Gradycarter's Blog

Just another site

Tag: current-events

Ground Zero: Syria – VICE (WARNING: Very Graphic)


Feel free to skip ahead and not read all of my thoughts if you don’t have that much time, the video is way more important. But WARNING, it is very graphic.

I generally get really excited when I start hearing people, and seeing people talk about current events. However, this time around in regards to Syria it has kind of broken my heart. It’s rather bizarre to see what it takes to get people interested, however they are now interested and it’s time to pay attention.

I hate war. I really hate war. Having believed in God pretty much my entire life I always try to see other people as an extension of myself, and I don’t want them to die, especially in the midst of hatred and violence. Part of that frame of mind has led me to not get so hung up on land borders, or social groups. One of the biggest talking points on whether or not we should go into Syria has been whether or not it’s in our nation’s best interest. I think that this standard misses the mark by quite a bit. The standard should be “is their oppression, and do we have evidence that we can help?”. In the past when we have tried to help it seems that we have often ended with an enraged population, at home and abroad, that then blames us for all of their problems.

I don’t want the United States to be the police of the world, we don’t need to be in charge of being everyone’s moral authority. However, being supportive of those who are oppressed and being brutally murdered is not simply being the police of the world. For all those who want us to be an isolationist country the only way that I can find that to be a real noble cause is if they somehow think that by example or through accumulated resources we will someday be able to help others in need. Maybe this would be comparable to securing your own oxygen mask before you get the mask for the child next you on the airplane, I’ve used this example before. If being isolationist is only for our own benefit, then I hope all with that belief system never find themselves at the end of the barrel of a gun of an oppressor with only themselves to lend a hand.

Syria is different from Iraq in multiple ways: chemical weapons were used in Iraq 15 years before our war started there, chemical weapons are being used now in Syria. Of course there’s still the debate of justice and punishing those who have hurt others in the past, but we need to have a conversation about eminent threats to mankind right now. I don’t want to go to war, but if there are actions that we can take to help the people in this video I think they need to be strongly considered. Forget about the politics, rhetoric, teamsmanship, tribalism, I don’t care about that. These are people… If you don’t care about them something is wrong with you. And if in this discussion your primary goal is to find out who is wrong in America you’re missing the mark. Before you come to an absolute decision on what is right and wrong in this situation please research all of the options. I know this is an unattainable quest, as we don’t have all the information, and we won’t have all of it. But please don’t make up your mind so flippantly, we’re talking about our brothers and sisters in humanity.

I’ll finish with this, I am no military mastermind but I don’t think that we should put troops on the ground. It seems as if we aren’t going to anyways. I also don’t think that we should arm either side, and of course the only side here that we would arm potentially is the rebels, or the “Free Syrian Army”. When we’ve armed groups in the past it is come back to bite us, and even if they are on the side of lesser evil the rebels still have extremists, just look at the video of the guy eating the Syrian soldiers heart. I think that if we are going to do some isolated strikes on military bases that are attacking their people I might be open to that, but boy does that make me uneasy… What will the repercussions be? In our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drone strikes have multiplied Terrorist responses against our troops by 10 times… This doesn’t seem to be helping anybody. I understand that I can’t know the military strategy as it would be silly to make it public, but for me to support any action I would need to know that it is founded in some sort of a logical approach that will not hurt civilians, as they will turn against us, and actually prevent Assad from hurting his people as soon as possible.


Israel’s Killer Robots – VICE


I have had mixed feelings about drones for a long time… However, the further I look into them the more terrified I get about what the future of this world might actually look like. I appreciate that drones don’t require a pilot, and thus take one life out of danger, however they have shown to have devastating results on those who stand bellow their flightpaths.

I have written multiple posts about drones, and it is something that continues to fascinate me. One of the posts is about Rachel Maddow’s criticism of the Obama administration’s drone policies. And one of the others is a talk by Malcolm Gladwell at Ted talks about connecting history to our current drone debate. If you only have time for one I recommend the Malcolm Gladwell talk entitled “the strange tale of the Norden bomb site”.

