Wednesday Morning Open Thread

Your turn.

This is an Open Thread.

BTW, on the first of a series of votes in the House on the economic stimulus bill precisely ZERO Republicans are voting in favor.

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    Need a laundry list on stimulus bill (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Saul on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:48:57 AM EST
    before it is voted on.

    The public needs to see every little item that is being included in the stimulus bill so they have a chance to object to it or not before it's voted on. Remember Obama wants transparency.

    I feel there are many wasteful items in the bill that do absolutely nothing in the form of an economic stimulus.

    This might help (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:16:02 PM EST
    I received a pdf of (none / 0) (#50)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:57:25 PM EST
    American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
    Legislative Summary

    from my congressman in email. I don't know how I could post it here, though. It is handy


    ProPublica and WNYC have StimulusWatch project to (none / 0) (#21)
    by jawbone on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:25:02 PM EST
    follow the Obama Stimulus bill from now going forward to distribution of funds. A Follow The Money series. Along with trying to learn how things got in, out, changed, etc.

    First article, "Will Dollars Follow Need," is online, along with some good interactive charts: How Stimulus Spending and Unemployment Match Up and Where the Money Would Go (tree chart, done before family planning funding taken out for the Unity Pony)

    Discussion of the project and some findings (like Summers' influence on the bill: He believes highway funding gets into the economy faster, so he wanted more for highways, not mass transit. Go figure) are on audio from The Brian Lehrer Show on Tuesday (first segment).


    I don't see how people can't understand (none / 0) (#34)
    by coast on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:38:28 PM EST
    how this stimulas bill is going to create jobs.  Its fairly simple, the largest increase in any job sector over the next two years will be grant writers, lobbyist, and state and federal government jobs.  Pretty easy to see that.

    Here (none / 0) (#113)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:37:30 PM EST
    Here's another take (none / 0) (#157)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:35:42 PM EST
    Another Take (none / 0) (#158)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:45:18 PM EST
    From the geniuses that got us into this mess. Digby sums it up rather well:

    Shameless....Is there any reason why we should listen to them sanctimoniously lecturing us on "what's worked in the past" and telling us that the only way to cure the problems they themselves created are to do more of the same? They've always been known for chutzpah, but this takes the cake.



    The house is trying to pass the DTV (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:50:44 AM EST
    transition extension as a suspension bill, and it looks like it won't get 2/3. This is a whip failure.

    What was the point of that extension? (none / 0) (#42)
    by cotton candy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:49:17 PM EST
    I never really understood why we needed to delay the DTV thing. Would delaying somehow boost the economy? I thought there were more pressing issues besides getting digital cable.

    Maybe I'm wrong and have been trying to find out the reason why this delay was necessary only to be left scratching my head.

    And yes, something that seems so small in comparison to all the problems we are facing does show that there is obviously a problem with leadership getting its act together.


    Basic politics (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:52:13 PM EST
    You want to piss off your constituents? Take away their free TV.

    We needed to delay because millions (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:56:13 PM EST
    of people were still not prepared for the switch over. The people most likely to be hindered by switching over at this point are the poor and the elderly.

    No, it's because (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:21:09 PM EST
    the government voucher program ran out of money with hundreds of thousands of applications still unfufilled.

    Not digital cable (4.50 / 6) (#63)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:20:04 PM EST
    ALL over-the-air free stations.  Once the switchover happens, unless you have a digital converter or a new TV, you won't get any TV at all unless you have satellite or the right kind of cable.

    The reason it needs to be delayed is that the goverment voucher program to subsidize the cost of digital converter boxes, which was part of the deal that mandated the switchover to digital, has totally run out of money and there's a months-long pile-up of people who need them and won't get them.

    Cotton, do at least make some attempt to pay attention to the news if you're going to instruct everybody on the right way to handle things, kay?


    Yes I do (none / 0) (#78)
    by cotton candy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:47:42 PM EST
    I was under the impression that there was a program that you could get your box for free which is why I didn't understand the need for an extension. I recalled seeing info on this for at least a year so I wasn't quite clear why we needed a delay.

    The fact that the gov't has run out of money to provide for this program and I can only imagine how many other programs by bailing out the banks is outrageous to me.  

    No need for sarcasm I was just looking for more clarification as it made no sense to me given what I had already known and the more pressing issues that we face.


    It was my understanding that there was (none / 0) (#68)
    by easilydistracted on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:25:48 PM EST
    a sudden deluge of requests for the government's subsidy payment for the convertor box. There's no money -- its all been given to the banks.

    False (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:56:00 PM EST
    It ran out of money because the government and the industy underestimated the number of people who would need/want them and the amount of money that was appropriated wasn't sufficient.

    The reason for the delay is so they can appropriate more money and get the backlog of requests taken care of.

    Come on.  This is GOP-style tactics to blame everything on a policy you don't like, whether it has any actual relationship to it or not.


    I guess I wasn't the only one confused (none / 0) (#86)
    by cotton candy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:05:01 PM EST
    Thanks for the clarification.

    It is interesting though that both the government and industry underestimated this as several years ago in my area before AT&T/Comcast bought out our local cable company we were basically forced to buy digital boxes if we wanted to see basic channels let alone premium cable as a couple of the stations had moved their towers so far that it made it near impossible to see any of the networks. Then they claimed that you had to get a box just for basic cable because they were trying to cut down on cable theft.  I know at that point alot of folks that didn't even have cable just got it then.  

    This stuff isn't new, the government should still know better and get their act together instead of bailing out banks and allowing greedy CEOs to get bonuses for 2 months of work.


    Given to the banks.... (none / 0) (#70)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:30:16 PM EST
    well, at least we took care of the needy before we worried about everybodys idiot box, right easily?

    Priorities, priorities...banker bonuses first, unfettered access to the new season of American Idol second.  I wonder where wrapping up these foreign occupations are on the priorities list?  


    You're so right, kdog... (none / 0) (#79)
    by easilydistracted on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:49:02 PM EST
    We wouldn't have had to be dealing with this issue had someone had the foresight to realize that the cutover conflicted with both the season opener of AI and banker bonus time. I mean s**t...don't we know what we're doing here??? And as if that isn't bad enough, the damned pirates are probably holding hostage a shipload of convertor boxes. Crap, what more can happen.

    Compared to the money... (none / 0) (#87)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:09:04 PM EST
    being spent hand over fist..not spent, make that thrown, thrown at our problems with the same care as a ticker-tape parade...a couple million dollar ransom to the Somais to get our converters back is as good a value as we're gonna get.

