Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Update

-- Send a healing thought to my friend Norma Zenteno and her family, please.

Along with her many musical talents, she has been a committed activist for her sister-in-law's effort to help the lost/abandoned/abused dogs in Houston's East End, an intractable problem that shows no signs of improving despite their (our) best efforts.

Here's a song Norma wrote about it.

Update, 8:45 p.m., Friday February 22: Rest in peace, Norma.

-- “I was very surprised that a senator, who has been in office for over 30 years, would address a grieving mother, who just lost her son exactly seven months prior — yesterday was the 20th, I lost my son on 7-20-2012 — to tell me that I needed ‘some straight talk.’

-- Obama trades some Benghazi data for a cabinet nominee approval, instead of a few drone memos. emptywheel, in first-person...

The other day, I explained that the Administration would be forced either to cede to Republican demands for Benghazi talking points and other truther demands or release a full accounting why and in which countries it has conducted targeted killing.

It decided to capitulate to the Benghazi truthers rather than tell the Intelligence Committee what kind of targeted killing it has been doing.


There must be some reason the Administration would rather kowtow to sensationalized requests from Republicans rather than commit to the transparency it’d take to get 2 Democrats and a Republican to vote for Brennan.

But no reason for doing so would be respectable.

I think I prefer the outrage as expressed by Charles Pierce.

Please tell me this is just mischievous disinformation from anonymous Republican congressional elves. Because, if it isn't, as a distillation of the administration's unique brand of neo-liberal suckitude, this one takes home the House Cup. (Sorry, Simpson and Bowles. You have to give it back now.) First, we have the ongoing charade of "transparency" as regards the president's assumed right to kill Americans anywhere in the world including, absent a clear statement from this administration, which has not been forthcoming, within the borders of the United States. Then we have the drone program itself, which is a constitutional abomination no matter how effective you presume it is. Then, we have another attempt to reach a kind of bipartisan consensus with the various vandals and predatory fauna in the other party. And then, last, as part of the attempt at bipartisan consensus, a deal is struck in which the president's hit list is kept in a vault while more fuel is fed into the Benghazi!, BENGHAZI!, BENGHAZI!!!!!!!111!!! infernal machine just as it was so sputtering to a halt that even John McCain was calling a cab to pick him up by the side of the road. I swear, if this deal goes through, Lindsey Graham is going to have a woody you could see from space.

There's a bit more there you should read. Oh hell, here it is.

This is what happens when you elect someone -- anyone -- to the presidency as that office is presently constituted. Of all the various Washington mystery cults, the one at that end of Pennsylvania Avenue is the most impenetrable. This is why the argument many liberals are making -- that the drone program is acceptable both morally and as a matter of practical politics because of the faith you have in the guy who happens to be presiding over it at the moment -- is criminally naive, intellectually empty, and as false as blue money to the future. The powers we have allowed to leach away from their constitutional points of origin into that office have created in the presidency a foul strain of outlawry that (worse) is now seen as the proper order of things. If that is the case, and I believe it is, then the very nature of the presidency of the United States at its core has become the vehicle for permanently unlawful behavior. Every four years, we elect a new criminal because that's become the precise job description.

See? it ain't just me.

-- The same number of people who thought Dick Cheney did a good job as V-P also oppose raising the federal minimum wage. They are very likely exactly the same people, but the polling doesn't tell us that.

-- A rural Mississippi newspaper publisher pushed back against the bigots upset for his running a front-page article on the community's first-ever gay wedding.

"We shouldn't have to defend every decision we make here at the Leader-Call," Jim Cegielski, the paper's owner, wrote in an editorial published on Saturday. "However, the intense reaction to our gay wedding front-page story, which led to a deluge of hate calls, letters, e-mails, Facebook posts, soundoffs and random cross stares thrown in my direction, warrants some sort of response. So here it is."

-- Are junk food manufacturers more evil than even the tobacco industry? That would appear to be 'yes'.

In “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”, previewed online now and adapted from his forthcoming book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Michael Moss delves deep into the long history of how snack food and beverage makers scheme with a mix of science, willful ignorance, and masterful marketing to sell mountains of their salty, sugary products.

“What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort—taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles—to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive,” writes Moss, adding that he talked with more than 300 current or former employees of the processed-food industry, “from scientists to marketers to C.E.O.’s.”

Among the high-blood-pressure inducing revelations in Moss’s 14-page online story, presented in a series of case studies...[...]

•Robert I-San Lin, chief scientist for Frito-Lay from 1974 to 1982, told Moss he tried in vain to get the company to make its products healthier during his tenure, and regrets how much time the company has spent trying to sell its snack foods to the public. "In his view," Moss wrote, "three decades had been lost, time that he and a lot of other smart scientists could have spent searching for ways to ease the addiction to salt, sugar and fat." He added, "I couldn’t do much about it. I feel so sorry for the public."

•Coca-Cola, under fire from anti-obesity campaigns and other health initiatives in the late ’90s, began aggressively marketing its sugary drink to poor, vulnerable areas, Moss writes, “like New Orleans — where people were drinking twice as much Coke as the national average — or Rome, Ga., where the per capita intake was nearly three Cokes a day.”

•Coke also targeted Brazil and its ultra-poor favelas, by repackaging the soft drink into smaller, more affordable bottles. On one trip to Brazil, Jeffrey Dunn, then-president and chief operating officer in both North and South America, had a realization, he told Moss. “A voice in my head says, ‘These people need a lot of things, but they don’t need a Coke.’ I almost threw up.” He tried steering the company in a more health-conscious direction, but was fired. In recent years, Dunn’s worked to market carrots as a snack. “I’m paying my karmic debt,” he explained.  

-- Will the border ever be secure enough for immigration hawks? Without moats and boiling oil, that would appear to be 'no'. (That one's for you, Greg.)

-- Finally, kudos to Joe Garagiola, retiring after all these years.

A friend of Yogi Berra since the two grew up in the same St. Louis neighborhood, he said he hadn't called his old pal about his decision.

''Yogi's moved into one of these assisted living and retirement communities,'' Garagiola said. 'I said, 'How's it going?' and he says, 'It's all right, but geez, they've got a lot of old people here.'''


Matt Bramanti said...

What should happen to a guy whose labor is worth $7.25 an hour, but not 20 percent more? Should he get $7.25 an hour or nothing?

PDiddie said...

Could you give an example of WTF you're talking about? Because whatever point you're trying to make is obtuse.