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A New Beginning, a Worse Ending, the Arab Spring

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

"I have come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning..." [1]
-- President Barack Obama, Cairo, Egypt, June 4th, 2009.

It is December 17th, 2010 (last year). A low-level Tunisian official confiscates a poor man's food cart for selling without a license. Later that day, the man walks to the provincial capital, pours gasoline on himself, and lights a match. No one knows it yet, but Mohamed Bouazizi has just set the Middle East on fire. By January 11th, President Ben Ali is leaving Tunisia. Thus begins the Arab Spring, and spring is coming in like a lion. A few days later Egypt is in chaos. It is an Internet revolution initiated by a young Egyptian working for Google. He has taken to heart President Obama's appeal to "have a say in how you are governed." CBS corespondent Lara Logan is covering the protest in Tarik Square. Suddenly, she is sexually assaulted with men groping her from all sides. She shouts, "STOP!" Her cameraman cannot hold them back. She is beaten senseless. It is a terrible story, but it doesn't fit the narrative of freedom for Egypt, so the media is strangely subdued. As President Mubarak is removed from office what fills the vacuum is not democracy. It's something dark and unyielding. Then comes Libya. Muammar Gaddafi is murdered in the street, and Hillary Clinton laughs for the CBS News audience. Then Yemen erupts. Bahrain crushes a rebellion. Kuwait, Lebanon, and Jordan appease the protests with reforms. Syria breaks into a civil war. Thousands are dead. It all began with a man who wouldnt put up with one more insult to his humanity, and it hasn't ended yet. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
A democratic republic requires a baseline understanding of what is right and wrong.... a self-policing. Otherwise, you need a heck of a lot more police. President Obama saw too many policemen/soldiers in the Middle East, but didn't understand their purpose. In countries where democracies mostly work, the people know that shooting someone because they didn't vote the right way is bad, partly because the Bible says so, but also because they know that the reprisals that follow would be worse, so they wait for the next election, and hope for the best. Most people in the Middle East do not have that baseline understanding. Until they do, telling them to shake off their chains of oppression will only kill a lot of people until a new dictator rises up. Meet the new boss: usually worse than the old boss.

Artificial windpipe becomes first synthetic organ successfully transplanted

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

Using stem cells from the patient, doctors were able to coat a glass model of the patient's windpipe which reinforced the model and essentially grew a new trachea and the two main bronchi. The windpipe is indistinguishable from a normal, healthy windpipe. This technique is a huge step forward in transplants because it removes the possibility of the body rejecting the transplant, as it is made up of the patient's own cells, as well as eliminating the need for a donor being needed.[7]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
With all of the issues with modern science, one tends to be suspicious of any of it's "breakthroughs". However, we must be careful that this doesn't become a case of the boy who cried wolf, and lose all the good it can do with the bad. This appears to be one of the completely legitimate break throughs that can save many lives, especially those of newborns that have a defect in their wind pipes, as donors for these are rare, as most parents who have lost their infant don't want to have them "used for parts". It is also is a step towards being able to create other organs artificially, without going into the questionable ethical grounds of using chimeras, which are when one uses a GM pig to grow human organs for transplant.

