Wednesday Night Open Thread

BP has to put aside $20 billion, but what happens if there are criminal charges? The New York Times examines that possibility.

An upstate New York terrorism case may set the standard for entrapment in such cases. A judge has continued the jury trial of four defendants but the matter is far from settled:

Did a shadowy informant encourage the men to plot mass murder, or did he go too far and manufacture a plan for mayhem?

The judge, Colleen McMahon, excused potential jurors on Monday and criticized the prosecutors for being late in giving the defense an investigator’s report suggesting that the men — a group of ex-convicts and drug offenders — were incapable of carrying out a complex attack without the informer, a fast-talker who was on the government payroll.

Apple has joined AT&T in stopping pre-sales of the iPhone. With 600,000 ordered in one day, it's afraid it won't be able to meet the demand.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Dem-Repub enthusiasm gap (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 10:40:45 PM EST
    Not looking good for November:

    Midterm elections, when turnout is traditionally low, are all about getting voters engaged enough to actually go the polls and vote. In the USA TODAY survey taken Friday through Sunday, there's sobering news on that front for Democrats. Just 35% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters said they were "more enthusiastic than usual" about voting in November. That's down eight percentage points from May and a precipitous 22-point drop from the poll we took in March.

    In fact, it's the lowest level of enthusiasm for Democratic voters since 1998.

    Enthusiasm among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters dipped, too, but not as much as among Democrats. Now, 53% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, down six points from May and 16 points from March.

    So Republicans now benefit from an 18-point enthusiasm advantage -- an edge that, if it holds up, could be more important than money in the bank.

    Jeez. Bad tidings, all right. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 11:58:47 PM EST
    And that doesn't even factor in those of us who used to be Democrats but now go independent.

    Really dug this band... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:01:26 AM EST
    I saw last night opening for Blitzen Trapper...fellow rockers I bring you The Moondoggies...check it out.

    Bogachiel Rain Blues

    In the "behavior I wouldn't accept from a (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:40:18 AM EST
    student" department, I'm always annoyed when following a citation link to discover that it goes in a circle. Self-citation proves nothing.

    I'm bringing this up because the LA Times article about Apple and AT&T has no cited sources from either company for the claim that phone orders are on hold. Googling for verification led me to a tech site (Engadget) that agrees with the Times article - by citing as a source an earlier article on Engadget - which cites an earlier article, ad nauseum. Good golly people, "because I said so" is not a valid proof of correctness. You should have learned that in pre school. Objective facts are needed for proof of a statement of fact, not self-assertion. Even acknowledged experts in a field have to prove their bona fides before they cite their own work - and if they want to be taken seriously, they don't. They cite quantifiable results.

    Sorry, I'll load my pet peeves back into my soapbox and put it away now.

    Yes - that seems to be happening (none / 0) (#32)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 11:04:06 AM EST
    more and more. Trying to find the original source on information seems to be getting harder and harder. I don't know if it is intentional or just sloppy.

    In this particular case, I found it confirmed on the Apple store website (pre-orders are turned back on there now, btw), but in other cases I have searched high and low and found nothing.


    Thanks for the heads up (none / 0) (#34)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 11:26:46 AM EST
    I'm not in the market for a new iPhone as I just bought a 3Gs in January, but the post caught my eye because among my many hats, I develop iPhone/iPad apps for educational use. That makes things like pre-order difficulties, well, pertinent to my interests, you might say. ;-)

    One side-effect of my years of teaching is that my knees always jerk when I read "unnamed sources say..." or "this is true, and to prove it here's a link to where I told you it was true previously." Unless the article is clearly marked "this is my opinion, and is based on nothing more" the red pen wants to jump into my hand to write "objective citation needed."


