Wednesday Morning Open Thread

It is still morning on the West Coast. Unfortunately for me, I am in the cold Northeast.

This is an Open Thread.

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    Payroll taxes going up (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:03:57 PM EST
    I just don't know what to do anymore.  Please - we need some leadership!


    In 2009, the average business owner paid $95 per employee. This year, the tax will be $171, according to estimates by the state workforce agency. "It's another added expense to hiring somebody," Miller says. "Everything's going up, and business is going down."

    Similar tax increases are hitting employers nationwide this year as states struggle to pay the 5.5 million Americans currently collecting state jobless benefits. So far, high unemployment and, in many cases, poor planning have prompted 25 states to borrow more than $25 billion from the federal government to keep benefit checks in the mail.

    In other states, unemployment compensation funds are still in the black, but reserves are rapidly dwindling. Nine more states likely will be borrowing by mid-year, according to a ProPublica analysis of state revenue and benefits.

    Tax on businesses

    Business owners in 36 states face tax increases ranging from a few dollars to nearly $1,000 per worker. Six states are scaling back or freezing benefits for the unemployed:

    • Jobless Pennsylvania workers will get 2.3% less in benefits starting this month, while the average tax this year for businesses will increase to $432 from $384 per worker.

    • Hawaii's employers face an average increase to $1,070 from $90 per worker. The state also proposes decreasing the maximum benefit by as much as a third -- about $190 per week.

    • Texas, where the trust fund is $1.4 billion in the red, has increased the average tax on employers to about $165 from $89 per worker.

    Instead of fulfilling the unemployment insurance system's purpose of stimulating the economy, these measures may contribute to joblessness, says Gary Burtless, an economist who studies labor policy at the Brookings Institution, a think tank. "We don't want to pick this moment of all moments to boost taxes on employers," Burtless says. "We want to encourage employers as much as possible to add to their payrolls."

    Workers are being hurt in another way -- through benefit cuts. In Roanoke, Va., James Hay, 70, received a letter from the state informing him that his monthly unemploymentbenefits are being cut to $100 from about $800 because state law limits payments to Social Security recipients when the state's fund runs low.

    Start hoarding canned food and supplies from the dollar store.

    Things are tough all over... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:12:02 PM EST
    Saw in the paper today how NY State plans to close the budget gap...even more ciggy taxes, soda taxes, City & State College tuition hikes...seems like everybody better lube up, except those doing the screwing of course.  

    You know (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:17:36 PM EST
    It'd be nice if we could at least enjoy it....

    Enjoyment comes... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:26:35 PM EST
    when you can dodge some of it...hire somebody off the books, you could pay 'em more too!..:)

    I was referring to (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:50:58 PM EST
    the other part of your statement....;)

    I know... (none / 0) (#42)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:59:31 PM EST
    I'm tellin' you the only way to get some enjoyment out of being screwed..the reverse screw.

    But being one of the very small minority of Americans who can somehow live without breaking any laws, you'll never go for it:)


    Would that be (none / 0) (#43)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:02:43 PM EST
    the "unscrew"?

    And hey - I occassionally find myself going a few miles over the speed limit.  And sometimes talk on the phone in the car.

    I'm really a rebel at heart.  :)


    Whoa! I'm so telling (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by cawaltz on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:09:36 PM EST
    What's your liscence plate number again you rebel you? ;)

    For kdog (none / 0) (#52)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:19:37 PM EST
    Even I think this is ridiculous.

    Police responding to a complaint of loud noise have cited a Fond du Lac man for "rocking out" to the music of John Denver.

    A police who responded to the man's apartment last week could hear Denver's music through the door.

    The officer pounded on the door but the man didn't answer. Finally the officer found out the man's name from a neighbor and called to him, bringing the man to the door.

    When asked why he had the music so loud, the man said he was "rocking out."

    The Reporter newspaper in Fond du Lac reports that the 42-year-old was cited for unnecessary loud noise. The ticket could result in a fine of about $210.

