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September 08, 2007 03:43 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“They don’t call me Tyrannosaurus Sex for nothing!”

–Sen. Ted Kennedy, reportedly wearing a Barney suit


59 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1.   Chuck Hagel just announced that he will join John Warner, Wayne Allard, and (presumably) Larry Craig in retiring at the end of ’08. 
      Bob Kerrey better give his two-weeks notice to the Board of Trustees at the New School in N.Y., and get his butt back to Omaha. He’s got a Senate seat to claim.

    1. …the 60 Dem Senate!

      OK, OK, I know that there will be tough races and it isn’t a given.  But one can dream. 

      I was listening to Ron Paul on an audio clip and I thought, “What if RP becomes president and we have a solid Dem congress?”  Would be interesting, if not devastating.

      1.   We’d be out of Iraq yesterday, but he’s veto every spending bill that reached his desk. 
          If people freaked out about the government shutdown (which was more of a slow down at non-essential departments) in the mid 90’s when Newt Gingrich had his hissy fit over seating on Air Force One, then they’ll going off the edge when Ron Paul confronts the appropriations bill written by a solid Democratic Congress.
          This could be very entertaining……

        1. and start chipping away instead of blowing up the whole Federal gummint.

          Wait until he starts slashing corporate welfare and Social Security!  Impeach!

          1. You cannot mention their names in the same sentence.  I’m offended by Paul’s comments that if not racist, are certainly insensitive.  It’s no surprise to me that his “we deserve to be attacked” mentality is appealing to you.

            How in the world could you, a walking definition of an entitlement mentality, support his fiscal conservatism that borders on idiocy?

            1. ..I just find RP interesting and that he sticks by his principles, whether I like them or not.  How rare in the political arena!

              What I meant by “pull a Reagan” is that RR would have liked to have done a lot more to reduce the size of the federal government. But he knew the realities and limitations.  And as we know, actually increased the size of it while talking the opposite.

          1. We end up with better laws when you get smart people from the right as well as the left. Hagel is not crazy, is not a religous nut, and does not want to send all money to the top 0.0001% of the rich.

            He’s a large part of what we need in the Repub party.

            1. that a Hagel conservative is to be preferred over a  frothing at the mouth religious far rightie but as far as any progressive agenda is concerned, economic conservatives aren’t going to be very helpful.  A Chuck Hagel is never going to help solve healthcare, a tax structure widening the gap between the haves and have nots or the global warming threat. If he can be replaced with a Dem, goodbye and good luck.  If not, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference.

              1. Lets take healthcare. If the solution comes totally from the left the oddds are very good that the solution will break the bank in 10 years as the main effort will go in to what it provides and less effort in to making it affordable.

                Someone like Hagel, if they know there is going to be healthcare reform, will work to make sure that it is economically sensible and will try to bring in the free market where it will work.

                The compromise from all parties working on that will give us a better system most times. That’s why having opponents involved can leade to better laws.

                1.   Remember back to ’93-’94 when the Dems held the House, Senate and White House.  A left wing health care reform plan was put forward which Senate Republicans killed. 
                    BTW, the Senate Republicans back then held fewer seats than the 49.5 seats they hold today.  While I think the Dems will pick up a handful of seats in ’08, they’re not going to hit the magic number of 60.
                    You’re absolutely correct that the only way this will work is by some type of bipartisan compromise.

                  1. This is an academic argument since Hagel IS retiring.  And of course we need some Republican support to get anything done but just because he is against the war is no reason to believe that he would one of the Rs likely to support anything other than a very conservative agenda on economic, healthcare or global warming issues. 

                    This fondness for Hagel on his way out reminds me of the  near sainthood bestowed on Sandra Day O’Connor because she sided with us on some Supreme Court decisions.  When push came to shove in 2000 she was the completely partisan swing vote that stopped the count in Florida and installed  an unelected Republican in the White House. Dems should beware of falling in love with some conservative Republicans just because they are less objectionable then worse conservative Republicans. 

      1. There are reports that Bob Kerrey is seriously considering a return to the Senate.  If so, that seat is definitely in play…… least as much as the Allard seat is in play.

