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December 30, 2011 04:51 PM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

–Henry David Thoreau


65 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. SOPA opponents may go nuclear

    When the home pages of,,, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA, you’ll know they’re finally serious.

    True, it would be the political equivalent of a nuclear option–possibly drawing retributions from the the influential politicos backing SOPA and Protect IP–but one that could nevertheless be launched in 2012.

    The one thing politicians pay more attention to than their financial owners backers is voters who are suddenly paying attention on an issue. This would almost certainly get their attention. Many people live in Facebook, their route to sites is Google, and their first reference is wikipedia.

    This would have major ramifications because it would open up a new and very powerful political approach. It would be targeted (the black screen would include contact info for the viewers Congresspeople) and it would be from sites people have a close ongoing relationship with. I don’t see how MPAA/RIAA, or any entity, can respond at that level in reaching the voters.

    It would not be an absolute win, but it would probably bring enough pressure to bear to kill SOPA/Protect IP. And it would give the lobbyists for Facebook, Google, etc. a lot more influence.

    It would also shake up Washington because it’s a different source of influence. And different is very upsetting to those in charge of a locked in system.

  2. We shouldn’t provoke Iran with sanctions. If we do they have a right to retaliate by closing the straight of Hormuz.  If they do that, he wouldn’t personally be for military intervention but he’d go along (I guess reluctantly, which would make him a super Commander in Chief leader) if congress declared war.

    In other words, by all conservative GOP standards of decades standing, he’s a wimpier, blame America firstier, Muslim sympathizer/appeaser than pretty much any and every and all put together Dems they’ve saddled with those epithets. Obama is Conan the Destroyer/Captain America by comparison.

    Do his rightie supporters pay any attention at all to who this guy really is? Where would he be without super, super, super low info supporters? Like that D list celebrity girl whose name and reality show I can’t recall and had no idea about his racist newsletter.  

      1. The libertarianism of the young is how the young (including many very smart young folks) deal with having so little power, and so little voice with the people who do have power.

        What’s attractive about Ron Paul is that his main beef seems to be that other people and organizations (the Fed, the EPA, the FDA, the DEA, the Senate, the courts–you name it) have too much power. His domestic policy–end the drug war, audit the fed, return power to the states–also sounds very nice to people who feel like all of these Orgs are so distant as to be effectively foreign agencies with private agendas and loads of power.

        Ron Paul voters may as a set be very, very low information voters. But so are any candidate’s voters. What sets a given young Libertarian apart is he/she has strong impressions of American government as run by people with no stake or interest in said voter’s well-being. So yeah Rontards hate wars, but that’s not all they hate. They resent government projects of all kinds.

        1. except for the fact that there’s a beam in Paul’s eye that keeps him from seeing the biggest way-too-much-power problem of our time .  .  . corporations, and more specifically the corporate wealth concentration and tax avoidance machinery.

          Dr. Paul sees that there’s a sickness, he just needs a proctologist to help him finally see who has it.  

          1. Corporate power isn’t the only power that is badly abused these days.

            Don’t get me wrong–my first issue is stopping climate change–but excessive state power, and a disconnect between state priorities and people’s priorities, is a huge thing apparent at every level of our democracy, and racy Ronnie is the only one saying it. The drug war is racist. The prison industry is actually successfully drafting and passing legislation to strengthen sentencing, to strengthen profits. Sure you can argue that corporate power is the problem there, but how does the passing of legislation not count as the exercise–in this case the abuse–of government power? The military industrial complex (in it’s present size, dwarfing the combined military budgets of the rest of the world) has the active support of basically zero citizens, yet year-on-year it usually grows.

            I’m not the most up on these things… but here’s just one example I heard about recently: in VA and Michigan it’s illegal for school districts to start school before labor day, or to make up snow days past a certain date, because Anheuser-Busch and other theme-park owning companies want teenagers available to work at their theme parks, and have shown themselves willing to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to keep the “Kings Dominion” law in place.

            I’m plenty liberal, and way back in college I wrote for the liberal college rag. And one of the editors said something that stuck with me: we liberals may disagree with libertarians, and we’ll generally be right, and half that time the libertarians will be certifiable, because they’re so disposed to see people out to get them. But we need them around to keep us honest.

