Tuesday Open Thread

It's time for the Tuesday Open Thread. I've got court and last minute prep to get ready for the TL kid's return to Denver for the holidays.

Here's a place for readers to keep us abreast of the news and to post your thoughts. Please use the buttons on top of the comments box to put your link in html format.

Thanks, and I'll be back soon.

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    The Euro hit a new high (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 08:57:25 AM EST
    against the dollar today:  $1.48.

    I guess I'm not taking that European vacation after all....

    We ain't seen nothin' yet.... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:06:42 AM EST
    wait till the international black market completely switches to the 500 euro note, instead of the american c-note.  I'm curious to see what the economic ramifications of that will be.

    Or if Chavez and Ahemenijad convince OPEC to switch to the euro...only the "in our pocket" Saudis stand in the way.


    I wonder what the size of it is (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:16:42 AM EST
    compared to the "real" economy...

    Edger.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:27:27 AM EST
    check out "Reefer Madness" by Eric Sclosser, a very interesting read about the black market reefer, farm labor, and pornography economy.

    It's been estimated that the black market here in the US is approx. 10% of the gdp.  And I'm inclined to believe all estimates of the black market are understated.


    I suspect so too. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:35:53 AM EST
    Probably badly underestimated. Intentionally maybe, to keep people from being nervous? What percentage of the GDP is the money that has vanished in Iraq?

    But the europeans (1.00 / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:25:01 PM EST
    will be flocking to the US...

    Going to India to tour historic sites? (none / 0) (#19)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:20:22 PM EST
    Buy your rupees for the admission fee, because they don't take dollars any more.

    Something about a "12 percent decline in value against the Rupee this year".


    Amsterdam getting too expensive :-( (none / 0) (#27)
    by Aaron on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 01:22:12 PM EST
    This does not bode well for my planned trip to Holland in the spring.  The last time I was there $300 got you €200, and the people of Amsterdam already scoffed at US dollars, now that same 300 bucks will only get you a little over €150.

    We have George Bush to thank for this undermining of US currency, even the Saudis don't want US dollars anymore, and rappers in their videos, shot in New York, are sporting suitcases full of euros, not dollars.

    I think I'll stop over in England, and get myself a job, because Pounds Sterling are about the only currency that is still strong against the euro.  Obviously it was a good idea for the Europeans to unite their currency in this way, soon the Americas will have to make a similar move, in order to remain competitive on the world market.


    Well Doing the math... (none / 0) (#45)
    by Patrick on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 03:21:22 PM EST
    The last time I was there $300 got you €200,

    At Today's rate...$300 will get you $201.999.  So you must not have been there that long ago.  And NEVER has the Euro reached $2.00, which makes this statement....

    now that same 300 bucks will only get you a little over €150.

    Pure hyperbole....Unless of course you consider a +/- of some 33% an acceptable margin of error.  


    Raise your glass.... (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:20:35 AM EST
    for Mehdi Shahbazi, who died from his hunger strike protesting Shell Oil.  Link...(hat tip fark.com)

    You may say he was nuts, and maybe he was, but then again maybe we are.  

    Maybe we are. (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:28:25 AM EST
    How many people, in Shahbazi's position, knowing what Shahbazi knew about Shell's practices, would have caved to Shell's pressure, shut up, and kept selling to their neighbors.

    BLOOD AND OIL (none / 0) (#28)
    by Aaron on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 01:37:03 PM EST
    Just one more death on the hands of the oil companies, who have wallowed in the blood and gore of average people for more than a century, they won't even notice.

    Until the executives of these big oil multinationals start drowning in the blood of their victims, they will go on ignoring them.


    Those who count the votes (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Lora on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 10:45:37 AM EST
    Do you really want these machines to decide an election?

    I wonder - what would have been the result (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 11:00:41 AM EST
    If Welch had originally voted for someone he "didn't" want...

