to brush their teeth.”

14 AP source: Ousted HP CEO settles with accuser

By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Technology Writer

46 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Ousted Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd has settled allegations of sexual harassment lodged against him by a female contract worker for HP, a person with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press.

The harassment accusation set off a chain of events that led to the discovery of allegedly falsified expense reports for dinners Hurd had with the woman and culminated in Hurd’s forced resignation Friday from the world’s largest technology company.

The person familiar with the case told the AP late Satuday that Hurd agreed to pay the woman but would not reveal the size of the payment. The deal was reached Thursday, a day before Hurd’s resignation. The settlement was between Hurd and his accuser and did not involve a payment from HP, this person said.

15 Forced to retire, some take Social Security early

By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 12:30 pm ET

MIAMI – Paul Skidmore’s office is shuttered, his job gone, his 18-month job search fruitless and his unemployment benefits exhausted. So at 63, he plans to file this week for Social Security benefits, three years earlier than planned.

“All I want to do is work,” said Skidmore, of Finksburg, Md., who was an insurance claims adjuster for 37 years before his company downsized and closed his office last year. “And nobody will hire me.”

It is one of the most striking fallouts from the bad economy: Social Security is facing its first-ever shortfall this year as a wave of people like Skidmore opt to collect payments before their full retirement age. Adding to the strain on the trust are reduced tax collections sapped by the country’s historic unemployment – still at 9.5 percent.

16 Far from ground zero, opponents fight new mosques

TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press Writer

26 mins ago

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation’s heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near ground zero, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive.

Foes of proposed mosques have deployed dogs to intimidate Muslims holding prayer services and spray painted “Not Welcome” on a construction sign, then later ripped it apart.

The 13-story, $100 million Islamic center that could soon rise two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks would dwarf the proposals elsewhere, yet the smaller projects in local communities are stoking a sharper kind of fear and anger than has showed up in New York.

17 Afghan commission: Civilian deaths up in 2010

HEIDI VOGT and RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writers

47 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Civilian war deaths in the first seven months of 2010 rose by 6 percent over the same period last year, Afghanistan’s human rights commission said Sunday. The modest increase suggested that U.S. and NATO efforts to hold down civilian casualties were having some success.

Also Sunday, the bodies of 10 members of a medical team – six Americans, two Afghans, one German and a Briton – were flown to Kabul from the northern province of Badakhshan, where they were gunned down three days ago at the end of a humanitarian mission. The Taliban claimed responsibility and accused the group of spying and seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity.

The Taliban and their allies were responsible for 68 percent of the at least 1,325 civilian deaths recorded by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the organization said in a report. Twenty-three percent were ascribed to NATO or Afghan government forces.

18 Former enemies US, Vietnam now military mates

By MARGIE MASON, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 8:56 am ET

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON – Cold War enemies the United States and Vietnam demonstrated their blossoming military relations Sunday as a U.S. nuclear supercarrier cruised in waters off the Southeast Asian nation’s coast – sending a message that China is not the region’s only big player.

The visit comes 35 years after the Vietnam War as Washington and Hanoi are cozying up in a number of areas, from negotiating a controversial deal to share civilian nuclear fuel and technology to agreeing that China needs to work with its neighbors to resolve territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The USS George Washington’s stop is officially billed as a commemoration of last month’s 15th anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations between the former foes. But the timing also reflects Washington’s heightened interest in maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific amid tensions following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which killed 46 sailors. North Korea has been blamed for the attack, but has vehemently denied any involvement.

19 Medicare’s private eyes let fraud cases get cold

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 9:07 am ET

WASHINGTON – They don’t seem that interested in hot pursuit. It took private sleuths hired by Medicare an average of six months last year to refer fraud cases to law enforcement.

According to congressional investigators, the exact average was 178 days. By that time, many cases go cold, making it difficult to catch perpetrators, much less recover money for taxpayers.

A recent inspector general report also raised questions about the contractors, who play an important role in Medicare’s overall effort to combat fraud.

