43 thoughts on “Sunday Serendipity”

  1. Thank you jace. Happy birthday to me. Festivus is December 23?  I never realized I was born on a holiday. I always thought I was born 2 days before a holiday. Now I learn it’s both. 😎

  2. Jace…  spectacular!

    Jack… so good to see you posting your music videos again!

    Pogo… happy, happy birthday!  Rick’s is tomorrow… Xmas Eve…  guess he’s an inbetweener.

    HAPPY FESTIVUS!

  3. politico:
    A foreign-government-owned company that appears to be locked in a subpoena fight with Special Counsel Robert Mueller is taking the battle to the Supreme Court.
     
    The unidentified firm presented an application Saturday to Chief Justice John Roberts asking for a stay of a federal appeals court ruling earlier this week turning down the company’s effort to block a grand jury subpoena for records.
    The identity of the firm and the foreign country at issue remain closely guarded secrets, but POLITICO first reported earlier this year that the dispute appeared to involve Mueller’s prosecutors. A POLITICO reporter was in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals clerk’s office in October when a person connected to the appeal arrived to request a copy of the special counsel’s latest filing in the case.
     
    When the case was argued at the D.C. Circuit last week, the courtroom was closed to the public. Court personnel went to unusual lengths to preserve the secrecy, ordering journalists to leave the floor where lawyers were presenting their positions.
     
    The public docket in the appeal offers only bare-bones information about the dispute, containing no identification of the parties or their lawyers. However, on Tuesday, the panel considering the appeal filed a three-page order revealing that the witness fighting the subpoena is a corporation owned by a foreign state.
    The three-judge D.C. Circuit panel rejected the firm’s argument that its status as an extension of a foreign government makes it immune from grand jury subpoenas. The judges also said they were not persuaded by the firm’s claims that complying with the subpoena would be violating the law in the company’s home country.
     
    After the order was filed Tuesday, sealed filings continued in the appeals court in what appeared to be a bid to stay the D.C. Circuit’s ruling or appeal it further. On Friday, the appeals court denied a motion from the company. The precise nature of the motion was not disclosed.
    A spokesman for Mueller’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday evening.

  4. Observer editorial in the guardian:
    If Donald Trump forces a shutdown of the US federal government, as happened this weekend, that in the end is a matter for Americans. When the president’s personal charity, the Trump Foundation, is closed following accusations of “a shocking pattern of illegality”, as was the case last week, the nation’s voters are free to form their own conclusions. Whether or not the US head of state is a criminal adulterer who allegedly conspired to pay hush money to former mistresses will ultimately be decided in the US courts.
     
    But when Trump abandons the fight against Islamic State terrorists and places British, Kurdish and other allied forces in Syria and Afghanistan at increased risk by withdrawing US troops, as he did last week, when he ignores European partners and does the bidding of authoritarian leaders hostile to western democratic values, and when he indulges in a destructive tariff war that helped crash the markets last week, stokes international tensions and threatens global prosperity, then his reckless behaviour is everybody’s business.
    This is the situation, almost halfway through Trump’s four-year term, that now confronts all those around the world who look to the US for leadership and example. Americans have a right to elect whoever they wish as president. Equally, the rest of us have a right to expect that the person they choose honours the multilateral alliances, commitments and responsibilities agreed by predecessors. Otherwise, America’s ability and fitness to lead will be lost.
     
    James Mattis, the US defense secretary who quit last week over Trump’s Syrian volte-face, understands this very well. His resignation letter is a classic of its kind. He declared that America’s strength was “inextricably linked” to its international partnerships, especially Nato. Trump has consistently denigrated Nato, as part of his war on multilateralism. Coming from a highly respected figure, this was a stunning rebuke.
     
    But Mattis wasn’t finished. It was essential to be “clear eyed” about the threat posed by “malign actors and strategic competitors”, he wrote. “It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model.” Given Trump’s notorious chumminess with Vladimir Putin, and the continuing FBI investigation into his 2016 campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, it was a telling blow. Mattis’s letter ended abruptly, without any of the customary flourishes or thanks. Trump, reportedly, was incandescent with fury.
     