            1. Nelson won in a walk: 64-36 or so.  But he was also running against a political neophyte with a ton of money and just about nothing else. 

              If R’s run a solid, proven candidate (like Mike Johanns) and make sure he or she is funded well, the seat should stay in R control.  Kerrey is to the let of Nelson and really hasnt been in the state since he left office (which may or may not matter) but who knows.  Kerrey seems to be the only Dem with a real chance at this point…

              And yeah, I’d take another DINO like Nelson over an actual Repub in the Senate any day.

      1. The present Republican party of religious fundamentalists and corporate shills is not at all the Republican party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or even Nixon.

        Hagel is an actual Republican. And if the Republican party is to have a future, he is what the party must return to.

  2. A survey of people’s opinions of various potential replacements doesn’t have the greatest news for Lt. Gov. Risch…  Risch only rates a 26% approval rate right now, far lower than the other potential candidates Survey USA polled.

    The bad news for the GOP is, while 61% of Idahoans approve of their other Senator (Mike Crapo), Risch’s approval rating is in the toilet.  The other two most-often-mentioned potential candidates, Rep. Simpson and Interior Secretary Kempthorne, have both bowed out of the race (Kempthorne might take the remainder of Craig’s session, but apparently doesn’t want the seat permanently.)  Risch is $320k in the hole on his Lt.Gov. campaign, which doesn’t help either.

    The only good news for the GOP is that former Lt. Gov. Larry LaRocco – the current Democratic Party candidate – is only at a 22% approval and loses a theoretical matchup 52-36.

    1.   That 26% approval rating has got to be about 15% higher than Lavatory Larry’s approval rating about now. 
        How did someone end up $320,000 in the red running for LIEUTENANT Governor in Idaho?  Was it all in the primary?  Rish couldn’t have been that frightened of the Democrat, could he?
        If Rish is appointed, with those kinds of spending habits, they must put him on the Senate Budget Committee! 

  3. …..male prostitute for the unions and a tax monger.
    I read the Post today……17 flippin tax proposals being considered for this election series!
    Give me a fuckin break. This asshole must think the average Coloradoan is rolling in cash. I bet if he thought he could get away with it he would plaster them all on the ballot at one time. But like Mike May said, “Are we going to need a tax increase just to pay for the ballot?”
    This dickhead, 2nd choice dickhead at that, is out of touch with the common working man. Does he not read the paper and see that mortgage forclosures are skyrocketing? Does he not see the price of a fuckin gallon of gas? Does he not see what a measly $100.00 will buy us in the grocery store? Has he bought a new vehicle or any large ticket item lately and seen how much the goddam sales tax is already on it? (7.4% in El Paso County. Hell, let’s just raise it to 25% so nobody will buy anything…….)
    NO. He lives in a fuckin mansion…..
    Let’s just raise taxes.
    Don’t worry about the average income people that are supposedly his parties main concern.
    Don’t worry about the average working man who is trying his best to keep his head above water and stay off the welfare rolls.
    Don’t worry about the people that supported him by putting his dumb ass in power.

    Wait, what am I saying? This is actually a good thing in disguise. 2nd choice Ritter will go down as One Term Tax Whore Ritter…..

    1. …as if Bill Owens had a clue about the working man.

      Take a deep breath, Gecko.  The story says that there are up to 17 proposals at this time, from various groups, not from Ritter necessarily.  His spokesman specifically states that they won’t got to the voters with multiple issues.  Some of the proposals are DOA, too weird or focused. This is merely a time of discussion.

      Don’t forget, the con’s beloved TABOR is part of the cause of not having enough money to run government. As the words you read say, Colorado is WAY down the list on certain expenditures per capita.

      Mike Mays’ belly aching is a real laugh.  When things were tight a few years ago the cons wanted to sell government buildings and lease them back.  Now he says we out to buy the buildings instead of leasing them.  Both Ways Mike?

      Ritter lives in the same mansion as every other governor has for about 100+ years.  Both Ritter and BO had modest homes in Aurora, AFIR.  Try again.

      Granted that there is another 3 1/2 years to go, but at this point Ritter is very popular.  No evidence yet of going down in flames. 

