Tuesday Morning Open Thread

I'm quickly losing interest in political discussion. Maybe it will snap back soon.

Friday, which will be a big day in deciding who plays for the BCS championship, I will post a rant about the BCS and the need for a college football playoff system.

Other than that, I got nuthin.

Open Thread.

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    "I'm quickly losing interest ... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:37:46 AM EST
    ...in political discussion."

    Yup. Got there my own self a long time ago.

    Once one realizes talk solves nothing (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:15:17 PM EST
    if it isn't accompanied with action, it is difficult to find value in chat. Get tired of hearing oneself in broken record mode.

    Complaining about no action from the administration really requires a great big mirror at this point. Two years later and no protests, no writing campaigns, no boycotts, no decent candidates emerged from the ranks of the most fed up. Just a lot of, "I wish I could expect better, but I predict the worst" style chatter.


    With a bunch of vacation days to take (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:54:04 PM EST
    before the end of the year, and the office closed on Thanksgiving and the day after, I decided to take the whole week; we're hosting Thanksgiving, as usual, and will have 15 at the table, so the extra time off means I'm not getting ready at warp speed, lol...

    Anyway, my point is that I've spent much of the last couple days on Thanksgiving prep, moving at my own pace, doing what I want, when I want, and I have to say, being mostly disconnected from what's going on in the world is pretty relaxing - no wonder this is how most people live!

    If I had any advice for Velma Hart, it would be, "stay away from HAMP unless you want to ruin your credit and increase your risk of losing your home."  David Dayen at FDL has had an ongoing series on HAMP and the foreclusure mess, and the beginning of the end for a lot of people - too many people - has been the advice of servicers to stop paying on the mortgage so they can "qualify."  Servicers have - no surprise - figured out how to game the program to maximize their take, mostly to the detriment of people like Hart, who aren't yet in default, but are looking for some relief.

    I wanted to resurrect the Portrait of HAMP Failure series because of an interesting data point on HAMP modifications I recently came across. First, our story, which is so depressingly normal for a borrower seeking help with HAMP that it can almost be seen as a template. Todd Karwowski of South Plainfield, New Jersey, wrote in to tell me his story.

    He first applied for a HAMP modification with Chase Home Finance in May of 2009, 18 months ago. He was approved for the 90-day trial period after being told not to pay his mortgage for two months to qualify for the program (this is just not true, and it's a servicer-driven default that is a violation of not just HAMP guidelines but many state laws). Karwowski received a trial modification that lowered his payment by about $500 (which is the average reduction). At the end of the 90-day trial, he asked Chase about the outcome, and they just him to keep paying the reduced rate. This went on for 17 months, as Karwowski, who works for an electrical supply company, kept paying his modified payment and updating his income statements.

    Here comes the bait and switch: Chase told Karwowski in a demand letter, after denying him a permanent modification, to either pay $14,000 to reinstate the loan, or to go on a "repayment plan" to pay it back. The only other alternative would be foreclosure. So the goal was to push borrowers into some sort of alternative payment schedule, if not to take the home.

    Now, as dday points out, most people who start with HAMP don't lose their homes, but they do end up in private modification programs which is more to the benefit of the servicer than if the homeowner had been accepted into HAMP:

    The big bank servicers basically push the borrowers up against the wall, demanding immediate payment, foreclosure, or some alternative modification scenario. The alternative mod is attractive to the servicers, especially if they tack their late fees or principal forbearance onto the unpaid principal balance. This jacks up their servicer fees, which are a percentage of unpaid principal balance. They get to put the borrower in a less-attractive alternative mod, which has no transparency or safeguards, and could easily be another predatory lending scenario. The private mods are far less generous than HAMP mods, and expose the borrower to a far greater potential for default. As banks have learned how to navigate the HAMP system and use it for their own ends, this has become the default mode. 147,000 borrowers received modifications last month, only 28,000 through HAMP.

