Tuesday Morning Open Thread

I've been accused of vulgarity. I say that's bullshit.~Mel Brooks
Haqqani network 'ready to enter peace talks with US if Mullah Omar approves'

The Haqqani network, responsible for a series of high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, is prepared to enter talks with the United States if sanctioned by the head of the Taliban, according to a senior commander.

He added that the Haqqanis, a militia operating as a branch of the Afghan Taliban, would keep up pressure on international forces to leave.

Peace talks between the US and the Taliban have stalled over the issue of a prisoner exchange, described by insurgent negotiators as a crucial confidence building gesture.

China’s Next Leaders Inherit Economy at Critical Crossroad

China's leaders have renewed pledges to boost the economy over the next 10 years during meetings this week in Beijing. But the economic challenges China's incoming leaders face are much more difficult than the challenges their predecessors faced a decade ago.

China’s aspirations for its economy over the next decade have come up repeatedly at the National Party Congress, in discussions on the sidelines of the meeting and in state media’s coverage of the event. It also figured prominently in the opening speech of outgoing President Hu Jintao.

In his address, Hu mentioned the economy 104 times in a wide range of contexts. Economic development was mentioned more than a dozen times, as was former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s catchphrase "gaige kaifang," or, "reform and opening up."

Workers exhuming Yasser Arafat's body in probe of death

Work began Tuesday to exhume the body of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat amid an investigation of his 2004 death.

The exhumation process, which started with the removal of the mausoleum's glass and its marble tombstone, could take up to two weeks due to the delicate work that needs to be done by hand, a Palestinian source said.

The exhumation comes after French authorities opened a murder inquiry into his death this year after high levels of a radioactive substance were found on some of his personal belongings.

Ohio Prepares to Execute Killer Who Stabbed Woman

Ohio prepared to execute a condemned killer Tuesday who claims he is innocent of stabbing a woman 138 times, slitting her throat and cutting off her hands.

Death row inmate Brett Hartman has acknowledged he had sex with Winda Snipes early on the morning of Sept. 9, 1997 at her Akron apartment. He also says he went back to Snipes' apartment later that day, found her mutilated body and panicked, trying to clean up the mess before calling 911.

But Hartman said he didn't kill her, a claim rejected by numerous courts over the years.

Secede from US? 'We the People' gets 22 secession petitions

Louisiana was the first of 22 states to petition for secession after President Barack Obama's re-election.

Less than 24 hours after President Obama won re-election, Louisiana was the first of 22-states to petition the government for secession -- again.

More than 13,000 have signed it.

Tulsa dad arrested after toddler found in cage

A Tulsa man was arrested after police found his 18-month-old daughter locked in a metal dog cage, his naked 4-year old daughter outside on a cold afternoon and him asleep in a drug or alcohol "induced stupor," police said Monday.

A neighbor called police after finding the older child outside the family's home and getting no response when he knocked on the door around 4 p.m. Sunday, as temperatures dropped to the low 40s. Officers' knocks also went unanswered, "then one of the officers looked inside and saw a small child in a dog cage," Tulsa police spokesman Officer Leland Ashley said.

Jindal: End 'dumbed-down conservatism'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich.

In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.

Study: Flu, fever in pregnancy linked to autism risk

In a study that's already being greeted with notes of caution, Danish researchers report that children whose mothers had the flu or ran a fever lasting more than a week during pregnancy had an increased risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder.

U.S. health officials stress that the new study, out in today's Pediatrics, is "exploratory" and does not offer a specific cause of the developmental disability.

The study analyzed data collected from 97,000 mothers of children born from 1997 through 2003. It found no association between mothers who reported common respiratory or sinus infections, common colds, urinary tract or genital infections, during pregnancy and autism in their offspring.

NASCAR's True Motivations Shine Through In Brad Keselowski Fine

NASCAR cracked down hard on a handful of high-profile names after Sunday's race-ending brawl in the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon received a $100,000 fine and loss of 25 points for wrecking Clint Bowyer, while Alan Gustafson, Gordon's crew chief, and Brian Pattie, Bowyer's crew chief, were fined $25,000 apiece for failing to restrain their crews from brawling.

But also buried in NASCAR's fine announcement was a $25,000 slap on the wrist for new championship leader Brad Keselowski for carrying his cell phone in his race car, a penalty that flew in the face of previous NASCAR statements and suggested that maybe he wasn't being penalized for having his phone.




