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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Morning News

Posted by on Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 7:11 AM

The Huffington Post Deems Baby Meerkats Cuter Than Baby Sloths: And they have the pictures to prove it.

Boston Begins to Return to Normal: Obama is proud, and one 78-year-old marathon runner from Lake Stevens returns home after a picture of him reeling from the bomb blast went viral.

Guns Don't Kill People: Immigrants kill people? Senator Charles E. Grassley argued yesterday that the fact that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were immigrants (NY Times) must be a factor in the immigration debate.

In (Sort of) Good News: Authorities slightly lowered the death toll stemming from the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas.

And in Certifiably Terrible News: The five-year-old Indian rape victim Cienna reported on yesterday is in critical condition.

Big Bertha: In big pieces, having big pictures taken of her, big time.

Meanwhile in Iraq: The country is having its first elections since the United States left, and they've been plagued with violence.

Finally: The 787 Dreamliner is almost ready to be pushed out of its drawn out and disappointing nest and start flying people places.

Meanwhile in Sensationalist Headlines: The Seattle Times warns of VIADOOM II.

Life in Prison: That's what Robert D. Hitt is facing after being convicted of breaking into a home in the U-District, tying up six women, and forcing one of them to strip.

A Devastating Quake in China: Dozens are dead and hundreds injured in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The Herschel Telescope Took Some Incredible Pictures of the Horsehead Nebula: Take a look.


Comments (34) RSS

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Tacoma Traveler 1
I think I've got it.

People have been searching for predecessors to compare President Obama to. Before the election, i compared him to JFK. During his cabinet nominations, many compared him to Lincoln. Later, some compared to Carter.

In truth, he's more like Pierre Trudeau.

Charismatic, a political mastermind, frustrating to his opponents. Targeted for his heritage by bigots. This Boston incident was Obama's "Just Watch Me" moment. And he did it, he stopped the bloodbath quickly and flawlessly.

Now, if like Trudeau, he is able to take the political influence augmentation that will result from this near-perfect operation to do something monumental-like when Trudeau patriated the Canadian Constitution or defeated Levesque's referendum- he may be remembered as the greatest American President.

This is not a perfect comparison-the FLQ were a political organization and this was a lone wolf, he certainly caused more harm than the FLQ. This is not the product of regional factionalism, and these brothers did weren't idealists. But the role of the government in this comparison is comparable.

Just Watch Me, indeed. We are certainly watching you now, Mr. President.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 8:39 AM · Report this
Baby sloths are still cuter than baby meerkats. HuffPo got that wrong.
Posted by originalcinner on April 20, 2013 at 8:45 AM · Report this

At best Obama succeeds when he imitates Bush era policies, and fails when he strays from GW's script.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 20, 2013 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
@2 Yes, but which tastes better?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on April 20, 2013 at 8:55 AM · Report this
What Indian tribe are Sen. Grassley's ancestors from?
Posted by Beth on April 20, 2013 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 6

Bush stands in front of a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" wearing a flight suit and a codpiece. Obama kills Bin Laden. One talked a good fight. The other did the job.

These two do not compare.

And why do you have the logo from a children's book as your new pic? You're not a child. Shouldn't your image express a more grown up concept? I like dystopian novels, too, but there are so many that are written for adults. I'm assuming you're not some cloying man-child that regrets having grown up
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 9:05 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 7
sorry, that was for 3, not 2
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this
As an avid fan of Mayday:: Air Crash Investigation besides pilot error the other cause of big accidents is hubris about the safety of untested technology and a rush to flight that neglects safety measures. Whether it is the jack screw in the tail of the 737, the outward opening cargo door of the DC-10, or the pitot based altimeter in the Airbus, when warnings go unheeded and planes are pushed to the sky, it is the passenger who pays with his life.

To that effect why don' they fly a fleet of 787s, empty except for crew, for 6 months, in mock routes. Alternatively, have a world tour where Boeing executives along with their families and grand kids have to take long trips on the 787. See if they are eager to get off the ground then...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 20, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this

Before accusing someone of being a child, learn to count.

But to answer your inflammatory question, having finally watched Hunger Games now that it is one Netflix and Amazon, I find that it is a timely essay that raises criticism of the overbearing power of a decadent centralized state over its people. Of course the critics did not like it and tools such as you will of course dredge all the dirty tricks of democratology to deny it..because it is a gut punch to urbansim.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 10

I hear the soundtrack was done by the Wiggles.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 9:34 AM · Report this
JonnoN 11
@8 you have no clue what you're talking about.
Posted by JonnoN on April 20, 2013 at 9:39 AM · Report this
rob! 12
Reinhart, Rogoff... and Herndon: The student who caught out the profs

By Ruth Alexander
BBC News 19 April 2013

This week, economists have been astonished to find that a famous academic paper often used to make the case for austerity cuts contains major errors. Another surprise is that the mistakes, by two eminent Harvard professors, were spotted by a student doing his homework...…
Posted by rob! on April 20, 2013 at 9:42 AM · Report this
Lissa 13
@10: Seldom do I agree with SROTU, but he's got a point about the Hunger Games. More about the books than the movie, but still. The protagonists may be young, but the themes are pretty damn adult. You should check them out.
And the sound track's good too. No Wiggles! :)
Posted by Lissa on April 20, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this
biffp 14
4/20, everybody’s burning Ganja.
Posted by biffp on April 20, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
rob! 15
G20 backs off austerity drive, rejects hard debt cut targets

