Friday, September 30, 2011

Women’s suffrage in Saudi Arabia

Maybe someone can confirm (or refute) something I read somewhere or other, that the Saudi king’s magnanimous grant to women of the right to vote in elections in 2015 for the minority of members of mostly powerless municipal councils is subject to those women’s male owners relatives’ giving them written permission to vote?

Today -100: September 30, 1911: Of dying nations and living nations

Italy declares war on Turkey, which looks like it plans to roll over and not resist the occupation of Libya. Italian troops have landed, and Italian cruisers fired on Turkish transports.

The rest of Europe is mostly concerned with keeping the fighting localized, which may be difficult as other Ottoman provinces, including Albania and Crete, are showing signs of unrest.

The NYT notes that no one believes Italy’s pretext of disorder in Libya and danger to Italian subjects and businesses there, and says that Italy is without justification, but “The dying nations must yield as the living nations press forward, just as savage tribes in all history have been forced back or annihilated by the advance of civilization. ... If any race could set up a claim to be the Tripolitans by indigenous right it would be the Arabs” but “There is nothing national about Tripoli. She is and has been a possession, and, like a negotiable instrument, passes from hand to hand.”

In Mexico’s presidential elections tomorrow -100, men can vote at 18 if married and 21 if unmarried. Madero is for all intents and purposes unopposed.

Headline of the Day -100: “Taft in Circus Tent Ends Tour of Iowa.” Sometimes he just liked to feel pretty.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today -100: September 29, 1911: Of encyclopedias

The American Federation of Catholic Societies comes out against the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Evidently, all the articles on religion weren’t written by Catholics.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It’s very hard to separate liberty from some economic reforms

Obama answered some questions from Hispanics. Asked about Cuba, he more or less said that he would lift sanctions if it released political prisoners and had human rights. What, asked one of the hosts, they could still have a socialist economy? Obama, realizing his mistake, quickly backtracked: “Well, it’s very hard to separate liberty from some economic reforms.” Everyone would have to have a right to start their own business, for example. “So some elements of freedom are included in how an economic system works.” So it’s official: Obama thinks “freedom” must include capitalism.

Not addressed: the program under which the Border Patrol now transports Mexicans caught crossing the border illegally to some other random part of the border thousands of miles away before pushing them back over the border, just to be dicks.

Today -100: September 28, 1911: Of ultimata

40,000 Italian troops are off the coast of Libya. Italy has sent an ultimatum to the Turks that unless they agree to an Italian occupation of Tripoli, Italy will occupy Tripoli.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today -100: September 26, 1911: Of lost Liberty

The French battleship Liberté blows up and sinks at Toulon, the explosion also damaging several nearby battleships. 300 or so people are killed, including 200 of the crew and people on other ships and in the port.



The Liberté’s captain, who was not on board when it exploded, was Louis Jaurès, whose brother Jean was leader of the Socialist Party and a pacifist MP who was assassinated a couple of days before World War I began.

President Taft gives a speech to the National Conservation Congress in Kansas City. He says that agricultural productivity must be increased if the US is to feed its ever-increasing population. But he is optimistic that the US can support the 200,000,000 Americans that he predicts might exist in 50 years, although he does not say if that’s 200 million Taft-sized Americans or the economy-sized ones.

The State Dept says it doesn’t care if Italy invades and takes over Libya, as long as American traders still have rights under the Treaty of Tripoli (1796-7).

The Denver Evening Post suggests that the Philippines be sold to Japan, since the Filipinos have proven too uncivilized to ever be given self-government.

In Belfast, a conference of Unionist leaders pledges not to acknowledge any Irish government established under Home Rule and to create a provisional government for Northern Ireland in the event of Home Rule.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today -100: September 25, 1911: Of trains, navies, and exercising self-restraint

Booker T. Washington charters a Pullman car for his sole use to avoid Jim Crow laws while traveling in Texas.

The NYT seems to think that in any war, Italy, with its larger, more modern navy, would definitely beat the Ottoman Empire, which has an army 1 million men larger.

The timing of the Italian move on North Africa derives from a claim that it deserves to be “compensated” for France’s achieving exclusive dominance over Morocco by being given similar status in Tripoli.

Some reverend dude giving a sermon against booze read out a letter from President Taft: “The excessive use of intoxicating liquor is the cause of great poverty and crime... Each person must determine for himself the course he will take in reference to his taste and appetites; but those who exercise the self-restraint to avoid it altogether are on the safer and wiser side.” Well, if anyone knows about exercising self-restraint, it’s William Howard Taft.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Today -100: September 24, 1911: Of war moves and gay New York

No war in Europe! France and Germany agree on Africa carve-up: France gets Morocco, with safeguards for German businesses, and Germany gets 150,000 square miles of the French Congo. Germans are evidently pretty pissed off at Britain for siding with France, which ensured that Germany didn’t get nearly as much out of its gunboat diplomacy as it expected.

War in Europe? Italy prepares two army corps and a naval squadron for war with the Ottoman Empire over Libya.

Headline of the Day -100: “New York Too Gay For Tampa Sheriff.” A Tampa deputy – nicknamed Babe – arrived to take an embezzler back to Florida, but decided to have a little fun on the town first. More than a week later, Tampa had to send another deputy, a teetotaler this time, to bail out the first deputy and bring them both back.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Republican Debate: Sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself,

I couldn’t find a transcript for the Republican debate last night, so I thought I was off the hook but oh look, here it is, sigh. The debate was sponsored by Google and the Florida Republican Party. Make your own joke about old people and computers.

Perry brags of tort reform that “told personal injury trial lawyers, don’t come to Texas”. Evidently no personal injury trial lawyers are Texans, they all sneak in from elsewhere, possibly Mexico.

234 EXECUTIONS? Perry: “People understand that the state of Texas, during the last decade, something special happened there.”

