Thursday Open Thread

I've spent far too much time following the Bernie Madoff case and am going to be working on my own cases the rest of the day. Final item: Here's the statement Madoff made in court today (pdf).

Here's an open thread for you, all topics welcome.

< Where Will Madoff Serve His Sentence? | If Mark Sanford Really Doesn't Want The Fed Money . . . >
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    Since this is an open thread, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:27:38 PM EST
    as opposed to a Madoff thread, may I just say I am pleased the judge ordered Madoff into custody.

    GM won't need $2 billion loan this month (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:37:31 PM EST
    Good news, maybe?

    General Motors Corp. has informed President Barack Obama's auto task force that the struggling automaker will not need a $2-billion loan in March from the U.S. government, as it previously said it would, the company said early today.

    GM Chief Financial Officer Ray Young, in a statement, said the company won't need the money so soon because cost cuts at the company, as well as other measures, are resulting in savings.

    "This development reflects the acceleration of GM's company-wide cost reduction efforts as well as pro-active deferrals of spending previously anticipated in January and February," Young said.

    The Detroit automaker is operating with a $13.4-billion loan from the U.S. government and said Feb. 17 that it could need as much as $16.6 billion more to keep operating.

    Part of that Feb. 17 request said it needed $2 billion in March and $2.6 billion in April.

    With Young's new comments, it is unclear when GM would next need government loans or if its total need has changed.

    "GM will remain in regular contact with the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry on the status of GM's restructuring actions, its liquidity position, timing of future funding requests, and other relevant topics of mutual concern," Young said.

    Astounding... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:42:05 PM EST
    how many billions did they go into the red before realizing cutting costs might be something to look at?

    I imagine (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by MrConservative on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:58:00 PM EST
    That they had already tried cost cutting measures and the recent ones had been more effective that otherwise thought.  But I guess that's not anti-carmaker/union enough for some people.

    All I am is anti-fraud, (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:24:04 PM EST
    anti-extortion, and anti-tyranny...if GM can make it without soaking the taxpayer, god bless 'em.

    If not, that's life, and it's a b*tch.  Welcome to the real world, or at least the real world we created for ourselves.

    Businesses start and fail everyday, I don't see why the big connected ones should get special favors.


    They've been cutting costs (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by cal1942 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:52:59 PM EST
    for a long while.  We have the cumulative unemployed to prove it.

    I'm still feeling sick after reading (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:42:36 PM EST
    in Think Progress, about the new Blue Dog coalition in the Senate:

    Emphasis was in the original.

    Roll Call reports that a group of 15-20 moderate Senate Democrats -- boosted by their success in "paring down the more than $900 billion economic stimulus bill to $787 billion" -- plans to "formally announce next week that it is aligning as a loose coalition or working group focused on deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility":

    Led by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), members said early press reports of their meetings were mischaracterized as an opposition group to President Barack Obama's agenda and budget. But they acknowledge that they are seeking to restrain the influence of party liberals in the White House and on Capitol Hill. [...]

    [Nebraska Sen. Ben] Nelson said the moderate bloc is modeled after the Blue Dogs, but that the realities of the Senate prevent them from being as organized or unified as the House group, which regularly wins concessions from House Democratic leaders.

    But as one anonymous Democratic senator told Roll Call, "Once you decide to be part of a bloc that is completely dislocated from the main [Democratic] caucus interests, you've not only separated yourself, you've also burned a lot of bridges." Politico previously explained the possible implications of such a group, writing, "If the moderate Democrats in the Senate are willing to work with moderate Republicans...they will negate the White House's ability to portray opposition...as partisan obstructionism."

    Isn't this just wonderful?

    Donald, I'm all for open discussion (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:58:32 PM EST
    and having the ability to think and act independently; I wouldn't identify as a Democrat if I didn't.  That being said, what bothers me about this new, formalized coalition is that 20 Democrats with a mission to undermine the progressive agenda sounds like a guarantee that it will be the Republicans who will rule.  I'm sorry, but that's not something that particularly cheers me.

