Open Thread 2/16

- This so-called birth control battle is about a lot more than contraception…it is about not having to beg, negotiate, or endure a forced public confession to get access to services and medicine denied based on some employer’s morality glitch..

– They should call it PolitiCowersToConservatives.

Caring Across Generations in Seattle. (h/t)

God Hates Checkered Whiptail Lizards

$105 for permission to use one of my images is the average amount that keeps me clothed, fed, and housed enough to continue producing more images.

– And as long as I’m linking to copyright pieces: Authors Have a Moral Right to Profit From Their Works


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Rich Are Different

    They’re dishonest.

    “[T]he dynamics of the residential real estate collapse are very different in elite neighborhoods … owners who can still afford to make their monthly mortgage payment choose not to because the property is now worth … less than the giant loan used to buy it during the housing bubble. …

    “Across the United States, the largest increase in foreclosures and delinquencies … is with ‘jumbo’ mortgages … [which] are up 579 percent since 2009 …. Strategic defaults are now more likely among jumbo-loan holders than any other type of borrower ….”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Show me a rich person and I’ll show you a crook. Exhibit 1: A GOP presidential candidate who hides income in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t want to hear anymore from the anti-government crowd about how we can’t afford this and we can’t afford that until they make reasonable efforts to collect the back taxes owed by the wealthy tax-dodging crowd.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    One of the main reasons Greece is broke is because of massive tax-dodging by that country’s wealthy elite.

  3. 4

    ArtFart spews:

    @1 Roger, I’m with you on most of what you’re saying, but it might be worth pointing out that for most of the US, a “jumbo mortgage” is something less than half a million dollars. That probably would mean your burrow by Greenlake if you were to put it on the market, or our modest Cape Cod in Wedgwood that we bought in 1976 for $38K. Hell, you can hardly buy a decent used car for that nowadays.

  4. 5

    rhp6033 spews:

    Regarding royalties:

    When personal computers were young, it’s advocates and “hobbyists” in the mid-1970’s were generally anti-establishmentarians who believed in a communal approach to knowledge.
    Clubs formed with a free exchange of ideas, without a profit motive. Part of this was the battle between University computer administrators and students and staff. Administrators insisted that computer time couldn’t be used for non-course-work projects, unless huge hourly payments were made for computer time. (As an undergraduate in the mid-1970’s, I saw the reports sent to the computer department daily – someone was assigned to see exactly what every user was doing on the computer over the last 24 hours).

    You can see this battle in popular culture of the time: “Tron” was a geek movie which chronicled the attempts of the “users” to break the monopoly of the administrators who insisted on controlling access through mainframes. “War Games was about the early hacker culture attempting to access large company mainframes to get free gaming, but accidently accessing NORAD instead. A later book and movie chronicalling this culture, pre-dating both the emergence of Apple and Microsoft, was “The Pirates of Silicone Valley”.

    A young professor in an Ivy League college belonged to one such club, and soon he was freely distributing a program from which to create business spreadsheets. At the time it was revolutionary, because it allowed businesses to change one variable in a large chart without having to manually re-calculate each affected cell of the chart. Being freely distributed in the public domain, it was picked up by Apple, which converted it’s Apple II from a personal gaming machine into a piece of essential business equipment. Microsoft later used it to create Excel, later incorporated into MS Office products. Although both Apple and Microsoft charge for their products, no royalty was paid to the creator. But both Apple and Microsoft claim copyrights on their products, citing improvements and changes made since the original program.

    So in the early days of the internet, the free use of what would otherwise be copyrighted work was ignored. This was largly because there wasn’t sufficient means to police the internet, much of it involved pornography, nobody believed anything on the internet had much commercial value. But that changed as the internet competed with traditional media outlets.

    As far as original photography is concerned, it is ironic that the biggest protector of the photography rights isn’t the photographer himself (or herself). They just don’t have enough power to accomplish much on their own. Instead, it is those who buy the photographer’s work and claim the original rights for their publication. I say this is ironic becuase for years such publishers themselves have been degenerating the value of the photographer’s work, offering to pay nominal values on a freelance basis only for images they decide to use. Staff photographers are becoming a breed nearing extinction.

    That being said, the author of the article is clearly a scientist and not an accountant, mixing capital costs and incremental costs, and not properly approaching the issue of “lost opportunity”. It’s okay for a professional photographer to factor in the price of their equipment and the time/labor cost into the value of a picture, but the equipment cost should be depreciated over time, not assigned to one picture.

    But that being said, in the drug business the cost of producing a drug is said to be “50 million for the first tablet – a penny a tablet after that”.

