by Carl, 01/14/2013, 8:01 AM

- Our Times Will Get More Interesting

- You know how your conservative friends are saying Hitler banned guns? Turns out, that’s the exact opposite of true.

- The dreamers are pretty amazing.

- As organizations like Planned Parenthood back away from the “pro-choice” label, what is next?

- No pants day on LINK Light Rail is still a story.

- The White House response to the Death Star petition.

A blogging note: I’ve still got a bit of the yucks (to use the technical term) so this is the only post from me today, and possibly tomorrow.

59 Responses to “Open Thread 1/14”

1. Serial conservative spews:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke days of silence on Sunday evening to deny any knowledge or involvement in a Utah case in which a man claims to have funneled money to others in an attempt to get the Nevada Democrat to intervene in a Federal Trade Commission case.

Maybe no one from the Senate Majority Leader’s office reads Roll Call.

Yeah, that must be it.

BTW, how’d Harry get so rich?

3. Serial conservative spews:

An inconvenience for wealthy people, rising corn prices are disastrous for the poor, at home and abroad. A Tufts University study estimated that Mexicans paid $1.5 billion more for food from 2006 to 2011.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

It’s an article on corn-based ethanol idiocy. Good thing we’ve got the green lefties helping out our less fortunate neighbors to the south.

4. rhp6033 spews:

Global climate change denyers will keep doing so, while fishing in the Great Everglades (formally the Great Lakes).

In the meantime, Beijing is suffering from it’s worse case of smog in recorded history. On some days you can’t see across the street, and yesterday. Over the weekend some 9,000 patients tried to get treated at one Beijing hospital, mostly for respitory illnesses (source: BBC report). The smog was primarily caused by coal dust from industries in cities west of Beijing.

The Beijing air pollution was recently measured at 755 by the U.S. embassy in Beijing, whereas readings above 300 are “extremely rare” and generally occur during unusual events such as large forest fires. Tacoma made the highest ranking of all U.S. cities over the weekend with a 91 scale.

WSJ: Beijing Air Pollution hits Record Highs

Karl Rove said we can ‘t do anything about global warming as long as the Chinese are polluting the air. But we CAN tie continued trade to a timetable of improvements in pollution from Chinese industries which benefit from that trade. And since when does the U.S. look to China to be the leader of anything?

5. Serial conservative spews:

@ 3

But we CAN tie continued trade to a timetable of improvements in pollution from Chinese industries which benefit from that trade.

Sure we can. Same way the Chinese can tie continued purchase of US debt to unimpeded trade.

It’s best to actually have a loaded gun if you’re going to point it at someone who also has a gun.

6. rhp6033 spews:

# 3: Nobody except those in the corn-producing states thought that ethanol was a long-term fix of anything. Corn used for ethanol takes away corn available for use as human food south of the border, but here in the U.S. it is used more for animal feed than for human consumption. A drought in the corn-producing areas of the U.S. results in an immediate price change in the futures of pork and cattle.

What it does do, however, is it helps lesson energy dependence upon the Middle East for oil used in transportation. Once we consider the cost of a maintaing a large miliatry presence in the middle east to protect America’s oil supply, the cost of ethanol isn’t so high.

Of course, renewable energy resources such as solar power would be the best bet for all concerned.

7. Serial conservative spews:

@ 6

What it does do, however, is it helps lesson energy dependence upon the Middle East for oil used in transportation.

So, causing Mexicans to go hungry is OK if it makes our oil cheaper or more easily available?

Did you get Cheney’s old heart or what?

8. Serial conservative spews:

The White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.
Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients told Ryan (R-Wis.) late Friday that the budget will not be delivered by Feb. 4, as required by law, a House aide said.

“Late Friday evening, Deputy Director Zients confirmed that for the fourth time in five years, the president’s budget will not be submitted in compliance with the law,” the aide said.

Read more:

It’s easier to ignore spending limitations if you don’t restrict yourself to a budget, I suppose.

Good thing Obama no longer thinks spending beyond one’s means is unpatriotic.

9. rhp6033 spews:

# 5: Trade negotiations are always problematic. Our ammo is restrictions on imports of toys, consumer electronics, printed products, clothing, etc. Their ammo is restricting imports high-tech items such as airplanes, and to a lesser extent debt (although I think this is over-blown).

But a quick measure on who has the most to lose in restrictions on trade has already been signaled by the Chinese, in their long-term push for Most Favored Nation status. They need us more than we need them (except for big Republican-contributing businesses who make their profits off of cheap outsourcing such as WalMart, etc.).

10. ArtFart spews:

@6 “What it does do, however, is it helps lesson energy dependence upon the Middle East for oil used in transportation.”

