Wednesday Night Open Thread

Sandra Bullock's perfect marriage may not be so perfect. (I'm always skeptical of those award speeches where the winner goes on and on about how great their spouse is.) It was just in January, at the Screen Actor Guild Awards, she said:

“And to my husband, Jesse, who works so hard all day, and you get dressed up in monkey suits, and you sit at a table with people you don’t know. And I leave you there and then you come back with, like, Morgan Freeman’s email. I don’t know how you do it. I love you so much, and you’re really hot. And I want you so much.”

Who's going home tonight on American Idol? (No spoilers please till it's aired on the West Coast.) I texted my vote last night to keep Crystal Bowersox and Casey James. They all pretty much butchered the Rolling Stones. They should have re-watched Adam Lambert last year performing Satisfaction.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Ah... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 08:47:00 PM EST
    ...the power of music---and cheap green beer.

    Opening statements in a Chicago man's first-degree murder trial were delayed Wednesday because of St. Patrick's Day bar music that rattled the windows of the Polk County courthouse.

    The pop tunes were so loud that Judge Joel Novak sent jurors home "out of an abundance of caution," in case the music distracted jurors or the trial lawyers.

    The music came from St. Patrick's Day festivities down in the Court Avenue District, about three blocks away. The afternoon mix included Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas

    Rock-n-Roll... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 09:30:57 AM EST
    stops the traffic, cheesy pop stops the trial.

    Good call by the judge, Lady GaGa and Black Eyed Peas at full blast might make me agitated enough to accidentally vote to convict somebody...can't have that:)


    Cheesy Pop... (none / 0) (#51)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 09:51:20 AM EST
    ...is right.  I am a bit surprised at the choice of music--this is Des Moines we're talking about afterall.  I was expecting more along the lines of Bob Segar, Molly Hatchet and REO Speedwagon than the Peas and Lady GaGa.  

    Des Moines... (none / 0) (#52)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:06:11 AM EST
    on St. Pat's no less...no Dannyboy?

    Alicia Keyes kinda disappointed last night...too much of the fancy sets and dancers and pop cheese...not enough Alicia, a piano, and a spotlight.  Good time though....Beyonce made a cameo, as well as Jay-Z for the "Empire State of Mind" finale...that got the crowd amped up.


    I need to get with my movie (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 08:58:03 PM EST
    But I think the Sandra Bullock story super sucks.  I find myself thinking mostly about the children involved.  Everyone else is a big person, all of us big people will weather it just fine.  I did sort of wonder about things though,  even though it isn't my place to do so. But Mr. Jesse has in the past had a penchant for girls who travel on the harsher side of life and proudly display it.  I always thought the Sandra/Jesse match an odd one.  She obviously loves him a lot though, and the kids, this one is going to hurt.

    His kids live with their mother (none / 0) (#7)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:00:55 PM EST
    They have no children together. And, the match doesn't seem logical, but maybe that is where it's charm came from for her.

    I think she is very much into the kids though (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:02:13 PM EST
    There was a recent custody fight I thought.

    They have custody of the five year old (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:04:48 PM EST
    Ahhhh....I didn't know (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:08:24 PM EST
    that :) I get the impression SB is exceptionally kind, but I'm doubting getting on her bad side would be a fun place to be.

    I'm sure she is, and you could be right.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:04:48 PM EST
    I didn't read anything about a custody fight, but I'm sure you're right about her relationship with his kids.

    Not all marriages end over an affair, so maybe they will survive and he'll have learned a really important lesson.


    The five year olds mum is a porn star though (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:06:42 PM EST
    I think Jesse has a taste for nasty girls that Sandra is not going to fill.

    Makes one wonder what he was (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:09:50 PM EST
    thinking when he hooked up with SB, doesn't it!

    It did me (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:11:07 PM EST
    I got the impression she trusted him (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:36:58 PM EST
    completely to be honest and protective of her feelings. If he did this for 11 months and led the woman to believe he was split from SB...whoa!

    She's the one who said nice things (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 08:58:30 PM EST
    He's the one who is being accused of having the affair....why would her speech make you skeptical? I'm betting she meant every word of those speeches, and he sat in the audience with tear-filled eyes because he knew he didn't deserve it.

    Marriages can turn from stable to explosive PDQ depending on the level of betrayal.

