Thursday Morning Open Thread

I've yakked enough. TChris and J, schedules permitting, will surely follow with some interesting posts on criminal law and politics.

For now, it is your turn.

One last thing, CA Pol Junkie apparently has some gizmo that projects the result of the MN Sen recount based on returns as they come in. Right now, with 18% recounted, he projects Coleman winning the recount by 21 votes. But the trend is our friend I think.

This is an Open Thread.

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    Note to Auto Industry CEO's.... (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:10:37 AM EST
    when crying poverty, it is best to leave the private jet in the hangar.

    I'm no Einstein, but when your company is losing money you cut overhead...right?  No private jets, no luxury junkets, no bonuses...these perks are reserved for companies in the black, not the red.

    I know, I know...private jets ain't the problem, labor is the problem...or so I hear.  But until all the frivolous overhead left over from the glory years is cut, it's kinda hard to get at the root of their problems.

    overall problem with your companies. Overall business savvy, or more appropriately the lack thereof, is another as your business jet debacle confirms. You might want to try building and selling something that is sensible for the future. Oh, do it right; as you do have some issues with quality from time to time. In other words, give us a reason to not buy the foreign cars.      

    Seriously. Republicans (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by liminal on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:18:35 AM EST
    want to destroy the UAW - which HAS made concessions over the years - and that is why they are pushing the (nuclear) bankruptcy option.  Oh em gee.  No matter how stupid/bad the stupid/bad auto execs are, have we forgotten the lesson of Lehman Bros?  Paulson was too concerns about the moral hazard of aiding Lehman Bros, and let it fail, which deepened the recession.  Now, the Republicans are so concerns about union-busting that that are playing obstructionist.  If we have 135 billion for AIG, surely we have 25 billion for Detroit.  As the recessionary spiral deepens, jobs (jobs jobs!) are ever more important.  

    It's like - now that the Republicans have lost the election, they've decided to play chicken with the economy again.  I mean, hey!  Now it's all on us!

    Meanwhile, my local Toyota plant is laying off workers.  (Gee.  I thought it was just a Big 3 problem?) and the Dow is below 8000 and...


    Not for nothing... (none / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:39:08 AM EST
    we didn't "have" 135 billion to hand to AIG, we just added it to the debt column.

    But I see your point, what is the harm of another 25 billion added on to the trillions.

    It's like the individual who gets to far into the hole they just throw up their hands and take out one last cash advance on their credit card and head to Vegas...eventually you just get into "f*ck it" territory when all hope is lost.  

    I keep coming back to the idea of giving every man, woman, and child 50 grand...F*ck it, why not?  Sure, a loaf of bread will end up costing 50 bucks, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it:)


    Touché. (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by liminal on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:19:01 PM EST
    The bs credit-fueled boom of the last few years - in government and outside of government - drives me crazy, but I don't think anyone's worried about inflation anymore.  Now it's deflation.

    Still, I think of these bailouts as focused, short-term, emergency shock-paddle assistance, necessary to keep the body politic breathing while the surgeons get in there and clear out the crud that we've accumulated through years of high living.  It's not a magic wand: it's the beginning of years of (economic) rehab, which will hopefully put us all on more stable footing, but in the meantime, it's important to keep as much of our economic muscle alive as possible.


    Let us hope... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:22:46 PM EST
    we make it rehab and don't die on the operating table as the medical staff runs off to Paraguay with a big bag of money:)

    The arrogance and cluelessness (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:58:14 AM EST
    of the auto-exec CEOs rivals that of certain politicians, wouldn't you say?

    Those jets are not perks...they are for security!


    And pathetic.


    Should they sell 'em on ebay? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:05:15 AM EST
    The scolding... (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Stellaaa on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:06:55 AM EST
    The three clowns got busted and ridiculed for flying on a private jet.  They were flogged in the public arena.  They took it like real troopers.  They were told they will not get money from "the beleaguered American taxpayer".  Fingers were wagged and scorn was dished out.  The bad guys were humbled.   The voters want blood, the congressmen focus on executive compensation, vengeance.  
    Meanwhile, the banking friends got a blank check.  Dow falls below 8000.  Meltdown

    The grandstanding and pontificating are (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by alsace on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:41:57 AM EST
    the Congressional equivalent of Nero's fiddle-playing.