    This conflicts with the claims from the banks that borrowers in delinquency are "deadbeats" who would surely have to give up their homes no matter what. In fact, these people are desperate to keep those homes, and often find a way to do so, accepting whatever modification they can. And for the most part, they've stayed current on those modifications. The point is that a legitimate government program for loan modifications would be successful and not result in mass defaults. As it is, many borrowers get shuffled off into these private modifications, and are probably getting abused by them.

    The Velma Harts of the world, who so badly want to believe in the president, and this program he created, cannot imagine it could do them more harm than good, are just sitting ducks for mortgage servicers concerned only with their own bottom line.

    Anyway, back to my Thanksgiving checklist...


    likewise (none / 0) (#2)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:43:49 AM EST
    I think it's a post-election hangover.  There is so much build up, and when it's over, it's hard to care for a while.

    Here is some fun turkey/football distraction.  My favorite line:

    "Cranberry sauce is a seasonal food because if it were any good, people would eat it year-round. It's just like the NFC West. Football season rolls around and we just put the NFC West out there because it's tradition. But no one would miss it if it were gone."

    Cranberry sauce is terrible.  That fact is so rarely acknowledged.


    Wow (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:22:58 PM EST
    If you don't like it, by all means don't eat it.  I actually do have it year-round-- not the canned crap but homemade.  I buy a couple bags of cranberries in fall/winter and stash them in the freezer so I can make more when I need it.  I LOVE the stuff!

    Me, too (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by sj on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:35:49 PM EST
    Love the cranberry sauce.  And the sweet potatoes.

    Cranberry relish on the other hand, not so much.


    You two remind me of this New Yorker cartoon: (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by shoephone on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:08:19 PM EST
    A cat and a dog are sitting next to each other at the bar. Cat turns to dog and says, "Now, that's where we differ. You would eat cat food, but I wouldn't touch dog food."

    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by sj on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:23:00 PM EST
    Don't make me laugh out loud at work.

    By the way, I used to have a cat and a dog.  Had to feed them in separate rooms 'cause they each preferred the other's food.  Bad situation if they were successful -- really stinky poops.  From both of them.


    Ha! (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:00:16 PM EST
    Other once per year foods like cranberries: (none / 0) (#10)
    by magster on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:12:51 PM EST
    pumpkin seeds (actually I would eat these year round if it weren't for the pain of scooping seeds out of a pumpkin)
    corned beef and cabbage
    Chalky "luv ya" hearts

    Anything else?


    don't forget (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:13:02 PM EST
    • peeps (sugar bunnies from hell)
    • candy canes (there's a reason no one eats peppermint candies during the year)
    • egg nog (ok ok, i kind of like egg nog, in moderation, preferably spiked)
    • Matza (umm, really dry, boring crackers anyone?)
    • lebkuchen (it's a German xmas-time thing, and it's terrible, but then, so is a lot of German food, IMO)

    Peeps are year 'round... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:47:35 PM EST
    in my house...so are peppermints, just not in cane form.

    And Matza is delicous smeared with butter 1/4 inch thick!


    Peppermints year round for me too... (none / 0) (#47)
    by vml68 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:52:32 PM EST
    in cane or any other form. Last year after Christmas, the local grocery store started selling boxes of peppermints for 10c...I stocked up!

    Strictly Peppermint though... (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:25:51 PM EST
    I don't go for the spearmint or wintergreen stuff.

    And in a testament to me weirdness, I hated butter as a kid, I'd eat bagels dry & plain...now I can't get enough butter, I fry my eggs in half a stick just for the flavor.

    Which reminds me off the best egg sandwich in NY, Sal's Deli 20th Ave. Queens.  A full loaf of italian bread smeared with butter, scrambled eggs with bits of ham, bacon, & cheese.  The "cholesterol special" we call it...it's amazing.  Though couch-lock often follows if you polish off a whole one, really it could feed 3.


    so what you're really saying (none / 0) (#49)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:56:06 PM EST
    is that butter smeared 1/4 inch thick is delicious :)

    peeps?  really?  I mean, this falls into the category of "things my parents denied me as a child" and I still don't like them.