By Leika Kihara and Paul Eckert
Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:54pm BST

(Reuters) - Finance leaders of the G20 economies on Friday edged away from a long-running drive toward government austerity in rich nations, rejecting the idea of setting hard targets for reducing national debt in a sign of worries over a sluggish global recovery...…
Posted by rob! on April 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Bauhaus I 16
Hey, Robert Hitt - enjoy your master's class in rape at prison! You perverted schmuck.
Posted by Bauhaus I on April 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM · Report this
dirac 17
@1 One of the funniest things I've read all year.
Posted by dirac on April 20, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
rob! 18
Reinhart and Rogoff are now the Pons and Fleischmann of economics. Paul Ryan and his ilk belong in the same market basket.
Posted by rob! on April 20, 2013 at 10:21 AM · Report this
@US Attorney Carmen Ortiz .... (Who will be overseeing the Boston Marathon Bombers case.

Yes, Ortiz, we do have many questions, beginning with who would put you in charge of an outhouse, for chrissakes?

Carment Ortiz, who helped to screw up the Irangate, Iran-Contra for the Reagan Administration:

(From her wiki entry: )…

From 1981 to 1983, Ortiz was an attorney with the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division.

Her various other cases,

In 2011, Ortiz's office was responsible for the prosecution in GlaxoSmithKline general counsel Lauren Stevens. Ultimately, the court dismissed the case, ruling that "it would be a miscarriage of justice to permit this case to go to the jury.…

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz has the duty – one she has during her three and a half years in office shown no inclination to shoulder – to convince the public Bulger’s prosecution is not just another chapter in thirty years of Justice Department cover ups of its own criminal activities.

Instead, she has defended the indefensible, as she did shielding the Justice Department against damages claims by Bulger’s victims.

And, of course, it was Federal Prosecuting Attorney Carmen Ortiz who helped drive Aaron Swartz to suicide!

Speaking of questions........…

And ....…

Posted by sgt_doom on April 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 20
Way off topic, but have you ever noticed how the White House keeps a basket of apples in the Oval Office?

If I had the honor of being in the Oval Office I would never bite into one of those apples right there, instead I'd take one home and make a fancy desert out of it.

There are probably no cocktail napkins in the Oval Office, so I'd never risk biting into one and risk dealing with a juicy one.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on April 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 21
Baby sloth stuffed with baby meerkat
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Ugh, still linking to the seattle times? Why?
Posted by peskypoop on April 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM · Report this
And on the Wall Street Terrorism Front:…

Posted by sgt_doom on April 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
biffp 24
@1, we certainly hated Trudeau in B.C. He did after all appear to flip off the West (literally flipping the bird, but figuratively it suggested he was flipping off everyone west of Ontario). You make a good case though about his wielding of power to achieve some very notable ends in Canadian history.

Before this week, I would have suggested breaking the NRA and passing immigration reform destroying the RNC for decades would have been goals for Obama. After this week, how far off that agenda are we going to be led by Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell? They are already hard at work trying to further militarize the domestic 'battlefield.'
Posted by biffp on April 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
sperifera 25
Pierre Trudeau was always overshadowed by Margaret and "that photo", so lets hope Michelle Obama never gets caught in the same pose...
Posted by sperifera on April 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Oh, lordy, the older brother has been on the FBI radar scope, or patsy file, since....…
Posted by sgt_doom on April 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 27
@1: I think you are on to something in terms of the parallels between their characters and abilities. However, the political context for Obama is very different.

Trudeau had the advantage of being Prime Minister in a Westminster-style parliament with a constitutionally ineffectual upper chamber. He led an absolute majority in the House; his Members were dependent on him for cabinet and committee appointments and for their nominations each election; his Senate was a rubber-stamp body to which he could appoint his party's representatives. He had vastly greater freedom of action, legislatively, than a President working with an opposition-led House and a Senate where his party does not hold the super-majority that is increasingly required to get anything done. And he isn't even the leader of his party - in theory or in fact - so he has much more limited leverage over his party's representatives.

I'd actually say that Obama's "Just watch me" moment was the killing of Bin Laden - but his ability to convert that into political gain was hamstrung by the US political system. As it will probably be again in this case. That's not to say that he can't take advantage, but it's a lot harder for him than it was for Trudeau.

Posted by Backyard Bombardier on April 20, 2013 at 11:27 AM · Report this
biffp 28
@27, great point about Trudeau. I'd also note he wasn't elected by the people. In Canada, you vote for the party, and the party picks the leader. That's the parliamentary system.
Posted by biffp on April 20, 2013 at 11:42 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 29

There are many times I wish we had a variant of the Westminster system in America. had Bush suffered a no confidence vote in 2005 wright after Hurricane Katrina when his poll numbers hit rock bottom, that might have ended his political career and spared us another 3 years of pain. I could do without the Canadian Senate, though. i don't know why you haven't abolished it yet.

