Open thread *UPDATED*

Sorry for the blog silence this morning.  The day got off to a horrific start when I received a politely-phrased “What the Hell happened?” email from a client.  What happened was partially my fault (big time) and partially not my fault at all.  Fortunately, the client (who happens to be an extreme liberal politically) is one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, either socially or professionally.  After he graciously accepted my groveling and heartfelt mea culpa for my own error, he and I worked out a system to prevent further problems in either arena.  I’m still shaken, since I find mistakes like this devastating both professionally and personally — and that despite the fact that the ultimate fallout here was mercifully limited.

So, this morning has left me without time or emotional energy to blog.  Indeed, this whole day promises to be limited when it come to blogging, so please consider this an open thread and have fun.

UPDATE:  I don’t drink (don’t like the taste and it affects me badly), so on days like this, I’m grateful that Valium is a controlled substance — otherwise I’d be tempted to abuse it something fierce.  The fact is, when you’re spinning as many plates as I do, some days are more frantic and fraught than others.

By the way, if you want some good reading, please check out the submissions at the Watcher’s Council.

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  • Ymarsakar

    I’m sorry to hear that, Book.

    Here’s to commiserating sometime after the storm has passed.

  • eric-odessit

    I am glad this did not cause you too much trouble. Since you have an open thread, I decided to make use of it.
    A great movie has come out this past weekend – “Defiance”. The movie is really good, but professional reviewers don’t necessarily like it. So, here is my take on the movie and the critics, particularly the one writing for CNN and not liking “Jews with guns”:
    Everyone, go see the movie.

  • Deana

    Will do, Eric. I’ve been waiting for that movie to come out for weeks.

    Bookworm – go a little easy on yourself. Obviously your client is a good man and knows that this is not how you normally are – otherwise, why would he have been so shocked?

    Something I’ve been thinking about recently: it’s one thing to have and demand high standards but it is quite another thing to demand perfection. I sometimes think we have moved to far into the realm of demanding perfection – out of others and ourselves.

    Anyway, have a good glass of wine tonight and forgive yourself.


  • Ymarsakar

    It is funny that you were just talking about conservative media with P, Deana.

  • Ymarsakar

    Btw, did you check out “Idiocracy”, recommended by one of Neo’s commenters?

    I’m going to see it when I get home.

  • gpc31

    BW, you must be extraordinarily competent to be so mortified at making a mistake, and gracious to admit it. Both stellar qualities. If we knew in advance when we were going to make a mistake, we wouldn’t make them…well, maybe not, thinking of Oedipus. I trade commodities and I like to tell people that I make more mistakes in a week than most do in a career (which is true, no false modesty); it’s just that I usually do the right thing and cut the losses quickly.

  • gpc31

    P.S. Read a great book recently called “Mistakes Were Made” all about cognitive dissonance and self-justification. Highly recommended (despite some gratuitous Bush-bashing — I am afraid that there will be no extirpating of malicious myths)

  • David Foster

    I saw “Defiance” a couple of days ago, and agree with Eric…it is very much worth seeing.

    Also, “Idiocracy” is one of the funniest movies ever made.

  • Charles Martel

    I trade commodities and I like to tell people that I make more mistakes in a week than most do in a career (which is true, no false modesty); it’s just that I usually do the right thing and cut the losses quickly.”

    gpc31, what a fine description of what we should all be willing to do when we make mistakes.

    I think when it comes to them, you can acquire one of two reputations:

    1. As a person who makes mistakes and never fesses up to them because he fears mistakes are a sign of weakness and falliblity

    2. As a person who makes mistakes but fesses up to and corrects them because he knows mistakes come with being human.

    Hmmm, which person would I be more willing to rely on?

    PS: I dislike how so many folks these days (not you gpc31) call terrible moral decisions “mistakes.” Mistakes are guileless; they’re stupid things like putting the wrong year on a check, or turning left when you should be turning right.

