An army of fun.

With all due respect to David Simon, I’m still paying attention to the Petraeus story. It’s not about where the general stashed his bayonet any more, if it ever was — it’s about total, jaw-dropping, WTFuckery like this:

In February 2010, a gossip column in The Tampa Bay Times reported that Mr. Petraeus and his wife arrived escorted by 28 police officers on motorcycles to a pirate-themed party at the Kelleys’ home, to mark Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Fest, an annual event.

And this:

In the phone call to authorities, Jill Kelley, a party hostess and unofficial social liaison for leaders of the U.S. military’s Central Command in Tampa, cited her status as an honorary consul general while complaining about news vans that had descended on her two-story brick home overlooking Tampa Bay.

“You know, I don’t know if by any chance, because I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property. I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well,” she told the 911 dispatcher Monday.

And this, this and this:

I can’t get over that head-tilt thing. Spy magazine once published a montage of photos of Ivana Trump, who, whenever a camera was aimed at her, would push her knees together and swivel one calf out to the side. Of course you want to show off your good side, but please.

Throw in the shady charity, and you realize this whole thing could have been touched off by a parking ticket. It was just waiting to fall.

Any links today? Why…no, I don’t think so. Just the usual phoned-in crap. Have a nice day.

Posted at 12:32 am in Current events |

96 responses to “An army of fun.”

  1. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 1:35 am

    “…it’s about total, jaw-dropping, WTFuckery…”

    You know what girl, you have a way with words. You should be a writer of some sorts when you grow up.

    Caught a little bit of the press conference being played on Sean Hannity’s show before I left for LA for a business thing. I know it is Fox… and I know it is Hannity… but while you all readjust your sight after those two major eye rolls, did you catch the reporter who said… “I’ve never seen you lose.” I thought she was going to genuflect mid-sentence.

    And from the questions which were asked and those that were left unasked, it sounds to me like the whole presser was one great big smooch-fest.

    Must Be Nice.

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  2. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Nancy, I read the link yesterday about Savita and while awful, I would guess that it is an anecdotal outlier and that there are many more outliers on the other side of the equation. YMMV

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  3. Rana said on November 15, 2012 at 2:10 am

    Danny, do not go there. Just… don’t.

    Her death was completely avoidable. That she died is a tragedy, and it is an even greater tragedy that it was utterly unnecessary. And it is the existence of cases like hers that drive home why one-size-fits-all laws are not just stupid, but cruel, inhumane, and vicious in their intent. While politicians and pundits and popes witter away about the philosophical and ideological aspects of these laws, actual human beings have their fertility, their health, and their lives put at risk.

    Don’t you even fucking dare try to abstract this woman’s death for your gotcha games. Just. Do. NOT.

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  4. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Rana, a little less Savita and a little more sativa is in order for you… or Sanka…

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  5. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Danny, that’s incredibly patronizing and not really all that clever.

    She’s right. Don’t go there.

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  6. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Sherri, my original comment was mild and measured and, per usual, her reply was abrasive and pedantic.

    Y’all remind me of a great light-bulb joke.

    Question: “How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb.”
    Answer: “THAT’S NOT FUNNY!!!!”

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  7. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Your comment was mild and measured, if you ignore any implications of what you mean by it. The graceful thing here is to mourn a tragedy, not play I can top that tragedy.

    We’re letting you know, it won’t be appreciated.

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  8. Dexter said on November 15, 2012 at 2:47 am

    Here I am, like a kid at Christmas, because in just 18 hours the new Brett Morgen doc on The Rolling Stones is coming to HBO, and then I get all mad and pissed off because Stephanie Bongiovi OD’s at college. Heroin. I just hate it when this happens. I was sure that heroin use would decline by now to a very low incidence rate. Boy was I wrong.
    Stephanie Bongiovi is Jon Bon Jovi’s daughter, and last I heard she is still alive. Will she end up dead in a snowbank like George McGovern’s daughter Terry? I’m mad not because a multi-millionaire can’t keep his kid clean at college, but because I know too much about the scourge of heroin, from when as a medic I had to watch young guys in Vietnam get hooked on the stuff and then feebly attempt to get off it, to when I came back home and witnessed the death of more than a few people I knew who just had to try every damn drug that was available, including heroin, and then they’d choke when it made them sick…and nobody there to help. I decided as a young lad to never , ever try heroin, and that vow may have saved my life, because by fate I have been around heroin or recovering addicts or users since I was 20 years old. Being an abstainer of heroin means I can’t truly know the allure, but I truly know the results. I hate heroin, but I have feelings for users who want to stop. I know kicking is a bitch…quitting cigarettes and booze took me years after I should have quit…but I hope Stephanie Bongiovi makes it. Her dad? Will he send her to Betty Ford or maybe some European detox place? I hope so. This goddam disease, and I am focussing on heroin addiction, is so horrible that a lot of people just do not want to deal with it. My grandson in Las Vegas lost his best friend two years ago to an OD of heroin; he was 17 years old. A goddam shame.

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  9. Dexter said on November 15, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I need a funny, and as Larry the Cable guy says, “I don’t care WHO ya are, this is funny!”

