Wednesday Morning Open Thread

We have a lot of posts up already today. It's shaping up to be a big news day, but I'll be at work the rest of the day. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Did anyone see the Colbert Report (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:38:43 AM EST
    when he did two episodes celebrating the end of the combat mission in Iraq?  We stumbled onto it because I DVR his show.  It was very good, my husband laughed and laughed.  But he had tears in his eyes too at the start.  I looked over at him and said, "My God, you're crying?"  He sniffed and told me that nobody is doing anything to make any kind of big acknowledgement.

    But we can't.  This is going down right before a horrible midterm election.  If Obama stands up and encourages clapping and cheers and celebration everyone will only point out what Stephen Colbert pointed out on split screens between the troops remaining in Iraq and the troops in Afghanistan, how can you tell the difference between combat troops and noncombat troops?  Only a President can.

    It was a nice show though for my husband to get to watch.  And thanks to Stephen Colbert for doing it.  Joe Biden did do a good job handing out hotdogs and he can gaffe all show long and that is a good thing when you are on the Colbert Report :)

    I did see those shows. they were funny (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:12:22 AM EST
    and moving. The troops seem to appreciate his dryer wit.

    More than congress critters do, anyway.


    Sport Shooting (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:58:10 AM EST
    AssociatedPress | 28 September 2010  - Five U.S. soldiers are facing murder charges, describing a plot to randomly kill civilians for sport while on patrol in Afghanistan. If the case proceeds to a court martial and there are convictions, the soldiers may face the death penalty.

    video report

    Are Bush and Cheney up next for fair trials, Mr. Holder? Mr. Obama? What about their accessories after the fact?

    Or do we "move forward" only selectively?

    I'm pretty sure one of these soldiers (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:36:08 PM EST
    will have charges dropped.  Pretty sure one of them tried to get help for his Sarg and the group and he was ignored, I think he was beaten up too.  His father also contacted Ft Lewis and tried to tell them what was going on and he was ignored too.  There are a lot of people who are going to be in a lot of trouble.  The Sarg and his "righthand" man are both on lists of drugs so long it scares the hell out of me.  We would never send a SWAT team into a hostage situation when the team leaders were taking two different antidepressants, two different drugs to sleep that were both so heavy hitting you can't operate heavy machinery if you are even taking one of them, and pain killers.  But that was what the 5th Stryker Brigade has been sending out there and someone needs to ask why.  And if you wouldn't send a police officer out on the job on a certain drug you shouldn't send a damned soldier out on it either.  Crazy has been running the show around there.  There had better be some GIANT investigative reporting done on this.

    Such Blind Faith In the Military (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:42:57 PM EST
    We would never send a SWAT team...

    Heartwarming, yet terribly sad.


    I have blind faith in the military? (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:48:59 PM EST
    It is a system and a community, and it has a function.  Currently it also has in this country one of the few functioning systems of accountability unless our wonderful President doesn't think that it needs one of those either.  Because remember who runs the military too squeaky, and he doesn't need anybody's approval to do that.  His name is Obama.

    Good To Know (1.00 / 1) (#58)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:02:13 PM EST
    That everything has changed dramatically since the routine atrocities in Iraq. Must be that Obama CIC has changed the entire military, is that why you hate him so much?

    Also (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:54:42 PM EST
    Even embedded journalists have gone on the record and called this an abberation.  Not that you give a rip, you live to paint a picture of the military that does not exist....but you must have a boogeyman so I understand.

    Just because this is an abberation though does not mean that what enabled it to exist should have "the page" turned on it while we all look forward and not back.

    I think that is another reason why I'm so ticked at this President.  I live in a zone where EVERYONE is accountable, and I have to listen to him whine and snivel and do everything imaginable to wiggle out of his own accountability.


    This is the fruit of a serious leadership failure (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:03:31 PM EST
    in the unit.

    Like I said the other day at another site:

    Beyond the problems the informant has gotten (not the least of which is the DoD naming him in the media), this episode points out serious failures of leadership and commandership in the platoon, company and battalion.

    Let's not be reluctant to agree this is one of the more difficult problems any officer will ever run into. It's surely one of a lieutenant's (platoon leader's) worst nightmares, if not the single worst one. The company commander is, to some degree, insulated from the repercussions because he has a platoon leader below him to blame it on. But, the climate he sets in his company (and, similarly, the climate in the battalion set by the battalion commander) is where this gets started.

    Look at it this way. You're the platoon leader. Something like this going on in your platoon. If you don't know about it, you don't know what's going on in your unit of 35 (or so) men and you have no control over your men. If something like this was incipient and you knew about it (i.e., you knew what was going on in your platoon), this wouldn't have happened. You would have stepped in and stopped it. (Assuming, of course, that you have still retained your humanity and did not want something like this to happen. Not a 100% given.) The first question that lieutenant would run into (if, as appears here, he didn't stop it) would have been to the effect of "why the hell didn't you stop it sooner?"

    That the informant did not feel confident enough to go to his lieutenant or company commander (or even the chaplain - always a good choice) but instead went to his family speaks volumes about the climate in that unit. I have to think the lieutenant and chain of command were more interested in completing the tour with as few problems as possible and that meant sweeping it under the rug and hoping it just went away.

