Friday, 30 September 2011

Open Thread - Friday

I think we deserve some cute today. The mellow music helps also, too...

Sarah Palin's dilemma

The safest thing Sarah Palin could do now is announce that she's running. Some of the people who obsessed about her and sent her their money over the past three years are not of sound mind.

They went to great lengths to prove their love. They threatened anybody who dared say anything against their muse, they forced a judge in Alaska to step up her personal security because of custody proceedings involving a member of Palin's family. People lost jobs or were silenced. Their rhetoric mirrors Sarah Palin's own. She may have the excuse of speaking metaphorically, but they know no such subtleties.

These people believed in her promises and have been giving their all for the last three years, dreaming of her bid for the White House to save America and the world.

I believe Sarah Palin is perfectly aware of the obsessive nature of some of her fans. Why would somebody so enthusiastic about the right to bear arms have metal detectors at her own public events? Is she afraid of an attack from a liberal? I don't think so. This kind of violence fits the mentality of her own fans, not the liberals.

If she's already concerned about some of these people when they profess their undying love for her, she should be very, very afraid of them when they realize they have been betrayed by her and taken for a ride.

Perhaps she's taking a long time to make an announcement because whatever she choses to do could have dire consequences for her. If she runs, she risks being properly vetted and all those skeletons would tumble out of her closet. If she doesn't, she'll have to face the fury of some of her most ardent fans, those who believe in 2nd Amendment solutions...

Sarah Palin is between a rock and a hard place, and she is the one who put herself in such an uncomfortable spot.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Open thread - Thursday

This sketch is from 1989, but it sounds quite fresh for the USA of today...

Sarah Palin's close friends

It's a guessing game for all... Didn't Sarah Palin tell Greta she was consulting with family and close friends about whether or not to run?

"I'm going to keep repeating, though, Greta, through my process of decision-making with my family and with my close friends as to whether I should throw my name in the hat for the GOP nomination or not for 2012..."

From The Hill:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has not talked to close allies in recent days and is set to break her own self-imposed deadline of the end of September for a decision on a presidential run.

Becky Beach, Palin’s top fundraiser in Iowa and a close friend who is usually kept in the loop on the former governor’s plans, told The Hill that she had not heard from Palin in weeks about whether or not she would run.

I expect Becky Beach is not a close enough friend...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Open Thread - Wednesday

Welcome to relatively new reader ianai, who contributed this joke:

A man walked into a very high-tech bar. As he sat down on a stool he noticed that the bartender was a robot. The robot clicked to attention and asked, "Sir, what will you have?"

The man thought a moment then replied "A martini please."

The robot clicked a couple of times and mixed the best martini the man had ever had.

The robot then asked, "Sir, what is your IQ?" The man answered "Oh, about 174."

The robot then proceeded to discuss the theory of relativity, inter-stellar space travel, the latest medical breakthroughs, etc...

The man was most impressed. He left the bar but thought he would try a different tack. He returned and took a seat. Again the robot clicked and asked what would he have? "A martini please."

Again it was superb. The robot again asked "What is your IQ sir?"

This time the man answered, "Oh, about 120". So the robot started discussing NASCAR racing, the latest basketball scores, and what to expect the Dodgers to do this week end.

The guy had to try it one more time. So he left, returned and took a stool.... Again a martini, and the question, "What is your IQ?" This time the man drawled out " Uh...... bout 50".

The robot clicked then leaned close and very slowly asked,


Thank you, ianai.

Sarah Palin, action woman

Still blinking

Sarah Palin talked to Greta Van Susteren last night, where she praised flavour of the week "Herb" Cain, attacked President Obama, mentioned the "pundents" and was asked (again!) whether she's running.

She's still thinking about it, blinking, asking family and friends, blinking and so on. But she said she doesn't need a title to be influential and affect change. Greta said it was all very well, but it doesn't make much difference to foreign relations and gave Israel as an example. Sarah Palin's answer was great. She took action! She went to Israel and had dinner with Netanyahu.

You may watch the rest of the interview HERE

Thank you so much for taking such decisive action, Sarah. I'm surprised the lamestream media didn't recognize the importance of that dinner and how much it contributed to a change in policy. That's exactly what America needs: More political celebrities without a title taking action and having dinner with foreign leaders and their families. It makes a world of difference!


Elsewhere, The Rogue is still making waves.

Publisher stands behind 'The Rogue' book on Palin

A publisher is standing behind a book about Sarah Palin, a day after Palin's attorney threatened to sue over it.

Crown Publishers spokesman Stuart Applebaum says the company is confident the reporting in Joe McGinniss' book is "solid, reliable, and well-substantiated." Applebaum says Crown stands behind McGinniss and the book, "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin."