    Along with administrating, weasals can (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by jondee on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:16:11 PM EST

    This argument was rather vehemently made by one of our resident "liberals" recently:

    Torture, terrorism, and, presumably, by extension, rape, child molestation, cannibalism et al are much less dangerously "authoritarian" manifestations than the expressed thoughts of people with deeply held, passionate (close your ears children!) convictions opposed to them.

    After all, who are these people to claim to know definitivly that no unknown greater good may not come from actions which only APPEAR to their inherently flawed subjectitvity to be great evils?

    Best and prudent would be to just let nature take it's course and if any passionate arguments need be harnassed, to allow those with the most power over the flow of information to dictate the prevailing narrative -- as they always do.

    That way we can all live to cower and grovel another day.

    Half Spinoza, half Roy Cohn (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by jondee on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:21:21 PM EST
    Heh! Some days, Jondee. Some days.... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:30:09 PM EST
    This is probably one of the best blog comments I've ever seen at Talkleft, or anywhere else for that matter.

    Do you carry a zippo, or a wooden stake and a mallet with you everywhere you go?

    Metaphorically speaking of course. Heh!


    Supporting the troops.... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 05:35:07 PM EST
    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

    To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

    Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

    One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.

    He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.

    Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

    A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.

    I didn't comment on this (none / 0) (#47)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 05:49:41 PM EST
    because I don't know what the fu*k to say that could be anything other than demanding that the bastards who would authorize something like this have to be the most inhuman co*ksuckers there can be, in any government, and belong in prison....

    Senator Clinton Calls on Pentagon to Stop... (none / 0) (#64)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09:45:23 AM EST
    November 21, 2007 -- Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today called on the Pentagon to immediately reverse a policy that requires repayment of enlistment bonuses by medically discharged wounded soldiers. She also requested that the Army disclose the number of wounded soldiers who have been affected by this policy and promised to introduce new legislation to guarantee the fully payment of bonuses and incentives to wounded veterans.
    ...Clinton sent a letter to Secretary of the Army Pete Geren [c.c.'d to Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff], strongly urging a reversal of policy.

    "Requiring soldiers who are being medically discharged to return their bonuses is outrageous. It dishonors their service and undermines the Army's solemn commitment to soldiers and their families," Senator Clinton said. "If the Administration does not reverse this misguided policy, Congress should pass legislation to set this right."

    Senator Clinton announced that she will introduce legislation that requires the military services to continue to pay certain bonuses to a member of the Armed Forces who is medically retired or separated due to a combat-related injury. The legislation would amend Title 37 of the United States Code to guarantee full payment for various incentive payments for wounded servicemembers.

    [A copy of Senator Clinton's letter is attached].

    And why should anyone have to ask the Pentagon to stop this?

    If you think we are living in scary times, (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 06:59:21 PM EST
    your worst fears may be confirmed by reading Naomi Wolf's newest book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. In it, Wolf proves the old axiom that history does repeat itself. Or more accurately, history occurs in patterns, and in order to understand where our country is today and where it is headed, we need to read the history books.

    Wolf began by diving into the early years leading up to fascist regimes, like the ones led by Hitler and Mussolini. And the patterns that she found in those, and others all over the world, made her hair stand on end. In "The End of America," she lays out the 10 steps that dictators (or aspiring dictators) take in order to shut down an open society. "Each of those ten steps is now under way in the United States today," she writes.

    If we want an open society, she warns, we must pay attention and we must fight to protect democracy.

    An interview with author Naomi Wolf, whose new book, "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot," may confirm your worries about democracy in America.

    What nonsense... (1.00 / 1) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 10:23:00 PM EST
    Historically, the months leading up to the national election are likely to be unstable.

    Got any proof to go with that whine??????


    Sure. (5.00 / 0) (#55)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 04:52:23 AM EST
    Read the article, and you won't sound like such a bonehead.

    Actually I lived a bunch of them (1.00 / 1) (#66)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 10:43:13 AM EST
    And the only that I remember was in '68 and that really was no particular probem.

    Again. Provide some proof besides her claim.