Congresswomen at the Safeway, and a Target

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

With the USA throwing Tomahawk missiles at Libya and Egyptians raping CBS reporters, it is easy to forget the simple shooting of a Congresswoman. Isn't it? NO IT ISN'T! Early in January, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) is attending one of those normal meet-and-greet-your-government events held at the local supermarket. As she is standing there shaking hands, a bald-headed man pulls out a pistol and shoots the Congresswoman right in the head. He then proceeds to shoot people at random: a federal judge, a little girl who had been born on 9-11, a retired construction worker and so forth. He empties his Glock 19, but then he bobbles the magazine switch. The loaded magazine hits the pavement. Patricia Maisch grabs it. Someone else takes a folding chair, and applies it briskly to the back of the assassin's head. 74-year-old Colonel Bill Badger (retired) has been shot, but he makes a flying tackle, and brings the assassin to the ground. It's a pile on. Meanwhile, Congressional intern Daniel Hernández Jr. applies pressure to Giffords' head wound. He saves her life, but 6 are dead. 13 are injured by gunfire. [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, a concealed weapons permit holder showed up shortly thereafter, but the shooting had stopped. He did not draw his weapon. Frankly, it was over in seconds. There was nothing to be done to prevent the assassin from obtaining a weapon. He purchased the Glock with the normal FBI background check. He tried to buy additional ammo at Walmart that morning, but the clerk refused to sell it too him. Apparently, he didn't look right. The perpetrator was Jared Loughner, who believed that the government was manipulating the public through neuro-linguistic programming. (Don't ask. It's BS anyway.) He's a nut, but he is competent to stand trial. He pleads guilty to everything, so he avoids the death penalty. (It sucks, but biblically speaking, that is correct. One cannot incriminate oneself in a capital case. If he does, you can't kill him. Crap!) He gets life plus 140 years without parole.

Notable Births

None that I can find other than princes and princesses.--alexshrugged

Notable Deaths

  • Osama bin Laden (age 54, death by US Navy SEAL): Founder of al-Qaeda, the terrorists responsible for 9-11. (There is no body, but I trust that he is dead.--alexshrugged) [10]
  • Muammar Gaddafi (age 68, bullet wounds in the Libyan Civil War): Leader of Libya. Hillary Clinton's reaction is, "We came, we saw, he died." Then she laughs. (It makes me wonder what "WE" had to do with it.--alexshrugged) [10][11]
  • Steve Jobs (age 56, pancreatic cancer): CEO of Apple and Pixar. His last words are "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." [10]
  • Dennis Ritchie (age 70, natural causes): The creator of the C programming language. (As a computer programmer I owe this man recognition at his passing and so much more.--alexshrugged) [10]
  • Amy Winehouse (age 27, accidental alcohol poisoning, 0.416%): Singer/songwriter. (Damn it, Amy!--alexshrugged) [10]

This Year in Film

OK. That does it. We have officially drop-kicked reality into the beyond.--alexshrugged

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: The final episode of the series. [12]
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Hasbro science fiction. [12]
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: . [12]
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1: . [12]
  • Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol: . [12]
  • And...: The Adjustment Bureau, Source Code, and Atlas Shrugged: Part 1. [12]

This Year in TV

Some TV occurs this year but mostly it is lawsuits, carriage disputes, streaming, screaming and the like.--alexshrugged

  • Charlotte Ross's bare backside is now legal on TV: The FCC fine against ABC's NYPD Blue is revoked unanimously by the US Court of appeals. (And it wasn't even a wardrobe malfunction.--alexshrugged) [13] [14] [15]
  • Charlie Sheen is fired from Two and a Half Men: (Charlie is on quite a rant.--alexshrugged) [13]
  • TV ownership is decreasing according to Nielsen Media Research: (I suspect streaming video on portable devices is replacing it, but regular TV watching seems to be on a downward trend.--alexshrugged ) [13][16]
  • The Apprentice host Donald Trump announces that he will NOT run for President in 2012: Nevertheless, he changes his political affiliation from Republican to Independent to preserve his options for a third-party run. [13] [17]

This Year in Music

  • Rolling in the Deep: Adele. "We could have had it all / Rolling in the deep." (Great song. Great voice.--alexshrugged) [18]
  • E.T.: Katy Perry with Kanye West. "Kiss me, kiss me / Infect me with your love and / Fill me with your poison." (Good sound. Hate the lyrics.--alexshrugged) [18]
  • Made In America: Toby Keith. "He won't buy nothin' that he can't fix / With WD40 and a Craftsman wrench / He ain't prejudiced / he's just made in America" [18]
  • Honey Bee: Blake Shelton. (Boy meets girl at a road-side honey stand. Yep. He buys every last jar.--alexshrugged) [18]

