Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

All The News: Mid-Week Updates

Pat Toomey confirms it: Obama is right about GOP

Wapo; Greg Sargent

Having a Republican on record confirming this is useful. As Steve Benen notes, it makes all the suggestions that Obama needs to “lead” and “twist arms” look pretty silly. Indeed, Toomey’s concession is particularly relevant to the ongoing debate over Obama’s remarks at his presser yesterday. Here’s the bit that has all of the Green Lanternites out there slapping their knees and laughing uproariously:

   “I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions…It’s tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that. And we’re going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what’s going to be best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”

But is this materially different from what Toomey said about his own party? No, it isn’t.

Just a reminder:  The GOP in general and in specificity cannot stand to do one single thing that might possible make Obama look good.  

BYU, Utah researchers find genetic cause for migraines

By Emma Penrod, Deseret News

After suffering intense migraines for years as a child, Emily Bates decided in high school that she would dedicate herself to searching for the cause of her illness.

K. C. Brennan has long sought the same thing, hoping to find a medication that might finally help ailing patients afflicted by the mysterious disorder.

Today, both are one step closer to their goal.

Bates, a BYU professor, and Brennan, an assistant professor at the University of Utah, are two of the three lead researchers who found a genetic cause for migraines. The team identified two families with similar genetic mutations that resulted in migraines and, after testing the mutated gene in mice, established a link that could nudge research toward effective medications for migraines, which afflict about 12 percent of Americans.

This may have been included in a fp post, however, I could not resist sharing such a rational story from Deseret News.  It is such a rare opportunity.

Nature deficit disorder in nature

Emily Willingham’s Blog

Edward Abbey wrote in Desert Solitaire that Delicate Arch has “the power of the odd and unexpected to startle the senses and surprise the mind out of their ruts of habit.” I can only imagine how startled Abbey’s senses would have been if he’d seen the teenaged boy on a sunset visit who dropped his pants, urinated on the arch, and hollered, “Look, I’m making a waterfall!” None of the shocked onlookers threatened to strap him to a spire on the Primitive Loop for his behavior, but they probably should have.

We make tracks for places like Arches National Park to get away from people and into nature. The reasons underlying our need for escape range from the obvious (noisy, crowded cities) to the subtle (we are part of nature, too). The wilderness draws us to solitude, even though we are naturally social animals. But what I don’t understand are the people who get into the wilderness and then proceed to act like socially dysfunctional jackasses. And I still haven’t figured out exactly how to deal with them.

We’ve all seen them. They ignore the signs, feed the animals, urinate on arches. They sleep through backcountry orientation or think they’re above the rules. It makes me want to whap ’em upside the head with an organic carrot. Or at least force them to listen to a lengthy diatribe about the consequences of their behavior. We can’t beat them with carrots, so lecture is our best alternative.

I usually try “Honey, stay on the trail, it’s not safe for you to be over there.”  

Fodder for the Front: German Jihadists on Syria’s Battlefields

Der Spiegel; Kurt Pelda

A young man in his mid-twenties with a stubbly beard is driving a delivery van through the rubble-strewn streets of the northern Syrian town of Azaz. He speaks excellent German and calls himself Yousuf. The man in the passenger seat is around the same age and also sports a beard. He won’t even reveal his first name, but he also speaks nearly perfect German.

“After we go back home, we don’t want any problems with Germany’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies,” says Yousuf. This also explains why the two men refuse to divulge what city in Germany they come from. “Before we entered Syria, the Turks had already put our passport information into their system,” he adds. “They know exactly who we are. If they pass that on to the Germans, we’re sunk, even though we’re just here on a humanitarian mission.”

A humanitarian mission? That’s the euphemism foreign jihadists use when they try to explain their presence in Syria.

There are reportedly a few hundred Muslims from Western countries who are fighting alongside the rebels to topple Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. It’s a relatively small number compared to the perhaps 100,000 insurgents in the country.

2013 Readers’ Choice Awards on Parenting Special Needs; Terri Mauro

The Readers’ Choice Awards give us an annual opportunity to celebrate the special-needs resources that inform us, support us, inspire us, give us a laugh when we need it, and otherwise contribute to our ability to parent our kids with special needs and help our children shine. This year, there were close races in nearly every category. Join me in celebrating the winners, the runners-up, and the finalists you picked as the Readers’ Choice.

Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog

“Not Alone”Logo courtesy of Not Alone


Not Alone (33%)


Mealtime Hostage (29%)

Thomas Marshall Does It All (29%)

Other Finalists

Lessons from Matthew and Isaac

Big Blueberry Eyes.

For those of you who may know a special-needs child or their parent:  Remember, we are not alone.  

How One Family Built America’s Public Palaces

NPR; Susan Stamberg

A Washington, D.C., museum wants you to spend some time looking up – to see soaring, vaulted tile ceilings built by a father-son team who left their mark on some of America’s most important public spaces.

These ceilings grace landmarks that include state capitols, Grand Central Terminal and Carnegie Hall – as well as some more ordinary buildings. One of them is Engine No. 3, a small brick firehouse not far from the U.S. Capitol – where, yes, they still slide down one of those shiny brass poles. It’s one of the oldest fire stations in the District of Columbia.

Built in 1916, the firehouse has bright red doors, gleaming trucks and a narrow, gently arched ceiling over the entryway. The underside of the arch is lined with white tiles arranged in a ziggy-zaggy herringbone pattern.

Firefighter Andre Burns is less than impressed. But that little entryway ceiling has some distinctive touches – the tiles, the pattern – that are being noticed with no little respect at the nearby National Building Museum.

Police stage crackdown on May Day protesters in Istanbul

Hürriyet Daily News; Özgür Korkmaz

Police began battling with crowds early in the morning today with water and tear gas in a bid to keep groups that included trade unionists, as well as members of political parties and other groups, away from Taksim Square due to a ban there on May Day demonstrations.

Thousands of Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) workers and their supporters gathered early today in Şişli to march to the iconic square. However, police started a crackdown against the group, which also included members of socialist groups, anarchists and supporters of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) after a final warning was issued in Istanbul’s central Şişli district.

For the last two years Labor Day celebrations were no longer a source of political tension in Turkey. It was Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AK Parti) government which declared May Day a National holiday for labor…

At least three demonstrators and a reporter were injured during the crackdown and hospitalized. Demonstrators refused to back down, regathering just after police intervened and turning the back alleys of Şişli into small war zones.

Zero emissions power is possible, and we know what it will cost

The Conversation; Roger Dargaville

To avoid 2 degrees of climate change, global carbon emissions will need to be reduced by at least 50% by 2050. For developed countries such as Australia with higher carbon emissions this will mean cuts closer to 80%: it essentially implies decarbonising the stationary energy sector in Australia. Several studies have now tackled the question of how to achieve this, and despite different approaches and different assumptions they’ve come up with rather similar results.

The cost of changing

Current wholesale electrical energy costs are around $60 per megawatt hour (MWh).

Previous studies from Beyond Zero Emissions and the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at UNSW report a range of between $100 and $173/MWh, depending on a range of technology-cost assumptions.

This week the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released their 100% Renewables Report, costing the system at between $111 and $133/MWh across four scenarios with different timelines and cost projections.

Each of the above studies has its own drawbacks and none can claim to be all-inclusive, but they all cost their 100% renewable systems at between $100 and $170/MWh. Current wholesale prices are around $60/MWh so this represents an increase of between $40 and $110/MWh.

China’s new envoy warns US against meddling on Diaoyus

South China Morning Post; Teddy Ng

China’s new ambassador to the US has warned Washington not to “drop a stone on its feet” by meddling in a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.

