Wednesday Night Open Thread

For TV, there's Survivor, America's Next Top Model and some new show called The Defenders, that I'll watch out of curiosity, even though I think it will be an unrealistic, exaggerated portrait of criminal defense lawyers. Hope I'm wrong.

The TL kid and I just got new laptops. I ordered him a Dell over Labor Day, which took two weeks to build and arrive, and when it did arrive, it had black screen death. After more than two hours on the phone with a very pleasant tech person in India, and later, his supervisor, it still shut down immediately after starting. Most likely, it had conflicting components, and since they stopped offering the 1G video card in that model last week, I'd bet that was the problem. But whatever the cause, since a replacement would have come with an integrated video card when I paid for a 1G, I went back to Sony, who I've always had good results with. They are having a sale too, and after hours of internet shopping, where everyone offers slightly different features, the best deal turned out to be at the local Sony Style store. And I liked the one I was getting for him so much, I ended up buying one for me as well.

I'm not bashing Dell, I love their desktops, and most likely will buy my next one from them, but it was a disappointment. At least the return process was simple, and as I said, their tech people tried really hard to figure out what was wrong and were very pleasant.

So while I set up my new laptop tonight, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

< Woodward's Book on Obama and Afghanistan | New Health Insurance Changes Take Effect >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Steve Colbert to testify before Congress (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 09:18:09 PM EST
    Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert will be testifying before Congress on Friday about immigration during a hearing called "Protecting America's Harvest."

    Colbert will be appearing with United Farm Workers (UFW) President Arturo S. Rodriguez before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. In August, the comedian spent a day working at a corn and vegetable farm in New York state after Rodriguez appeared on his show to discuss UFW's "Take Our Jobs" campaign.

    Interesting idea

    .."Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field," said the UFW site. "We will use our knowledge and staff to help connect the unemployed with farm employers."

    According to a UFW press release, since the effort launched, "more than three million people have visited the campaign web site, www.takeourjobs.org. Of those visitors, 8,600 have expressed an interest in seeking employment as farm workers. Despite the numbers, only seven people have taken the UFW up on its offer to take a job in agriculture."

    Source: HuffPo

    Oh, so he visited a farm for a day (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:12:13 PM EST
    and that makes him some kind of expert?  You left out the part where he's testifying in character.

    I'm a huge Colbert fan, but this is absurd.


    Some how I missed that he was (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 08:32:51 AM EST
    doing this in character. I agree that it is absurd.

    I do think that if any of us actually worked in the fields for a even a day, many would come away with a whole new perspective.


    For sure (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:09:57 AM EST
    But the idea that U.S. workers don't want these jobs is what's at issue here, as I understand it, not at working conditions.

    The availability of migrant workers means that these farms can get away with lousy working conditions and low pay that U.S. workers won't and/or can't accept.  So the fact that U.S. workers don't take the jobs as they are now constituted is a moot point, seems to me.

    I come from a small family farm state, and many of our farms would simply have to go out of business without these incredibly hard-working folks, many of them illegals.  I'm a lot less sympathetic to the big commercial farms that exploit these people, however.


    I HAVE worked as grape picker (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:28:20 AM EST
    in California many years ago. It was hard, back breaking work and I never want to do it again. Here's the problem, if you paid wages that "American" would demand for such work, there would be an uprising at the grocery store over the cost of the produce. It's a double edged sword. Increase farm wages to what good ol'whitey will work for and no one will buy the stuff at the store.

    Similar to Wal-Mart (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:55:59 PM EST
    Seriously.  Wal-Mart makes it possible to buy necessary household things cheaply, but at the price of many thousands of American jobs because in order to meet Wal-Mart's demands on pricing, their suppliers have mostly had to move operations to China and other low-wage countries.

    It's a heck of a dilemma.

    But my point wasn't to argue one side or the other, just to point out that it's the availability of large numbers of illegals who will work for peanuts that make the whole thing possible.  We've got our own little piece of China right here in the U.S.  If that labor force wasn't available to mega-growers, they'd have to either pay substantially higher wages and charge more for their products (and/or take a somewhat lower profit) or go out of business.

    I note, btw, that the cost of locally grown lettuce, for instance, from small-scale commercial growers in my area, who do not use illegal labor, isn't dramatically higher than the mega-farm lettuce trucked in from California and sold in my supermarket.

    I suspect that's at least in part because the smaller farms have much lower overhead costs and are happy to make a decent living instead of a killing for executives and shareholders.

    I could go on, but the point being that I don't totally buy the idea that our food costs would inevitably have to explode if farm workers were paid a decent wage.


