Thursday Open Thread

“All is disgust when a man leaves his own nature and does what is unfit.”


45 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Today is the day the FCC decides on net neutrality. Following Pols' advice, you have probably already contacted your members of Congress, to ask them to intervene legislatively to draft net neutrality rules. Maybe you're even part of breaking the Internet as a protest. You have also called all of the FCC "leaning" commission members. You have commented on the FCC website. You know how drastic a change the free internet will undergo if the Obama-era net neutrality rules are overwritten.

    However, 19 state Attorneys General are also calling for a delay in the FCC's planned vote today. It turns out that well over half of the 22 million comments on the FCC website were fake, generated by "bots" designed to fill up the site without actually being, you know, public comment. Maddow's story here:


    19 State Attorneys General – NOT including Colorado's Cynthia Coffman – are calling for a delay in the FCC vote. Cynthia's estranged ex-hubby, Mike Coffman, is calling for a delay in the net neutrality vote. So there's that.

    I don't see why Colorado's AG won't join the calls for a delay in the FCC vote. Call her and suggest that. It's probably the only thing you haven't yet done for net neutrality.

  2. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    More meds, please….

    God(dess) is having waaay too much fun screwing with these Christian psychopaths. Please, please saddle up Sassy and ride this horse into 2018. 

  3. DavieDavie says:

    My dear 83 year old sister just called from Georgia to let me know that she, a life-long devout Southern Baptist conservative, just switched her registration from the GOP to the Democratic Party.

    Her disenchantment with the GOP started last year with the ascension of Trump (she wrote-in Jeb Bush on her ballot), and reached its nadir with the party's support for Judge Moore's senate campaign.

    She's not likely to become a Bernie Sanders voter, but fair-minded, sensible and capable Democrats running in Georgia will have a reliable supporter in her 🙂

    • ParkHill says:

      Maybe she should have a conversation with David-TH's mom in Hawaii.

      • DavieDavie says:

        If Republicans were all like DavidT's mom, she would never have left the GOP.

        This is her thinking in a nutshell:

        Doug Jones’s defeat of Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election is yet the latest signal that the accommodators of Donald Trump, those who have normalized and bolstered him, the gutless, schismatic conservatives who abandoned principle to follow a pariah, will have hell to pay in 2018.

        Yes, Roy Moore was defeated, but it can never be fully erased from history or memory that he was endorsed by this president and supported by the Republican National Committee. All of Roy Moore’s sins are their sins, and they will wear that scarlet R straight into the midterms.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      May she have a long life, with many votes for Democrats as the state of Georgia runs away from the radical remnants of the Republican Party and towards a more moderate future.

    • davebarnesdavebarnes says:

      No applause yet.
      "According to the report, Ryan would use his final year as speaker attempting to fulfill the dream …: entitlement reform."
      Code for screwing poor people. Code for screwing old people. Code for screwing young people.

      • DavieDavie says:

        Not sure there will be a next year — this is what GOP-led "governing" looks like:

        …next week is going to be total chaos. Congress is under pressure to pass a final tax reform deal before the end of the week and reach a government funding agreement with Democrats by Friday. Democrats have indicated that they won’t vote for a funding agreement that doesn’t include legal protections for undocumented immigrants who were covered by DACA.

        Republican legislators are hoping to pass tax reform by Wednesday, and reach a funding agreement by Friday. But there are lots of problems with this plan. John McCain is currently in the hospital, meaning that it would only take one Senate Republican switching their vote to kill this bill. (Bob Corker, who voted against the Senate’s bill, is expected to vote no again.)

        House Republicans have also indicated that they want to hijack the government spending plan: In a “tense internal meeting,” they “laid out their plan to fund the Pentagon for a year, while keeping the rest of the government on a short-term spending plan that runs to January 18.” House Republicans would then leave Washington after passing this bill, forcing the Senate to either pass their bill or let the government shut down.

