Sunday Night TV and Open Thread

RIP actor Peter O'Toole, who has died at age 81.

Tonight on TV: 60 Minutes is doing a feature on the NSA surveillance. I wish someone other than John Miller was the correspondent.

Also tonight: Finales for Homeland, Survivor and Restaurant Express (food network.) I thought Homeland was too dark this year and the plot too convoluted. Some of the subplots were just completely uninteresting: Saul's marital life and Brody's daughter to name a few. Even the Iranian CIA worker went nowhere. I watched, but it wasn't enjoyable. Apparently, the Golden Globes nominators agree.

Restaurant Express had a good first season. I'm actually looking forward to seeing who wins tonight. I think it will be between Adam Goldgell and Seonkyoung Longest, with Jan Charles coming in third and getting eliminated first. Adam and Seonkyoung couldn't be more different in terms of personality or cooking experience, and they each have strengths and negatives. I think Adam will take it, even though Robert Irvine has given Seonkyoung every possible break and he doesn't seem to like Adam that much.

In real news: [More...]

Gov. John Hickenlooper visited Claire Davis today and said she's in a coma, clinging to life. I'm sending good thoughts her way and hopes she pulls through. Her brother, a college student, was struck by a car while cycling and has undergone 10 surgeries so far. This family has suffered enough.

He also said there was nothing to suggest Pierson would go off. He was not mentally ill.

Interesting tidbit: Karl Pierson lived with his mother and sister. His sister is two years younger than him and also goes to Arapahoe High School. (She qualified for the state finals of the Future Business Leaders of America.) Their mother was out of town caring for a sick relative the day of the shooting. I wonder if his sister noticed him acting different the night before or the morning of the shooting when they left for school. (I'm not linking because I don't want to spread her name.)

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

< Undercover Terror Sting in Kansas | Federal Court Grants Injunction Against NSA Bulk Telephony Metadata Program >
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    The problem with only rewarding shareholders (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 04:46:18 AM EST

    and executives...

    "This is what U.S. multinationals do now with their cash. Rather than tout big new investments, raise worker wages or hire more employees, companies are more likely to set aside funds to reward shareholders --

    But some corporate governance experts question why pay is so closely tied to share prices and metrics such as earnings per share, which executives can so easily alter in the short term.

    Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, likened stock-based pay to professional football players being allowed to bet on the games they play in: They have too much control over the outcome.

    "In football, they have this absolute rule, which is if you're ever caught betting on football if you're a player or manager, you get punted out for life," Martin said. "In the world of business, it's a different rule."

    As the stock market has surged back to pre-recession levels, executive pay has shot back up as well. Equilar found that chief executives' compensation is "growing at levels last seen prior to the recession," according to its 2013 report on CEO pay strategies. Meanwhile, average worker pay has remained stagnant since before the crisis."

    Further, consider that ... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:57:49 PM EST
    ... the wealthiest 10% of Americans own 80.8% of all publicly traded shares of common stock and mutual funds in the United States, which is yet another reason why we have a growing disparity in wealth.

    A few more graphs (none / 0) (#38)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:37:37 PM EST
    to understand how economic inequality has been creeping up. link

    More graphs (none / 0) (#39)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:39:50 PM EST
    "Few more" sounds odd :-).

    A federal district judge questions the lack (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 12:18:07 PM EST
    of federal orosecution of individuals re financial meltdown:


    My personal experience with ACA (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by ZtoA on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:55:30 AM EST
    I lost my health insurance as did many if not most of my friends since we all buy on the individual market. I cannot buy on the exchange because it is just too complicated - my income varies wildly year to year depending on how many shows I have. Also when a gallery representing my work falters, closes(retired) or has a great year factors in.  I've been over the ways to enroll many times with the local administrators of the ACA and CoverOregon and I would have to estimate my income monthly or quarterly, in advance. Can't do that.

    But, because of the law, I can buy directly from an insurance provider and was not turned down (as I has been repeatedly in the past). I did so yesterday through an agent. Even though I had to buy pediatric dental it was a great deal. I pay over $100 less a month for similar coverage.

    I would have preferred Medicare for all, but the kinks in the ACA may work out over time, and it is what we have to work with. It could be worse.

    Are you sure it's similar coverage? (none / 0) (#62)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 02:10:52 PM EST
    More than likely if the premium went down, it's because the network is narrower than the one you had before.  You should check on that before the enrollment period ends.  You may wish to choose a different plan with a decent provider network.

    I'm in the same boat as you as far as waffling income.  I can't estimate my income.  Besides, the networks for Exchange plans have about 50% of the doctor/hospital coverage of the ones outside of the Exchange. If I have to pay full premiums for the plans because my income is higher than expected, then Exchange plans are a huge waste of money. For example, my local hospital is NOT in network on any of the Exchange plans.  The premiums for plans outside of the Exchange went way up, but are pretty close to the price of in-Exchange plans if I don't qualify for subsidies.  I can't afford them.  Thus my answer?  

    I'm dropping coverage and going with nothing.  Hurry up and die is my medical strategy.  

