Wednesday Open Thread

It's a jail day for me. At least it's a beautiful day for the hour's drive through the foothills to get there.

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    The Sanfords are back (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by lilburro on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:02:58 PM EST
    from Jezebel:

    Jenny Sanford has revealed (or will, when her 20/20 interview airs) that, when they married, Mark Sanford refused to commit in his vows to fidelity - which means, of course, that barring some comfort and honor issues, as far as we know he pretty much upheld them! Jenny Sanford explains her acceptance of this principled stand thusly to Barbara Walters, "It bothered me to some extent, but ... we were very young, we were in love...I questioned it, but I got past it ... along with other doubts that I had."


    Heh (none / 0) (#17)
    by Emma on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:20:15 PM EST
    Marriage is a contract.  So you might as well write it the way you want to, especially if that means you don't have a non-compete clause.

    Who knew (none / 0) (#25)
    by lilburro on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:17:57 PM EST
    the divine covenant of traditional marriage was so negotiable?

    Mark Sanford (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Emma on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:30:41 PM EST
    Mark Sanford knew.  That's who.  :)

    Heh. (none / 0) (#19)
    by scribe on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:55:17 PM EST
    Looks like Ms. Skilsaw the I-banker bought into a contract she wound up not liking.

    No one to blame but herself, thinking she could change him.


    More WTF??? (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 05:45:58 PM EST
    He asked for her advice about the affair and how to handle the media...

    In a new memoir, South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford writes that Gov. Mark Sanford sought her advice about his romance and how to deal with the media after she discovered his extramarital relationship with an Argentine woman.

    Jenny Sanford, who managed political campaigns for her husband during their 20-year marriage, writes in "Staying True" that the governor used her as a sounding board, wondering aloud whether he should follow his heart to Argentina and if he would live a life of regret if he didn't.

    "Clearly those are thoughts I wish he had kept to himself," Jenny Sanford writes in the book to be released on Friday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 214-page book, published by Ballantine Books, on Tuesday.

    good to find out today that, (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:21:50 PM EST
    despite the spectre of a 'domestic spending freeze', requested funding for science research is up in the 2011 budget request. The request gives NIH another billion dollars and NSF gets an 8% increase.

    Very interesting NOVA (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by brodie on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:33:59 PM EST
    last night, "Ghosts of Machu Piccu."  Good stuff I wasn't aware of about how the Inca engineers had to spend most of their effort designing and building not what was above, which is impressive by itself to say the least, but in what was below -- the water draining systems needed to avoid having the upper structures slide down a steep cliffside in a locale that gets a lot of rainfall.

    The terracing method used was simple yet ingenious, especially in how the engineers used differing layers below the topsoil -- sandy soil, then gravel then stones -- to absorb and safely drain away the extra moisture.

    It wasn't mentioned in the doc, but this system reminded me of what I read a few yrs ago about how the unknown engineers of North America's greatest earthen pyramid at Cahokia -- still largely standing a thousand yrs on -- used alternating layers of sand and clay over the 13 acres of the base to achieve just the right balance of water absorption and drainage to avoid having the structure's base absorb too much water and thus become destabilized or washed away in a locale prone to flooding from the nearby Mississippi River.

    Same basic sound and brilliant engineering ideas, but hundreds of years and thousands of miles apart.  

    Have you read 1491 yet? (none / 0) (#39)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:51:41 PM EST
    it's a few years old, but examines pre Columbian america, Very interesting.

    Yes. 1491 (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 04:27:13 PM EST
    is where I found out about Cahokia's amazing drainage design.

    There goes reconciliation... (none / 0) (#1)
    by BigElephant on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:22:21 AM EST
    As I'm sure people have read, the GOP have found a way to effectively "filibuster" reconcilation:


    And Jim DeMint will do it, and get overwhelming support from South Carolina for doing so.

    The Dems can do whatever they want (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:27:20 AM EST
    with a majority. So this will only work if the Dems let it. (They might, of course).