  5. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Seattle Times (first page, right column, after the fold) has a nice description of the problem facing Republicans as they attempt to seize control of Senate and gain further seats in the House this year. Their reputation precedes them. When a Republican in the House makes a play for an open Senate seate in Nebraska, the seat goes from a “sure Republican win” to “50/50″.

    Maybe the voters are really paying attention more than I usually believe.

  6. 8

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 7: That’s got to hurt him a lot in the Evangelical circles. Tithing (i.e., giving 10%) is an accepted requirement among Evangelicals. 1.3% isn’t even close.

    If he gets quized on this in interviews or future debates, it would be interesting to hear his response. Of course, the only acceptable answer he can give is that he gave, but it wasn’t included in his return for one reason or another (i.e., not to 501(c)3 organizations, etc.). And he better have proof immediatly available.

    Otherwise, here are the answers which will NOT fly:

    * “I didn’t have as much to give as the other guys”. For the family struggling by on $30,000 a year, yet still pay tithes, this isn’t going to go over too well. And it’s not biblically correct, either – even the widow gave of her mite (100%, in her case – “all that she had”.

    * “I gave in other ways”. Time and labor don’t count toward the 10%, everyone is expected to contribute their time, labor, and talents as needed.

    * “It was more important that I invest in my campaign”. This is similary to Romney’s 2008 excuse as to why, if the Iraq war was so important to the defense of the U.S., his own sons didn’t volunteer to serve in the military. His response that they were giving in “other ways”, referring to his campaign, went over like a lead balloon – especially among families who’s own sons and daughters were serving in the military.

  7. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    Gee, I knew we were dealing with the “third string” of potential presidential candidates, but if you have a candidate who is specifically appealing to the Evangelical base (as Santorum does), you would think he would have enough sense to have anticipated the charitiable giving problem, at least a couple of years ago?

    Let’s Review:

    Rick Santorum – wants to get government off the backs of business and into your bedrooms. Claims evangelical credentials, but only gives 1.3% of his income to charity.

    Ron Paul – wants to return America to what he considers it’s greatest period – before Teddy Roosevelt. Considers the era of the robber barrons and poor houses to be the highest American ideal.

    Newt Gingrich – preaches morality but gets combatitive when asked how that mixes with his personal life of three marriages, at LEAST three affairs, and practices hypocracy as a way of life.

    Mitt Romney – Thinks being rich is a highest valid qualification for being President, can’t understand why most feel differently.

  8. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    I’m not attending the Singapore Air Show (or the Hong Kong Air Cargo conference). But the news coming out of Singapore is consistent with everything I heard at another industry conference last week.

    Aerospace is booming. The order books are filling over. The biggest problem the major airframers make is being able to turn out airplanes at an increased rate, which is putting strains on the supply chain worldwide.

    This means that every company in the extended supply chain – including first tier, second tier, third tier, etc. suppliers – is having to ramp up their production fast. They don’t have time to build new facilities, they have to hire more skilled workers and find ways to get more product through their existing production processes. Quality is an issue, because it takes many years to train good quality control (QC) inspectors.

    Of course, everyone knows that the aerospace industry is cyclical. That’s why both Boeing and Airbus are pushing hard to get airplanes out the door and off their order books while the “iron is hot”. They are anticipating 2012-14 to be big years for airlines, especially in Asia, and they want to fill those orders before something new happens.

    There was a lot of speculation about the impact of Chinese manufacturers to take a slice out of the pie of Boeing and Airbus orders in China. But a recent speach by a respected independent analysts called Comac’s potential aircraft “a joke”, and thinks they are still ten years out in producing a marketable airplane. I’m not sure I agree with all his reasoning, but as long as their entry into the market is delayed by five years or mor, that gives both Boeing and Airbus time to cash in and achieve market dominance of the Airbus A320NEO and Boeing 737MAX.

    But that means a huge impact of high-paying jobs in the Pacific Northwest especially, but also nationally. By itself the aerospace industry can have a huge impact in pulling us out of the recession. Right now aerospace companies are hiring carefully, but they are hiring at a considerably rapid rate.

    Auto companies have started hiring again, too. And GM made record profits this past year, even though just three years before Republicans were calling for someone to pull the plug and let them die. That’s going to be a hard position to defend in the upcoming presidential and congressional races across the industrial mid-west.

  9. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 1: Of course, to hear Rush Limbaugh and others like him, the entire real estate collapse was caused by “the government forcing banks to lend to poor people who can’t afford houses”.