    Zero Republicans? (5.00 / 9) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:00:53 PM EST
    Zero?....okay, I get it....Zero  I'm glad that Obama is my president so don't get me wrong but Buwahahahahahahahaha, live and learn man, live and learn

    If one side goes post-partisan (5.00 / 9) (#18)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:19:30 PM EST
    . . . the other side doesn't have to do so at all.

    I can't believe thee and me are the only ones who saw that problem at the core of the unity crap, even a year ago. . . .


    And for this (5.00 / 9) (#19)
    by starsandstripes on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:22:44 PM EST
    poor women don't get family planning? Sheesh. (Is it only me who wonders wtf was Ms magazine thinking calling Obama a feminist?)

    No. Absolutely not just you. (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by jawbone on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:26:55 PM EST
    THis has been an umpteenth edition of simple answers to simple questions.

    Nobody can stop.... (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:41:28 PM EST
    poor women from getting family planning but us.

    Planned Parenthood is only approx. 1/3 funded by the government, the rest is private donations.  All we have to do is donate our money, or our time if you have no money...and poor women will continue to be assisted with their birth control if they are unable to obtain it themselves.  

    This is a power that cannot be taken from us.  If we care about the poor, we can do anything we put our minds to for the poor....with or without the government.


    kdog, I agree with support for Planned (5.00 / 6) (#88)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:12:46 PM EST
    Parenthood. It's good. But not all women have access to a Planned Parenthood clinic. They aren't spread all over the land. They don't appear on every street corner, or in every town, or even in every county.

    Pharmacies, on the other hand, are everywhere. So, a poor woman can, with government assistance, go to a doctor, get a prescription, and fill that prescription at any one of the many Walgreen's, Rite-Aid or CVS stores across the land.

    And, women can obtain the birth control without running the gauntlet of anti-choice, anti-contraception  demonstrators they might find at PP.

    Women should not have to fight so hard for such basic healthcare.


    You're right... (none / 0) (#108)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:31:48 PM EST
    PP ain't everywhere, but if we give them enough money and time they could be in more places...that is also up to us.

    And I'd make bc available over the counter, no script required.  Sh*t, I'd let food banks give it away to poor women.  But that ain't up to us, thats up to our reps...never happen.  


    post-partisan unity shtick (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by noholib on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:31:11 PM EST
    Many of us on this site saw the issue clearly and worried about it way back when during the primary season -- as you no doubt remember!

    post-partisan unity schtick (none / 0) (#28)
    by noholib on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:31:57 PM EST
    In my comment I was replying to Cream city

    Post-partisan (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:32:18 PM EST
    I can't believe thee and me are the only ones who saw that problem at the core of the unity crap, even a year ago. . . .

    Lot's of us saw that.  It's why so many of us held back on supporting Obama until the last six or so weeks and why we're still worried about him today and today it's with hard evidence.

    A chance for greatness squandered.


    I'd say closer to (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:21:48 PM EST
    17 million people saw it.

    being post-partisan (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by weltec2 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 07:17:27 PM EST
    to the republicans means Dems caving to the republicans. To the Dems it means cooperation and trying to find middle ground. Somehow Dems on the Hill have not figured this out. They keep moving over and moving over and moving over.

    The republicans react by going on Hardball and other programs and whine that Dems are not moving over and the commentators don't even question them on their lies. It becomes free advertizement for the republican smear machine.


    Zero - good (5.00 / 5) (#60)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:11:55 PM EST
    now let's strip out all the concessions that were made to get ZERO votes.

    I guess we should be glad this lesson was learned in week one of the administration.


    Unfortunately (5.00 / 7) (#76)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:42:39 PM EST
    It remains to be seen whether any lesson was learned at all!

    too true (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:24:13 PM EST
    I'm spoke too soon about that part...but can we remove the tax cuts now?

    they'll soak up everything you give them and not return a thing until wringed or squeezed.

    True..... (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:34:51 PM EST
    ...sometimes I think this administration cares more about getting Republican votes than getting the legislation passed.

    That's not how it works in the (5.00 / 9) (#94)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:18:34 PM EST
    post-partisan world...in the PPW, you keep giving in until they come over to your side, which, as more and more is conceded, begins to resemble the other side.  Which is why they come over.

    And since the other side isn't giving an inch, I think this is not post-partisanship at all; it's just the Democrats being their usual co-dependent selves, doing the same dysfunctional dance they always do.


    You're probably right (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:26:46 PM EST
    The Obama-Pelosi-Reid leadership team is much more likely to pull the bill altogether than they are to make it more progressive.

    And I think they are more likely to (5.00 / 5) (#117)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:46:58 PM EST
    make more concessions than to pull the bill and start over; the GOP would kill them in the media as not being serious about fixing the economy.  Dems are not winning the PR war now - imagine how worse it will get if they pull the bill.

    Democrats really do not know how to deal from a position of strength, and so what they are doing just looks like what it is: weak.  

    This should have been a golden opportunity for the Democrats, who had everything on their side, but instead of seizing that opportunity in the best possible way, to accomplish the most good, they are letting it slip away.  

    Many of us saw Obama's tendencies to give in rather than dig in, and feared exactly what is happening; what I have yet to figure out is who among the Dems is going to get this thing under control.  Obama got elected because a lot of people thought he was that Democrat, but he's not living up to his own billing or the expectations of millions of others.

    Never saw it myself, but I take no satisfaction in that, believe me.


    The underlying problem is that (5.00 / 2) (#131)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:32:52 PM EST
    The public is more progressive than the Democratic leadership, and Obama.

    Now that Dems have all 3 branches of government, they're having a harder time hiding their true nature. It is more clear than ever: most Democratic politicians are more in sync with the corporate interests of the GOP than the progressive will of the people.

    At this point in time, the Dems can't effectively "oppose" the GOP because they're all, more or less, on the same page; and actually hoping for the same outcome - wrapped up with a faux post-partisan Democratic bow. Nothing more.

    "Standing up" to the GOP is a sham exercise to give the appearance of representing our interests.


    Wake up and smell the coffee (none / 0) (#115)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:40:17 PM EST
    Republican's have always marched in step with their leaders! Obama may as well take his post partisan schtick and stick it because it won't work on Republicans.

    I admit, I'm jealous. I can't remember the last time Democrat's marched in step with their party leaders!


    Republicans and Democrats, not (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by sallywally on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:51:08 PM EST
    Republican's and Democrat's. The use is not possessive, so no apostrophe needed.

    Um, if Democrats marched in (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by dk on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:51:36 PM EST
    lockstep with Obama, we'd definitely be stuck with the lousy stimulus package he proposed.

    Sadly yes (5.00 / 0) (#163)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:37:07 PM EST
    Dems having fits improved the bill that the people have to deal with and the Republicans were going to vote no on no matter what was conceded in gestures of nonexistent political friendships.

