Tuesday Open Thread

I've got lots of work today, so here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

BTD - A belated "me too."

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    Re "religious fervor": (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 11:42:42 AM EST
    From Paul Bowles "travels":  

    "Perhaps at that time, too," he [Bowles' Jewish host in Casablanca] adds drily, referring to an earlier conversations, "I shall be able to persuade you that Judaism is superior to atheist existentialism."

    I [Bowles] say that it is erroneous to imagine that anyone is at liberty to believe what he wishes to believe.

    heh (none / 0) (#17)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:20:40 PM EST
    which means that if all conversion is autoconversion, then all efforts at alloconversion are, if not presumptuous, at best superfluous

    Okay (none / 0) (#18)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:21:45 PM EST
    That's too hard to parse right now :)

    Newt on Judges (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Addison on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 11:43:19 AM EST
    I would love it if this site would cover Newt's position on the courts. I know he's a fading star, essentially irrelevant at this point, but it's still a long-standing Tea Party bugaboo and it might be good to smack down.

    I'm specifically referring to this:


    It's a 20+ page position paper on the court which is so historically inaccurate and legally dubious that I'm thinking of tackling it myself for a Dkos diary. The selective quotations and specious reasoning (read the first ten pages, then go read the Wikipedia article on Marbury vs. Madison, and/or Federalist 78 and the other Federalist papers he selectively cites) are awesome to behold, especially from the organization of the world's highest-paid historian.

    As one example, he quotes Hamilton saying that the courts are the weakest and/or least dangerous branch. Newt's team takes this to mean that the courts should defer and are lesser than the other two branches. What Hamilton was saying is that the courts are de facto powerless because they have no army or funding. Hamilton ACTUALLY said (in the same Federalist paper Newt cites!) that the courts should have final say on questions on Constitutionality, which is the entire debate!

    Newton Gingrich prides himself on the (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by KeysDan on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:41:42 PM EST
    harebrained and outrageous, coating them as visionary. However, if his claim that there is "no reason for Americans to tolerate a judge that is out of touch with America's culture." is the pale, his plan to enforce it is beyond it.

    Capitol police or a US Marshall apprehending or arresting a judge and hauling the judge before a Congressional hearing to explain rulings he does not agree with is seditious.

    Gingrich's example of the June ruling of Judge Biery that barred religious speech during a Texas high school graduation ceremony was actually overturned by  the Federal Court of Appeals.  Of course, he does not mention that part.

    Gingrich apparently feels that his stance on radical, activist judges (i.e, those with whom he disagrees) will be catnip to the Iowa Evangelicals who have never recovered from their Supreme Court's decision in 2009 that allowed same sex marriage. Three of the unanimous judges were removed in the 2010 Iowa retention votes, but Gingrich's has their moral, if not their legal backs.  

    You know how bad it is, when Bush's Attorney Generals Michael Mukasey and Alberto Gonzales find Gingrich's plan to be dangerous and off-the-wall.  While these former DOJ officials may not be ready to apply rendition, the newly enacted Defense Authorization Act, may be interpreted to apply to Gingrich, say "supporting Associated Forces" that are engaged in hostilities against the US that could result in his indefinite detention until the electoral hostilities are over.

    True, Gingrich's transgressions, so far, involve speech. But, hey, that was the claim against Awlaki and that did not work out well for him--or his son.


    Dear DEAR President Obama, (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 12:39:54 PM EST
    Now that you have signed the National Defense Appropriation Act into law giving yourself the power to arrest and imprison any American indefinitely, I want to tell you how very very very very very sorry I am for all those nasty things I wrote about you. Name-calling is never appropriate and I should have known better, especially when I compared you to Benito ("Three cheers for war!") Mussolini for making undeclared wars in Africa. In retrospect, I was way off base. Since the NDAA nullifies the Constitution, you might agree with Mussolini's viewpoint, "Mankind is tired of liberty" but that's definitely where the comparison stops. Mussolini was a fat slob whereas everyone can see you are the leanest, trimmest, handsomest president we've had in the White House since JFK, maybe handsomer.

    An Open Letter of Apology to President Barack Obama

    Liberty is suuuuch hard work (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:14:39 PM EST
    Thank you for relieving us of it.

    It Makes the Recency DOJ Claims... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:32:31 PM EST
    ...against Sheriff Joe and the East Haven cops rather hypocritical.  Personally, I would take a little abuse down in Arizona or up in Connecticut everyday of the week before I would sign up for unlimited detention program, the assignation special, or the good old Eastern European torture tour.

    That kettle may want to stop calling the pots black.


    Sheriff Joe's people tasered a person into a coma. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Farmboy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:54:44 PM EST
    I can't really think of calling that "a little abuse." YMMV

    Right, and He Also Did Something to a... (none / 0) (#74)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:18:54 PM EST
     ...Quadriplegic that required surgery.

    But compared to what suspected terrorist are put through, including being enhancely interrogated to death, I will stick with 'a little abuse'  Which I am positive you didn't take literally.

    I am not dismissing their pathetic disregard of the Constitution, the point was more that the DOJ looks very foolish pointing out others flaws when they can't seem to see those same, if not worse, flaws in their own back yard.  If anything the DOJ seems on board and have probably written some new Yoo-esque memos making it okay-dokay.


    I would love to see the DoJ investigate the use (none / 0) (#110)
    by Farmboy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:54:37 PM EST
    of "enhanced interrogation" during the Bush years. Even more I'd like to see most of that administration in orange jumpsuits.

    But the authorized use of euphemistically named tortures by the US ended in January 2009.


    appeal to Bay Area cat lovers (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:37:46 PM EST
    my spouse & i have two sweet, gorgeous young cats, both rescued from the streets of our Oakland neighborhood, one in 2010 (he is now about 2.5 years old) & the other a year ago (she is now about 1.5 years old)

    the mother, brother, & sister of our girl have remained street cats (but, with the help of our local vet, all three of them were neutered last year) - my spouse & i have continued to feed them but don't have room for any more cats

    in the wee hours of this morning our girl kitty's sister was run over and killed - one of the vet techs found the body on her way to work & called me with this news

    these cats need a home & the no-kill shelters are already overwhelmed - my spouse & i can put up funds to board mother & son for a week or two at the vet

    would any TL-ers in the Bay Area like to adopt one or both of these two friendly street cats? ideally, they would both go to the same home

    the boy (about 1.5 years old) is adorable & solid black - his mom, also adorable, is a classic tortoiseshell (probably younger than 3 years old)

    FWIW (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:47:48 AM EST
    Almost all cats would rather be single rulers of the roost, if they had their druthers, but most are able to adjust to the introduction of another cat or two into the household-- after a certain amount of growling and hissing and fuss-- if you manage it carefully.  Been there, done that.



    Not in the Bay area (none / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:47:11 PM EST
    but good luck to you.

    Short fiction about Disneyland (5.00 / 0) (#66)
    by Dadler on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:02:18 PM EST
    Really, really well done, Dadler (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Zorba on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:52:03 PM EST
    You have a gift.

    I enjoyed it. (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by the capstan on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:07:53 PM EST
    Glad I can now read just for fun, not worrying about editing (which I never, ever like to do).

    Pretty funny (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:14:07 AM EST
    Since I just got back from Disney World :)  There is nothing flattering in those Space Mountain photos they take, or Splash Mountain either.  The last thing I'm throwing out there are my boobs.

