Israel Strike On Gaza Shelter Kills And Injures Women And Children

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The Importance of Being Earnest, and Honestly, a Little Feisty

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It's rather refreshing to have a Press Secretary at the podium who has a bit of vinegar in his delivery. That touch of acid we all crave.

Meet relative newcomer, and at what a quiet time in world affairs, new 1600 Pennsylvania Main Face: Josh Earnest. Flippant Oscar Wilde tie-ins aside, it truly is a dramatic turn of events. Domestically. In a good way.

Now you're listening.

AttaBoy

The West Wing personnel department might had been catching up on Scandal and went "Man, we have to really up our game around the real deal," or just relaxed a bit as it eases on to the final, two year stretch.

It will certainly be more interesting, and we all want interesting. Less Tea Party, more interesting.

Within the #OhButWeKid category of media-watching perspective is also no small amount of awe that the Obama team let a bit of a bulldog out to man a pretty public desk. A Press Secretary with teeth, topics get fleshed out when the pearly whites are flashing … always a plus for discussion.

In any case, it makes for fine embed video. This bit courtesy of Morning Joe Schmoe, and so you also get the Full Pith of the Panel. 'pologies.

You can tell by the sub-titles these days how the production team is going after the differing viewership over the course of their day. "Caught?" The actual Question and Answer are transcribed below.

Q: One other question on a different subject. The Washington Post report this weekend about the information available to the administration about the border and expectations of a surge at the border. Can you comment on whether the administration was advised, and then overlooked or disregarded the information that was available to DHS and the White House?

MR. EARNEST: Well, Alexis, I’d first point out that you’re asking about a story that’s based entirely on anonymous sources. So that should be reflected in the record. The second is, if you do take a look at what this administration’s response has been not just in the last couple of months, but over the last few years, you’ve seen that this administration has repeatedly sought additional resources to deal with this specific problem at the border. That if you look at the trajectory of the budget from Fiscal Year 2011 to the 2012 to 2013 to 2014, that there has been a steady increase in the amount of resources requested to deal with this precise problem. That is a pretty good indication that this is something that we’ve been watching carefully and preparing for.

What also happens to be true is that there are a number of steps that were taken by this administration in the months before, or at least in the weeks before this became the media sensation that it has been over the last several weeks, that there were repeated visits by the Secretary of Homeland Security to the border and to facilities that were used and have been used to detain unaccompanied minors.

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There were steps taken by the President to direct the FEMA Administrator to coordinate the activities of DHS and the Department of Defense, and Health and Human Services, to coordinate the response for detaining these children and these families in a humanitarian way.

So this is something that the administration has been focused on for quite some time. And we have seen, as I mentioned at the top of the briefing, the tide at least start to turn over the last couple of weeks. But we’re not going to turn our attention away from that; in fact, the President is having a meeting on this today, because he believes that this is the kind of significant problem that merits sustained attention.

Everyone's an editorialist.

NOWAY

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Nancy Of the Neighborhood, the Pelosi Political Girlhood in Baltimore

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Thomas Roberts had a in-depth and finely-accessed interview with former [and furure] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in all kinds of forms, Tuesday.

Here are just a couple. With a documentarian for a daughter, and being 'on camera' for so much of her modern life, Pelosi may be loosening up on the cam cam confessional moments. And she hit Colbert in the NYC also. Too.

Those unguarded glimpses are rare, like the elusive and/or mythical palimpsest, hidden text, of medieval and magical manuscript repute … and they offer one quite a different angle on the woman who reached the highest seat in the American political system yet via her Speaker Chair.

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One down, two to go.

Roberts started his footage reveal on Way Too Early, we've already established that I adore Thomas, but Mika rubs me the wrong way five days a week. Then on to MJ.

At the end of the media experience, back at the Morning Joe Schmoe (blessedly absent) table, Roberts in real time in the 7:30 a.m. block asked Rep. Pelosi a phenomenal question about the problems at The Borders, in the wake of the news that Rick Perry is sending in the National Guard, Yee Haw, down in Texass.