20 AP Interview: WikiLeaks to publish new documents

Associated Press

Sun Aug 8, 6:01 am ET

BERLIN – The online whistle-blower WikiLeaks said it will continue to publish more secret files from governments around the world despite U.S. demands to cancel plans to release classified military documents.

“I can assure you that we will keep publishing documents – that’s what we do,” a WikiLeaks spokesman, who says he goes by the name Daniel Schmitt in order to protect his identity, told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

Schmitt said he could not comment on any specific documents but asserted that the publication of classified documents about the Afghanistan war directly contributed to the public’s understanding of the conflict.

21 3 women on high court: Historic but impact unclear

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 1:34 am ET

WASHINGTON – At least once a term for 13 years, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalled, some lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court would mistake her for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, or vice versa.

No matter that Brooklyn-born Ginsburg and O’Connor, raised on a ranch in Arizona, look and sound nothing alike.

The confusion arose because, even at the dawn of the 21st century, women on the court were “one- or two-at-a-time curiosities,” Ginsburg said.

22 Bahrain says no plans to ban BlackBerry services

By ADAM SCHRECK, AP Business Writer

12 mins ago

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Bahrain’s foreign minister said Sunday the country has no plans to follow its Persian Gulf neighbors in banning some BlackBerry services because security fears do not outweigh the technological benefits.

His comments come as device maker Research in Motion Ltd. is facing opposition by a number of countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf, to the way its encrypted e-mail and messenger services are managed.

Bahrain’s Sheik Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told The Associated Press the handheld devices raise legitimate concerns, but that his nation has decided that banning some of the phones’ features is “not a way of dealing with it.”

23 Beer warehouse shooter long complained of racism

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer

Sat Aug 7, 10:43 pm ET

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – To those closest to him, Omar Thornton was caring, quiet and soft-spoken. He was excited to land a well-paying job at a beer delivery company a few years ago and his longtime girlfriend says they talked of marrying and having children.

But underneath, Thornton seethed with a sense of racial injustice for years that culminated in a shooting rampage Tuesday in which the Connecticut man killed eight and wounded two others at his job at Hartford Distributors in Manchester before killing himself.

“I know what pushed him over the edge was all the racial stuff that was happening at work,” said his girlfriend, Kristi Hannah.

24 Difficult task to lower risk of workplace violence

By BEN DOBBIN, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 37 mins ago

Criminologists call it murder by proxy – rampages by employees who go after their boss, supervisors and even co-workers they link to the source of their outrage. The message is: Look who’s doing the firing now.

These eruptions of workplace violence often occur in similarly brutal ways. But experts say they rarely come with a warning, making them hard to stop.

Employers can reduce the risk of on-the-job attacks, especially in cases where employees are about to get axed; if there have been signs of distress or aggression, they can move the conversation away from the main work space or have security present. Patdown searches and the use of metal detectors are also options for some companies but have the drawback of raising tension.

25 US immigrant’s dream ends with genocide allegation

By LYNNE TUOHY, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 18 mins ago

CONCORD, N.H. – Beatrice Munyenyezi brought her three daughters to the United States from war-ravaged Rwanda in 1998 and focused on the American Dream: private schooling for her girls, a home with a swimming pool, a sport utility vehicle.

Before long, she had a $13-an-hour job at Manchester’s Housing Authority in New Hampshire, her children were enrolled in Catholic school, and she was on her way to financing a comfortable American lifestyle through mortgages, loans and credit cards.

Now the 40-year-old mother sits behind bars, held without bond while she awaits trial on federal citizenship fraud charges for allegedly lying about involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, when at least 500,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

26 Immigration issue boosts Brewer in Arizona race

By PAUL DAVENPORT, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 1:36 pm ET

PHOENIX – As the year began, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer faced a competitive field of fellow Republicans who wanted her job, with some GOP critics sensing she was particularly vulnerable as she sought voter approval of a sales tax increase she’d proposed to shore up the state budget.

