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Bird Lady

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Member since: Sun Dec 15, 2013, 01:57 PM
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There Are No More Honest Conservatives, So Stop Looking For One

Source: The Nation

The mainstream and liberal press’s quixotic search for a ‘good’ conservative merely reinforces the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Last November I received a friendly request from an editor at a political publication. A liberal himself, surrounded by liberal colleagues, he wanted to make sure that the journalists he was hiring were not drawn exclusively from the left. He wondered if I might help him out with a list of “conservative reporters, writers and commentators” whom I admired most. “Who on the right does the best job of covering politics or the economy or anything else, for that matter, in a thoughtful, fair and accurate way?”

Maybe if I had a time machine and could travel back to the 1970s or 1980s, I could name names. Now, though, I can’t think of a single one.

Sure, the right in previous decades was jam-packed with the same sorts of haters, hustlers, hacks and conspiratorial lunatics that are familiar to us now. But there were lively exceptions. George Nash, a still-active independent historian, celebrated The Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America in a classic book published in 1976, when that tradition was very much still alive and kicking. James J. Kilpatrick, editor of the Richmond News Leader, may have been an intellectual architect of the South’s “massive resistance” against integration in the 1950s, but he also wrote columns that were literary, politically independent and often wise. Kevin Phillips was an idiosyncratic conservative then who wrote brilliantly prescient articles with the same critical acumen and empirical ruthlessness he demonstrates nowadays as an idiosyncratic liberal. He published a piece in Harper’s in 1973 predicting that the Republican Party would “cement its coalition by creating a new managerial and communications establishment that merchandises the values that Middle Americans hold dear” and that “the liberal establishment of the Sixties will begin to wither.” A liberal columnist responded by calling Phillips’s argument “the most ludicrous political analysis of our time.” Knee-jerk inanities like that were one of the reasons it was so important to read conservatives back in 1973.

George Will, National Review’s Washington editor, won his Washington Post column that same year as part of a wave of contributors that evinced the success of an organized and underhanded campaign in the Nixon White House to scare mainstream (“liberal”) publications into hiring conservatives. From that privileged perch, however, he proved positively scathing as a principled critic of a White House that, during 1972, both believed “virtually every possible Democratic candidate was a garish sham who would destroy the country” but that they “couldn’t trust the American people to choose that way in a fair fight.” Thus they ended up destroying themselves via Watergate—and that there’s solid thinking.

Read more: http://www.thenation.com/article/180049/there-are-no-more-honest-conservatives-so-stop-looking-one

What You Need to Know About the Coming Jellyfish Apocalypse

Source: Mother Jones

Millions of golden jellyfish (Mastigias papua etpisonii) swim inside an isolated marine lake in Palau.
Ethan Daniels/Shutterstock

More than 50 million Americans swim in the oceans every year (there are actual government surveys of such things). So if your summer plans involves stripping down and bathing in the sun and salt water of your dreams, read on, intrepid beach-goer. There's something gooey and stingy that's loving warm waters every bit as much as you are (maybe even more), turning those dreams...to nightmares: jellyfish.

Are there more jellyfish now than ever before?

In some places, yes. One recent University of British Columbia study concluded that "jellyfish populations appear to be increasing in the majority of the world's coastal ecosystems and seas," and blamed human activity for these blooms. The areas most affected are the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, says Lucas Brotz, a PhD student and jellyfish expert at University of British Columbia's Fisheries Center, and co-author of the report.

Last October, a swarm of jellyfish plugged cooling pipes for one of the world's largest nuclear reactors.

The influx of jellyfish can cause big problems. In October last year, a gelatinous swarm plugged cooling pipes for one of the world's largest nuclear reactors, on the Baltic coast in Sweden, shutting it down. A swarm hobbled a coal-fired power plant near Hadera on the Israeli coast in 2011. Millions of bulging, translucent creatures descended on popular Mediterranean beaches in April 2013, freaking out the tourists. Jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin writes in her 2013 book Stung! that jellyfish caused the collapse of the $350 million Black Sea fishing industry in the 1990s. In 2007, a plague wiped out a salmon farm off Northern Ireland.

