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September 01, 2011 03:32 PM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: DavidThi808

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

“They’ve got us right where we want them. We can fire in any direction now!”

–Chesty Puller


46 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. Can the Middle Class be Saved

    In political speeches and in the media, the future of the middle class is often used as a stand-in for the future of America. Yet of course the two are not identical. The size of the middle class has waxed and waned throughout U.S. history, as has income inequality. The post-war decades of the 20th century were unusually hospitable to the American middle class-the result of strong growth, rapid gains in education, progressive tax policy, limited free agency at work, a limited pool of competing workers overseas, and other supportive factors. Such serendipity is anomalous in American history, and unlikely to be repeated.

    Yet if that period was unusually kind to the middle class, the one we are now in the midst of appears unusually cruel. The strongest forces of our time are naturally divisive; absent a wide-ranging effort to constrain them, economic and cultural polarization will almost surely continue. Perhaps the nonprofessional middle class is rich enough today to absorb its blows with equanimity. Perhaps plutonomy, in the 21st century, will prove stable over the long run.

    1. Photobucket

      Real wages for the American worker started on a steady decline with Reaganomics (no “trickle down” here folks), a short uptick last years of Clinton’s administration, then a precipitous decline to the present.  

  2. Interesting oservation in Newsweek

    What do you think of the job Obama’s doing?

    You got to be so damn tough to get what you want, and he’s not that kind of guy. The common man is in a lot of trouble. That’s all I can tell you. I sound like The 2000 Year Old Man now.

    1. Washington (CNN) – Only a third of all Americans approve of how President Barack Obama is handling the economy, according to a new national survey.

      And with a CNN/ORC International Poll also indicating that more than three-quarters of the public say the country is in bad shape right now, there’s little wonder why the president is getting such low marks.

      According to the poll, released Wednesday morning, 28 percent of people questioned say things are going well in the country today.

      “That may be a slight uptick from early August but it still represents a double-digit drop from earlier this year,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “And it’s clear that economic jitters are a drag on President Obama’s standing with the voting public.”

      … snip

      “Two-thirds of Democrats continue to approve of Obama’s economic record, but seven out of ten independents disapprove. Not surprisingly, more than nine out of ten Republicans also disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy,” adds Holland.


        1. You love to hate rasmussen and you know it’s the source.

          The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 19% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -25 (see trends).

          That is just a single point above the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this president. The 19% Strong Approval matches the lowest yet ret recorded. The president now trails a Generic RepublicanВ  by eight points. Tomorrow, Rasmussen Reports will release new results for match-ups between President Obama and individual Republican candidates.

          1. I always thought Libertad was just a republican talking point machine, but he may actually just be a machine, throwing up words in a near-logical order when some keywords register on the automated search.

  3. Twenty-five of the nation’s highest-paid chief executive officers took home more pay than their companies shelled out in corporate income taxes last year even though their companies earned an average of $1.9 billion, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

    Read more:

    1. Depressing read. Love the offshore havens they’ve all set up to avoid paying taxes. I need to talk to my accountant and get moving on that, I guess.  

  4. Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels and related technology that just filed for bankruptcy protection.В  Solyndra is not only the latest “green jobs” debacle for President Obama – who personally endorsed the company and publicly touted it as “a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism” – it is also a perfect textbook example of why the Obama stimulus has utterly failed to restart the US economy.

    LESSON #1: When stimulus funds are handed out to cronies or are used as rewards for loyal political supporters, instead of being spent in areas most likely to cause a broad increase in aggregate demand, the stimulus will fail. В Solyndra’s failure is all the more embarassing for the Obama Administration because the company received $535 million in special low-interest loan guarantees from the Department of Energy.В  Why was Solyndra selected as the first recipient of Obama’s DOE green energy loans?В  The details aren’t completely clear, but a major player in the deal seems to be Oklahoma banking billionaire George Kaiser, who also raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for Barack Obama during the 2008 election.

    LESSON #2: When your stimulus is based largely on ideas that not only don’t work, but have been shown repeatedly to have the exact opposite affect that they are advertised to have, the stimulus will fail. В We need to be honest with ourselves and admit that at this point, “green jobs” are little more that a fantasy.В 

    …. snip

    LESSON #3: When your stimulus results in government expansion that poaches workers from the private sector, instead of creating new job opportunities for the unemployed, the stimulus will fail.В  The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has just released the first extensive study of job creation brought about by Federal stimulus money.В  The results were not encouraging:

    … snip

    LESSON #4: When government regulations and bureaucracy prevent stimulus funds from being quickly injected into the economy, the stimulus will fail.В  President Obama has already admitted that “shovel-ready was not as … uh .. shovel-ready as we expected.”В 

    …. snip

    1. Someday a producer will make a movie out of this …. Its beyond unbelievable.

      I can really see how you leftist liberal backers of the new energy economy, Obama stimulus failures, more spending and tax hikes can have no response to this story.

