Monthly Archives: August 2013

Probably because she’s being counseled by Fudrucker and Ramadamadingdong

You're absolutely right

You’re absolutely right

Telegraph: Why is Hillary Clinton so quiet on Syria? Duck and cover, then ascend to the throne, untouched. Samparna Ramadingdong Tamm won’t say peep about racial redistricting in Greenwich schools (or anything at all about education), doubtless on Boss Fudrucker’s advice, because all she has to to is hide until November. Similarly, what has Clinton to gain if she breaks her silence now? Someone might remember that she’d been Secretary of State not so very long ago, and helped place us where we are now.


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A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do

This is just so freakin' EASY!

This is just so freakin’ EASY!

For Obama it’s golf.  Chris R sends along this link to Zero Hedge: You must, absolutely must click on the link to enjoy the photomontage of Putin and, unfortunately for us, Obama.

After bringing the world to the edge of WWIII and nearly giving the first order to launch the ironically named Patriot missile, then dramatically punting in the very last second whether to invade Syria to Congress, something he should have done from the every beginning, Obama went on to do what he does best.

Politico explains:

Right after shipping responsibility for authorizing an attack on Syria, President Barack Obama returned to his comfort zone: The golf course.

Obama’s motorcade left the White House at 2:30 p.m., about 30 minutes after completing his statement.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are playing at Fort Belvoir, Va., along with White House trip director Marvin Nicholson and Walter Nicholson, according to the White House.

And so after last month’s Snowden humiliation, Russia’s Putin just schooled the US golfer-in-chief again. Although, was there ever any doubt?


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I saw this, meant to post it but forgot until InstaPundit picked it up. If you missed it…

Business Insider: The Ten Most Surprising things about America, according to an Indian International student.

Aniruddh Chaturvedi came from Mumbai to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn., where he is majoring in computer science. This past summer he interned at a tech company in Silicon Valley.

Chaturvedi offered his latest thoughts on America in an email to Business Insider.

The most surprising things about America:

  • Nobody talks about grades here.
  • Everyone is highly private about their accomplishments and failures. Someone’s performance in any field is their performance alone. This is different compared to India where people flaunt their riches and share their accomplishments with everybody else.
  • The retail experience is nowhere near as fun/nice as it is in India. Because labor is cheap in India, there is always someone who will act as a “personal shopper” to assist you with holding your clothes, giving suggestions, etc. In America, on the other hand, even if you go to a Nordstrom or Bloomingdales, there is almost nobody to help you out while you’re shopping. Shopping in America is more of a commodity / chore than it is a pleasurable activity . [This, and particularly the previous observation reveals that lucky Aniruddh has yet to visit Greenwich – Ed.]
  • Before coming to America, I heard stories about how students at Johns Hopkins were so competitive with each other that they used to tear important pages from books in the library just so other students didn’t have access to it. In reality, I experienced the complete opposite. Students were highly collaborative, formed study groups, and studied / did assignments till everyone in the group “got it”. I think the reason for this is that the classes are / material is so hard that it makes sense to work collaboratively to the point that students learn from each other.
  • Strong ethics — everyone has a lot of integrity. If someone cannot submit their completed assignment in time, they will turn in the assignment incomplete rather than asking for answers at the last minute. People take pride in their hard work and usually do not cheat. This is different from students from India and China as well as back home in India, where everyone collaborates to the extent that it can be categorized as cheating.
  • Rich people are thin/ well maintained, poor people are fat. This stems from the fact that cheap food is fatty, rich people don’t eat cheap food — they tend to eat either home-cooked food which is expensive or eat at expensive / healthy places. Unfortunately, it is expensive to be healthy in America.
  • Fat people are not respected much in society. Being fat often has the same connotations as being irresponsible towards your body. If you’re thin (and tall, but not as much), people will respect you a lot more and treat you better. You will also receive better customer service if you’re well maintained. This extends my previous point which mentioned that if you’re thin, you’re statistically likely to be rich. Reason why I know this is that I went down from being 210lbs to 148-150lbs. The way people started treating me when I was thin was generally way better than the way I was treated when I was fat. As a small example, the Starbucks baristas were much nicer to me and made me drinks with more care / love.
  • Girls are not very promiscuous, contrary to most Hollywood films
  • Almost every single person in America has access to basic food, clothing, water and sanitation. I haven’t been to states like Louisiana and cities like Detroit, but from what I can tell, nobody is scrambling for the basic necessities required for sustenance.
  • Dearth of African Americans in technical fields. This probably stems from the fact that they aren’t given enough opportunity, broken families, etc. I’m pretty sure you can extend upon this if you’d like.
  • It’s expensive to have brick houses in America, contrary to India where brick houses are the norm
  • Emphasis on physical fitness / being outdoorsy — this is more of a California thing but I noticed families going on biking trips, boat trips, hiking, camping, barbecuing, etc. Americans take pride in the natural beauty of their surroundings and tend to make the most of it
  • Americans waste a lot of food. It is very easy to buy in bulk because it’s so much cheaper and as a result a lot of wastage occurs.
  • Obsession with coffee — Starbucks, Dunkin’ etc is crowded with office-goers and students every morning. I don’t understand why they can’t drink or make coffee before leaving for work. Such a waste of money! ($5/day * 5days / week * 52weeks/year)!
  • Split families, not having married parents, etc is not seen differently than the contrary.

