Thursday Open Thread: Aspen Bound

I'm off to NORML's annual Aspen legal conference. My talk this year: "Federal Responses to Marijuana Legalization, Both Good and Bad." Here's the entire agenda, it's a privilege to be included with these impressive lawyers.

I'll be back Saturday night, after the annual Owl Farm picnic.

Enjoy the weekend, the weather is beautiful here. This is an open thread, all topics welcome.(I'll put up new open threads if this one fills up.)

(Date corrected from Friday to Thursday)

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    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 365, The End (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Dadler on Thu May 29, 2014 at 01:25:06 PM EST
    Thank you for the many, many laughs and (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Angel on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:27:28 PM EST
    thought provoking commentary.  You're a genius!

    Are you sure you don't want (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:54:00 PM EST
    To try for a decade?.

    You have an audience.


    It is still Thursday, isn't it? (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu May 29, 2014 at 01:47:22 PM EST
    Not that I wouldn't be thrilled if it were Friday, since these 4-day weeks often are worse than the 5-day ones (holiday on Monday?  No problem - just do 5-days' work in 4!).

    Anyone watch the Snowden interview?  Anyone else think, like me, that John Kerry's comments were bad enough before the interview, but after, when juxtaposed against Snowden's, revealed Kerry to be an a$$ of major proportions?  

    I'm hoping for a transcript of Snowden's remarks.  Kerry had to resort to "man-up"-macho rhetoric, while Snowden elegantly and eloquently spoke of the meaning of freedom and democracy.  This, which I found at The Guardian, I found particularly incisive, and poignant:

    "I take the threat of terrorism seriously. And I think we all do. And I think it's really disingenuous for the government to invoke and sort of scandalize our memories, to sort of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don't need to give up and our constitution says we should not give up."

    Recent polls (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:02:37 PM EST
    put Snowden's popularity higher than Obama's.  I will be interested to see what happens when the names of folks who the govt spied on are released.

    I don't necessarily feel the same way ... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:48:00 PM EST
    ... about Edward Snowden's eloquence as you do, but I agree that Mr. Kerry's "man up" remarks were clearly beneath him in his capacity as Secretary of State, and wholly unnecessary.

    (Besides, I believe that any man who admits to preferring Swiss cheese on his cheesesteak hoagie really has no business questioning the masculinity of any other man. And further, what about those obvious Botox treatments he's gotten to reduce the age lines on his face? Real men and women aren't afraid to age gracefully.)

    Snowden did what he felt he had to do, and while I might question his methodology, there's no getting around the fact that his revelations were eye-opening, to say the least. The wrongdoing he committed in leaking classified material is trumped by the NSA's own wrongdoing, in which they violated our right to be secure in our own persons.

    I'd like to see Snowden and the feds work out some sort of deal whereby the former is allowed to come home without threat of trial and imprisonment. I think a lifetime ban on his future receipt of any security clearances would suffice as penance for his transgression. Anything more would smack of petty retribution and gross vindictiveness, given the magnitude of the questionable and intrusive data-mining activities that were going on at NSA.



    Kerry's had more than Botox, I think; (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Anne on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:37:31 PM EST
    he really doesn't even look like the same person.

    But, leaving all that aside...I'd be curious to know if you watched the interview, heard him describe his efforts to go "through channels" to bring his concerns to people who could address them.

    Those who've only heard about Snowden through the lens of people like Kerry, who never miss an opportunity to demonize him and speak of him in the most belittling ways, might have been surprised to see and hear a highly intelligent, rational, well-spoken individual explain why he did what he did.


    There does seem to be evidence (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:45:30 PM EST
    in the form of emails for starters that Snowden shared his concerns about how far govt spying was going.  Emails to both his supervisors and coworkers seem to exist.  Snowden claims he was basically told to shut up and go along to get along.

    No doubt he violated some laws, but so did lots of other folks in the govt.  When they start putting those folks in jail you can talk to me about charging Snowden.


    Botox for sure, (none / 0) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:56:56 PM EST
    what do you think about that leonine mane?

    What I think is amazing about his hair (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:03:57 PM EST
    it is reverse grey

    Everyone else I have ever known, I think, had greyest hair in the temples over the ears and more normal colored hair higher up.  (At least at first, befor the grey climbs and spreads).
    But Kerry's is the exact opposite.  Always has been.   Explain this?


    Stylist advice (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:49:41 PM EST
    Obviously spray in colorant it looks to me.  Clearly defines the edges of that fivehead.  Makes his nugget look less wide :). I'm just awful.  I'm rotten.  I admit it right up front.

    Nah (none / 0) (#59)
    by sj on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:30:53 PM EST
    That distinguished temple look doesn't run in my family. Graying happens either top down, or salt and pepper gradually becoming more and more salt. He greys exactly as I'm used to seeing it.

    Not on myself, of course.


    I didn't get a chance to see it. (none / 0) (#90)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:11:45 AM EST
    Unfortunately, our local NBC affiliate KHNL-TV broadcast the Snowden interview at 5:00 p.m. HST, which is about 90 minutes before I usually get home from the office. But I'm taking the day off tomorrow (chemo day, hooray, hooray), and MSNBC is replaying the interview at 3:00 p.m., so I'll watch it then -- with an open mind, I promise.

    I'd also suggest that you first (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Anne on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:54:55 PM EST
    watch the 2-part Frontline "United States of Secrets," and then watch the Snowden interview.

    It might put a few things in perspective.

    And if we're going to muse about what might be an appropriate "punishment" for Snowden, I'd like to expand the musing to consider what might be an appropriate punishment for, or how you suggest we deal with, the people who decided their power and position exempted them from accountability.  I don't think we're ever going to get back what those people have taken from us, and that, to me, is a far more serious crime than what Snowden did to bring it to light.


    I did watch the PBS show. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:35:34 AM EST
    And I agree with you, because I think that horse has already left the barn. In the aftermath of 9/11, far too many Americans proved themselves far too willing to trade away our personal liberties in exchange for feelings of security and safety. And as Benjamin Franklin once mused, for that, we likely deserve neither liberty nor security.

    Donald, I think the problem is that (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:31:22 AM EST
    most people have no idea how much of their freedoms and rights have been compromised - and as long as they can go about their business, as usual, not feeling like they are being restricted in any way, chances are they're simply not going to get too worked up about any of this.

    Do these blissfully ignorant people believe - or could they be convinced - that the reason we haven't suffered new attacks on the scale of 9/11 is because of these programs?  But then, how do you explain the Boston Marathon bombing?  Why is it that it seems the only plots we can ever break up are the ones we set up to begin with?  The government keeps telling us they have to do all these things to keep us safe, but then something like Boston happens, and it seems they can't really keep us safe after all, can they?

    The so-called "reform" that's been undertaken in the wake of the Snowden revelations seems to be kabuki theater at its finest.  Fanfare and dramatic headlines, legislation that has any spine or teeth or strength whittled away to something that resembles a fancy paper snowflake - full of holes, but pretty - games played with the meaning of common-usuge terms so as to dupe the average citizen into thinking his representatives really were working to preserve their rights and privacy, and not just working to preserve the massive amounts of power they've come to love so much.

    This is an aspect of government I no longer trust.  And why would we?  So far, the NSA has "found" one e-mail from Snowden - after they told us, told Congress, no, they had nothing.  They wanted the people to believe it was Snowden who was lying - but who looks like the liar now?

    How much more do they have?  What else have they lied about?

    These are questions most people are not asking.  They're getting up every day and going to work or school, taking care of children, cooking and eating meals, shopping, watching TV, going to the mall, surfing the net, planning barbecues and going on vacation.  You can't convince them they aren't as free today as they were in 2001 - and that's a perception that works better than it should for those behind all these programs.


    Trust? (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:41:15 AM EST
    This is an aspect of government I no longer trust.  And why would we?

    When did you lose your trust in the particular aspect you refer to?

    Personally I never had trust in government. I understand the natural temptation for indulging in nostalgic reverie, but since when has the intelligence arm of any government been trustworthy?

    I think that the trust you speak of had been shattered long ago, Shakespeare writes about it...  


    There is no nostalgic reverie in my (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:04:57 AM EST
    comments - not that that ever stops you from inserting it so that you can pat yourself on the back for being so worldly-wise. So, how shall we say, indifferent, accepting in a that's-just-the-way-it-is-get-over-it kind of way.  

    If you could sous vide your indifference, perhaps I would find it more palatable.

    What trust I had - and it was never at the level of blindness you seem to think it was - has evaporated as we've learned more and more about what the intelligence/national security monolith has been doing in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.  How little our leaders have done to honor the oaths they took, how much they've erred on the side of the accretion of power and not accountability for the exercise of it.

    There is a place for and valid reasons for this country to have intelligence operations and security programs, but they have clearly crossed the line.  It remains to be seen whether anything or anyone can push, pull or drag them back where they belong, whether anyone will ever be held accountable, or whether it will once again be a case of just getting people used to where the line is now - even as I'm sure they're already working to move it farther out of the reach and control of the people.

    "Nostalgic reverie," my a$$.


    post-9/11.. (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by jondee on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:15:20 AM EST
    read the Church Committee report.

    What was the Intelligence community doing during the Cold War? Fomenting coups overseas, plotting assassinations, dosing it's the citizenry with drugs, and yes..gasp!..spying on it's own citizens.

    Snowden's revelations are about business-as-usual with more refined technology.


    True but one can't compare (5.00 / 2) (#159)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:07:23 PM EST
    the capabilities of now vs. then.

    Frontline has done excellent reporting on this.  It's simply mind boggling how many people go to work every day with the main purpose being to collect our data and analyze it.

    Just in sheer numbers today is nothing like before.  Throw all the technology aside, there are more people today spying then there have ever been.

    Like all things government, programs and agencies don't shrink.   They just get bigger and the spy game is not only growing, it's expanding at an exponential rate.


    In 1975, when the Church committee (none / 0) (#150)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:49:39 AM EST
    came into being, I was graduating from college; I was not plugged in politically, I was going to parties and hanging out in the local college bars.

    Five years later, I would get married, and the first of my kids would come along in 1983 (the second in 1986).  We bought land, built a house, moved, had kids, went back to work, juggled work and day care and pre-school and after-school and sports and play dates.  Occasionally, my husband and I remembered who we were before kids.  I couldn't remember the last time I got to use the bathroom without company.  It was a busy time, with not much left over for anything (see "using the bathroom without company", above) much less politics.

    So, pardon me  - or not - for not being born with a ready store of knowledge of the inner workings of our intelligence community, or for being in a place in my life when acquiring that knowledge wasn't at the top of the list of "things that mattered to me."

    Should I have to study history before I can have an opinion about what is happening now?  Does context really help, and if so, how, or who?  Am I supposed to feel better about what is happening now in light of what Frank Church and his committee exposed almost 40 years ago?  More sanguine?  