    I loved this part: (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:39:25 AM EST
    If those options failed, and Reid couldn't convince a single Republican to vote with his 59-member conference, Democrats might be forced to consider withdrawing the healthcare bill.

    Has Harry managed to convince the entire Dem caucus to vote for the bill?  Did I miss that news flash?

    To use a sports reference, I think the Dems have a lousy QB who can't put one in the end zone, and they're out of field goal range - and they know it.


    The nuclear option... (none / 0) (#4)
    by BigElephant on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:45:02 AM EST
    It would be interesting to just exercise the nuclear option as standard part of the senate.  Everything happens with 50+ votes.  

    But while that seems great today, it may seem less great in a year if the GOP takes over the Senate.  Although with that said, I wouldn't be surprised if the GOP did it anyways.


    Pelosi (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:24:16 PM EST
    going after health insurance companies

    With the broader health care bill still perilously close to collapse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to take a shot at the health insurance industry next week by scheduling a vote on a smaller bill to revoke its half-century-old exemption from antitrust laws.

    The vote is part of her new two-track strategy to tackle things that won't be included in a more sweeping bill -- if Congress ever passes one -- while giving her members something politically popular to vote on. The move also puts pressure on Republicans, the industry and wavering Democrats, who wish their leaders would abandon the push altogether.

    The bill comes as party brass struggles to find a path forward in the broader health care reform effort and amounts to a concession to her caucus as more sweeping legislation twists in the wind.  

    The House bill would resemble a section of the House health care bill that ends an exemption for health and medical malpractice insurers and grants the federal government more authority to regulate antitrust laws.

    The Senate didn't include an antitrust provision in its health care legislation because Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) couldn't muster the 60 votes needed to include it.

    Nancy Pelosi (none / 0) (#13)
    by CST on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:39:13 PM EST
    has been a suprising ray of light in this entire messed up process.

    Go Nancy!

    Let them filibuster.


    Depends how you define (none / 0) (#43)
    by cawaltz on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 04:47:40 PM EST
    "ray of light?"

    This would have been alot easier if ol' Nancy hadn't declared single payer(much like impeachment) off the table to begin with.

    I trust Nancy as far as I can throw her and I do NOT have a decent pitching arm.


    Why does the Prez keep dissing Las Vegas? (none / 0) (#5)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:51:31 AM EST
    Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

    This morning, for the second time, he cited Las Vegas specifically as an example of where you shouldn't be spending your money in these hard times. The last time he did so, the city lost millions in revenue as corporations cancelled conventions and put their money in even more expensive venues (San Francisco, for one).

    He could have easily said something generic like "it's not the time to be gambling with the grocery money." After all, casinos and other kinds of gambling venues are all over the country now. But, instead, he got specific.

    Given that he got in hot water the first time he said it, Nevada is a rather conservative swing state that only recently came into the Democratic column, and, his statement isn't at all helpful to embattled Sen. Reid, it seems exceptionally politically stupid. Plus, Vegas is one of the places hit hardest by the collapse of the housing market; people are suffering there -- this makes him seem clueless and callous about their plight.

    I don't think the President is politically inept. So why make the same mistake TWICE? Is he angry at Reid? Resentful about what happened during the primary? Just can't help himself?

    I find Obama to be very judgmental (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:04:28 PM EST
    about a lot of things that are really none of his business, so I am not surprised to learn that he's invoked the evils of Las Vegas...

    I'm pretty sure, though, that he won't be discouraging people from donating their meager dollars to OFA, or hectoring the corporations to consider giving raises to their employees or hiring some new ones with all those millions they spend on lobbying activities and donating to political candidates.

    No, better to lecture the overburdened on the best ways to spend their money...


    Partially agree... (none / 0) (#11)
    by BigElephant on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:31:45 PM EST
    While I agree that Obama should not try to persuade parents to send their child to college (frankly, we have too many children going to college as it is), I do think that the use of Vegas as symbolic of a place where people blow cash on vacation is very reasonable.  