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/06/watch-out-summer-swimmers-here-come-jellyfish

John McCains bombing problem..

I think John McCains desire to bomb anyone at anytime stems from, Pre-Mature Ejectile Syndrome. He was getting off bombing the Vietnamese but he was shot down and his fun was over. So the only way he can deal with being ejected before he could bomb, bomb, bomb, to his hearts content, is to advocate bombing everyone and everything under the sun.

Cartoon: Neocon Reunion Tour

Source: Mark Flore

They're baaack! The neocon buffoons who got us into the mess in Iraq are making the rounds on cable news and other news outlets, playing the part of foreign policy experts once again. These guys should still be hiding under rocks and banned from ever holding forth on any foreign policy matters, let alone spouting off about Iraq.
If people are so up in arms about Bowe Bergdahl walking away from his post in Afghanistan, why aren't they throwing fits about the reemergence of policy "wonks" who directly contributed to the deaths of 4,500 US service men and women? (Not to mention the tens of thousands wounded and hundred-plus thousand Iraqis who died.)

But you've heard that all before . . . which is why it's so maddening these neocons are trying to get back in the public eye and babble on about the deteriorating situation in Iraq. If only Dick Cheney and his pals would abandon their neocon posts and wander off into the mountains. Enjoy the cartoon, catch the summer tour and share this with your friends. More links to interesting news stories, as usual, can be found here.

Democrats: SCOTUS validates Senate rules change

Source: Politico
By BURGESS EVERETT | 6/26/14 2:45 PM EDT

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down President Barack Obama’s recess appointments marked a big win for congressional Republicans — but Democrats are also giving themselves a pat on the back.

Democrats say the decision Thursday to rebuke Obama’s 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board has made their change to Senate rules seem remarkably prescient. That change made it easier for the Senate to confirm Obama’s nominees, transforming recess appointments — a tactic to get around the chamber’s hurdles — into something of a relic.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/dems-scotus-validates-senate-rules-change-108361.html#ixzz35rz3K5Px

How the Iraq War Launched the Modern Era of Political BS

Source: Mother Jones
Factual divides over whether Iraq had WMD, and whether Saddam was working with Osama, set the stage for today's battles over reality.
—By Chris Mooney | Wed Jun. 25, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

That queasy sensation of déjà vu you're experiencing is understandable. With Iraq back in the news, and Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol on TV sounding off about the situation, there's every reason to worry that a new wave of misinformation is on the way.

There is no debate that the Iraq War was sold to the American public with a collection of claims that ended up being proved false. Iraq was said to have weapons of mass destruction, but this wasn't the case. Advocates for the war insinuated that Saddam Hussein was colluding with Al Qaeda and was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks. That, too, was false.

Yet many Americans (and some of their leaders) still believe this stuff. It's a tragedy, but it's also a kind of natural experiment in misinformation, its origins, and its consequences. And since 2003 social scientists, psychologists, and pollsters have been busy examining why false beliefs like these are embraced even in the face of irrefutable evidence—and what impact this sort of disinformation has on American political discourse.

The resulting research shows that the Iraq War looks like an early version of a current phenomenon: the right wing rooting its stances in simple untruths about the world (see climate change). So here's a quick trip through some of the ground-breaking scholarship on how the Iraq war polarized the US public over the acceptance of basic facts: The role of Fox News.

Read whole article, here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/iraq-war-wmds-saddam-political-unreason

Bill Clinton slams Dick Cheney for “unseemly” criticism of President Obama


Speaking with NBC’s David Gregory during an interview that will run in full during this Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press,” former President Bill Clinton argued that there is something “unseemly” about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s willingness to criticize President Obama for the chaos and dysfunction that’s still plaguing Iraq.