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  10. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 3:06 am

    I too have been around a lot of addicts since about the age of 18 or 20. Not so much anymore, but I too avoided the allure.

    There was a book by Neal Stephenson called “Cryptonomicon.” Great read if you’ve the time. In it, there are characters who are soldiers from WWII who are also morphine addicts.

    There is this scene where the soldiers are searching a German submarine for the Enigma machine and also decide to search the shipboard medical dispensary for any leftover morphine. The author goes into some detail to describe how the German word for “morphine addict” was often translated “Morphine Seeking,” but that the more appropriate translation would be that they were “Morphine Seeky“… Like a roof that is leaky only when water is present, the soldiers were seeky only when morphine might be present.

    I don’t know why, but that passage made an impression upon me.

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  11. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 3:11 am

    Dexter, your funny puts a new spin on “Stay Calm and Carry On.”

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 15, 2012 at 7:24 am

    From what’s detailed in the stories I’ve read, it appears the death in Ireland was a case of shockingly piss-poor doctoring, with the doctor hiding behind Ireland’s stringent anti-abortion laws out of sheer laziness. The doctor should be disciplined severely (I’m not saying de-licensed only because I don’t assume news stories have all the facts), and I wonder how Irish civil law works, if the family can pursue him/her in court through litigation.

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  13. coozledad said on November 15, 2012 at 7:58 am

    They really don’t understand why this woman’s death has anyone outraged. The misery of others is a meaningless abstraction for them. That’s why it’s been so easy for them to disappear their role in two failed imperial adventures, and the greatest failure to correctly interpret intelligence findings since Stalin was notified of Barbarossa.

    Like the Nazis they pretend not to revere, the Republicans will always be a latent homosexual cabal with a thing for men in uniform, whether it’s a cassock or a smart khaki number with riding boots. They either actively cause human suffering, or willfully ignore it. And every thing they touch turns to shit.

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  14. beb said on November 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I’m with Rana that this story out of Ireland is not something for levity or dismissal. I keep thinking that a woman in Brazil also died because national law prevented her from having an abortion.

    The Patreus story has indeed fallen into WTF land. But it seems less and less about Patreus and all about this Kelley woman. It reminds me of Charlie Pierce’s (I think) that for Mitt Romney the world is divided into two groups, The Romney’s and the Help. This woman certainly seems to see the rest of the world as The Help. God, where do these people come from? I’m waiting for the honorary consul’s honorary ass to be hauled to honorary jail.

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  15. beb said on November 15, 2012 at 8:05 am

    @13 — someone hasn’t had their morning coffee (LOL)

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  16. coozledad said on November 15, 2012 at 8:22 am

    One Hundred Years of Love in the Time of Amoebic Dysintery: A Novel of Love n’ Shit.

    iThe general noted himself briefly in the hallway mirror, a gift from ambassador Bremer. Like one of the expensive kitchen ranges Bremer had successfully managed to liberate from Faluja, it had its uses, but the kitchen range never told him “David, you have no chin.”
    “Fuck you, mirror”, he thought.” I’ve got the best old man pecs this side of four stars. A man without a chin can eat pussy all day and his mandible will not smell of ass.”
    He adjusted his pirate costume. Perhaps Jill would blow him in the billiard room. Sex with her was almost like sex with love because she was such a little snow globe. Pretty just sitting around thinking of ways to get money, but even prettier upended, looking for loose change on the floor while he tried to hit the sweet spot. Could she get her twin sister Natalie to join them? Maybe in the home theater?… Mmmm. Two snow globes…

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    • nancy said on November 15, 2012 at 8:29 am

      You kill me.

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  17. Mark P said on November 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

    There was some back and forth in comments to a story at Slate yesterday about the “classified information” on Broadwell’s computer. I said there was no classified information on her computer because she had not been charged or, more likely, given a violation. Now, according to today’s news, the FBI is still investigating whether she did, indeed, have classified material. Her clearance has been revoked, but, depending on exactly what they find (if anything), some heads could roll because of this. I doubt, or hope, that Petraeus had anything to do with the classified information. If he didn’t, it will get sticky either for Broadwell or someone not named so far.

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  18. Mark P said on November 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I mean, of course, that I hope Patraeus did NOT have anything to do with it. Darn that lack of an edit button.

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  19. alex said on November 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I’m going to pile on and say the gotcha games gotta go. Danny, that wasn’t mild and measured. It was calculated, and so is the ridicule you’re trying to heap on those who are offended. If it were up to me, the proprietress would send you packing.

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  20. brian stouder said on November 15, 2012 at 8:50 am

    What Nancy said!

    If I was going to become passionately upset about something political, it would be either Red Romney’s post-election conference call where he lets his hair down and reiterates his genuine belief in ‘makers and takers’ and the worthless 47% and all that. (And indeed – where’s my “gifts”, eh?) –

    or else the genuinely indecipherable and flatly ridiculous new right-wing meme about how our ambassador to the UN and/or the president is to blame for the murders of the 4 Americans in Libya??!!

    And we’ll only glancingly mention the insuperable ignorance of tens of thousands of people who would sign – even jokingly – a public petition advocating for secession.

