Open Thread 2/9

- You’ll all be shocked to learn that the Weekly Standard are a bunch of war mongers.

– I’m not thrilled with Obama’s decision to give his blessing to a super PAC to support his reelection. Of course I’m not a fan of campaigning with one hand tied behind his back. But I think given American’s dislike of them (and the fact that he will be well funded anyway), he could have spun his not having one for more value than I think it will add. But I don’t think it’s hypocrisy to oppose them in principal and have one when the other side already has several.

– Goldy has picked up on the idea of messing with the GOP Caucus. I’m leaning toward Fred Karger, even though I’d vote for Obama in a general election between the two of them.

New Ventures Facility

– Planned Parenthood has a lot of allies.

– And it’ll need them, because there is a hell of a lot of anti-choice crap at the state level.

– I’ve been thinking for a couple days now about the athlete I’d have play for my soul and the best I can come up with is it would have to be in an individual sport. What I’m saying is I’m not very good at this game.

– Oh, look what they’re doing with spider webs these days.


  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    - You’ll all be shocked to learn that the Weekly Standard are a bunch of war mongers.

    It’s probably the people at the Weekly Standard that are warmongers, not the Weekly Standard its self. But, who am I to talk, I don’t even know if I used it’s and its correctly.

    Goldy has picked up on the idea of messing with the GOP Caucus. I’m leaning toward Fred Karger, even though I’d vote for Obama in a general election between the two of them.

    I’m not a fan of this. There’s never been a proven case where people were actually able to sway an election, but by saying it you give people license to bitch about people trying to sway and election and it makes you look like an ass.

  2. 2

    Michael spews:

    - And it’ll need them, because there is a hell of a lot of anti-choice crap at the state level.

    Yes, there’s a lot of anti-choice stuff going on right now. The people pushing it are old white folks that are rapidly losing power. They may pass some of their agenda, but the people pushing this will be gone and their agenda will be repealed in the not so distant future.

    My statement above isn’t about politics, it’s about demographics.

  3. 3

    Michael spews:

    This is just sickening.

    Westboro Church to picket Powell boys’ funeral as anti-gay protest
    A notoriously anti-gay church plans to picket Saturday’s funeral for Charlie and Braden Powell and will be counterprotested by Occupy Seattle.

    A notoriously anti-gay church plans to picket Saturday’s funeral for Charlie and Braden Powell and will be counterprotested by Occupy Seattle.

    Margie Phelps, daughter of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church’s founder, tweeted Wednesday night that the church will attend the boys’ memorial service. The protest is to “remind” Gov. Chris Gregoire “they died because of her rebellion,” a reference to her support of same-sex marriages.

    Read more here:

    With crap like this going on is it really any wonder that many of us are pushing for our various governments to live up to being secular?

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 If God is punishing our state for passing gay marriage, She’s doing it by bringing those Westboro assholes here.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    ‘Mortgage Deal From Hell’

    A leading bank analyst has called the settlement between the feds, states, and big banks “the mortgage deal from hell” because it rewards banks and borrowers who behaved badly while doing nothing for responsible homeowners who paid their debts.

    Further, it appears the administration hijacked the robo-signing scandal and used it as a vehicle for pushing its mortgage relief agenda.

    The settlement requires the banks to pay $776 million in fines to the Federal Reserve, but does absolutely nothing for innocent victims of the banks’ massive nationwide “robosigning” fraud.

  6. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 3: I’ve always wondered how Westborough Baptist Church gets enough money so they can travel cross-country for all these protests, many of them during what most of us would call “working hours”. I know that just about everyone in the church is related to the main pastor, and that it’s membership doesn’t exceed three dozen or so. The kids are all home-schooled, which I guess makes it easy to throw them in the RV and take them along to the protests without missing school.

    But is anybody working and paying their expenses?

    Do they get donations from outside the church to fund these trips? If so, it might be an Eyman-type thing – doing whatever it takes to get in the news so you can keep getting donations to fund your “business”.

  7. 7

    rhp6033 spews:

    By the way, the Republicans are testing their campaign themes for this year. One of them is the continued attempt to convince blue-collar workers that illegals are stealing their jobs and their tax money, and the Democrats are assisting them.

    Of course, the statistics pretty clearly show that there’s been a huge net exidus of migrants from the U.S. back to Mexico, and on top of that the enforcement efforts under President Obama have deported far more illegal immigrants than were ever deported under the Bush administration.

    As for tax money, the Republicans are pushing a bill to prevent the Child Care Tax Credit from being used by illegal immigrants to get tax rebates. The purpose is to prevent tax-credit subsidies to families of illegal immigrants, which the Republicans claim costs upwards of 40 billion a year and is a “huge draw” bringing in illegal immigrants who want nothing more than a check from the government.

