Thursday Afternoon Open Thread

Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) is retiring and won't run again for the Senate.

We're busy at work today. For those of you online, here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Baseball, Oculus... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:34:38 PM EST
    I watched a wonderful documentary on Hank Greenberg last night.

    funny story (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:42:28 PM EST
    a friend who has a restaurant here in town asked to do a favor for her because she doesnt speak english.  her restaurant is not listed under the restaurant name but her name which is unpronounceable.  I spend about 2 hours on the phone and finally find out that it is listed correctly for land lines (or something) but when you call on a cell phone it sort of depends on whether you particular carrier has updated the list recently.  the fourth person I spoke to at ATT told me this is a big and recurring problem.  I had a few people try it some get the number some do not.

    now I have to figure out how to explain THAT to the person who cant speak english.  no good deed goes unpunished.


    Speaking of sports doc's (none / 0) (#8)
    by canuck eh on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:44:54 PM EST
    Has anyone else been watching ESPN's 30 for 30 series?

    Some really fantastic stories such as: Michael Jordan's foray into baseball, the rise and fall of Marcus Dupree, the tragic death of Len Dawson and the sordid story of 'The U'

    Highly recommend


    Excellent series... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:51:52 PM EST
    I especially liked the one about Serbian Vlade Divac and Croatian Drazen Petrovic...former Yugoslavian National Team members and great friends whose relationship crumbled during the war-torn 90's.  

    The one about scandal-scarred SMU and the NCAA 'Death Penalty' was also very entertaining.

    Great stuff by ESPN and the many directors of the docs.


    We All Know Jordan... (none / 0) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 03:35:58 PM EST
    ... got busted for gambling, or is that just my conspiracy theory as to why he left basketball.

    It's a conspiracy theory... (none / 0) (#15)
    by canuck eh on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 03:37:30 PM EST
    but it's not just your's!

    I absolutely believe that to be the case


    Sin is alreadty overtaxed... (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:54:36 PM EST
    time to hit up the saints:)

    Exactly, It's Time Jesus Paid Taxes on... (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 03:48:44 PM EST
    ... those big screen TV's, Cars, Land, Jets, and the other zillion wasteful extravagances that his followers demand in order 'to keep the faith alive'.

    And of course, The Fricken Summit Joel Osteen bought tax free, pays no tax on, which is the former home of the Rockets.  

    I laugh when I think about all the debauchery that happened in the locker rooms in the 70's and 80's now occupied by suckers who think they are on holly ground.


    Exactly- tax church income (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by ruffian on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 03:56:29 PM EST
    Most are run as income and profit centers. Why are they tax exempt? There are already categories for real tax exempt charities. Churches can have deductions for their charity work like anyone else. Why is the government promoting religion?

    I absolutely agree, ruffian (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:07:00 PM EST
    They do charity work?  Fine, that's charity and can get a deduction.  Anything else that is profit?  Tax them.

    And I Have to Add This Gem (none / 0) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 03:56:51 PM EST
    This is 100% serious.

    'Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church Start a Drive-Through Healing Service'



    Tax the ultra wealthy (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 04:17:47 PM EST
    at the rates at which they were taxed during the Clinton era.

    Tax the wealthy (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:04:57 PM EST
    at the top marginal rate they were taxed under Nixon.  70%.

    It's a mess Don... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 03:43:18 PM EST
    same as I say for the feds, step one is a serious independent audit of existing spending...what is absolutely necessary, what is somewhat necessary, what would be nice if we can keep funding it, and what is a total waste of cash, etc.  Then we tackle how to raise that nut in the fairest least burdensome way.

    Generally, I think sharing the burden across the board, regardless of lifestyle choices or even income, is the most just...with exemptions available for the poor and just squeaking by. The rub is you've got cats making millions due to market rigging/favoritism/nepotism/cronyism by the state....like I said, huge mess.

    NY is scaring me talking about stiffing civil servants on pensions...I'd say pension commitments are untouchable, promises were made...if anything tackle that problem going forward with new hires.


    Laws can be changed... (none / 0) (#75)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:50:52 PM EST
    seems like there is a pr effort in effect in NY/NY to pin all or most of our fiscal problems on retired civil servive pensioners...pay no attention to the tax breaks/favors to millionaires.

    Don't get me wrong, 20 years and out may be too sweat a deal going forward, I don't know...but ya can't tell that to a guy who put in his 20 and lived up to his end.


