SocraticGadfly: 7/27/14 - 8/3/14

August 01, 2014

Obama: Yes we did #torture; what's that worth?

He's saying this, admitting this, in large part because it didn't happen on his watch, and he'll continue to oppose lawsuits against the USofA over this, but half a kudo to Dear Leader for using the word "tortured":
"We tortured some folks," Obama said at a televised news conference at the White House. "We did some things that were contrary to our values."
On the other hand, crimes against humanity do not have a statute of limitations in the International Court of Justice.

And, given that Obama expanded on his initial words with this:
Obama's remarks on Friday were more emphatic than his previous comments on the subject, including a May 2009 speech in which he trumpeted his ban of "so-called enhanced interrogation techniques," and "brutal methods," but did not flatly say the U.S. had engaged in torture.

At an April 2009 new conference, he said, "I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationales were used, it was a mistake."

In addition to water boarding, the CIA used stress positions, sleep deprivation, nudity, humiliation, cold and other tactics that, taken together, were extremely brutal, the Senate report is expected to say. Obama on Friday did not mention a specific method, but he said the CIA used techniques that "any fair minded person would believe were torture."

"We crossed a line," he said. "That needs to be understood and accepted...We did some things that were wrong, and thats what that report reflects."
I suspect that we'll not see Dick Cheney travel abroad to Halliburton's shiny new global headquarters in Dubai.

But, the reality is that, Obama's casual use of "folks" is more indication that he will continue to look forward, not backward, per the Ted Rall cartoon.

Dirk Hayhurst, moral poseur

So, former short-time big leaguer Dirk Hayhurst, allegedly worried about his job, waits a full five years after the end of his MLB career, and three after the end of his minors career, but not too long after latching on to a writing gig at Sports on Earth, to write a piece accusing some of his teammates of gang-rape, and a bunch of them of sexual lowlife cretinism.
And gets NBC's Craig Calcaterra, probably a good neolib type on issues of social justice, to give him a big wet-kiss tout.

One commenter fawningly says of Hayhurst: 
Hayhurst is on his way to becoming the H. L. Mencken of sportswriting. 
Not hardly.

If he thinks that's true, it's a sad sign of the decline of literature, and the decline of literary style, and the decline of how high the bar is set. I prefer Sinclair Lewis. Author of “Elmer Gantry,” a story about a road-show revivalist taking advantage of some people’s naive religious beliefs.

Now, whether Hayhurst is Lewis, or is Gantry? I’d say the latter is a definite possibility. More than the former, or more than H.L. Mencken, who isn't all that some crack him up to be, anyway.

And, why would I say that?
  • Waiting 3 years after fears of “losing your job” to write the story is interesting. 
  • But, waiting not long at all until after joining a sports website to write the story is also interesting, especially when you've managed to write four books in that time and be a TBS broadcaster as well as joining Sports on Earth. 
  • Hiding players’ identities without actually hiding their identities that much is also interesting. 
One can be a liberal, even a left-liberal of sorts, as I am, and still be skeptical about people and their motives. Especially when those possible motives involve moral apple-polishing, money-grubbing, or a mix of both.

That includes, as one commenter notes, the fact that if Hayhurst were really that concerned way back when, he could have at least warned women who were about to become trapped, exploited. or worse, about what was allegedly about to happen. So, per that particular comment, no, it makes him look worse. Or, as another commenter notes, that Eugene, Oregon, had a Crimestoppers program in 2003 and Hayhurst apparently never thought to call him.

Per the three bullet points above, it makes it look like he’s trying to burnish his sports-writing career. Add to that the fact that he talks favorably about ending his career with the Durham Bulls of semi-fictionalized "Bull Durham" fame, even as he writes a piece about minor-league players who, other than the rape allegations, don't sound that much different than those in "Bull Durham."

And, fact is, an actual sports mag, or sports section of a daily paper, wouldn’t have published that as written.

And, given that Hayhurst has done other things, like accusing Clay Buckholz of cheating, and what else I've gleaned about his character, am I surprised? Er, no!  Add to it the Jim Bouton-esque martyrdom that he affects, and the picture is complete.

Hell, for all we know, Hayhurst is the next Chad Curtis

Beyond that, to all of Hayhurst's defenders? (Not counting the first #mansplaining spouter who arrived on the scene.)

