In a - moderately - surprising move, the Director General of the BBC announced today that Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial senior presenter on their immensely popular car show Top Gear is off the show. Permanently, as a result (well, a "last straw", really) of his having punched out one of the show's producers over a catering issue on location (Seriously, Clarkson got into a altercation with, and then clocked the producer because he couldn't get a hot steak dinner).
It's not as if Jeremy hadn't gotten in trouble embarrassing himself and the BBC before: what's interesting here is that BBC management has actually Done The Right Thing for the right reasons. Unlike what has happened in some other recent media-figure-gaffe flaps, the Beeb seems to have put principle before profit (Top Gear is famously a cash cow for them); and sacked Clarkson even in the face of a HUGE swell of support from TG fandom - a petition calling for Clarkson's reinstatement got over a million sigs.
Maybe Fox can take a hint?
Just when I thought the whole flap over Congressional Republicans' (and I think we can dispose of any "bipartisan" figleafery by now) invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in March couldn't descend any further into inanity, I found the following in today's news:
(h/t Talking Points Memo)
I'm not quite sure what implications this is going to have (but I am sure that Kossacks with a better handle on California politics will step up to fi the gap!), but the Golden State's junior Senator has just announced that she will not be seeking re-election in 2016.
Speculation must surely abound....
H/T Political Wire and Balloon Juice:
Obenshain May Ask Virginia Legislature to Intervene
The lawyer representing Mark Obenshain (R) in the pending statewide recount in the Virginia attorney general race on "for the first time openly raised the issue of contesting the election in the General Assembly if the tally does not sway the result in the Republican's favor," the Richmond Times Dispatch reports.
"If he loses the recount, Obenshain could ask a joint session of the General Assembly -- which is dominated by Republicans -- to reverse the results. Under state law, grounds for a contest include objections to 'the conduct or results of the election accompanied by specific allegations which, if proven true, would have a probable impact on the outcome of the election.'"
In a move which (from reading most international press lately) seems to be quite the unusual and unexpected one, the Greek Government has responded to the latest outbreak of neo-fascist violence (in particular, the murder of activist musician Pavlos Fyssos) in their country by taking actions which had not been expected (AFAICT): by arresting leaders of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party, including several Greek MPs.
It's still quite premature to try to figure out what is, or may be, happening in Greece, and how this latest crackdown may eventually play out - especially as it is happening amid one of the worst economic crises to hit a European nation since the 1930s - but it is certainly unsettling news.
On the one hand, it is not particularly heartening to read news accounts that point out, as the NYT reminds us:
It is the first time that the leader of a political party and members of Parliament have been arrested in Greece since the fall of a military junta in 1974.
On the other, it's extraordinarily hard to have much sympathy for a violently reactionary political movement
that is virtually a clone of the worst of 1930s fascism. Complete with appeals to street violence to advance their extremist ultra-nationalist aims.
How this will ultimately play out remains to be seen...
Reuters reports that former Congressman and New York City Mayor Edward Koch, the City's Mayor from 1978 to 1989, has died at the age of 88
Like him or not (as so many New Yorkers did or didn't), he was definitely a central political figure in the City and State, and a late (if not final) reversion to the classic days when the City's politicians still tended to come as often from the City's working class as from its professionals or financial folks.
While hard news is still scarce at this time, a day after it started, the hostage crisis at the Algerian gas plant in Ain Amenas has escalated to another level with some sort of raid having been conducted by the Algerian military, and an indeterminate number of hostages (both Algerian and foreign) and some of the hostage-takers arereported as having been killed.
Even in this era of virtually instant communications, there has been an incredible amount of confusion over this whole incident: the exact number and nationalities of the hostages has, apparently, never been accurately established: details of the "escape" or release of some of them have not been confirmed, all that is known (at this time: (13:30 ET Thurs 17 Jan) about the raid is thatit has taken place, and that people are dead, and that the situation is still, to a large degree, fluid.
Violence, as usual, has begotten more violence: we can only hope and pray that this awful situation will get resolved with as little bloodshed as possible.
According to their website, the organizer of the Democratic National Convention have decided to move the final day of the Convention back to the TWC Arena , instead of holding it at the outdoor Bank of America Stadium. The cause, they said, was the forecast of severe thunderstorms for the night of the planned rally.
Hurricane Isaac's (belated) revenge?
Today's (Dec. 22) print edition of the New York Times frontpages a brief piece on one of Newt Gingrinch's main campaign themes, to which he has apparently been devoting a lot of thought (sic) for a while. The headline says it all:
In Islamic Law, Gingrich Sees a Mortal Threat to U.S.
originally on CNN
While Arizona's Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has been typically cast (well, at least here at dKos) as one of the wingier of today's wingnut State officials, in an interview with CNN's John King last night (Mon. 25 Apr 11) she appears to have suffered an inexplicable attack of political rationality: induced, it seems by the fever of "birtherism" sweeping so much of the country.
At 22:47 EDT on March 21, 2010. Final tally 219-212.
After all the time, energy and emotion spent for the past year, we are finally seeing the fruit of Change we voted for in November, 2008.
The start of a new season (first day of Spring), and hopefully the start of a new era.
God Bless America!
More trouble looming (one hopes!) for Torture Memo author John Yoo: this time, on the academic front.
His fellow UC Berkeley instructor, Economics Professor - and diligent blogger - Brad DeLong has written an open letter (well, it's published on his blog, that's about as open as one can get!) to the UC Chancellor urging that Yoo be fired from his position on the Berkeley Law faculty.
Full text of DeLong's letter HERE.