      On second thought, don’t take a deep breath.  That’s that EPC air!  And what are you doing reading a newspaper from the center of all that’s evil besides Boulder?

      1. doesn’t have any carriers that can get the paper to my house before 6:00, so I had no choice.
        Actually I screwed up on my rant as I don’t get the Post, I get the RMN. Almost as bad.

        I was not fond of Owens either. He sold us down the river by giving us that huge tax increase nicely worded as a TABOR time out….REF C.
        Don’t worry about what the average taxpayer wants, just overrule us. Remember it just BARELY passed. Mostly because of the constant bombardments of scare tactics used. You remember, dead babies lying in the streets, poor poor children bumping into walls because their schools were in complete shambles and they were too stupid to find the doors, etc, etc

        Question for ya,
        When is enough tax enough?
        I’ve asked this before and have always been blown off.
        What is the figure we need to put in play so that we won’t have to ever raise taxes again for say,,,,,20-30 years?
        10% state tax? 20% state tax? 30% state tax? 50% state tax?
        Or maybe just 100% of our total income divided up nicely between the feds, the state, the counties, and the cities.
        I can never get a straight answer to a great question…..How much is enough?
        I know why I can’t get a simple answer, because enough is never enough. Not until every dime is taken and there is no more to give.
        Com’on Pars, you are a straight shooter. When is enough enough? Why don’t we just get it over with and put on the ballot a “once and for all” tax increase? What would the figure need to be to make all the tax lovin libs happy?

        1. I’d like to see the tax rate set to match the state GDP so the legislature can then adjust rates by income level and balance it between personal income tax, corporate income tax, and other taxes like the gas tax. But the total tax income matches a percentage of the state GDP.

          As to the rate, I’d go for about 10 – 15% more than the state presently takes. The state is not perfect but I think it does a pretty good job. And the future of this state is directly tied to the money we effectively put into higher education.

        2. …and ironically, is the question that I ask anti-tax folks!  Slight variation: “Just what IS the right amount of taxes?”  Usually the response I get is seque into another tax topic, never answering my question. 

          You see, this whole discussion is bass-ackwards.  IMNSHO, we first need to decide what services we want to provide through the public sector (fat chance of agreement there) and then figure out the taxes and the taxation system to accomplish that. 

          There is no magic “right tax” number.  It’s not written in the Bible, the Koran, or the stars.  It’s whatever we as citizens choose to do.

          BTW, the RMN is the Post on Sundays.  I, too, suscribe to The Snooze…more editorial space, better photographers.

          1. Osama says that according to Koran (or the Hadith, or some such), the right tax is 2.5%.  Which I could get on board with.

            Not sure how he’d balance that with the rest of his neo-socialist causes, but that’s why he’s become a wimpy intellectual instead of the fiery jihad-declaring loon he once was.

            1. ..when his family made its fortunes in filthy capitalism and Saudi Arabia doesn’t need (much?) taxes because of the oil.

              Thanks for that correction, I’ll take it at face value.

              (I bet Mohammed didn’t believe in public education!)

            2. 2.5% refers to Zakat, the “tithe” that Muslims are supposed to give to the poor or those fighting jihad, when they can afford it. 

              There’s another religious tax, Khomz, and it is mostly paid by the rich.  I thought it went to religious leaders and institutions.  That’s how madrassas are funded in foreign countries.  But a Muslim told me it was also for the poor. 

              But if you know that much about Q’ran, than you know that there’s an extra tax for People of the Book (Christians and Jews,) and for that they get left alone. 

              But if someone refuses to claim one of those faiths, then they have no right to live in the community. 

              So Usama is not necessarily the one you want setting your tax law.

              The Q’ran is supposed to be written for all times and all cultures, but my impression is that it was affected by the culture in which it was recorded.  See, there aren’t supposed to be any taxes levied by the government on citizens in Muslim countries, and I think that presumes the government is headed by a King who effectively owns all of the assets in his domain. 

              I’ve heard that, up until 1962, the King is Saudi Arabia was considered to own not just every square inch of and every improvement in the Kingdom, but also to be the “father” or owner of everyone who lived there. 