    Hell yeah Peeps! (none / 0) (#51)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:10:44 PM EST
    I likes 'em frozen.  I go nuts for most anything marshmallow or gummy...or as we call such treats at the crib, "plastiques".  Sweedish Fish, Gummy Bears, Fruit Roll-Ups...all that wholesome goodness.

    Agree (none / 0) (#112)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:26:18 PM EST
    on the Matza and butter.  Outstanding.

    What's the matter with you guys? (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by NYShooter on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:15:05 PM EST
    Chicken fat! Boychicks.

    and (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:17:42 PM EST
    the weird plastic candy they make just for halloween

    More wow (none / 0) (#60)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:25:58 PM EST
    I love Lebkuchen, adore egg nog and am very fond of much German food, as long as it's well made.  (agree with you on peeps and matzoh, neutral on peppermint candy).

    Me, too, regarding German food (none / 0) (#77)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:24:52 PM EST
    The various schnitzels, great sausages, sauerbraten, roast pork, potato pancakes, all kinds of cookies and cakes.  We gained weight when we visited Germany last Spring, despite all the walking we did.

    hmm (none / 0) (#87)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:42:20 PM EST
    I love potato pancakes, but I always knew them as latkes, so I don't really associate it with German food - but I guess they eat them too.

    I love (none / 0) (#79)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:28:06 PM EST
    German food too. I thought everybody did though so what do i know? I love Greek food too! Not in love with Italian though. I'm probably one of the few in the entire country that feel that way.

    well (none / 0) (#85)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:37:55 PM EST
    what can I say, other than, you are all wrong :)

    I like greek food, and italian, and pretty much any mediterranean food.

    I find a lot of German food to be kind of boring.

    Except the cheesecake.  German cheesecake is the best kind of cheesecake.  Once you realize what cheesecake is supposed to be like - it makes it a lot harder to appreciate other kinds of cheesecake.


    German (none / 0) (#106)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:44:07 PM EST
    cheesecake is probably the only German food I haven't eaten. Is it anything like the New York cheesecake? I love NY cheesecake!

    it tastes like cheesecake (none / 0) (#116)
    by CST on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 10:15:55 AM EST
    but it's light and practically fluffy - which means you can eat 4 pieces instead of just one :).  They use this cheese, frischk:ase, that I have tried and tried and utterly failed to find in the states.

    I don't dislike all German food.  There is some that's good, wurst and schniztel for example - hard to go wrong there.  I just wouldn't really seek it out.


    Count me in... (none / 0) (#97)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:56:03 PM EST
    I picked up veal cutlets from the butcher on the way home after all this wienerschnitzel talk..I'm gonna pound 'em paper thin, bread and fry those puppies with some noodles, brown gravy & onions, and red cabbage on the side...close enough to a German dinner.  Potato Pancakes crossed my mind but thats a little too much work for a Tuesday.

    I fixed (none / 0) (#105)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:42:55 PM EST
    schnitzel one time and my family loved it. Actually my family loves German food. I think it must be in the genes (grandparents came from Austria and Bavaria through Ellis Island).

    Whenever I lose interest in politics (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:43:50 AM EST
    I find myself rereading Bush v. Gore. By coincidence, I just did so again last night.

    Biggest catastrophe of the last 15 years.

    You mispelled 150. (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Buckeye on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:04:04 PM EST
    Not sure I'd agree with that (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:14:40 PM EST
    Even in the realm of politics, I'd say that the Compromise of 1877 is worse.

    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:34:14 PM EST
    Election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

    Actually did change everything for the worse.  

    Set the parameters for tax policy and military spending that continues to this day.

    Changed the culture in DC and the nation.


    Well, if we want to go worldwide (none / 0) (#41)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:35:44 PM EST
    I'd probably go with the Paris Peace Conference.

    We could (none / 0) (#44)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:41:35 PM EST
    chase this stuff around for the rest of the year.

    Please tell me you won't ;-) (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:52:52 PM EST
    Too (none / 0) (#108)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:05:54 PM EST

    Yup (none / 0) (#48)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:54:07 PM EST
    Yup (none / 0) (#109)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:09:07 PM EST
    World-wide I agree.