    This is not a joke, it's a reality of my finances and of the effect of requiring us to buy insurance that covers everything from "soup to nuts" as they say.  However, if I truly get sick, get cancer or whatever, the one thing the law does for me is it allows me to enroll in insurance for the following year.  If the cancer is aggressive, it would kill me anyway (there is no real treatment for aggressive forms of cancer, as much as the medical community likes to lie about that.  The better "survival statistics" are greatly due to early-detection bias.).   If the cancer is less aggressive, it can probably wait.

    You -- winner?  (Maybe depending on the network you've signed onto).  Me, definite loser.  It will be a wash, statistically.


    Is the issue for you (none / 0) (#63)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 02:40:00 PM EST
    that the closest hospital is not in the network?  If you accept the network of the exchange plans, what would happen to your premium?

    I think it is similar coverage, not certain (none / 0) (#64)
    by ZtoA on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:05:48 PM EST
    I finally called a couple of insurance agents, and found one I liked. These agents were not part of the exchange. I had talked to exchange agents and they were helpful in that I found that the exchange would not work for me. The agent I found must have just got the job (she sounds very young) but she was on it and worked on my insurance for a day and a half already. I went in with the requirement of keeping my doctor and hospital network. She found one and we discussed deductibles, premiums, lab test costs, prescription costs until we found a plan that seems good. I opted to NOT go through the exchange, but to buy directly from an insurance company.

    I had been previously uninsurable and finally got into a state pool of uninsurables and that cost of that was very high. I still have a rather high cost plan (around $450 a month) but it is much less than the last one. The agent found several plans that had much lower premiums but I went with a good plan.

    I really hope you can find insurance. I'm sure your friends and family want you to find something too and not "hurry up and die"!! The ACA is not what I wanted at all. But its the reality now and I figure I might as well make the best of it. Besides paying a fine would definitely not be good for my blood pressure! or mood.


    Thanks for the insight (none / 0) (#67)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:35:12 PM EST
    I'm leaning towards an exchange plan as I'm eligible for credits, but won't until January at the earliest as there's just too much going on right now to wade thru the multitude of plans that are offered thru the exchange in Florida.

    Luckily I don't really care what doctors are included as I don't have one anyway. Both nearby hospitals are included on nearly all of them so the exchange will be quite beneficial for easy price shopping.


    I used the CoverOregon site (none / 0) (#68)
    by ZtoA on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:44:38 PM EST
    to find the insurance carrier I thought was best. It is a NorthWest company and very good. When I first went to the ACA site I could not shop around without enrolling and I didn't want to do that. I, too, have very little time for this and didn't even realize I could just buy directly (through an insurance agent) rather than bothering with the exchange which would not work for me. Saved me headaches and frustration.

    Larry of Arabia. Damn... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:09:38 PM EST
    ...and Sir Cedric Charles Willingham from the equally epic KING RALPH. R.I.P. indeed.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 218 and the rest of the weeks comics. (link)


    Syrian helicopter bomb raids kill 36 (none / 0) (#2)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:30:15 PM EST

    The Britain-based Observatory said at least 15 of the casualties on Sunday were children.
    Barrel bombs are explosive-filled cylinders or oil barrels, often rolled out of the back of helicopters with little attempt at striking a particular target but capable of causing widespread casualties and significant damage.
    President Bashar al-Assad's forces, battling rebels in a 2-1/2 year conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people, frequently deploy air power and artillery against rebel-held districts across the country.


    Horrible (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:38:25 PM EST
    Which rebels are you talking about.

    Also, I would hope you could at least tacitly acknowledge that there is an obvious and chasm-like difference between "protesting" actions against demonstrators and dissenters carried out by authorities in my own country, whom I still retain some arguable measure of influence upon regarding their public actions, and "protesting" the actions of a government on the other side of the world, whose actions I can only influence by supporting mass murder of one form or another, because that is what you throw your hand in with when you involve yourself in civil wars on the other side of the globe.



    The US government (none / 0) (#5)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 10:24:34 PM EST
    showed a lot of resolve in staying out of Syria's civil war despite being heavily pressured by Arab ally countries in the Persian Gulf and Republicans in the United States. The Obama administration has also opened talks with Iran after many decades. Iran and Russia are the main backers of the brutal Assad regime.

    The least some of you can do is not label everyone who fights the Assad regime as "jihadist". Assad and the Russians are doing exactly that. That is McCarthyism at its worst (just replace the word communist with jihadist).

    Some people (like lentinel) have gone to great lengths to whitewash Assad's atrocities. He refused to acknowledge that there was any proof that Assad had used chemical weapons for a long time. Even after a very damning UN report for Assad, he has now taken to arguing that he does not understand why the international community has drawn a red line on the use of chemical weapons.

    There is too much apology for cruel dictators like Assad and Putin by some commenters in this blog. I would not push back so hard if these commenters did not try to whitewash atrocities committed by Assad and the Russians or Chinese while castigating America's policies every day. The world is a complicated place; everybody understands that. However, it is foolish and morally bankrupt to approach every problem with an attitude that finds the United States or the President guilty of every wrong that is happening in the world.  



