Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Newsweek Fumbles the Truth about Obama NASA Initiatives

by Nomad

They used to teach children that "reading is fundamental." In a democracy, for the voting public to keep informed, reading might be more than fundamental- it could be a matter of life or death. Naturally this assumes that an interested citizen can find accurate, honest writing by reporters actually bothering to check the facts. As any Fox News critic could tell you, repeating inaccurate statements lends a sense of authenticity to them.

Newsweek's "Chicken Little" cover story last week about asteroids and the (yawn) threat they pose to Earth. It has everything the editors of a magazine in decline might think is catchy. An opportunity for some nifty graphics, loads colorful prose, and with that recent Russian meteor, timeliness masking as relevance. And nothing collects random eyeballs like fear-mongering. 

It's not that it can't happen. It's not that extinction by falling sky-rock isn't possible. Ask the dinosaurs. (Actually you can't ask them, which just goes to show you.) But that story just been done unto death and even a real-life example in Russia can't breathe new life into the subject. (Witnesses to the actual asteroid's pass-over seemed discerningly calm. We are all lucky it didn't set off a pesky nuclear war.)

When it comes to rehashing subjects like this, the general rule of thumb is: a subject is pronounced DOA whenever Hollywood has made two films about it. A television film? and it becomes a joke at the office. 
Despite that, the story caught my attention. But halfway through the article I was stunned by one line.
"President Obama, canceling the shuttle and the manned mission to the moon and Mars, left open the possibility of one day landing on an asteroid."
That clause buried in the middle of the matter-of fact statement caught my eye. Any writer worth his/her mettle should have double-checked it instead of repeating the conventional- but wrong-wisdom. Any editor should have caught the mistake. Beside telling writers that it's "'I' before "C" except after "E," editors are supposed to check things. (And I am not referring to the failure to capitalize "moon.")

Monday, February 25, 2013

Inside Grover Norquist: The Jonas Savimbi Connection

by Nomad

The name, Grover Norquist, made a name for himself by crusading against taxes. Though he has never been elected to political office, his influence in the Republican party has made him a fixture in every election.

Yet, most people are unaware that the man has a long and colorful history in conservative circles. 

The Advocate of Bad ideas

Michael Grunwald of Time’s Swampland once called Grover Norquist “an idealistic advocate of bad ideas." His ideas, however, haven't always been confined to thoughts alone. When Norquist's principles led to action, the results, at least, for one African country led to the carnage of war and misery of the innocent.  

Most of us are familiar with his bad idea of “Taxpayer Protection Pledge" to oppose all tax increases and under all circumstances. We all know how he has bullied Republicans after they foolishly committed themselves to the poorly conceived notion.

However, there’s another less publicized bad idea hidden in Norquist’s background that has failed to get a lot of attention in the mainstream media. Actually, that’s a shame because his famous war against tax cuts represents a small part of the colorful Norquist biography. In this post, we will take a closer look at his Angolan connections. 

What sparked my interest was this remark. Norquist once told an interviewer: 
"During the eighties, l was very active with the Afghan resistance, and in Mozambique and Angola.” 
That intriguing remark, (confirmed by his own mother), is worth a closer look. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Two by Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich, awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1995 and 2006, is a cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Some News for Nomadic Politics Readers: Free App for Android!

I've been working on an Android app for Nomadic Politics for telephones and tablets. (The app looks like the picture on the left.)
Ok. I confess. I am still pretty green around the gills at Android but you are more than welcome to give it a try. To download the free app, go to: 
Android App for nomadic Politics

If you are unfamiliar with the process, after you download the apk file, you will  store the app in your download folder on your tablet/telephone and then use your Apk installer to finish up.

 It's not difficult. If I didn't have any problems, anyway. 

Alternatively, to simplify things even further, you can scan this QR code.  

Let me know what you think. Feedback is always welcome. I expect this will be NomadicPolitics App 1.0 

As always, thanks so much for all your support.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Between Texas and Nebraska: Two Cases of Sex Abuse and Justice Denied

by Nomad

Lone Star State Justice

I saw this news from deep in the heart of Texas about Stanley Marsh III of Amarillo, Texas. It's a pathetic story of the public disgrace of a millionaire and the warping of the justice system. 

Stanley Marsh III, an eccentric millionaire artist best known for his Cadillac Ranch art display along an interstate highway in the Texas Panhandle, has settled lawsuits from 10 teenagers who said he paid them for sex acts, lawyers for both sides announced Saturday.
Stanley Marsh 3
(Photo: AP Photo/
Michael Schumache, 
Amarillo Globe-News)
In 2011, Marsh suffered a massive stroke, which left him legally incapacitated. His wife, Gwendolyn, his family and legal team have rallied to his defense. 
If one didn't look too closely at the charges, the images of the besieged family might arouse some sympathy. 

There's no question that the once- flamboyant Marsh presently makes a pathetic figure, and certainly, it's not the kind of happy ending any family would wish for. 

