Wednesday Night Open Thread

More DEA raids on California dispensaries.

The U.S. attorney's office press release issued today states that the raids were part of an ongoing effort to crack down on storefront dispensaries in California, and that letters "went out today to the owners and operators of currently operating or recently closed marijuana stores--nearly three dozen in Costa Mesa, and one now-shuttered store in Newport Beach. All known stores in these two South Orange County cities are now the subject of federal enforcement actions."

The Supreme Court gives a death row inmate another chance after a mailroom mix-up at his lawyer's firm caused a missed filing deadline. The opinion is here.

An alleged $62 million insider trading bust in New York. The 7 charged are accused of reaping profits on shares of Dell, Inc.

A new season of American Idol begins tonight.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    What a president (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:22:04 PM EST

    Obama rejects XL pipeline.

    Rejects thousand of good paying jobs.

    Rejects lower cost oil for the US.

    Rejects the lowest CO2 transportation option for that oil.

    Accepts greater dependency on oil from the likes of Saudi and Venezuela in place of friendlier Canada.


    Rejects blowing up the planet (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:28:54 PM EST
    to create fuel with already such a huge ginormous carbon footprint by the time it becomes oil that it will blow up the world five times faster than its naturally occurring crude equivalent.  Rejects finishing the planet off for what in the end will amount to a few thousand long term jobs if we are lucky.

    The oil will be produced (none / 0) (#7)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:36:02 PM EST
    and shipped regardless of that.  Shipping it by pipeline to the US will produce less CO2 than the alternative of shipping it by tanker through the Pacific.

    Not only is it the worst jobs decision and the worst energy security decision, it is the worst environmental decision.

    This clown is not only making Jimmy Carter look good, he is making Herbert Hoover look better and better as well.



    According to NPR today, one of the (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:00:41 PM EST
    original locations objected (via the state) to the pipeline running across an aquifer.  So that route was scratched.  New location(s) haven't yet been revealed.  How could the Pres. agree to that?  Whatever happened to "states' rights"?  

    Already there (none / 0) (#16)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 07:39:43 AM EST

    We already have many miles of pipeline running across that same aquifer.  Did NPR feel it appropriate to withhold that information from you?



    Eminent Domain is already being used (none / 0) (#33)
    by republicratitarian on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 10:53:00 AM EST
    Just read this today, it's from December.

    A "bonus" of the Keystone (none / 0) (#15)
    by BTAL on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 07:29:31 AM EST
    decision will be a tidy revenue increase for Warren Buffett and Berkshire.  Berkshire is purchasing  Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) which is the primary carrier of ND/Bakkan oil to refineries.

    A quid pro quo.


    Bull$hit (none / 0) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:23:36 AM EST
    Try to keep in mind that I spent half of my life in a community that was rife with Burlington Northern employees.  They make a middle class wage and they ship tons and tons of things.  That is what a railroad does.  They make most of their money on shipping COAL, but they make their money moving stuff.  Anything that needs to be moved.  Warren Buffet buys tangibles with solid assets at times like this, that's why he isn't naked when the tide goes out.....duh

    Google is your friend (none / 0) (#23)
    by BTAL on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:46:27 AM EST
    Just check the current volume of oil currently being carried by BNSF from ND and the quote by one of their main execs on their plans for future capacity.  No pipeline = more carried by train.

    The BNSF workers are not part of the equation.  The Berkshire buy is public knowledge, not BS as you profess.


    And we know that (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:14:18 AM EST
    trains never wreck.

    Not like a pipeline they don't (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:58:31 AM EST
    Look up Alaskan pipeline spills and then talk to me about volume.  As for BTAL's comment, duh....if they decide to ship by rail Burlington Northern will run more trains that must be built and they will employ more life long middle class employees.  Where is the downside to that solution over building the spewing pipeline and creating a basketful of jobs for two years?

    The Alaska Pipeline has been (none / 0) (#46)
    by BTAL on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:49:31 PM EST
    very safe and secure in its delivery of oil.  This is especially true considering it was built in the late '70s, its harsh environment and the large volume of oil it has transported.  There are only 2-3 leaks worth documenting.  The worse was Exxon Valdez however, that had nothing to do with the actual pipeline.

    To carry the same volume of oil will take massively more train cars than are currently able to transit the same path.  Basic math and research on tanker capacity proves the point.


    Tracy (none / 0) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:41:53 PM EST
    Look at the pipelines in the LOWER US. I gave you a link.

