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September 26, 2011 03:51 PM UTC

Monday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Cause and effect are two sides of one fact.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson  


86 thoughts on “Monday Open Thread

  1. Mohamed A. El-Erian (PIMCO)

    Once again, bad company news was not the reason for the market debacle. The corporate sector remains in great financial shape with lots of cash on hand and a favorable debt profile. But, like others with healthy balance sheets in the global economy (and there are quite a few sectors), companies’ willingness to hire and invest awaits better policymaking in both America and Europe.

    Whether they like it or not, and they do not like it, the global economy and markets will remain in the backseat of a car being driven very erratically by policymakers.

    Some of the drivers are yet to explain fully enough where the car is headed. Most seem more interested in arguing among themselves than in looking through the windshield. And the car has used up almost all of its spare tires.

  2. David Frum

    Under the old rules, there were certain things that political parties did not do — even though theoretically they could. If one party controlled the Senate and another party controlled the presidency, the Senate party did not reject all the president’s nominees. The party that controlled the House did not refuse to schedule votes on the president’s budgets. Individual senators did not use secret holds to sway national policy. The filibuster was reserved for rare circumstances — not as a routine 60-vote requirement on every Senate vote.

    The results of these changes are breaking the American political system — destroying public confidence in the U.S. government — and paralyzing the U.S. economic policy. It will take more than a change in attitudes to address these concerns. It will take fundamental institutional reform.

  3. U.S. To Hand Over Iraq Bases, Equipment Worth Billions

    “I’m thinking about the size of what was wasted there, and thinking about how what we spent in Iraq was all borrowed,” she said. “In a crazy way, what we left in Iraq was our good credit rating.”

    I would add what we lost there was thousands of wonderful men and women the cost of which is incalcuable.

    1. is talking about military action against Pakistan, no doubt just as with Iraq and Afghanistan with no tax increase for anyone.  What planet does today’s  GOP live on that they think you can keep starting wars that cost billions without  raising revenue to pay for them?  All the while making speeches about over spending gone wild, naturally the fault of middle Americans getting things like social security and medicare, for which they do pay.

  4. had an editorial denouncing the govt for deporting a job creator, an illegal immigrant. To be able to drive, etc. she had forged documents. But, she employed more than a dozen folks in a house cleaning biz

  5. yes, just 50 yrs. ago this Frito-Lay marketing VP found a San Diego snack shack selling fried tortilla chips just ripe for exploitation and thus begot Dorito’s .  

    And that ignoble beginning has brought us these amazingly unnatural, highly addictive delightful flavors:  Blazin’ Buffalo Ranch, Cool Ranch, Fiery Habanero, Nacho Cheese, Natural White Nacho Cheese, Ranchero, Salsa Verde, Smokin’ Cheddar BBQ, Spicy Nacho, Toasted Corn, Zesty Taco, and Cheeseburger (yum, hermetically bagged bovine burps).  

    The family plans to inter a few extra  chips in the plot along with his urn.  So please, a lift your Mt. Dew Code Reds high in memory (though Dorito-addled Dew slurpers can be forgiven for not too much exertion).    

  6. Hi all;

    We are doing an initial beta of a new product. You enter a word and it gives you a picture of what words are being tweeted in combination with the word you entered.

    You can use it for free at Wishbone. If you try it out, please email me with your opinions of its usefulness.


    1. Since I don’t have the foggiest idea what useful purpose twitter can provide, I am completely unable comprehend the point of this new “product.”

      When I went to the page and looked at the sample graphic provided about the iphone, the text that appeared in the mouse-over boxes looked like advertizing. I mute ads on TV and block them on the web — why would I provide your company my email address to get this “service?”

      That was a serious question, by the way. I have no idea what “service” is supposedly being provided.  

      1. You can find out what words are really popular with people who are tweeting while tweeting yourself. If you know popular words, you can tweet them and become more popular yourself!

        Kind of like news sites that map out the words that are searched most often – so you know which articles to read to be popular.

        C’mon Ardy – don’t you want to be popular too?!!

        1. so I read the newspaper and formed an opinion. But it took too much time when I could be watching TV.

          So then I started watching the TV news to just get the highlights of the stories and form an opinion, but it took too much time that I could be surfing the web.

          So then I started reading blogs so I could just get a snarky paragraph and call it my opinion. But then it took too much time when I could be playing Facebook games.

          So then I started using Twitter, because all you really need at a party is the first few words of the story and someone else will have an opinion. But by then I was so lazy I forgot what I had been saving all this time for.

          So then I started using David’s new Pictotwit service and now I have no memory of what I’m typing good morning how are you funny cat pics bacon perry angry birds light speed funkytown?

