Friday Night Open Thread

8 days and no verdict in the trial of former Illiniois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother Rob.

Montana's medical marijuana has an unintended loophole -- you don't have to be a resident of the state to get one.

"The law is mute on the subject of legal residency and there is no recourse for the Department of Public Health and Human Services but to keep the situation as it stands," Council said. "On Monday, we will be moving forward, status quo, on the processing of out-of-state applications."

What else is going on in the world or your neck of the woods? This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Night bird (none / 0) (#1)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 09:46:08 PM EST
    It's quarter to 11:00 here, and there's a hummingbird still coming to the feeder attached to my office window, though it's been full dark for a couple of hours now.  I can't see it since it's a very dark night, but the buzzzzzz of its arrival is unmistakable.

    From the activity today, it seems the clutch on this side of the house (there's another one on the other side somewhere) just fledged today, so I guess this must be one of those youngsters who hasn't gotten the word he/she is supposed to be in bed by now.  Unless it's Mom hummingbird stoking up after all these weeks of tending her brood.  (Male hummingbirds contribute only their genes, and then take a powder.  Haven't even seen one since mating season finished and the ladies retired to their nests full-time.)

    Hummingbird moth? (none / 0) (#2)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 10:45:10 PM EST
    We have those where we live and they look very much like a hummingbird.  Just a thought..............

    Love those moths! (none / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 09:05:41 AM EST
    Good thought, but no, they don't buzz loudly like hummers do.  And I've sure never seen one come to hummingbird feeder, have you?  Besides, they're strictly daytime moths, I think, and insects don't have anywhere near the extent of behavioral variability of higher lifeforms.

    they've been coming like (none / 0) (#9)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 09:41:49 AM EST
    crazy to the feeder outside out kitchen window lately. The visits radically increasing in the last week or so. We're pretty much head-over-heels in love with those little feathered folk. They seem to have pieced together rather early on that the cats cant get to thenm through the screen, so they quite often engage in what appears to be some semi-aggressive taunting behavior when the cats are on the windowsill, with hilarious results (for me anyway). Drives our youngest male cat absolutely bonkers..

    Hummers, not moths, yes? (none / 0) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 11:40:51 AM EST
    You've almost certainly got a passle of recent fledglings there, and they're very entertaining of any species.  I have to be careful, for instance, not to wear red when I go out during this time of year because I'll end up with a couple chasing me around.  I've seen them chase Cardinals, as well.

    At one point, I was sitting up reading on my bed on 2nd floor and suddenly noticed a hummer hanging for some time right at the window next to the bed and peering in intently-- way higher than it was ever going to find any flowers.  And then I realized the comforter on the bed was bright red...

    They're wonderful little critters, and there's something particularly entertaining about a creature that's so tiny and yet so incredibly aggressive.


    Definately not months (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 12:07:18 PM EST
    I haven't seen one of those things in years; it would be cool to see one. Very unusual creatures they are. Still waiting all these years to see my first Luna Moth, too.

    Yes aggressive: if I remember correctly, the Aztec god of war was a hummingbird. I once saw two hummers charge at each other full speed, medieval-joust-style and clash their beaks together with a pretty loud click for such small birds.

    Also, as you're probably already aware, you have to very careful about having uncovered windows when there are a lot of hummingbirds around; they're known for accidentally ramming themselves into the glass full-speed thinking it's an open space.  


    No Verdict???? (none / 0) (#3)
    by BrassTacks on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 10:46:14 PM EST
    I am shocked that the jury is still out on Blago!  What might that mean?  Hung jury?

    I hope it means they're (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 09:06:50 AM EST
    taking their job seriously and carefully going over the evidence and the charges.

    Juries usually do (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 09:42:42 AM EST
    Despite what most people think.

    Exactly my point (none / 0) (#14)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 11:33:57 AM EST
    Some fun (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 07:03:52 AM EST
    I hope no one here is among those photographed...

    Howard Dean (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 07:10:08 AM EST
    Predicts the individual mandate will be gone from the health care reform legislation by 2014.

    Dean: [T]he truth is the mandate's not essential to the plan anyway. It never was esential to the plan. They did it in massachusetts and had a mandate, but we have universal health care for kids in my state without a mandate.

    Savanah Guthrie: How can you say that? the way it's explained to us by the White House if you do anything about preexisting conditions, you got to get everybody into the game. Without the mandate, you can't require insurance companies to stop prohibiting --

    Dean: We did in my state. We did it 20 years ago in my state.

    Chuck Todd: How did you do it?

    Dean: We just said all comers will have to get insurance and you can't charge -- this is why our bill is so much better than what they passed -- you can't charge more than 20 percent above the basic rate; in the Senate it's 300 percent, based on age. The fact of the matter is that I thought the president was right in the campaign. Academically you want a mandate. The American people aren't going to put up with a mandate. I made this prediction before and I'm going to make it again: by the time this thing goes into effect in 2014, I think the mandate will be gone either through the courts or because it's unpopular. You don't need it. There will be two or three percent of the people who cheat. That is not enough to bring the system to a halt and people don't like to be told what to do.

    Todd: You expect them to drop the mandate?

    Dean: Well, the courts may rule it unconstitutional. It has no effect on the bill.

    Guthrie: You don't think that unravels the whole bill?

    Dean: Absolutely not. You do not -- the only people that really benefit from the mandate are the insurance companies. I know from personal experience, 18 years ago we did this in my state and it still works just fine. We didn't have big rate increases. We had a few fly by night insurance companies leave because we were so tough on them, but our insurance market works as well as anybody else's.

    He's said this before but (none / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 09:10:31 AM EST
    I'm very skeptical that the dynamics of the Vermont population are applicable across the entire country.

    It also occurs to me that rural folks everywhere may be more likely to join up voluntarily because physicians and medical centers are so few and far between and there's a vivid feeling of vulnerability on health care issues.


    My guess is (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 09:46:45 AM EST
    And I could be wrong, but many rural folks may not have insurance any other way - many are in jobs where they are self-employed (or may not be employed at all for lack of opportunity).

    Rural medicine is becoming a big focus - my alma mater, Central Michigan University, is planning to open a medical school in the fall of 2012 that will primarily focus on teaching students who wish to practice in the rural areas of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.


    I'm sure that's right (none / 0) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 11:32:42 AM EST
    although I think there are farmers' organizations that can at least provide access to something like group rates for members.

    Good for CMU, I say.  Personally, I can't imagine many lives more fulfilling than being a country doctor, but it's certainly lacking in both excitement and bucks.


    Universities, in recent times, (none / 0) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 07, 2010 at 11:44:02 AM EST
    have been persuasive with state legislatures (many of rural legislator orientation) in being able to establish new medical schools whose mission underscores education and training for practice in rural settings.

    That practice, in greatest part, is primary care (e.g., family medicine and internal medicine). Recruitment from rural areas with the hope that graduates will return is also a goal, but, at least so far, it has been met with mixed results. A UWashington study (April 2010, based on 2005 data), showed about 11 percent of allopathic and 18% osteopathic graduates were in rural practice. However, primary care will be increasingly needed in all geographic areas. It is good to see Central Michigan helping to address the nation's growing need.