    Today is International Privacy Day (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:15:54 PM EST

    Commemorate as you see fit, I'll be flying a sign outside WI Governor Doyle's State of the State speech this evening.

    You rock Ben... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:43:20 PM EST
    traversing our once great nation trying to restore some greatness...may your banners always wave my friend.

    I think I'll commemorate with my usual...living free in a private place of hiding.


    I would feel quite awkward (5.00 / 11) (#47)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:55:47 PM EST
    asking people how they intend to celebrate National Privacy Day...

    Easy Answer (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:00:00 PM EST
    Celebrating Privacy in private.

    Predictable (5.00 / 5) (#20)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:23:54 PM EST
    Zero Republicans voting for the bill eh.

    Gee, I wonder if the Village pundits will castigate them for not showing bi-partisanship?


    LOL, no way..... (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:37:10 PM EST
    ...they'll castigate the Democrats for proposing such a radical, pork-laden bill with not enough tax cuts for the idealistic wittle Wepublicans to vote for in good conscience.

    ahhh (none / 0) (#150)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:58:24 PM EST
    maybe they didnt get the memo informing them that Obama is the great uniter the mystical unifier, the king of kumbayah...

    Conyer's subpoena of Rove (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:32:48 PM EST
    has stirred up quite the hornet's nest.  Not so cut and dried as many would have believed:

    Rep. John Conyers Jr.'s decision to subpoena Karl Rove to testify about the "politicization" of the Bush Justice Department has dumped a thorny legal question in the laps of President Barack Obama's White House lawyers before they've even had time to settle into their new jobs.

    Conyers, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had a subpoena served on Rove on Tuesday. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, immediately forwarded the subpoena to White House counsel Greg Craig for guidance on how the Obama administration wants Rove to respond.

    Former President George W. Bush maintained that senior White House aides had enjoyed "absolute immunity" from congressional subpoenas. As a result, the Bush Justice Department refused to seek criminal contempt charges for executive branch officials who failed to answer demands from Congress.

    During the presidential campaign, Obama indicated that he rejected Bush's take on absolute immunity as a general matter. Craig promised that an Obama White House would "be much more transparent than" the Bush administration had been in dealing with Congress -- and added that Bush White House officials did not pay "adequate deference to either the House or Senate."

    But now Obama administration lawyers will have to confront the question in the specific context of the Judiciary investigation into Bush's Justice Department. And as much as some Democrats would like to see Rove forced to testify, they're also aware that Republicans could someday retake control of the House or Senate -- and that Obama administration officials could then be on the receiving end of congressional subpoenas.

    "This wasn't a fight they wanted right now, that's for sure," a Democratic lawmaker said of the White House legal team.


    Nationalization is a DIRTY word (5.00 / 8) (#45)
    by tinky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:53:51 PM EST
    Speaking just for me: Nationalizing the banking industry will allow tax-payers like me to have the government act as my intermediary so that when I lend my money in teensy increments to this behemoth, I will have someone looking out for my interests. That is, we will all see some law and order and a return on our money in public interest projects that are pro-educational, pro-universal health care, pro-environmental industrialization (let's not fool ourselves with how clean coal is).

    I am thoroughly average. Here's the picture... I am a fifty-something father with two kids. I work as a technician with an average wage and I have invested steadily in a 401K, within a minimal risk category for 25 years. During this year, I have lost $50,000 to the banking industry. Now, mind you, my mortgage, car and house-repair loans have not fluctuated one bit during this time (it's not like anyone loses track of how much I owe), but my savings have been subject to incredible loss. And, it's not like I have ever received large gains over the years, ever, on my savings... the average per year has been between 3-5%.

    So, if there were 100 million or so other schlubs, (not just in the U.S.A, but in this world of 6,000+ million people) in a similar position (after all I don't want to exaggerate my example) then that means a bit of that $50,000 multiplied by 100 million has gone into someone's wallets. I would say it's gone to the privatized banking industry and it amounts to a staggering amount of money. If you look at the numbers it's no less than one thousand trillion dollars ($1,000 trillion). No wonder the banking industry is stalling about lending... they know there's way more than 350 billion or 800 billion dollars out there... we are talking trillions.

    We need a new sexy word for "nationalization"...  something that would pass muster at a decent public relations firm. "Nationalization" scares people... it red baits... we are the government, people... get over it... and start owning your country again.

    If we ever really tried.... (none / 0) (#56)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:07:22 PM EST
    to claim ownership of our country and our government, we'd have cuffs slapped on us in a heartbeat.

    I used to believe it, and I'd still like to believe it...but I really don't think this country is ours man...it belongs to the bankers and the brokers and the politicians.  We lost...if we were ever really in the game to begin with.


    Publicization? (none / 0) (#97)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:22:26 PM EST
    the opposite of "privatization"?

    yeah I know, it stinks and doesn't qualify as a sexy word substitute.

    I'll consult my algorithmic name generator program.


    Public Ownership... (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:13:48 PM EST
    a la "home ownership", it has a certain populist, but still individualist, ring to it.

    very good. (none / 0) (#162)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:19:00 PM EST
    - and not goofy. I like that.

    hmmmm (none / 0) (#149)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:56:58 PM EST
    libertarian restoration? fiscal freedom?

    hmmm (none / 0) (#156)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:26:21 PM EST

    Agree (none / 0) (#121)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:52:51 PM EST
    I agree, the word natationalization has been used as a boogie man for too long. Maybe as things continue to cave, minds will open.

    We need to talk with one of Bush's old speech writers. They were really great at renaming everything so it sounded perfectly acceptable! The Protect Americ Act or enhanced interrogation, they had a million of them.


    Well hello tinky, if I may presume, (none / 0) (#127)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:13:59 PM EST
    welcome to our world and please stick around.

    Your testimonial has an authenticity that really brings the issues home.

    As for the word "nationalization", we're just going to have to learn: when the GOP, and the media, and corporate America tells us something is bad for we schlubs - it's actually quite the opposite. The more they protest the more they inadvertently make the case for "nationalization".

    Here's a thought, if America is a great nation comprised of great people, it stands to reason that we ought to nationalize corporate entities like the banking industry. It's just a matter of the nation's people becoming activists who insure that government does a good job of managing our assets.


    viva la fiscal freedom (none / 0) (#148)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:55:43 PM EST
    what is a good word for emancipation

    financial freedom for the people! something like that

    how about...
    "financial emancipation for the american population"


    Bankruptcy Lawyers (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:01:17 PM EST

    Seek $18.50 a Minute as Creditors Get Less
    By Lindsay Fortado and Linda Sandler

    Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, home to former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr, are asking as much as $1,110 an hour for bankruptcy work while creditors are recovering less of their loans through company restructurings.