    But the facts are quite different.

    First of all, most illegal immigrants don’t ever get a refund check, because they are using somebody else’s social security number for work. The majority then pay tax money into the system, but never file a return so they don’t get a refund. The social security fund, and U.S. citizens, benefit from this because it is, in essence, a system which forces illegal immigrants to pay into a system at a much higher effective tax rate than we do. We also get the double benefit that they can’t apply for most other services (or won’t apply out of fear for having their status discovered), meanning that they use far less government services than the rest of us.

    Some do file a tax return, because they want to show that they’ve been paying taxes if there is ever another amnesty program made available. But most don’t try to get a check back, and pass up on deductions and credits, because they don’t ever want to risk an audit by the I.R.S.

    Secondly, the bill is a pretty clumsy hammer to use to approach it’s goal. As of now it seems to require both parents to have a valid Social Security number (available only to citizens and those with unrestricted green cards), even if their child or one of the parents is a U.S. citizen. This would mean that foreign nationals coming into the U.S. to work legally, some as senior corporate managers for foreign corporations, couldn’t use the child care tax credit when they file their returns because they only have a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), instead of a Social Security Number (surely they would adjust this before its passed?).

    Third, they are simply trying to charge the poorest among us, the children of migrant workers and day laborers, a tax surcharge just so they can avoid raising taxes a little bit on the very richest among us.

    Fourth, I don’t quote any number put forth by a Republican who’s trying to get on the news any further than I can throw an elephant.

  8. 9

    Michael spews:

    Yeah, everything I’ve read points to this being a really bad deal for America.

    The current federal transportation bill is getting nailed from all sides as well.

    • The New York Times editorial page and the National Rural Assembly agree that the transportation bill written by the House is a bad deal.

    The Times describes the bill as “uniquely terrible.” It would change the way public transportation is funding, making money much less certain. It would open nearly all of the country’s coastal waters to drilling. It would direct almost all spending to roads and bridges, ignoring other forms of transport.

  9. 10

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Do you know why Islamic terrorism exists? It exists because we’ve been fucking around in the Middle East for nearly 70 years, installing a shah in Iran in-place of a democratically elected leader and doing whatever the Israelis wanted us to do to ensure their survival. Oh, don’t forget protecting big oil, too.

    If you want to end Islamic terror, withdraw all out troops from the Middle East entirely, stop supporting Israel no-matter-what, and stay the fuck out of Middle Eastern countries’ affairs. It’s that simple: if we’re not messing around in their countries, Islamic terrorists have no reason to cause us problems. We brought all this shit upon ourselves by our brain-dead actions and policies, vis-a-vis the Middle East!

  10. 12

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    There are a lot of war-mongers out there who advocate a first strike against Iran. That asshole John Bolton (who used to be Bush’s US guy) is just salivating over attacking Iran.

    I say leave Iran the fuck alone. If the Israelis are threatened by Iran, then that’s their problem, not ours.

  11. 13

    czechsaaz spews:

    If you’re an organization robocalling me to contact my legislator to vote for a bad education bill and the call says, “As a parent with an eight year-old and a twelve year-old in Washington public schools,” it would be a good idea if your area code and caller ID didn’t come from Salt Lake City. Just sayin’.

  12. 15

    Michael spews:


    my legislator to vote for a bad education bill and the call says, “As a parent with an eight year-old and a twelve year-old in Washington public schools,” it would be a good idea if your area code and caller ID didn’t come from Salt Lake City. Just sayin’.

    That’s awesome.

    All I have is a cell phone, so I never get those type of calls.

  13. 19

    Michael spews:

    Apparently the folks at DARPA have never heard of this thing known as a mule.

    To help alleviate physical weight on troops, DARPA is developing a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), to integrate with a squad of Marines or Soldiers.

    Recently the LS3 prototype underwent its first outdoor exercise, demonstrating the ability to follow a person using its “eyes”—sensors that allow the robot to distinguish between trees, rocks, terrain obstacles and people. Over the course of the next 18 months, DARPA plans to complete development of and refine key capabilities to ensure LS3 is able to support dismounted squads of warfighters.
    Features to be tested and validated include the ability to carry 400lbs on a 20-mile trek in 24-hours without being refueled, and refinement of LS3’s vision sensors to track a specific individual or object, observe obstacles in its path and to autonomously make course corrections as needed. Also planned is the addition of “hearing” technology, enabling squad members to speak commands to LS3 such as “stop,” “sit” or “come here.” The robot also serves as a mobile auxiliary power source— troops may recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol.

    Why are we paying for this nonsense?