    I have so many of those pictures (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:44:30 AM EST
    When visitors come, they seem to always buy them in the 2 or 3 pack and give me one. I have the exact same eyes-closed grimace on my face all the time. Truly horrible.

    I agreed to buying one (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:49:13 AM EST
    Josh won a Flip raising money for classroom supplies.  Handy little thing, eats batteries like candy though.  But he and his dad wanted every one of those silly photos.  Nothing is ever going to be as good or as funny as all that footage of mom screaming that is on the Flip.  I'm not shelling out a handful of twenties for lackluster belittling, they have the great stuff clutched in their fist.

    Funny! (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:50:03 AM EST
    I love those behind the scenes stories.

    fantastic, Dadler (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by The Addams Family on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:36:34 PM EST
    creative use of a blog, too

    i met a woman who worked at Disneyland as a dressed-up Minnie Mouse until she was promoted to impersonating Mickey

    as Mickey, she had to shake the hands of thousands of children, including one little monster who grabbed her gloved hand & twisted it painfully sideways & backwards while kicking her in the shins

    as she reflexively pushed the kid back with her good hand, she was relieved to see two security guards descending on the scene

    when they reached her, one of them growled, "Cool it, Mickey," & the two of them hustled her away


    Dadler, you are really good at this... (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:17:58 PM EST
    somehow managing to run the gamut from humor to pain to pondering the meaning of the universe, and having it all ring completely true.

    Something tells me you are an avid people-watcher, one who goes below the surface details to ponder the inner workings of people's lives - and I think a lot of great stories come from that place.

    Your stories always leave me wanting to know more about the people in them - you make the reader care, which, considering the short-story format, is really something.

    More, please!


    Who Knew (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:30:06 PM EST
    Medical use of maggots (for cleaning wounds) was approved in 2004 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    HERE is a study confirming they work better, at first, in cleaning woulds of dead tissue.

    Crazy... They put them on the wounds for days and underneath the bandages and claim the test subjects didn't know.

    Where do they find these people... who let let doctors put maggots on the wounds ?

    I knew-- (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by the capstan on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:12:50 PM EST
    not that I'd welcome the procedure, but it probably beats other types of debridement.

    It makes sense (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:08:39 PM EST
    in that they go for the dead tissue.  There is also a time and place for leech therapy.  

    Intellectually, I know this.  I'm not sure I could get past the "ick" factor.  On the other hand, if I had gangrenous tissue or wounds that wouldn't heal, would I be able to get past that?  Maybe.  I'd need lots of meds though.  


    Wound maggots (none / 0) (#147)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 11:52:04 PM EST
    have been used for centuries... by US doctors during WW I, probably even later. It's supposed to be much better for the patient than cleaning the wound by cutting out the tissues.

    Remembrances Photos (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by shoephone on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:29:28 PM EST
    I'm really enjoying looking through this photo album in the NYT called The Lives They Loved.

    Gary Johnson (5.00 / 3) (#127)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:00:27 PM EST
    is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination for the Presidency, and instead will seek the nomination of the Libertarian party.

    When seeing this headline I wondered which part was the "news". To be honest I never knew he was running for the GOP nomination so for me this was two stories in one.

    I feel relief about the payroll tax (none / 0) (#3)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 12:36:23 PM EST
    expiring. I thought it was the wrong way to go about getting money into people's hands last year, and I'm actually glad that the tea partiers  defeated it.

    Bad policy in the first place doesn't need to be continued. Let's examine tax policy in general... but not with the people Obama appoints to 'bipartisan' commissions.

    Is it a done deal yet? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ruffian on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:12:38 PM EST
    I agree with you. If the consensus is that we need a middle class tax cut, lets do it a better way than at least symbolically draining the FICA fund.

    We're talkin about Congress ruff... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:05:31 PM EST
    they have no interest in a "better way", and even if they did they won't come up with one in time.

    This is a bad time to f*ck with the legion of those livin' check to check's net.


    I know, what was I thinking? (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 06:38:23 AM EST
    But I am worried that the same people that need the money now will need it even more at retirement, and the powers that be are marginalizing social security to give people the money now.

    No good answer on that issue I guess, when so many are in trouble.

    But I do strongly object to the GOP holding it hostage to get lots of unrelated goodies.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#162)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 07:42:37 AM EST
    not trying to sh*t on the importance of funding social security, I just don't think jacking broked*cks for another grand is the way to do it, not right now anyway.  The economy at large needs broked*cks spending that money.

    If only there were well-to-do billionaires who could help social security and the country out in this regard, or a government with some semblance of a sense of priorities.  Social Security we need...not sure we need drones and drug wars and so many prisoners and cops and agents and...

    Both parties are guilty of playing politics with the check-to-check brigade's quality of life here...Obama and the Dems could just as easily agree to a 1 year extension now instead of insisting on two months only, just the same as the f*ckin' GOP could agree to the two months right now.  It's all so pathetic...


    This is the "tax cut".... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 12:49:42 PM EST
    that worked out to like 2 bucks a paycheck for me, right?

    Silly to sweat 2 measley bucks, but that being said, on principle I don't think Uncle Sam deserves any raise this year.


    Only if (none / 0) (#21)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:37:15 PM EST
    your paycheck is $100.

    I think I got it... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:46:04 PM EST
    mixed up with the witholding change, that was the two buck weekly vig reduction.

    Now I'm firmly against the expiration...I do not want to part with another grand per year to prop up this busted piece of sh*t...call China and get another loan Uncle Sam, the working person is tapped, if ya haven't noticed.


    From WaPo (none / 0) (#53)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:34:54 PM EST
    If the tax holiday is not extended, payroll taxes will jump from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent in January, costing the average family $1,000 next year. The Senate package also includes provisions that would extend jobless benefits for millions of unemployed Americans and avert a cut in reimbursement rates for doctors who treat Medicare patients.

    Except (none / 0) (#77)
    by coast on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:34:48 PM EST
    that the Senate bill was only for two months, so the actual benefit the "average family" would have been only $166, not $1,000, without further legislation.

    Time for congress to unpin unemployment (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:46:34 PM EST
    from tax cuts. Also, cut marginal income tax rates, instead of defunding Social Security and Medicare.

    This approach will give a break of 2% to people, yes, but one has to make 50k per year for this to equal$1,000. And the median HOUSEHOLD income is just 50k per year. So a lot of folks don't get a heck of a lot in this, while it worsens SS in the long run.


    Careful. Jeff! (none / 0) (#94)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:43:16 PM EST
    You starting to talk liked a Repub!



    Jeff: isn't there theory for some... (none / 0) (#164)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 07:53:24 AM EST
    But the reality of living paycheck-to-paycheck for many others?  I don't want to give credence to jimaka's related query...yet, I think by putting the head so far ahead of the heart here, you may be falling into a for-the-sake-of theory trap.

    Christine, (5.00 / 2) (#168)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 09:50:56 AM EST
    they were living paycheck-to-paycheck before the payroll tax deduction.  Remember, Christine, I'm unemployed, and in poor health.

    But being unemployed and in ill health, being one of the hidden homeless, I can still see bad policy and call it bad policy.

    People 'want' an extra 1k in their pockets. But one has to make at least 50 k to receive that 1k.  It's a complete pander.

