Friday ReadsPosted: January 6, 2012
Tonight is 12th night which means it’s the official start of the carnival season or the lead up to Mardi Gras Day. The season kicks off on Epiphany and ends on Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. There are two huge parties tonight! The first one is held on a St. Charles Street Car and The Phunny Phorty Phellows. They herald in the season. We also celebrate Joan of Arc’s birthday with a parade in the Quarter. If you make it down here, you will see many folks in medieval costume and many maskers. Tonight is undoubtedly one of my favorite holidays because it’s just an incredibly colorful, local celebration.
How to spell “krewe.”
Carnival is a season, Mardi Gras is a day.
The Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold, and the official Mardi Gras song is “If Ever I Cease To Love.”
The Captain of the Krewe is more important than the King.
If you miss a doubloon thrown from a float, never reach down to pick it up. Always put your foot on it. If you go with your hand, you’re either too late or you’ll get your fingers stepped on.
If you bite into a plastic baby in a King Cake, that’s a good thing
Any beads shorter than two feet long are unacceptable unless they are made of glass.
The national press has no clue about Mardi Gras.
The vast majority of people in the French Quarter during Carnival are people from out of town.
Finally, the Number 1 thing you must know about Mardi Gras is
You can always judge how bad hurricane season has been by riding down St. Charles Avenue in late fall to see how many Mardi Gras beads are still hanging in the trees.
Every office in the city will be serving King Cake! Watch out for that baby because you’ll have to buy the next one! It’s only 46 days until Mardi Gras!
The tea party has found a primary challenger for Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Who could possibly think that Hatch isn’t extreme enough? Yup, it’s the usual group of whackos.
Conservative groups that want to send a message that centrists won’t be allowed to hide behind the GOP label have made a prime target out of Hatch, Utah’s six-term senior senator. Although firmly in the conservative camp on social issues, Hatch has built a reputation for reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats on economic policy, and shies away from the red-meat rhetoric many grassroots conservative groups demand.
The Club for Growth, a deep-pocketed fiscal conservative group, eagerly courted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to run against Hatch, but Chaffetz quashed their hopes in August when he announced he would seek reelection to the House instead. Rep. Jim Matheson, a Utah Democrat, also considered challenging Hatch, but opted out in October.
FreedomWorks, a national Tea Party group that has set its sights on Hatch, placed its hopes in Liljenquist early, naming him its “Legislative Entrepreneur of the Year” in November and warmly welcoming him to the race on Wednesday.
“We are very pleased to see a dedicated and proven conservative like Dan Liljenquist step up and challenge the status quo in Utah,” said FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe. “His record in the state Senate shows clearly that Liljenquist has the ability to produce innovative solutions to budget woes, and to effectively turn those ideas into action and real legislative change.”
I guess my gut feeling yesterday about the Obama plan to decrease the size of the military was right. It is an old rehashed Rummy idea. Это интересно. (That’s interesting in Russian with apologies for my Parisian accent to my Russian language teacher at university.)
The Obama administration plans to revert to a Bush-era plan to cut the number of U.S. Army combat brigades in Europe in half as part of the Pentagon budget cuts to be announced within weeks, U.K. Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said.
The decision is a retreat from the administration’s previous determination, announced last April, to leave in place three of the four brigade combat teams now stationed in Europe, three in Germany and one airborne brigade in Italy. A brigade combat team usually has 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers.
“My understanding is that there will remain two brigades,” Hammond said in an interview yesterday in Washington after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for their first talks at the Pentagon since they each took office. “But in addition to that, there will be some rotating presence” for training and exercises, he said.
Speaking of interesting, here’s something a little offbeat from AJ. It’s about fertility problems in “Mother India”. Who would think that a country with severe population problems would have a booming fertility clinic business?
Jhuma and Niladri are a couple from Burdwan in the state of West Bengal. They have been married for eight years and have no children. This is a major problem, especially in India where a childless married woman is considered impure. A few years ago, Niladri would probably have abandoned Jhuma, and her life would have become a misery, her presence taken to be an inauspicious sign at social events or religious ceremonies.
Today, cutting-edge research and the boom in the assisted reproduction industry offer them new possibilities, new hopes, new dilemmas. The couple set off for Hyderabad, the heart of Indian medical and assisted reproduction research, on a journey of hope, a journey that will take them to Dr Rama’s fertility clinic.
Dr Rama is the owner of a number of clinics in southern India and is expanding her business into the Gulf States and the Caribbean. At the Hyderabad clinic, Jhuma comes into contact with doctors, embryologists, other infertile women and surrogate mothers who are driven by poverty to sell their wombs to earn the surrogacy fees that give them and their existing children a chance of a future.
Drink your coffee before you follow this link. What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done? I wish I’d have bought some hip waders first, but oh well.
The empirical choice between Clinton and Obama was never as direct as those on either side made it out to be; neither was obviously more equipped or more progressive than the other. The maddening part, then and now, is that they were utterly comparable candidates. The visions — in 2008, of Obama as a progressive redeemer who would restore enlightened democracy to our land and Hillary as a crypto-Republican company man; or, in 2011, of Obama as an appeasement-happy crypto-Republican and Hillary as a leftist John Wayne who would have whipped those Congressional outlaws into shape — they were all invented. These are fictional characters shaped by the predilections, prejudices and short memories of the media and the electorate. They’re not actual politicians between whom we choose here on earth.
If she had won her party’s nomination and then the general election, Hillary Clinton’s presidency would probably not have looked so different from Obama’s. She was, after all, a senator who, for a variety of structural and strategic reasons, often crossed party lines to co-sponsor legislation with Republicans, who voted to go to war in Iraq, who moved to the center on everything from Israel to violent video games. You think Obama’s advisers are bad? Hillary Clinton hired, and then took far too long to get rid of, Mark Penn. And her economic team probably would have looked an awful lot like Obama’s.
Yup. It’s the no difference trope! I tried to warn you.
Alrighty. That’s my contribution for the day. Wonk will be hostessing the live blog for the Republican debates tomorrow night. I have the makings of cosmopolitan martinis and a spinach/feta pizza. Youngest daughter is coming in for the LSU blow out with two of her roommates. At this point, some one is bound to find out that I faked the thanksgiving hand holding deal. The thangka of lion faced dakini is sure to be a give away! So, be sure to join us for what promises to be another whack event! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?