Thursday Open Thread

We haven't had an open thread yet this week and I'm off to court for the afternoon.

You pick the topics, all are welcome, and I'll be back late this afternoon or tonight.

Update: Bill Richardson will hold a press conference at the N.M. state capitol at 3pm ET. Hope someone writes what he said in the comments.

Update: Something else I wanted to mention, given the new group of frequent commenters here. TalkLeft does have diaries, and you'd like to write one, you can e-mail me to change your user permissions to "diarist." When we get a few posted, I do a "diary rescue" (like this) to bring greater attention to them. As for diary rules, they are below:

If you blog elsewhere (not a requirement of course) you're welcome to cross-post here in a diary. Just note that it's been cross-posted at your site and hot-link your site. Hopefully, you'll get some extra traffic.

On diary topics, please make them relevant to the issues on TalkLeft -- elections, politics of crime, crime in politics, war, civil liberties, etc. The economy and environment, while important, are not TalkLeft topics.

Diaries must represent a progressive point of view. Conservatives have their own sites to post on.

Also, no profanity, potentially libelous accusations or nasty personal attacks please. Your diary should add, not detract, from the level of discourse on the site.

And, I should add, given primary season, diaries should not just shill for a particular candidate -- or seek contributions.

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    The disgusting spread of snitch culture (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 02:53:35 PM EST
    A Maryland high school withdrew its offer of $30 reward money for information as to who started a cafeteria food fight, after coming in for criticism from many quarters.

    The school's action in even thinking about paying students to snitch, let alone acting on it, is revolting.  It's almost as bad as that Pennsylvania school which had a kid arrested for taking a couple cookies from the lunch line, which TL posted on about a month ago.  I'm just disgusted.

    Someone at the school should get the students together to wear those "Stop Snitching" t-shirts, en masse.  But, given the rock-headedness of the school administration, they'd probably declare it an insurrection or something and expel them all.

    Ah yes (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 03:26:02 PM EST
    we wouldn't want to teach children that they should cooperate with the police in solving crimes.

    Cause that's when you start training snitches (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 03:31:31 PM EST
    When they're good and young.

    Have you ever (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:38:08 PM EST
    considered that if all the coke dealers were snitched on maybe the drive by shootings would be reduced???

    I more tend to think (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Jgarza on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:40:50 PM EST
    if you couldn't buy guns on every corner drive by shootings would be reduced.

    heh (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:17:31 PM EST
    Crime in other places don't seem to have been reduced by gun control.

    On the other hand, eliminating the criminal is a demonstrated solution.


    btw (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:18:29 PM EST
    Crime in other places DOESN'T seem to...

    In my experience.... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 03:55:51 PM EST
    you cooperate with the police at your own peril.

    If a kid chooses to cooperate because they think it's righteous that's one thing, I'll often disagree but both positions are reasonable...to do it for a payoff is disgusting in my book.

    So yes...the way local, state, and federal government (and now one school) run criminal justice is disgusting.


    Ya know what (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:41:13 PM EST
    my wife's co is being investigated by LE over something or other, nothing to do with my wife.

    However, it looks like the PD is interviewing everyone who is or ever was working at the co regarding the investigation.

    So, 2 LE's showed up at my house the other day asking to speak with my wife. I said "No thanks. Not w/o representation." They seemed taken aback and one said "She doesn't want to talk to us?" I and said "She's happy to talk to you, she's just not happy to give up her rights."

    After the Duke Lacrosse BS, I'm much more wary than I ever was before.


    Better safe than sorry.... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 01:17:33 PM EST
    My watershed moment was when an old roomate called the police to report a domestic disturbance next door...the cop starts poking around our place and sees my stash.  Luckily the cop took pity on us...

    After that I told my roomie that if he ever called the cops again we would cease to be roomates.  Absent a corpse at least:)

    It's a shame because with the repeal of a bunch or crap laws most everybody could feel safe cooperating with police...except hardcore bad guys of course.


    Why didn't your friend (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 08:55:58 PM EST
    me them outside???

    He did the right thing and then did a dumb thing.


    According to my friend.... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:43:31 AM EST
    the cop kinda welcomed himself in...if my friend resisted he didn't do it forcefully enough.

    teach them (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Jen M on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 05:08:19 PM EST
    to ask "whats in it for me"

    School Theft (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by HeadScratcher on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 03:45:38 PM EST
    It was the parents that asked for the kid to be arrested.

    And isn't a snitch really just a witness? Scribe, are you saying that you don't think people should be witnesses - ever?


    there's a difference between (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:20:59 PM EST
    being a witness, and turning someone in to collect a reward - particularly where the "crime" is tossing around a couple high-school cafeteria cheeseburgers.

    In the latter case, there is even more incentive to fabricate a story.  Thirty bucks for a name.

    And, if you think some hustlers won't do anything for a buck, think again.  In this Only in New York story, two guys - both aged 65 - were busted for trying to cash their dead friend's social security check at their neighborhood check-cashing place in Hell's Kitchen.  The catch?

    The check-cashing place knew the decedent, and asked the buddies where the decedent was.  So, the buddies went back to the apartment, got the less-than-a-day-dead corpse, put it on a wheeled office chair, rolled it down the sidewalk to the check-cashing place and parked it outside, then went in to tell the check-cashing teller he was really sick and couldn't come inside, but there he was outside.

    This was interrupted by a cop on his lunch break, who saw the corpse being wheeled up the sidewalk, realized it was a corpse, and intervened.

    The dead guy - he was a local in Hell's Kitchen, known as a hustler.  During life, had earned the nickname "The Fox".

    When you think about it, that tells you a lot.

    More on the story here, and here, and here.


    Weekend... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by desertswine on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:31:35 PM EST
    at Virgilios?

    Weekend at Bernies redux (1.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:43:40 PM EST
    But what does these guys committing a crime have to do with teach children that they should cooperate with the police to help solve a crime??

    I cited the story (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 05:02:00 PM EST
    for the purpose of reinforcing that "some people will do anything for a buck" - a very relevant point when discussing the tendency of snitches, particularly paid ones, to make stuff up (or embellish what little they have) to get money.

    If readers read the articles, they'd have noted not only that the papers and cops are calling this "Weekend at Bernies" redux, but also that the decedent was (and his friends apparently are - like attracts like) hustlers par excellance.  The decedent had a street nickname of "The Fox", after all.


    Gee, I thought I had scored!!!!!!! (1.00 / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:22:46 PM EST
    I understand what you are saying, I just think we should teach kids to cooperate with authorities if they have information regarding a "crime."

    This "no snitching" BS in the in the inner city looks very destructive to me.


    Agee's fatal flaw (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 05:21:18 PM EST
    was that he took his "Roman Catholic social conscience" to heart and nobody ever made a convincing enough argument to him that "protecting interests" should always assume preeminance in the larger scheme of things.

    Funny how the first ones to caterwaul about Agee being a traitor are almost always the same ones who cant get enough of the bouquet of "freedom" eminating from Ollie North's hind parts.

    He could have always have become a priest. (1.00 / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:24:26 PM EST
    No one forced him to help our enemies.

    And if you aren't a Leftie or a Rightie (1.00 / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:28:45 PM EST
    you can come see me at


    No mention of TL (none / 0) (#39)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:04:23 AM EST
    as a "Favorite Blog" even though he's been chewing(and spewing) bandwidth here for 5+ years.

    Takes alot of fertilizer to make that cotton grow tall.


    Obama, other candidates on black issues? (none / 0) (#1)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:57:25 AM EST
    Good luck J.

    Does Senator Obama bring the promise of change for black issues? Will another candidate? Your thoughts?

    I would be interested in your (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:41:33 PM EST
    answers to the questions you pose.

    What about YOUR opinion? (none / 0) (#33)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 08:18:29 AM EST
    I think Obama's got major weaknesses on black issues in a few ways, one is policy (others will probably find more), two are message.

    The policy weakness I believe is that he's yet to challenge the many racial gaps in our society in any radical way considering his touted experience as a community organizer in Chicago's South Side and his message about the insistence of hope over cynicism and fear. I believe he will be able to garner the power to effect change, if he just has the will to undertake it, and so I wonder why he doesn't at least explore the idea of something radical like ensuring all states use paper ballots, or establish a stronger social support system for working-class households than what TANF currently provides.

    The message weakness is how he portrays himself differently in tone and rhetoric, clearly differently in front of black and white voters. I think if he simply used his message of hope in his normal intonation, he'd still be able to reach black voters, though the vague comparisons to Dr. King do not automatically make us scream and shout. (Though at candidate events, usually the crowd jumps up when the candidate says so anyway) I want Obama to sound like he otherwise would without the drawl that sounds almost as bad as Hillary's.

    I also think the last weakness is not of his own doing, totally. It's his fault I guess for running but he's kind of boxed in rhetorically, such that unlike Edwards who can talk against poverty and the powerful versus the weak with a measure of impunity from fellow Democrats, Obama knows from previous Democratic candidates that if he were to do the same he would run into very active and hateful resistance and the name Obama would become put alongside Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton as the two black "racists" in America. That's part of why Obama has avoided both of these men in public. The reason this is a weakness is because it strongly limits the message he can give while still seeming "serious", or so one thinks, much like how I believe Hillary feels she has to act tough to seem like a "serious" candidate for the MSM and Tweedle-Dum. I hope Obama gets the chance to break out of his 'cool', 'colorblind' demeanor and step back into the real world.