    If, on the other hand, he did find out about it and it still went on, then it's clear the lieutenant had no control over his men. That, or he ratified the conduct, either explicitly or implicitly. There seems to be little question that sooner or later he'd have found out about it. He'd be dealing every day, all day with the sergeant leading the mass murder operations; there are only have 3 or 4 staff sergeants in a platoon. The rub is, each of them leads about a third of that lieutenant's combat power. He turns them in, and he still has to continue combat operations with, at best, 2/3 of his combat power and the distraction of the investigation.

    Then there's the whole issue of continuing combat operations - everyone has a machinegun and lots of live ammunition and shoots, too - where one guy is a snitch who turned in a mass murder and dope plot, the mass murderers are right there and not happy about being exposed. And you're supposed to make them all work together and not kill each other. Or you.

    Oh, and they're smoking hash, too. And probably swiping opium poppies to chew on. This makes the problem all the more interesting because you're dealing with stoned guys (or jonesing guys), with both less self-control and machineguns.

    The easiest, surest way to solve it would be to just whack the guilty party with your pistol - summary justice - and then report yourself and assert he threatened you when you confronted him with evidence of his war crimes. Don't think it hasn't happened in other situations. It's a big risk, though, because you run the risk of being convicted of murder, even though the guy truly deseved his fate. The question the lieutenant faces then is "Are you willing to go to prison for the rest of your life to satisfy your sense of justice?"

    The second-easiest way - if you have to continue combat operations with this character - is to keep putting him out on point until the enemy kills or wounds him or he breaks and you can do something else to him. You won't go to prison for murder if the enemy does the killing.

    Or you could just hope it goes away.

    As to the commenter upthread, asking how it was that these troops could be smoking hash and not get caught over it, there are a couple explanations. First, troops get to be really, really good at hiding their mischief. It's not much different from how people get to be smoking dope in a jail - how they get it, get it in, and use it in secure areas is the stuff of caper films. It's them against you. Second, it may be that the chain of command tacitly accepted or allowed the troops to engage in smoking hash or drinking because they felt the environment and mission were so tough they deserved a break. [From a leadership/unit effectiveness perspective] Dumb, but plausible.

    And, third, it's entirely possible that discipline in that unit broke down to the point that there were no-go areas for officers. A few years after it happened, I was in a unit where in the 70s there had been no-go areas for officers and senior sergeants in the barracks. Troops would be openly getting high [including shooting up heroin] on the upper floors of the barracks. One time, a duty officer went through there on his rounds and tried to straighten out the drug den he walked into. The soldiers there took him, threw him into a wall locker, locked it, and tossed both him and the wall locker out the window. It was a fifth floor window. It landed on a spiked wrought iron fence lining the sidewalk below, killing the duty officer. After that, the unit issued its duty officers .45 pistols and live ammunition so they could walk rounds through their own barracks and live to tell about it. And that was in peacetime, where the weapons were locked in the arms room. The guys in this unit in A-stan were armed; you think anyone's going to mess with their no-go area?

    So, I think we can all agree there was a major failure of leadership in the unit, brought to the surface by the presence of an allegedly homicidally-inclined sergeant.


    Everyone has of course been talking (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:16:44 PM EST
    about this.  I am told that these guys have been so blown up this past year it is almost incomprehensible to understand how bad it has been, and their time in Iraq was horrible too and who has been carried over from that mission?  Morlock has survived four separate blasts, and then given so many drugs and pushed out the door it is hard to get your mind around it.

    Anyhow, they have all been blown to hell and back from what I've heard and if a mine or IED blast doesn't kill you you start adding up the blasts you survived like it is some kind of sick game.  That's how you make it through it.  They all need to be rotated out.  My husband is in the middle of a senior officer career course right now, and it is hard to believe that 5th Stryker has survived what it has this year but they have fallen off a cliff and nobody has gone to fetch them.  Who knows who will survive what they have gone through even after they get home, and they should have been relieved but nobody thought of it.  These guys are in really bad shape overall.


    I'm not disputing that the brigade went through (none / 0) (#69)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:25:55 PM EST
    a lot of hell.

    I'm just saying that (a) even in the face of that, leadership still had a duty to keep their soldiers in line, (b) they failed, and (c) this is the fruit of that failure.

    As is often said "failure is an orphan" and everyone wants to get as far from this as they can.  That's understandable.  But I'm also reminded that "the maximum range of an excuse is zero meters" was pounded into me and every other leader I knew from minute one in the Army.  This has to be looked at objectively and dispassionately so as to avoid it (or something similar) from being repeated.  If senior command tossed that brigade out to the wolves and left them, that failure on their part has to be assessed and remedied (pour encourager les autres) so that that does not happen again.

    It's not a simple problem by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it something simply or easily solved.  The saddest part of it is that all the misjudgments, gambles gone bad, and skating over thin ice that led up to the situation come to a point on the heads of those junior soldiers and officers who are at the heart of it.  Or, as I heard more times than I'd care to remember "Sh*t rolls downhill."  Seems to still obtain in today's Army.