    How dare the state say... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:49:20 PM EST
    a rocking out session is "unnecessary", sometimes nothing is more necessary.

    Another "neighbor of the year" candidate, where is their fine for unneighborly conduct via dime-drop?...not to give the state anymore extortionary ideas or anything.


    No comment on the absurd choice of music? (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:05:58 PM EST
    To each their own rocking out... (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:33:45 PM EST
    even you and your opera oculus...turn it up!

    And if its Blue Cheer it has to be turned up to 11 by unwritten law.


    That is progressive rock for Fond du Lac (none / 0) (#69)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:00:10 PM EST
    as I can attest, having been in many a bar there.  

    Btw, if ever any of you get to the lovely old fur post city, you will not be understood unless you pronounce it "Fonjuhlack."

    That said, thank heavens for the noise ordinances in my neighborhood.  Before that, we had a window that cracked from the thumping bass of a party half a block away.  But I'll take John Denver at top volume any day over the most obnoxious of noises in Packerland, the altered mufflers of Harley bikes.  And no cop in Wisconsin will ticket for those.


    Believe it or not, when I say "Rent" (none / 0) (#64)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:09:35 PM EST
    when it first moved to Broadway, I thought the music should have been much, much louder (and better).  Plus:  Mimi lives!!! WTF?

    check out my friends (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:09:53 PM EST
    show at the Heritage Museum in Boston
    photographs of old theaters.  




    so glad to see her getting the recognition I always thought she deserved.

    The museum is located (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by itscookin on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:34:18 PM EST
    outside of the city in Lexington. It's one of those treasures that out of state visitors to the historical sites in Lexington and Concord find in their guidebook and thoroughly enjoy, but those of us who live nearby often miss altogether. It's a truly beautiful museum in an equally beautiful setting. Another local treasure is the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln.

    thanks for the correction (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:36:01 PM EST
    how far is it from boston

    ah (none / 0) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:40:03 PM EST
    I just googled.  I thought it had to be pretty close the way she talked about it.

    I got those links from Stephanie this morning as a result of a borderline hysterical phone call I got from her at about 11:30 last night.


    it was sad and hilarious.


    Lexington (none / 0) (#20)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:46:10 PM EST
    is famous for the battle of Lexington.  The first battle of the civil war.  The Americans stood up about 70 soldiers in a row who got crushed by the British.

    They then retreated and ran to Concord.  Where they learned to hide in houses and killed about 300 British soldiers.

    The beginning of guerilla warfare.


    Civil War? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:50:00 PM EST
    Is that the one that started when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    Just joshing ya.


    wait (none / 0) (#29)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:53:19 PM EST
    the british didnt fight in the civil war?

    Well, (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:03:25 PM EST
    Yes, the British did fight in a Civil War (several in fact).  But not here... :)

    If you think about it (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:06:08 PM EST
    The Revolutionary war was pretty much a British Civil War.

    They just lost, so we got to rename it.

    Think about the framing that the South uses for the Civil war.


    Fair point (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:13:25 PM EST
    But the Revolutionary War was also a war Britain had (and continued long after Yorktown) with the French too....

    Anyway, it's like we always are taught about the Battle of Bunker Hill, which really took place on Breed's Hill (and I bet you knew that too).


    Yes, I just was rereading (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:08:01 PM EST
    an article on the War of 1812 where the country really started, that is where the first Europeans first entered what is now the U.S.  No, that was not at ye olde Plimoth Rock in the state that used to be so blue.  Before that, the French came first, and into ye olde Yoo Pee in the state that elects Stupak.  But I digress about how much better this land was in ye olden days. . . .

    Anyway, I really was not taught about Nouvelle France (the heartland having been Brit for only 20 years before it was won by the U.S.), so it is fascinating research to read now.  And I had to relearn how recalcitrant were the Brits about leaving once they had lost so how long the Revolutionary War was, right through 1815.  All I remembered, really, was about Dolley Madison saving some paintings in some unfinished presidential house in the East.  