It’s interesting to see America from a foreigner’s perspective rather than, say, that of a whiny American college student whose world view has been shaped, molded and perverted by too many years in the Howard Zinn world of modern American eduction.


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She could always ask Fudrucker to place her on our school board

Samarpana Tamm's first revision to GHS Mastery Test

Samarpana Tamm’s first revision to GHS Mastery Test

Democrat congresswoman Tulsi “Samarpana” Gabbard, a woman described by Nancy Pelosi as “a rising star, who has devoted her life to public service”, now tied to obscure Hare Krishna sect. Those lovable, whacky Democrats are sure something, aren’t they? Bless their hearts.

Gabbard’s parents reportedly have extensive ties to a splinter Hare Krishna sect led by a guru named Chris Butler. This Hawaii-based group, which has variously been known as the Hare Name Society, Identity Institute and the Science of Identity Foundation has sparked controversy over the years and is is sometimes described as a cult. The links between Gabbard’s family and Butler’s sect were detailed in a 2004 Honolulu Magazine profile of the congresswoman’s father, Mike Gabbard, who is a member of the Hawaii state Senate and former councilman and who fought efforts to legalize gay marriage in Hawaii.

The nature of Tulsi Gabbard’s ties to Butler’s group are less clear. In its profile of the congresswoman’s father, Honolulu Magazine noted he described himself as Catholic. When Honolulu Magazine asked the elder Gabbard about his ties to Butler’s Hare Krishna sect, the publication said it received a reply from Tulsi Gabbard accusing them of pursuing the story because they opposed her father’s work fighting same-sex marriage.

“I smell a skunk,” Tulsi Gabbard wrote, according to the magazine. “It’s clear to me that you’re acting as a conduit for The Honolulu Weekly and other homosexual extremist supporters of Ed Case.”

Hare Krishna is based on Hindu scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita. Gabbard describes herself as Hindu and, in January, she was sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita. Gabbard said she chose the book because it led her on a “spiritual journey.”

“I was raised in a multiracial, multicultural, multi-faith family. My mother is Hindu; my father is a Catholic lector in his church who also practices mantra meditation. I began to grapple with questions of spirituality as a teenager,” Gabbard said, according to the Huffington Post. “Over time, I came to believe that, at its essence, religion gives us a deeper purpose in life than just living for ourselves. Since I was a teenager, I embraced this spiritual journey through the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.”

Gabbard’s spokeswoman, Heather Fluit, did not respond to a question from TPM Thursday about whether the congresswoman identifies as either a Hare Krishna or a follower of Butler.


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Syrian missile crisis: eye to eye with himself in the mirror, Obama just blinked

I give, I give!

I give, I give!

Will go to Congress for strike approval. 

He just lost to himself in a one-man arm wrestling contest. The man’s an embarrassment to the Republic.


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Lest we forget

I think we may regret this, Barry

I think we may regret this, Barry

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” Barack Obama as told to The Boston Globe,  December 20, 2007. “The president can only act unilaterally in ‘instances of self-defense’ “.