    Perhaps you can tell me how I should be feeling, or what would be considered sufficient awareness that my opinion could have a place.


    Blissfully Ignorant (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:00:43 PM EST
    Donald, I think the problem is that most people have no idea how much of their freedoms and rights have been compromised - and as long as they can go about their business, as usual, not feeling like they are being restricted in any way, chances are they're simply not going to get too worked up about any of this.

    Some things never change, which includes government's intrusion on constitutional rights, and secret power plays.

    I was going to parties and hanging out in the local college bars.
    Five years later, I would get married, and the first of my kids would come along in 1983 (the second in 1986).  We bought land, built a house, moved, had kids, went back to work, juggled work and day care and pre-school and after-school and sports and play dates.  Occasionally, my husband and I remembered who we were before kids.  I couldn't remember the last time I got to use the bathroom without company.  It was a busy time, with not much left over for anything (see "using the bathroom without company", above) much less politics.

    OK (none / 0) (#139)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:15:08 AM EST
    When did you lose the little trust you had?

    Or were you setting up a literary device to enhance your rhetoric?

    I certainly never had trust, but I guess I read Shakespeare early on.


    Indifference (none / 0) (#147)
    by squeaky on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:26:36 AM EST
    Not sure where you get indifference, from, except it is to be expected, as you have a reflexive need to insult anyone who questions one of your comments.

    Not ever trusting government, my long held position, does not equal indifference. Far from the case...  but you knew that.


    When I was growing up (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by ZtoA on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:11:22 PM EST
    most of our family friends were Jewish. And all of the Jewish friends and friends of other minorities never trusted government. But I was blissfully ignorant and blissfully blind to what a "minority" was or that there was any difference at all. as well as ignorant of history. Well, not blissful but ignorant. Like Anne I discovered government and histories as I grew into an adult. But I always had a few very politically informed friends and both parents were involved in local chicago politics. They were part of the original sponsors of Tammy Duckworth.

    I really did not know the extent of government surveillance or intrusion into personal lives until the 90s and then furthered by Snowden, and probably don't know much yet. I have a well connected friend who says "they know everything" and if one uses google lots of entities know way too much.

    So I agree with Anne on the ignorance part. But Anne, you did not have to snobbishly imply snobbery with your bacon coated critique.


    And, when I was growing up (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by christinep on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:10:21 PM EST
    All the relatives around me--starting with my Dad--instilled what I call a "positive skepticism" about almost all institutions  Slovenian on my Dad's side and Polish on my Mother's heritage, they carried their European parents does-it-really-mean-what-it-says approach to institutional narratives.

     My Dad, for example, always had an optimistic view of life and relationships and progress -- literally, once, giving the shirt-off-his-back to someone in worse straits; he had a hard life beginning in the coal mines at 13, but he relished that life as he taught us to do.  At the same time and as he read about anything he could get his hands on (including the Dictionary every night), he railed about the "oligopolistic system" and the inequities that sprung from it.  He laughed ... lustily; he didn't accept whining nor despairing.

    I am thankful beyond thanks for that optimistic engagement with life side-by-side with positive skepticism about the institutions we create.  I feel a kind of sympathy for those who have to lose unabashed acceptance of glossy history & political tales.  It is one thing to find out the "truth" about Santa when one is 5 or 6; it is quite another disenchantment to learn that pedestals supporting certain tales are man-made.


    First off (none / 0) (#111)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:14:50 AM EST
    Hope your chemo is going well.

    Mine is as I'm 3 rounds into 6.   So far so good.  Tumor is stable and not growing.  Doc says it may never shrink and just die becoming scar tissue.   Hope for the best.

    As far as the NSA goes one question I have is who do we hold more responsible for the ridiculous explosion of the NSA and intelligence post 9/11?

    Obviously the Bush administration got this all rolling and pushed the constitutional and moral limits but a least they had the excuse of recent attacks.

    The Obama administration came in talking of cutting back on the abuses of the Bush Administration and from all evidence not only have they not done that they've taken it to another level.

    Plenty of blame to go around.  For libertarians like me it is just more evidence of once we allow the government to get control of something we never get it back.


    Good health vibes (none / 0) (#114)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:21:03 AM EST
    To you both

    The pursuit of Edward Snowden (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:43:12 PM EST
    and, especially, the charges of offenses under the Espionage Act of 1917, are, in my view , at odds with Snowden's actions.  Edward Snowden is a whisteblower--an action that seems implicitly acknowledged by the government with its steps to reform the abuses that he made public.

    The president empaneled his own group of experts on reform and congressional intelligence committees have concluded the need for reforms based on the Snowden revelations (We have even observed the spectacle of an open fight between Senator Feinstein and the CIA).

    The president and the congress have recognized the need for changes as manifest through an overhaul of NSA's once secret bulk phone records and other fundamental changes.  Whether the changes proposed are adequate is not the issue at hand, but rather the recognition that the Snowden revelations set the stage for change. At a minimum, the president and congress see the need for perception of change.

     Indeed, just yesterday, in President Obama's commencement address  at West Point on foreign policy,  he proclaimed  the need for more transparency  in intelligence gathering, including eliminating abusive surveillance practices.


    I have one question for those on list (none / 0) (#38)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:56:48 PM EST
    Can they sue?

    Yes they can sue (none / 0) (#44)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:35:47 PM EST
    The real question is who has standing, what are the extent of the damages, and what compensation they might be due.

    I am sure the DOJ will assert sovereign immunity but not sure how well that will fly.

    I would not expect big money damages but I will bet a nickle some polls will be embarrassed.  


    Obama's foreign policy speech / vision (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:01:45 PM EST
    Not well received, or frankly, believable.

    President Obama gave the commencement speech at West Point yesterday, but he didn't impress "the Big 3" with his foreign policy vision - the NYT:

    President Obama and his aides heralded his commencement speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday as a big moment, when he would lay out his foreign policy vision for the remainder of his term and refute his critics. The address did not match the hype, was largely uninspiring, lacked strategic sweep and is unlikely to quiet his detractors, on the right or the left


    But he provided little new insight into how he plans to lead in the next two years, and many still doubt that he fully appreciates the leverage the United States has even in a changing world. Falling back on hackneyed phrases like America is the "indispensable nation" told us little.

    nor The Washington Post:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA has retrenched U.S. global engagement in a way that has shaken the confidence of many U.S. allies and encouraged some adversaries. That conclusion can be heard not just from Republican hawks but also from senior officials from Singapore to France and, more quietly, from some leading congressional Democrats. As he has so often in his political career, Mr. Obama has elected to respond to the critical consensus not by adjusting policy but rather by delivering a big speech.

    In his address Wednesday to the graduating cadets at West Point , Mr. Obama marshaled a virtual corps of straw men, dismissing those who "say that every problem has a military solution," who "think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak," who favor putting "American troops into the middle of [Syria's] increasingly sectarian civil war," who propose "invading every country that harbors terrorist networks" and who think that "working through international institutions . . . or respecting international law is a sign of weakness."

    Few, if any, of those who question the president's record hold such views. Instead, they are asking why an arbitrary date should be set for withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan, especially given the baleful results of the "zero option" in Iraq. They are suggesting that military steps short of the deployment of U.S. ground troops could stop the murderous air and chemical attacks by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. They are arguing that the United States should not be constrained by Cyprus or Bulgaria in responding to Russia's invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine.

    nor even the WSJ (possible paywall):

    The speech President Obama delivered Wednesday at West Point was intended to be a robust defense of his foreign policy, about which even our liberal friends are starting to entertain doubts. But as we listened to the President chart his course between the false-choice alternatives of "American isolationism" and "invading every country that harbors terrorist networks," we got to thinking of everything that wasn't in his speech.


    We know that no foreign policy speech can cover the entire world. But listening to Mr. Obama trying to assemble a coherent foreign policy agenda from the record of the past five years was like watching Tom Hanks trying to survive in "Cast Away": Whatever's left from the wreckage will have to do.

    When you get the NYT, WaPo, and WSJ to agree, that is indeed, an unusual day.

    If WP's Fred Hiatt had been impressed, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by christinep on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:42:21 PM EST
    there would truly be something wrong, jbindc :)
    In that vein, recall that those papers (with later switch or recant by the NYT) were central to the media's drum-beating support for Iraq to be sure.  Clearly, the WP particularly has a muscular editorial approach to international intervention by the US. Considering their complicity in playing the war drumbeat in years past, a very large grain of salt is the recipe here.

    The dilemma that the President faces with regard to spelling out a new 21st century foreign policy is the traverse between the news-dominant preference for a muscular approach vs. the isolationist agenda of the Rand Paul types and, frankly, others who are so war-weary from the first decade of this century that any talk of even a measured US international role leaves them cold.  Under those circumstances, Obama managed to walk that tightrope.  While I tend to disregard the philosophy of the right-driven WSJ, I do pay attention to NYTimes editorials; and, the general tenor of this one primarily faulted Obama's approach on two points: First, the NYT believes that date driven timelines are a mistake (and that view is shared by traditionalist Washington DC thinking); and, Second, the NYT seems to suggest that the stated policy somehow be encapsulated or named in a grand manner or in a broader named/identifiable manner that is not case-by-case oriented.

    It is fair to say, I think, that the use of stated timelines for drawdowns itself draws critics (such as the WP's David Ignatius, whom I respect as practical & experienced overall) ... but, it is also fair to say that the drawdowns may actually be working in getting us extricated from more than a decade of war and working in accord with what the people (not the publishers) appear to want.  As for the matter of having a clear, concise statement of policy in a paragraph or two--with a name like the Monroe Doctrine or Containment or the Bush Doctrine--I think that goal has a special allure because we like to name things and write short essays on such.  

    One of the practical problems with reaching what the NYTimes appears to want at this point is that the "leaders" may be way ahead or behind the people.  The President sounds a plaintive note in challenging whether anyone has actually come up with a better idea of how to approach such conundrums as the Ukraine, Syria, and the vacuum left after drawdowns.  Yet, that reminder rings true to a lot of real people who learned through years of dragging on war that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Podhoretz, Judy Miller, the pages of the cited newspapers, and other Neo-Cons shoved at us that the bravado dogmas and stances are words only.  Words, btw, that caused many thousands to lose their lives.  In many ways, the last paragraph of the NYTimes editorial today may be the most significant in its acknowledgement that how the foreign policy crises and challenges actually play out may the real legacy.  Not a carefully crafted slogan or any official foreign policy manifesto as we still work on resolving the foreign policy sins of the past wars.  And, finally: It is more than possible that the historical positioning now is really a transitional time that paves the way for the natural development of the yearned for 21st Century Foreign Policy reality.


    Shorter: (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by jbindc on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:47:02 PM EST
    If the NYT agreed with your rosy worldview and would have said his foreign policy was great, you would have, of course, said they were very wise.