      No wonder. The foodstamp business is seeing such growth.

      Last here is a ditty of history ….

      Brian Williams:

      Let’s talk about another topic that’s part of the firmament here and everywhere. And that’s the economy. The New York Times said this weekend, “President Obama has another new plan on the economy. Now would be a good time to find out about it.” Do you have anything new on the economy? And while you’ve been away, we had a horrible GDP number last month.


      Well, look, we–we anticipated that the recovery was slowing. The economy is still growing, but it’s not growing as fast as it needs to. I’ve got things right now in–before Congress that we should move immediately. And I’ve said so before I went on vacation, and I’ll keep on saying when I–now that I’m back.

      source NBC Nightly News

      1. Clearly the failure of a particular solar company shows, conclusively, that the new energy economy is a fiction!  Just like the demise of Studebaker proved once and for all that there is was no future for the horseless carriage.

        1. Shit the Chinese proved that when they competed with Solyndra and took their business.

          Now go back and read the four (4) key principles for running a government in America.

          The problem for Obama here is that he made upto $787 billion in risky politicaly motivated handouts, then tried to call it a stimulus and jobs plan.

          Rolling the dice with the national treasury, Obama style.

  5. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking an Arkansas based trucking company to court over the removal of a self admitted alcohol abuser from a driving position.

    Link here

    Apparently since substance abuse is now considered a disability, employers cannot prevent abusers from operating company vehicles, including 18 wheelers!  Of course the trucking company will still be liable for any damages/injuries/and deaths caused by such employees.  Is this really what the ADA was meant for?

    1. If you actually, you know, READ the article, you will see that the trucking company can suspend the driver while he pursues a treatment program.  However, the trucking company said it wouldn’t return him to a driving position even if he successfully completes the treatment program.

      The EEOC has always said that an active drunk or drug abuser can be fired.  If a current  employee enters into treatment and successfully completes the treatment, then firing the employee for being a (former) drunk or junkie violates the ADA.  

      1. At least as a long haul trucker.  He would have no regular schedule in order to attend treatments/meetings.  There would be no way moniter his activities to ensure he stayed on the wagon.  A major trucking firm like Old Dominion does not have “routes”, they have “loads”.  For example, you carry a load from Denver to Dallas, where there is a load waiting to go to Miami, and then you have to run to Nashville to pick up a load going to Boston.  Next week will have a completely different set of destinations determined by who has what where, going in which direction.  That makes it very hard to keep an eye on the driver to ensure his sobriety.

        And then there is the matter of insurance.  Most insurance providers are very reluctant to give coverage to substance abusers for commercial vehicles.  It’s entirely possible that Old Dominions provider won’t cover this guy.  And if they will you can bet it’s with a hefty increase to the premiums.

        The bottom line is, that this man is at risk of falling back into bad drinking habits, and if driving long haul, can do so when well beyond the eyes of those who would be held responsible for his actions should they lead to tragedy.  Old Dominion Freight Line is doing the responsible thing by not allowing this person to drive a big rig, the EEOC could care less about the safety of people on the road.

        So yes one can read the article, or one can read the article while having a clue about the industry involved.

        1. If the trucking company can’t get insurance on him, then they have a legitimate non-discriminatory business reason for their decision not to return him to the road.  If he doesn’t complete a treatment program or if he relapses, the trucking company can fire him.  The trucking company can require him to submit to UAs.

          I know a little bit about the industry.  I know, for example, that there are strict requirements about how long a trucker has to refrain from drinking before he can get on the road.  I know that there are rules allowing the employer to conduct tests randomly, or when there is reasonable suspicion that the employee is in violation of the restrictions, or for 5 years after a driver who has had an alcohol violation returns to work.  If the driver tests positive and that violates the employer’s rules, the company can fire the employee.

          If the trucking company says the trucker can’t continue employment because he isn’t safe, based solely upon his history of alcoholism, then the company has to prove that continuing the trucker’s employment would pose a direct threat (a significant risk of substantial harm) to the health or safety of the trucker or others, and that risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.  

