In January 2012, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Environmental Protection Agency asking for copies of correspondence between the EPA and various green groups active in the Marcellus Shale region. The request was filed on behalf of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, the parent company of Watchdog.org. The FOIA asked the agency to provide us with “any discussion and correspondence with outside groups that concerns potential regulatory action that would impact the fracking process.”
The Spectacle Blog
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison calls upon Israel and Egypt to end their blockade of Gaza to achieve peace.
Ellison, the lone Muslim in Congress, says he has visited Gaza thrice since 2009 and "has not encountered anyone representing Hamas". Given Hamas' iron grip on Gaza I find this very hard to believe. Ellison acknowledges he has met with officials from the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). This would be the same UNRWA that has twice been found with Hamas rockets in their schools and then turned over the weapons back to Hamas.
The World Cup ended weeks ago, but the next competition that has captured the spirit of voyeurism is midway through another round—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict!
It's convenient, in a way, this affair with Gaza coming so close on the heels of the World Cup. Soccer and football fans alike had a few days to rest their vocal chords with some hot tea and lemon before the bellowing started up again. A few reporters probably relocated from South America to the south of Israel, but most viewers didn't even have to change the news channel to get near-continuous coverage of the next international contest.
For those without front-row seats, media fall-out awaits, and with it comes #hashtagactivism. During the World Cup, #USA was automatically followed with an American flag on Twitter. Perhaps we could do the same thing now, using Israeli and Palestinian flags. That way, even the illiterate could decide which team to support. Better yet, this quick system of icons would make it easier to check which side your favorite celebrity is on. Here are a few to get us started.
In the past week, five Latin American countries have recalled their ambassadors to Israel in protest over Operation Protective Edge. Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru have all withdrawn their envoys in protest over what they view as acts of "collective punishment" and "use of disproportionate force".
Not to be outdone, Brazil was joined by Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela in issuing a statement during the Mercosur trading summit in Caracas condemning Operation Protective Edge. It is worth noting that Paraguay did not sign onto the statement.
David Harris of the American Jewish Committee blasted Mercosur for making no mention of Hamas and pointing out Venezuela's steadfast support for Syria.
A new series of emails was released today by the House Ways and Means Committee in the investigation into the improper targeting of conservatives by IRS official Lois Lerner. The emails, viewable here, show her disdain for conservatives:
Great maybe we are through if there are that many a#@holes.
This was in a response to co-worker making fun of “preppers,” people concerned about the shocking growth in the size of the welfare state and immigration.
Further in the exchange, Lerner says:
So we need to worry about alien teRrorists. It’s our own crazies who will take us down.
Amusing, especially with that capital "R" as if this is some high school prank gone awry.
In an open letter to disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder, Committee Chairman David Camp states:
Over at NRO this morning is a lengthy, clear-as-a-bell article by Andrew McCarthy on impeachment. A few weeks back in this space I reviewed Andy’s superb book Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.
Amidst a flurry of controversy, with Democrats talking up the “I-word” as successful fundraising bait and Governor Palin recommending it, Andy has become a go-to source on the issue.
Which is exactly why his piece this morning at NRO takes on some real—and calming—importance.
The title of Andy’s article is "Against Premature Impeachment: The point is to revive it as a credible threat — and restrain presidential lawlessness."
That speaks volumes. Writes Andy:
What’s life without a little mystery? Three giant holes have suddenly appeared in the wastes of Siberia. The first emerged a couple weeks ago, a crater leading down a funnel to an icy lake below, its diameter nearly 262 feet. That prompted an inconclusive investigation. Now two more holes have appeared. They are smaller: one is about fifty feet across, the other almost fourteen feet.
As Larry Thornberry informed us last night, Vin Scully will be broadcasting Dodger games in 2015. As Larry noted, the announcement was made by Dodger players Hyun-Jin Ryu in Korean, Yasiel Puig in Spanish and Justin Turner in English in between innings of last night's Dodgers-Braves game. It will be his 66th year in that capacity.
In this mad, mad, mad world, this is the one development that never fails to bring a smile to my face and I am far from alone in this feeling.
Sandra Fluke rose to fame after advocating for Obamacare before members of Congress on the grounds that she couldn't afford her own birth control. But just a few years later, she can afford a generous donation to her California State Senate campaign. That's the scoop from a great piece written by Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner. Per Schow, Fluke donated $12,000 to her campaign and made $4,826.27 in non-monetary contributions. In addition, Fluke loaned her campaign $100,000.
Looking at the raw numbers, Fluke has outraised her opponent, Ben Allen. However, Fluke's own contributions, along with donations from her wealthy in-laws, total 33 percent of her fundraising. Allen's family and personal contributions, on the other hand, only make up 15 percent of his total donations. Schow breaks it down: "[i]f you remove family donations and loans, Allen has raised $330,141. Removing the same from Fluke and she’s only raised $278,859.01."
Lucy Schouten tells us that Israel did not like Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal and made no secret of their displeasure.
Well, no kidding.
By my count, there have been at least five ceasefires all of which Hamas has broken. The difference between the other negotiated ceasefires and Kerry’s is that the Secretary of State gives Hamas a lifeline of legitimacy. Hamas’ raison d’etre always has and always will be the extermination of Israel.
Yet Israel isn’t the only one that didn’t like Kerry’s ceasefire. As Lucy notes, Kerry negotiated the ceasefire in Egypt. Curiously, she doesn’t mention that the Egyptians didn’t exactly welcome Kerry with open arms. In fact, President Sisi’s security detail made Kerry go through a metal detector before welcoming him into his office.