Monday Morning Open Thread

First Monday of the Summer. Sportswise, it is more interesting than one would have thought, with the final round of the US Open at Bethpage Black to be played today. Wimbledon starts today, but it has been deflated somewhat by Rafa Nadal's withdrawal. Next month you have the Tour de France, the British Open and of course, baseball and the Boys of Summer.

Politically and policywise, the two big stories this summer will be health care reform and the Sotomayor confirmation process.

What will you be paying attention to this summer? Besides your tans of course.

This is an Open Thread.

< Pressure: The Senators Who Killed Health Care? Or the President? | Supreme Court Decides NAMUDNO: Voting Rights Act Narrowed, But Survives >
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    Glued to Iran... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:23:55 AM EST
    for the time being...seeing that poor girl get murdered for the crime of yearning to be free makes the blood boil...I'm hoping beyond hope that the Iranians are able to make a better life and better country for themselves, and that all the victims of the governments brutality and murder have not suffered or died in vain.  And of course that the bloodshed will be minimal...but it looks like the government isn't giving the huddled masses much choice but to pick up arms and fight fire with fire.  Rock and a hard place.

    The irony is (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:37:15 AM EST
    that the "huddled masses" in Iran are not "yearning to be free," they just want a fair election under their system.  By every report, they don't want to overthrow the mullahs or the system, they just want them to loosen up a little.  What's totally nuts is that the Iranian ruling clique is going to the wall to keep this Mousavi character -- no Thomas Jefferson he -- out of the very weak presidency.

    Strange, indeed (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:04:04 AM EST
    I thought Khatami proved that the Iranian Presidency isn't worth much.

    As well, I admit that I don't really understand the situation.


    *AH (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:04:16 AM EST
    "AH"? (none / 0) (#14)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:26:05 AM EST

    It's a correction (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:31:20 AM EST
    amending my comment above.

    Perhaps but... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:20:17 AM EST
    I have a hard time believing the people of Iran would look down the barrel of a gun over one election or one hand-picked presidential candidate over another....that was just the catalyst, or the proverbial last straw.  

    They're not (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:31:07 AM EST
    "looking down the barrel of a gun."  There are some shooters out there from this Basij militia group, but the number of deaths is very, very tiny out of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who've been out in the streets.

    And once the actual authorities started using tough crowd dispersal techniques -- tear gas, rubber bullets, a few beatings -- the crowds largely have stayed home.

    Do you actually read up on this stuff before you form your ideas about what's going on?


    Catch what I can here and there... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:27:53 AM EST
    with the Iranian crackdown on media and communications, info is scarce.  

    Are you trying to say that the protestors aren't risking their very lives everytime they hit the street?  If yes I think you are way off G.  The militia is pulling people out of bed, never to be heard of since.  Storming the dorms at Tehran U...you make it sound like they are no more aggressive than our storm-troopers called to control a protest.

    The numbers might be down, but some are still risking their necks as of today. Others may be thinking it just ain't worth dying over, bad guys win.  


    Info on Iran (none / 0) (#101)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:25:24 PM EST
    I've found that Rachel Maddow last week had some very informative & knowledgeable guests on her show covering the topic.

    Also, Fareed Zakaria had excellent coverage yesterday on his CNN show -- is it called "GPS.." or something?  Perhaps you can get it on replay.


    I cried watching it (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:17:20 AM EST
    Women struggling for their rights in the Middle East may prove me wrong about not being able to reach martyrdom.

    Women have been at the forefront (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by otherlisa on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 02:26:08 PM EST
    of the Iranian protests, according to this roundup.

    Whether there's going to be a summer (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:32:43 AM EST
    It's been cool and overcast, often actually rainy, in much of the Northeast since early May.

    I just heard that there's still 3 to 4 feet of snow cover in eastern arctic Canada and Manitoba, and there's been a total failure of the breeding season for shorebirds, Snow and Canada geese (the actual migratory ones, which are in massive decline as it is), and many other arctic nesting birds.  The adult birds are starting to head back south again already.  No juvenile birds at all.

    It's a reminder that global warming doesn't mean everything gets gradually warmer every year, it means historic weather patterns get disrupted and erratic.

    Closer to home, the veg gardens here are slow-growing, and seeds rotting in the cool wet soil rather than germinating.  Only 6 out of 60 bush beans seeds have produced seedlings in my garden.  Even beets are reluctant to come up.

    I haven't heard much about it yet, but I can't imagine this isn't going to affect the remaining farms in the NE, already on the precipice, not just produce but dairy farms, as well, many of which grow their own feed corn, or rely on less expensive local growers.

    I think it might depend on when they got (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 12:47:49 PM EST
    the fields planted. What we are getting so far is abundant and in great shape. I'll have to ask the farmers on Sat as I've been a bit curious myself. I certainly don't envy the amount of time they've prob been working in the rain! Hopefully, the week of sun and warmth coming up will give a good boost to the fields farther north.

    So far, we've had mustard greens, kale, chard, japanese turnips, spring garlic, scapes, arugula, baby greens, red lettuce, curly green lettuce, snap peas, broccoli, napa cabbage, bok choy, radishes and spinach.  Here's the report from the Union Sq Greenmarket and what the farms are bringing in.


    If they have big greenhouses (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 03:21:15 PM EST
    as many small produce farms and nurseries must, they won't suffer as badly.  The seeds need warmth, the plants need sun.  Early season cool weather stuff-- lettuces and other greens, peas, radishes, rhubarb, etc.-- copes better than the later, warm-season stuff.

    I got my sweetcorn planted in a warm spell, so it all came up.  But it rots quickly in wet cold soil.

    It's not a disaster yet, but prediction for the rest of the week here is still overcast and intermittently rainy, though at least reasonably warm.

    It was an unusually long winter here, and now we're getting cheated out of summer, dammit.


    I'm curious how the potaoes and leeks we (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 04:36:01 PM EST
    planted are doing (10,000 and 14,000). Now I'll have to ask about the corn also (crosses fingers).

    Hopefully some of the sun we're getting will make it to you soon. We're supposed to be mostly sunny with the random shower. Total opposite from the extremely rare random sun we've been getting. I feel like we got cheated out of spring. I know we haven't been cheated out of summer! No way we aren't going to get those nasty hot humid days, lol!~ Oh well, at least my electric bill will be a lower than normal June one.


    Potatoes here (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 06:02:31 PM EST
    are fine.  They're another crop that does very well in these conditions (think Ireland...)  The leeks I planted were from starts, so they're doing OK.