    I'm with you on this (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 10:14:15 PM EST
    my FM is very affordable. and ya get great service also  ;)

    mega growers will whine to high heavens that they will have to charge us waaaaaaay more if they have to pay a living wage. they've had plenty of practice. see country of origin labeling whines (among others . . )  . . . .  :)


    you said it (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 11:17:10 PM EST
    Mega growers... (none / 0) (#52)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 02:44:15 PM EST
    ...also get mega-welfare from the government in the form of farm subsidies and have a tendency to disregard any concerns for public health in their pursuit of profits.

    They can whine until they're blue in the face and it doesn't sway me one little bit.


    Some increase... (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 02:18:11 PM EST
    would be inevitable...but I think you're right in that better wages for farm workers would help the remaining "family farms" with no stockholders & CEO to pay obscenely...and I'd gladly pay an extra 25 cents a pound for some of that action.

    otoh, it might give a leg up to imported food more so than the small farm in the US.

    It's a real dilemma allright.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 08:44:00 AM EST
    Also, it smacks of congresscritters trying to act cool. I'm sure Stephen thinks he can do some good, but this is just going to be excruciating.

    Since the Dems are calling him (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 11:23:15 AM EST
    It really looks like they think life is a bowl of cherries and they have nothing better to do but inject a little fun and waste time at hearings.  Seriously - what substance can he offer?

    Comic relief... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:42:43 PM EST
    is what Colbert offers...which is more than the "Honorable" Ted Poe brings to the table.

    Politics Is About Influence (none / 0) (#46)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:50:53 PM EST
    John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have plenty of influence. If you think that the lies and propaganda that are taken for truth by the general public are serious thoughts, you are deluded.

    Colbert is going to bat to testify against widespread misconceptions about undocumented workers stealing US jobs.

    Truth to fiction, truth to power, truth to lies.

    It is always interesting when a comedian has more credibility than 75% of the Politicians.


    Doesn't everybody... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 07:59:52 AM EST
    testify in character?  Ollie North, Roger Clemems, the Wall St. Greed All-Stars, etc...:)

    I think it's a brilliant move by the UFW to draw attention to the plight of immigrant farm workers, and draw attention to how few native workers took 'em up on their offer to take their jobs, in a sh*t job market no less.

    If the head of the UFW was testifying solo, it wouldn't be in the headlines...in an absurd political atmosphere like ours, it makes perfect sense.  Give 'em hell Colbert!


    UFW doesn't get to decide (none / 0) (#19)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:10:34 AM EST
    who testifies at a congressional hearing.

    I agree that enlisting Colbert for PR purposes is a great idea, but he doesn't belong, especially not in character, testifying at a congressional hearing.


    Point taken... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:24:34 AM EST
    If you take congress seriously, I guess you could call it a farce...but if you ask me G, most of the characters at the hearing don't belong....Ted Freakin' Poe is practically a birther.  Talk about a real character.

    Why Is That A Problem? (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 11:32:26 AM EST
    I have never seen Orin Hatch, Ted Kennedy or Dick Cheney testify out of character. If you do not think Politicians are just as much actors as Colbert, you are naive. Theatrics are integral to politics.

    Colbert the person, has no standing other than his being an actor, and would never be asked to testify as himself, unless it was a personal matter. Colbert the political comedian has been an important influence because of the political character he plays. Why should he not take it to DC?


    Only if he is being called (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by jbindc on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:00:11 PM EST
    On something he's an expert on - like how pop culture influences politics and vice versa. But what does he have to testify about with regards to immigration policy?

    how does one testify (none / 0) (#32)
    by CST on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 11:39:10 AM EST
    to congress in character?  Doesn't that whole oath/perjury thing get in the way?

    He'll be the "new" Roger Clemens. (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:15:12 PM EST
    Why? (none / 0) (#41)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:21:58 PM EST
    Why would an oath be a problem. Do you think he will get indicited for perjury?

    I do not see how that would be possible. He is testifying about the UFW's program where regular people take a day off their regular life to see what it is like to do farm work.

    He did the day's work and is going to testify about it. Even if he dressed up in a clown outfit, he would still be telling the truth about his personal experience.


    Yes, For A Day (none / 0) (#38)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:36:22 PM EST
    That was the whole point of the UFW's initiative: "Take Our Jobs"

    Rodriguez then touted the Take Our Jobs initiative.

    "It's inviting American citizens that want to work in the fields, that want to take those jobs, that want to do that agricultural work, to come out and do it. So we put up a website, takeourjobs.org and we're inviting Americans throughout the United States to come and try to work in agriculture if they believe that immigrant farm workers are taking away good American jobs."

