Sunday Night Open Thread

Time for an open thread. What's going on in your world?

All topics welcome

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    Clinton is coming (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by kidneystones on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 09:16:00 PM EST
    Just came back from a beautiful bike ride with my wife. We're going to do our part to end the recession by buying a new home.

    The public sector solutions we see from the US give us no cause for optimism. The Japanese economy shrunk by 12% last quarter.

    HRC's arrival will remind us of what was and what could have been.

    Let's hope we see real change.

    I'm in Yamanashi (none / 0) (#19)
    by weltec2 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 02:56:14 AM EST
    on the side of Yatsugatake. I'll be here until March 6ish when I'll return to Tokyo. Do you have an itinerary? Is there one posted somewhere? I'm on sabbatical from Sophia University, so I could change my schedule with no problem.

    Roland Burris (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 09:38:41 PM EST
    Let's be honest here, he fits right in. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by tigercourse on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 09:42:35 PM EST
    More seriously, Murtha and a bunch of his cronies are still being investigated, in perpetuity. I'm surprised that doesn't get more attention.

    Murtha delivers (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 09:49:30 PM EST
    Burris is a malignant buffoon.

    Do you remember in (none / 0) (#10)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 10:28:04 PM EST
    the film "Charlie Wilson's War", the main character makes a passing reference to a bogus quest to investigate Murtha. That would have been at least 20-25 years ago. Do you know if it was a factual tidbit?

    Never seen the movie (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 10:47:27 PM EST
    They might have known eachother from the defense appropriations subcommittee, though.

    Murtha was involved in Abscam but refused the bribe.


    The movie (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 11:27:06 PM EST
    is worth seeing. Entertaining IMO. I found myself variously chuckling, muttering 'don't do that,' thinking, didn't any of you bother to read any history and my god this is all too casual.

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman is great as CIA operative Gust Avrakotos who came off as the only person who had even a remote clue that we might have regrets.

    Regretably the movie didn't mention the involvement of the Reagan administration, giving the impression that a single Congressman and a few CIA Ops implemented their own foreign policy.

    Beyond the scope of the story I suppose but regretable nonetheless.

    Still in all worth seeing.


    As usual, history is written to ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by cymro on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 03:59:51 AM EST
    ... promote the myth that an individual "maverick" was entirely responsible for instigating a controversial event or activity. This creates the climate for a debate about whether that person should be considered "a hero" or "a villain", and in the process deflects any discussion of official government responsibility.

    If you can't think of at least half a dozen obvious examples, you have not been following US politics over the last 40 years.


    This was a movie (none / 0) (#36)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 09:38:51 AM EST
    not history.

    Unfortunately it will be considered history by many, probably most, who saw the picture.


    Yeah, what Cal said... (none / 0) (#39)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 10:46:12 AM EST
    After turning the TV off (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 09:11:57 PM EST
    and unhooking it back about 2 months ago, I got around to hooking it back up and turning it on, yesterday.

    Oh, I'd seen TV in the interim and, when I wanted to watch something (like playoff football), I could always find someplace.  But my set was off.

    Turns out, I hadn't missed much.  

    The news is stupid, the shows worse, and the commercials inane.

    Of course, there was a Law & Order-a-thon last night, so justice* was served sliced, diced and deep-fried.

    I love my internets.
    * Spelled "cops are always right", BTW.

    I am listening to a CD of (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 09:26:40 PM EST
    six short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.  In one of the stories, the protagonist, who is in his mid-twenties, has a terrible hangover.  He remembers a possible cure:  turn on the morning talk shows and the rest of the stuff in your stomach will be cleared out.

    I love Murakami's (none / 0) (#8)
    by Spamlet on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 10:17:27 PM EST
    "The Seventh Man."

    Thanks. This is my intro to (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 09:35:44 AM EST
    this author, about whom Paul Theroux raved in "Ghost Train."  

    Honestly, the news most days is so (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 10:15:04 PM EST
    grim that I more or less avoid it, except for weather and sports - and now that football season is over, I don't pay much attention to that, either (will pick up again when free-agency starts March 1st).

