The Watering Hole: December 14 – Berlusconi’s End ?!

Today Silvio Berlusconi is about to be ousted, the discussion on the vote of no confidence is happening while I write this. Italy, a country I love, has deserved better than him. I hope they arrest him on the spot after they do send him off.

This is our open thread, feel free to comment!

UPDATE: The BBC just confirmed he has won the vote in both houses. πŸ˜₯


138 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: December 14 – Berlusconi’s End ?!

  1. Cats, they have. The worst having been, of course, Mussolini. But Bettino Craxi who died in exile in Tunisia, after having been sentenced to 28 years of prison for corruption in his absence was not a bad example for a bad apple either.

  2. He has become a role model for some our “elected” officials.
    Charles Rangel got a stern finger wag from Nancy “off the table” Pelosi.
    If that had been anyone of us we would be wearing an orange jump suit and not a silk designer three piece.
    The machine is broken. All over the world.
    Not just here. Not just over there.
    All over the world, it’s broken.
    A double standard for royalty versus the working class.

  3. To think Dic Cheney is wanted in Nigeria of all places for corruption. Noone touches him closer to home. Nor anywhere else. I agree Berlusconi is just one of the lot. More flamboyant, however, and much more shameless.

  4. EV, I understand Halliburton is going to pay Nigeria $250 million to buy Dick’s “get out of jail free” card. But then, Nigeria just wanted him on corruption charges….nothing about International War Crimes or Crimes Against Humanity.

    Convicted murderers, even those later proven innocent, are executed in this country. But Dick walks free and Bush sells books. And the American taxpayer pays for their security.

  5. Disgusting, the lot of ’em. I agree vinyl….it’s broken. And I see no way to fix it short of revolution. Which may come sooner than later, once the coasts start flooding.

    Gee, I’m in a cheery mood today. πŸ˜›

  6. Gee, I’m in a cheery mood today.

    You should try waking up to 12 degrees!

    I normally get up at least once a night when running the woodstove, to stoke the fire, probably because my sinuses get dry. This morning at 1:48am, my power went off, and I woke up from the ‘thump’ caused by the substation up the street shutting down, I think. I got up, found a light, and put wood in the stove, had some tea, then laid back down. I might not have gone back to sleep, but the power came back on at 2:00am. I was worried about having 6000 watts of heat off-line on the coldest morning we have had yet this year.

    Assange is getting out on $315,000 bail it says.

    • Apparently, Michael Moore is paying Assange’s bail.

      I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money — and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

  7. Happy f’g Holiday – here’s your pink slip…
    (most of these are in the Valley where finding a job is nearly impossible)

    Yahoo To Lay Off 600 To 700 Workers
    This Marks Internet Company’s 4th Mass Layoff In 3 Years

  8. Well, one thing is for sure, ‘The Liberal Claus’ is, indeed, a JUVENILE effort. And the author was defeated in the election? Shit, maybe there IS a god after all. At least in Washington.

  9. Danish Professor Reprimanded for Campus Orgies

    This was reported at, but the link is to the original news item.

    There’s a certain amount of facepalm amusement over the article and the incident, but I was also struck by the difference in reaction from Denmark vs. the US. The Danish administrators were annoyed that the professor had used campus facilities for filming, but otherwise couldn’t give a shit what he was doing in his off-hours. Had this happened here, the professor would already be fired (tenured or not) and the rightwing Bloviathon would be delaminating about godless commie academics polluting the tender minds of our kiddies.

  10. Well, Gary you didn’t mention they were dressed as (I assume catholic) Monks!

    The U.S. is so ‘puritanical’ in voicing ‘naughty’ behavior but the red states are the highest consumers of pornography. But guess it’s all right as long as one attends church on Sunday!

  11. Among the overseas universities I’ve applied to are Delft and Twente, in the Netherlands. (Big on philosophy of technology; maybe that’s why they filmed in the machine room … )

  12. The moral of that story: either get a participant to film or invite the videographer to participate.
    They were very neat – clearing up after finishing!

  13. Gary, let me know if you want to speak with someone who has taken the Dutch route. Very good friend of mine, currently at University of Plymouth, started his professoring in Holland.