All of that began to change in April, when she signed a tough new state law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which soon put Arizona at the heart of a rabid national debate on immigration. Now, with Arizona’s Aug. 24 GOP primary just two weeks away, not only she is riding high, but she can confidently boast of an enviable reputation among conservatives across the country.

“She essentially flipped the whole election,” said Matthew Jette, the only candidate still actively campaigning against Brewer. “She was pretty much dead last, except if you count me.”

27 Years later, politicians tripping over ‘trackers’

By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 1:35 pm ET

DENVER – They’re as common at campaign stops as colorful banners: hand-held cameras wielded by politicians’ opponents to catch them making a stupid mistake.

So how come candidates keep getting tripped up by “trackers” who record their every move?

Trackers have been credited for spoiling campaigns from Virginia to Nevada. And this year, amateur video clips could make the difference in Colorado’s hotly contested GOP Senate primary on Tuesday.

28 Marine accused of killing colleague to go on trial

By KEVIN MAURER, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 8, 12:37 pm ET

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Investigators said Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean had an obvious motive to kill his pregnant Marine colleague: She accused him of raping her and fathering her unborn baby.

However, Naval investigators said they have no physical evidence or eyewitnesses to corroborate Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach’s claims, and Laurean denied they ever had sexual contact. It will be up to a jury to decide what happened when Laurean goes on trial Tuesday in Goldsboro on first-degree murder and a litany of other charges.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson has said the case is one of the most perplexing he’s seen in three decades as a prosecutor. And the accounts of how Lauterbach died aren’t any less tricky. Her charred remains were found in a fire pit behind Laurean’s white, ranch-style home, which remains a curiosity for passers-by.

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart

“I Give UP

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
I Give Up – 9/11 Responders Bill
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Voters Choice: “None of the Fucking Above”

Punting the Pundits

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.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour:

Her guests this Sunday will be General Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq and General Peter Chiarelli, the general in charge of the U.S. Army’s efforts to reduce the epidemic of suicide among U.S. soldiers.

The Round Table will be George Packer of the New Yorker, Gillian Tett of the Financial Times, Politico’s John Harris, and Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist and former Bush speech-writer. The topic will be Mr Packer’s piece this week in the New Yorker on the broken Senate, as well as, California’s gay marriage ban is ruled unconstitutional by a federal court; Republicans push to change the constitution to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants; and Elena Kagan is confirmed by the Senate in a highly partisan vote.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:

His guests will be Ret. Admiral Thad Allen, U.S. Coast Guard, David Boies, American Foundation for Legal Rights, Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Dan Balz, The Washington Post and CBS News Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford. Discussion will ne on What’s Next for the Gulf? and Same Sex Marriage Debate.

Chris Matthews:

The topics will be on Will Dems Have Votes To Kill Tax Cuts?, Will GOP Run Against Gay Marriage? and Will Hillary Clinton Bump Joe Biden From The 2012 Obama Ticket?

His guests will include Howard Fineman, Newsweek Senior Washington Correspondent, Erin Burnett, CNBC Anchor, Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News, Capitol Hill Correspondent and John Heilemann, New York Magazine, National Political Correspondent.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley:

Her guest will be Governors Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) who will discuss their views on immigration, same-sex marriage, and health care. The second segment will include Admiral Thad Allen (Ret.), National Incident Commander discussing the recovery efforts in response to the oil catastrophe. Allen will also respond to this week’s NOAA report on what happened to the oil that spilled into the Gulf.

Fareed Zakaris: GPS:

Fareed will give his take on the controversy over the proposed cultural center at Ground Zero and the founding principle of freedom of religion in America.

He will have a one on one interview with Former Pakistani spy chief Hamid Gul to discuss allegations from the WikiLeaks documents that he conspired with terrorists to kill Allied soldiers and “set Kabul aflame”.

Then, the Foreign Minister of Serbia on whether war in the Balkans is possible again.

And finally a look at how Iran has America pinned to the mat.


