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    I really don't know (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by lilburro on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:31:43 PM EST
    what to think about the promotion of James Clapper to DNI.  As you can see in the article, he was all about "WMD in Iraq!  WMD in Iraq!!!"  (See also ThinkProgress).  However, this is an internal promotion.

    I realize it is practically impossible to just push all the Bush era crazies/criminals out of office.  But I hope his confirmation hearing grills him on that time.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:57:43 PM EST
    Pretty bad move from the things he is on record for, swearing that Saadam moved the WMDs to Syria..  But who knows, when there is tremendous pressure to come up with evidence that is paper thin, maybe he was just meeting the extremely low bar.

    Yes, that's right. That person, who is either a fantacist or an unrepentant propagandist, is going to oversee all the intelligence activities for the United States. If we have another terrorist attack, prepare to invade Finland.

    via digby


    Yeah there's a lot of questions (none / 0) (#200)
    by lilburro on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 08:34:33 AM EST
    so a good confirmation hearing is necessary, IMO.  His resume doesn't hint at any involvement in torture related activities, so that's a plus.  A big plus, really (although I guess it's unlikely that someone with a CIA background would be DNI).  Still it's frustrating that people with such in-depth involvement in the run up to the Iraq War seem to be rewarded and not punished for their idiocy.

    Isn't Israel sweet... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:22:04 PM EST
    they've decided to allow potato chips and cookies through the collective punishment blockade.  

    Still no concrete allowed, but at least you can eat some chips as you stare through the hole in the ceiling in Gaza.

    hey (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:43:39 PM EST
    concrete can be a weapon!

    Priceless? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:17:56 PM EST
    I would like to express an opinion on the bickering but I can't as I got in trouble for making fun of (basically, bickering with) the person who insists Stephanie Flores is alive.

    Back from my moderating days.... it is a lot of work to delete the comments.... I get hand cramps deleting just the profanity.  I was really sore during campaign season.  Keeping track of chatterers, banning people, even having long timers take a break.... but there is nothing like clicking on and reading a that is on topic.

    Strictly a reflection of personal style as to the tone of a blog.

    I wouldn't want to blog every day, but I have considered moderating again.

    I apologize for my part (5.00 / 4) (#43)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:22:58 PM EST
    I'm just tired of making comments, adding my opinion, and feeling like every comment I make is being stalked by one or two commenters who will jump on everything I say.  I ignore a lot, but sometimes I can't let things go by.

    To everyone who has had to read those comments - I apologize.


    I sometime agree and sometimes (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:29:41 PM EST
    disagree with your comments, but I like reading them.

    Another POV (2.67 / 3) (#54)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:38:21 PM EST
    You have accused me of stalking you, a serious accusation and quite absurd. Your POV is basically that of a prosecutor, and contrary to the POV of TL, in many cases. In fact you have been warned.

    So to claim that you are being stalked because I or others have some criminal or psychotic problem is really offensive.

    The reason, I for one, respond and disagree with so many of your comments is because of your right wing POV regarding crime issues.

    You are one of the most vocal prosecutorial voices at TL, to call me or others "stalkers" because they disagree with your comments and POV is cowardly, wrong and dishonest.


    I always enjoy your comments (none / 0) (#195)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 02:48:36 AM EST
    and getting your take.  Ignore the people that seem to seek you out for a jumping.  Sometimes that is easier said than done. I blog in my free time or when I can't sleep to share info, have my brain tickled, entertain new ideas and fresh perspectives.  That's why I like this blog.

    You Forgot This One (3.00 / 2) (#47)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:30:54 PM EST
    Presumption of innocence is a legal mandate not a societal one.

    which is the first comment you got called out on. And as you know I thought your moderation here at TL was less than fair, considering you had a dog in the race, it was understandable that you would be biased. What was not understandable, at least to me, was that you believed you could moderate comments fairly.


    I remember. (none / 0) (#51)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:34:21 PM EST
    You made a valiant effort. But I don't think one person can do the job. I do think some level of automation would make it more efficient. It could be one that learns over time - for example, at first, just ban anyone who uses profane insult terms, then learn over time to identify other typical attack terms (like 'bot' or 'cultist'). I mean, who wants to read that drivel anyway? An auto-deleter would go a long way I think. And it would force people to change their commenting abuse.

    Automation would be great (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:46:29 PM EST
    It's used on other sites and I like it but the reality is it is limited to setting the tone.  It really comees down banning as a personal choice.  There are a couple here who constantly violate the site rules but will never be banned.

    Interesting. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:49:44 PM EST
    I do think an automated screener that can learn to keep up over time would work for 80% of the inanity most of the time. It also has the advantage of being specifically targeted - specifically at the offensive part while allowing other parts of comments to remain.

    Not (5.00 / 5) (#78)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:54:12 PM EST
    that anyone probably noticed, but I've pretty much stopped commenting here. I still read the posts and comments, but commenting has become counter-productive.

    I especially am disturbed by the instant anger some commenters here display, and their uncanny clairvoyance at responding to what you "really" mean, not what you actually post.

    Topics such as Israel, homosexuality, and political personalities are just a few topics that are impossible to discuss here (and elsewhere also) in a calm, intelligent, and rational manner.

    Really sad....


    Well, it's probably not a coincidence, (none / 0) (#83)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:56:28 PM EST
    that I really like your comments.

    Thank you n/t (none / 0) (#96)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:03:11 PM EST
    Another commenter (none / 0) (#196)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 02:51:13 AM EST
    That I'm missing out on.  I hope you reconsider.

    3 possibilities (in any combination) (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:25:42 PM EST
    1. do away with ratings

    2. implement some kind of software routine whereby a "parent" that accumulates more than, say, 6 "child" comments (not to be confused w/a "childish" comment) is put into a separate "room" that other commenters can enter & play in w/out disrupting the rest of the thread - in other words give the thread jackers their own subthread

    3. use software that detects comments containing insults (moderator/admin would decide what terms constitute an insult) & automatically puts those comments into moderation

    then there's this, which anyone can do: don't feed the trolls

    I like numbers 2 and 3. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:30:28 PM EST
    Some kind of automated system would definitely make things easier.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#50)
    by CST on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:33:31 PM EST
    I feel like #2 would also eliminate comments that people have a valid interest in and stimulate discussion.

    Honestly, I like your #4 (unnumbered) comment the best.


    #2 would get complicated (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:38:55 PM EST
    would not eliminate comments but people would have to go thru an extra step to find them -  maybe click on a link that says "subthread" or something

    but i agree that #4 is simplest & best - also tends to isolate habitual offenders & throw their insults & rudeness into high relief


    But why can't (none / 0) (#57)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:40:22 PM EST
    comments that people have a valid interest in just remove insults and attacks? It's really not too much to ask - just basic respect, disagree without insults. So, if a comment were deleted for those reasons, the commenter could just repost the comment minus the juvenilia.

    I like it.


    that's (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by CST on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:47:23 PM EST
    #3... not #2

    the problem being the definition of insult, and the fact that it could be used to describe something that deserves to be insulted.