    I hope you're right... (none / 0) (#85)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:18:23 PM EST
    and it is rock-solid...I fear if there is a will, the Statehouse can find a way...I put nothing past them, including overcoming a long standing legal precedent.

    Wondering why the hard pr push if there is nothing the states can do?  Just to break the unions regarding new hires?


    Hard pr push (none / 0) (#87)
    by CST on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:25:22 PM EST
    because it's good politics, and they'll never have to deal with the consequences of actually making that move.

    And according to one of my "union contacts" (family friend), the plan is absolutely to stick it to new hires.  Opinion of this person was "I haven't been fighting my whole life for better benefits just to screw over the next generation".  No idea if enough people share that view.


    Hopefully labor... (none / 0) (#88)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:39:54 PM EST
    looks way back to the sacrifices of their forebearers, like your friend...and not just recent 'I got mines f8ck you' history.

    As this winter reminded us too well, the grunt workers still hold mad cards...we ain't got no economy if the streets ain't plowed, the power ain't running, the garbage ain't picked up, etc.

    That being said, people might be living too long for 20 and out like we do in NYC.  Retiring at 42 might just not be feasible in the modern world with people living to 70 on the regular.  30 and out seems like a reasonable compromise for physically demanding work like sanitation and fire.


    in fairness (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by CST on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 02:04:45 PM EST
    in the future, some of that responsibility has got to fall on the new hires.  That being said, the current economic environment isn't exactly condusive to young, inexperienced employees making demands.  My hunch is people are inclined to take what they can get right now.  So support from more established "safe" employees is critical at this juncture.

    The fight is not just about pensions either, it's about having a certain standard of living while you're working.  Time off, payscale, health care, all of that.

    And frankly, while not everyone gets union benefits, the fact that unions and their benefits exist, gives everyone else a leg up on the employee bargaining scale too.  It helps establish a norm for the business community.


    Or at least.... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:57:03 PM EST
    legalize, regulate, and (gulp) tax current black market sins.

    Of course that brings to mind (none / 0) (#29)
    by Rojas on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 07:40:33 PM EST
    "The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself." ~Jane Addams"

    Swittzerland freezes what they have (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:38:46 AM EST
    of Mubarak's 40 to 70 billion!

    awsum (none / 0) (#48)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:39:58 AM EST

    link? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:40:10 AM EST
    I don't have a link yet (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:44:41 AM EST
    I got this off of an investor site, they always need to know who has the money and who doesn't :)

    Rueters has up that (none / 0) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:47:18 AM EST
    Switzerland is looking at it, Israel news has up that it is a done deal :)  Not set in stone at this time it looks like.  But some investor sites get really good leaks, so I'm going to bet that the freeze is on.

    Here's a real mind bender (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:51:20 AM EST
    The Muslim Brotherhood says that Switzerland has frozen Mubarak's assets along with 20 other officials, and the International Business Times is running with that :)

    YEAH BABY!!! (none / 0) (#58)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:58:40 AM EST
    This is sort of astonishing (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:06:15 PM EST
    I have read for months now that QE will shake the foundations of the dollar and the United States being the global currency and the leader of the global economy.  I have even read that Russia, China, and the UAE had a private meeting about creating a basket of currency that excludes the U.S. dollar now.  And now the Middle East knows before the United States and Europe when a dictator gets his assets frozen Switzerland.  Is this a reflection of new world order and U.S. irrelevance?  

    I think it is a reflection of (none / 0) (#76)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:50:56 PM EST
    people writing whatever they think they "know". And we have no way of knowing who in the US and Europe knew about the freezing of the assets and when they knew it.

    I just think this stuff is controlled way above the level of anyone who is writing about it publicly.


    I agree on that (none / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:57:43 PM EST
    But that leads me to a different sort of astonishment then.  We all know that our press is being heavily controlled now and what we know and when we know it is heavily leaned on by different powers.  It is beginning to look like someone exerts so much control over our press that it is making less informed than those watching Al Jazeera or living in Egypt or Israel.

    MSNBC (none / 0) (#92)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 02:17:05 PM EST
    Just reported that not only have the Swiss froze all family accounts, they are asking everyone else to follow suit.  Who everyone else is was not explained.

    Crazy, but it's why Aristide went back to Haiti, they were about to unfreeze his assets and return them to Haiti.


    that was my conclusion long ago (none / 0) (#94)
    by sj on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 03:03:31 PM EST
    Told ya! (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:59:50 AM EST
    I knew the Swiss aren't the Swiss of old, any word on accounts in other nations?