    Oh, I'm not saying it isn't a leadership (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:37:21 PM EST
    failure.  Not at all.  In my husband's class  that graduates at the end of the week, there is over a 1,000 collective years of military time served.  The average age is 42, and this is going down right now and everyone is standing there looking at each other trying to figure out how this has fallen through.  The Afghanistan mission has been going through being newly defined though.  When my husband went he went to create a new job that has never existed in our military history, and then write the specs for that job, define the requirements....all that stuff.  I think everyone has been on that page, head up arse, and when this went down everyone was standing there talking about how badly these guys have been blown up.  They all knew, they all know, but they didn't cuz they were on some different page.  This was a fresh approach on a newly defined mission and everyone was working on new stuff, and these guys.....they've been trying to figure out how to count how many times they've been blown up while brain damaged.  But seemingly anyone with any rank has known these guys were being brutalized, it just didn't click somehow until now.  And now look at this...what a disaster.

    IMHO, it's not that (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:55:36 PM EST
    "It didn't click until now".  Rather, I think it's more a case of senior command just didn't give a sh*t beyond making sure some unit was in some spot and senior command's backside was covered in case someone still more senior decided to look at how they were carrying out the mission.  Senior command left it to the junior people - brigade command and lower - to deal with these guys and their addled brains and likely derided them as worthless and weak if/when the issue came up.

    Reminds me of an account I read about the British Army during the Normandy campaign of '44, when their manpower resources were spent and anyone who could walk was being shoved into infantry units.  (I think it was in Max Hastings book Overlord) A battalion commander gave an objective report about the difficulties this was causing, including the number and extent of  times he and other officers had to stand behind their men and stop them from running away. He was relieved and it killed his career.  And ultimately the Brits resolved the problem by dissolving units and taking smaller missions - that was the only way to address the fact that their manpower reserves were gone and they could no longer keep up the war.

    Sounds to me like the senior officers studying the problems we have today all recognize that we are up against the same problem, but no one wants to step forward and put their career's neck on the chopping block by pointing out that the cupboard is bare.  "Can do" is a great attitude, but it rapidly impairs the objectivity necessary to effectively organize and run anything, including an Army or war, when saying "beyond our capability" is penalized for being ... "defeatist" or "weak".


    I know this much (none / 0) (#84)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:08:05 PM EST
    In light of these events, they changed command with blazing speed in July.  A name that should probably be looked into deeply is Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV.

    Go read this (none / 0) (#96)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 07:27:05 PM EST
    An article he co-wrote in '06, all about the proper semantics to be used to de-legitimate our enemies.  I think a soldier in our unit thrill-killing and keeping souvenirs is kinda off-message, no?

    The bio:

    [Then] Lieutenant Colonel (P) Harry D. Tunnell, USA is assigned to the National Defense University Center for Strategic Communication. In 2005 he was awarded an MS in National Security Strategy from the National War College with an Information Strategy Concentration Program area of concentration. Lieutenant Colonel Tunnell also has an MA in Professional Communication Studies from Purdue University and an MMAS in Military History from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

    looks like he was a comer.  Whether he still is, good question.


    Wow, that explains a lot...HUGE (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 09:08:22 AM EST
    I have heard that he was chosen for Afghanistan in large part because of this paper, but I had not read the paper.  The military has been studying hard to say the least, they are jumping through hoops and really working to understand the people of Afghanistan.  And four years ago this paper was considered cutting edge.  We have a new guy lecturing at Rucker now along with a Muslim chaplain, and the new guy grew up Muslim in a Muslim country but is now a Christian.  Instruction and learning about certain realities has gotten so much better.

    It is easy to miss though in this paper the under current of malignant cynicism if you aren't looking for it or suspicious about it being there.  This guy fought against all of McChrystal's COIN strategy when he was there.  He was employing his own strategies in the South and it appears those strategies were hunt and kill.  He fired (had him transferred elsewhere) a very charismatic Captain who was under him and who questioned the defined mission Tunnel was giving him.  The Captain pointed out to him that it was counter to everything that the Commanding General was defining as the mission, and even went so far as to run off a copy of something from the mission statement on the net and tacked it to the Brigade bulletin board.

    One reporter who embedded with Stryker that I found last night while reading and not sleeping said that they were not surprised that this happened, though they also said that all the soldiers they embedded with did nothing remotely like this.  But the reporter said that the military environment was PERMISSIVE and SAVAGE from the highest rank down.  There were other words too, but those two words stood out for me.

    Here is a good write up that links to most of the things I could find.  Last night when I was reading, I kept asking myself who was protecting this guy when he was there.  I remember reading about McChrystal dissing the command climate of that area when Jenio got busted for being a pig and a slob, so McChrystal was aware of the pushback his mission was getting from hunt them and kill them all Tunnel.  The guy was insubordinate, how was he getting away with that?  Your find of this paper though answers that........Richard Holbrooke.  More of the infighting between the Holbrooke/Biden kill them all and let God sort them out strategy and the Petraeus COIN strategy is exposed again.  This President went with COIN though.  He had now better empower that fully and end this infighting for good or go home because if he goes with the Holbrooke method of dealing with Afghanistan it is only going to lead to more pockets full of fingers.


    did you watch (none / 0) (#55)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:56:07 PM EST

    I didn't get to yet (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:00:05 PM EST
    see below (none / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:16:20 PM EST
    Execution in Georgia (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:58:35 AM EST
    And interestingly enough there is little about the barbarous treatment he was given, fitting for a medieval society. A friend of mine from Germany sent me the link from a german paper, here is a bit of the google translation:

    Hamburg - About a hundred people per year in the United States executed. In the statistics of 2010, the name will be Brandon Joseph Rhode. The 31-year-old died on Monday evening in the U.S. state of Georgia by lethal injection - a few days after he had tried to slit with a razor blade to the jugular vein....