1. Rachel Maddow on Drone Policy
2. Malcolm Gladwell on History, War, and Technology

If you are a conservative are you excited that Sarah Palin is looking into Running for Senate? – Morning Joe

Sarah Palin has made it known that she is eyeing a run at the senate race in 2014. If you are conservative do you want her and her very large platform to run, or do you want her to just move on? It seems that almost everyone will have an opinion on this, as she has just been such a big part of the conversation for




Image: 82649937

Sarah Palin ‘considering’ 2014 run for Senate


8:09 AM on 07/10/2013

Sarah Palin said she has considered running for Senate in 2014.

“I’ve considered it because people have requested me considering it,” she said on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Tuesday. “But I’m still waiting to see you know what the lineup will be and hoping that there…will be some new blood, new energy, not just kind of picking from the same old politician in the state.”

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele suggested Palin believes she could be that new blood.

“Sarah’s position in most political fights, whether it’s within the party or externally, she’s always positioned herself outside of that typical mainstream group of leadership,” Steele said duringMorning Joe Wednesday. “I think also she’s looking down the road as a warm-up to ’16, not to say that Sarah is running, but positioning herself maybe as a senator from Alaska on a national stage.”

A poll earlier this year found that Palin has little support among Alaskans. Only 16% said Palin should consider a presidential run in 2016, a February poll by Public Policy Polling found.

The former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate said she has a “heart for service” and would consider a run if it would “help the cause.” Since resigning mid-term as governor amid an ethics violation investigation, Palin has worked on and off as a Fox contributor.

If she ran, she would challenge Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat. Begich was one of four red-state Democrats who voted against background checks in the Senate, which critics said was a defensive move from a senator up for re-election next term.

Just a Reminder That Letting Gay Parents Get Married is Maybe Not So Bad…



History was made today, twice in fact, as the United States Supreme Court struck down DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act, poorly named in my opinion), and the standing for Proposition 8 in California (which was a democratically lead initiative to make same sex marriage illegal). A lot of people are going to be very upset, and a lot of people are going to be very excited. And honestly there are going to be a lot of people who don’t really care… I think that in these times of administrative scandal and executive mistrust we might want to come together and agree in lessening the governments roll in certain aspects of our lives.

A couple of years ago Zach Wahls had the chance to speak in front of his representative body in the Iowa Congress to talk about Gay Marriage, and he told a short but sweet story. So sweet in fact it ended up getting him a speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention. But you know what? That speech could have very well been at the Republican National Convention if Republicans would’ve claimed this issue as a way to tell the government to back off… It’s not too late to feel that way, and to get on board the at least somewhat libertarian bandwagon. Well, I’m not quite as well spoken as Zach, so I’ll let his infamous speech do the talking


A few months ago I blogged about Proposition 8 specifically in regards to those who are a part of religious organizations who oppose marriage equality from the bully pulpit of public opinion. This day might be a lesson to some of those members of society, but maybe not. Feel free to read it by CLICKING HERE.

“Brainwashed by Westboro Baptist Church” – VICE



There are multiple reasons why Westboro Baptist Church is disturbs me, but most of all because of the way that Children are bullied. I would actually love to sit down with these guys and see what all they think about the world, because I’ve had some ideas before that might be considered a little crazy. I used to find myself in hour long conversations with the people who came to our campus in college to tell everyone that they were going to hell. Usually the conversations would be pretty fun, and would end on a good note where I would tell them that I thought there were better and more articulate ways to get their point across.

Well anyway, I think that this video is fascinating. I still do not understand how they feel warranted to speak so hatefully, but they do seem to really mean it, so as long as they are being honest I want to hear what they have to say – which is how I ended up getting Mormon missionaries stopping by my house every week in the summer of 2010.