Romney says Obama has hurt the middle class, but when asked to define where the category of the rich begins, absolutely refused: “I don’t try and define who’s -- who’s rich and who’s not rich,” adding, but if you buy a McMansion as a vacation home, then knock it down to build a bigger one, you might just be... a completely regular guy, who’s middle class just like you. JUST. LIKE. YOU.

Asked how much people should pay in taxes, Michele Bachmann said zero. “You should get to keep every dollar that you earn. ... Obviously, we have to give money back to the government so that we can run the government, but we have to have a completely different mindset. And that mindset is, the American people are the genius of this economy. It certainly isn’t government that’s the genius.” Um, right.

Oh, and Obama has “destroyed the economy.”

Santorum wants to ban collective bargaining by public-sector unions.

Gingrich opposes extending unemployment benefits without mandatory “training.” “I believe deeply, people should not get money for doing nothing,” adding that he prefers giving people Tiffany jewelry in exchange for blowjobs.

Perry: “For those people that are approaching Social Security, they don’t have anything in the world to worry about,” adding, except for their approaching deaths, of course.

Romney and Perry each accuse the other of retreating from things they wrote in their own books. Next week, they’ll be discussing The Bridges of Madison County. Romney adds, “And I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is,” adding, except for people who went to school in Texas, obviously.

Governor Romney, is Obama a socialist? He won’t say, but “what President Obama is, is a big-spending liberal. And he takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn’t working in Europe. It’s not going to work here.” Remember, Romney knows all about Europe, from all that time he spent failing to get French people to convert to Mormonism.

Romney makes a widdle joke: “I only spent four years as a governor. I didn’t inhale.” Really, the RomneyBot’s manufacturers should have made him more life-like.

Santorum, near as I can make him out, calls for the abolition of state education, because it interferes with parental responsibility to educate their children.

Everyone is against the federal government having any role in education whatsoever. Most say they would shut down the Department of Education, no one says they would keep it open. And they want school choice and vouchers.

Romney says the talk about smaller classrooms being a good thing is just propaganda by the teachers’ unions. He says as president he will stand up to the national teachers’ unions, which is odd because he just said that we need to get the federal government out of education.

Romney says he “just can’t follow” Perry’s argument that children of undocumented aliens should be educated. He calls it a magnet.

Perry says “if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” risking offending the largest constituency in the Republican party, those without hearts.

Romney on Israel: “You don’t allow an inch of space to exist between you and your friends and allies.” Kinky. “The right course -- if you disagree with an ally, you talk about it privately. But in public, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your allies.” So foreign policy should be secretive and hypocritical and hidden from the American people. No change there, then.

Oo, a hypothetical, everyone loves a hypothetical: what would you do if the Pakistan’s nuclear weapons fell into the hands of the Taliban. Perry says that he would already have built “a relationship in that region,” which Obama hasn’t. What, military aid and drone attacks aren’t a relationship?

Perry refers to Pakistan as “the Pakistani country.”

Also, he’d sell weapons to India. And Taiwan. Because that would totally help if the Taliban got nukes.

Santorum thinks we should establish relationships with exiled President Musharraf, and then would respond to the hypothetical, which he reinterprets as a Taliban coup in Pakistan, by invading Pakistan and re-installing Musharraf as dictator.

THIS IS MY RIFLE, THIS IS MY GUN: After the famous booing by the audience of the gay soldier, Santorum said: “I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.” Except jerking off to prisoners of war stacked in naked human pyramids, obviously. “And the fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to -- to -- and removing ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ I think tries to inject social policy into the military.” (Heh, he said “inject”). Pretending that gay people don’t exist and ordering them to repress evidence of their sexuality is, I guess, somehow, not injecting social policy into the military. Note that Santorum stalled out when he tried to say what “special privilege” gay people would be getting. He said said that in the future, “we would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past. Which was, sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.” (Heh, he said keep “it” to yourself.)

Ron Paul: “nobody can out-do me on respect for life. I’ve spent a lifetime dealing with life.”

Applause line:
WALLACE: Mr. Cain, you are a survivor of stage 4 colon and liver cancer. And you say, if Obamacare had been...


Given how the audiences at these things have been behaving, I can only assume that they were applauding stage 4 colon and liver cancer.

Bachmann denies ever having said that the HPV vaccine causes retardation. “I didn’t make that claim nor did I make that statement.” She adds that Perry “gave parental rights to a big drug company.”

HOW PERRY WILL ALWAYS ERR: Perry says he “erred on the side of life” and he will always err on the side of life.

WHAT NO OTHER PEOPLE ON EARTH DO: Romney: “We place our hand over our heart during the playing of the national anthem. No other people on Earth do that.”

WAY TO MAKE FUN OF A DUDE WITH ALZHEIMER’S, FROTHY: Santorum: “The last words Ronald Reagan said as president of the United States in his farewell address, he was concerned about the future of our country because we were forgetting who we were, didn’t remember what America was really all about.”

Johnson made a dog shit joke.

Asked who among the other candidates they’d pick as their running mate, Johnson said Paul, Santorum said Gingrich, Gingrich called the question a “Hollywood game,” adding, “I don’t have any idea who I would pick as the vice presidential nominee.” He’s really thought through this whole running-for-president thing, hasn’t he? Perry indulges in some slash fiction: “I don’t know how you would do this, but if you could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich, I think you would have a couple of really interesting guys to work with.” Um, right. Paul, Romney and Bachmann refuse to answer, or to say who they’d like to see pair up. Huntsman says he’d pick Cain, because they have similar taste in ties (yellow).

Today -100: September 23, 1911: Of ready navies, bumpy vacations, crispy aeronauts, and reluctant presidents

Bellicose Headline of the Day -100: “Italian Navy Ready for War.” With Turkey if it refuses to let Italy establish a “protectorate” over Libya (as they did not then call the Ottoman province of Tripoli).

