Thursday Open Thread

“Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster. Otherwise, why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune?”

–Elias Canetti

96 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Awen says:

    Those middle of the page webinar ads may be  hosing up the site – I’ve had a lot of trouble getting the main page to load, both with an ad blocker and without one.  

  2. Pita says:

    Other than the Miss Laura (Bradford) Chronicles, co-staring the Nutty Speaker and Disturbing PD, we have given very little attention to this year’s legislature.  Why is that?  Are the bills that non-controversial?  Is it election year paralysis?  Or is it the Repubs presidential race is so compelling we can’t seem to focus on what’s happening under the gold dome?  

    Anyway, I’ll be off the Reservation most of the day so I leave you with this wish – May the “Webinar” disappear in my absence.

  3. ClubTwitty says:

    “1” “2” and “3” on it.  He must be smart.  You should all send him your money.  I just sent all mine.  

  4. Sir Robin says:

    Usually, nothing happens when I click on post a comment.

    Pita’s point is appreciated. There seems to be little discussion for a policitcal blog on Bills submitted in the legislature.

    I just finished the book Confidence Men by Ron Suskind. It’s a great read, especially for those whom banking regulation, derivatives trading, Wall Street titans and manipulations of the market are of interest. The evolution of globalization, the “free” market, the brain drain away from productive enterprise all compete for what is best about the book.

    I certainly agree with Byron Dorgan’s direct comment to President Obama when he emphatically stated (regarding Geithner and Summers) “You hired the wrong two guys!” Much like is written in Naomi Klines. “The Shock Doctrine” (also a must read), an opportunity presented itself with the Bush stock market crash that was missed. The bankers and wall street traders were on their heels and the issue of gross compensation could have been reined in-but the chance was missed.

    Obama is a brilliant guy with great personal charisma, but the book more than confirms he started his job as POTUS less than competent, especially in the face of the huge challenges he was confronted with.

    The other part of the book that was very well researched and educational relates to heaalth care costs, and the health care delivery system in general. That alone made the book worth the price.

    If nothing else, now that Rahm Emmanual is back in Chicago (rendered mute with his middle finger missing), and the brilliant Pete Rouse having reorganized critical WH cabinet positions, Obama’s 2nd term should be very interesting.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      And I had the same main impression – Obama did a bad job running things for the first couple of years. And both blew a tremendous opportunity and insured that unemployment would stay high.

      • allyncooper says:

        Clinton inherited a weak economy with (then) huge budget deficits because of the S & L scandal, and Obama had essentially the same scenario only worse.

        Clinton had a learning curve his first two years and many pundits were writing him off for a second term. But he rebounded,  grew into the job, and left office with a booming economy and budget surpluses.

        • VanDammer says:

          But he (Clinton) rebounded, grew into the job, and left office with a booming economy and budget surpluses.

          There is nothing even remotely on the horizon that would be a repeat of all the economic & industry bubbles that benefited Bubba. We all truly hope for an improved economy but there will not (nor should there be) a return of over-inflated home prices, unqualified loans & finances, the unfettered globalization (nee offshoring) of manufacturing/jobs/services, the rampant deregulation of resource capitalization, and such.

          Dems, progs & libs often fall into the melancholic longing for the 90s without seeing it was all built on so many bubbles — and the trouble is that all bubble POP.      

  5. jadodd says:

    I see the issue of the federal government mandating insurance coverage for birth control has come up.  The Catholic bishop’s and the right wing’s push back seems to have caught many progressives flat footed.  Let me help.

    First, 26 states, including Colorado, already mandate that health insurance policies include “coverage for contraception.” Colorado Law  Furthermore, Colorado makes no exception for or accommodation of religious beliefs.  So, this is no biggie here in the Mile High state.

    Second, the Supreme Court has long recognized a distinction between “belief” and “conduct” when applying the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.  Beginning with the polygamy cases, the “belief-conduct” dichotomy has a winding and sometimes contradictory past.  But, the the current trend holds that “general laws” which have a incidental impact on religious conduct are constitutional.