        1. And I’m with both of you. And I don’t do Facebook, either. If I wanted everyone in the free world to know my life story, I’d write my autobiography .

          1. to your advantage.  I like to use it to push political propaganda I agree with, and to laugh at rumors that get passed around nearly daily, such as this one:


              1. communication and information-sharing than email, and provides multiple “thrown” virtual daily newspapers in addition to the endless gossipy conversations over the backyard fence.

                1. Why do so many guys (and a few girls) put so much effort into caring what someone does after they’ve given you a pretty blunt declaration that they never intend to sleep with you again? Is it just emotional masochism? Or are they hoping the next dude/chick is uglier than you or a total loser so you can cackle about it being your ex’s loss and how you won’t take him/her back now?

                  I mean, I can’t say I’ve really dated much, so I’m no expert here, but last time I had a breakup, I only gave about a polite 12 hour grace period before defriending to prevent FB-stalker behavior. I don’t get it, I really don’t.

                  (I know you’re probably not really someone who does this, but you seem to “get it.”)

                  1. Reading between the lines, I’d guess you dumped him and that it didn’t go well. You were right to defriend him, but something tells me you think that he ought to be over it quickly. Is that fair to say?

                    1. You’re pretty good. Want to be my new source of fatherly advice? My real dad gives good advice, sometimes, but then sometimes he wavers between thinking I’m a lesbian and thinking I’m going to break all of his friends’ hearts (who are mostly closer to my age than his).

                      PS. Technically the official story is it was “mutual” but I guess not getting back together isn’t because my deleting finger is still getting a lot of exercise involving 800-word apologies for the latest “real” reason we broke up BUT HE CAN FIX IT HE SWEARS JUST LET HIM PROVE IT

                    2. How long did you two date?

                      Was this his first real relationship? Or maybe just his first, period?

                      Did you know each other long before you began dating?

                    3. 1) 6 years, ages 15-22 for me and 17-24 for him.

                      2) I honestly don’t know. He says no, but, yanno, boys can be funny about their “past,” and I never actually MET an ex.

                      3) Maybe a yearish? We were kind of frenemies for a while and then we kinda got to like each other.

                    4. Well, there’s a saying that it takes as long to get over a breakup as you were together. I’m sure that’s not exactly true, but a relationship like this? Began when you were both so young? He might need more time.

                      I have more to add but I gotta go pick up my daughter…

                    5. Cause I didn’t give a crap like a week later… does that make me a big meanie?

                      Actually, not really being a big meanie, I am interested in what you have to add. I haven’t really talked to anyone besides real-dad and real-sister about this and in recognition of the fact that this is someone I spent a lot of time with I would like to do my best to make sure I’m not getting in the way of him moving on (and make him chase me less cause BLAH annoying!)

                      Also, ow, my ovaries. I don’t even WANT kids, but dads picking their daughters up from school totally punch my “AWWWWW!!!!” buttons.

                    6. I’m going to have to be kinda general. (It would help to know more, but let’s not spread any more of your life across the www, eh?)

                      “Mutual” or not, this guy regrets breaking up with you. You were likely ready for it to be over; he might have been bluffing, or thought you were, or he was just impulsive and hadn’t thought it through. Maybe he found that he couldn’t just pick up any old girl (if he thought he could). Whatever – he wants you back.

                      Having been in what must count as his only serious relationship, and a really long one at that, he probably isn’t feeling confident in himself to move on. This could be for a number of reasons, and any combination of these: He still loves you; he’s scared to go out and find another girl and end up dumped again, he doesn’t think anyone could love him like you did (I assume you loved him since you were with him so long); he’s possessive and jealous; he thinks you’re “The One.” You could well be the love of his life, someone he’ll never forget as long as he lives, but “The One” and “soul mates” are a bunch of hooey. It’s hard to convince people who believe in that otherwise, particularly when they’ve identified someone as The One.

                      Now, assuming he’s not unbalanced or otherwise a threat to you and/or himself, I think you’ll need to take a hard line with him. If you’ve been giving him any reason to hope that he can get you back (which can include innocent things like “remaining friends,” but also includes telling him things he wants to hear just to get rid of him, and ranges up to things like sex), time to knock that off. Tell him that you have no intention of resuming a relationship with him. Give him fair warning, but let him know that if the pleas to give him another chance continue, you’ll change your email and phone number so he can’t contact you. Make good on that warning, and if you happen to see him someplace and know that he’s stalking you (and you’ll know – trust your gut), let him know that you’ll get a restraining order on him if he keeps it up.