  14. 20

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 19: Yep, the U.S. military used horses, muless, and burros since it’s early existence for transportation of heavier equipment. Early “horse artillary” was specifically designed as smaller weapons capable of being transported on the back of a horse or a mule – I think Freemont carried one during his explorations in the Rocky Mountains.

    There are, however, some problems with using horses and mules in Afganistan, which are worth noting:

    * A horse or a mule has to eat prety much constantly. It’s energy to work is directly (and quickly) related to it’s ability to eat grain such as oats, etc. Presumably, such feed would have to be carried on it’s back, or you would need another horse or mule to carry it. I once saw a paper on the Civil War which dealt with the logistics of the war, and said that a team of horses pulling a wagon full of feed would have consumed the entire feed load within forty miles, arriving with an empty wagon – hence the need for frequent “supply stations” every twenty miles or less if they were going to do any good. Horses and mules can forage on grasses and hay, and it fills them up but it doesn’t provide enough energy to do some real work. It was estimated that over half the logistics effort on the part of both armies was devoted just to keeping horses and mules fed. Of course, a civil war army needed lots of horses – as officer’s mounts, cavalry, artillary transportation, pulling pontoon wagons, and general freight transportation- most armies had more horse and mules than soldiers.

    * You have to feed horses and mules regardless of whether they are working or not. This was the big difference in wartime logistics when the motor vehicles arrived. The motorized vehicles still needed gas, but only when they were working.

    * A horse will do whatever work it’s master demands, until it dies – it’s heart will simply give out. A mule is different, it will just lie down and refuse to move, no matter how much of a beating you give it. Unless horses are trained for battle, they will easily become frightened of the gunfire and explosions, and there’s no telling how far they will go before they stop running. A mule will also jump at the sounds of battle, and run away. The big difference between them is that few mules can ever be trained to stand still while a battle is going on around them – they simply have too much sense for that.

    * Mules are notoriously difficult to train. My own father worked with mules during the Great Depression in Alabama. He said to train a mule you first take a 2 X 4 and hit them across the head with it as hard as you can. That’s to get their attention. He thought when he went into the Army he wouldn’t have to deal with a mule ever again, only to find that they were used in Korea to bring ammo to the front and evacuate wounded, especially in the steep mountains/hills in the center of the country.

    * Unlike previoius wars (at least through Korea), there are very few U.S. soldiers who grew up with working horses or mules, and know how to care for them or train them.

    So, all things considered, I think the Army should be thinking in terms of simplifying and lightening a soldier’s load, rather than trying to build robots to carry it. Afgan fighters usually travel long distances and fight battles with little more than their robes, a blanket, an AK-47, and whatever ammo/grenades they can carry on their person. U.S. soldiers in WWII and Vietnam would carry their M-1s, an ammo load plus grenades, and C-rations, and split up the heavier equipment so everyone carries a share (ammo for the M-30 or the radio, etc.) I question how useful much of the equipment is that they are expected to carry these days. My nephew is scheduled to be back from his second tour in Afganistan in about a month, I will ask him after he’s got some time to get re-acclimated.

  15. 21


    @1, RE the Caucus: that’s why I’d go with Fred. I figure he’s the R I come closest to supporting. He still has a lot of their bad economic ideas (so does Obama, but less so) but at least he isn’t garbage on social issues for the most part.

  16. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 “Why are we paying for this nonsense?”

    Because defense contractors can’t make money from mules.

  17. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Understanding the Greek Drama

    “The only success the Papandreou government can boast is the abolition of the old right-left division – replaced by a divide between the elites and the people. ..

    “Two dynastic parties have alternately ruled the country over the last 40 years, creating the inflated, ineffective public sector they now attack. They turned a blind eye to tax evasion and created a generous system of tax avoidance. They ran up debt even after the problems became clear, eventually leading to the European intervention. …

    “It is as if the Greek elites desired the debt to orchestrate the wholesale destruction of the welfare state and transfer of public assets to private hands.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Overall unemployment in Greece is now 20.9%, and youth unemployment is 48%. Workers and pensioners are being told their incomes will be cut in half and they’ll have to pay higher taxes. Anyone want to give odds the elitist Greek government won’t be overthrown? Perhaps peacefully, perhaps not. Greece holds elections in April, and by May no one will recognize that country’s political landscape, as it will bear no resemblance to what went before.

  18. 24

    Isambard Kingdom Brunel spews:


    someone should go beat the shit out of those westboro chruch freaks.

    either that or fit them concrete shoes and take them for a ferry ride.

  19. 25

    Michael spews:

    Mules and horses have been used in wars for thousands of years and they worked just fine. Some of the first special forces and CIA guys that parachuted into Afghanistan rode around on horses (and helped kick the Taliban’s ass).