    Lets hope Egypt sees all that cash and it is put to good use!


    The Brits have a bunch (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:11:06 PM EST
    And they are our family in all things economic.  Which at this point means nothing where ethics are concerned.  We shall see where the democracy crumbles here huh?

    After they hopefully (none / 0) (#69)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:28:23 PM EST
    put some of those billions in the hands of the people directly, especially the many poor, perhaps the new govt can also put a half billion or so towards building a new Egyptian Museum.  Current one is a century old, cramped and dusty and too small, unworthy of their great cultural heritage.

    What topic is possibly of interest except (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:20:39 PM EST
    for what is happening in Egypt?

    We could talk about (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:28:40 PM EST
    The theorypushed by Rove that Senate Republicans (assuming they take over in 2012 and could get signed by a Republican president) could repeal Obamacare through a reconciliation process, and could bypass a filibuster.

    Don't think so. (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:29:28 PM EST
    Don't think it will happen (none / 0) (#4)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:30:55 PM EST
    or don't think you want to talk about it?  :)

    both (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 02:35:03 PM EST
    And unemployment (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:41:12 PM EST
    Climbs to 35%

    Why would unemployment (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by Radix on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 06:30:43 PM EST
    climb to 35%?

    It's a throw out number (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 08:25:09 AM EST
    It could be 20%, 40%, 50% etc.

    And while I don't disagree that the tax code could certainly be revamped, and some of our laws could also be revamped, we all know that kdog's suggestion is just his "wishful thinking" and would be impractical to implement in reality.

    How many people's jobs do you think are connected to "the tax code", the DEA, the FBI, the CIA, the Defense Department, Homeland Security, etc.?

    And I just don't mean the big, bad, evil agents - I mean secretaries, financial analysts, human resources, mail room and copy room employees.  (For example, the FBI employs almost 36,000 people, Homeland Security employs almost 200,000 -you willing to affect 200,000 families with the stroke of a pen?)

    And then of course, there are the defense contractors (whether you like them or not) - and their secretaries, their accountants, their data entry peopl, and their mail room people.

    Then of course, there are all those businesses that are peripheral to the agenices / contractors-like all the restaurants, cafes, janitorial services, etc. You willing to put those people, who more than likely aren't making huge salaries, out of business too?

    Not to mention the tax base that would be lost when those people lose their jobs and instead of paying income tax, are collecting unemployment benefits.

    Yes, some people will get other jobs - at what cost, we don't know.  Will they have to move and uproot a family (including the loss of a spouse's job?)

    Seriously - it's easy to say "Let's close all the things we don't like to save money!" but there are real implications involved.  Hence, my comment about the greatly increased unemployment.


    Temporarily... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 05:54:48 PM EST
    while we readjust and find productive things to do...sh*t we might find such a pile left over we can pay more people to create art.

    Kdog, you do realize (none / 0) (#28)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 07:06:14 PM EST
    how the "top marginal tax rate" works, don't you?  It doesn't mean that rich people pay 70% (or whatever) on every dollar they earn- it means that this is the rate they pay on the last dollar earned.  (See: link)  But, yes, I would like to see the DEA disbanded, the FBI and the CIA and, for that matter, Homeland Security halved, and the Department of Defense down-sized, as well- shut down at least half of our bases overseas and many of our bases in this country and get out of Afghanistan and Iraq.  

    Busted... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 08:46:03 AM EST
    I don't have the stomach to learn how the tax code works...my blood runs hot enough knowing how the criminal code works, kinda sorta:)  

    Just pass me a 1040EZ and tell me what I owe, thats what I say...don't make me read a 40 page instruction booklet...cruel and unusual that is.

    Still, hard to justify taking 70 cents of any dollar via tax...unless of course that dollar was made by grift, with a government assist...then you could say Uncie Sam "earned" it...lol.  

    It's all so twisted, how did it get so twisted?


    Kdog (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:17:20 AM EST
    The 70% is well deserved, who benefits more from an embassy in China, me, you, or the Walton family (Walmart co-owners).  Who benefits more from roads, me, you, or the the massive company I work for that would not exist w/o the freeway system or airports or the world wide web.  Not to mention all the government funded agencies in place to ensure safe and international trade.  You and me benefit, but not anywhere near the degree the people with a lot of money do.

    Who ensures that oil companies can invest and reap massive profits from dangerous regions, the debacle in Iraq has benefited me zero, Shell & Exxon many many billions, which in turn it gives to the fat cats at the top, that war has created a lot of millionaires and I am sure a couple billionaires.