This Year in Video Games

  • A 9.1 quake and tsunami knocks out the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant and most video game development in Japan: Many video game projects are canceled or significantly delayed. [19]
  • Video games are now free speech: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia writes, "Our cases have been clear that the obscenity exception to the First Amendment does not cover whatever a legislature finds shocking, but only depictions of 'sexual conduct'." [19][20] [21]
  • Batman: Arkham City: Named one of the best video games ever. (But I thought that OTHER game was "the best ever". How many "evers" are there?--alexshrugged) [19]
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii: The game makes effective use of the Wii's motion detection system during sword play. [19]

In Other News

Date Event
March 11 A 9.0-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami hits Japan, killing 15,840 with another 3,926 missing, presumed dead. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is swamped. 50 power station employees remain at their posts attempting to stabilize the plant. More are coming... hundreds more. [22] [23]
March 19 The USA joins the multinational intervention in Libya. (When you hurl Tomahawk missiles at $1.3 million a pop, that is called a war, Mr. Obama.--alexshrugged) [24]
May 1 Osama bin Laden has been killed in an American military operation in Pakistan.
June 16 Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-New York) resigns after exposing his manhood on Twitter. (A few days earlier, Andrew Breitbart took over a Weiner press conference to excoriate him. Brilliant. Just brilliant. I miss Andrew.--alexshrugged) [25] [23] [26]
August 5 The US credit rating is cut to AA+. (There are fears that the USA might be overextended. Imagine that.--alexshrugged)
September 5 Bastrop County wildfires rage across Texas. 1500 homes are burned to the ground. (They got the worst of it. I live in Williamson County, and it was frightening enough.--alexshrugged) [27][28] [23]
September 17 Occupy Wall Street holds its first protests in New York City. (They are leftists. No question.--alexshrugged)
November 16 The US national debt surpasses $15 trillion.
November 7 Jerry Sandusky, former assistant coach for Penn State football, is arrested for molesting 15 boys. He will get 60 years. (Too late.--alexshrugged) [23]
December 15 The US declares an official end to the War in Iraq. (Officially, US troops are gone, but 20,000 remain for embassy protection.--alexshrugged)
December 17 North Korea declares that the Supreme (communist) Leader Kim Jong-Il is dead. (Here comes Kim Jon-un.--alexshrugged)
December 26 Barack Obama plays his 90th game of presidential golf. He is on a 17-day vacation in Hawaii. (I wish he would go on a vacation for the rest of his presidency.--alexshrugged)