    (A guy at work – the same guy who offered to buy me a ticket to the D’nesh-a-palooza schlocumentary about our Kenyan anti-colonialist president – was delightedly going on about this secession petition thing the other day. I offered to buy him a ticket to go see Spielberg’s Lincoln movie, which he declined even more quickly than I had turned away his offer)

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    • nancy said on November 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

      I see Kevin Leininger is writing about that stupid secession thing today. It’s astonishing, how far behind the gettin’-it curve the Hoosier right wing is.

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  21. Mark P said on November 15, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Did I mention that I read an article about the guy in Alabama who started that state’s petition? It seems he thinks the federal government is trying to control our lives too much. The big deal for him was when local officials shut down his topless carwash. So, clearly, he can’t tell the difference between the federal government and his local Bible-thumping city or county officials.

    And Romney is showing the future of the Republican Party. Some reasoned voices (OK, reasoned for Republicans) are saying how the party needs to take the reality of the country into account if they ever want to win national elections again. But they seem incapable of changing. They simply cannot let go of the fantasy of a country where rich, white men run things and everyone with darker skin, a different religion, or different genitalia mows the lawn or serves drinks but never votes.

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  22. Peter said on November 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Cooz, I got to tell you, that Nazi comment hit a synapse with me.

    Years ago the Art Institute had a show on the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) Exhibit the Nazi’s put on back in the day, and they had blown up photos of the opening day when Adolf and the Krew came through.

    I counted twelve different uniform types/combinations, and I couldn’t help but think that aside from the whole death thing, that photo would look mighty fine in a gay bar.

    Beb, are you sure about that woman in Brazil? Her death might have been due more to the general state of health care there as opposed to religious issues – Brazil’s well known for having antiquated laws that no one pays any attention to.

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  23. del said on November 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I am still pondering Cooze’s novel of Love n’ Shit…

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  24. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Papa John is full of shit. He’s spending more money on the Peyton Manning free pizza deal , by a franking mile, than Obamacare will cost his company. And since the Dominos guy is a whackjob Opus Dei Raygun acolyte whose current political crush is the fracking idiot Sam Brownback, it’s home baked or local pizzeria pizza in our house from now on.

    Aurora Borealis photos from the peak of Mt. Washington, Neh Hempsha.

    I say deport the moronic secession petitioners. The USA will be better off by losing the states that make large profits on their contributions to federal government by getting back far more than they pay in. I’m talking about the deep south and AK. And Texas, you’ll be begging to join Mexico when NASA and aerospace industry pull out. And the vibrant social scene in Tampa will obviously take a hurricane hit.

    And since Brian mentioned it, I’ll ask again, when did Americans come to believe that “anti-colonial” is a damning epithet?

    Danny, that shit wasn’t mild and measured, and it was inntended to provoke. If someone you disagree with said
    Papa John is full of shit. He’s spending more money on the Peyton Manning free pizza deal , by a franking mile, than Obamacare will cost his company. And since the Dominos guy is a whackjob Opus Dei Raygun acolyte whose current political crush is the fracking idiot Sam Brownback, it’s home baked or local pizzeria pizza in our house from now on.

    Mild and measured? Bullshit Danny. You intended to provoke the response you got. And if someone you disagree with said something as pedantic and ridiculous as I would guess that it is an anecdotal outlier and that there are many more outliers on the other side of the equation. At least you didn’t say “I suspect”. But I could just as easily assert that you believe the tragedy inherent in that woman’s death is diminished by the fact she’s a native of India. And @6. You just ooze with Eddie Haskelism sometimes. That weaselly, passive-aggressive defense is puke-worthy.

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  25. alex said on November 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

    It’s astonishing, how far behind the gettin’-it curve the Hoosier right wing is.

    I have a feeling they’ll be updating their 1980s hair styles and eyeglasses before they’ll ever consider the possibility that the GOP cannot restore the social order of the 1950s. Kevin Leininger is one of those stubborn optimists who keeps the dream alive, and keeps Brylcreem in business too.

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  26. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Paula Broadwell has a George O’Leary problem withwriting an honest resume.

    And Ambassador Kelley’s 91 phone call really reminded me of George Zimmerman.

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  27. Icarus said on November 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

    At the risk of getting mixed in the middle of a Danny Rana rumble especially since i’m 99% lurker….

    Stories like these do follow a pattern. One side is told. There is shock, then awe. Then after a very short amount of time, the other side chimes in with the POV which may or may not have some validity. Then heretofore unknown/unprovided details emerge. Rinse repeat.

    I agree that what happened was terrible and preventable. And if I’m that husband I’m threatening to kill doctors if they don’t save my wife’s life. I’m also cynical enough to know that there is another shoe to drop in all of this once the militant prolifers catch their breath and come up with a response.

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  28. Julie Robinson said on November 15, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Dana Milbank makes the case that we should let the secessionists go, as most of them are taking more from the federal government than they pay in taxes: Alabama receives $1.71 for every $1 it pays, so letting them go would be a smart financial decision.

    With every new twist in the Petraeus case I get the feeling I’m reading one of Dave Barry’s books about life in wacky south Florida. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.