              Even though slavery was officially outlawed that year, some folks have said it’s still that way.  But I can’t say for sure.  I’ve applied for a tourist visa to see for myself, and was told that they don’t allow any non-Muslim tourists. 

              1. I thought that SA was actively seeking tourists, at least as of a few years ago.  I even have an image in my head of a magazine ad they were running, the silhoutte of a woman in a burka.  Exotic.  Yeah.

                Good for you for trying to see with your own eyes.  I have a friend that did that with Venezuela three years ago. 

                AFAIK, all of the slavery in the world today is with Muslims, especially in Africa. Yes, there is bondage to be worked off by Asian workers smuggled into the US, for example, but I hold that as a different flavor. 

        3. completely foreign to many here, that the guvment needs to learn to live “within its means”. Just like every single worker on this planet.
          Of course now the old standby line will come out that there just isn’t enough money in the state/feds budgets so they HAVE to increase taxes. I say BS.
          We hear this EVERY year there is any kind of election. That is what makes guys like me so pissed when we hear the same old line.

          Maybe a flat tax period is due.
          But don’t forget the period. I bet even with a flat tax of 20% nationwide, we would still be hit on every side from counties, cities, states, school districts, for even more.
          Enough is NEVER enough.

          Fuck it, time to go ridin in the cool air……..

          1. Americans (in general, not you, of course) do NOT live within their means. American families, on average, have been spending more than they make the last couple of years (dollars saved is negative).

            Haven’t you been reading that newspaper you get? Americans have all kinds of credit card debt. Americans are in hock up to their eyeballs with mortgages they can’t afford.

            So don’t go claiming that “every single worker on this planet” lives within his/her means. It might be true somewhere, but the rule in the USA is debt, debt and more debt.

            Coloradans pay just about the lowest state and local taxes of all he residents in the US (I think we’re rated 48th). It doesn’t matter how low our taxes are, though. Every day we hear the same old line about how high taxes are. Pisses me off. Can’t you belly-achers come up with something new (and maybe even partially accurate)?

            Have you every priced the cost of a mile of county road? $1-3 million dollars per mile! Have you contributed enough in taxes yet to cover even 1 mile? Don’t forget those subsidies the rest of us contributed to cover the actual costs of educating your sons in public schools.

            Pull your head out …

          2. I find it funny that you are such republican, and fight taxes, yet it is the republicans who have been screwing this state and nation. In particular, your party keeps running up massive deficits, which then requires more spending. The truth is that  the dems ran it up during WWII (like what should we have done?), and was continuely dropped UNTIL 1981. Once reagan come into office, the deficit started massive increases, even relative to the GDP. The point is, that it is your party that is causing the massive deficits that lead ultimately to monster tax increases. Even now, I believe us to be on the edge of a monster recession (one of the better indicators of economic strengh is the airlines and private flying; we fly more vacations when times are good; according to several pilots at AA, they have noticed that the loads have shifted very heavily to being mostly business; real bad sign).

            Want less tax? Fire your republican party.

    2. Sucks to be in the minority, eh?

      But really, I’ll take youre 7.4% tax rate any day.  Try 8.31% up here in Boulder.

      And like parsing said, I’m sure BO was really in tune with the “working man”

    3. Gecko, the fact that you don’t like Ritter does not mean that the rest of the state dislikes him. In fact, it’s quite possible that any politician that you did like would be so unpopular that they would not be re-elected.

      Ritter is doing a really good job and is deservedly very popular because of it. At present he will win re-election in a walk.

      – dave

    4. You have regaled us many times with what a great life you have in EPC with all your motors and guns. And now we hear that the sales tax is too high there? It is certainly higher, by .5%, than in Lake County where we also have lots of guns and motors. And, unfortunately, Lamebrain also represents us.
      If you don’t want the state to be responsible for education then the feds need to take it over because rural communities have been very sadly neglected in education and communities that are not on welfare, such as EPC, don’t have the funding to build good schools without additional assistance.

