So which stories / issues / topics grab your attention this weekend?
Certainly one of the more bizarre, ghoulish, Delaware stories to come along in quite a while: The discovery of nine unclaimed capsules containing the ashes of nine victims of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre in the South American nation of Guyana. Followers of Peoples Temple messiah Jim Jones were ordered to drink a cyanide-laced, grape drink. (Lest we forget, it is from this unimaginable event that we got the phrase in the popular culture, "drinking the Kool-Aid", a reference to a person or group with an unquestioning adherence to a particular belief system without critical examination, or someone who kowtows to an idea, however self-destructive, because of peer pressure. Although in the case of Jim Jones' followers, some resisted Jones' command, and were shot, injected with poison, etc.)
This is also the second time we've had a Guyana connection to a Delaware story within the space of a few months. You'll recall the world's rarest and most valuable single postage stamp - the 1856 1-cent, British Guiana black-on-magenta from the estate of the late convicted murderer, John E. DuPont - was sold at an auction for $9.5 million. (Guyana, of course, was British Guiana before independence in 1966.)
Another blow for the Tea Party this year: Tennesse's Senator Lamar Alexander wins the Volunteer State's G.O.P. senate primary, 52.4% to 38.4% for Tea Party-backed challenger, Joe Carr. With the exception of the stunning upset of Eric Cantor in Virginia (and House races are underpolled compared to Senate races), 2014 has been a rather disappointing year for Tea Party forces. Of course, Mississippi produced a more debatable outcome. What's happened this year? The establishment G.O.P. taking the Tea Party challengers more seriously, a fight to the death; and gaffe-prone Tea Party challengers, not ready for prime time. In Alexander's case, he's also a superb retail campaigner. (Running for governor, he was one of the first statewide candidates - Dan Walker in Illinois preceded him! - to walk across a state which - in the case of Tennessee - is a long hike, provided you go east-west or west-east. I still remember: Alexander and his red-checkered, flannel shirt. This time, Alexander conducted a 35-stop bus tour across Tennessee.)
President Obama finds himself doing what he said he would not. The President authorized air strikes against ISIS fighters in Iraq.
From The NEW YORK TIMES' Peter Baker:
OBAMA, WITH RELUCTANCE, RETURNS to ACTION in IRAQ
"In sending warplanes back into the skies over Iraq, President Obama on Thursday night found himself exactly where he did not want to be. Hoping to end the war in Iraq, Mr. Obama became the fourth president in a row to order military action in that graveyard of American ambition.
The mandate he gave to the armed forces was more limited than that of his predecessors, focused mainly on dropping food and water. But he also authorized targeted airstrikes 'if necessary' against Islamic radicals advancing on the Kurdish capital of Erbil and others threatening to wipe out thousands of non-Muslims stranded on a remote mountaintop..."
One of the targets of those fervent Islamists, the Yazidis, are a mysterious religious group (like the Druze in Lebanon), with apparent links to Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. The Yazidis call themselves Daasin (plural word: Dawaaseen), derived from the name of the ancient eastern Christian (Nestorian) diocese. They have long been persecuted as "devil worshippers", in part, because they pray to Malak Taus (considered God's alter ego) five times daily, and he's known alternatively as Shaytan, Arabic for devil. (See the similarity to Satan in English?)
What might have persuaded this president to intervene in Iraq against his instincts? Former President Bill Clinton lamented his own failure to intervene against the Rwandan genocide. (The bitter U.S. experience in Somalia - "Blackhawk down" - was still a fresh memory!) I suspect that had to be a consideration. Plus, you have U.S. advisers based in Kurdistan.
ISIS has now seized an Iraqi dam, giving the Islamists control of a chunk of Iraq's electrical supply, and potentially giving ISIS another weapon, if the Islamists decide to burst that dam...
Peace activists fear a slippery slope from America's latest military intervention. Supporters of the action call it an isolated circumstance. (Although we're likely to see MORE 'isolated' circumstances!)
This column from Britain's DAILY TELEGRAPH:
WE MAY NOT LIKE IT, BUT ISIS and IRAQ REMIND US THAT WE NEED AMERICA to be the WORLD's POLICEMAN
By Dan Hodges (A former Labour Party and GMB trade union official)...
"God bless America. Following the announcement last night by Barack Obama that the United States is about to resume military operations in Iraq, it appears the Yazidi will not now be killed with their families. There is also hope that Iraq's other minorities may face some form of protection from their persecutors.
