Wisconsin Republicans get their jollies with birther jokes

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson’s campaign says his son apologizes for suggesting voters in the fall election should send President Barack Obama back to Kenya.

Jason Thompson, the son of the former Wisconsin governor, was caught on camera Sunday making those remarks duing a brunch hosted by the Kenosha County Republican Party.

“We have the opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago — or Kenya,” said Jason Thompson, an attorney at a large Milwaukee law firm.

The comment drew laughs from the crowd, with one woman jokingly adding, “We are taking donations for that Kenya trip.”

The video was taken by a Democratic Party operative and posted at BuzzFeed Politics on Sunday…

Jason Thompson, 38, has been involved in his father’s efforts to win a Senate seat and has represented the candidate at some events…

Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin is running against Thompson. Her campaign’s spokesman, John Kraus, said Monday that the Thompson campaign is becoming increasingly desperate and dishonest.

The candidate himself “has not apologized for these comments, nor has he disavowed them,” Kraus wrote. “Thompson needs to start taking responsibility for what his campaign says and does.”

Style overcomes substance in every aspect of this presidential campaign. Nothing whatsoever new about a Republican surrogate – or some other flunky – adding to the stream of racist innuendo characteristic of that Party.

Just the usual jovial country club get-together and passing around jokes about those other people.

US Navy has one of those expensive “Oops!” moments

Photos and video from submarine-cruiser collision off Florida coast

Click on photo to enlargeUS Navy photo by MC2 Mike DiMestico

USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) runs on the surface Sunday, Oct. 14, a day after being hit while submerged by the cruiser SAN JACINTO. The upper vertical rudder normally visible right aft is missing.

Click on photo to enlargeUS Navy photo by MC2 Mike DiMestico

The cruiser SAN JACINTO underway off the northeast Florida coast on Oct. 14, a day after colliding with the submerged submarine MONTPELIER. No visible damage above the waterline. The damaged sonar dome is at the foot of the ship’s bow.

Photos of the two ships involved in Saturday’s collision off the northeast Florida coast were taken and released Oct. 14 by the U. S. Navy. Neither of the ships, the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) and the Aegis cruiser USS SAN JACINTO (CG 56), show any topside effects, but both ships have been damaged…

The incident is currently under investigation.

Both the submarine and the ship were conducting routine training at the time of the accident.

Like I said: Oops!

Asia gets along easier with a Chinese giant than a Paper Tiger

Preparing for a recent trip to Indonesia last week, I came across an article by Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, the editor of the feisty Indonesian daily Jakarta Post, protesting that the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia seemed too much like an attempt to start a cold war against China, with the help of its neighbors.

America’s “economic intentions and wherewithal” in Asia should be doubted as much as its attempts to contain China, the Jakarta Post argued. The U.S. was insincerely using the rhetoric of democratic values to advance its business interests in such new Asian economies as Mongolia…

In any case, Suryodiningrat said, “Southeast Asia has dealt with the powerful Middle Kingdom since the pre-Majapahit era, and it has always found a way to persevere without submission.”

Such sentiments are not untypical in much Asian commentary on the U.S. reassertion of its role in the Pacific. They sound romantic, even chauvinistic, in their evocation of a pre-modern Asia unsullied by Western realpolitik.

Still, similarly narrow-minded is the Western view in which China, bullying its neighbors and forcing them to seek U.S. assistance, is far from becoming a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system.

In some extreme versions of Western Sinophobia, China is always plotting, while talking up its “peaceful rise,” to take over the world — a conspiracy insidiously advanced, if we are to believe the U.S. Congress, by such global Chinese companies- cum-Trojan-horses as Huawei.

Such scenarios omit the fact that, unlike Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the U.S., among other erstwhile “rising” powers, China has virtually no record of military interventions in far-off countries.

You could practically end this piece right there. A significant and qualitative truth about American foreign policy and other participants in imperialism as a way of foreign economic life. Find an asset-rich country that declares itself unwilling to be subservient to Wall Street and Washington, DC – and you just discovered the latest aggressor and threat to peace, democracy and the American way of life.

And death – delivered by the latest technology.

Continue reading

Christian homophobes organize boycott of anti-bullying program

On Mix It Up at Lunch Day, schoolchildren around the country are encouraged to hang out with someone they normally might not speak to.

The program, started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center and now in more than 2,500 schools, was intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying.

But this year, the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, has called the project “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools” and is urging parents to keep their children home from school on Oct. 30, the day most of the schools plan to participate this year…

Kind of warms the cockles of your heart to hear these so-called Christians would rather aid bullies by doing nothing than to welcome gay students who have been bullied. Doesn’t sound very Christian to me. Or does it?

“I was surprised that they completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which organizes the program. “It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic.”

The swirl around Mix It Up at Lunch Day reflects a deeper battle between the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights group founded 41 years ago in Montgomery, Ala., and the American Family Association, a Bible-based cultural watchdog organization in Tupelo, Miss. The association says its mission is to fight what it calls the “increasing ungodliness” in America.

The program is not about sexual orientation but rather about breaking up social cliques, which are especially evident in a school cafeteria, Ms. Costello said.

In some schools, cliques are socioeconomic. In others they are ethnic or religious or based on sexual orientation. By giving students a way to mix with other students, self-imposed social barriers can be broken down and bullying can be curbed, she said.

“Many of the targets of bullying are kids who are either gay or are perceived as gay,” she said…But the idea that the program is intended as homosexual indoctrination is simply wrong, Ms. Costello added…

This is not especially different from the lunatic fringe of professional Christians who used their “holiness” to protest previous civil rights-based issues. The same sort of nutballs who claimed civil rights assemblies were brainwashing white students into being race-mixing subversives – or equal rights for women would have their wannabe Dollywood daughters burning their training bras.

New $100 bills stolen before they’re allowed into circulation

The FBI is reporting an unusual heist of some newly designed $100 bills that aren’t going into circulation until next year.

Agent Frank Burton Jr. says the cash was stolen from a plane that arrived at Philadelphia International Airport around 10:25 a.m. Thursday from Dallas.

Investigators said these Benjamins are easy to spot. The new bills have sophisticated elements to thwart counterfeiters, like a disappearing Liberty Bell in an orange inkwell and a bright blue security ribbon…

The theft was reported by a courier service transporting the C-notes when the shipment arrived Thursday afternoon at the Federal Reserve Building in East Rutherford, N.J. Officials then discovered some of the money was missing.

The coppers ain’t saying how much money was stolen. Now that the word is out, I presume the thieves won’t try to spend any of it until it’s legally in circulation. Of course, they could sell samples to counterfeiters who might want to buy a head start.

Poisonally, I’d rather counterfeit something more attractive – if that was my trade. The United States keeps coming up with the ugliest currency in the world.

Pic of the Day

Click photo to enlarge

Photograph by Oliver Klink

This Month in Photo of the Day: Images From the 2008 International Photo Contest

Grizzly cubs are unpredictable. At one moment they look at you with their intrigued eyes, and suddenly run away scared by unknown behavior. These two seven-Month-old cubs thought that holding hands would make the danger disappear.

Thanks, Ursarodinia