    Just incredible and we're still paying the price.


    For me (none / 0) (#58)
    by smott on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:23:42 PM EST
    ...elimination of Fairness Doctrine

    Personally, I am uncomfortable w/ (none / 0) (#107)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 06:06:26 PM EST
    the Fairness Doctrine. It doesn't comport well with my conception of the First Amendment.

    I agree, but (none / 0) (#114)
    by NYShooter on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:28:35 PM EST
    "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both," ............Louis Brandeis

    Unfortunately, years of precedence wasn't good enough for our current SC, so we'll just have to work towards an amendment that spells it out in a way that even these Corporatists can understand.


    Agree (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:48:52 AM EST
    There is a lot of anger and frustration on all sides. Obama supporters, Obama haters, conservatives, Tea Partiers, etc.

    People are mad. The mid terms are over.  There isn't even the hope of change or improvement that comes with elections.

    You look ahead and all you see is misery, lies, finger pointing and people still out of work.

    I'm focused on small victories right now. DADT repeal. It looks like it could happen. If the Dems do it before the end of the lame duck, it will be a fantastic end to this congress.

    I am focused on that.

    Everything else is miserably depressing. Especially if you believe like I do that no matter which sides gets its way on economic issues, the economy isn't going to improve for a long time.

    Er - is that the choice? (5.00 / 5) (#43)
    by smott on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:37:56 PM EST
    Support Obama, or hate him?

    Over the next 5+ years, our economy (none / 0) (#7)
    by Buckeye on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:02:44 PM EST
    will either go sideways or down.  We are in the midst of a lost decade.  Flat is the new growth.

    Well (none / 0) (#81)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:29:46 PM EST
    you and I finally agree. Everybody is mad for some reason or another. I think even the short euphoria the GOP felt after the election is gone.

    Maybe not (none / 0) (#84)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:34:39 PM EST
    They just picked up another couple of seats in the House,  making it now up to a 63 seat pickup, with 3 races still to be decided.

    No (none / 0) (#94)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:40:24 PM EST
    I'm not talking about picking up seats. I'm talking about the sudden realization that maybe they don't know what to do now that they have it and they don't other than just Obama knee jerking.

    They seem to think that eliminating jobs will create jobs. I want to say to them how'd that work for Ireland.


    Then, when people figure out who (none / 0) (#95)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:45:24 PM EST
    gets to join the unemployment lines with the tax cuts, it will be even more interesting. I just hope the Ds are smart enough to point the finger at the culprits as these things are happening.

    Don't hold (none / 0) (#110)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:11:10 PM EST
    your breath.

    I think our discussion needs to move (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by observed on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:08:59 PM EST
    towards a discussion of the military industrial complex and its death grip on our financial resources.
    In this vein, I have a question: were Simpson and Bowles serious when they suggested a 20% cut in military spending, or was that just put in for appearances sake, because all "serious" people know that will never happen.

    Wonder how much this cost us (none / 0) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:22:20 PM EST
    KABUL, Afghanistan -- For months, the secret talks unfolding between Taliban and Afghan leaders to end the war appeared to be showing promise, if only because of the appearance of a certain insurgent leader at one end of the table: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, one of the most senior commanders in the Taliban movement.

    But now, it turns out, Mr. Mansour was apparently not Mr. Mansour at all. In an episode that could have been lifted from a spy novel, United States and Afghan officials now say the Afghan man was an impostor, and high-level discussions conducted with the assistance of NATO appear to have achieved little.

    "It's not him," said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. "And we gave him a lot of money." NYT

    They should have figured it out (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by KeysDan on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:36:48 PM EST
    when he claimed to be Number Two in the Taliban. We have taken out all number two's a long time ago-- not a good place to be in the "insurgent"  hierarchy.

    If he were legit, we would have (none / 0) (#15)
    by observed on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:29:43 PM EST
    paid him in poppies.

    he says as he picks his jaw up off the floor.

    Suckered Again (none / 0) (#32)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:25:58 PM EST
    You'd think we'd learn.