    Colbert asked how many people had taken up the offer. The answer was three, so Colbert said "Make that four, I'll do it."



    The local news reports (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:17:20 PM EST
    that the President got himself heckled at a fundraiser tonight by gay activists.

    If so, good for them. He deserved it.

    This bluff is so tired, so played, so dog-eared (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Ellie on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:21:24 PM EST
    ... everyone can see the marked cards comprising the hand by now, whether it's election-time threats pro or con to swing the proverbial pendulum. From KFBB.com Montana:

    Story Published: Sep 22, 2010 at 5:31 PM MDT

    Some Montana Republicans want to make homosexuality illegal, despite being struck down by the State Supreme court thirteen years ago. And now a local senator, John Brueggeman, is drafting a bill to strike the language from Montana law altogether.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana spoke out to News Channel 5 about the controversy.

    "All Montanans deserve fairness, respect, and deserve to not be treated like a criminal just for conducting their private lives.

    We're hopeful that maybe the tide is turning, maybe as more people talk about why it's not ok to treat our gay and lesbian neighbors like this that maybe this coming up session there will be enough support to strike it from the books," says Niki Zupanic, Public Policy Director for ACLU of Montana.

    ACLU of Montana is also bringing forward several bills to the Legislature including recognition of domestic partnerships and adding gay and lesbian Montanans to non-discrimination statutes statewide.

    Make being gay illegal? M@sturb@t!on illegal? Abortion illegal? Being on the planet while BLatino/a/BrownAsianFemaLGBT illegal?

    Bring it on and arrest us, try us or leave us the f*ck alone. (This particular ATM/vote machine is closed to the image-keepers but I'll keep sending my love, as always, to the people who are willing fight the good fight.)


    Dems publicly admitting gross stupidity on DADT (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 10:46:44 AM EST
    Maddow asked VP Biden why the administration did not suspend the discharges of people under the policy now pending that Defense Department review? Why keep kicking people out now while all of this movement is happening toward ending the policy? Answer the adminstration agreed in another back room deal to continue to the discharges in return for votes. Another one way compromise. Here is VP Biden:

    JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because that is the compromise we basically had to make to get the votes to finally repeal it. In other words, everybody is looking for--in my view, if I could just wave a wand, it would just be flat repeal. No one else would be able to suspend it. And everyone suspended would be able to come back if they wanted to.

    But the truth of the matter is, we had to build a consensus for this, working very hard on the telephone, calling people, telling them--and everybody is looking for the orderly elimination of this law. I would prefer it not be orderly. I would prefer it just end, boom, done. But that`s why that hasn`t happened. C&L

    Funny how that worked out. Administration continues to kick "the gays" out and the Republicans continue to vote against repealing DADT.  


    Yep (none / 0) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 10:47:22 PM EST
    Looks like our brave Dems are going (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 11:22:45 AM EST
    to punt on the tax cuts until after the election.

    A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM today there won't be a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts in the upper chamber before the November election, a blow to party leaders and President Obama who believed this would have been a winning issue.
    "Absent a stunning turn of events, we're not going to do tax cuts before the election," the aide told TPM.


    Which really means... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 11:45:09 AM EST
    we're looking at a tax hike in 2011.  Oh joy.

    At least the extra ducats will go towards helping the needy...lol.


    Don't think that is how it will work (none / 0) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:53:16 PM EST
    I believe that the Bush tax cuts, including tax cuts to the rich, will be extended. Those tax cuts will IMO be paid for by raising the retirement age on SS.

    Yep, weenies all--House too (none / 0) (#37)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:21:01 PM EST
    Recession Proof (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by squeaky on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:26:49 PM EST
    Forbes magazine released its annual list of the 400 richest Americans on Wednesday, and their combined net worth climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline....

    Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City, rounded out the list at No. 10 with $18 billion....


    Meanwhile (none / 0) (#44)
    by hookfan on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:46:54 PM EST
    new unemployment claims rise for fourth week in a row. Now at the highest since February.link

    From the article:
    States with the largest increases in claims two weeks ago cited rising layoffs in the construction and manufacturing industries. The state data lags the national report by one week.

    Claims could also be rising because of large job cuts by state and local governments, which are struggling with unprecedented budget gaps. State and local governments cut 48,000 jobs in July, the most in a year.


    Adding to the "uh-oh" list (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:10:37 PM EST
    Gilibrand may be in trouble.

    She's good on basically all issues. I hope she can pull this one out.