    CEO comp can make up a (none / 0) (#2)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:30:38 AM EST
    significant percentage of profits.

    Unbelievably bone-headed (none / 0) (#78)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:27:28 PM EST
    for these executives to come in to beg for money in private jets.  Just astonishingly stupid PR.  If they don't get the help they need, the companies collapse and we head into massive depression, I think a case could be made that those private jets are what tipped the scale against them.  The public that's heard about it-- and who hasn't?-- has been outraged.  Just unbelievable.

    In a sense... (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:49:18 PM EST
    it is just a pr gaffe, but I think it also runs deeper than that.

    Yes, the expenses of private jets are just a drop in the bucket of the automakers overall budgets.  But the various "drops in the bucket" expenses that are not critical to the business add-up, and taxpayers are in the right to demand all of those expenses...and I mean all of them...be cut before we even think about a loan or a bailout.

    I just wish we had demanded the same of the banks and AIG before we gave them their big check...but we panicked.


    I will be sick to my stomach if Franken loses by (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Faust on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:38:50 AM EST
    21 votes.

    If he has to lose it should be by 23 votes.

    And I would prefer he win by 1

    Heh. Cliffhangers are not (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:49:13 AM EST
    much fun.

    This one is starting to remind me of Maria Cantwell's win over Slade Gorton (altho we managed to end up with a margin of 2000+) and Governor Gregoire's squeeker over RoboRossi 4 years ago...100+ margin after 3 counts and a court challenge.  Incumbency and competence made for much bigger margins on reelection.  Whew.



    And my point about 1 vote (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Faust on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:17:28 AM EST
    is just that it would go down in history as the ultimate example of "every vote counts."

    I think the Obama effect helped some as well (none / 0) (#43)
    by Faust on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:16:48 AM EST
    To bad it did not help Burner v Reichert.

    Burner barely gained on Reichert (none / 0) (#79)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:30:31 PM EST
    with all the favorables going her way.

    Not a great candidate, IMO.  Better build a resume in the community before taking on an incumbent for national office in a tough district.


    Automakers: Labor has made concessions (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:48:30 AM EST
    Time for the execs to fly commercial and speed up the change.

    As for the bailout - if the US automakers go belly up that's 3 million good union jobs affected.
    But even worse - the door is opened for SAIC (Chinese automaker) to buy GM and make our cars in China and help THEIR recession. They would also get the Volt technology. Not a good tradeoff.
    Without a domestic manufacturing base and knowhow we are losers years into the future. We were able to tool up for WW I and WW II because we had the base.
    Even our special forces clothes are made in China. What else can we offshore/export in terms of jobs and knowhow?

    China already owns us to a large degree. This would finalize the transaction.
    I see the GM bailout as not just saving unions and jobe, but as a national security issue.

    Has our President-elect taken (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:06:42 AM EST
    a public position on help for Big Three before Jan. 20?

    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:18:16 AM EST
    is in favor of immediate action, although he doesn't call it a bailout, he refers to it as retooling assistance and the like.

    The question in my mind is how you put enforceable conditions on the money so that you don't end up with a repeat of the financial sector bailout.  But I should say that as a native Michigander I am very pro-bailout myself.


    Do you suppose there are (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:47:30 AM EST
    "Romneys" hanging in effigy all over the state of Michigan after his editorial against any bailout?  

    As a former Michigander and admirer of Michael Moore's movie and after listening to all the candidates except McCain (initially) saying they would do everything humanly possible to help MI, seems to me Michiganders should march on DC and demand action.


    Local NBC affiliate (none / 0) (#48)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:24:18 AM EST
    really pounded on Romney.  They showed film clips of his statements during the primary to contrasted that with his op-ed.

    I think he'd have to have a brigade for protection if ever attempts to travel here.

    His op-ed isn't surprising. He has made a fortune as a junk man.


    Probably no longer (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:30:45 AM EST
    a "favorite son."

    I think (none / 0) (#98)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:06:08 PM EST
    that's a reasonable assumption.

    They need to replace the guys in charge (none / 0) (#23)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:26:02 AM EST
    Or do something drastic.  That episode the other day on capitol hill was embarrassing.

    A few days ago (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:25:30 AM EST
    Levin called on this group to resign.

    You mean the guys in charge... (none / 0) (#26)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:33:20 AM EST
    ...of BigAuto or Congress?  Or both?  

    Heh (none / 0) (#27)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:36:23 AM EST
    Well I meant big auto.  Our chance to change congress this year just passed and we'll have to wait 2 more for any other ones.

    I believe (none / 0) (#45)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:18:01 AM EST
    he's endorsed the bridge loan in addition to aid for retooling.

    If I'm remembering correctly he propsed retooling assistance before this matter emerged.


    You are correct (none / 0) (#51)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:27:32 AM EST
    Retooling assistance to the auto companies was part of Obama's energy plan when he first rolled it out in August.  I think the price tag may have gone up a bit, though, under the circumstances.

    But my question specified (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:49:04 AM EST
    what has Obama sd. now, while the Big 3 CEOs are on the griddle in Congress?  

    I think (none / 0) (#89)
    by Steve M on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:12:48 PM EST
    that I answered that above, although I don't believe he's said anything new within the last two days.

    Smart man. Listening to Axelrod (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:40:41 PM EST
    I guess.

    Good Point (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by gtesta on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:30:42 AM EST
    The root issue with this, as with so many others (read financial crisis), is that real wages have not risen in 30 years.  Our wealth and productivity gains have not been broadly-based, merely concentrated.
    So I definitely disagree with broad-based labor concessions, as opposed to bringing executive compensation down to more realistic levels, sharing some of that savings more broadly and investing more internally in innovation.
    We can't legislate tying executive compensation and rank-and-file wages together (probably not a good idea), but I do think there are some steps which can be taken.
    Some of those are:
    1.  No longer allowed for the Chairman of a board of directors and the company CEO/President to be the same person.  Chairman must be independent.
    2.  Board of director's elections need to be absolute majoritys (50% +1), so that if a major group of shareholders, e.g. employee pension funds, votes no, then candidates can actually lose and force slate committees to field more acceptable candidates.
    3.  No longer allow stock options for executive compensation (no disincentive for poor performance).
    Just a few thoughts for now...I'm sure I'll think of more...

    It's (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:31:37 AM EST
    more than just union jobs and that's what so many people don't get.

    It's jobs in areas not even related to the auto industry that will suffer as well.

    Communities with auto plants will suffer grievously, many, many small businesses in those communities will fail as well as many of the larger businesses. The loss of any job in the economy eventually hurts everyone, everywhere.  

    The damage will not be limited to those workers and those communities, it will spread everywhere.

    The cost of lost jobs everywhere will far exceed the amount of money requested in the bridge loans.


    Wes Clark agrees with you, (none / 0) (#8)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:52:02 AM EST

    Auto industry (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:14:05 AM EST
    is more than just union jobs.  Numerous engineering disciplines are used in the auto industry.

    Eroding our knowledge base is just another of the ramifications of letting a whole industry go.

    The cost of allowing this industry to fail dwarfs the $25 billion requested. Less than 1/1000th of the budget to avert a catastrophe. A no brainer.


    I hear ya Carolyn... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:16:36 AM EST
    It most certainly is a national security issue.

    But I fear this ship sailed already, the country was sold out years ago, and it might be too late to reverse.

    I'm against the bailout because I don't thing the auto-makers will make the necessary changes to their business...they will rip through the money fueling the private jest and be back with their hands out before ya know it...the bridge loan to nowhere, as the president-elect said.


    Recs (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:37:34 AM EST
    for the bridge loans have included conditions. No one is talking about simply granting the loans without concessions. This is in fact an opportunity to bring about real reform.

    Letting any industry go under is a serious mistake and will bite everyone in the fanny.  


    Lets just say... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:48:40 AM EST
    I'm not confident Congress will hold the industry accountable to the conditions.

    It certainly wouldn't be the first time the taxpayer got the proverbial shaft...see AIG for a recent example.


    It's (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:40:35 AM EST
    what Paulsen didn't do.

    There's no excuse for not doing this.


    Of course he did not... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:52:42 PM EST
    he's a Goldman Sachs guy.

    And finance (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:04:03 PM EST
    is part of the problem for American industry.  Quarterly profit reports and high returns demanded on Wall St. discourage innovation, etc.

    At least AIG... (none / 0) (#37)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:59:50 AM EST
    ...has some pieces that are still of value and can be sold off--their insurance operations.  I'd be hard pressed to say the same thing about the automakers.

    There is still value (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by liminal on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:34:02 AM EST
    left in the US auto industry.  Republicans are pushing bankruptcy for pure old fashioned union-busting reasons.

    Southern Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:43:50 AM EST
    and talk about the pot calling the kettle black. They should talk; their states receive more than a dollar back for every tax dollar sent.  Not so with northern industrial states.

    Not really (none / 0) (#53)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:29:51 AM EST
    junk men like Mitt Romney are waiting in the wings and pushing for it in public.  

    Anyone else notice (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by kenosharick on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:10:03 AM EST
    that whenever CNN does a story having to do with the Clintons, they end it by saying "THE DRAMA CONTINUES." Some day it would be nice to have a "news" network with even a shred of journalistic integrity.

    Ding, dong, Dingell (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:17:16 AM EST
    Talk about a sore loser... (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:37:52 AM EST
    Ousted Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave is making national headlines - and not the good kind. Under the headline "Nobody Likes a Sore Loser. Even in Washington," Musgrave scored a withering 78 ranking - approaching "utterly shameless" - on Newsweek's The Dignity Index, described as a survey of "dubious behavior that measures, on a scale of 1 to 100, just how low you can go."

    Why she got zinged: "Despite losing her re-election bid by 12 points, Colorado GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave refuses to congratulate her opponent or even concede the race," Newsweek opined two weeks after the incumbent was trounced by Democratic Betsy Markey in a nasty race for the 4th Congressional District seat representing northeast Colorado.

    Politico.com reported Tuesday that "rumors abound that no one has seen or talked to Musgrave since the brutal loss; she's all but disappeared."

    While a concession to your victor "is not only textbook but also mannerly to do," Politico added that "rumor has it she still - 14 days later - hasn't even thanked her campaign staff."


    Bless her heart.... (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:43:28 AM EST
    heh, 'zactly (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:47:17 AM EST
    I didn't know she lost.. great news. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:16:04 AM EST
    No Class GOP (none / 0) (#35)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:47:57 AM EST
    Is anyone surprised?

    The end crowns the work (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:43:17 AM EST
    Bush is considering relaxing regulations that protect endangered species.

    The change would be to eliminate input of federal wildlife scientists concerning endangered species when various projects are under consideration.

    What a legacy.

    Some challenged ballots (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:28:52 AM EST
    from the Minnesota Senate election can be viewed here:  LINK

    Some of them are actually pretty tough.  People are stupid, but the intent of the voter counts here.

    Thanks for the link (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:14:50 PM EST
    Those were really interesting.

    Who the heck are the Lizard People, BTW?


    Indeed (none / 0) (#62)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:57:03 AM EST
    About half of them are so unclear that I would probably have to throw them out.

    My favorite one (none / 0) (#65)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:10:02 PM EST
    is the Lizard People ballot.

    BTW, I would give that vote to Franken, his oval is colored in.


    4,5,7,11 seem to me overvotes (none / 0) (#68)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:14:57 PM EST
    I don't think I'd count any of them. Too bad about 5: I'm pretty sure that would have been counted for Franken by the scanner.

    I Could see giving 4 to Franken, but I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. What exactly does "NO" mean there?


    I believe that the (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:18:47 PM EST
    NO is meant to signal that the vote is not for Coleman.  I believe that one will be counted for Franken, as the intent is clear.

    Probably, but what's the standard? (none / 0) (#76)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:22:19 PM EST
    Do they count the ballot for a particular if it's more likely than not that the intent was for candidate X?

    There is a manual (none / 0) (#84)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:54:06 PM EST
    that you can view here:  LINK

    The gist of it is this, if the intent isn't clear, it can't be counted.  Crossing out one name is deemed to be clear intent to vote for the person that isn't crossed out.


    Well, if the standard is "clear intent" (none / 0) (#85)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    then I think we have to be more than 51% sure. Seems to me more like 70%.

    In that case, I stand behind my exclusions. The "NO" just doesn't tell me enough.


    No means no (none / 0) (#86)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:04:05 PM EST
    to me.  I don't think it is about standards of proof. If you color in two ovals, and then write "no" next to one, what else could that mean?

    Could be (none / 0) (#91)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:13:22 PM EST
    "NO, I don't want to vote for this office."

    I agree that it's probably a vote for Franken, but that's not the "clear intent."


    Hmmm (none / 0) (#92)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:13:39 PM EST
    That complicates things.

    There was a vote for Franken that crossed his name out I thought. I bought the underlining argument.


    That one looked (none / 0) (#94)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:30:43 PM EST
    like a cross-out to me, as sorry as I am to say it.

    Agree (none / 0) (#90)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:12:51 PM EST
    And ballot 3 just doesn't have a vote (none / 0) (#70)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:16:27 PM EST
    for that office.

    I disagree (none / 0) (#88)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:12:25 PM EST
    It was an idiot who voted for Franken and wrote in Lizard People.

    He intentionally invalidated his ballot imo.


    The thing (none / 0) (#93)
    by eric on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:23:39 PM EST
    about the Lizard People guy is that he wrote "Lizard People" in a lot of places, and each time, he also colored in the oval next to it.  In the Senate race, he wrote it in, but made no indication he wanted to vote that way.  He colored in the oval for Franken pretty well.  In the context, it is clear that it was a vote for Franken.  That is my view.

    I was able to adjudicate them all (none / 0) (#87)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:11:15 PM EST
    pretty easily and was surprised to see most of the voting was the same.

    Some were Colemena, some were clear rejects.

    Lizard People is a no vote for sure imo.


    Boumedienne +5 must be released (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by scribe on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:47:40 AM EST
    Judge Leon of US District Court, D.C., rules in habeas hearing that there was no reason to keep them captive and orders them released "forthwith", and suggests that the Goverment forego appealing as to them.

    As to one other, he does not order release and suggests that, if the government want to appeal his ruling they do it on that guy's case.

    Paranoid delusion (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:49:32 AM EST
    Yesterday, two stories were widely circulated.
    One was about some number 2 Al Qaeda guy challenging Obama to a rumble in Afghanistan. He called him names as well.

    The other was about Iran. They have enough fuel to make one atom bomb - were they to have the know-how to design one.

    Iran and Afghanistan.

    The two areas that Obama seems to be as gung-ho as Bush.
    He has consistently referred to Iran as a threat.
    He has consistently talked about pouring more troops into Afghanistan.

    Now we have two tales on the same day which feel to me like the beginning of an effort to infect public opinion and prepare the way for ever more military action in these two regions of the world.

    The Afghanistan story reads like a fifth grader putting his thumb on his nose, wiggling his fingers and giving the raspberry.
    The Iran story reminds me of the "mushroom cloud" scare that Bush used to get anything and everything he ever wanted.

    When Obama talks about Afghanistan, he mentions going after poppy growers and Bin Laden. Supposedly that's the site where all the Al Qaedas are huddled planning their next venture. They don't seem to have considered moving anywhere else.

    Iran is the current bogeyman in the middle East that we need to keep our finger in that oil rich region. Iran goes from being the good guy to the bad guy to the good guy and now the bad guy again.

    Can't we all get along?

    I think Al-Queda made a huge mistake (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:58:11 AM EST
    With that video.  They are starting to lose the PR war.  Bush was an easy target, but there is a lot of international good will towards Obama - especially now when he hasn't done anything yet.  I'm sure people will be more critical once he's done something - but not yet.  And it's not just leaders that love him as much as it is the average "Barack" on the street in some of those poorer countries.  The same people Al-Queda is trying to win over.  I really don't think this helped them.

    Propaganda countering (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:02:09 AM EST
    the feelgood Obama PR in the muslim world following the election.

    It's just a message to their truebelievers that they are still a force and a warning to others.


    Yes (none / 0) (#15)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:09:31 AM EST
    I think that's what it was supposed to be.  I don't think they succeeded with the propoganda aspect.

    But they did remind us they're still a force.


    No way to know (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:14:48 AM EST
    how successful they are at this stage...only time and events will tell.

    There is reason to believe (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:24:10 AM EST
    They are not succeeding in Iraq - at recruiting.  They had to put out a statement telling their people to stop bombing Iraqi civilians.  Even the Taliban is starting to sound like they might be willing to switch sides to some degree.

    I think their tactics are starting to work against them.  No one likes to see their neighbors get bombed.  It's one thing when it's some financial big-wig in a foreign country.  It's another thing when it's the guy you buy your milk from.


    Iraq is only one country (none / 0) (#81)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:37:42 PM EST
    and recruitment is worldwide.  How are they doing in Saudi Arabia?  Yemen?  Somalia?  Afghanistan?  The Phillipines?

    Note the section of the tape where they take credit for running the Americans out of Iraq...their true believers will swallow that story...and why not?


    Skeptic (none / 0) (#99)
    by lentinel on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:21:51 PM EST
    I admit that I have been jaded by all the shenanigans of our government to manipulate us. I do not accept on face value that this video is authentic.

    Apparently not. (none / 0) (#9)
    by oldpro on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 09:54:52 AM EST
    Not just "some number 2 guy" (none / 0) (#80)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:36:14 PM EST
    Zawahiri has been the brains of al Qaeda almost from the beginning.  Bin Laden has primarily been the inspirational figurehead and for a while the money man, but Zawahiri is The Guy operationally and strategically.

    Obama was the inabsentia (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:15:50 AM EST
    star of the National Book Award shindig:


    Extra, Extra (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 10:47:46 AM EST
    Thanks for the link (none / 0) (#38)
    by cal1942 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:02:27 AM EST
    So if they filibuster everything, as some seemed to suggest, they'll lose even more seats in 2010.

    They so don't get it.


    They can't filibuster much of anything (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:04:36 AM EST
    I predict that Obama's nominees all go through. It would take a pretty major scandal to change that.

    It will be interesting (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:01:11 PM EST
    to see if the Democrats ever make them fillibuster....

    Waxman prevails over Dingell (none / 0) (#47)
    by Manuel on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:19:40 AM EST
    From Salon

    It this a good sign for progressive policies?  Or is it just an intramural issue?  It looks like a big part of it was about the seniority system.  If that is true, I am all for it.  It would be good if the Senate would catch this bug.  Isn't it time for people like Inouye to be challenged?

    Captain Barbosa, beware-- (none / 0) (#50)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:26:17 AM EST
    The maritime industry is now encouraged to provide armed security guards on board their merchant vessels to thwart piracy while operating on the high seas off Somalia.  I suppose that's good news for a company like Blackwater for example, given its (hopefully) declining workload in Iraq. I say that within a month Blackwater will have enlarged its operational scope to include security of merchant vessels. Won't that be interesting. Hillary's first assignment could be mediating some international incident on the high seas that those guys started.

    So street money didn't matter this month (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:58:28 AM EST
    in Philly. But Carol Ann Campbell, who died this week, arguably was the Philly machine, and her passing will make a big difference down the road.

    For all of you who support (none / 0) (#66)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:11:18 PM EST
    decriminalization of MJ:


    What a waste... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:16:10 PM EST
    though if it came from Mexico it is probably gack dirt weed, so no big loss:)

    The good stuff is coming from Canada or being grown domestically.


    Canadian, huh? (none / 0) (#105)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:49:48 PM EST
    Who'd ever thunk it.

    Just how does a boat move suspiciously? (none / 0) (#71)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:17:23 PM EST
    The cutter Narwhal, based in Newport Beach, was patrolling international waters Monday when it spotted a boat moving suspiciously,



    Now that I think about it (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:18:41 PM EST
    they were probably concerned about pirates.

    Off the coast of Baja? (none / 0) (#96)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 01:44:12 PM EST
    Better worry about rival drug cartels, not pirates.