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 2011, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. A New Beginning - Wikisource, the free online library. Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “I have come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”
  2. Lara Logan breaks her silence - YouTube. Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “In her first television interview since being sexually assaulted two months ago, the CBS News chief foreign correspondent and '60 Minutes' reporter reveals what happened to her in Tahrir Square in an interview with Scott Pelley.”
  3. Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died - CBS News - YouTube. Retrieved on 25 May 2017.
  4. BBC News - Muammar Gaddafi: How he died (31 October 2011). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “Col Muammar Gaddafi died from bullet wounds some time after a failed attempt to escape from the fighters of the National Transitional Council (NTC), but the exact circumstances of his death are still emerging.”
  5. Deadly Riots in Tunisia Shut Down Schools - CBS News (January 10, 2011). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “The riots began after a 26-year-old man with a university degree set himself on fire on Dec. 17, after police confiscated his fruits and vegetables for selling them without a permit. The desperate act touched a nerve with educated, unemployed youth nationwide. The young man later died.”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: I've tried to verify the exact numbers of dead for the Arab Spring, but I don't trust the higher numbers. I settled on "thousands" since that is surely true.
  7. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-14047670
  8. "Videos show details of Tucson shooting", Washington Post, January 19, 2011. Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “Authorities have analyzed nearly two dozen surveillance videos in the massive investigation of accused Tucson killer Jared Lee Loughner, some of which clearly show a gunman shooting federal Judge John Roll in the back as he and an injured congressional aide try to scramble under a table, officials who have viewed the footage said Tuesday. It also shows the gunman walking toward Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and firing his first bullet into her face from two to three feet away, the officials said; he then blasts 31 more shots in a span of no more than 15 seconds.” 
  9. "Tucson Shooting Caught on Video - The New York Times", January 18, 2011. Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “When a deputy sheriff arrived minutes after the shooting and took control of Mr. Loughner, who was being held down by two people, the deputy removed a set of earplugs from Mr. Loughner. Minutes earlier, a surveillance photo also shows Mr. Loughner inside the Safeway talking to a clerk and 'pointing to his ears because he’s telling the individual that he can’t hear what she’s saying because he’s got earplugs in,' Mr. Kastigar said. He said about 15 minutes elapsed between the time Mr. Loughner arrived by cab at the Safeway — and had to go inside to get change to pay the driver — and when the shooting started at 10:10 a.m.” 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 2011 Deaths - Wikipedia (2011).
  11. Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died - CBS News - YouTube. Retrieved on 25 May 2017.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 2011 in film - Wikipedia (2011). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 2011 in television - Wikipedia (2011).
  14. Charlotte Ross - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “On February 25, 2003, Ross appeared in an NYPD Blue episode entitled 'Nude Awakening', which featured shots of her buttocks as she prepared to step into the shower. As a result, the FCC fined each of the 52 ABC stations with a $27,500 fine for broadcasting 'indecent material' between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. However, on January 4, 2011, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously revoked the fine, stating that the FCC's enforcement of its indecency rules was 'unconstitutionally vague and chilling.' ABC, Inc., et al. v. Federal Communications Commission, No. 08-0841-ag(L) (2nd Cir.).”
  15. Court Throws Out FCC Fine Against ABC For 'NYPD Blue' - 2011-01-04 16:35:16 - Broadcasting & Cable (January 4, 2011). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “ABC back in August asked the court throw out the FCC's $1 million-plus fine against 52 ABC affiliates for a 2003 broadcast of NYPD Blue, citing the same court's decision a month before that the FCC's indecency enforcement regime is unconstitutionally vague.”
  16. 2011 in American television - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “An estimate released by Nielsen indicates that the number of households with television sets will decrease in 2012 for the first time in 20 years.”
  17. Trump drops Republican Party registration in NY. yahoo.com (December 23, 2011). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “A spokesman for Trump says the businessman and television host changed his affiliation to preserve his option to seek the presidency in 2012.”
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 2011 in music - Wikipedia (2011). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 2011 in video gaming - Wikipedia (2011).
  20. Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass'n - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 564 U.S. 786 (2011), is a landmark case by the Supreme Court of the United States that struck down a 2005 California law banning the sale of certain violent video games to children without parental supervision. In a 7–2 decision, the Court upheld the lower court decisions and nullified the law, ruling that video games were protected speech under the First Amendment as other forms of media.”
  21. Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association - mediacoalition. Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “In June 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that California’s law restricting minors’ access to video games with violent content is unconstitutional.”
  22. "Japan earthquake live blog: Death toll rises amid widespread destruction", CNN blog, TimeWarner, 12 March 2011. Retrieved on 12 March 2011. Archived from the original on March 16, 2011. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 2011 - Wikipedia.
  24. Operation Odyssey Dawn - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “Operations commenced on the same day with a strike by French fighter jets, then U.S. and UK forces conducting strikes from ships and submarines via 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles and air assets bombing Gaddafi forces near Benghazi. The goal of coalition forces was to impose a no-fly zone for Libyan government forces.”
  25. "Weiner Resigns From Congress Over Sexting Scandal", Fox News, June 16, 2011. 
  26. Breitbart at Rep. Weiner's press conference - YouTube. youtube.com (2017). Retrieved on 25 May 2017. “In Full: Andrew Breitbart came forward at Rep. Anthony Weiner's New York City press conference to defend himself against allegations claiming he hacked the congressman's Twitter account.”
  27. Austin-area wildfire burns a record 476 homes in Texas. Reuters.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-10.
  28. Texas wildfires scorch homes; death toll climbs to 4. Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-10.
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