    I wasn't sure if they would rot (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:04:21 PM EST
    under almost 9" of rain, forgot about Ireland :) We planted starts also on the leeks. That was relaxing compared to the potatoes! The potatoes were red and blue fleshed, so I'm pretty excited about them. We had the blues last year and the reds will be new for us.

    News tonight focused on the fact we are going to have a heavy skeeter season. I think I'm going to mix up something for the dog. We don't usually have issues, but we don't have this much rain either.


    Spuds won't rot, but (none / 0) (#104)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:41:07 PM EST
    if I'm counting backwards right for your location, they may get something ugly but harmless called "hollow heart" or something like that as a result of getting too much water and growing too fast as the tubers are starting to really bulk up.  The plants have flowers already, right?

    When we got 16-plus inches of rain last July (I hadn't planted last year till early June), almost all my potatoes had this, which is a hollow brown-edged place in the middle.  It's harmless, and I discovered does not, thank God, affect the storage  qualiity of the potatoes.  It's easy to cut out, but not very nice to find in the middle of a baked potato!

    I have almost no mosquito problem -- or black flies or midges or gnats -- around my property because I'm on the side of a ridge along a valley in between Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains and have a nearly constant strong breeze.  Which is a very lucky thing because the heavy clay soil on the valley bottom just below my house holds puddles almost all summer.


    June hasn't been this nice since ... 1913 (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:07:17 AM EST
    Thursday, however, was the 14th consecutive day to stay below 100 degrees. That's the longest stretch of its kind in any June since 1913.


    its weird all over.  its been unusually wet and hot here.


    Minnesota (none / 0) (#35)
    by eric on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:21:32 AM EST
    has also been unusually cool this spring.  Today and tomorrow, 90's however.  Hopefully my tomatoes will catch up.

    Send them down to the panhandle (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:54:57 AM EST
    We'll string them up and let the sun set them on fire.

    sadly I will be preparing for a murder trial (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by garts on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:11:22 AM EST
    Ugghhh. Trial sarts in late July so the countdown has just begun.  I will also be looking forward to  the SCOTUS confirmation hearings.  Good day to everyone.

    There goes this summer (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:47:51 AM EST
    Sympathy to you.

    I figure (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:54:24 AM EST
    Out of healthcare, we'll get a tax on benefits and not much else (and with tinfoil on head, I think taxing benefits is the purpose of even attempting the healthcare issue -- gotta pay the military industrial complex and the banking industry somehow.).

    Out of Sotomayer, we'll get a further right-leaning court.

    There is nothing I can do about the state of my government. So I've moved on....at least for summer.

    I've abandoned the idea of getting one of my more difficult classes out of the way this summer toward my second bachelor's in molecular biology (cuz it's summer, fergawl'ssake) and am seriously considering taking Molecular Gastronomy online (at University of Washington).  The final exam is to pretend you're sort of in a Top Chef competition....(nutritional science classes aren't known for their intensely difficult content.)

    Linky, if anyone else is interested.  Make sure and view course introduction link.

    Molecular biology? (none / 0) (#40)
    by vml68 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:29:06 AM EST
    What was the first Bachelor's?

    I took a couple of courses in college (biology major). After spending what felt like half my life in the lab, I decided against it as a career.
    Second Bachelor's-Finance!


    My first bachelor's (none / 0) (#49)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:58:41 AM EST
    Political science, Public Administration option.

    Yes, labs are a severe pain.  I'm not sure I'll do anything with the degree, but I do know how to inform myself on a MUCH better than average basis about my own healthcare, which is valuable in and of itself.  And I can argue intelligently with the Bell Curve idiots....

    Finance would not be the place for me.  I'm glad you did it though!


    Sounds like fun (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:11:55 AM EST
    I wonder if I could learn a couple of somethings that would compensate for my genetic lack of cooking ability?

    I'm lucky enough (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:52:03 AM EST
    to be able to take a nice vacation in July - a week in London and 3 days in Paris with friends, then back to England and Scotland for a few more days on my own to visit another friend. I've never been to Europe or the UK and am very excited. I haven't had such a long vacation in I can't remember how long - probably never.

    My dad has the address in Burnley, England where his grandmother (or maybe great-g) lived before emigrating in the 1800s, so I hope to find it for him. He's been doing genealogy for a few years now but can't make it over there himself.

    Politically I'll be waiting for Sen. Francken, following the Sotomayor hearings and of course whatever else is going on in Congress.

    Other news, Iran is mostly what I'm interested in right now.

    Sports - Cubbies are in a tight race. Could this be the year? (Right, probably not, but I can dream) I will be in London the weekend of the Wimbledon finals. That was not the vacation schedule driver, but it will make it even more interesting!

    Oh, neat! (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 03:37:51 PM EST
    How are you getting to Burnley?  More important, who's driving?  Strong advice if you need a car-- don't try to rent in London and drive out.  You'll be like "Charlie on the MTA" and circle the city forever and never get out.  Take a train or a bus to Burnley or some other smaller place and pick up the car there.

    Driving in the country is easy, but those giant roundabouts with 14 exits labeled in small print with no -- that's as in NO -- compass directions are a nightmare.


    thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:41:29 PM EST
    I was going to ask someone about rental strategy, if I decide to rent a car, and you answered my question perfectly!  The thought of those roundabouts scares me, especially driving on the 'wrong' side of the road to begin with.

    I'm hoping to get a train or a bus up there, train preferably. That is my research topic in the next couple of days. Maybe I'll rent a car once I get there because it looks like there is some very pretty countryside around there I would love to see, and maybe make it over to the west coast to take a peek.

    I like to have some part of every trip spent in semi-aimless wandering!


    I mentioned to gyrfalcon (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by sj on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 11:30:02 AM EST
    but this thread is dead or dying and I wanted to suggest the use of GPS for your navigation needs in the UK.  

    It will completely change your experience.  If you rent a car, it may be an option, but there are also some units that are good for both pedestrian and motorized navigation.  Just a thought.  I'm not sure I would have stayed in Baltimore if I hadn't had one.  And that's in THIS country.


    I'm totally with you on that (none / 0) (#105)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 12:04:28 AM EST
    And I'm positively allergic to cities anyway.  The English countryside is just wonderful and it's well worth getting off the beaten track and poking around in.  (If you spot a sign for a "cream tea," stop immediately and indulge.  That means something sweet and fabulous called, unappealingly, "clotted cream" on your scones.  It's halfway between whipped cream and ice cream.  Divine!)

