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Americans Don’t Learn: Step Up the Bombing; Common Core Myths, Fox’s Ray Rice Shame, Clinton and Bush Rejoined

| September 9, 2014

Tambako The Jaguar.

Tambako The Jaguar.

Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links

Americans Want More Bombings of ISIS

ISIS goons.

ISIS goons.

Here we go with the latest exaggerated fears and imbecilic responses, especially from a president looking for every possible way to raise his ratings. A war always helps, briefly, anyway. From the always reliably hawkish Washington Post: “Americans overwhelmingly view Islamic State terrorists as a serious threat to vital U.S. interests and, in a significant shift, widely support airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The nation’s increasingly hawkish mood will form part of the backdrop for a speech by President Obama on Wednesday, when he will outline his thinking on how to confront the threat from the Islamic State. Obama’s remarks will come a day after he confers with congressional leaders at the White House about the administration’s planning. Obama’s speech also comes at a critical moment in his presidency. He will address the nation at a time of record or ­near-record lows in public assessments of his performance. Only 43 percent of Americans say he is a strong leader, the lowest reading since he entered the White House. Just over half the country says his presidency has been a failure, although partisanship colors that judgment. His overall foreign policy ratings are his lowest yet in a Post-ABC News poll. […] [H]e has faced increasing calls from lawmakers in both parties to expand the U.S. military role, not only in Iraq but also in Syria, where the administration has been reluctant to intervene directly in that country’s civil war. […] Today, 71 percent of all Americans say they support airstrikes in Iraq — up from 54 percent three weeks ago and from 45 percent in June. Among those who say Obama has been too cautious, 82 percent support the strikes; among those who think his handling of international affairs has been about right, 66 percent support them. Nearly as many Americans — 65 percent — say they support the potentially more controversial action of launching airstrikes in Syria, which Obama has not done. That is more than double the level of support a year ago for launching airstrikes to punish the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons.” The full story.

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Common Core Myths

rulings-tom-pantsonfireBeth Kassab in the Orlando Sentinel: “Tests are not the result of Common Core. When Lee County voted to opt-out in late August, there were headlines like this one from USA Today’s website: “Lee County first in Fla. to opt out of Common Core testing. […] But Common Core doesn’t produce any additional tests. Common Core, now called Florida State Standards, is just that: standards. They tell us what kids should know by the end of each grade. Like understanding fractions in third grade. Or being able to talk about the meaning of a sonnet in the seventh grade. Those are real examples. It’s not scary unless you’re wearing a tin-foil hat. […] The short story is that there are too many tests because a well-intentioned effort to link teacher pay to performance went off the rails. The Legislature decided to judge teachers based on how well their students perform on tests. So now districts are creating tests in every subject from P.E. to drama, and it’s a mess. […] Common Core will not indoctrinate your child with fringe political beliefs. If you’re hearing that all of this testing and Common Core talk is just a way of turning our children into little socialists, you need to question the source. That claim is complete hooey.”

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Fox Dumb-Asses Mock Ray Rice Victim

Fox host Brian Kilmeade has never made headlines for his wits. He has none. His IQ does not quite register on amoeba scales. He proved it again Monday. So did co-host Steve Doocey. From Think Progress: “New footage of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his fiancee out cold in an elevator was released this morning by TMZ. The video shows Rice leveling Janay Palmer, and then casually dragging her limp body out of the elevator.
Responding to the video, Fox host Brian Kilmeade on Monday blasted the victims of domestic violence, criticizing Palmer (now Janay Rice) and other women who don’t break up with their partner after a domestic violence incident, saying they send a “terrible message.”
Kilmeade then proceeded to provide mocking advice to Palmer, quipping, “I think the message is, take the stairs.” Co-host Steve Doocey gamely joined in, “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.” Watch:

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Gaza’s Latest Pity of a War

Ruins of Beit Hannoun, Gaza. (B'Tselem)

Ruins of Beit Hannoun, Gaza. (B’Tselem)

Roger Cohen in the Times: “Another round of violence is over in the Holy Land. More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians and many of them children, have been killed. More than 70 Israelis are dead. The grass, in that appalling Israeli metaphor, has been mown (and will now start growing again). Hamas, through its resistance, has burnished its reputation among Palestinians. Israel is angrier. Nobody is better off. Periodic eruptions are intrinsic to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of maintaining the status quo of rule over millions of Palestinians, expansion of West Bank settlements and maneuver to deflect American mediation. Oppressed people will rise up. Israel’s anemic embrace of a two-state objective is the best possible cover for the evisceration of that aim. Still, the question arises: Was this mini-war necessary? I think not. Certainly it was not in Israel’s strategic interest. [… The only certainty now is that this will happen again unless the situation in Gaza changes. That in turn necessitates Palestinian unity and renunciation of violence. It also hinges on a change in the Israeli calculus that settlement extension, a divided Palestinian movement, and vacuous blah-blah on a two-state peace are in its interest, whatever the intermittent cost in blood. […] [R]ead Yehuda Shaul in The New Statesman on the corrosive effect of the occupation and his experience of military service in the West Bank: “We needed to erase the humanity of Palestinians along with our own humanity.”