Joe Biden was on the same page back then. Of course, that was when George Bush held office.

Here’s Joe, one of the men who would be King:

“The president has no constitutional authority to take this country to war… unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked,” Biden said in 2007. Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware, suggested presidential war-making was an impeachable offense.

There’s some great stuff in that Boston Globe interview. Check it out, and see whether there’s anything Obama said he wouldn’t do that he actually hasn’t done. Well, that bit about not detaining US citizens abroad was accurate: he just drones’em, instead.

1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.

2. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

3. Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops — either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments? In other words, is that level of deployment management beyond the constitutional power of Congress to regulate?

No, the President does not have that power. To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.

4. Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.

I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation. The fact that President Bush has issued signing statements to challenge over 1100 laws – more than any president in history – is a clear abuse of this prerogative. No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.

5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.

6. Does executive privilege cover testimony or documents about decision-making within the executive branch not involving confidential advice communicated to the president himself?

With respect to the “core” of executive privilege, the Supreme Court has not resolved this question, and reasonable people have debated it. My view is that executive privilege generally depends on the involvement of the President and the White House.

7. If Congress defines a specific interrogation technique as prohibited under all circumstances, does the president’s authority as commander in chief ever permit him to instruct his subordinates to employ that technique despite the statute?

No. The President is not above the law, and the Commander-in-Chief power does not entitle him to use techniques that Congress has specifically banned as torture. We must send a message to the world that America is a nation of laws, and a nation that stands against torture. As President I will abide by statutory prohibitions, and have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States Government personnel and contractors.

8. Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?

It is illegal and unwise for the President to disregard international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the United States Senate, including and especially the Geneva Conventions. The Commander-in-Chief power does not allow the President to defy those treaties.

9. Do you agree or disagree with the statement made by former Attorney General Gonzales in January 2007 that nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus, separate from any statutory habeas rights Congress might grant or take away?

Disagree strongly.

10. Is there any executive power the Bush administration has claimed or exercised that you think is unconstitutional? Anything you think is simply a bad idea?

First and foremost, I agree with the Supreme Court’s several decisions rejecting the extreme arguments of the Bush Administration, most importantly in the Hamdi and Hamdan cases. I also reject the view, suggested in memoranda by the Department of Justice, that the President may do whatever he deems necessary to protect national security, and that he may torture people in defiance of congressional enactments. In my view, torture is unconstitutional, and certain enhanced interrogation techniques like “waterboarding” clearly constitute torture. And as noted, I reject the use of signing statements to make extreme and implausible claims of presidential authority.

Some further points:

The detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants is unconstitutional.

Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The violation of international treaties that have been ratified by the Senate, specifically the Geneva Conventions, was illegal (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

The creation of military commissions, without congressional authorization, was unlawful (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

I believe the Administration’s use of executive authority to over-classify information is a bad idea. We need to restore the balance between the necessarily secret and the necessity of openness in our democracy – which is why I have called for a National Declassification Center.


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Hey, Mr. President, you didn’t build that

I Did build it, I DID!

I DID build it, I DID!

Obama keeps referring to “my military”, and the Twitter world is abuzz. I’m thinking of adding a new category to the blog, because these stories are increasingly frequent: Rube Awakenings.

Obama: “I’ve had my military and our team look at a wide range of options”


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Don’t you hate when this happens?


Semper paratus

Semper paratus

No hurricanes this month.

Bloomberg News:

August is about to end without an Atlantic hurricane for the first time since 2002, calling into question predictions of a more active storm season than normal.

“At this point, I doubt that a super-active hurricane season will happen,” Klotzbach said in an e-mail yesterday.

The most active part of the Atlantic season runs from Aug. 20 to about the first week of October. The statistical peak occurs on Sept. 10, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

“The very inactive season so far has been a bit of a head-scratcher,” Crawford said.

Just two weeks ago the father of the Internet and inventor of global warming promised a far more exciting time, even claiming that things were so bad that scientists had had to add a new level of hurricane severity, “Category Six”.This was false:

Chris Vaccaro, director of the National Weather Service’s office of public affairs, was asked whether the National Hurricane Center is about to unveil the doomsday Category 6. His response?

