Friday Open Thread

I'll be offline today. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Wow, defense lawyers in labor law (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:19:43 PM EST
    ought to be listening to the Ryan Braun press conference.  He can't talk about some of the screwups, because he is considering a lawsuit -- but the detail of the process that he does reveal sure ought to make any of us subjected to drug tests by our employers even more concerned than before.

    A transcript will be posted later by the local paper, it says.  

    I'm hearing... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:40:51 PM EST
    they were serious lapses in the urine sample chain...lots of opportunity to monkey with  player p*ss.

    Add that onto your everyday false positives and shoddy lab work, it's a totally unacceptable way to treat any workforce...leaving aside the general invasion of privacy.  

    Good for Braun for shining a light on it all and winning his appeal.  He should totally sue, and I hope he wins.  


    kdog (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:58:12 PM EST
    It reads to me like one of the great "off on a technicality" of all times. The way the agreement with the players union is written there is no way to test a player on Saturday night or Sunday and abide by the process.

    Braun skates on peeing a positive Saturday evening right after a playoff game because there wasn't a local Fed Ex office open to ship the sample. No one is questioning it was his and no one is questioning possible tampering...just that it wasn't shipped immediately thereby violating the Player's Union/League agreement.

    For future major league reference, use water soluble PED's for late Saturday and Sunday games during the season and until they change the wording of the agreement they can't do a thing.


    That's an easy fix... (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:07:16 PM EST
    don't test on weekends.  

    Technicality or not, when a players rep and/or livelyhood is on the line ya just can't have samples laying around for 48 hours.  If it ain't shady, it lends the appearance of shady.

    But if I had my way everybody's bodily waste would be their own damn business and nobody elses.  For athletes, but especially for working stiffs and parolees and the proles who can really have their life ruined by a false positive or tainted sample. Or a real positive for a
    substance(s) that shouldn't even be illegal.


    I'll agree with you (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:12:32 PM EST
    on all counts. The way testing is done in all leagues just has them switch substances or use better masking agents. Anyone that thinks their particular favorite player is "clean" might want to just ignore the PED part and root for the player and team regardless.

    Professional athletes are paid to be big and strong. Accept that they will do things to be sure they ARE big and strong.


    Or alternatively, tell (none / 0) (#11)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:17:48 PM EST
    them they can use whatever performance-enhancing drugs they want, as long as they are adults.  This is the conclusion my son, a huge sports fan, has come to.  He says that if they want to mess up their bodies, maybe their minds, and possibly die young, it's their bodies.  He thinks that the way it stands now, the "clean" guys are at a disadvantage, competing against guys who manage to get away with using the drugs and don't ever get caught.  And he thinks that it should be up to the individual- if they don't want to use drugs, they shouldn't be pressed to do so.  Not my opinion, really, but that's what Zorba son thinks.  I could see a huge downside to this scenario, though.  Among other things, guys (and gals, depending on the sport) would no doubt be subject to huge pressure from management to use when they don't want to, just to make them "more competitive."  The whole thing is a fustercluck of enormous proportions, no matter which way you look at it.

    I Disagree (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:26:20 PM EST
    It would end clean guys, and to what end, the Olympics, 18 year old highschoolers ?

    With the money involved, people would be literally killing themselves in college in hopes of making the big leagues, plus of course without any controls, the injuries would 100 times more rampid.  Bones would not be able to take the strength uninhibited chemical enhancement would surely create.

    And all we would end up with the people who's bodies are capable of pushing the limit of use further then others.  Think boxers and NFL player are busted up now...

    The assumption your son is making is that people have other options and that choosing would be a option.  And just because it would be legal for adults, it would be an almost necessity for highschoolers to compete once in college or lose the scholarship.  I am all for legalization of substances, but I am not down with say pilots using crack or athletics letting steroids become part of the game.

    All that is needed is some common sense and realization zero tolerance is impractical.

    Clearly this case lacked common sense, and in the end, the system worked.  The rules of custody were not followed, there by the results are invalid.

    What blows my mind is MLB is all up in arms, the league that let steroid use continue for years is now so concerned.  Aren't they suppose to be impartial, if they really have issues, they need to find another lab or technician.

    And to me, when there are literally millions on the line, or someone's career, the chain of custody should be person to technician.  FedEx, really ? they can't even be trusted not to break valuables but are entrusted with my career, with million dollar urine ?


    As I said, I'm not (none / 0) (#28)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:33:36 PM EST
    entirely "there" yet.  See my comment #27 to kdog about eating disorders among certain athletes.  I will repeat myself:  
    Maybe, just maybe, if we didn't take sports so g*d-d@mned seriously in this country, there wouldn't be such a problem with athletes doing things that are not healthy for their bodies, in order to remain competitive.