    Yes, in my view (none / 0) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:54:31 AM EST
    the Obama administration has been following the best Syrian policy given the complicated and complex circumstances of a civil war and the external forces impacting and impinging upon that war.
    At apparently the urging of advisers such as Samantha Powers and Susan Rice, that policy was heading off the rails with a military strike being "the only solution" to the use of chemical weapons--until President Obama made a U-turn and decided not to punish Bashar al-Assad with military action without congressional authorization.

    And, when that proved difficult to obtain, he seized the opportunity to cooperate with Russia and Syria to give up chemical weapons.  While this turn, or return, to prudent policy is welcome, in my opinion, it may be argued, as the Saudis and Israelis have, that this legitimized Assad.  

    If there was a miscalculation about Syria, it was in demanding, early-on, that Assad must go.  It may well be that he will go, one way or another, but setting that criterion in advance may have weakened efforts for a peaceful agreement, adding to the frustration of trying to arbitrate viable alternatives to him.  

    With opposition forces being a mix of jihadists linked to al
    Qaeda (many foreign, e.g., Saudi, Sunni extremist), Islamists who share outlooks of jihadists, but nationalist in vision, and "moderates",  identifying responsible rebel alternatives to Assad is like nailing jelly to a tree. Moreover, assuring that aid winds up in the right hands has resulted in suspension of deliveries.  

    It seems unfair, to me, that discussion of often bad options might be considered to favor cruel dictators.  Similarly, in the case of Libya, it was my opinion from the start that our military involvement was not thought through, but that did not mean that Gaddafi was a fine fellow.


    The sister (none / 0) (#3)
    by Dadler on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 09:32:53 PM EST
    I'm sure she will get plenty of inquiries for, sadly, the rest of her life. So awful to imagine.

    yes, the entire extended family (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ZtoA on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:27:49 AM EST
    of murders and the murdered are haunted, tormented and torn apart for at least a generation or two. In a small community people can look at the family as ALL bad seeds. And often the family members believe that too. Some blame the parents, or siblings, spouses, or children, or any family member whosoever. And they might be right. Believe me, the family members consider it and only put on a brave face to save a beloved parent, sibling, cousin, Aunt or Uncle or what have you. Or they torture themselves for the rest of their lives wondering if they were indeed the problem.

     I know guns are generally popular here, but from my experience guns simply greatly expand the carnage and despair around the murders. Very close family, like this sister, will forever be known as the sister of a school murderer and it will be whispered that it was lucky that he murdered himself before he murdered many more at his school. Whew!! But that was the self murder of her brother! I means she loved both a murder and a murder victim.

    Yes lets have more mental health opportunities. But often those in need of it do not recognize they need it. Does the family snitch on them? Or a local pastor, or neighbor?-and force them into some mental health treatment. Which, then is what? Counseling? Drugs? Involuntary lock up?? My personal relationship with this is that my family member was actually receiving mental illness treatment (for paranoid schizophrenia) which, back in the day was shock treatment. Well that did not work. If he had guns he would have murdered many many more than he did.


    I don't have a problem with guns. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:47:44 AM EST
    My problem is with (a) a lot of the people who for a variety of reasons really shouldn't have firearms, but who either get them or are allowed to get them anyway, and (b) those enablers who choose to address the issue only in the most absolute and self-righteous of terms, to the point where one's right to possess and use a firearm often trumps another's right to life.

    It is a fact that a very decided majority of gun-related injuries and fatalities are NOT inflicted due to chance encounters between random strangers, but rather are the often avoidable result of (1) personal carelessness or accidental mishandling, (2) an attempt at suicide, or (3) an intemperate moment of rage between family members or other personal acquaintances.

    Given that fact, I would offer that there are indeed some eminently sane and rational solutions to be reached and enacted to mitigate the problems, by which one's 2nd Amendment right will still be respected.

    But alas, that has yet to happen because of the overactive imaginations and presence of (b) above, who for some unfathomable reason have been allowed to operate of late in the political arena without reason, accountability and consequence. That can and will end only with some very serious and determined public pushback.



    2A history (none / 0) (#51)
    by ragebot on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:31:49 AM EST
    stems from the founding fathers wanting to have an armed population able to resist tyrants.  At the time many, but not all, folks used guns for hunting and protection in a much more rural setting than exists not.

    Perhaps most important was not just gun ownership but also regular using guns.  Way back in the 1960s when I was in the service it was standard training to have to break down and reassemble side arms and long guns in the dark in under 60 seconds not to mention regular range training and qualification.

    While I am a strong advocate for 2A rights my suggestion is that anyone wanting to own a sidearm should be willing and required to spend say five hours a month at the range and one hour a month cleaning their sidearm, same for long guns.

    As Donald correctly points out there are a lot of irresponsible gun owners who possess little or no knowledge about how firearms function.  Most of us know the ditty 'gun control means hitting what you are aiming at'.  Perhaps it would be a good idea to have potential gun owners qualify at a range by not only demonstrating a minimum level of marksmanship but also disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling any firearm they wish to purchase.


    The Heller decision (none / 0) (#53)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:23:09 PM EST
    holding that the Second Amendment protected an individual versus a collective right arose from a very onerous gun control statute that basically forbid anyone from having a gun even in their own home.  This is a classic example of hard facts making bad law.  Or a bad statute making even a badder law.

