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herding cats

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Member since: Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:56 PM
Number of posts: 15,743

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Ted Cruz: Your Two-Time Equine Posterior Achievement Award Winner

Congratulations to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has won this year’s Equine Posterior Achievement Award, People For the American Way’s annual prize for the country's most extreme right-wing politician. Cruz won by a 21-point margin in a poll of PFAW members and Right Wing Watch readers, repeating his 2013 victory, when he beat out the likes of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin for the coveted award. The Texas Board of Education came in second place this year, emerging as a serious contender as a result of another round of historical revisionism, denial of climate change science and flirtation with Creationism.

Cruz ended the year by embarrassing himself when he pulled a stunt that backfired badly. The Texas senator and Tea Party darling hoped to humiliate President Obama and congressional leaders by challenging a bipartisan budget bill as a way to show his anger with the president’s recent executive actions on immigration.

Instead, Cruz’s maneuver was easily defeated, but it did give Senate Democrats the opportunity to put several judicial and executive nominees up for a vote before Republicans took control of the chamber, delighting Democrats while fomenting anger amongst Cruz’s fellow Republicans.
- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/ted-cruz-your-two-time-equine-posterior-achievement-award-winner#sthash.HdUpZ8Xx.dpuf


Forgotten fairytales slay the Cinderella stereotype

Once upon a time … the fairytales you thought you knew had endings you wouldn’t recognise. A new collection of German folk stories has Hansel and Gretel getting married after an erotic encounter with a dwarf, an enchanted frog being kissed not by a damsel in distress but by a young man, and Cinderella using her golden slippers to recover her lover from beyond the moon.

The stash of stories compiled by the 19th-century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth – recently rediscovered in an archive in Regensburg and now to be published in English for the first time this spring – challenges preconceptions about many of the most commonly known fairytales.

Harvard academic Maria Tatar argues that they reveal the extent to which the most influential collectors of fairytales, the Brothers Grimm, often purged their stories of surreal and risque elements to make them more palatable for children.

“Here at last is a transformation that promises real change in our understanding of fairytale magic,” says Tatar, who has translated Schönwerth’s stories for a new Penguin edition called The Turnip Princess. “Suddenly we discover that the divide between passive princesses and dragon-slaying heroes may be little more than a figment of the Grimm imagination.”

Many of the stories centre around surprisingly emancipated female characters. In The Stupid Wife, a woman hands out her belongings to the poor but recoups her wealth after scaring off a band of thieves. In The Girl and the Cow, the heroine releases her prince after grabbing an axe and whacking off the tail of a large black cat.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/26/fairytale-ending-forgotten-folklorist-schonwerth


I wasn't sure where to post this here, hopefully this will be fine.

Here’s Everything We Know So Far About NYPD Shooting Suspect Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley - Mediaite

Information is coming in slowly about the man suspected of shooting two NYPD officers today. Several reports say the NYPD has identified him as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, and will confirm that and additional information about him at a press conference this evening.

The New York Daily News reported that Brinsley is a member of a Baltimore gang looking to exact vengeance for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. He reportedly had shot his girlfriend in Baltimore just hours before. And CNN has confirmed, at the very least, that Brinsley had traveled to New York from Baltimore:

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A 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley is in the database of Georgia arrests for carrying a concealed weapon and reckless behavior in 2011. Here’s the mugshot:


In addition, there have been several unconfirmed reports about a Facebook and Instagram page connected to Brinsley, neither of which include that name.

More at the Mediaite link to the main article. http://www.mediaite.com/online/heres-everything-we-know-so-far-about-nypd-shooting-suspect-ismaaiyl-brinsley/

Payback Time: Obama Plans On Punishing All Of The Republicans Who Obstructed Him

It is being reported that President Obama is planning an active agenda for his final two years in office, and part of his plan is to punish all of the Republicans who have obstructed him during his time in office.

According to Politico,

Obama’s turnaround in recent weeks – he’s seized the offensive with a series of controversial executive actions and challenges to leaders in his own party on the budget — can be attributed to a fundamental change in his political mindset, according to current and former aides. He’s gone from thinking of himself as a sitting (lame) duck, they tell me, to a president diving headlong into what amounts to a final campaign – this one to preserve his legacy, add policy points to the scoreboard, and – last but definitely not least – to inflict the same kind of punishment on his newly empowered Republican enemies, who delighted in tormenting him when he was on top.

….

“‘Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’ — Barack and Bobby McGee,” says former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry. “President Obama is free to take the risks and use executive authority that will either make him a much more popular president with rising approval rates or get him impeached by a Republican Congress that won’t be able to control itself. We can contemplate the possibility of each result while smoking a Cuban cigar.”

