Tag: Open Thread

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well after all Pickering, I’m an ordinary man.

Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance to live exactly as he likes and do precisely what he wants.

An average man am I of no eccentric whim, who likes to live his life free of strife, doing whatever he thinks is best for him.

Well… just an ordinary man…

But let a woman in your life and your serenity is through.  She’ll redecorate your home, from the cellar to the dome, and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you!

Let a woman in your life and you’re up against a wall.  Make a plan and you will find that she has something else in mind, and so rather than do either you do something else that neither likes at all!

You want to talk of Keats and Milton, she only wants to talk of love.  You go to see a play or ballet and spend it searching for her glove.

Let a woman in your life and you invite eternal strife.  Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands.  I’d be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever let a woman in my life.

I’m a very gentle man, even tempered and good natured who you never hear complain, who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein.  A patient man am I, down to my fingertips; the sort who never could, ever would, let an insulting remark escape his lips.  A very gentle man.

But let a woman in your life, and patience hasn’t got a chance.  She will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and she will listen very nicely, and then go out and do exactly what she wants!!!

You are a man of grace and polish, who never spoke above a hush, all at once you’re using language that would make a sailor blush.  

Let a woman in your life and you’re plunging in a knife!  Let the others of my sex tie the knot around their necks.  I prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition than to ever let a woman in my life!

I’m a quiet living man who prefers to spend the evening in the silence of his room, who likes an atmosphere as restful as an undiscovered tomb.  A pensive man am I, of philosophical joys, who likes to meditate, contemplate, far for humanities mad inhuman noise.  Quiet living man.

But let a woman in your life and your sabbatical is through.  In a line that never ends comes an army of her friends, come to jabber and to chatter and to tell her what the matter is with YOU!  She’ll have a booming boisterous family who will descend on you en mass.  She’ll have a large Wagnarian mother with a voice that shatters glass,

Let a woman in your life?  Let a woman in your life!?

Let a woman in your life- I shall never let a woman in my life.

(Celebrating 10 years since I proposed to my ex-fiance.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Morning News

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iraqi threatens to disband parliament

By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 56 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – The speaker of Iraq’s fragmented parliament threatened Tuesday to disband the legislature, saying it is so riddled with distrust it appears unable to adopt the budget or agree on a law setting a date for provincial elections.

Disbanding parliament would prompt new elections within 60 days and further undermine Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s shaky government, which is limping along with nearly half of the 40 Cabinet posts vacant.

The disarray undermines the purpose of last year’s U.S. troop “surge” – to bring down violence enough to allow the Iraqi government and parliament to focus on measures to reconcile differences among minority Sunnis and Kurds and the majority Shiites. Violence is down dramatically, but political progress languishes.

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

1 East Timor president wounded in attack

By GUIDO GOULART, Associated Press Writer

13 minutes ago

DILI, East Timor – Rebel soldiers shot and wounded East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta and opened fire on the prime minister Monday as part of a failed coup in the recently independent nation, officials said.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace laureate, was injured in the stomach but in stable condition, while Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao escaped the attack on his motorcade unhurt.

Army spokesman Maj. Domingos da Camara said notorious rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in the attack against the home of Ramos-Horta, while one of the president’s guards also died.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

So.  Do you think The New York Times finally gets it about the Protect America Act?

Even by the dismal standards of what passes for a national debate on intelligence and civil liberties, last week was a really bad week.

The law then, and now, also requires the attorney general to certify “in writing under oath” that the surveillance is legal under FISA, not some fanciful theory of executive power. He is required to inform Congress 30 days in advance, and then periodically report to the House and Senate intelligence panels.

Congress was certainly not informed, and if Mr. Ashcroft or later Alberto Gonzales certified anything under oath, it’s a mystery to whom and when. The eavesdropping went on for four years and would probably still be going on if The Times had not revealed it.

To defend themselves, the companies must be able to show they cooperated and produce that certification. But the White House does not want the public to see the documents, since it seems clear that the legal requirements were not met. It is invoking the state secrets privilege – saying that as a matter of national security, it will not confirm that any company cooperated with the wiretapping or permit the documents to be disclosed in court.

What about our Democratic Congress?  Glenn Greenwald

… they are now not only capitulating to, but actually leading (in the form of their Intelligence Committee Chair, Jay Rockefeller), the Bush/Cheney crusade to legalize warrantless eavesdropping and institutionalize lawlessness through telecom amnesty.