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Morning type1

LaEscapee's picture

So I'm assuming Jindal didn't sign the petition?

I am so proud that I live in the midst of idiots, if memory serves that last attempt ended not so well ;^)

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There were petitions from both

type1error's picture

my home state and my current state of residence. The sad irony is that red states are totally on the federal taxpayer dole and wouldn't survive on their own.

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I disagree.

downsouth's picture

While your observation that red states recieve more in federal aid than they pay in taxes is true, it does not necessarily follow that removing that aid through secession would cause said states to collapse.

Granted, there would be very dire economic consequences for a new nation of Texas for some time, but the very nature of the government of Texas would change after secession.  With federal aid now gone forever, Texas officials would have to confront their problems directly, just as other nations have to do.  In order to compete in the international marketplace, Texas would be forced to reform its education system, form a new tax system providing significant revenue increases for the new government, renegotiate deals made with international corporations to locate facilities and/or headquarters in Texas that were based on things like tax breaks, adopt a workable health-care system, build a defensive military force to protect itself from Mexico (which still harbors bitterness over Texas secession from their Republic), etc.  All of this would tend to sideline the Christian fundamentalists and likely lead to a much more progressive-minded Texas than we see today.  When survival is at stake, even Tea Party Republicans will, in the end, do what is necessary to ensure the success of the state and work toward sustainable economic growth.

To be clear, I strongly oppose allowing the secession of any state, either by its own request or by the request of other states to eject another state.  Also, I use only Texas in this comment because theirs is the only petition with enough signatures to require an Obama Administration response.  We all laugh at such shenanigans as Rick Perry and these petitioners threatening secession, but Americans need to realize that, at least in Texas, the idea is gaining popularity.  The Obama Administration needs to respond to the petition by making it crystal clear, once and for all, that the question of a states right to secede from the Union was decided in 1865, and that decision is final.  The Union is indivisible.

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The fact that they would have to get serious 'or else' ...

BruceMcF's picture

... doesn't mean 'or else' won't happen. In the waves of independence movements, in the 1800's, in Post WWII, the majority of the newly independent states are better described as failed states than as successful advanced economies of their day, in their first half century of independence.

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downsouth's picture

Which is why I said there would be significant economic hardships for Texas.  However, most of those states you mention did pull through the crisis, even if it took significant time to do so  That said, your point that "or else" could still be what happens is true, if unlikely IMO.  Texas would never be a strong state, but with much work and real thought, it could be a successful state...though not the Libertarian paradise currently envisioned by the petitioners.

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The majority of them did not pull through ...

BruceMcF's picture

... to the status of core economies, though. And if the majority are not failed states or heavily burdened by the aftermath of half a century or more of being or flirting with being failed states ... 50 to 100 years for Texas going through that before coming through the other side is far more likely than getting through in a single generation.

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I saw that race...

triv33's picture

what a snineling little asshole that Jeff Gordon is! he could have killed those guys and for what? Dick.

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I remember when he was a rookie.

type1error's picture

Success changed him. And seeing others rise to the top changed him even more.

Nascar, on the other hand, hasn't changed a bit. Still as transparent and consistent as the Chinese government.

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downsouth's picture

And NASCAR's failure to suspend Gordon for the last race shows their hidden delight at the entire incident, from the on-track retaliation by Gordon to the "brawl" to the cameras chasing Clint Bowyer as he ran to Gordon's trailer.  Ratings gold.  The fact is, it is violence such as the fistfight at the 1979 Daytona 500 that changed NASCAR from a regional sport to one with a national following.  This incident plays into that perfectly, drawing in more viewers who aren't interested in racing, but in what may happen during and after a race.  They want to see blood, and NASCAR is perfectly inclined to grant that wish by letting Gordon race again this season, setting up a chance for Bowyer to get revenge.

As for Keselowski, its pretty obvious that the real reason for the fine was his tirade at a post-race press conference where he highlighted the hypocrisy of older drivers chiding him for driving aggressively and then turning around and doing stuff like this incident.  He called the entire thing exactly what it was, on national television..."bullshit".

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And by the way...

downsouth's picture

In case anyone thinks Gordon's fine is tough, his networth is estimated at $150 million.  And the loss of points? Gordon was out of the running for the Championship, so that has no real effect on him.  Probation?  Please.  His punishment is nothing but a slap on the wrist.

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