                      If you have any reason – anything at all – that makes you suspect that he’s capable of doing something crazy, don’t take this advice at all. I’m out of my depth there, and don’t know if taking my advice could provoke him. You’d want to talk to someone with some experience there.

                      Hope this helps.  

                    7. That makes bunches of sense. I don’t believe in that soulmate crap and never really did but he really really really does and always did and it was kind of obnoxious actually.

                      Was just thinking “You know who I need in my life right now? Someone male, smart and circumspect who is married with kids who will tell me How Shit Works with this whole being a grownup thing.”

                      An’ for the record you’re cool as hell and we could totally be Facebook friends if you want, just throwin’ that out there.

                    8. … there’s no need to let him down gently, but do it without anger, irritation, or any negative feelings that might make you say things that can hurt. Prep yourself – try to think of all the ways he can get under your skin so that you’re prepared and won’t let it happen this time.

                      I’m not sure about the etiquette these days – the last time I broke up with someone, email was around but I only had it through work, so I probably would have done this over the phone. (You’re already broken up – no need to see him face to face.) I kinda feel that email would be too impersonal, but then again you’ve probably been on this merry-go-round too long as it is. I guess it depends on if he thinks you’re still friends, and if you’ve been treating him like one – at least speak on the phone. But if you’ve been trying to shoo this stray away for a while, an email is probably okay. It will definitely be easier to manage your responses that way, too.

                      I could use more friends. I’ll consider it. 🙂

                    9. I guess I just need to say it clearer and accept that “friendship” isn’t in the relevant skill set at this time, even on a pretty distant level. I mostly just email him if I talk to him at all but I think he probably thinks we’re friends.

                      You know how to reach me if ya want 🙂

          2. sisters are pressuring me into the facebook thing. I prefer to just e-mail whoever I’m specifically addressing with copies to whoever else is involved in say, arranging a get together.  I don’t care what 100 “friends” did on vacation and can’t imagine they care about what I did on mine.  But it’s more convenient for them to post pics and news in one place so there’s that.  Guess it’s useful in an uprising.


              1. I’m good. If I stop getting e-mails from various political orgs and campaigns because they decide to do nothing but social network, I’ll change my ways a little.

      2. Put in “rick perry” and one of the biggest links is words around the booing of the gay soldier. You can use that to see that this issue is probably not going to go away quickly because he’s still tied to that in a substantial proportion of the tweets.

        The registration is so you can enter words for us to track in tweets and save them. This is done by person because BlueCat may want to track Justin Bieber (just kidding – I hope) while you do not – so we need to do it by user.

    2. meant to make this self promotion a little less obvious?  Like… Hey, I’m just full of ideas today and this is just one more I happen to be throwing out there?

    3. Will be signing up and using this.

      To the gripers in the thread — I know Twitter is kind obnoxious and you don’t have to like or use it, honestly I find it annoying too and prefer Facebook, Reddit, Hubski, and G+, but for those who use it for business, real time search is kind of a golden egg that keeps getting shoved back in the goose. The former leader in the field, OneRiot, stopped doing RTS because it’s so difficult.

      This is an interesting concept and I hope it takes off–and that you can support scaling it, David.

            1. That wasn’t a creative moment. I was actually fairly creative overall ifIdosaysom’self. Finished my first manuscript on my 16th birthday (YA post-apocalyptic fantasy) and used to act and all kinds of stuff. Really I should be asking “what happened” NOW!

              /not really, I love my corporate job and there are plenty of chances to be creative

                1. But kind of an optimistic take on the dystopian theme. Massively reduced world population, world mostly governed by private mercenary armies (this was written in the early Iraq war days, when Blackwater was first beginning to make news) and a lot of other nasty stuff, but the environment is beginning to recover and wilderness areas are regrowing where there used to be cities. The main characters are all war-related orphans who were adopted and as teens enlisted in a school for mercenaries that, admittedly, trains “child soldiers” but tries to at least be fairly ethical about it and does a lot of protecting the smaller villages from pillaging and dictatorship by the big corporate mercenary armies.

                  (Yes, it’s utterly silly, but like I said, I was 14-16.)

    4. Entering a multi-word phrase yielded each word as a connected term.

      (For instance, if I’d entered “Is DavidThi808 a Secret Republican?” I would get Is, DavidThi808, a, Secret, and Republican as connected dots)

      Each of these dots did not automatically spread into a second layer of terms connected to each word, so adding them seems unnecessary since it is assumed that words within a phrase relate to the phrase.

        1. Looks like this could be quite useful

          (Hope you don’t mind the teasing in my example — I’ve yet to meet a tech guy who doesn’t like his bug reports with a dash of humor so I assume not)

        1. Of course, nothing is off-topic in the Open Thread, but it feels wrong to post about something you’re trying to make money from.

