Monday, April 22, 2013

News Nuggets 1223

DAYLEE PICTURE: A Barn Owl in Norfolk, VA.  From National Geographic.

I Knew the Boston Bombers’ Mother: What She Told Me About 9/11, Islam, and Her Sons (Alyssa Lindley Kilzer) from the Daily Beast
"I got facials from Dzhokhar and Tamerlan’s mother for years—in the living room of the family’s home. And I became uncomfortable as I watched her religious zeal and offensive political views grow over time."

FBI Hunting 12-Strong Terrorist “Sleeper Cell” Linked to Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the Daily Mirror [of the UK]
"Police believe the pair were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack."
I would not take this story on face value (interesting as it is) -- the Mirror is not known as a bastion of great investigative journalism.

Top Conservatives Admit Boston Bombing Suspect Cannot Be Tried In Military Tribunal from Think Progress
" In a statement Graham released yesterday with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Rep. Pete King (R-NY), however, the four conservatives acknowledge that shunting Tsarnaev into a military commission is not a lawful opinion."
I have found these discussions deeply unsettling.  Here's the logic: Tsarnaev might be tried by a military tribunal -- because he is an "enemy combatant."  Really?  Which "enemy" is he serving, one might ask.  Chechen rebels?  Are we at "war" with them?  Not that I am aware of.  The Russians?  Sorry, Mitt Romney.  The answer there is "no." The evidence that these guys were Al Qaeda terrorists is nil.  The logic seems to be that they are "enemy combatants" in America's "War Against Terror"!  It has nothing to do with actual ties to real "enemies" or even with for-real terrorist groups.  Here's the math at work: Muslin + terrorist act = enemy combatant.  It really is that simple -- and that stupid.

Brothers in Marathon Bombings Took Two Paths into Infamy from the Boston Globe
"The two young brothers from Cambridge seemed to be on promising paths, one a scholarship student at college, the other fighting for a national title in amateur boxing. And then, apparently with little warning, they veered violently off track, deep into the darkness, setting off deadly bombs, authorities are convinced, at one of Boston’s most iconic and joyful events."
In case you've been missing it, the Boston Globe's coverage of the bombings and the manhunt has been EXCEPTIONAL!!

Another Cause for Alarm in Iran's Nuclear Program: Earthquakes (Jillian Keenan) from the Atlantic
"The country's nuclear power plant is built near tectonic plates, and reports show it may not be safe in the event of a major seismic event."

Keeping Taliban fighters in Guantanamo Hurts U.S. Interests (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"For an example of how the U.S. government can work at cross-purposes in dealing with terrorism, take a look at the failed effort to release Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. It shows how an incorrect analysis — that the Taliban and al-Qaeda pose the same threat — can lead to a cascade of bad policy that has undermined U.S. interests."
SOME PEOPLE have been saying this for many years.

Danes Rethink a Welfare State Ample to a Fault from the New York Times 
"COPENHAGEN — It began as a stunt intended to prove that hardship and poverty still existed in this small, wealthy country, but it backfired badly. Visit a single mother of two on welfare, a liberal member of Parliament goaded a skeptical political opponent, see for yourself how hard it is. It turned out, however, that life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother, given the pseudonym “Carina” in the news media, had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16."
I see here the creation of the Danish version of Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen."  Are the Danes paving the way for their own version of "austerity"?

Obama’s Second Term is Upending What We Think We Know About Washington (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post
",,,even if you can’t do a rigorous test of how best to govern, you can still experiment with different approaches. Right now, the Obama administration is running one of the most consequential tests in recent history. The early results will unnerve many who think they know how Washington works."

Made In The USA (Rana Foroohar and Bill Saporito) [subscription wall] from Time Magazine
"Manufacturing is Back -- But Where are the Jobs?"

Where the Recession Hit Us Hardest: An Interactive Map (Nicole Allan) from the Atlantic
"How different regions and industries have weathered the downturn—and the recovery."

Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity (Ken Stern) from the Atlantic
"The wealthiest Americans donate 1.3 percent of their income; the poorest, 3.2 percent. What's up with that? ... Last year, not one of the top 50 individual charitable gifts went to a social-service organization or to a charity that principally serves the poor and the dispossessed."

Questioning the Mission of College (Frank Bruni) from the New York Times 
"Do we want our marquee state universities to behave more like job-training centers, judged by the number of students they speed toward degrees, the percentage of those students who quickly land good-paying jobs and the thrift with which all of this is accomplished? In the service of that, are we willing to jeopardize some of the trailblazing research these schools have routinely done and the standards they’ve maintained?"

About the Obamacare ‘Train Wreck’ (Ezra Klein) from the Washington Post 
"Insofar as the Republican Party has a strategy on Obamacare, it’s goes like this: ... step one: Create problems for Obamacare. Step two: Blame Obamacare for the problems. Step 3: Political profit!"

Charts: Challenging the Myth That Guns Stop Crime (Josh Harkinson) from Mother Jones Magazine
"A new report from Violence Policy Center shoots even more holes in the argument that a well-armed society is a safer society."

Has Obama Turned a Generation of Voters Into Lifelong Democrats? The Prospects for a New Liberal Age (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
Answer: yes.
"There’s a saying that a young person who isn’t a liberal has no heart, and an old person who isn’t a conservative has no brain. Republicans may be tempted to take solace in the idea that young, liberal voters will sooner or later grow up, but they should resist that fantasy. Paul Ryan, it turns out, had it exactly backward: those Obama posters may fade, but partisan loyalties are durable."

Mars, Our First Outpost on the Final Frontier (James Fallows) form the Atlantic
"James Fallows talks with space entrepreneur Eric Anderson about the next wave of space exploration."

My Fair Mother (Luca Dotti) from Vanity Fair
"With Roman Holiday, which earned her the 1953 best-actress Oscar, Audrey Hepburn became not just a major Hollywood star but also a living icon for the Eternal City. Alongside intimate photographs from his new book, Audrey in Rome, Luca Dotti recalls his mother’s three-decade love affair with the Italian capital, while Laura Jacobs examines what the images reveal about her style."

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