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December 09, 2008 04:38 PM UTC

Tuesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

–Martin Luther


65 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

    1. I am far from excited about an Obama presidency, I think we’ve made a serious blunder, but the people have spoken. Time to suck it up Peter. What we don’t want is courts subverting the will of the electorate. If that’s how we’re going to elect officials, why not just have the judiciary do it in the first place. It would save us all a lot of time and trouble.

      Turns out, Hawaii is a state, and their birth certificates count too…

    2. I checked in with his show this morning to see if he was still flogging this dead dog, and he said this was his last day on this “story.”  He and his trusted advisers are going to find something else to start obsessing about tomorrow.

      Any bets as to what that will be?

      My bet: Gov. Blagojevich has many ties to Barack Obama … which means Obama is as corrupt as Blagojevich and the impeachment hearings should start immediately!

  1. Welcome to the “New” Chicago breed of politics – same as the old.

    Illinois Gov. Blagojevich arrested this morning.  Allegations include conspiring to sell Obama’s Senate seat and greenmailing the Chicago Tribune, threatening to block any state aid unless the Trib purged a number of editorial writers.  I’m personally shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn there may be corruption in the Chicago political machine.

    This morning’s pick-up by the Feds comes just a day after Gov. Blagojevich took to the stump to blackmail errr I mean pressure BofA to make loans to the Window company that the bank determined would not be able to pay them back.  Good thing there isn’t a pattern of Chicago pols pressuring banks to make loans people can’t pay back for their own political gain or corrupting the political world at every turn.

    I know, I know, innocent until proven guilty, but it sure doesn’t smell pretty!  Stevens needed to go, Jefferson’s departure was long overdue and if the allegations here are even partially true, Blagojevich should go just as quickly.  Time for some house cleaning on the South Side.  Thank goodness we don’t have a high profile elected official on the national scene who is connected to that machine.

    1. He’s been under a cloud of suspicion for years. About fucking time he gets popped. Overdue, frankly.

      As for your innuendo about Obama, welcome to post election season. I’m guessing you have a lot of time on your hands now that your elderly white boy and his raging cool brainless sidekick got their asses handed to them on a plate. So, looking forward to hearing from you more. 🙂

      1. So good to see that your brilliance can instantly deduce that if I dare to take a light-hearted jab at a Dem I must be some righty whacko.  Quite the contrary in fact.  My vote every two years goes to whomever I believe will be best for Colorado and the U.S.  Proud to help Udall beat Schafer, to see Markey trounce Marilyn, Tancredo finally go away, the joke of Palin kept far away from the White House, McCain reminded that those of us who respected him 8 years ago will have nothing to do with his pandering and Obama be given the opportunity to genuinely bring about meaningful change(still waiting to see if he will in fact do that) and restore our global relations.  I will readily admit that his past ties troubled me because of the willingness to embrace political expediency they showed and many of his views are too far to the left for me but given the choice, well there wasn’t much of one.

        I have no allegiance to any party, just a love of my state and country.  With that also comes a willingness to criticize either party and yes to poke fun on occasion.

        1. You have to realize that Middle is just a wishy washy extreme liberal with a one track mind. Middle of the road simply means that she/it has no backbone to take a stand on anything.

          And in her/its opinion, anyone that dares to talk about their messiah in a negative way should be run out of town.

          1. Actually Middle of the Road is based after a philosophy of Aristotle that he debated with Plato.

            Consider yourself enlightened, sweets. Even racists can learn something new every single day. 🙂

                1. by Aristotle: the golden mean “consists in an activity of the soul in conformity with a rational principle or, at least, not without it.”

                  I don’t get the reference in your last sentence there (or the abbreviation), but the golden mean is one of the oldest philosophical concepts, particularly to virtue ethics.

      2.    Blagojevich has been under a cloud of suspicion for quite some time, but this is apparently a new scandal.  Seeing the end of his political career rapidly approaching, he allegedly tried to feather his nest with whatever $$$ he could haul in from the sale of Obama’s Senate seat.

          Who is the current Lt. Gov in Illinois?  That’s probably who everyone should be sucking up to.

        1. Solid progressive. I can’t figure out how he lasted in politics in Illinois, frankly. He styles himself after Senator Paul Simon.

          He would be a great governor.

      1. Watched this again a few weeks ago.  SO many quotes are flipped around in our culture that came out of this masterpiece.

