12/26/2010 archive

Rant of the Week: Rachel Maddow

Green Clad Waffle Tossing Hockey Fans


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In Your Face: Spamerican Exceptionalism

A quote for discussion:

Most people can probably remember the moment when they first realised the seductive power and global pervasiveness of American culture.

I had bought a bootleg CD of The Beach Boys’ surfing songs in the remote north-eastern Russian republic of Sakha and had my photograph taken with a goat herder in Djibouti who was wearing a Six Million Dollar Man T-shirt.

It is an extraordinary form of soft power which will endure even if the looming powerhouses of China, India and Brazil come to overshadow America’s global economic dominance.

After all, even when you’re watching a Chinese flat-screen TV and driving an Indian car powered with Brazilian biofuels you almost certainly won’t be wearing Indian-style clothing or humming Chinese pop songs as you go. Or watching Brazilian movies either.

Next time you see television pictures of an anti-American demonstration anywhere on earth look closely at the crowd. Among the flag-burners you’ll almost certainly see someone wearing an LA Lakers shirt or a Yankees baseball cap.

On This Day in History: December 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 26 is the 360th day of the year (361st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are five days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, Gen. George Washington wins first major U.S. victory at Trenton

At approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of December 26, 1776, General George Washington’s Continental Army reaches the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey, and descends upon the unsuspecting Hessian force guarding the city. Trenton’s 1,400 Hessian defenders were still groggy from the previous evening’s Christmas festivities and had underestimated the Patriot threat after months of decisive British victories throughout New York. The troops of the Continental Army quickly overwhelmed the German defenses, and by 9:30 a.m.Trenton was completely surrounded.

The image of ragged farm-boy Patriots defeating drunken foreign mercenaries has become ingrained in the American imagination. Then as now, Washington’s crossing and the Battle of Trenton were emblematic of the American Patriots’ surprising ability to overcome the tremendous odds they faced in challenging the wealthy and powerful British empire.

The Battle of Trenton took place on December 26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, after General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton, New Jersey. The hazardous crossing in adverse weather made it possible for Washington to lead the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian soldiers garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, nearly the entire Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army’s flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.

The Continental Army had previously suffered several defeats in New York and had been forced to retreat through New Jersey to Pennsylvania. Morale in the army was low; to end the year on a positive note, George Washington-Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army-devised a plan to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and surround the Hessian garrison.

Because the river was icy and the weather severe, the crossing proved dangerous. Two detachments were unable to cross the river, leaving Washington and the 2,400 men under his command alone in the assault. The army marched 9 miles (14 km) south to Trenton. The Hessians had lowered their guard, thinking they were safe from the American army, and did not post a dawn sentry. After having a Christmas feast, they fell asleep. Washington’s forces caught them off guard and, before the Hessians could resist, they were taken prisoner. Almost two thirds of the 1,500-man garrison was captured, and only a few troops escaped across Assunpink Creek.

Despite the battle’s small numbers, the American victory inspired rebels in the colonies. With the success of the revolution in doubt a week earlier, the army had seemed on the verge of collapse. The dramatic victory inspired soldiers to serve longer and attracted new recruits to the ranks.

about that holy war against health insurers

PhotobucketDoing some reading before bed last night and opened nyceve’s diary over at dKos titled In 2011, these people will launch holy war against the health insurance Industry.

I get here, where she writes:

As insurers continue to raise premiums and cut benefits, Health and Human Services is relegated to pleading, cajoling and threatening, but in the end, can do little to control them. This is an uncontrollable industry.

… and my head explodes: they can’t they be controlled???? Why is that?????? Isn’t that what we should focus on???

nyceve… she’s great, heroic even… out there fighting to make things better. But there’s this one little thing: we are engulfed in lawlessness and lack of accountability. Nobody… nobody… is enforcing the law or holding the powerful accountable.

What does this have to do with health insurance?

Just . . . everything.

cross-posted at writing in the rAw and at dKos

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with Christiane Amanpour:Ms Amanpour focuses on the problems and stresses of today’s war vets with a report from Bob Woodward on Iraqi vets returning to homelessness. She also interviews with Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Peter Chiarelli on stresses facing vets, and First Lady Michelle Obama and the Vice President’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden on what we can do to help.

New York Times war reporter David Rohde, held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan for seven months until his daring escape while his captors slept, and his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, discuss their new book, “Rope and a Prayer”.

ABC Nightline anchor Terry Moran profiles an Israeli and a Palestinian who through their deep loss are trying to bridge the gap that has defined the most intractable war.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Tis week Mr. Scheiffer will host a Roundtable with CBS News Washington Correspondents on The Year in Review and what’s ahead in 2011: Chip Reid, Chief W.H. Correspondent, Lara Logan, Chief Foreign Correspondent, David Martin, Nat’l Security Correspondent, Nancy Cordes, Congress Correspondent and Sharyl Attkisson, Investigative Reporter.

The Chris Matthews Show: Tweety will discuss the best and worst of 2010. The panel include Howard Fineman (Huffington Post), Katty Kay (BBC News), Joe Klein (Time) and Norah O’Donnell (NBC News).

Meet the Press with David Gregory:”Lurch” will have an exclusive interviews with Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s advisor, about what the White House will face in 2011.

Taking stock of 2010: the passage of health care reform, the oil disaster in the Gulf, the rise of the Tea Party, and the on-going economic crisis. How has it all impacted the country politically, and what does it mean for the future of bipartisanship in 2011? will be discussed by NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, Presidential Historian and Author, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Wall Street Journal Columnist Peggy Noonan, and Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: This Sunday, we hear from two major players in the Obama administration. First, we talk to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about President Obama’s legislative victories: the tax cut deal, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and START. Then we talk to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in an exclusive interview about the reports of terrorist threats this holiday season and the uproar over the TSA. We end the hour with a look at the terrorist threat worldwide with Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.) and Former Director of National Intelligence Vice Adm. Mike McConnell (Ret.).

Fareed Zakaris: GPS: This Sunday night on GPS: A special edition of Fareed Zakaria GPS: “How To Lead”.

This special features interviews on what makes a great leader with 5 leaders from diverse arenas (global politics, national politics, military, business and academia).

Sitting down with Fareed this week to share their vast experiences are: Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister on how he steered a nation; Lou Gerstner, who has taken some American corporate icons from the brink of bankruptcy to billions in profits, on leading through crisis; Former Governor of the NJ Christie Whitman on how a woman can lead in world that is often still male-dominated; Rick Levin, the President of Yale University, on leading by persuasion and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on not just how to lead, but how to command.


Six In The Morning

The Congressional Garage Sale  

Those Sneaky Lobbyists Buying Your Government

Numerous times this year, members of Congress have held fundraisers and collected big checks while they are taking critical steps to write new laws, despite warnings that such actions could create ethics problems. The campaign donations often came from contributors with major stakes riding on the lawmakers’ actions.

For three weeks in June, for instance, the members of a joint House and Senate committee worked to draft final rules for regulating the financial industry in the wake of its 2008 meltdown.

Boxing Day

Perhaps you think it’s  all about stuffing the things that don’t fit or you don’t want back in the boxes and returning them.  People who work for a living know different.

At some point I’ll talk to you about eating serf food, but today is not it.  I will give you my retail ranger tips.

Expect store credits not refunds.  You will be dealing with a supervisor or regular because temps are not taught how to do returns.  Every return has to be processed through the warehouse so you won’t get a size 10 even if there’s a stack of them next to the register.  Retail is not a swap meet.

I understand there will be discounts, but perhaps not as many as you expect.  In bad times you tighten inventories and limit selection.

My recommendation is that you spare yourself unless shopping is a sport and watch some Throwball ahead of next year’s lockout.

New Tools.  Previous entries.  Instant gratification-

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Holiday 24 hour coverage ends today.  Regular Prime Time tomorrow.  Good through 8 pm.  Done.

What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store?


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketRummaging through ornaments, I pick up three of my favorites. A trio of polar bears, made from a kind of velvet elvis-like material. They all have this innocent hey lady, where’s the hot chocolate and cookies look when really, they’re eyeing the red-lacquered wagon. And they do it every year … ha! One bear climbs in as the other two take up positions pulling and pushing the wiggly little cart across the window sill. It’s a sweet little vignette until the “it’s my turn to ride in the wagon” starts. But we’ve all been there…

The snowmen, generally a more gentlemanly bunch, find a place around a sparkly tree on a quiet sill away from the bears. Greenery gets hung around the fire place and candles lit in the hearth. The collection of Santas, with big bellies and spindly legs, have gathered around the wood-cut fir to admire the fine glass sleigh parked there and piled high with packages. Christmas music is playing and this year, snow surrounds our little place.


Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 More than 80 dead in Pakistan suicide bombing and raids

by Nasrullah Khan, AFP

Sat Dec 25, 10:21 am ET

KHAR, Pakistan (AFP) – More than 80 were killed in a suicide bombing on a World Food Programme project and a series of helicopter raids against militant camps in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday, officials said.

A suicide bomber wearing a burqa, who some officials said was a woman, killed at least 43 people at a World Food Programme distribution point in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

The blast occurred in Khar, the main town of lawless Bajaur tribal district, once a stronghold of Taliban militants who have carried out several bombings and suicide attacks in the area.