    But things like cheating on your spouse or selling hard drugs are not “mistakes;” they are deliberate and willful actions.

  • Deana

    Y –

    No. I haven’t seen Idiocracy but perhaps a trip to the video store is in order.

  • Bookworm

    That, Charles, is a very profound point. I remember when my children were little trying to ask me if lions were “bad” because they killed things. I try to explain, in simple terms, that good and bad imply the ability to understand what you’re doing and to make moral decisions. Lions don’t have a moral capacity. They’re hunters, pure and simple. They kill because that’s how they eat. Humans, however, have a unique capacity to bring moral distinctions to their actions.

    Just for the record, what I did was, in fact, a mistake. I filed a way an important email, intending to read it, and then forgot about it entirely. I’m putting systems in place to make sure I don’t rely on my memory again, but double and triple check emails as a matter of routine.

    As for the other mistake, I failed to research an issue. However, inquiry proved that, as to me, that issue wasn’t a “known unknown” that I should have checked out, but was, instead, an “unknown unknown” that I didn’t know existed and would never have thought to look for. Upsetting all the same. I’m gaining expertise in a new, very specialized area, and both my client and I are having to face the fact that, while I have the instincts of a seasoned attorney, on this subject I have the knowledge of a mid-level associate.

    Anyway, it turned out to be a no harm/no foul error (thank goodness), but I was terribly upset, and then got plunged into a chaotic afternoon that sucked away any energy I might have had left over after the morning kerfuffle.

  • suek

    >>that issue wasn’t a “known unknown” …, but was, instead, an “unknown unknown”>>

    Say what you will, I liked Rummy. I think he set about a chore he was given, and got blindsided by life and Iraq. I’ll always wonder how much of the error in Iraq could be laid at his feet and how much he had no responsibility for but took the blame anyway.

    Outside of that entirely, I loved his way with words…

  • Ymarsakar

    Book, you raise the same point as philosophers raised concerning the ethical agent. Meaning an ethical agent must have free will in order to do good or evil. Animals that act upon instinct cannot be either evil or good, because they were never given free will.

    Suek, both Rummy and Bush are celebrating having gotten out of the Presidency without dying, being indicted, or otherwise hounded out. They are done with that job and they have served their time. It is time for them to party or relax or do whatever they want to do.

  • Ymarsakar

    A lot of people said they felt sorry for Bush and even more others said that Bush doesn’t deserve pity. In reality, it isn’t Bush that needs pity. It is the supporters of Obama. Bush is out of the loop as of right now. He no longer has to worry about defending America. Bush has gotten out.

    The rest of us, however, are still in the game and the Obama supporters will find out that reality is a lot harsher without Bush then they would ever have imagined it could be.

  • Charles Martel


    You remind me of something Vaclav Havel once said about why Communism is so evil: Under it people cannot choose to do the right thing without incurring death or imprisonment. The only thing they can choose is to lie to others and themselves. The life’s breath of Communsim–if any ideology so evil can be said to be alive–is mendacity.


    You are both an honest and fortunate woman. The honesty shines through in your willingness to own up to your my-bads. Your good fortune is that you are surrounded by correspondents here who not only will leap to your consolation but in whom you have great faith regarding the sharing of your personal matters. I doubt that there are that many people in the legal profession in whom you’d place such confidence.

  • Helen Losse

    Y, RE: “Bush has gotten out.

    The rest of us, however, are still in the game …”

    How are we “in the game” and Bush not? Isn’t Bush still a US citizen like the rest of us “in the gamers”? Isn’t Obama his president, too. Please explain.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Helen, I believe that what YM meant is that…like the warrior who comes home from battle and hangs his weapon over the door, Bush can legitimately say that he’s made his contribution to society and is therefore entitled to remove himself from the immediate cares of world (i.e., retirement). Reminds me of Major Winters of the 101 Airborne (in Ambrose’s Band of Brothers). We who have not yet given our full measure have not yet earned our right to rest, however.

