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January 24, 2009 04:09 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Things do not change; we change.”

–Henry David Thoreau


34 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. As reported in this morning’s Colorado Springs Gazette

    Colorado Springs is about to cut another 16.8 million from its 2009 budget.  As no program or department will go untouched, it will re-define Colorado Springs government for years into the future.

    There is very little fluff in the Colorado Springs’ budget – the Bruce clones have made sure that the City has had to operate on a shoestring for years – so these cuts will affect everything from youth sports programs to bus transit to public safety.

    Not a pretty picture if you are trying to attract more business to town.

    Much blame will go around, but you can’t have a fiscal policy dictated by a meglomaniac (who has said he wants “to destroy Colorado Springs”) in place for years without someday eventually feeling the effect.

  2. From U.S. News and World Report.

    So we have a Secretary of State whose husband has been receiving $10 million a year from a foreign nation (Dubai) as well as other foreign funding for his Presidential Libraty.

    We have a nominee for Attorney General who worked to get presidential pardons for unrepentant terrorists who attacked the United States as well as a millionaire tax dodger.

    We had a nominee for Secretary of Commerce who had to withdraw his nomination due to being investigated by a grand jury on a “pay for play” scheme.

    Now we have lobbyists being hired even though the President announced that they wouldn’t be.

    So far President Obama has been living up to my expectations.

  3. Man, they are stuck like an LP with a bad groove.

    Boehner and his buddies keep insisting that tax cuts be part of the stimulus package.

    Please, please show me some evidence that tax cuts stimulate the economy!  FDR did not get out of the depression by cutting taxes.  He INCREASED them, but not on the average Joe, but the rich.

    Most tax income is just respent on government salaries and things needed like gasoline and cars.  Except for the employee buying Chinese stuff at Wart-Mart, the money stays in the USA for the most part.

    Cutting taxes only puts all governments in deeper financial straits.  There is virtually nothing to cut from the budgets anymore.  (Federal military being an exception to that statement.)

    Then, to sound really, really stupid – but providing good fodder for Rush – he says that we can’t afford to spend more because the deficit is so big!!!!!  Moron, the deficit is so big because it is a REPUBLICAN deficit!  Gawd, how does he say that with a straight face?????  Republican tax cuts for the rich, Republican war mongering and costs, and then he acts as if the deficity just sort of, you know, happened.

    Why I hate (most, but not all) Republicans.  

    1. who wrote the stimulus package made up of 33% tax cuts?  That’s right, Democrats; not Boehner and the hated repubs.

      Can you honestly complain about repubs advocating for what they want?  That’s their job.  It’s the dems fault for not coming up with a good package.  We have the power…all of it.  It’s our bill, own it.

      We could pass a stimulus package w/o a single repub vote…but the President chose not to do that.  Whose fault is that?

        1. and Larry Summers.  Every time the guy is on TV he’s magically found the…uh…wisdom (ha, yeah right) of the almighty tax cut.

          The point is if Obama and the gang were so big on a stimulus plan w/o tax cuts that’s what we would have today.  But they didn’t push for that in the last three frickin’ months.

          Yes, it’s the republican mantra, but a lot of dems are right there chanting in unison…

          1. That’s my understanding.

            But if the Republicans weren’t creating such a climate of fear about cuts, the Dems wouldn’t have walked that path, by and large.

            We need tax INCREASES on the wealthy.  Roll back the Bush cuts.  Hell, roll ’em back to Reagan’s before Reagan mucking up with things.  

                  1. “Vote for peace!  Vote for Ike!”  Warning us about the military-industrial complex and how the military takes much needed money from schools, etc.

                    But back to JFK, from Wikipedia:

                    “Domestic policy

                    Kennedy called his domestic program the “New Frontier”. It ambitiously promised federal funding for education, medical care for the elderly,[citation needed] and government intervention to halt the recession. Kennedy also promised an end to racial discrimination. In 1963, he proposed a tax reform which included income tax cuts, but this was not passed by Congress until 1964, after his death. Few of Kennedy’s major programs passed Congress during his lifetime, although, under his successor Johnson, Congress did vote them through in 1964-65.”

                    Except for those tax cuts, doesn’t sound very Republican to me.  And don’t forget, with the very high, very progressive tax structure, cutting some taxes did not have the disastrous effect that cutting taxes even more does today.  

  4. yesterday and, predictably, got no response…

    But I am curious and perhaps someone who understands the Bruce/Norquist wing of the GOP can answer:

    What pray tell did the architects and brain trust behind TABOR expect their efforts would bring about?  What do the like of Norquist mean about shrinking government to the size where its small enough to ‘drown in a bathtub’?  Isn’t it precisely this type of crisis that was the desired outcome?

    1. CT,

      I don’t have an answer to your specific question, but I do have a parallel observation.

      Yesterday at the Capitol, a roomful of state legislature met with members of Colorado’s congressional delegation including Reps. Salazar, Polis, Perlmutter, Markey, and staffers for Rep. Coffman and I believe Sen. Salazar.

      My impression from the back of the room was that it was a roomful of state legislatures begging for federal money from members of Congress.  This is nothing new, of course, but it somehow seemed more desperate to me.

      TABOR and associated fiscal/constitutional mess has left our state begging Congress as if we were a poor territory.

      This kind of pitiable dependence has to be the obverse of what TABOR sponsors promised and envisioned.

      Tom Russell

    2. In a word, yes.  Their only interest in participating in government is to create government failures that prove their point that government in and of itself is an evil.  What they want as an alternative remains murky. Mad Max world?  

      1. I think many of that mindset see a primitive frontier where we individually keep enemies at bay with our armaments — and we drive on rutted dirt roads.

  5. ((Brigadier General David R. Irvine is a retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School.))

    We are supposed to feel bad for Jack Bauer, the lead character on FOX’s hit show “24.” Only he and a handful of his colleagues, it seems, have the moral strength necessary to do what has to be done. While Senators whine and his superiors wring their hands about what is “right,” Bauer acts and saves the nation.

    What this means – and has meant for more than six seasons of “24” – is that Bauer is a not-so reluctant torturer. He beats up the bad guys because, as he has said so many times, “there is no other way.”

    The reality is that there are more reliable and effective ways. Resorting to torture isn’t heroic, it’s stupid. Reliance on it has resulted in strategic mistakes and has made the nation less safe. The torture chorus has yet to document a single instance of a “but for” success, and that refusal looks more and more like a criminal cover-up.

    The rest here:….

    After the jump, there’s a link for a petition to the producers of “24” to stop portraying torture in sucha  positive and effective light.

    Now, I know the Right-Wing NutJobs who produce this show will try and throw out the bullshit statements of how we don’t know if torture HASN’T stopped another terrorist attack in the US. But the absence of proof in itself is not “proof.”

    The opposite is true – two interrogators (Matthew Alexander and Eric Maddox) using effective and intelligent means of interrogation to find al Zarqawi  and Saddam Hussein.

  6. I just returned home from a briefing for Aurora City Council on Amd 54. As bad as I thought it was, it is actually worse.  Nothing written in it makes sense except for the fact that most of it is blatantly unconstitutional.  Every sentence can be interpreted multiple ways, usually in ways that are opposite of the first or second reading.

    One thing is does do is make it extremely expensive to run for office.  Every contribution will need to be checked against databases (which are yet to be constructed and are not due until Dec 2009), and possibly through other services just to make sure that it can be accepted.  

    Hopefully, it will be killed in court very soon.  As it is there is no possible interpretation of it that helps any candidate for any office this year.

    Now to offer my treasurer the opportunity to bail off my campaign.  It is not worth a friendship to subject him to very real consequences of legal action because of this amendment.  

  7. A look at the open spots in the Senate Organizing Res seems to clear the way for Bennet to get the committee assignment he most wanted.  There are two open spots (the other probably going to Kirsten Gillibrand) because of the 3+ committee ratio.  So good for MB.

    Other openings include:

    Banking, Housing , and Urban Affairs

    Environment and Public Works


    Homeland Security & GA

    Special Committee on Aging (woohoo!)

    Indian Affairs

  8. David Sirota and Thomas Frank (author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?) on Bill Moyers Journal last night:

    Some of the issues: Should we nationalize the banks like they’ve done in Ireland and are proposing in England? Should we hold Congressional hearings on Wall Street’s contributions to the economic crisis? Is the United States edging towards, as The Economist magazine suggested, the  “authoritarian capitalism” of China?

    1. With the manipulated gas prices that shifted billions of dollars, this $350 billion to the banking industry, and the $700 billion to the war machine via the Iraq war….America is being pummeled. Add to these costs the housing bubble, dropping consumer confidence, rising unemployment, and tightness in the credit markets….we’re seeing the economy rocked like no other time in my life.

      History will judge the causes. I’ve said before that Reaganistic economics are over and were a false premise for sound economies. Five companies control oil, and the media is owned by a few. Labor has been under assault for a long time now, and the middle class with it.

      Everyone and every budget item will feel this adjustment. It’s an opportunity and it’ll be quite fascinating to watch it play out.

      I’m so happy there’s a new person at the helm with much different values that ther previous “decisionmaker”. Hold on! It may be a wild ride.

  9. I attended the ribbon cutting/open house this afternoon at the new Boulder office on Baseline Rd.

    Jared said that he will be opening an office in Adams County/Thornton soon. Our Congressman is off to a great start. Jared posting on ColoradoPols- driving to D.C. with moving boxes in the back seat was pretty cool too several weeks ago.

  10. .

    As if there wasn’t enough on his plate,

    Africa is one slice of foreign policy that gets an immediate upgrade with the change in Administrations.  The incoming Secretary of State has a lot more love for Africans than her predecessor.  

    For less money than we have been spending per month on arming Israel, or per day in Iraq,

    we could stabilize 1/2 of Somalia for a year.  

    Rumsfeld was wrong about a lot of things, but I think he was right when he predicted Somalia becoming the next safe haven/ incubator for al-Qaeda types.  

    Which half ?  I’m glad you asked.

    While there is no functioning government of the “country” of Somalia,

    two sections of the country have broken off and are governing themselves, after a fashion.  Somaliland claims to be an independent nation, clamoring for recognition, and Puntland calls itself an Autonomous Region within Somalia, ready to rejoin once the politicians get their act together at the national level.  

    But they are under threat.  The same “Youth Movement” that has turned the south of the country into a wasteland now wants to bring it’s blessings and religious purity to the rest of the Somali people, both within Somalia and beyond.  

    It’s like the old Fram oil filter ad:

    we can pay now, or we can really pay later.


  11. When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains

    And the women come out to cut up what remains

    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

    -Rudyard Kipling, “The Young British Soldier,” 1892

    WASHINGTON – Can President Obama succeed in that long-lamented “graveyard of empires” – a place that has crushed foreign occupiers for more than 2,000 years?…

    Afghanistan has, after all, stymied would-be conquerors since Alexander the Great. It’s always the same story; the invaders – British, Soviets – control the cities, but not the countryside. And eventually, the invaders don’t even control the cities, and are sent packing.

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