Thursday, September 26, 2013

Something's Not Right Here

You may recall a story from a few weeks ago about a NYC cab jumping a curb and hitting a British tourist, mangling her lower leg and forcing it to be amputated. Her life was saved by a passerby who quickly wrapped his belt around her leg as a tourniquet before paramedics could scoot her to a hospital.

Well, you’ll be pleased to read that the victim is grateful not only to the gentleman who came to her aid but to many other strangers – including TV’s Dr. Oz – who assisted her, and is keeping a very positive attitude about the whole thing.


You will not be pleased with the rest of the story.

First, the driver, Faisal Himon will be getting his license back in a few days and will be out on the streets of NY, terrorizing tourists and residents alike again.

Now that you’ve taken a breath and released your rage, you may recall that a stranger leaped into action, likely saving the girl’s life. Yea?

Yea. That didn’t work out so well for our hero

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Someone Needs to Kick His Legs Out

I’ll give Ted Cruz credit for one thing, and one thing only: he’s not making a bullshit filibuster:

Republican Ted Cruz of Texas was still on the Senate floor talking Wednesday-- a dramatic step in defense of his high profile and controversial plan to prevent any funding for Obamacare.

"I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand," he said

Tuesday. "All across this country, Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn't working."

Of course, he’s wrong: Obamacare isn’t working, it’s true. That’s because it hasn’t been implemented yet. But no one is suffering. In fact, they are thriving and will thrive even more.

Among Cruz’s concerns about national health insurance is how people will “lose their jobs or have their hours cut” (not a direct quote, but you can imagine that’s in his notes.)

Well, Senator, maybe that enmity should be directed at the people who run the corporations you and your cohorts slave for, to get scraps off their plates? Like Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter, who just yesterday shuttered eight pizzerias and who famously said that Obamacare would force him to raise the prices of his piss-poor excuse for pizza.

By 14 cents a pie, by his own admission. But here’s a man who could afford to give away two million pies at the beginning of this football season (plus spend tens of millions more on advertising that very fact) which likely added dollars to the price of his pies.
As for having hours cut, let them. We have an unemployment problem right now. Cutting existing hours will force companies to cover the slack somehow, and eventually (and in quite short order, I think) everyone will be employed AND working full time hours, as companies realize it’s a small price to pay to be productive, that 14 cents a pie.

Still, someone needs to kick his legs out from under him, so the will of the people, tested twice in elections and affirmed by the Supreme Court, can be carried out.

And Cruz has his own issues here to deal with: he’s flying in the face of Republican leadership, who want an up or down vote on Obamacare to carry with them into the 2014 election cycle. Cruz has his eye on 2016 and the Republican primaries, which is where Teabaggers can hold their party “hostage.”

Sort of. After all, Mitt Romney was not their choice and look what happened. He ended up running against his own health insurance and getting drubbed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Well, Now This Is Interesting

President Obama made an overture to Iran today at the United Nations:

"This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of US interference in their affairs, and America's role in overthrowing an Iranian government during the cold war."

This is the first official acknowledgement of CIA involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew the very popular elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, who was friendly towards the Soviet Union, and installing an ally in the Shah.

Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kenya Stand-Off

The siege at a shopping mall in Kenya is entering its third day today. While the government has responded forcefully, the attackers – presumed to be terrorists from a subsidiary of Al Qaeda, and who’d have thought even terrorism would be corporatized? – have dug in pretty deeply:

NAIROBI — Loud explosions and sporadic bursts of gunfire could be heard coming from an upscale mall here on Monday, as Kenyan security forces tried to dislodge Islamist militants who were believed to be holed up inside the building with hostages for a third consecutive day.

By afternoon, large plumes of smoke were rising from the area, but it was unclear whether the explosions were triggered by the heavily armed militants from Somalia’s al-Shabab militia or by security forces inside the Westgate Premier Shopping Mall.

Al-Shabab is a Somalian-based, Al Qaeda derived group, existing in a nation that has no gun control, no taxes, and no central government. A perfect conservative experiment!

The Kenyan government claims that the hostages have either all been freed or killed (including up to five Americans, with at least one dead.) But then, wouldn’t a government claim they had any situation under control?

The thing that disturbs me most about this attack is that Al Qaeda has long used Africa as a staging area to signal when they were about to attack on US soil. In 1992, Osama bin Laden sent Al Qaeda forces into Somalia to assist the warlords in the battles with NATO forces. Also in 1992, bin Laden moved to Sudan.

Early 1993 saw the first World Trade Center attack by forces of Omar Abdel-Rahman, leader of an organization with close ties to Al Qaeda through Ayman al Zawahiri.

In 1998, attacks were executed against US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Naiobi. In 2000, Al Qaeda attacked the USS Cole.

And then, of course, came September 11. You could make the case that floating a fishing boat laden with explosives is not a bad test run for flying a plane loaded with fuel into an American skyscraper.

So what to make of a mall attack and hostage-taking (and potential destruction) in terms of an attack on American soil?