Tag: Open Thread

Docudharma Times Monday Dec.17

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Headlines For Monday December 17: A town against the wall: Obama confronts rumor he is a Muslim: Storm buries Northeast, causes 3 deaths: Africa war wounds begin to heal amid progress: Inside the Hajj, with 1m believers


Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said this month that he would take landowners to court to seize property if needed, and also pledged that he would not pay more than market price for land.

A town against the wall

Granjeno on the Rio Grande has outlasted the rule of Spain, Mexico and the Republic of Texas. Now the border fence aims for its heart.

By Miguel Bustillo, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 17, 2007

GRANJENO, TEXAS — Gloria Garza doesn’t have a whole lot. But what she has, she clings to with pride.

She lives in a simple stucco house with a rustic wooden veranda and a well fashioned from odd stones her husband found around the state. Kittens stretch lazily in the sun beside her porch. Armadillos dart across her backyard.

Her two-acre lot is her heirloom, her link to a legacy that dates to 1767, when Spain’s King Carlos III gave her pioneer ancestors a porcion of property that started at the Rio Grande and stretched inland for miles.

So she is not going to be quiet while some bureaucrat in Washington tries to take it — to build a border fence. She doesn’t want to become an unintended victim in a war against illegal immigration that she sees as misguided and wrong.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well, I’m kind of upset tonight because I’ve encountered some people with an attitude that is inexplicable to me.  Privately I call them Tories because the exhibit all of the classical features of Toryism.

Perpetually gloomy about the prospect of liberty they sulk inflicting their pessimism on morale.  They derive bitter satisfaction from their self-fulfilling prophecies of doom.  Openly aristocratic and monarchist they are content that their new insect overlords beat them and cheat them, panting for scraps like a common cur except a dog has too noble a soul to accept such offal.

But the worst offenders are those who think like this but still expect our votes, money, and effort as if they had some God anointed right to join the gated Village and get away from the foul smelling rabble.

What country are you from?

You have no right to my labor, property, or allegiance.  You are not the boss of me.  I am in fact YOUR boss, I gave you that job and I sign your damn check and I expect respect from my employees otherwise I fire their sorry ass and hire somebody else.

I can’t understand how the admission of several Congress people that their vote on the August FISA was influenced by fear for their personal safety because of White House lies about a potential attack on the Capital is anything but craven cowardice.  It is exactly the same thing as desertion in the face of the enemy.  Brave men have died for our freedom.  Do you have some special lucky charm that makes your miserable existence worth more than any of the 3892 that died for a lie in Iraq?  Would you sell your child for $10 million?

That’s the going rate you know.  I know what you are- now we’re just negotiating about the price.  Unless you just give it away.

Oh wait, that’s what you do.

You should be afraid of me because I know what you are…

A weakling.

Weekend News Digest

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Turkish planes bomb PKK targets in Iraq

By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 11 minutes ago

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey said dozens of its warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel targets as deep as 60 miles inside northern Iraq for three hours Sunday in the largest aerial attack in years against the outlawed separatist group. An Iraqi official said the planes attacked several villages, killing one woman.

In the nighttime offensive, the fighter jets hit rebel positions close to the border with Turkey and in the Qandil mountains, which straddle the Iraq-Iran border, the Turkish military said in a statement posted on its Web site. It said the operation was directed against the rebels and not against the local population.

As many as 50 fighter jets were involved in the airstrikes, private NTV television and other media reported. Turkey has recently attacked the area with ground-based artillery and helicopters and there have been some unconfirmed reports of airstrikes by warplanes.

Docudharma Times Sunday Dec.16

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Headlines For Sunday December 16: Control sought on military lawyers: Wider Spying Fuels Aid Plan for Telecom Industry: Obama is hitting his stride in Iowa : Balkanized Homecoming


Control sought on military lawyers

Bush wants power over promotions

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House’s policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

The administration has proposed a regulation requiring “coordination” with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate General corps – the military’s 4,000-member uniformed legal force – can be promoted.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the reasoning behind the proposed regulations. But the requirement of coordination – which many former JAGs say would give the administration veto power over any JAG promotion or appointment – is consistent with past administration efforts to impose greater control over the military lawyers.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Judge urged not to ask about CIA tapes

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration told a federal judge it was not obligated to preserve videotapes of CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists and urged the court not to look into the tapes’ destruction.

In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.

It was the first time the government had addressed the issue of the videotapes in court.

Docudharma Times Saturday Dec.15

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Headlines For Saturday December 15: Justice Dept. Seeks Delay on C.I.A. Inquiry: Nations Agree on Steps to Revive Climate Treaty: Bush’s Budget Wins May Cost Him : Ethiopians Said to Push Civilians Into Rebel War: Sealed Off by Israel, Gaza Reduced to Beggary


Justice Dept. Seeks Delay on C.I.A. Inquiry

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department asked the House Intelligence Committee on Friday to postpone its investigation into the destruction of videotapes by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2005, saying the Congressional inquiry presented “significant risks” to its own preliminary investigation into the matter.

The department is taking an even harder line with other Congressional committees looking into the matter, and is refusing to provide information about any role it might have played in the destruction of the videotapes. The recordings covered hundreds of hours of interrogations of two operatives of Al Qaeda.

The Justice Department and the C.I.A.’s inspector general have begun a preliminary inquiry into the destruction of the tapes, and Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said the department would not comply with Congressional requests for information now because of “our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence.”

Nations Agree on Steps to Revive Climate Treaty

NUSA DUA, Indonesia – The world’s countries wrapped up two weeks of intense and at times emotional talks here on Saturday with a two-year timetable for reviving an ailing, aging climate treaty.

After negotiations went through the night on a compromise between the United States and Europe, an agreement appeared close at hand. But some developing countries remained dissatisfied with some aspects of the deal, including the help they would receive from rich countries.

American delegates then said they could not accept the compromise, leading to a series of verbal attacks on the country. But in a dramatic turnabout less than an hour later, the Americans reversed themselves, accepting the changes sought by the developing countries.

Docudharma Times Friday Dec. 14

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Headlines For Friday December 14: House Passes Bill to Ban CIA’s Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics: Arizona Is Split Over Hard Line on Immigrants: Writers file labor charges against studios:


House Passes Bill to Ban CIA’s Use of Harsh Interrogation Tactics

Friday, December 14, 2007; Page A07

The House approved legislation yesterday that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, drawing an immediate veto threat from the White House and setting up another political showdown over what constitutes torture.

The measure, approved by a largely party-line vote of 222 to 199, would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow Army rules adopted last year that explicitly forbid waterboarding. It also would require interrogators to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. The rules, required by Congress for all Defense Department personnel, also ban sexual humiliation, “mock” executions and the use of attack dogs, and prohibit the withholding of food and medical care.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well we got our first real snow out of that last batch.  Even if I hadn’t seen it I could have told you from the roar of the snow blowers and the scrape of the plow.

While I was growing up we had a very difficult driveway to shovel.  It was made of gravel stuck together with asphalt and the gravel made it impossible slide your shovel along so it was always a pain in the ass.

Still I considered it a good snowfall if the twin piles at the end of the driveway were high enough to make good forts out of.

We’d do the whole snowman thing too, but it wasn’t like we ever had the kind of winters that you could put it up in November and say goodbye in March.

Usually you don’t get really permanent cover until mid January and by the end of February it was warming up again, at least to the extent you’d get a couple of good rains that would turn everything kind of crusty and grey as all those asphalt covered pieces of gravel that you’d scraped out of the driveway and thrown in the snow piles peeked out again.

Used to love the first mow in the spring too.  Don’t stand in front of the grass exhaust unless you want to get stung with chunks of gravel.

Docudharma Times Thursday Dec.13

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Headlines For Thursday December 13: From a Critic of Tribunals to Top Judge: Study Faults Charities for Veterans: State accuses Blue Shield of illegal cancellations: Kasparov won’t run for Russian president:


From a Critic of Tribunals to Top Judge


Published: December 13, 2007

Back in 2002, a master’s degree candidate at the Naval War College wrote a paper on the Bush administration’s plan to use military commissions to try Guantánamo suspects, concluding that “even a good military tribunal is a bad idea.”

It drew little notice at the time, but the paper has gained a second life because of its author’s big promotion: Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann of the Marines is now the chief judge of the military commissions at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The system, Judge Kohlmann wrote in 2002, would face criticism for the “apparent lack of independence” of military judges and would have “credibility problems,” the very argument made by Guantánamo’s critics.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

One tradition of the south I really like is Waffle House.  If you’re not acquainted with them they’re basically grill joints that only serve breakfast food 24/7.  Waffle House is always open.

