Monday Afternoon Open Thread

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. Reburied workwise.

Open Thread.

Update (TL): I'm off to the jail. I'll miss Charlie Sheen's plea coverage at 4pm MT. Last night's post with what's expected to happen is here.

< Helen Thomas Retires From Hearst Publications | Joran Van der Sloot: More Conflicting Reports >
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    Charlie Rangel (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 02:36:06 PM EST
    is running for his political life. Now he's calling out Obama for his Iraq policies.

    A senior House Democrat likened President Barack Obama to former Vice President Dick Cheney over his handling of the war in Iraq.

    Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who's been plagued by ethics investigations, compared the Democratic president to the former Republican vice president in an interview with the New York Daily News.

    Rangel blasted Obama for having stayed in Iraq to continue the war initiated by the preceding administration, accusing the president of being there for oil -- a refrain leveled often by Democrats against Bush during the Iraq war.

    "We are trying to buy our friends there," Rangel told the Daily News. "Stuff like that makes Cheney look good."

    He also said this:

    "I challenge anyone to tell me we aren't there because of the oil," Rangel said of the U.S. engagement in Iraq. "The lack of an honest explanation [for the war] is consistent with Bush and Cheney."

    This is intriguing. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:48:12 PM EST
    Charlie may not be an angel, but he surely is not politically dumb.   He is apparently unhappy with the president, and he chose the Iraq (not Afghanistan) war and its basis in oil as his critical theme.

    Why did the WH press sec'y find it (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:05:15 PM EST
    necessary to disavowthe comments of Helen Thomas?

    At the daily briefing today, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, said, "I think she should and has apologized. Obviously those remarks do not reflect, certainly, the opinion of, most of the people in here, and certainly not of the administration."

    did he get asked specifically about it? (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:27:36 PM EST
    I can just hear the one guy that asks the real long, insinuating questions..'Mr. Gibbs, since Ms. Thomas seemed to speak for your socialist agenda in the past....'

    Gosh, you mean a (none / 0) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 04:15:25 PM EST
    Major Garrett type of question?

    Yes, maybe it is him (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 08:09:00 PM EST
    or that other older guy from some rightie magazine. I can hear the voice in my head. I looked for a transcript this afternoon so I could read the question and see who asked it, but could not find one.

    Gee, you would think that would be a part of reporting about the news conference, wouldn't you, rather than just 'gibbs said....'. The question and who asked it is often a key part of these things.

    I'll see if I can find a transcript now.


    i was wrong... (none / 0) (#38)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 08:18:29 PM EST
    just a guy named 'Tommy' that asked a basic question about the president's rection.

    Q Robert, off the subject of oil, does the President have any reaction to the controversy over Helen's remarks that were publicized Friday?

    MR. GIBBS: Well, I've not spoken with him directly on that. I would say this, Tommy, I think those remarks were offensive and reprehensible. I think she should and has apologized, because -- obviously those remarks do not reflect certainly the opinion of I assume most of the people in here, and certainly not of the administration.

    Interesting that Gibbs was basically speaking for himself there. Said he had not talked to the president.


    AIPAC rang the Bat-Phone?...n/t (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:29:35 PM EST
    Why didn't any reporter challenge Gibbs on (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 07:48:33 PM EST
    his condemnation of Helen Thomas today? Because, now that Helen Thomas is snuffed out, there is nobody in the White House Press Corps who is going to call the administration on its suppression of dissent and its support of a right-wing Israeli regime that murders American citizens with impunity.

    Yup - among other things (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 08:10:40 PM EST
    that the rest of the WH press will not mention in the polite company of the WH press room. Helen will be missed.

    Will TalkLeft ever link to any column in (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:51:09 PM EST
    defense of Helen Thomas? Or will it just continue to link to condemnations of Thomas that further the right wing hit job?

    Hello, TalkLeft -- can we, at least, have a little balance, a little TalkCenter even.

    I wrote one post on (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:04:06 AM EST
    Helen Thomas and that's enough for me. I didn't condemn her or support her.  I linked to her statements and some of the criticism. The comments are filled with links to statements of support. There are open threads if you insist on continuing to discuss it. I have nothing to add.

