Thursday Open Thread

The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld the pardons of former Governor Haley Barbour.

Via Sentencing Law and Policy, this factsheet from the Federal Defender's Office says the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) analysis of federal sentencing disparity released this week is flawed.

TRAC’s analysis fails to meet minimal academic standards and should not be a basis for policy making.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    You hungry? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:46:29 PM EST
    Let's hope you didn't eat a hamburger before clicking on this story.

    A former U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist has come forward with a startling tale of how a substance known as "pink slime" has been embedded in about 70 percent of ground beef sold in the U.S. -- a topic ABC News investigated for a segment Wednesday night.

    "Pink slime" is largely made up of connective tissue that used to be reserved only for dog foods. It was not classified as "meat" because it was largely seen as unfit for human consumption.

    Whistleblowers: 70 percent of U.S. ground beef contains `pink slime'

    Or, your kids hungry?

    Pink Slime For School Lunch: Government Buying 7 Million Pounds Of Ammonia-Treated Meat For Meals

    Maybe give them an apple instead...

    xhrist that's just disgusting. n/t (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by desertswine on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:38:29 PM EST
    It is, isn't it... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:45:12 PM EST
    I don't know how the 1% figure they can fatten the kids up for the slaughter by feeding them that sh*t. :-/

    I first heard of the pink slime (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:59:23 AM EST
    in the documentary 'Food Inc.'.  Definitely worth watching.



    From the "It's NOT happening" files... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 04:40:24 PM EST
    Rising sea levels created by the melting of Earth's polar ice caps and glaciers pose such a threat to the low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati that its leader said this week they were in talks to purchase land in neighboring Fiji for a mass relocation of its citizens.

    Kiribati President Anote Tong said that they were specifically eyeing land on the neighboring nation's second largest island, Vanua Levu, according to published reports. Tong added that the mass migration was "our last resort" after a number of its tropical atolls vanished beneath the waves. None of the nation's islands sit higher than two meters above sea level.

    The nation has about 102,000 citizens spanning about 32 atolls across a size of the Pacific roughly equivalent to the continental United States...


    Well, the only serious response to this (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by observed on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 07:26:31 PM EST
    is to sneeringly quote a Hollywood figure. If that doesn't work, refer people to a document signed by THOUSANDS of people, some of them with actual PH.D's, and some of those even in some area of science, albeit not closely related to climate science, said document averring the utter ridiculousness of the theory of global warming.

    And there's always hockey sticks (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 07:33:45 PM EST
    for when the oceans freeze solid from global warming? ;-)

    And the hockey sticks were based on (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:59:42 AM EST
    faulty information and Dr Jones of EAU confirms:

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

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



    One more time.

    This is about the political class using scientist who want money and "status" to pontificate false claims so the political class can seize power.

    Just as simple as that.


    The hockey sticks were based on science (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 09:53:58 AM EST
    ... and Dr. Jones did not confirm the graph was based on "faulty information".  In fact, the reality is that the results and the graph were  validated and confirmed by the NAS and at least 12 subsequent scientific, peer-reviewed studies.  Of course, this was done by actual climatologists, as opposed to some quack on climatedepot.com - hence your confusion.

    National Academy of Sciences affirms "hockey stick graph".

    In addition,

    More than twelve subsequent scientific papers, using various statistical methods and combinations of proxy records, produced reconstructions broadly similar to the original MBH hockey-stick graph, with variations in how flat the pre-20th century "shaft" appears. Almost all of them supported the IPCC conclusion that the warmest decade in 1000 years was probably that at the end of the 20th century.

    One more time, Jim!



    Good post. (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:42:34 AM EST
    And here's the latest climate change report from MIT as well as commentary on it from David Atkins.

    Time to act. Way past time.


    Just as simple as that.. (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by jondee on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:27:30 AM EST
    More like, just as John-Birch-Society-paranoid as that..

    With a little wild-eyed-Glenn-Beck-with-his-blackboard thrown in..

    You're claiming that there are THAT many stupidly dishonest scientists around the world, who would knowling go along with a "hoax" that easy to debunk?

    I think MKS put his finger on what the real underlying problem is here: conservative culture warriors are panic-stricken about how increases in scientific knowledge threaten their outmoded knowledge-security blankets.  


    Ah yes, the Left wants anything to use as (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:13:57 PM EST
    fuel to let the government control us, especially the UN.. so they call anyone who disagrees, paranoid.

    In the meantime Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Treaty .... but what does the government of Canada know????? Probably controlled by BP......and Dr Jones admits that GW has not happened for 15 years.... And you guys want to talk about more studies?

    Please, I'm laughing so hard my side hurts.

    I mean, you like "peer reviewed?" Try this on:

    Pachauri was responding to one email from 2004 in which Professor Phil Jones, the head of the climatic research unit at UEA, said of two papers he regarded as flawed: "I can't see either ... being in the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"


    I mean lots of you folks are lawyers.... Surely you would find that self incriminating....


    yep.. (none / 0) (#49)
    by jondee on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 01:51:14 PM EST
    'sall about communitistic world government and that socialistic-secularistic U.N wantin' to control folks, and undermine our culture 'n heritage..

    Meanwhile the most brilliant, dang climate scientist in history Dr Phil Jones, is still bein' blackballed by the Nobel Committee..


    Not in the slightest (none / 0) (#50)
    by Yman on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 04:44:14 PM EST
    But that's probably because we understand the meaning of the words "self incriminating".