    I think if I called G.W.B. an "idiot" or Dick Cheney "evil" or DADT "stupid" - that's something that most people here would agree with, and frankly, is probably more respect than those people/things deserve :)  Or for that matter saying something is "not stupid" would have the same result in an automated system.

    But it would be deleted.  And honestly, I'm not sure I want that much censorship in a thread.  Sometimes those words are called for.

    But really, it's not that hard to skip over or ignore the subthreads that get out of control.  Usually you can tell fairly quickly where it's going when it starts going.


    you're right, it' is #3. (none / 0) (#77)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:53:22 PM EST
    Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I really don't think it's very hard to distinguish the most offensive comments, but we do like to play games on that point. (See, that's not really hard, I don't feel compelled at all to insult you or call you names just because I disagree with you.)

    Of course, I wasn't referring to people calling GWB a name, only referring to abuse of other commenters and repeating the constant script day after day. So perhaps automation can't work after all, you're right.


    It's your interpretation of insults (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:57:25 PM EST
    Eye of beholder....

    Perhaps that's true. (none / 0) (#87)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:59:21 PM EST
    I do realize that my low tolerance for abusive commenting doesn't necessarily match how others like to spar or discuss or whatever. It seems so obvious to me - like disagreement just really doesn't require hostility - but I guess it is eye of the beholder.

    Markos fires his pollster (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:31:49 PM EST
    Honestly, I'm not sure he's going to find anyone better. A couple of years ago I would have picked SUSA, but their inability to do cellphone samples makes them about as useless as anyone else, especially going forward.

    I thought he had to after 538's rankings, .... (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by magster on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:18:34 PM EST
    ... 538 finding a pronounced Dem house effect (whatever that is) and R2k's inaccuracy on the Arkansas primary (although was the polling right and the voter suppression in Arkansas significant?)

    In any event, Kos commissioned polls already are dismissed out of hand by righties, and the only way to counteract that is to have a pollster who survives scrutiny from 538 or any other poll ranking firms.

    I hope Kos finds a replacement. Polls on races that the traditional media won't commission or that polling outfits don't do independently provides valuable info provided the polls are accurate.


    Nate Silver rules their world? (none / 0) (#142)
    by andgarden on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:45:03 PM EST

    Read it and weep (5.00 / 4) (#72)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:50:31 PM EST
    Rolling Stone delivers the goods on just how deeply Obama and his buddy Ken Salazar were up to their elbows in BP love and how this led to the disaster we are currently facing in the Gulf.

    "People are being really circumspect, not pointing the finger at Salazar and Obama," says Rep. Raul Grijalva, who oversees the Interior Department as chair of the House subcommittee on public lands. "But the troublesome point is, the administration knew that it had this rot in the middle of the process on offshore drilling - yet it empowered an already discredited, disgraced agency to essentially be in charge."

    Don't read unless you have a nearby window to scream out of:


    You aren't kidding (5.00 / 3) (#147)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:52:53 PM EST
    Don't read unless you have a nearby window to scream out of:

    Only have way through.... incredibly saddened.

    Under Salazar, MMS continued to issue categorical exclusions to companies like BP, even when they lacked the necessary permits to protect endangered species aaaahhhhhhh

    Had MMS been following the law, it would never have granted BP a categorical exclusion aahhhhhhh


    A (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:33:38 PM EST
    great article.

    Someone is doing some homework.

    People, some people, are getting wise.


    The administration being (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 03:24:03 AM EST
    implicated in creating a cone of silence is really something.  I could feel it, there were too many moments where it seemed that the Obama administration was trying to shut up outside information.  There were reports of independent scientists being turned away from the site too.  I still have my specific questions I would like answered at some point.  Did MMS know that the BOP had been damaged about four weeks earlier (a seal that is needed to test well pressure was so damaged that it floated up out of the BOP in giant pieces of rubber), and did MMS give some kind of permission for sea water to be used to displace instead of drilling mud?  There is evidence that they insisted on BP doing a BOP test and that when that test failed.........there's dead air in all testimony after that and nobody can seemingly go on the record as to what was decided.  With the extreme and serious kicks this well had experienced though, how could anyone have ever displaced with sea water?

    I knew from the warnings that I wasn't (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 09:10:10 AM EST
    going to like reading that article, but it explained a lot.  

    Glenn had a post up last week, I think, in which he discussed Ken Salazar's long and cozy relationship with oil companies, and the lip service that both he and Obama paid to "cleaning up" Interior and MMS, but the totality of the RS article just boggles my mind, especially as I contemplate the extent to which the Obama administration is bamboozling the country on the whole sordid mess.

    Seems like a pattern to me, but the question still remains: what can be done about it?  Will anything be done about it?

    I'm not hopeful.


    Ye gods, it's a Teapot Dome scandal again (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 09:40:06 AM EST
    in the Department of the Interior -- and we know what that did to bring down the first African American president.  

    This searing expose is quite an indictment of two administrations, previous and current.  But here's betting that this president survives it all, yet again.

    Of course, the Gulf Coast may not survive.  But that sadly seems lower on the list of priorities.


    Rolling Stone kicks arse... (none / 0) (#203)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 10:06:29 AM EST
    they've really been on top of the Wall St. scamming of the nation...can't wait for this issue to show up to shed light on the oil shady.

    As we speak..... (none / 0) (#212)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 02:22:42 PM EST
    Millions of hard working, middle class (previously) working folks, their unemployment insurance exhausted, simply cannot find jobs. The number of people unemployed more than six months is at all time record levels. If you're over 40 years old, forget it, this country doesn't need you. (re-phrase: it needs you, just doesn't want you)

    Your elected representatives position is: "you're not looking hard enough, and if we just cut off extended unemployment benefits you'll get off your lazy butts and go find a job."

    But all is not lost. This administration, together with our hard working "Representatives" in Congress, after exhaustive study have determined who the real victims are in this economic nightmare.....the Banks. After all, having paid good money to purchase a President and a Congress, any fair minded citizen would conclude that they were ripped off and it's our civic duty to "do the right thing" and make them whole once again. After all, business is all about risk, which is exactly what they did when they risked it all, blowing up the world's economies in the process, and so, they have every right to demand that someone pays.

    And our Washington "leaders" agree. Since "change" is what the people voted for, "change" is what they're gonna get; so they changed the rules: make the Victims pay the Perpetrators.
    Now, since Summer in the Hamptons was fast approaching they had to work with lightning speed, and so they did:

    1. They confiscated close to a trillion dollars from you and me and threw it at the Banksters, no strings attached, no questions asked.
    2. They flipped the chameleon switch, allowing casinos like Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley to morph into regular banks, guaranteeing them full FDIC protection.
    3. They opened the Fed give-a-way window letting them cart off billions of our tax dollars while charging them 0% interest. (the banks complained at those usurious rates of course, but in the interest of patriotism, and giving in to Timmie Geithner's pleas, they finally relented.)
    4. Right next door to the Fed's give-a-way window, the Treasury opened up their Bond Boondoggle window, begging the banks to return their 0% money in exchange for bonds paying 31/2% interest. (the so-called "carry trade.")
    5. To be fair, senior citizens, too stupid to have participated in the free-for-all gambling that our Wharton B School grads encouraged, who saved their money in interest bearing savings accounts, also get to benefit by collecting 0% on their retirement money.
    6. Not to be left out, the I.R.S. in cahoots with the Fed & Treasury decided that standard accounting practices were prime examples of "Government being the problem," told the banks," you know, those piles & piles of noxious crap you brainiacs concocted as "collateral" and are now practically worthless, and that anyone with an I.Q. greater than their shoe size realizes makes you insolvent (bankrupt!!) well, just make up a number (mark to myth) and we'll accept it as gospel.
    7. The list goes on and on, but I think the point's been made, maybe.

