What’s Up: September 26, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

· Republican poll analysis: Romney winning with middle-class families – In early August, with our Republican analysis of the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll, we wrote “… this election will remain close until the final weeks of the campaign. There will be ups and downs for both campaigns throughout the next 13 weeks, but the basic dynamics that are driving this electorate and framing this election remain well in place.” Two conventions, and tens of millions of campaign dollars later, we continue to hold that belief. While there have been dozens of polls released during the past six weeks that have had Mitt Romney up by as much as 4 points and Barack Obama up by as much 8 or 9, those variations have had more to do with sampling variations than with real movement in the campaign. Yes, there have been gaffes on both sides that have been the focus of both the news media and opposing campaigns, but the dynamics that have been the real drivers of the campaign, the economy and deeply negative feelings about the direction of the country, have not changed. There have also been negative stories about the internal operations, messaging and strategy of both presidential campaigns. In August, leading into the Republican convention, there were multiple stories about the Obama campaign operation and internal fights about both message and strategic direction that led one to believe the wheels were coming off. Now it is the Romney campaign’s turn. Story Continued:

· Obama cancels election-season meeting with Egyptian Islamist Morsi – President Barack Obama has quietly cancelled a politically risky plan to meet this week with Egypt’s new Islamist president. The plan was cancelled amid a wave of riots and attacks in Arab countries that have damaged Obama’s campaign-trail claim to foreign policy competence. In 2011, Obama had “bilateral” meetings with 13 Arab and world leaders during the annual U.S. summit. This year, amid the foreign policy meltdown, his schedule shows no so-called “bilats” with any foreign leaders. The cancelled visit with Morsi was mentioned in a Sept. 23 New York Times article about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist who now governs the Arab region’s most important country. Despite critical 2011 support from Obama for the revolt that removed Hosni Mubarak, Morsi is now demanding restrictions on U.S. free speech that is critical of Islam, demanding more U.S. support for the anti-Israeli Islamist governments in Gaza and the West Bank, and more financial aid to help the cash-strapped Egyptian government buy food and fuel for its population of 82 million people. These Islamist demands clash with Obama’s promise of good U.S.-Arab relations made in his June 2009 “New Beginning “ speech in Cairo. That controversial speech reversed President George W. Bush’s policy of opposition to Islamists’ demands for theocratic governments in Egypt and other Muslim-majority states. To emphasize the reversal, Obama even invited some members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement to his Cairo speech. Following elections in 2011 and 2012, that Islamist movement now controls Egypt, and is taking steps to end the 1979 peace deal between Egypt and Israel. Morsi complimented Obama, telling the New York Times that Obama had “decisively and quickly” supported Egypt’s Islamist and smaller secular parties by helping remove Egypt’s autocratic, pro-Western government. The article downplayed the proposed Obama-Morsi meeting, which was highlighted by the Egyptian press in July. Morsi’s request to meet with Obama “received a cool reception … [from the White House, and] mindful of the complicated election-year politics of a visit with Egypt’s Islamist leader, M. Morsi dropped his request,” claimed the New York Times. However, the cancelled meeting reflects the recent schism between Obama and Morsi. Story Continued:

· Romney Gave 1,000 Times as Much to Charity in a Year as Biden Gave in a Decade – The release of Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax returns shows that he freely gave away more than $4 million to charity last year (about 30 percent of his income). In comparison, when Joe Biden was first running for vice president, his tax returns showed that he had given away just $3,690 to charity over the previous ten years (about 0.2 percent of his income). In other words, Romney gave away a thousand times as much to charity in one year as Biden gave in a decade. That’s despite the fact that the Bidens earned well over $2 million over that decade. In fact, their income was $320,000 in 2008, thereby putting them comfortably over the $250,000-a-year line that marks the entry point for “millionaires and billionaires” in Obama-speak. Last year, Romney freely gave away more than $10,000 a day to charity — an impressive sum by nearly any standard. Of course, it’s not too hard to beat Biden’s tally. Over the span of that decade, or 3,650 days, he gave away $3,690 — an average of $1.01 a day. Story Continued:

· Romney: Obama misleading voters on auto bailout – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said President Barack Obama is trying to mislead voters about his position on the $85 billion bailout and other issues. Romney told reporters on Sunday aboard his campaign plane that Obama is “trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don’t.” “I think that the president’s campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my positions,” he said, according to accounts by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. “They’ve been very aggressive in their attacks, both on a personal basis and on a policy basis. I think as time goes on, people will realize that those attacks are not accurate.” Romney criticized the series of attacks by the Obama campaign on his position on the auto bailout. “When he says I was in favor of liquidating the automobile industry, nothing could be further from the truth,” Romney said. “My plan was to rebuild the auto industry and take it through bankruptcy so that could happen, and by the way, he doesn’t mention he took them through bankruptcy.” The Obama campaign rejected Romney’s comments. “It’s odd that Mitt Romney, a former CEO, won’t take personal responsibility for his campaign’s troubles. And it certainly takes a lot of chutzpah for him — after his campaign bragged that it wouldn’t be dictated by fact checkers — to shed crocodile tears over a legitimate discussion of his record and policies,” spokeswoman Lis Smith said. “Here are the facts: If Mitt Romney had had his way and we’d let Detroit go bankrupt, GM and Chrysler would no longer be in business today.” Story Continued:

· In New York, defiant Ahmadinejad says Israel will be “eliminated” – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday disregarded a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric and declared ahead of the annual General Assembly session that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated.” Ahmadinejad also said he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, denied sending arms to Syria, and alluded to Iran’s threats to the life of British author Salman Rushdie. The United States quickly dismissed the Iranian president’s comments as “disgusting, offensive and outrageous.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity. “Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists,” Ahmadinejad, in New York for this week’s U.N. General Assembly, told reporters. “We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves.” On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Ahmadinejad and warned him of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad, who has used previous U.N. sessions to question the Holocaust and the U.S. account of the 9/11 attacks, did not heed the warning and instead alluded to his previous rejection of Israel’s right to exist. “Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They (the Israelis) have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history,” he said, referring to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. “We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs,” Ahmadinejad said, speaking through an interpreter at his Manhattan hotel. Story Continued:-

· Living (and Dying) Under Drones – Last week, the Obama Administration argued in front of the First Circuit Court of Appeals that there is no official evidence we are waging drone warfare in northern Pakistan. The ACLU has sued under the Freedom of Information Act for details of the widely reported drone strikes and in response, the CIA simply stated that it could neither confirm nor deny that they were happening at all. The government has of course released lots of information about the strikes, but always in the form of leaks, anonymous and self-serving. According to the leakers, the strikes are a miracle of precision, waged with a concern for the protection of innocent bystanders that would have done credit to Mahatma Gandhi. To a considerable extent the media has taken this story as given, dwelling instead on the political consequences of the strikes on our relationship with Pakistan, or other subsidiary issues. The actual effects of an escalating eight year bombardment of Hellfire missiles on a society living in mud houses on an average per capita income of $250 has attracted less scrutiny. Living Under Drones, an exhaustively researched and documented study by the New York University Law School Global Justice Clinic and Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic released today, does much to explain the government’s reluctance to come clean. The report makes it clear that there have indeed been many undeniably innocent civilian casualties — presenting an upper figure of almost 900 killed, many of them children. On March 17, 2011, for example, village elders and other local notables, including several officials appointed by the Pakistani government, were meeting in the bus depot at the town of Datta Khel in North Waziristan when a missile, presaged only by a brief hissing noise, slammed in their midst, killing at least 40 people, of whom four may have been low level members of the Taliban. An October 6, 2006 strike on a religious school in Bajaur killed over 80 people, including 69 children. The authors note that not only do we not know the precise figure, even close neighbors of a targeted compound may not know. In this extremely conservative society, the number, let alone the names, of females living in a compound may be unknown to outsiders. Given that the missiles explode at temperatures high enough to utterly dismember or even vaporise bodies, it is often literally impossible to count the dead. Story Continued:

· Can America Be Great Again? – by Alec Baldwin: When I attended college, a long time ago, I studied the American Presidency. At George Washington University in 1976, the student government, the GWU Student Association, had reconvened after being disbanded by the school at the request of the CIA during the height of anti-Vietnam protests on campuses across the country. Or some such folklore. Everyone was politicized. Volunteering for Carter. Bussing out to D.C. suburbs to canvass for votes. We all wanted internships at law firms, government agencies, or on The Hill. (Why not all three?) The most popular course in the poli-sci department was Stephen J .Wayne’s “The American Presidency.” Dr. Wayne, now of Georgetown University, lectured on James David Barber’s The Presidential Character, Charles Beard’s The Economic Interpretation of the Constitution and George Reedy’s The Twilight of the Presidency. Wayne’s classes were packed to the rafters and Wayne was a gifted speaker and educator who held his students spellbound, knowing that some percentage of them were dreaming of living a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, to begin with. George Reedy’s book reportedly shook up his old boss, LBJ, with its assessments of the Presidency. One essayist I found explains why: Reedy’s general concern is quite simple. He believed darkness was falling on the office of the president because the modern presidency had become an institution that, by its nature, kept a president out of touch with the country he must lead and the real problems he must solve. The modern president, Reedy explained, is cut off from those who will tell him the truth, and surrounded instead by “yes men” who tell him only what he wants to hear. As a one-time insider, Reedy found that the presidency had become a uniquely American monarchy, an institution never contemplated by our founders. There are few checks on the man (or perhaps in the future, woman) elected to this office, other than his (or her) own character. The office is, in effect, a stage — a focal place that magnifies a president’s strengths, and often ignores his weaknesses. With good reason, Reedy is not at all certain that the checks and balances of the Constitution, along with the powers of the media, are sufficient to assure that the executive branch is really properly serving the American people. To a remarkable extent, he explains, the president can do what he wishes, independent of what the people want, and what is in their interest. Story Continued:

· Breasts: The Real Reason Men Love Them

clip_image001 Jokes about breasts, and men looking at breasts, are such a comedy staple they’ve become a kind of go-to cliché. How many times have we seen a man talking to a curvaceous woman only to have her point to her own eyes and say “Hey, buddy, up here!”? It’s funny — or, at least, it was funny the first dozen times we saw it — because it’s true. The male eye does have a way of drifting south. But why? Why are heterosexual men so fascinated by women’s breasts that we sometimes act as if the breasts are the seat of the soul? Well, we happen to be heterosexual men. We also happen to be men interested in biology — one of us, Larry, is one of the world’s leading experts in the neuroscience of social bonding. So we’ve been thinking about this, and, in our new book, The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction, we propose an answer. Biologically speaking, this human male breast obsession is pretty weird. Men are the only male mammals fascinated by breasts in a sexual context. Women are the only female mammals whose breasts become enlarged at puberty, independent of pregnancy. We are also the only species in which males caress, massage and even orally stimulate the female breasts during foreplay and sex. Women do seem to enjoy the attention, at least at the right moments. When Roy Levin, of the University of Sheffield, and Cindy Meston, of the University of Texas, polled 301 people — including 153 women — they found that stimulating the breasts or nipples enhanced sexual arousal in about 82 percent of the women. Nearly 60 percent explicitly asked to have their nipples touched. Men are generally pretty happy to oblige. As the success of Hooters, “men’s” magazines, a kajillion websites, and about 10,000 years of art tell us, men are extremely drawn to breasts, and not because boys learn on the playground that breasts are something that they should be interested in. It’s biological and deeply engrained in our brain. In fact, research indicates that when we’re confronted with breasts, or even breast-related stimuli, like bras, we’ll start making bad decisions (and not just to eat at Hooters). For example, in one study, men were offered money payouts. They could have a few Euros right away, or, if they agreed to wait a few days, more Euros later. In this version of a classic “delayed gratification” (also called intertemporal choice by behavioral economists) experiment, some men watched videos of pastoral scenes while others watched videos of attractive women with lots of skin exposed running in slo-mo, “Baywatch” style. The men who watched the women’s breasts doing what women’s breasts do opted for the smaller-sooner payouts significantly more often then men who watched the pastoral scene. Story Continued:

· U.S. President Speaks to U.N. About YouTube Video Posted in June – In an address to the United Nations General Assembly today, President Barack Obama dedicated several long passages to discussing and condemning what the New York Times has described as a 14-minute “amateurish video” that was posted on YouTube in June. Obama also told the United Nations that with modern technology efforts to control the flow of information have become “obsolete.” The Obama administration had originally suggested that the video in question—which the New York Times said was a trailer for a movie entitled “The Innocence of Muslims”—may have been responsible for inspiring a mob to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 and to kill U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. However, the Libyan prime minister said last week that the attack on the U.S. consulate was pre-planned. Also, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said on Sunday that not only was the attack planned but also that there was reason to believe it had been carried out by al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-affiliated group and that he had seen no evidence that there had even been a demonstration outside the consulate before the attack. “In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others,” Obama told the United Nations. “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” he said. “I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity,” said Obama. “It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well–for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion–we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. “I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video,” said Obama. “The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Story Continued:

· Lang Says Players Could Take Action If NFL Refs Issue Continues – On the long flight back for the Green Bay Packers following the team’s 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, players debated going on strike or taking a knee on every play in upcoming games if the replacement referee issue isn’t solved. That’s according to Packers guard TJ Lang, a Royal Oak native who issued an infamous anti-NFL Tweet after the game that said “** It NFL. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.” Many believe the Packers loss was caused by the worst referee decision in NFL history, and players got down to the nuts and bolts of what to do next on the plane, Lang said. Lang said incensed players decided they’re willing to go to great lengths to show their displeasure about the replacement ref situation. “Whatever it takes, it’s just a total embarrassment to everybody watching the game, the players in the game, it’s not fun to be part of something like that … If it keeps going on, it’s going to get ugly,” Lang said during a Tuesday afternoon interview on the Valenti & Foster show on 97.1 The Ticket. He added: “Going into a game worrying about the refs more than the other team, it’s a problem. The NFL, the commissioners, if they don’t take action after last night … That should be the last straw.” Story Continued:

· Senators to Clinton: Show us the ambassador’s cables – Two top senators on the Foreign Relations Committee don’t want to wait for the State Department to do its own investigation into the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens; they want Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to show them Stevens’s diplomatic cables and other correspondence now. “While we appreciate the sensitivities associated with this ongoing investigation, we must insist on more timely information regarding the attacks and the events leading up to the attacks,” wrote Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Johnny Isaakson (R-GA) in a letter to Clinton Tuesday. They acknowledged that Clinton is in the process of setting up an Accountability Review Board, although its chairman former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering said Monday that the panel hasn’t started it work yet. But the senators don’t want to wait for the board to finish its report, which might not be transmitted to Congress until next spring. “To that end, we request that you transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens,” they wrote. Story Continued:

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· Romney in Ohio: ‘My heart aches’ for struggling Americans – Mitt Romney kicked off a day of campaigning in this battleground state by insisting his “heart aches” for struggling Americans and that he is better prepared than President Barack Obama to help those who are “hurting” under the tough economy. Speaking at a rally located in a swing district just outside Columbus, Romney kept repeating his empathy for people out of work and trying to pay their bills—insisting that he will do his “very best to help” those in need “when I am president.” “I’ve been across this country, and my heart aches for the people I’ve seen,” Romney told a crowd of several hundred people here. “There are so many in our country that are hurting right now. I want to help them.” Relating the story of an unemployed woman he met at a rally on Tuesday, Romney insisted over and over that he has “what it takes to get the economy going again.” “I care about the people in America,” he said. “And the difference between me and President Obama is I know what to do, and I will do what it takes to get this economy going.” Story Continued:

· Libyan president: Benghazi attack was a ‘preplanned act of terrorism’ – Libyan President Mohammed Magarief said the controversial film that mocked Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and ignited protests throughout the Muslim world had “nothing to do” with the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, and that he has “no doubt” it was an act of terrorism. “It’s a preplanned act of terrorism directed at American citizens,” Magarief told NBC’s Ann Curry in an interview that aired Wednesday. “Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September. They chose this date, 11th of September, to carry a certain message.” Magareif said the “high degree of accuracy” in which the attack was executed—with rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells—is proof that the assault was preplanned, and not carried out by inexperienced protesters. He said he believes “al-Qaida elements” were involved but stopped short of directly accusing the terrorist group of planning it. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was among those killed in the attack, but Magareif said he did not know if Stevens was specifically targeted. The Libyan leader said more than 40 people have been questioned in connection with the killings, but that it is too early to reveal the details of the ongoing investigation. Story Continued and to watch the video:

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Filed under Left - Off Base, Politics from Just Right of Center - I want Balance!, Right - too Religous for me

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