        A lot is riding on what happens next week: the future of the American tax code, the integrity of Obamacare, the immigration status of hundreds of thousands of people, and averting a government shutdown. There have been precious few precedents to suggest that this Congress is capable of handling them all responsibly.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Big difference between Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan (New Republic article). Jack Kemp had a heart and a soul.

          Ryan does have one point. Something does have to happen with entitlement spending. It just can't keep going up and up, consuming ever larger amounts of revenues and the federal budget. Really crack down on Medicare fraud, that costs billions per year. Reward medical entities that stress good health instead of paying doctors for every test under the sun. Slowly raise the retirement age as people are living longer. Allow Medicare to put drug purchases out for bid, rather than just paying whatever Big Pharma wants to charge. Etc. and etc. 

          • JohnInDenver says:

            Modifications of "entitlement spending" should go hand in hand with a removal of the earnings cap on Social Security, taxing unearned income for Medicare and Medicaid, and a nation-wide acceptance and endorsement of the possibilities for less treatment and more hospice care at end of life,

          • DavieDavie says:

            All good recommendations.  I would add that Medicare Buy-in would also lead to lower overall national health care costs, because it would reduce dependency on employer-subsidized insurance, letting folks shift to lower overhead Medicare/Medicare Advantage coverage. 

            While that would increase Medicare expenditures, the increased costs could be covered by the same employer/employee paycheck deductions (so the combined Medicare Tax/Health Insurance deduction would stay about the same, or possibly lower, depending on the funding needed for the expanded coverage).

            I just went on Medicare+Medicare Advantage after paying into it for the last 43 years.  I have the full deluxe coverage that matches what I had at my old job.  It costs about $200/month including Part B.  My wife's COBRA insurance is $750/mo until she can get onto Medicare (even though I just retired, we won't qualify for subsidies on the ACA exchange).

            And, yes, we also need to uncap social security income.  If we'd done that 5 or 10 years ago, it would be in fine shape.  As is, with the GOP budget busting deficit spending and economic policies that keep millennials in low wage jobs, that generation won't have to worry about arbitrary retirement ages — they'll be working until they drop dead…

          • ParkHill says:

            You make a good point that health care expenses are inordinately high in the US. I would also suggest that lack of transparency across the medical system, and monopoly price gouging are also important. 

            You are mistaken on a few things:

            (1) "People" are not living longer in the US. Rich, healthy people might be living longer, but not the general US population. The poor US longevity statistic is mainly skewed due to poor people with lack of access to good health care. I would HOPE that better access to health care would in fact lead to longer lives across our population. 

            (2) Entitlement spending is up because we have more older people as the baby boom generation ages into Social Security. If there is a lower percentage of young people paying in, then you have two very easy fixes: Increase the rate across the board, or Increase the top wage bracket plus tax non-wage earnings for Social Security. Social Security isn't breaking the bank, tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy is breaking the bank.

            Here's another fix: Let's increase the minimum wage, and rebuild the Unions so workers have better bargaining power. Higher pay into the lower and middle class would also fund more SS savings.

            Hey. I paid into Social Security all my life. Why are the Republicans so anxious to take it away from me?

            (3) What percent of Medicare expenditures is fraud? 1%, 5%, 10%? People always talk about medicare fraud, but if it is only 5%, that isn't breaking the Medicare bank. What the heck does it mean anyway? People are going to the Doctor too much or when they aren't actually sick?  

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              I'm not mistaken. We just have a different take on things. Before calling an increase in the minimum wage as a fix, better check out some places that have raised it, like Seattle. A mixed result there from what I've read. I don't disagree with an increase in the income ceiling that people have to pay. Do a google for Medicare Fraud. You may be surprised.  I wish I still had access to these stats from 20 years ago. Even if one paid the maximum amount into social security, one exhausts all of that plus the employer payments in about 12-14 years. In other words, live long enough and you come out way ahead.