Three Women Missing for 10 Years Rescued From Cleveland Home – Gawker

I always wonder how I would fair as a prisoner of war, or in jail, or even as a prisoner to someone who has for whatever reason kidnapped me. Hearing about yesterday’s events where 3 girls who had been kidnapped in Cleveland for up to 10 years is very challenging for me to think about. That is their life, and they will live with that every day until the day that they die. I am just happy that this guy happened to notice the noises over the chewing of his big mac and fries.

Three Women Missing for 10 Years Rescued From Cleveland Home

Three women were rescued Monday afternoon from a home in Cleveland. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight all went missing roughly 10 years ago, when Berry was 16, DeJesus 14 and Knight was 21. All three are alive, talking, and apparently in good health, according to police.

The three were rescued by a neighbor, Charles Ramsey.

“I heard screaming… And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,” Ramsey said. “I go on the porch and she said ‘Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.’ I figure it was domestic violence dispute.”

“She comes out with a little girl and says ‘Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry’… When she told me, it didn’t register.”

And here’s another interview with Ramsey:

Ramsey then called 911. When police arrived, they told Ramsey who he’d rescued. Ramsey told reporters that a four or five year-old-girl was with Berry when she escaped, and that there were other young children in the home.

Berry has been missing since April 2, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday. She disappeared after telling her sister she’d accepted a ride home from the Burger King where she worked. Her disappearance made headlines again last summer, when a man told Cleveland police that Berry was buried in a vacant parking lot. Police searched the lot, tearing it apart with backhoes, but found nothing. Eventually the man, Robert Wolford, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was sentenced to four and a half years.

DeJesus went missing in April 2004 at age 14 as she was walking home from her middle school. Knight was last seen leaving her cousin’s home in 2002, when she was 21. All three women were found within miles of where they’d disappeared.

Cleveland police have confirmed they’ve arrested a 53-year-old suspect.

UPDATE 12:50 AM: CBS News is reporting this is a photo of Amanda Berry, center, with her sister, left, in the hospital.


UPDATE 11:57 PM: Cleveland Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba told local reporters that the three suspects are brothers, aged 50, 52 and 54. All three are being held in city jail, awaiting charges.

The three women were taken to a local hospital. All three are in stable condition.

And WOIO-TV in Cleveland is citing an “investigative source” who said chains were found hanging from the home’s ceiling.

UPDATE 11:37 PM: Betsy Kling of WKYC is reporting that two of Ariel Castro’s brothers were arrested as suspects.

UPDATE 11:21 PM: According to reports, this is the Facebook page for Ariel Castro, the 52-year-old suspect in the kidnappings. It’s worth noting that information like this is often incorrect in the immediate aftermath of breaking news, but more and more evidence has emerged linking the suspect to the profile.

A link to the page was tweeted by Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporter Rachel Dissell, who noted that the page listed Castro as a bass player in a tropical/merengue band. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the suspect’s uncle said, “[Ariel] was a musician, a great bass player.” The Facebook page includes several pictures and updates about playing the bass.

Sara Shookman, a reporter for Cleveland’s WKYC, reported that it was Castro’s son, Anthony,who penned this 2004 article about DeJesus and Berry’s disappearance. Shookman noted that Anthony Castro was then a journalist at Bowling State.

One of Ariel Castro’s Facebook friends is an Anthony Castro who studied journalism at Bowling Green. Shookman also spoke to Anthony Castro.

This is a picture from Ariel Castro’s Facebook page:


UPDATE 11:03 PM: Sara Shookman of WKYC in Cleveland is reporting that the author of the below article was Ariel Castrol’s son, Anthony, who was a journalism student at Bowling Green State University at the time.

UPDATE 10:30 PM: In a strange twist, someone named Ariel Castro — the same name as the suspect — wrote a 2004 article in a West Side neighborhood newspaper about how his neighborhood was coping with the disappearances of DeJesus and Berry.

The author interviewed DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz, and a group of parents waiting for their children to be released from Wilbur Wright Middle School. They spoke of the need for greater security and the fear that had settled upon the neighborhood.