    It took about a half hour, until the executioner of death row inmates found a suitable vein to inject the poison cocktail.

    14 minutes passed before the poison finally had its effect. The death was, as his lawyer said, an "absurd and incomprehensible Procedure: The prison staff has initially done everything to keep him alive and then executed him."

    Rhode originally was to be executed on Sept 21, but shortly before, he had tried in his cell to take his own life with a razor blade.... Rhode was taken to a hospital after the suicide attempt, a team of emergency there was fighting for his life.

    To ensure that he would not again be able to open the wound on his neck,  and "not to inflict yet another loss," as it was called by the prosecution, Rhode was then fixed to a chair. Previously, he was handcuffed, according to his lawyer's hands and feet and head put in a bag with zipper. The light in his cell burning around the clock, two law enforcement officials were watching the prisoners without interruption.

    His lawyer, Brian chamber protested in vain against the "torture chair", called it a "cruel and totally unusual" measure.

    Der Spiegel

    And to think that (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Edger on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:09:28 AM EST
    Brandon Rhode was once an embryo...



    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:12:34 AM EST
    There is zilch about this in US papers. Wonder why?

    Over 1.5M hit on Google (none / 0) (#23)
    by coast on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:31:18 PM EST
    and your saying that this got overlooked by the media?  Maybe you need to expand your reading.

    Well (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:08:37 PM EST
    Feel free to link to any US story that posts any details other than a murder was executed in Georgia.

    The Germans know about the lust for death, and they, along with the rest of the civilized world, are horrified by US executions.


    Some (none / 0) (#44)
    by coast on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:25:49 PM EST
    Two out of Three (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:32:44 PM EST
    Thanks coast.

    I couldn't find any english versions comparable to the German version, so I had to use google translate and fix some of the mistranslations..

    But by far most of the 1.5 million hits just stated that murderer Joseph Rhodes was executed in GA. Nothing of the shockingly inhumane torture details.


    I did laugh when I posted the CBS (none / 0) (#56)
    by coast on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:58:45 PM EST
     one, just because they made it sound like the prison just posted two guards outside his cell.

    I wonder if when he attempted suicide if the doctors had "tried" to save but failed if anything would have been made of it?

    How the heck does a guy getting ready to be put to death get his hands on a razor?


    Not Too Sharp (none / 0) (#60)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:05:25 PM EST
    A blade....  or so it would seem.

    Is it only me, but, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by esmense on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:01:06 PM EST
    noting the huge turnout at Obama's latest rally, I find it interesting that his handlers have given up on the "town hall" format and are now revisiting the "excite-the-college-students" strategy of the Presidential campaign. Obama seems most comfortable appearing before people with even less economic experience than he has.

    Anyone think it will work?

    What happens whether this group shows or not (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Ellie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:26:31 PM EST
    Is that the handlers, pundits and chatterers whack the base regardless.

    (a) if the yoots amass at a rally but don't vote, it's the longtime base's fault for not showing up on cue in STFU mode -- even after being told for 2+ yrs they weren't needed;

    (b) if the yoots don't show at all, for rallies or to vote, it's another opportunity to bash the longtime base's for being too "ideologically pure" and demanding the unthinkable (eg, long-accepted non-partisan values, stuff that's in the Constitution, etc.)

    Whether the edicts or bashing comes directly from Obama or via "the WH", from all those Anonymice within the Executive branch, or publicly and on the record from sneering Dem leadership, somehow any absenteeism from the NEW support that was promised to materialize from Moderate Republicans and Brand Spanking New Dems continues to escape criticism.


    I gotta say I know that space well. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Cream City on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 12:22:11 AM EST
    And it's got construction cutting into it now, too.  And there was heavy security to get through, and I saw how long that can take for an Obama tour just a couple of weeks ago. So no way that 17,000 people were on the library mall.  

    (Btw, the total crowd size of 26,000 is picked up in national media without mention that 9,000 were not there but were a ways away, watching it on teebee.)

    At least, they got great opening acts for hours -- a great draw, Ben Harper.  But then it got cold, and a lot left, according to a friend who was there.  So maybe 17,000 total in shifts?  Some for Ben Harper, some for the other opening acts, but how many at one time, and at the time when finally Obama came on?  

    We've seen these crowd counts before. . . .  Suffice it to say the space was packed, and a good time was had by all (even if they had to head down the mall for longjohns on sale at WinterSilks), and that oughta be enuff.