    I was last in the U.K. the spring after 9/11 for two weeks.  I meandered around England and Scotland and did a one-day venture into Wales.  I stayed always in small inns and B&Bs, drove almost exclusively back roads, and had one of the best vacations of my life.  I love traveling alone, at least in the U.S. and the U.K., because I see so much more and end up talking to local folks much more than when I have a traveling companion.

    Do look up the rules of the road, particularly about roundabouts, which are used everywhere, even in simple 4-way intersections.  Once you understand the rules for using them, you'll absolutely love them-- at least the smaller ones.  But they only work if you follow the rules about right of way, etc.

    Driving on the right is pretty easy to get used to.  Harder by far is the fact that there is no such thing as "defensive driving."  Everybody seems to know their vehicles's dimensions and capabilities exactly and obeys the rules exactly, so they hurtle along at the speed limit without the slightest hesitation.  I'm told the accident rate is very low, but what accidents they have are much more likely to be very serious ones, which I totally believe.  Oh, and trucks, even big ones, are driven soberly and responsibly, unlike here, so no need to fear them even on the big motorways.

    Lastly, I'm not kidding when I say they don't use compass points in road signs, even for motorway exits.  If there's a passenger who can navigate from the map, you'll be OK.  Otherwise you'll need to memorize large and small towns along your route ahead of time so you know when to turn left and when right, especially if it's overcast or high noon and you can't tell from the sun which way you're headed.  It's thoroughly impossible on motorways with big cloverleafs to figure out whether you want exit 5a or 5b, which is why it's best to stay off the damX things.


    clotted cream... (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by sj on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 11:23:29 AM EST
    True clotted cream has no other ingredients so comparison to ice cream is just to make sense of it in our heads.  Because it's so good and sweet tasting.  My Dad used to make it.  We would have it instead of butter on pancakes.  And the desserts my Mom made!  (sigh)

    But, I'm thinking GPS, baby, for the navigation problem.  Saved my bacon here in Baltimore on more than one occasion.


    Good point on the GPS (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 01:27:40 PM EST
    for the UK.

    Every time I pissed and moaned about the absence of compass directions on road signs to Brits, their eyes got huge and they started to hyperventilate at the very thought.  They've never used them in the UK, apparently never even considered the possibility.  Folks there have to study maps intensively and make lists of towns along the way in order to get to unfamiliar places.

    As far as I could tell, there was no pattern to which towns the route signs listed, either.  Sometimes it would be large ones you were likely to know the general location of, sometimes quite small ones.  They'd use different ones for the same exit on opposite lanes of the highways.  Absolute madness.

    As for clotted cream-- yes, you're very right, but the term "clotted" implies to those unfamiliar with it something sort of sour and lumpy and yucky, the exact opposite of what it actually is.  I'm baffled it's never really caught on in the U.S.  I have access here to raw Jersey cream from a nearby farm, so I may try to make some myself sometime.  Any tips gratefully accepted!


    Making clotted cream (none / 0) (#111)
    by sj on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 04:01:45 PM EST
    This is very close to what I remember my Dad doing.  This part is going to be tough to duplicate:

    Now heat the milk very slowly, until the surface begins to wrinkle: on no account allow the milk to boil- the more slowly the heating is done, the better the result

    Our house didn't have central heating.  There was a free standing gas heater to heat most of the house and Dad would set the pan of milk on top of the heater which would raise the temperature very gently and gradually.

    He preferred to use a shallower, wider pan rather than a bucket.  He had a white ceramic pan that held about as much as maybe a steam table pan.  But the pan was a little deeper (and round instead of square) and maybe a little more robust.  But I think a steam table pan would work.  He preferred that to a deep pan because it was easier to skim the cream from the surface.

    The key is having access to raw Jersey milk with ALL the milkfat.  (Dad raised his own.  By ones and twos, no real herd).

    But really the reason it hasn't caught on is that it requires unpasteurized and unhomogenized milk and NO WAY are you getting that in a grocery store.  Never happen.  And a commercial dairy isn't going to risk selling it either.  A small private farmer, however, can do the trick.

    Once you get the knack, you may have me begging you to sell me some.


    Thanks! (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 06:29:15 PM EST
    I live in the country and have no central heat, either, heat my home with a soapstone woodstove-- ie, the top isn't quite hot enough to simmer the water in my cast iron steamer.  So sounds like this is something to try this winter.

    I remember a B&B owner in Dorset telling me she made hers just by putting it in her gas oven and the heat from the pilot flame was enough to do the trick.  I have an electric stove, so can't do that, and I like the idea of being able to keep an eye on it, so top of the woodstove really sounds about right.

    Thanks very much!  I'll surely let everybody here know if I manage to get it right.


    You're welcome (none / 0) (#113)
    by sj on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 08:51:33 PM EST
    One other thing, I think he might have covered it with a cheesecloth like thing while it cooled to keep out dust and other debris.

    Good luck!


    Alegre asked a good question (5.00 / 6) (#52)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:02:39 AM EST
    We can bail out the banks
    We can go to pre-emptive war.
    And nobody wrings their hands asking how we pay for it.

    But talk about healthcare for citizens?...and the balanced budget hand-wringers come out of the woodwork!

    And my comment:
    If the proposed taxing of healthcare were paralleled in the other arenas: The military industrial complex would be taxed for their wars, and the banks would be taxed for their bailouts.  Do you think we would then have as many wars or as many bailouts?

    Good question ineed (none / 0) (#69)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:57:22 AM EST
    Will any of our media personalities ask those questions the next time a pol does his hand-wringing on their show?

    I'd love it - a defense tax. And I work a lot in the defense industry. You've never seen hand-wringing like an aerospace engineer talking about how over-taxed he is. I love to tell them that they are  paying their own salaries, so stop whining.


    Good for Chris Dodd (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:18:00 AM EST
    Who is signing on for marriage equality. Funny how this is becoming a requirement for endangered blue state Democrats (e.g. Jon Corzine, David Paterson).

    Mr. President, you're next.

    Obama has one of the best ... (5.00 / 4) (#66)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:53:18 AM EST
    arguments to make to the public on this.  He was born of an interracial marriage at a time when laws against interracial marriage were still on the books in many states.

    He can show how the same arguments were made against interracial marriage that are now made against gay marriage.

    He could do this ... easily ...