First, one can allow that he's broadly telling the truth while questioning his fiduciary, or limelight, reasons for doing so now, in the way he is.

Second, one can also, on the issue of women getting drunk with the possibility of having sex, then changing their minds, tell men to stop being Neanderthals while also telling women to stop getting themselves blotto. It, too, is not an either/or. 

Even more than SJW women, I "love" SJW males who seemingly have a compulsion to reject out of hand, without discussion any factual evidence that would challenge their compulsion to go along with SJW women in attacking ideas that might be considered mansplaining.

Cognitive dissonance: It ain't just for wingnuts.

Nor are attempts to stifle discourse, as Massimo Pigliucci discusses in detail.

Your mileage may vary, but do NOT attempt to tell me what my mileage may be.

Wanted, and acquired: #Cardinals with "bad" attitudes

So, John Lackey, of yesterday's trade bonanza, and A.J. Pierzynski of Boston payroll slashing, are both surly, in Lackey's alleged case, or outright assholes, in Pierzynski's case. Even Justin Masterson has an edge to him at times.

Bernie Miklasz speculates that's exactly part of why John Mozeliak got both.
(T)his was ... a move that attacked the team's perceived complacency.
Allen Craig and Joe Kelly? Nice guys, to be sure, as is manager Mike Matheny. Miklasz suggests that itself is part of the problem, and relating to the whole "Matheny's guys" situation.

Bernie goes into more detail:
* I understand that Craig and Kelly were well liked by teammates. And they certainly seemed to be popular with fans. Pardon my dissent, but that's a non-factor to me. As fans we all get attached to players, but the truth is they come and go. It's a business. As for the clubhouse being in a state of sadness following the departures of Craig and Kelly ... well, too bad. 

* On that point, I respect what Jim Edmonds said Thursday on the Fox Sports Midwest pregame show: "I think everybody in that clubhouse is popular, and that's the problem they think they're having right now. Rah-rah can only get you so far. Having fun can only get you so far. And when you're the ownership and the general manager you need some guys to go in there and smack some people around and get a little bit more aggressive. The locker room can get too close at times, and I that's I think the situation that they thought they were falling into."
In other words, the team needed a kick in the nads. Or a punch in the gut, as the trade was reportedly received in the clubhouse. Joe Strauss follows on this, as does Derrick Gould in a second column, besides the first, linked in the previous sentence.

And maybe Oscar Taveras, no longer worried about Matheny, will be a bit surly himself.

And, while not wanting Matheny to lose his core identity, Miklasz hopes that he plays tough guy himself on occasion. All three Post-Dispatch writers agree that this was a message for and about Matheny, too, even though Mozeliak said "no" when directly asked that question.

As for Cards fans hung up on Kelly, especially, with his nerd glasses, his Cardinal Way version of "grit" and more? As soon as Michael Wacha came back, Kelly wasn't going to be starting, anyway,  unless it was down in Memphis.

That said, judging by the relatively low value the Rays got for David Price, why didn't Mo go after him instead?

Maybe for the reasons Bernie notes.

Weed-joke rumors and talk about Price aside -- or maybe we should not put them aside -- Price has a reputation as being a bit casual at times himself. Maybe, short sample size caveats and all, that's why Price doesn't have a great playoff record.

I certainly don't see him as being a Lackey type.

Anyway, let's see if this has the intended shake-up effect.

July 31, 2014

#Cardinals now make a real trade — for real pitching

John Lackey — Jim Rogasch/Getty Images via ESPN
Heck yes on this one. ESPN reports that the Cardinals and Red Sox are swapping out Allen Craig and Joe Kelly for John Lackey.

Kelly's not more than a replacement-level pitcher, if he even is that right now, who probably never will be much more than that. Craig continues to slump worse by the week, it seems. Lackey could be even better in a pitching-friendly NL park. And, he's under control through next year, with an MLB-minimum contract. (That said, John Mozeliak might see about an extension of some sort; who knows.)

Meanwhile, Oscar Taveras gets his playing time and Cards fans who hate Mike Matheny may stop bitching. Or they may not, but that's another story.

And, if Craig gets healthier, or refinds his stroke, or whatever, maybe it is a win-win. If nothing else, he replaces Jonny Gomes, sent to the A's along with John Lester for Yoenis Cespedes.

And, with Lackey with the Cards for next year, too, Mozeliak can take his time next year in looking at the longer-term futures of Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez.

