Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

Last week, both houses of Congress approved the conference report on the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization bill, H.R. 1585. The bill includes $506.9 billion for the Department of Defense and the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy. The bill also authorizes $189.4 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This funding is NOT counted as part of the $506.9 billion. . . .

The amount of Cold War lard is truly astonishing, especially given the fact that the military itself is hollering from the hilltops that it can’t be responsible for all of our national security needs and that today’s problems just don’t have military . . . answers.

Keep in mind, today’s defense spending is 14% above the height of the Korean War, 33% above the height of the Vietnam War, 25% above the height of the “Reagan Era” buildup and is 76% above the Cold War average

In fact, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the annual defense budget - not including the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - has gone up 34%. Including war costs, defense spending has gone up 86% since 2001.


Whatever the Bush White House has on Harry Reid — personally, I lean towards high-resolution video of threesomes with underage farm animals — somebody else now has something worse?

After setting everything up to try and deliver retroactive immunity for telecoms to Bush on a silver platter — from ignoring the hold put on the bill by Sen. Chris Dodd to stage-managing the bill procedurally so that it takes 60 votes to kill retroactive immunity — Reid has suddenly postponed Bush’s victory to the new year.


Have the Senate Democrats decided to dump their most egregious porker from his leadership position? The Politico reports this morning that Robert Byrd may get pressured to leave his position as chair of the Appropriations committee, a move that could call into question his ability to function at all in the Senate. Pork has nothing to do with this move.


In the era of Bush, Cheney and broken government, just in time for reruns of It's a Wonderful Life, we get a Capraesque moment. After three decades in the Senate, Chris Dodd doesn't look much like Jimmy Stewart, but for the time being, he has saved the savings and loan or, in view of his filibuster threat, is it the boy's camp from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?

Until after the holidays, at least, the Senate won't be giving telecoms retroactive immunity for illegal spying on Americans. The Majority leader (if you use the word loosely) was ready to Christmas-wrap that gift for the Bush Administration until a few Bill of Rights Scrooges started talking about traditional American values.


The quintessential liberal fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.


Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif's recent revision of his longstanding jihadi views have raised some interesting questions about whether his ideological transformation is genuine, or if it was forced by torture-happy Egyptian authorities. No one knows the answer, although there is much speculation. Interestingly, Egypt has the largest "de-radicalization" program in the Arab world; the same program which Al-Sharif was allegedly exposed to.


The Oscar-winning film-maker Peter Jackson and Hollywood studios New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios announced today that they had resolved their legal dispute. Jackson and partner Fran Walsh will serve as executive producers on two Hobbit movies.

Pre-production will begin as soon as possible and both will be shot simultaneously, tentatively in 2009. The Hobbit is likely to be released in 2010 and the sequel in 2011.


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