    I'm sure you are even more tuned in to it than (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 04:19:29 PM EST
    me, but it drives me crazy too. I don't expect it in commentary blogs like this one just linking to a newspaper, but in the actual newspaper article or news blog lack of sourcing drives me nuts. Even when they name the source, it seems they do less actual quotations of people in the articles than they used to. They used to introduce a quotation with a line or two of characterization about it - now the characterization is all you get.

    Harping on the media is like shooting fish in a barrel, but it is a pet subject of mine.

    I downloaded the iPhone SDK a few weeks ago and have been playing around with app development. I want to know how to do it when I get my Big Idea!!!


    Apparently Nancy Pelosi (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 08:27:13 PM EST
    makes an appearance on Top Chef this season. Interesting. . .

    I hope it isn't her coda.

    And Joe Scarborough, too, it seems... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 09:47:56 PM EST
    Have to re-watch at 11:00 - I had a roomful of people all talking while it was on.

    Can't say as I was disappointed at who went home tonight; there's something about dreadlocks in the kitchen that just doesn't work for me.


    I thought the whole first challenge (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 09:58:04 PM EST
    was totally reasonable. If you couldn't perform, you deserved to go home.

    Store bought puff pastry and tasteless "maple" cream? BZZZT.


    Tasteless? TASTELESS?? (none / 0) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 11:00:35 PM EST
    Duels have been fought for less.  How dare you call maple cream "tasteless"!

    "Tasteless" in the sense that the (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 06:50:25 AM EST
    judges couldn't taste the maple in it; I mean, whatever kind of cream you're going to call something, it's probably not a good sign if people can't taste the flavor it's named for!

    He made it himself (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 06:06:36 AM EST
    And FTR, he was from Michigan, not Vermont.

    Oh, OK (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 08:03:52 AM EST
    That explains it.  Probably used Michigan maple syrup.

    Seriously, I'd bet money he used the wrong grade, A instead of the stronger B.  Don't use ingredients you don't understand in a competition.


    he made the maple cream (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:40:40 AM EST
    pastry was store-bought iirc

    excited this is back on (none / 0) (#26)
    by CST on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:09:20 AM EST
    but i missed it last night.  I guess I will watch out for the one on the dreads (booo on the spoiler).

    Nancy Pelosi... that's interesting...

    What's coda?


    I believe the 20 billion (none / 0) (#2)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 08:41:29 PM EST
    is for settling the claims of Gulf residents and businesses. Of course to House conservatives it is a Chicago style shakedown. They say it like Chicago style shakedowns are a bad thing.

    Fines and penalties to the government are separate from that.  

    Also (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 09:26:33 PM EST
    It is not clear that accepting the money bars one from further collection from law suits.

    I'm pretty sure I read (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 09:37:08 PM EST
    specifically that it does not bar lawsuits. It is unlike the 9/11 fund in that respect.

    Does that mean (none / 0) (#14)
    by ZtoA on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 11:24:57 PM EST
    suits from health damage for either close coastal residents or clean up workers are paid from this fund? Along with damage to businesses continuing for 3 months to several years (or more) it could get costly for BP. Does this fund isolate/protect BP from liability in any way?

    I think our expectations are being managed. "Spill" (volcanic gusher) rates are being upped daily. Maybe they just didn't know? If they keep upping "estimated" flow rates every few days then by the time it gets to 1-200,000 barrels (!) every single day we just won't notice. "Hey, they've been upping for so long I'm just bored"  

    Also no readings on the well pressure or even depth of the well.

    Is there a final statement on the depth of the well? BP would know.

    And what is the composition of the fluids and gas coming out of the well?

    I'm reading some disturbing speculation, but it is just speculation since apparently facts are not being released.


    From what I understood (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 06:15:55 AM EST
    From reading about the announcement yesterday
    Does that mean suits from health damage for either close coastal residents or clean up workers are paid from this fund? Along with damage to businesses continuing for 3 months to several years (or more) it could get costly for BP. Does this fund isolate/protect BP from liability in any way?