His online supporters- and there will be some- would argue that what Marsh did was a comparatively minor crime. It wasn't, they'd say, rape, or sadistic murder or abuse. 
The so-called victims weren't actually children, they could say. And, worst of all, you might hear somebody say, it wasn't such a big deal. At least, the victims were rewarded. (I actually read similar things about female teachers who sexually abused their under-aged male students.)    

According to the lawsuits, Mr. Marsh is accused "of giving the teenagers cash, alcohol, drugs  [Viagra] and, in one case, two BMWs [he crashed the first one], to perform sex acts with him at his office. One of the teenagers said he had more than 100 sexual encounters with Mr. Marsh in his office and at his home in Amarillo."
Not quite as horrendous as the Sandusky case, but pretty dreadful nevertheless.

Monday, February 18, 2013

American Homelessness and the Issue of Entitlements

This poster makes a good point. Something is clearly wrong when you treat your enemy prisoners worse than your own citizens. When enemies are entitled to better conditions than your average homeless person, it's worth a closer look.

To add insult to injury, while prisoners of war (pardon, enemy combatants) had, at the very least, free medical care, a roof over their heads and warm meals, past studies have indicated that up to a third of all of adult homeless men were US veterans and as such are, without the protections guaranteed by the Geneva Convention. 

(One bright spot: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that the number of homeless ex-service men and women has declined by 7% in 2012- far better than the national rate. ) 

This informational poster, however, did its job. It got me thinking about the issue of homelessness and entitlements.

To Be Without a Home, Like a Complete Unknown
First of all, even before the worst effects of the recession rippled through the country, homelessness was a shame for the nation with aspirations of greatness. Back in 2009, it was estimated the number of homeless Americans at between 2.3 and 3.5 million.
Surprisingly (given the present state of the economy) the rate of homelessness actually decreased from 2009 to 2012. (A one-percent drop isn't much for a superpower to brag about, of course.) There is a good reason for this modest decrease in the number of people living on the street or in community shelters. Blame Obama's Big Government boogeyman.
I'll explain in a moment.

But, even with that tiny glimmer of hope, that statistical decrease is misleading. The number of individuals in homeless families might have decreased by 1 percent nationally, but the numbers actually increased by 20 percent or more in 11 states. Altogether the rates increased in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Book Review of "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President"

by Nomad

The presidency of James Garfield is one of those chapters of American history that historians just tend to overlook. It's no surprise. It lasted only about seven months before ending with a ghastly assassination. And even that sensational aspect gets little attention, compared to the murders of Lincoln or Kennedy. 
Yet, as I soon discovered, it is a tale worth telling.

Historian Candice Millard takes up that challenge in her book, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, which deals with this national tragedy, exploring both the colorful players and the events that led up to the murder and its dreadful aftermath.

How James Garfield got to be president at all is quite an extraordinary story in itself. In a search for a suitable nominee, the 1880 Republican convention in Chicago had become hopelessly deadlocked. The Stalwarts, a rebellious faction within the Republican party (much like the Tea Party conservatives of today) refused to budge. Their candidate of choice was Ulysses S. Grant who had already served two two terms as the eighteenth President of the United States (1869–1877).

Many at the convention thought two terms were quite enough for president Grant. During his administration, there were financial corruption charges or scandals in all federal departments; eleven scandals altogether One author, C. Vann Woodward in his article, The Lowest Ebb, observes (rather understatedly) that Grant had "difficulty in spotting corrupt individuals." 
In the eyes of corrupt individuals, Grant's blindness made him a perfect candidate to run for an unprecedented third term.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Conservative Victory Fund Project: Has Karl Rove's SuperPAC Declared War on Tea Party Nuttery?

by Nomad

Recently Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group officially fired the first shot in the battle for the soul (such as it is) of the Republican party when he announced the creation of a new super-PAC, the Conservative Victory Fund Project.  
Rove, Karl Conservative Victory Fund ProjectThe mission of the SuperPAC is 
"to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.”
Take that, Tea Party Express.
According to the New York Times:
The group, the Conservative Victory Project,[CVF] is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.
As Insane as it might sound, it appears that the Rove Republicans are now playing the role of the old guard of the Republican Party. And apparently, the defenders of the empire have had enough of the Tea Party rebels. After all that wooing and courting, and skillful manipulation of least intelligent and most rabid right wing voters in ;last two election cycles, the GOP has finally come to the conclusion (a bit late) that maybe stitching together this pouty, disobedient Frankenstein was not such a bright idea after all. 
We, on the sidelines, stuffing popcorn in our greasy-lipped mouths, have seen this coming, of course. Look at how they treated Tea Party queen Sarah Palin at the Republican Convention in Florida last year. It was "Sarah who?" For the GOP, Sarah became their own  political form of  "Fatal Attraction." She was the drunken tryst in the backseat of the Republican Oldsmobile nobody wants to remember.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Musical Sanity Break- Two by Urna Chahar-Tugchi

Here's something very different to inspire your spirit. Call a little restoration therapy.
The singer feature here is Urna Chahar Tugchi, known as Urna, and she is from the grasslands of the Ordos Plateau in Inner Mongolia. Of course I have no idea what she is singing about but the control she has over her voice  and her range are extraordinary, I think.

