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November 10, 2011 04:34 PM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”

–Mark Twain


66 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. is it that Paterno is accused of knowing about a sex crime, he’s fired.

    Cain is accused of sex harassment, he stands up and calls the accusers liars – and no big deal.

    Paterno and Penn State cover for the criminal – they are vilified.

    Bishops and cardinals cover for priests, and it’s just a few rogue priests, no big deal.

    Marvin Gaye and Nathan McCall were talking about something else – but I totally get It Makes Me Wanna Holler.

    1. Except, what Paterno did was hideous.  My first thought was: Paterno is catholic (?) and was probably raised in an environment where this was no big deal.

      Since I said the hell with the church, I have been amazed at how many more situations with filthy dirty priests I have learned about…  There is a culture that says “no big deal.”

      1. kiddie rape is a big deal. To everybody.

        Church officials (eg, priests and bishops) may have covered up rape, but regular parishioners were ignorant of what was going on.

        This isn’t one of your smarter statements.

        1. If the coach and the assistant coaches are not the “priests and bishops” of the football church, then who the hell is???

          I certainly was ignorant of abuse when I was putting out tuition for parochial schools and telling my kids to

          respect the priests…etc.etc.  However, since leaving the church, I have been told by fellow ex-parishoners that they knew of such situations but “the bishops were aware of it and so it was no big deal.”  I also have heard from victims, who got the “no big deal” crap, although they were older teenagers and some dodged the passes well.

          You know, just for the books, Aristotle, you seem to be focused on belittling or dismissing any comment I make.  WTF?


          1. First, up til now, I haven’t belittled any of your comments. Even here, this isn’t “belittling.” (You can take that as a challenge to find where I did – trust me, you can’t do it.)

            If you like, I can start belittling, if it will help you learn the difference.

            Now then… “If the coach and the assistant coaches are not the “priests and bishops” of the football church, then who the hell is???” NO ONE. Football isn’t religion, no matter what hyperbole you hear people say, no matter how ritual it is for some people.

            Dwyer, you are obsessed with certain things. They make you think you have certain insights. Sometimes, you do. Not this time.

    2. … is, who is going to fire Cain? Only the GOP primary and caucus voters can do that, and they don’t get to have their say yet.

      Second, I don’t know what “no big deal” means. Cain’s run is all but over; he’s going to be asked about this until he finally quits, and he may just go over the edge before that happens. And the uproar over the church strikes me as a big fucking deal, too.

      Third, the riots at Penn State show that there are those on Paterno’s side. So it’s not like he’s getting no support while Cain and the church have people covering their backs for them.

      Now, getting back to Cain… I’m sure a big reason why his candidacy is over has a lot to do with the fact that ‘pubs are hep enough to realize he can’t win the general election, no way, no how, as opposed to any moral outrage over his actions. The GOP is in full “anyone but Obama” mode, and are focused on who they think has the best shot at getting mainstream votes. So if you mean to ask why his sexual harassment issues aren’t a bigger deal with the GOP, it’s because of what sxp says. The GOP is where you belong when you still regard society as more of a jungle, where there are “winners” and “losers” and you’re a self-perceived winner, and the losers deserve everything they get, and there are no victims, just losers, and whatever other stupid antiquated fantasies drive their daily existence. When that’s the color of the glasses you wear, Cain is simply someone enjoying the spoils of success.

      Most Americans are a little bit more civilized, I think.

    3. What (allegedly, though almost assuredly) did was really bad. Disgusting and wrong.

      What Paterno and Penn State did was turn a blind eye to evil.

      Although they’re both bad, there are varying degrees of it.

      As far as the Catholic clergy, the big difference is that Penn State’s leadership actually chose to do something about it once they found out, rather than shuffling people around and hoping nobody remembers.

      1. As far as the Catholic clergy, the big difference is that Penn State’s leadership actually chose to do something about it once they found out,

        Penn State leadership  found out in 98-98 and 2002….what precipitated the crisis was a grand jury report….not the good folks at Penn State Sports coming forth….yeeeeeee

  2. I’m a Pennsylvania guy, though not a PSU alumnus or a football fan, and I’m having a bit of a problem understanding the level of spite being heaped on Paterno.