    I'm all in favor of tax policy reform. Seriously progressive taxation, even soaking the rich. But I know few people for whom 20-25 dollars a paycheck makes life quantifiably better.

    So, if you wish to call me a republican, go right ahead. But poor policy does not get a pass simply because it has been proposed by democrats.

    My issues with 1) ACA, 2)payroll tax holidays, 3)a small and poorly-administered stimulus do NOT make me either heartless or a republican. They make me one of those few who sees the serious flaws such policies and programs wreak on the economy  and on people in my position in it.

    I think that saying "gee, you're heartless by wantng people to pay $25 dollars MORE per paycheck..."  that's specious.

    I want people to pay what they were paying in payroll taxes last year. Since Obama has made it a point to put medicare and medicaid on the table to be negotiated away, whether in his commissions or within the supercommittee's purview, I see terrible policy. Terribly policy creates terrible outcomes.


    As we've said in past discussions Jeff... (none / 0) (#169)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 09:59:35 AM EST
    in so many words...this b*tch is toast.  The promises are empty.  We have no way of knowing if SS is gonna be there, or if an extra 25 a week will save it...the indicators ain't good brother.

    When tax allocation is properly prioritized and we're still short then we can talk to the check-to-checks about forking over another 25 a week...aka when the people are being served by a government by, of, and for us.  Until then, f*ck that...I could use that 25, and some really need that 25...thats 20 lbs. or so of pasta.


    If the democrats don't give away SS (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:09:40 AM EST
    and medicare, it will be there. SS is solvent until 2037, according to the prudent, even conservative reports issued by the Social Security trustees, there is no problem with it-- so long as payroll tax holidays disappear.

    Social Security and Medicare are part of the social contract. Now the politicos want to renegotiate it.

    Obama and the others hate the game, so they want to change it by hook or by crook... privatization or cuts or something else. For me, I hate the players who do not need and will not miss SS becoming concern trolls with power over it.

    I don't know about your age, Kdog, but SS will be there for me if i live. But if i die, then i still want SS to be there, without the changes proposed or that they, the elites, are trying to bring in through other means.

    Good policy would ensure a strong SS/medicare.  Bad policy says privatise it, or just as bad, cut the inputs to it.

    SS will be there unless the Masters of the Universe get their way and cut it.


    I think we know the answer... (none / 0) (#173)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:23:45 AM EST
    cut income tax by 25 a week to offset the 25 a week increase to SS taxes.  I guess that requires cooperation and a willingness to solve problems, no Machiavellian power plays in any of that!

    I'm 34 and am not expecting to ever get a SS check...I figure it will all be electronic transfer by then anyway, and I still ain't getting a bank account, whether the contract has been voided by then or not:)

    I know it is more complex than this, but to a working person it boils down to two numbers on a paycheck, gross and net.  The difference is all vig, the breakdowns for FIT, FICA, etc. are for the bean counters.  If the net goes down people will feel it, and I just can't justify that looking at the big tax/spend picture.  


    Ken, I think no family making less (none / 0) (#177)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 11:12:06 AM EST
    than 50k ought to pay any income tax at the federal level. It doesn't even need to be taken out. Payroll taxes, though, yes. But all income needs to be taxed, not just the first 100k.

    As to SS in 30 years? I dunno. The way that Republicans clamor against it, and the Democratic leadership seems willing to sell it out... at least Obama and his crowd, anyway, i'd have doubts also.

    At my age and condition, I won't get much... but I've always payed it, and I don't feel bad at all about paying it. Part of the social contract, if you will.


    I agree... (none / 0) (#178)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 11:26:04 AM EST
    the FIT I seriously object too...paying for services not rendered and/or services that cause misery...sh*t funding the criminalization of my lifestyle!  

    I don't mind kicking in one bit for the sick, old, and disabled...I just think the roughly ten percent of my wages currently jacked total should be sufficient to fund a safety net and legitimate government business, and if it ain't enough cut the illegitimate government business out.


    The Politics (none / 0) (#5)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 12:40:33 PM EST
    Are coming around the way I'd hoped.  Common sense is setting in:

    "Just a few moments ago, CNN released its latest public opinion survey with new approval numbers for President Obama. The numbers are 49% approval and 48% disapproval. That's a significant notch up from where the president has been in recent months but it's also almost identical to data released yesterday by ABC/WaPo, which had President Obama at 49% approval vs. 47% disapproval."


    Given the competition, this should be welcome news, even for his detractors.

    What competition? (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Towanda on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 12:42:24 PM EST
    There's another president?  

    There will be if Obama loses (none / 0) (#10)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:06:30 PM EST
    whooosh.... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:13:11 PM EST
    I got it (none / 0) (#15)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:17:57 PM EST
    Silly point.  She knows exactly what I meant.

    So in turn you act like you (none / 0) (#16)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:20:26 PM EST
    don't know what she meant.  Talk about silly...

    Not at all clear to me (none / 0) (#88)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:26:53 PM EST
    what was meant....Too many gaps....could be interpreted a number of ways....

    No, I really did not know what you meant (none / 0) (#95)
    by Towanda on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:43:54 PM EST
    in that post.  Write clearly to communicate.

    I do know what you mean by this post, though:  That you're an a**hole.

    Not news.


    ewwww... polls (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 12:50:56 PM EST
    I continue to be astounded that any of them have any approval ratings whatsoever.

    Was "None of the above" an option?


    More (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:56:58 PM EST
    From Kos:

    "Do you have more confidence in President Obama or in the Republicans in Congress to deal with the major issues facing the country today?
    Obama: 50
    Republicans: 31

    "President Obama is making adjustments and is now heading in the right direction (up a net of 13 points from his 43-55 rating in early September), Congress isn't: It's improved only 2 points, from a net -69 approval in early September to a net of -67 today. . . It's not just President Obama who is beating Republicans, however. Democrats are also doing better. Their net favorability rating is now +14. Republicans are at -9 and the tea party is at -16."

    The good guys relatively speaking are fighting the good fight and gaining the support of the people and the response by many here is . . . to spend even more time attacking the good guys.

    That's all I am saying.


    ewwww... dKos (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:01:16 PM EST
    And moreover it doesn't answer my question which was
    Was "None of the above" an option?

    No (none / 0) (#38)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:09:41 PM EST
    None of the above was an option because that option doesn't make sense if you are asking about approval or disapproval.

    You select the other option by selecting (disapprove).

    Cleverness Fail.


    You're right (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:13:57 PM EST
    It is a cleverness fail.  The way it's set up the sheep have to measure satisfaction with the wolves.

    Let me see (none / 0) (#96)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:44:53 PM EST
    What caused that???

    Hmmmm. Obama is a Demo.

    The House ain't.


    It's going to be bad news all around next year (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:02:39 PM EST
    Either a democrat or a republican will probably win, rather than the people of the country.

    Says you of course. (none / 0) (#14)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:16:55 PM EST
    Well, maybe no one else in the country (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:21:59 PM EST
    will show up at the polls, and Obama will win with your vote.

    1 - 0.

    A landslide.


    wouldn't that be (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:33:04 PM EST
    a mudslide?