Thomas Edison is enjoying a vacation in Germany. He declares himself feeling much improved. Not so improved is the child his car ran over and killed (the report does not say if he was driving).

At an air show or county fair or something in Troy, Ohio, aviator Frank Miller, who had been reluctant to go up in a malfunctioning airplane, is shamed into it by the crowd calling him a coward. The plane’s engine cut out and then exploded and Miller was “burned to a crisp” mid-air. But at least he wasn’t a coward.

In a speech in Peoria, President Taft admits that he never wanted to be president, he wanted to be chief justice of the Supreme Court. What an odd thing for someone hoping to be re-elected in a year to say out loud.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Demographic changes

The Boston Globe (paywall or registration thingy) says that the final straw for Abbas was a letter from the State Department which tried to persuade him not to seek UN recognition by saying that Palestinians had to consider Israel’s security needs and the “demographic changes” since 1967, i.e., the settlements. For some reason, this pissed off the Palestinians.

Today -100: September 22, 1911: Of reciprocity derailed, war engines, and women’s suffrage in California

Canada’s Liberal government loses the elections spectacularly (to the extent that any Canadian election can be described as spectacular), killing the chances of the tariff reciprocity treaty with the United States. I guess Canada didn’t want to be annexed after all. President Taft is surprised and disappointed, and the NYT is downright insulting: “Prejudice and delusion have triumphed in Canada”.

A war engine being tested in Italy exploded, killing 6 people. I really don’t know what a “war engine” might have been, not in 1911 anyway.

The NYT explains that the collision of the Olympic is “distinctly reassuring” about the safety of the big new liners.

The LAT explains its opposition to women’s suffrage: women don’t want it. “Woman has ‘rights,’ cares and burdens enough. Her supreme ‘right’ is the right NOT to vote. ... The Times honors and respects the women of Los Angeles more than those who are trying to lure them from the mellow radiance of the home into the fierce glare of publicity.”

You can read the ballot pamphlet arguments for and against Prop. 8.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Obama at the UN: Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations

Today, Barack Obama spoke to the United Nations General Assembly (you know, the part of the UN where we can’t veto Palestinian statehood).

JUST TWO? I THINK NOT. “I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place -- Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization -- remained at large.” You’ll notice he had to specify who he meant by “the violent extremists who drew us into war,” lest people think he meant Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. You will also have noticed that Obama buys into the claim that Al Qaida was somehow responsible for “drawing us into war” in Iraq.

SEVERAL THOUSAND TROOPS STATIONED THERE, LARGE MILITARY BASES, ARMS SALES, YOU KNOW, A NORMAL RELATIONSHIP: “At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations.”

OBAMA NEVER WANTS US TO BE IN DOUBT: “So let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding.”

NOT ANTHONY WEINER DEGRADED, BUT, YOU KNOW, DEGRADED: “even as al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded.”

IT’S NOT A SPEECH BY A US PRESIDENT TO THE UN ABOUT PEACE UNLESS HE’S DANCING AROUND SOME CORPSE OR OTHER: “And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.” Thousands of people – personally?

ER, RIGHT, BURIED WITH HIM: “Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him.”

ALSO, COMEDY: “But let us remember: Peace is hard. Peace is hard.”

After mentioning various Middle Eastern countries violently oppressing their peoples – Syria, Yemen, etc – he says “In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. We’re pleased with that, but more is required.” He neglects to mention that that government too has slaughtered its opponents. And Saudi Arabia slips his mind altogether, for some reason.

DESERVE: “One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own.” There’s a lot of arrogance packed into that word “deserve.”

I FEEL ASSURED. DON’T YOU FEEL ASSURED? “Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I.”

SO SUCK IT, UNITED NATIONS: “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations”.

THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: “Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors.”

HOW THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN DEADLOCK WILL BE BROKEN: “And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes, each side can see the world through the other’s eyes.” Yeah, because the problem is that they don’t understand each other enough, not that they understand each other perfectly. This is the internationalization of Obama’s belief that he can convert Republicans to reasonableness if he only explains things logically to them one more time.

In the odds & bits section of the speech, he talked a bit about nuclear weapons (i.e., Iran), climate change, and said, “we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere,” although he fails to mention by name any country that might be infringing on those rights.

Today -100: September 21, 1911: Of spitzbubs, dead Chinese, and collisions

Anthony Comstock (of Comstock Act fame) arraigns a Mrs. Bertha Hussmann for mailing a postcard to her husband which called him a “spitzbub.” Comstock thought she was calling him a thief, which would violate laws against mailing anything of a “defamatory, libelous, and scurrilous character,” but in fact the word better translates from the German as scamp or rascal. Use it in a sentence today.

Last week -100, 2,000 Chinese rebels were slain. You’d think that would be worth more than two sentences in the NYT. You would be wrong.

The White Star liner Olympic, the largest vessel afloat, collides with the HMS Hawke, limps back to Southampton. The NYT blames the Hawke, but an investigation will blame the Olympic and its captain, Edward Smith, for failing to yield the right of way. Smith’s next command will be the Titanic (another link between the collisions of the Olympic and that of the Titanic: the repairs to the Olympic tied up facilities and delayed the launching of the Titanic). 60 millionaires were on board, including Waldorf Astor, who was, um, related in some way to John Jacob Astor IV, who went down on the Titanic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A very dangerous insult

Rick Perry: “The Obama policy of moral equivalency which gives equal standing to the grievances of Israelis and Palestinians, including the orchestrators of terrorism, is a very dangerous insult.” No one can accuse Perry of giving equal or, you know, any, standing to the grievances of the Palestinians.

