Nobel Peace Prize

10 things you need to know today: October 10, 2014

And the winner is...

And the winner is… (Brad Barket/Invision/AP Images)

The Week

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin’s voter ID law, and more

1. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win the Nobel Peace Prize
Children’s rights activists Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Yousafzai, 17, was shot in the head by a Taliban militant for her work promoting girls’ education, and has since become an icon for the cause of children’s schooling. Satyarthi, 60, has shown “great personal courage” by leading peaceful protests against the exploitation of children, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. Malala became the youngest person to ever win the prize, by more than a decade. [The New York Times]


2. The Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin’s voter ID law
The Supreme Court on late Thursday blocked Wisconsin from implementing a voter identification law in next month’s mid-term elections. The law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, requires voters to produce a photo ID at the polls. A federal judge ruled it unconstitutional, saying it would unfairly burden minority voters. An appeals court reinstated it, but the justices put it on hold while they consider whether to hear the case. On the same day, a federal judgeoverturned a similar law in Texas. [USA Today, NPR]


3. Signs of slowing growth in Europe contribute to U.S. stock plunge
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped by 335 points, or 2 percent, to 16,659 on Thursday in the blue-chip-stock index’s sharpest one-day plunge in more than a year. The Standard & Poors 500 big-stock index also lost 2 percent, and the small-stock Russell 2000 plunged by 2.5 percent. The losses, which came one day after the Dow and the S&P 500 made their biggest daily gains of 2014, came as data suggested Europe’s economic growth was slowing. [USA Today, Bloomberg]


4. Investigators say crash victim in Ukraine was wearing an oxygen mask
Dutch prosecutors revealed Thursday that the body of an Australian passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was found wearing an oxygen mask. No other bodies were found wearing oxygen masks, but the new evidence suggested that some passengers might have been aware that their airliner was going down after apparently being hit by a missile over a rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine as it traveled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July. [Sydney Morning Herald]


5. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un misses important ceremonies
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not attend ceremonies marking the anniversary of the ruling North Korean Workers’ Party — an important national holiday — fueling speculation about his health. Kim, who is believed to be 31 years old, has not been seen in public since Sept. 3. “Today was a crucial day for him to return,” said Leonid Petrov, a Korean studies specialist at Australian National University. “More and more questions are mounting and his absence inevitably leads to uncertainty about who’s leading the country.” [Los Angeles Times]


6. Mexico arrests alleged Juarez drug cartel leader
Mexican authorities have arrested Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the alleged leader of the Juarez drug cartel, government officials said Thursday. His capture was the latest in a series of high-profile gains the Mexican government has made in an offensive against drug lords this year. The Juarez cartel is one of the country’s most powerful drug trafficking operations. Carrillo, who is known as “the Viceroy,” allegedly led a war with the rival Sinaloa gang that killed thousands between 2009 and 2011. [BBC News]


7. Amazon plans its first brick-and-mortar store
Digital retail powerhouse Amazon announced Thursday that it planned to open its first physical store — in midtown Manhattan — in time for this year’s holiday shopping season. The first brick-and-mortar Amazon outlet will function mostly as a warehouse capable of delivering stocked items within the city on the same day they are ordered. It also will process returns, exchanges, and pickup orders. [The Wall Street Journal]


8. Texas sheriff’s sergeant tests negative for Ebola
Texas health officials announced Thursday that a sheriff’s sergeant who had briefly entered the apartment of the late Ebola patient Thomas Duncan had not contracted the virus. The sergeant, Michael Monnig, was hospitalized after reporting to an urgent-care center outside Dallas complaining of stomach pain. He tested negative for Ebola. So far, none of the 48 people being monitored after having contact with Duncan have shown any sign of having contracted Ebola. [The New York Times]


9. Prosecutor seeks NFL star Adrian Peterson’s arrest over apparent drug confession
A Texas prosecutor has asked a judge to revoke the bond and order the arrest of Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson, after the running back told an employee at a drug-testing agency during a urinalysis that he had “smoked a little weed,” according to court papers publicized on Thursday. The Montgomery County District Attorney’s office said drug use would be a clear violation of the terms of Peterson’s $15,000 bond that got him freed after he was charged with felony child abuse. [USA Today]


10. Jan Hooks, an ex-SNL comic, dies at 57
Former Saturday Night Live star Jan Hooks has died after a long illness, her representative confirmed Thursday. She was 57. Hooks did memorable impersonations of everyone from Sinead O’Connor to Nancy Reagan to Diane Sawyer as part of an all-star cast that included Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, and Nora Dunn. Her five-year run on SNL ended when she left to join the hit CBS sitcom Designing Women. [Newsday]

West Wing Week: 11/22/12 or “Hello Burma!”