    The reasons why Trump behaves the way he does are matters for conjecture or for a judge. In a scathing editorial, the New York Times likened the president to Petyr Baelish, a dysfunctional character in Game of Thrones who thrives on chaos. “For most people, uncertainty and disorder are scary, unsettling forces to be avoided. But for Mr Trump, they are cherished friends and strategic assets… The president clearly believes that throwing everyone else off balance gives him an edge,” the paper said.
     
    This explanation in no way excuses Trump’s recent actions, nor was it meant to. Suggestions that Trump is simply acting to shore up his electoral base, for example by insisting on funding the promised border wall with Mexico, are not the whole story, either. In part at least, a person – any person – is defined by the friends they make and the company they keep. Since taking office, Trump has squandered the counsel and goodwill of many able people, Mattis among them. At the same time, he has cosied up to unelected foreign dictators, autocrats and “strongmen” such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who pushed him into last week’s U-turn on Syria.
     
    Trump is a liability on foreign policy, a global security risk and an untrustworthy, unreliable partner. But worse than all of that, the depth of his commitment to representative democracy and rule by consent is open to serious doubt. If things get really bad in America in the next two years, that’s the biggest worry.

  5. repeated for emphasis from above world view:
     
    Trump is a liability on foreign policy, a global security risk and an untrustworthy, unreliable partner. 

  6. from the guardian:
    Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate foreign relations committee and will retire at the end of the year, did not express such optimism. He said Trump had contrived the shutdown as a campaign issue.
     
    “This is a made-up fight so the president can look like he’s fighting,” Corker told CNN’s State of the Union, adding that precedent showed Democrats would back much larger spending for border security in return for reform, such as to the status of Dreamers, young undocumented migrants brought to the US as children – just not a wall.
     
    “This is something that is useless, it’s spectacle, it’s puerile,” Corker said.
     
     
    and in the Tennessean:
    Outgoing Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker called Sunday the federal government shutdown an unnecessary action and a “made up fight” perpetrated by the president. 
    “This is a purposefully contrived fight,” Corker said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning.
    “At the end of the day, our borders will still be insecure. The president could have received $25 billion in (funding) in dealing with the DREAMers. Most Republicans want to deal with the DREAMers. This is a made up fight so the president can look like he’s fighting. Even if he wins our borders won’t be secure.” 
     

  7. Jace, an absolutely marvelous choice.
    XR, when Mueller finishes-off SHITFB he can workover the contractors and enablers that prey upon our military volunteers and their families. And shame on installation leadership for not entering into self-help projects to make the hovels safely habitable.
    And now here’s a contribution of Christmas music being performed in Ely Cathedral. Ely is in the Fen country. Driving towards the town, the magnificent cathedral emergees from the fens like an incredible spiritual magnet.

     

  8. Jace,
    Thank you.  I love that era in music and this was a great piece.  You bring so much joy to our Sundays
     

  9. Festivus for the Rest of Us celebrated by gathering around what shall now be known as The Pogo Pole.
    Let the airing of grievances begin.
     

  10. ny times
    Trump, Angry Over Mattis’s Rebuke, Removes Him 2 Months Early
     
    WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Sunday that he would remove Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who issued a stinging rebuke of the president when he announced his resignation last week, from his post by Jan. 1, two months before he had planned to depart.
    Mr. Trump, in a Twitter post, said that Patrick M. Shanahan, Mr. Mattis’s deputy, would serve as the acting defense secretary.
    Aides said that the president was furious that Mr. Mattis’s resignation letter — in which he rebuked the president’s rejection of international allies and his failure to check authoritarian governments — had led to days of negative news coverage. Mr. Mattis resigned in large part over Mr. Trump’s hasty decision to withdraw American forces from Syria.
    When Mr. Trump first announced that Mr. Mattis was leaving, effective Feb. 28, he praised the defense secretary on Twitter, saying he was retiring “with distinction.” One aide said that although Mr. Trump had already seen the resignation letter when he praised Mr. Mattis, the president did not understand just how forceful a rejection of his strategy Mr. Mattis had issued.
    The president has grown increasingly angry as the days have passed, the aide said. On Saturday, Mr. Trump posted a tweet that took a jab at Mr. Mattis, saying that “when President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should.”
    Mr. Mattis, a retired four-star general, led the United States Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, from 2010 to 2013. His tour there was cut short by the Obama administration, which believed he was too hawkish on Iran.
    Mr. Shanahan, who, like Mr. Mattis, is from Washington State, is a former Boeing executive. Aides say that Mr. Trump likes him in part because he often tells the president that he is correct to complain about the expense of defense systems.