        It’s expecially fitting that the police captain that said “I’m shocked!” was essentially referring to the corruption of Sam having gambling and the police being on the take to allow it. So although we may often say “I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked!” it’s not often we can connect it to corruption.

        Probably few remember that as the police are shutting down the operation, one of the croupiers walks over to the chief and tells him “I’ve put your winnings in the house bank.”

          1. “Without Mayor Quimby our town would really stink

            We wouldn’t have a tire yard or mid-size roller rink

            We wouldn’t have our gallows or our shiny Bigfoot traps

            It’s not the Mayor’s fault that the stadium collapsed”

            1. If Gov. Blagojevich was as organized, he would’ve had an escape plan involving a horse, a jet and a parachute for the horse.  You just can’t teach that kind of savvy.  Funny a mayor would have it, but not a governor.

  2. His column in today’s paper and probably the NYT does a masterful job of ducking and shucking about the history of big governmnet and the failures to keep it small.  No credit to Bill Clinton, no dissing of St. Reagan.

    Anyway, the upshot is that he says the conservatives who keep up the mantra of small government are fighting a lost cause.  

      1. How do we measure it?  

        Relative to GDP? With a more robust economy, wouldn’t we have more laws to guide and correct socially destructive trends?  And more regulators because of the increased number of interactions?

        Relative to population?  I think that the latter would have some logic to it.  Should governments have twice as many employees and bureacrats now as when I was a toddler with half the population then?  

        1. would be the overall number of government employees. The more people we have working for the taxpayers, the more money is spent.

          Maybe overall government spending? Number of departments and offices?

          My wife brought up an interesting point about this when the McCain campaign was running its “MASSIVE GOVERNMENT (look out!)” ads. She made the point that the government is huge now–probably bigger than under Clinton–but it’s not a visible government. She was saying that she’d rather have a big government you can see than a big government you can’t.

        2. It’s overall budget and function.  You don’t need twice the military for twice the population, and small-government types would argue that the military is one of the prime functions of the Federal government.

          You can’t measure it by number of gov’t employees – the Bush Administration has proven how easy it is to outsource “government” to corporations.  You shouldn’t measure it by budget – not when we still get the occasional $600 hammer.  We don’t want it measured strictly by GDP – that’s just another way of saying ‘TABOR’.

          As with most political ideologies, “small government” is subjective.

          1. If TABOR in Colorado was just a limit of a percentage of state GDP I would think it the best idea in government since the civil service replacing the patronage system. Then it would scale to inflation, population, and the size of our economy.

              1. The economy fluctuates because people make more or less money. We cannot tax our way out of economic downturns, in fact it is the exact wrong thing to do. The way to have a government that does not fluctuate in size even though revenues do is to judiciously use bonds in downturns and pay them off in the good times.

                Unfortunately human nature (and boneheaded term limits) mean that politicians often cannot see beyond the next election cycle. We need a limit on the total level of taxation stronger than 50%+1.

                Without getting bogged down in details I think that a well designed TABOR rule would be a boon to a stable government by preventing ill considered tax hikes in downturns and forcing the paying down of debt in upswings.

                1. I’m not so sure of that. I think it’s more of a feel good mantra, especially amongst conservatives.

                  I’m laying my thoughts out quite willing to be corrected, but here they are:

                  1.  We can do nothing.  (See Hoover.)

                  2.  We can do something, prime the pump, Keynsian principles, IIRC.

                  3.  One above costs the govenrment nothing in money, but plenty in the collapse of society.

                  4.  If we follow Two above, the money must come from somewhere.

                  5.  We can either “print” the money with resulting inflation, or tax citizens (including tariffs). The middle class, now out of wark, isn’t a source of revenue. Tax where the money is, i.e. “The Rich.” (See: Willy Sutton, “Because that’s where the money is.”

                  6.  Taxing the rich moves money from passive capital accounts into the marketplace.  Jobs are created, things are bought, the economy comes back to life.  The rich suffer, but are still far better off than the aveerage, who they wind up helping.

                  7.  With some safeguards, such pump priming money should be used to “Buy American” and “Employ American.”  Don’t buy pens made in China, slam the door on the HxB visa programs.  A milion more Americans would be employed without them.  That’s a lot of people!

                  Look at history.  FDR taxed the rich, that money put middle and lower class Americans to work, and start what economists have called “The Great Compression.”  We need to head back in that direction.