    Of course, even more interesting is getting an understanding of how much better life was in other ways for Native Americans and Metis under both the French and the Brits compared to what it became under the U.S.  So sad.  Especially for Native and Metis women; many still had de facto property rights until 1815, then lost it all by having to become Americans.  But no longer citizens of their own ancient land after the Revolutionary War finally ended in the interior.


    Funny, everything I google (none / 0) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:36:26 PM EST
    says the Brits considered NA's to be obstacles to their conquest goals.

    The French, however, had different goals, and often "partnered" with the NA's. In fact, having non-French and therefore quite disposable NA allies turned out to be quite useful to the French during the French and Indian War.

    But don't think badly of the French, all three "groups" used the others as best they could to achieve their, often aggressive, goals against the other "groups" as well as during internecine conflicts.

    Neither the NA's nor the Europeans, nor any subsets of those two groups, passed up just about any opportunity to benefit themselves, regardless of whether it was accomplished at the expense of others not in their "group."

    Once again, it's all about power. No "people" is/was immune to it's siren call...


    Life back then must have been (none / 0) (#48)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:50:43 PM EST
    unimaginably brutal.

    No Indian Removal Act (none / 0) (#67)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:51:33 PM EST
    under the Brits.  In the heartland, the Brits did not displace NAs but worked with them (and after the 1780s, yes, they both did so to undermine the Americans, who were pushing displacement even half a century before the Indian Removal Act).  Of course, again, the Brits only had the heartland for 20 years.

    Certainly, the French were far better, with their intermarriage and adaptation to a Metis culture.  Those are marvelous centuries to read about. . . .  


    anything about our Revolutionary War.

    Sore losers...n/t:) (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:28:45 PM EST
    When I was at school (in the 1950's and 1960's) they didn't teach the Revolutionary War at all. I do remember that I knew a little about it from somewhere, so I had an idea that the American Colonies fought for and won their independence from Britain. What I never knew about, and what they still don't teach in the UK, is the War of 1812. That, I can assure you, is a complete mystery to 95% of Britons.

    My guess for failing to teach either of the above wars is that we lost them both. They didn't fit the history of the "civilising" Britain that I was taught. And which, by the way, I discovered to be a complete lie when I began to travel. But that's another story.

    Not by that name. (none / 0) (#45)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:13:12 PM EST
    But oh, they still talk about it subtly.  And hold a grudge.  Never will I forget that November day in 1992 when I turned on the radio to hear the BBC news, and it led with the election results here.

    That portion of the BBC news about us began by calling it "the colonial news" -- and then, in the most snooty Brit accent ever I have heard, the announcer attempted to explain Bill Clinton to the Brits.  He was, said the announcer, a former Rhodes Scholar.  Whew, good on us.

    But then, the announcer also labeled Clinton as "a saxophonist."  That's it.  Rhodes Scholar, sax player, whaddyagonnado about these weird Americans.


    As a Brit I can confirm we know it as (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:39:09 PM EST
    As a Brit I can confirm we know it as the American War of Independence. Odd really that we see it as that and not as a 'revolution'. I guess, semantically, a revolution is something that takes place within a country against the rulers. In the American War it was, in fact, the leaders of the American states leading the war against British overlordship.

    But we were Brits (none / 0) (#68)
    by Cream City on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:55:38 PM EST
    in those colonies, y'know.  Brit Americans.  So it was within a Brit (part of the) country against Brit rulers.  

    What a very odd way to teach American studies there in England -- which, I understand, is hugely popular there.  Elsewhere in the Brit and former Brit countries, too, but I can tell you that my Australian family member got a very good and full education on American history.  So maybe it is just the English.


    I actually knew that (none / 0) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:48:54 PM EST
    (if possibly not in the detail you provide)
    I just wasnt sure how far it was from metro Boston.