  11. Having the traditional chicken strings and jalapeño cornmeal waffles with a really good draft beer at the (only) local gastropub with Mrs. P and MIL. LP is soaking his butt snowboarding in PA. Wonderful Festivus celebration.

  12. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  A day off from all the stress of the job.  It is illegal to do anything about it, so – today was spent enjoying the great outdoors, laying in bed reading (Just the Funny Parts, Nell Scovell) for a couple of hours, planning new lighting on one of my boats, taking time to decide which beer to drink for happy hour (Crabbies ginger beer always wins as a first beer), watching Gale sleep, taking Gale out for a walk in the great out of doors, thinking back at my life and realizing I would rather look forward, and just feeling relaxed and unhurried.  Of course the part of no pay for possibly several weeks is unsettling, but think happy.

  13. KC, skinny chicken strips. Really tasty I might add. It’s my first trip to this restaurant, and it won’t be my last. A pleasant surprise. The brunch menu is very limited but there’s enough of this and that to satisfy about anyone. Can’t wait to explore the dinner menu. 

  14. Sounds good and you share your birthday with one of my closest friends
    a great day all around

  15. FWIW, this noveau practice of (typically liberal/progressive) thought-police employing the collective internet hive-mind(usually Twitter) to identify and harrass people deemed guilty of socially-reprehensible behavior is one of the more disturbing trends of our ever-increasingly technology-saturated society, with inevitable tragic consequences.
    …not for nothin’.

  16. So the Trumpsters are making sure there is no run on the banks Christmas eve. LOL I’m reassured. 
    Jack

     
     

  17. My grievances for 2018
    People who are late
    Anyone supporting Trump
    The religious right who claim religious freedom is only for them

  18. My # 1 & 2 grievances- politically speaking:
    1. Dipshits who support the dipshit;
    2. Dipshits who think the 2nd Amendment is the only one that really counts. 
    There are others. 
    3. IMPOTUS 
    4.  Morons who think IMPOTUS is doing a good job. 
    5. What KC said. 

  19. examiner via msn:
    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary administrative stay of contempt sanctions that have been brought against an unknown company in a mysterious grand jury subpoena fight thought to be linked to special counsel Robert Mueller.
    The move is a fairly procedural one, and gives the federal government until Dec. 31 to respond. Roberts, or all of the Supreme Court, could easily decide to lift the stay even before then, depending on how soon as it hears from the federal government.
    However, the stay is not relief against the grand jury subpoena, but rather a contempt citation brought by the federal government against the company, known only as “the Corporation.”
    “The Corporation,” which is owned by a nation identified only as “Country A,” has thus far refused to comply with a grand jury subpoena issued in federal court in Washington in a case that has remained extremely secretive.
    The challenge reached the Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday night. rejected the company’s appeal to quash the grand jury subpoena to turn over records.
    Then on Saturday, the company formally filed an application with the Supreme Court, asking it to intervene and stay the lower court’s decision to comply with the subpoena — and also asked that the case remain under seal.
    The company had also asked the Supreme Court to halt the continuing $5,000 per week fine it is incurring for not complying with the subpoena, an effort Judges David S. Tatel, Thomas B. Griffith, and Stephen F. Williams of the D.C. Circuit also rejected this week.
    On Thursday and Friday, there was sealed action in the case at the D.C. Circuit. The D.C. Circuit denied a motion filed by the company, but no other information regarding the motion was revealed.
     

  20. best line from talking heads award goes to cnn john berman for his:
    “‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house, everything was under investigation, including the mouse”

  21. huffpo:
    The New York Democrat on Saturday excoriated congress members who are getting paid while others, including hundreds of thousands federal workers, are furloughed.

     

    “It’s completely unacceptable that members of Congress can force a government shutdown on partisan lines & then have Congressional salaries exempt from that decision,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

     

    “Have some integrity,” she added, in an apparent jab at her future colleagues in Congress.