The White House

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President made an historic trip to Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, attended the East Asia Summit, and pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey at the White House with the First Family.

Friday, November 16th:
  • The President met with Congressional leaders to discuss ways to reach a balanced approach to strengthen our economy, support middle class families and reduce our nation’s deficit as the looming deadline of the fiscal cliff approaches.


Saturday, November 17th:
  • The President began his journey to Asia, traveling 18 hours on the plane and 24 hours on the clock.


Sunday, November 18th:
  • The President arrived in the Kingdom of Thailand, America’s oldest ally in Asia. On his first trip abroad since his re-election, the President met up with the Secretary of State and kicked off his visit with a trip to the stunning Wat Pho Royal Monastery, where the head monk introduced him to sacred Buddhas, in exchange for removing his shoes.
  • Then the President went to the Government House of Thailand for his official welcome ceremony, guest book signing, and bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra .
  • Later, the two leaders hosted a news conference before adjourning to a formal, official dinner. On the way to his hotel, he made a stop to thank the Embassy staff and their familiies for all their work on behalf of the United States.


Monday, November 19th:
  • The President and Secretary of State began a truly historic journey to Burma — the first for an American President — on their last foreign trip together. They were greeted by thousands of people lining the road as they traveled to meet with President Thein Sein for a bilateral meeting at the Parliament Building, and then to the Shwedagon Pagoda, the holiest cultural site in Burma.
  • The President and Secretary of State met with Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, at her home, where they spoke about ongoing efforts to support and encourage Burma’s democratic transition.
  • The President also visited the American Embassy, where they thanked staff, their families before traveling on to their final stop in Burma, where the President reflected on his historic visit in an address to the Burmese people.
  • That evening, the President traveled on to Cambodia, touching down in his third country of the day, where he attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), leaders meeting, then joined up with all the East Asia Summit leaders, who had all donned their own versions of batik shirts for the occasion.
  • Meanwhile, at the White House, the First Lady hosted the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards, the country’s highest honor in this field, which recognizes exemplary programs around the country that foster the creative and intellectual development of America’s youth through education.


Tuesday, November 20th:
  • Before the Summit official convened, the President held bilateral meetings, first with Prime Minister Noda of Japan and then Premier Wen of China. Then it was time for day two of the East Asia Summit, with the group gathering for the traditional family photo and getting down to work at the plenary session. The President capped off his visit by taking some time to thank the Embassy Staff and their families.


Wednesday, November 21st:
  • The President and the First Family pardoned one very grateful Gobbler for the65th Anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, and wished American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.
  • Later, in that same spirit of thanksgiving, the First Family contributed some time, effort and elbow grease to a Capitol Area food Bank service project creating care packages for those in need.

West Wing Week: 09/21/12 or “The Dignity and Freedom That Every Person Deserves”


The White House

This week, the President, Vice President and Secretary of State attended the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the four Americans killed in Libya, while the White House welcomed Olympians and Paralympians, WNBA champions the Minnesota Lynx, new foreign Ambassadors, and the Children’s Miracle Network. That’s September 14th to September 20th or “The Dignity and Freedom That Every Person Deserves.”

Friday, September 14th:

  • The President, Vice President, and First Lady welcomed the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to The White House.
  • The White House hosted a “Safety Datapalooza,” which highlighted innovators from the private, nonprofit and academic sectors who have utilized freely available government data to build products, services, and apps that advance public safety in creative and powerful ways.
  • Friday Afternoon, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton attended a Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base which marked the return to the United States of the remains of the four brave Americans who were killed this week in Benghazi, Libya.

Monday, September 17th:

  • The White House launched “Developers” which is a a one-stop resource for anyone who wants to use the tools provided by the White House technology program – including all the open data and open source software we’ve released so far.

Tuesday, September 18th:

  • The President welcomed the WNBA Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their 2011 WNBA championship.

Wednesday, September 19th:

  • Foreign Ambassadors recently posted in Washington arrived at the White House to mark the formal beginning of their service in Washington.  The Ambassadors represented the Republic of Seychelles, the Union of Comoros , the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Saint Lucia, the Republic of Colombia, the Slovak Republic, and the Hellenic Republic.
  • The President greeted the 52 Champions of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, their families, and their national spokeswoman, Laura Kaeppeler, the current Miss America.
  • Friday afternoon, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi, arrived at the White House to meet with the President, while on her first trip to the United States in more than 20 years.