    That's a serious charge (none / 0) (#24)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:50:01 AM EST
    Any actual, ... ya know, .... evidence?

    Or is it safe to assume this is just more winger speculation/fairy tales?


    About as fairy tale-esque (none / 0) (#47)
    by BTAL on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:51:16 PM EST
    as those about Cheney and his WH meetings with all the evil oil barons.  Difference here is that BH has purchased BNSF

    BH is the 8th largest ... (none / 0) (#52)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:54:23 PM EST
    ... public company in the world.  They own a lot of things.

    But still not a single bit of evidence of a quid pro quo.

    Yep - winger fairy tale.


    Which came first? The CO2 increase and (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:22:51 PM EST
    then the temperature increase or the temperature increase and then the CO2 increase?

    Temperature change before CO2 change is the case in every record for any period or duration is studiously ignored by proponent and skeptic.


    It is logical to assume that if CO2 change follows temperature change in every record then CO2 cannot be a greenhouse gas.



    hahahahahaha (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:27:31 AM EST
    great quote from a 'scientist' whose CV contains not a single article in a peer-reviewed publication, and whose website prominently displays a need for donations to his legal defense fund.

    as credible a science-denier as usual, i suppose.


    It's always some kind of ... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 07:59:13 AM EST
    ... unsubstantiated opinion piece or winger blog, and someone with some kind of general science background but no climatology background.

    Be careful, or he'll drag out the big guns, ...

    ... "Climatedepot".



    Well, since you want YOUR experts (none / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:48:39 PM EST
    Let's look at Dr Phil Jones:

    Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now - suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

    And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no `statistically significant' warming.



    Oh Boy...you again (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:24:15 AM EST
    Public enemy #2

    Well, you see, we don't have any (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:01:40 PM EST
    pipelines running across the US.

    Natural Gas


    So we really don't know how to do it and protect the environment, etc., etc.


    Hope those pipelines ... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 07:55:44 AM EST
    ... aren't also made of straw.

    How many times a year does the (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:24:55 AM EST
    Alaskan pipeline spew Jim?

    You can try to pick a fight with Skeevy (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:23:44 PM EST
    Who knew?  She told Josh to update his facebook if he wanted to have fun.  When he asked her if she was crazy she told him she thought the polite term was mentally ill :)

    I hope Josh is careful about (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 08:46:01 PM EST
    He was having a great time with it but (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:26:09 AM EST
    I finally had to ask him to stop because she was winning.  She even insinuated that he wasn't a person, but was instead a robot.

    Looks like a good book (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:29:40 PM EST
    Fighting For Our Health written by Richard Kirsch, Head of Health Care for America Now, an advocacy group that worked with the WH on the reform.

    This first-person account brings readers inside the biggest and most consequential issue campaign in American history. Fighting for Our Health recounts how a reform campaign led by grassroots organizers played a crucial role in President Obama's signing historic health reform legislation in March of 2010--defeating the tea partiers, Republican Party, health insurance industry, and the US Chamber of Commerce. The action takes place inside the Beltway--the White House, Congressional anterooms, and the streets of DC--and at hundreds of town meetings, demonstrations, and confrontations in places like Danville, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska.

    The book describes the tense relationship between progressives and the Obama administration, as the President and his team both pushed for reform and made repeated concessions to the health care industry, while trying to squelch any pressure from the left.

    The good, the bad, and the ugly.

    As described on The Young Turks, it (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:32:46 PM EST
    pretty much puts the last nail in the coffin of the idea that the Administration was playing a 'long game' with respect to getting single payer, or even a public option. They wanted to cut a deal with the industry, claim an "accomplishment",  and get out.

    What did you do today to stop SOPA? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:47:08 PM EST
    I called my Rep and both Senators and said:

    Leave the Internet alone or I will leave you alone next election.

    I submitted ACLU petition. They decided (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:58:51 PM EST
    who to send it to.  Got a robot-email reply from Brian Bilray w/i hours.  Amazing.  He usually votes and then replies.  

    We need to flood (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:04:09 PM EST
    their telephone lines.

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:41:54 AM EST
    I'm the only person in American who doesn't watch American Idol.

    nope (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by CST on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 09:44:36 AM EST
    there's at least 2 of us.

    Three n/t (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 10:01:55 AM EST
    Four (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 10:28:02 AM EST
    Sorry (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 10:28:50 AM EST

    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:51:22 PM EST
    Maybe we can have a nerd party or something.