    It would be ugly either way (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:12:19 PM EST
    I guess... ;-)

    Honest question (2.00 / 1) (#23)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:40:29 PM EST
    Shouldn't progress count? This out today:

    "(Reuters) - Unemployment rates in almost all U.S. states dropped in November, and 45 states had jobless rates lower than the year before, U.S. Labor Department data showed on Tuesday."


    Clearly you can't be judging on the basis of "Is the employment rate less than 5.7%? If yes then I approve. If no then kick the bums out."

    That seems to be the standard answer for you and a few others.  Is everything fixed? No.  Then Obama sucks.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, people are judged on trends and whether things are getting better and for all of the griping around here, they are. Demonstrably.  Not perfect but getting better.

    That's what most people judge and it's the reason why I think Obama will win having a higher employment rate than almost any successful incumbent.

    People understand that fixing huge problems takes time, and if we are going the right direction, they will approve of the guy in charge.

    Things are going the right direction so they are increasing their approval of the guy in charge.

    Ending the war in Iraq, which gets him almost zero credit around here but is huge everywhere else, is also a big part of it.


    You don't get to speak for me. (none / 0) (#24)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:45:25 PM EST
    I can do that for myself.

    Why are you being cryptic (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:52:42 PM EST
    if that comment is to me.

    Do you judge improvement or end results? That was the only question. I think most people judge improvement but if there is an argument otherwise, I am interested in the argument and how that works in reality.


    I'm only cryptic (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:57:20 PM EST
    to someone who isn't accustomed to directness.  Using Edger as proxy, you are busy telling us what we expect and why we're oh-so-unreasonableso that you can conclude that his critics can and should be discounted.

    As usual, not only are you wrong, you are presumptuous in the extreme.


    Standard ABG fare: project what he (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:03:23 PM EST
    has to onto others so he can have the argument he wants.

    The one benefit is that it's made me much more aware of this tactic when it's used by others - others who are much, much better at it than ABG.


    Standad Anne Fair (1.33 / 3) (#36)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:08:14 PM EST
    Avoid directly addressing ABG because ABG is quick enough to make you look silly if you slip.

    I understand.  Talking "above my head" to the people who believe as you do is safer.

    If I were you, I'd avoid me too.


    ABG, (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:31:41 PM EST
    if you were half as bright as you think you are you'd be twice as bright as you really are.

    The way I have heard that (none / 0) (#90)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:33:14 PM EST
    expressed is "If he (or she) was half as bright as they thought they were, they wold be a genius (superstar), etc...."

    Who here thinks that they are stupid (none / 0) (#107)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:45:03 PM EST
    raise your hand.

    [ABG's hand is down]

    I have been posting here over a year and I have yet to see anyone give an opinion about a subject that they believed was wrong or believe that they didn't have the ability to comprehend basic pieces information.


    Heh - not REMOTELY ... (none / 0) (#119)
    by Yman on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:48:49 PM EST
    ,,, the same thing as what NYShooter was saying.

    "ABG is quick enough?" (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:39:59 PM EST
    Hey, maybe you should quit your day job - comedy seems much more your speed - that might be the single most hilarious thing I have heard or read all day.

    Seriously, the only person you ever manage to make look silly here is yourself, ABG.

    As for that thing about talking above your head?  As many times as you drop my name, and the names of others, into your comments as if they were epithets, you're just getting a tiny taste of that thing known as: what goes around, comes around.


    We have to give ABG 'some' credit, Anne... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:20:22 PM EST
    He did do a great job of diverting this entire thread from any discussion of Obama's signing of indefinite detention into law.

    And if a percent or two more people are now employed at poverty level wages, well, that's go to be real solid incremental progress towards them being happy in a fascist state, right?

    And once Obama' policies force wages down low enough we'll be up to almost 100% employment except for the few people who will be too damned proud to take any kind of slave labor job they can get for any amount of pennies per hour just to feed themselves because they can't reconcile that with living in a fascist state.

    Some people are just never satisfied no matter how much Obama does for them.

    I mean to them....


    Nope (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:49:06 PM EST
    It's an open thread.  I mentioned that Obama's poll numbers were looking up in a new post in an open thread.  Obama's critics respond reflexively to any good thing said about him.

    I have zero interest in discussing the indefinite detention provisions and didn't comment on that stuff. I think Obama is completely wrong on it and should veto it.  Pretty simple.  But I hate adding to the narrative that Obama is doing nothing right.  If commenters were more objective, those kinds of topics would be interesting to me.  But I am not fan of the echo chamber and hearing a chorus of the flock in full unison is boring. Knock yourself out with blasting Obama about that.  


    Ok (none / 0) (#86)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:10:47 PM EST
    I won't give you any credit at all then....

    Edger, interesting that you thought (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:40:44 PM EST
    this open thread was your exclusive provence to peddle your pet theory that Obama is a fascist.

    ABG has a far better grasp of reality than you do.


    Reality? (none / 0) (#99)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:00:03 PM EST
    Interesting. I guess you and abg hadn't noticed that the entire global economy is on the verge of utter and complete collapse.

    Which just might be the only thing that precludes utter and complete collapse of the climate and environment.

    That is, if chaos doesn't get in the way.

    Either way, I imagine you'll both be cheering as civilization goes over the edge...


    Where do you find (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:18:34 PM EST
    that negative air you breathe?

    On a cheerier note, the stock markets across Europe rose strongly today. In the US the Dow rose 337 points. The NBA returns to action this Sunday. Pitchers and catchers report in less than 9 weeks. It's 73 and sunny on the Florida Gulf Coast.


    Always something better (none / 0) (#102)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:28:20 PM EST
    on another channel....

    NBA? (none / 0) (#105)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:36:19 PM EST
    Not interested so much....

    But we got your 73 and have 65 and sunny here....which is not an unusual SoCal Winter day.


    Sorry MKS (none / 0) (#109)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:50:18 PM EST
    Was trying to cover a little bit of everything. The negativity around here at times almost warrants an increase in gun sales for self use.

    No, I appreciate the plug for the NBA, (none / 0) (#111)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:07:27 PM EST
    but not all that pleased with those folks right now.

    Loved it when Shaq was still here....

    And Tebow lost and the Pack lost, so whatchya gonna do?

    Super Bowl Pick, since rambling on is okay on this thread:

    Pack 31, Pats 28.


    I first saw this message (none / 0) (#103)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:32:03 PM EST
    when in San Francisco on Market Street where the Street Cars end.  It was long ago.  There was this guy with a bullhorn and who was wearing sandwich boards that read, "The End is Near."

    Nihilists and anarchists....Nothing new....been around in the curent interation for a hundred years or so.


    When all else fails (none / 0) (#108)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:47:05 PM EST
    rely on denial.

    That is what the sandwich board guy said (none / 0) (#113)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:08:17 PM EST
    Or a few hundred thousand years (none / 0) (#115)
    by Towanda on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:14:46 PM EST
    as one of my favorite, framed artworks is a drawing of a dinosaur carrying a sign that says, "The End Is Near."

    Of course, the dinosaur was correct.


    Or more recently (none / 0) (#116)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:18:43 PM EST
    John Maynard Keynes said that in the long run, we're all dead.

    ABG cites relaible evidence (none / 0) (#91)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:36:51 PM EST
    that challenges the CW around here and is pilloried....

    Great example of how group think can set in and how people will fight any challenge to the prevailing norms.....