So this, unlike yesterday's trade for Justin Masterson (no, not Bat Masterson, not a real gunslinger) that led me to wonder "Is that all," I'm all in on this.

This makes the Cards look great for not only the rest of this year, but into the future, for at least one more year.

So, right now, for the rest of this year (setting aside the possibility of a Michael Wacha return this year) the Cards roll out Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Lackey, Miller and Masterson. I can certainly live with that.

Plus, the Post-Dispatch adds that the Cardinals get Corey Littrell, a low-minors lefty of moderate promise, back in the trade, too, and $1.5 million in dinero.

I've seen the idiocy of Digital First Media up close

Well, online up close.

My career builder feed had a job at one of DFM's papers, one of the relatively few rural properties.

Digital First Media, for folks who don't know, is kind of the Puff Hoes, or Demand, or whatever, of modern papers. It's had two rinses in bankruptcy court, had to gut a central "content" hub because it (and I believe the idea in general) was/is a big fat flop and more.

And, despite the name, the company has resisted implementing elementary modern strategy such as paywalls.

 But, beyond that, it is pretty dumb otherwise.

On the website of this rural High Plains semiweekly serving a county of 20K and primary town of 10K, there's four or five local advertisers.

There are ads that are either programmatic buys from the DFM headquarters, or at least from its major dailies near this High Plains city. They advertise things like shoe stores that sell spiffy $300 shoes that will be worn by plenty of Denver clubbers but nary a High Plains farmer or rancher.

But no paywall.

It also has Twitter streams etc. from these big dailies, with news and even more with features that those ranchers and farmers also surely don't give a damn about.

But no paywall.

It also has links to sponsored media stories at bottom.

But no paywall.

With no daily around for more than 100 miles, and no semiweekly, a cut above weeklies, around (I think) for at least 50, and no other DFM paper around for 200 or so, it's cheap on titles.

General manager instead of publisher. News editor instead of managing editor.

Have fun with a third rinse in bankruptcy. I wouldn't be surprised if you head there by the end of 2015.

July 30, 2014

Chickenshit Boehner gets House GOP to pass pseudo-impeachment lawsuit

Cry me a river, Mr. Backbone of Chocolate Eclair
Let's be honest, that's what Speaker of the House John Boehner's plan to Barack Obama is, now that the House has OKed it. (And, with just five House Republicans in opposition, anybody who ever, again talks to me about "moderate Republicans" at the national level gets kicked in the nads.)

After the Clinton debacle, Republicans know they cannot win a politically-driven impeachment conviction, especially with any "charges" against Obama having even less substance than those against Slick Willie.

So, sue instead.

Isn't it funny how the GOP always talks about tort reform — except when it would hurt them?

And, gets hypocritical:
"What price do you place on the continuation of our system of checks and balances? What price do you put on the Constitution of the United States?" said Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich. "My answer to each is 'priceless.'"
Checks and balances are already in place. Democrats who control the Senate won't pass your idiocy, so you boo-hoo and sue.

So, Speaker Boo-Boo (he's got Yogi's voice but Boo-Boo's face), or RedFace, as I also call him, is suing Obama for "being the President."

Let's let RedFace speak for himself:
"This is not about impeachment -- it's about him faithfully executing the laws of this country," Boehner said.

The speaker alleged that the president not only has ignored the law but "brags about it," decrying what he described as "arrogance and incompetence."

Boehner had been weighing such a lawsuit in recent days, over concerns that Obama exceeded his constitutional authority with executive actions.
Now, let's translate. On paragraph No. 3? This is another It's OK If You're A Republican, of course, because RedFace never talked about suing Shrub Bush, who wrote more executive orders than Obama ever did. 

Paragraph No. 1?

Failure in "faithfully executing the laws of this country" would certainly be considered a high crime or misdemeanor, as it would be violating his oath of office. Therefore, per Article I, Section 2:
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
You're that Speaker guy, you idiot.

So, you're chickenshit because you know you'll lose an impeachment, but you, like many a GOPer, has no problem with barratry, and with waste of taxpayer money, when it suits your own ends.

So, will Senate Democrats please sue Boehner for being Speaker of the House? C'mon, Harry Reid, do it!