Perry opposes a freeze on Israeli settlements on occupied territories, because of course he does.

He added, “As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel.” Directive?

Monday, September 19, 2011

We can’t just cut our way out of this hole

Obama spoke today about his number one priority since the Republicans told him it was his number one priority, deficit reduction.

IF THIS DOESN’T CONVINCE THE REPUBLICANS TO PASS THE JOBS ACT, I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL: “They should pass it right away. I’m ready to sign a bill. I’ve got the pens all ready.” Say, if you’re serious about deficit reduction, maybe cut down on the number of pens you use just to sign your name.

AND I COULD “SAVE” A LOT OF MONEY IF I STOPPED BUYING ALL THAT COCAINE AND ALL THOSE MAGIC BEANS: “And we save an additional $1 trillion as we end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

HE WAS FOR LEAVING PEOPLE AT THE MERCY OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT: “Because while we do need to reduce health care costs, I’m not going to allow that to be an excuse for turning Medicare into a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.”

SOME OF HIS BUREAUCRATS CAN FIND AS MANY AS SEVEN DIMES OF WASTE AND INEFFICIENCY EVERY HOUR THEY SPEND SCOURING THE BUDGET: “So this is how we can reduce spending: by scouring the budget for every dime of waste and inefficiency”.

THE FIRST RULE WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A HOLE... “We can’t just cut our way out of this hole. It’s going to take a balanced approach.”

IT SHOULD GIVE IT TO THOSE WHICH GIVE THE LARGEST CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: “Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies with the best-connected lobbyists.”

NOTE THAT THE MIDDLE CLASS ARE “FAMILIES” BUT THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES ARE ALONE. POOR LONELY MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. “And any reform should follow another simple principle: Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.”

His strongest bit of rhetoric attacks the Republicans’ no-tax pledges as support for unfairness in that every billionaire evidently pays less than every secretary. Putting aside whether that’s a caricature of our, yes, ridiculously uneven tax code, this isn’t even a full-throated defense of progressive taxation. Hell, it could be a defense of the flat tax.
It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness -- explain why somebody who's making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that -- paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.
Which explains why he’s okay with having broken every single one of his campaign promises, I guess.

HOWEVER, TAKING OUT A FEW HEDGE FUND MANAGERS WITH PREDATOR DRONES WOULD JUST BE FUCKING COOL: “I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare.”

WHAT, NOBODY? “Nobody wants to punish success in America.” Actually, let’s test that proposition.

WHAT BOTH PARTIES AGREE: “Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount -- by $4 trillion.” Wow, they both agree on the same arbitrary number? It’s almost the same as only having one political party.

WE CAN’T AFFORD TO DO WHAT NOW? “Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.” So if we raise Medicare fees we can’t also ask the rich to pay their fair share in taxes, is that what you’re saying? You know that makes no sense, right? “Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. We can’t afford to do both.” Seriously, did no one check this speech for logic?


WHO YOU CALLING ORDINARY? “I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans.”

THE V WORD! HE USED THE V WORD! “And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share.” So we can afford to do both those things after all?

Today -100: September 19, 1911: Of assassinations and dragons

After some nonsense about how Russian PM Stolypin might survive because the assassin’s bullet was deflected by his crucifix, he dies. The Jews of Kiev are expecting retaliatory violence, as is the custom.

Headline of the Day -100 (LAT): “Sea Dragon Sighted Off Coast Near San Diego.” 40 feet long, with four baby dragons. Pink.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Come to your senses

Bibi Netanyahu: “we are ready to enter negotiations if the Palestinians want to. At the end of the day I believe that after the smoke clears the Palestinians will come to their senses and sit down for negotiations that will bring peace for us and our neighbors.” Because nothing says “ready to enter negotiations” like telling your potential negotiating partners to “come to their senses.”

In the same article, Abbas denies trying to delegitimize Israel, saying that in fact Israel is a legitimate state, but its settlement-building activities are illegitimate. Actually, I’d say that until there is an established Palestinian state with mutually agreed borders, Israel is not a legitimate state.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I never liked Tony Blair,

but I didn’t realize how much I’d come to loathe him until I read an article in the Daily Telegraph about his secret meetings with Qaddafi as an emissary of Gordon Brown to negotiate the release of the Lockerbie bomber and when it said “He was flown to Libya twice at Gaddafi’s expense on one of the former dictator’s private jets,” I had a genuine brief moment of confusion over which one was the “former dictator.”

Quote of the Day

Counter-terrorism Czar John Brennan says the US can kill or capture people in any country on earth: “We reserve the right to take unilateral action if or when other governments are unwilling or unable to take the necessary actions themselves.” He does add the caveat that we are constrained by “respect for a state’s sovereignty,” so I guess we’ll respectfully insert military forces into other countries to kill people.

Today -100: September 17, 1911: Of watermelons, kindly suffrage campaigns, mad monks, and the South’s burden

Court-Martial of the Day -100: “For the first time in the history of the army it seems certain that an officer is to be court-martialed for the purpose of proving whether or not he is qualified to act as a judge of the price of North Carolina watermelons.” A captain briefly detained a watermelon farmer who was charging soldiers a higher price than that set by the captain. The farmer was friend of a friend of a friend of Sen. Lee Overman, who complained to the secretary of war, thus the court-martial.

The threat of war between Germany and France seems to have receded while they send various notes and proposals and ultimatums relating to Morocco back and forth. The views of the king of Morocco, or indeed those of any other Moroccans, are of course irrelevant.