    The question isn't (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 07:04:27 PM EST
    Whether ABG is pilloried, or not
    The question is, is there a valid, cognitive basis for his being pilloried?

    And, to that, the answer seems to be unanimous.

    p.s. while you may feel heroic  in defending ABG's contrarian claptrap, conventional wisdom, as boring as it is, is usually correct.


    A defender on the Left (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:00:47 PM EST
    of conventional wisdom....Ha!

    Interesting that you agree with the assertion that there is a conventional wisdom.  Case closed.  You guys just self-reinforced.

    There is actually a fair amount of research on how people become more slanted in their views by participating in small groups of a certain view.


    Cased closed? (none / 0) (#184)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 02:06:41 PM EST
    "The sun rises in the East."

    Can't be! Conventional wisdom.

    Case closed!!


    You guys too often (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:08:17 PM EST
    act like a mob.....Not so liberal.

    speaking as one who (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by the capstan on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 09:05:42 PM EST
    rarely comments, I too detect the presence of a shill on occasion.  This IS a left-leaning (!) blog, and I never, ever classified Obama as a real liberal.  Does that make me part of the 'mob-attack'?

    If you are not commenting (none / 0) (#139)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 09:38:47 PM EST
    very often, then you would not be acting like a mob......

    I was not speaking of (none / 0) (#140)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 09:40:07 PM EST
    a particular set of views--but the manner of respondiong to pro-Obama commentators on this blog.

    The CW here about (none / 0) (#155)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:42:05 AM EST
    Obama only pulling out troops because he could not get Iraq to let them stay is FALSE, FALSE, FALSE......as shown by jeffinalabama's link on this thread.

    And, you all fell, lock-step, for this fiction....Some credibility, the CW around here....Great independent thinking....


    It sure looks like groupthink...at times! (none / 0) (#163)
    by christinep on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 07:44:52 AM EST
    "The earth is round" (none / 0) (#185)
    by NYShooter on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 02:09:35 PM EST
    At times!



    That's good to know... (none / 0) (#186)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 22, 2011 at 12:16:41 AM EST
    For awhile, I thought that you were going to say the sun revolves around it :)

    I am telling you (none / 0) (#33)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:02:47 PM EST
    what is said directly.  If you have a comment or question ask me directly and I will answer it.  

    I asked you one and you won't answer it. The only thing to presume is that you don't have the balls to go back and forth with me directly for fear of looking bad.

    Or you could just answer the question and rebut the presumption.

    Take your time.  I'll wait.


    Hah! (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:10:59 PM EST
    You're a fine one to whine about others not answering your questions.

    I am 1 (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:50:31 PM EST
    against many on these topics. I get hit with multiple engagements on multiple fronts, and you are judging me because I missed your particular question or another.

    Just ask again.  I'll answer.  Can you say the same.

    You still haven't really answered.


    Not when the guy has had four (none / 0) (#97)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:46:47 PM EST
    increased the debt by $5 trillion or more and the U6 is hanging around 16%.

    People understand that fixing huge problems takes time, and if we are going the right direction, they will approve of the guy in charge.

    Oh, yes...the politics, the politics... (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 01:55:25 PM EST
    the all-important, forget-about-everything-else, politics.

    It's the orange to the apple most of the rest of us are talking about - the policy.

    What would cheer and hearten the "detractors" is a leftward shift in policy - and by "policy," I don't mean "rhetoric," which is about all Obama has changed lately, so I suspect that has something to do with the uptick in the polls.  

    And, given the so-called competition, it strikes me as not all that great in the news department - shouldn't he be somewhere in the high-50's-to-mid-60's by now?  

    That he is struggling to break 50 - after three years of "historic" achievements - just goes to show you that even out in the real world, people can see that it's six-of-one, half-a-dozen of the other, making Edger exactly right: a Republican or a Democrat will be elected in November, 2012, and we will be faced with feeling the pain of the sharp stick in the eye, or the 2 x 4 to the back of the head.  And you can spend the next four years trying to convince us that we all won because the Democratic version of pain is oh-so-much-better than the GOP version.  



    Anne (none / 0) (#31)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:00:37 PM EST
    I am talking about the politics and said nothing about the policy.

    But if you want to talk policy and numbers, the unemployment numbers (which seems to be your central issue) are the best they've been in months and trending in the right direction.

    He is struggling to break 50% because the unemployment numbers are high and still have a ways to go.  

    But I look forward to whatever new excuses you will come up with to ignore the fact that you are out of step when his approval breaks 50 consistently and the unemployment rate continues to trend downward, despite some bumps I expect in Q1.

    Bottom line: your constant line of criticism is going to seem more and more out of touch with reality and all of us should look forward to seeing you proven wrong, because that will mean that the economy is doing a lot better.

    The only folks not thrilled about the progress are republicans and folks like you.


    On the other hand (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:08:38 PM EST
    1 in 2 Americans are now poor or low income.  That's 50%. Half of our residents are now poor or low income.

    Might be another reason he is struggling to break 50%.  

    Your constant cheerleading is seeming more and more out of touch with reality.  And more and more influenced by marketing.

    Would love to be proven wrong because it would lift real live people out of poverty.  Not because it would reflect nicely on Obama.  Which it would.  

    But it's not to be...


    ABG is to Obama (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:23:54 PM EST
    as the crowd is to a fireman who started a fire and then cheers him trying to put it out.

    SJ (2.00 / 1) (#42)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:17:22 PM EST
    Let me keep this very basic:

    Do you know when the numbers for that "1 in 2" figure were collected?

    That would be helpful in evaluating whether the folks in charge now are responsible.

    Do you know whether the "1 in 2" number is recent [hint: it's not].

    That would be helpful in evaluating whether the current policies had an impact on the "1 in 2" number.

    Do you know the trend for that number both before and after Obama's policies took effect and whether the trend was increasing at a greater vector before he came to office?

    That would help to understand whether his policies were having a material impact on bending what I'll call the poverty growth curve.

    Did you just grab a fact that sounded like it reflected badly on Obama without understanding when the number was generated, whether Obama's policies had anything to do with it or whether the number?

    Understanding that would go a long way towards understanding why I do think some people will never give Obama a chance regardless of what he actually does and will still be calling him a massive failure even if employment dips by another  1% between now and election time.


    ABG, I need to ask: did you read the article? (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Farmboy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:25:09 PM EST
    It answers all your questions.

    I did (none / 0) (#52)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:34:26 PM EST
    But anyone arguing that Obama's policies are the reason that the poverty rate was 1 in 2 at the time the survey was taken could not have or pretending to know how the new poverty evaluation extrapolates back to prior years did not.

    It makes little sense to judge a leader based on performance without setting a baseline to show improvement that he or she is responsible for.

    SJ parades that "1 in 2" number as if he would treat it any differently had the number been "1 in 4" or "1 in 6".

    He'd have justifiably called all of those scenarios bad and pointed to Obama regardless of whether the number was "1 in 1.5" the year before.

    His presentation of his attack on Obama makes my point about the objectivity of his attacks.


    But you have (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:38:51 PM EST
    NO trouble making things up and pretending some one else said it.

    sj (none / 0) (#64)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:57:00 PM EST
    I don't even know what you are talking about.

    That's how impossible it is to follow your point.  I am sure it is a good one if only I knew what these comments related to.  