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U.N. Scientists See Largest CO2 Increase In 30 Years

smokestacks1From Think Progress: “More carbon dioxide was emitted into our atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 than in any other year since 1984, putting humans on the fast track toward irreversible global warming, the United Nation’s weather agency said in a report released Tuesday. The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin showed that the increase of atmospheric CO2 from 2012 to 2013 was 2.9 parts per million (ppm), the largest year-to-year increase in 30 years. Because of that growth, the average amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 396 ppm — just 9 ppm away from an average level some scientists believe could cause enough sea level rise, drought, and severe weather to significantly harm human populations across the globe. […] Atmospheric methane reached a record high of about 1824 parts per billion (ppb) in 2013, the report said, due to increased emissions from humans. Most human-caused methane emissions come from natural gas production, followed closely by industrial agriculture. Even though there have been large increases of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, however the report noted that the ocean has been absorbing more and more of it, causing widespread acidification of the sea. Comparing current data of the ocean’s acid content with paleo archives over the last 300 million years, the WMO called the sea’s current rate of souring “unprecedented.” Major concerns with acidification include large-scale die-offs of calcifying organisms like coral, algae, mollusks, and plankton, and a general decrease in biodiversity.” The full story.

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Clinton and Bush, Together Again

From USA Today: “There they were, just a couple of retired guys talking about old times — though in their case the old times involved being President of the United States. Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited the Newseum on Monday to chat about a new leadership scholarship program, and also to joke around about their newfound friendship. As his cellphone rang, Clinton — whose daughter Chelsea is pregnant — said he hoped a family member wasn’t calling to tell him he was “about to become a premature grandfather.” […] The two former chief executives said they get along well in their post-presidential years. Clinton, who defeated Bush’s presidential father in the 1992 election and also considers him a friend, referred to himself as “the designated black sheep” of the Bush family. […] In the only brush with contemporary politics, Bush joked about the interviewer who asked him about the prospect of another Bush vs. Clinton race in 2016, referring to former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “My answer was the first one didn’t turn out too good,” Bush said. […] While members of the presidents club usually get together for funerals or library dedications, Bush and Clinton promoted the new Presidential Leaders Scholars program, co-sponsored by their presidential libraries as well as those of George H.W. Bush and Lyndon Baines Johnson. The program is designed to teach leadership skills to members of the private, public, non-profit, and military sectors who would meet with officials who worked for past presidential administrations.” Watch:

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Ford’s Nixon Pardon in a 3rd Grader’s Eyes

From the National Archives: “On August 9, 1974, facing impeachment for his role in the Watergate affair, President Nixon resigned from office, and Gerald R. Ford succeeded him as President. A month later, on September 8, Ford stunned the nation by announcing that he was granting Nixon “a full, free, and absolute pardon” for all crimes committed during Nixon’s time in office. The decision to pardon Nixon was one of the most controversial decisions ever made by a President. A few days afterwards, a one-line letter arrived for Ford. “Dear President Ford,” it said, “I think you are half Right and half wrong.” The writer, one Anthony Ferreira, did not state his age, but his brevity, handwriting, and use of wide-ruled paper suggest that he was quite young. While his figures weren’t precise—fifty-nine percent of the population actually opposed Ford’s decision—this child managed to encapsulate, in a single sentence, the country’s deep division over the pardon.”

Letter to President Gerald Ford from Anthony Ferreira a Third Grader at Henry B. Milnes School (National Archives Identifier: 595452). Click on the letter for larger view.

Letter to President Gerald Ford from Anthony Ferreira a Third Grader at Henry B. Milnes School (National Archives Identifier: 595452). Click on the letter for larger view.

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Pablo Neruda: “Clenched Soul”

pablo neruda clenched soul

Pablo Neruda

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statues.