    Kirkland requested a top rate equal to $18.50 a minute for advising Tronox Inc. in its bankruptcy, according to court papers filed Jan. 26. Chicago-based Sidley Austin LLP and New York's Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP also requested hourly rates exceeding $1,000 in the past two months in separate bankruptcy cases, as lenders' recoveries are forecast by ratings company Moody's Corp. to drop 22 percent in the recession.

    Professionals' fees in bankruptcy cases are growing at four times the rate of inflation, estimated Lynn LoPucki, a professor of bankruptcy law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Total fees paid for lawyers, accountants and other professionals in bankruptcies from 1998 to 2007 doubled, while the consumer price index rose about 25 percent, he said.

    "As the economy gets worse, the bankruptcy lawyers are charging more," LoPucki said. "It seems that each month one sets a new record for hourly billing rates. $1,110 is, to my knowledge, a record for the debtor's bankruptcy counsel."


    I thought there were laws against (none / 0) (#92)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:16:20 PM EST
    price gouging.  But, I've been wrong before.

    Who influenced who? (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:15:24 PM EST
    In Obama's remarks this morning he said he didn't care if good "ideas were Democrat or Republican."  Can I ask him now to stop having lunch with House Republicans?

    Maybe (none / 0) (#67)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:23:08 PM EST
    he's playing with them like a cat does with a mouse.

    If he is starting to use the term (5.00 / 5) (#105)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:29:07 PM EST
    "Democrat ideas", he is the mouse, not the cat.

    Or (none / 0) (#124)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:59:12 PM EST
    maybe after having idiots in charge for 8 years we've forgotten intelligent people haven't gone extinct.

    CIA Station Chief in Algeria accused of rapes (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:30:29 PM EST

    The CIA's station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

    Officials say the 41-year old CIA officer, a convert to Islam, was ordered home by the U.S. Ambassador, David Pearce, in October after the women came forward with their rape allegations in September.

    Damn... (none / 0) (#83)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:58:33 PM EST
    I thought I was passed the point of shock at anything the CIA and its members do in our name and on our dime...this story is as close as it will get.  

    Equally as shocking, if true...he got caught and will be held accountable by the justice dept.  Was it the brave girls who came forward or did this p.o.s. piss off the agency in some way?


    The women complained (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:24:18 PM EST
    The full report is going to be on ABC News at 6:30 with Charles Gibson, but here's what it says:

    Both women have reportedly given sworn statements to federal prosecutors sent from Washington to prepare a possible criminal case against the CIA officer.

    Following the initial complaints, U.S. officials say they obtained a warrant from a federal judge in Washington, D.C. in October to search the station chief's CIA-provided residence in Algiers and turned up the videos that appear to have been secretly recorded and show, they say, the CIA officer engaged in sexual acts.
    Obama To Get Top Secret CIA Briefing
    Obama to CIA: Bombs Away! No Let Up in US Drone Attacks
    Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans

    Officials say one of the alleged victims is seen on tape, in a "semi-conscious state."

    The time-stamped date on other tapes led prosecutors to broaden the investigation to Egypt because the date matched a time when CIA officer was in Cairo, officials said.

    Pills found in the CIA residence were sent to the FBI crime laboratory for testing, according to officials involved in the case.

    "Drugs commonly referred to as date rape drugs are difficult to detect because the body rapidly metabolizes them," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant. "Many times women are not aware they were even assaulted until the next day," he said.

    A third woman, a friend of one of the alleged victims, reportedly provided a cell phone video that showed her friend having a drink and dancing inside the CIA station chief's residence in Algiers, which officials told ABC News provided corroboration the CIA officer had indeed brought the woman to his residence.

    The cell phone video... (none / 0) (#109)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:34:08 PM EST
    probably saved the day here...without that I doubt US or Algerian officials would f*ck with a CIA man.

    panetta (none / 0) (#147)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:53:41 PM EST
    well Jane Harman would have ripped these people apart to stop this, let's hope Panetta the great administrator can do something to clean this up and shut this down

    this is horrific, also string of women being murdered in and around Ft Bragg, military women, Libby Dole did jack about those barracks too, glad she is gone!


    Laced their DRINKS? (none / 0) (#96)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:20:20 PM EST
    Isn't drinking against the Islamic religion?

    How can anyone spot the people who would do things like this? If he had no criminal record or accusations of sexual crimes in his background, what would give the CIA cause to think he might be prone to this behavior?

    I am glad to read that the CIA is investigating the allegations and not sweeping them under the table and keeping them out of the news.


    just drinking of booze. (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:23:32 PM EST
    tea can be laced too.

    Heh. (none / 0) (#152)
    by Fabian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:59:46 PM EST
    Don't believe everything you hear about this or that religion.

    If there are "American" or "cafeteria" Catholics, why wouldn't there be similar phenomena in other religions?

    Or Mormons who don't allow the stimulants such as coffee or tea, but are fine with caffeinated colas?


    You can see who might do this easily (none / 0) (#171)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 08:48:38 PM EST
    First you ask if they have ever smoked weed.  When they say no, you think to yourself, that is a weirdo, I don't trust him.

    I like that litmus test... (none / 0) (#175)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 08:45:04 AM EST
    not foolproof though.  My sister hasn't taken even a single toke in her life.  Yes, she is weird:)...but I trust her and she wouldn't hurt a fly.

    I guess the fool proof test is (none / 0) (#180)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 11:22:25 AM EST
    "So you want to be in the CIA?"  When they say yes, you think that is weird, I don't trust him :)

    That one sounds... (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 12:38:44 PM EST
    foolproof.  Works for the FBI, DEA, and your local police force too.

    Maybe we do need a draft, not for the military, but for our law enforcement and spies...just to keep the weirdos who want the job off the job:)


    Charlie Rangel (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:42:13 PM EST
    is giving a very impassioned denunciation of the Republican substitute.  

    Cue song.... (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:22:02 PM EST
    "At last..."

    Great... (none / 0) (#136)
    by NJDem on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:39:59 PM EST
    Now I'm gong to have that song in my head!!! :)

    And you're right re: my post on Obama trying the wrong door--it isn't the same without the goofy facial expressions.  

    Maybe he was caught at another angle, though I doubt he'd play it up like his predecessor.  Bush didn't have shame about acting stupid...  


    lol (none / 0) (#140)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:43:09 PM EST
    Bush didn't have shame about acting stupid...  

    No he certainly did not!