    That contraption that DARPA’s trying to build is going to need to eat constantly too and whatever they’re going to feed it will cost more than alfalfa.

    We could probably buy and train thousands of mules and horses for what’s been spent on trying to develop their “mechanical mule” that still doesn’t work right.

    We’re flat fucking broke. We can’t afford to spend money on nonsense like this.

    I think Rog got it right @22.

  20. 26

    Michael spews:

    Also, that thing looks way harder to train than a mule. And besides if someone blows up your mule you’re out, what, $500 bucks? How much would you be out when someone blows up your mechanical mule?

  21. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What’s At Stake In Syria

    If the Syrian regime falls, “pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon and Gaza will find their supply-lines cut.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Syria and Iran have the most stridently anti-Israel regimes in the world. If they go, Israel stays. For that reason, those in the Middle East who would like to be rid of Israel will do everything in their power to prop up Syria’s and Iran’s rulers.

  22. 28

    czechsaaz spews:


    We’re not flat-broke. There’s trillions in recoverable funds that some people think should continue to be hoarded by private enterprise.

    Then there’s the obvious, in this case, industry that can be built around such research. But then when a company adapts that research and demands tax breaks because it costs billions to develop the product the naive will buy that argument not realizing that the billions were taxpayer dollars to begin with. Kind if like CDC and Research University grants showing up as pharmaceutical products.

    But I guess the smart thing to do would be to stop researching new technologies since we can’t afford it?

  23. 29

    Michael spews:


    We are flat fucking broke. Yes there are ” trillions in recoverable funds” out there, but until we recover them we don’t have them and we remain broke. I don’t see us recovering most of those funds any time soon.

    There are things that are worth investing in and there are things that are not worth investing in. Too me this looks like something not worth investing in. In fact, it looks like a scam where defense contractors make millions and never deliver a workable product. Buy the army some mules, they’ve used them before and they worked just fine.

  24. 32

    czechsaaz spews:


    “Too me this looks like something not worth investing in.” (sic)

    Ponder this?

    “Why are we spending billions to put expensive metal boxes in the sky just so we can know where we are? We have maps.” (Garmin, Magellan, FedEx package tracking, Air Traffic safety, 911 response, and on and on.)

    What use is a newborn babe?

  25. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Bankers Are Crooks Dep’t

    “Citigroup was forced to write off $50 million after two traders accused of attempting to influence global lending rates left the bank, according to people familiar with a worldwide investigation that is gathering pace.

    “Nine separate enforcement agencies in the US, Europe and Japan have been probing whether US and European banks manipulated the London Interbank Offered Rate or Libor, the benchmark reference rate for $350 trillion worth of financial products, and other interbank lending rates. …

    “The investigation into possible manipulation of global interbank lending rates has accelerated in recent weeks, with more than a dozen traders at banks including Royal Bank of Scotland and JPMorgan Chase fired, suspended or placed on administrative leave. …

    “A former Barclays trader, Philippe Moryoussef, is being investigated in connection with the setting of Euribor, the rate at which banks lend euros, according to people familiar with the case.”

  26. 34

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 25: I read about the CIA and special-forces guys in the early days in Afganistan, riding horses with the Muhadeen fighters of the Northern Alliance. One of the guys actually ended up with a broken back from riding the horses, even though he was in great shape physically. It’s just that riding horses uses a different muscle structure to support the rider, and the Afgan horses were small and their saddles and gear were quite a bit different from anything Americans might have ridden.

    I think I’ve hit on the best solution. Hire some Afgan wranglers to accompany the U.S. troops, and to train and care for the horses. I’d uses local supplies of horses in Afganistan because their needs would be more adjusted to the area. If security is an issue, then just don’t tell them where you are going or what you are going to do, their job is just to keep up and make sure the horses and their equipment are with the troops at all times. The cost would be relatively small, given the economy of Afganistan.

  27. 38

    Michael spews:

    In Europe, Stagnation as a Way of Life

    PARIS — For all the struggles that Greece has gone through to satisfy its demanding lenders, Europe’s troubles are not going away.

    Because of the various, often incremental, steps European officials have taken during the nearly three-year debt difficulties that began in Greece, the crisis fever has cooled considerably in recent months — including fears that the euro currency union might suddenly fall apart.

    But crisis has given way to a grinding reality for Europe: economic stagnation and even, for much of the Continent, the specter of another downturn less than three years after the last recession ended.

    Welcome to The New Normal and the Long Emergency, folks.

  28. 39

    Michael spews:

    Investors who once criticized countries for not embracing enough austerity to mend tattered balance sheets have recently started to acknowledge that too much austerity is squeezing growth — making it harder, rather than easier, to pay back debts.

    Where’s our little friend that’s always pushing for austerity in America?