Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for August 25th, 2009

Tom Coburn: Heartless Liar

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2009

Go here to see him lie to one of his constituents about her husband’s brain cancer. traumatic brain injury*

Then go here to see him lie about the Veterans Administration.

We need a Dickipedia entry for this man.

*Thanks, Spot!

Posted in health care, liars, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | 8 Comments »

Honduras coup, Act III, Day 33/Updated

Posted by Charles II on August 25, 2009

Update2: Radio Globo is doing a very skit called Notinada (“from the nation where nothing is happening”) with helium voices and a very funny impression of Hugo Chavez, who says in sonorous tones that the people of Bolivar and Morazan are going to arise… bit by bit… and flood the US with Honduran fast food. I don’t catch most of the references, but I wish our politics had some of the humor that Honduras has mustered. The theme song of the resistance (“they are afraid of us because we have no fear”) is very touching and an achievement in non-violent resistance. Remember the days when the right in the US was spreading TerrorTerrorTerror and people who called bulls–t were called…terrorists.
Update: Potentially very good news. Via RAJ at HondurasCoup2009, the State Department may be on the verge of acting. Reuters:

The United States said on Tuesday it will temporarily restrict issuing U.S. visas in Honduras, raising pressure on the government that took power after a June 28 coup to step down.

The State Department, which has repeatedly condemned the military coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, said that from Wednesday it would only provide visa services to potential immigrants and emergency cases at its embassy in Tegucigalpa.

Human Rights Watch:

The finding by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of widespread abuses in Honduras should compel the international community to take firm action, such as targeted sanctions, to resolve the country’s ongoing crisis, Human Rights Watch said today.

The commission released a report on August 21, 2009, showing a pattern of serious violations under the de facto government, including excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, sexual violence, and attacks on the media, as well as several confirmed deaths and possible “disappearances.” The commission also documented an absence of effective legal protections from abuse.

And according to RAJ, Radio Globo says but without sourcing that the State Department may be considering the following: Refusal to recognize any elections, suspension of all aid, a worldwide freeze on the bank accounts of the coupistas, suspension of remittances from Hondurans in the US (on which Honduras is dependent), stripping preferential trade status from Honduran products. Believe it when you see it, not before.

They shall not pass!

They shall not pass!

(Image from Honduras en Lucha)

On Radio Globo, a speech by Micheletti (at about 1PM, the announcer says afterwards) whining that Honduras is desperately poor and deserves respect from the people and organizations in whose face he has been spitting. His closing: “May God bless America and may God bless Honduras.”

Magbana at Honduras Oye links us to a Alexander Main and Jake Johnstonpiece at the CEPR. The US suspended Millenium Challenge fund within days of coups in Mauritania and Madagascar and in the case of election irregularities in Nicaragua– and has done nothing after 57 days since the kidnapping of President Zelaya.

Al Giordano:

Update II: Radio Globo reporter Eduardo Maldonado is reporting, live, his eye-witness account of members of the Honduran military brass and the top chiefs of the National Police who recently arrived a building near Morazan Boulevard in Tegucigalpa and are meeting inside “on the third floor.” The radio is also reporting that the Catholic Church hierarchy and various Chambers of Commerce have determined to back the San José solution of reinstating Zelaya to the presidency “regardless of the stance of the Micheletti government.” Looks like the visa suspension is peeling away some inner layers of the coup onion rather rapidly. Something’s up. And we’re here monitoring the situation. Developing…

Belen Fernandez:

According to the Padre [Fausto Milla], Zelaya told a story during the meeting about an incident that reportedly occurred in 2006, involving a longstanding deal with Texaco, Shell, and other fuel companies in which the Honduran government paid them an extra three cents for every dollar’s worth of gas imported. In Padre Fausto’s version, Zelaya had asked the companies if they intended to maintain a monopoly on fuel imports or if any old “Juan or Pedro” could import, as well. Texaco and Shell had denied having any problems with Juan and Pedro’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

Slapping his knee, Padre Fausto reenacted the emphatic interjection he made to Zelaya at that point in the exiled president’s story: “¡Allí comenzó el golpe!”—“That’s where the coup began!”