Asked by Gregory whether he agreed with claims from Cheney and other Republicans that the Obama administration had made the Middle East more unstable and American citizens more unsafe, Clinton emphatically rejected the question’s premise, saying, “If [the second Bush administration] hadn’t gone to war in Iraq none of this would be happening.”

Gregory interrupted, asking Clinton if he believed that the civil, sectarian and regional war occurring in Syria was also the fault of Bush and Cheney. Then, asking a slightly different question (perhaps unintentionally) Gregory wondered whether Clinton believed “there wouldn’t be terrorist actors” if the U.S. hadn’t invaded and occupied Iraq from 2003 to 2011.

“It might be happening in Syria,” Clinton responded, “but what happened in Syria wouldn’t have happened in Iraq.”


Iraqi Parliament To Meet In First Step To Form New Government

Source: huffpo

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's vice president called on parliament Thursday to convene next week, taking the first step toward forming a new government to present a united front against a rapidly advancing Sunni insurgency that threatens to spread across the region.

Britain's top diplomat, visiting Iraq, urged its leaders to put aside their differences for the good of the nation. And in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry met with the United States' top Sunni state allies in the Mideast to consider how to confront the growing turmoil.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led political bloc won the most seats in April 30 elections — with 92 seats out of the 328 — but he needs support from other parties for a majority that would give him the right to govern. An increasing number of critics, both in Iraq and abroad, now want him to step down, saying his failure to promote national reconciliation fueled the insurgency by needlessly angering minority Sunnis.

Compounding the pressure on al-Maliki, Iraq's powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr made a televised statement late Wednesday in which he called for a national unity government of "new faces" representing all groups.


Alan Grayson Accuses Former NSA Chief Of Disclosing Classified Information 'For Profit'


Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) doesn’t trust that former NSA director Keith Alexander is reportedly being paid $600,000 a month by the largest banking trade groups in the country merely for his advice on cyber security issues.

Alexander, who has repeatedly warned of the financial industry's vulnerability to state-sponsored cyber attacks, recently entered negotiations with the Security Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), Consumer Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable as a cyber-consultant. He initially set his service fee at $1 million a month, according to Bloomberg.

“It would be devastating if one of our major banks was hit, because they’re so interconnected,” Alexander, who retired from the NSA in March, told Bloomberg last week.

Alexander's resignation was announced in October 2013, amid revelations of the agency's controversial surveillance programs leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/26/alan-grayson-keith-alexan_n_5533897.html

Missouri Town Discovers People Don’t Like Vacationing Around People Openly Carrying Firearms

Source:Think Progress

Turns out, people don’t find it particularly relaxing to be surrounded by strangers carrying guns.

The Lake Ozark, Missouri Board of Alderman voted last week to ban gun owners from openly carrying firearms, even if they have a concealed carry permit, because they were afraid that armed individuals would chase away tourists. “We’ve had a tough time over the years promoting Lake Ozark as a family area,” Alderman Larry Buschjost explained. “We want you on the Strip with families, everywhere in Lake Ozark with families. We want you to bring your kids down here and let them loose. For the life of me, I don’t understand why I would have to carry any type of gun, concealed or otherwise.”

The ban was initiated by the local police chief, in part due to concerns raised by business owners.

These business owners’ concerns are hardly unique to one community in Missouri. After a group of pro-gun activists in Texas started showing up at businesses with assault rifles and other long guns, the restaurant chain Chipotle released a statement asking their patrons to leave their firearms at home because “the display of firearms in our restaurants has now created an environment that is potentially intimidating or uncomfortable for many of our customers.” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made a similar statement, explaining that “customers in many stores have been jarred and fairly uncomfortable to see guns in our stores.” Other companies, ranging from Whole Foods to Toys R Us to Ikea, also ban guns.

More: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/06/17/3449335/missouri-town-bans-openly-carrying-firearms-because-it-scares-off-tourists/
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