Risky business

Bernard Marsonek

I don’t think I’d want a pit bull mad at me:

A Tampa man was arrested early Wednesday, accused of committing a sex act with a pit bull in his yard as shocked neighbors pleaded with him to stop.

Bernard Marsonek, 57, of 8125 N. Marks St., faces charges of aggravated animal cruelty, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, all felonies; and a misdemeanor count of sexual activity involving animals.

Officers said they were flagged down by witnesses, who observed Marsonek with the dog. Officers were met by residents disturbed by the activity, police said. Several witnesses stated they yelled at Marsonek to stop but were ignored by the neighbor, police said.

H/t Nicole Naum Attorney at Law.

The poors shouldn’t eat fish

Jon Stewart on the curious wingnut obsession about poor people eating fish:

On Tuesday night’s Daily Show, Jon Stewart focused on Republican opposition to food stamps. The stated reason for opposing aid to the hungry is food stamp fraud, Stewart noted, before indulging in a little bit of light debunking. But amid all the tall tales of people using their food stamps to gamble and buy gym memberships, he noticed a strange obsession on Fox News with indignantly judging what kinds of actual food people are buying with food stamps.

The conservative annoyance over food stamps being used on junk food? Stewart said he could understand that: Maybe low-income people should be using taxpayer financed aid to eat healthy — like seafood. “People say, ‘eat more fish,” he said. “Why can’t you spend it on that?” Nope. Roll tape of Fox pundits criticizing food stamp purchases of fresh fish and organic produce. Alright, Stewart asked conservatives, “what’s the right mixture of quality and class-based shame poor people should aim for in their meal planning?”

Back on the table

Social Security Building, by Luís Amoroso Lopes

I knew he wouldn’t give up, but I wish I didn’t have to read about this stuff. It’s really depressing:

Even though President Barack Obama’s formal budget proposal Tuesday omitted cuts to Social Security, the White House strongly suggested that a controversial policy to cut the program “remains on the table” if Republicans are willing to compromise.

“In last year’s Budget, the President included a compromise proposal intended as a show of good faith to spark additional negotiations with Congressional Republicans about the nation’s long-term deficits and debt and to encourage all parties to come together to remove the economically-damaging sequestration cuts,” the White House said in a fact sheet that accompanied its budget release. “Although that compromise proposal remains on the table, given Congressional Republicans’ unwillingness to negotiate a balanced long-term deficit reduction deal, the President’s 2015 Budget returns to a more traditional Budget presentation that is focused on achieving the President’s vision for the best path to create growth and opportunity for all Americans, and the investments needed to meet that vision.”

The “compromise proposal” is a thinly veiled reference to a policy known as Chained CPI, which slows the rate of inflation for Social Security benefits. The White House included the proposal in its budget released in 2013 as an olive branch to Republicans. Obama made clear he wouldn’t support it without new tax revenues in the mix, which the GOP refused to accept. Liberal advocates had also mobilized against the proposal. But senior administration officials made clear that while Chained CPI is not a policy that the president ideally wants, he’s still willing to support it if Republicans reciprocate with tax revenues.

Thanks to Attorney Karin Riley Porter.

Putin serves a useful function

VLADIMIR PUTIN

Whether we like him or not:

Recently, the debate about Ukraine has begun to move on to whether the opposition to Yanukovych is driven by civilized people or dangerous neo-Nazis and fascists. The problem with this debate is that, even in a best case scenario, with a clean slate of rosy-cheeked “reformers” in place, you’ll have a new government that must turn to the West, further isolating Russia and goading Putin to lash out.

And then there’s this little thing: everything, pretty much, is about money. And not just Yanukovych’s hankering for the finest gold toilet fixtures. The battle with Russia, like coming battles with China, and like just about every intervention in the Middle East and elsewhere, is for control of energy supplies—the greatest source of wealth in the history of the world.

It’s worth noting that the Middle East is not the next big thing when it comes to energy supplies. The former Soviet Union is. And after that, it’s the Arctic—where guess who is the West’s biggest competitor? Why, Russia.

Who blocked the impending coalition invasion of Syria? A wily Vladimir Putin.

So you can recognize Putin for what he is—another egomaniacal tyrant —and still recognize that he provides an essential balance to what would otherwise be an unchallenged superpower hegemony.

If Putin and Russia continue to be surrounded and marginalized, the world will become ever more hostage to the whims of the Wolves-of-Wall-Street class that drives the energy industry, which in turn drives the policies of the White House, Downing Street and other similar addresses.