That is the same failed strategy that Democrats have been pursuing with complete futility for the last eight years. In 2002, they became convinced by their vapid, craven “strategists” that if they voted for the war in Iraq, it would take national security off the table and enable the midterm elections to be decided by domestic issues. In 2004, they decided that they would reject a candidate who provided too much of a contrast on national security (Howard Dean) in favor of one who, having supported the war and with a record of combat, would neutralize national security as an election issue.

Notably, the one time they actually allowed a contrast to be created on national security — in the run-up to the 2006 midterm election, when they were perceived to be the anti-war party and the GOP was perceived to be tied to Iraq — they won a decisive victory. When they seek to remove national security as an issue by copying Republicans, they lose.

I don’t get it.  Mike Tabbi

The story of how the Democrats finally betrayed the voters who handed them both houses of Congress a year ago is a depressing preview of what’s to come if they win the White House. And if we don’t pay attention to this sorry tale now, while there’s still time to change our minds about whom to nominate, we might be stuck with this same bunch of spineless creeps for four more years. With no one but ourselves to blame.

Democrats insist that the reason they can’t cut off the money for the war, despite their majority in both houses, is purely political. “George Bush would be on TV every five minutes saying that the Democrats betrayed the troops,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Then he glumly adds another reason. “Also, it just wasn’t going to happen.”

Why it “just wasn’t going to happen” is the controversy. In and around the halls of Congress, the notion that the Democrats made a sincere effort to end the war meets with, at best, derisive laughter. Though few congressional aides would think of saying so on the record, in private many dismiss their party’s lame anti-war effort as an absurd dog-and-pony show, a calculated attempt to score political points without ever being serious about bringing the troops home.

But any suggestion that the Democrats had an obligation to fight this good fight infuriates the bund of hedging careerists in charge of the party. In fact, nothing sums up the current Democratic leadership better than its vitriolic criticisms of those recalcitrant party members who insist on interpreting their 2006 mandate as a command to actually end the war. Rep. David Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a key Pelosi-Reid ally, lambasted anti-war Democrats who “didn’t want to get specks on those white robes of theirs.” Obey even berated a soldier’s mother who begged him to cut off funds for the war, accusing her and her friends of “smoking something illegal.”

Even beyond the war, the Democrats have repeatedly gone limp-dick every time the Bush administration so much as raises its voice. Most recently, twelve Democrats crossed the aisle to grant immunity to phone companies who participated in Bush’s notorious wiretapping program. Before that, Democrats caved in and confirmed Mike Mukasey as attorney general after he kept his middle finger extended and refused to condemn waterboarding as torture. Democrats fattened by Wall Street also got cold feet about upsetting the country’s gazillionaires, refusing to close a tax loophole that rewarded hedge-fund managers with a tax rate less than half that paid by ordinary citizens.

Instead they simply pretend to live in fear of the Villagers, a group of ineffective toothless sycophants (Greenwald again).

… there are plenty of people who still insist that people like Chris Wallace and Brit Hume are real journalists, somehow distinguishable from the likes of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Shouldn’t this question from Wallace, by itself, preclude that assessment? Is Wallace’s embarrassingly deferential inquiry really any different than the defining question asked of the Commander-in-Chief which exposed Jeff Gannon:

Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid was talking about soup lines. And Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there’s no crisis there. How are you going to work — you’ve said you are going to reach out to these people — how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?

Both Wallace and Gannon — with the opportunity to question the U.S. President — basically asked: “Mr. President, how do you handle so well the fact that your political opponents are so crazy, malicious and anti-American”? Just compare Gannon’s mentality (“how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?”) with Wallace’s (“are you ever puzzled by all of the concern in this country about protecting of rights of people who want to kill us?”). Brezhnev-era Pravda would have been too ashamed to ask such blatantly subservient questions of political leaders. But Chris Wallace is a Very Serious Journalist and Fox is a real news network.

Real journalists?  Yup, just like Tweety and Timmeh and Shuster and Mrs. Greenspan and Wolfie from AIPAC and Candy and Mr. Matlin and the Beckmiester of hate.

Serious.  Respected.


Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Gates in Iraq amid an explosion of violence

by Daphne Benoit, AFP

50 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – US Defence Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad on Sunday on a surprise visit amid an explosion of violence across Iraq which officials said killed at least 35 Iraqis and 10 insurgents.

Gates, on his seventh trip to Iraq, was to meet the head of the US armed forces in the country, General David Petraeus, to discuss a possible drawdown of American troops, and top Iraqi leaders.

