Morning Must Reads: November 22

In the news: the nuclear option; JFK; NSA; how we treat cancer; eradicating polio in Afghanistan

  • Share
  • Read Later
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • “Senate majority leader Harry Reid and 51 of his Democratic colleagues on Thursday changed how the chamber considers Executive Branch and most Judicial Branch nominees. But the ramifications of the action go well beyond the Senate’s advice-and-consent powers…” [TIME]
    • Senate’s filibuster rule change should help Obama achieve key second-term priorities [WashPost]
    • Partisan fever in Senate is likely to rise [NYT]
    • “The main reason for this odd, partial clawback of the filibuster is that President Obama has no real legislative agenda that can pass Congress.” [New York]
  • JFK and the Hope that Lingers [Politico]
  • Insurers Cut Doctors’ Fees in New Health-Care Plans [WSJ]
  • Meet the Spies Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work [Foreign Policy]
  • The Quest to Build an NSA-Proof Cloud [Atlantic]
  • Sex in the Senate [Politico
  • There’s a Whole New Way of Killing Cancer: Stephanie Lee is the Test Case [Esquire]
  • Staring down the Taliban in the Race to Eradicate Polio from Earth [Wired]
780 comments
mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

I'm curious to see how Curly explains this little inconsistency. On the one hand he blames Obama from not pulling all the troops out of Afghanistan fast enough, on the other he calls him incompetent for not leaving any troops behind in Iraq. What exactly is the difference between the two in his eyes?

fitty_three
fitty_three

Why do I feel like I'm trying to edumacate a boulder?

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure 

If it helps you, you can call me a moron again.

Here:

I've created a form that you can fill out and repost with your favorite expletive!

53 is a __________.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure

"53 has been acting like a moron since yesterday and is not letting up."

Now that is funny. 

I refute your claim that restricting times one can vote doesn't affect waiting times with solid, unassailable mathematics (frequency theorem), and a fundamental IT axiom demonstrating the relationship between process and queuing when processing requests exceed capacity, and translate them into plain English step by step in teensy weensy bits, and you still don't get it.

I guess "acting like a moron" really means "bursting @collioure 's fact-less bubble".

Again:

Horse, meet water...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Read an learn Curly. Here is why Iraq wanted the US troops gone.


Blackwater the Main Reason Iraq Wants US Out Juan Cole reports that the main reason Prime Minister al-Maliki is holding up a Status of Forces Agreement with the US has been the refusal of the US to rein in its private mercenaries, especially the wildly overpaid and out-of-control folks at Blackwater. In September, 2007 Blackwater personnel gunned down 17 innocent Iraqis in Nisour Square, an incident that triggered outrage among the Iraqis and demands that the perpetrators be brought to justice. But they have not been as they have immunity under current agreements, something that now appalls the Iraqis of all factions. To add insult to injury, less than a month after this incident, the US State Department granted Blackwater a $92 million contract to guard US personnel in Iraq. Why are we hiring mercenaries at many times the salaries of US military to carry out functions that until very recently were always carried out by US military personnel?

Unfortunately most in the US are unaware of how outrageous Blackwater is, or the deep links of its founder and CEO, Eric Prince, to the current administration. So, in October 2007 a drunken Blackwater employee killed a bodyguard of the Iraqi Vice President, doing so by firing from a balcony in the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. Even more striking is that Blackwater personnel view themselves as superior to US military personnel. In 2007 there was an incident in the Green Zone where a Blackwater employee crashed an SUV into an army vehicle. The army seized the SUV, but the Blackwater employee disarmed the US army soldiers and forced them to lie on the ground until he recovered the Blackwater vehicle. All of this is simply outrageous and out of control (and Barack Obama has yet to speak against it). I fully sympathize with the demand by Ayatollah Ali Sistani of PM al-Mailiki that under these circumstances Iraq should not grant the US a Status of Forces Agreement that allows Blackwater personnel immunity from prosecution for this sort of conduct.

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 

Good question.

Iraq was fairly quiet after 2008, Al Qaeda having been defeated there.  We did need to leave and let the Iraqis resolve their internal differences.  A small stabilizing force for emergencies would have been helpful.  In our complete absence, for example, I understand the Iranians are crossing Iraq to aid Assad.

Afghanistan, a far more primitive nation, could never have been put on a good path.  We had way too many troops there.  In fact, the faster we removed them, the sooner Karzai would have had to come to grips with reaching peace with the Taliban.  We have little interest there other then a regional air base and preventing the return of AQ.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@mantisdragon91 

If an inveterate "moron"* might speak, inconsistencies don't matter.  If he reads a story saying the one thing, and another saying the other, he's going to believe them, regardless of the contradictions.

It's Teh Eggspurts problem, not his.  He isn't paid to think!

*see what @collioure really means by this below

fitty_three
fitty_three

One has to have the patience of geological processes themselves to teach @collioure .

Really!

Baby steps...

collioure
collioure

@fitty_three @collioure  

If only the author of the article had cited that, but he didn't.

Restricting times one can vote can affect waiting times, but the courts have stepped in to prevent such.  That's only a few states any wyay and it's mostly early voting.  Could never produce the national discrepancy observed, moron. 




collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91  

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Barry 0 didn't get an agreement.  Story of his time in the WH.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@fitty_three Bringing Democracy to the Middle East isn't the wonderful thing Bush and the Bomber Boys would have us believe? Cue the shocked face.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@collioure @mantisdragon91 Except of course the tribal differences and religious tension in Iraq is just as great if not greater than they are in Afghanistan. So you wanted us to leave a small force in Iraq to be sitting ducks in a rapidly escalating civil war. How would that make sense? And the Iranians are crossing the border with the full knowledge and approval of the Shiite government of Iraq. Or did you want us to dictate to them who can and can't use their sovereign territory?

fitty_three
fitty_three

Two steps forward, one step back.