    As for the Politico analysis, there is some truth to the idea that if a significant number of Democrats - and 20 is significant in the Senate - join with Republicans to oppose either the administration or Democratic legislation, the WH is not going to be able to accuse the GOP of being obstructionist, because they won't be in it alone.  Instead, it's going to look like even members of the president's own party don't support him.  Unless, of course, the Blue Dogs are going to make it possible for the president to do some of those things that are anathema to most of us - like privatizing Social Security -something we could have just elected a Republican to do if we thought it was such a great idea.

    Do I want lock-step?  No, but a little coalescing around a generally progressive/liberal agenda would be nice.


    Bet Obama is getting more sypathetic (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by BernieO on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:26:04 PM EST
    to Bill Clinton now that he has walked a mile in his shoes, so to speak.

    Well, Anne (none / 0) (#55)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:49:34 PM EST
    It fits in with Obama.  And I say this as a person who actually is a moderate (won't call myself a Dem after the fiascoes and demagoguery of the last year), and I thought during the campaign that Obama was too right of center for me.

    Obama - "I am a New Democrat"

    President Barack Obama firmly resists ideological labels, but at the end of a private meeting with a group of moderate Democrats on Tuesday afternoon, he offered a statement of solidarity.

    "I am a New Democrat," he told the New Democrat Coalition, according to two sources at the White House session.

    The group is comprised of centrist Democratic members of the House, who support free trade and a muscular foreign policy but are more moderate than the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

    Obama made his comment in discussing his budget priorities and broader goals, also calling himself a "pro-growth Democrat" during the course of conversation.

    The self-descriptions are striking given Obama's usual caution in being identified with any wing of his often-fractious party. He largely avoided the Democratic Leadership Council -- the centrist group that Bill Clinton once led -- and, with an eye on his national political standing, has always shied away from the liberal label, too.

    Couldn't he just be a (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:01:52 PM EST
    Nude Democrat, instead of a New Democrat?  Maybe that whole emperor-has-no-clothes thing will come later.

    Sorry, but Obama actually aligning himself with this coalition makes me even more nauseated than I was.


    Eeewwwww! (none / 0) (#82)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:47:05 PM EST
    Although, I bet C-Span's ratings would go up if politicians had to appear nude.  (The rest of us would probably lose our lunches - Robert Byrd au naturel, anyone?)

    To be a (none / 0) (#66)
    by cal1942 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:11:02 PM EST
    pro-growth Democrat

    He'd better start acting like FDR or LBJ.

    As BTD said; it will be either Carter or FDR.  So far I think we're looking at Carter. Hope to god I'm wrong.


    This is what happens (none / 0) (#62)
    by cal1942 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:59:26 PM EST
    when they're given an opening.  They get bold and geeked up on their self-importance.

    They should have been served notice on day one that they'd pay a steep price for getting out of line. Comity never really works.


    Nutty (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:25:48 PM EST
    Yeah, I saw that at digby. There must be more to this story.

    Speculating, I think (none / 0) (#25)
    by scribe on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:30:25 PM EST
    the genesis of this story and proposal is the incorporation of privatization ideas into the mentality of (pols labeling themselves as) Democrats - the ultimate triumph of Republican propaganda and ideas.

    This is not the first benefit-privatizing idea which has wafted up since November.  Earlier, there was a series of meetings between Obama and some of the strongest proponents of privatizing (and cutting back on) social security, a Mr. Peterson leading among them.

    Privatizing everything to feed their hedge fund funders (a huge source of Obama's money in the campaign) seems to be an ongoing subtext of this Administration, though they dare not say it aloud.


    Sounds like the same Dem faction (none / 0) (#103)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:44:40 PM EST
    prominently represented by Larry "Money Jowls" Summers, that gave Stiglitz such a problem for questioning the infinite wisdom of privatize-or-else.

    Here's a novel idea... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:40:42 PM EST
    how about getting our soldiers out of the foreign entanglements that lead to them needing so much expensive healthcare?

    In the meantime (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by cal1942 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:05:31 PM EST
    we should carry the freight 100%.