    Escapist TV is the only thing that makes sense, and I make no apologies for indulging in Top Chef and The Closer, American Idol, Ugly Betty, Fringe (really a very strange, but mesmerizing, show), Bones, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters.  I've gotten bored with House, as it just seems like the same plot every week.

    It's not high-minded or at all intellectual - it's just an escape from the inanity of what the members of Congress are saying most of the time, and from the ridiculous interpretation of it all that we get from the talking heads.  I can barely stand more than a couple of minutes or so of listening to hypocritical Republicans - really, they reached new heights on this stimulus legislation - it's all making me just want to bury my head in the sand.

    And escaping into a good mystery is great for the blood pressure!


    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 10:19:39 PM EST
    The news, via the MSM, is soul-destroying! (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 10:30:37 PM EST
    And crazy-making, to boot. It's bad enough to get it second hand through Media Matters et al.

    I've even (none / 0) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 07:01:34 AM EST
    quit the weather because it gets interrupted with news of more layoffs or businesses going under. I just to the weather channel on the internet to find out what I need to know.

    I've started doing that, too - (none / 0) (#26)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 08:11:30 AM EST
    the weather is so packaged on the local news - they tease you with a little bit at the beginning, throw in more about halfway through, and don't give you the extended forecast until the end.  All designed to keep people watching the entire broadcast, no doubt; sometimes I just have to rebel against being so manipulated, lol.

    Besides, the forecast is so often not right that I've been going with an "it is what it is" approach.

    Or the George Carlin, Hippy-Dippy Weatherman approach:  Tonight: dark, getting lighter toward morning.


    Hah! (none / 0) (#27)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 08:23:48 AM EST
    I had been watching the early morning news to get a sense of the roads before heading to work. They now over-sensationalize even that! After two days in a row being late because those fools reported dangerous black ice all over when it was really confined to small areas I wouldn't be traveling through, I stopped even listening to that and now check the DOT cameras instead.

    News should not be subjected to "ratings" wars. Advertising during news should be a flat rate and the same for every network. News anchors should not be promoted as local or national celebrities. Reporters who distort the news should be thanked for their efforts while they are reading their pink slips.

    I agree with you, Anne. Even if I'm still up at 11:00, I refuse to watch news because of the way they have played the manipulation game to get people to feel it is more important to hear the rest of what sounds really significant than to get a decent night's sleep. It's always something they left out of the 5:00 show, the last story of the broadcast, and nothing. I've concluded that if something truly is NEWS, they had better be talking about it at a time when everyone hears it.


    Carlin could have written the weather (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 09:37:27 AM EST
    blurb for "The Irish TImes."  Overcast, probably some rain, 2 seconds of sun.

    College football (none / 0) (#13)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 11:00:08 PM EST
    the relief valve of relief valves is over until spring practice, so for now the College basketball season is doing quite nicely.

    Old sitcoms currently in syndication are a daily relief.

    Now and then PBS' American Experience, NOVA and Bill Moyers' Journal are helpful.

    I also check out TCM (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 15, 2009 at 11:07:32 PM EST
    for old classic flicks.  Great escapist stuff, the ones that have withstood the test of time -- like the best old sitcoms.  But they can be so short . . . I want more of the hour-long shows back in reruns, the odd and quirky ones like Northern Exposure and the great Due South.

    Recommendations (none / 0) (#17)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 01:09:38 AM EST
    Recently watched with my grown kids and their significant others, "Annie Hall".  It has held up so well!  It's still funny as heck.  We all laughed our butts off.  

    "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" is another oldie but goodie.


    Two of my faves, and I see (none / 0) (#40)
    by Cream City on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 11:30:40 AM EST
    that they're on the schedules in upcoming weeks. . . .  Plus, this thread made me look into whether Due South is on DVD, and it is.  That's the way to manage my ever-dwindling TV time these days.:-)

    Lamenting the uttering smackdown (none / 0) (#16)
    by mg7505 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 12:44:07 AM EST
    of the Eastern All-Stars by Kobe, Shaq et al (as well as some of the fine players who were snubbed from the All-Star rosters). Not that I have a special attachment to either side. But it's rough watching players like Lebron James and Ray Allen miss more than half their shots and commit turnovers up the wazoo, while Chris Paul gets denied the MVP.