In his first direct remarks on the territorial dispute since his appointment last month, Cui Tiankai also said China was alert to a “negative trend” of right-wing intentions in Japanese politics, and denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wearing of a camouflage uniform at a weekend exhibition as a political stunt.

Analysts said the tough rhetoric was in line with the new Chinese leadership’s increasing assertiveness in diplomatic affairs.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Monday that the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, were under Japanese administration and fell under a US-Japanese security treaty.

But Dad (whine whine) it’s not Jimmy’s turnnnnnn . . . .

Rhino poaching figures still on the rise

SAPA via Mail & Guardian

Spokesperson Albi Modise said in a statement on Tuesday that the Kruger National Park bore the brunt of poaching.

Modise said three alleged poachers were arrested in the Tshokwane section of the park last week after a black rhino was killed. One of the men died in a local hospital after he was wounded in a shoot-out with park rangers.

The rhino horns, as well as a .458 hunting rifle with a silencer, ammunition, and poaching equipment were confiscated from the men.

Last Tuesday an alleged poacher was shot dead by rangers near the Langtoon dam in the park during a shoot-out. Two guns, ammunition, and poaching equipment were recovered.

Poaching needs some severe disincentive.  And rape.  Also.  

Sarabjit Singh dies in Lahore hospital, India asks Pak to punish his attackers

PTI via Hindustan Times

Officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad said they had been informed by officials of Jinnah Hospital about Sarabjit’s death.

Sarabjit sustained severe injuries when at least six prisoners attacked him in a barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday, hitting him on the head with bricks.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed sadness over Sarabjit’s death, saying criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on the Indian national must be brought to justice.

Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

crossposted from teh orange.


  1. princesspat

    Guns and Political Suicide

    Does Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff, have the right to complain that Heidi Heitkamp, the first-year Democratic Senator from North Dakota, refused to commit political suicide after taking his $2,500 contribution?


    For Daley, whose family ran Chicago for decades, what Heitkamp, Begich, Pryor and Baucus did was unforgivable. Writing a few days after the vote in the Washington Post, Daley laid down the gauntlet:

    “I have had a long career in government and politics, but I don’t donate heavily to political campaigns. When I contribute, it’s because I know the candidate well or am really impressed with the person. Heidi Heitkamp was one of the latter: She struck me as strong-willed, principled and an independent thinker.

    But this week, Heitkamp betrayed those hopes.”

    Challenging the NRA is not risk free, but by doing so the power of special interests to control congress will change. Edsall’s analysis is interesting.  

  2. In a vote yesterday, the Wisconsin State Assembly gave a big wet kiss to national Republicans who are convinced that all our problems are caused by poor people gaming the system:

    MADISON – A Wisconsin Assembly committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would limit the amount of food stamp benefits that could be spent on junk food.

    Republican Rep. Dean Kaufert, of Neenah, amended his original bill to require people enrolled in the state nutrition assistance program, known as FoodShare or food stamps, to spend at least two-thirds of their monthly benefits on items such as milk, bread and vegetables. They could spend their remaining benefits on any authorized food.

    Kaufert told members of the State Affairs Committee he often heard complaints that food stamp users were buying large volumes of chips and soda. He said he simply wants people to use their benefits to eat healthier.

    Liar. Republicans do not care about the nutrition of poor people.

    The original version of the proposal didn’t specify an amount to be spent on non-junk foods. The committee had delayed the vote after representatives from food companies, grocery stores and food banks told Wisconsin lawmakers that restrictions would shame recipients and burden businesses with enforcement.[…]

    Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, a Milwaukee Democrat, called the proposal “press release politics” that would divide Wisconsinites. She said half of food stamp recipients in Wisconsin are only in the program for about a year.

    I wish we could find a way to shame teaparty racist Republicans who are trying to score points this way.

  3. Rep. Peters Announces Michigan Senate Run

    Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) announced that he will run for the Senate in 2014, a widely expected move that gives Democrats a strong candidate in the race to fill retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat, the Washington Post reported.