No, we’re not pursuing any such change. I’m also not sure who VP Gore means by “they.” I’d also point out that the top rating, Category 5, has no ceiling: it includes hurricanes with top sustained winds of 157mph and higher.

Liar, liar pants, on fire.


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One promise Obama has kept: “I’ll change America’s image around the world”

Yes I can

Yes I can

Of course, his supporters didn’t interpret that to mean he’d make us look like clowns.

Mission accomplished; heck of a job, Barry..

Assad’s 11-year-old son mocks Obama on Facebook : “bring it on!”


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If the sequester stops Obama’s vainglorious war, what’s not to like?

This displeases us

This displeases us

Pentagon lacks funds to pay for Syria strike, Obama will have to ask for Congressional funding.

A congressional aide familiar with the congressional leaders’ briefing said Hagel and Winnefeld made clear the Pentagon would need to “work” with Congress to obtain supplemental funding for Syria attacks.

“Good luck with that,” the aide said.

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When reality strikes


That's not funny, you sexist pig - I'll sue!

That’s not funny, you sexist pig – I’ll sue!

BA in “Social Justice and Peace Studies” (with honors!), MA in gender studies graduate, and her degrees “mean nothing!. You could look for this poor girl at the next Occupy Wall Street demonstration, were that fine organization still around, *demanding that someone else pay off her student loans and give her a job befitting her skills. Fortunately for her, she has a government which will doubtless do exactly that.

A long time ago, in a university far, far away, I chose to major in philosophy despite the certain knowledge that the market for 23-year-old philosophers would be … ah, … “limited” – I proceeded anyway, just to satisfy my intellectual curiosity and because I enjoyed it. Sure enough, the only job I found (and thank you, Greenwich’s Nick Ohnell) was selling telephone cable and state-of-the-art then, primitive today, computerized PBX telephone systems. I was philosophical about it.

Of course, unlike Andria, my major required instruction in logic, and therein lies the difference in our expectations.


* Readers may remember Dollar Bill’s promise, a few years back, that the collection of the unwashed bums and spoiled children would “be back in the spring, stronger than ever” – spring came and went, so did the next year’s, and we’re still waiting. “They’re just gathering strength,”, Dollar Bill says, “just you wait. Just you waaaaait!”


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This is probably not going to end well

Reporting for duty

Reporting for duty

A band of ambitious incompetents are in charge of the country, led by, get this: John Kerry (!).

A year ago, Obama boxed himself with his stupid, amateurish talk about “a red line” in Syria. Assad’s  now called his bluff : Obama has to act or be exposed as the weakling that he is, but how to do that without offending his base or being asked by Norway to send back his Nobel Peace Prize?

Enter John Kerry, the bicycle riding Francophile who looks so silly in lycra tighty-shorts, who’s desperate to prove he can be every bit as butch as Hillary Clinton. If the country is lucky, he and Obama will order a few missiles fired across Assad’s palace and call it a day – certainly their Democrat allies in Congress seem unwilling to agree to more than that – but what the Europeans worry about is that these two buffoons, after blustering and failing, will keep ratcheting it up until the Middle East explodes. Kerry really, really wants to be president. If Assad doesn’t fold after the first salvo of missiles, will Kerry accept defeat and watch his dream die, or will he commit us to full-on war? Before you answer that, remember: this man still thinks he won the election of 2000.

For Kerry, the Syria crisis is an opportunity to step out of the shadows of both Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and establish himself anew in front of the American people. Kerry has long shuddered at the thought that he’s dovish or too soft, and his aides have privately argued that he’s been more forward leaning on a Syria strike than some other administration officials.

Obama, aware that the American people are weary of war, has thus far remained comfortably seated in the second chair on the prosecution’s side.

That dynamic suits the designs of both men, according to one former senior State Department official.

“Having Kerry out front gives Kerry what he wants, a visible public profile on the burning issue of the day, and gives the White House what they want, a measure of remove from a no-win conflict,” the former official said. “If things go surprisingly well, the president can always swoop back into public view.”

But while Kerry has pounded out the case against Assad, he has yet to recommend a sentence. On the Thursday night conference call, Kerry pushed back on lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who urged the administration to retaliate without offering a specific plan that they would support.