    OT (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:12:49 PM EST
    but not just athletes. 20/20 might make you ill tonight. It's about Doctor Michael Niccole who did breast enhancement surgery on his 18 year old adopted daughter.

    Love the idealism, but (none / 0) (#91)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 11:45:31 PM EST
    but on a practical level, really?  We have to change an entire embedded culture or to heck with the whole problem?  I don't think you mean that.

    The 'roid era... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:38:08 PM EST
    in baseball didn't end clean guys...and that was basically a free for all.  And I think the effect PED's have is somewhat overblown...you can do all the PED's in the pharmacy, ya still need natural ability and talent to suceed at the highest levels.  

    I'm not down with pilots smoking crack on the clock, off the clock I couldn't care less...it is their inalienable right  Athletes using whatever whenever has no effect on customer safety.  Not a good analogy my friend.

    As for the kids...the pressure will be there whether we test adults or not, the dope can't be uninvented.  Just like drug prohibition in general...we can face reality and accept people are gonna dope and do our best to minimize the societal harm, if any, or we can pretend we can win a war against dope creating untold collateral damage.  Society needs to grow up and accept unpleasant truths, lest we make things even more unpleasant tilting at windmills.


    Kdog (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:39:12 PM EST
    Basically a free for all is not a free for all.  They still tested, and although it was a joke they still tested and they were banned.

    Maybe I should have asked, but are we discussing all sports or just baseball ?  Not that it makes a difference, but the NFL has done a fine job of cleaning up the league.  Not 100%, but it's clean for the most part.  The Olympics are 100% clean unless there is something they don't know about.

    The pilot analogy was spot on, he/she signed an agreement, like professional sports players to not partake in certain substance use as a condition of employement.  And let's be honest here, you mention how many people approve of MM and how unfair it is that it's illegal, which I agree with.  But shouldn't that be a two edged sword, if the majority of fans and travelers don't want their athletes and pilots using drugs, shouldn't that dictate policy ?

    Does matter because it does.  And IMO professional sports would suffer greatly and become so overblown pathetic, it cease to be sports and venture over to entertainment if there were no controls on substances.

    And don't mix the war on drugs into keeping steroids out of sports.  One has clearly works, with some issues, while the other is a complete failure.  One involves denying rights to everyone, the other is a condition of participation.  Two very different concepts.


    Honestly? (none / 0) (#52)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:57:26 PM EST
    you think the NFL is clean?

    Bwahaha! (none / 0) (#54)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:05:56 PM EST
    Maybe the NFL players and their enablers are just smarter than the baseball people.

    Not to pick on the NFL (none / 0) (#56)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:20:20 PM EST
    but they don't test for HGH. Which probably explains why they are all so damn big and still test clean.

    I think (none / 0) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:33:15 PM EST
    I'm in the same camp as Zorba son.

    Me too... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:40:21 PM EST
    The "clean" players would get a raw deal of sorts...but it beats this crap, and is certainly more liberty & privacy friendly.

    Worth mentioning HGH has not been shown to be particularly harmful when used responsibly, as of yet...preformance enhancers have come a log way from the nut-shrinking roid-raging anabolic steroids.


    Unfortunately, kdog (none / 0) (#27)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:28:45 PM EST
    there are things going on in sports that do, indeed, cause physical problems for the elite athletes.  I'm also thinking of the eating disorders among female gymnasts and ice-skaters, and they're not the only ones.  They are pressured to remain "thin," and too many of them look to anorexia or bulimia as a way to stay thin.  This is a problem not only among adult female athletes, but among under-aged athletes.  Nothing illegal about not eating, or making yourself vomit, in order to stay skinny, but not at all healthy for the girls (and some guys, too- high school and college male wrestlers, among others, are also under pressure to "make weight"), but not good for their bodies.  Maybe, just maybe, if we didn't take sports so g*d-d@mned seriously in this country, there wouldn't be such a problem with athletes doing things that are not healthy for their bodies, in order to remain competitive.

    Don't forget jockeys... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:44:20 PM EST
    and what they do to their bodies to make weight...what amazing athletes, and to think they perform on empty stomachs just out the sweat box...f*ckin' crazy.

    I hear ya Z...but there is no way to punish or criminalize or p*ss-test our way out of these unsavory aspects of sports, or life in general, imo.  There is some nastyness we have no choice but to accept.  The answer, if any, is education as to the harm and damage done, and at the end of the day every athlete has to make up their own mind as to how much punishment, self-inflicted or otherwise, they are willing to accept to chase their dreams.


    Yes, I agree (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:55:04 PM EST
    I think that education is the key.  That, and not deifying our athletes and making sports some kind of holy grail.  Of course, then we have actors, actresses, and models doing things to their bodies to stay thin and "good-looking," as well as the amount of unnecessary plastic surgery they undergo......It's a conundrum.  Must stay thinner, more attractive, more bulked up, stronger, faster, jump higher, whatever.  It doesn't say much about our society and its values, does it?  {{Sigh}}

    No it doesn't... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:12:55 PM EST
    but otoh, devil's advocate stylee...if someone's pursuit of happiness consists of looking like a bag of bones with freakish collagen lips, who are we to judge?

    I mean I got my share of harmful habits...I don't want anybody tellin' me how to live.


    I'll tell him you said so, CoralGables (none / 0) (#20)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:43:27 PM EST
    He's given a lot of thought to this, has looked up the side effects of the most commonly-used performance-enhancing drugs, and has come to this view after a lot of pondering on his part.  He does say that we should still take a lot of precautions to make sure that under-age athletes are not using these drugs, but as for adults, let them make adult decisions, and give them the medical information that they need to make such decisions in an informed manner.  I have some sympathy for this view, although I'm not totally "there" yet.  At the least, I would want to ensure, as I stated, that those athletes who did not want to use these drugs were not pressured or coerced into doing so.

    Pressure? (none / 0) (#90)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 11:42:00 PM EST
    What greater pressure is there than seeing all your competitors using this stuff?  I don't know what the solution to this is, but lifting the restrictions altogether surely isn't it.

    Entirely incorrect, Coral Gables. (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:33:09 PM EST
    Check out the press conference, read the transcript, etc., for information on the process as it is supposed to be conducted.  Amazingly, thought was given to the possibility of weekend games.

    There were five Fed Ex stores close to the stadium, four of them open for many more hours and one open 24/7.  Amazingly, Milwaukee is a big city.

    There were almost twenty Fed Ex stores between there and the collector's home, many of them 24/7.

    And Fed Ex is set up to handle clinical evidence all of the time, to provide the chain of custody needed as well as the security -- as compared to the lack of security in the collector's home.  (By the way, do pay attention to the mention of another in the collector's family who was involved, hmmmm.)


    Don't believe (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:38:50 PM EST
    a press conference. That same lawyer this morning was spouting that it was sitting on a kitchen counter in tupperware. That press conference is for nothing more than to try to make a technicality appear as not guilty. Press conferences are for spin.

    There was never a question of tampering and still isn't.

    For the record, I attended graduate school where Ryan did his undergrad and have been a Hurricane baseball fan for more years than I care to admit to age.


    Okay, I believe me (none / 0) (#21)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:44:40 PM EST
    because I've been there, I've been to that 24/7 Fed Ex in the middle of the night with a mss., and I've been to several others along the way.  Have you?  

    For the record: Read what is out there now.  There certainly is a question of tampering now.


    Read page 37-39 (none / 0) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:58:16 PM EST

    Again to be clear. I have nothing against your hometown team. I still think they had one of the greatest baseball caps ever with the MB for Milwaukee Brewers made into a baseball glove and have absolutely nothing again Ryan or Sammy or Mark or Barry (I can't include a-rod in that grouping as I still think he's an ass :)


    Definitely an arse... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:10:06 PM EST
    but it has nothing to do with the moobs A-Rod was rocking in the 'roid era;)

    I read it months ago. Now, you read it (none / 0) (#55)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:17:12 PM EST
    and see, if you even bother to read the facts of this case, that the process was not followed.

    Or, let me put it this way:  Where is your evidence that the process was followed?

    You don't have it.  The process was not followed.

    Now, as I said in starting this thread, think about this not only in terms of baseball but also in terms of the thousands of drug tests done every day on other workers, too.  Lives can be ruined because of this crap, and we're trusting these technicians to not let stick drug samples in their fridges -- with their teenagers along for the ride, and who knows what else that weekend?  

    Every drug-test case in this country, past and present and future, now is up for review.  Watch.


    As I like to be accurate (none / 0) (#34)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:44:41 PM EST
    I went to the Fed Ex website and they have exactly one FedEx staffed office in Milwaukee. If you include Kinko's there are five.  

    The one FedEx staffed office in Milwaukee closes at 5:00pm on Saturdays and re-opens Monday at 8:00am.

    If Kinko's are permitted, the Fed Ex portion all close between 3:00pm and 5:00 on Saturdays.

    Drop boxes, per MLB/Union agreement, are not permitted.


    That again is so incorrect (none / 0) (#57)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:22:28 PM EST
    that it's laughable, but I weary of you and your lack of research skills.  

    But this has been useful, as I now have a better handle on your veracity in anything that you write.


    You are correct (none / 0) (#59)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:40:42 PM EST
    There are more than 5. There are 6 FedEx staffed offices within 60 miles and all are closed by 5:00 on Saturday. And no Saturday or Sunday pickup. (You'll have to tell me if dropping off a urine sample at Kinko's to let it sit for 2 days violates the chain of custody)

    I stand by my original statement. Want to beat the system? Use water soluble PED's for Saturday evening and Sunday games and you can't get caught under the current setup.

    But go ahead and defend. And if Ryan is your son-in-law, I'll still root for the former Cane even though he got off on a technicality.


    Sigh. Seriously . . . (none / 0) (#84)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 10:27:44 PM EST
    you missed this at the top of the Fed Ex search results in big, bold magenta font?

    Based on your search criteria, there are 75 locations in Milwaukee, WI. The first 5 results are listed below.

    And that's only in the city.  Between Milwaukee and Kenosha, where the tech Laurenzi lives and stashes pee in his basement (but not even in the beer fridge, we now learn), there are many more cities, many more Fed Exes . . . and 24/7's among them, including at the Milwaukee airport -- the one that is directly en route between the stadium and his house in Kenosha.

    Kenosha, close to the state line, so it turns out that the Laurenzis are Cubs fans, including that college-age son who came along and happens to be following in his sports-trainer father's footsteps by majoring in "athletic performance."  No such major by that name exists at his campus, interestingly, so why would he rename his major to sound so much like "performance-enhancing"?

    Just sayin' . . . as they're sayin' all over the area tonight, as much more comes out about this.  The metro area of millions, whom you think have only half a dozen Fed Exes.  I'm guessing you must live in a small town and just don't get it.


    Again (none / 0) (#85)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 10:45:27 PM EST
    nearly everyone of them is a Kinkos. Are they considered legit? Would you be okay with the sample sitting for 2 days at Kinko's? There are 6 within 50 miles that aren't Kinko's and all closed by 5:00pm on Saturday.

    But thank you for coming clean and at least acknowledging you think it's a sinister Cubs plan. I have no problem with homerism.

    Here's the response from the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency: "a real gut-kick to clean athletes."


    Incorrect, again, and (none / 0) (#88)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 11:15:16 PM EST
    just willfully obtuse -- and unwilling to read, still, the information that adds up and adds up and adds up, far beyond your Fed Ex fixation, to raise the suspicions of anyone.  Except for you.

    By the way, it's not my hometown anymore, I don't go to the games, I've never met the man -- but I've had enough experience around employment law to know that this case is going to have impact.  Except on you.


    I am shocked and disappointed two (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 02:40:21 AM EST
    people of such apparent intelligence choose to go to the mat over Kinkos !!!

    I was reading an article (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:50:33 PM EST
    about this, and it said that Braun's urine sample was kept at the guy's house for 48 hours before he sent it to the lab.  Where's the chain of custody?  Was it refrigerated, and otherwise locked up and unavailable for anyone to mess with?

    No, it was entirely not secured (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:34:53 PM EST
    It's appalling.

    As I the MLB's behavior in attacking Braun.

    The good news, I guess, is that the MLB just keeps adding more to the millions that he can get from this case, if he decides to sue.

    I hope he does, if only so that there will be subpoenas to figure out who in the MLB leaked this in the first place.  Kaching, kaching. . . .


    New info is that, no, (none / 0) (#89)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 11:17:36 PM EST
    the sample was not kept in the refrigerator, after all.  It was kept in a beer cooler in the basement, of the home of the sports trainer and his son who studies "athletic performance" and how to, you know, enhance it.  Really, it's getting worse with every further leak from the MLB.  What a joke of an organization it turns out to be.

    But I don't think Braun is helping his case (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:31:39 AM EST
    much, either; that press conference was very reminiscent of Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger at Congress not so long ago...

    My thoughts:

    1.  Getting off on the technicality of procedure not being followed is not the same as "didn't do it;" if a woman has her purse snatched, the police catch a suspect with the purse, but fail to read him his rights and have to release him, does that mean the woman still has her purse?

    2.  IF MLB wants to be taken seriously in its efforts to stop the use of PED's, it needs to be as strict with its procedures for testing as it expects its players to be about not using in the first place.

    3.  The drugs are known as performance "enhancing" because they improve on talent that already exists; taking the drugs won't make someone with little athletic ability into a Hall-of-Famer.

    4.  There have always been drugs in baseball; the pressure to perform, to keep a job that in this market, pays multiple millions of dollars to players at the top, has to be enormous.  Players have always gone after the edge they needed to be better than the next guy who wants their job.  Once the playing field is leveled by throwing the door open to the permissible use of PED's, it's only going to lead to the development of more, and possibly, more dangerous, supplements - and then what?  We make that okay, too?

    5.  It's a lot less fun watching someone send a monster home run over the wall when you have to stop and wonder if that's all player, or player + PED; the "all-natural" athletic performance is so much more awe-inspiring - to me - than the enhanced version.  And it's what I would want young athletes to be aspiring to, not "hey, when will I be old enough to take PED's?"

    MLB screwed up with the Braun sample, for sure; we will never know if it was a clean sample that was tampered with, or a dirty one that just didn't get handled the way it should have.  Braun will now be dogged by the questions, and he will spend a lot of time trying to prove a negative.

    Is that fair?  In the purest sense, no, it isn't, but when you have an organization that wants to have it both ways - it wants to make tons of money off the sport, but it also wants its players to be clean - this kind of thing is going to keep happening.


    I guess the CIA and the other 15 (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:45:14 PM EST
    US Government "intelligence" agencies can be disbanded now. Since they obviously have descended into delusional lala land and don't know what in the he!! they are taking about anymore, their budgets could be used to reduce the deficit maybe?

    LA Times:

    U.S. intelligence agencies don't believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.

    A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.

    Two thoughts (none / 0) (#95)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:17:29 AM EST
    Early last year means over 12 months ago. Think anything has changed?

    Aren't these same people who told us Iraq had WMDs?? Is this a case of believing when the source says what you want to hear?


    Two answers. (none / 0) (#96)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:12:59 AM EST



    And you are two wrongs. (none / 0) (#103)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 12:44:04 PM EST
    You have things backwards again (none / 0) (#104)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 01:00:44 PM EST
    as usual...

    Wrong again (none / 0) (#105)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 04:40:37 PM EST
    Aren't these same people who told us Iraq had WMDs?? Is this a case of believing when the source says what you want to hear?

    Actually, they're not ... at least not until Bush dismissed all their reports to the contrary and made it clear that he only wanted intelligence that supported the winger's WMD fantasies.

    CIA confirms Bush lied about WMDs.

    On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior IA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again. Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMDs.

    No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

    On April 23, 2006, CBS's "60 Minutes" interviewed Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA chief of clandestine operations for Europe, who disclosed that the agency had received documentary intelligence from Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD. "We continued to validate him the whole way through," said Drumheller. "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming, and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy."

    But it's pretty funny how you continually cite the intelligence agencies as evidence that "everyone" (heh) believed Iraq had WMDs, but now you choose to dismiss them.

    Guess your claim about "believing when the source says what you want to hear" is true.

    Well, ...

    ... for you and GW, at least.


    Florida State Rep (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:19:40 PM EST
    Rep. Richard Steinberg(D) of Miami Beach quit the State House effective immediately after admitting he sent inappropriate, unwanted, anonymous text messages to a federal prosecutor in Miami that were traced back to him by the Secret Service.

    No one ever said you had to have a brain to be elected as is proven again and again. Just last week Steinberg had voted in committee for a bill that expands the definition of aggravated stalking in Florida to include text messages.

    How Does One Send,,, (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:38:46 PM EST
    ... an anonymous text ?  

    That would be awesome, I got a friend not on a plan and he is always belly aching about me costing him a dime when I text.  So I send him really stupid S.


    There are anonymous texting websites (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:59:52 PM EST
    just like there are anonymous proxies for browsing the web anonymously.

    You go to their website, enter a message and a phone number, and press submit.

    anontxt.com is (was) one - recently shut down at the request of it's web host after receiving multiple complaints about harassing and abusive text messages being sent, but there are others.


    Prepaid (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:51:39 PM EST

    Oh, what incredible (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:21:33 PM EST
    irony!     ;-)

    Will he be charged... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:08:42 PM EST
    under his new baby, aggravated stalking? LOL

    I'm sympathetic to people who are harassed via emil or text or social network, definitely not cool, but I'm not sure about calling it aggravated stalking or even a crime...its just electronic communication, a far cry from physical stalking.  Sh*t I thought that was the whole purpose of that Facebook thing the kids are playing with...stalking people.


    The online stuff can still be dangerous. (5.00 / 5) (#32)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:43:30 PM EST
    We have a case here where a man, using his ex-girlfirend's name and phone number and address, posted messages on Craig's List asking that men come to her house for sex. The woman, who already has a restraining order against this guy, found out what he was doing when 15 different guys showed up at her home one day, all expecting sex.

    She was, and remains, terrified. Think about the type of man who sees a Craig's List posting for sex with a stranger and just shows up. Not, I think, someone with a lot of impulse control.  Although, AFAIK, she has not been physically assaulted, the threat is there and very real.  

    This woman has changed her phone number four times, to no avail. She now thinks she will have to move. Her entire life has been torn apart because this vindictive @sshole had computer access.

    It is hard to write this off as just electronic communication. I find that often men, even really nice guys who would never hurt anyone, don't understand what it is like for women living in a society, hell in a world, where they are under constant threat of violence simply because of their gender. From the time we are young we are taught that we must be constantly on guard, that we are not free to walk around anywhere, that danger does lurk around any corner. And, OMG, being out alone after dark, well, that is practically an invitation to assault.

    We deal with it because what choice do we have? But that kind of fear and stress, even though for most of us the precautions become second nature, it does harm to a woman.

    So, I can't just write this kind of thing off as simple and harmless electronic communication. It is an assault on the women who are on the receiving end, just as surely as physically attacking women is an assault.


    Say it, sister (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 12:06:03 AM EST
    I have many women friends who are bird-watchers who never dare to go out alone to a natural place for fear of assault.

    When I was in the biz world, I was at a major disadvantage because I could not just go out to a bar in some strange city after a trade show or conference and strike up collegial friendships with useful people from the same conference.

    I don't think most men have a frickin' clue how must just being female restricts both your recreational and professional activities.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:58:09 PM EST
    my Y may cloud my vision a bit...I mean I've had a crazy ex or two who wouldn't stop calling and emailing, annoying & uncool & sometimes creepy but nothing I could consider a crime.  I understand women have more to worry about.  

    I didn't mean to discount it as "simple & harmless", just not sure it is "aggravated stalking" either.  The case you mentioned is definitely over the line, people were coming to her door...that's harassment.  

    We just gotta be really careful with the criminal laws we pass...we must always assume a prosecutor will try to apply the law in the loosest way imagineable, aka the unintended consequences and collateral damage of laws passed with the best of intentions.


    We absolutely must be careful. (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:08:03 PM EST
    Zealous prosecution is not a fantasy played out in movies. It is alive and well in towns and cities across the land.

    I have to think we can do both, curb the tendency of prosecutors to go for the kill every time, and protect people. I just have to believe that it is not a case of wither/or.


    I would think... (none / 0) (#44)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:16:36 PM EST
    existing laws against harassment would suffice if the electronic communication rises to an unacceptable level.  

    I'm of the opinion we could erase half the criminal code and still have enough law to cover all bases.  At the federal level there are literally so many crimes, they can't be counted.  


    The bill (none / 0) (#25)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:14:23 PM EST
    hasn't been voted on by the full House yet, so other than the now unemployed punishment, he should stay out of the big house and will only have to answer to his wife (although to be clear I have no idea what he was anonymously texting)

    Watch this (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:38:04 PM EST
    Transcript (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:58:18 PM EST

    Nightmare and insanity are akin: mysterious and involuntary states that skew and distort objective reality. One wakens from nightmare; from insanity there is no awakening. Whether Americans live in the one state or the other is the paramount question of this era.

    For two hundred years Americans have been indoctrinated with a mythology created, imposed and sustained by a manipulating cabal: the financial elite that built its absolute control on the muscle and blood, good will, ignorance and credulity, of its citizenry.

    America began with the invasion of a populated continent and the genocide of its native people. Once solidly established, it grafted enslavement of another race onto that base. With those two pillars of state firmly in place it declared itself an independent nation in a document that nobly proclaimed the equality of all mankind.

    In that act of monumental hypocrisy America's myth had its beginning.


    Edger.... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by DFLer on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:53:07 AM EST
    it's Lord Acton, not Lord Mahan.

    I went searching to find out more about "Lord Mahan" when I read your essay, as I have a good pal named Mahan....and so found on Wik-pedia the correct attribution for the quote about power tends to corrupt.

    Found another good one from Acton:

    "There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success."

    Interesting (none / 0) (#100)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:01:31 AM EST
    You're right. Must be a tpyo? ;-)

    Another great one Edger (none / 0) (#94)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 08:04:56 AM EST
    thank you...

    It's Friday (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:04:00 PM EST
    ZOMG! (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:39:15 PM EST
    He's ba-a-a-ck!

    Drinks with Republicans last night (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 10:52:54 AM EST
    Who would even proudly still claim to be one in this primary?  I demanded to know who each one supported and none of them would give me a name.  Not one! Instead we argued about how lazy the people in Europe are.  Sitting here this morning remembering the conversations from last night and I would have been better off drinking my morning urine instead.

    I'm seriously starting to wonder (none / 0) (#102)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 11:09:14 AM EST
    if they are all working for Obama's re-election.

    Like, why mess with a good thing when they've got it?


    United Way (none / 0) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:47:43 PM EST
    As all the corporate/military people know, the United Way is asking for donations.  And when I say work strongly recommends it, that is an understatement.

    After the Komen debacle, I thought I would be a little more aware.  Generally animals and nature get the bulk of my donations.

    Thoughts on United Way ?

    I might as well throw in my favorites:  ASPCA, Humane Society, WWF, and Ocean Conservatory.

    You do know (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 01:00:34 PM EST
    the HSUS is nearly all political now. If you donate to a Humane Society make sure you stay local.

    I Do Both (none / 0) (#29)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:34:33 PM EST
    What do you mean political ?

    For me, I would rather give my money to (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 02:50:40 PM EST
    specific organizations, not to United Way. With United Way, I have no control over who gets the money. And, for me, it is important that my meager charity dollars go where I want them to go.

    In my experience, workplace campaigns by United Way can be very coercive. And intentionally so because that is how UW gets its money. And having all that charity money gives UW an awful lot of power over non-profits in their communities.

    Most of my money goes to local organizations, even if a particular charity has a national organization, I give to the local affiliate. For others, like Mercy Corps and Doctors W/O Borders and  Water.org, that do not have local affiliates, well, my $$ goes directly to them.


    For years I have given to UW, via a (none / 0) (#45)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 03:34:33 PM EST
    workplace campaign, and have always been able to designate where my contribution goes, and been able to allocate it between several organizations; I also prefer to donate to local entities.

    And I make it a practice to give cash contributions to the local Boy and Girl Scouts, school groups, etc., and skip the popcorn, pizza, candy, candles - whatever - so they can keep the entire contribution (I do like to get the gift wrap, though - that's something I really use, and there are no calories involved!).

    With more and more people slipping over the edge, so many of these organizations - especially the local ones - are really struggling to provide services; I'm not rolling in the dough, by any means, but I have so much more, and am so much better equipped to deal with the blows life deals me, that I feel an obligation to reach out in some small way to those who don't.  


    Yes, the push is on (none / 0) (#6)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 12:55:54 PM EST
    where Mr. Zorba works for "everyone" to donate to United Way.  He manages to resist it every year.  They still ask and press him, and he still says no.  We do give to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, WWF, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the nearest NPR radio station.  Among others.  We prefer to target our charitable giving to specific organizations.

    I Didn't Mention (none / 0) (#49)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:08:11 PM EST
    I give every year, but nominal amounts.  This is a battle I figured out long ago isn't worth fighting.

    And as Anne mentioned, you can designate the program(s).  I had forgotten that.

    Solves my problem.  We have a program, that gets CPS kids gifts every year for Xmas that I like.  I don't have kids, so going to the toy store is a real treat.  It's run by some Sheriff group and it's on the list.


    I wonder how many hours (none / 0) (#50)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:41:25 PM EST
    it will be before the Mittster engages in one of his favorite things -- firing people.

    This one almost looks like a Dick Tuck job, except I think he retired from the business decades ago and has probably gone on to the Great Beyond by now.

    Hey, Mitt's people only underestimated by about 63,000.  Rasmussen and Fox would call that within the margin of error.

    Hard to believe (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:26:54 PM EST
    this clown show could unseat Obama but then I recall this is the not so united United States where two elections were given to George W Bush, under peculiar circumstances, and two to one Richard Milhous Nixin, one of them peculiar and one just an outright historical embarrassment for the country.  Mein Gott, we even put J Danforth Quayle IV within a heartbeat of the presidency.

    So Obama shouldn't spend too much time now planning out what he'll do in a second term given this history.  Even more ominous, a couple of highly regarded local twin psychics already have pronounced O a one-termer.  That one in particular makes me nervous given what they've called right recently.


    Unless (none / 0) (#70)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:36:48 PM EST
    Paul the Octopus comes back from Davy Jones' locker with that prediction, I trust the electorate will keep Obama in the WH.

    Sure they will. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:27:18 PM EST
    With 20% of Republicans leaning to Obama bringing him up to almost 50% approval now, from his low of what - almost 80% three years ago? - he should be a shoe-in for re-election.

    I'm sure he'll have even more republicans supporting him between now and November, so it should be a cakewalk.


    Fantastic (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:54:23 PM EST
    I hope they all vote for the Dem party.

