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June 05, 2010 03:11 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“The same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy–the truth being that the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction.”

–Plato, from The Republic


136 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

    1. We hit mostly Dem and a few Undecided doors. I didn’t encounter any anti-Obama animosity. One woman asked me what I thought of his handling of the oil leak in the Gulf, but then did not appear to be blaming him for it. One talked about the need for better regulations to prevent such catastrophes, and blamed, appropriately enough, the lack thereof and those responsible for that lack. There were a couple of bursts of mild enthusiasm, and several good soldiers who assured us that they were going to vote (and vote all the way down the ticket).

    1. Every channel I turned to from MSNBC to CBS Evening News had Romanoff on it – answering questions. If he didn’t people on here would be complaining he wasn’t answering the questions people had. That’s even more important for voters that aren’t as tuned-in as people here every day who are getting their take on what happened from 30 second sound clips so I think the best move for Romanoff was and is to take every opportunity to talk directly to voters instead of through the filter of the Denver Post or some place that tries to just put their spin on it in 30 seconds or less.

      As far as going on Fox News, I’m no fan of their right-wing crap that they masquerade as news but whether we like it or not, they have more viewers than CNN & MSNBC combined so if Romanoff wants his story to get out not only to the primary voters but to the broader audience he’ll need for the general, I think he is right to answer all questions on every channel. Now if he had gone on Hannity, Beck or O’Leilly that would have been going too far. I also did appreciate that no matter how much that lady on Fox tried to get him to say the White House did something illegal he would not budge from stating there was nothing improper about what happened.


      1. As you said, if he wasn’t out answering everyone would assume the worst about him – and about Obama. And the Bennet supporters would ping him for not answering questions. So his best course is what he’s doing.

        Then add to that a ton of free press and he comes across very well in all that free press. So it should give him a bit of a bump. And the Bennet campaign is laying low on this because they haven’t been pulled in yet and definitely don’t want to be pulled in to this – so they have to stay quiet.

              1. .

                you did watch the video ?

                He responded to the questions by saying that he wanted to put the issue in its larger context, and then talked about something else.

                But he did not answer the questions Ed asked.


                1. Ed wanted him to say what he thought the intent of the White House is. Romanoff answered by laying out the facts so people can make their own judgment.

                  It will be the same for Senator Bennet – sooner or later he’s going to be asked what he thinks the intent of the White House is – and he’ll probably also just respond with the facts.

                  I think that is a very fair answer. Who knows what the true intent is of each person involved.

  1. Obama is failing in the Gulf, losing the support of the American people, and losing control of his own Party.

    Some Republicans are also showing their true corrupt colors lately.

    I predict that the mandate this November will be powerful against insiders in BOTH parties, but true conservatives will be the overall winners. This is a very hopeful time for America, even in what looks like our darkest hour.

        1. You read a fine book.  Now, try Antonov-Ovseyenko’s “In the Time of Stalin.” Propbably the best account ever of Stalin’s crimes.

    1. I think the corruption is more the system than the people. But Congress lives with that system rather than changing it and that does make them, at a minimum, complicit.

      I think Washington has given up on the economy. Mostly now they are just hoping it fixes itself. I think come November the voters will look at how Washington has abandoned them and will vote out incumbents big time. (In this respect I think Romanoff is politically smart to run as “not Michael Bennet.”)

      As to wanting a “more conservative” government – I don’t think so. What people want is a “more effective” government and in terms of the economy, that means intelligently taking action, not hands off.

      1. But when the problem is the stagger debt and deficits that are crippling our nation’s economy, the only solution is to cut spending, and to reduce taxes and regulation on business to restore the private sector.

        1. Now, about 7%.

          So, what’s that about taxes suffocating business?

          Maybe we need to levy taxes on those PO box business address in the Caymans, ya know?

        2. And if you reduce taxes to 0 and eliminate all regulation, they still won’t be buying. Because 20% of them are unemployed or underemployed – and the rest are worried they could be.

          The government has to break the vicious circle we are in. That does not have to mean public jobs, but it does mean they have to do something effective and on a large enough scale.