ESPN still won't cry uncle on A.J. Burnett

During spring training, I blogged about how bad the Phillies' contract for A.J. Burnett was. True, it was "only" for two years (despite ESPN claiming it was a 1-year deal at first) for a sweet $33.5 million. (I consider any X-year contract with a player option to be an X+1-contract for the obvious reason that, if he's teh suck, the team's still stuck with him for X+1 years.)

That's in refutation to ESPN's Jonah Keri, who said, at that time, when I asked if he was going to update this year's bad contracts list, he said "no," saying on Twitter:
Burnett had a great 2013 & signed 1-year deal, so no.
I would NOT call that last year "great."

And, as noted, I would not call his contract a 1-year deal.

Even I, though, was generous. Here, on that blog post, is my preseason prediction for Burnett:
185 innings. ERA+ of 102. A WAR of 1.3 and WAA of -0.2. 
He may well get the innings pitched. But, at a current ERA+ of 90, WAR of 0.9 and WAA of -0.3, the rest of his year would take a "push" to hit those numbers.

And, in a trade deadline piece, Jayson Stark is admitting the player option is a reason the Pirates don't want him back. However, he's still not willing to call it a bad contract. Nor a two-year contract.

#Cardinals make minor pitching move; I'm underwhelmed

Well, Mike Matheny now has his Saturday starter..

Too bad it's Justin Masterson.

In a decidedly underwhelming move, the Birds have acquired the enigmatic Cleveland pitcher, a free agent at the end of the year, in exchange for AA outfielder James Ramsey.

No big overpay, no. But, no real help for the team.

Since becoming a full-time starter, Masterson has alternated good and crappy years, and he's on a crappy year this year. And, this year's the crappiest yet of them.

Even in his better years, Masterson has a low K/BB ratio. And until last year, he wasn't a big K guy in general. Add in that he'll be coming off a DL stint on Friday, and I'm even less impressed. Miklasz claims, along with a few fans, that his FIP says he's better than that. I disagree. Contra Bernie, his bad WHIP is not all a problem with bad luck on batted balls in play; his walk rate is the second-worst of his career and the worst since he became a full-time starter. Bernie says that he talked about Masterson's walk rate as much as his bad luck on batted balls in play, etc., but I'm not totally convinced.

Shockingly, David Schoenfield agrees with my thought, that Masterson will provide little boost. He says he does expect him to be of some help against the righty-heavy Brew Crew, but then notes:
While Masterson's ultimate performance is unpredictable, especially given his knee issue, he's probably not a big upgrade over what the Cardinals have received so far from their back-end guys. The risk for St. Louis was continuing to rely on Miller or Martinez; Masterson should at least provide a little more certainty than those two offered.
Yet more analysis of that trade here.

Maybe a change of leagues will help. But, it can't help that much. And the Cards no longer have Dave Duncan as pitching coach to perform salvage work on guys like this.

Plus, the Cards got somebody who's kind of full of himself. ESPN reminds us that, preseason, he wanted $17M a year.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Again, not a huge overpay to surrender a mid-level OF prospect for a two-month rental. But, it is a mental overpay to expect what I think Mo is expecting from a man named Justin Masterson, not Bat Masterson.

#Cardinals at trade deadline — Price? Lackey? Colon? others?

With about 36 hours left before the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31, trade rumors continue to rise up hot and heavy.

The latest, per Bob Nightengale, has Tampa ace David Price headed to the Cardinals for a return of Oscar Taveras, Shelby Miller, and the competitive balance "sandwich" draft pick the Cards got awarded a couple of weeks ago.

The Rays' resurgence in the AL East has dampened the likelihood of Price moving anywhere, in my estimate and that of many others. I'd put it below 30 percent.

But, never say never.

As for making that move? I'd prefer to have it tied to a Price contract extension,  but I'll take it as it stands. Price has a great WHIP and FIP numbers, and no significant injury history. Taveras has been struggling. He may need more playing time that — Mike Matheny blind haters aside — he has yet to earn. Speaking of Matheny, Taveras may need a change of scenery. Or, he may be the dreaded "pheenom." The Cards had one in the minors a few years back, guy by the name of Brett Wallace. Oh, he's had multiple cups of coffee, and even a half a pot or two, at various stops in the majors. But, never panned out, and the Cards got a great haul.

Otherwise, compared to last year, Miller's K rate has been down and his BB rate way up, even before his back problems. The pick? The Cards will get that back on a QO for Price, post-2015, if they can't resign him.