     

  22.  
    ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House
    Not a member was stirring to not be a louse;
    Government was shut by these cowards with care,
    In hopes mean tweets wouldn’t give them a scare;
     
     
     

  23. like a Dickensian ghost from Christmas past, this report from march past:
     
    This weekend Trump rejected yet another deal to protect American Dreamers.
     
    The Hill: “The source added that Democrats countered by offering $25 billion in border wall funding in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for the larger ‘Dreamers’ population, roughly 1.8 million, a move that has been supported by President Trump, but the White House said no.”
     
     
     
    Even the Koch brothers are advocating that Trump accept the Democrats’ immigration deal.
     
     
    Politico: “The Koch network has a rare message for President Donald Trump: Take the Democrats’ immigration deal. A trio of organizations supported by Charles and David Koch is urging Trump to accept congressional Democrats’ weekend offer, which would deliver $25 billion for a border wall and security in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, according to officials in the Koch network.”
     

  24. Dear Cousin Ruth,
    Once again our family is overwhelmed by your post-surgical resilience; surely God has imbued you with the strength and spirit that has enabled our members’ survival over the centuries. You have our permission to rest. To shift to others the massive load of being the conscience of the people of our Country. Pass your closely held burden to the others who have been waiting in the wings. Give them the chance to follow your stellar example…Rest
    Your Cousin,
    Flatus

  25. Eagle Soap Opera Update.  Romeo has been somewhat harassed for the past week by females trying to move in on him while he has been dedicated to his fatherly duties.  He finally seems to have selected one that he doesn’t try to chase away.  She is a very large, young bird that he as spent some time trying to teach how to be a step mom so he can get a decent meal.  She has attempted sitting on the eggs twice and now seems to be getting a clue for short durations.
    Both of the eggs have now pipped but are still inside the shell.  We hope to have Christmas eaglets (affectionately referred to as bobbleheads) which means the real work starts to keep them fed and healthy for the New year.
     

  26. Jamie, is she the one you named jezebel?  with your description of “very large and young” i imagine a bird version of the mail order Scandinavian brides who answered the pleas of pioneer widowers to come help raise their children.    sort  of little nest on the prairie thingy.

  27. Kiplinger:
    Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it means you’re alive and that the stock market volatility over the past month hasn’t put you in an early grave. Or at least it hasn’t yet.
     
    Let’s call it a victory. Frankly, we should take what we can get. The U.S. stock markets just finished their worst week since the 2008 meltdown and are on track for their worst December since 1931, when America was in the pits of the Great Depression. The Nasdaq is already in a bear market, having dropped a little more than 20%, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is just 2 percentage points away from joining it.
     
    A 20% drop is psychologically jarring. But a little perspective is needed here. As of Friday’s close, the S&P 500 has been knocked back down to May 2017 levels. If you’ve been invested for any length of time, losing 19 months of gains isn’t catastrophic. It isn’t fun, of course. But it also isn’t likely to make the difference between retiring in style and subsisting on beans and rice in your golden years.
    The question is what do you do now?
    [continues]

  28. I have some robins which really must leave this area. They simply aren’t equipped to handle the sub-freezing weather that is around the corner. Obviously, they aren’t smart enough to fly to Mexico so…

  29. Craig there is a post waiting for review.
    Pat, only the computers are trading today, No humans are on wall street they are all in line at the airport,
    Jack

  30. The market will fluctuate. That’s a fact of life. Go to the Berkshire Hathaway website and read Mr Buffett’s letter to shareholders. His guidance is sound.
    Everybody of working age and older should take a course or three at their local community college on investing for their futures. It’s not expensive and you will probably meet interesting people.
    Each individual is personally responsible for learning how to access the tools of financial survival. It’s never too late until it is.

  31. PatD
    No this one isn’t Jezebel.  That was the first of the aggravating ladies hunting for a possible widower.  He drove her off or she gave way to this large, persistent lady.  This one seems to be a very young adult (has her white head but not an adult voice yet – probably only 6 -7 years old).  She is the one he seems to be tolerating and trying to to show her the nesting ropes.  Romeo is about 15 and has been faithful to Juliet that we know of for at least 5 years that the AEF has been observing the NE Florida nest.  He is an unusually devoting father often insisting that Julie give him a turn with the kids.  Since her departure, he has been doing full time daddy duties, so it is no wonder he is trying to recruit a nanny.
     

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