    Try to type more than one sentence and reference what you are talking about so I get it.


    I know you don't know what I'm talking about (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:03:11 PM EST
    You never bother to "listen".

    I am listening fully. (none / 0) (#69)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:05:44 PM EST
    Fully engaged.  Just make your point directly.

    Seriously, did you hear yourself? (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:50:42 PM EST
    You are saying that I would think that 25% or 16% poverty (while still appalling) is the same as 50%?  Seriously?  

    I am talking about people and you -- as usual -- are playing with numbers.  Your casual comments show very little soul to go with all that umbrage.


    I am saying (1.00 / 1) (#68)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:04:16 PM EST
    that I think you would use whatever poverty number came out, whether it was "1 in 2" or "1 in 5" to blast Obama.

    The number itself doesn't matter I don't think. What matters is that if the number is greater than 0, you'd use it to criticize Obama.

    If we find next year that poverty dropped, will your opinion of him improve?

    Of course not.


    Neither SJ or the article claimed that Obama's (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Farmboy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:15:19 PM EST
    policies are the reason that the last census showed more people living in poverty or at low income levels.

    His statement was that Obama's approval rating is only at 50% because times are hard for many people. That isn't an attack on Obama, it's a fact. Despite correlation not being the same as causation, presidents are always, always linked to current events. It doesn't have to make sense, and it goes both ways. Bush had 80% plus ratings right after 9/11, and that attack happened on his watch. Where's the sense in that?

    So, a better counter argument might be to compare Obama's approval ratings to other presidents at this point in their tenures. He comes off pretty well. You could also compare Obama's 50% to the 11% approval the GOP led congress is getting. This would support an assertion that while folks aren't happy, they know who is really the most at fault. Or mention that Obama's approval numbers are up nearly 10% this fall  - 44% in Sept to 49% now, and couple that with the improved employment reports.

    My advice: examine the other person's thesis, then offer your antithesis. Create the Hegelian dialectic. Then you can call the other person a silly-faced doody head.


    Fair enough (none / 0) (#87)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:24:20 PM EST
    My point to SJ was that there is no president in recent memory with approval ratings over 56% at this point and the two guys that were at that level subsequently lost.

    In other words, people seem to be confused on two levels:

    1.  Presidential approval levels after three years for most presidents is between 48%-53% regardless of employment.  I other words, EVERY president has an approval at within a few percent of 50 at this time.  As a counter, W's approval level was below 50 for almost all of 2004.  The issue is that Obama had an abnormally high approval rating upon election, not that he has a remarkably low approval rating now.  History tells us that if he wasn't so widely liked, his number would be much lower.

    2.  One disconnect when you dig into the poll numbers remains the "liberals". Here, people like Anne and Edger genuinely seem to dislike the president personally.  Conversely, his personal favorables are off the charts, particularly among liberals.  Over 94% of liberals like the guy personally.  78% of liberals approve of the job he's doing as opposed to 18% who disapprove.


    I guess my point is simple:

    If Obama loses or his approval numbers drop through the floor, it will be seen as evidence that Obama did a poor job.  See the 2010 midterms which were, according to many here, a referendum on the job that Obama had done (as oppossed to a masterful spin job on ACA, the effects of the stimulus, etc. by the GOP.

    Fast forward and suddenly elections and approval numbers are irrelevant.  Who cares that the employment number we cared about just months ago is dropping.  Who cares whether the poll numbers we use to support us on OWS, gay marriage, or withdrawing from the wars now say that Obama is getting more support.

    My only request is to stay consistent and not to change positions based on whether the numbers support your point.  When Obama's approval numbers were low and the unemployment numbers were high, I never questioned the use of those numbers even though they hurt my arguments.

    At least I can say I have been consistent.


    I didn't see anywhere in sj's original (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:40:24 PM EST
    response to you that she was blaming Obama for the fact that 1 in 2 are now poor or low-income - just that the high percentage might be one reason Obama was struggling to get to or break the 50% approval rating.

    Just another example of how you impute to others things they never said - and then proceed to build an entire argument around it.

    I would think most people would agree that high rates of unemployment have something to do with the percentage of people living low-income or in poverty, so there's a connection there that cannot be denied.

    What has Obama done to get people back to work?  What has he done to support those who don't have jobs?  In cases where he cannot unilaterally do things to reverse the trend, what has he done with the Congress to spur action that will help people?  

    In instance after instance, it is programs for women, children and the poor that have been offered up for cuts and reductions, both on the state and federal level.   Economic policies championed by this administration have largely not affected the quality of life at the top of the income spectrum, but the same cannot be said about how those at the bottom have been affected.  

    Obama's focus has been on the deficit - and it's nearly impossible to improve the lives of the least among us when your goal is deficit reduction, because programs for the poor, who have almost no one to advocate for them, seem to hit the chopping block very quickly.

    And let's not forget how dismal his response has been to the housing/foreclosure/mortgage crisis - and how much he has done to protect the banks, and push to give immunity for fraudulent activities by banks, lenders and mortgage servicers.

    The rhetorical gobbledygook you managed to come up with in response to sj's comments is a new low, even for you; you should seriously think about quitting before the hole you inevitably dig is too deep to climb out of, or to easy for others to bury you in.


    Oy (none / 0) (#55)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:37:30 PM EST
    You clearly have a trouble extrapolating.

    Also (none / 0) (#56)
    by sj on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:37:52 PM EST
    You clearly have trouble with basic understanding

    To reply substantively to (none / 0) (#117)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 06:28:58 PM EST
    your questions:

    If you read about poverty in the U.S. at Child Trends Data, U.S. News, Brookings Institute, NY Times, etc., their analyses show:

    • Yes, there has been a trend toward increasing poverty in the U.S. since 2000.
    • There has been a continuing uptick in poverty since 2007
    • There has been an uptick in the decline in the middle class in the U.S. in the last few years, with the largest number of once middle class families falling into poverty in the suburbs surrounding some of the larger metropolitan areas.
    The decline in the middle class is substantial and recent: The combined result of the fallout from the mortgage crisis, the financial crisis, lack of affordable healthcare, and unemployment.

    BFO (none / 0) (#126)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 07:54:59 PM EST
    An answer.  Thank you.  I knew the answer but wanted someone else to provide it for the sake of legitimacy.

    What the answer tells us is simple. The poverty issues have been around and growing for over a decade.  The pace picked up under Bush. The decline in the middle class accelerated even more for the middle class at the end of W's term.

    A train moving the wrong direction that fast does not not stop and then reverse quickly.  10 years of movement slowing, stopping and then moving backwards in 2 years of new policy.

    It seems completely unreasonable to make that call when you layer in the fact that there is also a recession multiplying the impacts.

    I just don't think saying "1 in 2" is in poverty and then pointing the finger at the new guys in charge makes any sense whatsoever.  If we've had new management in power for 5-6 years after the impacts of the recession are neutralized and we are showing no improvement, yeah.  That is pretty telling.

    But to point at the folks who took charge in the middle of a huge recession and blame them for not instantly fixing the poverty problem looks like scapegoating.

    I understand the need to blame whoever is in charge, but I don't think economists would agree that 2-3 years is anywhere near enough time to have a real impact in these circumstances.


    You still don't get it, ABG: (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:29:47 PM EST
    no one pointed the finger at Obama for the fact that half of us are low income or poor.