    I did like Obama's humor this morning about the ice in Washington shutting down the city. Though without going 'heh heh heh' and shaking his shoulders they might not have recognized it as teasing.


    decoupling electricy costs from usage.... (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:38:48 PM EST
    cdan someone explain to me how this is a good idea? I am in AZ, why would it be good for me to pay the same rate as someone who has their central air on all day long? IMO this will result in consumers giving up on conservation....

    I am an NRDC WWF member and everything, promise! I spent a small fortune energizing my home, tankless hot water heater, whole nine yards, it is 115 degrees here most of the time and now we wont be billed on our electricity usage?!?!

    decoupling utility pricing from usage, Waxman Amendment to Stimulus

    Here's the problem we are having in Orlando (none / 0) (#154)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:21:08 PM EST
    Last year people did too well conserving energy - so now the local utility is going to raise rates by nearly 20% to make up for their losses.

    Though I guess the incentive to conserve is still strong since now extra use will cost even more. But it does feel like we just can't win.


    Lynryd Skynyrd keyboardist passes away... (5.00 / 2) (#151)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:59:41 PM EST
    Billy Powell passed away today

    God Bless him

    Simple Kind of Man - Billy Powell -

    Ah jeez. (none / 0) (#155)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:22:28 PM EST
    Spent most of HS drinking beer to their songs...

    I used to look down my nose... (none / 0) (#176)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 08:46:34 AM EST
    and make fun of Skynyrd...then I took the time to really listen to their sh*t...awesome freakin' band.

    Yeah man. (none / 0) (#182)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 01:00:40 PM EST
    "That Smell." "Saturday Night Special." "Ballad of Curtis Loew." "Tuesday's Gone." Too many to list...

    Pork (5.00 / 0) (#159)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:00:00 PM EST
    Pure and simple.  Democrats will own this "stimulus" and when it doesn't work republicans will tell the American people in 2010 "I told you so".

    We're about to find out whose right.   Big government deficit spending vs. cutting taxes.   it's an honest debate and I for one am glad the republicans have gone with their core beliefs and the dems vice versa.

    We'll soon know if it works.  

    I just wish I'd kissed my democratic congressmans butt a little more before the pork started getting handed out.

    Missed opportunity.

    Heh (none / 0) (#164)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:47:46 PM EST
    Didn't the bill do both?  Spending as well as cutting taxes?  I'm pretty sure that from the Republican perspective, if the bill works it's because taxes were cut, and if the bill doesn't work it's because spending is ineffective as stimulus.

    The Senate is voting on a Mel Martinez (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:32:56 AM EST
    amendment to reinstate the global gag rule reversed last week by Obama.

    It is losing handily, but the only Senator from the northeast to vote in favor is Judd Gregg, and that includes Bob Casey.

    Doesn't (none / 0) (#13)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:03:08 PM EST
    Gregg's term expire in 2010?

    yes (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:04:17 PM EST
    Interesting Gregg tangent (none / 0) (#36)
    by magster on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:42:17 PM EST
    relates to 538 post last night about how Gregg has been a reliable Obama vote so far this session.  This gag rule thing might be a dog and pony show to restore his GOP cred.

    Judd (none / 0) (#146)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:51:55 PM EST
    good ole Judd got the TARP thru with the GOP as well, I was in Disneyland and I remember seeing him on the tv pimping TARP couldnt believe my eyes!!

    he certainly didnt help MAC that fer shure

    he is NH after all..they go their own way in NH dont they...he is under pressure after putting thru TARP betcha...


    Silly movie quote but it stuck with me (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:36:44 AM EST
    when my son and I went to see the film and fits for me today.

    May we have wisdom not to fear shadows in the night, and courage when the day of danger truly dawns.

    In fact a little courage on the days when danger truly dawns would make me flippin ecstatic.

    Jeff Flake talking on C-SPAN (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:41:33 AM EST
    about how his biggest priority is to kill Amtrak.

    Jeff Flake? (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:51:34 AM EST
    The first I've heard of him but I have strong feelings for Amtrak.  And now some Flake wants to destroy them :)

    He's an Arizona Republican (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:52:51 AM EST
    and a deficit hawk.

    And from Arizona (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:16:48 PM EST
    the need for rail transportation isn't understood and I suspect that some of his constituents may understand but could care less about the northeast. Since his proposal will go nowhere I'm guessing he's running for re-election.

    Looks like those eastern votes that supported Boulder (Hoover)dam all those years ago were a waste.

    So far as Flake's district is concerned I'd suggest 'no pork for you.'

    And why is CNN giving this schmuck air time?


    Or water projects (5.00 / 6) (#22)
    by WS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:25:47 PM EST
    for Arizona.  How about we zero out funding for water projects in Arizona, Mr. Flake?  After all, it's "pork" from my vantage point.  My home state has plenty of water.  

    nooooo (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:49:49 PM EST
    Flake is up north his peeps have water

    please dont dry us out here in Metro Phoenix, he's not our rep, help us! we're here! we're here!

    Horton Hears a Dem!


    Isn't that the way it always is? (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:29:01 PM EST
    the need for rail transportation isn't understood and I suspect that some of his constituents may understand but could care less about the northeast. Since his proposal will go nowhere I'm guessing he's running for re-election.

    Looks like those eastern votes that supported Boulder (Hoover)dam all those years ago were a waste.

    The same arguments could be made about all those people in the northeast and California who drive crappy foreign cars who didn't want to help the US automakers in the midwest, even though it would have meant letting millions of people lose their jobs (and in turn, their homes, and hurt the banking industry more, etc.)

    Congress critters are supposed to represent what the people back home want.  Sometimes that is in conflict with what people in another district/state want.  I think Flake is, well, a flake, but if his constituents don't want to pay for rail transportation in Vermont, well, then I guess he is doing his job.


    Yes (5.00 / 5) (#35)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:41:53 PM EST
    Congressmen represent their home districts BUT they are also United States  Representaives.

    Boulder dam, Grand Coulee dam, etc. were built with votes from the east.  Wouldn't have happened without them.

    He's not doing his job because when he makes noise to destroy AMTRAK he's causing a hit to the economy. The trouble with Conservatives like Flake is that they don't understand that crippling one region of the nation harms the entire nation. Again: United States representatives.


    Sorry but (5.00 / 0) (#82)
    by coast on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:57:14 PM EST
    there are no such representatives on either side of the aisle.  I don't seem to recall any Democrats from the Northeast or out West protesting the closure of the navy base in my city, which resulted in the loss of 14,000 jobs and a huge large percentage of the economic activity in the city.

    If we had representative that were truly US representative, then we would have no need for earmarks or pork.  But as you well know the people of the US don't elect congressmen, the people of that district do.  So they need to bring the money back home.  Money going to one district is money not going to another.  Congressmen, Democrat and Republican alike will always only care about what they can get for their district.