    Some reasonable regulation has to be obtainable in modern society.  With millions of guns and millions of people easily able to obtain them, some safety concerns are legitimate, hopefully even in the eyes of the most ardent gun rights proponents.


    Not completely true (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:35:11 PM EST
    At the time many, but not all, folks used guns for hunting and protection in a much more rural setting than exists not.

    Guns were expensive.  The idea that every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the wilderness had a gun is a myth.  Also, there were lots of gun restrictions in many places - you couldn't own a gun if you were a woman, Catholic, Jewish, black, Native American, or any other race.  Basically, only white male landowners could own a gun. In fact, many towns (even out in the Old West, where the modern vision is of gunslingers and gunfights) had restrictions about bringing guns into the town limits. There were also laws about where things like gunpowder could be stored.

    For example:

    A variety of laws regulating firearms were already in place during the Founding Era. Militia regulations were the most common form of
    laws pertaining to firearms. Such laws could be quite intrusive, allowing government not only to keep track of who had firearms, but requiring them to report for a muster or face stiff penalties."'

    Regulations governing the storage of gun powder were also common." States prohibited the use of firearms on certain occasions and in certain locations. A variety of race-based exclusions disarmed slaves, and in some cases, free blacks.  Loyalty oaths also disarmed portions of the population during the Founding Era.

    This pattern of regulation shifted dramatically in the decades after the adoption of the Second Amendment. In the years after the War of 1812, a number of states enacted laws against the practice of carrying concealed weapons. The first laws were passed in southern states, but midwestern states such as Indiana also passed similar laws. The first round of laws made it a crime to carry such weapons. Later, several states enacted even more stringent laws, banning the sale of concealed weapons.

    The article goes on about different cities and states andt he history of their gun-control laws.  Laws that today, would be thought of by the NRA as oppressive.


    Wyatt Earp (none / 0) (#56)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:37:05 PM EST
    sought to enforce the gun ordinance in Tombstone against the Clantons.....

    So many errors (none / 0) (#60)
    by ragebot on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:48:22 PM EST
    in your post it is hard to list them all.

    First other scholars dispute the claim that guns were rare.  Next many laws of the past would not pass a constitutional challenge.  The failure of attempts by state and local governments to pass gun regulations the courts allow is clear evidence of this.

    It is true that many have the wrong view of gun ownership in the past.  But some of the claims in the link you posted are simply wrong and there is no way to sugar coat it.  


    The fact that ... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 07:48:09 PM EST
    ... "other scholars" dispute something doe not make it "wrong" - particularly when that scholar is John Lott.

    It is true that many have the wrong view of gun ownership in the past.  But some of the claims in the link you posted are simply wrong and there is no way to sugar coat it.

    And yet, you don't indicate which claims are "wrong" or provide evidence to back up the claim.

    Go figure.


    I'll take (none / 0) (#61)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:54:18 PM EST
    My sources over the NRA propaganda and people like the much discredited John Lott any day.

    The one word refutation of your sources (none / 0) (#66)
    by ragebot on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:32:53 PM EST
    is Heller.

    In case you cut class the day they taught law school let me try and help you get up to speed.  Heller against DC is the case where the SC affirmed lower court decisions about gun rights in 2008.  Here is the first few lines from your source.  While it may not be ancient history you fail to note it is badly out of date.

    A Well Regulated Right: The Early American
    Origins of Gun Control
    Saul Cornell
    Nathan DeDino

    Since 2008 when Ted Cru


    Heller (none / 0) (#79)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 03:07:42 PM EST
    was wrongly decided, IMO.

    But the fact that Scalia et al engaged in the same glossing over of historical fact, as you seem wont to do, doesn't change, you know, the facts.


    At least (none / 0) (#80)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 03:19:29 PM EST
    Breyer addressed the realities of hitorical gun control laws in his dissent.

    Bet you are conflicted (none / 0) (#81)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 05:23:29 PM EST
    when someone says NFIB against Sebelius was wrongly decided.

    How so? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Yman on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 07:43:55 PM EST
    You believe in the infallibility of the Supreme Court, or that one must agree with all their decisions to be consistent?

    Why would I be? (none / 0) (#86)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 10:50:06 AM EST
    I think parts of it WERE wrongly decided.  I also think parts of the law were bad as written.

    What's your point?


    Actually, the Founding Fathers had a more ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 04:59:03 PM EST
    ... practical reason for the Second Amendment, given that the federal government at the time did not have standing military forces of any real significance. The 13 states, with their scattered cities, towns, villages and individuals, were often on their own when it came to self-defense.

    Even as late as the outset of the Second World War, the total standing U.S. Army was no more than 100,000 active duty men, one-quarter of which were deployed at the time in the Philippines, where they were compelled to surrender to invading Japanese forces in April and May 1942.  

    That's why the first clause, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state," was included in the 2nd Amendment's text. Prior to the First World War, the mobilization of substantive military forces in the United States in the event of potential hostilities was for the most part left to the states, upon formal request by the Department of War.



    And, let's not forget (none / 0) (#85)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 09:27:00 PM EST
    the racism aspect of gun laws during, and after, slavery. Slave owners, understandably, were quite concerned about insurrections and, also, in recapturing runaway slaves.

