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March 16, 2011 03:48 PM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearance, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.”

–Niccolo Machiavelli


75 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Veterans: Don’t cut military benefits

    Nearly 20 groups that represent the 23 million veterans in the United States are scheduled to testify at joint hearings of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees on March 16 and 30.

    Unlike many other groups fighting spending cuts, the veterans service organizations (VSOs) are expecting a warm reception from both sides of the aisle.

    “It’s pretty hard for the committees, when we have 50 or 60 guys sitting there in wheelchairs due to their military service, to be very critical of them,” said Doug Vollmer, associate executive director for government relations at Paralyzed Veterans of America.

    Veterans Affairs is one of the few government departments not facing steep cuts. The president’s 2012 budget proposes $61.9 billion for the VA, an increase of $1.8 billion, and few Republicans have taken on veterans’ services in proposed cuts, despite claims that there are no sacred cows in the budget.

    But the bipartisan support doesn’t necessarily mean that military benefits will be excluded from Washington’s austerity drive.

    “We don’t want to be pawns in budget debates,” said RenГ© A. Campos, deputy director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America.

    “The compassion of Congress is there,” said Vivianne Wersel, chairwoman of government relations at Gold Star Wives of America. “When we testify, they’re very kind. They echo our sentiments, and they back us up by being co-sponsors, but when it’s said and done at the end of the day, it’s not our turn [for funding]. But we’ve been told that for many years.”


    VSOs scheduled to testify at Wednesday’s hearing include AMVETS, the Jewish War Veterans, the Non-Commissioned Officers Association and the Fleet Reserve Association. The Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Retired Enlisted Association, the Air Force Sergeants Association, the Wounded Warrior Project and the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs will testify March 30.

    Two other large veterans organizations testified before the committees earlier this month: the Veterans of Foreign Wars on March 8 and the Disabled American Veterans on March 1.

    Let’s see how the Teabaggers deal with this…I REALLY want to hear the soundbites from Rep Bachmann, considering her stupidity on this issue earlier in the year….

          1. I never react well to being told I would agree if only I could be made to understand. That’s what my kid’s teachers used to tell me whenever I expressed doubts about the efficacy of the latest loony theory out of educational academia.

            Happy to agree to disagree on this.  Hope you can accept that I don’t disagree because I just don’t understand. I disagree because, on careful consideration, I just disagree.

            Admit I have reached the point of just being pissy about it and my objection to Dan’s post, way back to the original, was its pissiness. So you’ll hear no more about this from me.

  2. RNC considers selling TV rights of presidential primary debates

    Washington (CNN) — The Republican National Committee is considering sanctioning the GOP presidential primary debates and then selling the broadcast rights to news outlets, two Republicans with knowledge of the idea tell CNN.

    The proposal was mentioned last week during a meeting of top RNC officials and a handful of political operatives representing potential GOP presidential candidates.

    In February, the RNC disclosed it was saddled with more than $22 million of debt left over from the 2010 midterm elections. At that time, newly elected Chairman Reince Priebus acknowledged the committee has “a lot of work to do” to pay off its obligations so it can focus on raising money for the 2012 presidential election.

    It is unclear if it is legal for the RNC to sell the broadcasting rights or whether it would constitute a prohibited political contribution in the eyes of federal law.

    Also unknown is whether news outlets would pay to exclusively air a presidential primary debate. CNN and several other news organizations have already announced plans to hold presidential primary debates in 2011 and 2012.

    Kirsten Kukowski, an RNC spokeswoman, confirmed that the issue was mentioned but added, “There isn’t a proposal in front of the RNC to do that.”

    So, let me guess how this will go down….Faux News bids ONE BILLION DOLLARS for the rights to broadcast RNC Presidential Primary debates, and makes either Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly the debate moderator.

    All questions will be carefully coordinated with RNC HQ to avoid any of those silly lib’rul issues…and to make sure everyone gets a softball they can hit out of the Park (“Rev Huckabee, do you think America is now in decline under this Socialist Administration headed by a Muslim Kenyan?”)

    And anyone who criticized it will be dismissed under the heading of “lib’rul bias.”

    Gotta admit, I admire evil this black and powerful that it could generate electricity…

    1. Nobody will watch, except the TeaPubs, who comprise only one third of the Repubs. Unless Beck moderates. That’d pick up a few Mormons who would be scared shitless of what Beck would say.

  3. (Emphasis mine)

    Press Release (Mar 16,2011)

    Transfer of Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Station Workers

    At approximately 6:00 today, an abnormal noise began emanating from nearby

    the pressure suppression chamber of Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Station.

    Given that the pressure within this chamber had decreased, it was believed

    that this was an indication that an abnormality had arisen. From this

    point on, while water injection operations are still underway, the

    temporary transfer to a safe place of TEPCO employees and workers from

    other companies not directly involved with this work has begun. Currently,

    at Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Station, the remaining workers are doing their

    best to secure the safety and security of the site.

    The parameters for Unit 2’s nuclear containment vessel and the containment

    vessel show no significant change.

    We are aware of and sincerely apologize for the great distress and

    inconvenience this incident has caused to not just those inhabitants

    residing in the immediate vicinity but also society at large.

    First emotion I have seen, and I have been reading TEPCO press releases all week.

      1. People who write press releases for nuclear facilities are a special breed.  I used to work with one–a very good one.

        I’m quite sure she could stand in front of a melted-down reactor and say, with a completely straight face, “a small amount of radiation has been released off site, but there’s no danger to the public.”

        They’d be great poker players.

        That’s why this press release struck me as odd.

        Up until now, the TEPCO language was carefully crafted to avoid lawsuits.

        Witness this excerpt from a few days ago:

        * Unit 2: Reactor has been shut down and Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System has been injecting water to the reactor. Current reactor water level is lower than normal level, but the water level is steady. After fully securing safety, we are preparing to implement a measure to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment vessels under the instruction of the national government.

        Translation: if we have to release radioactive steam, the devil made us do it.

  4. Michigan legislators have approved a bill authorizing state-appointed emergency financial managers to break union contracts that struggling cities and school districts have with their workers.

    Following up on the state Senate’s passage of the bill last week, the House passed the bill 62-48 on Tuesday, sending the legislation to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for final approval. Snyder, who asked for the expanded powers for emergency financial managers, is expected to sign the bill into law.

    Supporters say the bill gives the state a way to step into distressed municipalities and schools before they collapse. It also gives emergency financial managers broad authority to end employee union contracts, and to nullify elected boards and councils (my emphasis).

    This from the allegedly freedom loving ultra right.

  5. I dreamed that all the “usual suspects” of Pols decided to get together and live in our own little commune/fiefdom where we would hold periodic elections for FPE, but the FPE would actually be the ruler of the group for their term. So we bought this huge mansion on a big plot of land together, and SSGDan organized a security team to defend it from the outside world.

    Then we had elections and Ali got the most votes but DavidThi rigged the system and won through a secret rule the rest of us didn’t know about. So David was our first FPE and we all were pretty OK with that even though he was kinda sneaky about it.

    And the next day the MOST improbable part happened–I left the compound and went off to a farm to buy meat and veggies, and I cooked everyone dinner. Which is bizarre, ’cause I can’t cook. (I sure can bake, but someone else better do dinner, I’ll do dessert.) And Ralphie told me I should dye my hair black because that’s fashionable now. And one of the guys who worked for the farm I went to grabbed my shoulder and startled me and I punched him in the nose.

    It went on like that–and I haven’t even put the weirdest bits in, that’s a touch more insight into my subconscious than I care to share! However, the Pols Semi-Militarized Democratic Compound did seem to go about its business fairly effectively once all was settled, and we lived quite happily away from the annoying sorts of people who don’t like to discuss politics.

      1. I kind of doubt it though. I think it was a democracy, because I don’t think Ali would have come along if it was socialist. Although he was only there half the time because he kept going to Britain to look for records he was collecting. (????)

    1. it’s you’re only hope.  🙂

      Pols does have a weird way of working itself into your brain.  My girlfriend told me I was talking about something Pols-related in my sleep back when I was posting regularly.  Needless to say I cut back…

      1. David was tall and thin with short hair–he looked a bit like Aaron Harber. Nancy was there and I’ve seen her, likewise Ali. Dan looked like a GI Joe and was heavily armed. Ralphie had bushy dark hair and wore a silver watch–that’s all I remember about him. You were a hippie with long blonde hair and strings of beads and Birkenstocks (oddly enough not a cat–weird!) and for some reason MADCO and MOTR were a very lovely couple in their mid-forties. Must be the M-names.

        1. Except that I have short, very dark (before I got grey but I cover that) hair and never wore Birkenstocks even back in my hippie youth.  Never big on beads either. Next time dream me brunette, medium length hair, 30ish with the lean, lithe little jungle cat body I had back in the day. With no effort and eating whatever the hell I wanted. That’s how I appear in my dreams.  Hey Ralphie, let’s meet up in our dreams. Nothing improper.  We can bring along the better halves and hang out with our oldster brains and dream bodies.

            1. My weird, frizzy, Jewish hair from hell has been the bane of my existence! Now if we could just transfer elements of your dreams to the waking world….  

