October 18, 2007 archive

Leave it to Dennis! w/poll

Many Americans like to think back to an earlier less complicated time.  Indeed, when we look back, many still think of the 1950’s as a perfect time.  So, let’s go back and see a typical family stitting around the table and talking about things as they are today!

bleep, whirrrrr, zap, zoooom….

(note: sounds of our time machine working)

Balancing Outrage

Isn’t the title a bit of an oxymoron? I think so. But if that’s true, then we’ve just spent the last 6 years trying to find a way to live out an oxymoron. I wonder if others feel that way.

Here’s a couple of things that kicked off my outrage meter today, but you could probably choose any day in the last 6 years and find multiple events on each one that would serve the purpose.

The Power of Doing Nothing

There is a passage in today’s WaPo article on the Senate capitulation on FISA that demonstrates how little Democrats understand of the power of the Congress to do nothing:

An adroit Republican parliamentary maneuver ultimately sank the bill. GOP leaders offered a motion that would have sent it back to the House intelligence and Judiciary committees with a requirement that they add language specifying that nothing in the measure would apply to surveilling the communications of bin Laden, al-Qaeda or other foreign terrorist organizations.

Approval of the motion would have restarted the legislative process, effectively killing the measure by delay. Democratic leaders scrambled to persuade their members to oppose it, but with Republicans accusing Democrats of being weak on terrorism, a “no” vote proved too hard to sell, and so the bill was pulled from the floor.

Stacey Bernards, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), called the Republican maneuver “a cheap shot, totally political.”

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, called it a “perfect storm” of progressive Democrats who did not think the bill protected basic constitutional rights and of Republicans who took advantage of the lack of unity. “It was too precipitous a process, and it ended up in a train wreck,” she said. “It was total meltdown.”

I love the ACLU and Caroline Frederickson in particular. They do great work. But from the perspective of a progressive and the ACLU, WHICH OPPOSED the House bill (because of the question of bypassing indivudualized warrants for surveillance, adopting instead a “basket” approach), the failure of this bill SHOULD BE great news.

Like Iraq funding, the FISA extension past the February date when the current capitulation bill expires, is a problem for the Bush administration, not the Congress. IF the Congress passes nothing, then the law will revert to the original FISA law that prevailed prior to this summer’s capitulation. There is nothing wrong with that, DESPITE the gnashing of teeth from the Bush administration. IF there were, they would not block THIS BILL.

If the Democrats, PARTICULARLY the Progressive Caucus, sticks to its guns, it will either get a good bill, or no bill at all. OF course the preference is a good bill. But after that, no bill at all is eminently preferable to a BAD bill. Frankly, the House bill was not a good bill imo. Nor was it a good bill in the ACLU’s opinion. Its demise is nothing to lament. So long as Democrats understand the power of doing nothing.

Pony Party, Are you America??

Colbert ’08

Stephen Colbert is running for President.

Docudharma Times Thursday Oct. 18

This is an Open Thread

From President Bush’s Press Conference yesterday

Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe asked Bush exactly the question I would have asked:

Dan Froomkin Washington Post

“QUESTION: Thank you, sir. A simple question.

“BUSH: Yes?

“QUESTION: What’s your definition of —

“BUSH: It may require a simple answer.


“QUESTION: What’s your definition of the word torture?

“BUSH: Of what?

“QUESTION: The word torture, what’s your definition?

“BUSH: That’s defined in U.S. law, and we don’t torture

It is time to free Iraq

The Iraq war was sold as vital to the national security interests of the United States and to liberate the Iraqi people from oppression.  Everyone on the planet now knows that Iraq posed no threat to anyone in our country and lacked the means to protect itself from foreign invasion.  Whether our intelligence gathering was worthless or our politicians were dishonest is beyond the point.  We cannot resurrect all the Iraqis that have died because of our arrogance and aggression.  But what of the lofty goal to free the Iraqi people?  The last time I checked, occupation by foreign forces and inability to control your own territory does not qualify as freedom.  The time has come for the people of Iraq to declare their independence from America and every other foreign entity operating with impunity within its borders.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

Notes on starting a small farm

Thinking out loud is what you’ll find here, along with some handy links and reference material.  If you’ve thought about starting your own small farm you may find the links handy. 