This is a must read:

Blood in the Snow: Maslin’s NYT Review of The Rogue Is Intellectually Dishonest

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Open Thread - Tuesday

I promised some humour from British female comedians, so here's some gentle comedy from Pam Ayres. Some references may be a bit obscure for the American readers, but you'll get the gist of it.

Sarah Palin wants to know who said what

Why is Sarah Palin being so selective in her threats to sue for defamation? She didn't like Joe McGinniss's book about her and said the whole book is based on malicious lies. That's a bit much, as not all the sources were anonymous.

How come she's not going after the National Enquirer as well? Or the several bloggers who have been writing about her in the past three years? Does it mean that some people can "defame" her and Joe McGinniss can't?

Sarah Palin's lawyer is using a leaked e-mail from McGinniss to Jesse Griffin as evidence that the allegations in the book are false. McGinniss discusses Shailey Tripp, for example. Her story wasn't included in the book because he wasn't satisfied with the evidence presented to him at the time. It doesn't mean Shailey Tripp's story is not true, it simply wasn't solid enough from a legal perspective, so it didn't go into the book.

The e-mail seems to prove the opposite of what Palin's lawyer is claiming. The letter looks like a fishing expedition to me.

Are they trying to smoke out McGinniss's sources so the Palins can talk to those people?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Open Thread - Monday

Food for thought.

It's time to stand together- UPDATE: Fear in Wasilla

When I was young I lived under a right-wing military dictatorship back in Brazil. We lived in fear, but there were many left-wing groups attempting to restore democratic elections. It took over twenty years to achieve it.

Part of the problem were the deep divisions and rivalry among the various different factions within a movement with the same goals. Each group saw themselves as the owners of the truth. The right-wing presented a united front, there were no divisions or disagreements in their ranks and they were stronger.

The example is a bit extreme, as the dictators had all the resources of the military to silence any dissenters of whatever faction. But it does illustrate how divisions weaken a movement.

Historically, right-wingers have been more united than the left. Their interests were clear and their goals quite simple. The left wingers were a more complex bunch, hell-bent on nuance.

In the US, even though all the right-wing candidates (and one maybe/maybe not candidate) sing from the same hymn book, talking about the constitution, traditional values and small government, they are now divided by a new phenomenon: The cult of celebrity. People who support the undeclared one could be described as hysterical fans who can see no flaws in their muse. They attack everybody, on the left and on the right, whenever there's whiff of a threat to their queen. That puts the real the candidates in a bad light. They don't have such dedicated fan clubs.

It seems to be a great opportunity for the left to present a more united front for a change. These days it doesn't seem to be a case of right vs left anymore. It's right vs wrong, and the left is the new right. It is right to hope for a more equitable society, it is right to put the interests of the people before the interests of the corporations, it is right to protect the environment and to strive for world peace.

But the dreaded liberals are still plagued by divisions. The divisions take many forms and are not necessarily ideological. Let's make the most of the weaknesses of the right and stand united while that fan club tears everybody apart. Let's forget the distractions, the egos and all the irrelevant bickering and focus on the goal.

People who once saw themselves as conservatives have battled with their convictions and changed sides, they watched their party betray their interests and embraced different values. Others are still undecided, but growing frustrated with the present crop of candidates. Let's help them find a new path and let's all walk the same path together. Let's ignore the detours that lead to dead ends.

Regaining the focus and staying on course will take us to the final destination. It's worth trying to get there in one piece rather than wounded by friendly fire...



Joe McGinniss wasn't the only person to feel uncomfortable in Wasilla. From UK's Daily Telegraph:

It may be home sweet home to Sarah Palin and her family but Wasilla, Alaska, is not a city for which Nick Broomfield feels any affection. Or one that he ever wants to visit again. “The place makes Twin Peaks look like a walk in the park,” he says firmly.

“There was a genuine fear in the community about saying anything against Sarah Palin because people were worried about the power of the Palins and worried about losing their jobs,” he says. “In some cases, the children were friends with the Palin kids and didn’t want their parents to talk. She is such a polarising character that, even within a family, the husband or the wife liked her and the other one didn’t. She inspired such strong opinions that people were either passionately for her or against her.”

It seems Sarah Palin's own personal power, the actions by her supporters and the MSM's reluctance to stand their ground and face her lies all conspire to keep this woman in a safe niche, protected and insulated against real criticism.

(H/T to MW)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Open Thread - Sunday

Lillibird send me a batch of cool photos. I chose some of the amusing pictures featuring animals:

This doesn't have any animals, but it's very clever:

Thank you, Lillibird.

Going backwards

Things seem to be a bit slow, so let's have some humour.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Open Thread - Saturday

It's time for a bit of travel. Most people know the Argentina of the tango, so I would like to show the Argentina of the gauchos, the Pampas.

