Friday, January 7, 2011

Nuke Talks With Iran Set For Jan 20, World Food Prices Doubled, Congressional Freshmen Sleepover

Paul Krugman
Dana Milbank
Benjamin Sarlin
"A man was arrested for masturbating while on a flight. He said he was just finishing what the TSA guy started. Now would that be a skyjacking?" – Jay Leno

"Jerry Brown is Governor of California again. How California is that, hooking up with your ex years later?" – Jay Leno
"The Republicans now control the House, and they say their plan is to stick to a strict interpretation of the original Constitution. So I hope you didn't live voting, women and non-whites." – Jimmy Kimmel

David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard During The Republicans' First Day In Charge Of The House"

10. "Mr. Boehner, please stop crying"
9. "How do we blame this dead bird thing on Obama?"
8. "I think he was just sworn in on a copy of Snooki's new book"
7. "Beer me!"
6. "Alright, you've had six hours, is the economy fixed?"
5. "Speaker Boehner, please stop blowing your nose"
4. "When is vacation?"
3. "No, Sen. McCain, Woodrow Wilson doesn't work here anymore"
2. "When do we get to sleep with the pages?"
1. "How soon can we go back to invading countries for oil?"

Iran hasn't been in the news much, but a lot of squirrely behavior is going on, making me wonder if anyone is in charge right now. Talks over Iran's nuclear ambitions will begin again on Jan 20. Iran has invited the EU to send an ambassador to tour all of their nuclear facilities, or envoys from several countries, just not the US. The EU responded that it's the job of the IAEC to do the inspections, invite them instead, and the US responded that it was a clever ploy.

That's the official stuff. For the past two weeks, Christians are being rounded up and put in jail. No info if they plan on deporting them all, charging them with some crime, or just taking them to a quiet place in the desert and let them dig their own graves... On the wacky side, a woman was arrested crossing over the Armenian border, whom it's claimed that she's an American spy, and had a microphone installed in her teeth. I hesitate to think where the recording device was on her body... Armenia has responded that it has no records of a woman by her name ever being in their country. This story will end up as some tragic joke, ending with more humiliation of Iran's intelligence service, and they will try to take it out on the poor, deranged woman... The witch hunt and jailing of members who led the Green movement is beginning to happen, beginning with a mid-level bureaucrat who is a supporter of al Rafsanjani. If the charges hold, and no protests happen, then they will be going after larger fish, not happy until those thousands of people who were photographed out in the streets of Tehran have safely been taken care of and eliminated. Isn't Islamic democracy just grand?

Lastly, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is under siege, of sorts. He fired all 14 of his advisors and has yet to replace them, and he is being called to the carpet for mishandling the economy. It looks like his former allies in the Revolutionary Guard are stabbing him in the back with a sudden loss of support, and his champion, the Grand Ayatollah has been strangely silent. Gee, it would be awfully ironic if anything were to happen to this blustery little man. World leaders and the press wouldn't have him to kick around any more...

Worldwide, the cost of food has doubled over the past year, while the amount of money usually given to groups like the UN World Hunger Project has dwindled, thanks to the global economic depression. Most of the foodstuff are items like cooking oil, so folks in the US don't really notice much. Last year I said that it would get worse this coming year, and even this early in the year, food aid workers are having to make the tragic decisions like who gets food to eat and who will end up starving. What price do we pay for compassion?

Is this item linked? The suicide rate at Fort Hood also doubled last year, mostly of soldiers who came back from Afghanistan. The top brass are besides themselves, because so far no program has worked. The evangelicals among the top brass are convinced that only if a soldier builds a more intimate relationship with God, will they turn away from taking their own lives. A test for spirituality has been developed and is being administered to soldiers throughout the country.

It's only been two days since the extreme conservative factions of the Republican party have taken over the House, and it's now resembling a genteel frat house than where we make and pass law. 16 freshmen Representatives are planning on sleeping in their offices instead of finding housing, and soon the hallways will be filled with clothes hung out to dry, fast food wrappers on the floor. Two days and already two incoming representatives missed the swearing in ceremony, they watched it on television at a fundraiser and raised their right hands along with everyone else, figuring that was good enough. Not only were they wrong about that, but they may have violated ethics rules that do not allow fund raisers within the halls of Congress...

The kindest thing that newly gaveled Speaker of the House John Boehner could do for us who look for dumb behavior and silly pronouncements, is to have placed Michele Bachmann in the Intelligence Committee. With her penchant for conspiracy theories and stating crazy things in public, we can feed her the most outrageous ideas and have the leaders of the world scratching their heads, because maybe it's all true... On the behalf of the joke writers on late night television, John, I want to thank you...

Selected readings from the Constitution were read at the opening of Congress's 112th session, again, the Republicans skipping the parts they felt were offensive, or redundant, or when pages got stuck together in the binder they were using. In fact, with the reading being interrupted by a birther yelling out, Except Obama! Except Obama! Oh helpme Jesus!, the whole plan to impress America seemed like something you would put on in the sixth grade, with about as much success. It is a reminder that conservatives really suck at governing, and will mess it up every time.

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