Bibi and Boehner

Speaker Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress about the U.S. – Iran negotiations on nuclear development.  The purpose of the speech is to destroy the negotiation efforts.  Netanyahu wants this because in order for him to maintain power he, and by proxy Israel, needs an enemy.  One posing an “existential threat” is even better.  Boehner wants this because he doesn’t want the President to succeed at anything.

Both want to do something to disrespect the President.  This is so nakedly political it’s embarrassing.  But then few who run for higher office are easily embarrassed.

The negotiations are absolutely the right thing to do.  The reason was summed up by a famous Republican:

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.  — Abraham Lincoln

 

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Funding the Department of Homeland Security

The kerfuffle about the DHS funding bill centers on the Republicans upset at President Obama’s executive order on immigration reform.   It’s difficult to comprehend that during this time of ISIS the party of paranoid homeland security would try to block funding over this issue.

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), former Governor of South Carolina and infamous adulterer says that the reason he was voting no because he thought the executive order was unconstitutional.  When asked about bringing this before the federal courts, he stated that he was sworn to uphold the Constitution and as such was compelled to vote no.

Apparently Rep. Sanford hasn’t read the Constitution.  The specific purpose of the federal courts as stated in the Constitution is to rule if legislation, passed by congress  is constitutional.  Congress swearing to uphold the Constitution means that they will not knowingly pass legislation that would violate the Constitution.

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Brian Williams Suspended

NBC News has suspended anchor Brian Williams for allegedly falsely reporting an event that occurred when he was reporting from Iraq in 2003.  There are three interesting aspects:

First is that memories of traumatic events can be problematic.  Former CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier who was wounded in Iraq came to Williams defense stating: “Memories under stress are plastic. And over time, when you look back, things that you thought you remembered really well, they start to get fuzzy around the edges.”

Second, the media piling-on Williams.  From the snarky mean-girl Maureen Dowd to the cable channel talking heads and pundits.  It’s unseemly.  It’s unprofessional.  They use rumor and innuendo rather than facts.  It’s difficult to know the source of this schadenfreude.  Is it envy?  Is it resentment?  Is it a desire to get their name in the news?  Kicking people when they’re down says something of one’s character.

Third, it’s important to remember that while anchors started as reporters, they are very different jobs.  It’s a career change.  Anchors are rarely ace reporters, as ace reporters are so hard to find.   Ace reporters want to report and not sit in an anchor’s chair.   Anchors take stories from producers and either tell them or set them up for a reporter’s piece, whether they are in the studio or in the field.  The reporter is suppose to do the fact checking.

Williams may have let us down, either on purpose or inadvertently; or not at all.  What’s disappointing is seeing NBC News cave to the tabloid sharks.

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Brian on Atheism

I watched this video with great amusement, as an atheist I am frequently asked questions like the one put to Mr. Fry.   For the life of me I don’t know why people who cling to myths conceived in the Bronze Age think that posing of such questions proves some point.  In actuality they are not asking a question at all, what they are really doing is say “boy are you going to be sorry”.  Apparently, thinking that people who don’t agree with you are going to spend eternity is some fiery pit writhing in state of eternal agony is a comforting thought to many myth believers.  Well I think it’s time to switch things up.  After reading the following list I ask you, who really has the right to the moral high ground, the believer or the non-believer?

 No child has ever had their sexual organs mutilated in the name of atheism.

 Atheists don’t tie people to stakes and burn them alive.

 Atheists don’t drive jet liners into office towers.

 Atheists don’t believe we have the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body.

 Atheists don’t believe they have the right to tell you who you can sleep with or marry.

 Atheists don’t demonize people who disagree with us.

 Atheists don’t try to impose their beliefs (or lack of) on other people.

 The Inquisition

 Human/animal sacrifice

 The Crusades

Need I go on?

P.S. Congratulations Stephen Fry on your recent marriage.

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No-Go Zones?

Louisiana Mayor Bobby Jindal famously said that the Republicans can’t continue to be known as the “stupid” party.  So now he’s claiming that there are “no-go” zones in the U.K. where non-Muslims are not allowed and that only Sharia law is enforced.  This meme was generated by a terrorism “expert” on Fox News.  Fox has since apologized for the claim, but Jindal is doubling down.

The cognitive dissonance between Jindal’s statement on the “stupid” party and debunked no-go zones is astounding.  Perhaps someone should tell him if Republicans don’t want to be known as the “stupid” party, the no-go zone is Fox News.

p.s.

The city of Paris plans to sue Fox News:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/01/city-of-paris-to-sue-fox-news-201302.html

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Predictions for 2015

The new year is upon us.  What are your predictions for 2015?

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Torture

The release of the Senate report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation methods” has launched a partisan argument. Not surprised.  What was surprising was John McCain’s best moment ever:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/john-mccain-says-cia-tort_n_6295986.html

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