Weekend Open Thread

"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something."

–Plato

36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Nurse Chaps says:

    Article IV of the U.S. Constitution states:  "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…"  Of course, this does not mean GOP "Republican" but a government that is a Republic (res publica, a thing of the people).  When is someone going to stand up and challenge the constitutionality of Colorado's vacancy committees?  These political entities operate on the notion that a public office, if vacated, belongs to the political party of the person leaving.  In fact, it belongs to the citizens of the jurisdiction represented by the departing elected official.  Vacancies should be filled by a special election or appointment by an elected official who is answerable to the public.  Party hacks should not have this power.  Isn't this important enough for someone to action?  Libertarians, Independence Institute, self-proclaimed champions of the Constitution, anyone at all?!

  2. Andrew Carnegie says:

    NC, Maybe that someone is you.  

    Neither political party views government of the people as a good thing for them.  Both political parties see the power of the party and themselves as the end.  Gerrymandering is practiced by both.

    The alternative to an appointment by a vacancy committee would be special elections and having the position remain vacant.  If the position remained vacant there would at least be push back when someone decided to step down.

  3. Duke Cox says:

    Are there any recreational pot shops in Pueblo?i

  4. mamajama55 says:

    What has been people's experience with the Citizens Climate Lobby?   They lobby and promote a national carbon fee. I'm attending an event of theirs, will obviously make up my own mind, but would like to see what others think, as well.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Mama – my experience with them is of a 'one degree' nature: some of the members of the Great March for Climate Action  (who we hosted in Wray this past summer) remained in DC and are active in the CCL.  I am told they have met with Senator Gardner and that his staff is in a dialog with the lobby regarding a carbon tax/fee. 

      Only Nixon could go to China, only Texas oil-man George Bush could put a national renewable fuel standard in place – maybe the young man from Yuma is the one who can carry the torch on a carbon scheme that Republicans can support.

      Reportedly the sticking point is around the theory of 'takings'.  If a carbon act is passed, and by virtue of the act reserves of oil natural gas are left in the ground, some think those mineral rights holders should have compensation.  The flip side of the 'takings' argument is the combustion of those hydrocarbons are devastating the environment.  Non-mineral right holders who just want to breath clean air, drink clean water and not live in a hostile environment should have a 'right' to those things as well.  Not sure what the solution will be to that predicament – but at least the two sides are talking about it.

      • mamajama55 says:

        Thanks, that's helpful.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          MJ – very interesting piece in Forbes…

          The End of the Partisan Divide Over Climate Change 

          "And yet, there it was: The nation’s largest and most powerful oil lobby stating in no uncertain terms that climate change is real, that it’s a threat to American prosperity, and that clean energy technologies promise a solution. Along those lines, Hoium notes that France’s Total oil company is bucking the trend, buying up large stakes in solar firms like SunPower and biofuel maker Amyris   And it’s worth noting that the clean tech sector as a whole saw a substantial rebound in 2014, with investments jumping 16 percent, topping $310 billion, according to new data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

          • mamajama55 says:

            Encouraging! Perhaps capitalism will save us, after all.

            That won’t likely mean an end to partisan bickering, of course. But as the adage goes, the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one.

            • MichaelBowman says:

              Hunter Lovins at Natural Capitalism and Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute (both global organizations based right here under our nose) have been preaching the gospel of Climate Capitalism for years.  But not for the utter waterboarding of Congressional office holders by oil and gas lobby money we would have had this conversation before now. 

              I can tell you that most Republicans I know in DC favor a carbon tax – but they knew they could never be re-elected with that on their platform. 

              This is going to be an interesting conversation – not the one going on in DC because as the article says, there is bi-partisan consensus that something has to be done.  The conversations that will be entertaining will be the Town Hall meetings Senator Gardner will have in the rural parts of the state where he will have to explain an evolution on his climate beliefs. 
               

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/opinion/its-not-just-keystone-xl-its-also-line-61.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

    In all the talk about Keystone XL, we’re overlooking Line 61.

    "The Marshall spill demonstrated how much more destructive tar sands crude spills are compared with spills of lighter crude. To move through a pipeline, tar sands ore needs to be mixed with chemical solvents. When the spilled mixture was exposed to air, the chemical components, including carcinogenic benzene, separated and released toxic gases, which forced many people to evacuate their homes. Meanwhile, the heavier tar sands sank, which required a destructive dredging of the Kalamazoo River."

    • MichaelBowman says:

      It gets worse. TransCanada argued (successfully) to our government that the diluted bitumen stew flowing down the pipeline wasn't "oil" and got themselves exempted from paying the 8 cents-per-barrel in to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. With no sense of irony, they then have argued (successfully) before the Nebraska and Texas Public Commissions that they ARE oil so they can use eminent domain under the respective state laws. 

      • Duke Cox says:

        See my response to Zap above….

        • MichaelBowman says:

          OxFam analysts conclude the annual income of the 100 richest people in the world could end global poverty four times over;  or put another way, one-quarter of the annual income of the 100 richest in the world would end it once.  And guess what?  They'd still be the 100 richest people in the world.

          • Duke Cox says:

            We  have seen the future …and it is "the Hunger Games".

            I just spent a week in Palm Beach, Florida, getting a glimpse of the way the 1% lives every day. Just across the inter-coastal waterway from the the towers of luxury that line the private beaches lies the real world, where many people live in squalor and "getting by" is the name of the game and the street corners are often populated with men and women holding cardboard signs, begging for a handout.

            I have worked hard and saved my pennies to afford an occasional brush with the kind of comfort and security the 1% takes for granted. Watching the giant yachts ply the waters at the seashore, then crossing the bridge to the mainland to be pan-handled for spare change by tattered old black men cannot fail to make an impression.

            We all, as citizens of a nation that flaunts a statue we call "Liberty" at the mouth of one of our great cities, have an obligation to do what we can to strive for a little more for those without the resources and energy to fight for change. It is our responsibility as humans to help our fellow man find an opportunity for a better life.

            We must never give up.

  6. MapMaker says:

    What's with the spam postings, KassandAsche, KatheriQuilty and others over the past weeks? I see they don't make the Home page, but they do make the Recent Posts column. I realize the admins are probably under a daily avalanche of this kind of junk, so it's admirable that they can fend off as much as they do. It would be nice to find these folks, line them up against a wall, and piss on them.

  7. mamajama55 says:

    Hey, boys and girls – here's a fun quiz. Which corporate logo are you?

    I got Coors. (Heritage Foundation, Independence Institute, etc)

    Sometimes Occupy's rhetoric is too extreme for me, but it's hard to argue with the facts they present.

  8. Zappatero says:

    Congressional Dems Keep on Keepin' on with same leaders

    Bereft of a platform, they did what they do best; raised boatloads of money; honed wedge issues for constituencies they treat like so many niche markets; filled the air with locust-like swarms of TV ads and geared up their highly mechanized turnout machine to deliver the base to the polls. We know how that went.

    They ran the same race everywhere. Colorado’s Mark Udall was scorned for running endless ads on “women’s issues,” but he could be his party’s poster child. He, his opponent and their various fronts ran 60,000 TV ads. One state; one race: 60,000 ads. Udall’s differed little from those all Democrats aimed at blacks, Latinos, students, veterans; any group their pollsters could configure. Voters had other concerns but Udall didn’t hear them (nor did Bennet or Reid), or notice Republicans running as fast as they could from the fight he was bringing. In this too he was like most Democrats.

    On Election Day, four red states voted to raise the minimum wage. Some said it proved that if voters paid attention they’d all be Democrats, but it could just as easily suggest that voters see Democrats as insincere and ineffectual. Had Dems raised the minimum wage when they had the votes to do it, more workers would have gotten bigger raises sooner, states would have been spared the expense of holding referenda and Democrats would have gotten all the credit.

    It’s a lesson Democrats never learn: Elections turn more on how you govern than on how you campaign. In 2012, pundits wanted Obama to run, Harry Truman-like, against a do-nothing Congress. He couldn’t because Harry Reid ran a do-nothing Senate, blocking any vote he feared might embarrass his caucus. Democrats who never governed as populists ran as populists in 2014 and lost because running on policies you don’t support makes you look like a hypocrite, not a populist.

    Democrats are finally proposing policies that will clearly change our economy's priority from "The Rich Shall Get Richer" to "Let's Not Forget the Middle Class". Obama is poised to propose a tax on 1%-ers and other such policies in the SOTU. 

    Some believe this is just a show and the more controversial policies will gain Democrats valuable P.R. while costing nothing politically. Some believe they are just too little, too late for a Democratic Party locked in a deadly embrace with Wall Street and its socially liberal, but economically short-sighted and monumentally selfish Billionaires.

  9. MichaelBowman says:

    Our local El Paso Einstein strikes again.  Only this guy could propose legislation, the PIONEER Act, and couch the utter destruction of our environment and consumption of our fresh water as something of a 'pioneering' exercise.  

     

    "Oil shale is one of the most promising new sources of American-made energy."

     

    Are these people on crack? 

    Congressman, it's time to move on….let's leave those 6,000 year old dinosaur remains where they belong: underground.  The baby Jesus hid them there so you couldn't find them; he gives us all we need in an 'all of the above' strategy: everything above the Earth's crust – solar, wind and biomass. Their infinite, cheap and create far more jobs that the sticky goo that owns you.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      '"They're"…

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      They've been drinking too much fracking fluid.

      And speaking of biomass, the Republican National Committee heard from Mittens Romney this weekend on why his third time should be the charm.  Apparently it went over like a fart in a church.

    • Duke Cox says:

      This crap sounds like it came from a Pete Domenici white paper from 10 years ago. It is shot through with utter bullshit and demonstrably false claims.
      Now that the API can’t afford to have the lady in the black pantsuit spew their lies any more, they appear to have turned to someone who will do it for free.i

  10. Davie says:

    Obama to propose $325bn plan to provide tax cuts for the middle class 

    President seeks to provide middle-class tax breaks by levying higher fees on banks, closing loopholes for trust funds, and raising the capital gains threshold 

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/18/obama-propose-tax-cut-plan-middle-class?CMP=ema_565

    I can just hear the GOP response now:  "Why should we have to pay taxes on money we didn't even do anything to earn?"

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