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December 15, 2011 04:43 PM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

–H. L. Mencken


33 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. As long as the Democrats cave in to GOP threats to screw the people, the GOP will win every show-down. The Dems need to draw a line in the sand and speak out repeatedly about how they support extending tax cuts for the middle class and paying for it with the millionaire tax surcharge.

    And you want to know what will happen to the Republicans if the Dems hammer that message and taxes go up Jan 1? They’ll see their approval ranking approach zero.

    All that’s required is for the Dems in Washington to grow a spine. And accept that they have to let the GOP carry through on threatened damage so that the voters see the result of election a Republican majority.

    ps – As to the proposed tax cuts for small businesses (like mine). I figure I’m much better off with no tax cut and the Democrats forcing the GOP to do their worst.

    1. Considering that the millionaires’ surtax is now off the table, the only sticking point seems to be the pipeline, which is in the House bill but not in the Senate version.  I don’t think the Goopers are going to give that one up.


    2. As long as they know Dems will always cave,  it won’t matter if we have the White House, a House majority and a 60 a strong caucus in the Senate.  Haven’t we been there and weren’t Dems still caving? Let them go ahead and shoot the hostage and see what people think of them for it.  

      1. We said give us a majority and we’ll fix things. The voters gave us a majority and we continued to let the GOP call the shots. As long as the Democrats allow the GOP to bully them there’s no valid argument to give us a majority.

        Screw compromise – tell them there must be an increased tax on millionaires. And attach that to both the budget and continuation of the payroll tax cut.

  2. Why is Bill Gates selling nuclear tech to China?

    The Chinese government has also launched a major new initiative – “Thousand Foreign Talents” (not to be confused with Mao’s “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom”) – to attract the world’s best entrepreneurs and engineers to China from overseas. In areas where the U.S. no longer has the budget or willpower to continue, such as in manned space exploration, China now senses an opening. While NASA is shuttering its space shuttle program and ceding leadership to the private sector, China is ramping up its space efforts – including an aggressive new push to put a man on the moon by 2020. The Chinese government may even look to scoop up top NASA scientists on the cheap.

    Is the same thing now happening to our nuclear power industry?

  3. c-Jump: the Chutes & Ladders for all your lil’ programmers

    What if we told you that you could learn the basics of computer programming by skiing or snowboarding down a mountain?

    Nope, you don’t have to put on your snow pants. Or your hat. And really, you look silly in those goggles. All you need to do is pull out your copy of c-Jump and start playing!

    In c-jump, to win the race down the mountain, you must think like a computer programmer! Designed for middle school aged geeklings (or older geeks new to programming), c-jump teaches basic programming language commands like “if”, “else”, and “switch” and also introduce variable “x” concept. By moving around the board, entering loops, branching under conditional and switch statements, players get an understanding of how computer programs work while having fun.

    I can’t wait to see the twinkle in my little boys’ eyes when they see this under the tree.     Maybe here’s the answer to David’s dearth of capable candidates?

  4. There are 1.8 million “home health care workers,” which used to be an obscure job, but now is a huge area of low-wage employment, given the aging of the population and the trend toward helping the sick elderly remain at home rather than go to nursing homes.

    These are physically arduous (lots of lifting mobility-impaired folks, etc.) jobs held by folks on the margins:  typically minimum wage; >90% female, >50% minority, ~40% rely on public benefits (eg, Medicaid & food stamps) — and they’ve been exempt from the overtime requirement, so they get min wage even in 50, 60+ hour weeks.

    Now the Dep’t of Labor is passing a rule making overtime required for these jobs. As Biden would say, “this is a big F’ing deal,” given how many such workers there are in this group, how little they earn, and how tough these jobs are.

    Apologies that I don’t know how to embed HTML links in text but here’s the front-page USA Today article (feel free to joke about my reading USA Today):

    Say what you want about the administration, but the Obama Labor Dep’t has been as progressive as the Treasury Dep’t has not been — and this is an old passion of Obama’s: in 2003 he sponsored state legislation to raise the min wage for home care workers; and in 2007 he co-sponsored Senate legislation to end their federal overtime exemption, the article notes.