    I don't think (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:25:01 PM EST
    Jeralyn meant she was skeptical of Bullock's sincerity, just of the actual state of the marriage, since these speeches have had a pattern of preceding break-ups, it seems.

    I know that, I just don't think Sandra (none / 0) (#23)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:26:12 PM EST
    knew her marriage was in trouble until just before she canceled her trip to London.

    Don't think Jeralyn was (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 01:47:44 AM EST
    meaning to suggest that she was.

    I say this because I had the same reaction, "Uh-oh!" to Bullock's gushing praise.  It was just too reminiscent of Kirstie Alley's.  Both women were totally sincere, I'm sure.

    But a woman so totally under the sway of her man as to feel the need to give out such really quite private praise in public is a woman who's likely pretty blind to the signs of trouble, IMHO.


    When I saw her give that speech (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:40:35 PM EST
    I thought to myself that he must have been whining in the limo all the way there. Something seemed off there to me.

    same here (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:21:08 PM EST
    "The lady doth protest too much" came to mind.

    She may not have known he was fooling around, but according to the woman involved it lasted 9 months. That's more than long enough for her to have a sense that something was off.

    Having watched Jesse James during his season on Celebrity Apprentice, I was never able to figure out what she saw in him.


    My mother used to say that (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:30:06 PM EST
    when couples start using pet names, and a lot of "honeys" and "sweeties" all of a sudden, there was something wrong. She was usually right.

    I couldn't see what she saw in him, either, but I did think what they had was real. I'm thinking it is a really sad and awful time in their house right now.


    You're an admitted cynic, though :) (none / 0) (#32)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 10:20:03 PM EST
    She didn't say much of anything about him in her Oscar speech....just that her mother made her who she is which led to her getting him, and her Oscar. Nothing seemed "off" to most or it would have been all over the internet trying to crack the code of what she was r e a l l y saying.

    question about exchanges: (none / 0) (#2)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 08:57:52 PM EST
    Will insurance companies run them? Will they get some of the federal money to start these "helpful" exchanges?
    I have no idea, myself. I'm just mystified at the idea that exchanges will help lower insurance costs, since people can already do one-stop comparison shopping  for insurance. In fact, they can do it at "Progressive".. now there's a hoot!
    I would imagine that insurance companies will run the exchanges, because after all, they have the expertise!

    What happened in MA? By the way,Masslib said hardly anyone in MA has signed up for the exchanges.

    My understanding is that the exchanges (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:00:52 PM EST
    will be government run, and insurance companies must meet certain criteria to be a part of what is available through the exchanges.  This may all be old outdated info though.

    Ok, thanks (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:04:06 PM EST
    As someone pointed out earlier today, the insurance companies charge rates based on actuarial tables, and no exchange will change those numbers.
    As I understand it, exchanges will lower costs through making the market more "efficient".

    One problem is that insurance companies may not offer attractive policies through the exchanges in the first place.


    The states (none / 0) (#15)
    by waldenpond on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:07:14 PM EST
    will run the exchanges...States already have insurance regulators.  They will set up criteria for participating etc.  Feinstein's effort at some national oversight failed to qualify for reconciliation as it did not directly impact the budget.

    Hmm...I seem to recall reading that (none / 0) (#19)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:14:39 PM EST
    this setup can make it easier for insurance companies to issue nationwide policies from states with the laxest regulations. Am I wrong?

    Yes, you're wrong (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:22:55 PM EST
    Insurance companies are not now allowed to sell policies across state lines.  The GOPers want that bar abolished.  They lost-- this time around anyway.

    The so-called exchanges are state-based.  This makes them less competitive due to the smaller pool, but continues to keep the individual states in charge of what kinds of insurance can and cannot be offered within their state.


    Oh ok, thanks. I knew there was (none / 0) (#24)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:26:17 PM EST
    discussion about whether insurance policies could be sold across state lines.
    What you describe sounds like it will be pretty much useless.

    But, but... (none / 0) (#26)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:35:03 PM EST
    ...interstate sales and tort reform will solve all our problems!!!111!

    interstate sales with national regulation (none / 0) (#28)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:39:18 PM EST
    would make a lot of sense, assuming the regulation is strong enough and enforced.
    State by state exchanges?
    How many people are expected to register? Someone earlier today said 3 million nationwide. Divided among 50 states, that sounds like very weak bargaining power.