    A treaty with Germany means I can get an Volkswagen for $500 cheaper, while the WV dealership makes millions from the same tax payer funded treaty.  I could do with out foreign goods, the cats at the top can not remain there without international trade, which requires the government, and lots of it.

    So yes, when you think about how disproportionately the government benefits the wealthy, it's extremely easy to understand why their tax bracket should reflect that discrepancy.  


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:35:56 AM EST
    taxing billionaires at 70% to turn around and use the cash to assist in their grifting of the next billion is what I meant by it being so twisted.  

    Its thoughts such as this that make one really wish there were a global reset button...its so twisted where do you start?  A reset would be so cool...a do over.


    kdog, it isn't that hard (none / 0) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 09:31:11 AM EST
    Trust me.

    You do need to keep some records, but for the vast majority of folks a standard 1040 presents no great obstacle.

    Now if you own a business, have income from outside the US, etc., then an accountant is called for.

    Having said that, I'm all for a flat tax on income and a National Sales Tax to pay for a Single Payer Healthcare Plan modeled after Medicare.


    I had a great batch of grapefruit this week (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:04:49 AM EST
    But the very last one, which I tried to eat tonight, was really bitter in patches. Not even salt helped.

    How disappointing.

    I have that problem... (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 08:49:31 AM EST
    with pistachio nuts...when the next to last one is good, I'm scared to eat the last, lest it be a bitter nut, and end the nut binge on a bad note.

    Tax Accountant Here (none / 0) (#36)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:01:40 AM EST
    I got mad math skillz, so I could find something else to do.

    But that will never happen, because 90% of the income tax code is dedicated to two principles, paying tax on tax, and taxing the same income multiple times.

    Call it BS or whatever, but those two concepts will never be removed, never, they are as fundamental to tax as canceling is to algebra.

    Plus of course the 2 million other taxes like fuel, franchise, sales, use, rental, property, and on and on, that have basic concepts in which tax code is required to make sure those concepts are adhered to by the government and the tax payer.

    Your tax structure above sounds great, but define Billionaire.  Net worth, income, net income ?  The you have deal with who makes that determination, some clown that says his house is worth X dolars, his wavering business is worth Y dollars, while the next clowns says they are worth x+y+10 dollars.  So you have to write code to establish what these terms actually mean in the real world.  Then when there is a dispute, and there always is, a judge rules, new tax law is established in some instances.

    Anyways, so you have the definition, then maybe that billionaire spreads it around to his kids, maybe gets divorced on paper only, to create several quarter billionaires, then what, you have to write code to keep these types of schemes from happening, then court, then new law, and on and on and on.

    Now do that for every tax in every jurisdiction and you end up exactly in the same spot we are in now.

    There is only one solution that would un-complicate the tax code, flat tax, which is preposterous.  The rate would have to be so high (I would guess near 60%) that it would virtually guarantee a whole new class in the US, the uber poor.  The rich, the semi-rich, and the midlle class would stop gratuitous spending and we would shrink into a third world country within a couple decades IMO.

    Thanks for the edumacation... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:42:06 AM EST
    I really am an idiot when it comes to this stuff...an idiot who likes to daydream.

    if you are not watching (none / 0) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:19:53 AM EST
    al jazzera you are missing one of the most amazing things ever.

    Wow - thanks for the heads up (none / 0) (#41)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:46:30 AM EST
    I've been busy with actual work this morning.

    I am thrilled I had the live stream going (none / 0) (#42)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:50:54 AM EST
    when the announcement was made, and now - while I'm not watching it - I have been unable to stop listening...much to the detriment of my productivity today.

    But, really, doing what I'm doing seems just so irrelevant and generally meaningless juxtaposed against what has happened and is happening in Egypt.

    I keep finding my eyes filling up as I hear the raw emotion, pride, joy and happiness in the voices of the people.

    Which isn't helping me work, either, lol...


    Well we could... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:16:32 AM EST
    go on general strike until our grievances are addressed...I've seen that somewhere recently, a real home of the brave, somewheres across a great ocean:)



    If the result would be (none / 0) (#44)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:29:16 AM EST
    military rule, as will continue in Egypt:  Not the answer.  Now I have to hope that this first step today for the protesters there may eventually lead to an end of more than six decades of military control -- but the military now will have direct rule, from reports, because that's what the U.S. wants.  This is not good; I hope that it is not so.

