Memorial Day Open Thread

Today we justly honor the many men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces.

This year, more than most, I'm struck by the fact that war is not a distant memory, or an occasional event, but an ever-present condition.

In war news, Iraqi forces stormed Fallujah early this morning, backed by U.S. aircraft, to retake the city from ISIS. In Baghdad yesterday, ISIS suicide bombings claimed the lives of more than 20 people.

Meanwhile more than 700 migrants, including children, may have died in sea crossings this week.

Hopefully, some of you have something cheerful to write about, even if it's just how you spent your weekend. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    "Feel the Math." (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 10:50:42 AM EST
    Paul Krugman, NYTimes, May 30,2016, offers numerate therapy: Why Hillary will be the nominee and why she is ahead of Trump.

    The strange thing about this column (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:45:45 PM EST
    Is how excited people seem to be about it.   It's everywhere.  Like, OMG someone is actually talking RATIONALLY about this election.    

    And he's sure right about one thing.  Political reporting is often the worst of the worst but this year they have out done themselves.  They have literally become self parody.   Its sad and scary.


    There was a good Amy Davidson piece (none / 0) (#25)
    by Mr Natural on Mon May 30, 2016 at 07:33:55 PM EST
    last night, I think, on newyorker radio.  Quite a contrast with the usual frantic projectile-regurgitation of polling data.   She discussed choices made at a couple of past conventions, 1924 and 1982.

    I've been watching House of Cards (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:43:44 PM EST
    Im not saying I disapprove of actual news people doing the show.  i don't.  but its just a little weird.  and i think it adds to the growing feeling that politics is show business.  a little around the edges.

    i totally get the idea of peeking behind the curtain.   i just think there's more than one curtain and the idea of peeking behind "it" is itself sort of dishonest.

    i love House of Cards.


    By a good friend and former (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:30:13 AM EST
    I have always been moved... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by desertswine on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:43:59 AM EST
    While it's true (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 12:52:57 PM EST
    War is not a distant memory but a continuing condition, I think  it sometimes tends to seem  distant to most of the country because so small a percentage of the country has loved ones fighting them.

    While being the (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by BTAL on Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:58:26 PM EST
    hard-hearted, cold-blooded, every man for himself, selfish conservative bastard Republican voter that those on the left stereotype my type.

    I shed actual tears on this day when remembering my fellow service mates and especially those whose sacrifices were 1000% more than the years I spend in the military.

    A firm but kind rebuff is given to friends and family who make a point of thanking me for my service with the reminder of those who we memorialize with this day.

    God bless them all.

    P.S. An thank each of you here, regardless of political bent for your thoughts and remembrances today.

    I was (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 04:07:59 PM EST
    told by someone who works with PSTD veterans to not say "thank you for your service" but to say I appreciate your sacrifices.

    Something cheerful: Cubs currently (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by caseyOR on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:01:46 PM EST
    have the best record in all of major league baseball. And at this very moment, in the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs lead the Dodgers 2-0.

    I know, i know, it is only May, still a lot of baseball left to play. And it is the Cubs. Still, this team seems pretty tight. So far, not given to bumbling mistakes.

    So, right now, I am a very happy Cubs fan. Very happy.

    GO, CUBS!!!!!

    Though rarely acknowledged (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by CoralGables on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:36:47 PM EST
    a win in May = a win in September.

    Take them anytime you can get them.


    Very good point!!!! (none / 0) (#32)
    by ruffian on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:41:04 PM EST
    I looked at the standings over the weekend in awe (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:34:50 PM EST
    too. .702. Unbelievable. Yes, it is is only May -almost June! - but we are allowed to savor the success.

    What could go wrong? :-)


    Just so you know--the Dodger (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Mon May 30, 2016 at 10:57:23 PM EST
    aren't doing very well this season (yet).  

    The Dodgers also weren't doing too well ... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:31:03 PM EST
    ... a few years ago, until they went on that mid-season tear and won 43 out of 50. There's still another four months to go. But that said, the law of averages suggests that 108 years after their last World Series title, this may finally be the Cubbies' year.

    Of course, I thought that same thing about the Cubs back in 2008, when they finished the season with the best record in the National League, and drew for their first-round NLDS matchup what appeared to be a mediocre Dodgers team that finished only six games above .500.

