Hump Day Open Thread

That’s not what we mean, Mr. Haggard.

43 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    from Salon Magazine

    In an interview with Politico on Monday, Hoyer called the FISA legislation a “significant victory” for the Democratic Party — one that neutralized an issue Republicans might have been able to use against Democrats in November while still, in his view, protecting the civil liberties of American citizens.

    In other words, Democrats achieved a “significant victory” because — by giving Republicans everything they demanded — Republicans are no longer able to criticize Democrats on this issue. What a shrewd strategy: “if we comply with all their demands, then they can’t criticize us for anything.” That’s the Democratic Party’s plan for winning, according to Hoyer.

    He goes on bringing up item after item that pooints out the political stupidity of this vote for the Dems leading to:

    Hoyer has this backwards. The nature of a “compromise” is that neither side is happy with the outcome. Where, as here, one side is ecstatic and the other side is furious, that, by definition, is not a “compromise.” It is, as Russ Feingold correctly says, a full-scale “capitulation.”

    And he then closes with this nugget:

    The Democratic Congress is more popular with Republicans than with Democrats. I really wonder if this is the first time in modern American history when a Congress is more popular among the opposition party than among the party that putatively controls it.

    What’s most notable about Hoyer’s claim here is that a majority of Democratic House members voted against this “significant victory for the Democratic Party,” while the GOP was almost unanimously in favor.

    I guess if Mark Udall can assume he’s got the Dem vote, the way to get elected is to go after the Repub vote.

  2. parsingreality says:

    Can any of you research experts point to information about state tax comparisons?  

    For nine months all I read here in FL is about how high the property taxes are.  But we don’t pay any income taxes, DOH!  So, I’m seeking some comparisons with other states.


    BTW, there is an amendment on the ballot in November that would cut all property taxes by 25% and increase the sales tax by one cent.  The itty bitty problem is that the former slashes education by $9 billion but the latter only returns $4 billion…..  The, to really complicate things, the amendment would assure that the difference would be made up by the general funds, which of course would require lots of time consuming legislation on an annual basis.

    Ah, Republicans, ya gotta love ’em.  

  3. HamiltonRoberts says:

    The court made an error today in its ruling on the death penalty for child rapists.


    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      Or simply an opinion you disagree with.

      Big difference.

      • HamiltonRoberts says:

        they had not basis for a ruling on the 8th amendment. It had nothing to do with cruel and unusual punishment.

        • bob ewegen says:

          For one thing, only six states authorize killing people who have not themselves killed someone.  By definition, that raises the question of unusual.  The court didn’t make an “error,” it merely reached a conclusion you didn’t like.  As Danny said, that’s a big difference.

          • HamiltonRoberts says:

            then why do we submit people to death for crimes against the state, specifically treason? All they did there was sell secrets to some other government or group.  

            • Danny the Red (hair) says:

              I think, the last person executed for treason was during the civil war by the confederacy, John Brown might have been the last person convicted in the union, but even he was convicted by the state of virginia.

              If you mean espionage–that would be the Rosenbergs in the 50’s.  

              not really a big issue–it is not ripe as they say in law school.

              I am not opposed to the option of death sentence for treason or espionage.

              In fact, I’d love more prosecutions for treason–we can start at 1600 Pennsylvania ave.

              • HamiltonRoberts says:

                back about 8 years ago Robert Hanson was starring down death for treason, but he managed to cut a deal to avoid the death penalty.  

                • Danny the Red (hair) says:

                  He was charged with espionage not treason.

                  He didn’t get the death penalty because he cooperated with the FBI.  The feds were happy to put him into solitary in exchange for the information.  This is usually the case.  

                  • HamiltonRoberts says:

                    He was facing the death penalty if he stayed silent, and too spare his life he gave the confesion

                    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

                      you said he was charged with treason.  That’s where you are wrong.

                      Plea bargains exist for a reason–gaining information is one of them.

                      I really don’t care if the guy is alive in supermax solitary or fertilizer.  However, if keeping him alive helps our counter intelligence operations, I’m all for it.

              • bob ewegen says:

                The Constitution, Article III, Section 3, defines “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.  The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attained.”

                1-This is usually interpreted as applying only in time of war and we haven’t been at war since 1945, as defined by a declaration of war by Congress.

                2-The real killer is the requirement for two witnesses to the same overt act of treason, an almost impossible standard.

                For both these reasons, Danny is right that I don’t think we’ve executed anybody for treason since at least the civil war.

                Espionage is a different matter.

                But as it regards the latest SCOTUS ruling, two points;

                 Treason and espionage are purely federal crimes. And as Judge Kaufman stated in the Rosenberg case, while they didn’t kill anyone directly, their actions may have contributed to the Korean War, which took thousands of American lives.  These two crimes in my judgment, and  I’m pretty sure in the judgement of at least 5 justices of the high court, are the only two legitimate exceptions to the rule that you should not kill a criminal who did not himself kill anyone. This, by the way, is the rule of proportionality that dates back to the Code of Hammurabi and is expressed in the Bible as “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

                Often misinterpreted as draconian, that rule actually sets limits on retaliation and punishment. If you put out my tooth and I then put out your eye, I have sinned against the law of God. In practice, this was intended to forestall family feuds that could kill many people.

                Danny is, of course, foolish to accuse the President of high treason, but forgive him his moment of rhetorical excess.