    I don't have the misgivings about (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:37:54 AM EST
    military running the transition in Egypt.  They respond to us, they do not want to lose our support.  Saudi Arabia may well give Egypt money but they cannot replace our support and maintainence of the equipment that creates Egyptian equilibrium with Egypt, and that means everything to the Egyptian military.

    They are in a daily standoff with a military of a democracy, I don't think they fear becoming one themselves.


    no (none / 0) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:39:44 AM EST
    me either.
    they have been amazing and deserve a lot of credit for the outcome.  it hinged on them and they came through.  

    Oops....I meant to say (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:43:49 AM EST
    that give Egypt and maintain equipment for Egypt that creates equilibrium with Israel :)

    Worrisome was watching (none / 0) (#55)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:52:23 AM EST
    as the military there just watched in the most brutal day of attacks on the protesters last week.  I had the same view as you do of the military there -- until then.  Clearly, this is a very divided military, and we will have to see which side wins.

    We will see which side still wants (none / 0) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:57:43 AM EST
    to stand strong next to Israel.  I don't believe it is going to come down to being as divided as some fear.  And Israel beat their ar$e$ forever as a democracy, I really don't believe this military fears democracy and really do believe they fear the U.S. dumping them in the midst of a standoff.  We don't hold first prize in anything anymore other than best weapons of mass destruction, but we do still hold that one :)

    Wrong place for your comment? (none / 0) (#68)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:25:22 PM EST
    I wasn't raising anything about Israel.  (So I don't understand what this adds, although perhaps it does so to some other thread.  Repost?)

    No it isn't the wrong place for my comment (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:32:05 PM EST
    We have very very good communication with the Egyptian Army, we train with them regularly too.   According to the White House, that was also playing a role in the military only protecting buildings and not attacking the protesters.  All of the equipment that the Egyptian military uses comes from us, and all of the training that is required (which is extensive...an Egyptian gunship pilot spends two years at Fort Rucker training to fly it) is provided by us.  If they interfere with the building of the democracy we will pull all of that and wish them well in their standoff against Israel.  We upped the ante and investment in them not very long ago, provided them with fighter jets so that Israel doesn't lord over them like it used to.  We do not come to the negotiating table with nothing if we really are a democracy here to support other democracies.  Our rapport with the Egyptian military is extensive and we have troops in Egypt right now working with their military.

    That's why the world is watching with caution (none / 0) (#60)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:04:31 PM EST
    It all depends on what the army is going to do:

    But some experts question the latest turn of events and the military's role going forward. Ellis Goldberg, a professor of  political science at the American University in Cairo, writes in Foreign Affairs that "the real concern is that the regime will only shed its corrupt civilians, leaving its military component as the only player left standing." This, he says, would likely result in "the culmination of the slow-motion coup and the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past." Stratfor analysis argues a military takeover could parallel the events of 1952, when the Free Officers Movement led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, later president of Egypt, overthrew the monarchy. Egypt's presidents since then have all come from the military.

    While the army has tried to present itself as a neutral force so far in the protests, it has also been "calling the shots" during the arrests and intimidation that have accompanied the protests, writes Daniel Williams of Human Rights Watch. One outcome for Egypt's future, he says, could be "Mubarak-ism without Mubarak (LAT), with military overseers preserving the old system under a new guise." Others warn of the dangers of a transitional period in which the army is unable to protect its citizens (NYT), as was the case in Indonesia in 1998.

    Now's the time to tread lightly and be cautiously optimistic.


    Im sure you are right (none / 0) (#61)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:05:52 PM EST
    you have been right about everything else



    Thanks for finally recognizing (none / 0) (#63)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:10:46 PM EST
    what has been obvious all along.



    Especially (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:11:32 PM EST
    As experts in foreign policy,as opposed to peopel on the street, are agreeing with me. :)

    Stratfor said that going into (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:21:30 PM EST
    Iraq was strategically a horrible necessity.  I don't consider them experts any more than I do any number of self proclaimed experts out there :)  Sorry, just don't.  I will read what they have to say but they aren't the definitive truth on anything, have a pretty conservative greedy leaning lately, in my opinion are chock full of people who have been making a financial killing suppressing the people in the Middle East too.

    Understand that if the people of the Middle East aren't just going to lie down like dogs and accept an existence of making $2 a day and they are going to be wanting their share of the wealth leaving their countries, that really phucks everything up for a bunch of greedy capitalists around here.


    agreeing with me. :) (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:01:41 PM EST
    hate to be the one to point this out but they also have agreed with you for days when you have been consistently and unfailingly wrong.