    But understand this: Obama has been president for almost three years, not two, and I think it is fair to assess his actions and policies in terms of what they have done or are doing to stop the downward spiral.

    And to think that the "fair" thing to do is to withhold judgment until we're 5 or 6 years into an administration, fails to take into account the toll not holding any administration accountable will take on those who need help and need it now.

    No one's looking for instant cures to long-term economic ills, ABG - I haven't seen anyone here make those kinds of demands or hold those kinds of standards.  But you have to look at what this administration has done, and what it has not done.  You have to assess whether the general economic philosophy of this administration is ever going to reverse the downward spiral for so many people.  Whether the emphasis on deficit reduction and austerity will impede the ability of the low income and poor to ever get out of poverty.  Whether being stuck on who "deserves" help is preventing millions from getting help and is perpetuating the problems with the housing market, and keeping the downward cycle going.

    This president ran for office and was subsequently elected, knowing the challenge of the economy would be great, and that it would not be magically healed by the TARP he signed onto pre-inauguration, and the stimulus that came out of the gate smaller than everyone knew it needed to be.

    We can't avoid holding Obama accountable just because he's Obama and a Democrat; lack of pressure and accountability only leads to one thing: carte blanche to ignore the needs of the 99% who don't have the big bucks to buy the influence and legislation that benefits them.


    And I think (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:42:21 AM EST
    that not reversing the downward spiral is deliberate.  I've heard several major CEO types on Fox say flat out that the wages of American workers have to come down to make the U.S. "competitive" in the world market and that Americans "have to get used to a lower standard of living."  (Needless to say, these are CEOs whose "standard of living" keeps going through the stratosphere.)

    I absolutely think this is deliberate.  What better way to lower wages and the standard of living than by an extended period of unemployment?


    Not sure you even know what you are (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:29:12 PM EST
    arguing about or who you are arguing with...

    (1)    Yes, I know you are talking politics; it's almost all you ever talk about, to the exclusion of the policy.  That was kind of my point.

    (2)    I said nothing about the unemployment numbers - and neither did you in the comment to which I was responding.  And while employment is a huge concern to many Americans, and it's always good when someone who didn't have a job gets one, you never address some fundamental aspects of the employment issue: what kinds of jobs are people getting, are they going back to work at salaries or hourly rates at or above what they were earning before, are these skilled jobs, temporary jobs, full-time jobs?  I don't expect you to respond, because that might force you to discuss policy, and you don't do that.

    (3)    You said nothing about Obama struggling to break 50% as a result of high unemployment - you were crowing about his new numbers being good news given the competition.  I addressed the competition - you found something else to talk about so you wouldn't have to address the competition.

    (4)    We've addressed the "out of step" mantra many times, and I will once again tell you that I don't base my opinions, principles or priorities on "what everyone else and all the major polls are saying."

    (5)    I will be happy to be proven wrong, but that metric isn't going to be based on where the rest of the herd is gathered, but on whether Obama adopts, advocates for and uses the bully pulpit to work for good policy that will move us significantly to the left of where he has already moved us, where he is now, and where his actions indicate he wants to keep going, which is way too far on the right for anyone who wants to call himself a Democrat.

    (6)    Progress?  The only thing Republicans are really upset about is that Obama isn't giving them what they want fast enough - they will never admit that they've already gotten far more than the liberals have.  Maybe someday the so-called progressives will realize that the GOP is never going to give them points for being cooperative, bipartisan, reasonable or mature.

    I look forward to the next installment of your rhetorical gymnastics.


    Nope Anne (none / 0) (#63)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:54:47 PM EST
    1. I talk policy. You comment on it regularly.  Then you forget that we had policy discussions and pretend that they don't happen because I disagree with you on the policy.    Then we do it again and the circle of life is complete.

    2. I understand that not everyone has a high paying job.  That is a problem.  But that's not a quickly fixable issue.  Or most pressing issue is getting people in a job, any job, that can help them. Let's deal with that first and then you can go to your fall back reason for blasting Obama.  I could go back a few months and the unemployment numbers (U6 and otherwise) were important to you.  Now that they are improving, you've moved on to something else.

    No worries. If the unemployment numbers spike in December and January (and I think they will slightly) you'll be back to talking about them as if they are relevant again.

    3. Historically speaking the fact that Obama is near 50% with this level of unemployment is astounding and evidence of the faith people have in him, not the other way around. His numbers are fantastic given his historical competition.  You speak of this "struggling to break 50%" concept as some odd scenario.  There is no president higher than 56% at this stage historically according to Gallup and who were those two presidents?  

    Carter and Bush I.  Everyone else went on to win re-election handily and with majority support despite being just above 50% at this stage.  

    1. It's fine to be out of step with the majority.  I am out of step with the majority often depending on the crowd.  But I am not calling people ignorant or stupid or blind or callous for disagreeing with me on these policy issues either.  That's the distinction.  

    2. Give me an objective measurement of success then.  A measurement that we can point to other than "In Anne's sole opinion".   I have tried to use the unemployment number, poll numbers and even his reelection to stand as a proxy for his performance.  Why don't you provide a standard that is objectively measured.  I would love to have something we could all agree on and then track progress.

    3. This is all completely wrong for reasons I have given you before.  No need to re-litigate.

    Best comment on the poll (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by waldenpond on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:18:33 PM EST
    "Obama's numbers are up.  He must be on vacation."

    Or (none / 0) (#45)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:23:58 PM EST
    he ended the war in Iraq and dropped employment by the biggest monthly number in years in the last 30 days.

    But I admit that it is a mystery.


    Not a mystery at all (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by NYShooter on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:35:05 PM EST
    After three years of Obama millions of jobless have concluded there's no hope and have simply given up trying.

    Oh yeah, such a mystery (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by waldenpond on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:48:41 PM EST
    Ooops, your conservative bona fides are showing again.

    Obama fought repeatedly to stay but Maliki enforced Bush's position to exit.  There are still thousands of troops there not to mention mercs.  Ooh, aah, How mysterious it all is.

    Employment numbers are down.  Unemployment shifted because there 100k jobs were added but over 300k human beings that need shelter and food are no longer counted.  Mysteriously spooky.

    Seriously... listening to a conservative arguing that Dems need to support Obama...hmmm, sounds just like conservatives arguing for supporting every other conservative.

    I'm not a Dem and, just like you, am unconcerned with what happens to the Dem party so keep up the good works.  :)


    could you explain your second paragraph (none / 0) (#65)
    by observed on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:58:47 PM EST
    please? I'm interested.

    I am not a Dem? (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by waldenpond on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:09:33 PM EST
    No, like many others here, I'm not a Dem.  Unlike ABG or Jim, I am a liberal.

    The Republicans are batsh#t crazy and the Dems have morphed in to the old Republican party.  I have no interest in voting for conservatives.


    huh, I'm talking about Obama, Maliki and (none / 0) (#144)
    by observed on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 10:30:53 PM EST

    I thought the change was (none / 0) (#79)
    by coast on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 03:40:22 PM EST
    because those "shovel ready" projects were kicking into high gear.  Any day now, I guess.

    I keep asking people for a citation on this (none / 0) (#84)
    by Farmboy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:01:22 PM EST
    but nobody has one.

    There are still thousands of troops there

    So, I'm asking again.


