News PM Punch — Mandela Edition

December 5, 2013

newsmanCold and bright again this afternoon on California’s north coast, and freezing in the shade. Record lows around these parts last night/this morning. One elderly guy, who’s lived here since the early 1960s, told me his backyard just after sun-up was the coldest he “ever” seen it — covers a shitload of calendar days.

How cold the air the major topic/whine today by customers at the liquor store I manage — unusually freakin’ freezing.

And it has been been cold — not Idaho cold, mind you, but for this area, it’s been freakin’ freezing. Water puddled in ruts behind the liquor store were iced-over this morning. Tiny frozen lakes. Tomorrow and the weekend is supposed to be wet and cold.

Here it’s cold, not crazy. Big storm in northern Europe (via WunderBlog): A squall line with severe thunderstorms has developed along a cold front that is sweeping across Northern Europe this Thursday afternoon, and these thunderstorms are bringing intense lightning, heavy rains, and damaging winds. The European Storm Forecast Experiment is warning of the risk of tornadoes with this squall line, and damaging wind gusts of up to 90 mph (145 kph) in the severe thunderstorms.
And we whine about the cold — still the musing of that big storm from last weekend in the US Midwest: The temperatures across North Texas won’t get above freezing until at least Monday, Murphy said, meaning ice coating roads, bridges and overpasses won’t melt until at least then.

Meanwhile, beyond the cold, nasty, pre-winter weather, the big news this PM is the announced death of Nelson Mandela, the storied icon of freedom, who apparently died yesterday at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, South Africa.
President Obama this afternoon: We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.
This will be a news story with a long narrative the next few days — as it should. Rare guy, Mandela.

In an near-ironic turnabout, Obama also beat the drum for the NSA, telling Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” the folks at the humongous intelligence agency are good guys looking for the famous, “bad actors.”
Via Politico:

“The N.S.A. actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people’s emails, not listening to the contents of their phone calls. Outside of our borders, the NSA’s more aggressive. It’s not constrained by laws,” Obama said.

“The Snowden disclosures have identified some areas of legitimate concern. Some of it has also been highly sensationalized. And– you know, has been painted in a way that’s not accurate,” Obama said during the “Hardball” taping at American University.
During the program, Matthews raised the surveillance issue by noting a Washington Post report on NSA gathering of location data on billion of cell phones overseas.
“Young people, rightly, are sensitive to the needs to preserve their privacy and to remain internet freedom. And by the way, so am I. That’s part of not just our First Amendment rights and expectations in this country, but it’s particularly something that young people care about, because they spend so much time texting and– you know, Instagramming,” the president said.

You know, watching their every move via the cellphone, you know, like, 24/7.

And, too, another kind of odd Obama story this afternoon about his uncle, Kenyan-born Onyango “Omar” Obama, who just missed being departed for a drink driving arrest.
From the Washington Post:

The White House acknowledged Thursday that President Obama lived with his uncle for a brief period in the 1980s while he was a student at Harvard Law School — despite previously saying there was no record of the two having met.
“The president did stay with him for a brief period of time until his apartment was ready,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
“After that, they saw each other once every few months, but after law school they fell out of touch.
The president has not seen him in 20 years, has not spoken with him in 10. “

The Boston Globe reported in 2012, after Omar Obama’s arrest, that the White House said he had “never met his famous nephew.”
The White House now says it only told the Globe that there was no record of the two having met — not definitively that they hadn’t met.
In its report Thursday, the Globe confirmed that the White House initially said that there was no record that they had met.
It said the White House never asked for a correction.
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at Thursday’s White House briefing that, when the issue of Obama’s uncle came up in 2011, the press office “looked at the president’s records, including the president’s book” and found no reference to him.
“That was what was conveyed,” he said.
“No one had spoken to the president.”

Omar Obama, 69, was allowed to stay in the United States following his hearing.
The White House emphasized that it did nothing to assist him in his deportation case.
He had said following his arrest that the president would help him out.
“…Omar Obama’s case was handled routinely, in regular order – without any interference from the president or the White House,” Schultz said.

Wonder where all that come from, and why?

And this odd, oddity, and the value of honesty at a Tennessee McDonald’s:

Greg and Stacye Terry placed their regular breakfast orders and were served up a bag stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash.
An employee apparently mixed-up the restaurant’s bank deposit with the Terry’s drive thru order.
“My husband opened the bag and discovered the money inside,” said Stacye said.
“He said, ‘You are not going to believe this.’ Sure enough, it was their bank deposit money.”
The employee quickly discovered the mistake and caught up with the Terrys.
They returned the cash, no questions asked.
“The second that he said it was their deposit, my first thing was let’s get in the truck and take it back,” Stacye said.
“There is no other way to have it. I couldn’t live with myself.”

And on into the evening, cold as it be, or not to be — and I might start the old Vincent D’Onofrio verison of ‘Law&Order: Criminal Intent.’ He’s just great, and fits the antics right for the first couple of seasons, then it loses its sparkle, if I remember correctly.

(Illustration found here).

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