Actually not. There’s plenty of data showing that the entire process of farming corn and refining and distilling it into ethanol uses more petroleum than is saved using the end product in vehicles. Furthermore, the cost would be prohibitive if the taxpayers weren’t getting soaked for the difference.

There are basically two ways to produce alcohol for fuel which are economically viable. One is an old French process which makes it from timber byproducts (bark, roots, etc.) In the early 20th century there used to be a plant in Port Hadlock which ran largely on leftovers from the Port Townsend paper mill. The other is to make it from sugar cane. This was done successfully in brazil for quite a while until someone decided that cutting down more and more of the Amazon rain forest to grow cane wasn’t such a good idea. On the other hand, Hawaii could conceivably achieve energy independence that way, but state laws bought and paid for by Big Oil took care of that.

11. str8 eight spews:

Ethanol is agribusiness welfare.

12. Serial conservative spews:

@ 10

Well said. Thanks, AF.

13. Roger Rabbit spews:

@11 It supposedly contributes to cleaner air, but there are better places to get ethanol than from corn, and we should hope that government-mandated corn ethanol production will have a short life. Congress could cut the deficit by several billion dollars a year by ditching it tomorrow, but I don’t think you’ll see farm-state Republicans voting for that. The only spending they’re against is our spending; their spending is untouchable.

15. Serial conservative spews:

@ 13

…there are better places to get ethanol than from corn.

And yet there’s no better alcohol than bourbon. Go figure.

16. Roger Rabbit spews:

@8 So now Republicans tutor Democrats on fiscal rectitude? That’s funny! Reminds me of the “Far Side” cartoon about Biff going to the veterinarian to get tutored.

17. Roger Rabbit spews:

@15 One of the better excuses for nuking the Russkies was they drink vodka.

18. No Time for Fascists spews:

I can always count on Serial “reneges on his promises” Con to take time away from his paying (government?) job to try to stear the conversation to his daily press releases of F.U.D.

19. rhp6033 spews:

AF @ 10: I’ll bow to your expertise on that issue. But I always thought that had more to do with the lack of infrastucture to support the delivery of ethanol (in comparison with oil), just like automobile travel is cheaper than rail unless one considers the considerable federal and state infrastructure in road systems over the past 3/4 of a century, and the corresponding lack of infrastructure spending in railroads.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of method was Germany pursuing during WWII as it tried to get around the lack of it’s own internal oil supply, and it’s failed attempts to secure more through occupation (Caucasus, Middle East, etc.)? I understand that they had some success at creating some form of synthetic oil, but only in a small fraction of the amounts needed.

Of course, the main reason for the ethanol fuel subsidy is the impact of the corn-producing states in the political process. In particular, the early Iowa cuacuses pretty much demands that the candidates “take the oath” in favor of ethanol as a pre-condition to doing well in that primary. There was even an episode on West Wing on that. (I’d like to see the Republicans cutting Iowa corn subsidies as part of their “budget-tightening” campaign!).

20. Serial conservative spews:

@ 19

Of course, the main reason for the ethanol fuel subsidy is the impact of the corn-producing states in the political process.

Er, not quite.

The reason for the subsidy is that businesses wouldn’t do it if it weren’t subsidized. It’s a lot of politicians who lean green, too. Not just those in the corn-producing states.

Same thing with solar and wind. Who lays out $30,000+ for a solar system that produces energy sufficient to pay back 1% of the cost on their own? Nobody. It’s gotta be heavily subsidized to pencil out.

Subsidies are a means of compelling production of something that otherwise won’t be produced.

I’m fine ending ethanol subsidies because I don’t care if my gasoline is gasohol or not. I’m also fine ending silly subsidies for wind farms and solar that require ongoing confiscations from taxpayers/ratepayers for them to make sense.

Just fine.

21. rhp6033 spews:

# 20: While we are at it, how about federally subsidized power and irrigation for Eastern Washington farmers?

Darn nice of those “independent, get government off our backs” Repubublicans” over there to accept farm aid subsidies and the benefits of our F.D.R. created Columbian Valley Authority at rock-bottom prices! Shouldn’t we end farm aid generally and charge those Eastern Washington farmers to going rate for electricity?

23. Liberal Scientist is a Dirty Fucking Socialist Hippie spews:


Are you fine ending subsidies for the oil, gas, and coal industries?

You know, like actually taxing and regulating them commensurate with the shit they dump in OUR air and water, free of charge? A massive subsidy in the form of an ‘externality’ that allows them to avoid actual costs by socializing the disposal of all their toxic crap.