As for the Rays having a crowded OF themselves, as some fans say? Desmond Jennings isn't that great, and is arb-eligible after this year. Matthew Joyce is a somewhat better in left, but is on the same free-agency timeline as Price. The Rays have incentive to want Taveras. Tampa fans who don't see that should maybe re-examine how well they know their own lineup, because I've seen claims that Tampa doesn't really need to trade for an outfielder.

The Cards have other options.

John Lackey is presumably resigned to the fact that he'll be pitching for the MLB minimum of $550K next year. He's solidly above average, and with that low contract price is well worth a trade. However, given what the Sawks want for Jon Lester as a two-month rental, the price on Lackey might be steep. And, I hope this blog and others are wrong about the Cards being hot and heavy on Lester.

Bartolo Colon? Laugh at his age and his weight, but he can still throw the ball, and has been relatively healthy. He has a relatively inexpensive contract, too.

The Mets offering to eat $2M of his salary this year sounds nice, but really, that's chump change if your payroll is much above Tampa's. Rather, it seems part of a Mets move to angle for a bigger haul in return. Since that initial announcement, there's been zero additional talk, which makes me think the price is too high.

Cole Hamels is way too high. Shock me; it's Ruben Amaro Jr.

The "others" could include someone like a Dallas Kuechel. He's drawn some rumor, but it's unclear how likely the Astros are to move him, or what their price is.

The final option is to do nothing, or phrased differently, to stand pat while hoping Yadier Molina comes back sooner rather than later and that Michael Wacha comes back some time this year. I lay at least 50-50 odds that is the end result.

Update: Or, Mozeliak could do the equivalent of nothing and acquire back-of-rotation low-fiber filler like Justin Masterson. Ugh.

On the Rays' end, because of new playoff hopes, I don't see a trade right now. In addition, agreeing with this blog, if other teams will only really pay high for Price in conjunction with being able to extend his contract, that's a lot easier to do in the offseason.

July 29, 2014

#NYTimes forgets when Reagan sold $165M in arms as ransom to terrorists

If the President says it's not "arms for hostages," then it's not!
Ronald Reagan Library via Wikipedia
Oh, those spineless Europeans, with backbones like chocolate eclairs! Why can't they be like tough Americans?

The New York Times gives Western European governments an official Old Gray Lady (or would that be Old Grey Lady, in Times-speak?) spanking for giving Al Qaeda groups as much as $165 million in the last six years to ransom European citizens taken hostage:
While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have earned at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year.

In various news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period.
Sounds horrible, does it not?

But, the Times article neglects to mention that the US did similar almost 30 years ago. I'll bet this stash was worth at least $165M in today's values, because Wiki gives us a nice Iranian shopping list about the Iran-Contra affair:
The following arms were supplied to Iran:
  • August 20, 1985 – 96 TOW anti-tank missiles
  • September 14, 1985 – 408 more TOWs
  • November 24, 1985 – 18 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles
  • February 17, 1986 – 500 TOWs
  • February 27, 1986 – 500 TOWs
  • May 24, 1986 – 508 TOWs, 240 Hawk spare parts
  • August 4, 1986 – More Hawk spares
  • October 28, 1986 – 500 TOWs
Too bad the Times neglected to tell us this.

Fortunately, we don't even have to guess. Weapons plutocrat Raytheon tells us that its current version of a TOW runs $58,000 per. Rounded to that even dollar value, all the TOWs alone?

A cool $140 million.

And, everything those naughty Europeans did sounds like it came from the pages of Ronald Reagan, Oliver North, John Poindexter, Robert McFarlane, Caspar Weinberger, George H.W. Bush, Bill Casey, Richard Secord and others:
These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funnel the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid, according to interviews conducted for this article with former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. ...

Yet the fact that Europe and its intermediaries continue to pay has set off a vicious cycle.

“Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,” said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a 2012 speech. “Each transaction encourages another transaction.”
Yep ... exactly the same happened after Iran-Contra.

Going back to Wikipedia:
In September and October 1986 three more Americans—Frank Reed, Joseph Cicippio, and Edward Tracy—were abducted in Lebanon by a separate terrorist group. The reasons for their abduction are unknown, although it is speculated that they were kidnapped to replace the freed Americans.
So, if the Times is writing as a tsk-tsk mouthpiece of America's bipartisan foreign policy establishment, it needs to shut up.