    Excite-the-College-Students Strategy (1.00 / 1) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:05:13 PM EST
    Yes it is sure to work. He learned that "strategy" at the Madrass.

    Good News in the MN Guv race (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by DFLer on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:12:07 PM EST
    St. Paul, Minn. -- A new Minnesota Public Radio News-Humphrey Institute poll shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton with a significant and growing lead over Republican Tom Emmer.
    A month ago, the poll showed Dayton and Emmer deadlocked at 34 percent each. But the latest survey shows Dayton with an 11 percentage point lead over Emmer -- 38 to 27 percent.
    Independence Party candidate Tom Horner, who had 13 percent a month ago, now has 16 percent according to the new poll.
    So what's changed?
    "The big story in September is that the Democrats have woken up from their summer slumber," said University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs, who oversaw the poll.
    "When you go back to August, you find 57 percent of Democrats who are likely to vote saying that they had only a little or really no interest in voting come November," Jacobs said. "Now we found a substantial 83 percent of Democrats saying they have a great deal or a fair amount of interest in this election."
    That 83 percent enthusiasm number for Democrats matches the Republicans', meaning the GOP has lost the edge in election excitement it had enjoyed over Democrats.

    BTW Emmer is a real dick...stepped in it a month or two ago saying service employees (waiters, waitresses) are known to make as much as $100,000.00 a year and should have no minimum wage, and something about taxing tips. (tip income is already required to be reported btw)

    100k? (none / 0) (#64)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:16:00 PM EST
    He musta meant exotic dancers, not waitresses.

    Pretty out of touch. (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:18:57 PM EST
    I made about 1/10 of that when I waited tables.

    Emmer tried to fix the tip /wage gaff at a (none / 0) (#93)
    by DFLer on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 05:09:15 PM EST
    town hall mtg. with wait-staff folks. Somebody dumped 2,000 pennies on him:

    Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer, left, reacts as Robert Erickson rushed up and dumped a bag of pennies as Emmer met with restaurant servers during a town hall meeting at Ol' Mexico Restaurante and Cantina Wednesday, July 14, 2010 in Roseville, Minn.

    Picture here

    Erickson is a performance artist, not a waiter, but a good bit anyway.


    watching the news conference (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:07:50 PM EST
    looks like its going to be good.

    meg whitmans husbands name (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:12:05 PM EST
    is Dr Harsh?

    "dont ask dont tell (none / 0) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:18:34 PM EST
    became OMG she will tell if I keep her"

    employed an illegal and proceeded to exploit her.
    somewhere Moonbeam is smiling.


    And knew about the undocumented status (none / 0) (#41)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:24:10 PM EST
    threw out the "mismatch of Social Security Number" letters, repeatedly,  over the course of years.  Housekeeper saw them in the trash.

    And fired her when she asked for help in getting documented.

    This is one time I'm liking Allred.


    And fired her over the phone (none / 0) (#46)
    by scribe on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:27:35 PM EST
    saying "and from now on you don't know me and I don't know you.  You have never seen me and I have never seen you.  Do you understand?"

    jinx (none / 0) (#48)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:27:53 PM EST
    "you dont know me (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:27:37 PM EST
    I dont know you.
    you have never seen me and I have never seen you, do you understand?"

    for once explosive doesnt seem like hyperbole


    One of the truely great American (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:09:51 PM EST
    film makers, Arthur Penn has died.

    I've thought for a long time that the shocking, hyper-realistic scenes of violence in Bonnie and Clyde were as much about "bringing the war back home" and addressing the implications of adopting a complacent, bourgeois attitude toward American death and destruction as when the ancient Greeks used to toss bloody heads into audience in the midst of the performance of some of their tragedies. Penn was also one of the few directors who deeply understood that the land and landscape were just as intensely vital to the telling of a story as the words and actions of the actors..



    wow (none / 0) (#63)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:15:36 PM EST
    rip.  indeed

    its odd.  I am currently trying to get through Antichrist and some of what you said there really applies.

    this movie shakes an audience out of its complacency.  it is impossible to passively watch it.  it is excruciating.  I have pretty numbed to violence and screen gore but there are scenes in this movie that will stay burned into my brain forever.  when I read about some of the audience reaction to early screenings I thought it was PR BS.  no longer.  I would absolutely hate to see this in a theater where I could not take a break and breath.  I would probably walk out.
    this is not necessarily a recommendation.  more like a warning.


    Now I really want to see it (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:25:20 PM EST
    I had to take some Benadryl last night, and it doesn't lead to a good night's sleep but it knocked me out pretty good.

    Well put (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:02:45 PM EST
    RIP Mr. Penn. Wish more of your imitators had half your talent.

    ok (none / 0) (#83)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:06:44 PM EST
    I officially finished Antichrist.

    jesus christ bananas

    film buffs, see this movie.  