Oh…forget it…I really have no expectation of a rational, honest answer from you…my bad.

24. Serial conservative spews:

@ 23

Ending, across the board, without looking at who or what would be harmed? Almost certainly not.

Is it reasonable to reduce subsidy in certain areas? Almost certainly.

If you want something more specific, you need to be more specific youself.

25. ArtFart spews:

@23, 24 Remember that just a couple weeks ago we were being treated to dire predictions that if the omnibus farm bill didn’t pass we’d soon see the price of a half gallon of milk rise to $6.00 a gallon.

So, we dodged that bullet for the time being. Meanwhile, the dairy industry is falling apart even with subsidies, and there doesn’t seem to be the will to look for any long-term solutions.

26. Serial conservative spews:

@ 25

Yeah, sorta.

Any food item with dairy would either have to be sold for that price or couldn’t be produced by the private sector, without those subsidies.

I’m OK without Ben and Jerry’s but you’ll be prying that pizza outta my cold, dead fingers.

Same thing applies to eastern WA. Apples, wheat, cattle, and whatever is produced out there (wine grapes?) likely require some sort of federal assistance. Western WA receives federal assistance in the cost of hydroenergy, one could argue.

It’s really not possible to strip away one subsidy without addressing so many of the others, if we’re talking about food. So the comment @ 21 really was off-base.

Food is a basic necessity. Wind-driven energy production isn’t. Unless you’re on a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific.

27. No Time for Fascists spews:

Food is a basic necessity.
Electricity is a basic necessity for modern civilization. Wind-driven energy production is an means to that end.

28. No Time for Fascists spews:

Seattle teachers refuse to give flawed standardized test

The MAP test was purchased under corrupt crony-ist circumstances (Our former superintendent, while employed by Seattle Public Schools (SPS) sat on the corporation board of NWEA, the purveyor of the MAP test. This was undisclosed to her employer. The initial MAP test was purchased in a no-bid, non-competitive process.) [...]

The MAP test is not taken seriously by students, (They don’t need the results for graduation, for applications, for course credit, or any other purpose, so they routinely blow it off.)

29. rhp6033 spews:

# 6:

What it does do, however, is it helps lesson energy dependence upon the Middle East for oil used in transportation.

So, causing Mexicans to go hungry is OK if it makes our oil cheaper or more easily available?

Of course, you know that’s not what I said, so that’s hardly worthy of a response.

Note that I commented further that anything which reduces our energy dependence on the Middle East reduces our extraordinary military committment to the region.

Remember that the Reagan administration (Rumsfield and Cheney) led the idiotic arms-for-hostages strategy benefiting Iran, then Aranian success on the battlefield led us to provide intelligence to the Iraqis, which (along with muddled messages from the State Dept.) led Saddam Hussein to think he had a green light to invade Kuwait, which led to “Desert Shield”, and then “Desert Storm”.

The U.S. had made it clear at the time that they would leave Saudia Arabia whenever the Saudi’s wished – but we kept up a troop presence there ever since. In the meantime U.S. troop presence there has become an issue among Muslim extremists there, who consider it an “occupation” and an “affront to Islam” (since S.A. is considered the protector of Islam’s holy sites). Which led to Osama Bin Laden and the rise of Al Quida, the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole and U.S. embassies in Africa, the 9/11 attacks, and the wars in Afganistan and Iraq.

And yet you choose to rail against Ethanol as causing the “starvation” of Mexican peasants? While you are at it, perhaps you should consider that Global Warming may cause at least a two-foot rise in sea levels which would cause salination and destruction of the rice fields in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam and Cambodia, which provides much of the world’s rice supply (a staple of diets worldwide). Or more directly, the impact of Global Warming on on the U.S. corn harvest, depleted the last two years by drought and fires?

30. No Time for Fascists spews:

But according to Serial “reneges on his bets” Con, they are just thugs in training.

31. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Something interesting on the London Underground yesterday. For it’s 150th Birthday, they ran some historic rolling stock, specifically, a steam locomotive London Metropolitan No.1. Before electric trains came along, steam locomotives pulled some of the earliest trains on the Tube network.

32. Michael spews:

He was wrong about those mobile WMD factories, but Powell’s right on this one:

During a Sunday interview, NBC’s David Gregory asked Powell why he continued to consider himself a Republican after supporting Obama and taking moderate policy positions.

“I think the Republican Party right now is having an identity problem, and I am still a Republican,” Powell explained. “In recent years, there has been a significant shift to the right and we have seen what that shift has produced: two losing presidential campaigns.”