    I'm inclined to think... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:41:54 PM EST
    they were at least half serious because they recommended only a 20% defense cut...when really we should be talking 50% or more.

    IMO any serious talk about budget cuts has to start with the complexes...military/prison/security.  Not entitlements.  Which is why I don't expect any serious talk...the complexes own our government.


    I'm sure you know the answer to this (none / 0) (#18)
    by observed on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:49:23 PM EST
    question: What's the total annual spending on state and federal prisons?

    Rainman I'm not:)... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:29:04 PM EST
    the only figure to memory is "too much".

    A little googling reveals at least over 50 billion spent in 2008 on prisons.


    Simpson, Bowles and scoundrels (none / 0) (#66)
    by KeysDan on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:43:27 PM EST
    of similar mind may be taken seriously when they stop hacking away at past achievements under the guise deficit reduction. The Catfood Commission's  apparent recognition that social security does not contribute to the deficit but still works it over with recommendations that relate to assurances for a long-term financial base, in and of itself,  lay bare their ideological motivation.

    Perhaps Simpson's outbursts ironically brought to light a better understanding of social security in that general revenues, by law, may not be used for the program.. Reduced benefits, raising age eligibility and removal of the $104,800 cap are not directly germane to the deficit discussion.  And, since social security finances are not in a state of  emergency, a commission, if need be, could be created just of that purpose, perhaps in ten or twenty years.

    Another success story that continues to be under the ideologic gun is Medicare. Just recently, with the passage of HCR,  almost $500 billion will be squeezed out of Medicare. The act also sets-up pilot studies to assess alternate payment approaches as well as the economies of patient-centered care. It may be prudent to await the results, or it was imprudently costly to include them.

    An important study would be to look into the reasons that health care does not lend itself to the customary economies of progress and, hence, resists many cost containment measures. The CBO, and the administration, have told us that HCR  (of which Medicare "reform" is a part) will actually help lower the deficit.

    The expansion of Medicaid, rather than expansion of Medicare, with its predictable political vulnerabilities (cf. Texas Gov. Perry) will wind up contributing to the deficit.  Another big mistake in HCR and likely problem for the deficit.


    Weren't (none / 0) (#111)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:13:29 PM EST
    some of those cuts in veterans benefits?

    If that's the case then it's whacking the little guy again.


    death threats (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:34:36 PM EST
    from TMZ

    Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas have received death threats and "Dancing with the Stars" has measurably heightened security ... sources connected with the show tell TMZ.

    this is the Palins secret weapon.  some yahoo will always make them look like a victim.

    Is the studio audience... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:58:33 PM EST
    going to be subjected to the TSA peak & grope?

    Erin Andrews also got them during her (none / 0) (#90)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:59:49 PM EST
    time on DWTS. Shawn Johnson got a scary stalker during her time there.

    Nothing new. Not unique or to be taken as a sign of anything Palin.


    Audiobook recommendation (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:41:51 PM EST
    Keith Richards' Life, read by Johnny Depp. I'm only an hour our so in, but it is really good. KR is an excellent storyteller - his childhood in wartime and postwar London surrounds alone makes an interesting story. And Depp reads it well without getting in the way.

    I'm on a little political hiatus too. I'm talked out.

    think this is (none / 0) (#50)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:58:14 PM EST
    Dexters last season?

    I hope not. (none / 0) (#65)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:40:39 PM EST
    Though I would hate to see it stay too long and get silly.

    I was glad to see Michael C Hall looking fit as a fiddle with his shirt off.


    yeah (none / 0) (#83)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:30:21 PM EST
    it just seems like they are sort of setting things up for and "off into the sunset" kind of thing.

    I hope not too.

    I wish they would bring the two kids back and become like the Incredibles.  a serial killer family.


    (Keith Richards) accent? That would be funny.

    Someone read the intro (none / 0) (#67)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:43:48 PM EST
    and I am not sure if it was Keith himself or Johnny doing Capt. Jack! Johnny does do an accent when he is reading direct quotations, but not through the whole book.