    I fully understand if you don’t understand.

  • Charles Martel

    No, Helen, he just means that folks like you won’t have Dubyah around to kick any more.

    When things start to go very wrong–and they soon will–it’s going to be fun to watch all you racists who voted for Obama because of his skin color instead of his qualifications start eyeing the exits.

    Bush won’t have to eye the exit because he’s a.) already exited and b.) done everything he could to protect America. Now it’s up to The One to lose sleep over all the bad guys out there that you steadfastly pretend don’t exist.

  • Ymarsakar

    How are we “in the game” and Bush not?

    Bush, as a former US President, is protected beyond what is due to “normal” citizens. If that wasn’t true, Carter would have been pushing up daisies by now.

  • Ymarsakar

    That and the fact that Bush and his father tend to honor the Presidential tradition of not criticizing or interfering with the current President’s operations. This means that they, unlike Clinton or Carter, won’t publicly comment on the stupidity of Obama. This means that Bush is out of the loop by his own actions, period. The rest of us are involved in politics but Bush has opted out, just like his father did during Clinton’s reign.

  • Ymarsakar

    I also affirm Danny and Charles’ interpretations as well. They are applicable too.

  • Ymarsakar

    Of course they don’t exist, Charles. If they did, America would have suffered a lot more attacks.


    Ymarsakar, Charles, Danny:

    Points well made.

    I took a blog break for several days only to return to find that Helen has garnered her 15 minutes of fame, again, by asking a loaded question.

    For the purposes of the open forum while Bookworm recovers and regroups, I would like to hear thoughts on the following topics:

    Gitmo closing (I realize it is a statement thus far and not yet a reality).

    Stock Market & feeding trillions of bucks to the banks and the possibility of nationalizing the banks and the appointment (?) of Geitner who doesn’t know how to file a tax return even with Turbo Tax..wink wink.

  • Gringo

    I thought that Helen had a legitimate point: that as a US citizen Bush is “still in the game.” At the same time, other posters were correct in pointing out that criteria for being “in the game” are rather different for Presidents and citizens. Bush’s being “in the game” for the last 8 years was rather different from John Q. Citizen’s being “in the game.”

    Helen’s posting stimulated a good exchange.

    It would appear that Dubya will follow the “out of the game” role of former Republican presidents and retire from the political game. Nixon wrote a number of books on politics and foreign policy, certainly more than most ex-Presidents, an entirely appropriate role for an ex-President. As an ex-President, while Clinton may not have been perfect, he wasn’t that bad, especially in comparison to Carter, as he on occasion pointed out to the BDS crowd that some of the decisions that Dubya made were ones that he would have made.

    James Earl Carter to my point of view, is the worst ex-President we have had. Building houses for Habitat for Humanity, or hand-crafting chairs is fine. His interjecting himself into foreign policy issues put him beyond the pale. Considering Carter’s very mixed record in foreign policy, it appeared as if he were trying to amend for his record in foreign policy. Disclaimer: I voted for him in 1976.

  • suek

    >>Gitmo closing>>

    Random thoughts:
    Soldiers will be foolish in the future to take prisoners on the off chance that they may have intel. No prisoners means more dead opponents.
    Muslims in Gtmo have been cossetted with food according to their beliefs, and a menu that has been good enough for a restaurant, plus treatment and handling under military discipline of both themselves and their korans. If they are transferred into the general population of federal prisons, throwing of feces and urine will no longer be tolerated, they will eat – or not eat – whatever everybody eats, and nobody is going to be checking them every five minutes to see that they have not committed suicide. I don’t think they’ll last very long. I’d even consider the possibility that the general population might do them in, except that the prisons have become the recruiting grounds for muslims in America – they might be treated as honored nobles.
    This is all aside from the fact that if we send them back to their native countries, they’ll just start fighting again. Possibility that they’ll be taken prisoner again?? Nil, I hope…see #1.

    This is a very bad thing to do to American soldiers. The first step in the destruction of the Military, imo.

