Friday Night Open Thread

Has anyone noticed Comcast just added dozens of new HD channels, including, finally, news channels like CNN, Fox and MSNBC? Also lots of the smaller cable channels. Mine went live yesterday, and they didn't even announce it, they just showed up in my channel guide. I feel a little bit better now about how much I pay them. A very welcome change.

Another good move by New York Governor David Paterson today: He signed a law preventing cops from storing information gained from their notorious "stop and frisks" when no charges are filed.

Last year alone, the New York Police Department stopped 575,304 people, mostly black and Hispanic men, and recorded their names, addresses and descriptions into an electronic database. The stops are based on a standard of reasonable suspicion, lower than the standard of probable cause needed to justify an arrest. Only about 6 percent of those stopped are arrested.

For those of you indoors and online tonight, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Fun Facts About The Al Gore Investigation (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Blue Jean on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 09:25:09 PM EST
    Remember Al Gore's massager/accuser?  Well, it turns out that she failed a lie detector test on the subject in 2006.  Now, I know lie detectors have a huge error rate, so I wouldn't take much stock in her failing the test.  However, the police found out that she has a history of accusing people of mistreating her.  And contrary to her claims, there was no semen on the pants she claims as evidence, much less any DNA of Al Gore's.  And the GOP love to derail Al Gore during an important election year for Democrats.

    Nah, I don't know if that last sentence is the truth.  But I'm 90% that it is.

    thanks for the link (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 09:43:27 PM EST
    Why are so few reporting this? No semen, an incident of a judge rejecting a claim of abuse in the past and a failed lie detector conducted at the request of a lawyer considering whether to take her on as a client. While not evidence her current claim against Gore is false, it's as worthy of reporting as her allegations.

    You're Welcome, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#4)
    by Blue Jean on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 10:00:40 PM EST
    I'm glad you liked the link.  Yes, I too wonder why the media isn't trumpeting the defense's evidence as much as the accusation itself.  I don't know if it's because the police reopened the case, or because the media doesn't want to say anything in case more evidence comes to light, or it's just too juicy a story to prove false or what.

    Proves the old Mark Twain adage, though; a lie can be halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its shoes on.


    So they did have to open the investigation (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 10:17:00 AM EST
    back up in order to close it from a command level.  I think some of the posters posted on the possibility of this in previous Al Gore scandal threads.

    Governor Paterson (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 03:07:28 AM EST
    It is a crime that Paterson is such a bad politician, because he is a good progressive/liberal, and waaaaaay better than the movie star Cuomo.

    Oh, well.

    I'm floored... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 11:38:09 AM EST
    the bill made it through the legslature and was signed into law.  I was thinking Ray Kelly's whiney editorial might convince Paterson to veto.  Can't believe I'm saying it, but...great job Albany!  The stop-n-frisk database was a total travesty.

    The war on freedom continues of course, but it's nice to put a notch in the win column.  Bloomberg and Kelly will have to back to the drawing board in their quest to turn the NYPD into the KGB.


    A story from al.com (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 10:11:36 AM EST
    BP is trying to buy all the Gulf Coast scientists it can get its dollars on, and have even attempted to buy entire science departments of at least one Alabama University known of.

    Ah... I do love it (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jbindc on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 02:43:17 PM EST
    When Claire speaks:

    President Obama is suffering from expectations set too high by the historic presidential election of 2008, one of his closest allies in the Senate said Thursday.

    In an interview with The Hill, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) blamed unrealistic expectations for Obama's dismal poll numbers, which have Democrats worried about a defeat at the polls in November's midterm elections.

     "The bar for change was set inordinately high by the tone of the presidential campaign," said McCaskill, an early supporter of Obama's who endorsed him over then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in January 2008.

    Obama's long-running primary battle with Clinton captivated Democrats across the country, who rallied to Obama's message of change. Turnout for the general election was the highest among eligible voters since 1968.

    McCaskill said that Obama would have had a tough time pleasing the public no matter the economic situation, but that a collapse in the economy magnified Obama's problems by sending unemployment to new highs and damaging the nation's fiscal health.

    She also said Republicans had done a "very good job" in attacking Democrats by portraying them as a party of "big government."

    "Expectations were so high that if there had not been a complete economic meltdown, it would have been hard," she said. "But you add to that mix this incredible implosion of the economy ... and the minority party did a very good job of messaging `big government.' "

    That is sadly humorous, since (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 04:14:46 PM EST
    McCaskill sure played her part in setting up such expectations of Obama.  Remember her endorsement, calling him "truly gifted by God"?!

    Ah, well, maybe McCaskill can have her daughter again tell her what to do now.


    Ah, my sweet Claire (5.00 / 3) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 05:25:39 PM EST
    at it again.

    The bar was set so high that Obama decided to just continue many of Bush's policies. It is not surprising that continuing the same military and corporate centric failed Republican policies is not producing good results.

    Also, it is much harder to blame the Republicans, when the Democratic Party had a super majority in the house and 60 votes in the Senate.


    One has to truly (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by NYShooter on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 09:22:14 PM EST
    Wonder if there's something to the White House "Bubble" concept?

