Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A few points...

Burger King. Just now, the local Fox news station did a "news" segment breathlessly describing the ten new coffee flavors offered at your local Burger King. Footage supplied by the fast food company illustrated this piece. At one time, a restaurant had to pay for advertising. At one time, news broadcasts delivered news.

The SOTU. Shall I watch the speech? Probably not. Better, perhaps, to catch the highlights on the rebound. However, I am delighted that the response will be upstaged by Ted Nugent, who will no doubt be pressed to say something outrageous -- preferably a riff on how Obama engineered the Sandy Hook massacre. As long as people like Ted Nugent represent the voice of conservatism, the Dems can rest easier.

Drones. Here's a topic that you shouldn't expect Obama to address. Bill Moyers and Michael Winship have it right:
The Times told of a Muslim cleric in Yemen named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, standing in a village mosque denouncing al Qaeda. It was a brave thing to do — a respected tribal figure, arguing against terrorism. But two days later, when he and a police officer cousin agreed to meet with three al Qaeda members to continue the argument, all five men — friend and foe — were incinerated by an American drone attack. The killings infuriated the village and prompted rumors of an upwelling of support in the town for al Qaeda, because, the Times reported, “such a move is seen as the only way to retaliate against the United States.”

Our blind faith in technology combined with a false sense of infallible righteousness continues unabated. Reuters correspondent David Rohde recently wrote:
“The Obama administration’s covert drone program is on the wrong side of history. With each strike, Washington presents itself as an opponent of the rule of law, not a supporter. Not surprisingly, a foreign power killing people with no public discussion, or review of who died and why, promotes anger among Pakistanis, Yemenis and many others.”
Rohde has firsthand knowledge of what a drone strike can do. He was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008 and held for seven months. During his captivity, a drone struck nearby. “It was so close that shrapnel and mud showered down into the courtyard,” he told the BBC last year. “Just the force and size of the explosion amazed me. It comes with no warning and tremendous force… There’s sense that your sovereignty is being violated… It’s a serious military action. It is not this light precise pinprick that many Americans believe.”

A special report from the Council on Foreign Relations last month, “Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies,” quotes “a former senior military official” saying, “Drone strikes are just a signal of arrogance that will boomerang against America.”
I will go so far as to say that Obama is starting to do some more of the right things in his second administration. But any progress he makes in other areas will be wiped out if he does not reform his drone policy. More than that: Congress must set standards for future presidents to follow.

Horsemeat: One of the markets hit by the Mr.-Ed-in-your-burger scandal is Aldi, which has branches here in Balmer. Thanks to the Guardian (by way of Skydancing), we learn that much of the problem in Europe concerns the Euro equivalent to our "pink slime" scandal...
The change meant that "desinewed meat" (DSM), a fine mince rubbed under pressure from carcasses, could no longer be called meat on packaging. DSM produced in the UK was the main ingredient in most value-range burgers, sausages, pies and kebabs and the change meant that thousands of tonnes of meat had to be sourced from elsewhere and at low cost.
Well, at least they didn't attempt Mrs. Lovett's solution.

Dorner? I guess I should mention that, at this writing, the cops may have Dorner in a corner. Damn. I was betting that the bears had already gotten to him. An LAPD commander is quoted as saying that the best thing would be for Dorner "to surrender." Surrender? Heh. Everyone who knows the LAPD knows that they would react to a white flag with a hail of gunfire. Dorner, I am sure, understands that they have no intention of taking him alive.



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