    What is TV, anyway? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 05:27:44 PM EST

    You're all wrong ;-) (none / 0) (#30)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 10:27:31 AM EST
    There's at least 4...

    Five. (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Towanda on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 10:57:31 AM EST
    And six, with my spouse.

    We may be a movement.


    Can I join too (none / 0) (#42)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 01:12:13 PM EST
    When is it ok.... (none / 0) (#44)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 02:34:25 PM EST
    to cage human beings (if you're still interested)...

    It should be the last resort instead of the first or second option.  The only people who should be getting life or long sentences are the hopelessly violent repeat offenders...the serial murderers, serial rapists, serial molesters.  First time violent offenders getting shorter sentences and a shot at redemption.

    All property crime can be dealt with in more humane ways...restitution, community service...with maybe prison time as a last resort if the convict refuses to pay restitution or perform community service.

    Drug crimes?  No such thing;)

    In a nutshell, incarceration is a form of torture, not to be taken so lightly.  Sometimes the real dregs of humanity give us no better option, but when there is another option like restitution or community service or supervised probation we should take it, for the benefit of our collective soul.

    I wish I had an answer as to why so many seem to take heart in "throwing away the key"...it only pains mine.  


    Many thanks for your thoughts, kdog (none / 0) (#45)
    by christinep on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:11:10 PM EST
    In general, my thoughts align with a significant part of your proposal that refocuses our approach toward a greater rehabilitation component.  As for encouraging a sentencing response that considers first the workability of restitution &/or community programs (guessing also halfway houses, other supervised probation or suspension variations) it makes sense from an individual as well as societal perspective. And, from a dollar cost view, it makes sense too.

    Where I might part company would depend on what constitutes "shorter sentences" for crimes involving violence.  While I do not believe in the throw-away-the-key method except in the most heinous situations, my personal sense is that there should be a substantial deterrence component (aka punitive) when violence is involved.  A case-by-case balancing in any event.


    Humane reform... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 10:29:03 AM EST
    of criminal justice would certainly entail giving judges more latitude in sentencing for the violent crimes where incarceration is justified, weighing all the particulars of the case and the capability of the convicted to redeem themselves if given the opportunity.
    No more draconian mandatory minuimums or three strikes.

    Judge's discretion will lead to mistakes too, both of harshness and leniency...this is inevitable.  But I can't think of a better way...if you're gonna make mistakes better they be human errors than institutionalized errors.


    That makes me number nine, if I've counted (none / 0) (#48)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 04:54:10 PM EST
    correctly. Also, I do not watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette, America's Got Talent, So You Think You can Dance, The Biggest Loser, etc.

    I did watch Dancing With tHe Stars the last two seasons. The first time was because I was annoyed by all the jerky fat jokes about Kirstie Alley and wanted to give her some support; last season I watched because I was annoyed by all the cr@p that was thrown at Chaz Bono, and I wanted to give him some support.


    I make it 9, so (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by sj on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 11:26:58 AM EST
    I think that DOES make it a movement.

    "Shrink, you can get anything you want, at Alice's restaurant."

    Yesterday I wouldn't have been able to do that.


    This is an... interesting development (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by CST on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 11:26:51 AM EST
    in the Brown/Warren race.

    "The sides have been in a back-and-forth since last week over the role of outside spending in the hotly contested Senate race. They agreed to let their campaign managers meet this Friday in an attempt to negotiate an enforceable deal."

    The deal being discussed:

    "if outside groups spend money on advertisements to support him or denounce Warren, his campaign would have to donate 50 percent of the cost of the advertising to a charity of Warren's choice. The same rule would apply to Warren's campaign.

    "the candidates sign a joint letter "explicitly notifying known third party groups - and new groups as they emerge - of the agreement.""

    good for both of them.

    Know Hope (none / 0) (#35)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 11:06:20 AM EST
    "The number of people seeking new unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell last week to the lowest level since April 2008, a signal that the labor market is continuing the improvement than began late last year. Initial jobless claims fell by 50,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000 in the week ended Jan. 14, the Labor Department said Thursday. The decline was the largest in a single week since Sept. 24, 2005."

    con (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 11:27:44 AM EST
    Woo Hoo! (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 11:55:07 AM EST
    I'm about to finally get my very own M24 sniper rifle.  Booyah!

    Who are you (none / 0) (#40)
    by Edger on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 12:19:51 PM EST
    going to use for t-t-target practice? ;-)

    With this tongue Rick Perry's God gave me (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 12:48:54 PM EST
    I'm getting one because I'm short doorstops :)