    RIP, Joan Fontaine (1917-2013). (none / 0) (#6)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 11:39:01 PM EST
    Joan won an Academy Award as Best Actress opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 classic, "Suspicion," and was also nominated the year prior for the title role of Hitchcock's "Rebecca."

    Sadly, Ms. Fontaine probably became more well known for the decades-long public spat she carried on with her equally talented and famous older sister, actress Olivia De Havilland, who survives her.

    The longstanding feud was noteworthy only for its often remarkably petty and vindictive nature, and their catty sniping at each other via dueling press releases really cast neither woman in a very good light with the public. One can only wonder if either sister ever remembered its exact origins in their later years. They never reconciled.


    I'm very sorry to admit it but (none / 0) (#8)
    by ZtoA on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:42:46 AM EST
    I like Restaurant Impossible. Not that guy, Robert Irvine (think that is name) tho. He seems like a buffoon wearing a he-man plastic suit. Actually I really don't know why I like that show. The designers are pretty cool. and the new recipes are.

    I never see movies in a theater. Its a cluster of paranoid reactions for me. Too sensitive about the size of the images. "oh no that nose is actually 10' tall!" -- all too much stimulation. So I love to watch after they come out on DVD and actually enjoyed the Hunger Games this weekend.

    I'm trying to think of DVDs to order for my 89+ mom for christmas. She would love to watch movies. I've ordered The Secret Garden, Fly Away Home, Princess Bride, Never Ending Story, and Tootsie. She may be a bit frail but is in every way intact and unfairly intelligent. Oddly I've never heard her swear. I guess we family all fill that space. Any suggestions????

    Perhaps the movie Hugo for your mum? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:40:21 AM EST
    Hugo is Fantastic!! (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:56:08 AM EST
    Hopscotch, Roman Holiday, Charade, Arabesque, Wait until Dark (scary)....  Certified Copy (postmodernish and complex)

    Size (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:55:21 AM EST
    I also get affected by movies in the theater, but it us usually more about the content of the movie...  so I pick accordingly.

    Regarding the 10 foot nose problem..  you can adjust the size of the noses by sitting in the back row... in a large theater the nose can get to be less than 1/8 of an inch..

    i prefer to sit close up to so everything is huge..


    Duck the Halls, Duck Dynasty's XMas special, (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:04:07 AM EST
    is one I'm giving my Mom this year.  Weird but true.  

    She subscribes to the New Yorker, reads every page of the New York Times, has a huge DVD collection of BBC mystery and police procedurals, loved Morris and Agatha Christie...  

    So... we were shocked to find her watching Duck Dynasty.


    Thanks all (none / 0) (#28)
    by ZtoA on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:48:17 PM EST
    for the great suggestions. Mum will be getting a wide range of viewing this xmas. Not sure she would go for Duck Dynasty....but I might.

    Morris the cat? (none / 0) (#46)
    by unitron on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 04:04:05 AM EST
    Or did you actually mean Inspector Morse, as portrayed by the late John Thaw?

    John Thaw's Morse (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:31:21 AM EST
    (pronounced vaguely like Morris, here in the hinterlands)

    Elder Daughter's favorite movie ... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:42:45 PM EST
    ... when she was three years old was "The Never Ending Story" and "Beauty and the Beast," and she literally wore out our VHS player with them.

    I gotta tell ya, I'd sooner agree to listen to "Stairway to Heaven" once an hour daily on my favorite local rock station, than see either of those two films ever again.

    Ooh! Ooh! I just had a brainstorm! Why don't you get your mother a copy of "No Quarter: Robert Plant and Jimmy Page Unledded", their 1994 live release? It's totally epic!



    Really loved the Egyptian percussion (none / 0) (#37)
    by ZtoA on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:15:15 PM EST
    !! But not for my mum since she is nearly deaf and can watch movies only if they have captions. But thanks for the link!

    I really love percussion. Several years ago I got a djembe drum and played around on it, even took some lessons, but percussion is hard! The closest I can come to doing something with both hands is typing and the sai.


    Then buy Page & Plant for yourself. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:38:55 PM EST
    Why can't we indulge ourselves a little at Christmastime, and buy ourselves a present? "No Quarter" would be a great stocking suffer.

    For years, The Spouse and I had a running joke with our daughters at Christmas from the time they were little, in which we would each buy something for the other, and then stick it in the girls' X-Mas stocking grab bags, whereupon they would find it and look bewildered, "Why did Santa give me this?"

    Thus, for example, when Younger Daughter at age 5 didn't quite understand why Santa brought her the Rolling Stones Live CD "Stripped," she naturally gave it to me instead and felt like she was doing me a favor, because I didn't have a stocking for Santa to fill -- even though it was surreptitiously planned that way all along! My mother thought it was mean and manipulative, and frankly said so. I guess it was.

    Anyway, it was inevitable that they would catch on when they got older, and six years ago they neatly turned the tables on me, with the help of their grandmother, of course. I awoke on Christmas morning to discover that Santa had indeed left me my very own stocking -- a big red one covered with shiny sequins, with my name nicely embroidered across the top of it, no less.