    There is a 3/4 hour video (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 09:11:21 PM EST
    of Naomi Wolf talking very animatedly and passionately about the book, here. (h/t to KrisC)

    NYT (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 10:52:58 AM EST
    Wednesday 21 November 2007:
    Washington - Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq shortly after the fall of Baghdad, said this week he supports Democratic legislation that calls for most troops to come home within a year.
    In October, the three-star general told a group of reporters that the U.S. mission in Iraq was a "nightmare with no end in sight." He also called Bush's decision to deploy 30,000 extra forces to Iraq earlier this year a "desperate attempt" to make up for years of misguided policies in Iraq.

    Joseph L. Galloway, McClatchy Newspapers (5.00 / 0) (#61)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 12:50:29 PM EST
    Wednesday 21 November 2007

       There was little for the unindicted co-conspirators of the Bush administration to give thanks for this week as the clock winds down on the 14 months they have left in power.

        With former White House press secretary Scott McClellan spilling the beans on who told him to lie to the American people and cover up the White House's responsibility for the criminal act of revealing the identity of a covert CIA officer, it clearly was time for some folks to begin drafting their requests for presidential pardons.

        McClellan's revelation makes it abundantly clear that a subsequent statement by Bush that White House aides had no involvement in outing Ms. Plame, and that anyone who did would be fired was also, shall we say, inoperative.

        It also confirms long-held suspicions that the whole despicable affair - an attempt to punish former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for debunking a bit of the bogus intelligence the administration wheeled out to justify invading Iraq - was orchestrated in the offices of Bush and Cheney, and with their knowledge.
        Somehow, I have a strong feeling that this isn't the only or the last revelation of wrong-doing and criminality that we're likely to hear before and after Bush and Co. leave office, or that additional presidential acts of clemency will be needed to spare other top administration officials from prison and buy their silence.
        We don't beat or torture confessions out of prisoners in violation of our laws and the laws of the civilized world. We don't lock people up and hold them incommunicado for years without charges or trials. But this administration did and does.

        We don't applaud and cheer an administration and a Congress that make the rich vastly richer, the middle class less secure and the poor even poorer. But this administration has done just that, in violation of our principles and the principles of love, peace and charity that are engrained in the Christianity that these rogues and charlatans embrace so publicly but violate every day.

        It will be a good day when they are gone, and good riddance to them all.

    NM-01: Darren White and racial profiling (none / 0) (#1)
    by Plutonium Page on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 04:41:33 AM EST
    It will make a long comment, so I hope that's ok.  It's kind of a big deal, IMO.

    I'll just steal from this blog entry (this is an excerpt):

    Bernalillo County sheriff Darren White is running for Congress in the first Congressional district.  He has the blessing of Republicans both locally and nationally.  But he does have his fair share of problems.

    Including with his job as Bernalillo County Sheriff and racial profiling.  According to the New Mexico Human Right's Coalition, White's Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department was singled out as being a group which used racial profiling (pdf).

    Although not listed on the questionnaire, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department and the New Mexico State Police were identified by several respondents' as law enforcement agencies with a serious problem with racial and/or ethnic profiling.
    Yes, White's BCSD was singled out despite not being on the questionnaire.  Their racial profiling is so bad that people go out of their way to point this out even when they are not specifically asked about it.

    One example comes from an Iraqi citizen who was pulled over for legitimate reasons; then things grew weird when the police officer called the FBI to ask what to do.

    The racial profiling debate centers on his next move, a phone call from his patrol car to the Albuquerque FBI field office to see if he should take any other action against Hussein.

    He was instructed to pass along Hussein's personal information and allow him to go if the background check did not show outstanding warrants.


    "All we were told was that he was suspicious because of his last name and Arab background," [Independent Review Officer Jay] Rowland said.

    Darren White defended this as any typical fear-mongering Republican would; he invoked his pal Rudy Giuliani's favorite subject 9/11.  "Our biggest lesson from Sept. 11 was that we had to bridge gaps in communication," White told the Albuquerque Tribune. "The tragedy could have been avoided if more agencies had followed through and shared information."