    I know you know this (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:48:58 PM EST
    But it was the Revolutionary War

    haha (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by CST on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:53:11 PM EST

    I did know that. I swear...


    Hmmm. Revolutionary War. (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 03:59:00 PM EST
    Why don't Dems make this argument (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:46:31 PM EST
    About trying terror suspects in criminal court rather than using military commissions?

    The decisions to prosecute the failed underwear bomber and hold the rumored trial of the Bali bombing mastermind in federal criminal court in Washington, D.C. has revived the debate over whether criminal courts or military commissions are more effective in prosecuting suspected terrorists. Many conservative critics are simply seeking to exploit terrorism for political gain with specious attacks on President Barack Obama. They rely on a presumption that a military response is always the toughest available option, but even former Bush administration officials say these conservatives' faith in military commissions is misplaced. The facts are clear: Criminal courts are a far tougher and more reliable forum for prosecuting terrorists than military commissions.

    if you are west (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:13:40 PM EST
    rain for you turns to sleet and snow by the time it gets here

    which is happening now btw (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:19:50 PM EST
    and freezing.  just deiced my car to go to lunch.

    For those who wish.... (none / 0) (#6)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:17:26 PM EST
    to put drug dealers out of business, here is how from the horse's mouth.  Linkage

    thas what I talkin bout (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    I never met a pot dealer I didnt want to put out of business.

    I've met plenty... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:29:57 PM EST
    that I wish nothing but luck and success...its not like my guy is getting rich, low man on the totem pole and all...just paying the bills gettin' by like everyone else.

    And those same guys (and a gal) would be the first to volunteer to give up their source of supplemental income to open the cages.


    that probably sounded harsh (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:43:07 PM EST
    I dunno
    they always seem to get the flaky virus.
    why is that?

    Bad luck for you? (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:52:41 PM EST
    Good luck for me?  Flakiness might be inherent to the black market I guess, I don't know...no consumer protection agency to threaten to complain to, that's for sure.

    Rooting for the away team... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:23:47 PM EST
    used to be something that would at worst get you into a donnybrook...now it gets ya chains.

    I gotta hand it to the Bolt fans who stuck up for him...that is classy.  

    Of course, there's more to the story (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:29:25 PM EST
    As there always is, especially with an edited tape.

    San Diego police beg to differ. Assistant Chief Bob Kanaski said Carroll was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication and delaying or obstructing a police officer in his duties.

    "It had nothing to do with cheering, it had to do with the behavior not seen on the film," Kanaski said yesterday.

    The 3½-minute video shows a man in a green Jets shirt, identified by police as Carroll, 43, a Southern California resident, chanting "Jets, Jets, Jets" with upraised arms facing the crowd in the stands. About 12 seconds into the video, edited footage jumps to four police officers surrounding Carroll, trying to handcuff him as he struggles. This is punctuated by shouts of "Attica" and boos from the crowd. One man repeatedly yells: "He didn't do anything."

    After a little more than two minutes, Carroll is finally handcuffed and carried out in a prone position. There is a smattering of applause while others continue to heckle the officers.

    Kanaski, who heads the department's special operation unit, said Carroll was booked into County Jail on the two misdemeanor charges.

    He said officers went to talk to Carroll after being notified via text message from an off-duty police officer at the game who said the Jets fan was intoxicated and out of control.

    A sergeant asked Carroll three times to accompany him out of the stands but he refused. Kanaski said at one point Carroll tried to head-butt one of the officers. When the fan balled his fists and took a stance, the sergeant began to handcuff him, Kanaski said. That is where the video picks up again.

    "The guy was obviously drunk and causing difficulty in the section," Kanaski said.

    Of the 69,000 people at the game, 49 arrests were made, and 43 of those involved being drunk in public. Others were arrested on charges such as petty theft, grand theft and battery, Kanaski said. Thirty-three were ejected for rowdy behavior. Police also issued several citations.

    I think the fans around the victim... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:34:19 PM EST
    are more credible than Kanaski...what do you expect him to say?  