    If the military would not condone (none / 0) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:14:42 PM EST
    democracy they would have opened up on the protesters days ago and slaughtered them.

    They stood by during slaughter (none / 0) (#70)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:28:50 PM EST
    for a day, though, which -- again -- was worrisome.

    But sure, maybe it was Egyptian-Style 11th-Dimensional Chess to rally support for the protests!


    They were told to not take sides (none / 0) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:33:40 PM EST
    They didn't.  You can worry about that all you want, but they did not attack the protesters.

    The Nuremberg defense (none / 0) (#86)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:21:42 PM EST
    never impresses nor reassures me.  But YMMV.

    Hardly the Nuremburg defense (none / 0) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:51:30 PM EST
    I guess people who desire hyperbole have graduated from playing the Hitler card when making political comparisons to playing the Holocaust card now.

    Oh, for pity's sake, didn't you know (none / 0) (#93)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 02:29:26 PM EST
    what your line is called?  You were the one who raised it and pulling the Hitler crap is just a hoot.

    Indeed... (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:58:05 AM EST
    prefer status quo rule to military rule here in the USA...just saying if we don't feel like working, we could not work in a productive way and carry the revolutionary torch.

    I don't think our authorities would show the same restraint as the Egyptian authorities did...I could totally see us all rounded up or worse if we pulled a similar display of widespread civil disobedience....our bastards learned lessons from the 60's/70's and would be on us like white on rice if it lasted longer than a day or two.


    Wish i could do that today (none / 0) (#77)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:53:16 PM EST
    Web streaming is blocked here. Wish I was working at home, but I have too many meetings today. Thanks to you all for giving me a taste of it though!

    Running the Egyptian transition from here (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:41:43 AM EST
    It looks like Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

    Too cowardly (none / 0) (#73)
    by cal1942 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:37:45 PM EST
    or too irresponsible to raise income taxes.

    The unwillingness of elected "leaders" to act and the public's unwillingness to pay is, IMO, a huge, disgusting moral problem.

    "Sin" taxes always hit the "other" who are expected to pay for everyone.

    IMO, disgusting.

    A rundown of sorts about Tantawi (none / 0) (#74)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:47:49 PM EST
    It is over two years old but where so little information is available it is some information, and it comes to us courtesy of Bradley Manning.

    MA companies leading the way (none / 0) (#81)
    by CST on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 12:58:02 PM EST
    In development of alternative energy technology.  Link

    "More than a year ago, the Department of Energy began spreading millions of dollars to promising alternative energy companies across the country, with the idea they would use that support to help attract private capital. Six firms have done it best, according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and five are from Massachusetts."

    Most of it has gone to R&D, not a whole lot on the jobs front so far.  But you have to do the R&D to prove that it is worth moving to the manufacturing phase - which is where the jobs are.

    Some exciting developments out of this sector:

    "Frank van Mierlo, president of 1366 Technologies, said the $4 million his company received from the Energy Department was instrumental in building a pilot plant to showcase 1366's streamlined wafer-making process.

    Some analysts say the process could be 80 percent less costly than current techniques and make solar power competitive with traditional fossil fuels."

    emphasis mine.

    We have to build our own future.  I'm confident that humans are capable of solving problems, and I think this one is coming along sooner rather than later.

    in other fun news (none / 0) (#83)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:17:04 PM EST
    Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld can't even go out in their own backyard: Ron Paul supporters heckled them at CPAC Thursday. Rumsfeld was greeted by boos and then a walkout of many young attendees. Cheney was peppered with taunts of "Where's Bin Laden?" and "draft dodger."

    also (none / 0) (#84)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 01:17:43 PM EST
    Weigel tweets: "Really kind of amazing how absent Egypt talk is here at #CPAC11."

    As Egypt... (none / 0) (#90)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 02:02:17 PM EST
    rejoices chains coming off, NYC has another banner year of the chains going on...marijuana possession arrests up yet again.  More arrests for simple possession in 2010 than 1978-1996 COMBINED.  140 arrests a day.  I knew it was bad but even I'm surprised by these staggering figures.

    Bloomberg's NYPD...still on Guiliani Time.  And it should come as no surprise to anyone the enforcement is selective, 90% black or latino.  I'd bet my left nut black and latinos don't come close to making up 90% of those who enjoy a smoke in this city...the whiteboy break is alive and well.