    If I were working on his staff I'd become very unpopular and fired very quickly.  Of course anyone who thinks like me, or many of the rest of us, wouldn't have been hired in the first place.


    Absolutely.... (none / 0) (#68)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:17:25 PM EST
    Veterans benefits are one government expenditure I'll never b*tch about...we owe them all, and we owe them big time.

    One beef I do have with the VA is they treat my WWII vet great uncle like gold...he goes to the VA hospital to get his toenails clipped, no joke.  

    And then you hear about how Vietnam, Iraq I & II, and Afghanistan vets get treated like arse sometimes...I surmise there are major double standards embedded in the VA system...one for WWII "greatest generation" vets, and a lesser one for all other vets.


    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:41:24 PM EST
    My dad is a WWII vet and treated very well. Although, he doesn't often go to the VA for anything, he does get treated well when he needs to utilize their services. My dad came out of WWII at 18 years old minus his right arm. During the Vietnam war, they called on him to visit the VA hospital here when they had young men who were at the beginning of the same experience.

    At the very least, every soldier deserves the best we can provide them once they have served in a war. I'm appalled at what I've read recently.

    The USO, btw, is not a dance club. I've volunteered on several events for raising money because the USO is the agency that provides temporary housing for soldiers and their families when being relocated or deployed because they all fly standby and sometimes don't get a flight for days. I always contribute to both the VFW and the USO when I can.


    Happy Pi Day! (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:51:28 PM EST
    Today, being 3-14 is being celebrated as "Pi Day" (since pi, the Greek letter representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, rounded off is 3.14)  

    Even the House of Representatives honored it today.

    Except today is 3/12 (5.00 / 4) (#106)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 07:20:24 PM EST
    jd :) Saturday will be the 14th.

    Friday the 13th tomorrow :)


    Yup (5.00 / 2) (#107)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 07:26:45 AM EST
    Jumped the gun (my days are running together) Well, Happy Pi Day in advance to all of you!

    How do you feel about (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:32:21 PM EST
    the Iraqi shoe-thrower getting three years?

    Dude accosted a head of state. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:33:49 PM EST
    I think he got off lucky.

    In fairness to Dana (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:49:41 PM EST
    (I can't believe I just wrote that...)

    She is the one who got hit.  I feel like everyone forgets that.  Not that it makes much difference in sentancing since it was clear he intended to hit Bush.

    I just thought she deserved a little shout-out for the black eye.

    And to note that he only attempted to accost a head of state, he didn't actually succeed.


    I Can't Believe YOu Wrote it Either (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:56:58 PM EST
    Wonder what the charge is for accidentally hitting a lying representative of a liar with a shoe.

    A head of state who did what to (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:12:46 PM EST
    their former head of state? Not to mention what he ordered done to tens of thousands of his fellow countrymen. Think things like PTSD are unique to the troops, or maybe the citizens of a country that has been 6 years under occupation and fighting may also be likely to suffer the effects of stress?

    For that reason it seems to me (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:39:02 PM EST
    he is fortunate he wasn't shot and killed at the scene.  

    My thoughts precisely. (none / 0) (#13)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:43:42 PM EST
    I agree (none / 0) (#46)
    by Mikeb302000 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:25:21 PM EST
    He was fortunate he wasn't killed that day.  And in the end he'll be rich and famous over it, don't you think?

    If they had killed him (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by MrConservative on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:55:25 PM EST
    out of pure vengeance it clearly would have been wrong.  The only reasonable excuse would be if they thought that he was a threat, and since he surrendered immediately it wasn't necessary.  He shouldn't have gotten a long sentence simply because of who he threw shoes at.  And yes, 3 years is an extraordinary long sentence for throwing a shoe.  He should be pardoned immediately.  This is an injustice.

    Already Famous (none / 0) (#70)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:25:43 PM EST
    Rich, not so sure it is in his cards, he has too much integrity.

    Crazy Sentence (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:40:29 PM EST
    He should be freed for time served and sue for getting beaten.

    Condition of probation: barefoot (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:56:35 PM EST
    for three years.  Does Iraq have the equivalent of 42 U.S.C. section 1983?