    So, his former defensive co-ordinator, Sandusky, who quit in 1998-1999, is allowed access to PSU facilities, presumably under the authority of the Athletic Directory who controls those facilities, for use in conjunction with a charity for boys.  Sandusky does some heinous things, and some of them at PSU facilities.  A graduate assistant (currently assistant coach) sees one of these acts, goes home, and the next day approaches Paterno with the allegation.  Paterno, on hearing it, does what the school tells him to do in its rules, and reports it up the chain to at least two higher-ups.  Apparently the higher-ups kick Sandusky off the school premises but do nothing further.  Years pass, others come forward, and these higher-ups lie about the incident(s), drawing criminal indictments for perjury (and probably other sanctions from the Department of Education for failing to report the incidents).

    Back closer to the time of the events, the graduate student – the actual witness in the event – does not (as legally required) go to the police.  Nor do a few others.  These people are still working, with no consequences, yet Paterno, who only has hearsay to go on, is vilified and fired for “not doing enough”.  Why?

    If I told a friend that I’d seen someone doing something similar, is the friend supposed to go to the police, or is it their duty to convince me – the witness – to do so?  I mean, I could tell them that I saw Ralphie or PCG doing something horrible – how would they know if I was being truthful?  Is it their duty to pass this on to the police, and should the police listen to everything someone hears through the rumor mill?

    (Having gone on that line of inquiry, I do think JoePa should have done a lot more to follow through with his superiors, and in convincing his grad assistant to go to police.  But somehow this has all been heaped on his head, while the former grad student still remains as assistant coach for this weekend’s game.  To me, the Board of Trustees at PSU was engaged more in ass-covering and getting rid of someone who had more power than they did than in actually addressing the core failures in the system.)

    1. Paterno is God in that place. There are life-size cardboard displays of him all over town. He knew the accusations against Sandusky were serious enough that he forced Sandusky into early retirement, so it’s not like he had no idea there was a problem. And when Sandusky was still doing the same thing years later in the locker room, Paterno didn’t let it bother him.

      Paterno ran that school and that town. If he had said anything, Sandusky would never have raped a kid again. But then maybe Penn State football attendance would have dropped slightly.

      We put people in charge of things and pay them a shitload of money because they’re supposed to be responsible. And the guy on top bears more responsibility than someone who was a low-level employee.

    2. I think the grad assistant should stopped the crime and gone to the police.  That does NOT excuse anyone else in the chain of command.  

      Paterno is old enough and a WWII veteran to boot to know that “I was just following orders or the chain of command” or “I know nothing” is just crapola and disrespects all the men and women who fought and died in WWII.

    3. I suppose that’s technically correct, but if he found the student’s report compelling enough to report it to the AD and college president, he should have found it compelling enough to call the police himself.

      The witness should have, too. But I’m willing to cut him slack because he was just a kid, even if he was past 21. (Most of us who have made it past 30 know what I mean.) He was probably shocked, freaked out, and scared. And he did take it to an authority – Paterno.

      When you’re in that kind of position, it can be scary because you’re talking about the most important figures in a big operation, and someone like that witness was a nobody. He should have gone to the police, but he might have trusted the university process – they conducted an investigation, after all. I doubt he was made aware of the findings or the decision to leave it at banning Sandusky’s activities from campus; he might have been naive and trusting. I don’t know – maybe more about that will come out.

      But Paterno… Paterno wasn’t only the man, he was the big man. He undoubtedly signed off on slapping Sandusky’s wrist and not going to the police. It’s absolutely inconceivable that he had no say in the final decision.

      It shouldn’t all be hung around his neck, and I’m glad they fired the president as well, but disgrace is the least Paterno deserves.

      1. Paterno isn’t an authority.  Paterno is a friggin’ football coach that has sure than shit preached morality & ethics & what’s the right thing to do over & over & over to every incoming team but he did nothing but cover his & his Nittany Lions’ asses.

        Grad student judgement seriously lacking if it’s true what he saw and he decided PSU admin would take care of it rather than police.  Grad student went on to secure his ass in a cushy coaching position and kept quiet.  He knew Sandusky was still around and knew nothing came of his reporting so WTF?

        PSU Trustees are lopping off the top heads and should definitely go down a few levels.  Anyone that worked with Sandusky or with the witnesses to Sandusky’s “recruitment” need to be questioned & considered.  Predator pedophiles this plugged in had to have known how to game it a PSU, so that org needs to be cleaned out.