In a strange way, by allowing uncontested victories by this unelected alliance operating putatively on our behalf, we the people marginalize our own interests and ensure that we ourselves never break free of our own political corruption to at least try to inaugurate a functioning democracy.

And the Democrats don’t even try

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting, Washington DC (USA) - Dec 2013

Let’s face it: The Democrats are happier being the minority party, because that way, they still get fat donor checks and they don’t have to piss off the people who gave them the money:

Americans overwhelmingly consider Republicans to be out of touch, and they trust them less than Democrats on the issues — but that doesn’t mean the GOP is in bad shape for the 2014 elections.

That’s the takeaway from a Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday morning, closely echoing a New York Times/CBS survey last month that found Americans saw the GOP as divided, pessimistic and “out of step with the public on a range of issues,” but planned to vote for them regardless.

Respondents to the Post/ABC poll evenly trusted both parties on the economy, and gave the GOP a slim edge on its ability to handle the federal budget deficit. Democrats, however, had a 13-point advantage on helping the middle class, and an 8-point edge on handling health care, energy policy and immigration, according to the poll.

Asked whether President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are in touch with the public’s concerns, Americans were about evenly split. But 68 percent said the Republican party is out of touch — including about 40 percent of those who identify as Republicans themselves.

Uh oh

DSC03221Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)

I hope it’s not true. But even if it isn’t, it’s really going to hurt him:

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., is denying his wife’s accusation that he shoved and injured her during a domestic dispute over the weekend, saying through his spokeswoman that his estranged wife’s allegation is “an outright lie.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a judge has granted a temporary protective injunction against Grayson after Lolita Grayson filed paperwork accusing the congressman of pushing her against a door during a confrontation at their home on Saturday, causing her to fall and injuring her.
The Sentinel reports that her petition states that Rep. Grayson “showed up, unannounced” to their home and he asked to speak with her. She refused and asked him to leave. She then accuses the congressman of “deliberately and with force” pushing her “very hard against the front door, causing [her] to fall to the ground as a result,” the Sentinel reports.
Photos filed with the petition show bruises to her leg and shoulder, according to the Sentinel.
The alleged incident comes less than two months after Lolita Grayson filed for divorce saying their 24-year marriage was “irretrievably broken,” the Sentinel reports.
Grayson’s spokeswoman Lauren Doney called Lolita Grayson’s allegations “absolutely false, completely unfounded, and clearly designed to vilify and harm Congressman Grayson.”
She added that witnesses reject Lolita Grayson’s story calling it “an outright lie” and said “it was Ms. Grayson who physically attacked the Congressman as he attempted to visit with his children.” Lolita Grayson’s petition did mention that “in order to protect and defend herself,” she pushed the congressman’s face and kneed him in the stomach before calling 911, according to the Sentinel.

Disgusting. Horrifying.

Palestinian National Soccer Team - Bilin Demonstration

I can’t think of words terrible enough for this kind of evil:

Their names are Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17. They were once soccer players in the West Bank. Now they are never going to play sports again. Jawhar and Adam were on their way home from a training session in the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium on January 31 when Israeli forces fired upon them as they approached a checkpoint. After being shot repeatedly, they were mauled by checkpoint dogs and then beaten. Ten bullets were put into Jawhar’s feet. Adam took one bullet in each foot. After being transferred from a hospital in Ramallah to King Hussein Medical Center in Amman, they received the news that soccer would no longer be a part of their futures. (Israel’s border patrol maintains that the two young men were about to throw a bomb.)

This is only the latest instance of the targeting of Palestinian soccer players by the Israeli army and security forces. Death, injury or imprisonment has been a reality for several members of the Palestinian national team over the last five years. Just imagine if members of Spain’s top-flight World Cup team had been jailed, shot or killed by another country and imagine the international media outrage that would ensue. Imagine if prospective youth players for Brazil were shot in the feet by the military of another nation. But, tragically, these events along the checkpoints have received little attention on the sports page or beyond.

Much has been written about the psychological effect this kind of targeting has on the occupied territories. Sports represent escape, joy and community, and the Palestinian national soccer team, for a people without a recognized nation, is a source of tremendous pride. To attack the players is to attack the hope that the national team will ever truly have a home.

The Palestinian national football team, which formed in 1998, is currently ranked 144th in the world by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). They have never been higher than 115th. As Chairman of the Palestinian Football Association Jibril al-Rajoub commented bluntly, the problems are rooted in “the occupation’s insistence on destroying Palestinian sport.”

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