    Who knows Oc... (none / 0) (#100)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:36:36 PM EST
    the Somalians are getting bold:)

    If I was in the piracy racket, I'd be looking for the drug runners, not the oil shippers.  Drug runners can't call the Coast Guard:)


    Drug runners (none / 0) (#102)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:40:47 PM EST
    won't have to call the coast guard.  They'd shoot you on the spot or call their drug lords.  Much scarier.

    I disagree... (none / 0) (#107)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:59:31 PM EST
    they can only take your life, the state can take your freedom and/or your life.

    I've watched too many movies (none / 0) (#109)
    by CST on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 03:23:36 PM EST
    My first thought was "they'll come after your family too" but that's probably not true...

    I just imagine it would be a lot harder to get away with the goods.


    It would... (none / 0) (#110)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 03:51:47 PM EST
    be much more difficult to hijack a drug ship, totally agree with you there.

    Since a drug runner has no authorities to turn to, they take things into their own hands.  


    kdog, how long do you think it took those (none / 0) (#103)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:42:23 PM EST
    pirates to paddle their canoe from Somalia (passing through the canal)and up to Baja.

    lol.... (none / 0) (#106)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:56:45 PM EST
    I was thinking more along the lines of a piracy cell based on the peninsula...better raise the terror alert to magenta just to be safe:)

    Um, gotcha, (none / 0) (#108)
    by easilydistracted on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 03:11:38 PM EST
    that makes more sense, operationally speaking, ya know with logistics issues and stuff.

    I wondered about that also. (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 12:21:13 PM EST
    Stevens gets standing O (none / 0) (#101)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:38:26 PM EST
    A convicted felon gets a standing ovation in his final speech on the floor. Meanwhile, jobless rate is at an all time high.  Pudwhackers, the lot of em.

    There are loads of... (none / 0) (#104)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 02:44:30 PM EST
    convicted felons throughout history I'd give a standing O too...needless to say Stevens ain't one of 'em.

    I agree (none / 0) (#111)
    by Jlvngstn on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:15:33 PM EST
    it's the old "he's a bad guy, but he's our bad guy"

    "Tough" on our crime, not theirs.


    It isn't just convicted felons who (none / 0) (#112)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:17:37 PM EST
    get standing ovations these days.  Ridiculously awarded, IMO, even, recently, at Lincoln Center, where the audience used to distain such shows of approval!

    Arnold Schwartzenegger (none / 0) (#113)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 04:28:19 PM EST
    as President Obama's personal trainer?


    Didn't he hold that job... (none / 0) (#114)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 05:12:41 PM EST
    already with Bush the First?  Physical Fitness Ambassador or some such nonsense?  Or was it Reagan?

    After all them 'roids no less...if that ain't the US govt. in a nutshell I don't know what is...Arnold reppin' fitness, CIA running dope, and Just Say No...what a country!


    I'm pretty sure I would prefer Obama (none / 0) (#115)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 05:17:01 PM EST
    off Maria Shriver a position in his admin.  But I can see why Arnold may want to get out of Sacramento b/4 his term is finished.

    Yeah... (none / 0) (#116)
    by kdog on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 05:20:36 PM EST
    my guy Paterson should start looking for an exit strategy.

    One way or another they'll both be going to Washington...for a cushier gig or a bailout.

    Could Shriver pass the vetting?  She married Arnold:)...j/k


    Hey, she's a Kennedy. Don't they get (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 05:32:35 PM EST
    a free psss?

    Obama is going to... (none / 0) (#118)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 08:29:00 AM EST
    ...off Maria Shriver?  That's taking those new, increased executive powers a bit far.  

    Who else is on the hit list?  :)


    Already done, easilydistracted (none / 0) (#119)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 09:36:50 AM EST
    I say that within a month Blackwater will have enlarged its operational scope to include security of merchant vessels.

    You got it. Last night I heard a news report on the radio about a huge ship that Blackwater has purchased and outfitted for just this purpose. It's already a done deal. The report had some comments from a Navy spokesperson who said the Navy just can't keep up with providing security for commercial fleets and they are going to have to step in for themselves. Blackwater is already set to go and lining up contracts.