Two steps forward, one step back...

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure  

You're wrong on both counts. As a matter of fact, you stated, clearly, that restricting times one can vote doesn't affect waiting times - it's your post, down-thread, for everyone to read.

Second, the courts have not stepped in to prevent reductions in times voters can vote. Many states with early voting or after hours voting have banned the practices - and - your second sentence in the second paragraph contradicts your first sentence!

Third, a few states can affect the national outcome if their influence is strong enough.

Here's a quicke mathuhmatical sample, ruggles:

dataset [0, 0, 3, 0, 1, 2]: average 1

dataset [7, 0, 3, 0, 1, 2]: average 2

Horse, meet water...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

First, the troop withdrawal is required by an agreement which George W. Bush negotiated and entered into with Iraq and which was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament prior to Obama’s inauguration. Let’s listen to the White House itself today: “’This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave. . . .’ an administration official said.As I said, it’s a good thing that this agreement is being adhered to, and one can reasonably argue that Obama’s campaign advocacy for the war’s end influenced the making of that agreement, but the Year End 2011 withdrawal date was agreed to by the Bush administration and codified by them in a binding agreement.

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 @collioure  

The US drove the Taliban out of Kabul and a few lesser population centers, but hardly out of Afghanistan.  As long as they wish, they will rule the countryside.

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 @collioure  

They just want to be left alone.

No one can protect them from the Taliban long term.

They don't want us, they didn't want the Russians, and they don't want the Taliban.  

Disconnected 3rd world villages.  Do you know what that means?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@collioure Not really. These people were happy with us, when we drove out the Taliban and helped them build new building, roads and irrigation. However when we left them at the mercy of the Taliban in our rush to invade Iraq, and then Karzai's Opium friends started extorting them for taxes and land, they realized that the Taliban wasn't so bad after all.

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 @collioure 

Kabul has 1 million people.  Aside from them the population lives in small tribal villages, and their best interests are very close to home.These people just want to be left alone.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@collioure @mantisdragon91 It isn't hopeless, but our window to actually show the rural population that we were acting in their best interests probably has closed. This I blame GWB for. He put a corrupt Opium dealer in power, which made a large part of the population believe that they might be better off with the Taliban.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@collioure And how is that any different from the weak government in Afghanistan? The only difference that I see is that Afghanistan still wants our help Iraq no longer does.

collioure
collioure

@mantisdragon91 

It's a weak government that needs some support.  A small US force might make it more possible to avoid sectional strife.  It was part of our exit strategy. 

We don't fight in civil wars.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@MrObvious

Very true as a strategy going forward but it appears that the really deep red states are doing it as a matter of principle. Note Sue's disaffection toward the state of affairs in Texas and NFL's with what they're doing in Floda. Good zamples of each: in the case of Texas, they're doing it to cement their position.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@fitty_three @collioure 

Widespread?

All it takes is to flip the right purple state and it's a win in the collumn of one candidate or another. THAT is what the GOPers are doing. They don't have to influence and flip deep red states - they've gerrymandered those. They're doing this in purple states.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure

Of course I agree that it isn't widespread! My point was that a few states CAN influence the national average, and, my sense is that it is primarily restricted to the South and some red states in the north.

But your statement was contradictory in that you were discussing restrictions on voting times which no court has struck down.

collioure
collioure

@fitty_three @collioure  

Yes, head case, you are referring to a phenomenon that was not widespread and for the lost part has been prevented by the courts.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure

Restricting times one can vote can affect waiting times [note reversal of yesterday's statement, but this isn't the contradiction I was pointing out], but the courts have stepped in to prevent such.(1)  That's only a few states any wyay and it's mostly early voting.(2)

(1) and (2) are contradictory. If the courts had stepped in to prevent such, there would be no states restricting voting times!

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure 

I think that the point is that it doesn't matter what data is used, the real thing, or the example I used, the national average would change! 

This means that individual states CAN change the national average.

I don't know of anyone else on this planet besides you, of course, that can't see such an obvious observation.

I'm not going to break it down into the respective basic theorems. You're cum laude, you do it.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure 

[Sigh]. Most horses usually realize they lower their heads to the water's surface before drinking. Oh, well...

Make the datasets hold 50 elements. Each element can represent a state. Hell, make each element a matrix of the three values for each state. Then, change a few.  Have a party, change a dozen. Then, recalc the averages!

Stunningly, you should be able to figure it out for yourself!

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure 

And, I promise not to mention again that you contradicted yourself in that second paragraph, ok?

fitty_three
fitty_three

@collioure 

Unless you consider hard mathematics and basic axioms speculation, I can't help you further. 

The fact that that author didn't point these things out is not particularly relevant. I did - and they are as true in Peoria as they are in Texas.

collioure
collioure

@fitty_three @collioure  

53, the author of the article reviewing this matter said mostly a matter or urban vs rural.  If you have other info, please present it. 

Info, not more speculation.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@mantisdragon91  

You're "acting like a moron" mantis, trying to burst his bubble with ackshewel facts and stuff.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Paul,nnto  

I must be missing something here: Iran only gets three angry McCains?  He's been wanting to attack Iran since before he came out of his mother's womb!

Six Angry McCains!