    Now some people, malcontents for sure, think that someone should pay for this disaster. And they're absolutely right! Obama, Paulsen, Summers, Geithner, and Mitch McConnell have decided: YOU should pay.

    When asked what he's been doing, besides God's work, Lloyd Blankfein looked up from his green eyeshades and complained, " looking in the Yellow Pages; do you know how much the trucking companies charge to cart away 16 Billion dollars?" (the amount set aside for a tiny group of executives at the bank that led the way for our demise.)

    Bonus question: How many people who caused the wipe-out of America have been indicted and/or jailed?

    Hint: the same number as the interest we charge on the money we begged them to take.


    Preach it Brother Shooter! (none / 0) (#213)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 02:38:24 PM EST
    How can we get you on a Cable News show to spread the gospel?

    it is somewhat interesting to me (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by CST on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:51:50 PM EST
    that people never seem to acknowledge the fact that there are decidedly two sides to this.  And no one has hands that are 100% "clean" in this regard - myself included.

    And the comments tend to be bunched in groups.  And that the "usual suspects" exist on both sides.

    But really, I don't see why people can't just skip over stuff they don't want to read.

    And (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by DancingOpossum on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:52:03 PM EST
    As BP was cutting corners aboard the rig, the Obama administration was plotting the greatest expansion of offshore drilling in half a century. In 2008, as prices at the pump neared $5 a gallon, President Bush had lifted an executive moratorium on offshore drilling outside the Gulf that had been implemented by his father following the Exxon Valdez. On the campaign trail, Obama had stressed that offshore drilling "will not make a real dent in current gas prices or meet the long-term challenge of energy independence." But once in office, he bowed to the politics of "drill, baby, drill." Hoping to use oil as a bargaining chip to win votes for climate legislation in Congress, Obama unveiled an aggressive push for new offshore drilling in the Arctic, the Southeastern seaboard and new waters in the Gulf, closer to Florida than ever before. In doing so, he ignored his administration's top experts on ocean science, who warned that the offshore plan dramatically understated the risks of an oil spill and petitioned Salazar to exempt the Arctic from drilling until more scientific studies could be conducted.

    Undeterred, Obama and Salazar appeared together at Andrews Air Force Base on March 31st to introduce the plan. The stagecraft was pure Rove in its technicolor militaristic patriotism. The president's podium was set up in front of the cockpit of an F-18, flanked by a massive American flag. "We are not here to do what is easy," Salazar declared. "We are here to do what is right." He insisted that his reforms at MMS were working: "We are making decisions based on sound information and sound science." The president, for his part, praised Salazar as "one of the finest secretaries of Interior we've ever had" and stressed that his administration had studied the drilling plan for more than a year. "This is not a decision that I've made lightly," he said. Two days later, he issued an even more sweeping assurance. "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills," the president said. "They are technologically very advanced."

    Eighteen days later, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Deepwater Horizon rig went off like a bomb.

    And they haven't even touched Atlantis (none / 0) (#198)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 03:32:28 AM EST
    I can sort of understand why if they are throwing their all into the current situation.  There are no engineering approved specs though for most of what Atlantis has become.  Sort of like how the BOP on the blowout had had over 200 modifications done to it after purchased from the manufacturer.  One of the modifications caused the test ram to not even close, it had been hooked up backwards?  The Deep Water Horizon couldn't even do a check on the ram system that isn't actually used to close a BOP, but is used as a test check to make sure that that system is operational.  Why is that?  How can that be so for any extended period of time?

    Disagree (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:00:56 PM EST
    If people post here ubiquitously and expect to not draw frank criticism, that seems like over reach to me.

    What I would wish (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:06:19 PM EST
    for is a pledge that all commenters would take to stop insulting and attacking other commenters, while still being able to disagree about things. In other words, to be more like kdog. He is great about that, no?

    Wouldn't that seem to make for a better enviroment for discussion and learning about stuff? No? OK - I guess I'm really out of it then.

    kdog, imo, is the model commenter (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:10:41 PM EST
    has his own pov - humane & intelligent - & even tho i am not so much in step w/some of kdog's more libertarian views he states them clearly & politely & often w/humor

    note also how seldom kdog rates anyone - almost never

    kdog stays out of the stoopidity scrimmages

    kdog is my kgod

    kdog for president!


    I completely agree. (none / 0) (#106)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:12:37 PM EST
    You guys don't want that... (none / 0) (#130)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:31:07 PM EST
    sh*t I don't want that.

    But if you guys insist...first order of business, group hug and a pledge to be nice and be thick-skinned all around!


    I've seen you get hot under the collar. (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:38:18 PM EST
    Back in the day though, probably before most of the other's time here. And completely understandably, imo. Very infrequent.

    TL would be much poorer without you!


    agreed (none / 0) (#139)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:40:53 PM EST
    You definitely did... (none / 0) (#146)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:51:53 PM EST
    I think called PPJ every name in the book in the early days, and others...probably called you some names (sorry).

    I'm mellowing in my 30's, less Billy Joel "Angry Young Man" bro:)

    I believe I've passed the age of consciousness & righteous rage
    I found that just surviving was a noble fight.
    I once believed in causes too, I had my pointless point of view,
    Life went on no matter who was wrong or right, ohhhhh

    And yet another strong argument (none / 0) (#141)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:43:48 PM EST
    for decriminalization, I might add..

    Drug warriors take note.


    The site is fine and has been (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:11:05 PM EST
    for quite some time.

    Arguments go in cycles.....No need to try and shut down the discussion.....

    As to "trolls,"  we don't really have any....There have been a couple of conservative commentators; and there is Jim, and I have engaged him in the past but am learning....He did say that he had changed his view in capital punishment but most of the time he just tosses out standard talking points not worth the effort to respond to.

    I suppose outright name calling such as "eff you" and the like could create a problem.  But there is little of that....If you try to clamp down, you will inhibit discussion.

    And, some people descend on a conversation and pour gas on the fire and then complain it is hot.

    squeaky (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:17:52 PM EST
    They are piling on obliquely--not directly.....

    I think your points are often valid.....People should engage them directly rather than this sideways way of criticizing.

    I believe you have been here longer than most....and yet some try to brand you a troll.....