          1. So the question is why aren’t businesses expanding and hiring with a large supply of people who need jobs? It doesn’t appear that the stimulus has created any permanent jobs (the last report was all census workers).

            1. ….the last jobs report wasn’t ALL census workers, but a lot of it was.  Sorry, I don’t recall the exact numbers.

              Since SOME of the jobs were not census workers, that means we are actually, like, you know, experiencing SOME job growth, unlike, you know, the last Bush years when that number was negative every month.

              In fact, Bush II’s best job growth numbers weren’t even at replacement levels, IIRC.  To address a previous comment of yours, the economy SUCKED under Bush most of his tenure.  We called it The Bush Recession back in 2001, 2002 for a reason.  That was until The REAL Bush Recession came along at the end of his term.

              Ah, Republican economic policies!

            2. So the question is why aren’t businesses expanding and hiring with a large supply of people who need jobs?

              Businesses hire when there is demand for their product. The only impact the supply of workers has is how much businesses will have to pay for those workers. And when they need to expand, for many businesses loans are then key. We have neither demand or available loans at present.

              And as long as unemployment/underemployment stays this high (18%), there will be no increased demand. We’re in a vicious circle and the federal government needs to break it. Unfortunately there is a lack of both ideas and will in Washington to do so.

            3. Job loss was increasing at an accelerating rate until the passage of the stimulus bill, at which point it began increasing at a decelerating rate, and has finally hovered around zero. If, as you are wont to do, you ignore the economic context and the immediate history preceding stimulus spending, then it is possible to conclude that it was ineffective because we still are hovering at near the peak of unemployment due to the economic meltdown. If, as must be done to achieve an accurate understanding, you consider the systemic dynamics both preceding and following stimulus spending, and compare the two, it is an inescapable fact that either it was quite effective, or that something else coincidentally turned the momentum of the economy around at precisely the moment it was implemented.

              The facts, once again, are not on your side.

                1. Because of the limitations of the indent feature in long threads, maybe it’s a good idea if we get into the habit of putting “@somebody” in the subject line to show who we’re responding to.

                  I get confused all the time, and the preview isn’t much help because it indents where the regular thread doesn’t

            1. Obviously, there are some regulations that are needed, but there are others that just hamper business needlessly.

              Since yours is a damn easy throwaway answer, devoid of any real content, appearing more as a burped up talking point, lets dive into the real world, where the rest of us live.  

              Take the CO O&G regulations:

              How much say should landowners have that are facing their private property drilled against their will, fracking potentially affecting their water wells, flaring rigs, noxious fumes, heavy truck traffic, knocked down fences, pastures ripped up etc.?  Specifically do the recently implemented rules go too far or not far enough?  Why?

              Take other state agencies tasked with managing things like Colorado’s wildife or water resources–should they have specific oversight of oi and gas activities that may impact specific sensitive habitat or the ability to know which toxic chemicals are being used on site?  Again, which specific parts of the state’s o&g rules work to accomplish this–are they needless or needed?  Please explain your answer and reasoning, using facts and sources to back up your claim.

              There, see how reasoned discourse can go?  Have at it Jr. prove your mettle.  

        3. — come to think of it, Reagan and Bush exploded deficits, and NOT based on any need to end a severe, protracted recession.  They massively increased debt & deficits just to cut taxes.  And I believe ZERO Congressional Republicans stood up to Bush’s deficit-exploding tax cuts.

          1. Reagan’s tax cuts brought in MORE revenue because of the expansion of the economy they created. The deficit was created because congress did not reign in spending, not because of the tax cuts.

            1. You are such a believer in non-truth it boggles the rational mind. One quick Google undoes all the untruths they filled your mind with.


              Reagan and revenue

              Ah – commenter Tom says, in response to my post on taxes and revenues:

              Taxes were cut at the beginning of the Reagan administration.

              Federal tax receipts increased by 50% by the end of the Reagan Administration.

              Although correlation does not prove causation the tax cut must have accounted for some portion of this increase in federal tax receipts.

              I couldn’t have asked for a better example of why it’s important to correct for inflation and population growth, both of which tend to make revenues grow regardless of tax policy.