Governors of all five states with women’s suffrage (plus the governor of South Dakota) attend a meeting of the Women’s Political Union at Cooper Union in NYC. They all support women’s suffrage in general but Gov. William Spry of Utah has some criticisms of militant suffrage methods (meaning those used by British suffragettes, not – yet – by Americans). And Gov. James Hawley of Idaho said “The suffrage campaign should be carried on in a kindly way.” He warned against using “coercion and force,” adding “I believe in women who are motherly women, who are true sisters and true wives; women who believe that home is the most sacred place on earth.” Harriot Stanton Blatch said governors Spry and Hawley don’t know what they’re talking about. More surprisingly, Gov. John Shafroth of Colorado said the same, coming out in support of English militancy; he says that men would have reacted much more strongly if treated the same way.

The Sunday magazine section today has two features on important personages in Russia, one on “The Mad Monk Who Rules Russia Through the Czar” (Iliodor, not Rasputin), and one on “The Czar’s Sister-in-Law A Woman Suffrage Leader.”

Hoke Smith, former governor of Georgia and now US senator-elect, says that the negro is the South’s burden. And education won’t help, because negroes are, well, you know. What would help? He doesn’t come out in favor of the return of slavery, although he does say that negroes were “advanced from savagery to civilization during slavery,” which they never do when left to their own devices, as in Africa. And Negroes, he says, should never compete with whites: “with few exceptions, they succeed only in the simpler walks of life, and there only when they receive the benefit of kindly direction from the white man.” They do best in communities with lots of white men, so the best policy would be to scatter them throughout the country. He seems a bit resentful that the South is shouldering so much of the white man’s burden.

Friday, September 16, 2011


US says Palestine should not make "unilateral" move for UN recognition, will unilaterally veto UN recognition.

Today -100: September 16, 1911: But other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Stolypin?

Headline of the Day -100: “China Realizes Revolt is Serious.”

The guy who shot Russian PM Stolypin, Dmitry Bogrov, who was arrested on the spot, is evidently both a revolutionary and an informer for the secret police. The government is saying that he was actually assigned to the theater to act as a bodyguard for Stolypin. I’m not sure that’s correct, but in the months to come there were a lot of suspicions over his motives – was he working for the Social Revolutionaries or the Jews (Stolypin fueled the recent pogroms and deportations) or for the extreme rightists in the secret police who found Stolypin a dangerous liberal? Bogrov was hanged within a few days, and the tsar ordered a halt to the investigation into the assassination. It’s all very mysterious.

After he was shot, Stolypin “summoned his waning strength, and, rising, faced the imperial box and gazing steadily upon the Czar, lifted his wounded arm and made the sign of the cross toward his Majesty, invoking the divine protection.”

The NYT helpfully offers an editorial against assassinations.

Teddy Roosevelt attends the NYC Children’s Court in order to write an article about it. He cross-examined the prisoners and gave some of them “a severe lecture.” He told a 15-year-old, accused of spitting off the rear platform of an elevated train, “I never heard of such a beastly thing for any boy to do,” adding, “I never knew a William to be a bad boy,” and declaiming “What you need is a good spanking, and I’d like to give it to you!” Bad William got a suspended sentence. TR told a boy who threw tomatoes at a passerby that he should play ball instead.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today -100: September 15, 1911: Of divine movies, Hallmark moments, assassinations, volcanoes, and sandwichettes

Sarah Bernhardt is making a movie!

Headline of the Day -100: “MEETS LOST SON IN JAIL.; Father, Parted for 20 Years, Finds Him Arrested for Burning Negro.”

Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin is shot twice at the Kiev Opera House (Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan). Tsar Nicholas and two of his daughters were also present. After being shot, Stolypin shouted “I am happy to die for the tsar!” And he did. Or will, in 4 days. The NYT helpfully explains that hangman’s nooses are called “Stolypin’s neckties” in Russia, thanks to his “reforms” of the legal system, facilitating 3,000 executions during his 5-year premiership. (Vladimir Putin, naturally, admires Stolypin for his “unbending will.”)

The Chinese 1911 Revolution is, um, a thing.

Mount Etna has erupted.

Suffragists are wearing sandwich boards along Broadway in NYC to advertise a suffrage meeting, the first time they have been employed by American suffragists, copying their more advanced (and less timid) British sisters. “Sandwichettes,” the NYT, perhaps inevitably, calls them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Republican debate: That’s what freedom is all about


Herman Cain: “I believe that America has become a nation of crises. That’s why I want to be president of the United States of America.” The logic is impeccable.

Romney: “I spent my life in the private sector.” Please ignore my actual qualifications for public office and record of public office.

Gingrich thinks it’s “totally appropriate that we’re having this particular debate on 9/12.” He wants to fight “against the forces of reaction and special interests.”

Bachmann: “I’m a person that’s had feet in the private sector and a foot in the federal government.” And all three feet are righties.

Romney points out that Perry is not only calling Social Security a ponzi scheme, but says it’s unconstitutional, which makes Perry’s u-turn in trying to sound reassuring about Soc Sec problematic. Perry says it’s “not appropriate for America” to “support what they did in the ‘30s”... “And it’s time for us to get back to the constitution and a program that’s been there 70 or 80 years, obviously we’re not going to take that program away.” So he’s not going to take away the unconstitutional program but we’ll get back to the constitution. Clears that right up. Follow-up from Romney: so do you still want to return it to the states? Perry: “I think we ought to have a conversation.” Romney says that’s what we’re doing now, dude. No, says Perry, you’re just trying to scare seniors, by asking me questions that if I answered honestly would scare them.

Gingrich says the one who’s really scaring people on Social Security is Obama. Because Obama correctly pointed out that if the Republicans defaulted the government, SSI checks couldn’t go out. “Now, why should young people who are 16 to 25 years old have politicians have the power for the rest of their life to threaten to take away their Social Security?” So, privatize Social Security and take away that power. Or at least transfer it to Wall Street, which is so much safer than the full faith and security of the United States.

Gingrich says that you can balance the budget simply by “modernizing” government. Free money! No hard choices!

