A Sunday News Round-Up
I’ll be doing a photo bomb later, so check back if you are so inclined. I’ll also be keeping an eye on Secretary Clinton’s current travel to the Gulf.
Here is a round-up of links of stories in the news:
~Here is a run-down of who will be on the Sunday talk shows.
~By now every single person has heard of the horrific tragedy that took place yesterday in Arizona. There really aren’t words to adequately describe the senselessness of the killing. Hopefully Gabriella Gifford will make a full recovery but there were others who died on the scene, and my thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends.
~We now have a name and a face to go with the shooter, who may not have acted alone- we just don’t know at this point. The Tuscon sheriff perhaps said it best when he said yesterday, with a clear look of frustration and even sadness, that Arizona had become a mecca for prejudice and bigotry.
~Taylor wrote about this yesterday, but I think it bears repeating again. The use of violent imagery and rhetoric by the right is unacceptable and has consequences- and those that use the rhetoric know it. Who is responsible for the deaths and injuries yesterday? Jared Lee Loughner. But lets not pretend that the violent symbolism and gun-rhetoric from right-wing politicians is all just a coincidence. Just as the despicable Southern Strategy is like a dog whistle for racists and anti-Semites, the thinly-veiled fear-mongering and use of language such as “overthrow,” “second amendment remedies,” “lock and load” etc. is meant to whip people up into an angry frenzy and we shouldn’t all act shocked, shocked, when someone acts on it.
As most know by now, Sarah Palin effectively used Facebook and Twitter to call attention to her political hit list for the 2010 midterm elections (image above). Palin provided a map of the United States with a gun crosshair over each of the states of Democrats that she was targeting. Palin’s use of the words “reload”, “aim” and “fire” on her Facebook page when discussing the above strategy was irresponsible. Palin’s use of the words “reload”, “aim” and “fire” on her Facebook page when discussing the above strategy was irresponsible. Is Palin responsible for the violent acts of others? No, but again, I do not accept that the overheated rhetoric of the right since Obama’s election is totally benign. Lets see who will step up to the plate among the conservative pundits and GOP leadership and call for the rhetoric to be toned down- will it be Boehner? Limbaugh? Beck? Fox and Friends? Or will all of the above simply revert to defensive mode and lambast liberals for daring to point out the obvious? The problem for the far right is that it isn’t just liberals who are asking hard questions right about now.
Ok, other stories in the news:
~The GOP made a bunch of budget promises that they have absolutely no intention of keeping.
~Team Obama hoping to shed their boys-club image with their new press secretary pick? Oh please, they can’t help themselves. Here’s some free advice to Obama- select someone who is a) an adult, b) not thin-skinned, c) doesn’t hate the democratic base and d) actually knows how to deliver a message.
~Along those same lines, Frank Rich is hoping that Obama’s vacation reading of a biography of Ronald Reagan results in Obama learning a few lessons about communicating and governing.
~The U.S. has upped the ante in its battle against WikiLeaks, having reportedly issuing a subpoena for the organization’s Twitter account.
~Southern Sudan’s referendum begins today and spates of violence have broken out in the run-up to the vote.
~Israel’s retiring Mossad chief has turned back the clock on Iran’s nuclear abilities. Trying to predict when Iran will have a nuclear weapon has been something of a political parlor game for almost two decades. For a sobering list of how often US, Israeli and British officials (and others) over the past two decades have predicted Iran is two or three years from full nuclear weapons capability, see here.
~Along those lines, David Ignatius has a more thorough take on how Stuxnet, other sabotage methods and sanctions have slowed Iran’s nuclear progress. This provides a bit of breathing room for Team Obama and other nations who are trying to work out a non-military solution.
~Secretary Gates aims to cut military health spending much to the annoyance of hypocritical deficit hawks on the Hill. Some have read between the lines and noted that Secretary Gates has been playing word games with his “defense cuts” talk, which previously amounted only to a reshuffling of funds from one area of the DoD to another- in other words, they weren’t really “cuts” as the average person understands them. Now with Jacob Lew as head of the OMB, things might get a bit trickier for Gates. Even the NYT has joined in and criticized Gates for not making the defense cuts more substantial.
~Iraq is now a hotbed of fundamentalist Islam. I’m not sure I would define that as “success.”
~The son of the assassinated Punjab Governor, Salmaan Taseer, wrote an op-ed in the NYT yesterday that is worth a read.
~According to a new report, the West German security service knew about the assumed name and whereabouts of Adolf Eichmann, one of Hitler’s key architects of the Final Solution. Apparently they knew about his location almost a decade before he was captured by Israel and put on trial (and sentenced to death). Strangely, Germany did not pass along the information to, well, anyone.
~It’s not just Hamas that was making money (in bribes) off the Gaza blockade.
~Golly gee, no second season for Palin’s reality show? Maybe she just needs some time to beef up on her gun-handling skills before heading back to kill some animals that CLEARLY had it coming. Can I just say that after that episode where she acted like a prima donna and had her father carry her rifle and she generally acted like she had never handled a gun before (“does it kick?”), her show lost a lot of credibility, even among some of her followers.
~One of Blackwater/Xe’s latest iterations has won yet ANOTHER State Dept. contract, which is beyond disappointing. What’s rather unclear to me is why the State Dept. hired them to provide security in the occupied West Bank?
~ The State Dept. is trying not to antagonize the right-wing members of Congress and has shifted course on a bureaucratic change to how it refers to parents. Apparently they had been ready to make a change to using gender-neutral terms instead of “mother” and “father” in an attempt to be more inclusive. That upset the righties because, well, even symbolic progress upsets them.
~Environmentalists are none too pleased with British Prime Minister Cameron. It looks like the new Tory party is a lot like the old Tory party, despite Cameron’s pre-election re-branding efforts.
~The political turmoil in Haiti continues and the State Department has indicated that it might be willing to shift its policy and support an election do-over depending on the findings of investigations looking into allegations of election fraud.