    Of course, what they really mean when they say “poor” is “black”. Because the only legislation they could be referring to was 1970’s era legislation which prohibited “red-lining”, whereby banks lent only in areas where whites resided, and not in black residential areas.

    Poor people, whether white or black, usually won’t default on a home loan if they have any other alternative. That’s because they believe (a) losing their home is just one step away from living on the street, and (b) that might have been their last chance to ever get a mortgage to buy a home.

    Of course, the “flippers” were jumping into the market in 2007, making money by re-selling the house before they even had to close on their purchase. Some had multiple homes in play at the same time, without making any improvements on the homes in the process. That’s the sort of market dynamics which should cause alarm bells to be ringing all over the offices of bank comptrollers, the FDIC, SEC, HUD, Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Treasury, and the Fed. But the Bush administration was not only ignoring the alarm bells, it was cheering on the speculators and actively discouraging investigation of abuses under it’s philosophy of no government involvement in “private” markets. Of course, the privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t help, either, as they now had a profit motive in encouraging conduct which would have been discouraged previously.

  10. 12

    Steve spews:

    Santorum’s SuperPAC guy says,

    “back in my days we used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly”

    Too damned funny for words. It’s going to get even better than this before it’s over. heh. If they keep this shit up, nothing, not even Diebold and vote suppression, will be able to save the wingnuts in the fall.

  11. 13

    Michael spews:

    Dang, Steve beat me to it.

    Yes, please talking mister Super Pack Man. Here’s a microphone, talk to your hearts delight…

  12. 14

    rhp6033 spews:

    Boener’s in a grumpy mood. The House is having to agree to an extension of the payroll tax cut. Boener is saying “it won’t create jobs”.

    Huh? Has Boener departed from the Republican theme that taxes destroy jobs, and lower or no taxes create jobs?

    Well, not exactly. It’s just that he’s having to admit that the Republicans want to keep taxes high on the working class, and bring them down to zero on the idle rich. It’s the idle rich whom Boener is talking about when he cries about taxes being an attack on the “job creators”.

    Of course, he knows, as well as we knows, that rich people don’t create jobs – at least not here in the U.S. They do create jobs overseas, as long as they don’t have to pay more than pennies an hour for work in sweatshop conditions.

  13. 15

    Steve spews:

    @13 First!

    I considered coming up with a joke about that SuperPAC guy, aspirin between the legs and surging Santorum, but that would be really disgusting, even for this cesspool.

  14. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s starting to look like Obama may get to run against Ricky Sanitarium instead of the tax-dodging, job-killing hedge fund guy; but the president will do fine in November either way. I hope the pubbies and their backers blow at least a billion bucks of their stolen money on this windmill tilt.

  15. 17

    proud leftist spews:

    I heard there was still a remnant herd of Moderate Republicans in Maine, but political anthropologists are uncertain if they are native to this country or a rogue herd of Progressive Conservatives (genetically related to Moderate Republicans and capable of breeding with them, though a different species) that slipped over the border from Canada when Homeland Security was asleep.,27371/

  16. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Roger Rabbit Quiz

    This woman is:

    a) A person of interest in a trailer park shooting.
    b) A Tea Party organizer.
    c) A GOP candidate for Wisconsin state senate.
    d) A California welfare queen.
    e) The world’s richest person.

    (Note: One of these answers is a throwaway.)

  17. 19

    Michael spews:

    Turns out federal courts work just fine for trying terrorist. And of you don’t believe me you can ask Tim McVeigh.

    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” was sentenced to life in prison Thursday following his trial in federal court. Two years ago, Republicans insisted trying Abdulmutallab in federal court was a terrible idea.

    There was a time when the circumstances surrounding Abdulmutallab’s arrest were part of a lengthy national debate about the best way to handle terrorism cases. There were letters, television appearances and press releases calling on the Obama administration to reverse its position and send Abdulmutallab into the military tribunal system due to perceived weaknesses in the civilian court system.

    Now that he’s locked up for life, it’s pretty much radio silence. A search for press releases mentioning Abdulmutallab from members of Congress this week turns up just one, from Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), who said the sentence ‘demonstrations that our federal court system is fully capable of bringing terrorist to justice.”

  18. 21

    Michael spews:

    Someone needs to remind me of when you’re supposed to put your thumb in front of the barrel of your hand gun while out target shooting.

    Tim Ralston is a prepper. As such, he is prepared to face the unexpected — and is even prepping his own underground bunker in case of disaster — but perhaps shooting his own thumb off was one scenario he hadn’t envisioned.