Glenn Greenwald: What collapsing empire looks like

As we enter our ninth year of the War in Afghanistan with an escalated force, and continue to occupy Iraq indefinitely, and feed an endlessly growing Surveillance State, reports are emerging of the Deficit Commission hard at work planning how to cut Social Security, Medicare, and now even to freeze military pay.  But a new New York Times article today illustrates as vividly as anything else what a collapsing empire looks like, as it profiles just a few of the budget cuts which cities around the country are being forced to make.  This is a sampling of what one finds:


Plenty of businesses and governments furloughed workers this year, but Hawaii went further — it furloughed its schoolchildren. Public schools across the state closed on 17 Fridays during the past school year to save money, giving students the shortest academic year in the nation.

   Many transit systems have cut service to make ends meet, but Clayton County, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, decided to cut all the way, and shut down its entire public bus system. Its last buses ran on March 31, stranding 8,400 daily riders.

   Even public safety has not been immune to the budget ax. In Colorado Springs, the downturn will be remembered, quite literally, as a dark age: the city switched off a third of its 24,512 streetlights to save money on electricity, while trimming its police force and auctioning off its police helicopters.

(emphasis Mr. Greenwald’s)

Dana Milbank: The right wing mantra: If at first you don’t secede . . .

Vacationing on North Carolina’s Outer Banks this week, I’ve been thinking about how different things will be here when the South secedes from the Union.

The Confederates, I anticipate, will order Elizabeth’s Café & Winery to banish the Maine lobster tomato caprese in favor of fried catfish. The lattes at Duck’s Cottage will likely be nullified and replaced by sweet tea. Inevitably, the Sanderling spa will be ordered to discontinue its Vinyasa yoga classes and instead open a shooting range.

Happily, there is as yet no sign of imminent hostilities at the seaside; Escalades with Jersey plates continue to ply Highway 12 unmolested by rebel artillery. But you wouldn’t know things were so calm from the words spoken by Republican primary candidates lately. Here in the South, they have been campaigning under a bizarre theory: nothing succeeds like secession.

Frank Rich: How to Lose an Election Without Really Trying

COULD George W. Bush be a kind of Gipper-in-reverse and win yet one more for the Democrats? Clearly this White House sees him as the gift that will keep on giving. The 2010 campaign against the Bush administration is in full cry, with President Obama leading the charge. The Republicans are “betting on amnesia,” he confidently told the claque at a recent fund-raiser. “They don’t have a single idea that’s different from George Bush’s ideas.” It’s now the incessant party line.

Sounds plausible, but it’s Obama who’s on the wrong side of that bet, to his own political peril.

Betting on amnesia is almost always a winning, not a losing, wager in America. Angry demonstrators at health care town-hall meetings didn’t remember that Medicare is a government program, and fewer and fewer voters of both parties recall that the widely loathed TARP was a Bush administration creation supported by the G.O.P. Congressional leadership. So many Republicans don’t know Obama is a natural citizen – 41 percent in a poll last week – that we must (charitably) assume some of them have forgotten that Hawaii was granted statehood. The G.O.P. chairman is sufficiently afflicted with amnesia that he matter-of-factly regaled an audience with the counterfactual observation that the war in Afghanistan, Bush’s immediate response to 9/11, began under Obama.

Matthew Yglesias: Anchor babies, the Ground Zero mosque and other scapegoats

Politics always seems to get a bit off-kilter when the temperature goes up. But instead of the familiar silly-season stuff of years past — made-up scandals and who-cares gossip — the past two summers have been filled with vitriol. Last year we had town halls gone wild,  fueled by the threat of death panels pulling the plug on Grandma. This year, us-vs.-them controversies are proliferating, linked by a surge in xenophobia. This is our summer of fear.

So far, the summer of fear has featured a charge, led by Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and former New York congressman Rick Lazio, to block the construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center (which is to include a mosque) a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. Meanwhile, with frightening speed, we’ve gone from discussing the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform to watching congressional Republicans call for hearings to reconsider the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States.

Carlos Lozado: How did Christina Romer do as an Obama economic adviser? Ask Christina Romer.