    If I had to be executed (none / 0) (#18)
    by daryl herbert on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 02:25:46 AM EST
    I'd take the firing squad.

    There's something very macho about it.

    And no blindfold for me.

    Comforting (none / 0) (#21)
    by lentinel on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 04:34:06 AM EST
    "The Pakistani authorities have complained that U.S. air strikes undermine the support of Pakistani civilians for the campaign to attack militants in the remote border areas. The authorities made their complaints known to President Obama's special envoy to the region, Richard C. Holbrooke, who visited Pakistan last week before flying on to Afghanistan.

    But the strike on Monday, coupled with an attack Saturday in South Waziristan that killed more than 30 people, suggested that the new U.S. administration had not abandoned tactics embraced by its predecessor."

    And nobody cares.

    Everybody is busy searching their wallets.

    The left, once feverish in it's condemnation of Hillary Clinton, has now fully embraced Bush's approach to the war in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan - because it is now the approach practiced by his holiness, the Prince of O.

    Did you (none / 0) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 07:05:17 AM EST
    see 60 minutes last night? They interviewed the PM of Pakistan and he pretty much backed up what you have there. Making Pakistan fall to Islamic fundamentalism would be a huge horror.

    Went to Galveston for Mardi Gras celebrations (none / 0) (#22)
    by suzieg on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 05:25:35 AM EST
    and was shocked at the lack of progress - it might as well have been last week that the hurricane hit! The historic district which is so pretty has now been classified "endangered" - $150 million to save mice in  the San Francisco delta but nothing meaningful for humans whose lives have been devastated.

    Why wasn't money allocated from New Orleans to Galveston to finally help them get over these tragedies? It's a disgrace!  

    Could we stick with reality? (none / 0) (#29)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 08:43:02 AM EST
    Don't know what Galveston's share was, but a whopping $23 billion was appropriated for Hurricane Ike diaster aid.  I'd say that's a bit more than "nothing meaningful."

    It doesn't help anyone or anything to spread falsehoods.


    That just makes it sound worse... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 08:56:16 AM EST
    23 billion and so little to show?

    I guess some skimmers got rich since you can't see the 23 billion on the street in repairs.  An "allocation" alone is nothing meaningful, its numbers on a spreadsheet....rebuilt infrastructure is meaningful.  

    You've touched on one of our big problems I think...our leaders think the job is over when funds are allocated, and that is only the very first step.  The second step, which we fail to see to so often, is making sure the allocated funds aren't looted.  


    "So little to show" (none / 0) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 09:35:12 AM EST
    Really?  Have you done or read a comprehensive survey of the Hurricane Ike area and the progress of its recovery?  I haven't, so I'd appreciate a link.

    Could you also direct me to a good summary of what's been going on in Galveston, what they've been doing with their share of the money, what the plans are for refurbishing the historic district, how much money has gone to home owners to rebuild, etc?



    Taking suzieq at her word is all... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 10:26:05 AM EST
    she was there, reporting what she saw with her owneyes...that is worth its weight in FEMA press releases in my book.

    Stop spreading falsehoods? (none / 0) (#31)
    by CoralGables on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 09:22:10 AM EST
    Where would mice get any publicity if we were to stop doing that. Gotta love the mice story though. Make believe at its finest and the "I'll believe anything" crowd eats it up like cheese.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#34)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 09:36:28 AM EST
    It's depressing as hell to see folks on the semi-left buying GOP propaganda hook, line and sinker, and then adding their own scathing critiques based on zero information.

    Explain to me then, why Shriner's Hospital had (none / 0) (#38)
    by suzieg on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 10:44:03 AM EST
    to close down due to lack of funds for their needed repairs? or why UTMB (one of the rare hospitals in the state that accepts the uninsured which has an excellent reputation) is running on fumes and had to lay off most of their staff and considering closing it down all together? Why is there no electricity yet, after 5 months, in some parts of the historic/business and other districts?