Halperin pitched the political softballs. P-pew p-pew. Methinks the Speaker also too played softball in high school. In Baltimore.

The video footage that shows her softer side, walking around the old Charm City neighborhoods, are very illuminating. To think of Pelosi as one of those white be-gloved, fifties, early Mad Men Era 'political daughters' ... it's eye-popping. You also see strong Italian and Irish women in there, so it all makes perfect Lady Sense.

For fun and extra insights, Pelosi on Stephen Colbert last night, good timing.

Part 2.

Only Colbert gets those questions to land!

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Overnight: Miss Belarus Competition

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Miss Belarus

I'm an unabashed Internet surfer. I discovered StumbleUpon years ago and immediately fell in love with its randomness. I have also been known to go to Wikipedia and to click on the 'Random Article' link to see where it takes me.

It just took me to, for instance, Charles-Victor Gillioux, a French artist then after that to go to Pentacalia campii.

This is all by way of explaining why this evening's 'overnight' is about 'Miss Belarus'. If you're not familiar with Belarus, here's Wiki which will tell you more: Belarus.

As I was reading about Diyarbakir, a city on the Tigris in the southeastern part of Turkey, I decided to look at pictures of the city. A few were of a Miss World event which Miss Kazakhstan, Miss Tatarstan, Miss Belarus and others participated in. I decided to learn more about Miss Belarus and found the video on YouTube embedded below.

From the video on YouTube:

Мисс Беларусь 2014
Viktoriya Miganovich, 21 years of age and from Smarhon, won the Miss Belarus 2014 contest. She will represent Belarus at the Miss World 2014 contest. The first runner-up is Kristina Martsinkevich while the second runner-up is Dariya Fomina.

This video is from the Beauty Pageant's channel on YouTube.

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Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

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SULOME ANDERSON
'He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn't speak the language of occupation #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies,'
Sulome Anderson tweeted.

If only the so-called leaders could be taken out of the equation, the people of the world might actually have a shot at world peace!

But only a shot because there are still citizens throughout the world who insist on placing all of the blame for this mess on one side or the other. As an American atheist of Jewish descent, I still consider myself a Jew - with all the history to comes with that heritage.

I have family members who escaped the concentration camps. That history doesn't go away because the powers that be in Israel seem to have forgotten their persecution. I sympathize with the Palestinian people who have no homeland and live in the open-air prison that is Gaza.

I can see both sides of the story, and know that both sides are right in some respects and wrong in many others.

But when a long-time listener and supporter of this program writes in the chat room "All Jews in Israel are Nazis," we have an even bigger problem than I realized. (Said listener left the chat room in a huff and canceled his monthly donation to the show. If you'd like to make up for the shortfall, your support is needed.)

Thank goodness I was able to read a sensible take on the situation with a sensible solution over at Slate: William Saletan's "How To Save Gaza and Keep Israel and Hamas from Fighting the Next War." I already emailed and invited him on the show tomorrow. I hope he accepts.

And thank goodness for the people who started the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies campaign.

Let me add myself and Keith Ellison to the mix who did the Jew/Muslim fist bump at Netroots Nation and shared a hug too!

Today on the show, Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars joined in to show that even like-minded people can disagree, and do with without being assholes.

And Mario Piscatella, managing editor of Blue Nation Review, guested to tell us about that great new news website, the assault on premium subsidies in the Affordable Care Act by two Republican judges and more.. until a Florida lightning strike nearby knocked me off the air.

So, we'll be back tomorrow with another show... Amy Simon on Seneca Falls, Stephen Goldstein with another "No More Bullshit Minute" and whatever else the day throws our way... radio or not!

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The Lure of Scandal … drifts into a juicy The New Yorker Spy Story

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I came late to the party to two major political dramas highly prized by the liberal community, but sure am having a delightful time catching myself up. If you enjoy either of them, described briefly below, you'll enjoy this long form but magnetic real-life spy story over at The New Yorker.