    We are defending more seats in 2014 than the Republicans are. Lots of the folks running would have been elected in the 2008 wave election on Barack Obama’s coattails.

  4. O’Malley Signs Death Penalty Repeal

    Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed a bill Thursday repealing the state’s death penalty, CNN reported. The legislation, a top priority for O’Malley, will take effect on Oct. 1.

    “Maryland has effectively eliminated a policy that is proven not to work. Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

    The article mentioned that O’Malley is a “top 2016 presidential contender”. I did not realize that.

  5. Poll: Americans More Concerned About Trading Liberties For Tough Anti-Terror Laws

    61 percent of Americans said “they are more concerned about the government enacting new anti-terrorism policies that restrict civil liberties compared to 31 percent who say they are more concerned about the government failing to enact strong new anti-terrorism policies,” according to the poll.

    When George W. Bush was president, people scared spitless because of terrorism had little interest in civil liberties. The PATRIOT Act, stripping the rights of Americans, passed the U.S. Senate 99 to 1. In 2004, a Gallup Poll showed “only one-quarter of Americans (26%) believe the Patriot Act goes too far in restricting people’s civil liberties in order to fight terrorism.”

    Hmmm. I wonder what has changed about “government” in that time frame.  

  6. Jeff Merkley Escalates Push For Filibuster Reform

    The Senate’s leading supporter of filibuster reform is back at it, declaring in an email to supporters late Wednesday that the modest rules changes enacted this January has “failed” and that real reform is urgently needed.

    Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is teaming up with the liberal advocacy group Democracy For America to build public awareness of filibuster abuse and court supporters for reform.

  7. princesspat

    Is President Obama a leader?

    The argument many of us make about this is the one President Obama made…its time to hold the Republicans accountable! But I think its just as important that we stand back for a minute and ask what it is people mean by “leadership.”


    Its only natural that when people are so used to the power of dominance that they would dismiss the reality of the power of partnership. Its why we so often hear Obama criticized as weak and naive.

    But history tells us that all of the battles won by the left in this country have been based on a partnership model of power…enough people finally spoke up in ways that couldn’t be ignored. We see that in the battle for civil rights, unions, women’s suffrage, anti-war, etc.

    I think its time the left in this country began to recognize that feeding in to the power of dominance is not conducive to our concerns and is an abdication of democracy at its roots. In other words, its time we took Obama up on his offer to lead by partnership with us. As he said so often in the campaign…”we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for.”

    I’m probably quoting to much, but this paragraph is worth remembering….

    I would posit though, that Barack Obama is the first modern day president who is attempting to utilize the power of partnership. More commonly its been civil rights, labor, anti-war movement leaders who’ve embraced that kind of leadership to bring pressure from outside the system. That’s why this quote from Michelle Obama about what her husband is doing has always fascinated me.

    “Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He’s a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change.”

    In other words, he’s exploring the possibility of the power of partnership to make change from inside the system…that’s his way of providing leadership.

  8. Reports differ on whether it was a refueling plane or cargo.

    A U.S. military cargo plane crashed Friday near the border of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, according to Pentagon and Central Command officials.

    It was not immediately clear how many people were on board.

    Reuters quoted an official from Kyrgyzstan’s Emergencies Ministry as saying the aircraft had “caught fire in the air and crashed.”

    This on top of the crash Monday of a 747 contract cargo plane crashing on take-off in Afghanistan. There is video at this link, which I will not be able to watch.

    The 747 is bigger than a military C-17, but isn’t configured for as much cargo capacity. Also the C-17 can use shorter runways, and has pretty much unlimited range due to in-flight refueling ability. 747 as owned by private companies cannot be refueled in flight. They have to have ALL the fuel they need on board at take-off, which is another thing that reduces their potential cargo capacity. The extra weight can also cause problems on take-off, in particular with shorter runways.

    At this point it isn’t clear the cause of the Afghanistan crash. Taliban claimed “credit” but it isn’t verified.  

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