10/04/2012 archive

No Dancing XVIII

In keeping with our espionage theme-

Mr. X Western Promise

I regret nothing.  The good.  The bad.  It’s all the same.

As you might be able to tell I’m a big fan of Ultravox.  This is basically the whole B side of Vienna.  Though it’s not a concept album the cuts are hard so wherever you drop the needle you’ve pretty much got to play through to the break for All Stood Still.

Turkey v Syria: Prelude to an International Intervention?

The civil war in Syria has crossed the border into Turkey with a mortar shell landing in Turkish village near the Turk/Syrian boarder that killed five villagers. Turkey retaliated by shelling a Syrian village killing several Syrian soldiers stating that the stepped up aggression by Syria is a threat to Turkey’s security. The Turkish government, despite assurances from Russia and an apology from Syria that this was an accident, has now authorized military operations against Syria to protect its boarders:

Deputy prime minister Besir Atalay said parliament’s authorisation was not a declaration of war on Syria but gave Turkey the right to respond to any future attacks from Syria. “The bill is not for war,” Atalay said. “It has deterrent qualities.”

Cross-border tensions escalated on Wednesday after a shell fired from inside Syria landed on a home in the Turkish village of Akcakale, killing two women and three of their daughters and wounding at least 10 others, according to Turkish media.

The bill opens the way for unilateral action by Turkey’s armed forces inside Syria without the involvement of Turkey’s western or Arab allies. Turkey has used a similar provision to repeatedly attack suspected Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq.

Since Turkey is a member of NATO, that organization held an emergency meeting at its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium:

The unusual session of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels was demanded by Ankara, which has been pushing for a more muscular response from the western alliance to the atrocities in Syria. [..]

The Nato ambassadors issued a statement following the meeting, voicing their “greatest concern” and strong condemnation of the shelling, said to have killed a Turkish woman and her four children.

The Nato meeting was held under the alliance treaty’s article 4, asserting the integrity of the 28 members, rather than under article 5, which commits Nato to come to the defence of a member state under attack. [..]

The statement issued after Nato’s meeting in Brussels demanded an immediate halt to “aggressive acts” against Turkey.

The shelling from Syria “constitutes a cause of greatest concern for, and is strongly condemned by, all allies”, Nato ambassadors said in a statement, after they held a rare late-night meeting at Turkey’s request to discuss the incident.

“The alliance continues to stand by Turkey and demands the immediate cessation of such aggressive acts against an ally, and urges the Syrian regime to put an end to flagrant violations of international law,” the statement said.

In the same article from The GuardianThe Pentagon also issued a statement condemning Syria’s attack stating it was “closely monitoring the situation.”

In the current political climate in the United States with general elections underway and the war in Afghanistan winding down, it doesn’t appear that the Pentagon or the NATO countries are ready to engage in a military action in Syria. That’s not to say the Syria may force their hand. This could get very ugly

Expanded Debate with the Other Presidential Candidates

Voters need to be aware that there are three other candidates for president running on this election who have been excluded from the presidential debates by mutual agreement of the Democratic and Republican Parties and their candidates. They are:

  • Dr. Jill Stein for the Green Party
  • Gov. Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party
  • Mayor Rocky Anderson for the Justice Party
  • Democracy Now! invited those candidates to participate in a live, real time debate answering the same questions that were given to the Democratic and Republican nominees. Dr. Stein and Mayor Anderson participated. Gov. Johnson was not available. Contrast their answers to those of President Obama and Gov. Romney.

    As President Obama and Mitt Romney squared off for the first time on Wednesday night, Democracy Now! broke the sound barrier by pausing Obama and Romney’s answers to get real-time responses from candidates Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. Stein and Anderson joined Democracy Now! for a live special just miles away from the Obama-Romney contest at the University of Denver. Many Obama supporters have expressed surprise that Romney was able to put the president on the defensive, while Obama failed to mention several of Romney’s potential weak spots, including including his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital, his vast personal wealth and offshore investments, and his recent remark that 47 percent of Americans are government dependents. Today, highlights from our “Expanding the Debate” special with the voices of all four candidates, showcasing the broadened perspectives on the critical issues beyond the Democratic-Republican political spectrum. Includes rush transcript

    Expanding the Debate Exclusive: Third Party Candidates Break the Sound Barrier As Obama-Romney Spar

    Punting the Pundits

    “Punting the Pundits” is 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”.

    Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

    New York Times Editorial: The Untouchables

    In hopes of embarrassing President Obama, several right-wing news organizations took a renewed interest on Tuesday in a well-reported speech Mr. Obama delivered in 2007 to a conference of ministers at Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia. As always, they tried unsuccessfully to twist the president’s words into those of a racial provocateur; what they inadvertently succeeded in doing was highlighting a speech that was one of Mr. Obama’s best, full of ideals and ideas about poverty and urban despair that have been ignored in this year’s presidential race.

    The two candidates said nothing about poverty in Wednesday’s debate. The political reasons for focusing the campaigns on the middle class are obvious, but that doesn’t change the fact that the candidates are ducking responsibility for neglecting those without a powerful voice at the ballot box, with Mitt Romney treating them with particular disdain.

    John Nichols: In a Debate Between Romney and Romney, Obama Was the Spectator

    It was not Romney versus Obama in the first presidential debate of 2012.

    It was Romney versus Romney. And one of them prevailed.

    A restrained Barack Obama, who went into the debate with a solid lead in the polls, and an even more solid lead in the battleground states, often seemed to be more of a spectator than a participant.

    Obama’s reluctance handed Romney an opening that the Republican took. [..]

    The liberal, moderate and conservative Republican who has been on all sides of all issues brought his commitment-free brand of politics to the national stage in the first of three presidential debates. Even by Romney standards, it was a dizzying performance.

    Poor Jim Lehrer could not keep up. The moderator lost control of the debate at the start, when he let Romney demand more time to answer President Obama’s opening statement than Obama had used to deliver it, and he never got it back. “Excuse me, excuse me,” Lehrer said early on. Eventually, as Romney began dictated when and how Romney would answer questions, Lehrer simply said: “Alright. Alright.”

    Bruce Dixon: Why This Black Man Is Watching the Debates, and Voting Green

    I’ll be watching the debates. Not on CNN or ABC, but online at Occupy the Debates or at Democracy Now or Free Speech TV, where the third party candidates and others have a chance to answer questions and comment in real time.

    I can’t say I’m not mad at anybody. If being ripped off and lied to, and having murders committed in your name around the world don’t make you mad, there’s something wrong with you, and whatever is wrong with me, it’s not that. I’ll be watching tonight’s presidential debates, but like most people, I already know what I’ll do on November 6. [..]

    So yes, I’ll watch. And I’ll vote. But not for a Republican and not for a Democrat, not again. I’ll vote like my voice means something. I won’t be coerced into voting for a 100% evil Democrat just because the Republicans are 120% evil. I’m voting Green this year, and helping build a Green Party, right here in Georgia where I live.

    Robert Reich: The First Presidential Debate

    In Wednesday night’s debate, Romney won on style while Obama won on substance. Romney sounded as if he had conviction, which means he’s either convinced himself that the lies he tells are true or he’s a fabulous actor. [..]

    The question now is whether Team Obama understands that our President must be more aggressive and commanding in the next two debates – and be unafraid to respectfully pin Romney to the floor.

    Richard Kim: Jim Lehrer Gets Pwned

    I’ll leave it to the horserace pundits to decide who won tonight’s debate and to the voters to decide who will win the election. I know who lost: Jim Lehrer, PBS, old media and the myth of the “sensible center.” Tonight’s moderator, Jim Lehrer, got utterly, totally, savagely pwned. The Lehrer/PBS-school of moderation is fundamentally unequipped to deal with the era of post-truth, asymmetric polarization politics-and it should be retired. The gulf between political reality and mainstream media mores has never seemed so wide and unbridgeable. Frankly, I came away with one new opinion, and that was to agree with Mitt Romney that PBS should go. (Big Bird, I’ll rethink this in the AM.)

    But beyond the utter boredom and bewilderment that tonight’s debate format and moderation caused, there are real costs. Not necessarily to the candidates–the media has called the debate for Romney, but I don’t think it will move the needle enough for Romney to win-but to democracy.

    George Zornick: There Is No Debate: Mitt Romney Would Raise Taxes

    The mainstream media, to their credit, have latched onto the fact that Mitt Romney won’t describe roughly half of his tax plan-something sure to come up in tonight’s debate. Romney pledges to reduce taxes by $5 trillion through well-detailed cuts, but since Republicans are deeply concerned about the deficit (ahem, cough) Romney claims he would also eliminate or reduce tax breaks to make up for the lost revenue and make the plan deficit-neutral. He just won’t say which ones.

    There’s a reason for that-independent analyses show Romney would have to cut popular deductions used by the middle class in order to truly offset the lost revenue. He denies this, of course, but it’s hard to believe Romney if he won’t actually explain the details. (This week his campaign floated a plan to cap deductions at $17,000, which still won’t make the math work).

    The President Agreed With Mitt Romney on Social Security in the Debate

    And it’s not just people like me that support the Democratic Party Platform over any politician that noticed this. It was one of the President’s biggest most enthusiastic supporters; Ed Schultz of the Ed Show on MSNBC.

    Let’s look at the transcript:

    LEHRER: All right? All right. This is segment three, the economy. Entitlements. First — first answer goes to you, two minutes, Mr. President. Do you see a major difference between the two of you on Social Security?

    OBAMA: You know, I suspect that, on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It’s going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker — Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill. But it is — the basic structure is sound.

    And yes, I know the President offered a touching anecdotal of what SS has meant for his family and I respect that; however I’m going to borrow a line from someone whom I won’t speak for, but it’s a good line anyway so I’ll tweak it for my POV on this. Mr. President, don’t tell me what you believe about Social Security, you have shown what you plan to do with Social Security by agreeing to another Greenspan commission like “tweak.” So I’ll tell you what you really believe and why that is a problem.

    On This Day In History October 4

    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.

    October 4 is the 277th day of the year (278th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 88 days remaining until the end of the year.

    On this day in 1883, the Orient Express commences its first run.

    The Orient Express is the name of a long-distance passenger train, the route for which has changed considerably in modern times. The first run of The Orient Express was on 4 October 1883. The train travelled from Paris to Giurgiu in Romania, via Munich and Vienna. At Giurgiu, passengers were ferried across the Danube to Ruse in Bulgaria to pick up another train to Varna. From here they completed their journey to Istanbul by ferry.

    The Orient Express was the name of a long-distance passenger train originally operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Its route has changed many times, and several routes have in the past concurrently used the name, or slight variants thereof. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service, the name has become synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel. The two city names most intimately associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Istanbul, the original endpoints of the service.

    The original route, which first ran on October 4, 1883, was from Paris, Gare de l’Est, to Giurgiu in Romania via Munich and Vienna. At Giurgiu, passengers were ferried across the Danube to Rousse in Bulgaria to pick up another train to Varna, from where they completed their journey to Istanbul (then called Constantinople) by ferry. In 1885, another route began operations, this time reaching Istanbul via rail from Vienna to Belgrade and Nis, carriage to Plovdiv and rail again to Istanbul.

    In 1889, the train’s eastern terminus became Varna in Bulgaria, where passengers could take a ship to Istanbul. On June 1, 1889, the first non-stop train to Istanbul left Paris (Gare de l’Est). Istanbul remained its easternmost stop until May 19, 1977. The eastern terminus was the Sirkeci Terminal by the Golden Horn. Ferry service from piers next to the terminal would take passengers across the Bosporus Strait to Haydarpasa Terminal, the terminus of the Asian lines of the Ottoman railways.

    The onset of World War I in 1914 saw Orient Express services suspended. They resumed at the end of hostilities in 1918, and in 1919 the opening of the Simplon Tunnel allowed the introduction of a more southerly route via Milan, Venice and Trieste. The service on this route was known as the Simplon Orient Express, and it ran in addition to continuing services on the old route. The Treaty of Saint-Germain contained a clause requiring Austria to accept this train: formerly, Austria allowed international services to pass through Austrian territory (which included Trieste at the time) only if they ran via Vienna. The Simplon Orient Express soon became the most important rail route between Paris and Istanbul.

    The 1930s saw the zenith of Orient Express services, with three parallel services running: the Orient Express, the Simplon Orient Express, and also the Arlberg Orient Express, which ran via Zürich and Innsbruck to Budapest, with sleeper cars running onwards from there to Bucharest and Athens. During this time, the Orient Express acquired its reputation for comfort and luxury, carrying sleeping-cars with permanent service and restaurant cars known for the quality of their cuisine. Royalty, nobles, diplomats, business people and the bourgeoisie in general patronized it. Each of the Orient Express services also incorporated sleeping cars which had run from Calais to Paris, thus extending the service right from one edge of continental Europe to the other.

    The start of the Second World War in 1939 again interrupted the service, which did not resume until 1945. During the war, the German Mitropa company had run some services on the route through the Balkans, but partisans frequently sabotaged the track, forcing a stop to this service.

    Following the end of the war, normal services resumed except on the Athens leg, where the closure of the border between Yugoslavia and Greece prevented services from running. That border re-opened in 1951, but the closure of the Bulgaria-Turkey border from 1951 to 1952 prevented services running to Istanbul during that time. As the Iron Curtain fell across Europe, the service continued to run, but the Communist nations increasingly replaced the Wagon-Lits cars with carriages run by their own railway services.

    By 1962, the Orient Express and Arlberg Orient Express had stopped running, leaving only the Simplon Orient Express. This was replaced in 1962 by a slower service called the Direct Orient Express, which ran daily cars from Paris to Belgrade, and twice weekly services from Paris to Istanbul and Athens.

    In 1971, the Wagon-Lits company stopped running carriages itself and making revenues from a ticket supplement. Instead, it sold or leased all its carriages to the various national railway companies, but continued to provide staff for the carriages. 1976 saw the withdrawal of the Paris-Athens direct service, and in 1977, the Direct Orient Express was withdrawn completely, with the last Paris-Istanbul service running on May 19 of that year.

    The withdrawal of the Direct Orient Express was thought by many to signal the end of Orient Express as a whole, but in fact a service under this name continued to run from Paris to Budapest and Bucharest as before (via Strasbourg, Munich, and Budapest). This continued until 2001, when the service was cut back to just Paris-Vienna, the coaches for which were attached to the Paris-Strasbourg express. This service continued daily, listed in the timetables under the name Orient Express, until June 8, 2007. However, with the opening of the Paris-Strasbourg high speed rail line on June 10, 2007, the Orient Express service was further cut back to Strasbourg-Vienna, departing nightly at 22:20 from Strasbourg, and still bearing the name.

    I still have my compartment key

    My Little Town 20121003: The Things We Did for Fun

    Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

    Now, I was not raised in the Neolithic period, although some here and in my real life sometimes get that impression.  When I was little we had TeeVee, Channel 5 out Fort Smith, Arkansas (KFSA, now KSFM, that broadcast programs from all three networds (at the time, ABC, CBS, and NBC) depending on the popularity and the content.  We also had Channel 8 out of Tulsa, Oklahoma (KTUL) that had at the time the highest TeeVee transmission tower in the nation.  KTUL was exclusively ABC at the time, so KFSA did not run very many ABC programs.

    But my life did not revolve around TeeVee.  There were lots more things to do.  Please come back with me over the years to explore what kids used to do for fun.

    2012 Presidential Debate 1

    I’m sure you’re all looking forward to this with the same breathless anticipation I am.  Stop holding your breath, you’ll turn blue and pass out.  What about…

    The Hypnotoad

    "Television is a vast wasteland"

    Jon hosts Rand Paul, Stephen has Kenny Rogers.  More programming at Zap2it.

    I’m thinking Red Sox/Yankees last day of the season pre-play-off Baseball followed by How Booze Built America, so we can certainly chat about that.  Of course if you want to talk politics I’ll ask you to step to the back of the bar and try not to disturb the other customers.

    This is a respectable joint.

    No Dancing XVII

    I’ve never liked Creed.

    Arms Wide Open

    Now I have a reason.

    Apparently, one of their friends met Scott Stapp (who, because I find no problem with conflation, will for the rest of the story be referred to as “Creed”) at an airport bar and the girl pretended to be interested. At the end of their conversation, he asked for her number and because she was going to Amsterdam, she gave Creed her friend’s number instead. The girl then calls her friend and warns her that Creed might be calling her sometime in the future for a hook-up.

    Which he does. Friday night. He flew into Orlando and gave the girl a call. The girl, thrilled at the prospect of making Creed look like an idiot, plays along. “You should drive up to Gainesville tonight to see me!” she says. Creed, because his star has fallen quite a bit recently (if you hadn’t noticed) eagerly accepts the offer to drive 2 hours to get some pussy. I guess the groupies aren’t lining up outside the airport like they used to.

    I heard through the grapevine that night that Creed had actually kicked Scott Stapp out of their band. I don’t know if this is true or not as no one on the Internet has any stories about it. But I googled him recently and found out that his solo career isn’t taking off nearly like he expected, despite being the first released single off the Passion of the Christ Songs CD– songs inspired by the movie. Mel Gibson hand picked him for a special screening, and he wrote a song after he was so personally affected by the movie. Douche.

    Anyway, so the guy who was so spiritually affected by The Passion of the Christ is now hightailing it to Gainesville to tag a piece of ass he met in an airport bar. And he’s having his ghettotastic hootchie skanky Jersey girl sleaze of a sister drive him. Yes, Creed is making his sister drive him to the Gainesville Denny’s for a booty call.

    So this group from the party makes it over to Denny’s, strategically choosing places all around the Denny’s so that we can watch what goes down. It’s 3am on a Friday, so of course the place is packed with drunk kids getting out of the bars, who have no idea what they’re about to be in for. Jeanine, Heather, and I all have prime seating– we’re directly next to the booth with the girl who has been talking to Creed, as well as her 5 friends who are all in on the joke and have been planning extra embarrassing things to do to him.

    And the best part is watching the other people as they notice who this guy is. “Hey, that’s the Creed guy!” they all say as he walks past them. Then, 5 seconds later and as soon as he’s out of earshot: “Wait, who cares? Creed sucks!” This is seriously the reaction of every table that I hear as he walks by.

    To keep him there as long as possible, groups of girls keep going over to him and flirting and trying to find out what he’s doing in Gainesville. Cast arm boy even printed out Scott Stapp’s headshot and goes over to ask him to sign it. You’d think that would be an obvious sign that he was being tricked, but apparently Creed is cocky enough to think that people regularly carry around his photograph everywhere like it’s an American Express card.

    Jeanine, perfect brilliant girl she is, ran over to the juke box to see if it happened to have a Creed song on it. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Or maybe fortunately. For if “Arms Wide Open” began playing as he was running around the Denny’s, I probably would’ve soiled myself laughing.

    And now as Paul Harvey says, for the rest of the story-

    1. He met my friend in an airport bar IN Orlando. He was kicked out of the bar for drinking too much and later kicked off of his plane for being disorderly. He, being completely self absorbed, didn’t stop to think that the girl he met in the airport bar might, just might, have boarded a plane already. When he called my cell phone, thinking it was her, he couldn’t understand why “she” was not still in Orlando. That’s where the fun began.

    2. He did not leave after being punk’d at Denny’s. It was not until the following morning did he realize he had been tricked. He made me and my friend drive him to where the girl supposedly lived to look for her (his ego was hurt THAT badly.)

    3. Someone followed us from Denny’s (an ACTUAL fan of his) and Scott had him make purchase of some cocaine for him. I, thinking I could rob him, invited him back up to my apartment. His sister got a hotel room after being angry all night…apparently she was much smarter than he. All I got the chance to take was his boarding pass from his Miami to Orlando flight, some of his klonopin, three copies of checks his girlfriend had written from his account -2 for plastic surgery centers in South Florida and one for their Cingular Wireless account, and a song book he had scribbled some instrumental instructions in.

    He ended up staying up all night doing coke, making up listening to his fucking HORRIBLE cd, and walking around in his underware claiming that coke makes him “so horny”.

    Safety Dance

    You can dance if you want to.