    OK (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:00:52 PM EST
    That would seem fair if the symbolic assault of Leahy by Cheney resulted in an amputation. Of course the digit would be frozen and replaced after three years of probation without incident.

    Does he have to serve it in sole-itary confinement (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by steviez314 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:10:43 PM EST
    Ba- dump-bum! :) (none / 0) (#61)
    by NJDem on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:58:49 PM EST
    I thought I heard Madoff may get solitary though.  

    Has anyone ever thought of the irony of his last name in that he "made off" with other people's money?

    And I too would like to know more about the new VA idea--talk about tone-deaf... Did it come up in Gibbs presser today?


    At the least.... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:34:55 PM EST
    2 years 11 months too many...at the least.

    I think (none / 0) (#36)
    by MrConservative on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:01:39 PM EST
    He should be pardoned, given the congressional medal of honor, and awarded a lifetime pension.

    But that's just me.


    Been meaning to mention (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:34:03 PM EST
    this poor slob, who got locked up for the heinous crime of using an emergency exit.

    We love them cages don't we?  

    Well (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:43:13 PM EST
    Sen Vitter just did the same thing, but fled the scene.

    You're a subway rider.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:50:53 PM EST
    you have to understand the NY subway system to realize how truly f*cked up this is...back me up squeaky.

    You have to herd out through the same turnstiles you herd in through, which makes no sense for exiting, causing unnecessary bottlenecks.  You would have to suspend every common sense instinct you have not to use the emergency exit.  

    And don't get me started on the stupidity of having attendants in the booth that can't sell metrocards, you have to use the vending machine, and half the time they're busted or have no change or don't take bills.  Just a couple weeks ago I was literally given no choice but to hop the turnstile or walk...every metrocard machine in the station wasn't taking dollar bills.  Lucky for me a cop wasn't around or I'd have been in the same boat as this poor slob.

    The MTA is a great microcosm of bueracratic insanity on roids.


    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:36:56 PM EST
    I hate the subway bs, and curse regularly at the nonsense, which there is no shortage of. I also go against all logic and patiently wait to exit through the turnstile, horrified, as people wait on the other side to get on the platform.

    And to compare this nasty injustice to VItter is a low blow, more like Vitter gets a double standard treatment, as he did in the past.

    But I have seen arrogant a'holes with Prada and Gucci shopping bags bust through the emergency exits to avoid standing in the exit line with the plebes, leaving everyone to get assaulted by the ear shattering emergency siren.

    Not saying that those creeps should do jail time, but I wouldn't shed a tear if they were ticketed.


    Transportation Bureaucratic Insanity (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by daring grace on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:37:08 PM EST
    Okay, kdog, I'll match you one from upstate, land of no subways but eternal parking wars.

    A friend's car just got booted.

    This is an outrage! He howls. I have no tickets.

    Well, the city says he does--three from the last two years. Aside from the idea that that few tickets can earn you a booting, the process for seeking redress is just priceless.

    Here it is: His car was booted yesterday (Wednesday AM) and will be towed for another $100. and daily fees if he doesn't pay the $600. the city says he owes by Friday (tomorrow).

    There's an appeals process where you go argue your case before a city atty on Tuesdays only. Meanwhile, there is no way for him to keep his car from getting towed before he gets to appeal on Tuesday. So...he can pay the fines he disputes and wait until (maybe) getting them dismissed on Tuesday.

    But here's the fun part. The city says it doesn't give refunds.

    In order to get his money back if he wins his appeal, they suggested he'll have to sue them in small claims court.


    I suggested he pay the fines, get them dismissed and rack up another $600 in violations, and demand they credit him for the fines they already illegally obtained. But no, that would probably just put him down the rabbit hole again...

    Makes you want to ride a bike except I've seen some of our law enforcement stop people for driving without lights on their bikes...

    Well, there's always walking.


    Walking might be the worst of all.... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:53:25 PM EST
    a slow and easy target for extortion that way...ya just can't win.

    Yea (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:15:31 PM EST
    But it's way less stressfull.