    However, I've never been convinced that Obama even privately supports gay marriage.


    I'm strongly leaning towards making it (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:56:29 AM EST
    a necessary condition of my support in 2012. It's time.

    The time I was most ... (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 12:46:01 PM EST
    vehemently attacked at the orangey place was when I questioned Obama's stance on gay rights.

    The responses showed that his supporters needed some serious education on the subject.  They were full of statements like:

    "He was interviewed by The Advocate.  What more do you want?"

    You could write an 10,000 word essay on how anti-civil rights a statement like that is.

    I'll admit my initial comment was a bit strident.  But I thought rather funny as well.  Remember when Obama release a letter to the GLBT community?  Well, it was in response to a diary on that.  My comment, in the voice of Obama, was:

    "I wrote you a letter because, you know, we can't, like, be seen together."

    I didn't mind the hundreds of down-ratings I got.  But it was clearer then than ever that the blogosphere didn't care about civil rights.

    So I'm with you.  It's time for Obama to align himself with the only correct position this issue. And to do this in a clear unequivocal, public way.

    It's obviously important for the country.  But it's also important for his strong supporters to hear it.


    Gen. Shalikashvili - end DADT (none / 0) (#82)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 02:22:22 PM EST

    But it is not just foreign militaries that show service by openly gay individuals works. The U.S. military itself has had successful experiences. Enforcement of the ban was suspended without problems during the Persian Gulf War, and there were no reports of angry departures. A majority of U.S. service members say they know or believe that someone in their unit is gay, according to a 2006 Zogby International poll, and most of those who know of openly gay peers report no detriment to morale or cohesion. A recent study co-authored by Laura Miller of Rand Corp. found no correlation between a unit's readiness and whether known gays serve in it. And last year, four retired flag and general officers studied all available evidence and found that allowing gays to serve posed no risk to force readiness.

    While the proper timing of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" remains uncertain, it is evident to me that a policy change is inevitable. More than three-quarters of the public favors the change. Polls show that even a majority of Republicans support allowing openly gay people to serve. Within the military, the climate has changed dramatically since 1993. Conversations I've held with service members make clear that, while the military remains a traditional culture, that tradition no longer requires banning open service by gays. There will undoubtedly be some teething pains, but I have no doubt our leadership can handle it.

    Whoa! (none / 0) (#68)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:57:02 AM EST
    Let's not get crazy here!  You gotta get Harry Reid on board first!

    heh (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:58:40 AM EST
    Reid is the kind of guy who has his finger in the wind more than most. But I don't misunderstand your sarcasm. ..

    My sense is (none / 0) (#102)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:28:39 PM EST
    that nothing will help Gov. Paterson. And you?

    ritholz.com - unemployment (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:37:05 AM EST
    to those of you who correctly called the drop in u6 a couple of weeks ago, barry has your validation...

    Last week, we saw Continuing Claims decrease -- proof, said the green shooters, of the imminent economic recovery.

    Only, not so much:

    "Those of you (who can still afford the luxury of) a trusty Bloomberg will note the `exhaustion rate' for jobless benefits - EXHTRATE - reveals that people are not leaving the pool of continuing unemployment claims because they are getting new jobs; Rather, they are leaving because they have exhausted their benefits.

    They are now unemployed AND broke. That is hardly a green shoot . . ."

    Dodd backs gay marriage (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:48:40 AM EST
    Of course, this is a flip-flop, but maybe (being less cynical), it's a realization that this train is a comin' and he better be on board if he doesn't want to get run over.

    I (5.00 / 0) (#65)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:50:59 AM EST
    beat you. :-p

    In all seriousness, there is a trend of endangered blue state Democrats going in this direction.

    For whatever reason, it's a good sign. But it needs to go to the top.


    OT (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 04:11:11 PM EST
    Mark Sanford is missing?

    The whereabouts of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) "have been unknown to state officials since Thursday, and some state leaders are questioning who is in charge of the executive office," reports the Columbia State.

    "Neither the governor's office nor the State Law Enforcement Division has been able to reach Sanford, who left the mansion in a black SLED Suburban SUV."

    "Sanford's last known whereabouts were near Atlanta, where a mobile telephone tower picked up a signal from his phone, authorities said."

    According to WCBD-TV, the First Lady said he "has been gone for several days and she doesn't know where, but she is not concerned."

    oh I guess not ot in an open (none / 0) (#90)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 04:17:16 PM EST
    I'm waiting for two political developments (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:02:15 AM EST
    1. When is the MN Supreme Court going to decide Al Franken's fate.

    2. Will the US. Supreme Court blow up section V of the VRA? If so, soon? Sadly, I think yes, and yes.

    The latest (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by eric on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:24:51 AM EST
    gossip about the MN Supreme Court is that they will issue their decision this week.


    Unanimous. Must be FOR Franken (none / 0) (#71)
    by lilybart on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 12:04:35 PM EST
    how could there be a unanimous opinion
    FOR coleman?

    Perhaps the alleged (none / 0) (#103)
    by BackFromOhio on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:32:26 PM EST
    edits & re-edits reflect an abundance of caution in the event the U.S. Supreme Ct gets hold of the case.  I hope if Coleman appeals to the Sup Ct (at some point), the Court declines to take the case.

    Oh, and if this cycle of rain doesn't stop soon. . (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:02:36 AM EST
    God, not still (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:02:37 AM EST
    I'm praying for a nonstop cycle of rain.  It's very strange down here right now.  Usually you can cut the humid air with a knife but this heat has sapped the humidity out of the air even.  The skies are very clear though, usually they are fuzzy and hazey with so much humidity. The humidity is not my friend here and neither is the mold that it encourages and causes my asthma, but it scares me what such a drastic change in climate means for the existing ecosystem here.  Then there is the fire danger....some of which Georgia experienced last year.  We are like a drying jungle, I don't even want to think of the fires that could feed.  It would make those prairie fires I'm used to very very puny.

    Breaking news (none / 0) (#20)
    by vicndabx on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:44:41 AM EST
    Ah, they punted. (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:55:02 AM EST
    Dissent from Souter, Scalia, Thomas (none / 0) (#25)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:55:10 AM EST
    This I have to read. . .

    Oops, wrong decision (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:56:14 AM EST
     Just a sec.

    Dissent (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:59:00 AM EST
    by Thomas.

    It still looks like they're gearing up to strike it down unless the composition of the Court can be changed.


