Open Thread: A Few Words Of Inspiration

(Don’t judge me, but I have a stockpile of Obama & Family photos I saved over the years)

In my effort to find more positive thoughts while taking a week for myself, a friend posted this for me and I found it helpful. It’s David Brooks, so I’m sorry for that – I couldn’t get through the remainder of the article because, well, Brooks. This was 2007 (emphasis mine):

Out of the blue I asked, “Have you ever read Reinhold Niebuhr?”

Obama’s tone changed. “I love him. He’s one of my favorite philosophers.”

So I asked, What do you take away from him?

“I take away,” Obama answered in a rush of words, “the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away … the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard, and not swinging from naïve idealism to bitter realism.”

So for today, I’ll stay away from cynicism.

Open thread.

Bonus: Snowy Ducks








On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the picture (this one’s for Betty)!

 

Read more








There’s Still A Lot We Don’t Know About Paul Whelan

Here is what we know about Paul Whelan and his arrest in Russia.

  • A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Whelan was deployed twice to Iraq before he was court-martialed by the Marine Corps in 2008 on charges of attempting to steal more than $10,000 worth of currency and bouncing checks up to $6000, resulting in a discharge for bad conduct.
  • Whelan is head of physical and personnel security for BorgWarner, an auto parts manufacturer. Previously worked for Kelly Services.
  • Whelan holds passports from four countries: the United States, Britain, Canada, and Ireland.
  • He has visited Russia “every six months or so” since 2006.
  • He has an account on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook. Most contacts are in the Russian military.
  • The American ambassador to Russia has visited him in Lefortovo Prison; Britain and Ireland are seeking consular access.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for an explanation for Mr Whelan’s detention and said his release would be demanded if his detention is found to be inappropriate.
  • He is accused of receiving a usb stick containing the names of people at a “classified security agency.” But Russia is known to plant false information.
  • Lawyer: Vladimir A. Zherebenkov. He suggested that Whelan might be exchanged for Maria Butina.
  • His brother says he is not a spy.

Adam posted a reasonable analysis a couple of days ago. I’ve condensed it, but you can find the full comment at the link. Read more








Open Thread: New Kitties Update

Gabe seems to be adjusting, don’t you think? (Scout is sleeping under him, they were both snoring)

He has his first vet visit this week as our vet comes to give the crew a once over. This was supposed to be the week Scout was spayed, but I balked and canceled that. The vet understands because a bad spay/pexi (before I got her and TOO young) is why we lost Bailey before her second birthday. So, we’ll try again in January.

Look at him, resting his little foot on Bixby. “Maybe I can absorb that awesomeness if I keep my foot on him”

I thought it would be fun to check in with our newest members that arrived around the time of Gabe. So I contacted geg6 and jacy to see how Cleo and Mouse were adjusting.

Here’s geg6’s Cleo:

She’s so cute, enough to make me waiver on my “no more kittens, only adults” rule

From geg6:

Here’s some shots of Cleo. She is putting on weight and getting longer. Very healthy now and full of energy. She loves to play, jump, eat and get belly rubs when she wakes up. Still keeping her separate from the pups. We’ve been gating her in the kitchen for a while every day. Dogs are curious but dubious. It’s obviously going to be a process. She goes back to the vet Monday for a follow up and more shots. We love her.

And here is jacy’s Mouse:

He’s growing into such a handsome boy!

From jacy:

Here’s his latest photo. He’ll be nine months old this week, and he’s found out there are birds outside. He has also found out that if he can convince each person in the household separately that he hasn’t been fed, he can receive up to five of cans of food a day. His favorite trick is to rattle the doors to the game room until they pop open, then go in and knock the turtle food over and eat it. 🙂

And with that, I turn an open thread over to you. Let’s see your pets, holiday decorations (here’s my tree), or anything else fun you’d like to share.








LTG Flynn Met With the Special Counsel’s Investigators 19 Times!!!!

Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his sentencing memo to the court regarding LTG Flynn. The two top take aways are that LTG Flynn met with the Special Counsel’s investigators 19 times and that, as a result of his full cooperation with the Special Counsel’s investigation, Special Counsel Mueller is recommending no prison time for the crime that LTG Flynn plead to. Basically Flynn sang like a bird and told the Special Counsel everything!!!!!!

Flynn was facing up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Here’s the link to the memo.

Buzzfeed has the details!

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller is okay with a sentence that doesn’t include any jail time for Michael Flynn — the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in the Russia probe — according to a new court filing Tuesday night.

Flynn is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 18, more than a year after he first appeared before a federal judge in Washington, DC, to enter his guilty plea. His deal with the government required him to cooperate with Mueller’s office, and in Tuesday’s filing, prosecutors said Flynn’s offense was “serious,” but that he deserved credit for accepting responsibility and “substantially assisting the government.”

Given the defendant’s substantial assistance and other considerations set
forth below, a sentence at the low end of the guideline range — including a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration — is appropriate and warranted,” prosecutors wrote.

Much more at the link.

The supplementary filing had a lot of redactions:

Expect the presidential frenzy, as well as the frenzy of those around him, to increase exponentially.

It is important to remember that anyone who tells you definitively what the Special Counsel and his investigators are doing does not know what the Special Counsel and his investigators are doing. The only people who know what the Special Counsel and his investigators are doing are the Special Counsel and his investigators and they do not comment publicly. They only speak through indictments, other court filings, and in court.

Don’t lie to the FBI! It’s rude and upsets the special agents’ feelings!

Open thread.