    Sorry - Fred Hiatt, or whomever wrote the editorial for WaPo, said it best:

    As he has so often in his political career, Mr. Obama has elected to respond to the critical consensus not by adjusting policy but rather by delivering a big speech.

    Not a rosy view at all (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by christinep on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:18:22 PM EST
    I wish there was the "magic formula."  As for the NYTimes, I respect their sense of somehow wanting more ... tho, for the life of me, I haven't heard anyone really say what that should be.  Surely, we would not want our President to declare, loudly & passionately, "Bring it on!" when the world is faced with the complexities of a Ukraine or a Syria.  As for the WashPo, the Hiatt-dominated board continues its predictable pattern of demanding muscular exceptionalism.

    Nope, jbindc.  While I do believe that President Obama has moved the foreign policy diplomatic marker ahead, I also find the formulation statement not satisfying.  But, in all honesty, I have not heard anything better.  And, I suspect most of us don't really want to go near any in-depth foreign policy discussions in our country right now, unfortunately.  The sadness tinged with sour cynicism from the continual war-footing
    in this century is the true legacy.  For now.  

    Is there anything resembling a consensus or agreed to approach about what foreign policy should be? Does Rand Paul say it best? What about McCain/Graham? The Bushes? If President Obama is trying to re-craft a TR "speak softly, but carry a big stick" ... would TR now be laughed at?

    Oh, an what is your position or outline about a template for American foreign policy today?


    The problem with Obama (none / 0) (#30)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:29:12 PM EST
    is he has no policy....just some examples...

    "Assad must go".   Doesn't back it up.

    We invade Lybia then let it self destruct.

    We threaten Putin and Crimea is gone.

    On and on and on.   Obama gives a speech, lays out some straw men that don't exist and then does nothing while the world moves on without him.

    Doing nothing would be a better strategy if he'd just shut up and stop talking.   But being the guy that he is he can't help but talk, and talk some more and then do nothing.

    To me that is worse.   He doesn't want to be a warmonger (who does exactly?) and he doesn't want to be an isolationist (again other then maybe the Paul's who does?) so he muddles along responding to the latest crisis with words, maybe a speech and then little action.

    You can forgive the international community for not taking him seriously.   Why would you?  

    I can't even take serious anyone that would argue he has a strategy.   The speech yesterday makes that as plain as can be.   He doesn't seem to look past the next news cycle.  


    My take, is that (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:01:18 PM EST
    the West Point commencement speech being billed as a broad foreign policy statement was a miscalculation.  It was, really, Afghanistan-centric, an opportunity to present the troop withdrawal plan--an overdue exit that was politically sensed to require broader embroidering.

     It would have been much more to my liking if the withdrawal was completed by the end of his year--it is difficult to see what can be done with the reduced number of troops that could not be done with before, other than to literally, yield a skeleton force , at the added cost of about $20 billion.  

    In a way, I believe you are correct that the foreign policy strategy is a form of doing nothing, in the good sense of nothing is better than doing something that is likely to do harm.

     The best outcomes, despite the sometimes seemingly disorganized process,  were when  a studied less, rather than a reckless more was done--the changed course in bombing Syria or arming "rebels" of unknown intentions; new economic "warfare" to deal with Putin, who had better enjoy his Crimean success while he can, for he has a tiger by the tail with east Ukraine, and cautious movement in other matters of unpredictable global equilibrium.  

    The worst decisions, and outcomes, have come from doing something just to do something:  Surges in Afghanistan, Libya was wrong-headed and now Libya is likely to wind up with a Chalabi-clone, General Khalifa Hifter, a recent resident of Northern Virginia and good friend of the CIA.

    In many ways, and not presented as an excuse, the Obama foreign policy was, necessarily, a remediation strategy for the ill-disposed Bush policies and strategies.  And, Putinism is derived from policies since the collapse of the USSR.

     If that Afghan embroidery about our global contract needing to be re-forged, it needs to be presented, next time, before an audience other than just a military one--all Americans need to understand the challenges so that they can understand the strategies.  


    All good points (none / 0) (#83)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:11:51 PM EST
    But you can't argue Obama is carrying out some master plan.

    He makes it up as he goes along often having to backtrack when he or people like Kerry put their foot in their mouth.  

    Calling Afghanistan anything but a failure is laughable.  Obama lead the surge.   It was his idea.  Many soldiers were sent in to die because of him and we're no better off then we were in 2009 when he took over.

    Now we are leaving.  Great job.


    The problem with Obama for you (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:43:35 PM EST
    Is that he isn't  a republican

    The last foreign policy you were in love with got us two wars you refuse to pay for, a broken economy, and 13 American embassies attacked.



    Don't put words in my mouth (none / 0) (#82)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:07:12 PM EST
    Bush was a disaster and so is Obama for different reasons.

    The two ideas aren't mutually exclusive.

    If you have to bring up Bush to defend Obama the arguments over.  

    As for Crimea really?   As if Russia taking over a part of a country is good news.  

    I suppose the complete disaster that is the Middle East is good for us to?


    Obama is not a disaster (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:19:36 PM EST
    You are only a hater

    Crimea does not matter (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:16:14 AM EST
    Russia has done this with Georgia.

    And the Soviets did it with Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

    We stood by and did nothing each time.  

    You want a name of the doctrine for this? It is called "containment" and was developed by Dean Acheson and Harry Truman.

    We have fewer wars than when Obama took office.  That is much better and an improvement.

    The hyper aggressiveness of the Neocons has been a complete disaster.....


    New reports (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:20:10 AM EST
    Russian soldiers are leaving the Ukraine border.  Someone walked into to Putin's office with the bill for all this that he could finally hear.

    I myself thinks that Putin is doing something amphetamine as Hitler was when he was a lunatic :)


    For the "containment" policy (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:25:39 AM EST
    we need to recognize George Kennan, too.

    Containment? (none / 0) (#113)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:20:06 AM EST
    Containment?   You call what Obama is doing containment?   Hah, hah, hah.

    Using your logic we should reward England, Canada and Mexico for their work on containing Putin.

    We're not involved.   We've put meaningless sanctions on Russia and developments are happening there despite us.   Not because of us.

    Watch the recent Frontline on our Ukraine and Syria policy.   It's frankly an embarrassment.

    In Syria the CIA is training rebels but not in anything they can use.   Syria bombs civilians from the sky and the rebles are helpless.  

    I guess we can call that containment too?  One rebel points out that it appears Americans don't want the rebels to win but they don't want the Assad regime to win either.   He thinks the policy of America is for an endless civil war.

    Sounds about right.   We got that are "contained".


    Take it up with Churchill (none / 0) (#132)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:41:17 AM EST
    You need to study the doctrine.

    The idea is to avoid wars.   Syria does not matter, either.

    You and John McCain can call for all the aggression you want.  Thank God, we have a President who is resisting that stupidity.  


    I don't think we should be doing anything (none / 0) (#160)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:11:00 PM EST
    It's exactly none of our business.

    But Obama can't do either.   he can't get involved and he can't stay away.

    He talks, and talks, takes half measures and then acts as if he has a policy.

    That's my point.   he doesn't know what to do so he just flails away.  Meaningless diplomatic talks, tough talk he doesn't back up and now apparently assistance to certain rebels that does nothing more then prolong the conflict.

    Get in or get out.   Don't try and do both.

    You are falsely attributing a strategy to Obama    He has none, that's the problem.


    So talking is bad? (none / 0) (#183)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:02:33 PM EST
    You strain to find fault.

    We have not bombed Iran.  We are out of Iraq. We will be out of Afghanistan.  We have not started another war--all good.


    I don't understand your point (none / 0) (#187)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    My point is Obama doesn't have a coherent foreign policy strategy other then not start wars (unless you don't count drone strikes, aiding Syria and bombing Lybia).

    You apparently only care if we don't start another Iraq and Afghanistan.

    If that is the only thing that's required to achieve success then point taken.  

    Obama is awesome.


    That is huge (none / 0) (#188)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:17:15 PM EST
    Keeping your guy Dick Cheney away from the controls is critical.

    You want Obama to talk better, or do something, to make the world better, but you don't say what. You in effect fault Obama for not controlling world events.

    Just be honest--you are just looking for a talking point.

    Peace is important.  We are headed that way with a pull out from Afghanistan.   The Republicans get us into unnecessary wars.

    If we talk and achieve nothing, that is fine by me.  Talk is better than bombs.....


    "All or Nothing" (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by christinep on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:30:01 PM EST
    The more that slado expands on his/her approach to foreign policy, the more it becomes clear that the viewpoint is "either do nothing or do something strong/direct conflict" (military action of some sort appears to be what is suggested when strong decisiveness is sought.)  Some may need that kind "either-or", specific non-deviating rule, order defined by action.  

    What Obama seems to favor--at this point in our history--is a case-by-case evaluation of an international crisis.  Unlike what slado and those who favor implacable rules desire, the President actually employs a method-screening to analyze the first, second, and third (etc.) responses as the international situation invariably changes.  I'm sure that it can drive non-process types up the wall.  But, it sure beats jumping into something with boots and arms only to find out later that wars usually are unpredictable.  (Iraq or Vietnam anyone???)


    Assad v. Al Qaeda (none / 0) (#135)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:55:02 AM EST
    Just who do we want to win that war?

    Right wing extraordinaire Laura Ingraham is against helping the rebels because they are anti-Christian Muslim terrorists....


    To be brutely honest (none / 0) (#162)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:12:31 PM EST
    It sucks but we should stay out and let someone win.

    A winner equals peace.

    Now we have a protracted civil war and we are assisting just enough to keep it going.

    Either help the rebels succeed or stay out of it.

    Of course Obama can't decide what to do so we just muddle along.


    Not so sure about that (none / 0) (#190)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:24:43 PM EST
    A stalemate is an equilibrium.

    A win would typically be accompanied by a lot of violence.  You got to wipe 'em out to win.

    So, all this Fox News "no strategy" criticism.  What is your strategy?  


    NBC's Richard Engle (none / 0) (#33)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:36:58 PM EST
    And Crimea voted that they wanted Pootie (none / 0) (#81)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:46:23 PM EST
    And Pootie got an economic crippling White Elephant.  If you really want Pootie to suffer you should be rejoicing.

    That fountainhead (none / 0) (#136)
    by jondee on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:04:30 AM EST
    of banality and Kissingerian realpolitik the New York Times..

    They helped lie us into a war and yet they're still taken seriously by some people.


    Come on, they only agreed (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:47:32 PM EST
    That the speech wasn't that great.  I'm not going to listen to bunch of hawks at WAPO or WSJ or THEIR strawmen who got a whole bunch of US service members killed and injured in Iraq for a pack of lies, and who now won't pay for the adequate care the survivors, diss this Preisdent on drawing a hard line with Afghan leadership.