    Darren White is a [fill in expletive of your choice].  He's a Bush Republican's dream.

    Of course this is a huge IF
    How does this change the 2008 elections (in  a purely political context)?

    Do any of the Dems....change their positions?
    Would Hilary- who has played it down the middle, basically- jump into the "well I agreed all along that winning the war would be in our country's best interest- I just didn't think President Bush managed the war well at all"

    In light of the many false starts, years of awful news , would GOPers dare come close to saying "see...we told you this could work"?

    Baghdad has been ethnically cleansed (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Dadler on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 11:04:04 AM EST
    Is this the improvement you hope Democratic candidates can effectively propagandize.

    And on what basis are you believing this "improvement" line?  Trust in a government and military that have lied to you from the beginning?

    The only "improvement" in Iraq is that the ethnic cleansing we have enabled has been accomplished.

    Wake up.


    Fark is full of goodies today..... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:37:42 AM EST
    From the "I'm glad I don't live in London" dept....man sent to jail for refusing to rat.  Link

    Michael Vick is in prison (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 11:27:09 AM EST
    for torturing some dogs.  But the Attorney General will not say torturing humans is wrong, because he cannot define torture.

    There.  Everyone now has a nice question with which to upset digestion once the Big Discussions start over the Thanksgiving table.

    Nope (1.00 / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 05:07:10 PM EST
    I don't think that is correct.

    I believe he declined to say that waterboarding is torture.

    If I'm wrong, please provide a link.


    I wrote: (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:19:18 PM EST
    I believe he declined to say that waterboarding is torture.

    Thank you for agreeing with me.


    and it appears

    that the writer has engaged in speculation.

    Perhaps the author is afraid of such simple statements as:

    It is my belief....

    Remember the (none / 0) (#37)
    by glanton on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:32:56 PM EST
    Torture Memo?

    hehe yourself (1.00 / 0) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 09:59:34 PM EST
    The questions were never asked.

    btw (1.00 / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 10:02:29 PM EST
    Perhaps assigning emotions

    Saying that perhaps a writer engaged in speculation assigns no emotion to the event. He may have done so  happily, sadly or in anger. But the event itself carries no designation.



    Try real hard to understand. (1.00 / 0) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 10:49:51 AM EST
    Nope. I speculated that he might be afraid.

    I did not say he was.

    There is a difference.



    Nope, I don't (1.00 / 0) (#52)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 10:12:29 PM EST
    Being Fair and Balanced, can you link to it?

    But remember. My point is that no one has probed Molly B's claims re post WWII and no one asked him if Congress passed a law making it illegal, would he enforce the law.


    Really? (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by glanton on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 08:30:22 AM EST
    You "don't remember" the memo?  That's the best you can come up with?

    Here's the link to the torture memo, follow to the PDF.  You will find it thoughtful reading I'm sure.

    For myself, in the spirit of the holiday, I express my everlasting thanks that I cannot relate to the mentality revealed therein.



    Pre-emption. (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 11:40:18 AM EST
    Dogs don't fly airplanes into buildings. Or conduct century long imperial wars inviting retribution.

    Humans? What color are they?


    You're making little sense, edger (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:12:26 PM EST
    And, FWIW, I think my dog is smart enough to fly a plane, though her aim might be off a little bit.

    And, what does color have to do with whether it's torture or not.


    It's early. :-) I'll make more sense after coffee. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:31:44 PM EST
    The right has no problem condemning torturing dogs, or with the Attorney General not saying torturing humans is wrong.

    Dogs don't fly airplanes into buildings. Or conduct century long imperial wars inviting retribution.

    Humans? What color are they?


    Summary judgment against FBI (none / 0) (#17)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:14:29 PM EST
    on the issue of liability in wrongful death suits brought by widows of mob informants.

    While the agent who tipped off the mobsters who did the hits escaped criminal liability, the lower preponderance of the evidence standard got the FBI in the civil suit.

    Please check out (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:17:52 PM EST
    our new "share" feature at the top of each post. You can submit a post you read here to digg, technorati, reddit, google, etc.