    5. That W. had made the strongest American economy ever… that all Americans could just buy health care (except for those who are too lazy to afford it and want a free ride), that there should be no public expenditures becasue everything was hunky dory.  But wait, it wasn’t taxes that ruined the housing market it was…poorly regulated capitalism.  Ohhh Ohhh Ohhh I am sooo Confused.  Please enlighten me Gecko, but skip the bad language.  My values-vote-a-meter is off the charts…

  4. From Robert Higgs at The Independence Institute:

    To estimate the size of the entire de facto defense budget, I gathered data for fiscal 2006, the most recently completed fiscal year, for which data on actual outlays are now available. In that year, the Department of Defense itself spent $499.4 billion. Defense-related parts of the Department of Energy budget added $16.6 billion. The Department of Homeland Security spent $69.1 billion. The Department of State and international assistance programs laid out $25.3 billion for activities arguably related to defense purposes either directly or indirectly. The Department of Veterans Affairs had outlays of $69.8 billion. The Department of the Treasury, which funds the lion’s share of military retirement costs through its support of the little-known Military Retirement Fund, added $38.5 billion. A large part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s outlays ought to be regarded as defense-related, if only indirectly so. When all of these other parts of the budget are added to the budget for the Pentagon itself, they increase the fiscal 2006 total by nearly half again, to $728.2 billion.

    To find out how much of the government’s net interest payments on publicly held national debt ought to be attributed to past debt-funded defense spending requires a considerable amount of calculation. I added up all past deficits (minus surpluses) since 1916 (when the debt was nearly zero), prorated according to each year’s ratio of narrowly defined national security spending-military, veterans, and international affairs-to total federal spending, expressing everything in dollars of constant purchasing power. This sum is equal to 91.2 percent of the value of the national debt held by the public at the end of 2006. Therefore, I attribute that same percentage of the government’s net interest outlays in that year to past debt-financed defense spending. The total amount so attributed comes to $206.7 billion.

    Adding this interest component to the previous all-agency total, the grand total comes to $934.9 billion, which is more than 87 percent greater than the Pentagon’s outlays alone.

    That’s a trillion dollars a year folks. It’s the 15,000 lb. gorilla in the room being ignored. And, it’s mostly a huge fucking waste! Take a look around, and see who else feels so insecure they have to spend so much per capita, or as a % of GDP to make themselves “safe”. Nobody, that’s who!

    There’s the answer to your tax problem.

    1. About a year I saw similar analysis from two left wing organizations. I think both came up with figures that show the military, past and present as above, consumes about 65% of our discretionary budget.

      That leaves 35% for schools, roads, health care, national parks and forests, etc etc etc. No wonder everything is falling apart.

      As you say, there is the 6,818 kg gorilla that almost no one talks about.  We could slash that by large factors and still spend more per capita than all other nations.

      But, of course, an empire needs its military…..

      1. But of all the things you named, roads are the only thing required of Congress by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.  That, and the whole military thing.  It’s named about a half-dozen times.  Making it a large part of the budget *does* make sense, in that regard. 

        While the Government’s power to classify and protect land as public use might sneak in there, I’m a fan of ol’ Ed Abbey’s idea – In all our National Parks, have a parking lot at the entrance, 1 shuttle bus for the handicapped, and all the rest of the able-bodied get bikes.  You wouldn’t need as much in the way of roads and infrastructure in the park, it would in effect become larger because it would take you longer to get anywhere, and you’d be closer to nature, which is the point, right?  And if you charge a nominal fee for use of the various vehicles (say, $3-5/hr), you could probably pay for a large part of the park’s maintenance requirements.

        But, like I said, per the Constitution, raising and supporting an army and navy, as well as building and maintaining armories, ports, and forts, not to mention the militia, well, those are things you can’t get around.  That’s not a function of the “Empire,” it’s a function of the republic.

        1. are rolling their graves as they see what was intended to be a purely defensive, mostly volunteer force become, well, an offensive empire.

          The Constitution was never thought to be a static document.  That’s why they put a method for amending it in there, and gobbled up the first ten at ratification. If an amendement went through the process to make, oh, Swahili the official language of government and commerce, that’s the people speaking.  Pun intended.

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