    And, on the issue of profs and sex… at my friend’s first faculty meeting in Plymouth, the moment came when they were asked if someone wished to “express an interest.” He was baffled, until it became clear that professors were being asked if there was a student they were planning on boffing. Apparently, teacher/student intimacies were OK as long as the correct paperwork had been filed. No sneaking around would be tolerated.

  14. On another note, I discovered today that the Mobile version of TheZoo works very well on either of my Android devices–except I could not log in. I had to revert to the general layout (which is unbelievably horrible on a smart phone) to find the teeeeeeeeny login link, then switch back to Mobile. If anyone wants to explore this (maybe there was a link I missed), I think it would have potential in the future.

  15. They are rioting in the streets in Italy over this vote. We should be rioting in the streets over our Supreme Court.

  16. If I can figure out how to get some screenshots, Zooey, I’ll do a better job of ‘splaining. In essence, WordPress can tell whether your browser is running on a mobile device, and offers up a layout that is very different (one column only) and more legible. You can elect to choose the desktop layout (switching back is eyeball-wrenching).

    • Okay, that makes a bit more sense, gummitch. Having never looked at a website of any kind on a phone, I don’t have a foundation to work from on this topic.

  17. “University of Plymouth” — this would be UK?

    Not to drive the double entendre’s any deeper into the deep end than they’ve already gone, but I’ll take any route that leads to a paying full-time job at this point.

  18. Gary, let’s get you measured up for that monk’s rope…

    hmm, I could be reading this incorrectly and you do mean rope as opposed to ‘robe’.

    (yes, the Falcon’s comment can be ‘disappeared’)

  19. Oh gawd, at first thought this was a parody site but it’s not.

    During the Year of the Priest, I hope you’ll encourage your son to dress up like one of the many Saintly priests. Again, children learn by playing, and often when they grow up, they’ll become that model they imitated as a child.

    Countless American Priests that we know spent many hours “playing Mass.” I can’t help but wonder how many vocations were inspired by that holy childhood playtime.

  20. Bugger — for the first time in my life, I’ve had to call a plumber.

    The good news is, it is a slow leak. The bad news is that it has been going on for at least 6 hours now, and has soaked a fair amount of carpet in the bedroom.

  21. Gary,

    That put a bent in your day.

    “…good news is, it is a slow leak.”
    Hopefully at this point it is ‘was’ – did they stop the leak?

    “…has soaked a fair amount of carpet in the bedroom.”

    Find a large blower/fan to dry out that carpet. (you know the kind the Fire Department uses).

  22. The plumbers are coming, they have not yet arrived, so things are ongoing.

    Getting my hands on a large blower will be challenging at the very least. The fact that it is an arid climate offers at least a particle of hope that, once the leak is fixed, the carpet will dry out w/o needing to be replaced.

  23. Gary, call a carpet cleaners – one that does restoration work after a fire. They will have the equipment to clean and dry the carpets properly.

  24. β€œHow many kids are begging their parents to dress up as a priest?”

    Only those kids whose folks took a life-long vow of celibacy!

  25. I’ve found the perfect rendition of a Christmas song for the motormouth troll and all those who want ‘christ back in christmas’/war of christmas soldiers:

  26. Well, plumbers came and fixed things in no time flat. I didn’t see where the leak was and am unwilling to tweak things at random, hence my call. They, on the other hand, knew what they were doing, pretty much instantly zeroed in on the source of the leak, tightened one nut, and stopped the leak. I’m happy to pay the money and know someone who knows what they are doing handle the problem. If it recurs, I’ll at least know where to look before calling.

    I propped up a window fan over the damp carpet and am using that to blow it dry. Once dried, I’ll look at having cleaners come in as BnF suggested. The soak was limited by my futon frame, the weight of which “pinched” things off and limited the spread.