    Only when I dumped everything out, it was full of make-up, eye-liner, nail polish, toys for the cat, a couple Britney Spears CDs, the latest novel by Danielle Steele, a bottle of Metamucil and a gift card for Pac Sun (which was then THE place teens preferred to shop for clothes), all the stuff I obviously would never want, but which the girls and their grandmother did. Touché.



    Homeland's ending (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:51:03 AM EST
    Really depressing, they do realize people might be suffering holiday depression right now don't they :)?

    Wow, I was doing the usual last minute Christmas double check list in my head of who got what, who needed what, is this okay, is that okay, and thought I would take a holiday break and watch Homeland.  Well, that break was a mistake.  Energized NOT!

    Late to the thread, but I agree about Homeland (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by ruffian on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 07:09:23 PM EST
    Did not like this season - it is only a good show when it is about Brody, and he was hardly in it.  His finale made sense to the story, but it was so sad. I really was shocked.

    I've always watched the show, but Carrie has always annoyed me too much to really say I liked it. I think I will save myself an hour on Sundays next season and just not watch.


    It was quite a sense (none / 0) (#15)
    by MKS on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:11:25 AM EST
    of moving on with Homeland.  

    But a new baby always brings hope for the future.  

    The sense of wistful reminiscing by Saul as he walked the halls at the end was very striking.  Time moves on for all.


    If it were me (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:40:25 PM EST
    And I'm pregnant and watched the father of my child hang for a CIA op....well that is when I become manic depressive and crazy.

    That hormone thing when pregnant made me a tiger.  My daughter told me that in 50 Shades of Gray there is a scene where the dude caresses the main female characters pregnant tummy with a whip.....I gasped.  This is not an erotic thought for me.  You know in the movie Predator where that monster thing removes the head with spine hanging on, the monster is me and the bodiless spine dangling from my hand once belonged to the man who would caress my pregnant tummy with a whip.


    The refugee crisis in Syria (none / 0) (#13)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 09:13:29 AM EST
    is a humanitarian issue.


    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 219 (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 09:16:30 AM EST
    She's one gal you don't want to become obsessed with. (link)

    Vol. 218
    Vol. 217

    No rain, but it's still Monday. Jury duty, doctor's appointment, work, sigh....

    60 minutes on NSA (none / 0) (#18)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:13:04 AM EST
    A Federal Judge on the NSA: (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:30:28 PM EST
    The mass collection of metadata "Likely" Unconstitutional, "Orwellian," rules federal judge.

    Facebook saves everything you type (none / 0) (#33)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:46:03 PM EST
    link even if you don't post.

    Ha Ha Ha (none / 0) (#19)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 11:36:46 AM EST
    I wrote a few weeks ago that I could imagine Paul Ryan or Mike Huckabee being among the GOP strongest contenders in 2016 but not Christie.

    The pundits however have a crush on Christie.

    It is still very early but Ann Seltzer has an extremely well earned reputation of reading the pulse of Iowa correctly.

    This is what she found out.

    The Tag Team (none / 0) (#25)
    by christinep on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:29:44 PM EST
    The reality--as in the ephemeral current snapshot in Iowa--is usually mirrored in A. Selzer's evaluations in past years.  More interesting to me, in terms of the which-Repub-pol-is-up-to-what, is the twosome from Wisconsin.  Who is really supporting or appearing to support whom?  And, what is your take, Politalkix, on Rep. Paul Ryan's footwork lately ... is the aim Congressional advancement or Executive advancement (or a bit of both?)

    Lot (none / 0) (#40)
    by Politalkix on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 05:48:10 PM EST
    will depend on how Scott Walker's re-election run goes in 2014. My gut feeling tells me at this time that he will get beaten up politically. I may be wrong but we will see.

    Paul Ryan's dizzying footwork of late gives me the impression that he has set his sights firmly on the Presidency in 2016.


    Walker will win re-election (none / 0) (#74)
    by Towanda on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 07:08:02 PM EST
    despite being the first governor of the state who had to raise a criminal defense fund, despite six convictions of aides and donors in John Doe 1, despite the ongoing John Doe 2, despite the lies in his book, despite the aide just fired for tweeting outrageously re Hispanics, despite the ongoing, daily, despicable actions against the rights of just about anyone who doesn't like Walker. . . .

    . . . .because the big money will come pouring in again from outside of the state.

    Even with the EMILY's List help for Burke, because she is a terrible candidate.  Dems implode again.


    ... what with that political stunt he pulled with the George Washington Bridge onramp closure. That's the sort of petty and vindictive stuff which might later come back and haunt him, if the media's of a mind to give him some serious grief later over it.

    Maybe, ... (none / 0) (#75)
    by Yman on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:10:35 PM EST
    ... but I don't think it's going to be a problem unless there's some evidence that turns up showing his personal involvement.

    On a side note, I saw him today at a restaurant where I was having lunch.  For whatever it's worth, the lap-band surgery he had seems to be working - at least to some degree.  Still a very large guy, but he's definitely lost weight.