    When (none / 0) (#178)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 10:14:27 AM EST
    two air force bases in my state were closed down I don't recall any southern or western Republicans complaining. Those closures also did great harm to the effected communities.

    Once again, Congressmen represent their districts but they are still UNITED STATES Representatives who are supposed to consider legislation based on the public good.

    A little economics education here, money going to a district that assists the economy in that district can also benefit the nation as a whole.  We do after all live in an interdependent society and I'm certainly not strictly against pork. One person's pork is another person's vital infrastructure project.

    That's why pulling the plug on Amtrak is foolish and irresponsible.  Although its greatest IMMEDIATE impact is in the northeast, ultimately the entire nation is poorer.


    poor us is right!!! (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:48:24 PM EST
    we are SO screwed here in AZ, we have no rail, no mass transit worth a damn and now our GOV has gone to be POTUS DFHS SEC and we are left with our GOP SoS as GOV and SHE is GUTTING education left and right

    Flake is typical of our legislators who only spend on themselves a la Rick Renzi....

    this past Sunday we were all in front of the capitol in red shirts here representing the bleeding education budget...we NEED that part of the stimulus, will our AZ nitwits turn it away, yeah they would

    but we have Gaby Giffords, Harry Mitchell as Reps now so we can put up a fight

    but with MAC and Kyl as Senators well let's just ay I had been hoping to get Napolitano in as Senator..

    I spent all summer fighting to keep our only Title I Elementary School open, and that is in Scottsdale, a very nice area, the loss of propety taxes is killing the schools here


    Sorry rant off/


    A consequence (none / 0) (#179)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 10:20:48 AM EST
    of appointing elected officials to cabinet posts.

    Interesting historical note: (none / 0) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:54:54 PM EST
    AZ filibustered the vote on the Boulder Dam. And there was a significant block of eastern legislators who joined them in opposition.

    FYI (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:13:47 PM EST
    We have no rail in Vermont except a single daily train from NYC which is about to be canceled and replaced by buses for most of the Vermont part of its route.

    Find another state.


    "crappy foreign cars"? By and large, (none / 0) (#32)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:34:45 PM EST
    those foreign cars are of a higher quality then American brands.

    By and large (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:44:28 PM EST
    you're behind the times.  The quality of American cars is as good or better than the foreign makes.

    American care HAVE become more reliable (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:51:11 PM EST
    but "quality" can be more of a subjective measure. The amount of shoddily attached plastic in your standard Chrysler, Pontiac, or Ford is embarrassing. Nothing fits right, and the suspension always seems to be made out of a sponge.

    What do you mean (none / 0) (#177)
    by cal1942 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 09:51:46 AM EST
    "nothing fits right?"

    Sounds like you're thinking of the 70s or 80s.

    I've seen as much plastic in foreign cars as I've seen in American cars and inasmuch as the suspension is concerned the assumed use and customer base should be considered when judging any designed characteristic.

    Attitudes about American cars have built up over the years, especially in some some social circles, that have established perceptions that really don't stand up to objective scrutiny.


    Not really (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:48:56 PM EST
    More perception than reality.

    how timely (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:42:17 PM EST
    Toyota is recalling over 1 million vehicles worldwide



    Oops (none / 0) (#40)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:47:26 PM EST
    C-Span not CNN.

    jeff flake (none / 0) (#59)
    by txpublicdefender on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:09:47 PM EST
    Do you know anything about Jeff Flake?  He's famous for being anti-pork, particularly anti-earmark, even for his home district, and his constituents appear to love him for it.  So, I don't think your comment about "no pork for you" will upset him any.

    Hmmm. No Social Security Office (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by easilydistracted on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:32:21 PM EST
    to close? I'll bet there's a military installation somewhere in his district that maybe should be questioned for its overall need. Point is, there's always "pork" to be found.

    And the google says he's an AZ congressman (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:54:06 AM EST

    Flake (none / 0) (#141)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:44:25 PM EST
    yes Jeff Flske is from round here in AZ, up North I believe, he is a serious pork free dude, no earmarks period...

    my guy is Mitchell the Dem we fought to get in JD Hayworths old seat...

    but Flake is serious on saving money..very libertarianish is Flake


    Holder (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:42:04 AM EST
    made it past the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Will there be more questions when he is in front of the full Senate?  Or just a vote?

    No questions (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:55:33 AM EST
    Just a debate so that the Republicans have a chance to bloviate, but the landslide vote in committee makes it a done deal.

    So Cornyn's (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:59:19 AM EST
    demand that Holder takes torture prosecutions off the table will go unsatisfied?



    j-k!! (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:36:29 PM EST
    apparently Holder made private assurances that he wouldn't prosecute "CIA officers or political appointees who were involved in the Bush administration's policy of 'enhanced interrogations.'"

    ARRGGGHHH... (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by desertswine on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:59:28 PM EST
    Cornyn seems to be trying to pile up rightwad (none / 0) (#26)
    by jawbone on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:29:37 PM EST
    chits -- for some run at a different elective office. Gov of TX? President?

    Well, this vote is good news (none / 0) (#23)
    by ThatOneVoter on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:26:26 PM EST
    for Obama, if he's looking for a reason to stop with the PPUS nonsense.

    I mentally say pee pus when I see the PPUS (none / 0) (#30)
    by jawbone on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:32:42 PM EST
    acronym. Too long to say p-p-u-s. So, pee pus. Yuck.

    Holder - No Torture Prosecutions (none / 0) (#39)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:45:32 PM EST
    According to a bunch of Republicans, anyway.  From Ackerman:

    President Obama's choice to run the Justice Department has assured senior Republican senators that he won't prosecute CIA officers or political appointees who were involved in the Bush administration's policy of "enhanced interrogations."

    Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, a Republican from Missouri and the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview with The Washington Times that he will support Eric H. Holder Jr.'s nomination for Attorney General because Mr. Holder assured him privately that Mr. Obama's Justice Department will not prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program.

    I would like to know exactly what was said to Bond.  Bond's actual quoted statements are less severe:

    In the interview Wednesday, Mr. Bond said, "I made it clear that trying to prosecute political leaders would generate a political firestorm the Obama administration doesn't need."

    He added, "I was concerned about previous statements he made and others had made. He gave me assurances that he would not take those steps that would cause major disruptions in our intelligence system or cause political warfare. We don't need that kind of political warfare. He gave me assurances he is looking forward."

    Mr. Bond also said, "I believe he will look forward to keep the nation safe and not look backwards to prosecute intelligence operators who were fighting terror and kept our country safe since 9-11."

    IOW, Mr. Bond may believe Holder won't prosecute - but that doesn't mean he won't.  There hasn't been a public promise.  Who knows what language Holder used.  Being optimistic here.