Cornell has started a Small Farms Program for New York.  There’s an upcoming goat and sheep symposium  next week at Morrison Hall.  Recently they posted a Guide to Farming in NYS which is aimed at newbies like me.

Find your own cooperative extension for information and cheap or even free plants and trees!

Agricultural Building Plans need to add a shed or hay loft?  Here’s how to do it.  No need to pay an architect and this way you’ll be sure to build it right.  Just bring the plans to the building department if required so they can look for discrepancies with local codes.

Naomi Wolf: Letter to a Young Patriot

Just passing this on from the excellent Information Clearing House. Visit here:

Your comments are welcome.

FISA: Rockefeller’s Bill OKs Bush’s Telco Immunity Demand

According to the Washington Post, the Senate and Bush Agree On Terms of Spying Bill. The bill gives in to Bush’s demand and telecommunications companies are to be given full immunity.

The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee’s chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush’s director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.

Such a demonstration, which the bill says could be made in secret, would wipe out a series of pending lawsuits alleging violations of privacy rights by telecommunications companies that provided telephone records, summaries of e-mail traffic and other information to the government after Sept. 11, 2001, without receiving court warrants. Bush had repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation that lacked this provision.

The Fourth Amendment will never be the same again.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

I advise everyone I know to buy a tuxedo.  Don’t rent.

For one thing they’re exceptionally cheap, cheaper than real clothes.  Mine cost me $150 at a Men’s Warehouse Store and came with a pair of pants and alterations.  They rent it for $75 a day.  A good jacket costs the same but without the pants and even though I don’t buy into your 20th Century notions of modesty I am particular about how I appear in public.

Call it vanity.

They’re remarkably durable.  After I discovered that people picking you up and tossing you in the hotel swimming pool means you’re a cool kid, I’ve had mine doused twice.  Costs the same $20 to clean as if I dropped my elbow in the salad dressing (that only happened once).  There is a reason they call it a Dinner Jacket, it’s a full body bib.

And for some reason people associate this penguin jacket with so many things.  I use mine like a costume at Halloween.  One year in fact I was at a party in Greenwich, The Fourth Annual Masquerade Ball.  I remember it for a couple of reasons but one is I have the Commemorative Champagne Sports Squeeze Bottle on my mantle.

My costume was my tux and a few copies of lorem ipsum printed in teeny tiny print like a contract, in red.  At the appropriate moment I’d whip it out and say- “No, I came here tonight especially to talk to you.”

Then I’d take a Montblanc (another $20 prop, you have to be stupid to pay more than that for a pen) I’d loaded with red ink and slide it across the bar.

For some reason that creeped people out.

Has Everyone Drunk the Kool-Aid? New AG Nominee Is Right-Wing Nut

Crossposted at Invictus

So Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey said he was against torture in his confirmation hearing, and the liberals are ready to fall all over him. His confirmation as Bush’s new attorney general is presumably a given. Never mind that he refused to comment on the secret 2005 Bush Administration memorandums authorizing harsh, “enhanced” interrogation techniques by the CIA. Listen to Mukasey get all huffy at his nomination hearing today:

When Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, suggested in his questioning that the 2005 opinions might authorize torture, Mr. Mukasey stopped him. “You characterize it as torture,” he said. “I do not know of such a policy and I hope not to find them.”

Nor would he comment in detail on the legality of the so-called warrantless wiretap program that was authorized by President Bush shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been harshly criticized by civil liberties groups and lawmakers from both parties as possibly unconstitutional.

“I am not familiar with that program,” said Mr. Mukasey, who knew enough about the program to refer to it as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the name preferred by the White House.

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