              1. Not to be a model, not to have children, not even to have a pony (sorry, PC, freaks exist).

                Opposite hair! I colored my red hair black for a decade and spend a fair amount of my time and money on anything that will make it frizz. At least to get not plastered to my skull.

                I want classic Jewish hair. 🙁

            1. Dave was in your closet? No offense to him; anything moving on its own in a closet is spooky. (There’s a more obvious joke, but closets really spook me. Yeah, it’s hard to be me.)

              1. No, he reached in and took the paper off the coat hanger–no need to fear. I find balloons unsettling and spiders make me utterly unhinged, especially dead ones. So I wouldn’t dream of judging.

                (PS. I assume the signature is an attempt to use your powers of every candidate you support losing?)

                1. Dead spiders are one of my biggest littlest fears, too. Thought I was the only one.

                  And I can’t really answer your question. I’m not sure how much scrutiny the secret plan can handle.

                  1. I’ve actually met more people that share the fear of balloons than the dead spider one, oddly enough! I thought I was the only one on that, too. I’m afraid of the live ones, but the dead ones are REALLY scary. Ugh! If they have to exist, they could at least turn to dust or something when they die!

                    1. All a y’all need some Valium or something.  Balloons? Spiders? Shit in closets? (Well, metaphorical shit; real shit in closets is pretty scary.)

                      You need better phobias. My personal favorite is flying. More precisely: crashing.

                    2. and can only take Ms. Puppy on short walks. Worse, I have to be in bed, where she needs to be lifted (not this week!). Cuddles are few and far between.

                      She’s lonely, bitter, and hiding poos. Everywhere. It wouldn’t be so bad is she didn’t look so proud when I find it, but can’t pick it up.

                      I enlisted a friend to run with her and build a ramp. I don’t need that (literal) crap. But the real moral of the story is, COME ON!

                    3. PERA, I understand the flying thing. Not only does the plane bother me (I have to go drunk, which is fun for all at 9 am), but I’m also sure that metal detectors give me brain cancer. The whole trip is just stressful.

                      At KCI there are many checkpoints, so if you layover and want food you have to leave the terminal, get food, and come back through the scanner. You can see your lunch seat all the time. Cruel and unusual.

                    4. Mostly because the sound of the plane engines hits some sort of special neuron and sends me straight to sleep!

                    5. And the rhythm and sound were like Ambien to me.  When that train started moving, I was out like a light until it stopped again.

                      Can’t sleep on a plane, though.  If I lost my focus and concentration, it would fall out of the sky. This is true.

  6. We’re going to have another major event on PTSI, TBI and Returning Veterans at the Auraria campus on March 29th from 0900-1400 hours in the Tivoli Turnhalle. Along with the Vet Court Grant, we’ll also have some reps from the Denver OIF/OEF clinic as well as the Denver Vet Center talking about resources, PTSI/TBI recognition, mitigation and response (esp for academic faculty and staff) as well as a BRIEF overview of the Veteran Health care system.

    I’ve already invited key members from various academic institutions around the Metro area, but I’m curious to see who responds from the Political World. I’ve invited the people who represent the Auraria Campus (Councilwoman Montero, Rep Duran, and State Sen. Lucia Guzman) as well as the metro Colorado Congressional & Senate delegations.

    What I’m curious about is the 50+ people running for Denver Mayor. Based on some meetings we’ve had with the Colorado Judiciary, we’re extremely close to setting up a Veteran Treatment Court in Denver. I’d like to hear from the Candidates what are there specific issues and programs they intend to put into place for Veterans and their families if they are elected to office.

    Sock puppets, SPEAK!

  7. I belong to the Grand Mesa Contesters ham radio contest club.  Many of our members have friends in “JA-Land,” as Japan is called based on its callsign prefix.  They are people we have worked in contests for years and with whom we’ve had numerous conversations by radio.

    Our club email list has been getting sporadic status emails from some of our JA friends.  This one came with permission to publish, so I’m passing it along.  I’ll post others now and then just to give you a little feel for how the Japanese people are coping with this disaster.

    Hi Dick and Mary,

    5 days after earthquake, today we have good news and bad news.

    Good news is 2,000 residents who are in 10,000 missing persons are confirmed alive.

    Bad news is it coming to seriously condition the nuclear power plants, the crisis team are working hard but they can’t get cool down the system yet, 4 buildings of the nuclear reactor was broken by the hydrogen gas explosion, and the radioactive gas are leaking from there little bit.

    Then the residents who are live within 12.5 mile of there take refuge from their home.

    We’re doing well, no problem the water, gas and electric power supply here. But everything go to shortage, especially the gasoline, many gas stations have no gasoline now.  I had to refuel to my car, I found only one gas station in this morning, but there were very long line to get the gas, I had to wait for 2 and half hours to charge the gas to my car.