            And here’s the link you really should read:

        2. Was just pointing out the particular things that a low info supporter of Paul might not feel so supportive of.  Reagan was a classic example.  People just liked him and his sunny nature and expertly delivered lines.  Poll after poll showed majorities opposing Reagan policies, but loving Reagan, blissfully unaware that those policies they didn’t like had any connection to him.  

          It was just Morning in America…. good.  Whatever you don’t like is the fault of unions and Welfare Queens and you nice white blue collar folks know what “Welfare Queens” means, don’t you?  OK, then!  Even his obvious dementia failed to make a dent when he ran for his second term.

          And that’s what sets the presidential apart. Of all offices, this is the one low info voters come out for in the largest proportions and it’s maybe 10 parts popularity, do I like this candidate, is this candidate anything like me, and one part specific issues or even little details like, does this guy know the difference between movies he was in and real memories?

          All that said, Paul is never going to be the GOP candidate, much less President and he and everyone else who pays even a little attention to some information knows it.

      2. his appealing to young folks who like libertarianism and I can see his  isolationist message appealing to them but you’d think they’d be turned off by his ugly racism and anti-gay views.  The race war talk, on the other hand, ought to be fine with the GOTP base but you’d think they’d be turned off by his wimpy let’s not make Iran mad and general anti-muscular foreign policy message. It seems that his fans on every side just see what they want to see and don’t want to hear about the rest. Of course we’re still talking about a very small chunk of possible voters nationwide who show some approval for him.  

      3. it was same story in ’08.  Paul’s Paulites (the non-mocking moniker) were responsible for pushing his viral campaign adds, delivering huge money bombs, and delivering 16 delegates to the convention.

        The pawns of any revolution are usually that gen of 20+ folks.  For them the only or best way of changing a broken system that ignores their interest is to find the one willing to throw bombs.  Paul’s rhetoric and Libertarianism juices up those wanting to storm the gates.

        Also, this time around Paul picks up more of the disenfranchised & sour-pussed TeaBaggers ’cause they have nowhere else to turn.  Bachmann is as faux a true Bag as a $10 Dooney & Bourke. Parry is such a pandering idiot he’ll grab onto anything hoping for a lifeline. And Santorum/Neut don’t pass Bagger muster due to their yrs feeding @ the public trough.  

        So Paul becomes more a spoiler in ’12 than ever before but his grassroots $-bombs don’t have legs and could never compete with what Mittens takes in over single malts @ the 19th hole. All the big money is on the perfectly salt-n-pepper coiffed, faux nor’easter, flip-floppin’ Mormon investment fund capitalist to win (w/ the most important descriptor there being capitalist).  

        Paul might get the platform skewed a little hard right for the benefit of his delegates but everyone’s crazee uncle is forced to take his chair when the dance truly begins.  

        1. But his contributing to an early Mittens win, along with all the other 15 minute wonders, might help some interesting general election “other” party candidates.

        2. but

          @ DanleyS: Complete fail.

          They resent government projects of all kinds.

          I engage in conversations with “young” people (I’m saying 16 to 30; probably should say 16 to 69 1/2.) all the time–at light rail stops, a recent Christmas Eve party, kids who used to throw snowballs at my car, cigarette panhandlers (In other words, I try to get to know people around me–except the ones who shove their carts in front of me at the supermarket, who can go straight to hell without the benefit of my ablutionary conversation.)

          “Kids” do not resent government projects. They resent the hijacking of government by forces they don’t understand. They, like many older than they, resent government that doesn’t perform as promised. They do not, nor do most people, resent the power, they resent the mis-use of power, the manipulation of power by forces they don’t yet understand.

          Your job, DanleyS, is to help them with a little bit of education, not blind handholding.

          1. I used a poor choice of words. I meant more that, if you pick any government project–even the most basically good ones, like medicaid, the EPA, NASA–you can find a whole bunch o’ young folks who resent it. I didn’t mean to say that there’s a broad swath of young people who resent all government projects.

            However I stand by what I was trying to say–a lot of young people have legitimate reason to think not merely that the government is hijacked by outside interests, but rather that it is their outright enemy when it takes any interest in them at all. I think sometimes we liberals expect too easy an ally in any person who has been persecuted, cheated, or locked up by the government, because we too are ‘disappointed’.

            But disappointment is a feeling you have toward your kids, when they under-perform. That’s not the feeling that young people get reading the story of Cameron Todd Willingham. It’s not the feeling they get learning that the FED has been secretly handing additional hundreds of billions to the people and institutions that, with greed and casual disregard for the well-being of others, caused the problem the hand-outs ostensibly help to solve. It’s not the feeling someone gets, watching a friend, or themselves going into prison for a year or two because they bought pot to sell to friends. Disappointment doesn’t cover it. Ron Paul is resentful, suspicious, hostile, and sometimes downright hateful toward government. And, even if Ronnie lives in a paranoid and racist delusion, along with many of his supporters, his emotional appeal is real to many, and predicated on real failings of the government.

            I’m not sure how to respond to the charge of ‘hand-holding.’ I’ve never met a libertarian whose hand, metaphorical or otherwise, I then proceeded to hold. However if you mean that I am supposed to bring

            a little bit of education

            to bear in order to de-fang their attitude toward government, well, I would rather use what facts I have to make them more angry (and steer them toward more productive outlets)–not less angry.  

            1. My unfounded assumption, from your vigorous advocacy for young people’s position of disenchantment, was that you were sympathetic to the point of encouragement. My bad. And “handholding” was unnecessarily snarky.

              And, as long as you help them channel their anger toward participating in solutions, good luck. To you, to them and to us all.

      4. ‘Fess up: Didn’t some of you fall a little under the spell of Ms. Rand when your were young and, yes, callow?

        So-called Libertarianism has so many heartstring pullers, especially for the young and invincible (Universe knows, they don’t have any headstrings to pull.) But carried beyond juvinel fantasies, it becomes a social illness.

        Self-reliance: Hell no, I don’t need you. I know it all and can do it all. Especially, without your damned interference.

        Non-interference: Hey, they chose their lot. They can change it without my help. If they don’t, they deserve what they choose.

        Government: What for? I can take care of myself and my own. If you can’t, too bad. Buck up, wimp. We don’t need each other; I just need you to stay out of my way.

        Rights: What rights? Rights begin at the end of my fist or the end of my gun. You choose. Whatever I want, that’s my right. You want more? Try to take ’em.

        Brown people, gay people, poor people, old people, people from somewhere else: Fuck ’em. They ain’t like me. So who cares? They’re on their own; just don’t let ’em get in my way.

        Rules, regulations, laws, the Constitution: They’re the way I read them. Period. And they’re all in my way. I’d be better off without them, and I’m all that counts.

        Truly, libertarianism belongs to the young, the invincible, the juvenile. Especially those who enjoy being schoolyard bullies.

        Dr. Paul just hasn’t grown up. Puppies pee all over themselves when they see him. Until he slips them some rat poison.

  3. but I am playing within the rules and I don’t have enough clout with the state to change the rules. If you don’t participate you ensure that positive change will not happen and that if any change does happen it will be just the amount that the rule makers want, never enough.

      1. to be PCPs and to participate in GOTV and such have long since faded away. That’s really the the only positive I see in caucus; attracting new participants, some of whom will become active volunteers. I’d just as soon go to a primary without caucus system.

      2. It vindicated Howard Dean’s strategy and greatly diminished the power of the Clintons (whose legacy in the party is triangulation rather than progressivism, whatever revisionists may claim). It also gave us an overwhelming House and Senate majority.

        Yes, Democrats fucked a lot of it up (as I recall you spent all your time telling them to weaken their proposals to get Republicans working with them), but voters at least gave the politicians an opportunity to enact change even if they didn’t seize it.

          1. Obama was elected by voters with high hopes for concrete policy changes.  The stuff about more civility and changing the tone?  Everybody always says that.  Polls show high support for not eating puppies or kicking grandmas with  walkers to the curb.  It doesn’t mean we want 99% ceded to lousy GOTP policy for the sake of making nice to those whose only interest is kicking us in the teeth.

            Holding hands and singing with the other side requires the other side having some interest in holding hands and singing, too.  Too bad it’s taken 3 years  for Dems’ fearless(?) leaders to figure that out.  

            But do I recall a certain Dave being a strong advocate for the let’s all get together and be sweet as pie approach?  

          1. and to be honest he’s done less of the “campaigning to the right of every Democrat in the Senate” than Clinton did. Clinton had a governing style which worked to get himself elected and re-elected but didn’t help any other Democrat.

            I’ve complained a lot about Obama here, but once this is all over we’ll at least have accomplished some progressive things from Obama. Clinton ended up with literally nothing progressive to show for his term; he just occasionally resisted the complete destruction of progressive things when he thought it would help him.

            1. “He was elected to be one”

              People projected their progressive desires upon his tabula rasa absent any true progressive message or record.  I don’t think he made any great liberal promises.

              As for Clinton’s legacy, he beat Bush Jr. in judicial appointments, which Obama can only dream about.

              1. so I’m not inclined to go through his campaign promises in depth with citations, but his original health care proposal and tax plan were fairly progressive (especially compared to what actually happened).

                The idea that Obama never proposed anything specific is right-wing bullshit. He talked like a progressive who was somehow going to get conservatives to go along with everything. If you compare to actual liberals like those who existed in the 70s, then yes Obama is pretty conservative. But he’s further to the left than Clinton ever tried to be, even before 1994.

            2. He ran as a let’s hold hands and sing centrist, promising a new tone, compromise, bipartisanship, blah blah blah.  

              If you bought Obama as a progressive/liberal then you bought what the GOP was selling.  It wasn’t like the Romanoff campaign where the campaign itself was the source of the new progressive champion identity. Neither the Clintons nor Obama ever presented themselves as anything other than centrists.

              The GOP just redefined “center” to mean old fashioned Main Street conservative Republicans as opposed to what used to be considered the most extreme fringe of the right wing, shoving any moderate Republican and all but the most conservative Dems (who were allowed to call themselves moderates) to the left under their definition.   And they, for decades, have been the self appointed definers, unchallenged by the media or even by the please-don’t-hate-me for-being-liberal-I-hate-liberals-too Dems.

              Even so,  we don’t all have to buy it just because they’re selling it. Obama did not run as a leftie. Not even close.  Sorry.  That’s just incorrect.

              1. No, he didn’t run as a “leftie”. But a “centrist”, after Bush, was also good enough for me–at the time. Now, back to the top of the page:

                “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

                –Henry David Thoreau

                And pay attention to Van.

                1. overrated and deadly dull and this quote approaches Hallmark store mug territory. Guess he wasn’t worried about ignorance of history dooming us to repeat it.  It has a decided don’t worry, be happy air that I wouldn’t associate with the guy.   But Happy New Year to his legion of fans anyway. It won’t be the first time I don’t get it about some widely beloved, admired figure.    

                  1. in pioneering the questioning of where the ideas of American exceptionalism and destiny were taking us (and the world);  the first to suggest that what we were losing was something more valuable than what we were gaining by pursuing the generally accepted definition of progress; the Steve Jobs of lazy, curmudgeonly men down through the ages.  

  4. Gingrich Would ‘Look At’ Sarah Palin For Vice President Or Cabinet Job.  Why not?  Soon-2-B caucus roadkill Newt scrambles to say anything to get a rise outta flaccid Iowan rightwingers.

    … to assure voters that he is the most serious candidate in the race,(Newt) said he would be open to appointing Sarah Palin to a high level job in his administration.

    As Right Wing Watch reports, during a Wednesday night tele-town hall hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, a caller asked the former Speaker if he would consider Palin as a running mate. Gingrich responded that Palin “is certainly one of the people you would look at” and told the caller that he is “a great admirer of hers.”

    He also floated the idea of appointing her Secretary of Energy because, he said, “I can’t imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin.”

    Geez, that Newt cabinet is filling up nicely.  The Herminator as Sec of Defense or State (anything for Cain’s “valuable” endorsement) and now the Wa$$illa hillbilly hee-hawing w/ “drill baby drill” in our Everglades & National Parks.  What a plan!