“He really put it back on the members well,” said a source who was on the call. “When he asked [Pelosi] what she suggested doing, she literally stuttered.”


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Just say no

Mayor in training

Mayor in training

Josh Barro: NYC needs a mayor who’s willing to let the subway kittens die. I heard this story on the radio yesterday and was appalled. Barro was too.

The next mayor of New York, if he or she is to do a good job, will have to say “no” a lot.

“No” to public employee unions who want a retroactive raise the city can’t afford. “No” to city councilmembers who will try to spend every tax dollar that comes in instead of rebuilding the city’s reserve funds. “No” to NIMBYs who don’t want anything new built in their neighborhoods. “No” to commuters seeking relief from fare increases, bridge tolls, parking fines, and an alleged “war on cars.”

Today, Dan Amira gave the candidates a “no” test, and only Republican Joe Lhota passed it. The question was: Would you shut down two subway lines for 90 minutes to save a couple of kittens who are loose on the tracks, as NYC Transit did yesterday?

Christine Quinn said she would. Bill Thompson said he would “work” to save the kittens. Anthony Weiner said he wouldn’t just shut down the subway, he’d personally crawl across the third rail to rescue them. John Catsimatidis submitted a few noncommittal lines of poetry.

Only Lhota gave the correct answer: No, you do not strand thousands of New Yorkers for 90 minutes in a futile effort to herd two cats whose lives we are inexplicably prioritizing over the rats who are run over, or drowned, or exterminated in the subways every day.

The most terrifying aspect of this campaign is that New York is poised to elect its first non-asshole mayor since Abe Beame. There’s a reason big cities elect mayors like Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani and Rahm Emanuel and Richard Daley and Ed Rendell. The mayor’s main job is to say “no.” Those guys are good at saying “no.” Lhota is the only person in the field who resembles them.


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Must be a tough day for the Kool-Aid crowd


I tell you that is how we do it, and it works: always. Try it!

I tell you that is how we do it, and it works: always. Try it!

Obama wins court battle, will keep White House visitors log secret and sealed until 2025.

Those of you with a loooong memory – all the way back to the 2007 campaign – may remember the Great Divider’s vowed to conduct “the most transparent administration in history”, and who can possibly forget his repetition of that promise in his 2010 State of the Union address after he’d forgotten to do what he promised in 2008?

During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama talked about the importance of restoring trust in government.

To close the credibility gap, Obama said, “we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.”

“That’s why, for the first time in history, my administration posts our White House visitors online,” he said.

Can there be any doubt in anyone’s mind that Obama would have done what he’d said he’d do if he hadn’t been sued and forced to defend his secrecy policy over the next three years? And of course, now that he’s won that battle, there’s no particular reason to throw away his victory just to satisfy his critics, is there?

“The promises made then are no longer operative”, White House spokesman told FWIW today. “Just forget it.”


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Rube Awakening, II

No there, thereUh oh, now even the New Yorker is stirring – “Obama promises Syria Strike Will Have No Purpose”

(Note: Andy Borowitz is a satirist – Dollar Bill, you won’t have to defend your hero for this, today. Tomorrow ….)

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Attempting to quell criticism of his proposal for a limited military mission in Syria, President Obama floated a more modest strategy today, saying that any U.S. action in Syria would have “no objective whatsoever.”

“Let me be clear,” he said in an interview on CNN. “Our goal will not be to effect régime change, or alter the balance of power in Syria, or bring the civil war there to an end. We will simply do something random there for one or two days and then leave.”

While Mr. Obama clearly hoped that his proposal of a brief and pointless intervention in Syria would reassure the international community, it immediately drew howls of protest from U.S. allies, who argued that two days was too open-ended a timeframe for such a mission.

That criticism led White House spokesman Jay Carney to brief reporters later in the day, arguing that the President was willing to scale down the U.S. mission to “twenty-four hours, thirty-six tops.”

“It may take twenty-four hours, but it could also take twelve,” Mr. Carney said.

“Maybe we get in there, take a look around, and get out right away. But however long it takes, one thing will not change: this mission will have no point. The President is resolute about that.”


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A rube awakening

What else could you ask for?

What else could you ask for?