They’re also pretty cheap.  For a couple of bucks you can stuff yourself full of greasy goodness.

When I travel it’s not that I don’t eat fast food, it’s that I want to eat something different from the ubiquitous McKing crap.

So Bojangles and Sonic, if you know where to look even here in the Northeast you can track down an A & W stand.

When I travel to places I go to a lot, I’ve got an agenda that revolves around cheap gas stations and food.  I like Sbarro’s pizza OK and fortunately it’s the kind of thing that’s easily found and quick to purchase.  I hate to spend longer than 10 minutes from Highway to Highway because that really shows up in your elapsed time more than the speed you drive because you’re basically standing still.

Driving is relaxing too.  I’m an AM guy and a summer’s drive with the Mets on the radio can be quite enjoyable.  Not much into music for some reason, perhaps because I’ve DJed a lot and I don’t much like today’s plastic celebrity artists.

I’d rather take what the road gives me though than hook up an cassette, cd, or ipod.  If I’ve heard it before I’ve heard it.  My Aunt on the other hand swears by books on tape and I’ve ridden with her and not been bored- it was new to me.  One thing I do wish I could listen to again is my copy of Alice In Wonderland as read by Cyril Ritchard.  Unfortunately it’s on vinyl.

The Morning News

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Questions linger after Hayden testimony

By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – CIA Director Michael Hayden, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Tuesday, failed to answer central questions about the destruction of secret videotapes showing harsh interrogation of terror suspects, the panel’s chairman said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the committee’s 90-minute session with Hayden “a useful and not yet complete hearing” and vowed the committee would get to the bottom of the matter. Among lingering questions: Who authorized destruction of the tapes, and why Congress wasn’t told about it?

Hayden told reporters afterward that he had “a chance to lay out the narrative, the history of why the tapes were destroyed” and the process that led to that decision. But since the tapes were made under one of his predecessors, George Tenet, and destroyed under another, Porter Goss, he wasn’t able to completely answer all questions, he said.

Four at Four

Some news and the afternoon’s open thread.

  1. Well, it’s a start – according to The Guardian, Forest protection expected to form key part of Bali climate deal. “Officials said steps to protect forests were included in a new draft of the so-called Bali roadmap, and that they expected them to appear in the final text produced at the end of the talks on Friday. The move would make financial rewards for not cutting down trees a key part of a new climate deal.” But, of course, the Bush administration is obstructing progress on emissions target. From the NY Times: “the United States and the European Union remained deadlocked today on whether countries should commit now to including specific cuts in climate-warming emissions in a new climate pact.” EU wants each industrialized country to cut emissions 25-40% by 2020, which is opposed by the Bush administration and its polluting partners in Canada, Japan, India, and China.

    “Logic requires that we listen to the science,” Stavros Dimas, the European Union’s environment commissioner, said today. “I would expect others to follow that logic.”

  2. According to the AP, the U.S. Military undergoes command changes in Iraq. “With the exception of Petraeus, senior commanders generally arrive and depart with their units, which means most of those now leaving or preparing to leave have been there for up to 15 months. Topping the list of departures is Petraeus’ second-in-command, Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, who is due to leave in February when the 3rd Corps finishes its command tour and returns to Fort Hood, Texas. He will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of 18th Airborne Corps, from Fort Bragg, N.C.”

  3. We’re still in Iraq and the Democrats in Congress might have noticed this time that we’re pissed about it. The LA Times reports Democrats face outrage from liberals over funding for the war and a veto of the $500-billion package. “Senior Democrats are facing a restive liberal base incensed by talk that a budget deal would provide more money for the war in Iraq without attaching any conditions aimed at forcing troop withdrawals. Additional war funding would represent a major concession to the president”.

  4. The Los Angeles Times reports Study finds humans still evolving, and quickly. “The pace of human evolution has been increasing at a stunning rate since our ancestors began spreading through Europe, Asia and Africa 40,000 years ago, quickening to 100 times historical levels after agriculture became widespread, according to a study published today. By examining more than 3 million variants of DNA in 269 people, researchers identified about 1,800 genes that have been widely adopted in relatively recent times because they offer some evolutionary benefit.”

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