Perry: “I would suggest to you that people are tired of spending money we don’t have on programs we don’t want.”

Romney repeats his line about going from a pay-phone world to a smartphone world and Obama is still feeding quarters into the pay phone. Of course Michelle Bachmann keeps trying to stuff quarters into her smartphone.

Romney is against a national sales tax, because the rich would pay less and the middle class more (he doesn’t mention poor people, for some reason). So he would just end taxation on interest, dividends and capital gains, because that wouldn’t shift the tax burden away from the rich at all.

On the cervical cancer vaccine Perry tried to require, Wolf Blitzer turns to Michelle Bachmann because “You’re a mom.” As a mom, Bachmann is against “innocent little 12-year-old girls” being “forced to have a government injection”. Perry says it was all about “err[ing] on the side of life.” Bachmann says it was actually about drug company profits. Perry says “if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.” Shouldn’t he be offended by the suggestion that he can be bought at all, not by the notion that he can be bought cheaply? Bachmann: “Well, I’m offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn’t have a choice. That’s what I’m offended for.”

Perry says Obama based Obamacare on Romneycare. Romney: “I’d be careful about trusting what President Obama says as to what the source was of his plan”.

Blitzer asks Ron Paul if someone who didn’t bother getting health insurance and then gets sick should be allowed to die. Yes, because “that’s what freedom is all about.” Yay, freedom! (Cheers from the audience at the thought of someone dying.) Paul then says that churches should take care of them (unless they’re filthy atheists, presumably). Also, health care is so expensive because there’s no competition, because there’s licensing, and we should just let fake doctors “practice what they want.”

Santorum: “what Governor Perry’s done is he provided in-state tuition for -- for illegal immigrants. Maybe that was an attempt to attract the illegal vote -- I mean, the Latino voters.” Little racist slip of the tongue in the middle of his racist remarks. Then he added that Republicans can attract Latino voters by making English the official language. “We’re a melting pot, not a salad bowl.” (Although funnily enough, if they assimilate into American society like Santorum wants, they’ll stop eating salads and eat more nachos.)

Gingrich: “I think that the day after we celebrated the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we should be reminded exactly what is at stake if a foreign terrorist gets a nuclear weapon into this country.” Way to bring everyone down after our “celebration,” Captain Buzzkill.

Santorum attacks Ron Paul for suggesting that 9/11 was a response to US actions. Rather, it was because “we have a civilization that is antithetical to the civilization of the jihadists. And they want to kill us because of who we are and what we stand for. And we stand for American exceptionalism”. They hate us for our exceptionalism.

Asked what they would bring to the White House, Santorum says that with all his children, he’d add a bedroom. And a display case for fetuses.

Paul would bring “a bushel basket full of common sense.” And a course in Austrian economics”. Well, which one is it?

Perry says he’d bring his wife. And his hair stylist.

Romney would bring back the statue of Winston Churchill that Obama banished because he’s a Kenyan.

Bachmann would bring a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, because I guess they don’t have copies of those things in the White House now, or access to the internet.

Herman Cain would bring a sense of humor, “because America’s too uptight.”

Huntsman would bring his Harley.

Today -100: September 13, 1911: Of imperialism and race wars

The Italian government has decided to seize Libya, taking advantage of the Franco-German conflict over Morocco.

A “race war” breaks out in Alexandria, Louisiana. A white student at the Baptist college bumped a black man, who hit him with a fence picket, killing him. White mobs have been attacking random black men, as is the custom.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today -100: September 12, 1911: Of prohibition and censorship

Maine voters seem to have voted narrowly to repeal prohibition (Maine has been dry since 1858). Licensing laws still need to be written; towns will be permitted to remain dry.

The Trial of the Century of the Week has been that of Henry Clary Beattie, convicted of murdering his wife. The NY chief of the Bureau of Licenses now warns that no movies depicting the trial will be permitted to be shown. And a couple of the witnesses have been prevented from telling their story on stage in various places.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

George Bush celebrates Nineelevenmas

I might have refrained from making fun of Bush’s chimp-like face if he’d had the decency to keep it to himself this weekend, but there it was, smirking at the dedication of the Flight 93 memorial,

trying to look all somber-like,

or possibly just falling asleep,

smirking next to his favorite comedy partner,

wondering how long this stoopid ceremony was gonna go on,

looking all squinty and somber-like at some flowers,

and (today) trying to look all dignitudinous at Ground Zero,

but not for long, ‘cuz he got to go a football game. New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. Like we haven’t had more than enough in the last ten years of New York jets and Dallas cowboys.

Someone just told a dirty joke.

Some 9/11 nostalgia

A few quotes from myself (because if I don’t quote myself, who will?). These are from the proto version of this blog in the days after 9/11:

Like a lot of people before them, they came to New York with no more than a dream in their hearts, a knife, and many hours spent playing with the flight simulator.

The Empire State Building is now once again the tallest building in NY, which is as it should be. Some of us never took too well to the sacrilege of the World Trade Center. Speaking of which, the Empire State Building was briefly evacuated today after a bomb-sniffing dog made a mistake. Thrown off by the lingering giant-monkey smell, no doubt.

Congress is so desperate to act as if it has a role in this that members are talking about declaring war. Against what or whom, they do not know or care.

From a guy at an Internet firm in the World Trade Center: “I’m a combat veteran. Vietnam, and I never saw anything like this.” No shit, I’m guessing that’s because there were relatively few 110-story buildings in the rice paddies?

Texas postponed an execution. No sense of irony, the Texans.

I especially liked how [Bush] said at the Pentagon, “Coming here makes me sad.” The man is a walking emoticon.

Rep. Don Young of Alaska thinks the real culprits might be the

Bush says that we will now rid the world of evil. I see him traveling the world fighting evil wherever it arises. Like that guy in Kung Fu.