  5. At 3:00 today I take delivery of my new car – a Nissan Leaf. So no more gas purchases and therefore no gas taxes. Which leads to the question, what does the state do for transportation funding as electric takes over for cars? The gas tax works well because it’s invisible and is small payments over the course of the year. If instead it’s one big very visible payment as part of registration – that will get a lot of push back.

    1. I’m so sorry that you get to circumvent the system by which we pay for for highways by having enough personal wealth to buy an expensive car.

      If you get to feeling too guilty, you can buy me a tank of gas once in a while.  I still drive a ’91 Toyota pickup.

      My address is in the book.  Looking forward to your check.

        1. You should show off your new Leaf at a Pols Meet-up (hee, hee)

          But seriously, interesting choice.  It would actually work for my minimal need for a car these days.  But range-anxiety will always push a lot of people towards hybrids, and even high-mileage standard cars (the Ford Focus is pretty appealing to me).

          1. It was that or another BMW. But I’m curious to see how it works when you have this hard limit with a lot of time required for a charge. And the only way to find out is to try it.

            As to the occasional car trip outside of Denver – we have my wife’s car. So it’s not that big a risk.  

                1. dents are inevitable … should be up there with death & taxes and besides you bought it for the mechanics & electronics on the inside and not the external looks ’cause if it was all about the looks U would’ve popped the $$s for the Tesla

    2. and in the near future, the gas tax is a great way to encourage fuel efficiency. Apparently some people are trying to get a mileage tax passed, which is a horrible idea IMO since it seems based on the premise that only the condition of the road itself is important (not the externalities of pollution and oil use).

      So in the short term, general taxes will make up the difference as they have for many years. In the long term, if everyone somehow ends up using electric cars, you could put a transportation tax in with the electric bill. No reason it has to be a giant lump sum payment.

      I’m not sure the gas tax works all that well. It’s invisible, true, but the problem with that is that many people imagine it’s a lot higher than it really is. Remember in 2006 or so when gas was $4 per gallon, and Republicans proposed eliminating the federal gas tax (even though it was only about 18 cents a gallon)? And apparently everyone is terrified of raising it even though it would still be a tiny portion of the cost of gas.  

      1. going into the public coffers as taxes. Much better to have them all go to the poor old oil companies and their conveyors, right? Invisibly, at that.

  6. …was this commercial:

    Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way:

    There is a television advertisement for a video game called Modern Warfare 3 that is so base and strident that it’s hard to believe that it’s not deliberately offensive. It begins with two Hollywood buffoons in (for whatever reason) MultiCam taking heavy fire during an apparent New York City terrorist attack. The men calmly walk into a hailstorm of bullets, and return fire with rifles, pistols, and submachine guns. Most disturbing is that the depicted maelstrom seems designed to carefully hover in the uncanny zone. Clearly it’s not Black Hawk Down, but neither is it Starship Troopers. On some level-perhaps it’s the intensity of the actors-the commercial wants its action to be taken seriously.

    Veterans aren’t in the “professionally aggrieved” business, and I don’t doubt that some significant percentage of men and women in uniform own a copy of Modern Warfare 3. Because the game crossed the billion dollar sales mark in only 16 days, clearly its marketing strategy is working. But none of that makes it okay, or mitigates its tastelessness. The advertisement trivializes combat and sanitizes war. If this were September 10, 2001, maybe it wouldn’t be quite so bad. Those who are too young to remember Vietnam might indulge in combat fantasies of resting heart rates while rocket-propelled grenades whiz by, and of flinty glares while emptying a magazine into the enemy. But after ten years of constant war, of thousands of amputees and flag-draped coffins, of hundreds of grief-stricken communities, did nobody involved in this commercial raise a hand and say, “You know, this is probably a little crass. Maybe we could just show footage from the game.”

    Maybe I’ve just been too busy trying to put together the human wreckage caused by two wars over ten years, but I can’t stand this sort of warnography on the air.I don’t play FPS, and anyone who does and thinks they understand combat needs some help…

    1. The guy  next door says these video “games” improve his kid’s hand-eye coordination and the kid is deinitely headed for the NFL, and his wife says it’s better than having the kid out playing in the street (and sunshine?). Besides, it’s only a game, right?.

      And war today is only more TV.

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