    1. Nice to see dots connected from then to now, in a “here’s what he said cared about, and some actions he took on that, both eight years ago, four years ago, and just this week” sort of narrative. It’s something the media does all too rarely, and leaves us operating in an Orwellian world with only six months, if that, of context for understanding it all, ourselves.

      Here’s how to embed a link–it’s easy to learn and it’s a neat thing to know how to do.

      First, decide on the word or phrase you want to make the link, and put <a href=”x”> in front of the word/phrase, and </a> on the end. Put the url for the site you want to link to in place of the “x”, click preview to make sure it worked, and you’re done.

      As for why that works–well, HTML treats things written inside a < and a > as instructions, not as text. So <i> will cause the words after it to display in italics, and </i> will cause subsequent words to be written in regular case. Bold is <b> and </b&gt. More than this is probably more than you want to know–but if not, a good second lesson might be to learn about how to embed images or videos re-sized to be the size you want. For a less utilitarian lesson, you could ask about how I made <i&gt appear as text–rather than just turning the rest of my comment italic. Ask and ye shall receive.

      Especially if you keep it up w/ comments like this one.

    1. More from that article:

      Hoover’s unwillingness to offer direct federal aid to workers displaced by the Depression was due to his belief that such assistance would destroy “American Character” and personal initiative. His intransigence culminated in his veto of the Garner-Wagner relief bill, which would have provided funds for the establishment of state unemployment services. Hoover also considered public works projects to be an unacceptable government handout if they involved direct expenditure by the U.S. Treasury.

      Hoover’s position on assisting business could not have been more different. Believing that the economic system of the day was fundamentally sound, Hoover thought that the only reform necessary was the creation of credit pools to shield banks and businesses from the downturn. This belief was behind the creation of the voluntary National Credit Corporation. When this venture failed …

      These later decisions to help businesses directly and toss a little federal money into public works projects, however, were more than offset by Hoover’s determination to cut government spending as the Depression accelerated late in his term.

      … Hoover offset falling government revenues with budget cuts. These spending cuts, along with Hoover’s reluctance to provide federal funds for public works projects, deprived the economy of needed stimulus, increasing the length and severity of the Great Depression.

      Can we please get a PR campaign going to toss the Hooverite Party out of Congress?

        1. The first three points should be in a straight line, and the point at 9.2 matches the axis value of 9.5…

          Clearly the original graph had axes going from 8.5 to 9.5, and some Fox producer said “Sex it up!” and they changed it from 8 to 10. That’s really sad.

  5. I am a bit surprised no one has posted on this one.

    Factor Follow Up Segment

    What is wrong with Colorado?

    Guests: Sharon Liko & Jon Caldara

    Colorado is one of only six states that has not passed some version of Jessica’s Law. Jon Caldara, head of a conservative think tank in Colorado, gave his take on the situation. “This is a traditional red state and most people are moderately conservative,” Caldara said, “but we’ve had a takeover by the left over the last three or four election cycles. A handful of well-funded individuals put together an infrastructure and created their own organizations.” Denver defense attorney Sharon Liko defended the state’s handling of child abusers. “If somebody is convicted of child rape, there is a mandatory five years to life. And if someone is convicted of a pattern, that’s a mandatory 24 years.” But The Factor groused that “you have more than 11,000 registered sex offenders walking around in Colorado right now.”  

    1. that you otherwise don’t care much for? This is one of those for me. Debbie Stafford was one of the clearest thinkers about these things to ever grace our golden dome. I believe she would point out here that the other option to “registered sex offenders walking around” is to jail them indefinitely. $$, anyone? How about treatment and education? Nope, says Caldera. Let the private sector figure that out! It’s like he’s never seen a breakdown of the Colorado budget. OR is trying to score cheap political points. Hmm.

      I would guess that no one commented on it because that is just really not news, or surprising. 😛


    2. via the democratic process in which majorities did not show support for the  policies of the far right at the voting booth.  Check. This reminds me of the righties who claim we liberated Iraq, bringing them the blessing of freedom, and then grouse about our letting the now free and sovereign country’s elected government decide they want our troops to leave.  

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