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  29. Mark P said on November 15, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Julie, it would be a good financial move if Alabama were allowed to secede, and things would be worse in Alabama than you can imagine. If all the federal government jobs in Alabama were removed, the average annual income would nosedive. There is a huge federal presence in Alabama, especially in Huntsville, where the Missile Defense Agency, the Army and NASA have huge offices with thousands of federal civilian and contractor jobs. It would be a catastrophe for Alabama. Alabama would become a third-world country overnight.

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  30. Jolene said on November 15, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Bart Gellmann has a detailed analysis of l’affaire Petraeus in TIME that is worth a look. While it doesn;t contain much in the way of new detail (Thank God! We have enough details.), it does draw out in an interesting and serious way the implications for the administration, which are not favorable even though no one really thinks Obama has done anything wrong,

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  31. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Mark P@29: Or we could just admit it doesn’t work and bag missile defense altogether, but I suppose that would end up being expensive keeping the Alabummer rocket scientists fed and housed. Only in Chinese martial arts movies like Drunken Master can you shoot a bullet with a bullet.

    Missile defense expenditures since Reagan pushed SDI (Star Wars). And to date, there has never been anything close to a successful test, even when the test protocol called for the target missile to be highlighted with a gigunda reflective ballon like the one in the Red Bull parachute jump.

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  32. Judybusy said on November 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Another problem with letting the secessionists go is that they take a lot of innocents with them. What about all the people receiving SSI, Medicare, food stamps, and Medicaid? They would be even more vulnerable.

    There is some good news out there: Planned Parenthood successfully blocked a Texas law stripping them of their funding. This allows them to continue to provide free cancer screenings and affordable birth controk which of course, prevents abortions.

    Also, this jerk,Koster of Washington, lost his bid for the House by about 11 points. I hadn’t heard of this one before today. Love the whinging that goes on about how his comments were taken out of context.

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  33. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Prospero, without sounding like a missile defense apologist, I have to disagree that there have been no successful tests. There have actually been quite a few. You have to understand that the tests are intended to incrementally test a very complicated system, so some may seem rigged. But, in most cases, the tests were intended to test certain specific parts of the system, not the entire thing, so it’s reasonable to “rig” the rest of the test. For example, if you want to test a new automobile engine, you don’t put it in a car, you put it in a lab and control all the variables you can.

    On the other hand, can you name one other military program that has lasted so long and cost so much money and has yet to produce anything more than this program has? Research in missile defense started in World War II (when they concluded there was no existing technology that could shoot down the German V2 missiles). Missile defense research is more than 65 years old.

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  34. MarkH said on November 15, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I can’t believe that an enlightened place like nn.c is indulging in even a half-serious discussion of this secession talk. It’s the mother of all non-starters for the reasons most of you mention: all states are federal dollar whores, the worst being the ones with people making the serious effort. No one is going to give up all that largesse. On the face of it, you have to know that at least ten states would be financially vaporized. How do I know? Rick Perry has already issued the big STFU.

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  35. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I can’t believe that an enlightened place like nn.c is indulging in even a half-serious discussion of this secession talk.

    You must be new here. Heheh.

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  36. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Does it never occur to the secessionists that they are signing up for treason?

    Judybusy, I’ve mentioned Koster a time or two; he was running in my district. I’m proud to say that I donated money to his opponent, who defeated him handily in this district, which was drawn up to be 50-50. Koster is a Tea Party loon who didn’t even carry his home county.

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  37. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Anon: I’m a fan of your poetry. Yeah, I’m aware of all of that, but nonproliferation wexperts are the source of most of what I know about missile defense, and the predominant opinion in that weapons subculture, is that weapons systems testing is regularly marred by resetting testing bars after the tests don’t turn out the way they were supposed to. And I don’t see how missing a target hundreds of times larger than the weapon that’s supposed to be taken out in real life tests anything about the system’s performance in any way.

    I think people that call themselves “fiscal hawks” should be holding up missile defense as a poster child for wasted funds, but their ideological joneses for both military spending and any Raygun wild hair preclude rational behavior on this subject.

    Mostly, I pay attention to Joe Cirincione on this subject because he is well informed and shows no partisan leanings except towards the human race and its continuing existence. Of course, the non-proliferation crowd has a predisposition toward the belief that missile defense and the attendant promises made for it by defense contractors and some military folks lull people into a false sense of security in a world of nuclear arsenals, particularly the poorly managed ones in the former USSR and the one in the Negev being run by the inmates of the asylum. This seems like a reasonable way of thinking to me.

    In support of what MarkH says @34, just look at the cases of all of those bigmouth Teabanger goober-nors that said they wouldn’t take stimulus money and then bought new suits and silver-plated shovels, and commissioned giant facsimile checks, to take credit for stimulus funded projects. Hell, Paul Ryan did that. So did Eric Cantor. Even the Mad Magazine Exorcist Bobby Jindal said “What? Me Worry?”

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  38. brian stouder said on November 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    one lunchtime note: that article Jolene linked is very good stuff.

    And – even David Simon his-ownself can’t bitch about it, because it ain’t about the sex; it’s about the implications

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  39. Sue said on November 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Holy moley Danny. You have outdone yourself.
    You’re very good at what you do here. Very effective.