    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:37:48 AM EST
    The fact that there was an 8-1 majority in favor of this mildly activist compromise, after all the hype, suggests that the conservative majority may actually understand its limits.

    The practical effect of the decision is that anyone who feels aggrieved by Section 5 now has the ability to seek redress through a Section 4 "bailout suit":

    To bail out under the current provision, a jurisdiction must seek a declaratory judgment from a three-judge District Court in Washington, D. C. It must show that for the previous 10 years it has not used any forbidden voting test, has not been subject to any valid objection under §5, and has not been found liable for other voting rights violations; it must also show that it has "engaged in constructive efforts to eliminate intimidation and harassment" of voters, and similar measures. The Attorney General can consent to entry of judgment in favor of bailout if the evidence warrants it, though other interested parties are allowed to intervene in the declaratory judgment action. There are other restrictions: To bail out, a covered jurisdiction must show that every jurisdiction in its territory has complied with all of these requirements. The District Court also retains continuing jurisdiction over a successful bailout suit for 10 years, and may reinstate coverage if any violation is found.

    The result is that it's going to be hard to bring another constitutional challenge to Section 5 before the Supreme Court.  Covered jurisdictions will have to pursue bailout suits and they will either win or lose on the merits.  To bring a constitutional challenge, a jurisdiction would have to fall short of meeting the bailout requirements, but nevertheless argue that the statute is too onerous.

    I think if only one Justice was willing to grant the constitutional claim in a case with a sympathetic plaintiff, it's going to be hard to assemble a majority in a case where the plaintiff can't even meet the requirements for a statutory bailout.  And of course, it's likely to be a while before the Supreme Court has a majority that is any more friendly to the grievances of the South than the present one.


    I can't understand (none / 0) (#45)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:40:31 AM EST
    why the liberal 4 didn't concur in part.

    Roberts goes through contortions to change the definition of a jurisdiction that can seek relief.


    Yes he does (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:06:23 AM EST
    but since the alternative would mean that the constitutional challenge was actually ripe, this was a good compromise for the liberals...

    So here's the question I want the answer to (none / 0) (#56)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:13:05 AM EST
    Why did they sign on to the whole opinion?

    No politics involved in that, I'm sure!


    It would be interesting to know (none / 0) (#58)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:13:17 AM EST
    what went on behind the scenes on this opinion.  

    The fact that there was an 8-1 majority in favor of this mildly activist compromise, after all the hype, suggests that the conservative majority may actually understand its limits.

    I think it is interesting that Roberts assigned himself this opinion - an 8-1 majority that seems to be a compromise on the part of everyone (except Thomas of course).  But conservative justices have always appeared to HATE compromise.  Maybe they think they are, as usual, backdooring what they want - that after 20 more years most of the country will have successfully bailed out and they will ultimately be successful in eliminating what they wanted to eliminate (this of course would be part of their delusion that there is NOTHING wrong with anyone's voting rights in this country.)

    Bailout seems an unfortunate choice of words in this day and age :)


    Is this accurate? (none / 0) (#36)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:23:22 AM EST
    Things have changed in the South. Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels. See generally H. R. Rep. No. 109-478, at 12-18. These improvements are no doubt due in significant part to the Voting Rights Act itself, and stand as a monument to its success. Past success alone, however, is not adequate justification to retain the preclearance requirements. See Issacharoff, Is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act a Victim of Its Own Success? 104 Colum. L. Rev. 1710 (2004). It may be that these improvements are insufficient and that conditions continue to warrant preclearance under the Act. But the Act imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs.

    Leaving aside the empirical question, I am curious whether this is an accurate statement of the law.  I would have thought that the validity of a remedial statute (including its duration) would be judged at its inception, as in, did Congress have a reasonable basis to enact this law?

    The Chief Justice seems to view the courts as continuing monitors of the law's validity, standing by to strike down the statute the moment the courts determine the remedial provisions are no longer justified.  I don't see where he cites any authority for this proposition.  Can it really be true, and if so, should Congress have replaced the language "this law shall remain in effect for 25 years" with "this law shall remain in effect until the courts say so"?


    The South will violate rights (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by lilybart on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 12:07:11 PM EST
    again if they think they can.

    It may be that things are better, but they are only better because the southern good old boys know the courts will stop their tricks.


    Were that the Chief Justice (none / 0) (#42)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:32:06 AM EST
    would use the same rationale to strike down DOMA.

    I'm really not sure how the grant of power in the 15th Amendment could be any more explicit. In order to strike down section 5, the Court would have to define that it is not "appropriate legislation" for some reason. Defining "appropriate" is the name of the game, and I think the section you quote goes halfway toward suggesting that the VRA is not.

    One gets the impression from reading this opinion that Kennedy said to our four "join this or I join Thomas." It isn't difficult not to see the conservative 5 holding this majority opinion before the liberals in a few years as justification for striking Section 5.


    Er, *it isn't difficult to see (none / 0) (#43)
    by andgarden on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:32:41 AM EST
    I just saw an exhibit of portraits (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:05:40 AM EST
    Of Urghurs (sp) in China. The artist is of Turkish ethnicity and he saw some similarities re facial features and language.  

    Confusing facial features.... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by vml68 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:13:07 AM EST
    My family is Indian but none of us look like the "stereotypical" Indian that most people picture. My father looks Chinese, my brother looks African American and my mom and I look "Meditteranean". And yet we all have a strong resemblance to each other.

    Just about everyone's (and that includes other Indians!) first guess when they are trying to figure out where I might be from is Spanish, Italian, Latino. After years of this, I am used to the "Really!", "No Way" and the classic "Are you sure?", when I say I am Indian.

    Most times I just smile and let things slide but a couple of incidents really took me by surprise. An elderly gentleman at an art exhibition started to speak to me in Spanish and I said "I'm sorry I don't speak Spanish"*. The guy just exploded and started yelling at me about how I had abandoned my heritage and I should be ashamed for not even being able to speak my language, etc. We were attracting quite the audience and I was really embarrassed but could not get a word in edgewise. So I just stood there with a dumb smile on my face till he was done and then walked away.

    A couple of days ago I went through the "no I am not Italian, Spanish" routine with a guy who was trying to pick me up at the grocery store. After considering this for a minute, he looks at me and says "Do you think maybe someone from one of these countries might have gone and messed with your folks and that's why you look like this?". All I could think of was that he was suggesting that my mother had had an affair and again I was too dumbfounded and could not think of a suitable reply.

    *usually I do reply in Spanish-I decided to learn the language after years of people always assuming I speak it.