    Not sure where I stand on this (none / 0) (#22)
    by ragebot on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 12:51:42 PM EST
    Fallout from the PSU mess has three admins facing lots of charges.  Part of the problem is that they thought they were being represented by the PSU lawyer who now is a star witness for the state.  Lots more details here and some crazy comments after the text


    Way too much criminal stuff for a land use guy like me to figure out.  Maybe a criminal lawyer could figure out if Baldwin's testimony should/will be admitted or not.  In any case it is fun to read what the PSU fanboys think.

    Fantastic Article (none / 0) (#23)
    by CST on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:01:28 PM EST
    On the marathon bombers by the Boston globe.  Less radical muslim terrorist, more emotionally disturbed schizophrenic with a bad childhood.


    CST is back! (none / 0) (#24)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:28:06 PM EST
    It does not surprise me that a person who plans and executes such a horrible bomb attack on the people watching the Boston Marathon is/was mentally disturbed.

    Sister Wives (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:43:03 PM EST
    Had not heard of the teevee show, Sister Wives, until now:

    District court ruling finds key parts of Utah polygamy laws unconstitutional.

    Judge Clark Waddoups' 91-page ruling, issued Friday, sets a new legal precedent in Utah, effectively decriminalizing polygamy. It is the latest development in a lawsuit filed by the family of Kody Brown, who became famous while starring in cable TV channel TLC's reality series "Sister Wives." The show entered a fourth season at the end of the summer....

    "The court finds the cohabitation prong of the Statute unconstitutional on numerous grounds and strikes it,"

    Ruling Here

    Interesting (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:04:55 PM EST
    I did not know that shacking up in Utah was not legal

    That explains why ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:52:17 PM EST
    Or, as they like to call it (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 01:13:29 PM EST
    Virtual Polygamy.

    Interesting links (none / 0) (#30)
    by ragebot on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 02:14:08 PM EST
    to the VC analysis of the decision.  Basically it was not so much about what I will call "legal polygamy", but more about cohabitation.  While undergrads most of us knew of multiple folks of different sexes living together and often having multiple partners, some of us know of similar situations even now.

    As usual there is some thread drift and I was greatly amused by the VC comments on the topic of


    For a more serious discussion here is the VC link with the 1A analysis.  Seems a man living with and having sex with multiple women is fine under the law (maybe not in Utah where there is an adultery law still on the books) but if you say you are married it is the speech that is the real crime.  Maybe a free speech violation.



    First Peter O'Toole, then Joan Fontaine. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 04:24:18 PM EST
    And now, RIP, Tom Laughlin (1931-2013), who starred as the alienated Native American war veteran Billy Jack in three films -- "Born Losers" (1967), "Billy Jack" (1971) and "The Trial of Bill Jack" (1974). A fourth, "Billy Jack Goes to Washington," was filmed but then shelved after garnering a meager box office in limited release.

    You had to like a leftie do-gooder like Billy Jack, who sought only to teach the world to sing about peace and harmony, preferably by using his considerable martial arts skills to pummel anti-social scum, whenever he wasn't busy throwing other assorted right-wing tools and scoundrels through plate glass windows and off desert cliffs.

    Laughlin's self-produced and -financed films are dated and embarrassingly cheesy when viewed today, but four decades ago, Bill Jack was The Man, and he and wife / co-star Dolores Taylor no doubt cried all the way to the bank.

    Aloha to a guy who proudly wore his progressive principles on his sleeve, and would kick your sorry a$$ to the curb and then into the bushes for good measure if you said something off-color about it.


    Lawrence is one my top 10 (none / 0) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 07:33:44 PM EST
    films and O'Toole was brilliant. Watching it again shows how prophetic it was in... '62? '63?

    It was released in 1962. (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 08:53:23 PM EST
    Filmed in panoramic 70mm, "Lawrence of Arabia" is a big, bold and beautiful spectacle of a movie which really deserves to be seen on the big screen, the way that director David Lean intended it to be. Even though it's a magnificent story, broadcasting it on the television simply cannot do it justice.

    As far as its "prophecy" is concerned, I actually think that T.E. Lawrence's story offers us both the primary reason why the British Empire at its zenith actually lasted less than a century, and a cautionary tale about the wicked nature of empire.

    You couldn't continuously play everyone for saps and fools on a mass scale the way the British did in the late 19th and early 20th century. And I always found it astonishing that they got caught with their pants down after the Second World War by the pushback they received in the colonies, given that they instilled in subjugated peoples the type of negative memories and experiences which get passed down through subsequent generations.




    (Who'd have guessed, eh?)

    Budget moves past filibuster threat in the Senate (none / 0) (#49)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:01:44 AM EST
    All 55 Dems and Independents along with a dozen Republicans made the total 67-33 in favor of moving forward. It now only needs a simple majority vote in the Senate to pass.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 220 (none / 0) (#50)
    by Dadler on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 11:20:16 AM EST
    St. Nick as marriage counselor. (link)

    Vol. 219
    Vol. 218

    Tuesday, blues-day. Have a great one, my friends.

    The challenge to Hillary (none / 0) (#54)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:33:50 PM EST
    from the Left may be made by former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who has called Obama a corporatist and warned against a hard right turn by Hillary....and he has not ruled out a run himself....

    This will be interesting.   Looks like VP Schweitzer to me.  (He didn't call Hillary a corporatist--just said it was a concern she would go too far to the right.)