    I have my own idea for tort reform: doctors shouldn't tolerate the bad eggs. Nurses associations are much more strict about getting rid of incompetent nurses, or so I'm told


    Agreed on all counts (none / 0) (#37)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 12:12:59 AM EST
    You're so right about nurses versus doctors.

    There's no actual bargaining power in the exchanges, though.  There's "pools" and then there's "exchanges."  They're separate things.  I'm not sure if there's any language specifically setting up a mechanism for those of us on the individual market to band together to bargain as a unit with insurance cos. or health care providers.  If there is, that could help.

    But the exchanges by themselves are nothing more than a nice place where you can compare costs and benefits of what's available easily in a standard format.

    They have that in Mass., and I do have a couple friends there who were able to find substantially cheaper insurance covering the same things as they had been getting before by using the state exhange there, so they do help somewhat in terms of fostering actual competition for business, it seems.

    It's really a little bit like unit pricing in supermarkets.  When you can compare price per ounce of whatever it is quickly and easily no matter how it's packaged, it's much easier to pick the least expensive offer.


    Thanks for the info. I have to say that (none / 0) (#43)
    by observed on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 06:32:04 AM EST
    I'm just really puzzled now.
    Comparison shopping for insurance exists now, so what is the big deal about putting it in the bill?
    The exchanges are a TINY step, IMO.

    Comparison shopping (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:18:31 AM EST
    Is sorta, kinda possible now-- for some savvy people.  But it's harder than it needs to be, too hard for an awful lot of folks to sort through. The way the Mass. exchange works, I gather, makes it much easier and clearer because the ins. cos. are mandated to present the same information in the same format, using the same language, etc.

    I haven't seen it myself, but I'm going on the experience of one of my Mass. friends.  She's actually a dogged and medically knowledgeable Internet researcher with a number of health issues and concerns, and the exchange in Mass. gave her more info that was critical to her all in one place than she'd been able to get before, enabling her to switch her insurer to one that provided better coverage (for her) for significantly less money.


    that's good (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by CST on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:28:12 AM EST
    I don't know of anyone who has had to use it for the individual market, everyone I know who has used the Mass health plan is either subsidized or free.  I did check out the website the other day and it is very straight forward and easy to use.  I even found out how much I could make and qualify for a subsidy within about 1 minute.  It's higher than I thought.

    To be honest, it is a lot easier for me to support this bill because I know exactly how the exchanges will be handled in my state.  And we have a more comprehensive plan in place.  So there is no fear of the unknown.  But there will be a lot of room for variation between the states as the bill currently stands.

    If the exchanges all work as well as MA we will be in decent shape.  But even here they have not acted as a price control on the overall market, and they are not where most of the newly insured come from.  And they probably won't all work as well.


    But few people actually use the (none / 0) (#55)
    by observed on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:26:14 AM EST
    exchanges in MA, according to Masslib.

    well (none / 0) (#57)
    by CST on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:30:39 AM EST
    that's a good indication that most of the uninsured qualify for subsidies or other expansions of insurance.

    They may be a nice place to (none / 0) (#45)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 07:01:32 AM EST
    comparison shop, but let's not forget that the vast majority of us will not be eligible to participate; if your employer offers a plan, you're stuck, whether you like the plan or not.  People like me, who opted to get insurance on the individual market even though my employer offers a plan, are probably also going to be barred from the exchange, faced with the choice of keeping what we have, or going with the employer plan.

    We have been led to believe that these exchanges are going to be where all these many millions of people will be getting insurance, but we have no idea how many of them are currently uninsured because they can't afford their employer-offered plans; those people will not be eligible, either.

    But, hey - why obsess over it now?  We'll just worry about it in four years, when - maybe - there will be anything left of Obamacare, since Republicans may scrap the whole thing for something even worse by then...


    Can't afford (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:12:02 AM EST
    Yup, the absolutely key thing is that Congressional fat-cat definition of "affordable."  Supposedly and in principle, nobody will be forced to buy something they can't afford, but I trust these guys to understand what that means about as far as I can throw the whole bunch of them.