              Actually, federal revenues rose 80 percent in dollar terms from 1980 to 1988. And numbers like that (sometimes they play with the dates) are thrown around by Reagan hagiographers all the time.

              But real revenues per capita grew only 19 percent over the same period – better than the likely Bush performance, but still nothing exciting. In fact, it’s less than revenue growth in the period 1972-1980 (24 percent) and much less than the amazing 41 percent gain from 1992 to 2000.

              Is it really possible that all the triumphant declarations that the Reagan tax cuts led to a revenue boom – declarations that you see in highly respectable places – are based on nothing but a failure to make the most elementary corrections for inflation and population growth? Yes, it is. I know we’re supposed to pretend that we’re having a serious discussion in this country; but the truth is that we aren’t.

              Update: For the econowonks out there: business cycles are an issue here – revenue growth from trough to peak will look better than the reverse. Unfortunately, business cycles don’t correspond to administrations. But looking at revenue changes peak to peak is still revealing. So here’s the annual rate of growth of real revenue per capita over some cycles:

              1973-1979: 2.7%

              1979-1990: 1.8%

              1990-2000: 3.2%

              2000-2007 (probable peak): approximately zero

              Do you see the revenue booms from the Reagan and Bush tax cuts? Me neither.

              1. (although he may think he is) like most conservatives livin’ the dream he’s referring to

                Ronald Reagan the Conservative Action Figure President ™. In the Reagan Playland (not included) you can cut taxes and the deficit!  Win the Cold War!  Host an ‘It’s Morning in America’ tea party…

                1. Dammit.

                  I miss that difference between President Reagan, CAFP and the real President Reagan almost every time.

                  Go Joe!

                  Because knowing is half the battle!

            2. Reagan never tried to rein in spending.

              (you said reign in, uh, that’s a term for royalty.  Don’t feel bad, it’s a common mistake.  You rein in horses.)

              But Reagan made token cuts in social programs and massive expansion in military budgets.

              Congress actually appropriated LESS than Reagan asked for.

  2. because DC has now helped define him as the democrat outsider.  

    It would be very smart of the Dems to vote Romanoff as the democrat nominee and get rid of Bennett’s baggage.

    I am not a democrat, but I have to say that AR is a very smart, witty individual. While I definitely do not agree with him politically, he’s a very likeable guy.

    Jane Norton cannot beat AR. She has already demonstrated that she has neither the personality, the wit nor the intelligence, for those reasons alone, Buck is the best candidate for the Republicans because he has the personality, the wit, charm and intelligence to beat Romanoff.  

  3. Hey all, what are the main political blogs in Hawaii? In early July I’m interviewing the 3 main candidates for Governor (and possibly Lingle too) and need to ask for suggested questions. (Yep, both Dems and the Repub where Scott McInnis fears to tread…)

    1. but it seems to me as though this would require wide implementation before working (each server of any size has to program their own little script to answer each query) and would demand so much attention that it could be used for DOS attacks. Send out a message to 20,000 random email addresses, claim it’s from, and crash your site for a few minutes.

      1. It requires the mail server apps implement this, so exchange, domino, etc have to implement it. But for all the companies that use it, they would just need to the new version.

        As to a DOS attack – yep but not much different from a standard one. The 20,000 bogus requests require a fast lookup to determine that the message was not from them, and then it’s dropped. So less overhead than sending 20,000 bad emails to that server.

    2. Your solution sounds like a slightly more complicated version of DKIM, which is already an Internet standard (albeit not one implemented at many end sites yet; the big guys use both it and SPF, which is easy enough to set up if you have control of certain record types in your DNS listing).

      DKIM doesn’t go back to the sending server for a hash, it just verifies the message signature using a PKI public key stored in DNS records.

      SPF just ensures that the sending IP is authorized to send mail for a domain, again using DNS records.

      If either or both were implemented widely, spam would be a thing of the past.

  4. .

    When the Banksters rewarded themselves with large bonuses

    for persuading their kept women in Congress and the Administration to bail their failed gambling enterprises/ investment banks out,

    Obama went on TV and chided them for being selfish.  Although he was an instrumental co-conspirator in the bailout scheme/ scam, he DID wag his finger at them.  

    But that is nothing compared to the finger-wagging he gave BP.

    Recognizing that their cleanup liabilities already exceeded all retained earnings and all possible future earnings, BP rushed to move all assets out of reach of the US government as quickly as possible after 20 April.  That included, for example, every scheme that local governments have exploited lately to conceal expenditures and revenues, like selling capital assets and leasing them back.

    It is in keeping with the soul of the corporation, summed up as

    maximizing shareholder wealth

    that BP decided to distribute 2Q10 earnings, rather than leave them exposed to possible seizure for payment of cleanup costs.

    President Obama sprung right into action, after waiting until it was too late to head off that course of action.

    He has not only wagged his finger at BP, AND chastised them, but unverified reports quote him uttering the dreaded “Tsk, tsk.”

    BP better watch out.


    1. Not that I’d be surprised.  In fact, I’ve been wondering for weeks why we haven’t read of BP lawyering up for asset protection, to say nothing of liability.  

      I have to suggest that BP would obviously do what they can to dump assets before any governmental body could understand the severity of this spill.

      (Can oil spill if it goes up? Did my garage burn down, or did it burn up?)

        1. To me, at least, “gush” implies liquid moving from an orifice or point relatively small to the surroundings.  And there no implication of whether the liquid spreads out or takes flight.

          “Spill,” OTOH, implies moving from a location higher than its next location, temporary or permanent.  Even the Exxon Valdez was a spill, as most of the oil was higher in the tanker than the surface waters.

          For what it’s worth……..

    2. Barron, you wrote:

      BP rushed to move all assets out of reach of the US government as quickly as possible after 20 April.  That included, for example, every scheme that local governments have exploited lately to conceal expenditures and revenues, like selling capital assets and leasing them back.

      If true, ok, though I haven’t seen any other reporting on this.  But one of the easiest transfers of property to get a court to undo is a transfer you do very shortly after (a) getting sued, (b) committing an act clearly yielding legal liability, etc.  I’m not an expert in this field, but I have to look into it soon, and when I casually asked one expert in property law, this is what he told me.

      1. onshore and off- to federal minerals and lands, including in Colorado’s San Juan Basin.  The gov’t can, and should, begin the process to rescind all of these and hold the revenue–from producing wells and original lease purchases–in escrow until all is made well and to ensure proper punitive damage.  

        If there is a pattern of violation, and certainly if there is criminal conduct, the Fed’s have this ability in my understanding.  

  5. Not-so-artful dodger

    Douglas Bruce has reportedly gone into hiding – at his home in Colorado Springs.

    For most of May, the author of this state’s tax-limiting TABOR Amendment, a one-time state lawmaker and notorious anti-tax crusader, successfully avoided efforts by legal authorities to serve him with a subpoena ordering him to appear in a court case involving three anti-tax measures scheduled to be on this year’s election ballot.

    Twenty-nine efforts to serve the court papers have so far failed.

    …But Bruce has declined to participate, at least to this point, calling the effort to get him into court nothing but a publicity stunt.

    Denver District Judge Brian Whitney doesn’t see it that way. He issued an order last month that requires Bruce to testify. Attorney General John Suthers said late last week the state may be forced to seek contempt of court charges against Bruce if he doesn’t appear soon.

    …If he really was not involved with the amendments, why has he been hiding?…  

    1. … some states have a “nail and mail” service rule that, after three proper but failed attempts to serve someone at his/her known address, you can just mail it there and affix it to the door.  I believe Colorado doesn’t have that rule — and now we’re seeing why it’s silly not to have this rule: because if you stock up on canned food in advance, or create a weird tunnel route out of your house, you can defy the law for months or longer.

  6. Anne Womack-Kolton, the 2004 campaign press secretary for Vice President Dick Cheney, began a new job today as BP’s head of U.S. media relations, TPM reports.

    Reuters first reported BP’s hiring of Womack-Kolton, who also worked as head of public affairs at the Department of Energy under former President George W. Bush. The company is looking to improve its battered public image in the wake of the disastrous and continuing oil leak in the Gulf.

