Shorter Question Everything
The need – the absolute need – to be armed isn’t brave. Not even close. I’m not talking about weapons as tools here, I’m talking about weapons to shore up a very weak inner self. I’m talking about guys defining their manhood by how well armed they are.
Whether it’s one sad, miserable wretch of an individual, or a whole nation, that weakness is apparent.
• Bill Maher: “Let me ask you: if a guy on your block was so frightened of mostly nonexistent prowlers that he spent all his resources on alarm systems and guns and cameras, so much so that he didn’t even have enough money left to maintain his home or send his kids to college, would you call him brave?” We’re not the “home of the brave” anymore, Maher says, before asking: “When did we become a nation of dickless armchair warriors?”
• Dad charged with pointing AK-47 at daughter after arguing over the two B’s she got in school. A St. Paul man has been charged with terroristic threats for pointing an AK-47 rifle at his daughter during an argument over the fact that she got two B’s instead of straight A’s in school. [...] In an interview with the social worker, the victim said they were arguing about her grades when she swore at her father and said she “hated” him. At that point, Bartashevitch grabbed his newly-purchased gun and pointed it at his daughter. [...]
• The Amgen loophole: …The story told us of a pharmaceutical giant called Amgen and three senators so close to it they might be entries on its balance sheet: Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and that powerful committee’s ranking Republican, Orrin Hatch. A trio of perpetrators who treat the United States treasury as if it were a cash-and-carry annex of corporate America. The Times story described how Amgen got a huge hidden gift from unnamed members of Congress and their staffers. They slipped an eleventh hour loophole into the New Year’s Eve deal that kept the government from going over the fiscal cliff. When the sun rose in the morning, there it was, a richly embroidered loophole for Amgen that will cost taxpayers a cool half a billion dollars. Amgen is the world’s largest biotechnology firm, a drug maker that sells a variety of medications. The little clause secretly sneaked into the fiscal cliff bill gives the company two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients who are on kidney dialysis, including a pill called Sensipar, manufactured by Amgen. …The Times reporters traced its “deep financial and political ties” to Baucus, McConnell and Hatch, “who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy.” All three have received hefty campaign donations from the company whose bottom line mysteriously just got padded at taxpayer expense. Since 2007, Amgen employees and its political action committee have contributed nearly $68,000 to Senator Baucus, $73,000 to Senator McConnell’s campaigns, and $59,000 to Senator Hatch.
• ALEC’s Fingerprints Are All Over the Electoral College Rigging Efforts in Blue States: Republicans hate democracy and fair elections, and to ensure future presidents are chosen by conservative fascist committee, they have been on a two-and-a-half year crusade to rig the electoral process to guarantee a Republican will win the White House with fewer votes than their opponent. In the last election, although Democrats garnered 1.4 million more votes than Republicans, redistricting and gerrymandering enabled the GOP to hang on to the House of Representatives. Republicans are notorious for using revolting tactics to win elections, and the current coup d’état by electoral college rigging is a travesty, but like every dirty trick Republicans use to steal elections, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is behind Electoral College rigging efforts in Republican-controlled states that overwhelmingly voted for President Obama.
In other news
• Ontario Gets Its First Woman Premier And Canada’s First Out LGBT Premier. Kathleen Wynne now leads Ontario’s liberal party and becomes the province’s first female premier. She also is married to a woman, making her Canada’s first out LGBT premier.
• Street clashes killed at least 30 people in Egypt’s Port Said on Saturday after 21 supporters of a local football club were sentenced to death over a bloody stadium riot in the canal city. The violence comes a day after nine were killed in protests against President Mohamed Morsi on the second anniversary of Egypt’s uprising against predecessor Hosni Mubarak, in the worst crisis Morsi has faced since taking power in June. Minutes after a Cairo court handed down the sentences against fans of Port Said side Al-Masry over the deaths of 74 people during post-match violence last February, protesters rampaged through the city, attacking police stations and setting tyres alight.
• Egyptian protesters on Friday set fire to the Muslim Brotherhood party headquarters in the canal city of Ismailiya, an AFP reporter said.
• Egyptian opposition supporters are protesting across the country on the second anniversary of the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power, with five people killed in the city of Suez.
• The Philippine Department of Health in Cordillera warned the public this week to be vigilant following 23 suspected cases of anthrax that were recently reported in Abra after citizens ate meat from a dead caribou.
• Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has defeated a respiratory infection and has begun additional medical treatment in Cuba after struggling with complications following cancer surgery more than six weeks ago, a government spokesman said Saturday. Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said that it remains unclear how soon Chavez could return home, and did not specify the kind of treatment he is receiving.
• At least 55 people were killed and 90 others wounded in clashes between prison gangs and security guards at a facility in northwest Venezuela, a hospital director said Saturday. Television images had earlier shown National Guard troops surrounding the Uribana prison in Lara state as inmates in bloody clothes were taken out of the building.