    I did call her statements offensive (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 03:07:43 AM EST
    which personally I thought they were. I also referred to the First Amendment and said while I don't care to read more by her, others certainly had the right to. I was more interested in the issue of whether White House press corps should be neutral on the issues they cover. Others pointed out she's only been a columnist, not a reporter, for the past decade.

    NY Woman... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 02:47:10 PM EST
    facing criminal charges for adultery...I sh*t you not.

    No mention of whether she is the police chief's or DA's wife...which is the only explanation I can come up with for charges straight outta a Hawthorne novel set in a puritan colony.

    What's the penalty? (none / 0) (#4)
    by rdandrea on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 02:52:07 PM EST
    Stoning or lashes?

    We're civilized now:) (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 02:53:43 PM EST
    Chains, cages, and/or fines I'd assume...nothing barbaric...lol.

    She must wear (none / 0) (#14)
    by Zorba on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:37:27 PM EST
    a scarlet "A" on her clothing for the rest of her life.

    I can understand the (none / 0) (#6)
    by Zorba on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 02:57:29 PM EST
    "public lewdness" charge, and maybe "indecent exposure."  (As the old saying goes, "I don't care what the people do, as long as they don't do it in the streets and scare the horses."  Or the children.)  Maybe a "Knock it off, you two, there are children here" and maybe a ticket, leading to a fine, so they would think twice about doing this in public again.  But adultery????  They still have laws on the books against adultery in New York?  In this day and age?  Unbelievable.

    Like I always say... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:03:59 PM EST
    we're real good at making crimes outta non-criminal stuff...not very good at revisiting the issue at a later date.

    The law books coast to coast need a 5 gallon tub of white-out...stat.


    It's apparently (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:05:07 PM EST
    A class B misdemeanor in NY.

    Actually, most states still have laws on the books making adultery and fornication crimes.


    Maybe we need (none / 0) (#12)
    by Zorba on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:33:57 PM EST
    a Lawrence v. Texas- type decision from the Supremes, overturning the states' adultery and fornication laws, as well.

    We most certainly do... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:40:04 PM EST
    but that would require somebody fighting the charges all the way to the Supremes...my bet is she pleads to lesser...thats the prosecutorial game we play....throw the book at 'em so they plead to something, next case.

    That's why dumb laws seem to stick around...cops and prosecutors like having an arsenal of weapons at their disposal, legislators happy to oblige.  


    That's just so wrong (none / 0) (#17)
    by Zorba on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:48:14 PM EST
    I dislike all this "throw every single charge you can at them" BS. Get rid of the stupider laws, and just charge people with the applicable ones, not every single thing you can think of.  What's next?  Maybe they'll charge these two with "Conspiracy to commit adultery."

    Lets just hope... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:55:36 PM EST
    they're both std free, otherwise reckless endangerment charges will be forthcoming:)

    Sun god forbid they smoked a joint beforehand...then we've got a regular crime spree on our hands...deploy the National Guard!


    Link re last paragraph? (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:56:20 PM EST
    Sorry... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:58:57 PM EST
    can't link to my random thoughts...just my opinion as to the reason for our over-stuffed law books...law-n-order sector likes all the tools to get their man, by hook or by crook.

    I think it's a lack of sunset clauses (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 04:00:43 PM EST
    in legislation.  CA codes have some pretty amazing contents.  Totally obsolete.

    Query:  is NY still a "fault" state re divorce?


    You should (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 04:04:30 PM EST
    google "Dumb Laws" or "weird laws" -this adultery thing at least made sense in a 19th century public policy way.

    I don't understand the NY law that says:

    A person may not walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in his/her pocket.

    Honestly jb... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:05:18 PM EST
    I don't wanna know how deep that rabbit hole goes...I can't get past that smokin' a doob is illegal...that's dumb enough.

    I know we got some doozies...we did manage to get no liquor stores open on Sundays revised recently...that was cool.  What a pain in the arse it was to have to plan Sunday tequila consumption on Saturday.

    Hell wrath no fury like a legislature, an executive, and a pen.


    Where the word "sundae" (none / 0) (#42)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 12:03:56 PM EST
    comes from. Or so I've heard.

    People started eating their after-church ice cream in a dish, in order to keep it off of their Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes.  


    It is my understanding (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:57:01 PM EST
    That Class B misdemeanors ARE the lesser charges.

    No one has fought the antiquated laws because they are usually not charged.


    I enjoyed Frank Rich's (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 02:51:21 PM EST
    editorial on Obama the technocrat.  Although I still find reading Rich to be kind of an unpleasant experience...like a rushed off term paper.

    This all adds up to a Teddy Roosevelt pivot-point for Obama, who shares many of that president's moral and intellectual convictions. But Obama can't embrace his inner T.R. as long as he's too in thrall to the supposed wisdom of the nation's meritocracy, too willing to settle for incremental pragmatism as a goal, and too inhibited by the fine points of Washington policy debates to embrace bold words and bold action. If he is to wield the big stick of reform against BP and the other powerful interests that have ripped us off, he will have to tell the big story with no holds barred.

    That doesn't require a temper tantrum. Nor does it require him to plug the damn hole, which he can't do anyway. What he does have the power to fix is his presidency. Should he do so, and soon, he'll still have a real chance to mend a broken country as well.

    The private/public meritocracy concept has definitely been an issue.  Hopefully Frank Rich doing the framing will get the problem a little more attention from the WH.

    I am at the point where (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:34:28 PM EST
    I stop reading when they try to fit the current situation into some historical metaphor. "Teddy Roosevelt tipping point", "FDR moment", "Obama's Katrina"...we've heard them all. The point of a metaphor or analogy is to create a mental link to something that is instantly understandable. If the analogy just creates another layer of questions and/or arguments it is not useful. He could make his point clearer without bringing TR into it.

    I know what you mean, ruffian (none / 0) (#16)
    by Zorba on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:42:58 PM EST
    It's getting so I need a scorecard to keep track of all the presidents that Obama has been compared to/contrasted with.  I agree with your point about analogies and metaphors- the simpler and clearer, the better.

    thanks - I was hoping that made sense (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 03:54:02 PM EST
    Sometimes it is useful, but more often it just seems lazy.

    3 dead (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:12:24 PM EST
    What the he(ll)ck is wrong with people? (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:27:50 PM EST
    Father and son charged with conspiracy to threaten, assault, kidnap, or muder a US official afer they sent a letter to Bart Stupak after the healthcare debate, threatening to injure Stupak and his family.

    What have we come to in this society?

    300,000,000+ people, (none / 0) (#35)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 07:52:08 PM EST
    Very few mensa types; 24/7 right wing noise machine exhorting their barely literate followers to "lock & load" before "they" steal "our" country....

    Surprisingly few have followed through...

    So far.


    on the previous thread (none / 0) (#29)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:45:43 PM EST
    jbindc pointed out that

    it was during Kennedy's administration that [Helen Thomas] began the tradition of ending all presidential press conferences with a signature "Thank you, Mr. President"

    no room to respond on that thread

    lord knows i love HT but that tradition was a wrong one to get started - only serves to set the president up as a kind of monarch & leads to this kind of thing:

    APRIL RYAN (of the American Urban Radio Networks): Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war [i.e., invading Iraq, March 2003], with many organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus pushing for continued diplomacy through the U.N., how is your faith guiding you?

    BUSH: I appreciate that question a lot. . . . My faith sustains me, because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength. If we were to commit our troops [to Iraq] -- if we were to commit our troops I would pray for their safety, and I would pray for the safety of innocent Iraqi lives as well. . . . I pray for peace, April. I pray for peace.

    the press should not be thanking any president for showing up at a press conference - the press should be asking tough questions & insisting on follow-ups - as HT tried to do but let's face it, she had become a kind of mascot & she just got muzzled for nuisance barking

    I think (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 05:56:26 PM EST
    It's just good manners to thank someone when they've given you their time.  

    sure (none / 0) (#33)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 06:31:30 PM EST
    my comment was just meant to be an observation, piggybacking on your comment

    did not mean to sound critical of you at all if that's how i came across

    sorry for that


    I didn't take it as such (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 08, 2010 at 08:34:54 AM EST
    I just never thought of it as kind of a deferential treatment.  Actually, I thought when Helen Thomas said it, sometimes it sounded snarky.  :)