    I agree completely with your assessment of the history of this site and how certain viewpoints were drawn here a couple of years ago.   Right on the money with that one.....

    christine (5.00 / 3) (#117)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:20:57 PM EST
    actually knows something about cleaning up waterways....and I'm afraid we don't get much of that viewpoint--drowned out as it is by the relentless, repetitive comments.

    But these things come and go....

    Has Christine actually demonstrated that? (3.00 / 0) (#182)
    by Rojas on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 08:29:03 PM EST
    If there is a thread somewhere that points to some technical acumen I'd like a pointer.

    All I've seen is how things were so much better under Browner who's demonstrated ability was to pollute waterways with the excuse that the clean air act somehow allowed the EPA to ignore the clean water act during her term as though the two were mutually exclusive.


    "man up" (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:29:04 PM EST
    what the hell are we talking about here?  are we supposed to admit that we dont always agree with the prevailing winds?  ok.  count me in on that.

    this is a freakin political blog.  the point of it is discussion which sometimes leads to disagreement which I think Jeralyn handles beautifully.

    what the whining is about is beyond me.  
    heres a suggestion, if you (or whoever) dont like it here there is always the possibility of starting your own blog over which you can layer all the draconian rules that would make you happy.

    (and I am not really talking about YOU here, you understand, right?)

    Would a troll also (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:38:08 PM EST
    be someone who posts things like: "those ships were carrying weapons to Hamas", as if that were a vetted, established fact and not an opportunistic attempt to disseminate misinformation?

    Is that kind of thing nothing more than "another point of view", to be debated against?

    So, (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by jondee on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 06:18:58 PM EST
    Im going to take that as an example of: "out-and-out lies, that may contribute to the suffering of others are alright, just don't make me-us uncomfortable."

    There's something very Catholic, or if you prefer, bourgeois, about that attitude.


    I guess I just feel like (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by CST on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:39:58 PM EST
    if you honestly want to start a real discussion about these things, calling others out is not usually a great way to do that.

    "Who started it" was really irrelevant to my point.  The fact is we all do it, and I don't find it beneficial to play the blame game when it comes to comments - unless we are prepared to take responsibility for our own.

    And I was just trying to point out how other people might view your comments - so you could better understand that point of view, not make a statement about who does it more, or who's more responsible - because I don't find that to be a productive discussion, and I don't like putting commenters on trial.

    "Calling someone out" who is a commenter (none / 0) (#199)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 03:53:27 AM EST
    sort of cracks me up when it comes to blogs and blogging.  Say what you have to say, but it is mostly anonymous doing this.  Because of that, what actual personal accountability is involved that a "calling out" is going to address in any meaningful way outside of thoughtfully adding your own intellegent measured opinion?  But you couldn't tell me that during the pie war :)

    good question (5.00 / 3) (#172)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:28:54 PM EST
    It would be interesting to figure out which types of blogs attract the BS and which don't, and why.

    my take is that all blogs attract BS

    this blog is too big for one person to enforce the blog's commenting rules

    but it's also just small enough for people who want attention (or w/ever it is they want) to jack threads w/personal attacks - prolly the whole reason why some comment here, b/c they would quickly be exposed as out of their intellectual depth on other blogs

    such attacks always suck but on larger blogs they are less noticeable b/c there are many diaries & many FP posts - personal attacks on TL stand out b/c there is less going on overall

    best to ignore the attackers & let them stand revealed as such - a nasty ad hominem attack does not become less nasty if responded to nor does it deserve a response imo

    10 Million bucks (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:31:13 PM EST
    The Obama White House ridiculed the Union for spending 10 million dollars to elect someone who would represent them.

    10 Million dollars is about what we spend every half hour of every single day in Iraq an Afghanistan.

    Hard to believe that we have that much money to waste.

    Detroit (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:13:41 PM EST
    It's high time (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by JamesTX on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:43:25 PM EST
    that trend starts to reverse. Before the computer revolution people simply lied, and they were likely to never get caught unless some reason to check came up or an enemy wanted the job or wanted to hurt them. When computers allowed companies to start selling database access, it suddenly became "must have information" for employment purposes. My understanding, from overhearing a case where I worked, the president of the company couldn't even overrule the policy because it was written into their insurance (their premium was based on having no felons in the workplace).  

    There is also a legal issue, in my understanding, about low end misdemeanors nowadays, because people were often told by prosecutors and courts that their convictions would not be held against them (as an incentive to get them to plead guilty). Then, along came the computers and they started reporting everything down to traffic tickets and actually firing or refusing to hire for it. That means the people with a certain class of convictions were actually lied to to get them plead. I am not sure what the status of all that is now.

    I realize it is public information and the people who support it have that argument won pat, but it just isn't right. We have laws controlling credit reporting, and this should be controlled also. In many states, there are time limits, and there should be. It is just another example of how the criminal justice system has gotten entangled with the free market, and a person's right to make a living is being interfered with. Something needs to be done. I wonder if there are any convincing data to show that policies against hiring those with criminal records actually result in any more safety in the workplace or economic benefits for the employer. I bet not. It would seem to me the state has an interest in keeping those who have served their time, or otherwise paid what is due for a crime, employable. Of course, I realize that is the point from many perspectives. The conservative view of the goal of criminal justice is to incapacitate the "criminal", and remove them from society forever. All limits on punishment are seen as flaws in the system to be overcome. It also maintains a cheap and exploitable workforce for certain industries, and that is wrong.


    re: (5.00 / 1) (#185)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:12:05 PM EST
    There is also a legal issue, in my understanding, about low end misdemeanors nowadays, because people were often told by prosecutors and courts that their convictions would not be held against them (as an incentive to get them to plead guilty).

    My BIL just found out he did not have a felony on his record. His understanding was he did. The average person isn't real clued in when it comes to courts, lawyers/PDs and what they are being charged with etc and what ends up on their record when all is said and done.

    I'm so over people digging into pasts. For a few jobs I can understand, but this all in attitude of background checks is pure BS. Who cares how I pay my bills etc, I'm a freaking artist, not a Wall Street banker . . . My BIL has been working at a third of what he used to make because he's honest on his apps. And part time at that. Now at least he has a better shot at working for what he's worth. He does have a new son to support after all . . .


    He should look into expunging his conviction. (none / 0) (#186)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:22:15 PM EST
    I think he had in the past (none / 0) (#187)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:34:27 PM EST
    He's just past his 5yr recovery anniversary and really seems to have his act together, so he may have better luck this time when looking into it. Less of a defeatist attitude and lots of motivation. Money may be an issue also . . . I'll ask him about it. Thanks :)

    Good news... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:17:44 PM EST
    though an applicant would have to be nuts to answer "yes" in the first place...at least if they really wanted the job.

    They'd still (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:19:37 PM EST
    have to go through a criminal background check for many jobs, so if they answered "no" and it was found out they lied, they wouldn't get the job anyway.  

    In the long run, it's always better to be honest.  Lies always have a way of catching up with you.


    Not sure about that... (none / 0) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:33:26 PM EST
    if you answer yes you're eliminated before ya even get to the background check.