  27. Glad it was a minor inconvenience, Gary.


    frugalchariot, are you about? I just now went back to TP and saw your inquiry as to the meaning of 2112 – although I’m not familiar with MrMark’s definition (intriguing and interesting as it was) – the troll and EugeDebs were discussing 2112 by the band Rush:

  28. Have you ever noticed that a large majority of internet trolls claim to have been in the military? Whenever you make a post about the military, the first question back is something like “did you serve” or in the case I just got “how many wars have you served in.”

  29. Greetings! zxbe,

    And congratulation on:

    Featured Comment: zxbe: But would they dare search a Texan’s Stetson?

    from yesterday’s Texas Airport Security thread!

  30. oh, and what branch of the service were you enlisted?

    The best ‘deer in headlight’ – when those types of trolls pretend to have served and those posters who have – ask the technical questions about rank, company, platoon, etc.
    Trolls either get up on their haunches and immediately get pummeled or they slink away only to come back as a sock puppet!

  31. zxbe, the regular trolls ask that question even though they haven’t served themselves. They think (hmmm, maybe not the right word) that weight is added to their argument if you haven’t served. And if you claim to have served, they’ll simply call you a liar. All while ignoring the question “when/where did you serve?” Most of them couldn’t pass the entrance requirements for the US military.

  32. Always best to not attempt plumbing yourself Gary. Turn one thing the wrong way, break a pipe, and then the whole thing needs to be replaced. A wed/dry vac might help soak up a puddle by the futon. Usually somebody has one of those.

  33. Entrance exam to the military gummitch? Most of them can’t find their way out of their mother’s basement.

  34. Yeah, it’s apparently in chapter one of the troll handbook.

    As you point out, if you say yes, they’ll call you a liar. If you say know, then they’ll say you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  35. Now I recall – the Vets would ask the trolls about their DD214. And if the troll took a long time – you knew the google was be employed.

  36. Hi all. The company just gave me a new phone today. Flips open, has a keyboard, does web and text. Just like Dick Tracy used to have. Morning temps were around -20 but have recovered to single digits.

  37. Shayne

    I have to disagree with you about “Always best to not attempt plumbing yourself Gary.” Gary’s an intelligent person who figured out how to get a Ph.D. and that’s a lot harder than plumbing.

    I’m reminded of the Northern Exposure episode where Dr. Fleischman had a plumbing problem. He took the Indian medicine man’s wisdom about learning to think like a fish to catch fish and applied that to his plumbing problem. By the end of the episode he was working on his own plumbing!

    Add in the “lefty loosey, righty tighty” mnemonic and a wrench and you’re ready to go.

    Gary, do you own any wrenches? If you don’t, calling the plumber was the wise thing to do.

  38. Ebb, yeah, back in the saddle again here. Busy today — bread baking day.

    I saw your response and link on TP in re 2112, played the “Rush” thing, and came out as barren as I was when I went in. I did post a followup comment, but about all it said that I remain as puzzled as ever. I’d never heard of “Rush” other than Limbaugh, and must admit I’m probably not destined to become a great fan. I couldn’t understand a word of the lyric, couldn’t tell if the lead singer was M or F, and decided I still prefer Rachmaninoff to Rock-it-all-off.

    Old farts are like that. πŸ˜‰

    I remain in the dark, i.o.w.; but then I’ve always liked the dark.

  39. Zx, I honked one off yesterday and he was still picking on me in the wee small hours of this morning, long after I went ‘to sleep, perchance to dream.’ I woke up to several lectures by someone named TheSieve, or something similar. I’m guessing he’s in his early twenties and hasn’t shit for a year (so he’s full of it). Told him as much. He don’t like me. And Teabagger don’t, and Ocotillo don’t, a F1234567 (or whatever it is) don’t, and Moto don’t neither!

    I should probably crawl in a hole and die, but decided to start chapter one on another book instead. So much material, so little time!

  40. frugal, I responded to your response to my response ;>

    I do apologize for having you waste the time listening to music not in your repertoire.

    It only had to do with the title of the song 2112.
    (I believe at some point the troll either had a typo or some such thing. Then Eugen picked up on it. I wasn’t aware of MrMarks explanation so did the googles.)

    I wasn’t aware of the xtians doing their own interpretation of rock and roll lyrics until MrMark mentioned.