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Remembering Sam Kinison

From “Away from the spotlight, Kinison became known for his hard-partying lifestyle. He was known to drink in excess and use drugs. For much of his career, Kinison “lived more like a rock star than a comic,” wrote his brother and manager Bill Kinison in his book, Brother Sam: The Short, Spectacular Life of Sam Kinison. Kinison was also known for his outrageous appetite for women and had romantic dalliances with the likes of Jessica Hahn, Penny Marshall, and Beverly D’Angelo over the years. One to bear a grudge, Kinison feuded with fellow comedians Bobcat Goldthwait and Whoopi Goldberg among others during his career. […] According to the book Brother Sam, he had several car wrecks in 1990 because he was driving while intoxicated. His long-time girlfriend Malika Souiri was reportedly raped in the Los Angeles home they shared by a man the two had met at a club earlier that evening. Souiri shot at her attacker several times, using one of Kinison’s guns. Kinison was unaware of what was happening at the time because he was passed out in another room in the house. […] On April 5, 1992, Kinison married his girlfriend Malika Souiri in Las Vegas. The couple honeymooned in Hawaii for a few days before returning to California so that Kinison could make it to a gig in Laughlin, Nevada. Kinison and Souiri set out for Laughlin on April 10 with Kinison’s brother Bill and several others following them in a van. About 200 miles east of Los Angeles, Kinison’s sports car was hit by a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old. He was conscious briefly after the accident. According to Brother Sam, Kinison’s final words were “Why now? I don’t want to die. Why?” He then stopped breathing and efforts to revive him proved unsuccessful. At the age of 38, one of America’s most distinctive comedians died from his injuries.”

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Electronic Reading Is Not the Enemy

readingIt is becoming a cliché of conversations between twentysomethings (especially to the right of 25) that if you talk about books or articles or strung-together words long enough, someone will eventually wail plaintively: “I just can’t reeeeeaaad anymore.” The person will explain that the Internet has shot her attention span. She will tell you about how, when she was small, she could lose herself in a novel for hours, and now, all she can do is watch the tweets swim by like glittery fish in the river of time-she-will-never-get-back. […] Reading insecurity. It is the subjective experience of thinking that you’re not getting as much from reading as you used to. […] A long train of studies suggests that people read the Internet differently than they read print. We skim and scan for the information we want, rather than starting at the beginning and plowing through to the end. Our eyes jump around, magnetized to links—they imply authority and importance—and short lines cocooned in white space. We’ll scroll if we have to, but we’d prefer not to. (Does the weightless descent invite a momentary disorientation, a lightheadedness? Or are we just lazy?) We read faster. […] So maybe we’re right to be worried about our e-reading. Maybe we’ve sensed that we rely on physical cues to ground ourselves in complex arguments, and that we get more of those from books than from flickering screens. […] So maybe the answer is just to close the laptop and read more books. Books! Hallelujah. Except that it sometimes feels as though we are Typhoid Marys, transferring our diseased Web habits back to print. […] Not only do 52 percent of digital natives (at least, those of them ages 8 to 16, according to the National Literary Trust) prefer screens to spines, but their comprehension and recall doesn’t seem to vary depending on what reading technology they use. (Screw you, guys! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that—I’m just insecure.) They appear to have mastered focus and self-monitoring skills in the age of Google. They take real joy in online reading, unmarred by uncertainty and shame. Their ease and comfort on the web implies that reading insecurity has less to do with technology per se than with the liminal status of a particular few generations, after Gen X and before the post-millennials, with one foot in the print world and another in the digital world, creatures fully of neither.” The full story.

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9 Responses for “Americans Don’t Learn: Step Up the Bombing; Common Core Myths, Fox’s Ray Rice Shame, Clinton and Bush Rejoined”

  1. A.S.F. says:

    This is an unfortunate example of a very ill-timed article. ISIS is most certainly a threat. The above stated effort to attempt to downplay their brutality and insanity is pretty puzzling. I guess we learned nothing from Nazi Germany, eh? Remember Hitler and his Brown shirts? Almost every nation in the world chose to appease them and either try to contain them, negotiate terms with them or ignore them, thinking they weren’t going to amount to much of a threat in the long-run. My guess is that the world is suddenly “caring” about the ISIS threat, not because two Americans were beheaded and thousands of innocent Arabs civilians slaughtered by ISIS (or do civilians only count in the Arab world if they are Palestinians?) but because ISIS has taken over control of vast oil reserves. As for the article about Hamas, Israel and the Gaza, it appears that Hamas cannot get along with anybody, including their own territorial “partners.” Abbas came out with a statement very recently complaining that Hamas was already welching on their promises to cooperate with The Palestinian Authority to (attempt to) govern Gaza and the West Bank in partnership. There are also reports in today’s papers that “more moderate” militant groups in Syria “sold” murdered US reporter Steven Sottloff to ISIS for between $25,000 and $50,000. So much for those “moderate” rebel groups in the Mideast. Sure–let’s trust them!