“For seven weeks, Gina’s family has been organizing searches, holding prayer vigils, posting fliers and calling press conferences,” Castro wrote. “Despite the many tips and rumors that have been circulating in the neighborhood, there has been no sign of her. One thing is for certain, however. Almost everyone feels a connection with the family, and Gina’s disappearance has the whole area talking.”

It is unclear whether the author is the suspect.

Here’s a link to the full article.

UPDATE 10:18 PM: The Plain-Dealer is also reporting that police arrested Ariel Castro, 52, the owner of the home.

Castro, who Ramsey said took off running after the rescue, was arrested at a nearby McDonald’s. “We never thought that man would do anything to anybody,” [neighbor Victoria] Pratts said. “He was a bus driver.”

UPDATE 10:09 PM: The Cleveland Plain-Dealer has 911 calls from Berry and from Ramsey.Note: Ramsey’s 911 call, while amazing, is not exactly safe listening for work.


Fire at the Finish Line in Boston

The latest reports that I’ve seen say that there are a likely 2 people killed and 22 injured as a result of the the bombings at the finish line at the Boston Marathon today… This is absolutely tragic, and it can serve as a reminder that we need to find ways to fill our lives with sympathy and empathy. These kinds of attacks are hardly rare in many other parts of the world, and those people are just as human as those violated today. I pray, even amidst my doubts I pray, that we can find ways to face our fears and join together to overcome them. When we see tragic events like this we need to look them in the face and see the horrific images, and hear the terrifying stories. Because not seeing the reality of human violence in wars and other conflicts could enable the same kind of inaction that we read about in our history books.


Gerry-Rigged: Real Time with Bill Maher Blog – HBO

Gerry – Rigged

Here is my standard Bill Maher disclaimer: I don’t agree with everything that he says and does, but I really appreciate his candor, and his perspective as a skeptic of the powers that be. I think that Gerrymandering really is a shameful problem in our politics, and I am glad that it’s being discussed more and more. Also, if you don’t know what Gerrymandering is there will be a video at the bottom to help you out.

Real Time Billboard



January 29, 2013

By Bill Maher

In the last election, Democrats got a million more votes for their House candidates than Republicans did. In a fair world, Nancy Pelosi would be Speaker again, but Republicans still have a 33-seat majority because of gerrymandering.

Let’s call gerrymandering what it really is: segregation. It carves up district lines so “urban” voters — aka African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics — are bunched up in Democratic districts, while suburban and rural districts are carefully kept just white enough to go Republican.

Short-term, gerrymandering is the only thing that keeps the GOP in power. Long-term, it just might kill them. They can’t compete for Hispanic votes because they don’t have to. Using redistricting as a crutch only allows them to stay in denial about demographic reality, which is that the fastest growing groups in the country are racing to the polls to vote for Democrats while the Republican base is racing to the morgue. Moreover, it only encourages them to continue insulting voters they need to take back the White House, or even hold onto Congress over the next few cycles.

You know who I think would back me up on this? George W. Bush. Remember, he was for immigration reform, but his own party killed him over it. If you’re a Republican, isn’t it a serious problem when George W. Bush is a couple steps ahead of the rest of your party? And even though the tide seems to have turned on immigration reform, most Republicans are still from districts whose voters are very uncomfortable doing the salsa.

Most Republican politicians are smart enough to know they’ve got an existential problem here, but their voters aren’t. They see a pathway to citizenship as “amnesty,” and won’t soon forgive their congressman if he votes for it. So if you’re a Republican House member, what the hell do you do?

via HBO – Real Time with Bill Maher Blog – Gerry-Rigged.


I hope that you enjoyed the article, but even if you know what Gerrymandering is I recommend watching this video. I learned about the history of Gerrymandering from the TV show “How the States Got Their Shapes” (amazing show…). And I recently got to talk to somewhat of a political hero mine about Gerrymandering in Oklahoma, former congressman Mickey Edwards (R-OK), who was a moderate Republican, at the No Labels meeting in New York (Jan. 13 & 14, 2013) entitled The Meeting to Make America Work. Well anyway, Here is a video about Gerrymandering.