    It is not for settling suits, but rather processing claims. people can apply to the fund if they have damage claims. Theoretically it is supposed to be faster than suing. It does not protect BP from further liability. For example, if you have lost 3 months of income so far, and you submit a claim for that amount, you can still sue later. And it has nothing to do with BPs legal,liabilities.

    I agree about the information management about the extent of the disaster. It will be months if not years before we know the damage.


    Pressures? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 01:16:33 AM EST
    An ex BP engineer told me it was around 13,000 psi against a seawater pressure of over 2,000 psi.

    and Michelle Bachmann (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 10:10:41 PM EST
    shall lead them.  Says fund is a redistribution of wealth scheme. Yes, I suppose. From the company that destroyed someone's business to the business that got destroyed.

     Sure, they need to administer the fund well and pay it out fairly, and since Florida is involved there will be a fair share of fraudulent claims to weed out. (just based on FL reputation as the number one fraud state, according to my banker) But I don't see that making the fund a bad thing in principle.


    Carl Hiasson? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 11:02:49 PM EST
    Are you a fan?

    I gave a copy of his book about a Florida hurricane and its aftermath ("Stormy Weather," I think) to a friend who works for FEMA, and she almost died laughing, passed it around to her co-workers and it became a huge hit among the FEMA folks.


    Carl Hiasson (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:31:37 AM EST
    is a fun read, perfect for the beach or airplane.  However, reading in public places runs the risk of being looked at in an odd way when you start laughing aloud.  I always look forward to and enjoy the correlation between what the bad guys do and their ultimate fate.

    Yes! Have not read that one yet (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 06:03:47 AM EST
    Sounds good though. Definitely plenty of characters here, and no shortage of scams.

    Major TARP fraud by a local banker  just announced yesterday.


    And shakedowns of any style aren't bad? (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 01:44:20 PM EST
    Better to just give paid rats anti-terrorism... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 09:34:34 PM EST

    whistles and tell 'em to blow at the first moment
    they suspect a terraplot.

    Harrical? Calindiana? (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 10:01:41 PM EST
    Or maybe Fordflock. Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart got hitched after all these years. Heterosexual marriage lives on despite all the threats!

    Heterosexual serial marriage (none / 0) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 11:04:44 PM EST
    between aging stars and progressively younger and younger women, you mean?  Also, I haven't seen a picture of Flockhart in a while, but the last time I did a year or so ago, she was painfully emaciated.

    Two spammers at work in (none / 0) (#16)
    by shoephone on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 12:09:19 AM EST
    "Jimmy Carter Had It Hard Too" thread.

    There were three (none / 0) (#17)
    by waldenpond on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 12:18:47 AM EST
    There were three and one was even rating the other a 5.  Never seen that before.

    There were several yesterday too.

    I don't get why they stick their trash in the old items.  If no one sees them, they don't get any browny points.


    I don't know how they even (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 01:31:04 AM EST
    can post a comment since those threads have been closed forever. But they do.

    I try to remember to check the new user registrations every day and zap those that appear to be spammers. There's usually between 10 to 15 a day, almost all from foreign countries.

    Thanks for helping to point them out.


    we are big at E3 (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 09:12:43 AM EST
    Joe Barton (R-oil) apologizes to BP (none / 0) (#31)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 10:29:07 AM EST
    Justice to sue Arizona (none / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 11:15:12 AM EST
    SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, first, let me say how pleased I am that I have this chance to talk to you about these and other important issues. President Obama has spoken out against the law because he thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy. And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act.

    Hope Hillary did not jump the gun on that (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 04:22:50 PM EST
    Smackdown (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 05:19:50 PM EST
    Under pressure from Republican leaders who threatened to remove him from a ranking committee position, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) late Thursday retracted his apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the way his company has been treated by the U.S. government -- a comment that had drawn heavy criticism from both parties.

    Republicans hoping to pin the problems of the Gulf Coast on Obama were immediately put on the defensive.