    Let me suggest this article as an excellent primer on the subject.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      It’s merely mandating availability. They can still tell all their employees that it’s a sin to make use of birth control.

      • jadodd says:

        If we are going to be intellectually honest, it does mandate conduct – that the employer pay for the additional insurance benefit for contraception. You are right that the regulation does not require anyone to purchase or use contraceptives. However, the Catholic church does not want to “aid or abet” anyone’s (Catholic or not) use of contraceptives. If the Supreme Court does not go completely off the rails, ala Citizens United, the Catholic church will face the same problem as the 19th century Mormons.

        • Craig says:

          There is nothing that can be forced on anything remotely related to religion or to people of that religion.  And, of course, that’s exactly what the Catholic Church wants.  “Aiding or abetting”  really?  If the Catholic Church is only held to that standard, well, then no Catholic would need to pay taxes for wars or abortion for rape and incest, or any death penalty case expenses or costs of the actual execution.  This would lead to absolute chaos, as all parties to this discussion know.  The position of the Church in this is nothing but a political statement.  The Catholic Church has much bigger problems to worry about, not the least of which is that over 90% of American Catholics have ignored this “central” teaching of that Church that birth control is “evil.”  Maybe they ought to get their own house in order.  

    • MADCO says:

      godless freakin’ commie.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      — because Colorado needs an experienced, random son of a bitch.  

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      how Santorum won the GOP caucus?

    • RedGreen says:

      Here’s a tip: hit the “refresh” button, you won’t be reading day-old news when you do your daily dump.

    • Craig says:

      I have for years been in favor of a national lottery for public office.  Unless you have an IQ below 90 you are automatically entered.  The loser of the national lottery has to be President for four years.  Losers of local lotteries have to be Congresspersons and legislators.  If we did this, on average, we would get a more representative Congress and other things.  Yeah, sure, every once in a while you would get Ron Paul for President, but the reality is that with a Congress made up of a cross-section of America, how much could he do.  And Congress certainly wouldn’t be more unpopular that the current Congress is.  Frankly, I believe the collective goodness and wisdom of the American people and I think the bastardized system we have today has allowed hacks and idiots to run things, and no one will argue that the whole system as it is now is screwed up.

  6. Libertad 2.0 says:

    decides it should probably do something.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives voted to give President Barack Obama a limited line-item veto authority on Wednesday in a rare display of bipartisanship on bitterly divisive spending and budget issues.

    The House voted 254-173, with 57 Democrats joining Republicans in favoring the bill, which allows the president to propose elimination of individual items in spending legislation and subject them to a separate, second vote by Congress.



    Republicans are pushing more than 10 other budget reform bills this year in an effort to seize the election-year high ground and portray themselves as the party better equipped to conserve taxpayer dollars.

    http://news.yahoo.com/house-vo

    Well, it only took 13 months.

  7. davebarnes says:

    “20% of Republicans leaning to Obama!”

    But, wait, there is more.

    “The latest…Poll shows none of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates has solidified the base of the party, with one in five GOP voters leaning toward support of Obama in November.

    The poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 1-3, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.”

    Now, for the best part.

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/20-

    Yes, that World Net Daily.

  8. SSG_Dan says:

    Orly Taitz and the Birther Clowncar shut up again…

    PDF to full decision: http://beingliberal.org/public

    Money quote:

    CONCLUSION:

    President Barack Obama is eligible as a candidate for the presidential primary

    election under O.C.G.A. 21-2-5(b).

    SO ORDERED, February 2nd, 2012.

    MICHAEL M. MALIHI, Judge

    Justified snickering from the blogosphere:


    Orly Taitz loses birther case to an empty table

    Orly Taitz represented one of four plaintiffs challenging President Obama’s eligibility for placement on the Democratic ballot in Georgia. The President and his counsel were subpoenaed to appear in court to defend against these challenges, but the President’s attorney issued a nice letter to the judge stating that the Court had no business or jurisdiction even hearing the case and therefore the defense would not be in attendance.