            • DavieDavie says:

              Well, Medicare spending for FY2017 was $700 billion.  So 5% is about $35 billion — definitely worth chasing.  Big Pharma, Hospital and Medical groups are run by humans with a certain percentage of greedy chiselers hoping to make a fast buck.


              • ParkHill says:

                OMG. <Dr-evil>35 Billion dollars</Dr-evil>

                Texas is 1,078,214,900,000,000 square inches. That's a big scary number! 

                Look; where is the real waste? I don't think it is individual people getting too many doctor's visits.

                People throw around accusations of fraud without actually defining fraud, nor putting the scale into context. Health care is a big percentage of the economy, so obviously the numbers can be large… but Texas.

                Personally, I think the problem isn’t fraud. It is completely legal to make as much money as your monopolistic position will get your

                • DavieDavie says:

                  Well, just as an example, DaVita has just settled for the 4th time in just the last few years for illegal billing and kickback schemes, with fines totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

                  Would you rather ignore that and let all other medical providers know that "Hey, the money spigot is wide open — come and get it!"?

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            Social security and Medicare are earned benefits, for the most part. Employers must pay for workmen's compensation and unemployment insurance, and very often they pass these costs on to workers, especially independent contractors.

             People have been paying these taxes for decades. Ask any minimum wage worker who pays out 1/5 of her meager paycheck for Medicare and SS tax. Ask me – I worked for 30 years paying into social security before I started with PERA, and still pay Medicare taxes. When I worked as an independent contractor, I had to pay my own workmen's comp and unemployment insurance fees, as well.

            So, yes, we are "entitled" to get our earned benefits back.

            When you talk about cutting back on "entitlement spending, you are probably talking about the  mandatory spending  part of the Federal budget. . It's mandatory because it involves paying people back what they paid in, or what they were promised in exchange for risking their lives, as veterans did.

            Under "discretionary spending",  housing programs + VA + Medicare + Education add up to $263 billion.  If you would prefer to have more homeless people, sick, veterans without care, and uneducated youth,  you might want to give the military an even larger share of its $598Billion in discretionary spending.

            If the Republican tax plan passes, all of those things can be yours: more homeless, more sick people dying without care, veterans neglected, uneducated youth, and a swollen military, so that millionaires can pass on all of their estates to their families and so that corporations can pay little to no taxes.  Welcome to your world, CHB.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              As usual, MJ, you wrap your argument in liberal sophistry. Passage of the tax bill; which I personally do not favor in its present form; will not automatically lead to more homeless, more sick people dying, uneducated youth, veterans neglected. And I think the military has plenty of money. If they want more, then submit first to the GAO audit as long advocated by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). 

              I noted above that it is conceivable that one can get back every dollar they pay into social security and medicare, then live off the taxpayers. I don't oppose that; just pointing it out as a fact. As for vets, our military is up on a pedestal in our times. How many actually see combat? Should vets have free or low cost care until the day they die? What about expecting people to live more healthy lives, to the extent possible? When I worked in social services, I saw a lot of people in dire straits due to their own poor decision making, including those with avoidable medical conditions and even homeless. 

              As to what I "own" or may not own, suggest you save that argument for Moderatus. Or Andrew and PP if they ever return. 

          • ParkHill says:

            Or Roads.

            The frickin' cost of roads is going through the roof. Something has to happen with road spending. It can't just keep going up, up, up, up (that's 4 ups). Otherwise, how can we give more tax breaks to the super-wealthy. 

            You see, it is about what we value as a society: Military & plutocrats vs…

  4. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Say a prayer for my beloved Dachshund, Riley. 
    He died in my arms about 2 p.m. today.  With his beloved companion, Maguffin, who died 16 months ago, they gave us 14 years of love and laughter.
    We adopted them from the Dumb Friends. League. At ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 respectively. Riley is about 16, the same age Maguffin was when he died.
    Rest in peace, beloved friends.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      So sorry for the impending loss of a dear companion. Truly, the end of life decisions are the toughest moments for the humans in the relationship.