Here's a different kind of Argentinian music:

I like this one even better!


The criollo is a small, very strong horse. They learn very quickly and
make the ideal working companions for the gauchos.

Music and dance run through the gauchos' veins

The trousers worn by gauchos are called bombachas. They're very roomy and comfortable.

Yerba mate

Mate is a strong, bitter tea, very invigorating. The gauchos have it all the time, but early in the morning, they get ready to work by having a few rounds of mate. The gourd is filled with yerba mate and boiling water, then passed around and sucked through a pump. I don't know about Argentina, but in Brazil the gauchos don't say thank you when offered the gourd because that means they had enough and are out of the round. In Brazil it's called chimarrão. Gauchos carry a thermos to top themselves up during the working day.

The Pampas

The Pampas

Pampas cat

Pampas fox



My brother-in-law

My brother-in-law was a Brazilian gaucho from the southernmost state: Rio Grande do Sul. I learned a lot about the culture from him. The customs, the music and the dances are very similar. He played the bombo, the large percussion instrument seen in the video and was a great dancer.

He also made the best churrasco:

Our son Billy learned to ride with with the best and became an honorary little gaucho... Here he is, wearing full gaucho apparel:

I hope you've enjoyed this trip to the Pampas. It was a trip down memory lane for me and gave me the opportunity to pay a small tribute to my dear, remarkable brother-in-law. He died a few years ago, following a riding accident. Well, he lived and died doing something he really loved and those who met him were left with very fond memories of the good times.

Sarah Palin's wild ride - Liar or idiot?

It seems to be a good time to have another look at Sarah Palin's wild ride. This month two women went into labour during flights and had their babies in the comfort of an aeroplane.

These women had no idea they were going to deliver their babies on an aeroplane. They didn't have a strange sensation down in their bellies the night before, were not leaking amniotic fluid and didn't experience "Big laughs, more contractions."

September 21, 2011

A woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy aboard a Philippine Airlines flight from Manila to San Francisco on Monday, the airline said in a news release.

Aida Alamillo, 41, a passenger aboard Flight 104, told NBC-TV affiliate KNTV that she was due to give birth Sept. 28 but was cleared to fly by her doctor in the Philippines and Philippine Airlines medical personal.

Alamilllo said she never expected to go into labor on the plane. She was traveling with her 13-year-old son, whom she said alerted flight attendants that she was experiencing contractions. She was led to a private spot in a business class cabin on the plane's upper deck, where she gave birth at 3:25 p.m. PDT with the assistance of three nurses on board and several cabin crew members just a few hours before the plane landed.

Alamillo, now a mother of four, said that although this was her most unusual delivery, it was the easiest. “It’s like 15 minutes,” she said.

September 1, 2011

A woman has given birth aboard an Alitalia flight from Milan to Paris.

The mother, a French national, went into labor halfway through flight AZ 3508 from Milan Linate airport en route to Paris Charles de Gaulle Wednesday.

The plane landed just in time for a medical team to enter and help deliver the baby boy to the applause of the passengers on board.

Sarah Palin embarked on two long flights with a 2-hour layover in between. She started her journey from Dallas to Alaska ten hours after experiencing a strange sensation down in her belly and phoning her doctor to report that her amniotic was leaking. She experienced contractions during her all important speech and left the conference in a hurry. Rick Perry joked: "Don't tell me you're going off to have the baby right now!" Sarah Palin thought to herself: "If only you knew!"

An yet she chose not to seek medical attention in Texas, preferring to travel for at least 10 hours by air and another hour by road to give birth in a small hospital without the proper facilities to deal with any possible complications.

Leaking amniotic fluid prematurely is not without risks:

Eighty-five percent of neonatal morbidity and mortality is a result of prematurity. PPROM is associated with 30-40% of preterm deliveries and is the leading identifiable cause of preterm delivery. PPROM complicates 3% of all pregnancies and occurs in approximately 150,000 pregnancies yearly in the United States. When PPROM occurs remote from term, significant risks of morbidity and mortality are present for both the fetus and the mother. Thus, the physician caring for the pregnant woman whose pregnancy has been complicated with PPROM plays an important role in management and needs to be familiar with potential complications and possible interventions to minimize risks and maximize the probability of the desired outcome.

Premature preterm rupture of membranes (PPROM) occurring from 24-37 weeks' gestation is far more difficult to manage than premature rupture of membranes (PROM) at term. Several issues need to be considered in formulating a plan of management. Prematurity is the principal risk to the fetus, while infection morbidity and its complications are the primary maternal risks. All plans for management of PPROM remote from term should include the family and the medical team caring for the pregnancy, including the neonatal and maternal medical team. Remote from term, PPROM should only be cared for in facilities where a NICU is available and capable of caring for the neonate. Because most PPROM pregnancies deliver within a week of ROM, transfer of the pregnant mother to a qualified facility is urgent and should be facilitated immediately upon diagnoses.