    Give the gift of traffic this holiday season and please share the posts you like.

    I don't see it. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:36:47 PM EST
    Does anyone else?

    Nope. (none / 0) (#22)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:39:10 PM EST
    But it does keep pitching me to add Active X to all the other mis-, mal-, non-, and tort-feasing ware on my computer.

    Active X (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 01:52:49 PM EST
    is what allows javascript - the code behind the buttons.

    It should be live momentarily (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:42:34 PM EST
    I didn't realize Colin put it up as a test so only he and I could see it. It should be live momentarily.

    I see them. (none / 0) (#24)
    by scribe on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:44:15 PM EST
    I see it now too. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 01:53:25 PM EST
    Lease a fuel cell Honda in 2008 (none / 0) (#25)
    by Aaron on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 01:03:36 PM EST
    H2O emitting fuel cell Honda available for $600 a month lease package in Southern California 2008

    Honda unwraps the 2009 FCX Clarity!

    First Drive: 2009 Honda FCX Clarity, world's first series production fuel cell car

    Broadband Internet Access = JOBS (none / 0) (#26)
    by Aaron on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 01:07:45 PM EST
    Study linking broadband, job creation shows need for coherent US policy

    The adoption of broadband helps the economy by leading to more jobs and an overall increase in payroll, according to a new study. The research was conducted by the Sacramento Regional Research Institute on behalf of AT&T, and showed a strong correlation between broadband growth in California and the number of new jobs available, forecasting that even small increases in broadband use could substantially affect the state over the next 10 years. The findings suggest that a greater investment in broadband deployment would significantly benefit not only California, but the rest of the country.

    Breaking The Stranglehold of the Cable Companies (none / 0) (#32)
    by Aaron on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 07:54:43 PM EST
    Cable Blocking Progressive Programming at the FCC

    When cable was deregulated in 1984, few believed it would become the dominant way that Americans would receive video. In case it did, to prevent cable from having ridiculous market power, Congress wrote that if 70% of Americans subscribed to cable, the FCC would regulate cable in the name of diversity. Cable is fighting tooth and nail, with both anti-regulatory arguments and disputes over the number of Americans who have cable (though of course they won't release numbers of their own subscribers).

    It's a complete bad faith assault from the cable industry so Time Warner and Comcast can get bigger and control more content.  

    hehe (1.00 / 1) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 09:21:08 PM EST
    And you trust government more than Time Warner??

    hehe (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by jondee on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 12:25:13 PM EST
    Are you refering to TRUE government, or ex/future lobbyist government?



    Any government. (1.00 / 2) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 10:19:09 PM EST
    You can't depend on a government to act rationally because it doesn't have to.

    A corporation must act rationally or fail.



    Mr. Tehe (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by jondee on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 04:31:56 PM EST
    I'd be curious to know what your conception of corporate "rationality" is if I didnt already strongly suspect that it concerned responsibility to increase market share and little, if any, responsibility to anything or anyone else.

    This is what the concept of rationality degenerates into in the hands of vulgar.


    More honest (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by jondee on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 04:47:47 PM EST
    Mr.Tehe responce (though he'd never own up to it), would probobly go something like this:

    As long as they keep giving more $ to the Rethugs, they should beable to do whatever they please with minimal oversight.


    Have you ever had employment in the (1.00 / 1) (#65)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 10:40:50 AM EST
    private sector?

    Somehow I doubt that you have.


    Have you ever (none / 0) (#67)
    by jondee on Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 02:01:06 PM EST
    contemplated deeply what it means to be a member of the human race?

    Somehow, I doubt that you have.

    But, to answer your question, the answer is yes.


    Where better? (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 01:32:57 PM EST
    Romney Sets Hair on Fire (none / 0) (#44)
    by squeaky on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    In order to get the Firemen vote:

    If you read through the whole article it really appears that the people who did these calls have very close ties to Romney so it's entirely reasonable to suspect that he's manufactured this controversy to make his rivals look bad.