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  40. Sue said on November 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    MMJeff – piss poor doctoring? Was he there 24/7 obstructing her care, was there no one there advocating for this woman, not a single nurse, aide, whatever getting the word up the chain or laterally to another doctor?
    I think the phrase they were using as they helped this woman on her way, “This is a Catholic country”, just about covers it. They weren’t hiding behind anything.

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  41. MarkH said on November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Heh Heh, indeed, Dannno. The only thing that kept my tongue from going through my cheek on that first sentence was the serious tone of some of the comments. Except Prospero, of course.

    BTW, Prospero – Have you had it yet with SAMCRO? I’m beginning to think the joke is on the viewers, a huge one. Clay lives, Tig lives, Opie and his dad back from the dead, the club banding together and killing everyone else, Pope included, in the end. We’re supposed to believe they get away with all that bloodshed? Sheesh. Still, hard to take your eyes off that trainwreck.

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  42. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Tig is going to die a horrible death at Pope’s hands, MarkH, and nobody deserves it more but Clay. Those Tara and Otto scenes have been both gratuitous and disturbing though. I’m hoping for Unser to outlive all of them.

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  43. coozledad said on November 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Shorter Republicans: Heh heh. Libtards always believe us when we’re lying to ourselves into a rich, foamy heap of epistemic closure. What is that Democrat Petraeus hiding?

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  44. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Prospero, there is enough lack of information and intentionally bad information floating around on all sides of the missile defense issue to keep the salient points obscured for the foreseeable future. Suffice it to say, although there have been plenty of failures and (as you say) resettings of the bar, there have also been successful tests of reasonably realistic targets.

    The main problem with the discussion of missile defense is that none of the participants ever lay out the ground rules for discussion. Here’s a rough path for a rational discussion; each step requires a positive answer before considering the next step:

    1. Is it physically possible? (The answer here is yes, despite talk of “hitting a bullet with a bullet”. We do the equivalent all the time in space)
    2. Is it physically feasible?
    3. Is it technologically feasible?
    4. Is it affordable?
    5. Is it the best way to achieve the goal?
    6. Is it politically/ethically desirable? (In other words, yes, we can do it, but should we?)

    You might argue about whether this list is exhaustive or the order of some points, but until everyone agrees on how to argue, it will be hard to get to a rational conclusion.

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  45. coozledad said on November 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Thers on Ireland, the Church, and abortion:

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  46. Jakash said on November 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Amazing to me that Romney’s flip-flopping continues past the election. Why bother? First the 47% tape was released, very effectively putting forth his actual beliefs. This cost him big-time, politically, so he disavowed those comments and said he was “completely wrong” when he made them. Now that the election is over, though, he returns with relish to his true-North position that the moochers cost him the election. As Jolene said last night, gracious as always. Fortunately for most of us, along with being wrong about “gifts” being the motivation for those who opposed him, he also underestimated the percentage of the population that would not vote for him by 4 points…

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  47. Jeff said on November 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Cooze, thank you for that link. Sincerely. Obviously there’s lots I don’t know about Ireland.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on November 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Contraception was illegal until 1980? Today I would like to revoke my Irish heritage.

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  49. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Anonimity, what is it that you think we do in space all the time that is the equivalent to the problems in missile defense?

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  50. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    We do the equivalent all the time in space

    Really? It’s not the same thing as docking with the space station in a fixed orbit. To your questions 5 and 6, the best way to achieve the goal is total worldwide nuke disarmament. Anything that convinces a nation that a nuke war can be won is bpth politically and ethically undesirable.

    So Willard thinks if he had only promised a dancing horse in every garage, people would have been more likely to vote for him. Maybe, a coupla Caddies in every garage, or a car elevator.

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  51. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    We routinely rendezvous with orbiting objects, which is basically the same problem. You are trying to put one object traveling at very high speed at the same location and at the same time as another object traveling at very high speed. It sounds hard, and I don’t want to minimize the difficulty, but it’s just a matter of using some fairly basic physics and some technology that has been around for a half a century. That’s the “hitting a bullet with a bullet” problem. That’s not the only problem in missile defense, but that’s the one I was talking about, and that’s the comparison lots of people make when criticizing the missile defense program.

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  52. jcburns said on November 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    And courtesy of Charles Apple’s copydesk blog, MAD magazine has created a helpful diagram to explain the Petraeus mess.

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  53. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Prospero, I hate to disagree again, but it is basically the same problem as docking with a space station in a fixed orbit. The “fixed orbit” has nothing to do with the problem, because the path of an object traveling outside the atmosphere (not boosting) can be calculated and predicted extremely accurately. Non-boosting orbital and suborbital objects travel ballistically, and calculating the trajectories is done exactly the same way for both cases. In terms of the physics, in fact, it is precisely and exactly the same problem.

    As I said, the order of the points can be changed, but if someone wants to argue, both sides need to agree on which points they want to argue and in what order. I am not defending missile defense. I just like to keep my arguments well defined. An argument against missile defense on the basis of the technology should be based on facts. An argument on the sixth point is one of personal belief, of course, so it’s harder to pin down things you might call “facts.”