    I asked my dad once and he said he always lied about his felony conviction on job apps...and thank goodness because if he didn't I might not have eaten so good!  And from what I heard from colleagues after he passed he was one helluva machinist, down to the 1/8 of an inch by eye kinda skills....if he had answered truthfully several machine shops woulda missed out on those skills.


    If I was a hiring manager (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:11:39 PM EST
    I would rather hire someone who is honest about their past.  If someone is going to lie about that, what else will they lie about while on the job?  How can they be trusted with company assets?

    Honesty is the best policy, IMO.


    Honesty? (5.00 / 2) (#144)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:49:30 PM EST
    But would YOU personally want a kidnapper / rapist / robber working at the desk next to you, even if they've paid their debt to society?  Tell me you wouldn't at least be a little hesitant and nervous.  Is that fair?

    Well at least you are now being honest about the reason you want a felon to admit to being a felon. So that you would never hire them by mistake.


    It should be the best policy... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:30:03 PM EST
    but it's not, at least not here.  In America we reward the sneaky, the sly...not the honest.

    I mean I gotta lie into the p*ss-cup to get a job...I'd like to be honest and say I enjoy intoxicants on my off time, and that my work speaks for itself, but that won't get me the gig...being a sneak will.


    LOL (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:41:49 PM EST
    Considering your POV voiced in your comments here, I would be shocked if you would ever hire a felon who did their time, paid for their crime.

    IOW I find it hard to believe your claim about honesty, here.

    And I applaud Detroit, for even pondering banning felony questions.



    Too many questions (none / 0) (#29)
    by waldenpond on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:40:21 PM EST
    Our friend was not rehired last week because of a background check.  Hired 12 years ago, contract took over 8 years ago, brought back in house this last month.  They found he had been in foreclosure and had a DUI.  

    His non-hire was appealed as his wife had left him with her two small children and he got behind on payments.  He took a job (musician-late night gig was the DUI) got the house out of foreclosure, paid his fine did his community service... all good to go.  Tough luck, new policy, no exceptions.  (Catholic Health System)

    Good news.... they want to hire him as a contractor with no benefits.  Sweet.


    wow (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by CST on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:43:20 PM EST
    the fact that they would even use a foreclosure against you, especially right now, is pretty sickening, IMO.

    It's not perfect (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:43:02 PM EST
    But wouldn't you WANT to know if you're putting someone at the cash register who has a history of stealing?

    People make mistakes.  But if they're honest, it says so much more about their character (and their chances of getting the job) than if they get hired and a boss finds out after the fact.


    I've long been opposed to (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:56:13 PM EST
     "no exceptions" policies, because it closes the door to many who don't deserve to be shut out of the work force.

    If we believe in rehabilitation, and that once paid, the debt to society is off the books, we ought to be willing to hear people out, to take each person on a case-by-case basis and put our money where our mouths are.

    Sure, it would be better if we were all honest, but for those with "history," there seems to be no reward for being honest - just rejection.  If we want to keep people out of the prison system, maybe we should allow them the chance to be a contributing member of society.

    Just a thought.


    Which is the point (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:00:03 PM EST
    I think, of the Detroit policy.

    But speaking for me only - I'd be much more open to someone who was honest with me. I'm pretty trusting (maybe too much so), and it takes a long time, but if you break that trust, I'm not very forgiving - you're done, as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe that's a shortcoming, but I think it's a thing most people would say - give them a chance.  But would YOU personally want a kidnapper / rapist / robber working at the desk next to you, even if they've paid their debt to society?  Tell me you wouldn't at least be a little hesitant and nervous.  Is that fair?  No, but it's human.


    Nobody wants that... (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:40:11 PM EST
    that's the whole point of not asking...so people who have made mistakes and paid their debt have a chance to become productive members of society.

    A DUI... (none / 0) (#140)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:42:52 PM EST
    well in the past alone can kill your job prospects in Background Check Nation.

    You're better off lying and hope the company is too cheap to actually pay for a background check...unless its a job you know their gonna check.


    Which is apparently how the (none / 0) (#151)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 06:07:46 PM EST
    man who was on the child abuse registry got hired as a census enumerator. Used an alias.  Was fingerprinted, but the criminal record check results hadn't shown up before he started working.  

    You gotta get fingerprinted... (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:10:21 PM EST
    to work for the census?  Egads!

    Yep. But what difference does it make (none / 0) (#164)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:13:25 PM EST
    if the prints aren't processed b/4 the enumerator hits the streets.

    Can you tell me (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by Rojas on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:43:57 PM EST
    What background checks are required of the executive officers of a corporation who are granted a permit to drill in the GOM?

    Thank the sun god... (none / 0) (#167)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:20:15 PM EST
    for bueracratic inefficiency in that instance.

    Did the guy on the list hurt somebody on the job?


    Not directly. This is the man who (none / 0) (#169)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:24:10 PM EST
    went to front door.  Woman inside pulled a shotgun.  She recognized him as being on the list.  (Must have been a neighbor.)  He left.  Law enforcement arrived.  Both the woman and her husband were armed.  She didn't put down the shotgun when law enforcement told her to.  "Officer-involved shooting" resulted in her death.  Tragic.  

    Jeez... (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:29:05 PM EST
    that is terrible...alotta good the lists and the police did in that instance...unintended consequences.

    Whoa . . . (none / 0) (#184)
    by nycstray on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 10:01:11 PM EST
    I thought you were discussing the case where the woman caught a child molester census taker. She lived to tell her story on GMA (no guns involved iirc). Didn't realize it happened more than once . . .
    I had a nice lady come to my door. She said I was her easiest of the day and could she have my life, lol!~

    Jack Abramoff (none / 0) (#2)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:14:27 PM EST
    has been released from the federal prison in Cumberland, MD and will serve out the rest of his term in a halfway house.  (Scheduled release date Dec. 4.)  Link.

    How about supervised release at (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by observed on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:16:57 PM EST
    a Marianas sweatshop?

    For Abramoff? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:27:38 PM EST
    Maybe not harsh enough.  No, actually, I don't like the way most prisons are run, they're hell-holes, but he was in a minimum-security federal facility, which are not nearly in the same league as many state prisons are.  I really don't have an answer as to what to do with our prison system in general.  I would prefer an emphasis on rehabilitation, counseling, and restitution.  What do you do with scum like Abramoff, who clearly deserve some kind of punishment for what they did, but aren't an immediate danger?  He ain't Ted Bundy.  What do you do with the Bernie Madoffs?  The Bernard Keriks?  And on and on.  I sure don't have an answer.  

    Restitution and Community Service... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:36:16 PM EST
    hold the barbaric chains and cages unless someone is so hopelessly violent thay give us no choice.  Whats wrong with that?

    It's long past time for an evolutionary leap in the criminal justice & corrections center...long past time.  But we seem to be devolving to the lowest common denominator.