    The whole stupidity around Vegas is absurd.  The right argument is "If I don't want to send my child to college and blow my money on strippers -- that's my call".  The rest about Vegas though is pandering at its worst.  

    If I were Obama I'd apologize to parents and let them know they can spend their money any way they choose.  No apology to LV.


    For the lay person, using Vegas as a symbol (none / 0) (#22)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:03:43 PM EST
    is fine. But we're talking about the President of the United States and he is talking about a community of people that is, in a sense, in his care. As judgemental as any of us may be about "sin city," I think everyone would agree that it is expected that the President has to act as if he has the best interest of EVERY community always in mind.

    Presidents could choose to be just as judgemental and disparaging to many communities in this country. I'm offended when Republicans diss "Massachusetts" or "San Francisco" liberals. How much worse would it be if a Republican President repeatedly used the city itself as a symbol of sexual decadence, suggesting, for instance, that "San Francisco values" made it an inapproriate place for corporations to hold conventions?"  Or, dismissed Detroit as nothing more than a symbol of corruption and urban decay?


    But what he said wasn't dispariging... (none / 0) (#34)
    by BigElephant on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:00:47 PM EST
    He didn't say LV was a bad place.  He just don't blow your money there.  I think saying Disneyworld would be equally appropriate, and I don't think Disney would or should take offense.  

    There's reality, and there is political reality (none / 0) (#35)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:06:32 PM EST
    This was the second time he cited the city in a negative way -- and the first time cost the city, that is struggling more than most in this economy, a great deal of money. That makes his comments very exploitable in terms of local politics -- in a political environment in which Democrats, like Harry Reid, are becoming more vulnerable by the minute.

    He could have said "gamble" just as easily as "Vegas" in that sentence -- and no one would have had a club to beat Reid, the Democrats in general, and, of course, Obama, over the head with.


    this whole bruhaha (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:56:07 PM EST
    seems completely stupid to me.
    he was talking about gambling with the future.
    anyone who doesnt understand that simply chooses not to IMO

    He could talk about gambling with the future (none / 0) (#23)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:07:57 PM EST
    without dissing a particular place. Twice.

    One slip of the tongue is human. Two? In a state that only recently swung to our side? With a Senate leader under already under fire?

    It's political malpractice. When you're the president, your public words have real import. You can't afford this kind of carelessness.

    Obama is neither dumb or careless with workds. So, why doesn't he care?


    gambling in this (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:12:06 PM EST
    country can be one word.  Las Vegas.  or two words.
    that is simply a fact.

    The biggest casino... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:20:35 PM EST
    ain't in Vegas man, its in lower Manhattan.  When I think gambling in America I think Wall St.

    When I think of a damn good time, then I think of Las Vegas.


    It's because what happened in Vegas (none / 0) (#40)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:59:39 PM EST
    didn't stay in Vegas, I guess...

    Wasn't Las Vegas one of the first cities to see property values plummet?

    blame Vegas. It can't fight back.


    it was (none / 0) (#41)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 04:26:53 PM EST
    I have a friend who got totally hosed when the bottom dropped out of the real estate market.

    I sort of thing Las Vegas is to dumb to ridicule.

    its like Disney Land for adults where you can gamble away the kids college money while they ride the rides.

    you couldnt pay me to live there.  although I do enjoy the occasional visit.


    I wonder how many people (none / 0) (#48)
    by nycstray on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 05:49:10 PM EST
    actually pull money out of their kids' college account to go blow it in Vegas?

    Personally, I'm a bit tired of his advice to 'the people'. Especially during a time when "staycations" are a reality because that's all many folks can afford.


    he was not really (none / 0) (#49)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Feb 04, 2010 at 03:17:12 PM EST
    giving any advise in that comment about Vegas.

    On Monday during a question-and-answer session in Elkhart, Ind., Obama conjured imagery of crooked bankers cavorting in Las Vegas to make a point about accountability and responsibility.

    "You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime," Obama said.

    Not for the President in public remarks (none / 0) (#33)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:58:16 PM EST
    How do we know about this? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:32:32 PM EST
    I thought "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?"

    Because (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:56:35 AM EST
    It's "Sin City" - can't promote a place that hs gambling and half-nekkid wimmun!

    Why not? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:18:25 PM EST
    anything less is letting "the terrorists" win...  according to "our enemies" we are sin nation.

    I say you're either with us or against us...let free degeneracy ring baby:)


    Hard to believe Obama (none / 0) (#12)
    by brodie on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:32:26 PM EST
    would be angry at the senator who was so instrumental in encouraging him to run for the presidency and who's been faithfully working with him on HCR, and it's hard to believe he'd want to diss a purple state that went for him in the 08 election.

    Looks to me like the normally cautious but human Obama just can't lay off making Vegas the playful target of his public rhetoric, sort of like how some normally outstanding and disciplined star QBs can't resist taking that one high-risk and ill-advised gamble that ends up being costly for his team.  

    Well, it is a strange desert place of personal excess named, improbably, for meadows which allegedly once were present in the area.  But any good pol who wants to stay in business should know better than to diss the joint in public.  Not very smart.  Not very classy, as the locals there might say.


    Stupid remark. Lots of people go to Vegas for (none / 0) (#18)
    by Angel on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:33:13 PM EST
    reasons other than gambling.  We gamble, but we go and see our friends who live there, eat at nice restaurants, and relax by the pool or in the spa, etc.  We're putting money into their economy, we're helping to support other families, because believe me, it's family people who work in the casinos.  It isn't all debauchery.  

    And it's our money so it really isn't any of Obama's business anyway.  


    The mayor of Las Vegas (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:39:45 PM EST
    isn't too happy with Obama either - calls him a  "slow learner".

    "I guess you've all seen the president's remarks or read about the president's remarks, well I've got some remarks of my own. I was back in Washington, D.C. about two weeks ago, going up and down the halls of the capitol telling people about our economy here, trying to get them to be sympathetic to what we're trying to accomplish, then I have to read what President Obama said.

    "He has a real psychological hang up about the entertainment capitol of the world. An apology won't be acceptable this time, I don't know where his vendetta comes from but we're not going to let him make his bones by lambasting Las Vegas, that's why (the press) is here today.

    "He didn't learn his lesson the first time, but when he hurt our economy by his ill conceived rhetoric, we didn't think it would happen again, but now that it has I want to assure you, when he comes I'll do everything I can to give him the boot back to Washington and to visit his failures back there.

    "I gotta tell you this, everybody says I shouldn't say it, but I gotta tell you the way it is. This president is a real slow learner."

    If I were Obama... (none / 0) (#37)
    by BigElephant on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:38:19 PM EST
    (of course I'm not), I'd take this opportunity to roast Las Vegas.  The city is a clusterdump.  Your not going to lose a whole lot of votes for making Las Vegas an example of the type of place we don't want this country to become.  Let the mayor deal with that.

    Just like South Carolina is a backwards state, with frankly backwards people, Las Vegas doesn't have many redeeming qualities.  Of course political correctness will not let anyone attack these places.  The only places that are OK to attack are: D.C., New York City, and L.A. (Hollywood to be exact).  And on occassion Seattle and MA.  

    This mayor needs to focus on getting his city right.  The words by the president were frankly too kind.


    Ahem (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 03:43:03 PM EST
    I have an aunt and uncle that live (part-time) in South Carolina and some very good friends who live there too.  None of them are "backwards people".

    The plain-speaking Mayor of Las Vegas (none / 0) (#44)
    by Peter G on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 05:15:37 PM EST
    is Oscar Goodman, a former Philadelphian, and past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, on whose board TL served.  

