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Member since: Thu Oct 21, 2004, 05:06 PM
Number of posts: 21,003

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Here's the lineup for Bill Maher tonight at 10 pm / repeat at 11 pm / HBO

The Interview:

Alan Weisman – Author of Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth

The Panel:

Amy Chua – Co-Author of The Triple Package and Law Professor at Yale Law School

Salman Rushdie – Author and Chairman of the PEN World Voices Literary Festival

Andrew Sullivan – Founding Editor of The Dish

Mid Show Guest:

Seth MacFarlane – Executive Producer of the TV documentary series “Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey” and Author of the novel A Million Ways to Die in the West

Obama’s Plan to Pay People Enough to Eat Stirs Controversy /Borowitz unveils

Washington (The Borowitz Report) — President Obama has sparked outrage in Congress and renewed calls for his impeachment by signing a daring Presidential memorandum that would pay workers enough to eat.
The memorandum, which is based on the President’s view that people should be paid for the hours they actually work, is shaping up as one of the most controversial and incendiary actions of his Presidency.

House Republican leaders held a press conference this morning to warn Obama that, by advancing his agenda of paying people for the work they do, he is “playing with political fire.”
“A Presidential memorandum is a powerful tool and should be used sparingly,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “It is not a vehicle for this President to enact his pet theories about people earning enough to survive.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) concurred, telling reporters, “With one stroke of the pen, President Obama is removing the single greatest incentive for work: hunger.”

“Apparently, President Obama needs a lesson in American history,” he said. “Hunger built the railroads. Hunger picked the crops. When the American people learn more about this action of the President’s, they will see it for what it is: a hunger-killer.”


History lesson simplified: If Word War I was a bar fight - here is how it went down

G.O.P. Race Turns Ugly as Paul Head-butts Cruz - Andy Borowitz was watching

G.O.P. Race Turns Ugly as Paul Head-butts Cruz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a preview of what promises to be a heated race for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) head-butted his rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the floor of the United States Senate this morning.
The melee “came without warning,” one observer said, as Sen. Paul took to the well of the Senate to give a speech recommending a strong but measured response to the crisis in Ukraine.
Almost immediately, a furious and beet-red Sen. Cruz began heckling Sen. Paul, calling him a “Kentucky-fried Communist” and demanding that he “apologize to Ronald Reagan this very instant.”
Sen. Paul seemed to ignore the heckling at first, but as Sen. Cruz’s taunts descended into a stream of profane name-calling, the Kentuckian leapt from the well of the Senate and began throttling Sen. Cruz before administering the decisive head-butt.
“Shut up, you bastard!” Sen. Paul reportedly shouted during the brawl. “Shut up, or I’ll make you shut up!”
A group of horrified senators—including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)—pulled the two men apart, aided by a C.I.A. agent who had been monitoring the Senate’s activities at the time.
Within moments, the free-for-all was over, but not before more fists were thrown and a gash was opened over Sen. Cruz’s left eye.
In the aftermath of the skirmish, Sen. Paul seemed pleased with the outcome. “Sen. Cruz and I may not always agree, but we’re both passionate about our views,” he said. “This kind of debate is healthy for the Republican Party.”
Under the rules of the Senate, head-butting another senator results in a mandatory suspension of seven days, experts said.


Snowden drops 4 New Songs at SXSW / Andy Borowitz reports

AUSTIN (The Borowitz Report) — N.S.A. leaker Edward Snowden surprised a standing-room-only crowd at this year’s SXSW by performing an impromptu set of four songs from his new CD, which was released online today.
The audience, which had gathered to hear Mr. Snowden answer questions about the N.S.A. and government surveillance, was instead treated to the first-ever live performance of songs from Mr. Snowden’s album, simply titled “Edward.”

“I made this music for you, my fans,” Mr. Snowden said, adding that he doesn’t “care about the haters.”
Listeners were divided about the quality of the eclectic four-song set, which spanned musical styles from alt-country to dubstep.
Music critic Tracy Klugian said, “Snowden is the most exciting new artist to come out of SXSW in a long time. It reminded me of the first time I heard Conor Oberst.”
She acknowledged that not every song worked. “Obviously, the duet with Kesha was a mistake,” she said. “But I give him credit for trying.”
Music journalist Harland Dorrinson was less impressed. “Snowden said it was new music, but I didn’t hear anything new,” he said. “In addition to N.S.A. documents, it sounds like he’s been downloading a lot of Arcade Fire.”
After performing the four songs, Mr. Snowden disappointed some in the audience by refusing to talk about government surveillance. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the whistle-blowing I did,” he said. “But today I just want to talk about my music.”


All the while wearing my slippers - on the street where I live today

I was without power for 10 + hours today. Out of my element for sure. Everything I wanted to do had a need for electricity.
The front of the house entertained me with the fire department helping a neighbor who has some "arcing" going on.
And the back of the house, out my kitchen window, entertained me with our state bird, the cardinal, just loving my offerings.

I am considering a move to Alaska, or back to my native Germany. My Mom has not seen a snow flake yet. And they usually have winter tires or chains....

Ask me how tired I am of this icy mess.

I'm considering moving further South. Besides, my camera is not working, and I had to pull out one I forgot how to use.
I'm seriously bummed out.

Putin's folly in Crimea - he should read his Chekhov. Richard Cohen essay

Putin’s folly in Crimea
By Richard Cohen, Published: March 3

Vladimir Nabokov considered Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady With the Dog” one of the best short stories ever written. For what it’s worth, I agree. The plot is a simple one. A womanizing banker from Moscow seduces a young woman at the Black Sea resort of Yalta — and then, calamitously, falls in love. The dalliance becomes an obsession for them both. They remain married to others but imprisoned by their passion for one another. The banker’s name is Dmitri. He was hardly the last Russian to lose his wits in Crimea.
The latest is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the president of Russia and, if I may say so, a real dummy. By taking one stupid step after another, he has managed to let much of Ukraine slip from the Russian orbit — to which, if the Ukrainians have anything to say about, it will never return. Putin can pound his chest all he wants, but the sound emitted is just plain tinny.
Putin’s first mistake was to not acknowledge that Russia is, to resurrect what was once said about the Ottoman Empire, the sick man of Europe. Since the end of the Cold War, it has lost much of its empire — all of the old Eastern Europe satellites (Hungary, Poland, etc.) and even countries that Moscow had swallowed whole; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, for example. Russia has become a corrupt petrostate. Oil fuels the economy, and alcohol fuels the population. The U.S. gross domestic product per capita was $52,800 in 2013. Russia’s was $18,100.
Nonetheless, Putin leaned on Ukraine to reject an agreement with the European Union and turn to Moscow instead. He succeeded, but this is precisely where things started to fall apart. Instead of merely accepting the reality that the western half of Ukraine is already oriented with Europe, he used muscle — and a $15 billion loan — to keep Kiev beholden to Russia. Demonstrators took to the streets, the pro-Moscow Ukrainian government used deadly force and the government was toppled. Putin’s guy, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanu­kovych, was last seen in Russia itself. Soon he’ll be rooming with Edward Snowden.

It is tempting to talk, as the Financial Times has, of a “second Cold War.” This is nonsense. The current crisis is neither an ideological battle nor even a tug of war between two competing empires. It is, instead, a revival of the old European game of jostling nationalisms. In Ukraine, Russian speakers do not want to take orders from Ukrainian speakers. In Europe, these matters have usually been settled by ethnic cleansing or population transfers. Here, Putin’s preferred method would be to effectively annex the Russian-speaking Crimea to Russia itself — welcome home, Yalta. It is, after all, where the czars and Stalin summered.

The relevant war was not cold but very hot indeed — World War I. It began for reasons still not fully understood and persisted for four years, illustrating the irrational power of nationalism. Men went crazy. Working-class Germans killed working-class Frenchmen as socialist intellectuals vainly blew a whistle for a timeout. Comrades, get a grip! But the war, like a giant maw, ground on, chewing up millions. A century later, Russian troops are now, suddenly and unexpectedly, in Ukraine. We have a whole new crisis. Where the hell did it come from?
Certainly, Putin does not fear President Obama. (Almost no one does.) But it would be good if he did. Declining empires are inherently unstable. They have glorious histories and dismal futures. They embrace dusty terms like “fascist” and rush to the aid of fellow ethnics who are in no danger whatsoever. German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Putin the other day and found him out of touch with reality. “In another world,” she said. He lives, like the Ottoman sultan of old, in a Topkapi Palace of his own creation.

for the rest go to source:

Rachel is on with Jon Stewart tonight - she just said it. Daily Show.

I am antsy and itchy about her show tomorrow. She will report things we know - but will also tell us new reasons "Why we did it" in Iraq. She has to walk a very fine line in this climate where really courageous reporting is not exactly encouraged, and at times costs good investigators their jobs.

FYI - Putin speaks fluent German - and Merkel fluent Russian - and did you know

that the Big Dog speaks an acceptable conversational German, and when on the phone with Merkel conducted most of it in German because he wanted to?

I just had a conversation with a childhood friend who lives in Germany who is politically interested and follows what's going on - especially the markets - because he has money.

He enlightened me that Angela Merkel is from the former East Block in Germany and speaks fluent Russian. And that as the head of the KGB Putin was stationed in Dresden Germany for a long time and except for the Russian rolling r speaks grammatically correct, unaccented, fluent German.

Now this may not be of interest in general on DU. But I wanted to share it anyway. Everyone can in their own minds assign some thoughts and importance to this little bit of information.

There are many things we miss in this country, vast as it is, with its universal one language. I'm disregarding Spanish for a minute and considering our lack of assigning value to it in general there are actually obvious reasons for doing so. In our mentality when it comes to our station on earth WE'RE Number ONE.
I never will forget the time a 50 year old American woman stood in front of a world map affixed to my kitchen door. After being asked I showed her where the US of A is.
"When did we get so small?" she asked.

It infuriates me to see an allocation of 14 dollars per student for school books in my town, in a state where teachers are so underpaid they personally have to subsidize the needs of students while it strangles their own needs.

I grew up in Germany, the West of it at the time, and at age 9 a second language was taught (English) and then at age 12 a third (French). This was mandatory.

I know we don't have a need for being multilingual here in America to the degree that it benefits the Europeans. But the sheer fact that we have so little exposure keeps me being surrounded by many who believe the SHIT that gets spewed on the Fox "news" channel, and makes them think they are learning something.

I just want to hold my face in my hands for a minute.
They have a nice word for that and here's a visual

So I laugh, because it's all I can do.
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