So, how do we assess the performance of Christina Romer, who is stepping down after 19 months as the chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers  to return to the University of California at Berkeley? It just so happens that one person particularly qualified to judge CEA chair Christina Romer is, well, professor Christina Romer.

David Callahan: As the green economy grows, the ‘dirty rich’ are fading away

So the blown-out oil well in the gulf  has finally stopped gushing, plugged with heavy mud and awaiting the ultimate “kill” by a relief well. Yet, even with the largest oil spill in the nation’s history in the background, what seems to have been killed much more quickly is Washington’s will to take meaningful action on the environment. After axing climate-change legislation in late July, the Senate is now taking up a modest energy bill — and even that effort may go nowhere.

Hopes for a pivotal BP-driven eco-moment — remember President Obama’s call in June for a new “national mission”  to get America off fossil fuels? — have dissipated, seemingly confirming the common view that powerful energy firms, and corporate America more broadly, stand as the sworn enemies of any bold new environmental rules and that they have the clout to get their way.

The Week In Review 8/1 – 7

226 Stories served.  32 per day.

This is actually the hardest diary to execute, and yet perhaps the most valuable because it lets you track story trends over time.  It should be a Sunday morning feature.

Economy- 44

Sunday 8/1 3

Monday 8/2 3

Tuesday 8/3 7

Wednesday 8/4 7

Thursday 8/5 11

Friday 8/6 8

Saturday 8/7 5

Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran- 30

Sunday 8/1 3

Monday 8/2 5

Tuesday 8/3 8

Wednesday 8/4 3

Thursday 8/5 5

Friday 8/6 2

Saturday 8/7 4

International- 42

Sunday 8/1 5

Monday 8/2 5

Tuesday 8/3 1

Wednesday 8/4 8

Thursday 8/5 9

Friday 8/6 8

Saturday 8/7 6

National- 62

Sunday 8/1 7

Monday 8/2 8

Tuesday 8/3 12

Wednesday 8/4 8

Thursday 8/5 9

Friday 8/6 16

Saturday 8/7 8

Gulf Oil Blowout Disaster- 29

Sunday 8/1 5

Monday 8/2 6

Tuesday 8/3 5

Wednesday 8/4 5

Thursday 8/5 3

Friday 8/6 3

Saturday 8/7 2

Science- 10

Sunday 8/1 3

Monday 8/2 2

Tuesday 8/3 1

Thursday 8/5 1

Friday 8/6 1

Saturday 8/7 2

Sports- 8

Sunday 8/1 3

Monday 8/2 3

Thursday 8/5 2

Arts/Fashion- 1

Sunday 8/1 1

On This Day in History: August 8

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

On this day in 1974, Richard M. Nixon becomes the first President to resign.

n an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Just before noon the next day, Nixon officially ended his term as the 37th president of the United States. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” He later pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

August 8 is the 220th day of the year (221st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 145 days remaining until the end of the year.

1220 – Sweden is defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.

1503 – King James IV of Scotland marries Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, Scotland.

1585 – John Davis enters Cumberland Sound in search of the Northwest Passage.

1588 – Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ends, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.

1647 – The Irish Confederate Wars and Wars of the Three Kingdoms: Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeat Irish forces.

1709 – Bartolomeu de Gusmao demonstrates the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal in Lisbon

1786 – Mont Blanc on the French – Italian border is climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard.

1793 – The insurrection of Lyon occurs during the French Revolution.

1794 – Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver lead an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1839 – Beta Theta Pi is founded in Oxford, Ohio.

1844 – The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, headed by Brigham Young, is reaffirmed as the leading body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church).

1863 – American Civil War: following his defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis (which is refused upon receipt).

1876 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for his mimeograph.

1908 – Wilbur Wright makes his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans, France. It is the Wright Brothers’ first public flight.

1910 – The US Army installs the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’s Wright Flyer.

1911 – The millionth patent is filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.

1911 – Public Law 62-5 sets the number of representatives in the United States House of Representatives at 435. The law would come into effect in 1913.

1918 – World War I: the Battle of Amiens begins a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).