    The evolutionary gap consists is the (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by observed on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:43:57 PM EST
    inability for people to condemn white collar and other indirect crime as harshly as direct action. I"m sure this has biological roots.
    Someone like Abrahamoff, Madoff, Skilling---these people create enormous harm, far worse in toto than most violent crimes.
    For example, who is worse: an armed robber who never injured anyone, or a Skilling, Madoff or Lay? The answer has to be any of the latter 3, but most people don't think that way.

    This is why modern war is so morally devastating: people can literally sit in offices and kill people. While I certainly don't approve of Hasan's rampage, I understand his insane anger at the situation.
    Remember, the reason the Holocaust was so horrifying was not that it was  a new idea; what made it especially awful was the application of modern technology (thank you IBM) to turn murder into science.
    We have forgotten that part of the lesson, IMO.


    At least a couple of (none / 0) (#14)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:05:07 PM EST
    Madoff's victims committed suicide, as I recall.  I agree that white collar crimes don't receive the condemnation that they should.  (Who was it who said "You can steal more with a pen than with a gun?")  Still, that doesn't mean that we don't need to reform the prison system, for everyone.

    oh i'm all for prison reform, starting (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by observed on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:07:48 PM EST
     with legalization or decriminalization of marijuana and some other drugs.
    That would be the single biggest step to improve prisons.
    Another thought would be to have coed prisons for nonviolent offenders. If you want to rehabilitate criminals, they should have chances to form relationships, IMO.

    Technology evolving... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:07:12 PM EST
    at a faster rate than the humans that use the technology certainly factors in, and is a recipe for new levels of barbarism.  

    Points well taken about what crimes cause the most harm to the most people, and the inequality of enforcement & punsihment...what it boils down to me are the actions done in the name of "we the people"...I can't stomach punishments that far exceed the crimes, and the flippancy with which the chains and cages are used.  

    Some white collar crook scamming old ladies social security money is sickening, but I ain't party to that.  The cage we put that guy in, otoh, is done in all our names...I ain't comfortable with it.  Rather we seize all the cash and sentence the guy to 500 hours of playing bridge with the old ladies at the nursing home or something...easier on our collective soul, or at least mine.


    ".....scamming (none / 0) (#53)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:38:19 PM EST
    old ladies social security money ...."

    Haven't you been reading the newspapers lately? Guess who's been scamming social security money?.....All our big center banks!
    I wrote a post here a while ago about helping out my 80 year old neighbor who had his bank account frozen. Guess who the bank was? Our old buddy, Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan.

    When I told the "representative' that the money was strictly Social security funds, direct deposited each month, and was exempt from seizure, she literally laughed at me. She said, "tell your friend to sue us, and the judge can make the call." Of course she knew that would take months, and a bunch of money.

    Many oldsters simply give up.


    I remember Shooter... (none / 0) (#166)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:15:32 PM EST
    and sh*t man they're robbin' everybody...filed under legal theft.  Though that is particularly egregious.

    It's why I'm always b*tchin' about direct deposit cashless nation...never me.


    I agree, Dog (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:57:02 PM EST
    Rehab, counseling (for those who might benefit) and restitution and community service.  Even for the really dangerous and sociopathic types, you can make sure that they cannot escape or hurt each other, but still give them decent meals and treatment, and at least an approximation of humane surroundings.  Of course, this would all mean better training for prison employees, more staff, more money spent.  We're not going to do that, I'm afraid.  (It would help free up a lot of money if we changed the drug laws, let the non-violent drug offenders out of jail, and got them into rehab, but that's a topic for another whole discussion.)

    restitution is actually a very primitive idea (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by observed on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:05:23 PM EST
    There are countries where if a woman is raped, for example, the man can make up for the crime by paying money. Most people consider this a primitive, offensive notion of justice.  

    In fact, going to prison IS the payment people pay for crimes. Prison is like money, in a way---a universal exchange medium for crimes.
    Taking away someone's liberty is the way to extract the highest price for their crimes.. well, short of torture, which I don't approve of.

    The problem I have with theories of rehabilitation is that they are only that.
    The theory behind prison is that the fear of prison acts as a deterrent to crime.
    When it comes to white collar crime, the deterrence theory of prison makes a lot of sense to me, because the underlying crimes require planning and thought of future consequences.

    Now, if you can show me that rehabilitative approaches lessen white collar crime, for instance, then I'm open to changing my mind.
    Personally, I think a Madoff or Skilling plotting a crime now would be laughing his head off at your ideas.


    I agree (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:10:10 PM EST
    If you slapped a fine and community service on Bernie Madoff - even if you took his fortune, he still has the connections and the skills to set up another scam.  There is literally nothing to stop him.  He made billions once, he'd do it again.

    They obviously... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:14:14 PM EST
    have never done service at a nursing home if they're laughing...those places can haunt you as you try to bring a little joy to a joyless place.  Community service is world's better than prison, but it ain't Disneyland...and there is more opportunity to learn compassion and the err of past criminal ways...and of course, to redeem ones self.

    Seems like we're talking about the old question, is it better to be loved or feared?  Can't we foster a more loving respect for authority instead of just fear, fear, fear?


    Could we start with you? (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:35:45 PM EST
    Have a more "loving" respect for authority?  Someone has to bend first, right?

    I get what you're saying, but you assume that everyone has a conscience and would be rehabilitated by doing community service or the like.

    Bernie Madoff doesn't show he cares on whit for his victim - even now.  What makes you think paying a fine and doing 20 hours a week at a nursing home will change that? He's not even doing his own laundry or cleaning in prison!


    Maybe it will, maybe it won't... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:52:07 PM EST
    I think it's worth taking the chance to keep our collective soul in good standing.

    Once once I see some love from authority, I'd love to revisit my positions. I'd love to be able to cooperate for a brighter tomm., but not at the risk of my glorious freedom.

    The fear they're selling just makes me sneakier:)


    I know (none / 0) (#37)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:55:45 PM EST
    But why don't you bend first?  :)  

    I can't... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:42:15 PM EST
    it's my freedom at stake, under threat of arrest on the regular.  

    I mean there is a reason cats like King and Ghandi were very special...the ability to love your adversary.  I ain't that good...it takes mad effort and reflection to simply not hate...never mind love.



    You do have another choice, you know? (none / 0) (#63)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:45:40 PM EST
    Don't break the law.  :)

    That's like asking me... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:56:36 PM EST
    I have the choice to be a slave...it's no choice at all kid...no choice at all.

    Laws have to at least be from the realm of the rational, ya know?  


    I like Rumi's (none / 0) (#208)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 10:44:13 AM EST
    "Don't move the way fear makes you move.."

    Before you get to love, that's a good place to start, imo.


    Maybe he can teach acting? When I (none / 0) (#207)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 10:37:16 AM EST
    passed the freeway-cleaner-uppers the other day, I thought of Mr. Sheen's community service compared to these people.

    That's because in this (none / 0) (#210)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 12:52:06 PM EST
    country, the criminal justice system has nothing whatsoever do with "justice." It's all about revenge. Pure and simple. Americans are a spiteful and vengeful people.

    Personally, I would impose (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:38:05 PM EST
    harsher sentences for white collar crimes than other types.  If I were king.  Seems to me your garden variety house burglar is vastly more amenable to rehabilitation.