    I don't know where the money was/is spent, but it's not in Galveston and surrounding areas! We drove down the back roads and were astounded at the amount of devastation along the way and most of all, at the lack of progress in helping these poor people - I never expected it to be as bad as what I saw, therefore, if you had, you might understand my outrage - debris and garbage piled as high as 20 feet, people still living in tents on their front lawns, and just pure misery - unless you see it for yourself, there is not a picture that can do it justice!

    It seems as if the money might have been allocated in words only, because, up to date, it's far from being used! FEMA IS USELESS!!!! they just prolong the suffering with their ineptitude....

    Why don't you ask the people of New Orleans, how their $25.5 billion is working out for them, 3 years later, and when/what/where has their money been spent on or are they still waiting for it?


    Open comment (none / 0) (#23)
    by joze46 on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 06:43:32 AM EST
    Money talks, especially when the Democrats can track the money trail. Face it, the Republicans during the Bush administration walked off with trillions of tax dollars over the years.

    Money unaccountable from the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, and now we know in the eleventh hour absurd banking done with intent to do business that looks like routine profit, but actually is swindling, deceit, fraud, all done with legions of professionals knowing the consequences, especially Allen Greenspan. The Democrats will work together in partisan ways to resolve issues that is to let the Republicans slide and get away with the profiteering. But they are not and Lindsey Graham is making that point, its going to be tit for tat.  

    From my view the Democrats will have a difficult time dealing with the complicit media which is still embedded in the Republican Party trying to steer an economy modified by a war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, Korea, and Iraq in joint support by the Soviets that think nothing but pay back. They are sore from American ambitions from the eighties supporting Osama Bin Laden fighting in Afghanistan. Please Reagan's rhetoric "tear down that wall" is nothing compared to way this war is ripping away at our economy. Americans will have what one can call "trickle down success" The Republicans will never let go that it was a failure to enter the war. Because the Soviets and Iran will in no way let America succeed to make a free Iraq in an American Image.

    Lindsey Graham knows this and also feels the shut down of a free wheeling profiteering market through Texas and Dubai. Here contracting companies like Halliburton has supplied goods for this war effort in the last six to eight years.

    Trillions in American tax dollars have disappeared over the last five years in Republican Control, plus off shore accounts and front companies registered in the Cayman Islands, a British territory done with unaccounted tax consequences. From what I understand two third of the business done for the war effort is funneled through Texas and Arab emirates in Dubai. Here, Patrick Fitzgerald Grandstands that Illinois is the most corrupt state in America, I think not. Perhaps Fitzgerald and Blagojevich, and Burris are meant to be a Chris Mathews side show.  

    It seems Obama can't do anything right, nor Hillary, nor Biden. Of course The Obama administration is on the Republican Media tale. And it's going to get hot. Sure Obama won, they lost and they, the Republicans are not bipartisan never was, never in their interest. Pirates, Mercenaries and free market shipping ports make more money the current Republican way.          

    Former Gitmo Guard Tells All (none / 0) (#28)
    by john horse on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 08:27:19 AM EST
    Interesting article by Scott Horton in Harpers Former Gitmo Guard Tells All (found via eschaton).

    Those who advocate that we sweep Guantanamo under the rug should heed the words of Spc Brandon Neely:

    Since we started this interview President Barack Obama has said the detention facility in Guantanmo Bay will be closed within a year. That's great, but what are WE as the United States of America, the people who kidnapped and tortured these people going to do for them? Just send them home like nothing happened? In the USA if you are sentenced to prison and later on you are found not to be guilty through DNA or what not you are given compensation. Are we going to give compensation to these individuals that were so wrongfully held for so many years? We should. We started this mess and it's time we attempt to help this people move on with their lives. The sad part of this all is the people who are responsible. Former President George Bush and Former Vice President Dick Cheney will never be held accountable for the decisions they made. It's the detainees and the guards like myself that will have to live every day with what they went through, saw, and did while there

    Michigan quarterback (none / 0) (#37)
    by oculus on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 10:43:05 AM EST
    to transfer:  AP