    I love walking, I started getting off the train at an earlier stop just to let me clear my head before I get home.

    Although I am very thankfull for the monthly pass I get from work so I don't have to deal with fare issues.  Plus, it's tax free that way.

    We just recently switched from the token system here to cards.  The readers are often broken.  Plus it usually can't read the card on the first try, and when it messes up it beeps loudly at you as if you were the problem.

    Still beats driving though.


    "Plus, it's tax free that way." (none / 0) (#51)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:33:15 PM EST
    CST, I must admit I'm kinda shocked to hear you say that, considering your past explanation of your use of 1040 line 73a or b or whatever.

    Plus not reporting earned income sounds sorta kinda illegal, no?


    Completely legal (none / 0) (#53)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:38:01 PM EST
    To take a monthly T-pass pre-tax.

    To be honest, I have every intention of taking my tax return this year, becuase I need it.  I didn't feel that I needed it last year so I didn't take it.  For the record, I also don't make anything remotely close to $250,000.


    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#56)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:51:41 PM EST
    Let us know how the 73a thing works out.

    Dontcha just hate... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:37:11 PM EST
    machines sometimes...it's enough to make you wanna go off and start smashing 'em like Vonnegut's "Player Piano".

    Worse Than Rome (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:44:47 PM EST
    I have had screaming fits with those jerks behind the bulletproof glass. It is an insane system for sure. I have to laugh at the Italian version though.

    In Rome I entered the subway and found 6 men in uniforms standing around talking. Their job was to prevent people from jumping the turnstiles. The funny thing was that there was no one in the booth to sell tickets, and no machine either.

    Having a moron in the booth (NYC) that cannot sell tickets, just to enrage you is much worse, imo.


    What was wrong with tokens... (none / 0) (#31)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:56:33 PM EST
    and human beings selling tokens again?  It worked so well.

    Can your token store a transfer? (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:00:15 PM EST
    Of Course (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:03:20 PM EST
    That is the biggest advantage to metrocards over tokens imo, using busses for free transfers.

    All subway transfers... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:08:19 PM EST
    are within the station, no transfer required.  Buses used to give out paper transfer slips...worked well for me, helluva lot better than the metrocard mess.

    I think the MTA's beef with tokens was people using slugs...and there was money to be skimmed via the the contracts to set up the metrocard system.


    Yes, But (none / 0) (#42)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:12:27 PM EST
    With tokens you could never exit the subway and get on a crosstown bus as a free transfer. With the card you have two hours to use the transfer, which is quite handy, imo.

    Labor, and graft are the big savings gained from eliminating tokens. Privacy (electronic tracking)  and layoffs are the big minuses of the card system.

    All in all I prefer the cards, although I held out till the last token was no longer valid.


    yea (none / 0) (#44)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:19:57 PM EST
    the best thing about the card system here is the bus transfers.  Even if you had the monthly pass (the token machines had pass readers) you had to pay extra to use the bus.  No more.  Of course, the price went up too, so you have to pay extra whether you use the bus or not...

    Yeah, Tokens Were OK (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:00:32 PM EST
    Although, I always found it odd that they would never give you a receipt, no matter how many you bought.  Must have had something to do with the double set of books that the MTA keeps.

    I live in Rome (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mikeb302000 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:28:18 PM EST
    and got a kick out of your very accurate description of the metro.

    The Rome metro doesn't seem to go anywhere (none / 0) (#49)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:29:50 PM EST
    within the city. I found it quite useless when I visited.

    There Are Ticket Machines in ... (none / 0) (#76)
    by santarita on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:37:11 PM EST
    the Rome subway system - it's just that they always seem to be broken.  The subway can be a good means for tourists to get from the Vatican to the Piazza di Spagna.

    Did you ever see Fellini's film "Roma"?  In one scene they show a tunnel being dug for the subway.  Digging comes to a halt when they discover a Roman villa with marvelous mosaics that fade as soon as the outside air hits them.


    Sears Tower is changing it's name (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:39:18 PM EST
    You teased me... (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:43:09 PM EST
    I was expecting there was a local hero of some sort named Willis they were replacing the corporate name with...turns out Willis is just another corporation.  