    Good analysis. At the moment, it seems to me (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 12:48:53 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton is the most likely candidate to accomplish something as Pres.  But, since I did not approve of her votes for the AUMF and K-L, I'm afraid what she accomplishes will not be to my liking.

    I don't see Barack Obama accomplishing much if elected.  What he seems to support is what isn't working in Congress now, i.e., if the Dems. play nice, the Republicans will become reasonable, we'll get out of Iraq, pass S-CHIP, limit FISA, and on and on and on.  

    I can't speak to Obama's methodology re his ethnic background and how he presents himself to different audiences.  This is why I, as a Caucasian female, am watching South Carolina with interest.  


    Kerry endorsement a negative factor. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:13:28 PM EST
    I think that Kerry's endorsements of Obama has a negative effect for Obama.  One Kerry lost and also it's a slap to Edwards who was Kerry running mate.

    Negative? (none / 0) (#4)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:59:42 PM EST
    I don't think so. I think it's strange Kerry'd endorse AFTER NH, but hey...The Dems having disdain for losers thing is nothing I've seen evidence for, or at least nothing that isn't at least less true than it would be about the Republicans. We're pretty open to losers in primaries and the general I think. We still hold many positive feelings for people like Mondale and McGovern and Dean and Edwards (who's getting love despite losing twice in 2004)

    Yearly Kos (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jgarza on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:20:17 PM EST
    Jeralyn, or anyone for that matter, are you coming to YearlyKos here in Austin?

    Yearly Kos (none / 0) (#9)
    by HeadScratcher on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 03:48:03 PM EST
    Considering the effect the travel with have on the planet due to climate change and allocation of resources - wouldn't it be better to gather via video? I know the dynamic changes a bit, but it's much better for the planet. And it will save lots of money that can be used to donate to charity, etc...

    What am I thinking, it's one hell of a party!!!!


    Oh now (none / 0) (#11)
    by Jgarza on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:07:46 PM EST
    that would make Al Gore proud, but seriously you guys need to come dump lots of money into our local economy.

    Agee Dies (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:24:17 PM EST
    While Agee's actions inspired the law against exposing covert U.S. operatives, he drew a distinction between what he did and the naming of CIA officer Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had raised questions about the basis of President Bush's Iraq policy.

    ''This is entirely different than what I was doing in the 1970s,'' Agee said at the time. ''This is purely dirty politics in my opinion.''

    Agee said that he disclosed the identities of his former colleagues to ''weaken the instrument for carrying out the policy of supporting military dictatorships'' in Greece, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

    Those regimes ''were supported by the CIA and the human cost was immense: torture, executions, death squads,'' he said.

    NYT via War & Piece

    squeak (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:49:24 PM EST
    He was a traitor.

    Agee then went to the Cubans, who welcomed him with open arms...The Cubans shared Agee's information with us. But as I sat in my office in Moscow reading reports about the growing revelations coming from Agee, I cursed our officers for turning away such a prize.[9]

    Who? (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:51:32 PM EST
    Libby, Cheney or....?

    Daftness becomes you (1.00 / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:23:16 PM EST
    Nah (none / 0) (#24)
    by Packratt on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 06:09:45 PM EST
    I would ask to do the diary thing but I know that, even though I lean pretty far left, my above the politics honest criticisms of certain traditionally liberal organizations would make me an unwelcome addition.

    Besides, my content tends to be focused on the rights issues occuring in Seattle... and not of the quality that would rise to this site's standards.

    Where is BTD? (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 09:43:04 PM EST

    Is the sh*t starting..... (none / 0) (#36)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 02:09:11 PM EST
    to hit the fan in regards to energy?  link

    I first caught this story after paying over 7 hundo to fill the oil tank.  If the hijackers are reading, feel free to contact me about a discount 55 gallon drum:)

    Thank the sun god it's been quite unseasonably warm or alotta people would be really screwed trying to stay warm.

    Want to feel better? (none / 0) (#38)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 09:00:28 PM EST
    Find an environmental wacko and ask him to tell you why England and France are using nuclear power...

    After listening to his BS explanation feel free to take strong verbal exception..

    BTW - You coming to Tunica for the WSOP events?? The side action is super.


    I don't know what's worse.... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 10:41:45 AM EST
    paying through the nose burning oil or living near a reactor.  I live on a basically un-evacuateable island, not the place for a reactor to be sure.  I'm thinking of talking to the landlady about a wood-burning stove...take it back to the old-school.  Not very enviromentally friendly, but I ain't worried about planet earth, she'll be fine.  And there's enough wood on the property to last half a winter.

    No Tunica for me unfortunately, though I'd like to get there one of these days.  Planning a Vegas binge at the end of March, trying to get a roll together for that.  Take 'em down in my abscence sir!