    But much to my surprise -- as well as everyone else's, no doubt -- the Cubs' bats went limp and my Dodgers put them away in three games. A lot of hearts were broken in Chicago that season, perhaps more so than any other year.



    Hello Uncle Benjen (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 07:28:20 AM EST
    Probably best not to think to much about what Drogo has been eating to get so big.

    I'm beginning to miss Joffrey.

    And (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:49:49 PM EST
    I can't wait to see Arya use Needle on  that b!tch that's been smacking her in the head with a club for 2 seasons.

    Hello, I'm Arya.  SAY HELLO TO MY LEETLE FRIN!


    I am glad about it too but curious (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:31:00 PM EST
    about what it was about the conversation with the actress that turned her around? Was it that the actress really looked at her and saw something in her face?  First time anyone has done that since she left Winterfell.

    Yes, let Needle loose on stick girl.


    `i think she has been (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:52:06 PM EST
    having doubts about the whole deal for a while.   she got all kinds of hell for killing someone who clearly deserved to die because, why?  no one paid to have him killed?  then she is supposed to kill this woman because a jealous coworker wanted her dead and paid for it?  what bullsh!t.  the faceless god is full of it.  but what if this is all still just testing?  the faceless god has a pretty big reach and a pretty deep history to be a BS murder for hire racket.  maybe it was to see if she would really do it?

    also, you will like this.

    Brandon Stark Theories after The Door

    was he Brandon the Builder 5000 years ago?  did he drive the Mad King mad?  is he The Lord of Light?


    Glad Uncle Benjen is back... (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:40:08 PM EST
    He is in a lot better shape then Uncle Edmuir Tully!

    Is this season the gathering of the uncles? we also have uncle whatshisface on the loose going after Theon and Vara... and uncle-dad Jaime spoiling for a fight.

    Nice dragon scene!


    if previously TV still wrote about (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:59:54 PM EST
    shows anyone cared about they would have one of those things they used to do like "Who's Father is a Bigger A$$hole --  Randay Tarley or Jared Talbot"

    Enjoyed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:06:57 AM EST
    the discussion on the other thread about Welcome to the Dollhouse but apparently more people know about the X rated movie with a similar name. LOL.

    Worth rememtioning (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:11:47 AM EST
    That the new movie "Weiner Dog" is sort of a sequel.  Tho the grown up WTTD character is only one of several (and not the original actor) encounter by the adventurous Weiner dog.

    I do love the idea of Danny DeVito in a Todd Solondz movie.  He was born to do it.


    We are doing (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:32:03 AM EST
    a "block" party sort of. My neighbors across the street are from NJ and NY. One of my best friends grew up in NJ and talked about block parties. However I am not too hopeful that this kind of thing is going to work here because my neighbors are strange and unfriendly except strangely the ones who supposedly come from the unfriendly states of NJ and NY. This is the worst neighborhood I have ever lived in and unfortunately it's the one I've lived in the longest.

    I have lived many places (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 08:45:44 AM EST
    Personally I found NY and NJ to be very friendly places.   But I understand why a southerner used to the smarmy bullsh!t "I'm so nice while I shiv you in the kidney" southern attitude  might find the brutaly direct NewYorker, who if they dislike you are happy to say so to your face, off putting.

    That's pretty (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:30:19 AM EST
    much been my observation. It's okay to slice someone up as long as you do it behind their back in the south. Tiresome!

    Why bless your heart! (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:13:39 AM EST

    It's been my experience that ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 30, 2016 at 05:23:03 PM EST
    ... regardless of whatever region or locale from which they might hail, people are perfectly capable of saying and doing all sorts of things behind someone else's back. I think that's just human nature.

    We see it play out on a daily basis in personal behavior in online forums. Posters apparently have no problem being horrid, vile and cruel to others when they're commenting anonymously under a pseudonym, offering up the sort of wretched stuff that they'd otherwise never say if they actually had to sign off under their own name.

    And I think we're all guilty of that to a great extent, particularly when we gossip. I don't see southerners as any more prone to that than anybody else. Maybe that sort of behavior becomes more noticeable in southerners because at least from my perspective, they otherwise tend to be better-mannered in social interactions than, say, my fellow Southern Californians. To me anyway, southerners are more likely to say "please," "thank you" and "bless you" than others.