    Maureen Dowd turns out (none / 0) (#6)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 11:56:05 AM EST
    a good column today, not only for the discussion of Admiral Mullen's testimony for the repeal of DADT, but also, for her historical reminder (in a very rare compliment) that President Clinton tried to do the right thing in 1993 only to be undermined by Sam Nunn, then chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recalling, too, Nunn's infamous tour of a submarine's close quarters. And, in another rare, yet accurate, comment, noted that one of Mullen's predecessors, Colin Powell, "directed the embarrassingly public and retrograde rebellion by the generals against it". Although I would quarrel with her description of  "Powell's" role as being just embarrassing--I would add: insubordinate.  

    Won't disagree about Powell (none / 0) (#14)
    by brodie on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:45:30 PM EST
    back then, but just a few weeks into his presidency and having already spent a fair amount of political capital on an issue that didn't have a majority with the public, Bill wasn't about to directly challenge the most popular unelected person in the land.  Would have been extremely dicey for Clinton to have tried to pull a Truman with Powell.

    David Gergen talked about the one final meeting Clinton held in the Oval with about a dozen aides and congresscritters.  They went around the room and every person weighed in against gays openly serving; only the last speaker, Al Gore, disagreed.

    Clinton also had to hear the influential Sen Bobby Byrd talk about how homosexuality, he claimed, had led to the fall of the Roman Empire.  Silly stuff, but Byrd in 1993 had clout on the Hill.

    Dunno about Byrd's stance today, but Powell has now changed, as has the majority of the public.  In 1993, some folks wanted to move a little more quickly than the political times allowed.  


    Ms. Dowd does an historical (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 01:56:02 PM EST
    service by pointing out that President Clinton, as one of his first acts in office, tried to "do the right thing", by proposing an executive order that would permit gay women and men to serve openly in the military in keeping with his campaign statements.  Mr. Clinton is often blamed for giving us DADT, which misconstrues what happened. While it is true that adequate spade work was not done, especially given the times, other factors were in play as well.  Sam Nunn was passed over for the job he coveted, Secretary of State, in part, because of the gay community's opposition. Nunn had a reputation as being homophobic supported by hiring and firing practices in his senate office. Powell actively and publicly opposed the president to the point of calling  on cadets, in a speech at the military academy, to resist on moral grounds. In my view, the situation was close to being  a coup. The "compromise" was the abandonment of the Clinton proposal and codification of the homophobia into law (capped by, no doubt, a humbling address by the president to assembled military). Yes, Powell  seems to have new thoughts and the "approach" is correct (a study, would be good)--even the late Professor Charles Moskos, author of DADT, changed his mind a while back. Byrd, probably has trouble these days keeping fall and the Roman Empire straight.

    Must see TV? (none / 0) (#8)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 12:02:36 PM EST
    Jon Stewart is on Bill O's show tonight and tomorrow.  Faux is blocked out on my TV, so I guess I'll have to wait for the video clips.  

    I can't let this go anymore (none / 0) (#31)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:42:40 PM EST
    Can someone please explain to me how a terrorist sympathizer and funder (in the pre-Bush, held fundraisers for Terrorist Organizations sense)like Peter King gets to be all high and mighty and pretend like he's a big man on Terror- if Kalihd Sheik Muhammed was named Sean Michael Flannigan, the Congressman would call for a parade in his honor- I'm sorry but its disgusting to see a man who spent the 80s excusing bombings and murder suddenly acting like its a crime against humanity.

    It's not just him, though (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 02:48:54 PM EST
    Lots of New york politicians are now against having KSM's trial in NY, including both Senators and the Governor....

    And I can deal with (none / 0) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 05:28:59 PM EST
    that- but this is insane- its like watching a Roman Polanski PSA against Child Molestation.

    Technically (none / 0) (#46)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 03, 2010 at 05:37:32 PM EST
    The crimes KSM is accused of (and others that we know he partook in) ARE/WERE crimes against humanity...