“I will obviously be interested in hearing General Petraeus about his evaluation, where he stands and what more work he feels he needs to do before he is ready to come back with his recommendations,” he told reporters travelling with him on the plane from Germany to Iraq.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Suicide blast at Pakistan rally kills 20

By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 5 minutes ago

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A suicide bomber struck an election rally in volatile northwest Pakistan Saturday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 45, officials said.

In southern Pakistan, the campaign for Feb. 18 parliamentary elections moved back onto the streets with Benazir Bhutto’s widowed husband urging about 100,000 supporters to help him “save” the country. It was the first major campaign rally by the opposition leader’s party since her December assassination.

In the capital Islamabad, riot police used water cannons and tear gas against hundreds of lawyers protesting the detention of the deposed chief justice.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Do you miss Mitt?

Conventional wisdom says perhaps you should, for now the focus will be entirely on the Democratic jackass race that shows no signs of melting down until June if then.

Your Bonus Muck-

  • We Don’t Discuss Interrogation Techniques until We Want to

    By Paul Kiel – February 6, 2008, 1:03PM
  • White House Insists on Confirmation of Torture Memo Author

    By Paul Kiel, TPMMuckracker- February 6, 2008, 4:35PM

    For more than three years, Steven Bradbury has been the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, the crucial Justice Department office that has the power to issue “advance pardons,” as former OLC head Jack Goldsmith put it. But Senate Democrats, because of Bradbury’s role in approving the warrantless wiretapping program and enhanced interrogation techniques that include waterboarding, have opposed White House efforts to have him confirmed and remove his acting status.

  • Today’s Must Read

    By Paul Kiel, TPMMuckracker – February 7, 2008, 9:44AM

    If it’s seemed to you that the administration has blundered its way into its recent pro-waterboarding PR offensive, you’re right.
  • GOPer: 99% of Americans Would Support Waterboarding

    By Paul Kiel, TPMMuckracker – February 7, 2008, 2:25PM

Bonus coverage from emptywheel

“Are you the people’s lawyer or the President’s?”

DocuDharma has kept an admirable concentration on the real issues that confront us, centered primarily on the essential lawlessness of the current administration and it’s Congressional and Village Idiot enablers.

Update: Conyers Says He’s on Edge of Starting Impeachment

by David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org

Friday 2008-02-08 04:34

h/t: Tigana

The Stars Hollow Gazette

So tomorrow we’re set up for what are likely to be a string of defeats on the Protect America Act extension which we’re all supposed to ignore because we can’t keep our concentration focused on anything except cheap plastic distractions like the Super Bowl (congratulations Obama for your Giants endorsement) and Super Tuesday horse racing (go Sea Biscuit).

Glenn Greenwald

In the Senate, Democratic and Republican leaders have, according to Congressional Quarterly and others sources, reached an agreement as to how to proceed on the FISA vote this Monday. There are currently numerous amendments pending to the Cheney/Rockefeller Senate Intelligence Committee bill, almost all of them introduced by Democrats (with one co-sponsored by Arlen Specter) and most of them (if not all) unacceptable to the White House and the GOP.

The essence of the new agreement is that most of the amendments will be subject to a simple up-or-down vote — if they get 50 votes, then they pass — while several of the amendments will require 60 votes to pass (allowing, in essence, the Republicans to filibuster those amendments without actually having to go to the Senate floor and engage in a real filibuster).

Senate Democratic leadership sources are trying to claim that this is some sort of victory for Senate Democrats, and echoing that sentiment, even some of the most insightful and knowledgeable around — such as McJoan at Daily Kos — are hailing the agreement as evidence that “Dems didn’t cave” and that “they held tough.” Unless there is something I’m overlooking, I don’t understand that perspective at all.

Update III-

UPDATE III: Dan Froomkin, quoting The Providence Journal’s Scott MacKay, has excerpts from former GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee’s new book:

The book excoriates Mr. Bush and his GOP allies who repeatedly fanned such wedge issues as changing the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage, abortion and flag-burning. But he saves some of his harshest words for Democrats who paved the way for Mr. Bush to use the U.S. military to invade Iraq. . . .

“The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were,” writes Chafee. “They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom.

“Instead of talking tough or meekly raising one’s hand to support the tough talk, it is far more muscular, I think, to find out what is really happening in the world and have a debate about what we really need to accomplish,” writes Chafee. “That is the hard work of governing, but it was swept aside once the fear, the war rhetoric and the political conniving took over.”

