Sunday News Round-Up: The Ziggy Edition
I did my weekly news round-up over at Taylor Marsh this morning so I am cross-posting here, you know, just so you all don’t think I’m lazy or something ;).
I’ll be doing a photo-bomb later today once I scour the net for some photos we hopefully haven’t seen before.
And because you know how I am about my animal friends, I’ll introduce you to Ziggy!
The photos above are of the new member of the family, Ziggy. We adopted him from a local shelter yesterday and this is his blogosphere coming out party. He’s about a year and a half old and is about the size of a small dog. Compared to Scooter he’s HUGE. I had toyed with the idea of getting a kitten but when I saw all the full grown cats at the shelter and heard how much harder it is to adopt them out than a kitten is (everybody wants a kitten!), it broke my heart. So here he is. I was going to change his name to Milo or Hemingway but since he’s had the name Ziggy since birth and responds to it, I guess he’ll stay Ziggy. He is a polydactyl and has way too many toes on his front and back paws so they are the size of mitts. Apparently Ernest Hemingway always surrounded himself with cats that were polydactyls, believing they were good luck. Sailors also believed they were good luck and as a result they brought them onto their ships to sail with them. Ziggy is settling in quite nicely so long as all the attention in the household is directed at him, which right now it is. Scooter isn’t quite sure what to make of him yet so Ziggy is living in the office right now so we can introduce them to each other slowly. He’s already escaped twice and Scooter just stares at him in disbelief. It all must be very confusing.
On this day in history, Sunday, January 23, 1845, Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. And so it goes.
Here are some links
~Much has been said about this already but I just wanted to point you to Juan Cole’s take on the Olbermann exit from MSNBC. There are no shortage of theories out there but one less liberal voice is not a good thing, given the 24/7 noise cycle on Fox. I wasn’t a huge Olbermann fan but I understood the significance of his role in the evening MSNBC line-up. Irrespective of where one stands on the ideological spectrum the ongoing consolidation of Big Media is bad for democracy. Update: I see that Taylor has followed up with more information about his exit. Here is her latest post.
~Even if Roe v. Wade isn’t overturned out right, the newly-emboldened GOP is looking to further curb abortion rights. There is a point where there are so many restrictions on abortion that the fundamental right ceases to exist other than in name only.
~~Beck’s provocative and irresponsible targeting of a university professor in New York has resulted in her receiving death threats. Beck is the poster-boy for using thinly-veiled, loaded rhetoric in an effort to whip up the far, far right into a frenzy of anger and hate. His conspiracy-laden rants are not meant to encourage rational debate but rather to give the impression that the U.S. is in imminent threat of collapse due to a panoply of Communists, Muslims, Socialists and traitors.
~Steve Clemmons gives another sobering assessment of the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian [non]negotiations. I can’t help but think he is right- Dennis Ross and George Mitchell seem to be working at cross-purposes and at this point Mitchell seems to have been sidelined in favor of Ross. But that raises the question- what is the point of George Mitchell being special envoy if he is going to be relegated to window dressing? It’s no secret that many pro-Israel hardliners were nervous about Mitchell’s involvement in this issue because they were concerned he might bring an ounce of objectivity into the US approach. It’s also no secret that Bibi wanted to work with Ross and not Mitchell. So far, what Bibi wants, Bibi gets. The big question though is how the US dances around the issue of a UN resolution condemning ongoing illegal settlement construction without losing whatever credibility we have left on this issue. Clemmons is of the opinion that Secretary Clinton needs to take full ownership of this in order to move the ball forward.
~Apparently Tony Blair learned nothing from the Iraq War and he’s itching for a do-over.
~Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier left Haiti a disgraced dictator and returns as a …philanthropist? Color me unimpressed. But here’s a question, why was Baby Doc accompanied to Haiti by former US congressman Bob Barr?
~So, who is the strongest potential 2012 GOP Presidential candidate? Apparently, many in the GOP are uncertain about this but they’ll have to start throwing their hats in the ring soon…
~Next on the list of things for the GOP-led House to try to ruin- the Clean Air Act. So this is the GOP’s big agenda to create jobs? To symbolically oppose all the legislation they don’t like simply by saying it’s a “job killer?” I say symbolically because of the hurdle they face in the Senate.
~Australia is not impressed with some American politicians’ (and former politicians’) rhetoric about what should be done with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In fact, in Australia, it could lead to prosecution (or threats of prosecution).
~Strange bedfellows? Ron Paul and Ralph Nader form a progressive-libertarian alliance?
~Justice Scalia, unlike so many that have come before him, seems to enjoy destroying the credibility of the Supreme Court. Both liberal and conservative justices in the past have often shunned controversial political appearances in order to maintain a sense of propriety and to try to prevent being viewed with the same sort of cynicism as the legislative branch is viewed. Of course there have been exceptions throughout history, but none quite like Antonin Scalia.
~Americablog Gay has an interesting post about what some GLBT advocates are hoping to hear in President Obama’s State of the Union. Not surprisingly, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) continues to be viewed as overly-accommodating to Democratic presidents when it comes to putting their feet to the fire on GLBT issues.
~The interim government in Tunisia is vowing to hold elections within six months and to get rid of antidemocratic laws and policies. If they don’t move quickly on this there could be continued unrest- even the police have joined in street protests now. If we rewind the historical tape back a few years we unfortunately see embarrassing quotes from U.S. officials praising the wonderful Tunisian government (aka dictatorship). Over at Foreign Policy, James Traub delves a bit further into this issue of the U.S.’ preference for stability over democracy in some regions of the world and he highlights some of the problems the Obama administration is having on the human rights front.
~The Tunisia effect? Thousands of demonstrators protest in Yemen against the corrupt, entrenched rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
~Get a load of Vladimir Putin’s new home! Actually, palace is a better word. It’s nice to see that government jobs pay so well after the fall of the Evil Empire (*cough*).
~The NYT is reporting that Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) address will be geared towards “the political center, to independent voters and business owners and executives alienated by the expansion of government…” You know, the real victims of the economic disaster. He’s always on the defense, never on the offense.
~If you read nothing else today, read this story. Our tax dollars going to promote a parallel private intelligence system which drives the military industrial complex and is often used to bolster a decidedly conservative agenda. This is the kind of story that should result in Congressional hearings, but it won’t. Don’t expect the likes of David Gregory to pick it up.
~Nick Kristoff starts a Chinese blog to test the limits of Chinese internet freedom, with mixed results. He believes that once you go check it out, the authorities will “harmonize” it.
~Oh, the reds and blues are going to sit together for the SOTU. Can you feel the love?
~So much for filibuster reform.
~Enough with this Hillary Clinton as possible Defense Secretary nonsense, please.