    I want my two seconds back..j/k:)


    Sorry (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:03:15 PM EST
    I fell for it too.  Thought Arnold's older brother was finally getting the recognition he deserved after all these years.

    Him.... (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 01:08:48 PM EST
    or George Jefferson's neighbor, Tom "Honky" Willis.

    Re WBC and Cuban team: (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 12:58:44 PM EST
    NYT profile

    Cuba made it to the finals against Japan in the first WBC.  Team looked kind of tired, slow, and old, and I read the Cuban government didn't permit the best players to participate--fear they might defect.

    Why would they want to defect? (none / 0) (#41)
    by bocajeff on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:10:51 PM EST
    Didn't they see "Sicko"?

    They ain't defecting for our healthcare... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:30:53 PM EST
    they're defecting for the loot...but whatever the reason, they should have the right to travel freely and live where they want...whoever ya are and wherever your from.

    2009 and we're all still subjects to some degree...so sad.


    For Blasphemy--20 years (none / 0) (#48)
    by KeysDan on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:28:49 PM EST
    in prison for an Afghan journalism student.  Upheld by the Supreme Court of Afghanistan; the original death sentence for the offense (accusations that he had written and distributed an article about the role of women in Islam--denied by the student) was commuted in 2008 by the appeals court in Kabul.  NYT, March 12, 2009.

    11 Pakistanis killed in suspected drone attack (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 02:52:13 PM EST

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A suspected U.S. missile attack killed 11 people Thursday in northwest Pakistan, an official said.

    Six others were wounded, according to Arshad Majeed, an official in the Kurram region, where the attack occurred.

    The missiles are believed to have been shot by a drone and Majeed said the attack targeted suspected militants. No other details were immediately available.

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he didn't know anything about the attack and wouldn't comment if he did.

    The U.S. military in Afghanistan routinely offers no comment on reported cross-border strikes, which are normally launched from unmanned drones.

    But the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the capability to launch missiles from drones, which are controlled remotely

    Unmanned drones... (none / 0) (#65)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:10:37 PM EST
    give me the uber-creeps..another of our blasted machines we will live to regret inventing.

    2012 lookin' like a surer thing everyday...get your fun in everybody.


    kdog, an Oregon tidbit for you (none / 0) (#67)
    by caseyOR on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:16:46 PM EST
    Oregon is a medical marijuana state. It is also, like all others, a state with big $$$$ problems. A bill has been introduced in the Oregon legislature that would make the state the sole grower and purveyor of medical marijuana. It would fund this program, and make a little for the general fund, with a $98/ounce tax on the pot.

    The bill has four sponsors, two from each party. Since the bill has bipartisan sponsors, it will at the minimum get a hearing. Current thinking is that it will not become law.

    A question for anyone with an answer-- If the pot is being grown and sold by the state, who does the DEA raid and arrest?

    Wild... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:26:00 PM EST
    though I wouldn't trust any government to grow anything decent...the sick might like the strains they are getting now better, then what?  

    As for your question, I don't know for sure but I would imagine the feds would be within their power to arrest a grower/distributor working for the state.


    i haven't wandered into the pot (none / 0) (#73)
    by caseyOR on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:29:55 PM EST
    marketplace in many years. Is the $98/ounce tax an outrageous sum? In other words, does it raise the cost of an ounce to a sum all out of proportion to the current market rate?

    Depends (none / 0) (#74)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:34:58 PM EST
    If that is the tax what is the cost?  Or is that just the total cost?

    Second, what is the quality?

    If it's just $98/ounce that's pretty cheap, although I don't know West Coast prices where it may be cheaper.


    That $98 (none / 0) (#79)
    by caseyOR on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:42:16 PM EST
    is the tax.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#75)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:36:35 PM EST
    Organic wheat is $1.75/lb. Organic wheat grass $11.89/lb

    So I figure if we get off the black market prices, an ounce of Humboldt Organic should cost around $5/oz + $98. tax which equals $103/oz.

    Big savings from black market prices.