    Good point (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 09:52:11 PM EST
    No troops but perhaps the commentator means private contractors.....

    Obama during the 2008 campaign never even said he would withdraw all troops.  He said all combat troops and that he would leave a residual force for training that could be as high as 50,000.  That is why Dennis Kucinich criticized the plan and said he would withdraw all troops.

    Obama by pulling out all troops has over-performed his promise.....


    Could Obama have left lots of troops there? (none / 0) (#142)
    by nycstray on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 09:59:16 PM EST
    Or was he told no?

    The facts here are not in dispute (none / 0) (#143)
    by MKS on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 10:21:37 PM EST
    Obama was attempting to negotiate a SOFA that would have left a few troops there, which was consistent with his 2008 promise--but the Iraqis would not agree to immunity for the troops.

    McCain and others bitterly accuse Obama of not trying harder on a SOFA.

    But so what.  All troops are out.  Are we not to judge based on results rather than intention?  The anti-Obama faction here want it both ways.  The antis here argue that it is wrong to say Obama tried but could not get more done.  Intention does not matter, they say, only results.

    But Obama gets a good result, and so the antis have nothing to criticize, so they invent a new line of attack:   Obama' inentions were not pure.

    Heads, antis win; tails, Obama loses......

    Stack the deck, why don't ya?  Or, what a beautifully perfect Catch-22?


    I was just asking a question (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by nycstray on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:21:51 AM EST
    not trying to stack the deck. Been outta the loop on this lately (life sucks), last I remember he was trying to keep troops there.

    Ya might want to get off yer high horse on occasion. Sometimes a question is just that, a question. But I guess you have your own agenda, just like you seem to like accusing others of . . .


    Okay (none / 0) (#159)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 03:37:32 AM EST

    At present, there are still (none / 0) (#146)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 11:50:01 PM EST
    4,000 troops in iraq. link

    As of last "Thursday." (none / 0) (#148)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:03:56 AM EST
    That was last week.   Those troops have now crossed the border with Kuwait.

    Then that debacle (none / 0) (#150)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:10:14 AM EST
    may finally be over. What a waste.

    No SOFA means no long-term folks on the ground. Thank goodness.

    For something we should never have started, it took us a long time to get out.


    True, dat (none / 0) (#154)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:27:08 AM EST
    And, as the link (none / 0) (#149)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:07:10 AM EST
    provided by jeffinalabama below shows, Obama was trying to keep only 3,000 troops in Iraq.

    Most of those troops would have been (none / 0) (#151)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:14:57 AM EST
    eeither instructors or maintenance at airfields, i think i read somewhere. Moot point.

    I agree (none / 0) (#152)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:18:37 AM EST
    but that didn't stop the antis here from saying Obama only pulled the troops out after his request to let them stay was rebuffed.

    The anti-Obama crowd (none / 0) (#153)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:26:16 AM EST
    here has argued that Obama only pulled out the troops because he could not get the Iraqis to let them stay.

    And, all the antis nod in unison at this point.

    The problem?  It is FALSE.

    How many troops was Obama trying to keep in Iraq?  40,000? 30,000?  Try 3,000.  As established by the link provided by jeffinalabama.

    Jeff states that 3,000 was inconsequential, and as I recall, he is a veteran....

    So, the true facts are, without the distortion of the antis here, is that Obama only wanted to keep an inconsequential 3,000 troops in Iraq, far fewer than he said in 2008 he would leave, but the Iraqis would not agree to immunity for the troops, so Obama said eff it, and pulled them all out.

    Good on Obama!  I love what he is doing in foreign policy.

    You guys have espoused and believed in a great big, fat lie with regard to Iraq.  


    Thanks to you and jeffinalabama for the info (none / 0) (#166)
    by Farmboy on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 08:57:18 AM EST
    There has been more heat than light on this issue for the past few months, especially when TV guest pundits like Greenwald pull a Joe Wilson when Obama says all the troops are coming home.

    Clarification (none / 0) (#170)
    by sj on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:04:19 AM EST
    Are the troops coming home?  And has Obama actually said that?  I've seen indicators that, while they have left Iraq, they have largely just been redeployed elsewhere.  Such as in Afghanistan.  "Leaving Iraq" doesn't necessarily equal "coming home."

    I no longer have family members in the armed forces and it hasn't been a information stream that I've closely followed lately.


    Obama's own words from his Oct. 21 speech: (none / 0) (#179)
    by Farmboy on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 11:26:22 AM EST
    So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over. Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq -- tens of thousands of them -- will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.

    Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families. Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.

    Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we're beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we've begun a transition to Afghan security and leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And by the end of this year that number will be cut in half, and make no mistake: It will continue to go down.

    That sounds to me like he said they're coming home. source


    Thanks (none / 0) (#180)
    by sj on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:09:27 PM EST
    So (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jbindc on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:28:41 PM EST
    Less than half of the country approves of his job and almost the exact same number disapproves his performance.

    Heckuva job, Barry.


    I see that Kevin Drum has joined with those (none / 0) (#48)
    by Farmboy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 02:29:10 PM EST
    approving of Politifact's choice for "Lie of the Year" award.

    Some days Drum puts forth some effort, and others I'd guess he doesn't care and just wants to generate clicks to his page. Today is a day for the latter - which is why I'm not giving him a link.

    Is Yglesias (none / 0) (#104)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:32:18 PM EST
    worthy of respect for holding the opposite view to Drum?

    What would be more deserving of (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by Anne on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:03:16 PM EST
    respect would be people actually thinking for themselves, instead of getting on the I-believe-whatever-___-believes-today rollercoaster, or taking whatever the media tell them as some kind of gospel - even if what they are told today changes tomorrow.

    92 of 100 Baby Changing Stations in the UK... (none / 0) (#92)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 04:37:27 PM EST
     ...had cocaine residue.  HERE

    WTF, who is behind this, this is insanity, and how many other things do they examine that come up empty.

    Are people really doing rails off baby changing stations, disgusting.

    The numbers don't surprise me, just the platform.  I would imagine every toilet back lid in the country would test positive for cocaine, but baby stations, aren't they out in the open ?

    Hold the phone... (none / 0) (#183)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:43:54 PM EST
    those fold-down tables are designed for changing diapers?  No sh&t! ;)

    And uhhm (none / 0) (#100)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 05:11:43 PM EST
    The Dems are playing hardball on payroll tax cuts.

    Good for them.

    Angry Iowan confronts Newt (none / 0) (#122)
    by Yman on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 07:38:15 PM EST
    Calls him a "f@ckin @$$hole" to his face in a grocery store.

    Pshaw (none / 0) (#123)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 07:40:52 PM EST
    people like you were whining when we had 5% unemployment. I remember all of what conservatives were saying back then. Even Bozo Bush was talking about how bad the economy was.

    Prove it. Talk is inexpensive. (none / 0) (#134)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Dec 20, 2011 at 08:30:42 PM EST
    You don't (none / 0) (#160)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 05:30:44 AM EST
    remember that unemployment was 4.0% in 2000 and Bozo Bush running around saying that we had to do vote for him because he wanted to pass tax cuts that would "save" the economy and that the economy was bad or Bob Dole in '96 talking about how bad the economy was?

    Nope, don't. (none / 0) (#165)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 08:03:32 AM EST