Brother John has a remarkable three dimensional portrait of the Cardinal of Honduras, in which he identifies the Cardinal’s fear of a socialist takeover and an insult from Hugo Chavez as the likely motivators of the Cardinal’s unwillingness to recognize that what has taken place is a coup. Still, that simply exemplifies the problem raised in 1 Tim. 3: small flaws in people in positions of leadership are magnified by the power they hold. Take the power away from the coupistas, and they might well be be-than-average people. Give power to the average person and flaws that seemed minor suddenly become unbearable. But that’s not an excuse for the Cardinal, who I think should have gotten a bit of a clue from seeing that all nations of the world called this a coup. When all the other cars on the highway are traveling the other direction, you might want to check your lane.
The fifty ninth day of resistance (per Radio Globo).
The Front against the Coup has called for global action.

A broadcast tower of Channel 11 came under attack by (according to La Jornada eight) armed, masked men. They arrived by pickup, grabbed a guard and threw him to the floor. They took the janitor’s cell phone, damaged a radio with which he communicated with the studio and pointed weapons at his head. They also damaged transmitters for Radio Globo and Channel 36. Channel 36 still appears to be down, but I’m getting a stream from Radio Globo as well as Radio Progreso.

Friday, from 4-7PM, there will be marches for Honduras in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Hudson County NJ, Los Angeles, and Raleigh NC. Contact information here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Latin America | Comments Off on Honduras coup, Act III, Day 33/Updated

Cash For Clunker Payments “Delayed”? Probably Not

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2009

Kossack Paradox13 explains:

Most companies I work with pay on a “net-30” or even “net-60” basis. One major corporation actually has a “net-90” policy. That means they do not pay the bill until 90 days after they get it. The CARS program was put into place on July 31. It’s now August 25th. That means the longest a bill could possibly be outstanding is about three weeks. I guarantee the dealerships involved have “net-30” payment policies for invoices, maybe more. In response to concerns raised by Congress, among others, the government has hired more people to process claims and is extending the deadline for rebate submission (the latter in response to problems with the website dealerships are to use to submit claims). All of this has been done within the first few weeks of the program. Most private companies would be proud to move so fast.

Rather than being an example of inefficiency and ineffectiveness, the CARS program has been a model of government action and solutions. Each issue that has been reported is a manifestation of a lesson learned, not a new and persistent problem.

Of course, most car dealers are Republicans, so they may have a wee bit of an ideological reason to push this meme, true or not.

Posted in automobiles | Comments Off on Cash For Clunker Payments “Delayed”? Probably Not

But I Couldn’t Look, Having Read The Book

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2009

The general take on the film Julie and Julia is that the parts with the effervescent Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in postwar Paris are infinitely better than the parts with the modern-day whiny Julie Powell (Amy Adams). I suspected that would be the case, having read Julie Powell’s book, which lent its name to the film. I was trying to pin down what irritated me — and pretty much everyone else — so much about Powell’s character especially as compared to that of Julia Child, and I think Laura Shapiro’s review of the film for Gourmet magazine finds it:

Meryl Streep’s deep, detailed evocation of Julia in the new Nora Ephron film, Julie & Julia, has the power of the original to win every heart in the crowd. As you might expect, she inhabits Julia beautifully—the size, the voice, the physical mannerisms—but to me it’s even more impressive that she gives an account of Julia’s character very much in tune with Julia’s own sense of herself. “I am continually trying to keep ‘ME’ out of as much of my relations with people as possible, and transfer a full interest to you/them, which automatically…makes me a more lovable person to them, and them to me,” Julia wrote to Paul in 1946, shortly before they were married—quite a good description of what it was like to have an ego that expressed itself most pleasurably in generosity.


Streep captures that vitality, and she also captures the dignity and civility that accompanied it. Julia was entirely modest beneath her buoyant good humor; and it’s clear in every inch of Streep’s personification that this woman is never going to carry on like a me-me-me celebrity, no matter how famous she gets.

In short, I sat there in the movie theater beaming like a lunatic during approximately half the film. The other half is a different story—literally. Ephron based her film on two books about Julia that have nothing whatever in common, starting with their treatment of Julia. One is Julia’s own memoir, My Life in France, which she wrote with her great-nephew Alex Prud’homme. This describes the years in which she discovered Paris, food, and her life’s work, ultimately producing Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The second is Julie Powell’s book Julie & Julia, which describes the year Powell (played in the film by Amy Adams) lived in Queens, N.Y., and discovered her true self by making every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, blogging as she went. There’s no question that Powell had a great idea for a blog. What she didn’t have was anything interesting to say about cooking her way through Mastering. Her writing is hollow, narcissistic, and unforgivably lazy—qualities so foreign to Julia that it’s not at all surprising that she once said she couldn’t abide Powell’s work.

Yup, yup and yup.

Posted in food | Comments Off on But I Couldn’t Look, Having Read The Book

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