    4. I thought the GJ report says the grad assistant who reported it to Coach Pa, was directed by coach P to let him (the coach) handle it.

      Mistake on the GA’s part to be sure – but apparantly it was part of the atmosphere there: do what Coach Pa says.  That sounds stupid out here in the real world, you know where we all live and breath.

      But at Penn St, you do what Coach Pa says or pack your bags.

      1. I did a Ntl Gov Assoc meeting @ Happy Valley back in the 90’s and it was unbelievable how even state Govs were slathering over a photo op with Joe Pa.

        If Joe Pa had that much power then he’s gotta fall by the sword when it’s proven his fault in these disgustingly heinous crimes.  Penn State’s AD didn’t crap w/o Joe Pa knowing so how did Sandusky skate?  

        Sandusky raped children.  Sandusky raped children while working for Joe Pa.  Joe Pa knew what was reported and still let child rapist Sandusky on the field, in the program, and work in Joe Pa’s football fiefdom.  Don’t dare shed a tear for Joe Pa.

        1. And more back when these events were taking place than now.  The PSU President and Board were afraid to take him on until now, he had that kind of pull.  (Probably because Paterno is credited with bringing PSU up from its agriculture college roots into a major academic and athletic institution.  For any faults he did have, his reputation for riding his players’ asses to maintain good grades and really strive to excel as students is unshakably bound in the lives of the players he’s coached over the years…)

          Authority-wise, though, he still technically reported to the Athletic Director and didn’t have any direct authority over Sandusky or his activities when the GA came to him with the report.

      2. I hadn’t seen anything that said he knew in 1998, only that Sandusky suddenly resigned.  If Paterno or the university knew back then just why he resigned, then they’re in bigger trouble than just the issue with the grad student seeing it.

        And if JoePa told his assistant to let him handle it, then yes, he needed to go.  Again, I hadn’t heard that and did not read the whole GJ report.

  3. Througout most of history the primary limiting factor on new companies and expanding companies was the government. You had to have the proper approvals.

    With free enterprise we moved to a system where the primary limit has been money. Want to start a new company or expand your company to new markets – you need money for the capital goods, people, advertising, etc.

    We’re now moving to a new economy where the primary limiting factor is people. Software has it the worst but it’s covering a lot more than that. A company has money, but can’t find qualified people for the jobs.

    This is partially because there’s a lot of money out there. But it’s more due to the combination of it doesn’t require much money to get a company going and a company becomes profitable quickly.

    What this means is the future belongs to the societies that provide a very good education to the most citizens. Ie, not Colorado.

    1. It used to be that companies were in it for the long haul.  If they could survive start up, they built a base they could build on.  Now, companies are in it for the quick strike.  Sell/license one OS and be the next Microsoft.  

      Bed Bath & Beyond, Krispy Kreme,  and a gazillion others – expand too fast because management’s metric and  compensation is based on size.  We need qualified people – create them.  Compensate them.  

      Here’s an exercise you should try:

      count as many educated computer science, programmer and sysadmins as you could find.  

      reversed engineere the cost benefit of their degree and training.    

      When we did it (for a economic study I was a part of) we concluded that it (their degree) was fool’s gold.  Most had been outsourced out of job more than once.  All had experienced lateral moves for lower pay.

      Every single one of them listed as the #1 reason they chose that degree or training “likely job security.” Not one felt they had it.  And by historic quantitative measure, most of them had been proven right.

      1. The Bell Curve is cruel reality. For the companies like mine we need people who are in the top 10%. If you’re in that category there is a ton of opportunity and it pays well.

        But if you’re in he lower 70%, then it can be a rough situation. It’s like Hollywood where there are a ton of actors/directors/etc. working as waiters. And a small number that are highly paid.

        But again, this is why a really really really good educational system is so important. Because we need to teach students to be superb at what they learn.

          1. reminds me of the wall street derivitive world – a bunch of guys sitting around thinking about ways to make more money by creating a better mousetrap.

            The financial sector likes creating new ways of making wealth, but the wealth isn’t actually money.

            The tech sector likes creating news ways for us to be more efficient and learn more, but we aren’t and we don’t.

            1. Most everything the tech sector creates either improves efficiency, enables something previously impossible, or gives people something they find useful and valuable.

              This blog is one of those things. More efficient use of energy is another. The list is endless. As to more efficient, imagine any industry trying to operate without computers. Couldn’t happen.

                1. Anyone from an artist creating a beautiful song to an autoworker creating a car to a developer writing the code for CBMS (once its working) all create stuff. But in each case it makes life better for others.

                  I don’t use Facebook. But for those that do it gives them the ability to communicate with their friends to a much greater degree than before. That level of communication, where distance becomes irrelevant, is a major improvement for people.

                  Being able to search on anything from anywhere is a major positive change for many people. It allows discussions to continue rather than wait until some info can be looked up.

                  As health systems make use of more and more information they have on people, they will be able to take proactive action to improve people’s health and from that their lives.

                  Yes it’s just “stuff.” but that stuff from technology is what has improved the quality of life for all of us. And it will continue to improve the quality of life for all of us.

                  1. Why is it you sound like a very advanced robot who just doesn’t quite get the humans you’re supposed to be impersonating? Is that why it sounds so defensive when you  say “us humans” and “we Dems” all the time?

              1. The only way to consider tech stuff as “efficient” is if you don’t measure energy.

                If you measure the amount of calories it takes a human to complete a task (say, grow a bushel of grain or tighten a bolt or turn the page of a book) and compare it to the calories for a machine or tablet, you would conclude that technology results in gross inefficiency.

                While it may be true that the human calories expended are reduced when we employ technology, we have replaced a moderate expenditure of food-derived energy with a truly extravagant expenditure of concentrated fossil fuel.

                It’s the story of the industrial age. It’s the story of hydrocarbon man. It remains the same story in the high tech world of today. Tomorrow it will still be the same old story.

                Even the ideas are recycled (so, they are NOT growing exponentially, despite what you and MADCO argue, below).

                1. Back when we were dependent solely on human muscle life was brutal and short. And while some ideas are recycled, the rate of discovery of new concepts has been on an exponential curve since the beginning of the industrial age.

                  1. Has this become a goal post moving excercise?

                    I thought you were (most recently) arguing about increases in efficiency? If you want to argue about the numbers of humans it takes to accomplish a task, or how much leisure time humans have after accomplishing necessary tasks, I would agree that technology improves efficiency.

                    However, your claim was about energy. My argument is that in terms of calorie expenditures, technology reduces efficiency, it trades a small amount of food-derived energy for incredible amounts of fossil fuel energy to do similar tasks.

                    I’m not arguing for a return to “nasty, brutal, and short.” I’m just asking for an honest accounting.

              1. What hath technology wrought?

                Radiation Exposure

                A significantly increased risk of breast cancer has been found in women who received radiation therapy in the chest area during childhood or young adulthood. Because of former medical practices (for example, the repeated use of fluoroscopic x-rays to check the lungs for tuberculosis), women over 45 generally have more exposure to radiation than younger women. In addition, an increased risk of breast cancer has been seen in women who were exposed to atomic bomb radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

                This really is not a useful turn to the “discussion.” We can both find examples, ad nauseum, to support one extreme or another.

                I don’t think technology is bad — I just don’t like naive arguments.

                  1. Your original post claimed that the new world of tech belongs to societies with smart people. Besides being an obvious assertion, MADCO refuted your point (many tech jobs are outsourced and of little benefit to the place of educational origin) and I made a snarky reply.

                    I then said that most tech stuff built today reminds me of ways to build better mousetraps, specifically I had your business in mind.

                    I didn’t say tech provides nothing to our world. So I’d appreciate you not putting words in mouth. I tend to agree with Ardy – almost every benefit of technology over the years has come with an equal or greater detriment to our society or earth. I’m not advocating for no tech, I’m pointing out to you, once again, that things aren’t black and white.  

                    1. I didn’t say the world belongs to smart people, I said that the gating factor has gone from money to people. And that’s a significant fundamental shift. I think we’re going to see some basic changes due to that.

                      Most everything is a better mousetrap because everything is built on what comes before. So each step is small, but over many steps you see significant improvement.

                      But where I think you have it very wrong is:

                      almost every benefit of technology over the years has come with an equal or greater detriment to our society or earth

                      If that were true we would be no better off today than we were in the middle ages. Or to put it in terms you might understand – are you willing to give up every technology that’s come into mainstream use over the last 10 years?

                      No it’s not black & white, but technology is the reason we’re still not living in caves where living to age 30 was rare.

                    2. He mentions the earth. Most of our recent (past few centuries) technological advances involve consuming finite fossil fuels and creating pollution that harms the health of nearly every organism, as well as artificially warms the global climate. That bill may have not come due yet, but there’s a possibility that we’ll end up back in the caves if this continues unabated.

                      As far as computers go, they’re made with toxic compounds and with a planned obsolescence of just a few years. Many of our new toys, as well as advanced fuel efficient cars, rely on lithium which may not be in that great of supply.

                      If we’re speaking of industrial-age and beyond technological advances, they do, indeed, come at a price which may prove to be very costly. The fact that things seem to be going well today doesn’t mean they will be in a hundred years. And the fact that these side effects have always been ignored doesn’t bode well for those who think we can keep using technology to overcome these issues.

                      All this is simply the cost to the earth. If you think humanity hasn’t paid a price, visit the Brazilian countryside sometime.

                    3. But when you weigh them out, in total, technology brings significant benefit.

                      Take the automobile which has a ton of negative consequences from global warming to wars in the mid-East to … But the alternative was the horse and prior to the automobile our cities were drowning in horseshit. There was not only the problem of what do you do with all that waste, but it made life unhealthy and gross. And there were a lot of negative consequences to feeding and caring for the immense number of horses in use.

                      And planned obsolescence makes sense for hi tech items. There is no point in increasing the cost of a device to last 10 years when it’s going to be replaced in 3 – 5 because the technology has advanced so far. One of my daughters got a precursor to the iPod about 10 years ago – it held 18 songs.

            2. What the Wall Street derivative junkies do is create exciting new ways to insert themselves into useful transactions and uselessly skim off the top. But it does take very clever people to get away with making money for performing no useful function and providing no useful service. So yay education!

      2. Every single one of them listed as the #1 reason they chose that degree or training “likely job security.”

        Every programmer I know chose the field because they love it. I’m not in this field because of the pay, I’m in it because I’d rather do this than anything else regardless of pay level.

        I’m guessing there’s a high correlation between “in it for the pay/security” and not in the top performers. Where did the people you surveyed work?

            1. And, seeing the personal nature of it, please feel free to ignore it. I won’t take it the wrong way.

              You’ve indicated that you worked for Microsoft in the past, I believe in the glory days of the 80s and 90s. Did you end up earning a lot from stock options?

  4. Heard something that really resonated today. People don’t have the ability to really understand exponential curves. And because over a short enough period an exponential curve looks linear, people look at the last N years, see the linear curve for that period, and then assume it will continue in that linear rate.

    But things are changing at an exponential rate. They have since the start of the industrial revolution and will continue to do so.  For one example, newspapers are trying to respond to the change due to what they see as a linear curve over the last 5 years. But the next 5 years will change a lot more than the previous 5.

    Unfortunately government is not designed to respond to exponential change.

    1. Anything that grows exponentially is, by definition, unsustainable. There is a highly descriptive term for these sorts of phenomenon: Boom & Bust.

      This is not a pattern to celebrate. It’s something to avoid.

      Whether we’re talking cancer cells, bacteria, fish populations, ATV sales, active drilling rigs, whatever, if growth is exponential, you can be damn sure it’s going to crash.

      Anyone who shows you an exponential curve, and attempts to convince you it will continue at an ever accelerating growth rate into an indefinite future, has a sucky understanding of biology and/or is trying to rip you off.

  5. Tim Hoover of That Paper is reporting that the judge in the redistricting case has ruled, and has selected the Democratic map. Huge victory for the Democrats, especially Brandon Schaffer, who will remain in the 4th CD. Coffman will be in “three-thirds competitive district”.

    1. The news was reporting that he would remain in CD-4, but omitted that it was a truly awful map for him.

      Glad I could correct myself, but anyone else out there? This is kind of a big deal.

  6. Pawlenty. He must be sitting at home watching this train wreck and saying: “Holy crap, I shoulda just hung around. I mean … NEWT GINGRICH is being taken semi-seriously?”

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