    It’s come back the cold weather again in Japan, it’s snow in the stricken area.  We concern the victims, they have no water, foods, heater and way to communicate enough.  How cold, helpless and lonely they are!!

    Our guys, all Japanese cheer up them.  Please give your prayer for they will be survived soon.

    Your friends,

    Mac and Kay

      1. Those whose stations weren’t destroyed are very busy with emergency communications right now.  But I’ll get on the air and send along best wishes.

        Here’s another one from Sunday.  This one didn’t give permission to use names:

        It is 11:30AM, Sunday morning here in Yokohama, Japan.

        Myself and my family are OK. The antennas and shack are OK as well but many stuffs came fallen down on the floor.

        Not serious fortunately.

        All the trains and public transportations in Tokyo area on Friday were out of operation. It made many people including myself stayed overnight in the offices, etc. I finally returned home Saturday afternoon.

        As you heard through the news over one thousand people were killed and/or are missing due to the giant tsunami in mainly JA7 area. It was nothing but unbelievable! But it happened….

        Currently the most horrible news is the accident at the atomic power plant in Fukushima (appx. 250 km north of Tokyo) where a very serious conditions at Plant #1 and may be #2 and #3. The government spokes man is trying to calm down the public but his words smell something wrong….

        I sincerely hope things will get well soon but no idea for the time being. Even now some shaking keeps going. I would sincerely appreciate your help and support globally.

        1. Reading them, you really feel the connection with real people in a way you just don’t from the news. “His words smell something wrong” from an ordinary person living it makes a much deeper impression than anything in reports. Just hope they get straight with everybody in time to minimize the damage.

          1. That one in particular.  Before I read that email, I could not even imagine a normally stoic Japanese person saying something like that.  When you talk to them on the radio, they are very formal.

            But the main reason to post stuff like this is that all we’re getting from our media is reactor, reactor, reactor.  There’s no flavor in our coverage for the human toll this disaster is taking in Japan.  Remember, these are just the survivors.

    1. and she dosen’t really own up to it either.  When you say write class of ’66 Vassar, it means you are telling everyone you graduated Vassar in 1966.  The backpedaling is even worse than the original lie.

      1. And it’s just weird. Is there anything better than being able to speak at a CU rally and say you went there? It’s Boulder and she’s ultimately over educated. What was the problem she felt needed padded or covered?

  8. There is an article in the newspaper that shall not be named (TNTSNBN) today about a developer that wants to build a dam and permit a reservoir even though they do not have rights to any water that could fill it.

    More than a year ago there was another story here on CoPols (I’m too lazy or dumb to look it up) about a different dam further west in Douglas county (Rueter-Hess reservoir) in the same situation.

    It seems strange that I cannot place a rain barrel under my gutter, but these guys can build a dam with no water rights.

    Douglas county homes are largely dependent on wells.  The law as currently written prohibits adding new users to Denver Water.

    I remember 2007 when homes in Douglas County were running out of water and had to redrill their wells.  

    It’s going to happen again.

    I also remember the Colorado legislature caving in to the realtors and not passing the bill that would have required a disclosure on every title transfer indicating whether the home’s well was estimated to produce for less than 5 years, at least 5 but less than 20 or more than 20.  (Can’t get a mortgage loan from most lenders with “short” estimate – though most lenders don’t require a survey or engineering assessment – they only underwrite it if it’s on title.)  

    But it’s going to happen again. And again. Until the well just cannot find water.

    Colorado residents should be talking about it now, especially those in Douglas county, but also those upstream and next door.

    Because if we only comment on it when those families are on tv with their dried up wells and empty reservoirs, well then we will be classless jerks.

    1. thought basically the same thing. If this reservoirs now, worry about the water later peice of idiocy goes through we should stage a rain barrel revolt. And hey, MADCO, I surrendered a couple of posts ago.  Am I imaging the classless jerks recurring motif might be a dig in my direction?:)?

    2. It’s not interesting. You’re both either right or wrong, whatever you want. Shut up and move on.

      Water definitely is interesting. You should turn this into a diary so someone can answer my 8,739 questions about it. Please and thank you.

  9. everyone look super classy:

    A caller asked Limbaugh, “If these are the people that invented the Prius, have mastered public transportation, recycling, why did Mother Earth, Gaia if you will, hit them with this disaster?”


    “He’s right,” Limbaugh said. “They’ve given us the Prius. Even now, refugees are recycling their garbage.” Here, he began to laugh, continuing, “and yet, Gaia levels them! Just wipes them out!”

    This angle has been something of a theme for Limbaugh; last week, he wondered if environmentalists would “cheer” the quake.

    But will posting this get me sent to the penalty box?

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