    Sounds lke fun! (none / 0) (#70)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:53:35 PM EST
    It is! Very enjoyable for my commute (none / 0) (#71)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:57:59 PM EST
    Looking forward to when the boy Keith discovers the blues.

    I just discovered (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:13:39 PM EST
    Absinthe.  wow.  cool.  how did I live so long without trying this?  138 proof!

    we usually have friday shots here with whatever anyone has at their desk.  I usually have things like tequila and scotch or whisky at my desk.

    today we are having friday shots on tuesday and its Absinthe.

    why am I not working where you work? (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by lilburro on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:02:20 PM EST
    See Degas' "The Absinthe Drinker" (none / 0) (#62)
    by christinep on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:29:38 PM EST
    Tried it a while ago, it was only OK. (none / 0) (#63)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:32:12 PM EST
    Maybe you have a better brand than I did.

    it tastes a little (none / 0) (#86)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:38:46 PM EST
    like NyQuil.  but it FEELS like super mega turbo NyQuil.  zilla.

    and the after taste is more like mouthwash.


    It's really just normal old alcohol, (none / 0) (#102)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:31:00 PM EST
    just like you get in beer, wine, spirits, etc. Shouldn't feel any different, except by the power of suggestion.

    I've never tried it either (none / 0) (#68)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:51:59 PM EST
    but it reminds me of many classic novels. I think it may be your downfall!

    This new stuff... (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:02:55 PM EST
    ain't Oscar Wilde's absinthe, from what I've heard/read...but I've yet to try it either.

    also (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:48:36 PM EST

    A critic said that:[21]
    "     Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country.

    sound familiar?

    and this:

    Although Émile Zola mentioned absinthe only once by name, he described its effects in his novel L'Assommoir:[22]
    "     Boche had known a joiner who had stripped himself stark naked in the rue Saint-Martin and died doing the polka--he was an absinthe-drinker.

    if you have to die I like the idea of dying doing the polka.


    it more or less (none / 0) (#78)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:27:37 PM EST
    is actually as far as I can tell.  it has wormwood.  but for some reason they realized that its not really poison its just really really strong.

    oh (none / 0) (#80)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:28:36 PM EST
    and they started making it again.


    Absinthe has been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug.[7] The chemical thujone, present in small quantities, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in most European countries including France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Although absinthe was vilified, no evidence has shown that it is any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Its psychoactive properties, apart from those of alcohol, have been much exaggerated.[7]

    Interesting.... (none / 0) (#98)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:58:20 PM EST
    Its psychoactive properties, apart from those of alcohol, have been much exaggerated

    Prohibition has been known to lead to a gross distortion of the facts.


    The decanters are (none / 0) (#91)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:01:08 PM EST
    really great and expensive. I have yet to see one that I wouldn't buy. Never tried the drink, though.

    Mea Culpa (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by BigElephant on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:16:44 PM EST
    It wouldn't take long to look at my history to see I've been an Obama fan.  It's been in the past couple of weeks that I've decided to end my support for Obama.  I've never been much of a one issue guy, but the intrusion on rights by the TSA and the administrations support is simply too much for me to bear.

    While I agree with most of his economic policies, I actually think the impact of this is greater (long and short term).  

    It's doubly disappointing that one of my Senators, Cantwell, has the same position.  I'd never thought I'd vote for Dino Rossi, but in this case I would if he took a different position.  

    So for those of you who would like to say, "I told you so...", commence the pile on.  

    Dino is bought and paid for (none / 0) (#76)
    by shoephone on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:24:45 PM EST
    by the building industry and the Chamber. He's now a three-time loser, and good riddance to him, I say.

    But I agree with you about Cantwell: she voted for the Patriot Act and remember also, she had "no regrets" about her vote for the Iraq War. And just for icing on the cake -- when she and Obama held a joint event at Garfield High in 2006, I staged a lone, silent protest (by merely holding a sign) on the steps outside the auditorium, and Cantwell sent her goons out to intimidate me and threaten to have me arrested if I didn't leave. They reminded me exactly of Bush's goons removing and arresting protestors from his events.

