Shorter Question Everything
• Lac-Megantic: Police said Thursday they’ve now found 24 bodies and are searching for more. Twenty-six others are still missing and presumed dead.
Stupid things rightwingers say
• Gohmert repeatedly shouts ‘Objection!’ to silence claims food stamp cuts hurt hungry families. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday objected over and over again in order to keep statements out of the congressional record that accused Republicans of hurting working families by taking food stamps out of the farm bill. Before a vote could be taken on the Republican farm bill that drops the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — Democrats attempted to voice their unhappiness by inserting statements into the record. “I think it is extremely unfortunate that that members on the other side of the aisle would deny members on this side of the aisle the ability to insert written materials in the record,” McGovern noted. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen such uncourteous gesture.” President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any farm bill which does not include funding for the food stamp program.
• Venezuela: US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has yet to reply to Venezuela’s offer of asylum, Venezuelan foreign Minister Elias Jaua told AFP on Thursday. “Not yet,” Jaua said on the sidelines of a meeting of the Mercosur trade bloc in Montevideo when asked if Caracas had received a response to the offer. He added that his government has had no contact with Snowden, who is believed to have been stranded at Moscow’s international airport since June 23.
• Greenwald’s New Piece Targets Microsoft. The newest Glenn Greenwald bombshell exclusive story is out, and already people are hyperventilating on Twitter that it proves the NSA has “direct access” to Microsoft’s servers: Revealed: How Microsoft Handed the NSA Access to Encrypted Messages. There are no source documents to ensure that nothing is being quoted out of context. There’s nothing in here about “direct access” to anything, although there are lots of hints and suggestions and innuendo. I’ve learned that when a new Greenwald bombshell comes out, you can cut right to the chase by searching the document for the word “warrant.” So far it hasn’t failed once to bring up that little note about the NSA needing individual warrants to access data of US citizens, or foreigners on US soil — a little note that’s always surrounded by distortion and fear-mongering and exaggeration.
• Egypt: President Obama has been criticized by both the left and the right for inaction amid the continuing upheaval in Egypt. His predecessor, of course, will forever be remembered for his active (and largely disastrous) intervention in the Middle East. Has Obama overlearned the lessons of the Bush administration? Or is his hands-off approach (Libya excepted) the most sensible way to pursue foreign policy in the post-Arab Spring era? If there is a sensible, one-size-fits-all approach to foreign policy in the Middle East in 2013, no one in either party or the White House or the punditry has proposed it. It’s easy to criticize Obama for sending mixed signals, and in Egypt that included the embarrassing spectacle of the White House’s Hamlet-like vacillation as both the Mubarak and Morsi regimes crumbled. But the administration can only be faulted for “inaction” if you have a clear definition of what “action” might be.
• Egypt’s new rulers gave new credence to a court case against the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday over their escape from prison during the uprising that toppled his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. The case was transferred from an appeals court to the State Security prosecutor for further investigation. No charges have yet been filed. Its acceptance by powerful prosecutors follows the arrest of many Muslim Brotherhood members and is a new blow to the group by the military-backed government.
• North Carolina Motorcycle Abortion Bill Passes State House. The final vote was 74-41; the bill now heads back to the state Senate for approval.
• Rachel Maddow: “Don’t let anybody tell you that governing doesn’t matter,” she said. “Where Republicans have taken the reins of state power across the country, they have used it single-mindedly to shut down women’s health clinics.”
• Bountiful: A Canadian investigation into possible sexual abuse of children in a polygamous commune in British Columbia has been handed over to a special prosecutor.