    While that may be superficial, good manners are something I notice. It might also be the case that when I interact with southerners out here or on the west coast, they're conscious of the fact that they're visitors who are on my turf, and so they seek to put me at ease. Maybe my perspective might be different were I to actually live in the South among them.



    They are so tolerant, too! (none / 0) (#40)
    by ExPatObserver on Tue May 31, 2016 at 12:41:23 AM EST
    I was in the South for a couple of years. I was singing in a choir at the Episcopal church.
    One day at coffee before the service, the organist, who was quite good and a professor at the local university, pulled close to me and said conspiratorially, "Expatobserver, do you see that guy?"
    "He LOOKS normal"
    I glanced across the parking lot and verified for myself that he looked normal.
    "But he wears an earring!"
    "By the way, why do you I call you Expatobserver? Don't you have a regular name?"

    It was on that day I vowed to start preparing comebacks and retorts BEFORE I need them.
    Of course I should have said "I dunno, TolerantChurchOrganist, I think any piercing above the navel is respectable".

    This was in 2008, by the way.


    Eric Holder: Snowden performed Public Service (none / 0) (#11)
    by Mr Natural on Mon May 30, 2016 at 12:10:00 PM EST
    In an interview with David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, Holder said, "We had the capacity to do a whole range of things under these listening programs, but after a while, I remember sending memos to the president and asking, `Do we really need to do this, given the way in which we are focusing on people's lives and given the return that we were getting?' Which was not, I think in any ways substantial."

    Eric Holder's statement that (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 01:54:07 PM EST
    Edward Snowden performed a public service coupled with the earlier statement by President Obama "that he welcomed the debate," deserves a new look at whether Snowden committed a crime or was a patriot who performed a useful act that informed the public of wrongdoing and sparked certain needed reforms.

    For Snowden to return to face the music involves  two charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 where he would not be able to bring up at trial an effective defense that shows he would not be guilty of violating that Act, i.e., to make a public interest defense.

    A public interest defense allows a defendant who disclosed classified or protected information to avoid criminality by establishing that the public interest in disclosure of the information outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure. This gives a defense to whistleblowers of government misconduct.  

    Snowden  would have the opportunity to prove that the information revealed was valuable for informing public debate.  The prosecution would have the burden of showing that the disclosures caused significant harm.  The judge or jury would decide if the benefit outweighs the harm.

    If they decided, yes, the benefit does outweigh the harm, Snowden would have an effective defense and would be found not guilty.  Even if they decided it does not, the punishment would have to be proportionate to the harm caused, weighed against the public interest in disclosure.  

    The Espionage Act means that Snowden faces a long prison sentence, 30 years or more. And, the Act does not provide for a public interest defense. Nor does it require the prosecution to prove that the accused intended to, or actually did, cause harm to national security.

    To provide a fair trial, the government should, at least, alter the charges to theft of government documents, so as to enable  a public interest defense.  

    Of course, as I have opined earlier, Snowden's actions should be treated as that of a whistleblower. But, with high ranking officials, such as John Kerry, calling him a traitor, that does not seem feasible. And, unfortunately, not any time soon.  A trial that permits a defense beyond that provided by an antique law plucked from obscurity by the Obama Administration would be the fair thing to do.


    Are you suggesting that federal criminal law (none / 0) (#14)
    by Peter G on Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:49:46 PM EST
    recognizes any such doctrine as a "public interest defense"? Because I have served as defense counsel for people charged with crimes that they considered "civil disobedience" or as justified (which is how your suggested "public interest" defense would be classified in criminal law doctrine) in many causes over the last 35+ years, and as far as I know the courts do not recognize any such defense. The government might (and should) decline to prosecute in such a case, but if they do prosecute, the defense would have to be grounded in some recognized legal doctrine or principle, not in wishful thinking.

    I believe the (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 04:25:43 PM EST
    Constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act of 1917 to leaks is overbroad and is a poor vehicle for prosecuting leaks and whistleblowers. I do not think that issue has every reached the S.S.

     As Holder says, Snowden provided a public service, but he must pay the penalty--he is guilty and all that is left is to dole out the punishment.  Snowden, if he is to face crowds and pitchforks, should be offered a defense.  Yes, the public interest defense is more of European and Canadian law, but a charge that permits Snowden a fair trial by his peers would seem to e a reasonable interpretation of American criminal justice.

    The Espionage Act of 1917 was in effect for over 35 years before "classified" entered the government's lexicon. How else do we fairly prosecute  a non-spy?  Fairly and justly?  If it were in charge (and many are sure glad I am not), I would pardon him in advance (cf. Nixon) and give him the Presidential Medal Of Honor. The Espionage Act of 1917 is misapplied and dangerously used to quell free speech.


    The full quote (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 03:52:55 PM EST
    Reads a bit differently

    Chicago (CNN)Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a "public service" by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents.

    Captain, I know we (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 30, 2016 at 05:07:48 PM EST
    have a difference on Snowden, but my concern is the use of the Espionage Act of 1917 and the limits of that Act for a defense.  Holder did seem to acknowledge that Snowden was not a spy, since, generally, the government does not view spying against our country as a "public service."  So how do we prosecute Snowden? Who leaked information, that included a denial under oath by Diredctor Clapper (who is still in his job) His actions seem more of whistleblowing, than civil disobedience.

    True, they are probably related, as, maybe, third cousins. But they are different. And, the defenses are, in my view, different as well. Inherent to civil disobedience is to accept the penalty as a part of the act and purpose.   Obstructing traffic for a cause does not necessarily mean a misdeed of the government for placing a stop sign in a particular location.

      Leaking information of government misdeeds for purposes of informing citizens is the act of a whistleblower.  Whistleblowers need protection. And, a defense different from that of civil disobedience.


    I have no legal opinions about Snowden (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon May 30, 2016 at 06:22:19 PM EST
    Or what he did.  It's not my area.  I defer to you and others for that.  Mine is a gut reaction.  I agree with Holder.   He, in some sense, performed a public service.  
    That said I don't believe that's why he did what he did.  And he along the way broke some very serious laws I happen to mostly agree with.  
    I think Smowden is a fraud and a poseur.  And if he was in fact, as you say, just an honorable whistle blower, like Daniel Ellsberg, would have the courage of his convictions and face the music for what he did.  Not hide behind Putins filthy evil skirts.

    Just my gut opinion.


    I do agree that Snowden performed (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Peter G on Mon May 30, 2016 at 09:12:56 PM EST
    a public service. As a result, I believe he should not be prosecuted. If prosecuted, I hope he prevails and is not punished. I was just pointing out that whether his actions were in the public interest is not a recognized legal defense, either presented to a judge or to the jury.

    Excerpt from the Cincinnati Enquirer: (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Mon May 30, 2016 at 10:59:42 PM EST
    A memorial vigil for Harambe was advertised on Facebook and drew about 50 people to the zoo Monday - the national holiday Memorial Day set aside to honor the country's war dead.

    The vigil was held outside the gates of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden at Vine Street and Erkenbrecher Avenue.

    Anthony Seta, 46, of Colerain Township is the self-described animal activist and vigil organizer.

    "People are organizing and blaming the zoo. People are organizing and blaming the mother," Seta said. "Harambe's being forgotten. We have lost a fellow Cincinnatian. He was a 400-pound person."

    Final: Golden State 96, Oklahoma City 88. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:02:20 PM EST
    In 1979, with his Washington Bullets trailing the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, 3 games to 1, Coach Dick Motta memorably quipped to the media, "The opera ain't over 'til the fat lady sings." The Bullets rallied to win three straight games and the series.

    38 years later in Oakland, the fat lady choked on a doughnut in one of the more spectacular fold-ups in recent NBA annals. As a result, the Thunder are now history, while the Warriors are still the defending champions until someone proves otherwise.


    The fallout from Baylor University's ... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 30, 2016 at 11:54:55 PM EST
    ... football scandal continues to exact its toll as athletic director Ian McCaw, who was placed on probation by the university but still retained to implement the recommendations of a school-requested outside inquiry, instead chose to resign his post today, effective immediately.

    Meanwhile, former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has been named the Bears' interim head coach in the wake of Art Briles' dismissal, and four players from Briles' much-lauded 2016 recruiting class have chosen to decommit from the Bears program as a direct result of his firing. Baylor President Kenneth Starr was also removed from his position last week by the Board of Regents, which kept him on as school chancellor.