Bush’s use of the word crusade is another reason they should never let him speak in public again. He couldn’t have said something more disturbing to the Islamic world than if he called bin Laden a sand nigger.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So that’s okay then

Tony Blair on the rendition of prisoners to Libya for torture while he was prime minister: “You can’t know everything the security services are doing.”

Today -100: September 10, 1911: Of cholera, conscription, duels, and rude Americans

In two towns in southern Italy, mobs storm the cholera hospitals, remove the patients and set fire to the hospitals, which they believe were actually created to put cholera patients to death. Some patients died in the fires, some died as they were being taken through the streets because they had, you know, cholera, and weren’t really up to a parade.

The French cabinet decides that it won’t release soldiers whose two-year conscription terms will come up later this month if Germany doesn’t release its two-year soldiers.

French feminist journalist Arria Ly (a pseudonym for Joséphine Gondon) wrote an article that raised a stir by calling for a class of celibate single professional women. Prudent Massat (or “the prudent M. Massat,” as the NYT garbles it), a (male) editor of the radical-socialist Toulouse Reporter, then published an article making fun of her ideas and basically calling her a lesbian. So she challenged him to a duel, demanding they exchange bullets “in the name of feminism.” He told her seconds (women, naturally) no, and then organized a protest meeting against her, at which she walked onto the platform and slapped him, twice, by way of repeating the challenge. After a few hours in a police cell, she accepted that the remarks were aimed at her ideas and not her character (although “de-sexed neurotic” sounds pretty personal to me) and withdrew the challenge (although she refused to apologize for the slap), and he wrote a letter of apology. However, a male admirer of Ly’s wrote an article that provoked Massat into challenging him to a duel. They got off two exchanges of fire, all of which missed, then they switched to swords and evidently still managed not to injure each other before the seconds stopped it.

Prince Adelbert, the third son of Kaiser Wilhelm, says that Americans are the rudest people in the world. Evidently some Americans refused his lunch invitation because they had a prior engagement and he, naturally, had never in his 27 years had his wishes disregarded. Two days later another American refused to play tennis with him because it was Sunday and it was against his religious principles to play.

Friday, September 09, 2011

You should pass it right away, evidently

Obama gave his little jobs speech to Congress yesterday.

BY WHICH I MEAN REALITY TV CONCERNS: “But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns.”

WHO THIS PLAN IS FOR: “So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for ‘job creators,’ this plan is for you.”

OBAMA WILL PUT AMERICANS TO WORK BUILDING NEW SKIES: “Everyone here knows we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over the country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world. It’s an outrage.”


WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS: “Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both.”

MATH WARFARE: “This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math.”

MOST? WHO ARE THESE APPEASERS OF WHOM YOU SPEAK? “Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.”

WHAT HE REJECTS: “I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy.”

RACE! “We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top.” Most expensive labor? “And I believe we can win that race.” Pollution standards aren’t actually a race, you know.

MAYBE NOT EVERYONE LIKES TRAVELING AS MUCH OF YOU, HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF THAT? “Ask yourselves -- where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports?”

HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE’S DOCTOR? “The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here -- the people who hired us to work for them -- they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months.” Seriously, we’re dying, aren’t we? You’d tell us if we were all going to die in less than 14 months, right?

He finished with a quote from John F. Kennedy: “Our problems are man-made –- therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” And if there’s one thing that Americans have proven since then, it’s that Americans can be as big as they want.

We’re fat, is what I’m saying.

Today -100: September 9, 1911: Of mad monks and machine guns

Headline of the Day -100: “Mad Monk Predicts Attack on Jews.” In Russia, where there are many mad monks.

Persian government forces defeat the forces of the deposed former shah, using machine guns.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Today -100: September 8, 1911: Peace v. righteousness

John Shafroth, the governor of Colorado, is going to the New Jersey Divorce Convention (I don’t know what that is, but I’d guess it has something to do with standardizing divorce law nationally, or getting states to recognize divorces from other states) (update: elsewhere in the paper, NY State Senator Franklin Delano Roosevelt announces a resolution calling for a uniform federal divorce law). Gov. Shafroth so hates his lieutenant governor that he has barred him from acting as governor in his absence. Lt. Gov. Fitzgerald says he will break into the executive offices or call out the troops if he is barred from them.

I’ve mentioned the (female) mayor of Hunnewell, Kansas, Ella Wilson’s battle to the death with the city council, which refuses to confirm any of her appointments or even meet with her. As a result, no tax levy has been made this year, but she says she will appoint women who will serve without pay to the offices of city clerk, treasurer, marshal and streets commissioner.

Theodore Roosevelt pens an editorial in The Outlook attacking Taft’s arbitration plans as “shams.” He says “It is one of our prime duties as a nation to seek peace. It is an even higher duty to seek righteousness.” Wars in which the US put righteousness above peace include the Revolutionary, Civil and Spanish-American wars. He does not express an opinion on the righteousness of the War of Jenkins’ Ear. “I, for one, would rather cut off my hand than see the United States adopt the attitude either of cringing before great and powerful nations who wish to wrong us or by bullying small and weak nations who have done us no wrong.” (Colombia, which did us wrong by holding land Roosevelt wanted to build a canal on, might have something to say about that.) He lists various matters he thinks should not be subject to arbitration, including the Monroe Doctrine, the Platt Amendment with Cuba, the Panama Canal, racial exclusion of immigrants, etc.

Rudyard Kipling intervenes in the Canadian elections, denouncing the tariff reciprocity treaty in a message to the Canadian people. He says “Ten to one [90 million Americans to 9 million Canadians] is too heavy odds. ... It is her own soul that Canada risks to-day.” And once that soul is “pawned,” Canada will inevitably come to adopt American standards in all things. “She might, for example, be compelled later on to admit reciprocity in the murder rate of the United States...”