    And c'mon, public intoxication?  Half the stadium or more is intoxicated....its a football game!


    I think (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:44:52 PM EST
    Headbutting the cop is what may do him in.

    Could be... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:56:00 PM EST
    if the aggressor has a badge, no right to self defense.

    No claim of self defense here (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:00:47 PM EST
    He said he had just three beers (none / 0) (#23)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:47:39 PM EST
    He said he had just three beers over four hours and cops refused to let him take a Breathalyzer test to prove he was sober.

    So (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:00:12 PM EST
    Maybe he did, nmaybe he didn't.  Ever been in a courtroom or jail - everybody's innocent, didn't you know that?

    We need to wait for the rest of the story - not the youtube version.


    Everybody except Red:)... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:09:31 PM EST
    he done what they say he done.

    I can't imagine what the "rest of the story" could entail to justify this...to me, the proof is in Chargers fans having a Jets fan's back during a tight Divisional Round playoff game...that just doesn't happen unless something very wrong went down.


    Until PROVEN guilty (none / 0) (#74)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 09:05:53 PM EST
    as I heard the story.

    Beck (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 01:46:54 PM EST
    on Senator Centerfold.
    even a stopped clock is right twice a day

    I don't (none / 0) (#40)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:34:08 PM EST
    think I can take politics anymore. Obama is still in love with the process and the WH is whining that they are a victim of the economy. Puleeze. You knew there was a big job ahead and you wanted it even though you really aren't experienced enough to handle it. Well, you can do one of two things: Suck it up, get your butt to work and quit whining or leave the WH. Them's the choices so make up your mind what you want to do. Continuing to whine and waffle isnt' doing anybody any good and there are a lot of people hurting.

    And now, for something completely different (none / 0) (#54)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:53:04 PM EST
    Brrrrr. (none / 0) (#55)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 04:56:21 PM EST
    I was about to ask why no updates (none / 0) (#57)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:08:15 PM EST
    at SportsLeft--no news today?

    D@mn! (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:09:56 PM EST
    Could have put it there!

    Maybe a repeat during the Olympics?


    I don't think we peons can post links yet. (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:06:31 PM EST
    I was intrigrued to find out (none / 0) (#59)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:10:30 PM EST
    That she was wearing a thong.  I guess it's the most aerodynamic?

    Here's a court case (none / 0) (#60)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 05:11:54 PM EST
    Velly interesting. Saw that last night. (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:07:03 PM EST
    What would prompt (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:32:55 PM EST
    a jury (as a whole, I assume) to give a judge and a bailiff such gifts?

    I have observed male bailiffs sometimes (none / 0) (#66)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 06:36:11 PM EST
    are quite flirtatious w/female jurors.  Which doesn't explain the gift to the judge.

    What in the hell... (none / 0) (#70)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:15:33 PM EST
    was going on in that courthouse?

    At issue is whether Wellons received a fair trial in light of disclosures that, after the penalty phase, the jurors sent chocolate in the shape of a penis to the judge and chocolate in the shape of a pair of breasts to the bailiff.

    Sad day for the jury system and the court system...good lord.  My faith in humanity meter just plummeted...need to read about Mr. Jean-Charles again.


    But did you ever have faith in the jury/ (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:21:06 PM EST
    judicial system?

    Not really:)... (none / 0) (#72)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:31:23 PM EST
    I can't thibk of better than the jury system though...better 12 semi-random cats than one judge.  Maybe bump it up to 15.

    The justice system, with less law clogging it up and higher humanitarian standards, probably wouldn't be half bad. The framework is there...if we can start evolving past prisons in the punishment (sorry, "corrections", lol) sector, we'd be well on our way.


    We euphemistically say (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 07:58:09 PM EST
    "Corrections and Rehabilitation" out here.

    Question (none / 0) (#75)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 21, 2010 at 07:05:56 AM EST
    Did the judge and bailiff eat the presents?