          And seriously, skimming through your comment I honestly thought it was spam until I saw your name.

    5. Twitscoop, Monitter, Tweetmeme, Plodt … ?

      I don’t really want an answer I just want to know why?  WTF do I really care what $arah tweets about or what folks tweet about $arah … or anyone on the Twit.  

      just further dumbing down of society

      1. I’ve been working on Wishbone and what you mentioned is exactly what we’re trying to address.

        I agree that Twitter is flooded with useless information ie “what i had for lunch” or “i can’t find my shoes!” Neither of us care about that and even reading it is a waste of time.

        Most of the sites you mentioned don’t help with that at all. You either get a live stream of trash (off some search term) or whatever is popular (don’t care what Beiber is up to today).

        By looking at word associations over a larger number of tweets, you can get a general feel without reading the same retweet 40 times. By visualizing it in a graph, you can scan that information more quickly.

        Think it may have some potential there?

        On a side note, I find Twitter generally useless as well. Tried an account; got bored and stopped. A lot of people are talking on Twitter though; given enough data you can usually pull something useful out of it.

        As for dumbing down society, not sure Twitter made it worse or just easier to see how dumb we already are :).

  7. I’ve got two random questions rattling around so I may as well ask.

    1) I’m not saying the hikers were spies and I’m glad they’re home safe but none of the news about them mentions what the heck they were doing taking a hiking vacation on the Iraq/Iran border in the first place.  I mean it doesn’t seem like a likely tourist spot.  Have they explained why they chose this area for recreational purposes? They have the look of missionaries to me.

    2) Does anybody recall hearing anything about Newt in that Florida debate?  When he drops out will anyone notice? I mean lately it seems like we’ve heard more about Daniels than about Newt and that even Cain is being taken more seriously.

    1. They were hiking in Kurdistan which is supposed to be some amazing terrain if you are a hiker or climber. It’s also the safest place in all of Iraq.

      There are no conveniently posted little trail signs that tell you when you hiked over the wrong hill into Iran and there is a substantial amount of evidence that they were never in Iran at all but rather taken by Iranian soldiers out of Kurdistan. Taken intentionally, accused of crossing the border and then accused of espionage, to use as leverage against the US.

      As to #2, is he still running? At least I know he’s alive, which is usually where I get most folks status confused.  

      1. Still doesn’t make much sense as a vacation destination for Americans. Anyone you know booking a getaway in Kurdistan? If they were missionaries they’re lucky they weren’t beheaded.

        1. there but I know a bunch of climbers and hikers up here that love that area and also travel to Pakistan (believe it or not) whenever they can get a visa. Those are two areas that are fantastic for both.

          Me? I’m looking at Spain, Portugal and Morocco for my next outing.  

          1. If they don’t, I think the government should make clear there will be no more rescues or costly diplomatic efforts made on their part.  If people want to go to crazy, dangerous places for fun they shouldn’t put anyone else to the trouble of getting their asses out of a sling if their risk taking doesn’t go so well.

            The three hikers don’t look like extreme athletes to me but if you say so. They’re very lucky to be out and others who want to risk the same shouln’t bother anybody else if it all goes to hell OMHO. If they are missionaries they get no sympathy from me for dissing other people’s beliefs and trying to get them to accept theirs either.

      1. was being said at the time and it would appear they combine elements of student, rookie reporter and general do-gooder just taking a nice hiking break. Like I said, I’m not accusing them of being spies. I certainly hope not, anyway.  Would hope our real spies are a taste less lame. Guess they aren’t missionaries either. Could they really just be that completely lacking in anything resembling common sense? It’s a head scratcher. When giving out visas for optional trips to war zones I think they  ought to tell you you’re on your own and stick with it.

  8. From the New York Times:


    States shown in the darkest shade have enacted five of the most harmful restrictions:

    mandatory waiting periods;

    demeaning “counseling” sessions lacking a real medical justification;

    parental consent or notification laws that pose a particular hardship for teenagers from troubled homes, including incest victims;

    needlessly onerous clinic “safety” rules governing such things as the width of hallways and the amount of storage space for janitorial supplies; (TRAP or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, my clarification)

    and prohibitions on abortion coverage in insurance policies.

    I’m not sure how Colorado gets two, as we only have parental notification, with judicial bypass available for girls who don’t want to notify their parents.

    The map doesn’t show the latest trend, which is bans after 20 weeks (Roe allows ’til viability or ~24) based on the dubious notion of fetal pain.  This last restriction will hit the fewest women, but the most anti-choice women, confronted by the exceptions of “rape, incest, or me” for late complications of a doomed pregnancy.

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