    Re: Geithner

    Wasn’t he head of Citicorp which is now one of the candidates for being bailed out? Where was that fantastic expertise when he had _that_ job?
    The only thing worse than a dishonest stupid person in your management is a dishonest smart person. He’s proven that he’s dishonest. He’s also apparently smart. He knows how to work the system. And so we’re going to put him in _charge_ of the system?? Boy. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.

  • suek
  • Ymarsakar

    I took a blog break for several days only to return to find that Helen has garnered her 15 minutes of fame, again, by asking a loaded question.

    Where would our dear Helens be if we refused to lead them through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Sadie? Our little lambs would be lost in this world without our guidance.

    On that note, Bush wasn’t herding a bunch of sheep, he was herding a bunch of cats. And we know how that goes.

  • Ymarsakar

    To me Jan 20 2009 is the day tens of millions of people over reacted to an event that has been manufactured from day one by a corrupt liberal main stream media.-Friend of USA

    You all must have noticed when Obama mentioned the word “crisis” in his inauguration speech. It just so happens that Yuri Bezmenov also mentioned “crisis”, except it was to warn us to never allow the Communist Manifesto supporters in this country to bring us to Crisis, for then they will have the justification and the pretext to ramp up the socialism in order to solve this Crisis. In reality, of course, the Soviets and their dogs would have artificially generated this Crisis in order to fulfill revolutionary goals.

    Now that the Soviets have gone and Russia is nothing but a mad dog to her neighbors, the Soviet cells in America are in need of a new Cause and a new Leader to fight for. They have done great work corrupting American culture and traditions in order to make us vulnerable to outside powers, originally intended to be used by the Soviets, but now utilized by Islamic terrorists. But that is not enough. That is never enough. For these weapons have no fail safes anymore. They were designed to be shut off once the Soviets had conquered us all. But the Soviets are gone and so has their fail safes. Now the weapons run rampant here in America, doing more and more. Generating crisis (Global Warming) after crisis (minority issues and economic disparity) until we come to this Crisis of banks and sub prime mortgages.

    Is it any real surprise that once the Left has brought this country to crisis that there will be much more demand for socialist “solutions”? is it any real surprise that the ones who generated this Crisis are still in power and will be in charge of administering the “solutions”?

    Bezmenov warned us not to let our ideological foes bring this nation to “crisis” for he knew very well the eventual consequences to this land’s liberty and traditions of rule of law and prosperity should we allow such an event.

    Footage interview

  • Ymarsakar

    Remember, economy, foreign relations, and defense systems. 2-5 years. Benevolent dictators. Time bomb is ticking. Bush just held it for off for 8 years with strong foreign relations, economic stimulation, and improvement of the US military defense systems (with war experience and funds).

    And what does Obama now control and for how long? If we our economy hasn’t been destabilized already, it will be.

    He has the opportunity, one that few other Leftists had. Jimmy Carter used his four years to create Iran as it currently now is. And he also created the situation in Afghanistan pre Operation Enduring Freedom. And would anyone guess how much death that caused in the long term? But that’s peanuts compared to today. We weren’t involved in an active hot war with the USSR. The USSR was content to let us weaken ourselves. The same cannot be said for Islamic policies.

    The US’s Constitutional standards and military first line of defense makes it impossible to simply create one Crisis and then just take over the government, economy, military system, and pillars of authority. You have to do it in steps. One step at a time. One “crisis” after another. That is where Gramscian politics comes in.


  • Ymarsakar

    If you would like another real world example, take a look at the propaganda the Russians used to justify their invasion of Georgia and the occupation of Georgia’s territory.


    Thanks for the feedback. I guess we’ll have to take the ‘take no prisoners’ approach in the future.


    We’ve become sheep herders! Couldn’t we just all chip in and buy Helen a GPS system, so she can find her way home.