I hope you enjoyed the music as much as I did sharing it with you. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

New Mexico House Bill 206: When Abortion after Rape or Incest is Tampering with Evidence

New Mexico Cathrynn N. Brownby Nomad

Looks like one legislator in New Mexico got caught trying to pull a fast one on voters when it comes to abortion. 
Draft legislation in the New Mexico State Congress would  have made the bodies of every woman pregnant from rape or incest a crime scene. According to House Bill 206, any woman attempting to terminate the pregnancy would be charged with the third-degree felony of “tampering with evidence.”

The bill would have made a crime of “procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.” 

When news of the bill made headlines, the embarrassed sponsor of the bill found herself in the middle of a political storm.

Furious Backpedaling in Santa Fe
When details of the bill were made public, Republican Rep. Cathrynn N. Brown of Carlsbad, the sponsor of the bill, told reporters that:
“House Bill 206 was never intended to punish or criminalize rape victims. Its intent is solely to deter rape and cases of incest. The rapist — not the victim — would be charged with tampering of evidence.”
(Brown fails to mention that the original version of her draft did not include any provision that victims could not be charged. That addition and revision apparently came after the public outcry. To see the original version, click here: )
In the face of a public backlash, Brown was forced to add important clarifications ( From “ Whoever commits tampering with evidence shall be punished as follows:...” suddenly became “In no circumstance shall the mother of the fetus be charged.”)
But, since the bill doesn't define "procuring or facilitating"or "compelling or coercing" a 
careful re-reading also shows that anybody who encourages a woman to get an abortion after these crimes could be charged. Perpetrators of rape and incest are not exclusively specified.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Misplaced Priorities in Indiana: Bambi-Gate, Canned Hunting and the Zombie Deer Plague

Bambi-Gate in Indianaby Nomad

Here's a story by Mike Adams from that provides some insight on perhaps why so many people hate so-called Big Government.
An Indiana couple saved a wounded baby deer and nursed it back to life, saving its life and giving it a home. They named it "Little Orphan Dani." When Indiana state officials got word of this courageous act of compassion, they ordered the deer euthanized. (Because government wants to kill everything you love.)
When the deer "escaped" right before it was schedule to be killed -- and yes, I think the couple probably set it free rather than have it killed -- the man and woman were charged with unlawful possession of a deer. 
They now face $2,000 in fines and 60 days in jail.
For more details about Bambi-gate, you can go to the ABC news story. Imagine being in jail and explaining to all the hardened convicts that you are behind bars for nursing a baby deer back to health.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Here's Something I Bet You Don't Know about Rush Limbaugh

The Two Rush Limbaughs: Corruption of a Good Name

by Nomad

Shaking the Limbaugh family tree and something amazing falls out.

Here's a story to brighten your mood a little. The satirical news site, The Daily Currant, has this hoax-story about Rush Limbaugh was denied service in a Mexican restaurant (due to his history of racial slurs against minorities) and was asked to leave the premises. In the fictional story, Rush lost his cool.
According to the story, Limbaugh bellowed to the owner how..
"My ancestors built this country while yours were sacrificing 10-year-olds to the Aztec gods. This isn't your country. It's our country. You're a guest here in America..."
Unfortunately, although it might sound plausible, the event never actually took place. Yet, there's always hope that somebody will have to courage to confront this man in such a way.

The Other Rush
Still it did get me curious about the Limbaugh family history. It was interesting to see how little in common Rush Limbaugh III has with his more honorable origins.

Rush Limbaugh, Sr., Limbaugh's grandfather and namesake, served on the Missouri Commission for Human Rights (MCHR) back in the late 1950s. The Commission was established in 1957, but was originally meant to gather information about discrimination and publish a report and recommendations after a two-year period and it is still in operation. (Last year, the commission investigated and closed nearly 1500 cases of employment discrimination in Missouri.)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

NRA's Enemies List: Everybody's in the Cross-Hairs

Wayne LaPierre Gun Control NRA by Nomad

This unintentionally amusing news story in TruthDig caught my attention.

The NRA Has an Enemies List and It’s Really Long

The NRA seems to have become an organization that has lately done all within its power to destroy whatever legitimacy it once had. 

Case in point. On its website, the NRA has posted a list of its enemies. who "“have lent monetary, grassroots or some other type of direct support to anti-gun organizations” and “have officially endorsed anti-gun positions.” 
An enemies list? Really? When Watergate was an evolving crisis in the Nixon administration, the president tried to use the same thing and it backfired then too. When the list was leaked, most people took it as a sign of the president's growing paranoia. 

Lots of groups publish such lists (ok, some do) in an effort to rally their supporters to mobilize.  The kind of people we're up against, that sort of thing.  Us and them. 
However, such a tactic is risky. Whenever powerful groups target individuals solely for their political positions, the fall-out can be unpredictable.  Nobody told the NRA. The problem  in this case  is that the kind of people the NRA is up against includes.. well, nearly everybody. (Click HERE to see the full list.)