    The Missouri Breaks (none / 0) (#97)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 09:03:05 PM EST
    as uneven as it is (and I wish Penn would've used John Hammond Jr to do the music again, the way he did in Little Big Man), is, in some ways, a kind of ragged masterpiece. Penn again uses the landscape to full, emotional, effect and the Tom McGuane script is both hard-hitting and rings very true to the historical period. The cast is about as good as it gets for the genre: featuring Brando, Nicholson, Harry Dean Stanton, Fredrick Forrest, Randy Quaid and other worthies. The story itself radically departs from the typical American Western form in being informed throughout by a kind of uncanny, near gothic feel: personified, in part by the shape-shifting, "regulator" character played by Brando and by the weirdly Oedipal love triangle featuring Nicholson's character and the wealthy rancher and his daughter.

    A couple of the scenes between Brando and Nicholson in the film are worth "the price of admission" in themselves. Anyone who doubts that an intense psychic energy can elicit a corresponding response in others it's directed to, will be convinced otherwise after watching the parts of this movie when Brando and Nicholson are on the screen at the same time..    


    Axelrod was on the tube just now (5.00 / 0) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 05:07:25 PM EST
    Part of a story about how Obama has been getting the whatfor at his backyard get togethers.  Thank God too, you people give him hell because he has earned it and he deserves it and the only way he is going to pull his head out of backside is if you tell him that he had better get that done NOW!  As far as listening to Axelrod though give his "message" to the reporter, I'd just like to punch him in the face.

    Levi and Laurence (none / 0) (#1)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:32:00 AM EST
    only saw this this morning but its pretty funny.
    ODonnell asked him a series of "trick" political questions.  questions he would ask any candidate for pretty much anthing.

    needless to say Levi didnt do so well.  at one point when asked about (I believe) troops levels in Afghanistan he answered,  "I dont watch that much TV"

    What other small town mayoral candidates (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:23:12 PM EST
    is O'Donnell featuring on his national show?

    This just seems beyond ridiculous.


    far beyond (none / 0) (#43)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:24:49 PM EST
    Parody: (none / 0) (#87)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:16:46 PM EST
    Interviewer: Levi, what qualifies you for the position of mayor?

    Levi: Well I had sex with one of the former mayor's teenage daughter and got her pregnant.

    Btw, did he graduate from H.S. yet?


    not yet (none / 0) (#88)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:20:50 PM EST
    he mentions that in the interview.  ODonnell suggests he bring up Abe Lincoln every time he is asked the question.

    no hs degree.


    Saw part of it, (none / 0) (#28)
    by brodie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:07:08 PM EST
    and it made for some uncomfortable teevee watching since this likable but rather average guy is obviously not a well-read policy wonk by any stretch.

    He got the "What publications do you read?" question, and while he didn't stumble and stammer like Palin did, he was only able to offer some Alaska publication (outdoorsy or celeb gossip oriented, I suspected), and then allowed as how he didn't read many papers, or for that matter watch much teevee.

    Matter of fact, he went on at some point in the interview, he knows he's just 20 yo, but he's got a whole year to bone up on things, so he'll be ready come election time.


    to be fair (none / 0) (#39)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:19:57 PM EST
    to Levi the only reason most polls know these things is because their aids tell them.

    ODonnell loses the squirrel vote (none / 0) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:55:07 AM EST
    Squirrels masturbate to avoid sexually transmitted infections

    and btw that famous image, its not photoshop.

    There's a famous picture  that has probably been burned into the retinas of anyone who spends a lot of time on the internet. It's a squirrel, standing up, with a surprisingly huge pair of testicles dangling beneath him. That's a Cape ground squirrel and the image isn't a fake. Males have a scrotum that's 20% of their body length (excluding the tail) and their penis is more than twice as long.

    Add Tyler the cat too (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 10:59:02 AM EST
    If that wasn't masturbating, I can't imagine what it was that he was doing.

    There's a joke there about nuts, but I can't just (none / 0) (#7)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:00:27 AM EST
    put my finger on it.

    The memoir blog is refreshed and new (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:13:30 AM EST
    Sweet! (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:34:25 AM EST
    I got some episodes to catch up on, gonna print and bring 'em on the plane tonight to make the unfriendly skies more bearable.  Thanks Dadler!

    My day has arrived...to borrow a phrase from Gladys & The Pips, "I'm leaving on a midnight plane to Guadalajara".



    Have A Great Trip (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:46:22 AM EST
    Or several great trips while you are away.... lol



    Thanks squeak... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:49:35 AM EST
    it's on you to keep the authoritarians 'round here in line till I get back:)

    OK (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:51:46 AM EST
    Although quite the paradox, perhaps a koan.

    Keeping the Authoritarians in line sounds rather authoritarian... lol


    Touche... (none / 0) (#29)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:07:40 PM EST
    make that "knock the authoritarians off their lines".

    I do have a reputation to uphold:)


    lol (none / 0) (#32)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:09:04 PM EST
    Good one!

    Enjoy the Pacific! (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dadler on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:48:21 PM EST
    We're headed to Hawaii in three weeks, so I have my own vacation Jones working hard.

    BTW, waiting for my $1100 check from fulltilt, still have $900 to play with. Sick.

    Peace, my man.


    "Money won... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:02:26 PM EST
    is twice as sweet as money earned."

    Now thats how you partially fund a vacation!  Off the fish on FullTilt:)

    That's how my old man got the family down to St. Maarten back in the day...gambling.
    He hit the Pick 4 straight, came home from work with half a celebratory bag on, and told moms to start packing, flight leaves in 3 hours.  Talk about a mad dash!  