Chafee writes of his surprise at “how quickly key Democrats crumbled.” Democratic senators, Chafee writes, “went down to the meetings at the White House and the Pentagon and came back to the chamber ready to salute. With wrinkled brows they gravely intoned that Saddam Hussein must be stopped. Stopped from what? They had no conviction or evidence of their own. They were just parroting the administration’s nonsense. They knew it could go terribly wrong; they also knew it could go terribly right. Which did they fear more?”

Chafee was describing the 2002 lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, but the description is just as apt today. And his description of what Democratic Senators did back then after meeting with White House and Pentagon officials sounds a lot like what many of them do today after meeting with White House and NSA officials.

Read it and weep.

Are you clear what’s happening here?

Tomorrow is another day of struggle and all cranky and hung over I expect you back at work.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Chad rebels say they seized eastern town

By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer

34 minutes ago

NAIROBI, Kenya – Chadian rebels said they had seized an eastern town in an area housing more than 400,000 refugees along the border with Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region, but the government said Sunday it had repelled the attack.

Rebel spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah said he had no other information because he had been fighting all day in N’Djamena, the capital of the former French colony in Central Africa, where rebels were battling for a second day to oust President Idriss Deby.

“We defeated the garrison there and took Adre at around 4 p.m.,” Koulamallah said.

But Chad’s Gen. Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour said government forces fought off the attack, and claimed that Sudanese troops were involved.

Weekend News Digest

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.

Groundhog predicts more winter weather

Associated Press

Sat Feb 2, 8:57 AM ET

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. – Brace yourself for more wintry weather. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Saturday, leading the groundhog to forecast six more weeks of winter.

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Chad rebels seize capital after heavy fighting: military source

by Francesco Fontemaggi, AFP

16 minutes ago

NDJAMENA (AFP) – Rebels seized Chad’s capital Ndjamena on Saturday after intense fighting with government forces, military and rebel sources said, as President Idriss Deby Itno remained holed up in the presidential palace.

“The whole of the city is in the hands of the rebels. It’s down to mopping-up operations,” according to the military source.

Chadian rebel spokesman Abakar Tollimi said the president could leave his palace, if he so wishes, but later added that there were plans to attack the presidential residence.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

It little profits that an idle king, by this still hearth, among these barren crags, match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole unequal laws unto a savage race…

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel.  I will drink life to the lees!  All times I have enjoy’d greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those that loved me and alone, on shore;  and when thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades vext the dim sea…

I am become a name for always roaming with a hungry heart!

Much have I seen and known- cities of men and manners, climates, councils, governments.  Myself not least, but honour’d of them all.  And drunk delight of battle with my peers far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met yet all experience is an arch wherethro’ gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades for ever and forever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end, to rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use.

As tho’ to breathe were life!  Life piled on life were all too little, and of one to me little remains; but every hour is saved from that eternal silence, something more…

A bringer of new things; and vile it were for some three suns to store and hoard myself and this gray spirit yearning in desire to follow knowledge like a sinking star beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus, to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle.  Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil this labour, by slow prudence to make mild a rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere of common duties, decent not to fail in offices of tenderness, and pay meet adoration to my household gods when I am gone.

He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port.  The vessel puffs her sail.  There gloom the dark, broad seas.  My mariners, souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me- that ever with a frolic welcome took the thunder and the sunshine, and opposed free hearts, free foreheads…

You and I are old.

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil.  Death closes all, but something ere the end, some work of noble note may yet be done; not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks.  The long day wanes, the slow moon climbs, the deep moans round with many voices.

Come, my friends,  ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.  Push off, and sitting well in order smite the sounding furrows, for my purpose holds- to sail beyond the sunset, and the baths of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down.  It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, and see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides and tho’ we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are- One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will.

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses, Alfred- Lord Tennyson

The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US troops reductions in Iraq may slow

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

1 hour, 22 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is sending strong signals that U.S. troop reductions in Iraq will slow or stop altogether this summer, a move that would jeopardize hopes of relieving strain on the Army and Marine Corps and revive debate over an open-ended U.S. commitment in Iraq.

The indications of a likely slowdown reflect concern by U.S. commanders that the improvement in security in Iraq since June – to a degree few had predicted when President Bush ordered five more Army brigades to Iraq a year ago – is tenuous and could be reversed if the extra troops come out too soon.

One of those extra brigades left in December and the other four are due to come out by July, leaving 15 brigades, or roughly 130,000 to 135,000 troops – the same number as before Bush sent the reinforcements.

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