    Funny quote about that (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 12:41:25 PM EST
    David Axelrod on MSNBC:

    While Axelrod thought Schweitzer's stances on gun control and environmental issues would lose him support on the left, he said if Clinton's campaign fails, as it did in the early part of the 2008 Democratic primaries, to connect "with everyday Americans," then she could be at risk. "The question is did she learn something from that last experience," he said on Morning Joe on Tuesday.

    The hilarious thing about that is the revisionist history.  It wasn't HILLARY who didn't connect "with everyday Americans" - even in the early primaries.  It was Mr. Axelrod's client.

    But go for it Brian Schwietzer.  See if you can out-progressive Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Martin O'Malley or whomever.


    Axelrod didn't say anything (none / 0) (#58)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:20:43 PM EST
    about the early primaries in your youtube link. He spoke of early caucuses. Still, what he does in the interview is praise Hillary's ability to come back strong after losing early and suggests she'll be very hard to beat. (She did lose 3 of the first 4 caucuses/primaries in 2008)

    Not sure where you found the blockquote but it isn't really what he says about 2008 and there is no revisionist history in what he says.


    Actually (1.00 / 1) (#59)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 01:46:06 PM EST
    that's exactly what he said (yes, I misused "primaries" when I meant "caucuses", although all the early races were not caucuses.).
    He said she was a terrible candidate in 2007 (Really?  She was way ahead of everyone in 2007.  Interesting that she was so "terrible").  He then said that it was only after Obama cleaned her clock in a few little caucus states (with help from bused in college kids) that she learned to connect with ordinary Americans.  Which is wrong -she has ALWAYS connected with ordinary Americans (unlike Mr. Axelrod's client).  She did NOT however, connect with the young college kids who didn't think she was "cool", Claire McKaskill's teenage daughter, nor any of the folks at MSNBC, who thought it funnier and more in the realm of good political discourse to talk about her laugh and her cankles.

    So yes, he is really trying hard here.

    And the fact remains, as the one right thing Mr. Axlerod points out - Brian Schweitzer is never going to be able to outflank any of the names being bandied about for a nomination - not on the left, at least.


    I agree with you on Brian Schweitzer (none / 0) (#65)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:22:17 PM EST
    He cannot run to the left.

    I voted for Hillary in the Florida primary and plan on doing it again, and hope Axelrod is right in his statement earlier this year:

    "I think that Hillary Clinton probably will be the candidate,"

    As for McCaskill and cankles, it's pretty obvious you are letting your personal dislike of others from 2008 color your interpretation of what was said in the interview. Let it go. You'll be happier.


    Define "everyday Americans", jb (none / 0) (#69)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 03:58:09 PM EST
    now you've got me curious.

    Schweitzer has close contacts with (none / 0) (#70)
    by christinep on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 04:13:57 PM EST
    the fishing community in Montana.  I'd say (as you suggest about the VP notion) that he is engaging in pre-season angling.  I've always enjoyed watching and listening to him--and, he can impart the populist touch in a decent speech--but, as I recall, he won't go too far on a limb.  

    He could best be described as a savvy Montana populist who knows his way around the East Coast as well as the Mountain States.  A kind of authentic dust-bowl descendant of the Democratic variety, who like another Dem governor of similar spirit, he had shown a knack for bringing together the fishing/hunting community with environmentalists in his successful first run for governor. Before I add that he has a bit of the "corporatist" survival tendency that he ascribes to the WH a bit, it might help to note that I contributed to him in the past (and made the annual Christmas card list.)  I do like Brian Schweitzer ... a very charming and innovative politician, a politician tho who has demonstrated that he knows how to be appropriately close with the coal industry (i.e., Montana's lucrative Powder River Basin.  As BTD might have said "Pols do what pols do."

    Special note:  Sounding a positive note about Montana's Schweitzer, for me, primarily means that he could be a good VP potential alongside Hillary Clinton as the nominated Democratic Presidential candidate.  So long as he reins it in a bit, it could be a good combo for the fall of 2016.  


    Oops ... the similar western populism (none / 0) (#71)
    by christinep on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 04:23:22 PM EST
    to which I alluded in the comment was that of former Colorado Governor Roy Romer.  He remained popular across party lines.  'Loved to wear his flight jacket around, & you could tell that the man from the eastern Colorado plains felt comfortable in that and the cowboy boots ... kind of like Brian Schweitzer.

    First Painting (none / 0) (#73)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 05:43:37 PM EST
    GZ does not only share a given name with GWB,  but they have taken up the same hobby.. namely painting. Although GZ seems to be making political art while GWB seems more interested in the painterly tradition.

    Zimmerman's first painting is on ebay... starting bid $50. (including $40 expedited shipping), is now bidding at $100K.

    Interested in bidding? sale ends December 22nd.

    Maybe he should shoot (none / 0) (#76)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 01:06:54 PM EST
    cans of paint the way William Burroughs did.

    Not Possible (none / 0) (#78)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 18, 2013 at 01:22:11 PM EST
    He does not have that kind of imagination, imo. As hard for it is for me to give GWB any props..  his paintings have something going on, while GZ's seem purely a commercial venture.. empty, vapid, no one home..