  19. 22

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Birth control (and I include abortion in birth control, unlike some) is the BEST chance younger, poorer folks have of avoiding wallowing in poverty for a lifetime. I say more and more birth control, particularly for those who cannot afford to raise a child at some minimum standard of living. Having a family that you can pay for should be the goal.

  20. 23

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    @12 & 13,

    If the guy had said that abstinence is a good method of birth control, he would have said the same thing as the aspirin-between-the-knees joke. Hell, I heard that same joke over 40 years ago and thought it as was funny then as it is now.

    The guy just said something that was blunt and direct, and I like that approach. A few weeks ago, I stated that a problem Social Security faces is that people are forgetting to die on time. I could have said something about the actuarialy assumptions of life expectancy Social Security is using are out-of-date and don’t reflect our increased life expectancy, but saying that “people are not dying on time” was much more fun and direct. Pissed off a couple of the usual suspects, too!

  21. 24


    Abstinence is a concept of waiting till the person is ready which I’m all in favor of, for the people that can wait. But many cannot and there has to legal means for THEM not have kids.

    How about the republicans mandate that every man get a reversible vasectomy at the onset of puberty that is reversed while the men are married?

  22. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    Last weekend I heard a bunch of Republican Evangelical Conservatives saying that they just couldn’t vote for Romney. It wasn’t the fact that he was rich, that he tore apart companies and out-sourced jobs, or that he was a flip-flopper on health care, birth control, abortion, or other issues.

    They won’t vote for him because he’s Mormon.

    Which makes me wonder if this also rules out voting for Catholics as well. If so, this disqualifies both Gingrich and Santorum.

    Who’s left – Ron Paul?????

  23. 27

    rhp6033 spews:

    It looks like the Hearland Institute, a tax-excempt “educational” non-profit, plans to spend $600K + supporting Walker in the Minnesota recall campaign. They plan a series of TV and media adds aimed at convincing the public that Scott Walkers’ campaign to cut the salaries of “overpaid teachers” was a courageous effort to “do the right thing for Minnesota”.

    Heartland Institute Campaigns for Walker

    Good luck with that.

  24. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Alabama’s immigrant-bashing law will cost that state billions. Serves ‘em right.

    “Dr. Samuel Addy, an economist …, found that the law … will annually shrink Alabama’s economy by at least $2.3 billion and will cost the state not less than 70,000 jobs.”

  25. 29

    rhp6033 spews:

    Remember Cynical, the wingnut who complained that Obama’s inaugeration was going to result in a disasterous sell-off of the stock exchanges, ruining everyone’s retirements?

    Just a snapshot of the DJIA today:

    George W. Bush: -21.78% over two terms in office (losing value during each of his terms).

    Pres. Obama: + 56.38%

    In fact, the DJIA performance during Obama’s presidency (first term) is so good it is better only by Reagan’s second term (+77.16%) and Clinton’s first term (+111.83%).

    It is the best first term in office since Carter’s presidency (I couldn’t check back further than that).

    It’s funny to see Boen’er scowl these days, and he keeps complaining that the economy still isn’t good enough, etc. He knows that even Republicans aren’t believing him anymore.

  26. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Keystone XL Redux

    When conservatives want something as badly as they want this pipeline, you can be sure what they say about it is bullshit. Case in point:

    “The pipeline’s champions argue it will create jobs, slash domestic gas prices, and reduce dependence on oil from the Middle East.

    “Just how realistic are these claims?

    ” … The estimated number of people it will employ … has fluctuated wildly … from 3,500, to 4,200, to 20,000 temporary positions and … several hundred on an on-going basis. The U.S. State Department … estimates the line will create just 20 permanent jobs. One advantage of a pipeline, after all, is that it’s automated.

    “The gas price argument rests on the bump in supply the Keystone XL will bring to market. Keystone XL would deliver around 830,000 barrels a day. Not all of that would be used in the U.S., however … let’s say two-thirds … stays in the U.S. … In 2008, [the U.S. Energy Information Administration] studied what 500,000 barrels more per day would save consumers at the pump: 3¢ a gallon.”

  27. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wanna Cut Spending & Reduce Deficits?

    The U.S. built something like 70,000 nuclear warheads. About 1,550 are on active duty. Some heavy-duty military thinkers say that can be reduced to 300. The dollar savings would be huge. Obama seems to be heading in this direction. Republicans, of course, are screaming “no way!” — nuclear bombs bring pork into their districts. So, if you want spending cuts, smaller deficits, and a safer world — vote for the rational guy.