    Best part...old man wakes up in St. Maarten hotel room not knowing how we got there. Ah, memories:)


    record heat wave.

    Gracias Sao Sarc... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:49:53 PM EST
    you guys have been baking eh?  I wouldn't have minded, but low 90's and sunshine in Vallarta works too:)

    Got a flick for you to check out..."World's Greatest Dad" with Robin Williams.  Have you seen it?  Thought it was weird in an interesting way, as well as very funny.  


    "Saint Sarc," I like it! (none / 0) (#61)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:06:40 PM EST
    PV is a pretty interesting place. Beautiful with a distinct West Hollywood vibe. I'll look for the flick.  ¡Buena suerte!

    trouble in Beckistan? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:30:14 AM EST
    As of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck's show (up from 26 in August 2009). Fox also has a difficult time selling ads on "The O'Reilly Factor" and "Fox and Friends" when Beck appears on those shows as a guest. Beck's show is known in the TV sales world as "empty calories," meaning he draws great ratings but is toxic for ad sales. If nothing else, I sensed that people around Fox News have grown weary after months of "It's all about Glen

    UFOs Tampered With Nuclear Missiles (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:34:48 AM EST
    (Sept. 25) -- Former U.S. Air Force officers and a former enlisted man are about to break many years of silence about an alarming series of UFO encounters at nuclear weapons sites -- incidents officially kept secret for decades.

    When the group appears at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Monday, it will offer testimony about events so chilling, it will seem like a day at a science fiction movie festival.

    To put you in the mood for the stories that will soon unfold, we're presenting one here, involving former Air Force Capt. Robert Salas, one of the hosts of the Washington event.

    Don't post stuff like this (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:55:32 AM EST
    Whitley Strieber scared me to death.  Then just when I thought he got sane enough to read again by writing a book with a nonfiction author, that sealed the deal.  After reading Warday I spent my early years hoping the UFOs would save us but not abduct me :)  We are always asking my husband to fess up about his UFO experiences.  He claims he has seen nothing.  When they abduct you though they are pretty good at wiping your memory clean.....Muwhahahahahaha

    I've noticed more and more (none / 0) (#26)
    by brodie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:01:34 PM EST
    of the "best" witnesses (military, pilots and the like, not just your average local yokels who are often discounted) starting to speak up in recent years about their experiences.  

    There was a good NPC program put together a coupla years back by a Hollywood producer who made a good, credible documentary about this issue, shown recently on cable -- I Know What I Saw is the title or something close to that -- that featured American and foreign military personnel and pilots.  


    Goldilocks Planet? (none / 0) (#94)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 06:37:10 PM EST
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Astronomers say they have for the first time spotted a planet beyond our own in what is sometimes called the Goldilocks zone for life: Not too hot, not too cold. Juuuust right.

    Not too far from its star, not too close. So it could contain liquid water. The planet itself is neither too big nor too small for the proper surface, gravity and atmosphere.

    It's just right. Just like Earth.

    "This really is the first Goldilocks planet," said co-discoverer R. Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. AP

    So will our future include... (none / 0) (#101)
    by EL seattle on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 03:29:14 AM EST
    ... a real-life version of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers.... with ALIEN BEARS.

    That'd be soooo coooool.

    (Okay, I know that technically, we'd be the aliens and the BEARS would be the invadees, but if we settle another planet in our solar system first, we could invade Planet Goldilox-1 from there, and leave the whole Earth/alien matter aside.  So, it'd be MARTIANS versus BEARS !!! Oh, yeah.)


    Unfortunately, that porridge is (none / 0) (#103)
    by DFLer on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 08:26:51 AM EST
    120 trillion miles from Earth and it would take "several generations" to get there from here.

    Since the original comment was about UFOs (none / 0) (#104)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 08:31:59 AM EST
    visiting the earth, the question is not how long it would take to get there from here with our technology. It is how long it take someone from another planet to get here from there with their technology. ;-)

    will they be visiting the nukes of hazard? (none / 0) (#106)
    by DFLer on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 09:24:08 AM EST
    Ya never know ;-) (none / 0) (#107)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 30, 2010 at 12:36:38 PM EST
    Mourning in America (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:51:53 AM EST
    seen this?
    I actually think this commercial could backfire to some extent.  it wont change anyones opinion and personally watching it makes me angry enough to vote even if I had not planned to.

    IMO it recalls a bit to effectively the lies we were told ever since Reagan.

    it wasnt morning then, its not mourning now.

    it is an offensively stupid ad IMO.

    They never define what it is they (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:12:10 PM EST
    are selling though.  People are unemployed because of the moves that they made and Obama couldn't or wouldn't turn around.  The debt is insane because of the moves that they made.  The debt didn't just grow out of the last 20 months.  They created the financial disaster.  The only thing that Obama is responsible for is not making them responsible for what they have done and not working to fix what they did.  He had to do that stupid turn the page thing and looking forward and not back, and when you do that they will turn around in two years and do this TO YOU.

    the debt (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:14:36 PM EST
    really got its booster shot when it was "morning in america"

    It wasn't rocket science.. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:24:30 PM EST
    Wall St has been greasing who they've needed to grease for decades, while the bought-and-paid-for in D.C allowed the too-big-to-exist, with their "complex financial instruments" metastasize into greed engorged entities capable of bringing down an entire national economy..