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      ASF, you’re grossly mischaracterizing. Nobody is downplaying the brutality and insanity of ISIS. But the threat they pose to the West is another story. It’s nil. And to start devising policy a-la-Bush to counter these mad men would have us take their bait the same way that al-Qaeda had us take theirs, into three losing wars. To compare those idiots to Nazis is itself insane. They have no capabilities to go beyond their self-made circles of hell, and their brutality is the seed of their self-destruction. To take them on makes us complicit in their survival, because that’s precisely what will gain them strength–the same way that our invasion of Iraq gave Iran another generation’s lease. Your point about ISIS catching the West’s attention because of its proximity to oil is more powerful, though right now those oil fields are, if anything, a thorn in the side of major oil producers, who (those cynics) would be very happy if a bit of oil was taken off the market so they could regain their $125-a-barrel oil. They hate it when it’s below $100.

      • Genie says:

        Flagler Live, on what do you base your conclusion that ISIS isn’t a threat to this county? They have become a well financed army, according to news sources, receiving more funding than any previous terror groups. The stability of the middle east is at stake. If we don’t stop them, who will?

  2. Jim R. says:

    This article states that 71% of Americans are in favor of bombing Iraq, Being bombarded 24/7 by the fear mongering media just might have something to do with those numbers. If you believe the lying media you might postpone your trip to Disneyland because ISIS may be parachuting in there to kill Americans.
    We went through this same crap with WMDS and the lies and propaganda about Iraq.
    Now we are being fed lies about Russia and the Ukraine, when it is our attempt to put NATO on Russia’s doorstep that is the reason for what is happening there.
    Between Iraq and the Ukraine you have to feel sorry for the MSM, so many lies to tell they’re working themselves to death. ( I wish)

  3. A.S.F. says:

    Pierre–You and I obviously disagree about the potential for destruction that ISIS and groups like it pose to humanity in general (America included.) And, yes, I do compare them to Nazis. They have the same genocidal point of view and they appear to have no problem putting it into active practice in the most barbaric of ways. Their stated goal of global domination is the pretty much the same. In Nazi Germany, they did it under the guise of Nationalism. These particular groups happen to do it in the name of religion. They aren’t the first group of people in human history to descend to these depths. It plays out pretty much the same way: “Convert or I’ll exterminate you–No, wait..You’re lower than a dog unless you conform to my standard of worthiness to exist. Maybe I’ll kill you anyway. Just give me some excuse to do so.” Those alarming similarities besides, I think it is a mistake for America to always take the lead in fighting terrorists abroad.. The Arab world should be actively leading these efforts in the Middle East. And help from other countries should come in the form of a united coalition. For one or two western powers to stage an “invasion” (a la Iraq) just plays into the hands of terrorists who like to portray themselves as “victims” and “freedom fighters” instead of the dangerous zealots and sociopaths they really are. The only time these different factions stop fighting and slaughtering each other is when they are provided with an excuse to pull together to slaughter selected and projected targets, guided by the lens they share in common–bitterness and hatred translated into a need for power. I wish more attention would be directed into uncovering the major “donors” and supporters of radical terror groups. Those shadowy figures (and their adherents) deserve to have a spotlight shone on them and more effort should be made to stop them, regardless of how much oil or money or other resources they may command.

  4. Groot says:

    Regarding ISIS, focused bombings to attack ISIS and any other force or means as needed to remove ISIS is fine by me. Just do not blow up the innocent public in the area. Regarding Rice, it’s was a public matter because Ray and Janay were in the public eye as representatives of the Ravens, the NFL and the city of Baltimore. He was fired from his job. It’s now a private matter for Ray and Janay and they have a lot of mental health work ahead of them if they intend to remain together and not harm or kill each other. I would imagine they are missing those game checks. FOX news is normally so biased and trashy, I don’t bother with it. I’ not surprised what they did with the Rice story. Real funny there shrub but not funny what happened to the economy and the invasion of Iraq on his watch.

  5. Sherry Epley says:

    Why aren’t there more comments about the Ray Rice issue and the likely NFL cover up? Where are the women and men who have been victims of domestic abuse? Shouldn’t we all be calling for a massive change in the “PROTECT our vastly over paid cash cow players at any cost” NFL culture?

    Follow the money. . . justice, ethics, honesty, human rights and women’s safety be damned!

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Sherry, they are young mostly poor kids who suddenly are millionaires and think they are above everything. They are rarely told no, let alone held accountable for their actions. It is not an excuse for their deeds, but it is understandable. And their lives will be severely changed.

      But if you want to expend your righteous anger in another direction, how about a Federal Judge who beats his wife bloody, gets virtually no punishment or bad press and gets to keep his Lifetime appointment to the bench ol’ George W. gave him. And he was the one who put Alabama (Democratic) Governor Siegelman in prison on trumped up charges for Carl Rove. And not one word in the press.

      How ’bout noticing anyhow.

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