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  54. del said on November 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    jc — that MAD magazine diagram was great. I was particularly moved by the “Meritorious Post-Coital Snuggling” medal. Under a desk, that would be tough.

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  55. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I have no idea what the physics and math may be in targeting a small object launched out of the clear blue sky on a trajectory that may or not be predictable, but common sense says it’s more difficult than targeting an object travelling a completely predictable path with no critical limit on lead time or response time. I’d trust the Report from the Institute on Defense Analysis for the Pentagon on this more than I’d trust some imaginary metric for testing the MDA systems invent out of whole cloth by Rumsfeld.

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  56. Icarus said on November 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    now that didn’t take long did it

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  57. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Sorry, Anonimity, but I disagree that docking with a spacecraft and hitting a missile are basically the same thing. At a very elementary level, yes, they are both ballistic objects, but at a practical level, they’re light-years (so to speak) apart. There’s a very big difference between docking two cooperating spacecraft with plenty of time to set up the problem and detecting, analyzing, and hitting a missile in real time despite any counter measures the missile might deploy.

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  58. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I don’t claim any knowledge of the rocket science involved in missile defense, but I’m pretty sure the people at the IDA that analyze this shit for DoD do.

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  59. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    This will be my last comment on the missile defense question. Prosp and Sherri, I am correct in this case. The physics are completely understood, and argue as you might, it won’t change the physics. There are plenty of reasons to argue against the US missile defense program, but this isn’t one of them.

    Sherri, you are extending the argument beyond the original point. Yes, countermeasures change the equation, but we weren’t talking about countermeasures. Prospero, I assume you are referring to a report to the DoD in which the discrimination question was raised, but which was not a substantive part of the report and which isn’t a part of the “hitting a bullet with a bullet” issue.

    That is all. Signing off now.

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  60. nancy said on November 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Wow, Icarus, that LifesiteNews thing is amazing. Every so often I get an itch to work for an “advocacy group” and let my freak flag fly. Then I see something like this and reflect that I’d have to use quotes like this with a straight face:

    Uí Bhriain added, “Abortion doesn’t cure septicaemia and isn’t a treatment for miscarriage.”

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  61. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Anonimity, you’re simply arguing that you know more physics than I do, so go away. That’s fine, but it’s not very compelling.

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  62. Icarus said on November 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    @nancy, you should see the battle I’m having on FB with the guy who sent me the link. Truthfully, I’m not very good at debating these things as I have a tendency to play fair and they do not have any desire to listen to the other side.

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  63. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    The Seattle Times has the photo of the shirtless Fibbie:

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  64. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Sherri, I will address that one point. I think I do in fact know more about this question than anyone here, and I know that because I do not know anyone posting here who works in my small professional community. Again, as I said, the physics is the physics. Without going into the physics here (which, I will admit, I would have to dig out the physics books for), there is no way to really talk about it. All I can do is say, believe me, the calculations for doing an intercept are exactly the same as the calculations for doing a rendezvous in orbit, down to the last few puffs of propellant to adjust for the last few feet. You brought up countermeasures. You have hit a sore point in the missile defense area, but it wasn’t what I was talking about. I was trying to specifically limit my arguments to the one issue: “hitting an incoming enemy missile with an interceptor is like hitting a bullet with a bullet.” And I am saying with respect to that one point, no, it’s not. It’s like rendezvousing with the space station, or any other satellite, or even Mars.

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  65. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Actually, the claim is to knowing more about the physics and math of MD than the DoD and the Institute for Defense Analysis, and more about the testing protocols than all of the experts. And of course, not paying attention to the nutjob contracting and testing procedures that Rumsfeld established for missile defense out of the sheer blindness to common sense generated by his intense Raygun man-crush. Rummy’s idea about spiral development, allowing for deployment without conclusive testing is loonier than his Known knowns and known unknowns prattle and babble.

    This whole Star Wars thing reminds me of HW claiming that Raytheon’s Patriot Missile defense array was 95% effective when DoD reviews after the first Gulf War put the number at closer to 15%. Undoubtedly, Raytheon got even more cash to fix the POS system. Then again, it’s one of the wonders of the internet that anybody can claim to be a rocket scientist that knows more than actual experts. That’s why I cited a definitive study rather than trying to claim specific technical knowledge for my own part.

    Abortion doesn’t cure septicemia, but it can sure as shit prevent it from happening. Nobody ever claimed the former, and the latter is fracking obvious.

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  66. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Anonimity, I actually understand orbital mechanics, believe it or not. I just disagree that missile defense and spaceship docking are really the same problem.

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  67. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Sorry to sound condescending, Sherri. Where do you work? Maybe we know each other, or have some professional contacts in common.

    Prospero, I wonder why you think there is something mutually exclusive about my knowledge and the knowledge of the DoD and the missile defense community.

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  68. Jolene said on November 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Then I see something like this and reflect that I’d have to use quotes like this with a straight face . . .

    Why? You don’t have to work for a crazy advocacy organization.

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  69. Judybusy said on November 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Taking a sidestep away from the missile defense convo, thanks, Sherri, for commenting on Koster. I don’t always get through all the comments here on nnc, so may have missed it. Or it could have just gone throught the sieve that day.