That said, our system is essentially conservative in it's structure. It favors only two parties at a time. Our filibuster rules in the Senate actively inhibit change. It's virtually impossible to oust a sitting Chief Executive-so much so that it's never been done. Our Electoral College system is bizarre.

Still, it is nonetheless possible for a sitting President to wield considerable power. If, during the next mid-term electrons in 2014, the voters punish the GOP over gun control, inhibiting civil rights legislation and other widely popular reforms, and the Democrats acquire 60 seats int he Senate along with half the House-then the last two years of Obama's Presidency will be rather good indeed.

As for Trudeau, he was your most powerful PM besides maybe John Macdonald. If we are talking entirely in terms of getting things done (let's set aside what you thought of the things he did for a moment), Trudeau understood power better than anyone else in Canada at the time. He even outsmarted another political genius (Renee Levesque) both over the referendum and in negotiating the Charter. He held Canada together when it was flying apart. He ended official government suppression of GLBT persons while not yet PM. And all this from a man who was not groomed from birth to rule but spent much of the time seeing the world and teaching law in Montreal.

Like him or hate him, Trudeau was an incredibly impressive politician. he outmaneuvered Diefenbaker and Douglas, masterful politicians in their own respects on both the Right and the Left. And if you're still sore over the fuddle-duddle business, remember that while one hand was flipping off Alberta, the other was flipping off Ronald Reagan. And had his successor done the same, your country would not have had to endure the austerity measured imposed by that Thatcherite Brian Mulrooney.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 30
@29: Oh, don't get me wrong - I am a great admirer of Trudeau. I don't agree with everything he did, but far more than any other PM, I believe he had a truly expansive of view of what Canada was and could be. If both the Quebecois separatists and the Alberta rednecks think you are oppressing them - you must be doing something right.

As to our Senate, well, it's a Constitutional thing. We'll have about as much luck with it as you are having with the Second Amendment. I don't expect it will ever be abolished; no one likes it, but from time to time every political faction seems to think they need it.

Back to your side of the border, I agree that with some gains in the mid-terms, Obama could accomplish quite a bit. One thing he may want to consider is the establishment of a non-partisan elections commission to deal with voting rules and regulations, setting of electoral boundaries, etc. I have to be honest: there is much to admire about the US, but the ridiculous, patch-work, jerry-mandered, politically influenced way you run elections isn't one of them.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on April 20, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 31
Goddamn it. *gerrymandered.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on April 20, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 32

It's okay, it took me some time to spell patriation and not instinctively type repatriation ;)

Nonpartisan politics in the US never happens except in the judiciary or on the local council. There is a Commission on Presidential Debates, but it's bipartisan, not nonpartisan. This is an important distinction, because it works to advance the two major parties at the expense of lesser parties or independents. This Commission is the reason why Nader could not enter the debates in 2000, and why no Third Party candidate, no matter how popular, will. If you watch C-SPAN, you'll see that every elected official at the state or federal level talks in terms of bipartisanship. It's given the same moral weight that the term non-partisanship is given in other countries.

There have been times when Third Parties have gotten a few members in at the federal level. The Socialist Party of America seated two Congressmen, as did the American Labor Party. But no Third Party has ever seated a Senator, and only a few times has a Third Party come close to winning the Presidency (Debs, Roosevelt, and Perot).

Why does this matter in terms of your desired commission on elections? Because the system we have exists because the two major parties understand that it is to their mutual benefit to preserve it. Rank Choice Voting won't get into law, because if it did, one of the two big parties could get displaced the way the NDP displaced the Liberals a few years ago. Neither the GOP nor the Democrats want to experience the loss of power the Liberal party has, so they will not reform our system.

Gerrymandering, the Electoral College, first-past-the-post. disproportionate representation, The Commission on Presidential Debates-they're never going to get rid of these things. If they did, and some American Jack Layton came along, they'd lose everything. So your non-partisan commission will never be.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Speaking of Trudeau, Canadian Bacon with John Candy is on THIS (channel 4.2) right now.

Plot is a post Berlin Wall America tries to restart its defense economy by demonizing Canada into our new enemy superpower.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 34

Canadian Bacon is a great movie, and john Candy was an amazingly good actor. he was also a genuinely good person, which is something that seems all to rare these days.

Trudeaumania never completely died. It's still alive and well and strong in at least one heart in Tacoma, WA. This gay man wishes to thank the memory of Pierre Elliot Trudeau for making Canada the first country in North America to treat GLBT people as human beings. His Omnibus Bill not only changed Canada, it later changed America as well. It brought us to this stage where we now sit, awaiting the Supreme Court decision as to whether our citizenship will be first or second class. I sincerely hope that our Supremes will be as enlightened and the Canadian Supremes.

Speaking of Supreme Court, should another Justice retire before 2016, I would like President Obama to nominate Diana Ross.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on April 20, 2013 at 7:01 PM · Report this

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