Romney’s Latest Auto Claims Are Absurd – Steve Rattner (aka: the Car Czar)

Romney’s latest auto claims are absurd.

If you don’t have much time, or patience, I would recommend skipping my comments (they are blog comments…) and go ahead and read the article below, which was written by the Car Czar for the auto bailout on Romney’s comments as of late about the auto industry.

Steve Rattner is one of my political and economic heroes… I think that he has a very clear vision of what it means to be pragmatic and plain-spoken in our complex world of politics and business. I often speak to my conservative friends to pay close attention, but that is mostly because of where I’m from. Being from Oklahoma, and living in Arkansas makes it more likely that the uninformed commentator is conservative – the opposite would be true if I were from another part of the country (something that the show “Portlandia” takes a comical approach towards addressing). It’s all about perspective really, we speak in such scathing and polarizing terms about people who promote policies that aren’t so different from our own. In this article Mr. Rattner is calling to the reader’s attention the importance of understanding simple and verifiable facts as they stand… It does not mean that he thinks that Governor Romney is all bad, and the opposite from himself. In fact, I’ve heard Mr. Rattner on multiple occasions praise Governor Romney for being a pioneer on Wall Street. The criticism found in this article is only partially ideological, but more so it is a referendum on the former Governor/CEO/Bishop/etc.’s lack of deference to the truth… It is not a coincidence that these attacks are mostly being made in Ohio, as he desperately needs a November surprise in the state with probably the most organized auto labor collective that there is…

The counter response that I have been hearing when I try to discuss Governor Romney’s multiple aggressions upon reality is that the President lies to, so it’s a push… Well, it’s not… When I ask for examples, or when I hear examples on TV they all seem to be about how the President promised lower unemployment (5.something percent), however that isn’t really the same kind of lie… Being overly optimistic and missing the mark on how much his actions would affect the economy is not the same as blatantly lying about what has or has not happened. It’s just not the same thing. It’s fine to ask questions about whether or not the President implemented appropriate policies, and there is Plenty of room for that debate, but that does not mean that he is a liar in the same way that Romney was… What do you think? Surely I’m wrong about something here, and I’d love some feedback, so feel free to let me know what you think.



Romney’s latest auto claims are absurd

Live Stream – First Presidential Debate tonight from the University of Denver

I’m very excited for this debate, and if you are looking for a place to watch it you can watch it here, live. That is of course if you don’t have a TV, because it will be live on several channels (listed below), but if you are stuck somewhere without TV, just come to this blog and you can watch it here. I always love getting your feedback, and I’d love to get some feedback about this debate. So feel free to email me or comment your thoughts, and let me know if you’d like to share them on the blog, that can be worked out, if they’re thoughtful and not too angry 🙂

First Presidential Debate tonight from the University of Denver

Obama/RomneyThe first in the series of Presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will be happening tonight at 9pm et, 6pm pt from the University of Denver in Colorado. The debate will be 90 minutes long with a focus on domestic issues. We will have the live stream embedded so you can watch the debate right here on this page.

Live Stream: Begins around 8pm et / 5pm pt, check back here to watch live

If you have trouble with the YouTube Feed below there are several places that you can click, like this one:
C-SPAN Live Debate Feed

Live Stream (Only Works during the Debate)

Spanish Live Stream: Univision Live

Air Time: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 @ 9pm et / 8pm ct / 7pm mt / 6pm pt

Channels: ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and more including CNN Espanol and others

Moderator: Jim Lehrer (Host of NewsHour on PBS)

The debate will focus on domestic policy and be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.

Following the broadcast, we will have the full video of the debate available for viewing. Check back for links.

Auto-Generated Tags:

via First Presidential Debate tonight from the University of Denver « 2012 Election Central.

%d bloggers like this: