Friday Open Thread

Congress has passed the extension of the Payroll Tax Cut.

According to the AP, ICE is now saying the agent shooting involved a workplace matter. A subordinate agent shot a supervising agent, a third agent intervened and shot the subordinate agent. The subordinate agent/first shooter is the one who died. The agent he shot is in the hospital. The intervening agent who killed the shooter is fine.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    More good bipartisan initiatives in the works (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:40:36 PM EST
    on the cutting wasteful government spending front, apparently.

    AP reported this morning that...

    Unemployed workers would no longer be able to claim 99 weeks of benefit checks by this summer under a deal being worked out in Congress.

    Under this week's compromise for extending a Social Security tax cut through the rest of 2012, federal unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work more than six months are being scaled back.

    If Congress passes the bill and President Barack Obama signs it into law, the current maximum 99 weeks of benefits will gradually fall to 73 weeks by September. For people in all but about a dozen of the highest unemployment states, the benefits will be cut off after 63 weeks.
    It was not immediately clear how many people might lose out on benefits later this year under the new plan. Currently, 22 states are eligible for 93-plus weeks of unemployment insurance; just 18 get the full maximum of 99 weeks. The average unemployed worker receives less than $300 a week in benefits.

    Also, a Florida Senate committee passed a bill that would cut the minimum wage for tipped workers by more than half, slashing wages from $4.65 an hour to $2.13 an hour.

    Getting better incrementally by the day. And Greece is sure providing a good example of how to rein in deficits.

    I hope it takes until I am in the grave (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:25:09 PM EST
    before we reach the apparent goal of being the lowest wage country on earth. What the  he** kind of goal is that?

    Look on the bright side (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:37:03 PM EST
    If they cut the minimum wage in half, then the employers will be able to hire twice as many people, thus cutting the unemployment rate in half making Obama look like an 11 dimensional genius to some people.

    And then if they cut in half AGAIN, there'll be twice AGAIN as many people hired and the unemployment rate will drop into negative territory by November and the economy will be fully repaired and booming like you never saw before.

    Assuming, of course, that all those employers don't go belly up because no one has any money to buy anything from them.

    And if they hire all those surplus workers as part-timers then they won't qualify for unemployment insurance benefits so business taxes can be cut drastically as government spending drops.

    What is wrong with you anyway? Don't you get it? ;-)


    what's the min wage for non-tipped workers (none / 0) (#56)
    by DFLer on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:15:56 PM EST
    in FLA., then

    $7.67 (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:58:59 PM EST
    But, but, but (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:49:53 PM EST
    Ruffian, think of all the off-shored jobs that will come back here!  
    Yes, this is snark.  Sort of.   :-(

    lol. Lower wages are a White House goal: (none / 0) (#107)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 12:01:12 PM EST
    Investing in America: Building an Economy That Lasts

    See figure 4


    I mean, really, no kidding (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:47:49 PM EST
    Athens has almost cleaned up after the violent demonstrations, but there are still signs of the destruction.  Over 40 buildings were burned.  
    Jobless rates in Greece are soaring, with nearly 21 percent of the total active population, and roughly 50 percent of those under 25 years-old, unemployed.

    The lowering of the minimum monthly salary for those under 25 years of age from 586 to 360 euros has certainly not helped young Greeks trying to make ends meet. "On 586 euros a month, you may be able to live with a roommate and have enough to eat every day in Athens," Maria said. "But you can't pay for transportation, telephone or internet bills. Everyone seems to think it's only about numbers and figures, but 11 million Greeks are affected. The middle class is disappearing; there is no working class, only people living on the brink."


    Gee, why wouldn't we want that here? (/snark)


    Gee, why wouldn't we want that here? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:59:15 PM EST
    Ummmmm... because it would cause the same kind of revolution here that is about to break out all over Greece?

    By torch, pitchfork, and guillotine futures now...


    That was sort of (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:06:35 PM EST
    my snarky point, my friend.  Although I'm not sure that I see Americans as prone to do this as the Greeks (and some other Europeans), not any more, at least.  Maybe if they get desperate enough.  But it never ceases to amaze me how many Americans have apparently bought into the propaganda of the "powers that be" and continue to vote against their own interests.

    But (none / 0) (#47)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:14:10 PM EST
    Don't Look Out The Window

    The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley's "Brave New World" to Orwell's "1984." The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called "near poverty," coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.
    There are 310 million Americans who, so far, are acting like they are outnumbered by a few thousand wall streeters, media moguls, insurance company and weapons manufacturer execs and other assorted 'plutocrats', 100 senators, 435 congresspeople, and maybe a couple of hundred in the US Administration.

    So far.

    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:23:36 PM EST
    "So far"- those are the operative words here.  We'll see.  And if those here living in "debt peonage"(accurate phrase, Edger, BTW) ever truly realize what they are facing, it could get ugly.    

    Here's what gets me (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:39:13 PM EST
    And it's a replay of the hideous "Bailout" of 2008.

    Every highly respected economist, including those who correctly predicted the shortcomings of 08's bailout, is telling us that "Austerity,"  and our focus on "deficits" is exactly the wrong approach we should be taking now. And, now, as then, no one is listening. Even as England's austerity program has sent that country's economy into reverse, and Greece is following, no one now, as then, is listening.

    I know it's fun to blast the Republicans, but, since  "failure" is their goal they are winning the argument.

    So, what's the Democrats' excuse? Don't Obama's slavish, moonstruck followers understand that the only people benefiting from his cut, cut, cut programs are the big banks. I know that Geithner has promised that the Big banks are not to lose "even one single penny," but who elected him?


    Shooter, no one is listening (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:03:16 PM EST
    because it is not in the interest of Big Finance and other big industries (and wealthy individuals) to actually listen.  The Democrats' excuse?  They have moved to the right, and are listening to the big money guys just about as much as the Republicans are.  As for Geithner, nobody elected him, but we elected Obama, and Obama appointed him and keeps him on.  To quote William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet), "Take it in what sense thou wilt."

    They understand it (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:28:36 PM EST
    "who elected him" (none / 0) (#97)
    by cal1942 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:39:11 PM EST
    Everyone who voted for Obama.

    When we vote for President we're not voting for one man, we're voting for a whole bunch of people.

    If McCain had been elected he would have appointed a Geithner as Secretary of Treasury and a host of other GOP schmucks.

    And today we'd be far worse off.


    "buy" (none / 0) (#39)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:59:40 PM EST
    Zorba (none / 0) (#93)
    by cal1942 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:01:35 PM EST
    Great HTML like means of terminating snark.  How about this:

    <snark> Gee, why wouldn't we want that here?</snark>


    Not likley to stand (none / 0) (#102)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:43:47 AM EST
    Minimum wage laws are very popular.  The Republicans are overplaying their hand.

    Florida had a state wide referendum iirc a few years ago to raise the minimum wage and it passed by a large margin.

    More gloom and doom....


    The minimum wage is one (none / 0) (#108)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 12:13:23 PM EST
    of the bete noirs of the militantly libertarian, right wing sugar daddies the Kochs, Scaife, the Coors family et al..

    No ignorant mill hunkies are gonna tell them what to pay people..Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile..

    And the Repubs dance to their tune the way they dance to Norquist's tune.


    Santorum on wry--hold the Friess. (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:45:53 PM EST
    After a suitable interval, Santorum' found his PAC sugar daddy, billionaire Foster Friess,'s knee slapper, not to be so funny after all.   Foster remembered that "back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception.  The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."   You know, that Foster--he often tells jokes and that one wasn't funny explained the Republican winger about his friend, the Republican winger.  

    KeysDan, kudos (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:01:25 PM EST
    for that Subject line.  I love it!  

    So, when you read about the (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:04:03 PM EST
    "historic" foreclosure fraud settlement, and marveled at the bigger-than-the-tobacco-settlement numbers, did you ever think that the banks might actually be getting money instead of paying it?

    Well, they apparently will.

    Shahien Nasiripour has posted two stories for the Financial Times about the intersection of the foreclosure fraud settlement and HAMP. I wrote previously about how HAMP modifications could count toward the settlement, meaning that banks would get partially paid out. Shahien confirms this.

    The agreement in principle between state prosecutors, federal agencies and five leading US banks - Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial - allows the lenders to take advantage of the federal home affordable modification programme when reducing distressed borrowers' loan balances as part of the settlement, officials said.

    Last month, the Treasury department announced it was tripling the incentive payments to owners of mortgages who agree to reduce loan balances. By reducing those balances under Hamp, investors - including the banks who agreed the settlement - now will receive cash payments of up to 63 cents on the dollar for every dollar of loan principal forgiven. They also will receive additional funds when borrowers keep current on their restructured mortgages.

    So if a bank reduces principal on a loan on their books, and they do it through HAMP, that bank will get, under the new HAMP rules, 63 cents on the dollar for the principal reduction, and more if the borrower stays current. And if they do them in the first year of the settlement, they get even more money as incentive.

    Don't you love how that works?

    Yves Smith adds her two cents:

    The whole purpose of a settlement is that a party pays damages to rid themselves of liability, and the amount they pay (and "pay" can include the cost of reforming their conduct) is less than what they expect to suffer if they were sued and lost the case (otherwise, it would make more sense for them to fight).

    But in the topsy-turvy world of cream for the banks, crumbs for the rest of us, we have, in the words of Scott Simon, head of the mortgage business at bond fund manager Pimco, in an interview with MoneyNews, lots of victims paying for banks' misdeeds:

    "A lot of the principal reductions would have happened on their loans anyway, and they're using other people's money to pay for a ton of this. Pension funds, 401(k)s and mutual funds are going to pick up a lot of the load...

    "Think about this, you tell your kid, `You did something bad, I'm going to fine you $10, but if you can steal $22 from your mom, you can pay me with that.'"

    So not only is the settlement designed to shift the costs of the banks' misdeeds onto already victimized investors, but taxpayers will also be picking up some of the widely touted $25 billion tab.

    This is some expensive kabuki we've got going on here.

    But, but, but... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:24:17 PM EST
    ...if we don't, the whole system will collapse.  Coins will levitate and shoot through the air like bullets, killing untold numbers; fresh, crisp, sharp bills will slash the throats of even more innocents; and the computer monitors containing all that electronic currency will spontaneously explode with the force of battlefield munitions.

    There is nothing else we can do but submit and "minimize" the most, well, "damaging" damage.



    Banging head on desk (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:06:52 PM EST
    It is really hopeless, isn't it?

    Yes. (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:09:56 PM EST

    Curious (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:23:38 PM EST
    The banks didn't get the cash on resells, they loaned the money. The missing cash (sale price minus current value) is in the peoples hands that sold. What would the reaction be if we went after those that sold and then walked with all the profits? I'd guess an uproar screaming caveat emptor.

    True - the missing factor is that (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:30:33 PM EST
    the majority (abeit an increasingly shrinking majority) still do pay their inflated mortgages on their houses that were overpriced due to shady banking practices. The banks are raking in that windfall. If they do a few HAMP modifications, they still get the money back on the back end through the settlement.

    Except the few with enough leverage (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:06:25 PM EST
    The majority of delinquent homeowners here owe more than $1 million. Many are walking away not because they can't pay, but because they judge it would be foolish to keep doing so.

    "It's a business decision, not an emotional one which it is for normal people," said Deborah Bremner, owner of the Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker, which specializes in high-end properties in the Los Angeles area. "I go to cocktail parties and all people are talking about is whether it is time to walk away, although they will never be quoted in the real world."

    She said she had seen in Beverly Hills a big increase in "strategic defaults," in which owners who can still afford to make their monthly mortgage payment choose not to because the property is now worth so much less than the giant loan used to buy it during the housing bubble.
    Strategic default is an especially appealing option in California, one of only a handful of U.S. states where primary mortgages made by banks are "non-recourse" loans. That means the loan is secured solely by the property, and banks cannot go after a delinquent owner's wages or other assets if they default.

    Bremner said she helped a client buy a Beverly Hills mansion last year that the prior owner had bought for over $4 million. He decided to stop paying his $3 million mortgage - even though he could easily afford it - when the value of the property had dropped to $2.5 million.
    Foreclosures on jumbo loans are up 579 percent since 2008, greater than any other form of loan, according to a report last month by Lender Processing Services, Inc.

    --Foreclosure crisis hits Beverly Hills mansions


    Overstated (none / 0) (#100)
    by MKS on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:41:12 AM EST
    A strategic default still results in a foreclosure.  That is not so good on one's credit.

    Try getting another jumbo loan after that.

    The California anti-deficiency statutes were enacted in the Great Depression.


    In other words, yes they loaned the money- (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by ruffian on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:35:00 PM EST
    at 5+% interest for 30 years....they did not give it away.

    guldangit, Anne. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:40:00 PM EST
    Do you stay up all night scouring the web looking for nothing but bad news?

    Don't you ever have anything POSITIVE to say?

    Sheesh. @@


    Laughed out loud at that, Edger... (5.00 / 4) (#41)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:02:14 PM EST
    Maybe Jeralyn needs, in addition to the Regular Open Threads, a Sparkle Ponies and Rainbows Open Thread where every comment has to include a handful of Happy Glitter.

    ABG's would have little Obama faces embossed on it...

    Me, I'm ready to toss some Happy Glitter in observance of the end of the week - but mine is just pretty colors, no embossing.


    Jeezus, Anne! (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:09:00 PM EST
    Heh. Don't do that while I'm drinking tea, OK???

    You got something I can wipe my monitor off with? ;-)


    Well, the Happy Glitter does have (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 05:50:25 PM EST
    absorbent properties; I understand that this was introduced into the product when too many people tossing it around found themselves unexpectedly bursting into tears when the subject of their Glitter-fest turned out to be a major disappointment...they are still tweaking the Obama-face version, though - something about the ears absorbing too much too quickly and distorting the image.

    How about (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:15:34 PM EST
    little happy face smilies drifting and floating up in the background of the page, softly bumping into each other with a sort of windchime tinkly child laughter playing?

    I meant to congratulate you (none / 0) (#30)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:44:48 PM EST
    You were upbeat and positive on Valentine's Day.

    Guldangit? Sorry, I meant (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:46:35 PM EST
    "dagnabbit!" My splel chekker muyst be broak.

    Fetish fiction fini (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:14:46 PM EST
    Thanks for another... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:31:11 PM EST
    fun ride Dadler.

    I think the humble narrator made the wise choice.  


    Part 3 letdown for you? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:36:23 PM EST
    I fear I should've just gotten filthier and more phucked up and proudly rolled a pure gutter ball.  I dunno.  My dog has the worst gas right now.  I have to flee the room.  

    Not at all... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:51:36 PM EST
    it was plenty filthy and f*cked-up, (the horsehead!), yet not so much so as to dehumanize Befree.  I really liked the character...loyal and compassionate to a fault.

    Excellent, thanks (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:35:27 PM EST
    You shoulda seen and heard me last night at the USF/BYU game at War Memorial.  My season tix are fourth row behind the visitor's bench, and usually I'm sitting around a lot of the visiting team's fans, family, etc.  BYU travels well, and I was surrounded my cougar faithful.  My biggest gripe with BYU is they go on those missions and end up playing college ball at 24 and 25.  Five of them are married.  So I worked it for all it was worth, almost got my Dons a win.  We took our only lead of the game with under a minute left, couldn't hit free throws and lost by one.  Great game though, kind of game I get these tix for.  Anyway, sitting behind the BYU bench and around all those fans, and believe me they all could hear me in that little crackerbox, I just gave them hell for their "geezer players."

    "You're like all those friggin' Taiwanese Little League Teams!"

    "I didn't know forty year-olds could dunk!"

    "Hey number nine, look, your grandkids are here!"

    "Come on, that dude's older than my stepdad!"

    BYU folks seemed amused, although not by the less funny stuff I yelled at their bench, the refs, God herself.  Good times.


    Sounds like a blast bro... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:42:07 PM EST
    I hope ya hit 'em with a post-mortem baptism themed heckle or two as well...it's all in good fun;)

    I had to bite my tongue a few times (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:05:05 PM EST
    The baptisms, Mitt Romney, the player who got suspended for having sex with his girlfriend, oh the places I wanted to go.  Too many kids around tho.  

    Gonzaga comes to the hilltop this Saturday. Should be another great game.  And back to the Jesuit schools. Sigh.    


    btw, ALERT to all Bay Area TLers (none / 0) (#45)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:06:54 PM EST
    If anyone wants a great seat for the USF/Gonzaga game Saturday at 5, lemme know, I got a free ticket for you.

    What the heck (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:09:17 PM EST
    are you feeding that dog, Dadler?  Try changing his food.  Eliminate table scraps.  Watch the milk products (dogs can be lactose intolerant, too).    (No, I'm certainly not a vet, but I had a dog at one time with this problem, and the vet suggested these measures.  It turned out to be the kibble.  I changed brands, and the problem was much diminished.)  

    You know what I think it is? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:24:04 PM EST
    First off, he's the sweetest my loyal terrier mix in the galaxy, whom we rescued from the pound, and he has a very anxious stomach to start with.  So I always know better than to tempt the treat gods, and in this case I gave him some of this supposedly organic, natural, blah blah blah, chicken jerky dog stuff.  It's sitting in there fermenting like hard salami as we speak, I think.  My own stupid fault.  Usually, he's on his strict, NutroMax sensitive tummy with oatmeal food that NEVER gives him problems.  Leave it to me to screw with nature.  ;-)

    Eeeewww! (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:32:42 PM EST
    Ditch the chicken jerky!  If he really, really likes chicken, try giving him a little bit of boneless, skinless, plain pieces of chicken on occasion and see how that works out.  Also, make sure he's not wolfing his food down.  If he is, feed him smaller quantities at a time, but more frequently.  Alternatively, buy yourself a gas mask!    ;-)

    Skinless? (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:52:37 PM EST
    My old mutt would call that animal abuse...if he could talk.

    Sh*t he might prance away from some roasted chicken table scraps if I got tight with the skin.  Thats some greasy goodness!


    Kdog, I know, but (none / 0) (#40)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:59:45 PM EST
    it depends on the dog.  If a dog has a sensitive stomach/intestines, you don't really want too much grease.  Allowing a dog to have stomach and intestinal upsets is not really doing him/her any favors, my friend.  
    OTOH, I realize that there are some dogs that can eat anything, anywhere, any time, without problems.  Pan of congealed bacon grease?  No problem.  Half-rotted animal carcass?  No problem.  That's not all dogs, however.    ;-)

    The Notorious D.O.G. (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:03:26 PM EST
    has been known to drop arse around the house once in awhile, but nothing chronic...much like his owner;)

    Cookie the wonder mutt (none / 0) (#55)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:10:08 PM EST
    the 'bad boy' dog of Lower Alabama, can eat anything and have no issues... except breath treats.

    but usually his breath isn't carrion-breath, thank goodness.

    My poodle, OTOH, has bad breath and bad gas...


    The Heart & Mind-O-Matic (5.00 / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:18:50 PM EST
    Capitalism Perfects Global Delivery of Freedom & Democracy

    Learn all about the US drone program in Pakistan and other lucky countries across the globe! See how fortunate one young villager is to have the US looking out for him and fighting extremism!

    But wait! Don't touch that dial! Call our toll-free 24/7 order number in the next 30 seconds and have your credit card number ready, and we'll send you a SECOND Heart & Mind-O-Matic absolutely free! This deal will BLOW YOU AWAY!!! You pay only the added shipping cost. Just go up and paint a huge white cross on your roof and we'll deliver in the next five minutes!

    Disclaimer: We are not responsible for mis-deliveries due to the use of GPS equipment in or near the delivery address. Accurate delivery guaranteed to weddings and funerals, or if you stand out in the middle of your back lawn with your children at pre-arranged delivery time. All sales final. No refunds. By ordering you agree to return all mis-delivered product promptly to our Customer Service Representative at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, USA! USA! USA! USA!!!

    video here (1min 30 sec)

    Also here is another scenario (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by loveed on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:26:12 PM EST
    Some of this could be avoided by a variant of a brokered convention. If a candidate were to enter late (the absolute deadline for this is mid-March), sweep most of the final caucuses and primaries, engage in some debates, and use the summer to put together a general election campaign, then that candidate would be in a much stronger position to claim the mantle of legitimacy at the convention, and to win in the fall.
      The repub. voters are not happy. The tea party is not happy. The Christian right is not happy.
      If your going to lose why not?

    Actually (none / 0) (#73)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:58:44 PM EST
    with the rise of Santorum the Christian Right might be the only people in the GOP who are happy right now.

    If this is true (none / 0) (#88)
    by loveed on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:49:41 PM EST
    why is Ralph Reed pushing for a brokered convention?
      If the Christian right was supporting Santorum, he would have a lot more money.
     The majority of repub. are not the crazies. They want a good candidate. After all, their Americans also. Their suffering the same hardships. Why do you think, turnout is so low. Mitt is losing ground from 08. Newt has one big money man. Santorum has offended most women.
     The leadership thought anyone could beat Obama. Same as the dems. thought anyone could beat Bush.
    20% of repub. voter will vote for Obama over any of these guys. This is the number that is getting the leadership attention. They have also lost independents.
     I think this will bring some excitement to the party. And what do they have to lose?

    Does (none / 0) (#91)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 08:53:01 PM EST
    anybody even care what Ralph Reed says anymore? I thought he went down with the gambling scandal. I would think that he has zero influence with anybody in the GOP Right now. James Dobson endorsed Santorum so that's where I'm getting some of the Christian Right might be happy.

    Actually the majority of the republicans ARE the crazies. The Republicans who once were sane have either 1. died or 2. left the GOP. The reason Santorum is winning these primaries is because he is reflective of what the GOP base consists of.

    The thing is thought that Kerry had a united party behind him in 2004 and it was nothing like what the GOP is doing now.

    I'm not sure that the GOP does want to win in all honestly after watching what has gone on the last three months. And frankly they've got a sweet deal with Obama--they get the odious GOP policy without it having their own fingerprints on it.


    Who knows (none / 0) (#98)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 08:37:16 AM EST
    After the Repubs are dug in deep enough, they may decide that the only way out is to give a shovel to their top two contenders and let them try to dig their way out.  Yep, a Romney-Santorum ticket.  The ??? of all possible worlds! (Stranger things have happened.)

    Women . . . Not So Much (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by john horse on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:41:36 PM EST
    Here is what I learned this week.  Based on the exclusion of any female(s) on the House committee panel examining insuring contraception, I have concluded that Republicans believe that corporations are people and women . . . not so much.

    Pitchers & Catchers (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:52:30 PM EST
    for Orioles, Cubs, Twins, A's, Phillies, Pirates, Cards and Giants report tomorrow.

    First regular season game is in the Tokyo Dome between the A's and the Mariners on March 28.

    First game in this country is between the Marlins and the Cards (from the new Marlins stadium) on April 4 on ESPN.

    All of that is more interesting than Romney.

    I do love baseball. (none / 0) (#71)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:55:27 PM EST
    I think i will buy the baseball network this year, even if it's over food! I want to watch games in South America!

    interesting news on the home front. (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:53:30 PM EST
    My insurance provider has decided to reinstate my policy provided i pay for the three months i was not covered... about 1,300 dollars.

    of course I'm paying. Selling some old vinyl albums and some old wax 10 inch records, among other things.  I don't know if i can part with my Louis Jordan disks.

    Over the past month I gained custody of my son. not joint, complete. In Colombia. We're in the states for now, though, trying to get through some learning issues.  Only one blow-up this week, and I'm trying to explain a better approach to it.

    And now with coverage, went to my doctor... pneumonia, a prostate infection, and epididimitis.

    The last one happens when a part of the gonad gets infected, and then swells up, and every step walking feels like a kick in the groin.  These infections will be chronic until something's done.

    Waiting, waiting to hear from my new school. Also having to apply for US jobs and British jobs in Colombia as backups.

    sigh, probably ought to diary the insurance stuff, but need more energy.  Tonight's frozen pizza, cartoons, and bed. Maybe fried tomatoes tomorrow... my favorite non-meat breakfast food!

    Wow - so glad to hear the insurance (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:29:32 PM EST
    situation is being resolved in your favor - I feel like all kinds of options just became available to you, including the option not to be so stressed.

    And full custody of your son?  I'm assuming that's something you were working toward, so more good news; I imagine it isn't going to be completely easy on your son, but he's young, and I'm sure he'll adjust.

    It feels like you've turned a corner, Jeff, toward something good and healthy - and I can't tell you how happy I am for you - you're one of the good ones, and it makes me happy to know that something's going right for such a good person.


    glad to hear about the insurance (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by loveed on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:56:30 PM EST
    also about your son.
     I love fried green tomatoes, but fried apples  with biscuit more.
     One day at a time.

    So glad (none / 0) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:01:46 PM EST
    to hear that your insurance situation might be rectified. Are you going to be able to get treatment now?

    We're trying to find out. (none / 0) (#77)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:05:33 PM EST
    My family doctor has a broken hand from slamming it into a chair from a meeting with insurance companies cconcerning another patient with the same sort of issues... is it now a pre-existing condition?

    Hope to find out next week...

    But I have to get well again first from all of the infections.


    Glad to hear you have insurance again, but (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:38:45 PM EST
    not so good about the pneumonia and other afflictions.

    Custody of Harry, eh? That's new. Will he be going to school here in the States or is your time here too temporary?

    I am just so relieved that it seems you might finally get the medical care you need.

    Rest up. You'll need all your energy now that you are a full-time parent again.


    I wouldn't (none / 0) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:09:02 PM EST
    think so since it's the same policy but you never can be 100% sure on these kinds of things until you check it out.

    I'm glad to be done with my treatment but unfortunately I'm left with thousands of dollars in medical bills. So I'm going to be paying for this for a few years. Ugh.


    Living Proof that billionaires (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by cal1942 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:26:25 PM EST
    end up with addled brains.

    Sheldon Adelson is pumping an additional $10 million into Gingrich's PAC, Winning Our Future.

    Beyond business deals this guy hasn't got the sense to get out of the rain.


    T.G.I.L.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:54:14 PM EST
    Thank god its Linday...Knicks go for 8 in a row against the Hornets tonight at the Garden.  Super Lintendo will have a new player's game to elevate, as the Knicks signed J.R. Smith today.

    On paper, this offense is downright frightening with the addition of Smith.  A whole starting 5 worthy of a double team! I just hope he brings his D, we're playing Knick basketball again over here J.R., which means a whole lotta defense.

    Not to be outdone by President Obama, who recently sang Lin's praises, Sarah Pa-Lin announces she has also gone Linsane.  I hope that is not the K.O.D. for the young phenom;)

    MY interest in pro hoops (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:56:13 PM EST
    has been reignited!

    Mark Cuban today (none / 0) (#78)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:05:35 PM EST
    discussing Jeremy Lin.

    "If it was happening in Charlotte, no one would know."

    Very likely true.


    Lin (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 09:35:12 PM EST
    and the whole Knicks team look like they took the night off against a very bad Hornets team.

    Bad Ad (none / 0) (#5)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:13:33 PM EST
    The Knicks good Fortune.

    Man, New York is on a roll.  From Eli right into Lin, enough, share the wealth you bankers of sports talent.


    Houston.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:29:50 PM EST
    had this gem, your player evaluation loss is our gain brother.

    It does feel like the stars are aligning for the NY....the Giants improbable run, Rangers in 1st place, Linsanity, and of course the evil empire in the Bronx sure to be in the hunt again.  Feels like '94 at the Garden.

    As for my Mets, unless Jeremy Lin plays shortstop too we're done before we start.  Their big off-season move was moving in the fences at Sh*tty Field so opponents can hit more dingers off Mike Pelfrey.  Ya Gotta Be on Prozac to Believe.  Our own GM even makes fun of our sorry state of affairs on twitter.


    The Lin Dynasty is well on its way (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 01:17:08 PM EST
    I just LOVE watching the kid play, and envy that he's playing for da nix.  I just hope my GM, Mitch CupCheck, is scouring the globe for the next breakout PG, which the Lakers badly need and which you know is just out there waiting to be found.  Or never be found.  Who knows.  

    Had to be done... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:01:55 PM EST
    I'm trying to lock myself down in self-imposed hermitude, but the best laid plans of mice and men go out the window when the Skatelites come to town.

    It's on tommorow...caution meet wind.  Institutions of Jamaican music only come around every so often.

    If (none / 0) (#18)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:10:30 PM EST
    Romney loses both Arizona and Michigan on the 28th, will Super Tuesday save him?

    Santorum has the lead in 5 consecutive Michigan polls and his margins were underrepresented in the polls in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.

    In Arizona, Romney still leads but Santorum has closed 16 points on him in two weeks.

    I think Rmoney is toast. (none / 0) (#68)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:45:05 PM EST
    While it is still early in PACing, what has been  thrown at Santorum is not sticking with this crowd.  What normal people would find as Santorum's negatives, the Republican primary graders see as positives.   Santorum always seemed to be their Impossible Dream, but he has surged to being just an implausible dream, which may be good enough.  

    Amazingly (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:01:46 PM EST
    Romney is outspending Santorum 14-1 so far in Arizona and loses 16 points. In Michigan he's only outspending Santorum 3-1 and obviously losing ground. I suspect Michigan will get a lot more Romney cash before the 28th.

    It's still early, but...


    No Modern Family - "don't say gay" in TN (none / 0) (#22)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:30:15 PM EST
    A bill in Tennessee which would prohibit the discussion of homosexuality before 9th grade has advanced through a subcommittee.  The subcommittee chair (Rep. Joey Hensley) said that he didn't think that "Modern Family" was an "appropriate" show for children (it features a gay couple).  The author of the bill (Rep. Stacey Campfield) prefers to call it a "Don't Teach Gay" bill, and has said it is necessary because homosexuality is more dangerous than heterosexuality.  Campfield recently claimed the HIV epidemic began when a gay airline employee had sex with a monkey.

    Just glad I don't live in TN ...

    I am ashamed to realize there is (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:52:27 PM EST
    this much dumb in America, I really am.

    I'm surprised that Tennessee hasn't come after "Glee," which actually includes teenaged gay couples - of both sexes - who have even - gasp! - kissed on camera!  And, they've covered stories about a pregnant teen, teens trying to decide whether to go "all the way," and, why, it's just a festering, bubbling cesspool of filth.



    Way too much "dumb" (5.00 / 0) (#51)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:43:07 PM EST
    Sadly, elected reps are supposed to be some of the more intelligent among us.



    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:52:59 PM EST
    Since when?   ;-)

    There is no... (none / 0) (#36)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:54:43 PM EST
    Sofia Viagra starring in "Glee" to get them to notice the homosexual brainwashing agenda of that program.

    don't teach gay? (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by womanwarrior on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 09:38:35 PM EST
    Did he forget that it is the heterosexuals who are having gay babies?  Oh, my.

    Funny, I had a number of gay teachers but none of them taught me to be gay.  And none of my gay friends have recruited me.  guess I am just not desirable enough to have to worry like reps hensley and campfield.  


    this is like (none / 0) (#37)
    by CST on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 02:58:43 PM EST
    playing hide and seek as a 4 year old.

    If I cover my own eyes no one can see me!

    Not talking about something does not make it go away.

    I can just picture some little kid getting thrown out of class for talking about their parents.


    No difference between the parties? (none / 0) (#48)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:17:45 PM EST
    I am sure Santorum and Romney would do this:

    "Obama administration says it won't defend law barring military benefits to same sex couples."

    There is a difference.

    The last 2 weeks have proven that conclusively.

    If it were two weeks since Obama (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:54:14 PM EST
    was inaugurated, and this announcement was being made, it would have a lot more weight than being announced three years and one month since he took office.

    "Move on" from the misdeeds of the Bush administration?  No problem, done deal right out of the gate.

    "Move on" from the misdeeds of the banks and mortgage lenders because it's too hard to actually investigate and prosecute those responsible?  Took a year and a half to start an investigation that did no investigating, and another year to reach a settlement that will sweep most of it under the rug.

    But, decide the military's rules on benefits for same-sex couples violate the Fifth Amendment?  They needed more than three years for that.

    Must be some real Mensa members walking the halls of the DOJ.

    Something about your reference to "2 weeks" and the ramping up of the campaign machine that seems, well, just a tad coincidental. We can only hope there are more progressive, humane policies and decisions made in the pursuit of votes.

    I'll take that - it's the right decision.  

    Happy Glitter for Everyone!


    Sparkle ponies! (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 04:03:53 PM EST
    I want the sparkle ponies!  With wings, flying over the rainbows!

    Will (5.00 / 0) (#65)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:33:55 PM EST
    this do? Sorry about the missing wings, but it's pretty close, no? And the tail wags! ;-)

    Very cute, Edger, but (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:34:34 PM EST
    the wings!  I must have the wings!    ;-)

    Oh. Too bad (none / 0) (#85)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:42:32 PM EST
    That's an actual sculpture too. It's somewhere in California or Arizona if I remember not too foggily.

    There is (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 07:04:00 PM EST
    even a blog for ABG It's called Princess Sparkle Pony no less!!!

    So glad (none / 0) (#106)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:31:09 AM EST
    So glad it's an election year so Obama throws us a few bones.  

    The past 3 years, I honestly couldn't tell the difference between he and Bush.


    maybe it not over (none / 0) (#60)
    by loveed on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:01:41 PM EST
    primaries picks the candidate of a party. The candidate must acquire a certain amount of delegates, to win in the first round vote. If not acquired , all bets are off. And it not over til it's over.
     My pick for the repub. party was Huntsman. The leadership wanted to retain their power. They could not see the forest for the trees.
     The repub. voter do not want to play ball. And lately there has been Senators calling for a brokered convention. The voices are getting stronger.link. Here is another link
     Personally I don't think Jeb has a chance,and he won't run. Forget about Daniel he won't run either.
      If things keep going the way there going link. Newt knows he can't win. But he out to destroy Romney.
     Santorum, can't win either.
     Where will the party go. This is Bush vs Kerry. But the repubs. still have a chance. Will they take it?
     Personally I would like a brokered convention. I think it will be exciting.

    Sigh... is it baseball season yet? (none / 0) (#66)
    by jeffinalabama on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:41:20 PM EST
    I wonder who might emerge from a brokered Republican convention... and how far right the platform will be written.

    The platform will be a single plank (none / 0) (#94)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:16:27 PM EST
    It will extend so far to the right it will jut far over the ledge of sanity, and off of which the entire party will merrily walk, singing and wearing party hats, a cult of Wessonality.

    Baseball next week, no? (none / 0) (#95)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:17:16 PM EST
    Pitchers and catchers always report last week of February, don't they?

    Pick your team (5.00 / 0) (#99)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:09:27 AM EST
    I'll give you the dates. I keep baseball at my fingertips.

    St. Louis Cardinals (none / 0) (#101)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:42:09 AM EST
    Of course.   ;-)

    Cards (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:03:25 AM EST
    pitchers and catchers report today in Jupiter, Florida. Roger Dean is a great little stadium. Went to see the Jupiter Hammerheads there last year.

    First Grapefruit League game is against the Marlins on March 5.
    First regular season game vs Marlins April 4 on Espn.
    First home game is not until April 13 against the much hated Cubbies.


    Ah, ha! (none / 0) (#110)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 06:18:11 PM EST
    Thanks, CoralGables!  You're the one "in the know."

    Toledo Mud Hens (none / 0) (#103)
    by Dadler on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 10:51:06 AM EST

    The Mud Hens :) (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 11:11:03 AM EST
    have a game against the Detroit Tigers in Toledo April 4.

    The Mud Hens regular season for the International league opens at home at Fifth Third Field on April 6 against the Indianapolis Indians.


    I thought those attributes (none / 0) (#109)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 18, 2012 at 12:17:43 PM EST
    were what qualified you to get a talk radio slot on Clear Channel..

    We have another 'clone' here in Rochester, who called the AA mayor "a monkey", while playing jungle sound effects in the background..