    Frankly, they can kiss my A$$


    Its borders actually extend westward some 5,000-plus miles from where you live. And quite honestly, most of us who live out here in the hinterlands do not hang onto every word from the New York and Washington media, as though they constituted some sort of divine revelation.

    Frankly, given that the three sources you cited acted less the part of a skeptical Fourth Estate than a deranged, fact-free and Beltway-tethered pep squad during the run-up to the military disaster that became Iraq, I really don't give much if any credence to their pronouncements anymore -- particularly on matters of defense policy.



    A great big windariffic chest pounder (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:35:59 AM EST
    From the podium at West Point is the last thing anyone in this country needed. We already had one of those anyhow.

    All these hawks declaring Obama an isolationist now are killin me too.  Have they not received any of Snowdens memos?  How about an email?  No man is an island, and if you are we are recording all your cell phone calls too.

    I hope those graduating from West Point found their Commanders speech celebrating their graduation adequate.  The speech was for them, not the Heritage Foundation :)


    "windariffic" (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Mr Natural on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:32:42 AM EST

    Without (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by lentinel on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:32:09 PM EST
    going through the whole thing, I would simply like to say that our Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry, revealed himself to be as dumb as a post in his response to Mr. Snowden's comments.

    The phrase that particularly moved me was Kerry's saying that Snowden should "man up", and come back to the US to make his case. Apparently, John hasn't noticed that Mr. Snowden has made his case quite convincingly.

    Be a man, Snowden?

    Be a chump is more like it.

    What is wrong with someone like Kerry. He seems to have the capacity to walk and chew gum at the same time, and then he reveals in an instant that he is a bumbling arrogant fool, and prone to the use of sexist imagery on top of it.

    Gawd. Let this fool leave the world stage ASAP.

    We were right, (back in the day) (none / 0) (#118)
    by Mr Natural on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:35:23 AM EST
    Never trust anyone over thirty.

    Or, as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us..."


    Ah, the joys of being a high school student... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by desertswine on Thu May 29, 2014 at 11:19:40 PM EST
    in Utah.  
    A group of female Utah high school students say they're shocked to discover their yearbook photos were digitally altered to cover up bare skin.

    Only the females mind you.  This is beyond simple prudery, I think it borders on insanity, if you check out the pictures.

    "Never say Never" - Bryan Cranston (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Mr Natural on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:42:15 AM EST
    Those three little words from Bryan Cranston have sent Breaking Bad fans crazy with hope, crazy with thinking that maybe, just maybe, we haven't seen the last of Walter White.

    It all happened in an interview with CNN's Ashleigh Banfield on Thursday night, when she questioned that final moment.

    Ha (none / 0) (#121)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:50:18 AM EST
    Yes FB warriors giddy as schoolgirls.

    The show was an economic and cultural phenom.   I would be amazed if it doesn't reappear in some form.

    And very very happy if it did.  BUT.  Only if Gilligan is involved.  
    It was him beginning to end.


    He could show u somehow in the (none / 0) (#144)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:21:52 AM EST
    'Better Call Saul' prequel. Maybe Saul goes to the car wash.

    WH Spokesperson (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by jbindc on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:15:17 PM EST
    Difficult to "man-up_ (5.00 / 3) (#199)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:44:45 PM EST
    and make your case, when even a TV critic (Alessandra Stanley, NYT, May 30) can't  report  on Brian Williams NBC interview with Edward Snowden without sounding like she is on James Clapper's payroll.

     Ms. Stanley starts by missing Barbara Walters who would have been "nosier".  No questions such as "do Russian women consider him a catch?" Then moves on to report that the NBC interview gave Snowden a chance to show that he isn't a wild-eyed lunatic (in case you were wondering).

    Ms. Stanley also reports that Snowden charges that the government has not shown how any of his revelations have harmed national security or individuals, but cunningly counters that Snowden, in turn, has not shown how government surveillance has harmed a single American either--putting her vast knowledge of the US constitution on display for the TV viewing public to marvel.  

    Ms. Stanley acknowledges how nice Snowden speaks, so fluent, no   "Ums" or "like"--but this is not necessarily good, since it reminds her of Eliza Doolittle, of my Fair Lady, who it was said her English was so good she must be foreign.

     And, Snowden has a tinge of superiority in his tone with Brian Williams, when he said that Brian's questions were fair.  He showed that he was smart alright but a high school dropout you know)  but, again, that is not all good.  Because if he was that smart it calls into question, for her, why he would flee to Hong Kong without an exit strategy and be stuck in Russia.  

    And, of course, she go in a jab at Glenn Greenwald saying that, despite all her reservations, Snowden is a better ambassador for himself than the "smug and unreasonable" Greenwald.  A plus for Snowden, a minus for Greenwald.

    The column ends with "It's still not clear if Mr. Snowden is a patriot, a whistle-blower or a traitor."   But,  one thing that is clear from the article is that Alessandra Stanley is a vapid critic  and a hack.

    Got my first 'Ready For Hillary' mailing (5.00 / 2) (#201)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:08:40 PM EST
    With a nice photo of her taking the SoS oath of office with Bill and Chelsea looking on.

    My misgivings are documented, but dang, it would be fun if she ran.

    Sweet mother of god (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:13:07 PM EST
    Animatronic Lady Gaga lookalike wows gallery visitors

    The animatronic figure, which was created by Jordan Wolfson and Spectral Motion, can currently be found wowing (and creeping out) visitors at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York.

    A video showed the creation moving like a real life dancer to the amazement of people at the exhibit.

    The robot, which was dressed in a racy outfit, also used facial recognition technology to follow people around.

    I hadn't been in Aspen since I was a teen... (none / 0) (#3)
    by magster on Thu May 29, 2014 at 01:59:27 PM EST
    in the 80s until last summer. Aspen itself, meh. But Independence Pass and the trails in that area were some of the most spectacular areas I've ever seen in Colorado.

    Independence Pass, one of my favorite places (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by ruffian on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:53:08 PM EST
    I used to make that drive on 4th of July, for obvious reasons. Really miss CO. Sigh.

    Me too (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:56:10 PM EST
    We are thinking about building a family caravan there this summer.  Josh must go with oxygen now, but I think it would be worth it.

    I haven't been through there in years (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:42:49 PM EST
    Maybe it's time for a three dog road trip.

    And ... the entire Roaring Fork Valley (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by christinep on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:58:28 PM EST
    The enticing Crystal River too.  In summer and winter, beautiful to the eyes and refreshing for the spirit.  BTW, if you fancy cross-country skiing, magster ... the Ashcroft area with views of Maroon Bells has its own reward.  Matter of fact, we're thinking of returning to Glenwood in late summer when a Virginia-living cousin visits ... so that she can finally experience what it means to swim, soak, & revel in the mountains all at the same time.  (Thanks for the idea about coming back the next day via Independence Pass.)

    If you want a real thrill, ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:07:43 PM EST
    ... fly into Aspen on a jet airliner sometime. While you'll be treated to a beautiful view, the white-knuckle approach / landing at ASE ranks right up there with those found at San Diego Int'l, Tegucigalpa Int'l in Honduras and the old Kai Tek Int'l in Hong Kong. It certainly serves as testament to a pilot's skill.



    Oh c'mon Donald... (none / 0) (#103)
    by fishcamp on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:15:12 AM EST
    The flight approach to Aspen is not even close to the other locations you mention, it only appears that way.  When approaching from the West aircraft have more than 25 miles of clear mountain free approach.  Granted Aspen Mountain is straight ahead of the landing but by then you've landed.  And even if you have to make a go around there's still plenty of room.  The most dangerous landing I know of is St. Barts in the Caribbean.  BTW the very first Aspen flights to Denver in a DC3 only cost $25 each way.

    Some day I intend to go to the music festival (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:35:52 PM EST

    Take your wallet (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:51:56 PM EST
    I have a couple of friends who have a house there.  I visited once.   Very expensive weekend.

    Yes Aspen can be expensive (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by fishcamp on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:26:01 AM EST
    but most resorts are.  Most of the Aspen Music Festival is in the big tent at Aspen Meadows and hundred sit outside on blankets to listen for free.  One can also attend the informal practices inside the tent for free.  I think it's way more fun to sit outside and the sound is so big it doesn't matter where you are.

    Operation Choke Point (none / 0) (#5)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:18:43 PM EST
    Moving pictures for those of us like me that are reading impaired

    Chicken Choke Point

    I don't even own a pornagraph (none / 0) (#7)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 02:39:39 PM EST
    and I was happy to see this decision.  Kinda wonder where the FBI is on this since they seem so willing to identify Hammond as the most wanted cyber criminal.  To me what these guys did is worse than embarrassing silly pols


    So I'm wrapping my onion rings with bacon. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:05:31 PM EST
    Just breaking the rules, and here comes Josh asking what I'm doing.  I explain.  And I tell him I'm baking a Brie tomorrow too with balsamic cherries in it....not en croute though, I don't want bread in my way.  I'll bring bread in when I want it in.

    He tells me I'm a light weight, and those aren't bacon wrapped onion rings.  Those are just rings of onion.  I ask who bacon wraps onion rings and he hands me his phone with Epic Mealtime playing


    When it's over he says, "Yup, they're Canadian."

    What does that even mean?  That Canadians lead the world in bacon wrapping and curling?

    Ha (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:28:12 PM EST
    That's a  lot o bacon.

    This just popped up on FB.  An effective time killer.



    Too much cool (none / 0) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:53:23 PM EST
    I used to go there as a kid... (none / 0) (#87)
    by desertswine on Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:32:46 PM EST
    it really changed my life.

    I love the place (none / 0) (#127)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:29:51 AM EST
    Used to go there regularly.  That and the Empire State was my standard out of Towner tour.  Art museums  on day two.

    I assumed you meant (none / 0) (#129)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:32:07 AM EST
    The AMNH in NY that was actually the NMNH in DC.  Did you mean that one?

    Um (none / 0) (#130)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:33:36 AM EST
    For some reason I thought you were one of the commenters who's name began with "ny"

    Never mind.


    I made those bacon-wrapped (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Anne on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:28:31 PM EST
    onions last night - put them on the grill, being careful not to burn them - and we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.  I had some good-sized Vidalia onions, too, which just got sweeter as they cooked.

    I have two sons-in-law who would probably eat them as fast as I could get them off the grill.

    I think they'd be good with barbecue sauce painted on them instead of the Sriracha, too.  If you really wanted to get carried away, you could set up a make-your-own station and provide some different sauces to go between the onion and the bacon - or even some garlic slivers or chopped jalapeno you could wrap into the thing.

    I made the Sriracha/mayo/lime juice dipping sauce, too, but to tell you the truth, they were fine with no additions at all.

    [my mouth's watering a little just remembering how good those treats were]


    Delicious (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:48:39 PM EST
    I ran with Moores wing sauce.