    Bill Clinton (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:09:07 AM EST
    Clinton said it was good for Obama to encounter a woman telling him to his face at a CNBC televised town hall Monday that she is growing weary of defending the president, and that he should acknowledge many voters' "disappointment" at Obama's progress so far.

    "He's being criticized for being too disengaged, for not caring," the 42nd president said of Obama. "So he needs to turn into it. I may be one of the few people that think it's not bad that that lady said she was getting tired of defending him. He needs to hear it. You need to hear."

    Ed Rendall on Maddow (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:24:20 AM EST
    sprouting the Obama approved talking point for Dem base.

    "Wake up. If you are disappointed, "Get over it." link

    I didn't think (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by lilburro on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:26:02 AM EST
    Ed was that dumb.  Wow.

    EGR knows better, too (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:26:27 AM EST
    Shrug. You'd think experienced politicians do more than just ride the political currents.

    Ed's not running for anything. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 09:30:29 AM EST
    I like Rendell, but my guess is he's probably looking for a job in the Obama administration at the end of his term. And he'll get one.

    Wow, that's an interesting poll (none / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:17:21 PM EST
    Says Cuomo's lead is entirely from lower-income voters.  And upstate girl Gillibrand wins the five boroughs but loses the rest of the state.

    And the gender gap for governor is just horrendous, 34 points! I understand why men would reflexively loathe Cuomo just on a personal level, but the fact that they're willing to put up with Paladino by such a wide margin is just shocking.


    There was a poll last week (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:20:54 PM EST
    that had her doing great in her old district (NY-20). As to this one. . .I'm suspicious of the age crosstabs. Otherwise, it pretty much comports with what Quinnipiac reported about NY-Gov this morning.

    {head desk} (none / 0) (#9)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 02:08:49 AM EST
    I thought my NY folks were safe and I was only going to have to deal with my CA folks. I'm totally behind Gillibrand. She's got guts on some issues and also on the ag committee. Damn . . . .

    Q-poll (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 08:14:45 AM EST
    Here in California (none / 0) (#35)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:19:07 PM EST
    Boxer and Jerry Brown are starting to build leads against the CEO millionaires....

    Boxer is a tough campaigner and has been working very hard....She will win by about 10, I think.  She won by 20 in 2004--also a good year for Republicans....


    So what's the matter with New York? (none / 0) (#36)
    by MKS on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:19:44 PM EST
    I wouldn't worry.... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 12:37:25 PM EST
    People are po'd at incumbents, to be sure, but when that November Tuesday rolls around I just can't see many pulling the lever for Crazy Carl, especially as his welfare whoring gets more and more press...today it's Mike Daly calling him out on the rip-off rents he charges the government.

    Same for the no-name Repubs up for the senate seats...they may get a few more house seats in right-leaning enclaves, but nothing more than that...take it to the bank.


    laptop setup (none / 0) (#12)
    by msobel on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 08:29:12 AM EST
    I recommend you use Dropbox  It will allow you to keep most of your data in a way that is backedup and accessible from multiple systems (laptop and office desktop etc.)  You can even share between people.  It's free but useful.  

    I just started using it too (none / 0) (#26)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 10:04:58 AM EST
    And Jeralyn, it is available on your iPad too. Makes it easy to share docs with your new PC.

    Via (none / 0) (#15)
    by lilburro on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 08:45:48 AM EST
    Rising Hegemon, Andrew Sullivan on the DADT vote:

    If I lived in Arizona Nevada and had the vote, even though Sharron Angle is beyond nuts, I'd vote for her. Better nuts than this disgusting, cynical, partisan Washington kabuki dance, when people's lives and dignity are at stake.

    um ok...  Attaturk's commentary on this is hilarious.

    Sometimes you feel like a nut. . . (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 08:50:07 AM EST
    and sometimes you just are one.

    Interesting little case... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 10:06:36 AM EST
    from S. Africa...some guy calling himself pigspotter is performing a public service via twitter, pointing out speed traps and cops hiding in the bushes and what not, and is now in hot water.  Facing charges of defamation (huh?), impairing the dignity of another person (say wha?), and defeating the ends of justice (come again?).

    The authorities admit everything he's posted is true...I guess there is no freedom of the press or speech in SA.

    Good luck pigspotter...I'm sure all the people you saved from tickets are rooting for ya.

    3 cheers for Philly... (none / 0) (#45)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 23, 2010 at 01:50:32 PM EST
    They got their heads out their bums and doors opened their first casino today, The SugarHouse Casino....Philly is now the largest American city with legal casino gaming.  

    I hope NYC takes note...we're way behind the curve.