    Yeah...Depends... (none / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:43:42 PM EST
    what they're charging for the lid itself...if they're only charging cost of productuion plus 50% for overhead plus $98 tax it would likely be significantly cheaper than the black market...assuming the state will grow high quality strains similar and not dirt.

    If we're talking dirt, the 98 dollar tax will push the price far above black market prices.


    err... (none / 0) (#81)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:45:03 PM EST
    remove "similar"...bad editing.

    Originally Posted by letstokeup  

    heres what i know is around
    500 an Oz

    250 an Oz

    200 an Oz

    currently am sticking with the headies.

    Well if 250 will get you a zip of headies then the 500 O most be the most sugar-coated, one hit quit, blue with red hairs dank anyone has ever seen.

    Pismo Beach, 805

    I always enjoyed... (none / 0) (#85)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:01:30 PM EST
    reading the High Times Market Index section listing strains and prices all over the country.

    And I've long been amazed at the stability of the reefer market as opposed to above ground markets...prices have remained remarkably stable for years.


    The slang is just too funny. (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:15:20 PM EST
    Well if 250 will get you a zip of headies then the 500 O most be the most sugar-coated, one hit quit, blue with red hairs dank anyone has ever seen.

    Here's some local flair.... (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:42:34 PM EST
    from back east...what I've been calling dirt is also called regs, which became Reggie, which became Reginald Denny, which became Denny.  

    My friends know not to bring no Denny to my house:)

    Slang of all kinds never fails to give me kicks either...it's beautiful.


    Love it. (none / 0) (#93)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:55:38 PM EST
    I'm gonig to start using it here on TL in response to lame comments: Hey, don't be bringing no Denny into MY house.

    All yours my man.... (none / 0) (#99)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:16:22 PM EST
    No offense to Reginald Denny of course, that was seriously messed up during the riots.

    Just some dank humor.


    Perfect Case (none / 0) (#72)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:29:50 PM EST
    If the pot is being grown and sold by the state, who does the DEA raid and arrest?

    For the 2nd amendment, imo. This would be a case where a militia is required to fight the tyranny of the Federal Gov.


    The Latest in the Annals of CNBC Insanity (none / 0) (#69)
    by Pol C on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:20:01 PM EST
    Erin Burnett apparently thinks we should start thinking about doing away with the unemployment-insurance system in this country altogether.

    Click here.

    government is the problem (none / 0) (#78)
    by diogenes on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:42:09 PM EST
    WASHINGTON -- Top banking regulators were taken aback late last year when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said.
    Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation's largest black-owned banks. Ms. Water's husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank's board of directors until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the institution. Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators had been intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie

    From today's online Times.  Guess Republicans aren't the only crooks.

    "Government is the problem" (none / 0) (#92)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:53:45 PM EST
    "Social engineering".. What is this, simpleminded GOP bumpersticker day?

    How about runaway greed (sorry Ronnie, it's not always good), and mercenary self interest -- in government and out -- is the problem?

    Btw, You havnt discussed liberal class warfare yet; what are you waiting for?


    LOL (none / 0) (#95)
    by CST on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:58:01 PM EST
    One of my favorite Colbert episodes recently was making fun of the new GOP line of "attack" comparing Obama to Robin Hood.

    Cuz everyone tells their kids stories about the wonderfull Sheriff of Nottingham.

    They are really clueless sometimes, and completely out of touch with the national mood right now.


    Sheriff of Nottingham, indeed (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:02:11 PM EST
    leave it to the liberals to make ad hominem attacks on medieval law enforcement.

    Obama is the Sherrif of Nautingham.... (none / 0) (#108)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 08:06:07 AM EST
    Anybody calling him Robin Hood lives in the bizarro world.

    Oh (none / 0) (#109)
    by CST on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:11:57 AM EST
    I don't think he is either one.  I also don't think he's a socialist, right-wing, a mysoginist, or a secret muslim communist terrorist who was born In indonesia.

    It is really sad/funny that Republicans think calling him Robin Hood is an insult.  Shows pretty blatantly where their priorities are.  And yes, they live in bizarro world.