    That reminds me of another question (none / 0) (#46)
    by observed on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 07:33:40 AM EST
    I have.
    We're told that if the bill passes, 30 million new people will be insured, which makes this bill historic(TM).
    Of those 30 million, how many are people who will be mandated to buy insurance---i.e. people who may not want insurance now?
    It's the other elements of the bill that help those people who are in desperate need now, as I understand it.
    I"m all for the mandate, actually, but I'm just trying to understand the sales job for the bill, which is horrible as a whole.

    I imagine (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by CST on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 09:00:16 AM EST
    a decent chunk of that 30 million will be the under-26-year-olds who can now stay on their parent's insurance.  Plus there is the medicaid expansion.  And then the rest will be people who are now mandated, some with subsidies, some not.

    The largest group of uninsured is 19 - 29.  So raising the age for dependancy on health insurance may catch a lot.


    Strongly disagree (none / 0) (#48)
    by waldenpond on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 09:29:16 AM EST
    about nurses.  Nurses are unionized in CA.  It is nearly impossible to get rid of them.  A nurse can nearly kill someone with a med error.  The union will block taking the nurse off the floor as long as possible and the hospital must then find something else for the nurse to do (or typically pay them to stay home) and the settlement around discharge involves confidentiality.  The nurse will move on.

    Thanks for the input. My information (none / 0) (#50)
    by observed on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 09:35:28 AM EST
    came from a nursing professor friend several years ago, in a different state.

    One name relationships are secure: (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:00:06 PM EST
    Go Brangelina!!

    LOL - Bennifer would disagree :) (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:02:28 PM EST

    Bennifer sounds like cough (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:21:07 PM EST
    medicine.. no wonder they broke up.

    And Filliam H. Muffman (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ruffian on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:06:50 PM EST
    I'm not sure Sandra Bullock ever said her (none / 0) (#25)
    by Angel on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:31:50 PM EST
    marriage was "perfect." But to be skeptical of the quality and stability of her relationship because she gushed over her husband when accepting an award is ridiculous. She became a mother to his children, even helped gain custody of the youngest child and has many times said that becoming a step-mother is one of the best things that had ever happened to her.  I hope the rumors are not true because she seems like such a genuinely nice person with a big heart.  

    Some will be ecstatic (none / 0) (#30)
    by Coldblue on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:43:17 PM EST
    when the Senate health insurance bill is passed by the House.

    Meanwhile, the Obama economic brain trust predicts no employment growth this year.

    In terms of the labor market, the forecast projects average job growth of about 100,000 per month in 2010

    That doesn't keep up with the natural expansion of job seekers new to the market. If the WH accepts the view of it's economic principals, I have serious doubts that any steps will be taken to produce a different outcome.

    Democrats might be toast in November.

    The next post, on your (none / 0) (#31)
    by observed on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 09:59:27 PM EST
    "friend" who might be a policeman, reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me. This must have happened some time in the 80's. My friend was at a leather bar in Seattle, where guys were doing what they do in a REAL leather bar.
    Well, two guys in these very realistic cop uniforms came in. Nobody stopped what they were doing, because they thought the new guys were just in costume.
    Ooops!! A bunch of arrests were made.

    Best Oscar acceptance speech by an actress, ever (none / 0) (#35)
    by shoephone on Wed Mar 17, 2010 at 11:00:13 PM EST
    was in 1978, when Diane Keaton won for her performance in Annie Hall. She said: "Thank you," and walked off the stage with class, and Oscar statuette in hand.

    i'm always skeptical of (none / 0) (#36)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 12:08:27 AM EST
    anyone, who goes on and on and on about how wonderful their relationship and significant other is. it's as though they're attempting to convince themselves. this is regardless of the person's celebrity status, or lack thereof.

    we've seen too many of our friends, who had those "wonderful spouses/marriages" end up in divorce court.

    Yes, but that doesn't describe any of SB's (none / 0) (#38)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 01:32:22 AM EST
    acceptance speeches. She didn't go on and on about anyone. Her mom got more time in the Oscar speech than her husband.

    The story is being cautioned at MSNBC...didn't realize the source here was InTouch tabloid magazine.


    RIP Alex Chilton (none / 0) (#42)
    by cymro on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 02:52:32 AM EST
    Kind of amazing (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 10:43:23 AM EST
    that Chilton had those pipes at sixteen, when he recorded The Letter and Cry Like a Baby with The Box Tops.

    RIP, Alex.


    And ... (none / 0) (#44)
    by cymro on Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 06:47:40 AM EST