    You are not alone, I made the same mistake in 1976. Thing is…some mistakes slide through the cracks. Unfortunately, the Jimmah mistake lingers like an unwanted guest.

  • suek

    >>We’ve become sheep herders!>>

    Hah. If that were true, we’d be living in Australia! or maybe New Zealand.

    The US doesn’t have much of anything in the way of a sheep industry anymore. Not sure why, but we don’t.

  • Ymarsakar

    The US doesn’t have much of anything in the way of a sheep industry anymore. Not sure why, but we don’t.

    Cows are more productive in terms of milk production and meat production, and also sheep’s wool has been replaced, not entirely, by synthetic fibers.

    Given that, from a cow, you can get an expensive steak (or 10) and almost an infinite amount of milk, sheep (and how goats tend to eat the grass to the roots) just aren’t in the same league.

    The text of the passage appears in Matthews Gospel, and is the final portion of a section containing a series of parables. From Matthew 25:31–46 (NRSV):

    31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and He will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at His right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”’

    41 ‘Then He will say to those at His left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45 Then He will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

    Leftist Christians, Atheists, and Agnostics did not give anything to the Iraqis. They could have. They wouldn’t have suffered much for it, since they wouldn’t be fighting on the ground. They had the US military to do that. Yet still, they did nothing. They did worse than nothing. They actively obstructed, sabotaged, demoralized, and derided the efforts of those like us, military or civilian, who wanted what was best for Iraqis and Americans.

    Can a just and merciful God tolerate such sins, I ask. And if God accepts such acts as worthy of him, is that God mine?

  • suek

    >>Cows are more productive in terms of milk production and meat production, >>

    Not true. At least not in the terms of production as a percentage of body weight.

    >>and also sheep’s wool has been replaced, not entirely, by synthetic fibers.>>

    True. But the breeds used for wool and the breeds used for meat are generally different breeds, so I don’t think that explains it. For meat breeds, wool is a by-product; for wool breeds, meat is a by-product.

    >>Given that, from a cow, you can get an expensive steak (or 10) and almost an infinite amount of milk,>>

    Again, not the same breeds. Meat breeds can be a means of using land that is otherwise unusable. At least up to a certain stage – then they are finished on concentrates. Milk production requires heavy feeding with concentrates – the grains which we also use for human processed food.

    >>sheep (and how goats tend to eat the grass to the roots) just aren’t in the same league.>>

    Sheep have that reputation. It’s only true if they’re managed poorly. Goats actually prefer to browse, not graze. They’re more closely related to deer, I think, than sheep. But that’s observation, not necessarily science based.

    The Bible stricture about separating the sheep from the goats never made sense to me until I saw some pictures of flocks in some primitive country. They don’t dock the sheep tails as we do, they had some weird breeds (see if you can find photos of “fat-tailed” sheep – _really strange_) and some of the sheep and goats really did closely resemble each other. In the west, we have defined breeds and there’s no similarity.

    Actually, if you want meat economically, try rabbits. At the USDA experimental station that they had years ago in Ontario, they had a commercial herd, where all experimental methods were tested with the profit motive in mind. In order to remain in the commercial herd. a doe (female rabbit) had to produce 120 pounds of live meat each year. That meant that she had to have 4 litters a year, at least 8 young in each litter, and wean them at six weeks of age with each weighing 4 lbs. That’s 10 times her body weight on average. To meet that requirement the average meat cow would have to produce a calf each year that weaned at 12,000 pounds instead of 600 pounds.
    Sheep are selected to produce twins each year, and by the same standard, the average ewe probably produces approximately her own body weight each year, or about 50% of it if she doesn’t twin, which puts her production on a par with mama cow. (assuming meat breeds of each species)

    If we’re speaking economically, of course. There _are_ other factors.

  • suek

    Required reading!

    And if anyone can help me understand what it means in the sense of individualplanning for the future, I’d certainly appreciate it…

  • suek

    Heh. This one is a fun one. Some of the photos you have to check out twice to really “see” them…