                  Obaman needs to end the Bush tax cuts immediately.  In fact, roll back the Reagan ones.  

                  1. Here are my thoughts.

                    1. All taxes that can be passed on, will be passed on. If a businessman is taxed he’ll try to pass those costs onto his customers as much as he can. If taxes are raised on the wrong things it will just hurt working people.

                    2. Capital flight and avoiding taxes are real. If you impose 90% taxes on income above a certain level the people who make that much are going to move their money around so they are not technically making that much or head to another state. And it is a lot easier and more likely to move from state to state to avoid taxes than it would be to flee ‘offshore’.

                    3. Taxes should not go up and down due to crisis management. Part of the function of government should be economic smoothing. That is increasing the money supply by the use of bonds in bad times and slowing expansion in good times by paying off those debts.

                    4. A limit on taxation as a percentage of GDP is not incompatible with higher taxes on the rich. It would just mean that the government would have to lower taxes on the poor. If you want to soak income take the tax off sales, raise the individual exemption, or some other tax reduction in some other area.

                    And nothing in a properly designed TABOR limit would prevent making the case to the people. For example in 1996 (the earliest year I can find numbers for) the Adjusted Gross Income for all full time Colorado residents was approximately 63.5 billion dollars and the total of all taxes and fees collected for that year by the state was about 5.1 billion. That’s about 8% of AGI. So if the limit was about 10% that would mean that when income was 107.7 billion in 2004 we could have potentially collected up to 10.7 billion in taxes though the actual amount in that time period was 7.5 billion or 6.9%.

                    All this is enormously simplified, but I think I’ve made my point. Heck, even if it has been set far too close to actual state revenue at 8.5% or something we’d still have a heck of a lot of leeway to raise taxes today under such a limit.

                    5. Having a TABOR at the state level is different than at the federal level, obviously. I’m not advocating for a national TABOR limit.

                    Should we have some sort of spending limit at the Federal level? I am not sure. I do think that it should be impossible to cut taxes if revenue is already short of expenses unless a super majority approves it. Think of where we’d be if it had taken 261 votes in the house to enact the Bush tax cuts.

                    1. Your 1 & 2 are valid concerns.  A lot of those matters can be addressed at the time of tax program creation.  Not every clever gimmick can be foreseen, but some can.

                      What concerns me more is plain old political will.  When Congress tried to tie an “American businesses only” qualification into the post-911 acts, the off shored “American” company’s lobbyists went into overdrive and defeated it.

                      I just don’t want Congress to give up before it starts a new tax policy because of your 1 & 2.  

  3. In honour of one of the best epic poets of all time:

    Our better part remains

    To work in close design, by fraud or guile,

    What force effected not; that he no less

    At length from us may find, who overcomes

    By force hath overcome but half his foe.


  4. Totally random (and no, I’m not talking about Bush), but I was just watching C-Span and Idaho Rep. Bill Sali, who was wamboozled out of a second term last month, is still actually doing his job, asking questions and submitting materials in the Freddie and Fannie hearings this afternoon.

    Considering our own lame duck Musty has been more or less MIA since the election, it’s good to see some folks do in indeed care about doing their jobs until they’re actually out of office…

  5.    Does this mean he keeps his “wide stance”?  Or maybe he’ll take it to the Supreme Court.

      Just remember, Wayne Allard went on record when the scandal broke and assured us that Craig was straight.

        1.    CNN has excerpts from it.  Apparently Craig raised a First Amendment free speech argument with regard to his foot tapping.  

            The Court of Appeals said that “offensive speech may be prohibited as intrusive when the ‘captive’ audience cannot avoid the speech. … A person using a restroom stall is such a ‘captive’ audience with substantial privacy interests that would be intolerably invaded even by communications less potentially offensive than sexual solicitation.”

            Lavatory Larry issued a statement expressing his disappointment with the decision and indicating that he may pursue further appeal.

            I can’t wait for Scalia and Thomas to get their hands on this!

    1. Thesis defense/oral exam: done.  Last Political Theory paper I’ll ever have to write, 24 pages of awesomeness and not due for 6 days.  

      All that’s left is halfassedly  grading some undergrad finals in a week, making sure I don’t unduly fail any lazy seniors just getting around to taking a damn PoliSci class, and sufficiently scaring the hell out of the freshmen that come to my study session Sunday.

      Ahhh…who knew the end of the semester could be so grand.  Someone should have told me that end of grad school was so awesome!  🙂

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