    The universe is a hologram (none / 0) (#18)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 03:36:14 PM EST
    Physicists discover `clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram

    A team of physicists have provided what has been described by the journal Nature as the "clearest evidence yet" that our universe is a hologram.

    The new research could help reconcile one of modern physics' most enduring problems : the apparent inconsistencies between the different models of the universe as explained by quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity.

    The two new scientific papers are the culmination of years' work led by Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan, and deal with hypothetical calculations of the energies of black holes in different universes.

    The idea of the universe existing as a `hologram' doesn't refer to a Matrix-like illusion, but the theory that the three dimensions we perceive are actually just"painted" onto the cosmological horizon - the boundary of the known universe.

    This model of the universe helps explain some inconsistencies between general relativity (Einstein's theory) and quantum physics. Although Einstein's work underpins much of modern physics, at certain extremes (such as in the middle of a black hole) the principles he outlined break down and the laws of quantum physics take over.

    Some theoretical physicists (none / 0) (#45)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:43:53 PM EST
    think dark matter is just short hand for 'we got gravity wrong, again' and dark energy  is just a new sexy name for an old concept: the cosmological constant.

    Almost every one knows E=Mc2 means energy = mass times the constant squared.

    Does anyone seriously thing dark energy = dark matter times the constant squared.


    I have been reading quite a bit about this (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:01:54 PM EST
    Recently since it's been in the news.  One of the more interesting things I've seen is the suggestion that this could explain, or help to explain, what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance". Or quantum entanglement . Which is the apparent ability of some information to travel faster than the speed of light which is supposed to of course be impossible.  The idea being that the information is not really traveling vast distances instantly because the distance is an just illusion of perception.

    We still don't know how the four basic forces work (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by ragebot on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:37:09 AM EST
    There is currently no agreement on the speed gravity is propagated.  If the sun vanished would it take not quite ten minutes for the earth to spin out of orbit or would it happen instantly.  The ICP famously asked how magnetism works.  Few people are even aware of the weak force and the strong force, not to mention how they work.

    I can still remember back in junior high school I was taught the universe was about 3.5 billion years old.  Now it is suppose to be 13.5 billion years old.  I have lived a long time, but not that long.

    What ever we think about the universe now I am sure in a hundred years folks will be laughing at how wrong it was.


    I planted a bunch of trees yesterday... (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Mr Natural on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:15:54 AM EST
    And today, I feel ten billion years old.

    Well (none / 0) (#112)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:19:00 AM EST
    It's true that ever question answered poses 10 more questions but I think we are fortunate to live in a very special time.  Computers really are changing everything and will continue to even faster.   Until now our ability to compute has been limited to Darwin.  Computing capacity is growing hundreds of times faster.  With the LHC and the new telescope that is finding that one in five stars has earth like planets in the habitable zone and all the other stuff the information graph is a hockey stick on steroids.  What I wouldn't give for another 60 years.

    We're entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. Because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today's rate of progress; organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at a faster and faster pace.

    Originally published in Perspectives on Business Innovation. Published on KurzweilAI.net May 1, 2003.

    Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, an entrepreneur, an author, and a futurist. The creator of the first reading machine for the blind, speech recognition technology, and many other technologies that help envision the future, Ray Kurzweil is one of the most innovative creators of our time. His most recent book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, asserts that by 2020, computers will have outpaced the human brain in terms of computational power. His insights into the accelerating rate of technological change and the exponential growth of computing power shed light on the challenges we face in society and business. Christopher Meyer, Director of the Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation, sat down with Ray Kurzweil to discuss the implications of permanent volatility.

    If this guy and many others who say the same (none / 0) (#120)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:44:06 AM EST
    Are even half right it gives you hope that even the planet might be saved.  
    If computers really do become anything like sentient in the next couple of decades and realize we are destroying the planet the Terminator story line may not be so far from future history.  With a slight adjustment to who the "bad guy" is.

    Great advances for sure (none / 0) (#142)
    by ragebot on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:19:39 AM EST
    Several countries currently have the ability to deploy enough EMP devices to destroy all, or certainly almost all, of the working computers on earth.

    Imagine if conventional explosives were deployed on the Hoover Dam.  Sure Las Vegas would be finished, but most of Southern California and its huge populations would be hurting for electricity and water (like there is not a water problem there now).  Something like the

    Carrington Event

    would be a disaster on a level humans have never seen.

    This is one of the best books I own, a great history of the golden age of science

    The Sun Kings

     Reading this book may change your mind about science.


    I don't think so (none / 0) (#180)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:49:15 PM EST
    About changing my mind.  It sounds interesting though.
    But now we are into speculation-end of days-glass half full or empty stuff.

    I'm a half fuller.  


    I would love to sit in on (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:12:14 PM EST
    Some of those.   But Owl Farm definitely sounds like the most fun.

    It appears very likely (none / 0) (#31)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:31:44 PM EST
    the Senate will be Republican come November...


    You never know of course but Republicans seem very likely to get to 51 or 52 based on the latest polls and the overall environment.

    Obama keeps giving speeches like yesterday and maybe they get to 55.

    You mean it's not now? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by ruffian on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:11:06 PM EST
    Could have fooled me.

    If we Democrats want to keep the Senate (none / 0) (#36)
    by christinep on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:49:04 PM EST
    we need to hold Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska, and North Carolina.  Recent news -- in the form of poll pulse-taking rather than pre-written pundit predictions -- suggest that Dems can retain those states.  (BTW, I would wager that Senator Mark Udall isn't going anywhere ... but the premature hype by Repubs that the likes of a Cory Gardner makes him vulnerable does help with Dem fundraising in this locale.)

    Admittedly, it would take a lot of magic to transform the situations in West Virginia and South Dakota to something winnable for Dems.  Montana probably falls in that category too (I'm hopeful, but ....)  What is amusing to a partisan such as myself is the amount of time & $$$ that Repubs have to spend to defend such "givens" as Kentucky and Georgia.

    Slado:  You might want to take a look at the subtle new language drifting into the DC punditry's latest forecasts ... it is something along the lines of statistics/national voting patterns/adages versus the actual candidates.  That might explain something about Louisiana and Arkansas.  It might also explain something about why red Ga and Ky have proved so difficult to date (and why Colorado may be on the road to re-electing Udall.)


    We will keep the senate (none / 0) (#41)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:06:17 PM EST
    You may want to see 2012 (none / 0) (#42)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:10:45 PM EST
    That was the year I convinced myself that polling data and history didn't matter but right wing blog chatter did.

    Elections reflect statistical patterns and all the stats point toward a big republican victory.

    Here's some realities...

    The President is extremely unpopular.

    The Health Care law is still unpopular.

    The President is dogged by scandals that eat away at the democratic idea that big government can work (VA, Healthcare, NSA etc...)


    I'm not predicting victory because you never know with 5 months or so to go but history and polls suggest Republicans will be smiling in November.

    As for candidates that meme is not really true because the republicans have put electable candidates in almost every Senate and House race this year.   Unlike in the past.

    If you went on the RCP average today it'd be a 50/50 tie with Dems squeaking out victories in AR and CO by 1 or 2 points.  

    Considering the wave that is likely to be coming in November (as happened in 2010) a 1 or 2 point lead right now isn't going to be enough.

    We shall see but be careful to not get caught in happy group think.   I saturated myself with right wing happy talk that said Romney could win and I was severely disappointed.    Once the polls and stats get going in a certain direction history tells us that the likely outcome is usually the correct one.

    You could be proven right because anything is possible but the odds are definitely against dems right now.

    2014 Wave bigger then 2010 and 1994


    Agree that wishful thinking doesn't work (none / 0) (#52)
    by christinep on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:10:02 PM EST
    That is why I say to you:  Look at the available polling data for Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, & North Carolina.  If there is going to be the wave that you are wishing for, slado, it should be appearing on the horizon for the Senators in those states very soon.  

    And, as a pragmatic Coloradan, it is looking quite good for Udall.  Gardener is a weak candidate... particularly because of attitudes and votes associated with anti-women views ... like his earlier personhood position ... that kind of stuff lost it for erstwhile candidate Buck against Bennet a few years back, and it is still a losing position for Repubs in CO.


    Look at the links (none / 0) (#84)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:16:51 PM EST
    They directly counter your points.

    Polls now show republicans ahead or close in all the states they need  to get to 54 and farther ahead in the generic vote then they were in 1994 or 2010.

    Meaning the wave could be bigger then we've ever seen.   If I was a Dem not up by 4 pts or more I'd be sweating.


    So what? (none / 0) (#93)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:33:55 AM EST
    Hillary will kick the Republicans arse silly.  If the Republicans take the Senate in 2014, the Democrats will retake it in 2016.

    The Republican party in its current state is finished.  Reagan assembled a coalition that is now kaput, bankrupt.  The modern Republican Party is based on the proverbial three legged stool:  social conservatives, hawks, and economic conservatives.  

    Two of the three legs have been cut out from underneath you.  Liberals have won the culture wars.   Social and religious conservatives have lost. They are rapidly losing influence and will melt into the woodwork.  Marriage equality has finished them.  Thank God.

    The Hawks and the Neocons were discredited when there was no WMD in Iraq.  They are finished.  No one wants to be more involved or militarily aggressive overseas.

    The modern Republican Party will regroup around economic Libertarianism.  In other words, you guys will reconstitute the Barry Goldwater coalition. Good luck with that.

    And, for good measure, you deserve all you get for opposing Immigration Reform.  Half of the school aged kids in Texas are Latinos.  Half.  Texas will turn blue.  It is just a matter of time. We saw this movie in California.

    So dance around the fire in 2014.  It will most likely be your last hurrah.


    Ok (none / 0) (#115)
    by Slado on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:24:07 AM EST
    We'll see.

    Hillary is a flawed candidate.   Republicans would much rather run against her then some new hotshot democrat that can take advantage of demographics.

    I love how a person that got taken to the woodshed by a political unknown in 2008 is somehow unstoppable.

    Not only does her old baggage come into play but she's going to have to run defending the Obama legacy.

    Good luck with that.


    Very happy we agree on one thing (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by CoralGables on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:23:18 AM EST
    We both hope Hillary runs in 2016.

    "got taken to the woodshed " (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by nycstray on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:36:39 AM EST
    really?  {sigh}

    Who is going to run against her? (none / 0) (#133)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:47:03 AM EST
    Jeb?   Another failed set of Bush policies?



    Demographics? (none / 0) (#134)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:49:01 AM EST
    Do you mean Latinos?

    Hillary is way more popular among Latinos than Obama....

    Keep blocking Immigration Reform.....


    National landscape polling (none / 0) (#168)
    by christinep on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:49:20 PM EST
    has been differing from certain individual state polling.  The old nationalized issues vs. brand name/localized candidates ... Pryor, Landrieu, and Begich are strong examples of the power of localization in a face-to-face race.