    They cry out, "We GAVE them Health Care Reform, We GAVE them Constitutional Reform, We GAVE Them Regulatory Reform......WHAT DO THEY WANT????"

    Do they really believe what worked for the Rove/Bush Junta, "We cut "your" taxes, would work on us?

    The answer is yes, it will. From the NYT to the New Yorker these "accomplishments" are prefaced by "most sweeping, greatest overhaul, and everything, naturally, ending with, "since the  Great Depression."

    The small detail left out, of course, was that the laws were handed over to the industries being affected to write, with one overriding, inviolate rule, nothing that affects our ever increasing profits gets in."  


    Dem voters have gotten tired of the old excuses (none / 0) (#28)
    by shoephone on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 04:53:17 PM EST
    "It's those mean, obstructionist Republicans!" just isn't going to fly anymore. Wonder when the pols will wake up and smell the burnt coffee?

    Why is it "Lady" Longhorns... (none / 0) (#7)
    by desertswine on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 10:11:46 PM EST
    Why isn't is just Longhorns? There's no "Man" Longhorns. You know, as in the Man Longhorns suffer another football loss to the Man Sooners.

    Yeh, that name cannot compete (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 11:48:00 PM EST
    with the name of the girls' basketball team at my high school, which was named for a Catholic pontiff.

    The girls' team is called the Lady Popes.

    And of course, as their league includes other Catholic high schools named for cardinals, bishops, etc., we get local headlines like:

    Lady Popes Crucify Lady Cardinals

    That result of this naming tradition would suggest that it's time to start a new naming tradition.


    more catholic sports headlines (none / 0) (#11)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 12:08:05 AM EST
    lady priests abuse lady altar boys

    sorry could not resist

    so crucify me


    Try being an athlete at Delta State Univ. (none / 0) (#15)
    by BTAL on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 07:21:50 AM EST
    The Fighting Ocra doesn't really strike fear in the minds of their opponents.  :)

    Doh, typo (none / 0) (#16)
    by BTAL on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 07:23:00 AM EST
    The Fighting Okra

    When (none / 0) (#17)
    by CoralGables on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 09:25:30 AM EST
    students take charge of team nicknames, that's when you get some creativity. My dream matchup on the field is the day the Delta State Fighting Okra take on the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes.

    The Okra is still officially an unofficial name though while the Fighting Artichoke is real.


    Ahh.. I'm just gritchin' (none / 0) (#9)
    by desertswine on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 10:45:38 PM EST
    Try it at University of Delaware (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 02:31:20 PM EST
    The only college (that I know of) that's mascot is a female - the Blue Hens.  So, it's redundant to call the female teams the Lady Blue Hens (although they do).

    Seems to me (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Zorba on Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 02:15:43 PM EST
    that they ought to call their female teams just the "Blue Hens," and call their male teams the "Gentlemen Blue Hens."   ;-)

    Considering all of Apple's antenna problems... (none / 0) (#12)
    by EL seattle on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 12:29:58 AM EST
    ...and pricey subscription rates for so many video formats, a story like this is somewhat refreshing. (As long as you don't have a complete aversion to old-school approaches to tech.)

    Link: San Jose Mercury News column about DickBaughman.

    Re: Comcast (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 01:05:10 AM EST
    You are probably seeing the considerable benifits of project Cavalry. The short version is that Comcast switches off its analog channels, in place of which it can broadcast 3 HD channels or 12 SD digital ones (assuming MPEG-2 compression).  

    exactly correct (none / 0) (#22)
    by Makarov on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 12:04:18 PM EST
    For most people, you won't be able to tune to a channel above 20 (or thereabouts) without a digital cable now - as those common cable channels are now being digitally compressed. The bandwidth savings permits Comcast to expand their HD channel lineup. In my area, Comedy Central, AMC, and many other channels will soon be available in HD.

    My cable box has been reset late at night a couple times over the last week, and the menu has changed slightly now. No new channels here yet, but we're supposed to have them in advance of August 1. Coincidentally, Aug 1 is when cable rates increase - about $4-$5 / month for HD triple play (internet/phone/cable) customers. Excuse me, it's not triple play it's now 'Xfinity'.


    correct except for one thing (none / 0) (#23)
    by Makarov on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 12:05:42 PM EST
    The encoding for digital channels is, and has been, MPEG-4 to the best of my knowledge.

    I can assure you it isn't (none / 0) (#24)
    by andgarden on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 12:29:33 PM EST
    except in a few isolated test situations. Comcast has a HUGE inventory of digital cable boxes in the field dating back to the early 90s, and only the most recent can decode MPEG-4.

    That is the future, though. No question.


    Wasn't Bush supposed to have done this? (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jul 17, 2010 at 11:32:43 AM EST
    After the U.S. Government took action against several sites connected to movie streaming recently, nerves are jangling over the possibility that this is just the beginning of a wider crackdown. Now it appears that a free blogging platform has been taken down by its hosting provider on orders from the U.S. authorities on grounds of "a history of abuse". More than 73,000 blogs are out of action as a result.

    Hot on the heels of recent threats from Vice President Joe Biden and Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel directed at sites offering unauthorized movies and music, last month U.S. authorities targeted several sites they claimed were connected to the streaming of infringing video material.

    U.S. Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs"

    "Freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose."