"In the current media environment, where it's more important to have it first than to get it right, it won't be long until the next mix-up." - Dana Milbank
“Something that we believe in very firmly and basically what we should be saying is that there are rules that you need to get into the country, go [through] the right door, fill out the right form, have some apple pie, hum a few bars of the Star Spangled Banner and get to work,” - Michael Steele
Other than sports, whenever Colorado makes national attention in the news, it's always something embarrassing. The latest scam is about the hoax of Balloon Boy and his family. Even Eugene Robinson writes an opinion on it in the link provided above. Dana Milbank reports on another scam that made the headlines before it was exposed, and Glen Butler and Steve Coll write about Afghanistan.
We are hearing a lot more about Afghanistan lately, as the news media continues pulling out of Iraq and sending their troops of reporters to Kabul to set up shop. Some good journalism is coming out of it, like the story of David Rohde a reporter who was kidnapped by the Haqqani Taliban network. Oh yeah, of course Karzai accepted a run-off election. It's either that or get deposed...
‘You Have Atomic Bombs, but We Have Suicide Bombers.’ - Haqqani Taliban to David Rohde
Now that we have determined that race is not a factor in politics, just philosophical differences, and that the right wing faction has always been more civil and polite than the left, we are left with the conundrum of an unprescedented rise in death threats to President Obama, whose code name is Renegade. The Secret Service argued in a budget request before Congress, that it was being overwhelmed by the amount of threats and new race hating groups that have been formed and it tries to keep track of. Its original mission was to go after counterfeiters, and now: "The job of protecting presidents started in 1894 with Grover Cleveland, who was guarded part time. That role expanded after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901, and it became a crime to threaten the president in 1917. Today, guarding the president and other top officials accounts for most of the Secret Service’s budget, which totals about $1.4 billion per year and continues to grow."
I remember a long, long time ago, when I was a Union goon and working security for a speech by Jesse Jackson at our civic auditorium. The Secret Service guys there were a mixture of men my age and young ones that looked to be still wet behind the ears. I noticed that they all wore pins with different colored stones on their lapels, and the guy in charge told me that his red one meant that he was in charge.
I turned to one kid who couldn't be a day over 18, and asked him if his blue stone meant that he was a Junior G-Man, and if he wanted to trade it for something. When I was a Boy Scout we used to trade patches every chance we could get. He became red in the face, and to our amusement, stuttered out that NO! It meant that he was on the bomb squad! So, ya learn something new every day... Anyway, the Service wants lots and lots of money for new computers to track the wackos, their old mainframe is having fits, and the right wing is adding a new definition for the word civility...
Hosni Mubarak is 81 and not in the best of health. He has not said if he is going to run for Egypt's Presidency again, but many people feel that he is grooming his son to take over. A group has started opposing this, their name loosely translates as what gives you the right? The founder, Ayman Nour, says that: "Our constitution is for a republic not a kingdom, this is a campaign to confront this irregular... illogical state where a president-in-waiting is practising all the duties of the president already."
Egypt is stepping it up in the culture wars. A few weeks ago, their Minister of Culture failed get the position of cultural director at the UN. He was bitter about it, and whined and complained to anyone who would listen, and probably many who didn't want to listen... Now Zahi Hawass, the Minister of Antiquities, has been getting aggressive against those countries who voted against his boss. He is currently demanding the return of the 3.500 year old bust of Nefertiti that Germany has had since 1913. Hawass said: “If she left Egypt illegally, which I am convinced she did, then I will officially demand it back from Germany.”
Also: "Days after Mr. Hosny’s defeat, Mr. Hawass accused France of stealing antiquities — including five painted wall fragments dating from the Pharaohs that ended up in the Louvre in 2000 and 2003 — and insisted that they be returned. After Egypt threatened to suspend cooperation for exhibitions organized with the Louvre as well as any work done by the Louvre on the pharaonic necropolis of Saqqara, south of Cairo, France’s culture minister said his country was ready to return the antiquities if they were stolen."
So all this may be due to being a poor loser, but it also highlights the problem countries with a long history and chock full o' artifacts have in trying to get them back from the museums who probably paid millions of euros to the people that smuggled them out. When I was in Luoyang, China, there were huge carvings of Buddhas on the cliffs, 20-30 feet tall. Some representative for a museum had sawn off a couple of the faces and taken them back to the Midwest. It was a travesty, and so far China hasn't made the demands and threats for return that Egypt has. Even thogh motivated by sour grapes, I hope that meaningful antiquities make it back to their homes. Or made into a vast amount of replicas to be sold at a store near you...
My local House Representative Doug Lamborn had another townhall meeting recently, on health reform. He is a right wing type of conservative, so the topic would be no health reform. If he is against it, why in the world would he hold these meetings? At least he has been getting a dose of what the Democrats experienced this summer, when part of the audience would shout "you lie!" at most everything he said: "At several points, the shouting got so intense that Lamborn could not be heard, even with the advantage of a microphone and loudspeakers. He kept his composure but interrupted his presentation occasionally to ask for courtesy."
The people interrupting Doug were not young radicals, rather they were older women, who got into shouting matches with older women from the opposite ideology. The police were there, but wisely did nothing to interrupt the festivities. Sometimes I get so proud of where I live... (tear up) sniff...sniff...