Republicans didn’t really think that President Obama was going to let slide their years of obstruction did they? The odds are that the president’s first act of punishment could be a veto of the bill to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. During his press conference on Friday, the president said, “On most issues, in order for their initiatives to become law, I’m going to have sign off. And that means they have to take into account the issues that I care about, just as I’m going to have to take into account the issues that they care about.” In other words if Republicans think that they can unilaterally jam their agenda down the president’s throat, they are going to be in for a big surprise.

http://www.politicususa.com/2014/12/20/payback-time-obama-plans-punishing-republicans-obstructed.html

Firebrand Senator Ted Cruz apologizes for U.S. spending bill ruckus

Source: Reuters

Reuters) - U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Tea Party firebrand who nearly provoked the second government shutdown in a little over a year, on Tuesday apologized to his fellow Republicans for a strategy that backfired.

A Cruz spokeswoman said the senator apologized to colleagues "for inconveniencing their personal schedules" over the weekend. Cruz still believes, the spokeswoman said, that fighting to stop President Barack Obama's new program easing deportations for millions of illegal immigrants "was critically important."

The apology to Republican senators came at a closed-door lunch when Cruz, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, "was contrite and made an effort to explain to people he wished he hadn't done it," said a source familiar with the meeting.

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Cruz's actions inadvertently allowed Democratic leaders to advance nearly two dozen Obama nominees. These included Sarah Saldana, chosen to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Republicans had been trying to block some of those nominations.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/16/us-usa-congress-cruz-idUSKBN0JU2LL20141216

Obama may not be able to salvage Obamacare if the Supreme Court invalidates its tax credits.

The fate of Obamacare will again be in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court next year -- and if the conservative justices rule to invalidate tax credits offered through the federal HealthCare.gov, dealing a punishing blow to the law, it isn't at all clear that the White House will have the legal and practical leeway to save it.

That was the conclusion of three academics in a new analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine which outlined the challenges that the Obama administration would face in that worst-case Supreme Court scenario. The most obvious solution to an adverse Supreme Court ruling is to turn every exchange into a state exchange, allowing the law's tax credits to flow again -- but how easy will it be for the administration to do that?

"We're quite pessimistic. The operational, legal and political challenges here are immense," Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who co-authored the article, told TPM in a phone interview on Thursday. "The more I've looked at this, the more alarmed I've grown."

The problem is three-pronged: Legal, because the Affordable Care Act sets some very specific requirements for state-based exchanges; practical, because states might not have time or authority to act after the Court ruling comes down in June, as expected; and political, because Republican intransigence against Obamacare is currently one of the defining elements of American politics.

An adverse Court ruling in the King vs. Burwell case would invalidate the law's tax credits, received by nearly 90 percent of Obamacare enrollees in 2014, in at least 34 states that are using the federal website. Health coverage would likely then become unaffordable for many enrollees, and those who choose to keep paying the higher price are more likely to be sick and more costly, potentially sending the law into a dreaded death spiral.

That is why, as TPM reported in the past, health policy wonks expect the administration will do anything it can and exercise any discretion to keep the law afloat. But, as NEJM's legal scholars laid out in their new analysis, that won't be as easy as it might sound. Here are the three problems the administration would face.

Full article: Saving O-Care From SCOTUS Might Be A Whole Lot Harder Than It Sounds

Obama criticizes NFL's handling of Rice case

Source: Chicago Tribune

President Barack Obama said Friday during a radio interview that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to be making up policy as he went along in handling player discipline such as the Ray Rice case.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio, Obama said the Rice case troubled him as it shined a spotlight on domestic violence in America.

"I think the most prominent example, obviously, was the Ray Rice situation," he said. "I'm so glad we got more awareness about domestic violence. Obviously, the situation that happened in the Rice family was important, but it did lift up awareness that this is a real problem that we have to root out and men have to change their attitudes and their behavior."

Obama said the NFL was caught off guard in dealing with the Rice case.

"The way it was handled also indicates that the NFL was behind the curve, as a lot of institutions have been behind the curve, in sending a clear message," Obama said. "You don't want to be winging it when something like this happens. You want to have clear policies in place. The fact that policies have now been established I think will be helpful in sending a message that there's no place for that kind of behavior in society, whether it's in sports or anyplace else."


Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-obama-ray-rice-nfl-20141212-story.html

35 Hours Before Deadline, Agreement To Keep Government Open Breaks Down

Last night, Congressional negotiators reached an agreement that most assumed would keep the government open until September. But with just 35 hours before funding for the federal government runs out, that agreement is in serious Jeopardy.

From the left, Democratic leaders in the House are objecting to unrelated policy provisions, attached by Republicans, that would weaken financial regulations and campaign finance law.

Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the ranking member on the House Budget Committee announced his opposition on Twitter Wednesday afternoon:

Voting NO on spending bill. Leaves taxpayers on the hook to pay for gambling at biggest banks & undoes critical campaign finance reforms.
11:15 AM - 10 Dec 2014


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) effectively voiced her opposition as well, saying the bill included provisions “destructive to middle class families and to the practice of our democracy.”

Similarly, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) railed against the agreement, calling it “a giveaway to the most powerful banks in the country.”

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/12/10/3601924/35-hours-before-deadline-agreement-to-keep-government-open-breaks-down/


8 Things To Know About The ‘Cromnibus’ Budget Deal Congress Just Unveiled

Senate report on CIA torture could lead to prosecutions of Americans abroad

The list of those who can't travel outside of the US for fear of prosecution from the Bush era just got longer.

US officials and military officers implicated by the Senate report on torture could face arrest in other countries as a result of investigations by their national courts, human rights lawyers said on Wednesday.

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“If I was one of those people, I would hesitate before making any travel arrangements,” said Michael Bochenek, director of law and policy at Amnesty International.

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“Obviously this is something for US justice, both military and civilian, to take up. They have the first bite of the apple,” said Richard Dicker, the director of Human Rights Watch’s international justice programme. “But we have not seen any persuasive indicators that the department of justice is willing to step up to its responsibilities.”

However, because torture is considered a grave crime under international law, other governments could arrest and prosecute anyone implicated in the report who happened to be on their territory under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

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“Some of these people will never leave US borders again,” Bochenek said. “If say, one of them goes on holiday in Paris, then France would have the legal obligation to arrest and prosecute that individual. States have clear obligation in cases of torture.”

As the repercussions of the report spread around the world, Poland’s president, Bronislaw Komorowski, said it would be critical for an inquiry underway on the running of a secret US prison “black site’’ on Polish soil. “I think the American report will revive that inquiry. I also think that it will provide, if not new information, then guidance as to the conduct of the investigation in Poland.”

Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski admitted on Wednesday that there had been a secret CIA interrogation site in the country, but insisted he tried to convince US President George Bush to close it.

“I told Bush that this cooperation must end and it did end,” Kwasniewski said.

Polish prosecutors have asked for access to the full Senate report, which is 10 times longer than the 500-page declassified version published on Tuesday. That version said that 119 detainees in the “war on terror” were held at black sites around the world. The names of the countries were redacted but they are thought to include Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, Thailand and Lithuania. Lithuanian prosecutors have also asked to see the full report.


http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/10/cia-report-prosecutions-international-law-icc


I wonder what the US reaction will be if other countries were to prosecute those responsible in their own countries for allowing the torture to take place there? It would appear it's at least a somewhat possible reality that my take place.

Ex-Leader: Poland Agreed to CIA Site, Not Torture

Source: Associated Press/ABC

After years of denials, two former Polish leaders acknowledged Wednesday they had allowed a secret CIA prison to operate on their territory but insisted they never authorized the harsh treatment or torture of its inmates.

Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, 60, and former Prime Minister Leszek Miller, 68, spoke to journalists in Warsaw after a U.S. Senate report condemning CIA practices at secret prisons was released Tuesday in Washington. The report did not identify the host countries.

"The U.S. side asked the Polish side to find a quiet site where it could conduct activity that would allow to effectively obtain information from persons who had declared readiness to cooperate with the U.S. side," Kwasniewski said. "We gave our consent to that." He said Poland demanded that people who would be held in the country should be treated humanely as prisoners of war, according to their rights.

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Kwasniewski said Wednesday that the prison, which he referred to as a "site," was part of "deepened" intelligence cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks, and he insisted he had no knowledge of what took place inside it.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/leader-poland-agreed-cia-site-torture-27494436



As the repercussions of the report spread around the world, Poland’s president, Bronislaw Komorowski, said it would be critical for an inquiry underway on the running of a secret US prison “black site’’ on Polish soil. “I think the American report will revive that inquiry. I also think that it will provide, if not new information, then guidance as to the conduct of the investigation in Poland.”

Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski admitted on Wednesday that there had been a secret CIA interrogation site in the country, but insisted he tried to convince US President George Bush to close it.

“I told Bush that this cooperation must end and it did end,” Kwasniewski said.

Polish prosecutors have asked for access to the full Senate report, which is 10 times longer than the 500-page declassified version published on Tuesday. That version said that 119 detainees in the “war on terror” were held at black sites around the world. The names of the countries were redacted but they are thought to include Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, Thailand and Lithuania. Lithuanian prosecutors have also asked to see the full report.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/10/cia-report-prosecutions-international-law-icc
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