The (US) governor-general of the Philippines, William Cameron Forbes, issues an order: “The provisions of the act are hereby made applicable to all districts within the Moro Province. It is therefore declared to be unlawful for any person within the Moro Province to acquire, possess or have the custody of a rifle, musket, carbine, shot-gun, revolver, pistol or any other deadly weapon from which a bullet may be discharged, etc., or to carry, concealed or otherwise on his person, any bowie knife, dirk, dagger, kris, campilane, barong, spear or any other deadly cutting or thrusting weapon except tools used exclusively for working purposes and having a blade less than fifteen Inches in length, without permission from the Governor of the Province.”

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Republican debate: What people are looking for is someone to get something done

Transcript, and if I’d known there would be a transcript this time, I wouldn’t have had to sit through that crap-fest. (Update: except the “transcript” is missing some stuff I wrote down).

AND IN SEVERAL MANSIONS: Romney: “Our president doesn’t understand how the economy works. I do, because I’ve lived in it.”

WHAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR: Santorum: “I think what people are looking for is someone to get something done.” He added, mysteriously, “I’ve done things.”

EVEN IF PERRY PRAYS FOR IT: Huntsman says he hates to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but he did a better job of creating jobs in Utah.

WHAT KIDS NEED: Bachmann says there’s one thing she knows, which is one more thing than I gave her credit for, so good for her, except that the one thing was “Kids needs jobs.”

Ron Paul, a doctor, seemed to say that we don’t need an FDA to test drug safety because drugs do more harm than good. And consumers can decide if cars are safe.

Gingrich: “The fact that President Obama doesn’t come to the Reagan Library to try to figure out how to create jobs...” By reading the stacks of Reader’s Digests? “...tells you that this is a president so committed to class warfare and so committed to bureaucratic socialism that he can’t possibly be effective in jobs.”

Perry says Texas has an uninsured rate of 25% because the people of Texas “would like to see... the federal government get out of their business.”

Gingrich goes on attack against the liberal media, including the debate questioners, saying of the attempt to ask him questions about the candidates he’s competing against, “You want to puff this up into some giant thing.” Which normally is what he pays... oh, you’re all way ahead of me.

JUST POP THE HOOD: Santorum says no one did more than him in “working on the poor.”

Rick Perry then refers to Rick Santorum as “the last individual.” Probably forgot his first name.

Mittens: We’re living like an energy-poor country.

Bachmann defends her promise to reduce gas prices to $2 a gallon: “very time gasoline increases 10¢ cents a gallon, that’s $14 billion [I think the transcript is wrong and she said million] in economic activity that every American has taken out of their pockets.” Wow, every American had $14 billion in their pockets? Let me check. Hey, whaddaya know, she’s right! Fuck this blog, I’m buying Disneyland.

Huntsman says that the price of gas is actually $13 a gallon, “When you add up the cost of troop deployments, when you add up the cost of keeping the sea lanes open for the importation of imported oil” etc etc. So nice to see a politician admit that the wars are for oil.

YOU SHALL NOT CRUCIFY MANKIND UPON THIS CROSS OF GOLD: Ron Paul says he can get us all gas for 10¢ a gallon, because “you can buy a gallon of gasoline today for a silver dime. A silver dime is worth $3.50. It’s all about inflation and too many regulations.”

A NICE INTELLECTUAL CONVERSATION: Perry refuses to talk about what his book said about Social Security’s origins: “it’s a nice intellectual conversation, but the fact is we have got to be focused on how we’re going to change this program.”

CONTEST: What else does Rick Perry consider a nice intellectual conversation. Example: Which is correct, “Yee hah!” or “Yee haw!”?

Romney defends Social Security because “We have always had, at the heart of our party, a recognition that we want to care for those in need”. Say what?

SOME PROVOCATIVE LANGUAGE: Perry: “maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country and say things like, let’s get America working again and do whatever it takes to make that happen.”

Bachmann is against the mandatory vaccination of children “and especially by dictate to impose something like an inoculation on an innocent 12-year-old girl.”


HERE’S WHERE I HAD TO STOP THE DVR AND LAUGH FOR THREE MINUTES: Ron Paul: “These TSA agents are abusive. Sometimes they’re accused of all kinds of sexual activities on the way they maul people at the airport. So the airlines could do that.” He adds that 9/11 was the fault of the feds not allowing pilots to carry guns.

Paul has a plan to end all our wars: “if we did that and took the air conditioning out of the Green Zone, our troops would come home.”

Perry says Texas’s crappy education record isn’t so crappy, and anyway it’s crappy because Texas shares a border with Mexico. Stoopid Mescins.

And when Obama says the border is safe, “he was an abject liar to the American people.”

Ron Paul says darkly that the border fence all the other candidates want – “this fence business” – is actually “designed and may well be used against us and keep us in. In economic turmoil, the people want to leave with their capital. And there’s capital controls and there’s people control. So, every time you think of fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in.”

Perry says he tips his hat to Obama over killing bin Laden but actually he gives more – well, the NYT transcript says props but I heard him say that he gives more probes to the Navy SEALS.

Santorum says Obama only bombed Libya because “the United Nations told him to.”

John Harris asked Perry which scientists he finds most credible on global warming. For some reason, Perry didn’t name any scientists.

Gingrich says he would fire Ben Bernanke tomorrow. Does the president have the power to summarily fire the chairman of the Fed? No, no he does not.

Gingrich wants to “liberate” much of Alaska for natural resource extraction.

Perhaps the greatest applause of the evening was when a question to Perry began by noting that he’d presided over 234 executions (the question was whether he ever had difficulty sleeping because he might have executed an innocent person) (No, he never has); the follow-up asked about that reaction. Perry said it was because “Americans understand justice.”