Rumsfeld blasts Obama’s world image

This, from a man who can’t go overseas for fear of being arrested for crimes against humanity? 


Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disputes the notion that President Barack Obama has made America more popular around the globe than it was under his former boss, President George W. Bush.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” by host Candy Crowley whether the U.S. is looked at differently than under his tenure, Rumsfeld replied, “I don’t think there’s data that supports that.””I think [Obama] has made a practice of trying to apologize for America,” Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld also downplayed Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.“He had not accomplished a thing when he got the Nobel Prize. It was given to him on hope,” Rumsfeld said. “He’d been in office 15 minutes.”

Nobel Prize For Obama – Speech Reflects On His “Wartime President” Status

President Barack Obama accepted his Nobel Prize early this morning, our time, in Norway.

The President acknowledged that in comparison to pasts recipients of the Peace Prize, his accomplishments were far less impressive.    Critics  felt the President should have refused the award since he has escalated the conflict in Afghanistan, which indicate to some that his actions contradict what the Prize stands for.

Think Progress:

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech this morning, President Obama called his own accomplishments “slight” in comparison to past winners and spoke at length about the irony of winning the award as a wartime president. He evoked the concept of “just war” to argue for the use of force that is “necessary” and “morally justified.”

There’s an interesting thread on David Sorota’s piece on the progressive blog Open Left

 Sarota expressed his opinion, which basically states that having escalated the war in Afghanistan, Obama should not have recieved the award:

By that I mean, you can be a genuine progressive interested in peace and think this award is a travesty on progressive grounds, and also not think that the Rush Limbaugh/GOP attacks about this award from the right are valid at all. Likewise, you can think this award is a travesty and simultaneously hope that one day President Obama truly ends up building a record deserving of such an award. You can even think this award is a travesty and think Obama is on the way to building up such a record, but is undeserving of the award because he’s only been president for 9 months and hasn’t yet proven himself a Nobel-level peacemaker.

A commenter on the blog responds to someone who said the Nobel Prize is worthless:

King gave a lifetime and a life for his work on equality. Mandela spent 27 years in Jail fighting Appartied. Obama spent 12 days in office before being nominated. This award is worthless!!!

You flaming hypocrite! As if you give a DAMN about the standards of the Nobel Committee! You just want an excuse to attack somebody you don’t like. Period.

That’s all the right-wing is. Hypocrites and liars. They’ve got nothing to bitch about except they hate Obama and can’t stand it that he won something. So, they invent reasons to complain!

It’s interesting to contrast these reactions with that in other countries:

The self-centered view most Americans, especially conservatives, have in relations to the rest of the world is the main culprit as to why most Americans feel Obama is undeserving of this great honor, when in fact, he definitely is worthy of it.The total lack of dignity and respect in the Bush Administration’s unilateral approach to “diplomacy” towards other nations severely undermined any efforts by the global community presenting a cooperative approach combating global warming, nuclear proliferation, territorial disputes, terrorism, human rights, etc.

With the election of Obama as President, his immediate implementation of a foreign policy centered on respecting and listening to other nations was a major achievement in itself.

Since then, Iran has agreed to talks with the US, Russia announced it will not deploy Iktar missles, US-Cuban relations have improved dramatically, the Iraq War will be over by 2010 and the United States has already begun troop withdrawals.

While their are others that deserved as much consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize, who else has done as much in a short amount of time? The Nobel Committee did not give this award as a token. Obama has ALREADY accomplished enough to deserve it.

The commenter succinctly expresses my own sentiment about the issue.

Huffington Post has a full text of the speech here.

Wingnuts’ Heads Explode Over Obama Nobel Peace Prize

Well, since my orginal post this morning, I’ve gone to other sites to see the wingnut reactions.  I don’t go directly to wingnut sites, per se…I simply look at what liberal blogs are reporting, in reference to the Nobel Committee’s decision.  They are not happy.  The question has to be raised:  Why do these people hate America? 

(Via ThinkProgress.)

Then there was Fox News. As you can see from the video above, it was like Scanners on steroids on Fox & Friends this morning, with Brian Kilmeade noting that this was the third honoree whose name was not George W. Bush. (Maybe those Swedes’ “pure genes” got the better of them, eh?)

Even Michael Steele and the Republican National Committee got into the act:

“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

Blue Texan at Firedoglake has a nice roundup from around the wingnutosphere.

Meanwhile, Media Matters has compiled a handy video of the early reaction:

h/t: Crooks and Liars