The NYT discovers that Obama is a feckless idiot (there’s that term again) when it comes to foreign policy. Gee, a guy who was a community organizer, law school assistant and a six-day senator lacks any capability for dealing with a harsh world? Who’d have thunk? The failure to get Britain to join him on his most excellent adventure has his biggest fans wondering who he is; the rest of us already had the measure of the man.

 [I]t is what one former adviser to Mr. Obama, who declined to be quoted by name, “the kind of setback that reeks of misjudgment and mismanagement.”

Other former players in the Obama team, at least when speaking on the record, were only slightly more forgiving. “I think Obama is fighting a lot of war weariness and war wariness in both Britain and the U.S.,” said Christopher R. Hill, Mr. Obama’s first ambassador to Iraq and a longtime diplomat before becoming dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. “But you could almost see it coming. When you don’t have an overall diplomatic strategy, it’s hard to marshal a coalition. It’s better to have diplomacy backed by force, than force without a diplomatic strategy.”

[I]n this case, Mr. Obama has done comparatively little to explain his longer-term strategy for changing the course of events in Syria without getting sucked into a war. In fact, he has argued the opposite — that a brief strike will do the trick of teaching the Syrians a lesson.

“It doesn’t seem credible,” said Eliot Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and the author of “Supreme Command,” a study of presidents and their relationships with the military. “The argument has been that you can do a strike, call it a day, and say ‘We taught them a lesson.’” If so, said Mr. Cohen, who served as a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the State Department, “I fear it will just be a symbolic use of power.”

The British Parliament, however, fears it will be something else: the beginning of another conflict in which the West will inevitably get sucked in.

Update: This just in, from White House Dossier: Quote of the Day

  • “We’re hardly ‘going it alone’ in Syria. Al Qaeda will be providing ground support.”

    – Secretary of State John Kerry

    A note from our attorneys: This is not a real quote



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Summer draws closer to fall

The garden was hammered this year by all the rain, but some good things survived, and today was harvest time for part of it.




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A sad reflection on the value of NYC public schools

Mayoral candidate and City Council Chairman Christine Quinn tells her high-school volunteers to skip school and help her campaign. No argument here about the quality of the product being put out by Quinn and her fellow council members and so I agree with her that to miss a few days of school is to miss nothing – it’s just rare to see a politician be so candid.

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The victors rewrite history

Chinese scribeIt’s a process at least as old as Chinese civilization, where each new dynasty rewrote the history of the one before to prove that the new emperor was God’s chosen. Still, old or not, it’s disconcerting to watch history being altered before one’s eyes.

LATimes: Democrats responsible for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to this article ,

Only 64 percent of Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (153 for, 91 against in the House; and 46 for, 21 against in the Senate). But 80 percent of Republicans (136 for, 35 against in the House; and 27 for, 6 against in the Senate) voted for the 1964 Act.

Wikipedia, which has been known on occasion to get its facts right, has the same numbers.

Even the ultra-liberal blog Raw Story acknowledges the vote totals:

When we look at the party vote in both houses of Congress, it fits the historical pattern. Republicans are more in favor of the bill:

80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did. Indeed, Minority Leader Republican Everett Dirksen led the fight to end the filibuster. Meanwhile, Democrats such as Richard Russell of Georgia and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina tried as hard as they could to sustain a filibuster.


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Megan McArdle points out what we’ve noted here before: renovations have a very short shelf-life

What will they think of next?!

What will they think of next?! Bitsy shows off her new dishwasher to Muffy – Greenwich, circa 2011

 Old and in the way

HGTV has been around for a couple of decades now, it should have an extensive back catalog. So why, I asked myself, do they limit reruns to the last couple of years?

The answer to the question is obvious almost as soon as you ask it: The older houses would look too dated. This isn’t a huge problem with House Hunters, but for virtually any other show, small details would put off the viewer: the ubiquitous travertine and “Tuscan style” pictures of grapes from the late 1990s and early 2000s; the flashy glass backsplashes that are already on their way out almost as quickly as they came in. So HGTV confines itself to the last couple of years, when the renovations will still look relatively fresh.

HGTV’s products … are essentially a perishable good. A 2008 episode of a kitchen renovation show has essentially expired. It cannot be safely aired.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate