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February 14, 2009 04:29 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • 86 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

“It is much easier for good to deal with evil than for good to deal with stupidity.”

–Anonymous

Comments

86 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

    1. and your post explains why you dismiss reason and facts, stupidity. Admitting it is the 1st step in recovery.

      Oh Steve-O I just couldn’t resist. I see you’ve had your coffee this morning. Have a good day.  

      1. SHarvey v. Libertad, I mean I like a good beat down as much as the next guy, but there would be nothing left of the little tad pole and it would be over so quick I probably wouldn’t even have time to scarf down a tofu-dog.  And then who would warn us about the pending takeover of our land by Union Bosses?  

    1. Who made those costumes?  Did they make the marketing brochure?  Did one of the company’s designers have a hand in the design, or is it purely amateur?  What happened to the conceptual drawings?  The Smithsonian may want those someday.

  1. from ABC News

    In 2002, Congress passed a law enabling United States forces to unilaterally storm into peaceful Holland to liberate American soldiers held for war crimes.

    Odd as it may seem, the law allows the US to constitutionally send jack-booted commandos to fly over fields of innocent tulips, swoop into the land of wooden shoes, tread past threatening windmills and sleepy milk cows into the Dutch capital – into a city synonymous with international law – and pry loose any US troops.

    In 2002, Dutch diplomat Harold DeWitt wrote to colleagues: “We are quite alarmed to hear about the impending invasion of the Netherlands. Our military is on high alert. We would really value you forwarding any news and relevant information as soon as it comes to your attention and, in particular, as it regards the timing. I would like to be able to notify my superiors … prior to any invasion.”

    1. Americans are militantly offended by every hint of encroachment on our sovereignty, but arrogantly disposed to exhibit complete indifference to our own encroachments on the sovereignty of others, even those who have done far less to merit such encroachments than we ourselves have.

      1. Very well said.

        As a superpower, it’s in our nationalist DNA. The Soviets did the same (Eastern Eurpoe), with far different results (Afghanistan). We buy other nations’ sovereignty with aid (Pakistan) and weapons (Saudi Arabia).

        I hope with the new administration, our priorities change to better serve our interests without trampling another nation’s sovereignty.

        That said, if they pose a threat, we smack them around.

        1. we should pursue the strategy best designed to reduce or eliminate that threat, which only sometimes would involve “smacking them around.” Complicating the calculation is the fact that every act has almost limitless “collateral” effects, which we should take into account to whatever extent we are capable of doing so. That means even when “smacking around” a foreign aggressor might reduce the threat that aggressor poses, we have to ask if doing so creates a net reduction in threat to us, or, in an even more complete analysis, whether it creates a net long-term benefit for us (which, given that it is long-term, is synonymous with a net long-term benefit to the world, since humanity’s fate will only become increasingly shared over time).

            1. and drug laws a bit less liberal in neighboring countries. But, in this case, it is the US’s antagonism to international law, or at least to an international law to which we must also submit.

              Interestingly enough, most of the Dutch are liberal bourgeois (at least that’s my impression, after decades of various friendships there), and, while they are thankful for their liberal laws, frown on those who actually take advantage of those laws. Most respectable people don’t: Norms have a very strong effect on people. Laws are neither the only way, nor necessarily the best way, to regulate human behavior.

          1. The threat should be removed by nonviolent means first.

            In terms of long-term strategy, force can only be upheld for a finite period, as proven by the strain on forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

            Sun Tzu advised against laying siege for just this reason. You’ll run out of resources before they do.

            I think more of the flag officers should read The Art of War. They’d find that we’re ignoring his basic tenets.

    2. .

      not correcting you, David.  abc got it wrong.

      The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam.  XXX.

      The World Court convenes in the Peace Palace built by Andy Carnegie in Den Haag.  

    1. Wish they would show it as Denver landmark when they broadcast Nuggets games, etc.  Only objection to the DIA stallion is the glowing red eyes. I think they make it look more cheesy than demonic.  

      I remember when they were building DIA they were talking about having a herd of buffalo as the first thing visitors would see along Pena BLVD as a symbol of the west.  That would have been great.

      Wouldn’t mind having the stallion moved to another location and a blue bear in a different pose replace it. Travelors could buy little blue bears for the kids.  That won’t happen.  We’re stuck with the ridiculous glowy eyes.  

        1. the blue with the glowing red eyes kind of makes it look like a carousel horse gone terribly wrong. And of course there is the fact that it DID kill it’s creator. The whole thing is kind of Stephen Kingy.

    2. …therefore the horse has red eyes.  Wow, that’s a connection. To honor his father millions of people will get creeped out.  Red eyes have always symbolized either the devil or a hard night’s drinking.

  2. Wife & 3 daughters means 4 Valentines gifts that must be perfect, delivered on time, etc. Good on 3 of them but waiting to hear if the florist in Chicago delivered the flowers there ok…

    With that said, my wife & two youngest are oh so very very happy and that is nice to see.

    1. Ok, all 4 deliveries made it and they are all thrilled. It’s so cool to get the thank you calls.

      Best ever was one year one of my daughters was on a school event down in the Springs for 3 days including Valentines Day.

      So at 8:00 am on Valentines Day she got a knock on her hotel room door and opened it to a bellhop delivering a giant balloon tied to a hokey-pokey Elmo that he started singing.

      1. David, I’ve told you this before: You are setting the bar waaaaay to high for your daughters. When my son starts to woo your daughter, he will never be able to measure up to her dad.

        Come on. Do you want grandchildren? If so, then you have to start disappointing your daughters now so the men they meet will be able to meet their (lowered) expectations.

  3. When will it break up? I understand their posturing. Although, they (in their own weird usage of the English language) just voted to raise the taxes on the American Middle Class by voting against the stimulus bill. They have nothing to offer but the same old same old. THey refuse to admit any responsibility for the current economic conditions we face. It’s ideology, and no love for American working class people. But how long can they be held together, in the face of powerful global economic changes?

    The only way to save the American banking system is to nationalize it. When the pressures of foreclosures, bank failures, WS behaviors, the credit freeze, etc., come home to roost, who will be bold enough? Not the Republican Party, I can assure the reader.

    Politically, the road ahead is incredibly risky. The “conservative” bent of the Republican Party, as it exists today, is way too ideological to lend a hand. Thank God the Democrats control all branches of government. Let’s pray they do it right.

    1. Obama, if not Reid and Pelosi, recognize the importance of keeping the nation on board, and not running out to far ahead of the zeitgeist. We’ve shifted left, as tends to happen in moments of economic crisis (just as we tend to shift right in moments of military crisis). Obviously, I think that is a good and healthy shift. But the anchor of the moderate right isn’t a bad thing either: It forces thoughtful and cautious change, and care not to undermine the basic principles of a relatively free market (just as in shifts to the right, the left helps guarantee the continuation of our relatively strong commitment to civil liberties).

      While there are some dramatic changes I’d like to see take place in this country, and some move toward highly regulated or semi-nationalized financial services is one of them, I don’t mind the reasonable right forcing careful consideration of the challenges and risks involved.

      Both parties, one hopes, will gradually reformulate themselves around the shifted center, with the mass of Democrats becoming more boldly progressive, and the mass of Republicans more moderate. And, at both extremes, we will still have the irrational ideologues, on one side continuing to make an economically illiterate fetish out of unfettered individualism, and on the other an economically illiterate demand that government redistribute wealth that increasingly will cease to exist.

      There is a balance to be struck, and, while I am firmly convinced that we have generally failed to strike it by leaning too far toward individualism, I would be no happier to see us fail by leaning too far toward collectivism.

      We should start by agreeing on the goals, which haven’t changed much since Bentham first gave them a reasonably clear articulation: The greatest happiness for the greatest number. I would amend that slightly, to be “the optimal distribution of the optimal quantity” of that matrix of things which give humans sustainable pleasure and profound satisfaction. In other words, fairly distributed and robustly produced human welfare. That underlying goal has always seemed like such a no-brainer to me, and yet so many on the right dismiss it with a depth of either folly or ill-will that simply boggles the imagination.

      Once we can agree on that fundamental goal, we can debate, with empirical and analytical rigor, how best to achieve it.

      1. I mean, just look at the votes in both houses on this bill.  Three Pubs in the senate put aside partisan nut cracking and NONE in the house.

        Fuck ’em.  Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.  I don’t recall anything about FDR compromising.  The Cheney Senate never did.

        1. but I’m not one of them. I think of myself as a Rational Global Humanist. And, let’s face it, how many of those are there in this country (other developed nations have a slighly higher density of them)? Variety is the spice of life. And we even benefited from the opposition to FDR from time to time (after all, we still have nine justices on the Supreme Court, instead of a number which varies according to the convenience of the executive branch, which is probably for the best).

          1. And you only need two hands to count them…..

            But this country has no serious far left component anymore.  Ted Kennedy – not my favorite, but for example, will do – is very busy with his brain tumore.  And I don’t think he has introduced any ground shaking left wing legislation in a log time.  Dennis Kucinich can not get more than a few thousand supporter.  

            People like Pelosi and Obama are considered at the fringe, yet for the most part they acquiess (sp?), compormise, and are really the new middle of the road.

            The Pubs locked us out of the process during the Boosh misadministration.  While I believe in getting along to get along, it takes two to tango.  (Howz that for additive metaphors?)

      2. Accomodation implies some mutual basis for agreement, yes? It also implies a shared, recognizable goal of national health (across the spectrum, i.e., social, economic, international, individual). I don’t hear much, if any, conversation on C-Span attempting to find this common ground on the right….except posturing platitudes.

        There’s a fissure that threatens the nation. I think Obama knows this. He’s attempting to get to a basis for accomodation. How long can the Republicans continue their ideological posturing?

        You say, “And, at both extremes, we will still have the irrational ideologues”, but in reality….the votes demonstrate, en bloc, the Republican Party is huddling en masse as irrational ideologues.

        1. is the question of what the most useful thing to say is, and the most useful manner of saying it. I indulge a bit in the language of “left” and “right,” and always feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable about it when I do so. The real challenge, the long-term fundamental challenge, is to create a vortex of rational and imaginative thought dedicated to the goals of sustainable global human welfare, an attractive vortes, one which draws people in rather than propels people away.

          There are many people on the right, perhaps most, who consider themselves people of good will, people who bear no ill will toward others, people who implicitly (if not explicitly) believe in contributing to human welfare. We need to learn how to work with that, to speak in a language that can be heard, and to hear a language which we do not customarily speak.

          In science there is an old truism: It is not about discovering what is true, but rather what is useful. We need to bear that in mind in political discourse as well.

            1. a maimed political party? Who knows. The question of which way public opinion will swing is more vital, and with longer lasting consequences, especially given the dominance of the Democratic Party in both Houses and the White House.

              1. They may be so damaged they continue to ignore public opinion. They’ve shaped public opinion for so long (through the right wing media) they’re a very spolied party….and yes, maimed. What maimed the Party?

                1. One of those ambiguities when talking about political parties: The elected reps, or the public adherents. I was thinking of the latter, and still think that’s where our focus needs to be. Those in power are neither numerous enough nor united enough to be the central issue right now. I think the central issue now is to re-shape public opinion, to massage it into a semblance of sanity. That’s what I was referring to when I suggested that we might want to pursue a strategy of toning down partisan language, in order to promote rationality (and if rationality just happens to resemble one party’s orientation more than another’s, well, so be it).

                  1. and if, it is embraced by both elected officials, and their constituencies. We have a historically enormous opportunity. All I’m saying is, let it not be wasted.

                    “Tear down that wall” seems to be always fashionable.

                2. there are already a number of R Governors breaking ranks.  They actually have to live with the consequences of congressional R ideology, unlike the Rs in the House who only have to get the base riled  up in their safe R districts or the Rs in the Senate, still thoroughly cowed by their far right leadership. Governors are less likely to have learned the habit of abject obedience.

                  1. Governors don’t have the luxury of posturing. It’s a job that requires true management, and an ability to hold things together to get things done. Thanks for your response.

                    1. can posture. So we have the state GOP trying for stupid little side shows for political advantage rather than working to do everything we can to turn the economy around here.

            2. Too many Republicans are afraid of him to disagree. They don’t want him mobilizing his listeners to flood their offices with angry calls.

              Look at what happened the last time a Republican openly challenged The Emperor. He was kissing the royal ass the next morning, completely chastened. No spine at all.

              Until enough of the esteemed R’s stand up on their feet and denounce this megalomaniac, this “united front” will stand.

            3. ….of your backyard, Steve!  I see the faces, the great food, to say nothing of drink.  I think I brough some of the latter, but I can’t remember what.  It must have been good!

                1. Clandestino, made from the Leche???? aquave in the mountains of La Sierra Tamahurama. $10/liter.

                  When I was in Temoris my friend Jose took me to the little home where you could buy it.  Then we headed to an overloook, 4WD only, up higher in the hills.  From there we could look down on the river valley where El Chepe the famous train ran.  He pointed out a little hut a thousand feet below us and said that’s where the clandestino was made.  

          1. .

            There are many people on the right, perhaps most, who [are decent human beings.]

            Thanks.

            What a charitable thing to say. That makes me feel good all over.

            .

            1. Though I actually said “Many…, perhaps most, consider themselves [to be decent human beings].” So relax: I would never suggest that any of you actually are decent human beings! Your collective reputation remains unshaken.  🙂

              1. .

                I am mistaken; you really didn’t acknowledge the existence of even one decent conservative.  

                I guess I was hearing what I wanted to hear.

                I might have to reconsider the whole idea of asking you to ghostwrite my next book.

                Shame.  You have such command of really big words.

                And no, you were not speaking of us collectively, but making a mass characterization of each of us individually.  

                .

                1. like your concern over my reording a quote to avoid its emphatic ending occurring in the middle of a sentence, or the offense you took when you thought that I wrote that most conservatives are decent human beings, or your “admiration” of the size of my word-choices. Such thoughtful and engaged dialogue is a service to us all.

                2. aren’t you a RINO?  I seldom hear of right wing thoughts from your pen. Or keyboard. Right wing as in ideological.  But certainly RW as in traditional concerns, which are pretty damned close to traditional left wing concerns.  Lots of common ground.  

      3. is a battle for the soul of the party. The wingnuts hold power and they are fighting with everything they have to hold on to the power, because better a permanent minority with them in office than back to a majority but they’re left on the sidelines.

        It will be interesting to see what happens. It may turn out that the wingnuts & evangelicals stay in charge and the Republican party becomes a permanent minority party. It’s unlikely but it could happen.

        If it does, we will see the Democratic primary becoming a real election in more and more places.

        1. You’re right: It will be interesting to see what happens. Realignments are common enough, always gravitating back to a two-party system after occasional deviations, and despite the fact that the names of the two parties have remained the same for quite some time. It seems likely that such a realignment is occurring now. As you said, it’s unlikely for a permanent imbalance to arise: The eventual battle for the center is hard to avoid indefinitely. I think that, whatever form it takes, two parties will balance themselves around the popular political center (whether it’s the Democratic Party expanding into the vacuum left by the extremist Republican Party, or, as is more likely, by an influx of moderates into the Republican Party), as that center, hopefully, continues to shift leftward. It’s about time we joined the modern world.

  4. .

    A Houston company, KBR, and its parent, Halliburton, engaged in violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Bribery) and SEC reporting violations (hiding the bribes) in the period 1995 – 2004.  

    http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/20

    The former KBR CEO will be sentenced in May.  

    DOJ doesn’t seem to have investigated the guy who was Halliburton CEO at the time these crimes were conceived and initiated, one Richard Bruce Cheney.

    .

    1. Cheney’s been able to dodge any attempt at holding him accountable for everything he’s been accused of. This will be no different, unfortunately. He must have something really damaging on someone to be able to avoid investigation as he has.

  5. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20

    “We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected,” said Chris Field, who was a coordinating lead author of the report.

    This is “primarily because developing countries like China and India saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal,” Field said in a statement ahead of a presentation to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

      1. must mean that there’s no drought.

        And thank god for the filthy rich few being chauffered around in limousines! Obviously, there is no poverty in the world!

        It’s a blissfully ignorant existence when every exception disproves the rule!

    1. is the astronomy picture of the day. It’s always visually entertaining to the point of getting the first gasp out of me every day. Just a couple of weeks ago I saw my first true space bubble.

      http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/ap

      And this picture of the rising full moon over the Lick Obervatory (This is the observatory that helped collect the pictures Einstein used to prove his Theory of Relativity)

      http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/ap

      Todays pictures provides other links to graphical evidence of ice cap melting…dramatic in their own right!

      http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/ap

      Enjoy!

  6. They oppose the stimulus bill, but applaud the projects in it?

    GOP lawmakers tout projects in the stimulus bill they opposed

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251

    Here’s a gem: “Yet later in the day Young – who recently told McClatchy that he would’ve included earmarks, or local projects, in the bill if it had been permitted – issued another statement blasting the overall measure.

    “This bill was not a stimulus bill. It was a vehicle for pet projects, and that’s wrong,” he protested.”

    (my emphasis)

    So, he would have included earmarks, which he later said was wrong?

    1. At least Gov. Crist supported the package and met with Obama in Ft. Myers a few days ago.  Lots of speculation about him running for senator in 2010. If he does, he’s a virtual shoo in.  And you know what? We could do worse. My biggest fear is toeing the party line on things like supreme court nominees.  

  7. I thought Republicans were against nationalization of anything because it stinks of Socialism.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    This idea of nationalizing banks is not comfortable,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “But I think we’ve got so many toxic assets spread throughout the banking and financial community, throughout the world, that we’re going to have to do something that no one ever envisioned a year ago, no one likes. To me, banking and housing are the root cause of this problem. I’m very much afraid any program to salvage the banks is going to require the government… I would not take off the idea of nationalizing the banks.”

    Who opposes nationalization of banks? Those “Socialists,” Chuck Shumer and President Obama.

    “I would not be for nationalizing,” said the New York Senator, whose constituency includes the epicenter of the U.S. banking industry. “I don’t think government is good at making these decisions.”

    “Another voice in opposition to nationalization is President Barack Obama, who in a recent interview with ABC rejected the “Swedish” approach to revamping the banking system. “We want to retain a strong sense of that private capital fulfilling the core — core investment needs of this country,” said the president.”

    The eruption of fiscal Conservative in 3…2…1…

    1. …of saving banking and capitalism from itself. (In a different manner and time, so did FDR.  Now all the capitalists and plutocrats are ungrateful and see him as a socialist.)

      That Sweden did so well means nothing to the ideologues, who probably can’t put a pin on Sweden on the map.  Sweden also, may I add, with a 48% tax rate has a much more vibrant economy than we do.  

  8. from the Denver Post

    Overland High School parents said a group of Mullen students, about 30 strong and made up mostly of boys wearing Mullen football jerseys, chanted derogatory terms in unison as black Overland players stepped to the foul line during last Wednesday’s game.

    Students could clearly be heard chanting “Marshmallow,” “Buckwheat” and “Shrimp boat,” said Donna Marshall, whose son is on the Overland team.

    At my daughter’s basketball games Mullen, Academy High, and Sacred Hearts always had the most un-sportsmanlike fans. Total dicks.

    On the flip side, at Fairview one time, the principal kicked the boys out after one warning – for cheering too loudly for the Fairview team.  

    1. one of my favorite aspects was the occasional comradery among members of opposing teams. One of the most important lessons kids can learn from participating in competitive sports is that competition can and should be friendly and respectful. Too many parents, and a minority of coaches who should be encouraged to find other employment, don’t get that, and so fail to teach and model it.

      1. Most of the kids know each other and they each want to win that game more than any other, but you never see crap like this. The varsity basketball games (boys & girls) are held at the C.U. Events Center because so many come to watch.

  9. Just so nobody thinks I complain only when they attack Democrats, this trashing of Republicans is exactly as witless as the bailout sketch from last year or the one from last week. There aren’t any actual jokes, it’s just getting dressed up as the villain of the week and exclaiming, “I’m a stupid moron with an ugly face and big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt.”

    1. SNL has had a more severe than usual problem with funny lately. Still had good opening bits during most of the election season, which is pretty much all I watch anymore, but are having trouble now that we have the President all the cool kids voted for. They did fine with Clinton what with the jogging into McDonalds, the Kenny G, Hillary, the bimbo explosions etc. They’d probably be much funnier if McCain had won.

  10. What is the origin of the phrase “Nice [  ] you have here. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it.”

    Sure it’s some mafia movie or something, but which one? I don’t know why it’s bugging me, but it is.  

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