    Might as well pile a bit more on the Catholics today: a boy is being denied confirmation because he posted a pic on FB against our marriage amendment, which would have defined marriage as between guys and gals only.

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  70. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I don’t work in the field, Anonimity, I just have a degree in physics. I worked as a software engineer, and now I’m a mom.

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  71. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    And no, it’s not like a rendevous with an object in orbit because there is no critical time constraint.

    Anon, I didn’t assume anything of the sort, but your conclusions differ fairly widely. As far as what I said about your point #6, I didn’t say anything about facts, just that the ethical and political desirability of missile defense is fairly clearly limited.

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  72. MarkH said on November 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Prospero, we agree. At this point I would like nothing more for that show than to see it end with last-man-standing Unser pulling that fine Airstream out of the shambles of the SAMCRO compound and heading down the coast highway. WITHOUT that skank Gemma.

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  73. Anonimity said on November 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Prospero, my conclusions are widely accepted within the MD community. The specific conclusion is that the mechanics of hitting an incoming exoatmospheric missile or reentry vehicle are well understood and can be achieved using readily available technology. The problem resolves to orbital mechanics, and we know that inside and out. Otherwise, why would anyone work on the program? I mean aside from greed. There are certainly critics of the program, both inside and outside the community. There are lots and lots of good criticisms. You mention some. But they don’t have anything to do with the point I was trying to make. It’s a very limited point, but one that is constantly brought up by critics. And it’s not valid.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “no critical time constraint.” There are certainly critical time constraints in landing a craft on the surface of Mars, or slingshotting a spacecraft around planets to reach a specific point in space at a specific time, or, to mention a very old example, getting a spacecraft arriving from the Moon to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere without burning up. To me all of these problems are essentially the same. I don’t think it would be hard (for some values of “hard”) to write a program that would accept as inputs either the trajectory elements of an interceptor and target, or those of a cargo pod and space station, and give good results without any changes for either case.

    Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t comment any more, but I can’t resist. Some people say that I like to argue. I have no idea what they’re talking about.

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  74. Charlotte said on November 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Julie @48 — when I was an exchange student in Dublin in 1984 I had to go to an unmarked clinic to get contraception refills — my recollection is that it was still illegal (perhaps for single women?) but the cops turned a blind eye. Also, the argument against legalizing abortion was always that you could just “take the ferry” and get it taken care of in the UK.

    From the Guardian: “Just two months ago, a consortium of Irish doctors got together to declare abortion medically unnecessary. They claimed that abortion is never needed to save a pregnant woman’s life, and stated: “We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”

    I also wonder how race played into this … that poor woman. So so angry.

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  75. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I’m talking about a surprise missile launch that has got to be tracked extremely quickly in order to have any chance of bringing it down, without even accounting for likely clusters of missiles. The famous test failure with the big balloon shadowing the projectile, they didn’t even hit the balloon. Every time a test has failed, the expected results have been changed after the fact to claim success in some aspect of the test. And the cash keeps flowing. That seems like a stupid way to spend taxpayer money. Spiral development as propounded by Rumsfeld is a lax, unaccountable, contractor friendly idea that is completely irresponsible both fiscally and scientifically. As for ethics, convincing people a nuclear war can be won isn’t just unethical, it’s borderline insanity:

    Anyway, the history of missile defense is littered with poor performance and lame excuses:

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  76. beb said on November 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    We’re arguing Missle Defense in NancyNall? Wow, that is eclectic. Let’s review Anonimity’s six points.
    1. Is it physically possible? (The answer here is yes, despite talk of “hitting a bullet with a bullet”. We do the equivalent all the time in space)

    Well,yes it is physically possible. Whether it is technologically feasible is an entirely different issue. It is true that we rendezvous with the International Space Station all the time but most visiting craft 24 to 48 hours to match orbits. Even knowing where the ISS will be at any particular time, NASA prefers to take their time, refine their knowledge of the velocity of the orbiting crafts.

    2. Is it physically feasible?

    I don’t know what he means here. Perhaps he’s asking if 1) it’s possible for two object to intersect in space, the answer is yes, but 2) can a missile destroy a nuclear warhead. That is a harder question. Detonating a nuclear device near a nuclear warhead may likely destroy it but do you really want to be setting off so many nuclear weapons? Perhaps you could drive the projectile into the warhead and destroy it. Or perhaps you could explode metal covered bomb near the warhead and hope that the shrapnel pierces the warhead and causes it to melt during re-entry. So yes, it is possible to destroy a warhead in space.

    3. Is it technologically feasible?

    And here’s the rub. A warhead boosts for maybe 10-15 minutes and coasts for less than an hour to its destination. In that the missile defense must establish that an attack of war has occurred, tracked the launch of the warhead, calculated it’s trajectory and calculate an intercept trajectory for the defense missile, and launch the missile. Since it takes time for the defense missile to travel to its rendezvous the sooner it can be launched the better. But the sooner the missile is launched means less time to determine the incoming missiles trajectory. The hurdles for a Star Wars defense are immense. Is it feasible? Not likely.