1929 – The German airship Graf Zeppelin begins a round-the-world flight.

1931 – Workers go on strike at the Hoover dam.

1938 – The building of Mauthausen concentration camp begins.

1940 – The “Aufbau Ost” directive is signed by Wilhelm Keitel.

1942 – World War II: in Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) are executed.

1942 – The Quit India resolution is passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India.

1945 – World War II: the Soviet Union declares war on Japan and begins the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.

1945 – The United Nations Charter is signed by the United States, which becomes the third nation to join.

1946 – First flight of the Convair B-36.

1949 – Bhutan becomes independent.

1960 – South Kasai secedes from the Congo.

1963 – Great Train Robbery: in England, a gang of 15 train robbers steal 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.

1968– Juro Wada successfully performs Japan’s first heart transplant.

1973 – U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew appears on television to denounce accusations he had taken kickbacks while governor of Maryland.

1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces his resignation, effective the next day.

1976 – As part of the ABA-NBA merger agreement, a dispersal draft was conducted to assign teams for the players on the two ABA franchises which had folded.

1988 – The lights are turned on at Wrigley Field for the first time, making it the last major league stadium to host night games. (The game, against the Philadelphia Phillies, is rained out after three-and-a-half innings.)

1989 – Space Shuttle program: STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret five-day military mission.

1990 – Iraq occupies Kuwait and the state is annexed to Iraq. This would lead to the Gulf War shortly afterward.

1991 – The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapses.

2000 – Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor and 30 years after its discovery by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence and 5 years after being filmed by a dive team funded by novelist Clive Cussler.

2007 – An EF2 tornado touches down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.

So bmaz is off the bus.

Obama’s Relentless Abandonment of Progressive Nominees

By: bmaz Saturday August 7, 2010 8:37 pm

Now if you listened to, and read Obama, and paid attention, you knew he was a centrist who worked by increment, compromise and seeking consensus as opposed to a liberal beacon that would take the country in a new and markedly different direction. Again, that said, the liberals and progressives who served as the ground force, heart and soul of Obama’s candidacy and election had every right to believe he would would at least include them at his table and utilize their talents in his Administration and appointments. There was an implicit deal made in this regard, and Obama purchased on it to his wild success. Now he has defaulted.

Maybe the pressure will get to the Obama White House and Warren will get the post she deserves and would be perfect for; but don’t count on it because Obama, Geithner, Summers, Rahm and the boys on the Obama bus just do not want her. And they didn’t want Christine Romer either, so they let the misogynistic, consistently wrong about everything he touches, Larry Summers push her out. It is becoming a broken record with this White House.

Some of the still starry eyed Obama fan boys who care about Liu and Chen (and both are incredibly excellent and worthy nominees) probably still think Obama will renominate them. But even if he did, why in the world would anybody believe it to be anything other than a ruse to get their support leading up to the fall election? Obama renominated Dawn Johnsen and then hung her out to dry twisting in the wind until finally ending the charade. It was a charade to sucker progressives, and there is no reason to believe he will not do it again. There is a track record with this White House, and it is not a good one; in fact, it is downright pathetic.

Maybe progressives ought to be considering someone like Elizabeth Warren for a much higher office than head of CFPB; or they can continue to be treated as “f**cking ret*rds” by the current denizens of the White House.

Prime Time

Well, I’m going to call the end of Shark Week at 9 pm ET when Discovery switches to Croc Attack.  It’s still all about animals eating humans, but Crocodiles are not Sharks.

Yeah, it pretty much sucks.  I’m going to give How the Earth Was Made another try so I can find the 30 seconds they talk about the Moon that I keep missing because I get distracted.  If you really like that sort of thing there’s Deep Impact.

I have no idea who’s the target audience of Sports Award shows.  They’re not Sports and they’re not Awards, why does anyone except your family care?

And when was beating women with coal shovels ever cool?  What were they thinking?


Boondocks, Ballin’ and The Fried Chicken Flu, GitS: SAC Testation and Android and I (episodes 2 & 3 if you want to get in on the Mobile Armoured Riot Police series).