The physician who wrote the article above was referring to PPROM in pregnancies in a regular setting, where the mother-to-be is not 4,000 miles away from her doctor...

Now, people who read Sarah Palin's own account of her labour and delivery should be excused for thinking she wasn't pregnant at all, because nobody in their right mind can believe that a governor of state could be so monumentally stupid.

Her stories about tight abs and the photo showing a perfectly flat abdomen at 7 months add to the doubts.

March 14, 2008 - 30 weeks pregnant

Whatever people choose to believe, there's no escape for Sarah Palin: If she wasn't pregnant, she didn't risk her own and Trig's life, but perpetrated a hoax. If she was indeed pregnant, she's an unthinking, callous idiot.

[Please read the full transcript of the wild ride interview plus excerpts from Going Rogue HERE.]

Friday, 23 September 2011

Open Thread - Friday

Mrsgunka sent me a few of those lovely tales that make the rounds on the internet. Children are truly wonderful! Thank you, Mrsgunka.

As I was nursing my baby, my cousin's six-year-old daughter, Krissy, came into the room. Never having seen anyone breast feed before, she was intrigued and full of all kinds of questions about what I was doing. After mulling over my answers, she remarked, 'My mom has some of those, but I don't think she knows how to use them..'


Working as a pediatric nurse, I had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children. One day, I entered the examining room to give four-year-old Lizzie her needle. 'No, no, no!' she screamed. 'Lizzie,' scolded her mother, 'that's not polite behavior.' With that, the girl yelled even louder, 'No, thank you! No, thank you!


On the way back from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson innocently said to my son, 'Dad, I know babies come from mommies' tummies, but how do they get there in the first place?' After my son hemmed and hawed awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust, 'You don't have to make up something, Dad. It's okay if you don't know the answer.'


Just  before I was deployed to Iraq , I sat  my eight-year-old son down and broke the  news to him.  'I'm going to be away  for a long time,' I told  him... 'I'm  going to Iraq ...'   'Why?'  he asked. 'Don't you know there's a war going on over there?'


The following ones were sent to me by my friend Hilary, dedicated to all grandparents out there. They're wonderful too, especially when described by a bunch of eight-year-old children:

Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own.

When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves and caterpillars. They show us and talk to us about the colours of the flowers and also why we shouldn't step on 'cracks.'

They don't say, 'Hurry up.'

They have to answer questions like 'Why isn't God married?' and 'How come dogs chase cats?'

When they read to us, they don't skip pages. They don't mind if we ask for the same story over again.

GOP dirty tricks plus unconventional Sarah Palin could spell disaster for Obama

The GOP, on top of obstructing any initiatives of the Obama administration regarding the economy in order to make him look bad, are also using every trick in the book to rig the 2012 presidential election.

The only way to counter their strategy is for Obama to win the election by a landslide.

Pennsylvania is tweaking the system to change how the electoral college cast their votes and other states may follow suit. Redisdricting, curtailing early voting and requiring photo IDs also play a part in disinfranchising a great number of voters. Then there are those Diebold machines...

According to a Q&A item on the Washington Post, there's very little individuals can do about it.

So landslide it is, and by a very large margin, which doesn't seem to be on the cards if the polls are in any way reliable.

I think that requiring photo IDs, which involve obtaining a birth certificate (at a cost), plus the state photo ID, again at a cost, would prevent the poor and the unemployed from voting, when voting should be free. One way to get around this would require some creative community organizing in the states in question. It would involve serious fundraising and publicizing that funds would be available for all those people without a photo ID to obtain one.

It's very important that a maximum number of people are elligible to vote and that they actually go out on election day to cast their ballots. That's the only way to ensure a landslide for Obama and counter all the GOP dirty tricks.

As for Sarah Palin jumping in at the last moment, that could be a strategy on the part of the people behind her. They'll wait until the other candidates have put both feet in their mouths during the debates, then she'll come in as the saviour, having spent all these weeks leaking poison from the sidelines. She hasn't been attacking only Obama lately and that's worrying. Her new talking points (crony capitalism, for example) are designed to make everybody look bad.

They might find a way to rig the primaries as well... or she may run on a third party ticket.

When it comes to polling day, faced with the choice between an attractive white woman with instant name recognition, a discredited GOP candidate and the black guy who has been demonized for four years, enough voters may be tempted to go for Sarah Palin. Add the media love affair with her plus some rigging to the mix and... voilà!

She hasn't been talking about an unconventional election for nothing...

George W Bush managed to "win" two conventional elections, so nothing surprises me in American politics.

Thursday, 22 September 2011