33. Roger Rabbit spews:

@24 I don’t think “harm” is quite the right word to describe the effect on the oil, gas, and coal industries of ending their federal subsidies. Taking away someone’s gravy train isn’t the same thing as “harming” them.

34. Roger Rabbit spews:

NBC reports tonight that an aging ex-mobster (who was in a position to know) says Jimmy Hoffa is still buried in a field within 20 miles of where he disappeared. The FBI’s reaction is this individual is a credible source and they’ve wanted to talk to him about Hoffa’s whereabouts for many years.

35. Politically Incorrect spews:


Good point, rhp6033. The Republican administrations have been terribly bad about getting our country involved in worthless foreign adventures. They march in and start a fight that no one seems to know how to win or to get out of.

I say fuck ‘em! It’s time to get out of the Middle Eastern quagmires, get out of Europe and get out of Asia. If we actually used our military to defend the US, it would be about 40 to 60 percent smaller than it is now. That would be a great tax savings for all of us, and we would have far fewer legless and arm-less twenty-something vets out there!

Usual suspects and trolls: it’s time to end the empire. Israel, South Korea, Europe, etc., etc. – they all need to fend for themselves. We’re at the end of our financial capabilities and need to worry about ourselves for a few decades.

36. EvergreenRailfan spews:

Isn’t a big driver of the defense budget the cost of fueling the war machine? Like with the Navy, even though all Aircraft Carriers and Submarines are Nuclear Powered now, the escorts still are conventionally-fueled, and the Military Sealift Command, mostly civilian crewed, has several different types of vessels that move the fuel to keep them moving. Then there is the fuel supply lines for troops deployed in combat. Probably one of the reasons the military is trying to use alternative fuels wherever possible, including Solar.

Also, one drawback to Nuclear Powered ships is on it’s way here, the disposal. The USS Enterprise was retired late last year after her final deployment. Bremerton has participated in dismantling nuclear-powered ships before, and because of the proximity to Hanford, although I wonder, probably going to see some court battles over that.

37. Politically Incorrect spews:


That’s always been the problem with nuclear power: the waste. That stuff remains deadly radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.

As far as quality engineering goes, I’d say nuclear power was a very badly thought-out idea.

38. EvergreenRailfan spews:

This is interesting, I never knew that there was a town in Sicily named Corleone, thought Mario Puzzo made it up. Well, the real-life mayor apologized for the town’s mob connections.

39. ArtFart spews:

@37 That stationery nuclear power for utilities was badly executed is certainly arguable, and in fact this was the subject of considerable criticism from none other than Admiral Hyman J. Rickover. His contention was that after he and his associates did a very careful job of designing nuclear engines for ship propulsion, the private power industry (with a lot of government encouragement) did “reingineeering” which was almost as crude as simply changing all the dimensions on the original blueprints for the reactor in the Nautilus. Unfortunately, systems ten or more times the size of that one presented additional challenges which were never well addressed.

40. Serial conservative spews:

Nothing to see here.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections but were ordered by Washington to hold off after officials warned of “significant interest” from Congress and news organizations because the suspect was a volunteer intern for Sen. Robert Menendez, according to internal agency documents provided to Congress.

The Homeland Security Department said last month, when The Associated Press first disclosed the delayed arrest of Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, that AP’s report was “categorically false.”

Move along.

41. Steve spews:

Heh. Pudge is back at (un)SP. Too funny. I don’t think I’ll even last a few hours before the fucker bans me.

“You will do so, or you will retract your claim that I made a baseless accusation, or you and your baseless accusations will be henceforth banned.”

Do you have any idea at all just how ridiculous you sound?

You and your knee-jerk reactions, your baseless accusations of lying and your banning anyone who disagrees with you.

“We all take Steve’s last comment”

You may not like it, but that revealed much about you, Pudge, and let me tell you, it ain’t good. No, not at all.

Oh, by the way, I’m glad to see that you finally have started recovering from Koster’s humiliating defeat. Out of curiosity, what stage of grief would you say that you’re in now?

I’m sure you’ll appreciate, Bob, that I post as “Doctor Steve” at (un)SP and when questioned, I tell them that, of course I’m a Doctor. I’m Bob-certified, as in Doctor Steve, BOBC. I can just see them scratching their balls and nodding in awe. Gawd, they’re all fucking idiots over there.

42. Roger Rabbit spews:

“Northeastern lawmakers hoping to push a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package through the House face roadblocks by fiscal conservatives seeking offsetting spending cuts to pay for recovery efforts as well as funding cuts for projects they say are unrelated to the Oct. 29 storm.”

Roger Rabbit Commentary: We all know who’s going to be first in line for federal handouts when their district is struck by a disaster.