    1. Speaking of wild-ass ideas to plug the hole. What about a shaped charge that fires a depleted uranium slug that is slightly wider than the hole and about 10′ long into the hole with enough force to send it about 100′ down. Would that work?

      1. if I understand it, is to slice through armor and metal. The uranium is not a charge, its the ‘coating’, so I am not sure I follow you.

        But I don’t think so.  The force coming up is around 5000 psi from what I understand.  

        1. Did you know:

          Due to its high density, about twice that of lead, the main civilian uses of DU include counterweights in aircraft, radiation shields in medical radiation therapy machines and containers for the transport of radioactive materials. The military uses DU for defensive armour plate.

          DU is used in armour penetrating military ordnance because of its high density, and also because DU can ignite on impact if the temperature exceeds 600В°C.

          From the Wiki page:

          Aircraft that contain depleted uranium trim weights (Boeing 747-100 for example) may contain between 400 to 1,500 kg of DU.

          With a reported total of 480,000 tons of the stuff in the US, we should have plenty enough to stuff down the hole.  

          I had no idea the stuff was so pervasive.

          But to David’s point, yeah, theoretically it might work, unless of course, the temperatures exceeded 600 degrees Celsius, in which case, you might have an even bigger hole to plug.

            1. I just spent about 10 minutes Googling to get virtually the sum total of what I currently know about depleted uranium.

              We all can choose to become knowledgeable on virtually any desired topic, in amazingly little time these days.

              What is lacking for most people is the wisdom to use that knowledge judiciously.  Such as “Um…”

          1. .

            Army researchers awarded a contract for a sifting machine prototype for separating DU from other soil.  Maybe we will help the Iraqis clean their land.


        2. .

          which might be coated with teflon.  The density, combined with the kinetic energy harnessed with a discarding sabot, means that there is little loss of KE, and thus speed, as it proceeds downrange at more than a mile per second.  

          The penetrator does not directly inflict casualties, though, unless it happens to go through a human body.  It slices right through both sides of the target pretty quickly.  But it sloughs off some KE to the target’s armor, causing it to spall off inside, which then does the damage.  

          If the DU is ignited, most of it burns outside the target after passing through.  

          As I understand it.


      2. not if filling the hole with weighted mud didn’t work.  The mud is weighted with barite (barium sulfate) which, although not as heavy as uranium, is pretty damned heavy.  Barite has a density of about 4.5 g/cm^3 (4.5 times the density of fresh water), while uranium metal has a density of about 19 g/cm^3.  A ten foot slug of depleted uranium is only equivalent to about 45 feet of barite.  Pumping weighted mud down the hole gives you hundreds, if not thousands, of feet of weight.

        Plus, depleted uranium is toxic (so is barite, but barite is much less easily corroded by sea water) AND an alpha emitter. It has a particularly long half life–about 4.5 billion years.  Its daughters are alpha, beta, and gamma emitters.

        Not the kind of stuff you want to blow all over the ocean. (Or the Iraqi desert, but that’s for a different thread.)

        Sounds like the casing or cementing is damaged.  No telling how much surface casing was set.

        The biggest problem is the pressure behind the flow.  Any efforts to cap it are like trying to stop a fire hose with your thumb.  That’s why they’re drilling relief wells.

          1. But to pump it, you have to be able to mix it with water.  BaSO4 is much more practical in this regard.

            Depleted uranium is very pyrophoric in air; very easy to corrode in water.  It likes to combine with oxygen.  It’s basically very nasty shit, out of the mainstream of what drillers are used to dealing with.

            Barite-weighted mud is a common commodity to drillers.  The previous weighted-mud experiment failed because the plumbing was in such bad shape, not because pumping weighted mud into the hole was a bad idea.

            As much as I hate to think so,  I don’t think much is going to succeed until the relief wells are drilled.

            August is an optimistic estimate.  It’s now hurricane season.  If a tropical storm or hurricane should show up in the Gulf, which is a decent possibility, the rig drilling the relief well will be evacuated.

            Although Bullshit Personified is telling you August, it might really be December.  And that’s not a good thing.

      3. .

