"It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to get caught saying something ridiculous, and respond by insisting you were right all along." - Steve Benen
"I know what you're saying, but this is what I'm hearing." - Stephen Colbert
"A vote for me is a vote to destroy your future, If elected, I promise to serve myself first, then my relatives and friends, and then other people…. Votes from you mean foreign trips for us!" - Afghani comedian
Pundits have been warning about the situation in Yemen, that it's another weak state threatened by rebel forces. Looks like their warnings are bearing fruit, as reported in al Jazeera: "Dozens of people have been killed after Yemeni tanks and warplanes pounded Houthi fighter strongholds in the country's north for a third day, officials have said.
The exchanges of fire took place on the outskirts of Saada, the provincial capital bordering Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, officials said. The Yemeni government has vowed to hit Houthi fighters, a group belonging to the Zaidi sect, an offshoot of Shia, with an "iron fist" unless its conditions for a ceasefire are met. The Houthis have said they are being persecuted because of their opposition to the US and IsraelBut the government, which is supported by Saudi Arabia, accuse them of being loyal to Iran." It looks like there will be more Shia prisoners ready for the Saudi re-education program... if the allegation that Iran is helping Shia rebels in its neighboring states is true, and it probably is, then an all out war of Sunni states against Iran could easily blow up and engulf Israel while they are at it. Our worst nightmare for the last 60 years come true...
Foreign Policy has an article on another tinderbox area that has been little reported, the North Caucasus region: "For the most part, the world pays little attention to this violent little backwater... The murders of journalists, lawyers, and human rights and humanitarian activists rate even less attention. Three years ago, when investigative journalist Anna Politkovaskaya was murdered in her apartment building in Moscow one Saturday afternoon, shock and outrage emanated from Washington and capitals across Europe. Everyone thinks she was killed for her investigative journalism on the North Caucasus. But a long period of ambivalence, indifference, and silence followed that brief spasm of anger.
The murder on a Moscow street of her young lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, happened the day before Barack Obama's inauguration, this past January; attention was elsewhere. A few weeks ago, another murder took place -- this time of human rights activist Natasha Estemirova. She was kidnapped outside her home in Grozny, the Chechen capital, shot, and left in a field, in neighboring Ingushetia. The day before her murder, Human Rights Watch had published a report based in part on information she provided on summary executions and house-burnings in Chechnya.
And, this week, word came that two more activists, Zarema Sadulayeva and Alik Dzhabrailov, had been kidnapped in Grozny. An e-mail subsequently informed me that the bodies of this director of an orphans' charity and her husband had been found in the trunk of their car." The murders of the journalists and activists have been attributed to orders from Vladimer Putin; that he is running a secret war still against Chechnya and its sympathizers... Hell, he'll probably attack the journalist who wrote the article, if he can get to her in the United States. Hope he doesn't go after bloggers...
John Fund writes his opinion on the cycle of Congressional scandals in the Wall Street Journal: "First, there is the revelation that some members have acted in a high-handed, spendthrift or unethical manner. Then public anger flares, and Congress responds by belatedly tamping down the controversy.
"Most of the time this is the end of it. But every once in a while the scandal continues to burn and consumes a few members. That's what happened in 1994 when the House Bank and Post Office scandals helped fuel the Republican takeover of Congress, and in 2006 when the Jack Abramoff and earmark scandals helped end GOP control."
Today the Washington Post reports on Dick Cheney's blatant attempts to hype his memoirs and his recent dissing of George Bush: "Cheney's disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. By habit, he listens more than he talks, but Cheney broke form when asked about his regrets.
"In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him," said a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney's reply. "He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice. He'd showed an independence that Cheney didn't see coming. It was clear that Cheney's doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times -- never apologize, never explain -- and Bush moved toward the conciliatory."
The two men maintain respectful ties, speaking on the telephone now and then, though aides to both said they were never quite friends. But there is a sting in Cheney's critique, because he views concessions to public sentiment as moral weakness. After years of praising Bush as a man of resolve, Cheney now intimates that the former president turned out to be more like an ordinary politician in the end."
Patrick Dorinson, Commentator and Publisher of The Cowboy Libertarian writes an interesting rebuttal in Politico: "Being from Wyoming, the Cowboy State, you would think that Dick Cheney would know the cowboy phrase, “Never miss a good chance to just shut up”.
Instead here we go again with that favorite Washington game when it comes to writing so called “memoirs”. It’s called “If they had only listened to me things would have been different”.
Former Vice President Cheney now will join the ranks of great authors and statesmen like Scott McClellan, who was as in way over his head as White House press secretary, and was snickered at by the press until he turned on Bush and then he magically was transformed into a political sage. Give me a break. He was as useless to the Bush agenda efforts as Civil War General George McClellan was to Lincoln’s war efforts.
Cheney is trying to “shape” history in his favor and against the person who made him vice president in the first place. Nice touch Dick. Kick the man when he is down and stab him in the back for good measure.
Just to put “memoirs” into context, Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana, has written her memoirs at the ripe old age of 15."
late night jokes:
"Yesterday in Africa, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost her temper at a college student when he asked her a question about her husband's opinion on a certain issue. She got mad. I can understand why she got upset, because the question was, 'Who's hotter? Megan Fox or Eva Longoria?'" --Conan O'Brien
"No, both Clintons, all over the news. While Hillary's in Africa Bill Clinton's in Las Vegas celebrating his birthday, which begs the question why is Bill the one who woke up 10 feet from a goat?" --Conan O'Brien
"President Obama says he will not support a health-care plan where the government gets to decide whether to, quote, 'pull the plug on Grandma.' Apparently, Obama's plan calls for the much quicker pillow option." --Conan O'Brien
"A company in Michigan is trying to make Americans healthier by sending out ice cream trucks stocked only with fruits and vegetables. It's not going so well, because all the trucks have been turned over and burned by angry, fat kids." --Conan O'Brien
"Over the past week, congressmen have been holding town hall meetings across the country. They've been disrupted by angry protesters who are against Obama's new healthcare plan. And things could have gotten violent, but nobody could afford to get hurt. So, it was very peaceful protesting." --Jimmy Fallon