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Member since: 2002
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And yet another Lounge tradition: Tante Marie's turkey cooking lesson

Who would you like the president to nominate as Secretary of Defense?

My vote is for Joni Ernst: the SecDef essentially has no power at all - appropriations come from Congress, war is declared by Congress, short-term police actions are declared by the president, and all the real decision-making at DoD is done at the O-5/O-6 level, colonels, lieutenant colonels and their Navy equivalents - and making her SecDef almost completely eliminates her ability to cause lasting damage to the nation.

Weird question: would photovoltaic paint work?

There are already conductive paints. Could they create a coating with photovoltaic qualities, that's cheap enough to use and safe enough to handle without having to wear a nerve gas suit? Instead of buying solar panels for...oh, say an African village or a small American town fifty miles from the nearest power line...you could paint conductive stripes on the south-facing walls of buildings, then overlay them with this PV coating to make a solar panel on the wall you've already got.

Does anyone understand reconciliation well enough to teach us about it?

What exactly can the Republicans pass via the reconciliation mechanism? I was always led to believe it's only for budgetary issues, but the teabaggers are talking about using it to repeal Obamacare - and they aren't using the term "defund" here but rather "repeal."

If they can use reconciliation for anything they want as a simple way of bypassing the Democrats, there are two problems - one for them, one for us.

Our problem is this is going to be an extremely long two years - is there enough ballpoint pen ink in all the factories of the world to veto all the garbage they'll reconcile past Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid? (Vetoing garbage bills is no job for the president's Mont Blanc. It deserves to be done with a ballpoint pen...one with the name of a gas station printed on it.)

Their problem is the need to explain why reconciliation is only bad when Democrats do it.

The first three things the Republicans will try?

Besides the obvious forty more Obamacare-repeal efforts and the equally-obvious fifty investigations, they will try:

a) A repeal of the light bulb laws.

b) Allowing drilling in ANWR - which has been a priority of theirs for decades.

c) Approval of Keystone XL.

Joni the REMF and false equivalency

The very far right has been working overtime to cast Joni Ernst as the Republican Tammy Duckworth: a brave female war hero who went to Iraq and returned to seek a life of public service. Comparing their service will make you curse.

On November 12, 2004, an Iraqi insurgent put an RPG-7 round through the floor of the cockpit of the Black Hawk helicopter the then-Captain Duckworth was co-piloting into a hot area. It took one of her legs completely off, the other half off and broke one arm in three places. Tammy Duckworth is, undeniably, a hardcore troop.

Captain Ernst, OTOH, was commander of a truck company. I've dealt with people like her. They're administrators. In the combat arms, an infantry company commander knows how to patrol, an artillery battery commander knows how to fire a mission and a tank company commander is assigned to a tank. In combat support and service support (she was service support), that's not the case. Combat troops call people like her "REMFs" - rear-echelon mother fuckers.

It irritates the hell out of me hearing Joni Ernst referred to as a "combat veteran." She was an Iraq veteran, but the only place she probably saw any combat was on TV.

New anti-gay-marriage tactic: Fight it on 13th Amendment grounds

This is in the October 31 edition of my newspaper:


Brief synopsis because this is really weird: One of Coeur d'Alene's more fervent preachers is pooling lawyers and business owners to fight our city's anti-discrimination ordinance on grounds that it violates three different amendments to the Constitution: the First, Thirteenth and Fourteenth.

Skip over the First and Fourteenth Amendment claims and focus on the Thirteenth: they actually believe that having to serve people they don't like amounts to involuntary servitude.
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