    Fascinating. American Indian (none / 0) (#61)
    by oldpro on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:35:40 AM EST

    Or...... :-) (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by vml68 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:45:31 AM EST
    Not American Indian....the "real" Indian!!

    Big, big country (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 03:28:07 PM EST
    lotsa different sub-ethnic groups there, no?

    But "U.S. Americans," to quote the former Miss Teen North Carolina or whatever she was, of all stripes are lousy at seeing other people's differences.

    Musician friends of mine were at a dinner theater some years ago when the emcee announced excitedly that Seiji Ozawa (Japanese former Boston Symphony music director) was in the audience, the band struck up something, the spotlights swung around and focused on-- a very, very confused Korean tourist at one of the tables.  He clearly had no idea what was going on, probably didn't even speak English, was persuaded to stand up and take a bow, everybody gave him an ovation, and he sat down again looking dazed.


    Uighurs (none / 0) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:24:00 AM EST
    And they actually are Turkish, or the area was originally Turkish, which is how come they're Muslim.  There's obviously been a great deal of intermarrying since.

    There's a lot of inter everything in the world (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:35:04 AM EST
    When our son had to see one of the leading geneticists in the country, that was just an invitation to stir up trouble in this family?  After we befriended him coming to understand what was going on with our son we had fun discovering all the things hidden in our faces.  I was boring...all pasty Nordics.  My husband and daughter though having a great deal of Czech lineage are very interesting and many Asian aspects are hidden in their faces due to the reign of Genghis Khan.

    According to the exhibit, (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:31:47 AM EST
    this ethnic group didn't become Muslim until c. 1000.

    Islam didn't even start (none / 0) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:57:19 AM EST
    until sometime after 800 or so.  Took a while to spread.

    Where is this exhibit? (none / 0) (#87)
    by sj on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 03:33:00 PM EST
    National Portrait Gallery (none / 0) (#92)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 05:22:23 PM EST
    In "ondon. (Pleas don't hate me!)

    Well, (none / 0) (#107)
    by sj on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 11:06:29 AM EST
    I guess I won't be seeing it anytime soon :)

    Stimulus money (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:19:30 AM EST
    Apparently not getting to cities and shovel ready projects, but is instead going to rural areas - at least many of the dollars, because the money is given to the states, who hand it out.  In many cases, this money is going to rural areas that are politically well connected in state government.

    Joe Biden is getting an earful from the mayors....

    President Obama is facing complaints from big-city mayors and county politicians that parts of the economic stimulus package are shortchanging their constituents.

    Vice President Joe Biden has been holding private conference calls on the stimulus with elected officials from around the country, some of whom have been telling him that metropolitan regions are losing out to rural areas in the competition for stimulus money.

     Some projects raise question: Where's...Stimulus program fraught with waste, report says
    That argument tracks a report released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors that concluded that cities have gotten a disproportionately small share of stimulus money set aside for road and other transportation improvements.

    Harry Montoya, a commissioner in Santa Fe County, N.M., took part in a phone call with Biden earlier in the month and said he told the vice president that "the dollars are not trickling down to the local county governments regarding spending for projects that we have that are shovel-ready: road, water and wastewater projects."

    Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, newly installed president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, gave a speech to the association on June 15 saying he would ask his fellow mayors to "critically review every aspect" of the $787-billion stimulus package.

    "In an effort to jump-start the economy, the federal government relied on old formulas that left behind our metropolitan areas," said Nickels, a Democrat. "That was a mistake."

    The mayors commissioned a report looking at a pot of $18 billion set aside for transportation. When the report was released this month, the 85 most populous metropolitan areas had received $8.8 billion -- or 48% of the total. Yet those same areas account for 63% of the U.S. population and 73% of the gross domestic product, the report said.

    Chicago would need to get another $250 million in stimulus transportation funds to reach a level that reflects its contribution to the Illinois economy, the report calculated. In Ohio, Cleveland and Cincinnati account for 40% of the total economy yet received less than 5% of the transportation stimulus funds earmarked for the state.

    Mayors contend the stimulus relies too heavily on long-standing government formulas that make states the primary conduit for the cash. Once the money is funneled to states, governors and legislatures dole it out disproportionately to rural areas that have amassed political clout, mayors say.

    Well connected rural areas? (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:34:57 AM EST
    Huh?  Something not quite right about this story.  Maybe in California, but I'm dubious that's the case everywhere else.

    Also, rural areas have by far the least and worst transportation infrastructure, so not clear to me that cities should have priority to use the money for upgrades when rural areas have almost nothing.

    (Speaking as a rural resident.)


    I would say (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 09:51:25 AM EST
    Most states have mostly rural areas. Now if you are in a state that does not contain one of the ten largest metropolitan areas, my guess is, the state legislators from rural areas have more influence and power than the one or two that represent the urban area.  For example, rural legislators in Montana probably have more pull than the ones from Billings or Butte; same for Alaska, Maine, Virginia, or Oklahoma.

    I dont see how (none / 0) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:10:06 AM EST
    since legislatures represent population and rural areas are lightly populated.  You're only going to get major political heft from rural areas in states where agriculture is a major part of the economy. That's true in California, Iowa, Nebraska, probably not too many others.  True in tiny Vermont, as well.

    If the state has heavy agriculture, I'm again at a loss to understand why it would be outrageous for there to be a slight extra portion of transportation infrastructure money going to those areas.

    Rural areas in general require very few state resources compared to urban or suburban ones.  Well-maintained roads and bridges are, however, critical, and there's not enough money from local taxes to keep them in good shape.  If my town, for instance, doesn't get a few thousand dollars help from the state for winter sanding, we have a serious budget crisis.

    We budget for regular repaving and grading of unpaved roads, but if a key bridge is deteriorating, we need help.  Many, many bridges in this country are in terrible shape, and I suspect that's where a lot of this money is going.


    State legislatures (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:18:23 AM EST
    may be different.  Illinois, for example has 59 senate districts and 118 house districts - all with roughly the same population.

    Right (none / 0) (#86)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 03:30:37 PM EST
    That's the whole point.  The rural counties here have much smaller representation in the lege than the more urban ones because the districts are primarily set by population and rural areas are much more sparsely populated.

    No, the poiht is (none / 0) (#99)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 07:30:21 PM EST
    Rural state legislators outnumber ones from urban areas, so as a group, they carry a great deal more clout and power.  If the rural legislators in in Wyoming want to pass a bill about water rights for ranchers' animals, and the person representing Cheyenne doesn't want it because it's bad for the environment, guess who's going to win that fight? The rural communities.