    So Taitz and her fellow attorneys presented their best arguments without challenge from the defense, and requested a summary judgment on the merits.

    And the Court’s judgment: the plaintiffs have no case and no credible evidence, and there is no law to support their claims. Judgment for the defendant, represented only by an empty table, on the merits. Or in this case, utter lack thereof.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/

  9. Sir Robin says:

    Among other things, I am morally opposed to money being spent on wars and capital punishment. And yet I am inexplicably forced to pay for these things through my taxes. And when I hire someone to work for me, I must pay a share of taxes for these things on their behalf as well. I demand that I be allowed a “conscience” exemption.

    It truly does pain me to participate in these activities. I’m not kidding. But for some reason I’m forced to pay for many things the government does that appall me. But my conscience isn’t given any special dispensation. And the funny thing is that Catholics who believe as I do — and there are many — aren’t given any dispensation for those beliefs either. The only area where religion trumps citizenship is when it comes to private sexual behavior. Isn’t that odd?

    h/t Hullabaloo

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/

  10. nancycronk says:

    Is anyone reading anything written other than by Pols? Come on peeps, where is the love?  

    • Middle of the Road says:

      And when I see something worth promoting, I’ll be happy to do so. I don’t see anything that is promotion worthy thus far today.  

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      I have a funny “At least he’s not…” that I’ll post myself in a while, even. We haven’t had one of those in a while, and this guy I found deserves his time under the dunce cap.

      Haven’t seen anything I wanted to promote these last couple of days. Doesn’t mean the diaries weren’t good, but they didn’t have the whole-audience relevance that I prefer to see in something promotable.

  11. Voyageur says:

      Come back, talk up Santorum for President…

  12. cunninjo says:

    If my math is correct, on Inauguration Day in 2013 Mitt Romney will be exactly 65 and 315 days old. If elected (and that’s a BIG IF), he would tie with James Buchanan as the 3rd oldest President in U.S. history behind Ronald Reagan and William Henry Harrison (69 and 68 respectively).

    There is one caveat, however, that I argue would give Romney the edge for the #3 spot. President Buchanan was inaugurated on March 4th as was originally required in the Constitution. But, upon the realization that having a lame duck Congress for 4 months was a bad idea, it was bumped up to January 20th. So, had Buchanan been sworn in on January 20th, he would be younger than Romney.  

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      Downsize Romney !

    • Ralphie says:

      But seriously–what the hell does age have to do with anything?

      • cunninjo says:

        I think an argument can be made that a younger President can better understand emerging technologies and trends that will shape our economy and society in the coming years. That being said, Presidents typically just rely on advisers for that information so age doesn’t have that much of an impact on one’s ability to serve. Getting elected is a different story though.

        I think the real question is, how does Romney make himself look roughly the same age as Rick Santorum despite being 11 years his senior? It’s certainly more than just the hair.  

        • Ralphie says:

          And you can make your argument all you want, but think I understand emerging technologies better than my kids.

          The reason has nothing to do with age.  I pay attention.  They don’t.

          Once again, what does age have to do with anything?

          The founders, in their infinite wisdom, set a MINIMUM age for the President.  Not a maximum age.  They were right then, and they’re still right.

          • cunninjo says:

            Romney already looks the same age as Santorum, and I suspect it’s more than the fact that he dyes his hair. I think the great lengths he clearly goes to in order to look significantly younger than he really is shows his absolute obsession with power. I don’t see that as a good quality in a candidate.

            In terms of the role age plays in being President, I already agreed with you that one can be 65+ and still be an effective President. However, I think the older a candidate is, the more challenging it is to convince voters 50 and under that you can relate to them. That’s why there have been just 3 Presidents (Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush I) elected to their first term above the age of 60 since Reconstruction (Truman and Ford took office before being elected).  

    • Libertad 2.0 says:

      So Romney’s a youngin’ by comparison.

  13. Diogenesdemar says:

    that everyone can be proud of:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02

  14. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    I bet the bastard tried to ask a question.  The nerve.

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