    4. Is it affordable?


    It costs as much to launch one defense missile as it does to launch an attack missile. But an attack missile can carry multiple warheads so for each missile the enemy sends our way we would 6 to 10 missiles to respond to each warhead. Add in decoys re-entry objects, radar jamming, stealth technology, etc., and there is no way to build a missile defense that can’t be swamped by the enemy. And with nuclear weapons it only takes one getting through to cause monstrous damage.

    5. Is it the best way to achieve the goal?

    Obviously no, since we could never afford the system.

    6. Is it politically/ethically desirable? (In other words, yes, we can do it, but should we?)

    The beauty of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) was that it guaranteed that a surprise attack would lead to the destruction of the attacker. But when you add in a missile defense the math goes south. Now the possessor of the missile defense can contemplate a first strike against in the belief that they can hold back the retaliatory wave of missiles. This makes the world less save because nations without a missile defense will become paranoid about the intentions of people with the defense.

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  77. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Remember that pro-life Tennessee Congressman caught on tape urging his mistress to get an abortion? She wasn’t the only one.

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  78. Anonymity said on November 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Beb here is an example for No 2. It’s physically possible to get a spaceship to .99 the speed of light but it’s not physically feasible. If the question is whether we should build such a spaceship the “no” for No 1 ends the discussion.

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  79. Anonymity said on November 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I meant No 2. Not easy commenting with the phone.

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  80. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    It occurs to me that the maximum consensus will be achieved in this thread if we confine our discussion to shooting the missiles at areas with high concentrations of conservatives and/or secessionists with the added provision that I be shot out of the first canon.

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  81. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    No, Danny, the canon is already full of dead white males…

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  82. alex said on November 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Sherri wins honorable mention. Cooz is still holding steady with his ode to Penetraleus at 16.

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  83. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    For what? Catching a typo after a 13-hour day? Bravo for her I guess…

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  84. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    This sums up my reaction pretty well.

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  85. Danny said on November 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Jeff, I really like how Judith Woods starts out.

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  86. Prospero said on November 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Sherri, I admire anybody that gets physics. My academic strong points are logic, the English language, “dead” languages and abstruse nonsense like analogies. Not bragging, but 149/150 on the Miller test. The point I didn’t make well about Star Wars (no matter how they change the name to disguise the stench of rotting tax money) is that it is like shooting a bullet with a bullet because a gunfight never involves readiness. A nuclear assault will come as a salvo, out of the blue (which is why GOPer idiot politicians talking about imminent NK threats is so fracking stupid.

    Oh, Sherri, I may be delusional, but if A&M can score on ‘Bama, Dawg’s offense could put up 45. Better QB, better RBs and Better WRs. That’s why they play the games.

    And, Danny, it’s clear the conservatives (who would make dead conservatives like Buckley turn over in their graves with their wilfull ignorance and general crass behavior) are your fellow travelers, but secessionists? Tres outre.

    And when I read this earlier

    without sounding like a missile defense apologist

    I was waiting for the other shoe to hit the floor with a thud.

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  87. Brandon said on November 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm

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  88. Sherri said on November 15, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Prospero, I respect your love of your Dawgs, but you are delusional. They may have scored 51 against UT’s horrible defense, but there’s no way they’ll score 45 against Bama. And I’m a Tennessee native, so I’m genetically predisposed to dislike Bama.

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  89. Dexter said on November 16, 2012 at 12:11 am

    photo title: 1) “Getting on Nance’s Nerves” or,
    2) “Somebody get that woman to the chiropractor!”

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  90. whosear said on November 16, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Thank you Nancy, I get to share my story of the day Tony Hulman cut a new one for Hilliard Gates. I met Mr Hulman while in high school as he was a childhood friend of my best friend (still today). I accompanied the entourage to the country club. Mr Hulman had just purchased WKJG-33. Gates drives up in a Ford Mark something or other that he rented on the station’s dime. Hulman cut him a new one, and if my friend’s mother hadn’t intervened, Gates would have faded into history sooner than later.

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  91. Anonimist said on November 16, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Missile defense doesn’t work? Try telling that to the Israelis.

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  92. Prospero said on November 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Anonimist. Those are rockets, not missiles, and the Israelis have a bottomless source to use as many weapons as necessary to try to shield themselves. i.e. US dollars and materiel. And should I assume that when a rocket kills somebody in Tel Aviv, it was allowed through an impenetrable shield so that the IDF could slaughter a bunch of Arabs in Gaza?

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  93. Anonimity said on November 16, 2012 at 10:57 am

    First, no one ever said Iron Dome was impenetrable. But apparently it is about 90 percent effective. So, about a 10 percent leakage rate. But, on the whole, it’s better to shoot down 90 percent than zero percent, don’t you think?

    The Israeli system has three tiers for different types of missiles. One of those tiers has been demonstrated to work quite effectively. Do you think you can persuade the Israelis to give up their three-tiered missile defense now?

    And, by the way, Prospero, you seem to keep missing my point. I am not defending the US missile defense system, I am just trying to get the argument to proceed rationally. No one seems to be willing to do that.

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  94. Prospero said on November 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    What ever, I care a great ddeal about you,, aand I am out of here.

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