    Big Elephant, I'm curious to know something, though. When Senator Obama lied about filibustering the FISA bill and then turned right around and voted for it without a peep, did you not think that was an indication of where he stands on civil liberties?


    Cantwell (none / 0) (#82)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:30:17 PM EST
    & what i will never forget about her is when she was in the House & Pres Clinton was lining up support for the loathesome (& Bush I carryover) NAFTA agreement

    other House members were wheeling & dealing w/the WH to get something for their districts in exchange for their NAFTA vote

    not Maria

    she proudly announced that she had voted for NAFTA w/out asking for anything! - as if that made her a "good girl"


    LOL - if she had been the one running against (none / 0) (#89)
    by Inspector Gadget on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 03:57:01 PM EST
    Dino this mid-term season, he would have won.

    FISA (none / 0) (#103)
    by BigElephant on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:37:05 PM EST
    That's a good question.  I say this is one issue, but you do note that it is a culmination of issues around civil liberties.  And frankly it began with his nomination of Biden, who ranks amongst the worst IMO.

    Eventually one hits a tipping point, where things are no longer an aberration.

    And then to see the list of Democrats that supported COICA.  And I know a lot of people are never surprised by how low our politicians will go, but I'm a little surprised.  And the saddest part, IMO, is that the money actually isn't that much.  I've seen people in my field, software, give up a lot more money on principle.


    Get thee to the memoir (in progress) blog (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:49:47 AM EST
    The new chapter is lonely, it appreciates any attention it can get. The concluding chapters coming by year's end, or my name ain't Nathan Arizona.

    Have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving everyone. We're off to St. Louis in a few hours, ready for our TSA porn shots and gropedowns. My wife just hopes I don't start chirping in line and get myself in trouble.

    a couple months ago.

    Suprise, suprise, Nooks are now available with color screens.

    I actually feel a little pissed at B&N. They clearly could have introduced color screens when they introduced the Nook itself, but held them back, imo, so they could try to sell people who already bought a perfectly good B&W Nook a second, color, Nook.

    Personally I don't care about color, the Nooks we have are B&W like the books we read, so we're not really interested.

    But it just feels in my gut like a cheesey move to me.

    Does anyone know about the (none / 0) (#14)
    by observed on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:27:58 PM EST
    availability of scholarly literature for these readers? What about articles that are available on public download? I might get one just for more comfortable reading, depending what is available.

    I don't know, sorry. (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:45:55 PM EST
    Hoping not to get hit (none / 0) (#93)
    by CoralGables on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:17:41 PM EST
    with copyright infringement, but a certain Consumer related magazine (CR for short) lists the following two E book readers as Best Buys (with the Kindle rated a bit better than the Nook) with current advertised price in parentheses.

    Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi ($139)

    Barnes & Noble Nook Wi-Fi ($149)


    weird freakin tv commercial (none / 0) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 12:55:59 PM EST
    mysterious and interesting (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:01:01 PM EST
    teaser for no one knows what exactly from Neil Blomkamp the man behind District 9.

    The video, which you can watch for yourself embedded after the jump, features two young men  who discover a dead alien-looking creature in a puddle on the side of a dirt road. The creature has a circular stamp on its side which reads "18.12 AGM Heartland Pat Pend USA" and the outer circle reads: "US Inspected And Approved".

    Maybe it's a "catfish" (none / 0) (#22)
    by observed on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:07:48 PM EST
    let me guess (none / 0) (#23)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:10:34 PM EST
    you think its unfair to government inspected mutations.

    Hey, I was trying to respond to a comment (none / 0) (#115)
    by observed on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 06:56:15 AM EST
    of yours last night and kept losing my connection.
    If you drink absinthe, you need to look up the word "louche".
    10-15 years ago that word was au courant in places like the New Yorker, so I looked it up. I'm not sure if it's so commonly used now.

    what mandate (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:20:09 PM EST
    WASHINGTON -- A majority of Americans want the Congress to keep the new health care law or actually expand it, despite Republican claims that they have a mandate from the people to kill it, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

    The post-election survey showed that 51 percent of registered voters want to keep the law or change it to do more, while 44 percent want to change it to do less or repeal it altogether.

