Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Short Takes

Twenty-six NATO foreign ministers pledged to combat ISIS.

Secretary of State Kerry says U.S. is open to talking with Iran about ISIS.

GM will pay compensation for 19 deaths caused by faulty ignitions.

President Obama presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to two Vietnam veterans.

August 2014 was the warmest August since they started keeping records.

Tropical Update: TS Odile is battering Baja California.

The Tigers beat the Twins 8-6.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Scotland

I haven’t posted anything about the impending vote this week in Scotland on their independence because up until now I didn’t think it had much of a chance of passing.  It’s also because I have no strong feelings either way: if the Scots truly believe they’d be better off in every way as an independent nation, then let them go.  I also hope that they have considered all the consequences.

For instance, it would mean that Scotland would be out of the E.U. and NATO.  Perhaps that’s what the pro-independence people want; they believe they can be self-sufficient and have both the economic and military resources to fend for themselves.

I also think that in campaigning for independence, they might look towards history and see how it’s gone for other regions that have broken away from their former unions and tried it on their own.  If recent examples like South Sudan and Eritrea are any guide, it’s a rocky road.  Even former colonies that have struck out on their own with the blessing of their mother country have not always hit the ground running.

However they vote on Thursday, I wish them the best.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Short Takes

Secretary of State Kerry meet with Arab leaders to build a coalition against ISIS.

European leaders agreed to tougher sanctions against Russia.

A newly-released video from Ferguson bolsters claims that Michael Brown was shot while surrendering.

What a surprise: Senate Republicans killed the Citizens United constitutional amendment.

Ted Cruz got booed off-stage by Arab Christians.

Tropical Update: Two areas of potential weather in the Atlantic are Invest 92L and TS Edouard.

The Tigers had a much-needed night off.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014

Short Takes

President Obama at NATO summit: reject isolationism.

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell convicted on corruption charges.

BP found “reckless” in Gulf spill; faces $18 billion fine.

Federal judge blocks Ohio early-voting change.

Kansas A.G. blocks Democratic candidate’s withdrawal from Senate race.

R.I.P. Joan Rivers, 81, comedian, director, and producer.

The Tigers beat Cleveland 11-4 in extra innings.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Love Them and Leave Us

I’m with Booman on this: what is with the right-wing punditry’s obsession with getting foreign leaders to run our country?

Ann Coulter wants Benjamin Netanyahu to be our president, Erick Erickson wants David Cameron to be our president, and Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle would be okay with either Netanyahu or Vladimir Putin being our president.

I’ve got a better idea: let Ann Coulter move to Israel, Erick Erickson move to Great Britain, and Kimberly Guilfoyle can move to Russia.  They’ll get the leaders they want and we’ll be rid of them here.  Win-win.

Negotiating Over the Price

There’s an old joke about a guy who sees an attractive woman at a cocktail party.  He says to her, “Would you sleep with me for a million bucks?”  She looks him over and says, “Sure.”  He replies, “Okay, how about for twenty?”  She retorts, “Hell, no; what do you think I am?”  He says, “We’ve already established that.  Now we’re just negotiating over the price.”

That came to mind when I read this piece in the Tampa Bay Times:

Top aides to Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, two of the most vehement anti-Communist voices in Washington, took an all expenses paid trip to China this month courtesy of the Chinese government.

Sally Canfield, deputy chief of staff to Rubio, and Arthur Estopinan, chief of staff to Ros-Lehtinen, were part of a congressional staff trip facilitated by the U.S.-Asia Institute.

The trips, which include meetings with government officials in Beijing, have occurred since 1985, involving hundreds of lawmakers and staffers. They are a popular perk on Capitol Hill and come with luxury hotel stays and visits to top tourist sites, including the Great Wall. The cost can exceed $10,000 a person.

The Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen connection stands out because of their strong anti-Communism views. Both Cuban-American lawmakers have condemned the human rights records of China and Cuba and have opposed efforts to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba. They also regularly criticize people who have gone to Cuba.

[...]

The Tampa Bay Times learned of the aides’ visits — which have not yet shown up in Senate or House disclosures — from a source backing a group that wants to see more normal relations with Cuba.

“It represents a real double standard,” said Chris Sabatini, senior policy director of the Americas Society and Council of the Americas, when the Times told him about the trips. “At the same time they are denying citizens’ right to travel to Cuba, they feel staff can travel to another country that has the same pattern of human rights abuses.”

[...]

Rubio’s spokesman Alex Conant wrote: “Senator Rubio has consistently condemned the totalitarian nature of the Chinese government, its record of systematic human rights violations and its illegitimate territorial claims. However, China is the most populous nation on earth, has the world’s second largest economy, has a significant nuclear weapons arsenal and is increasingly an economic competitor of the United States.

In other words, China paid for everything, including accommodations, travel, meals, and who knows what else, while if you took a trip to Cuba at the invitation of that government, bring your own soap.  A million bucks or twenty makes all the difference.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014