    Just saw revised economic numbers (none / 0) (#48)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:52:45 PM EST
    for the first quarter.  Not good news, first contraction in three years


    I know all the cool kids want to talk about Obama's foreign policy speech at West Point not addressing stuff in Eastern Europe and the Middle East but I am more worried about China.  They just sank a ship flying a Vietnam flag, Japan jets buzzed the Russia/China naval war games, and Indonesia is contesting China's claims of a big economic zone in the South China Sea.

    America can knock the slobber out of anybody in Europe or the Middle East, but I am not sure about China.


    How would we lose (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:54:17 PM EST
    Did not say US would lose to China (none / 0) (#74)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:24:14 PM EST
    just that we might not be able to kick the slobber out of them like we could everyone else.

    But the point I was trying to make was that what is going on in Eastern Europe or the Middle East is more of the same; been there, done that, got the Tshirt.

    On the other hand China is definitely getting more aggressive with its neighbors than anytime in recent history.   Chian's  claims of air space over the South China Sea seems to have upset almost all of their neighbors.

    It is something I would think at least deserves mention in a major foreign policy speech.


    I am so tired of this kick the slobber (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:39:37 PM EST
    Attitude.  We only need determent.  You couldn't even kick the slobber out of Iraq.  And now you don't want to pay for the adequate care of those who came home broken.  Your ilk has zero idea how to use and maintain a functioning US military force pertaining to foreign policy.

    And a squabble in the china sea involving a fishing boat over boundaries does not a war make unless you are an Obama hater, or a psycho, or both.

    This $h*t happens all the time in Korea.  Do you have PTSD or something and are unable to gauge true danger properly now?


    Kick the slobber (none / 0) (#92)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:21:22 AM EST
    That means a lot of dead people....I am sick and tired of this macho cavalier attitude.

    When will you guys learn.  War means people die.  And the U.S. need not get all upset and act like egomaniacs because its manhood has been questioned and it can't kick the slobber out of someone.

    The Chinese have been consistently insular for hundreds of years.  They have not been militarily aggressive.   We have a much greater military capability than they do.

    Why do you guys want to start a war with China?


    I don't pretend any insight on this (none / 0) (#55)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:12:15 PM EST
    But a few days ago my nephew was here visiting.  He works in china.  Well, he travels to china a lot to work.  At least once a month for a couple of weeks.
    Anyway, we were eating someplace ans I said something like what you said about needing to be more involved there and he said the people he works with, which are mostly govt and military types are pi$$ed that he is way to involved.  They don't like it apparently.  Seems they hate him almost as the republicans.   Just reporting.

    China has a history (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by ragebot on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:30:25 PM EST
    of believing their are superior to all other countries.  For probably five thousand years China was the richest and most powerful country in the world.  Then for a few hundred years the West was technology superior.  That is quickly changing as the West seems to be stagnating and China is quickly modernizing.

    In America there is something of a bias about what I will call the white man's superiority.  In China there is what I will call the yellow man's superiority.


    Well (none / 0) (#76)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:37:07 PM EST
    They did invent gunpowder in the 9th century.  Not sure what we were killing each other with in the 9th century but it wasn't gunpowder.

    Here (none / 0) (#86)
    by Slado on Thu May 29, 2014 at 10:23:01 PM EST
    The native Americans were using arrows.

    In Europe it was swords and arrows.   Maybe a mace or something.

    Think Game of Thrones.

    Would make for a good alternate history novel if the Chinese had wandered over and kicked some Anglo butt with their gunpowder.  


    ... its German opponents at the Battle of Liegnitz, in what is now eastern Germany. The following year, they easily defeated the Hungarians at the Battle of Modi and sacked Budapest, while another Mongol army routed the Byzantine army at the Battle of Kosedagh in what is now central Turkey.

    Your alternative history would probably have become very real, had the Mongols been interested in the actual conquest of Europe rather than merely conducting an extended and widespread raiding party, because their European military counterparts were clearly no match for them on the battlefield. Instead, they turned their attention southward and eastward toward the conquest of Mesopotamia, Persia, Burma and Vietnam.



    The Mongols also (none / 0) (#145)
    by jondee on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:24:48 AM EST
    road roughshod (maybe literally) over Russia, supposedly wiping out something like two thirds of the population.

    But, Golden Horde or no Golden Horde, you can only spread yourselves so thin..


    Btw (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 08:12:40 PM EST
    One of the major reasons we are losing, and will probably continue to lose, our technological edge is the war on science and science education being waged in this country.  

    American teens scored below the international average in math and roughly average in science and reading, compared against dozens of other countries that participated in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which was administered last fall.

    Vietnam, which had its students take part in the exam for the first time, had a higher average score in math and science than the United States. Students in Shanghai -- China's largest city with upwards of 20 million people -- ranked best in the world, according to the test results. Students in East Asian countries and provinces came out on top, nabbing seven of the top 10 places across all three subjects.

    The numbers are even more sobering when compared among only the 34 OECD countries. The United States ranked 26th in math -- trailing nations such as the Slovakia, Portugal and Russia. What's more, American high school students dropped to 21st in science (from 17th in 2009) and slipped to 17th in reading (from 14th in 2009), according to the results.

    There was a time when this information would have been met with outrage.  No seeing much outrage except from Bill Nye  & Neil deGrasse Tyson.


    The article you cite to (none / 0) (#94)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:57:08 AM EST
    said this:

    Data ranging from employment to manufacturing suggests growth will accelerate sharply in the second quarter.

    The downturn was weather related according to the article you cite.

    Jobless claims are not at 300 k--that historically means solid job growth.

    There are issues in the economy but not what you reference.


    "now" at 300k (none / 0) (#108)
    by MKS on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:27:25 AM EST
    David Barron, the DOJ official (none / 0) (#34)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 29, 2014 at 04:44:01 PM EST
    who was involved in the crafting of a legal memo justifying the use of lethal force against US citizens suspected of terrorism abroad, was confirmed as appellate judge by the senate (53/45).

    The ACLU sent a letter urging senators not to vote on the nomination until the WH shared the full memo with the senate.  Senator Mark Udall (D.CO) indicated that he could not vote for Barron's confirmation until the memo was released.  The WH then indicated that it would comply with a federal appeals court ruling to make public portions of a DOJ memo that signed off on the targeted killing of a US citizen.  That decision changed the politics of the confirmation.

    Subsequently, the DOJ asked in a motion, the second circuit in NY for further redactions  before being made public  claiming that there were still some sensitive components remaining.  

    And, the DOJ motion asked for the entire motion for further redactions be kept secret.  However, the Court issued an order, yesterday, denying that request saying as much of the motion as possible would be public.  Senator Udall says he will keep on it.

    Ray Donavon (none / 0) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:31:14 PM EST
    If you passed on this last season, reconsider.  The new season is coming and they are rerunning last season in the run up.  Episodes 3 & 4 tonight.  Most likely have a marathon at some point.

    It is one of the best things on offer in the teevee universe.

    So dark, but so damn good. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Anne on Thu May 29, 2014 at 05:45:20 PM EST
    An amazing collection of damaged characters played by actors who make you believe it all.

    Can't wait!


    Really? I trust your judgment but oh boy (none / 0) (#54)
    by ruffian on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:12:05 PM EST
    did that show ever NOT appeal to me.

    He is not a good guy (none / 0) (#56)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:13:37 PM EST
    Anit hero seems generous.

    Summer without 'Dexter' is a horrible prospect (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ruffian on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:19:16 PM EST
    maybe I will give Ray a try!

    Ha (none / 0) (#58)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:29:38 PM EST
    Have you been watching the rerun if the series? Deb just shot captain what's her name in the shipping container.

    Oh that was a horrible thing (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by ruffian on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:31:50 PM EST
    and I can't even think about Deb. Too soon!

    There is some great looking stuff (none / 0) (#61)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:36:27 PM EST
    Coming for summer though.  The Strain, and The Leftovers look right down my alley.  But some less creepy looking stuff also looks worthwhile.  Outlander, The Tyrant, Masters of Sex, True Blood.

    Lots of summer tv


    The Strain, probably not (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:39:09 PM EST
    The Leftovers, I'm curious, but it looks depressing.  When it gets hot down here it is oppressive, I want something uplifting.  Like a serial killer who only kills bad guys :)

    Outlander? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:43:55 PM EST
    The show is based on the hit book series from author Diana Gabaldon and tells the tale of a married former WWII combat nurse transported in time to feudal Scotland, where she proceeds to fall in love with a young warrior. Ron Moore, one of the principal architects of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series that won awards for the Syfy channel, is executive producing Outlander for Starz.

    We've seen this strategy work before. HBO has turned George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series into the monster hit Game of Thrones. Another Time Warner show, ratings winner The Vampire Diaries, is based on the L.J. Smith books of the same name. Over at Showtime, screenwriter James Manos Jr. turned author Jeff Lindsay's novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter into an epic drama that just finished its eighth and final season.

    More at (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:47:24 PM EST
    That has possibilities (none / 0) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:48:58 PM EST
    Oh crap (none / 0) (#66)
    by sj on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:47:53 PM EST
    I had no idea that they were making Outlander into a series. Now I may have to sign up for Starz...

    STARZ encore (none / 0) (#68)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:54:14 PM EST
    Is one of the better bargains in premium cable IMO

    I'll check it out (none / 0) (#69)
    by sj on Thu May 29, 2014 at 06:55:08 PM EST
    Silly question (none / 0) (#70)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:10:01 PM EST
    been reading this thread for quite a long while....post, reply....post, reply.....(saying to myself: "somewhere, any time now, here it comes..no. when? dammit!

    What are you talking about??....for the one, or, two normal souls out here.

    Do I have to send away for the magic, Rootie Kazootie Decoder Ring?

    The secret program you guys hate, but, can't stop watching has a name...no?


    That's funny (none / 0) (#71)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:14:43 PM EST
    Dexter is a series about a guy named Dexter.

    Ray Donavon is, wait for, a series about a guy named Ray Donavon.

    Think that's what you mean.  Both are quite dark.  Especially being about a serial killer who kills serial killer.

    That help?.


    Deb is Dexter's flawed, tough, fragile (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:20:58 AM EST
    foul-mouthed cop sister,  one of my favorite TV characters of all time. She has a rough ride in the series. I am not over it yet.

    'Dexter' was not one of my hate-watch shows. It was a love-watch! It had a good run and I was ready for it to end, but I will miss it. I highly recommend it.


    Both are showtime series (none / 0) (#72)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:16:34 PM EST
    Dexter is over after eight seasons.  RD just started last year and is returning this summer.

    Game of thrones soon goes into (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 07:16:47 PM EST
    Hibernation, so what will those that the Sopranos hath spawned do on Sunday night?  Ruffian and I and probably a couple of others used to live on Dexter but it's over.  Ray Donavan has a mixed following.  I'm about to experience chronic summer Sunday night vacancy.