          In this case, the trucking company didn’t even try to prove that the trucker posed a direct threat.  If a trucker disclosed that he abused alcohol, then the company said it would never allow him to drive a truck again.  Period.  The trucking company didn’t provide any evidence that this trucker or the others it had fired under the same circumstances posed any direct threat.  I’m not saying they didn’t, and I’m not saying they did; I’m saying that the trucking company didn’t produce any evidence that they did.  No evidence that they had ever driven after drinking, no evidence that they wouldn’t respond to treatment, no evidence that the performance of their duties had ever or would ever interfere with their performance of their duties. And that violates the ADA.

                1. Yes your point is to racebait.

                  Ps Obama is white. Just ask any of those black friends you count each night. White mama = he ain’t real black.

                  Again back to my question … don’t you ever just sit back and think, holyshit, maybe we shouldnt have abandoned Hillary?

              1. not even slightly ambiguous, are you? You don’t want to leave a shadow of a doubt.  You’re just a good old fashioned racist and proud of it. Well OK then.  It’s no surprise but it’s obliging of you to put it out there so clearly. Thanks.  

      1. on CNN.  He noted that the gun didn’t kill those people, Jared Loughner did.  He said that it could have happened with ‘any weapon.’  A sharpened toothbrush perhaps?  A single shot .22?

        1. Seriously. What. The. Fuck.

          I’m extremely pro-gun, and will be buying one as soon as I get someone to teach me how to safely use it. The gun isn’t the issue. The fact that it’s a slap in the face to grieving families IN THEIR COUNTY is.

          If his wife or daughter died in a motorcycle wreck, would he want anything do do with a motorcycle raffle? If a member of his party fell off a horse and broke their neck, would it be appropriate for the opposing party to auction off “Horseback riding lessons, take your favorite Republican?” Jesus, Mary, and Joseph on a pogo stick, this is fucking ridiculous.

  6. Just thought some of you might enjoy a respite from the machinations of politicians to consider the beguiling machinations of the botanical world. h/t EnvironmentalGraffiti

    The dominatrices of the orchid world are the Bucket Orchids. They are pollinated by orchid bees that want the plant’s aromatic oils to use them in their courtship dance with females. But what the poor bees go through to get them!

    The orchids secrete the aromatic fluid into the bucket-shaped lip, and

    the bee will often fall into the fluid at the bottom of the bucket. There are knobs inside that go one way but the rest of the bucket is lined with smooth hairs pointing downwards and so that they can’t climb back up.

    Finally following the knobs, the bees come to what looks like freedom, a spout exiting. The orchid, however, has no intention of letting the bee go yet. Instead, it constricts the spout and presses pollen packets against its thorax, keeping it there until the “glue” has set. Finally, it is set free to go and find another orchid and this time displace the pollen packets to pollinate it. It can take up to 45 minutes for the bee to escape the orchid as it is kept trapped for the orchids sexual needs and bent to her will.

    Those of you who question the relevance of this post, I would argue that it is of equal relevance (but far superior intellectually and aesthetically) to the Saturday morning videos that appear on this site.

    1. I always thought that the orchids were intended to show the psychological effects of Nero Wolfe’s abstinence in a manner delicate enough for the era.

      1. but I am a big fan of Caroli Linn&#230i.

        Here’s a passage translated from his Praeludia sponsaliorum plantarum:

        The petals contribute nothing to generation but serve only as bridal beds, which the Creator has arranged so beautifully, with the purest bed curtains, and perfumed with such delicious fragrance that the bride and groom may there celebrate their nuptials with so much greater ecstasy.

        If you were a young man in the 1730’s, wouldn’t a racy passage like this inspire some interest in botanical studies for a career (or at least avocation)?

  7. Oh sorry, wrong Congress…

    But coins? Yes!

    Four bills focus on the coins of the realm. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., wants the Treasury Department to mint coins in recognition of the NBA Hall of Fame, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., wants coins honoring the establishment of Mother’s Day. Republican Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., wants coins commemorating the 225th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marshals Service.

    And this…lalalala I can’t hear you!

    Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., wants to bar the use of the word “Palestine” in government documents until the Palestinian Authority takes several actions, including “taking tangible steps” to disavow terrorism.

    But at least one bill sets out to address a real issue:

    Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., a certified auctioneer, hopes Congress will express its support for making the third Saturday of April “National Auctioneers Day.”

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