Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 1st, 2011

A growing humanitarian crisis in North Africa

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2011

Robert Fisk:

The Libyans watched from an open window of the immigration post, leaning out to see the 20,000 fleeing Egyptian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Iranian workers heaped up against the border wall. They seemed quite unconcerned, shirt-sleeves rolled up, moving to a window closer to this crowd. Already up to 75,000 have struggled into Tunisia, but yesterday the crossing system collapsed as thousands of men, almost all Arabs desperate to escape Muammar Gaddafi’s state, fought with local Tunisians who – under the eyes of the army – attacked them with stakes and iron bars.

Many of the soldiers hurled plastic water bottles and biscuits into the masses of refugees who began to jump the border wall in their desperation, heaving family members and baggage through breaks in the cement. Clichés run out when faced with such chaos and unnecessary suffering. “Insupportable” was the word that came to mind yesterday. Most of these 20,000 had gone without food, water or sleep for four days. How is it possible that people should suffer so greatly at a mere border post?

Officials turned up with anodyne words of fearful irrelevance. Josette Sheeran, who rejoices in the title of executive director of the World Food Programme, stared at this ocean of humanity and announced: “We are doing all we can – we are working through this situation. And it’s never too late.” But it was.

Food is in short supply in Libya, of course. But the uprisings and economic disruption mean that food will be in short supply throughout the region. I think there’s the potential for a widespread crisis. I can recommend ANERA and Oxfam, as well as the WFP as organizations you may wish to consider donating to.

Via Bondad, John Parker of The Economist on the food supply:

The end of the era of cheap food has coincided with growing concern about the prospects of feeding the world. Around the turn of 2011-12 the global population is forecast to rise to 7 billion, stirring Malthusian fears. The price rises have once again plunged into poverty millions of people who spend more than half their income on food.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, poverty | Comments Off on A growing humanitarian crisis in North Africa

Snoopy victorious

Posted by Charles II on March 1, 2011

(image from songfacts)

More of that superior morality for which conservatives have become justly notorious, European edition, from Helen Pidd of The Guardian:

He was voted Germany’s most popular politician, a chisel-jawed, gelled-haired aristocrat who held such rock-star status that his party used to play an AC/DC track every time he took to the stage. But Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has resigned as defence minister after being engulfed by a plagiarism scandal, leaving the ruling coalition with a serious charisma vacuum.

His departure is a huge blow for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party (CDU). Already weakened after defeats in recent regional elections, she is facing the prospect of implosion at six other local polls this year.

The 39-year-old baron, often tipped to be a future chancellor, has handed in his notice to Merkel after almost two weeks of frontpage stories about the authenticity of his PhD thesis.

Muammar Gaddafi’s son got a lot of attention for his own academic misdeeds. I wonder whether the Baron from Cut-and-Paste will get similar scrutiny.

Posted in conservativism, rightwing moral cripples | Comments Off on Snoopy victorious

NYT Punk’d By Anti-Union Plant: Paunch’s Scoop Is Poop

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 1, 2011

Remember last week when the New York Times, with Arthur G. “Paunch” Sulzberger commanding both the byline and the front page with an article whose thesis, “Union Bonds in Wisconsin Begin to Fray”, was a consummation that Paunch oh-so-obviously (and devoutly) wished? The story that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker loved so much he even talked it up to the guy he thought was his owner, David Koch?

Keith Olbermann has the true scoop — and it’s that Paunch’s scoop is poop. Turns out Paunch wished for it so much, he let himself, and his daddy Pinch’s and grandpa Punch’s paper, get bamboozled by a non-union guy pretending to be a union guy who hated unions:

We know about this Times disaster from last Tuesday because the paper finally got around to correcting it in Saturday’s edition. The mistake got page 1A. The correction got a little box “below the fold” (somebody explain that term to Mr. Sulzberger, too) on 2A, which is read about as thoroughly as the drug interaction warnings that come with aspirin:

A front-page article on Tuesday about reaction among private-sector workers in Wisconsin to Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to cut benefits and collective-bargaining rights for unionized public employees referred incorrectly to the work history of one person quoted, and also misspelled his surname. While the man, Rich Hahn (not Hahan) described himself to a reporter as a “union guy,” he now says that he has worked at unionized factories, but was not himself a union member. (The Times contacted Mr. Hahn again to review his background after a United Auto Workers official said the union had no record of his membership.)

This clear picture of a bunch of agendas happily coinciding – ‘Sulzberger! Find me a Wisconsin union guy who agrees with the Governor!’ – and to hell with the facts or the fact-checking or the spelling, with the truth coming to light only from – gasp! – an actual union guy (from the devil UAW itself!), has been reduced to a “PS, the publisher’s kid kinda screwed up on the most important domestic news story of the moment” instead of serving as the springboard for something fair, or even useful – maybe a front-page piece about the disinformation war being waged by Governor Walker and the Koch Brothers and the Tea Party in Wisconsin and whether or not this Hahan/Hahn was part of it, intentionally or inadvertently.

Go run along and play, Paunch. You make your daddy Pinch look good, and he’s notoriously gormless.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on NYT Punk’d By Anti-Union Plant: Paunch’s Scoop Is Poop

WisconsinRecall.Net: Because Walker And The GOP Koch Heads Need Stopping

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 1, 2011

Wisconsin voters! Listen up!

I’ve been hearing people asking “so where can I volunteer to recall the eight eligible Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate — and eventually, Scott Walker?”

Here you go:

It’s about our future — in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Minnesota GOP Senate: On The Air, Flouting Ethics Rules?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 1, 2011

Senate ethics policies (policies 1.45, 1.50 and 1.60 in particular, and Senate Rule 56.3, as Michael Jungbauer (R-Senate District 48) was painfully reminded in 2005) forbid Minnesota’s state senators from using state workers on the clock for partisan purposes. They also forbid state senators from using state equipment, including television stations, print shops, and internet resources set aside for Senate use, for partisan purposes.

Bear this in mind when you read this brace of stories, here and here, by Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen on the Senate Republican Majority Caucus’ new radio show, “Inside the Senate”. Ms. Sorensen seems to be the only person asking those impertinent questions concerning who, exactly, is paying for this media extravaganza. The Tice-edited StarTribune certainly isn’t interested.

(Crossposted at Renaissance Post.)

Posted in abuse of power, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

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