    It seems to me (5.00 / 5) (#51)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:58:11 PM EST
    that we are guilty of politicizing the justice process ourselves when we get into the business of insisting that political appointees like Holder commit to prosecuting or not prosecuting specific cases as a condition of the appointment process.  In other words, I agree that we don't know what exactly was said, but he definitely shouldn't be in the business of making assurances like this to anyone.

    mcjoan (none / 0) (#58)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:09:27 PM EST
    has Sheldon Whitehouse saying pretty much the same thing - there should be no such assurances.  So Whitehouse is either out of the Bond-Holder loop, which would be terrible, or Bond is puffing up these assurances a little bit:

    "We came perilously close to seeking a prosecutive commitment from an AG candidate on an issue he would have to make a decision on.  We don't ask judicial candidates their position on a case, the notion that a person who is a candidate for AG should have to make a prosecutative decision before he has even read the file or before he has even been read into the program at question."



    AG and judiciary are not the same (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:52:19 PM EST
    in the sense that the AG can be, even ought to be, an advocate to an extent -- note, to an extent -- for an administration's agenda.

    Example: Bobby Kennedy.  He had a long-established agenda already.  We knew what we were getting: a liberal who made history, because of it. . . .


    You are correct (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:03:29 PM EST
    but in this case, I think the analogy is spot-on because we want to maintain the independence of both the judicial and prosecutorial functions from political considerations.

    Just as it would be inappropriate to tell a judicial candidate "I'll only vote for your confirmation if you promise to vote a certain way on a particular case," no one should expect the AG to promise that a particular matter will or won't be prosecuted as a condition of the confirmation process.

    Of course, you can't truly get politics out of the process as long as the Justice Department is run by a political appointee, but you can at least respect the principle of independence.  Criminal prosecutions shouldn't be the subject of political horse-trading.


    The Plot Thickens (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:16:17 PM EST
    mcjoan updates from the Philly Inquirer:

    Holder met for about an hour with Specter, the ranking Judiciary Republican, one day after GOP members of the committee forced a one-week delay in a vote on approving his nomination.

    Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) raised the issue of possible prosecutions of intelligence agents after Holder, during his confirmation hearing last week, declared that waterboarding - simulated drowning during interrogation - is torture....

    On Cornyn's concern about prosecution of those engaged in interrogation, Holder "did say it would depend on the specific facts of the case," Specter said, including whether there was a "reliable and authoritative" Justice Department opinion authorizing the actions taken.

    That is a relief.  Now, is there anything "reliable and authoritative" about the Yoo/Bybee memos?


    And (none / 0) (#49)
    by cal1942 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:56:15 PM EST
    I hope you're right, that your optimism isn't groundless.

    It would have been ridiculous for Holder to have promised Republicans anything given a strong Democratic majority in the committee.

    But, this is the Obama administration.  I wouldn't be surprised but I'd sure be furious.


    Bucking the Obama administration (none / 0) (#55)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    Bucking the Obama administration, House Republicans on Wednesday defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting to June 12 - leaving the current Feb. 17 deadline intact for now.

    The 258-168 vote failed to clear the two-thirds threshold needed for passage. It's a victory for the GOP members, who warn that postponing the transition would confuse consumers.

    Confuse consumers? That's pretty silly. (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by tigercourse on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:07:51 PM EST
    I think that consumers are sharp enough to understand "the program needs more time to be implemented correctly".

    I would hope so (none / 0) (#66)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:22:10 PM EST
    Could somebody point me to where (none / 0) (#69)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:26:16 PM EST
    in the Constitution it enumerates my right to watch 24 for free?

    They should just flip the switch as scheduled.  I've been involved in enough long-term tech projects to know that there will always be transition laggards.  Google Everett Rogers and Diffusion of Innovations.


    The airwaves are owned by (5.00 / 5) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:58:56 PM EST
    the public, for crying out loud.  Yes, you do have a right to watch 24 for free over the air in return for enduring endless mindless commercials.

    Which of course (none / 0) (#91)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:16:18 PM EST
    are dominated by repulsive fast food ads, and ads explaining the many ways we can get sick and die from taking the latest magic pharmaceutical.

    So the public should be able to watch 24 (none / 0) (#93)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:16:48 PM EST
    on their toaster oven? Their toilet tank? Where in the Constitution does it say the gvt should pay for DTV-compatible toaster ovens and toilet tanks?

    But, then again, I'm an outlier on this subject.

    imo the airwaves exist, just like land, and they should be privately owned, just like land.

    Keep some publicly owned for PBS, national safety warnings, potus election debates, etc., but the rest should be bought and sold on the free market.

    Heeey now, there's a money-raiser to help offset TARP, etc....


    It still is (none / 0) (#95)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:19:59 PM EST
    a free market.

    Unfortunately no one wants or can afford to take on debt to make it even freer.


    And (none / 0) (#101)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:25:09 PM EST
    how do your slap a "Private Property" sign on something that is invisible like spectrum?

    About the best that can be done is for it to be clipping up and sold like exotic derivatives.

    We all see where "exotic derivatives", pixel money, and invisible market forces got us.


    Well, let's say I own 2000 mhz, (none / 0) (#107)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:30:38 PM EST
    if you want to broadcast on it you pay me.

    Right (none / 0) (#110)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:35:27 PM EST
    if you can't slap a meter on it it's not worth the hassle.

    Earth Bound Misfits Inc


    If you say so. (none / 0) (#112)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:37:25 PM EST
    Hey I know (none / 0) (#118)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:48:26 PM EST
    the bills need to be paid or in the case of the False Hierarchy that got us into this mess "the lifestyle we elites have become accustomed to must be maintained at all costs".

    That's all fine and dandy until the last moment and you realize your basically "powerless" in the bigger scheme of things.


    You know, one of my degrees is in Poli Sci, (none / 0) (#114)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:39:27 PM EST
    yet I've never understood that whole "public owning the airwaves" thing.  To me it's a complete misnomer.  

    Can I broadcast on the TV or radio spectrum? Nope, not without a license, or buying a licensed device.  

    Can I receive everything that is broadcast?  Nope, it's illegal for me to decode certain commercial, police, and military encoded transmissions.

    Can I even block reception on my own property?  Nope, those devices are illegal to own and/or operate.

    We don't own the airwaves, our government does.  And do we own what our government owns?  I'll assign an exercise to the student: walk into any federal building, pick up a chair, and walk out.  Claim that as a citizen and taxpayer it's yours.  Tell me how that goes for you.


    Yeah... (none / 0) (#120)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:52:37 PM EST
    or try going to your local federal pen and opening some cages and see if you own that.