Southwest Airlines still doesn't get it

A decade ago, Southwest was the undisputed leader among non-legacy airlines, not just in discount pricing, but customer service, overall quality, on-time rate and more.

Heck, it was the leader in most if not all of that on at least a semi-regular basis among ALL airlines, legacy and non-legacy alike.

Plus, it had Herb Kelleher at the helm, seemingly the most popular, and fun to work for, CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Then, the FAA started asking questions about Southwest's plane maintenance.  Then, one of its 737s blew a hole in its fuselage; even if it was a Boeing issue more than a Southwest issue, as seemed to be the case, it still didn't look good.

And now, the FAA ...

Wants to fine Southwest again ...

For a combination of the first two problems! The second problem, beyond the fuselage hole in one case, being skin cracks in other planes. The first problem, over other issues, being lack of adequate maintenance oversight:
The FAA said that beginning in 2006 Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper procedures for replacing the fuselage as well as other work on the planes, the agency said. All of the work was done under the supervision of Southwest, which was responsible for seeing that it was done properly, the FAA said.
Southwest is going to continue to lose the edge that got it to a position of pre-eminence unless it truly gets serious about these maintenance issues.

Add to that the fact that, with the phase-out of the Wright Amendment, there's no excuse for it not being listed on Travelocity and Expedia, etc., but it continues to hold out, and there's less and less reason to fly Southwest.

July 28, 2014

#Israel enters the #StarTrek phase of its war on Gaza

Israel's war with Gaza has gone beyond US drone strikes in trying to make war as "humanless" in some ways as possible.

When posting more briefly on Facebook, I started with the rhetorical line of,

Is there an app for that?
Israel said it sent text messages and phoned residents of northern Gaza — including Shijaiyah, the site of one of the war's bloodiest battles last week — urging them to flee their homes and move toward Gaza City.
What next, Eminiar VII in "A Taste of Armageddon"?

In case you don't remember that episode of the original "classic" Star Trek, it's about a centuries-old war between two planets in the same solar system.

It's lasted that long because it's waged by computers, and like super-neutron bombs, they "kill" people while not damaging property. The "kill" is in scare quotes, because people have to report to disintegration chambers to actually be killed. A couple of actual quotes will illustrate:
Anan 7: We have been at war for 500 years.
Captain James T. Kirk: You conceal it very well.
Obviously, Israel and Hamas would never reach an agreement about that. But, the text messaging is in that general direction. But, could they still be at war 450 years from now? Your guess is as good as mine.

Another quote from that Star Trek episode may illuminate:
Spock: [after hearing Anan 7 explain their system of computerized warfare] There is a certain scientific logic about it.
Anan 7: I'm glad you approve.
Spock: I do *not* approve. I *understand*. 

Meanwhile, will the fighting stop soon? Well, the US and EU are trying to stop it:
The United Nations on Monday called for an "immediate" cease-fire in the fighting and on Sunday, President Barack Obama called Netanyahu to push for an immediate end to the conflict.
This, though, is one of the cases where the old cliches about the word "try" are correct.

If Dear Leader were serious, he would take a page from Poppy Bush's book and freeze some of our foreign aid money to Israel.

But, as the Al-Jazeera leaks showed, his actual seriousness has been about freezing aid to Palestine and nobody else.

July 27, 2014

Big biz tells West, Texas to fuck itself over fertilizer blast

Now, no newspaper would write a headline like that, or anything even close to that without massive bowderlization.

But, that's what the story and the actual headline of "Motions seek to blame city of West for devastating explosion" are saying:

Two of four fertilizer manufacturers or suppliers named as defendants in the massive West explosion litigation are seeking to blame the city of West and its volunteer firefighters for the disaster.

In recent motions aiming to designate the city of West as a “responsible third party” in the lawsuits, El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013, blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion.
Here's part of the insult:
 The motion from El Dorado also alleges that the city should be named as a responsible third party because it failed to protect its citizens by allowing through its zoning authority schools and a nursing home to operate in a close proximity to the plant.
First, funny how GOP-driven "tort deform" always targets individuals and not shyster businesses like this. That's because the like of Greg Abbott like shyster businesses like that.

Second, despite all this, will West go still go 70 percent or more GOP, as it has for a number of elections? I've got at least a fiver that says it does.

And, if it does, without being petty? Citizens of West, schadenfreude's a bitch.