    Actually (none / 0) (#180)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 08:16:23 PM EST
    from some friends of mine who worked in the penal system it's not true. Wether they embezzle from teh bank or rob it with a gun they are equally likely to do it again. She said that as soon as they let a theif out they were back again. She said that the majority of murderers, believe it or not, were the ones who never came back because the majority of murders are "crimes of passion" never to be repeated.

    Given how long the sentences are for (none / 0) (#181)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 08:18:28 PM EST
    murder, and that some states do not afford those imprisoned for murder "good time" credits, would be hard to compare.  Persons convicted of murder and sentenced to state prison are many, many years older before they are released, if at all.

    Bernie Madoff (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 02:39:43 PM EST
    is in a prison, informally known as "Camp Fluffy"
    The facility had been planned during a brief period of penal optimism and was designed to humanize the prison experience. The physical space resembles a campus, with landscaped yards and hedges shaped by inmates into giant globes. "There's flowers and trees; you can lay out on the grass and tan," an ex-inmate told me with a laugh. "There's no bars. There are windows." There's a gym, a library, pool tables, a chapel, a volleyball court, and an Indian sweat lodge.

    But however soft, prison is a hardship. And on his way to Butner, Madoff opened up to Herb Hoelter, the prison consultant known for helping ease celebrity prisoners onto their new paths--he'd previously worked with Martha Stewart.

    "What do I do with my life now?" Madoff asked Hoelter.


    At Butner, Madoff got busy lining up a new set of creature comforts, such as they were. He hired an inmate to do his laundry for $8 a month, Bowler says. "That was my hustle," which is what prisoners call their side job, Bowler tells me. "I was charging $10, which is the going rate, but Bernie's too cheap." Once a week, Madoff takes his place on the commissary line, turning in his checklist of goodies to buy--"All sales are final," it says on the sheet. An inmate can spend only $290 a month, but prices are reasonable. A radio goes for as little as $17.95, earplugs for 40 cents, sweatpants $18.85, and food is cheap: Macaroni and cheese, one of Madoff's favorite meals, costs 60 cents, and a can of Madoff's preferred drink, Diet Coke, is a bargain at 45 cents.


    He receives a couple of newspaper subscriptions via the mail. Sometimes he relaxes atop a picnic bench bolted to a concrete terrace outside his unit, his arm folded over his eyes, or else he reads. Madoff likes crime mysteries by Dean Koontz and John Grisham, which he also receives in the mail, reads avidly, and then passes along. For a break, there is gambling, with the odds coming out of Vegas. Madoff has been seen with betting slips.

    And Madoff threw himself into the prison-work world, applying for jobs as energetically as a new college grad. Madoff told Fineman that because of his age, he wasn't obligated to work, but how else to fill the time? He'd always been industrious--keeping the con going was a continual hustle--and initially he'd hoped for a spot on the prison-landscaping crew. He proposed that he serve as the clerk in charge of budget. He had qualifications--he'd been chairman of NASDAQ. "Hell, no," said the supervisor to Evans, laughing. "I do my own budget. I know what he did on the outside." In an August 13 call-out sheet, which lists prisoners' daily assignments, Madoff's is maintenance. He gave out paint. Later, he was assigned to the cafeteria, where he walked around with a dustpan and broom, sweeping up dropped food for 14 cents an hour, the wage earned by new arrivals.

    Sounds similar to (none / 0) (#18)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:09:03 PM EST
    the Camp Cupcake Martha Stewart was in.

    Only in America... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:24:48 PM EST
    could prisons be called "cupcake"...thats the flippancy I'm on about. Nothing cupcake about loss of freedom and dehumanization...no matter how much better the conditions are compared to p.m.i.t.a. prison.

    That's (none / 0) (#34)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:44:18 PM EST
    what the inmates themselves call it.

    That's sad... (none / 0) (#36)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:53:05 PM EST
    that the other cages are so bad that one could be called "cupcake" and another "fluffy".  Really sad.

    Sex on the lawn? (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:35:01 PM EST
    That's a double tasering and a phantom assault charge on the side combo meal.  Thank you for choosing McTyranny.

    The only encouraging thing... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 03:59:23 PM EST
    ...was reading the first comments under the article, most of which were highly critical.

    Seriously, officers, they're exhibitionists, pull up a chair, let them finish, things are much more mellow post-orgasm. Hell, you could've just given the guy a Marlboro and he would've collapsed at your feet.


    An aggressive stance? (none / 0) (#211)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 01:00:08 PM EST
    Proof positive that most cops are simple cowards. All it takes now to get shot or tasered is a "stance." What did he do, point his pecker at 'em?

    How about not stirring the pot any further? (none / 0) (#81)
    by MKS on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 04:55:45 PM EST

    Well, that 's rich. (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:01:59 PM EST
    But, seriously, the reason I bring it up is because it drives people away and it lowers the possibility for genuine discussion, that's all. I'd like to see it change and improve, that's all. I'd like to see less mean-spiritedness, that's all.


    I guess others prefer to watch the same play with the same actors and the same script day after day.

    Uncle. I think it was worth a try.


    Bingo! (5.00 / 4) (#108)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:14:49 PM EST
    Let's not take ourselves too seriously here my friends.

    At the end of the day, we're all just knuckleheads commenting and discussing sh*t on a kick-arse blog.  

    Much like my views on society at large, I say lets not get all crazy with the rules and regs and screening and comment security features (how about a comment swat team!:)...instead just take all the good with the little bad and roll with it. Nobody is forced to comment or banter with anybody.

    Should go without saying to act like you would as a guest in someone's house...lest the host throws your arse out.


    Hear hear! (5.00 / 2) (#171)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:26:35 PM EST
    Took me a while to accept this. But it is true.

    heres to president kdog (none / 0) (#110)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:16:10 PM EST
    they like you because you usually stay out of politically charged discussions.

    no (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:20:45 PM EST
    it's b/c kdog walks his talk about behaving like the guest that every commenter here is & he does so w/out regard to the type of discussion

    i like kdog b/c he is smart & civilized

    speaking for me only of course


    I like his comments (none / 0) (#123)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:24:10 PM EST
    because they are pretty humane and adult in their way of disagreeing or agreeing with people.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by squeaky on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:22:48 PM EST
    kdog doesn't resort to insults, keeps a cool head, and is generally able to appreciate other people's view points even though he disagrees with them. That doesn't mean that others here do not also add to the quality of discussion here.

    If everyone were the same, well it would be a kaffee klatch.


    I like Doc Molly, I like Anne... (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:23:34 PM EST
    I like you, I like squeaky...I even like the living legend JimakaPPJ, the diversity of opinion is what fuels my engine...even when I disagree so much it hurts.

    I stay out of that machiavellian sh*t for the most part cuz I don't think it matters till we elect some monkeywrenches to major offices.


    k-dog is a great (none / 0) (#190)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 12:36:48 AM EST
    commenter and we're lucky to have him.

    you know (none / 0) (#116)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:20:53 PM EST
    I have to say.  I disagree with you a lot but almost always have interesting things to say and you have the great benefit of not whining and mewling about it when someone disagrees with you.