    Again – sorry!

  41. Z, watch for it. The retort from the troll to you about Washington being born in Virginia will be that the US didn’t exist yet.

  42. Well, the new toy can go on the web and I can read whats on the Zoo! With a magnifying glass and if I push the scroll buttons enough. Good thing the verdamnt thing can still make phone calls.

  43. Pachy, I have a husband with tons of tools, he’s an auto mechanic and has done lots of home remodeling himself. He does plumbing too but every time he’s started a plumbing project one thing has always led to another and ends up taking 5 trips to add another part to the job. And while auto repair is a dirty messy job he claims plumbing is much worse.

  44. No ebb, no apologies! I’m always interested in picking my way through the maze, and music is no obstacle. My only problem is my unfamiliarity with most of what went on in the music world after, say, 1975. Those were the days when I had more going on than I can even imagine to this day, and I did carve out a rather narrow niche just so I could keep up with what needed doing. About the only music I listened to in those years was stuff to soothe the savage beast (me) when I got home after a typical 14 hour day ‘down on the farm’ as it were. Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Vivaldi, … back then they calmed me down, now they keep me going!

    Still on Q about Rush, though: was the lead singer M or F? Honest to god, I couldn’t tell by either looks or by voice.

    It’s a bitch to get old. Someone said that once. S/he was right.

  45. frugal it he stayed on you that long you must have really hit a nerve. Well done. I hate the troll that acts like he’s gotten some regular banned. That really pisses me off.

    • zxbe, you were right!! Some people just have to be ‘right’ under any and all circumstances. How ridiculous.

      The United States wasn’t formed until 1776 or the Constitutional Congress, I don’t remember which, but this certainly was “America.”

  46. Hmmm. I’m glad you think I was right. Or maybe I’m not glad given the rest of your post. lol

    But, it just seems to be the meme of the troll. They feel it’s horrible to say they don’t know or they’re found to be in error. (They will never admit it.)

    • Of course you were right, zxbe. You said he’d come back with something about this not being the US yet, and he did.

      I thought it was cute that after my comment to him, he came back with the “British rule” thing. Well, that’s not what he said. If he’d said Washington wasn’t born in the United States (or US), then I wouldn’t have said a thing.

      I can nitpick with the best of ’em. πŸ˜‰

  47. Discretion being the better part of valor, I’m also inclined to think that knowing one’s own limits is the better part of wisdom, Pachy.

    The nature of the problem was one that, as it turned out, was fixable with an ordinary pair of pliers, of which I have many. Now that I’ve seen the problem, I can check and test for it in any future leak issues. But water is capable of travelling so that the site of the symptom can be well removed from the site of the problem. In addition, the potential costs of error were of a kind that I could see not pay-off for incurring the risk.

  48. That was my point Gary. My husband is extremely handy but every plumbing job has turned out to be nothing but trouble. And when a plumber fixes it it stays fixed. When another handyman fixes it it leaks.

  49. My car was acting up last Sunday and my husband told me he couldn’t tell what it was without seeing it. His daughter said I should Google it so i didn’t explode. My husband says he gets a lot of Googlers these days telling him how to fix what they figured out what was wrong. He tells him he can do it that way but it will probably cost them a lot more than letting him figure out what’s wrong and fixing it.

    • Shayne, how could Googling a car problem keep it from exploding? πŸ˜€

      I never thought of Googling a car issue. Those are probably the same people who Google a pain in their side, and decide they have terminal cancer. But it’s only gas…

  50. oh, whoa…whoa…whoa it’s all too much for me trying to keep up on two active TP threads when the trolls are being summarily whacked.

    teabagger is calling everyone a sock –
    Eyepublius and angels81 are supposedly the same person to the nematode – because each served in Nam and spoke about it.

    Then I went over to the thread you guys are on!

    Now I must step away from the keyboard…

    Good Luck with the “Whack-a-Troll”!

  51. I saw your response, Shayne, after typing in mine. But what you said makes a lot of sense to me. Being good at fixing one generic kind of system does not automatically translate into other kinds.