    In which state is that (none / 0) (#106)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 12:05:45 AM EST
    the case?  Even in Vermont it's not, and our biggest "city" is all of 30,000 souls.

    Northern Virginia is far from rural (none / 0) (#31)
    by cawaltz on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:11:17 AM EST
    and it doesn't languish from attention.

    True (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:19:13 AM EST
    But most of the state is not NOVA.  And NOVA is special because of its proximity to DC.

    SCOTUS next term (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:21:31 AM EST
    From SCOTUSblog

    They turned down Valerie Plame's appeal in her suit against Cheney.  Go figure.

    The Supreme Court, granting review of three cases Monday, agreed to settle the constitutionality of a 2005 law giving federal officials authority to order the long-term confinement of individuals considered to be sexually dangerous (U.S. v. Comstock, 08-1224).

    In an important case on the scope of "Miranda rights," the Court said it would decide whether those warnings to a suspect in police custody must exclude an explicit assurance that the individual may have a lawyer in the room while questioning goes on (Florida v. Powell, 08-1175).

    The third new case tests whether lawsuits seeking to recover misspent federal funds are barred if the information behind the lawsuits came out in state or local agency reports or audits, rather than in a federal proceeding.  The Justices took the advice of the U.S. Solicitor General in agreeing to hear Graham County Soil & Water, et al., v. U.S. ex rel. Wilson (08-304).

    In a case with high visibility growing out of the efforts of former Vice President Cheney and other high officials to discredit critics of the Bush Administration's reasons for going to war in Iraq, the Court refused to revive a damages lawsuit filed against Cheney and others for allegedly leaking to the press the fact that a prominent critic's wife was a secret CIA agent. Without comment, the Court turned down the appeal by that former agent, Valerie Plame Wilson, and her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV (Wilson, et al., v. Libby, et al., 08-1043).  The Wilsons sued Cheney, his former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former senior White House aide Karl C. Rove, and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage.  The D.C. Circuit Court found that the Wilsons has no constitutional claims they could pursue.

    Aw! (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by Steve M on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:25:28 AM EST
    Now I really wish I had finished writing my student note when I was on Law Review.  It would have been directly on point for one of those cases, and who knows, maybe I would have made it into a footnote!

    America to where we are (none / 0) (#41)
    by joze46 on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:31:21 AM EST
    Listening to Hate talk radio and across the board, cable bias politics which are the messengers that brought America to where we are at now.

    Yikes Bob Cunningham, with Michael Savage wants to blow up Korea. Sheesh, that's their approach to peace. Yuck... Presently taking Obama theme to change, turning a page in history. Here we have these idiots in the electromagnetic spectrum screwing up our thinking.

    For me just about all the mainstream media is Conservative talking about that notion if, and,  after two thousand years of evolvement all Islamic rule can come up with is Saddam Hussein or the Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. America should just say to the hell with it, and get the hell out.

    I agree with this the Conservatives finally see the light. Liberals have been saying for eight years now. America lets go screw around on the moon invent something worth while and let the Middle East bite the dust, let them go fooling with their selves in their hatred in history. I am so tired of this nonsense talk about these colored people, in the sand, who have an abundance of resources and squander time, money, and most of their people.

    Why would any culture want this type in our society anyway? They are proving to be just plain on going chaotic.

    So, whats my point? This all instills a moment of exploring to find out views or impressions of conservatism. Surfing the net I came across some of the history of James Boggs a black so called middle class activist. With his note book and some interesting theories. The web sight link is below, one wonders if this stuff is true and was it really written by Boggs?

    It is very intellectual considering I grew up during the sixties where very few factory workers could deliberate in a penetrating detail as was here.

    But one thing jumped out at me was the notion that "History is a weapon". Proves my on going obsession for transparency, what Obama should so release those National Security Secrets... Of course some are embarrassing, but it should be done. We as "beings" will never move to the next level if we continue with this secret history stuff.

    This is James Boggs link


    It's interesting the way Boggs describes these agencies; besides it is scary in many parts and corresponds to other authors like BigZ Mika the anchor journalist on MSNBC her dad his essay about "Change". They both predicted the revolution in Change we are there right now. Just how cruel will it be...?

    This section of James Boggs wrote about the FBI, CIA, etc...extraordinary for a black man of the sixties. Actually, I do have a hard time believing he wrote this piece because I lived through that era.
    Even MLK did not have such an acute perception. But one thing Martin Luther King knew was that a mix Black white person would be cast through the system, but what MLK did not know was that it would be with the support of the Democratic Party, James Boggs did not know that either.

    The GOP of course is in a state shock with their majority not willing to accept black leadership at any length...

    James Boggs says...

    ""Most secret of all is the CIA, which even members of Congress do not dare question. Yet the CIA has the power to go into a country, organize a war or a revolution or a counter-revolution, recruit among the American people for its schemes; it has the funds and the staff at its disposal to fight an underground war not only against the Russians but against every country in the world.

    The FBI is the secret police force closest to the lives of the people. Unlike the FBI of the 30's which used to be hailed as the great protector of the people against the criminal elements, the FBI today functions chiefly as a political police to pry into the private lives and thoughts of every American.

    What the FBI does in complete secrecy, the House Un-American Activities Committee does in semi-secrecy, having the power to drag before it any individual or group which actively challenges the status quo in this country. In this way it dangles over all whom it queries the kind of public suspicion and silent condemnation from which there is only one way for the individual to escape--to prove his or her loyalty to the police state by becoming an informer for it.""

    Transparency is a must for a complete change and does not mean blacking out reams of documentation or shredding the real stuff.

    I have decided that I'm going to pay a (none / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 10:47:23 AM EST
    great deal of attention to my toes.  I'm always getting riled up over "issues" in my free time and neglecting my pedicure.  In the South that is a fashion faux pas that I won't be committing this summer.  Not this time!  If you want to know what I'm going to be focusing on outside of healthcare reform......my toes.  I don't tan well either, too white...I just fry and get very red and peel like a shrimp, and have two family members who got skin cancer in their teens too so no tans for me.  Just pass the sunscreen and the toe polish.  Vacation was longish feeling too in the evenings.  One of my best friends in the whole world is also a Conservative.  I swear he was listening to FOX everywhere he drove to at the beach on his satellite radio.  He also gave me lengthy lectures about how he trusted Obama and that Obama cannot make changes on the scale that I seem to be demanding.  I must trust Obama and things will happen by taking baby steps.  BABY STEPS?!?!  The Dems run everything right now and someone save me from the abilities of my own mouth.  But nobody did, they just left us on the balconey alone with each other.