    I enjoy your comments.  even if I almost always disagree.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#127)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:27:00 PM EST
    I like a lot of your stuff too - about your pets and your graphics and stuff.  And you find the most interesting articles.

    For oculus... (none / 0) (#125)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:26:08 PM EST
    Have you read the new Jane Smiley novel? Very good.

    Thanks for the recommend. (none / 0) (#156)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 06:29:17 PM EST
    Isn't there some plug-in software apps (none / 0) (#128)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:28:23 PM EST
    that automatically turn a, say, particular 4-letter word into "####?"

    Queen Elizabeth II (none / 0) (#145)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:49:52 PM EST
    is to speak at the UN in July, following a royal visit to Canada.  Perhaps she will be able to add a Gulf of Mexico stop to her itinerary to cheer the BP lads on, although she does run the risk of getting oil splashed on her purse.  It would be a nice touch if she capped her stop by firing Tony Hayward--not her ordinary role, but she is the power behind the throne they say.

    the end of libel? (none / 0) (#148)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 05:59:03 PM EST
    For the first time in her nearly three decades at the world's largest magazine company, there are no active libel suits against Time Inc. In fact, there hasn't been an active libel suit in 11 months.

    And she isn't alone. "It's never been lower," said George Freeman, the New York Times Company's vice president and assistant general counsel, on the number of libel suits his company is facing.

    this could be good (none / 0) (#150)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 06:06:25 PM EST
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Already infamous for being the then-socialist who called Margaret Thatcher sexy and as the contrarian who loved George W. Bush's war in Iraq, Christopher Hitchens now wants to rewrite the Ten Commandments.

    some of my best friends are (none / 0) (#153)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 06:19:17 PM EST
    Poll: With Higher Visibility, Less Disapproval For Gays

    Seventy-seven percent of Americans now say they know someone who is gay or lesbian, a new CBS News poll finds - an increase of 35 percentage points since 1992, when a majority of Americans said they did not.

    No Padres/Mets game today. But a (none / 0) (#165)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:14:49 PM EST
    double header tomorrow.

    Bring your brooms... (none / 0) (#168)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:23:02 PM EST
    to the ballpark tomorrow ladies and gentlemen.

    Ha. We have some really young, fast (none / 0) (#170)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:25:28 PM EST

    My brother... (none / 0) (#176)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 07:34:46 PM EST
    and I were impressed with Headley...kid can hit.

    Not disagreeing, but..... (none / 0) (#183)
    by ZtoA on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 08:40:45 PM EST
    defense does not contradict guilt in all cases.

    Ever wonder how the siblings of the Columbine murderer kids felt? Or all the family members? Well, I was a family member of a situation with certain similarities when I was a kid -  a long time ago. In my case, the murderer was known. The victims were too. There were probably many other victims not known. Family members were on both "sides" at the same time and a compassionate defense humanizes the person who commits an act that society has determined is not acceptable. It does not let the criminal off the hook. We were happy our criminal went to jail for the rest of his life, and we were happy he got a trial. In many ways that trial also humanized the victims (at least the known ones). The world is so much more complex - and rich - than :

    TL is not reflective of prison nation mentality. She said that if you want to be rooting against someone accused of a crime you should take it to another pro victim, tough on crime site.

    I'm so very, very sorry... (none / 0) (#188)
    by sj on Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 11:25:48 PM EST
    ... for the trauma to your family.  To all the families.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#214)
    by ZtoA on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 04:40:18 PM EST
    Exactly (none / 0) (#189)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 12:23:34 AM EST
    And commenters who opine differently will be limited in the number of comments they can make expressing a point of view that contradicts the basic mission of this site.

    And commenters who agree with the site's (5.00 / 3) (#191)
    by shoephone on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 12:37:35 AM EST
    position on legal matters, but relentlessly bait and insult other commenters? That seems to be the double standard many people are addressing in this thread. Sorry, Jeralyn, but your protection of some of the worst offenders here renders the commenting rules very vague -- which is the reason I stopped commenting for a few weeks.

    It is quite confusing. I have often (5.00 / 2) (#192)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 12:43:48 AM EST
    though J would prefer I just not comment at all re her posts.  But, it seems to me, it is good to get a broad range of viewpoints, even on criminal matters.  

    No, the point of this site is not to be (none / 0) (#193)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 01:07:48 AM EST
    fair and balanced. It is to promote the rights of those accused of crime. It's been stated in our "about page" since 2002 -- 8 years.

    I have been more than tolerant with letting people disagree. But those views will be limited and they will not be allowed to dominate this site.

    This site was started to advocate for the rights of those accused of crime, the guilty and the innocent. If that offends you, as I've said many times, you are on the wrong site.

    My reporting is factual. I spend hours researching and writing and I link to where I get my material. My opinions are presented as such.

    Comments here show up in google -- as coming from TalkLeft. I will not have people trashing defendants' rights and presuming guilt on this site so it appears as if I've endorsed that point of view.

    If you aren't here for the crime stories, but for BTD's political analysis, stick to his threads. Don't trash mine.

    And read the comment rules. Opposing views are tolerated, in moderation. Some commenters here want to promote a different agenda. Sorry, they can't.

    Occulus, I like some of your comments. But when I spend hours researching and writing up a topic, and you come along with quip after quip either unrelated or refusing to take the post seriously, you are detracting from the level of discourse, and I point that out. Otherwise, I leave you alone. And mostly I enjoy your comments.

    Others, unfortunately, insist on promoting a contrary agenda. In the future, they will be limited on crime topics to four comments a day, per the comment rules.

    I rarely read comment threads except on my crime posts. When someone calls a comment with a personal attack on another commenter to my attention,  I read it and make a decision as to whether it stays or goes.

    No commenters get special treatment. Everyone has to follow the comment rules. If you're going to post something that directly contravenes the mission of this site, and another commenter calls you out, so long as it doesn't involve name-calling or profanity, it will stay. You should expect that those comments are not going to met with approvingly here.

    I am not going to play hall monitor every night. It's taken me two hours just to clean this thread and someone's alerted me to another one I still have to get through. Comments cannot be edited, only deleted, and that has to be done one by one. It's very time consuming.

    I view political disagreement differently than disagreement on crime issues. I have far less tolerance for on crime issues. So if you disagree with the position taken in the post, think before you comment, as you will be limited in the number of such comments you can make.


    I plan to read your posts for awhile to (5.00 / 2) (#204)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 10:13:15 AM EST
    get an idea of how a acriminal defense attorney thinks.  And skip the comments and commenting.  

    sorry to (none / 0) (#205)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 10:17:05 AM EST
    hear that

    Thanks. Let's see if I can do it. (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 10:24:39 AM EST
    I remain interested in criminal procedure and law issues.  

    unless it's called to my attention (none / 0) (#194)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 01:11:23 AM EST
    I don't know about it. I've repeatedly said, send me an email. I don't read most of the comments here, usually only the ones on my crime posts.