It's an announcement that won't be welcomed by everyone. The old charges of U.S. adventurism and imperialism will be trotted out. And with some historic justification. Iraq is after all the scene of the United States' most catastrophic foreign policy misjudgment.
'It's not the job of the U.S. to act as the world's policeman,' some people will cry. Again, with some legitimacy. Chile, Cuba, Panama, Vietnam, Iraq. The post-war Pax Americana casts a long shadow.
But if events of the past few months have shown us anything, it's surely this. There is only one thing worse than the United States acting as the world's policeman. And that's the United States not acting as the world's policeman..."
But a contrarian assessment from Stephen M. Walt in FOREIGN POLICY is entitled, "DO NO (MORE) HARM: Every time the U.S. touches the Middle-East, it makes things worse. It's time to walk away and not look back."
Combined with the resumption of Israel--Hamas hostilities, this latest U.S. military intervention in the Middle-East could place upward pressure on oil prices. (This summer has seen an uncharacteristic slump in prices at the pump.)
Headline from The FINANCIAL TIMES: "Brent crude nears $107 as prospect of U.S. strikes rises"
Are you worried about the Ebola outbreak? The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola epidemic an international health emergency. However, no call for a general ban on international travel or trade.
The husband of the second U.S. Ebola victim has declared his astonishment at the reactions of people who criticize the couple for putting themselves in peril.
Speaking of health, Delaware's (and now Chicago Sky's) Elena Delle Donne has surely sensitized all of us to the pernicious long-term effects of Lyme disease from Ticks. For you red-meat eaters (not me!), here's another incentive to take precautions against ticks.
Eating a burger or steak is putting tick-infected people in hospitals with severe allergic reactions. Ironically, the species responsible is the Lone Star Tick (which I see regularly in our area), named after the very state associated with beef production. How does this happen? The tiny arachnids carry a sugar that people don't have, alpha-gal. This particular sugar turns up in red meat and some dairy foods. Typically no problem when your body digests the food. But the tick bite activates a super immune system response, so the body interprets the sugar from the tick as an invading foreign substance, resulting in the creation of antibodies. That sets you up for a potentially massive allergic reaction, whenever you eat red meat with the sugar. Ticks promoting vegetarianism?
New polling from Reuters/Ipsos: About 70% of Americans and 86% of Republicans see undocumented immigration as a threat to the American way of life. Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson told Reuters immigration could become the dominant issue in the Congressional, mid-term elections, driving more Republicans to the polls.
Let the automotive recall bandwagon go on...
General Motors is recalling SUVs - mainly from the 2006 and 2007 model years - for a THIRD time to repair power window switches that can catch fire. According to documents posted by Federal regulators, the problem is so dire that General Motors is pleading with customers to park their SUVs outdoors until they are fixed, because they could potentially catch fire when left unattended. Models: Chevrolet TrailBlazer; GMC Envoy; Buick Rainier; Isuzu Ascender; and Saab 97-X. GM directs car dealers to stop selling used SUVs from those groups.
Posted at 8:38am on August 8, 2014 by Allan Loudell
Just saying Guyana has some interesting trivia questions surrounding it... Something similar to Sussex County, not to give it away...
One note on Cantor's loss compared to others: His challenger ran on being more conservative on immigration, but... was deemed to be a more likable and gentler guy than Cantor. If one looked at personalities, Cantor was more of the typified Tea Partier, than the Tea Party candidate himself... He comes across as an affable college professor. So whereas the Tea Party did win one, one could categorize it in such a way, that the antagonistic, in-your-face, scorched-earth, shut-down-the-government type of Tea Party, actually lost in that election... Their candidate was really Cantor, who ironically, as House majority leader, got tied to Boehner as an establishment politician. It was Cantor who threw the $4 Trillion mega deal created back in August 2011 into the trashbin, and because of him, we began the process of kicking the debt-ceiling can down the road every few months or so...
And here is a description of that dam which was rated as the world's dam most likely to fail by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...
The Tea Party candidates in the most recent races may have lost...but if you look at the numbers, they have given the Establishment candidates (who have both deep pockets and powerful political connections) a good run for their seats.
Mr. Loudell: Have you heard any more on the contested Mississippi race? The Tea Party candidate did not/will not concede due to quite a few issues that arose during (and after the voting)...in that race and many others across the nation the Establishment candidates have gone full "gutter politics" and are an embarrassment to all Republicans.
In Michigan, Justin Amash (the Tea Party representative) won in the primary and received support (not votes but support) from many on the Left who were disgusted by the slanderous campaign against him, his family and his race by the Establishment Republican . Amash (Arab-American/Palestinian Christian) was labelled as a friend of al-Qaeda and anti-American by his Establishment G.O.P. opponent Ellis.
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 11:25am
...and Kool-aid got a "bum rap"...it was actually Flavor-Aid used by Cult leader Jim Jones.
The drink became inextricably linked to the Jonestown Massacre when it was learned that the cyanide poison taken by or forcibly administered to the commune's members was placed in Flavor-Aid. Large barrels filled with the grape variety, laced with the cyanide and a variety of tranquilizer drugs, were found half-consumed amidst the hundreds of bodies. Kool-Aid rather than Flavor-Aid is almost always mentioned in connection with the Massacre, due to its status as a "genericized" trademark. This factual error has even spawned the figure of speech "to drink the Kool-Aid"
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 11:41am
Yes, I'm familiar with all those points...
Yes, Mr. Grey, it's hardball politics, and I'll concede Establishment Republican tactics will only further alienate the people already alienated. But Tea Party supporters have resorted to hardball politics as well, as with that video of the bedridden wife of Senator Thad Cochran.
And yes, Flavor-Aid devolved to Kool-Aid!
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 12:15pm
Mr. Loudell: I agree 100% on the Cochran video...sleazy/pathetic politics.
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 4:36pm
On immigration, undocumented of course is a threat... Which is exactly why we need to document it. Once you give them documents, which you can take away if they do bad, you control them. They are just like us. Without documents, and the Republicans have thrown up walls to stop them, you have people milling around who are invisible and unaccountable...
Just document them so we can control our borders.
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 6:47pm
I got a better idea. Round 'em up and bus 'em to Mexico City and Guadalajara. Then establish a "shoot on sight" policy for border jumpers. If it worked in East Germany, it can work here.
Mike from Delaware
Sat, Aug 9, 2014 9:42am
Mrpizza: Really? You want to adopt Communist tactics? Shoot on sight? East Germany, huh. This fits into the love, grace, and salvation of Christ how? This fits the Prosperity Gospel how? Man, Pastor Carey's sermons must have really changed since I was a member of your church back in the early 90's.
Sat, Aug 9, 2014 10:36am
MFD: Well, you're the one who separates "secular government" from "theocracy", so this should fit your philosophy well too.
All joking aside, the "shoot on sight" policy I believe would greatly curb illegal border jumping. Yes, there would still be those who would take their chances, but many more would decide it isn't worth the risk. The reason we have so much crime of all types at the border and inside the country is that there's no longer any "fear of the law".
You may have already read this story, but in case you haven't, here's a perfect example of how criminals think law enforcement is just a big joke:
And yes, Pastor Dave's sermons have changed significantly in the past 20 years. Today, they're much more advanced.
Here's a link in case you'd like to try one:
Sat, Aug 9, 2014 11:27am
Shooting people is an effective way of stopping people from coming over the walls. It was used before gun powder was invented...
But it has consequences. All those nations that shot on sight, are not around anymore...
Sat, Aug 9, 2014 12:20pm
I think that's because they were shooting their own people. Here, I'm talking about protecting the American people by keeping intruders out, which is supposed to be government's first duty to those of us who pay taxes to it.
Sat, Aug 9, 2014 2:02pm
For those of you who think Obama's "gay rights" policies aren't intruding upon the rest of us, read this:
I was really touched by this video. Of the former president GW Bush, commenting near the end of his term what he thought his biggest mistakes were... I think he nails it, and it is relevant to those trying to get television coverage even today...
If someone who actually did that, and had to bear the consequences of doing so calls it his biggest mistakes, then we should probably listen to him, and not rush to repeat them.
Secondly, the American news media is ginning up the calls for war. Deleting fact and substitution fiction again. David Gregory's distortions (fortunately called out on air by his guests) show America must now be vigalent against every thing it's media says, and must cross reference everything said... Yes Earl, NBC and Breitbart are no different. They are both the same. And CBS, CNN, ABC, MSNBC are all doing the similar approach....
Points to a hedge fund manager pulling the strings...
Sun, Aug 10, 2014 4:39pm
Sorry, but I don't regret anything he said, even if he does.
I'm sticking to my guns and bibles, to quote the great American dictator.
Sun, Aug 10, 2014 4:51pm
Pizza, you have a post office pension at stake. You know the Republicans are going to take that away, don't you? Your whole pro-Republican stance is baffling because it will cost you personally. Republicans party philosophy is that there will be no pensions, ever.
Sun, Aug 10, 2014 5:24pm
Need more proof that the American media are not telling you the truth?
Can you find anywhere on American media that ISIS is being whooped and badly defeated in Iraq right now and that Iran is a major ally?
Both the United States and Iran are in a shooting war against ISIS in Iraq. Iran is also fighting ISIS in Syria.
At Samara, ISIS tried the same plan they used with success against Mosul. But the determined perimeter defense of Samara, foiled their plans. ISIS lost 80 raiders at the city gates and another 250+ back up country to a counterattack. No prisoners. That was the entire attacking force. That was one of ISIS two attacking forces. Half their force is now gone.
Suicide bombers had infiltrated and caused casualties inside the city, but the armed ISIS forces were stopped at two of the city gate checkpoints. Shia militiamen at the checkpoints stopped the multi-vehicle ISIS attack. Then Qods Force and Iraqi Army commandos counterattacked and wiped out the ISIS attackers. Apparently ISIS expected the first invaders to overrun defenders, leaving a free path for a follow-up invasion force. That invasion force was caught out in open country and also destroyed with artillery and light armored vehicles with cannons.
That victory gets chalked up to the Shiites and Iran. Where the U.S. is helping is Erbil and we are working with the Kurds. Our drones are finding the collections of ISIS, and we are bring in F 18's to pound them. Of the two hits in the news media, one hit a convoy of trucks. The other took out mortars firing on Erbil. The hits called in F/A-18 carrier-based fighter-bombers to deliver the ordinance.
We really do have a great commander in chief... We really do.. Consider terrorism: after losses of 675, 444, and 3,206 American lives with Reagan/Clinton/Bush43, Obama has lost 10. 3 at Boston, 3 at the Algerian gas plant, and 4 at Benghazi....
Earlier efforts at counterterrorism against Islamists look puny compared to what Obama has achieved. Why do you not know this? Your friendly mainstream media have forcibly kept it from you.
Equally capable is the Iranian general running operations in the South.. This general beat ISIS in Syria; he's beating them in Iraq. Losing 50% of their attack capabilities, is devastating to ISIS. They are remote, and cannot fill those vacancies immediately.
The Shiites are now free to mop up through Syria all the way to the Turkish border. The allies of Iran, are also in Syria and can mop up the contingent forces in Syria now. With only one of ISIS forces intact, and it is tied up in Erbil with the Kurds and U.S. forces.
Now with mobilization, as many as 50,000 Qods Force from Iran, 200,000 Iraqi Army, and 500,000 Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and volunteer militiamen, the nations of Iraq and Iran can clean the western Syrian desert and destroy the caliphate of ISIS forever...
I can only find foreign sources on the Battle of Samarra and the victory by the Iranians. Why are the American media so quiet? The war mongers against Iran look pretty stupid now.. that is the reason for the silence...
But we can safely extract ourselves from that region now, and that is what we should do; let them settle it for themselves. And hats off to Iran.
But it should make all of you sick to live in a nation where the press is worse than that of the East German Communist state... Of course, our press is controlled by hedge funds, which makes it even more suspect...
Sun, Aug 10, 2014 5:42pm
They told me 30 years ago Reagan was gonna take away my job. They told my stepfather 40 years ago that Nixon was gonna take away his GM pension and his social security. Today, my 79-year-old mother is still collecting that same pension and I'm still working at the post office. Just a bunch of liberal fear-mongering then - just a bunch more liberal fear-mongering today.
Did it ever occur to you that if the government pension system goes belly-up, everything else collapses with it, so all Americans would be in the exact same boat anyway? Do you really think your 401-K is gonna save you?
That's why I don't trust in uncertain riches but stand on Philippians 4:19, which says "My God shall provide all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus".
And Revelation 3:18 says: "I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see."
Today, America is naked because she has squandered the riches God has blessed her with on prodigal living (drugs, homosexuality, outlawing God in the public square, voting their pocketbooks, just to name a few things).
Time for America to repent, and yes that begins with the church: "If MY people, who are called by MY name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14