These people will do anything to force through Social Security and Medicare cuts. Democrats should commensurately do whatever it takes to stop them, including letting them shut down the government if necessary.

Meanwhile, let’s stop letting them getting away with calling what they’re doing “entitlement reform.” It’s not reform, it’s abuse of our retirees, and we should insist that its proponents and the media call it by its right name.

43. Liberal Scientist is a Dirty Fucking Socialist Hippie spews:


I think that pudge is really Thurman, from “Dinner for Schmucks”, Zach Galifianakis’ character.

44. Roger Rabbit spews:

Guns Don’t Kill People Dep’t

“A gunman walked into a business school in downtown St. Louis on Tuesday and shot an administrator in the chest before shooting himself, police said.”

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Gun control? We don’t need no frickin’ gun control! All we need is better people control (e.g., mental health services); just don’t ask conservatives to help pay for it.

45. Politically Incorrect spews:


The problem is that some lawmakers tried to include things like re-roofing the Smithsonian as part of the Sandy relief bill. Why can’t they just try, for once, to not take advantage of a bad situation to bring the pork home to their states and congressional districts? It’s almost as bad as going into a church and stealing parishioners’ contributions to the poor of the parish!

46. ArtFart spews:

@42 ” It’s not reform, it’s abuse of our retirees”

AKA “pulling the plug on Grandma”.

47. Roger Rabbit spews:

@45 “re-roofing the Smithsonian”

Are you serious? That’s a “problem”? Well, go right ahead, your credibility on this blog is already shot anyhow.

48. Roger Rabbit spews:

The NRA opposes –

cracking down on people who lie on background checks

improving school safety

improving mental health care

mandatory reporting of stolen guns

– and calls these measures “draconian.”

49. Roger Rabbit spews:

A man who sheltered Sandy Hook survivors is being harassed by white supremacists and “truthers” because he has a Jewish name.

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Climate change is an Israeli conspiracy, too. So was Obama’s re-election. And the national debt. The Holocaust never happened. The earth is 6,000 years old. The earth is flat. The moon landing is a hoax. Fweep sputter squawk brrrrrrrrpppp!!!!

50. Roger Rabbit spews:

The fourth 787 Dreamliner incident in a week.

Roger Rabbit Commentary: Maybe outsourcing and cheap labor weren’t such good ideas after all. Should’ve stuck with union workers.

51. Steve spews:

@43 I dunno. Is Thurman a really, really bad wingnut singer/songwriter as well as an insipid, self-proclaimed constitutional scholar with an impossibly thick skull and who loves pics taken of himself bravely standing before a huge, waving American flag? If so, that’s Pudge alright.

52. Steve spews:

@49 I came across his story earlier. He’d been through enough just being there for those poor kids and those foul haters crawl out from under their rocks and do that to him.

53. Politically Incorrect spews:


I think you need to re-read my comment, rodent. I was against things like including things like re-roofing the Smithsonian or planting trees in Ohio to be funded by the Sandy relief bill. The whole point of helping the people affected by the hurricane is to help them, not people unaffected by the storm. What does re-roofing the Smithsonian (which was unaffected by Sandy) have to do with helping the people affected by Sandy?

As for credibility, you never had any to begin with because all you’ve ever been, for your entire life, is a government employee, sucking the sugar-tit of the taxpayer.

54. meme1 spews:


Please let all police/firefighters near you know how you feel about government employees.

55. Steve spews:

@54 PI loves America so much that he no doubt thinks of Roger’s years military service dodging bullets in Vietnam while PI sat at home on his whining ass as “sucking the sugar-tit of the taxpayer”.

Can’t we just ship all these dumbfuck libertarians to that libertarian fucking paradise called Somalia and be done with it?

56. Steve spews:

Deleted by Steve

57. rhp6033 spews:

# 55: I’ll second that motion.

58. Politically Incorrect spews:


Sorry, Steve, but you’re wrong. I participated in a war myself, ace.

Can’t we just ship all these dumbfuck libertarians to that libertarian fucking paradise called Somalia and be done with it?

BTW, the “progressive” paradise is someplace like North Korea or Cuba. Planning on visiting anytime soon?

Can’t we just ship all these dumbfuck progressives to that progressive fucking paradise called North Korea and be done with it?


You can, of course, go fuck yourself if you don’t like what I say. I could fucking care less.

59. Steve spews:

“the “progressive” paradise is someplace like North Korea or Cuba”

Um, no, the progressive paradise is the United States of America, a nation which you guys seem to have all grown to hate. You certainly never have anything good to say about it. So I suggest Somalia. No taxes, no regulations, minimal government. What’s not for a libertarian to love?