  52. Shayne — when I was in computers professionally people would often get miffed because I would insist on putting my own eyeballs and fingers on the equipment rather than simply taking their word for what was happening.

    The most accurate verbal description in the world cannot begin to convey the amount of information in basic phenomenal experience. Even (and even especially) in the sciences, you cannot simply tell someone how to read, say, a photographic plate from a telescopic observation. It requires years of mentoring and apprenticeship to gain a professional “eye.”

    (By the bye, there was an apprentice following around the plumber who came to my house today. I found that enormously satisfying; must be the educator in me.)

  53. Shayne, now you know why I got out of the car repair business! I had too many Boeing and NASA engineers with internet (late 1990s) trying to get me to fix their car over the phone.

    • Gary, now I’m feeling totally embarrassed about my last phone call to Time Warner (“Chuck” in India) to complain my internet wasn’t working. I totally forgot I had a router, even to the point of denying I had one. Chuck had me following the wires all the way to the router, and then said “Netgear.” There it was! OMG, I was so embarrassed.

      I am a “loose nut on the keyboard.” I admit it!

  54. Oh, I see our “favorite” poster has shown his mug over at TP. (You can’t say the name, because it’s magical like Betelgeuse; if you say it he’ll show up here.)

  55. Zooey that was my 16 year old daughter who thought the car was going to explode. Luckily she has a father who is a mechanic. She doesn’t have her license yet. She did however wipe out the side of my Saturn on the plastic garbage cans the first time I let her drive. Oy.

    • OMG, Shayne! Did you let her drive it again?

      Of course, it’s already wiped out. Might as well, right? πŸ˜‰

      I remember sitting in the passenger seat while you were driving in Chicago, trying to find a place for dinner. The thing I kept thinking was, “This car doesn’t have a ding in it — trust that!” πŸ˜€

  56. My last problem solved by Comcast was a router problem as well Zooey. It just quit no warning or anything. I never would have figured that out.

    I don’t even know how to describe symptoms to a repair person. When my husband asked me what the car was doing I told him I was on a lift bridge from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River and all I was hoping was that the car was going to quit and the bridge wasn’t going to collapse. I am technically challenged.

  57. “had me following the wires all the way to the router”

    In the very early ’90’s a computer biz I worked for got a phone call about the mouse problem with the computer. The tech was helping them with their problem, no small part of which was that they could not find the mouse. This went on for some minutes before it was finally revealed that there was a biological mouse living inside the computer, getting in and out through an opened circuit card expander slot in the back. They wanted to know what to do about it.

    In a similar vein, I was working on a machine once, and my boss up front heard me exclaim, “This things full of mouse shit!” He chuckled and asked me what the problem was. Again, a few moments of communication to establish that I was not being colorful, but literally accurate in my description.

    • Ew, Gary! It must be nice and warm inside computer towers for the little mousies. πŸ™‚

      I once lost a job in a Prosecutor’s office in another county to a woman who claimed to have vast computer experience. The Prosecutor liked to hear that, because he loved to waste all kinds of time and money on making tables and spreadsheets about all the crime he wasn’t prosecuting. Anyhoo, I happened to be in the office on her first day working, and witnessed her picking up the mouse and asking, “What’s this?” I literally snorted.

  58. Yep she creased the whole side because she was nervous about hitting something. She was pulling INTO the driveway not even backing up. Fortunately my husband runs a home for wayward boys at the garage and one of the out of work guys is a body mechanic so once she gets some experience driving he’ll have it fixed. Lately they’ve been working on getting a Corvair ready to sell. It’s a beaut. Next they’ll probably renovate a Pinto or a Gremlin.

  59. When my husband still worked at the dealer he had some guy tear him a new one because somebody else had told the customer that his carburetor was bad. When my husband didn’t fix the carburetor the guy accused him of being a slacker not willing to do the job. I don’t think he was even calmed down when my husband told him the car didn’t have a carburetor because it was fuel injected. After all the other mechanic knew better.