    Maybe PBS will come through with some (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:14:01 AM EST
    Masterpiece Mysteries, like another season of "Endeavor". Which is a series about a detective whose first name is...Endeavor!  and he 'grows up' to be Inspector Morse.

    Endeavor returns to PBS with (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by caseyOR on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:15:01 AM EST
    a new season on June 29. Lots of good things on PBS this summer. Here is the schedule for Masterpiece Mysteries.

    I was delighted to see that Inspector Lewis is back for a 7th season. When Lewis retired from the Oxford police force at the end of season 6  I thought that was it for Lewis and Hathaway. Thankfully, I was wrong.


    Wow, that is great news (none / 0) (#109)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:11:06 AM EST
    I assumed Lewis was gone too.  See, there will be life after the Game of Thrones season ends. Although I hate the fact that these shows make me look forward to the end of my weekend. I should save them for Monday nights.

    Anne, I love 'Call the Midwife' too. Wonderful show - I am so glad I started watching it.


    I record Mr Selfridge (none / 0) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:21:33 AM EST
    It is good for the days when the rain won't stop

    Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey, (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:06:15 AM EST
    both in hiatus now, are two that I've really enjoyed.  But it's kind of like waiting and waiting for an author whose books you really like to come out with a new one, then getting it and loving it and wanting to read it straight through, but knowing that once you get to the last page, you're right back to waiting for the next book.

    I guess there are worse problems to have, lol.

    Have you seen "Motive?"  On ABC, I think.  Premise is you know who the killer is, but not why he or she did it.  It moves between real time - detectives investigating - and flashbacks to the murder that get you closer to the motive.  

    Some of my favorite shows are coming back (I confess to loving Suits and Royal Pains), and there are some new ones that look kind of interesting.

    Remember when summer was all about re-runs?  


    Ha (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:27:15 AM EST
    Remember when tv stations signed off at midnight?  Was watching Poltergeist (1982) the other day which starts with the national anthem and sign off.  

    I love Motive. (none / 0) (#107)
    by caseyOR on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:17:31 AM EST
    I watched last summer and became hooked. And it is nice to see Lauren Holly back on my TV. So many good cop shows are coming out of Canada these days.

    Heres a Canadian one you all would (none / 0) (#193)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:30:43 PM EST
    like - "Intelligence". Very cool female lead, kind of 'The Wire' lite.

    TOTL (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:37:26 PM EST
    Top of the Lake is a curiosity among crime dramas. It's a mood piece posing as a detective thriller--and simultaneously deconstructing its genre like a feminist essay. Craggy baddie Matt Mitcham (Peter Mullan) is not just the patriarch of a crime family but a cackling representative of the patriarchy--well-connected among the paternalistic authorities and well-accessorized with phallic symbols. Robin is an agent of the sisterhood--not just an archetypal grown-up girl detective, but a pure archetype.

    Ever see (none / 0) (#194)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:33:36 PM EST
    Top of the Lake?

    Very interesting female characters


    Yes, that was good (none / 0) (#197)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:38:32 PM EST
    Holly Hunter was so good. And Peggy from Mad Men not acting at all Peggyish.

    Heard rumors about (none / 0) (#198)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:44:23 PM EST
    A return but nothing real yet

    I was interested in the Midwife (none / 0) (#141)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:15:49 AM EST
    Just so much going on when it was on.  I will see if I can get it on Netflix or On Demand.  If I get really hard up I can likely purchase it from Amazon

    The seasons are flipped down here though.  We spend fall, winter, and spring outdoors.  The summer is when you must shield from the elements.


    What do you think about Jeremy Piven? (none / 0) (#110)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:12:53 AM EST
    He is amusingly bad, IMO. I love to watch his frowny face.

    His skills fit (none / 0) (#138)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:11:30 AM EST
    With my perception of Victorian Edwardian salesman, that emotionally stunted thing.

    He's no Bryan Cranston.  If he's not yelling and being obnoxious (which is completely believable) he seems a little unsure with a dollop of constipation :). He seems well casted for the era.


    And now Hagel has started an investigation (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 29, 2014 at 08:18:16 PM EST
    Of active duty healthcare facilities.  Jesus, I hope they didn't incentivize meeting budget by handing out bonuses.  It can be very difficult to get an appointment, but they really started cracking down on that after Obamacare fully kicked in and I don't know why.

    I couldn't get a prescription filled that was desperately needed about six months ago because my PCM was on vacation.  They said there was nobody else there who could help me.  My husband sat next to a Col who was part of the administration overseeing several military healthcare facilities on a flight shortly after that.  She told him that what happened to me couldn't be possible, but it must be because it happened.  They won't refer you out either to a specialist when you need one unless you freak out and threaten them.  Are the civilian doctors getting bonuses for denying care like the HMOs were?

    Shinseki out (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:19:03 AM EST
    O speaking now

    Sloan Gipbson (none / 0) (#124)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:21:37 AM EST
    Acting sec

    Before his appointment as Deputy Secretary, Gibson was the 22nd President and CEO of the USO. He assumed that role on September 1, 2008.[3] In 2004, he retired as Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of AmSouth Bancorporation. During his tenure, AmSouth became part of the S&P 500. In 2002, Mr. Gibson chaired the United Way campaign in Central Alabama.[4]


    Inevitable, but a little late. (none / 0) (#169)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:59:49 PM EST
    Classic damage control would be to accept the resignation promptly so as to permit the office holder to spend more time with his family, or in academia, to return to their first love, teaching and research.

    Then appoint a telegenic successor who will be seen as a new broom, cleaning house, changing the subject, and getting the reforms and/or funding that the predecessor was unable to get.   Then, we must give the new person a chance to see what she/he can do.  Usually works.


    From what I am reading (none / 0) (#173)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:11:01 PM EST
    He wouldn't go.  He literally had to be forced out. He was going around getting standing ovations at vet events as recencly as this morning.  
    It would have been easier on everyone if he had done what he should have done sooner but that is aparrently what the meeting with the president was about right before the speech.

    It is sad when administrators under siege (none / 0) (#176)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:26:44 PM EST
    delude themselves with the sound of some supporters applause and think they can still do the job.  This is not the point, or the person, to offer reforms.  This is a time when tenacity is not necessarily a virtue.  Let go.  It may not be fair, since this is a complex, and long-standing situation gotten worse after years of war and larger and larger case loads.  But, he did not sign up with assurances of fairness in the face of scandal of his watch, of his making or not.  

    If only he would have done (none / 0) (#179)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:45:01 PM EST
    The same with Sebelius

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#186)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:08:23 PM EST
    The Obama Administration apparently felt that her immediate departure would have made the situation worse, as if that was possible.  It was clear that she would go, just later.  It would, in my view, have been better if she was quickly replaced (in accord with my damage control process above).  

    I say that because I happened to be watching (none / 0) (#174)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:14:16 PM EST
    As all this was happening and retired general so and so (MSNBCs in house military expert) was talking on the phone literally right before the president came out and he said that he had spoken to Shinseki this morning and he said he had no intention of resigning.  

    OMG (none / 0) (#143)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:20:41 AM EST
    I haven't watched a lick of news today, I'm hearing this for the first time from you.

    I live to serve (none / 0) (#146)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:25:12 AM EST
    Orange lives to serve Shinseki it appears (none / 0) (#155)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:36:44 PM EST
    There is a giant Shinseki sobfest over there.  He's a huge Conservative, and anyone who rises to the very top of the military bureaucracy is uber highly likely not a great slayer of bureaucratic bull$hit.

    You know what it is?  It's that Shinseki is that soft spoken gentleman.  Libs are such suckers for that.


    All they know about him, (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:32:13 PM EST
    and I include myself in the 'they', was that he disagreed with Bush on the impact of the Iraq war. That bought him all kinds of good will, and got him the VA post.

    I hope he had other qualifications, but maybe not?


    The guy simply had to go (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:06:42 PM EST
    It really doesn't matter how nice he was or how good his intentions were or how stellar his record.   He screwed this up.  The entire thing is a giant sh!t sandwich and he was in charge of the kitchen.
    It will be very interesting to see who replaces him.  Odierno apparently is his opposite.  Big blustering bully type. Maybe that's what is needed.

    Odierno is his displayed emotion opposite (none / 0) (#177)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:28:57 PM EST
    But just as Pretentious with a capital P.  We know one of his aides, and that last year when he was in Iraq this guy was so irked by Odierno's insane snobbery he told everyone who would listen that the whole world is blowing up, but General Odierno must eat every meal on china with accompanying silver service :)

    A lot of Generals are just phucking ridiculous.


    He doesn't seem like a very nice person (none / 0) (#178)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:43:07 PM EST
    But I guess Shinseki was a nice person and that didn't work.   It looks like lots of people need to be fired.  And lots of others need their butts kicked high enough to look like a hunchback.

    Somtimes an a-hole is just what the doctor ordered.  


    The military is starting this new evaluation (none / 0) (#181)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:52:54 PM EST
    For officers.  It's called 360 degree evals.  Your subordinates get to weigh in on how they assess your leadership.  In the past all you had to impress where those over you, so of course pathetic abusive jerks were created.  

    Some officers are very upset about this change, when I hear one whining..well immediately I think "abusive jerk upset because impressing other abusive jerks will no longer get you promoted".  Other officers are very happy about this extra assessment.  When I hear one of them happy about the change I immediately think "Officer who continuously is there for their soldiers but never getting the props abusive jerks get but soldiering on".

    It seems like the really great officers are fine with the new eval, and not so good officers are ticked.


    So (none / 0) (#182)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:00:31 PM EST
    Is the VA actually military?  I heard someone say this morning that they were not under the Pentagon.  

    The VA (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by jbindc on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:04:42 PM EST
    Is its own separate executive agency (where Shinseki was the Secretary, holding the same rank as the Secretaries of Defense, State, HUD, HHS, etc.)  It became a cabinet-level appointment under GWB.

    The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans." The three component agencies became bureaus within the Veterans Administration. Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, who directed the Veterans Bureau for seven years, was named as the first Administrator of Veterans Affairs, a job he held until 1945.

    The VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals in 1930, to include 152 hospitals; 800 community based outpatient clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 domiciliaries. VA health care facilities provide a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care. The responsibilities and benefits programs of the Veterans Administration grew enormously during the following six decades. World War II resulted in not only a vast increase in the veteran population, but also in large number of new benefits enacted by the Congress for veterans of the war. The World War II GI Bill, signed into law on June 22, 1944, is said to have had more impact on the American way of life than any law since the Homestead Act of 1862. Further educational assistance acts were passed for the benefit of veterans of the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, Persian Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    In 1973, the Veterans Administration assumed another major responsibility when the National Cemetery System (except for Arlington National Cemetery) was transferred to the Veterans Administration from the Department of the Army. The Agency was charged with the operation of the National Cemetery System, including the marking of graves of all persons in national and State cemeteries (and the graves of veterans in private cemeteries, upon request) as well and administering the State Cemetery Grants Program. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established as a Cabinet-level position on March 15, 1989. President Bush hailed the creation of the new Department saying, "There is only one place for the veterans of America, in the Cabinet Room, at the table with the President of the United States of America."

    A common mistake Capt (none / 0) (#189)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:18:00 PM EST
    They have an employee union too that is part of the most powerful employee unions that exist in the United States, all GS employees have an amazing union that will pull out all stops and fight to the last tooth and the last nail.  Almost ALL of the GS employees are Conservatives too and admit to No One that they belong to an incredibly powerful union.

    It is so hard to fire a GS employee on Ft Rucker, no matter how horrible and non producing they are.  It did come up in Congressional hearings that it is practically impossible to fire these people as things stand right now.  And that needs to change.

    I am always gobsmacked though that all these government employees belong to such a powerful union, but believe that nobody else deserves one, and I would say 80% of them are Conservatives.


    One of the things i have been reading and (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:24:55 PM EST
    Hearing, this morning from some liberal dems, is that they plane to throw a monkey wrench in that machine and give whoever takes over the power to fire anyone who needs firing.

    It sounded like they meant it.   Can't wait to hear the conservatives defend union privilege.


    Made a play to be voted President of their union.  I wonder if he made it in?

    On the civilian side (none / 0) (#200)
    by christinep on Fri May 30, 2014 at 04:28:06 PM EST
    The largest union has been the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE.)  As government employees, of course, there can be no strike; and, appropriations (with allocations) control the pay.  Regulations set pay grade.  Etc.  

    There are at least two sides to everything.  At EPA, for example, I spent most of my years in management; but, early on, about 5 of us initiated the papers that started the process to recognition of our local AFGE chapter.  The union does not preclude nor prevent disciplinary action; but, it does allow for a set of bargained written procedures that guarantee employee representation in adverse actions (the administrative version of right to counsel in a setting that could lead to adverse legal consequences against the employee.)  What I witnessed from different sides of the management/employee aisle is that the set of procedures--if followed--tended to protect both sides from unintended consequences.  When procedures were not followed--such as when the supervisor or manager instigated action without justification or stated reason or documented history, etc., both sides tended to emote ... the supervisor, e.g., blamed the system for his/her own management neglect in holding up management's end of the bargain as a common response.  

    For those who might be concerned about their management hands being tied, my experience in government says to look to the decision-making and documenting process ... like any legal process.  Frankly, the biggest threat to getting-the-job-done that I saw at EPA came during the anti-Union Reagan Administration.  When the Reaganites brought in their buddies to Senior Executive Service (SES) positions and overtly threatened to dismantle EPA (especially Enforcement), while also engaging in harassing behavior against AFGE officials, it was the employees and their Union that kept EPA alive. It was the Employees and their Union that sent info to Congress that eventually led to finding Administrator Gorsuch in contempt and it was the Union that went after the cronies brought in to defang the Agency.  During the 1981-1984 period, many newspaper stories and Congressional hearings document the at-times illegal, heavy hand of management at EPA in work assignments, hiring & firing, decision-making, etc.  Administrator Anne Gorsuch resigned in disgrace along with the eventual resignations/reassignments of her top management.  A good, informative read about the Reagan management attack on environmentalism and unions at EPA, Interior, etc. can be found in a book by Jonathan Lash called "The Season of Spoils."  

    All I can say:  Thank goodness for civil service protections.  For whatever apparent hindrance they may seem to impatient managers, the check & balance of the system (and its unions) protects more than government employees.

    A few words about the 360-system:  A good idea. Central to overall acceptance would be structuring the process so that the input does not fall into a mere popularity contest.  I think that it can be done.  But, consider where the system is regularly used ... at universities, professors who give "A"s often receive the higher "grades" in return.  What I understand is that the nature of the questionnaire can be designed to minimize the popularity-contest effect.


    Stryker type attack units that Rumsfeld did adopt, and that created a lot of war crime yet to be discussed and owned in Iraq.  They were designed to be sort of a mobile wrecking ball, that wrecked a lot of civilians in Iraq.

    He is of course the owner of the stinking wool beret too.  He wanted everyone wearing them, it was his vision of what he wanted his troops to look like because that is SO IMPORTANT.  I will never forget when my spouse boiled his first one, then laid it out carefully to block it and then dry.  There was an entire process every soldier had to preform after buying the thing before it was even wearable.

    He put it on, taking a long time figuring out how to situate it in that very certain swoop up over one brow.  Then he smiled and said, "Finally, I look the forces of every banana republic in the world"


    Eric Shinseki (none / 0) (#166)
    by jbindc on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:42:40 PM EST
    Even if civilian drs are not getting bonuses (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by ruffian on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:32:14 AM EST
    for denying care, I wonder if their rates are held down when providing referred VA or active duty patients. They need to be incentivized, not discouraged.

    This is why as a patient... (none / 0) (#153)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:18:37 PM EST

    ...you are better off in a "fee for service" system.   No service, no fee.  The VA on the other hand gave bonuses to administrators reporting short wait times.  That means that a patient giving up and seeking care elsewhere was not a lost sale, but a bonus bump!!!

    In the VA a patient is a cost to be managed rather than a customer to be satisfied.  You will never see fee for service hospitals engaged in this outrageous behavior.



    If they were actually reducing wait times, (none / 0) (#154)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:33:46 PM EST
    if they were improving the delivery of care, would that be worthy of financial incentive?  Or would that be a waste of taxpayer money?

    Are you suggesting that finding ways to deliver care in a timely fashion at a high level should go unrewarded?  I thought people like you believed in rewarding hard work.  No?

    What is your experience with wait times in the private sector?  Do you imagine that insurance companies are not rewarding providers for being able to move more people through a system, thereby maximizing the collection of "fees for service?"  

    I guess, though, that comments like yours typify the belief that everything's better if it's privatized, as if the current private health system is some sort of model of efficiency and level of care.

    Give me a break.


    The private health care system here (none / 0) (#158)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:02:21 PM EST

    the last time I looked had the best cancer survival rates and the shortest wait times for hip or knee replacement system. It is the single payer system where delayed care is seen as cost control rather than as a lost sale.  

    The easy solution is to issue the vets a "VetCare" card and let them find providers that are eggar to provide service be that VA or private.  Strange that protection of the state providers comes before service to the vets.  On second thought, not strange at all.



    Yes, it is what is incentivized that (none / 0) (#156)
    by Militarytracy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:46:43 PM EST
    Matters.  The UK gives out bonuses for doctors who have good/improved health outcomes with their patients.

    I am all for incentivizing contract physicians for having patients with good outcomes, weight loss when needed, blood pressure coming down with exercise instead of meds.

    It was a doctor lecture that finally made me commit to quitting smoking that day instead of sometime tomorrow.  He was drawing lungs and pitcher cells on the white paper of the exam table, and he was pissed, and I was 27.  After the lecture he looked me right in the eye and told me I wouldn't quit because none of us do.

    I stormed out of that office.  How dare he!  Just watch me quit you SOB!  I got that lecture for free, imagine just how improved the lectures would be if they got paid for doing it :)


    Justice in L.A. (none / 0) (#152)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:06:56 PM EST
    Now I wonder (none / 0) (#157)
    by christinep on Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:57:45 PM EST
    Will $$$ appropriation for Veterans Affairs be increased by Congress ... finally?  Clearly, the VA has lacked a number of necessities over many years, not the least of which are personnel and infrastructure enhancement.  Granted that the appropriations category has traditionally been included with EPA and NASA, and that would tend to be viewed negatively by certain Congress people.

    While Shinseki appears to be an honorable man and definitely conducted himself well (e.g., not trying to blame others) during the burgeoning scandal, the circumstances made resignation inevitable.  For one thing: Until he left, there would only be distractions from the critical issue ... the critical issue being "What steps must be taken in the short and long term to provide good healthcare to our veterans?"  Again, what amount of $$$ budgetary supplementation for obvious shortages is needed NOW ... and, when will that supplemental be requested, acted on, and signed?

    I think it far likelier that the message (none / 0) (#163)
    by Anne on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:14:17 PM EST
    will be that we can't just throw more money at the problem, that this proves the government cannot manage health care, so really, the only right thing to do is provide some sort of voucher so vets can go out into the private sector for their health care needs.

    And what makes me think that?  Just Google "privatize veterans' health care" and see what pops up, see how many Republican voices are beginning to turn up the volume on this.

    An example:

    Veterans would be able to opt out of the Veterans Health Administration system and get care through a private insurer, under a plan being pushed by Rep. Andy Harris.

    The Maryland Republican says veterans should have the option to get a health care plan as good as the plans for those providing their care. The "Veterans' Choice Plan" would be comparable to what federal employees are provided through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, he says.

    "Veterans who want to continue to get care through the VHA should be able to do so; those who don't should be provided private insurance just like federal employees have," Harris said in a Wednesday statement. "The Veterans' Choice Plan would allow them to see any doctor they want, go to hospitals that are close to home, and receive care from top professionals."

    Expect them to push harder to privatize against calls to increase spending.


    Ah yes ... that message (none / 0) (#167)
    by christinep on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:43:57 PM EST
    The message of vouchers/privatization is already out there.  The Denver Post carried a guest commentary from a CU regent today (a former VA doctor from Dallas) winding up to that conclusion.

    BUT, the skirmish for control of the dominant public message is also underway.  Who will be the first Congressperson to talk about or actually move to introduce legislation to that effect with a "let's put our $$$ where our mouth is" argument.  Veterans' organizations may want to be heard as well ....


    Fox News Is Reporting (none / 0) (#170)
    by ragebot on Fri May 30, 2014 at 02:02:42 PM EST
    The VA has not been spending all the money it was budgeted for the last five years and claiming the Daily Caller as a source.

    Here is the blurb

    "VA expects to carry over $450 million in medical-care funding from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015. VA received its full requested medical care appropriation of $54.6 billion this fiscal year, which is more than $10 billion more than it received four years ago.

    This is part of an ongoing trend.

    VA carried over $1.449 billion in medical-care funding from fiscal year 2010 to 2011, $1.163 billion from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012, $637 million from fiscal year 2012 to 2013, and $543 million from fiscal year 2013 to 2014."

    And this link to the official US gov web site confirms it

    US gov

    What is wrong that the VA is not spending the money allocated to it while vets are not getting care.  This is a problem with the administration.


    This is mind blowing (none / 0) (#184)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:04:11 PM EST

    In the few seconds it took me to open a second browser window with TalkLeft to post this 2.5 million tweets over a million videos almost a million bucks in google ad revenue with 3 million searches