Joke Line

As for myself, I deeply regret that once, on television in the days before the war, I foolishly – spontaneously – said that going ahead with the invasion might be the right thing to do. I was far more skeptical in print. I never wrote in favor of the war and repeatedly raised the problems that would accompany it, but mere skepticism was an insufficient reaction too. The issue then was as clear as it is now. It demanded a clarity that I failed to summon. The essential principle is immutable: we should never go to war unless we have been attacked or are under direct, immediate threat of attack. Never. And never again.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Asshole.  You’re responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

If I believed in hell I’d hope you’d rot in it for eternity.  When are you going to quit moron?  You’re too fucking stupid to be a pundit.

What Goes Around Comes Around

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Whose Hands? Whose Blood? Killing Civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq

by Tom Engelhardt, August 05,2010

Consider the following statement offered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a news conference last week.  He was discussing Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks as well as the person who has taken responsibility for the vast, still ongoing Afghan War document dump at that site. “Mr. Assange,” Mullen commented, “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.” 

Now, if you were the proverbial fair-minded visitor from Mars (who in school civics texts of my childhood always seemed to land on Main Street, U.S.A., to survey the wonders of our American system), you might be a bit taken aback by Mullen’s statement.  After all, one of the revelations in the trove of leaked documents Assange put online had to do with how much blood from innocent Afghan civilians was already on American hands.


Admittedly, the events recorded in the Wikileaks archive took place between 2004 and the end of 2009, and so don’t cover the last six months of the Obama administration’s across-the-board surge in Afghanistan.  Then again, Admiral Mullen became chairman of the Joint Chiefs in October 2007, and so has been at the helm of the American war machine for more than two of the years in question.

He was, for example, chairman in July 2008, when an American plane or planes took out an Afghan bridal party — 70 to 90 strong and made up mostly of women — on a road near the Pakistani border.  They were “escorting the bride to meet her groom as local tradition dictates.” The bride, whose name we don’t know, died, as did at least 27 other members of the party, including children.  Mullen was similarly chairman in August 2008 when a memorial service for a tribal leader in the village of Azizabad in Afghanistan’s Herat Province was hit by repeated U.S. air strikes that killed at least 90 civilians, including perhaps 15 women and up to 60 children. Among the dead were 76 members of one extended family, headed by Reza Khan, a “wealthy businessman with construction and security contracts with the nearby American base at Shindand airport.”

Mullen was still chairman in April 2009 when members of the family of Awal Khan, an Afghan army artillery commander on duty elsewhere, were killed in a U.S.-led raid in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan.  Among them were his “schoolteacher wife, a 17-year-old daughter named Nadia, a 15-year-old son, Aimal, and his brother, employed by a government department.” Another daughter was wounded and the pregnant wife of Khan’s cousin was shot five times in the abdomen. 

Mullen remained chairman when, in November 2009, two relatives of Majidullah Qarar, the spokesman for the Minister of Agriculture, were shot down in cold blood in Ghazni City in a Special Operations night raid; as he was — and here we move beyond the Wikileaks time frame — when, in February 2010, U.S. Special Forces troops in helicopters struck a convoy of mini-buses, killing up to 27 civilians, including women and children; as he also was when, in that same month, in a special operations night raid, two pregnant women and a teenage girl, as well as a police officer and his brother, were shot to death in their home in a village near Gardez, the capital of Paktia province.  After which, the soldiers reportedly dug the bullets out of the bodies, washed the wounds with alcohol, and tried to cover the incident up.  He was no less chairman late last month when residents of a small town in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan claimed that a NATO missile attack had killed 52 civilians, an incident that, like just about every other one mentioned above and so many more, was initially denied by U.S. and NATO spokespeople and is now being “investigated.” 


And if blowback comes to the United States, and the first suicide drones arrive, everyone will be deeply puzzled and angered, but one thing is certain, we will not consider any damage done to our society “collateral” damage.

read it all here…

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