    He's protecting wealth.... (none / 0) (#110)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:17:04 AM EST
    that was Nauthingham's racket as well...a better analogy than socialist or secret muslim Manchurian candidate to be sure...I'm standing by it:)

    This is getting (none / 0) (#84)
    by NJDem on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 03:57:48 PM EST
    ridiculous--another one bites the dust:

    Third Top Treasury Pick Withdraws From Consideration

    Seems like people are now just avoiding working in that department with a 10-foot pole...

    Sweet mother in heaven! (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:04:46 PM EST
    Maybe I should go down the street and apply for a job at Treasury.  What is going on here?

    I'm sure you would have a good shot (none / 0) (#88)
    by NJDem on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:16:43 PM EST
    getting in--are you up on your taxes? :)

    But seriously, what is going on here!  Hello--'greatest economic disaster since the Depression' we could use some able bodies helping to figure this thing out.  Is Geither answering the phones too?  Oh wait, there was also this

    I'm trying to be optimistic, I really am...


    Madoff connection? (none / 0) (#89)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:25:14 PM EST
    Cohen has been a counsel to just about every major player on Wall Street, which perhaps complicated his nomination.

    I blame the nominating process (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:31:24 PM EST
    for not doing a proper job of selecting people who: 1. want the job, and 2. don't have any disqualifying baggage.

    That huge application invading every crevice in a person's life doesn't seem to be efficient enough. Or, was that just for the public to see for purposes of implying everyone will be oh so clean in this administration. You've seen the questions, nothing more to tell. Reminds me of a certain trip to the Chicago Tribune to tell all there is to tell.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#94)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 04:57:25 PM EST
    But wouldn't Cohen have known that before he accepted the nomination?

    Yep, good point. (none / 0) (#97)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:02:44 PM EST
    But you'd think he'd known about all the skeletons in his closet before he accepted.

    Ah well, the search for the virgin mary continues while the economy worsens every day...


    He would have if he had filled out (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:08:21 PM EST
    that job application the administration said everyone needed to fill out if they wanted to work there.

    But I bet (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:31:36 PM EST
    He's never posted anything negative or that "could potentially embarrass the President" on a blog!

    Third Circuit limits punitive damages (none / 0) (#102)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 05:36:45 PM EST
    Says punitive damages cannot exceed compensatory damages.

    February 28 2009

    In the last several years, the U.S. Supreme Court has greatly reduced the ability of courts to award punitive damages in amounts that dwarf the amount of compensatory damages. In Exxon Shipping Co. v Baker (2008), a maritime case arising out of the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill, the Court held that the ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages could not exceed one-to-one. Exxon Shipping indicated that the Court would find a ratio of greater than a one-to-one to be grossly excessive and in violation of the Due Process Clause. Recently, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has interpreted the Supreme Court's decision in Exxon Shipping to mean exactly that.    

    Jurinko v The Medical Protective Co. (December 24, 2008) arose from a jury award on a bad faith claim against a medical malpractice insurer. The jury awarded compensatory damages of $1,68,345 and punitive damages of $6,250,000, and the trial court had found that the four-to-one ratio between punitive and compensatory damages was not excessive. The Third Circuit disagreed, finding the punitive damages award to be grossly excessive under the three-factor test laid out by the Supreme Court: "(1) the degree of reprehensibility of the defendant's misconduct; (2) the disparity between the actual or potential harm suffered by the plaintiff and the punitive damages award; and (3) the difference between the punitive damages awarded by the [factfinder] and the civil penalties authorized or imposed in comparable cases." Notwithstanding the fact that defendant's conduct was "outrageous," the court announced that in cases where compensatory damages were substantial, a one-to-one ratio is the most that due process will allow.

    A Fed Op That I Can Support (none / 0) (#105)
    by squeaky on Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 06:36:17 PM EST
    Bring em on.
    The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil-rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office after months of mounting complaints that deputies are discriminating in their enforcement of federal immigration laws.

    Officials from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division notified Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday that they had begun the investigation, which will focus on whether deputies are engaging in "patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures."

    Dave Neiwert