It even has an Albanian plot line for Russia parallels, with Ukraine and Putin being a hot topic.

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Now House of Cards, that was virtually Binge By Imperative. You guys catching this Netflix creation? I tried watching only three at a time, no way José, or no way Robin Wright Penn, as it were.

It didn't help so much that I had seen the Brit version, but tried to erase that mentally and just take the unusual camera and actor exaggerated interaction with a grain of salt.

What did translate beautifully to American politics was the loving attention to minutiae and the gratuitous sexually provocative moments ... like when Kevin Spacey got in on the Secret Service cutie-patootie mènage his wife was indulging in to make it an authentic party of three.

GIF courtesy JEOBOX.com

GIF courtesy JEOBOX.com

Certainly as complex in plot lines and underlining the politically scandalous exceptionally well in regular television -- network, even, go ABC for apparently this one show and whatever else folks are hooked on from genius and some kind of modern cultural oracle, Shondra Rhimes -- with Olivia Pope and her cohorts on Scandal.

 

As stated, if you enjoy either show, have a gander at this piece at the New Yorker, just excerpting a generous paragraph below, but the entire piece is so worth the time.

Macintyre tells Philby’s story through the prism of his longtime friendship with another young star of M.I.6, Nicholas Elliott. The two men were of a piece. Elliott’s father, Claude, was the headmaster of Eton. According to Macintyre, the elder Elliott “loathed music, which gave him indigestion, despised all forms of heating as ‘effete,’ and believed that ‘when dealing with foreigners the best plan was to shout at them in English.’ ” Like Philby, Elliott went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and did not join public service so much as he was ushered into it. A family friend, Sir Nevile Bland, “simply told the Foreign Office that I was all right because he knew me and had been at Eton with my father.” (Sir Nevile’s words of advice to Elliott: “In the diplomatic service it is a sackable offense to sleep with the wife of a colleague,” and “I suggest you should do as I do and not light your cigar until you have started your third glass of port.”) Elliott trusted and revered Philby. Their families vacationed together. Elliott modelled himself on his friend, Macintyre writes: “his spycraft, his air of worldly irony, his umbrella with an ebony handle. . . . They were as close as two heterosexual, upper-class, mid-century Englishmen could be.”

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Violent headlines that won't go away #NotOneMore

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headlines guns shootings

I spend a good part of my workday hunting for stories to bring to you. If a headline piques my interest, I link over and start reading. If two similar headlines pique my interest, my newsflash periscope pops up. If three or four similar headlines about a topic I regularly cover show up, I drop everything and start writing. This is one of those times. Check out these headlines that are currently running at TPM Livewire:

A group of open carry gun activists who protested Saturday at Dealey Plaza in Dallas filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demonstration and posted it to YouTube.

For the second time in less than a week, police arrested a man on Wednesday for allegedly attempting to bring a pistol into a building at the U.S. Capitol, according to Roll Call.

The Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's department found a body believed to be the suspect in multiple shootings in California...

Police were searching for at least one suspect who was wearing body armor and carrying a semi-automatic rifle after a Riverside County, Calif. sheriff's deputy was shot on Tuesday afternoon.

And it's only 11:30 a.m. here in California. I don't know about you, but I've already O.D.'d on disturbing gun headlines.

While were (rightfully) focused on the Israel-Hamas war and the brutal downing of a Malaysian jetliner by Russian separatists, there is a whole lot of excruciatingly persistent violence going on right here at home. Plus a whole lot of sickos who are apparently convinced that their deadly weapons will compensate for their rather humbling "shortcomings".

Everywhere you look these days, people are substituting communication, patience, and reason with hostility and savage bloodshed. And what does America get when we ask for a way out, for remedies, for peace? Competing headlines featuring GOP Second Amendment Solution warmongers who are fixated on blaming President Obama and his alleged feck in an effort to appeal to their equally extreme voters.

You know what I say to all this anger and to politicians who perpetuate it? Feck you.

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