    It really is a southern thing, isn't it? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:00:53 AM EST
    I've never been so obsessed with my toes in my life! It really is a faux pas to be wearing sandals and have grody toes.

    One of the friends I'm going on vacation with is a Republican and group health insurance broker. I'm sure I'll be getting an earful too. Good thing he is a very fun guy otherwise or I would not be taking this trip!


    No chit thank God for the fun guy (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:07:02 AM EST
    Conservatives.  Otherwise I'd have no Conservatives I wanna go on vacation with :)  Do you have toe jewelry?  I have some from my youth but wondering if an upgrade isn't in order.  And the pretty toes is very much a Southern thing, in Colorado even my summer shoes had something to do with hiking and not much toe exposed even in the hiking sandals.  But if you have gardening toes here in the South the whole world knows :) I'm too chicken to hike in the South because I have an insane fear of snakes and it's too hot to wear snake bite boots.

    And fire ants! (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:40:12 PM EST
    I made the mistake of walking my dogs in the grass for 10 minutes in sandals last summer and got my feet bitten up by ants. Ouch. Now I stick strictly to pavement in my sandals.

    No, I have never had toe jewelry. Had an ankle bracelet when they first came on the scene 30 years ago, but not since.  Maybe I'll have to try toe jewelry. On second thought, my feet are not a particularly attractive feature. The less attention called to them the better.

    I loved to hike in Colorado too. Funny I never let the thought of the Colorado wildlife scare me off a trail, but these Florida critters creep me out! (and that's just the people. Just kidding. I love the Floridians)


    Summer Concerts.... (none / 0) (#51)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:00:53 AM EST
    I'm gonna miss the NY Dolls tonight unfortunately...but I'm locked in for Saturday's reunited Dream Syndicate gig, performing The Medicine Show in its entirety...and then The Midnight Ramble at Levon's farm on Independence Day.  Hopefully be adding the Pretenders at Central Park, one of The Black Crowes local dates, a few others...culminating with one of the Springsteen's last shows at Giant Stadium.

    Good thing there is so much music happening...the Mets are driving me to drink, instilling zero confidence.

    Remind me.... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:12:22 PM EST
    to stay the hell outta Lancaster PA...talk about creepy.

    Creepy, indeed (none / 0) (#76)
    by eric on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:29:55 PM EST
    Years ago, there's no way we could do this," said Keith Sadler, Lancaster's police chief. "It brings to mind Big Brother, George Orwell and '1984.' It's just funny how Americans have softened on these issues.

    That is the truth.  Softened is a good word.  And I don't understand why.  It is almost as if this entire country has turned against itself.  New crimes, enhanced crimes, stiffer sentences, cameras everywhere. . .

    Is it because we are afraid of ourselves?  Do we not value privacy as much as we used to?  I don't buy that, because, ironically, we have created new laws to punish "violations of privacy".

    I wish somebody could enlighten me on what people are thinking.  I hear that my city is putting up new surveillance cameras downtown, and I am immediately outraged.  Most other people are either ambivalent or actually welcome it.  I don't get it.

    this comment (none / 0) (#77)
    by eric on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:31:53 PM EST
    was supposed to be a reply to Kdog's comment.

    I don't get the frame of mind.... (none / 0) (#78)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:38:47 PM EST
    either E, it is dumbfounding...fear has got to be part of it, of what exactly I don't know.  Maybe the exhibitonist trend is at play as well...people voluntarily post a dossier of themselves doing the social networking thing, there comings and goings, with pics...for crying out loud.

    Or maybe everybody wants to be a reality tv star...I don't know.  But I sure as hell don't want an officer of the law, much less a civilian volunteer with zero oversight, with zoom capabilities to read license plates from 2 blocks away.  Good thing those Amish girls wear skirts down to their ankles, thats all I'm gonna say.  It is a pervert gawker's paradise down in Lancaster.


    Part of it (none / 0) (#80)
    by eric on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:48:00 PM EST
    I think, has to be conditioning.  People don't even understand why this is controversial.  When I bring the issue up, people sometimes look at me like they don't even understand the nature of my concern.  Why would I oppose cameras?  Almost as if I am some paranoid nut for not wanting surveillance cameras everywhere.  Ironically, if anybody is a paranoid nut, it's the person who wants the entire city on camera.

    Good point.... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 01:58:30 PM EST
    though I'm still a young guy, I remember schools without surveillance cameras, sh*t even stores without cameras...kids today know nothing of a world without them.

    That explains the young adults, what is everybody elses excuse?  Can people really be that afraid of being mugged or whatever that they want to be watched everywhere they go?  It is like people want a guardian angel of this earth...no matter the cost in privacy or liberty.


    for anyone who has been losing sleep (none / 0) (#93)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 05:37:07 PM EST
    over it.  I have a ruptured Plantaris Tendon.  been reading a little about this.  our bodies are amazing in their redundancy:

    "I know what happened, you have broken your Plantaris Tendon, and you won't be able to finish the match." I remember saying that I was going to try. He said, "Go ahead, but you won't be able to finish. You can't do any damage because your plantaris tendon is gone for good and you don't need it.

    No one seems to know why we have a plantaris tendon. When it is ruptured it never grows back and we don't miss it. After a few weeks we are able to use the leg with no impairment.

    so I have a very attractive boot in my choice of blue which I get to wear for three weeks or so.


    How's pain mgmt going? (none / 0) (#94)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 06:00:35 PM EST
    and does the boot seem to help?  Interesting piece of info there. And of course you made me google. OUCH!  How did you do it?

    embarassed to say (none / 0) (#96)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 06:03:02 PM EST
    I did it stepping off a curb.  apparently it is a very common tennis injury.  the boot actually does help.  but what helps the most is knowing I dont have terminal bone cancer or something.

    I'll have to ask my friend (none / 0) (#97)
    by nycstray on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 06:54:15 PM EST
    what she did to her foot/leg when she stepped off a curb. She also had the boot for a few weeks, but I can't remember the injury. It's interesting that the same injury you can get sprinting forward can happen on a curb. I guess the upside is it takes care of it's self without surgery. Glad the boot helps! And that your don't have bone cancer!!