    On a side note, do you ever bitch about Canada or do you prefer to sit in Canada and bitch about the US?


    All the time. (none / 0) (#75)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:58:46 PM EST
    You guys think the US Government is crazy? Try Harper for awhile.

    btw (none / 0) (#76)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 08:59:37 PM EST
    Do you have a link to me bitching about the US?

    Let's call it (none / 0) (#79)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:04:37 PM EST
    your body of work. Not bashing just asking.

    Still loved your Valentines day story.


    Well you'd better (none / 0) (#80)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:06:16 PM EST
    go back and read them all a little more carefully then. Not surprised you couldn't post a link.

    Didn't think (none / 0) (#81)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:20:50 PM EST
    a link was needed. Thought it was a sure thing (no disrespect to John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga)

    You wouldn't find one (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:28:14 PM EST
    You'd find many of me bitching about the US Government, it's murderous policies - particularly foreign - and about corrupt politicians, but not about the US.

    Unless of course, you equate the US with corrupt politicians and murderous policies and can't bear criticism of them.

    Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.


    Perhaps (none / 0) (#86)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 10:54:11 PM EST
    you'd enjoy a short 20 minute movie instead, as a diversion to relax with...

    ...what is it we Americans have been so complicit in hiding from ourselves in our devotion to the perverse legend that has come to inhabit our souls like a succubus?

    It is the millions of us with no work and no hope in middle age whose jobs and homes have been devoured by the heartless fraud machine of Wall Street. It is the trashed and demolished weedlots of our major cities eroding in crumbling, fire-gutted ruin. It is the many towns and cities with industries shut down and factories deserted or dismantled and shipped overseas.

    It is our decaying, disintegrating public schools, our bankrupt states and counties, our overtaxed, antiquated public transportation systems, our obsolete, dissolving infrastructure, our bloated, irrational prisons complex, our punishing and inadequate health care disaster, and over it all, the repressive mechanism of our police state, armed and empowered, ready for use against the American people themselves.
    * * *

    This is where we are. The great question now is whether we as a nation can awaken from this long historic nightmare and face the terrifying and exhilarating prospect of living in the full light of reality without the false props and dishonest constructs of a hoodwinked, herded and dishonored people or, whether we have internalized the falsity and disease to such an extent that it has become an organic, overmastering form of insanity.

    Well Hell (none / 0) (#87)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 10:59:45 PM EST
    I thought at least you'd give me a 20 minute clip from "the Sure Thing". It had a bit part with Nicollette Sheridan in what I believe was her first ever film. (not that she ever did many films)

    My apologies (none / 0) (#63)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 06:28:38 PM EST
    for missing your post Donald. You were all over that one.

    It looks like a family reunion, (none / 0) (#51)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 04:44:15 PM EST
    so its not a bad turnout, really.  

    Romney isn't fooling anyone (none / 0) (#64)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 06:32:09 PM EST
    He's transparently full of sh*t. But it wasn't as bad a turnout as this.

    Well, now we know what Romney (none / 0) (#65)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 06:49:16 PM EST
    meant when he said he loves Michigan because the trees are the right height---he thought they would be high enough to cover up all the empty seats.   oops, to quote a previous member of the clown car brigade.

    Could be. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 06:51:36 PM EST
    I tend to think the republicans don't want to win the white house this year.

    Why mess with a good thing when they've got it, after all?


    Hey, be nice ... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Erehwon on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:23:58 PM EST
    They only had a couple of Cadillacs to bus the people.

    this picture (none / 0) (#60)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 05:45:01 PM EST
    shows why Romney should stick to small rooms for his major speeches.

    Romney today at Detroit's Ford Field

    kdog (none / 0) (#61)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 06:08:39 PM EST
    One more follow up on the Knicks/Heat game. ESPN fired the employee that posted the online headline "a chink in the armor", but I haven't heard a single comment about the Heat selling advertising space on the curtain behind Jeremy Lin during his press conference to Tsingtao Beer :)

    Hamas supports Syrian opposition (none / 0) (#67)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:01:20 PM EST
    Non NYT Link (none / 0) (#68)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:03:36 PM EST
    Small correction (none / 0) (#77)
    by CoralGables on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:00:20 PM EST
    I believe she has the poll for tomorrow's NASCAR Nationwide Series 300.

    Carl Edwards has the poll for Sunday's 500.

    I think.

    This has to qualify (none / 0) (#98)
    by Edger on Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 09:45:24 AM EST
    for headline of the year...

    Poll: Santorum comes from behind in Alabama three-way


    It almost beats this one from a coupe of years ago...

    Republicans Turned Off By Size of Obama's Package
    (warning: there is an image on that page)