    The same poll (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:22:23 PM EST
    apparently reports disturbing numbers on DADT.

    Good with the bad. . .


    about what I would expect (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:25:30 PM EST

    that seems low to me (none / 0) (#33)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:27:09 PM EST
    I thought most polling had DADT at like 60-70 percent?

    Actually I think this sort of discredits the rest of the poll a bit.


    On gay issues (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:29:51 PM EST
    it's hard to go wrong picking the low number.

    I have seen polls (none / 0) (#37)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:30:17 PM EST
    all over the map.  I think it depends on how you ask the question.  as usual.  but I would guess, from my own anecdotal experience, that is about where the country is.

    wait wait (none / 0) (#29)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:24:15 PM EST
    you mean people actually want to keep/expand the socialist-government-takeover-corporate-insurance-givaway-health-reform now that it's passed?

    Gee, who could have predicted that?


    um, lets see (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:25:54 PM EST
    I think it was me.

    tongue firmly in cheek (none / 0) (#34)
    by CST on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:28:13 PM EST

    and most of the benefits (none / 0) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 01:31:24 PM EST
    have not been felt yet.

    Plus the new regs (none / 0) (#61)
    by christinep on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:28:02 PM EST
    announced yesterday by Sec. Sebelius, wherein at least 80% of premium dollars must be shown to go directly to health care costs ("loss ratio".) Goes into effect next year; requires extensive transparency by insurers (with very small ones being exempted in part) in reporting to insured. Apparently, it comports with the percentage range (80 to 85) that health consumer groups urged (in contrast to the 60 to 80 range direct $ range now.)

    Bill Clinton (none / 0) (#56)
    by christinep on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:21:47 PM EST
    CHeck. (none / 0) (#55)
    by lentinel on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:19:27 PM EST
    I'm quickly losing interest in political discussion.

    Who isn't?

    US "political discussion" = teh stupid (none / 0) (#99)
    by pluege2 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 04:59:10 PM EST
    I'm quickly losing interest in political discussion.

    what's the point?
    irrationality and plutocrats reign.

    There is no rational solution to 2+2=brown (none / 0) (#100)
    by pluege2 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:02:56 PM EST
    If there was something worthy of my attention (none / 0) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:27:16 PM EST
    perhaps I could find something to discuss.  Maybe we can discuss how I feel like some Redstate fool standing there with my hands in my pockets while half the military has quit, the other half is stop lossed and literally serving against their will, and some out of touch with reality fool is at the podium yammering about how we will stay the course :)  I feel very much like a partisan who's new job, and the only job available right now, is to stand here quietly and watch the party that USED TO best represent my needs and desires blows itself up :)

    Okay, MT, I get that you are frustrated. (none / 0) (#104)
    by caseyOR on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 05:42:26 PM EST
    And believe me, I am right there with you. I have to ask, though, is your statement that half the military has quit and the other half is serving against their will an accurate portrayal of where things stand today? Or, is it more symbolic than factual? A way to explain your frustration/anger?

    This is not a criticism of your statement. I am just trying to figure out if things are as bad with the military as I think they are. And you, whom I know only in cyberspace, are the only person I know with current ties to the military.

    So, any clarification/further explanation would be welcome.


    This isn't a depiction (none / 0) (#117)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 06:42:20 AM EST
    of today that I speak of :)  It was what happened right before the surge in Iraq under Dubya.  We did end up giving out $30,000 bonuses eventually in order to encourage reenlistment.

    That isn't the military today, only under Bush and his "stay the course" in Iraq.  This President has a different "stay the course" and it is causing his country to lose faith and hope in him as well.  $30,000 to regular people could help though.  If he give away anymore money though to millionaires....well heck, that's about as effective in dealing with what plagues the nation as shipping pallets of cash into Iraq War was and disappears into oblivion the same way too.