This is definitive of Kabuki politics - Senator Wayne Allard (Wingnut, Colorado) got his cojones confiscated on Tuesday when he tried to play for dramatic effect and embarrass Barack Obama by proposing an amendment to the budget bill on Thursday that purported to total up the costs of initiatives favored by the Democratic frontrunner - $1.4 trillion, which would then be added to the $3 trillion budget. In mid-bluster, Obama strode to the well of the Senate, and glared hard at the Publican side. “Hey, Allard,” Mr. Obama was heard to shout at a volume unusual for the Senate. “You working this hard?” he asked, sarcastically dismissing the amendment as a ploy.....Somewhat sheepishly, Mr. Allard gave his colleague the thumbs-up Senate sign for an affirmative vote and urged him to back the amendment. Mr. Obama declined, voting no. Allard was the one humiliated - the amendment was shot down 97 to 0. Yes - even Allard voted against it - but it wasn't kabuki...
The new five dollar bill went into circulation on Thursday with a symbolic purchase at the gift shop in President Lincoln's newly renovated summer cottage at the Soldiers' Home.
More recruiting troubles - For the second time in seven months, the Army is recalling 1,000 recruiters in an effort to step up recruiting. And ya gotta love Army-speak! “The [15-month deployment] rotation policy has had a significant impact on our available population of qualified soldiers to perform recruiting duty,” according to an Army message. “This requires innovative methods to maintain our recruiting force at 100 percent and meet the Army’s recruiting objectives.” Hate to burst that bubble, but 15-month deployments aren't just diminishing the number of recruiters - they are diminishing the number of recruits.
Army Times has a poll running right now and you should go vote in it. A month ago I wrote a post about Army moms being separated from their infants and returned to the war zone when the baby is just three to four months old, for fifteen month deployments. If the Department of the Army listens to public opinion, Moms and babies would have a year together - the poll is showing 39% favor keeping mothers and babies together for the first year.
A "Ghost Detainee" claims he was tortured at CIA black sites. Khaled al-Maqtari, a Yemeni arrested in Iraq and originally detined at Abu Ghraib has told Amnesty International that he spent nearky three years in detention in black sites around the world. Throughout his detention, Mr Maqtari did not have access to lawyers, relatives, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or any person other than his interrogators and the other US personnel involved, Amnesty said.....Mr Maqtari was eventually handed over by the CIA in the summer of 2006 to the Yemeni authorities, who continued to hold him without charges until May 2007, the rights group said.
Maybe the reality based community is in Europe? European Union leaders descended on Brussels, Belgium on Thursday for a two-day conference. At the top of the "to do" list? Climate change and energy security.
Unexploded Ordinance from WWII hampers energy exploration in Egypt. Egypt is right up there with Afghanistan on the most-heavily mined list. Millions of unexploded mines and bombs are under the desert of northwest Egypt, unaware the war is long since over. A war fought 60 years ago is still present, and influencing today's peace. The past and the present lie intertwined in the no-man's-land of the desert. All of those unexploded anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines and unexploded artillery shells block today's transportation routes just as surely as they disrupted the supply lines of yesteryear.