Open Thread: Part-TAY!


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So… who’s got plans for the evening?








Tic-tok, let’s get this party started

In five days we will learn if the reformers in the Senate have the votes to make endless obstruction in that body more difficult in the 112th Congress.

Talking Points Memo has a fine run down of the tic-tok and dance steps required to get this done. Steve Benen adds some more details here and Jonathan Bernstein filling in over at The Plum Line has yet more background, reporting and speculation on what might go wrong. For yet more background on the issue here is Ezra Klein’s interview with Senate reform leader, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

A lot rests on what Vice President Joe Biden will do and whether or not Harry Reid sides with the reformers or uses the threat of them to cut a deal with McConnell for some changes short of full filibusterer/obstruction reform.

Over the next few days the clock is ticking and the behind the scenes planning, deal making and whip counting for votes will pick up steam.

As Tim F. has reminded us many times in the past, now might be a good to to call your Senators (again) and this time ask them to stand up for reform on January 5, 2011 (this action is especially encouraged if one or both of your Senators are Democrats). You can find your Senator here or from the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Tim’s Guide for first-time callers can be found here.

Senator Reid can be reached at (202) 224-3542 or by his Web contact form. Vice President Biden can be reached through this Web form or (202) 456-1111 for the comment line or the WH switchboard (202) 456-1414.

Chris Bowers and the folks over at Dkos (aka GOS) are also mobilizing folks for this effort.

What happens to the Senate Rules reform movement next week will define a lot of what can and/or what can not happen in Congress in the coming two years.

So, let’s get this party started.

Cheers

dengre



Early Morning Open Thread: Reunited




From commentor Paul C.:

When my ex-girlfriend and I moved to Georgia from Myrtle Beach, just over 10 years ago, she promised her kids that they could each have dogs of their own. They took a long time to decide what kind they wanted and ended up with Border Collies because her son saw one on TV, a beautiful long-haired black and white dog, running dramatically across a field, herding sheep by whistled commands and doing amazing things. It said they were smart, and smart is good, and it said they were affectionate, and that is good too, and it said they were very active, which might be good, so he wanted a Border Collie. My girlfriend reasoned that hyperactive children needed hyperactive dogs. I found that reasoning obscure. We found an ad in the paper and took the kids to pick out puppies. I had my eye on one — a little girl with a white face who came running straight to me when I sat down and held out my hand. The daughter chose that one. On the way out, I whispered to her that it was the one I would have chosen.
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I’ve been a dog person all my life, even though I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid. I know people who rent sometimes get dogs and then discard them when they have to move, but I could never live with myself if I did that. Dogs have a deep emotional commitment to the pack, and that sort of behavior would be nothing short of betrayal. Owning a dog is a commitment for the life of the dog, sometimes longer. I tried to explain to the kids that being smart has problems as well as advantages, and you need to be prepared for them and be sure of your commitment ahead of time because it isn’t right to back out. Border Collies are indeed smart, and also highly active. That means they are a load of fun, and easy to train, but it also means they get bored easily, and a smart, bored dog will invent jobs for itself. This is why Border Collies are notorious for bad habits, frequently are given up by overwhelmed owners, and aren’t happy unless you work with them all the time. Bad habits are not endemic to the breed; they just need something to do. They are high maintenance dogs, with high rewards to be sure, but they are a lot of work. Besides, being herding dogs, they are given to some behaviors, like nipping, that others breeds don’t do much and that many people find undesirable.
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You know kids. With the best of intentions, they got the dogs and, once they were no longer puppies, proceeded to ignore them pretty much of the time. What they really wanted was Platonic dogs who could be relied on to take care of themselves for the most part and, once in a great while, be available for hugging and petting and perhaps the occasional ideal fetch. The dogs, Sugar and Bam-Bam (ok, named by a 16 year old girl and an 8 year old boy), fell into some pretty destructive habits, like creating a cratered moonscape in the back yard and eating the drywall. I did what I could. When I was in Athens, I would always take the dogs for walks, or runs in the park. I managed to redirect their digging behavior. I would try to train them in some basic obedience, and I showed the kids how to do it. But I was only there one day a week, at most, and that simply isn’t enough to have a huge effect. Nobody else held up their end of the deal.
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Nevertheless, I loved those dogs. It surprised even me. They were so sweet, and eager to please and would do whatever you asked of them. All they really wanted was for someone to do something with them. It didn’t matter what. They just needed a job and a companion and they were happy. I looked forward to working with them. I loved them so much I even figured out a way to work their picture into a middle school science book that I was writing at work.
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My girlfriend broke up with me in February when the dogs were about a year old… I missed the dogs terribly. I used to have their picture as wallpaper on my computer monitor at work, but I took it off at that time. I couldn’t bear to look at it anymore, knowing that I would never see them again.
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I bought a house in August of that year and, figuring this was about as stable as I was ever likely to be, started planning to get a couple of dogs. I wanted two because I learned from Sugar and Bam-Bam that it is good for the dogs’ mental health. They are pack animals, and it helps to have part of the pack always nearby. I had learned a lot about Border Collies from Sugar and Bam-Bam and they taught me a lot about myself as well. I had always sort of toyed with the idea of getting BC’s, off and on, but after a little reading I always got nervous about the effort that would be involved with such active dogs. What I learned about myself is that, with Border Collies, that effort is not work. Work is what I do at Tech. Being involved with my guys is playtime. So I started seriously thinking about Border Collies…
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I searched the web to see if there were any local breeders with web pages. After plugging “Border Collie Georgia” into Google, one thing that turned up, aside from breeders, was a group called Border Collie Rescue Society of Georgia, a home and adoption service for abandoned dogs. I thought, “Well, that would be pretty responsible — get a dog that nobody else wants, one that really needs me.” So I looked at the pictures of dogs that they had for adoption. The last two on the page were a brother and sister, 2 years old, who had been seriously neglected, and had only each other now. They were separated in their foster homes for the first time in their lives, and she cried for her brother every night. The guy who maintained the web page was asking for someone to adopt both, if at all possible.
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They were named Sugar and Sam, and I thought “I know those dogs.” I’d know them anywhere. Sugar is the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen; I’d recognize her elegant lines from a thousand miles away. And Bam-Bam has this permanent hangdog expression, but you can tell that he’s up to something. And there they were. Same markings, same posture, everything. I was stunned. Someone could easily have changed Bam-Bam to Sam to make it less silly but close enough for the dog to still answer to it.
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Open Thread: Thursday Night Menu

Courtesy of our Food Goddess, TaMara:

I hope all of you survived the monster winter storm that hit the east coast. As I write this, we are predicted to get about 12 inches of snow today. It’s coming down pretty heavily right now and I’m not looking forward to my drive home. I will set this up to post automatically, just in case. See how much I love you? (Edit: Home safe and sound, roads are ugly)
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Keeping it simple tonight. If your house is like mine, you’re still suffering holiday goodie hangovers, so no dessert tonight, just fresh fruit. Lots of fresh vegetables in this one, too. Trying to help you get ready for those New Year’s resolutions.
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On the board tonight:
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1. Sausage Pasta
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2. Italian Green Bean Salad
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3. Bread Sticks
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4. Sliced Pears

Recipes and shopping list at the link.








The coming ‘If you’re black git back, if you’re brown keep down’ contest

An incoming freshman class of lunatics is about to be sworn in as new members of Congress and the competition for the most insane or the most ignorant or the most racist or the most silly or the most foolish or the most corrupt Member of the 112th Congress is about to heat up.

In the advance of so many promising prima donnas, gadflies, race-baiters and all around wankers coming to town, the current holders of the titles in the 111th Congress need to throw down some markers to claim their top dog status. Perhaps that explains why Congressman Steve King is working overtime to prove that he is Alpha Dog where matters of race-baiting, fear-mongering and defense of whiteness are concerned. In a conversation on wingnut radio King let it be known that he will investigate folks for being black and in the past he has let it be known that he will also investigate folks for being brown and/or for being an immigrant.

Investigating ACORN (despite the fact that the wingnuts slandered it to death earlier this year) is high on King’s list as is his fear that a settlement to a lawsuit by black farmers for decades of proven discrimination by the Department of Agriculture is somehow “reparations” for slavery. At the root of all of King’s ‘concerns’ is a message that he is the one who will fight to protect white folks in America from scary black and brown people–especially that _ _ _ _ _ _ in the White House.

Steve King has perfected the dark art of turning every issue into a fresh opportunity for race-baiting, grandstanding and holding himself up as a defender of whiteness in America. The incoming Republican Confederate Party freshmen have their work cut out for them if they hope to top this corn-fed weasel.

Whether of not King acts out of racism is irrelevant–I don’t think that is the case as I doubt that King has any real sincere belief beyond self-promotion. If he was an old school racist one could at least say he had some integrity within the confines of his world view, but King and the others like him don’t even have that. They really are just about holding onto power by getting on the mighty wingnut Wurlitzer and appealing to the lizard brains of the gullible. If an appeal to race-baiting or immigrant bashing or religious intolerance helps in the effort then he’ll use use it, but it would be a mistake to think that he believes anything he says.

And that is why King and the other old dogs of the Republican Confederate Party will dominate the incoming Wingnut freshmen–some of those fools actually still believe the talking points they’ve been handed to read.

Still, it will be quite a contest.

Cheers

dengre



Open Thread

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I picked up my car and paid the bill and have been curled up in the fetal position all day.

On the other hand, the car is running great- better than it has in years.








Open Thread

I sense creeping Galtism amongst the FP crew, but perhaps some of you are feeling more communitarian.