    It's pretty simple (none / 0) (#122)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:54:04 PM EST
    An "American dream" was invented which enriched bankers who collect interest on our expenditures for cars, homes, TV sets, credit card purchases and late payments for the above when we spend more than we make or can afford to repay without incurring interest.

    And we thought (none / 0) (#123)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:57:44 PM EST
    wow they like really care about us! It's like, we're owners in all this stuff!

    No one OWNS anything. That's part of the illusion.

    Thankfully a sense of humor was included in the "equation" because we would have no doubt killed ourselves off over "stuff" a long time ago.


    The bankers got the money... (none / 0) (#132)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:34:50 PM EST
    no doubt, but we did get use of the tvs and such.

    I always got more satisfaction from saving and paying in cash...but I'm weird and a banker's worst nightmare.  


    Yes (none / 0) (#72)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:31:32 PM EST
    we must not resist the future for our own benefit.



    Heh! (none / 0) (#77)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 01:42:46 PM EST
    You've got me there.  Not a future that I wish for.

    BTW, didn't Mike Judge ever acknowledge Cornbluth's Marching Morons as the basis for Idiocracy?


    I don't know (none / 0) (#89)
    by SOS on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:12:51 PM EST
    if Mike did or not. It would be pretty hard to deny that he wasn't somehow influenced by Cornbluth's original work.

    cha ching (none / 0) (#139)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:41:53 PM EST
    well that will save us a cool 150 million of this stimulus bill, it was added for even MORE coupons for converters....

    Obama's charm offensive (none / 0) (#102)
    by NJDem on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:25:20 PM EST
    if at first they say no, invite them over for drinks

    Get 'em drunk and then have a vote (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:30:10 PM EST
    It's so crazy it just might work!

    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:37:09 PM EST
    That's how Truman got it done!

    Now that I think about it (none / 0) (#126)
    by NJDem on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:09:58 PM EST
    a lot of bipartisan relationships evolved over drinks--Reagan and Tip O'Neil, Hillary and John McCain, Ted Kennedy and Orin Hatch...oh wait! :)  

    OMG he's like a bad date (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 02:52:01 PM EST
    who calls you up and asks you out again even though the first date was totally cra**y.

    Maybe he needs a private screening (5.00 / 6) (#125)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:00:28 PM EST
    of the new movie, He's Not That Into You.

    I'm sort of at the point where I'm offended at the amount of charm that is being wasted on freakin' Republicans.


    Quinn (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:40:15 PM EST
    yeah but the really important thing is Sally Quinn and MoDo will love Obama more cause he is so classy what with cocktails and all, not like those bumpkin Clintons'  /snark off

    A little comic relief (none / 0) (#128)
    by NJDem on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:20:30 PM EST
    you know we'd all be laughing our a**es off if this was Bush--as we did when it happened in 2005.  link

    I'm quite bipartisan in my sense of humor (none / 0) (#130)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:24:27 PM EST
    That is pretty funny. But it isn't the same without the comical look on his face. Unfortunate camera angle.

    Also (none / 0) (#137)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 03:40:11 PM EST
    Is it only the NY tabloids that refer to the President as "Bam"?

    Education.SCHIP/Daycare Gutted in AZ (none / 0) (#153)
    by jedimom on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 04:20:47 PM EST
    And as expected now that our Dem GOV is gone the GOP is GUTTING our education budget, our kidscare healthcare, EVERYTHING, every frakin meaningful social program, ELIMINATING programs..

    Gawd save us

    budgets slashed

    some of the lowlights from the lowlifes who suggested these cuts and say our legislators have to find other things to cut to save these:

    • Eliminate the KidsCare health-care program, for a savings of $18.3 million this year and $35.6 million next year. The program provides health care to nearly 63,000 Arizona children. These children come from families that do not qualify for the state's Medicare program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, but whose incomes fall below 200 percent of the federal poverty level of $21,200 for a family of four.

    • Eliminate KidsCare Parents, a companion program to KidsCare that covers parents. Ending the program would save $4.7 million this year and $7.3 million next year.

    • Cut funding to the Arizona Board of Regents by $26 million this year and $58 million next year. Among the options: Take the official enrollment count on the 45th day of the semester, rather than the current standard of the 21st day. Typically, enrollment is lower later in the semester.

    • Save $115 million by cutting various university programs this year, mostly through lump-sum reductions. Another $178 million in savings is suggested for 2009-10.


    This stimulus is a big fat ZERO if we lose all social programs due to property tax off the cliff! we NEED HOLC!!

    Sorry, (none / 0) (#160)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 05:11:54 PM EST
    AZ is an ongoing project, and it will be easier when McCain isn't on the national ticket.

    Meanwhile, you're going to be in some pain, and there's probably nothing we can do.


    I heard on the TeeVee that the digital tv delay (none / 0) (#165)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 06:39:22 PM EST
    bill failed to pass the "required 2/3 vote" Why 2/3 vote needed?

    It's Already Law (none / 0) (#166)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 06:55:21 PM EST
    2/3 vote needed to overturn it.

    why though? (none / 0) (#167)
    by DFLer on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 07:13:32 PM EST
    couldn't they just amend the law...by regular vote

     Does it take 2/3s to change everything or anything that is currently in existence? I dunno. This is new to me. Must have missed that class.


    3/4 To Amend Constitution (none / 0) (#169)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 07:37:18 PM EST
    Otherwise 2/3. I am no expert but this is what I think the process is.

    Totally wrong (none / 0) (#172)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 09:11:49 PM EST
    If both houses pass a repeal, no matter than majority, and the President signs it, the law is repealed. What happened today is that the House brought up the Senate's repeal for a suspension (of the rules) vote. A suspension bill cannot be amended on the floor, but needs 2/3 to pass.

    What will likely happen now is that the Dems will pass a house version of the bill under a special rule, and the Senate will pass that bill. A 2/3 majority isn't required, it's just convenient.


    OK (none / 0) (#173)
    by squeaky on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 09:16:54 PM EST
    So this maneuver was done to speed things along?

    Yes (none / 0) (#174)
    by andgarden on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 09:18:32 PM EST
    But the Democratic leadership either counted voted incompetently or was blindsided by overwhelming Republican opposition to the bill. It passed by voice vote in the Senate.

    I haven't read upthread so I don't know if this (none / 0) (#170)
    by Angel on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 08:34:18 PM EST
    has been discussed, but I just saw an article on Yahoo saying that the Obama's private chef is moving from Chicago to DC.  

    Wish I could afford a private chef!  Even though I love to cook I would absolutely love having someone make healthy meals for my husband and myself on a daily or as-needed basis.  That is one luxury I would splurge on!