    • My dad once had a legal case like that, Shayne. A local car dealer had charged all kinds of money to fix this older gentleman’s carburetor, but he was still having problems and they refused to fix it (it was on warrantee). He finally went to my dad, who is no mechanic, and they looked under the hood, like men do. My dad looked at him and said, “There’s no carburetor in here.”


  60. Shayne: (re thesieve, or whatever it calls itself) “frugal it he stayed on you that long you must have really hit a nerve.”

    It was interesting, yes. ‘It’ was very preachy, if that’s the word; I suspect an idiot, one with the potential to be a major pain in the ass in the real world. I thought he/it was stupid and explained why, once or twice. Other than that I left any response, if I chose to make one, at “fuck off” or something similar. The comment of ‘It’ that amused me the most was the criticism of me using a 1944 FDR speech excerpt to make a point about expansion of human rights. Really bothered him that I was quoting a “politician” and not the “Constitution.” Roosevelt was, in his speech, proposing an expansion of the ‘bill of rights’ — scary scary, apparently, for today’s wingnuts … the very idea of expanding rights of citizens. Horrors.

    Ah, well, it was fun to watch him scream at me, and I do have his comments saved. Might use them in a book … if I can create an asshole character large enough to make use of it all! Who knows! πŸ™‚

  61. Zooey, restoring a Yugo means letting all the base elements revert back to their natural state.

  62. I always use the “no non-ennumerated rights” nonsense in my logic classes. It is one of the few arguments I know that can be easily placed in the form of a classic syllogism. It illustrates several points, including the problem of suppressed/missing premises, yet when that premise is finally provided the argument is formally valid, but factually false. (The 9th ammendment explicitly falsifies the implicit/missing premise.)

  63. The ninth amendment is a grand statement, not very often cited by those who would deny everything to everyone:

    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

  64. I love all the teabaggers who believe they understand the Constitution better than everybody else. You have to be really ignorant to believe you have that all figured out.

  65. Shayne, I think that kind of certainty comes from learning the Bible in the comic books in doctor’s waiting rooms. If you can understand the Good Book like that, the Constitution is a piece of cake. Sadly, without pictures. But I’m sure some Righty is working on fixing that.

  66. The teabaggers will inevitably tell you that understanding the Constitution is very simple–which, of course, means they’ve not only never read the document but also never read any of the correspondence or essays that went into the document’s creation.

    And they ignore the inevitable question: if the original document was so fucking perfect, why did it come with a built-in editor?

  67. Or, for that matter, why did three of the smartest people in Congress (including the primary author) write the Federalist Papers just to produce an initial outline of the ideas?

    (I had to run and check: yes, I do have a copy on my Kindle.)

  68. Federalist Papers? I dunno, sounds suspicious. Maybe communist or socialist or naziist, one of those ebil ist things.

  69. Re: the Washington thread.

    That’s it. I’m done. TP suffers because of Doc’s “concern”. RoboSlater’s infection wins.

    I hope he’s happy.

  70. Sadly, I know where he’s coming from, but by assuming things about people and criticizing people like Belac and Eugene, he’s defending faux-fronts like RoboSlater and Fuzzy.

      • Sorry, Purple State. It’s not too exciting around here right now. Don’t know where the others are, but I’m working on studying for my last final this week.

  71. I was eating dinner (homemade veg. chili; pretty good).

    I needed to step away from TP for a while because it was triggering too many combative responses in me, with people who were defining their lives by the way they could raise the bar on “obtuse.” I expect to go back there someday on something like a regular basis, but probably not before next spring.

  72. Gary,

    Two items.

    1. Go to your local supermarket or hardware store and rent a steam rug cleaner. Suck up the water in the rug with the cleaner and then steam clean the rug.

    2. I once was sent to Brazil where the tech said that none of the diagnostics would run on a customer machine. I found a rat’s nest on the B gate C4 board (It was a S360 Model 50.), literally a real rat’s nest. When I arrived, the machine would not even load the diagnostics from tape and would drop power at random times. I found the nest about 10 minutes after I entered the customer site and the machine was up and running about an hour after vacuuming out the offending area and cleaning the board and cards with G8 Freon.

    I returned home on the next flight out. That’s how I spent my 6 hours in Rio.

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