    That phenomenon has exactly ZEE-RO to do with fatuous, Ragunesqe b.s about "big government".


    I detect a racial (none / 0) (#25)
    by brodie on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:54:43 PM EST
    subtext too -- the positive image (one of the very few) of a white couple getting married (the good old days), and the ending image of the Norman Rockwellesque white boy scout waving the flag, with the word "us" next to his face.  Creepy subliminal advertising that doesn't seem very subtle.

    It is going to sound crazy (none / 0) (#79)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:55:54 PM EST
    But the baby under the word 'debt' looked a tinge dark skinned to me. It is close enough to claim a poorly lit photo...but I'm detecting a dog whistle.

    I watched without the audio on (none / 0) (#80)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:57:58 PM EST
    maybe they were saying we were passing on debt to our children...still, it seemed odd in the context of the lily-whiteness of the rest of the people in the ad.

    Captain Ahab and Melville were less (none / 0) (#36)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 01:14:41 PM EST
    obsessed with the imagery and symbolism of whiteness than whoever the folks are who put that ad together..

    Jesus, they even managed to make the sky look white..

    You'd think their beloved intelligent designer was an obsessive compulsive with a hand washing obsession..


    also (none / 0) (#71)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:32:29 PM EST
    pretty sure its the same voice from the Reagan "morning in america" commercial from the 80s.

    if not its a very good sound alike.


    you (none / 0) (#72)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:34:45 PM EST
    tell me.

    I didnt google.  more fun guessing.


    A misty, Hallmark greeting card (none / 0) (#86)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:09:30 PM EST
    of an America whose unsullied virginity must be protected at all costs; like those magnolia blossoms of the South whose virtue was so unearthly that they had to make use of black wet nurses..

    The trouble is, those Reagan's new clothes had no emperor..


    sorry Meg (none / 0) (#70)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:27:05 PM EST
    "After 9 years of faithful service, Nicky came to us in June 2009 and confessed that she was an illegal worker.

    "As required by law, once we learned she was an illegal worker, I immediately terminated Nicky's employment.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I considered Nicky a friend and a part of our extended family."

    that doesnt really explain the letters alerting you to the mismatched SSN in the trash,  now does it?

    To be fair, at this point anyway, (none / 0) (#74)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:40:30 PM EST
    any such letters are merely alleged by Allred (though it should not be to hard to get documentation from the feds.)

    Unless you are aware of something I'm not?


    she may (none / 0) (#75)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:44:29 PM EST
    have kept them?

    Not sure what you're saying. (none / 0) (#76)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:45:39 PM EST
    I didtnt watch all the presser (none / 0) (#82)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:04:53 PM EST
    but what if the woman KEPT the letters that were in the trash?
    thats what I meant.

    but in any case, as you say, it wont be hard to prove.


    It would be quite a coincidence (none / 0) (#95)
    by coast on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 07:08:00 PM EST
    because employers usually only receive 2 notices.

    Its also interesting that it took 9 years to determine the employee was illegal.  If the employer was properly reporting, it should not have taken that long to receive the notice (known as a B-Notice).  Did she ever release her tax returns?  I would love to look those over.

    I would also be shocked if the housekeeper was reporting properly.


    How fortuitous it is for Nicky (none / 0) (#98)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 09:14:59 PM EST
    that of the 3,285 days she worked for Whitman she happened to be looking in Whitman's garbage and reading her thrown-away mail on those two days...

    Also, Whitman's statement was released (none / 0) (#77)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 02:48:39 PM EST
    in advance of Allreds presser. She can't know and respond to what Allred is going to say before she actually says it.

    we still cant talk about this (none / 0) (#85)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:08:11 PM EST
    but it is not stopping GDT.

    Guillermo del Toro Confirms, Details THQ Game Series


    "It's horror...but it's a very different type of horror game. It's not survival horror. It's truly a strange, geeky mix. It's a Lovecraftian thing. Let's leave it at that."

    Funny story... (none / 0) (#90)
    by ruffian on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:57:00 PM EST
    when he was on Colbert the other night, my mind was not working right and I expected Benicio Del Toro to be sitting in the guest chair when Colbert ran around. Until they started talking it was a little disconcerting!

    prostitution legal in canada (none / 0) (#89)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 03:30:14 PM EST
    Prostitution laws struck down

    A Toronto judge has struck down Canada's prostitution laws, saying provisions meant to protect women and residential neighbourhoods are endangering sex workers' lives.

    remind me, why do I still live HERE?

    skyline (none / 0) (#91)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 04:53:56 PM EST
    I was just watching... (none / 0) (#99)
    by desertswine on Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 09:36:08 PM EST
    Ken Burn's "The Tenth Inning" on PBS, and I am reminded that it is the anniversary of The Catch on September 29 1954.

    It was the first game of the World Series, and what is amazing is that they were playing the World Series in September, and not in November.