        Do you mean to suggest sending a fairly hot stream of molten DU down the well ?  

        Or did you mean a charge that would force the still-solid slug downward ?  

        Either way, I think that might shatter whatever is left of the well casing and create a larger orifice for the oil to escape out of, which would be even harder to plug.

        The top part of the well is running through silt.  The reason that the seabed is so far below the surface at that point is because it is in a canyon dug by the outflow of the Mississippi River.  While there are miles of rock that they had to drill through once they hit bedrock, I assume that there are thousands of feet of silt on top of that.  If the silt is disturbed, who knows what that hole will look like.  

        I assume that the main limiting factor on the amount of oil leaking is the size of the hole drilled through the bedrock.  If that remains undisturbed, the flow rate can’t increase very much, because the reservoir pressure, extremely high, is assumed to be constant.  I think that the main effect of all that silt is to ameliorate any venturi effect.  But I don’t think it’s smart to take chances with that.


        1. And getting it in far enough to be in the bedrock. But based on what Ralphie said, I think they are going to need to put maybe a half mile plus of cement to cap this – so no way you could do it with something solid.

    2. .

      All Administrations have this disease, the “not invented here” syndrome.  Not a partisan issue.

      Folks in charge are convinced that the reason that they are in office is because they are smarter than the rest of us.  Golly, even some folks on this board buy into that.  

      So we are just going to have to wait until someone on the team in charge of this mess thinks up a good solution, because they don’t want to hear better ideas from the schlubs out in flyover country.


  7. Putting down the lie, again, that only military action is appropriate in countering the threat of terrorism, the FBI has again delivered:

    Two New Jersey men in their 20s who were bound for Somalia  to join an Islamic extremist group and to kill American troops were arrested at Kennedy International Airport late Saturday, federal and local authorities announced on Sunday.

    The men, Mohamed Haoud Alessa, 20, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, were to join Al Shabaab, which claims ideological kinship with Al Qaeda, and was thought to have provided a haven to Qaeda operatives wanted for bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

    The men were taken into custody as they prepared to take separate flights to Egypt, the first leg of their journey to Somalia to join Al Shabaab, the officials said in a news release.

    They were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap people outside the United States and were expected to be arraigned in federal court in Newark on Monday, according to the officials.

    The men have been under scrutiny since 2006 by the F.B.I., after agents there received a tip. Eventually an undercover officer from the New York Police Department recorded numerous meetings and conversations with them, during which they discussed their plans, according to the complaint sworn out by Samuel P. Robinson, an F.B.I. agent assigned to the Newark office.

    BJ and the fearless Basement Warrior will undoubtedly show up to claim that America is weak under our current leadership–that Bush kept us safe (after that one, I mean, two incidents)–blah, blah, blah.  I am glad the FBI is on the job–well done!


    1. .


      As I think about that, I recall that the US DoD says that they don’t have any soldiers in Somalia.  The US does not recognize any Somali government, not even the one we sent arms to, in violation of the arms embargo the UN put in place at our insistence.  So we don’t have any soldiers in Somalia on “security cooperation” missions.  And, except for raids lasting no more than a few hours, we generally don’t have any combatants there.  

      All Americans with the State Dept and USAID working on Somali issues and matters are supposedly pulled back to Nairobi, due to the security situation.  

      The CIA is funding 5 different militias in Somalia, by my last count, including one that until very recently was allied with al-Shabaab.  The CIA is paying militias to fight each other.  But the CIA people running these operations are either in Hargesia or Garowe, where there isn’t that much fighting.

      In other words, those 2 Jersey terrorists were going to a place where there are almost zero Americans.  They would have to traipse to Djibouti to find a US military unit, or Nairobi to find a civilian agency.  More delusionals.  

      Thank God that the folks who want to hurt us are so incompetent.


      1. But you’re right, and I think I made up that presumption in my head.

        Between dumb wannabe terrorists and good law enforcement when have dodged the bullet thus far.

      2. Thank God that the folks who want to hurt us are so incompetent.

        That, and the New York cops and especially the FBI are so damned competent.

        This is a win for the Obama administration, no matter how you try to minimize it.

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