whackanarwhal

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newsmongering 06/15

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> Should you be so inclined, a Tea Partier, and living in relative proximity, you can send your child (ages 8-12) to Tampa Liberty School, where “conservative writer Jeff Lukens will teach your children to say things like ‘America is good’ and ‘I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.'” All I recall doing at Girl Scout Camp was fishing in a cow pond that, in retrospect, probably contained no actual fish. I had no idea I was missing out.

In case you’re interested, Jeff Lukens has authored such columns as “Obama’s Fake Birth Certificate” (“…it is not only fake, it is not even a good fake. I am about Obama’s age and my Birth Certificate is yellowed, creased and wrinkled. I wonder why Obama’s looks brand new? Maybe that is because it is brand new.”), “Uncovering the Obama Conspiracies” (“Is Barack Obama some sort of 21st Century Manchurian Candidate writ large? What do we really know about him?”), and “Obama and the End of White Guilt” (“The Obama agenda is desperate and out of ideas. In their desperation, they deal from the bottom of the deck. The race card has never failed them before, and when the logic of their position fails, evoking racism always ends the discussion.”).

In retrospect, the fishing at Girl Scout Camp really wasn’t so bad.

> Thousands of Syrian refugees on both sides of the Syrian-Turkish border are (understandably) really, deeply angry and very much in danger.

Fear pervaded the encampment. “No one likes to die,” said Mohammad, a 22-year-old college student. “We see the shabiha [Assad’s militiamen] in our dreams. They can come to our home any hour. I am sure they will send shabiha here in normal clothes and kill us in the night with silencers.”

But by and large the young men here appear galvanized and energetic. One, Bassem Ahmed Thayasoun, 21, showed his military identification card. “I decided I’d rather desert than come here and kill my own people,” he said.

Now he’s among a growing network of able-bodied men ferrying food and supplies, including blankets and medicine, from Turkey along rugged smuggling routes. After stocking up on supplies in Turkish border villages, they must quickly traverse a steep and rugged trail, scramble up rock walls and dodge passing Turkish security patrols before dashing across a military road and through an opening in the barbed-wire fence.

> Analysts are warning of threat of a civil war in Syria. Arguably it’s already begun.

> Furthermore, The Economist says that the Syrian government’s attempts to conceal the extent of the nationwide crackdown have “taken on an Orwellian quality“:

It is becoming harder for the government to sustain its version of events. A spokeswoman suggested last week that those fleeing were visiting relatives in Turkey. But as refugees flood over the border they tell a different story. Some soldiers, expecting to face armed gangs, say they have defected after meeting only unarmed protesters.

> Pakistan has arrested five people believed to have giving information to the CIA before the operation to assassinate Bin Laden. Oh, Pakistan. This is not helping.

The New York Times also said that at a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael Morell, the deputy CIA director, to rate Pakistan’s co-operation with the US on counterterrorism operations, on a scale of one to 10.

“Three,” Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange, the newspaper said.

However, US officials speaking to the newspaper cautioned that Morell’s comment was a snapshot of the current relationship and did not represent the Obama administration’s overall assessment.

“We have a strong relationship with our Pakistani counterparts and work through issues when they arise,” Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, told the publication.

“Director [Leon] Panetta had productive meetings last week in Islamabad. It’s a crucial partnership, and we will continue to work together in the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups who threaten our country and theirs.”

> The Gulf States are running out of patience on Yemen.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc of monarchies neighboring Yemen, has seen Saleh back out of deals it struck to ease him from office on three occasions.

One member, Qatar, pulled out of negotiations last month after a complete breakdown of its relations with Saleh.

> According to this study commissioned by the Koch brothers, if you live in New York, California, or really any other blue, highly-populated state, you are in fact living in bondage. Who knew?

I feel the authors’ pain. Once you have defined “freedom” according to a specific set of criteria it must be just a tad confounding to realize how many Americans live in a state of relative slavery. Note the snark: “Few residents of the Empire state” will be surprised at their lack of freedom. And yet: 19 million Americans still call themselves New Yorkers. Surely, this is a great bafflement.

> Scotland has pledged to transition to completely renewable energy by 2020 – and they’re using whisky to do it.

Helius Energy has announced the awarding of contracts to build a 7.2-megawatt, biomass-fueled electricity plant in Morayshire, Scotland. “The plant will condition and burn solid residues from malt whisky distilling and wood fuel,” according to a press release issued earlier this year by the company.

> If you are in Germany and have ever had the inclination to go hiking in the buff, rejoice!

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Written by whackanarwhal

June 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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