      May bright memories, cherished photographs, and a warm community surround you at this time, blunting the sharpest edges of the hole left in your heart.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      crying Sorry for your loss, Vger. I know I was ridiculously griefstricken when my beloved pit bull Chew Hoi. had to be put down as cancer took over his body.

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      Sorry, V. Our two kitties (one of whom we adopted from MaxFund, the other from a friend), are getting old too. We're trying to get geared up for their expirations and it's hard.

    • Roger Edwards, Candidate CO 6th DistrictRoger Edwards, Candidate CO 6th District says:

      For the love of Dogs. So sorry for your loss. Perhaps Riley and Mguffin are playing with Wilson and Rawlings at the Rainbow Bridge. My hope is that when I get to Heaven, God will put me in charge of English Springer Spaniels. Maybe you can ask for Dauchshunds.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        If Wilson and Rawlings team up with Maguffin and Riley, expect a new constellation.  Science now knows that stars are born when small dogs are happy.  They need a place to store all the love and joy they create, so they create stars.  We now know how these "dog stars" are born.

  5. Pseudonymous says:

    Lori "Smooth Criminal" Saine gets off scott-free.

    Colorado state Rep. Lori Saine will not face charges in Denver International Airport gun arrest

    “The evidence in this case indicates that Lori Saine forgot the firearm was in her purse,” the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement. “Based on the evidence presented, it is the District Attorney’s position that no criminal case against Ms. Saine can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus pursuant to the ethical standards guiding prosecutors in Colorado, no charges will be filed in this case.”

    "However," continued the statement, "if we could prosecute stupid and/or crazy, she'd be setting up residence in the iron bar hotel tomorrow."

    OK, maybe that list bit was mine.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      I wonder if I can use that same defense the next time I commit a crime in Boulder? "But officer, I forgot not splitting up the pound of pot and leaving a bunch with my friends so I would stay within the limits of the law." ….

  6. Pseudonymous says:

    From the other place that talks about Colorado political news.

    State Rep. Steve Lebsock says polygraph proves he’s innocent of sexual harassment allegations

    A defiant state Rep. Steve Lebsock released a lie detector test Thursday he said proves he’s innocent of accusations he sexually harassed a fellow lawmaker and declared he’s willing to take additional polygraphs to disprove all other allegations against him.

    Lebsock also charged the allegations of sexual misconduct, which first surfaced in early November, are politically motivated. The Thornton Democrat said in a statement to Colorado Politics he plans to tour to the state to “shed a bright light on the deep corruption in our political system” while continuing to campaign for state treasurer in next year’s election.

    Apparently, it's psychotic break time.

  7. Pseudonymous says:

    Hickenlooper picks CU professor for vacant Colorado Supreme Court seat, solidifying his legacy for the panel

    A couple of friends from law school were big fans.  Also, Peak Politics wasn't, so that's a plus.

  8. DavieDavie says:

    The latest progress report from the Republican stumblebums in Congress:

    Republicans Hunt for Ways to Pay for Tax Cuts

    “We’re literally trying to squeeze about $2 trillion in tax reform into a $1.5 trillion box and that’s been a problem,” Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, who held out on supporting the initial version of the Senate tax bill until it gave more generous tax breaks to “pass through” businesses.

    On Thursday, Mr. Rubio indicated he would vote no on the bill unless the expanded version of the child tax credit that he and another senator, Mike Lee of Utah, have been pushing was included. That change, which would allow families to claim the child tax credit even if they owe no income taxes, would drive up the cost of the bill even more.

    But other concerns are looming, including the health of two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona, who is in the hospital, and Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who recently received medical treatment for health problems. Republicans, who hold a narrow 52-48 majority, can only afford to lose two senate votes, and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee has already expressed his opposition to the bill.

    They still don't know what is going to be in the bill or if they can simply cut out the inconvenient part about helping the middle class, but by golly, they're gonna pass it next week, and Trump would sign anything they stick under his nose!

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