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      19 years later the High Court completely guts private sector regulation of corporations.

      Now corporations are incentivized to engage in criminally negligent behavior.

    • One Queer Dude says:

      …were Republican appointees (Stevens by Ford, Kennedy by Reagan, and Souter by Daddy Bush).

        Must be something wrong with the GOP vetting process, eh?

    • Middle of the Road says:

      And this is why–from the Court’s ruling, the following stuck out for me:


      Assuming the offender behaves in a rational way, as one must to justify the penalty on grounds of deterrence, the penalty in some respects gives less protection, not more, to the victim, who is often the sole witness to the crime. It might be argued that, even if the death penalty results in a marginal increase in the incentive to kill, this is counterbalanced by a marginally increased deterrent to commit the crime at all. Whatever balance the legislature strikes, however, uncertainty on the point makes the argument for the penalty less compelling than for homicide crimes.

      I’ve worked with children that are victims of incest and sexual assault. If an offender believes there is a chance he could be put to death for raping a child, there is an increased risk to the victim. This is a violent and vile crime in and of itself.

      Any increased risk to the child is absolutely unacceptable and I am delighted that the Court was level headed enough to understand that and factor it into their decision.

      • Barron X says:


        but I can’t help but think that the perpetrators of these crimes

        believe, when planning or executing them, that they will never be held accountable.  

        I just can’t imagine a rational decision-making process wherein the rapist thinks about how to avoid getting caught.

        Thankfully I don’t know much about these people, and don’t really want to.

        And thanks for doing what you do, so I don’t have to.  


      • DavidThi808 says:

        The point quoted may be very accurate – but what on earth does that have to do with deciding if the law is constitutional?

      • BlueCat says:

        approve the decision for several reasons.  First, because most children who are raped are raped by a family member or someone in the household and the death penalty will make it  less likely than it already is that the victim or other family members will come forward.  For instance in the case of rape by a parent, the child or other parent may not want to see the perpetrator executed.

        Second, they fear the perpetrator may be more likely to murder the victim and be rid of the witness.  

        Also, there are many cases where children may be strongly pressured into saying what the police or therapists or parents in custody cases want to hear.  

        In tapes of interviews with the child in the case that went to the Supreme Court  aired in an NPR piece on the decision, the child denies the stepfather was the attacker, saying it was two boys.  She claims that the police want her to say it was the stepfather and she won’t.  Later she is reunited with her family on the condition that she admit that the stepfather was the attacker.

        Maybe she was being pressured to cover for him and her later story was the truth.  Maybe there was DNA evidence in the case that wasn’t mentioned in the story.  Still it seems that, in general, the standard for certainty needs to be exceptionally high in death penalty cases and that may not always be possible with child witnesses under pressure.

        Of course none of this  addresses constitutional issues or the Justices’ constitutional grounds, just the reaction of many child advocates.  

        • Middle of the Road says:

          The vast majority of sexual predators know their victims. The victims are usually family members. If the death penalty became the norm for child sexual assault crimes, I would be willing to bet that the rate of reporting the crime would go down drastically. And that is a crime in and of itself–victims feeling that they cannot tell because they fear the punishment for their violator. It is not a position to put a small child in.

  4. One Queer Dude says:

    …in a new L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll out today with 12% lead over McCain (49% to 37%).  I suppose our GOP friends will point out that B.O. doesn’t break 50%, to which I say, McCain has yet to break 40%.

      The picture gets even better when you throw in Nader and Barr.  Obama’s lead expands to 15%.  Have the two major party candidates expressed a preference yet as to whether Nader and Barr should be permitted to participate in any debates?

      Even factoring in the Hidden Racist Voter phenomenon (a/k/a the Tom Bradley factor), which O.Q.D. guestimates is about 5% in this day and age, that still leaves Obama with a moderate lead of 7% (or 10% in a four-way race).

    • cologeek says:

      That had as it’s pool 22% Republican and 39% Democrat?  If so it more likely shows Obama’s weakness among Independents.  I think the Gallup poll is more accurate:

      For all that polls this far out from election day shows.

      • BlueCat says:

        Even many Republican talking heads agree that the number of self identified independents has been swelled by Republicans who no longer wish to be identified as such.  On the other hand more of those who used to self-identify as independents are now calling themselves Democrats. There is a big drop off in the percentage of voters calling themselves Republican.  Many believe this combination accounts for a significant portion of McCain’s “strength” among “independents” many of whom are simply Republicans fleeing the brand.    

  5. Danny the Red (hair) says:

    seems expensive to poll on a state house rate.

    I told them undecided–because I truly am.  I like Cindy on healthcare and she shows a lot of hustle.  However, Cindy doesn’t mention the TABOR crisis on her website–though in conversations with her she recognizes it is the linchpin of any of the policies she wants to enact.  Matt was out front of everybody on TABOR and really seems willing to educate the voters.  He was my default candidate until Cindy started to impress me with her hustle.  I like Beth, but until I bored her regarding TABOR et al. I don’t think she really thought much about the issue.  Plus I was troubled by her notion that she could keep her staff job in the executive branch while being a part time legislator–I think that is inappropriate for senior staff (even if they are not executive appointees).

  6. NEWSMAN says:

    The real reason we can’t have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this: You cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal,’ ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,’ and ‘Thou Shall Not Lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians…

    It creates a hostile work environment.  

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