    Or because we prefer facts to silly, winger fairy tales, like your favorite "Climategate emails" conspiracy theory that's been thoroughly debunked a ridiculous number of times.

    You choose.

    BTW -

    In a later e-mail, Phil Jones references two other papers he didn't hold in high esteem. "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

    Yet, the papers in question made it into the IPCC report, indicating that no restrictions on their incorporation were made. The IPCC process contains hundreds of authors and reviewers, with an exacting and transparent review process.

    "Debunking Misinformation About Stolen Climate Emails in the "Climategate" Manufactured Controversy"


    Facts? Facts? (none / 0) (#51)
    by Zorba on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:54:17 PM EST
    Yman, don't try to confuse ppj with actual "facts."  If he really looked at them and understood them, his head would explode.   ;-)

    Kiribati is Tarawa (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:52:49 AM EST
    where my grandfather died.

    today was the warmest day on record (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by CST on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 04:46:09 PM EST
    in Boston for March 8th since they started tracking in 1872.  68 and sunny.  WHAAAA??  That's practically beach weather.

    I'm not going to say anything about global warming making it warmer.  But it is bringing extreme weather, and this is extreme weather.  Last year we had 6 feet of snow by January.  That was also extreme weather.

    Not out of the woods yet though, the last time I remember having a winter even close to this mild we got hit with a nor'easter on April fools day.

    That last monster tornado was on the (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 06:36:48 PM EST
    ground for 95 miles.  The Tuscaloosa tornado last year was a 1 mile to 1.5 miles wide and was on the ground for an estimated 80 miles.

    I live on the eastern coast (none / 0) (#48)
    by Amiss on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 05:52:48 AM EST
    of South Ga. in dangerous territory (surrounded by Navy)in Jax and a mile from King's Bay...............waiting on one to collide with a nice little hurricane here.

    Piers Morgan cracks me up! (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 08:21:39 PM EST
    He has Santorum on and Ricky is talking about how evil Iran is.  Piers brings up that there weren't any WMDs and is Ricky maybe just "rattling the old war drum" again?  Luv it....More Piers talking American war please.

    God help us though, please don't let Ricky beat the saber in front of all of us tomorrow.

    Sorry if this has already been hashed (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by ZtoA on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:08:08 PM EST
    Have not had the time to keep up.

    I was very glad the President called Ms. Fluke to offer support after she was called a sl#t and pr#stitude. He mentioned his daughters in his reason for the call, which is admirable. I wonder if either of his daughters ran for a public office and was called "big f#cking wh#ores!" over and over again on a loud speaker to cheers at a fundraiser for her political opponent if THAT would merit him picking up a phone or commenting in any way. Maybe he is evolving on this 'issue'.

    My husband and I were talking this morning (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:59:45 AM EST
    about the current backlash against women.  I have wondered outloud this week why now?  What put us in the crosshairs?

    This is his theory based on his work environment and the fact that the military attracts so many Conservative personalities because it is a very rules based environment.  He has a more Conservative personality too and when we first started dating he claimed to be a Conservative but now he claims to be an Independent.

    My husband says that Conservatives often feel like everything is out of control inside them, they seek outer control of their surroundings and severe external rules to feel safe and calm.  Everything is really out of control though now, their party destroyed the economy, they have no candidate to run against Obama, they are running only on their animal jungle lizard brain instincts now and trying to suppress and dominate women makes them feel in control of something.

    So says Soldier Freud, or is that Soldier Jung?

    Our President and his administration's response to the upgraded War on Women has been very disappointing though.


    This sign, seen at a recent demonstration, (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by caseyOR on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:21:53 AM EST
    represents my current thoughts on the War Against Women quite nicely.

    Maybe all this cr@p will be a big wake-up call to all the women and men who thought there was no longer any need for feminism, that all the battles had already been won.

    Saw the photo over at Digby's.


    Pretty sure I said those exact words (none / 0) (#28)
    by nycstray on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:56:23 AM EST
    the other night at dinner.

    Seems to Me... (none / 0) (#30)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 09:22:32 AM EST
    ...like women aren't alone, the gay community is being targeted as well.

    I think it's because Obama's policies are too close to their own for them to really criticize.  The economy looks good, jobs aren't bad and in all likelihood with be good at election time, OBL is dead, and war on drugs is getting well funded.  The only place I see Obama being weak to the right is the deficit, but that's a no/no because of Iran.

    Social issues is all they got this year.  And dontcha know, women and gays are the reason us white males are so weak.  They are grasping at straws, I mean really, contraception being paid for by insurance, that's the issue the right is going to dig in and make it an actual issues ? And gay marriage, really ?


    Well except on my facebook (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 09:29:56 AM EST
    My recent attack by my liberal male friend was from a gay male liberal friend.

    Obama has at least got rid of DADT, we can't even get Rush off AFN after he says that women who use insurance paid for birth control are sluts and prostitutes and should video themselves having sex on put those videos online for his enjoyment because "he paid" for our birth control and that is how he wants paid back.


    An old reprobate like Rush has no (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:39:33 AM EST
    place on the taxpayer- supported AFN.  Other carriers are available for those in the military who may desire to be 'entertained" by Rush, but an oppressive, misogynistic polemicist broadcasting on AFN seems counterintuitive to the military's "zero tolerance" aspirations for sexual assaults.

    As the NYT points out (editorial, March 9, 2012), the rate of sexual assaults on American women serving in the military remains intolerably high. Secretary Panetta has announced reforms aimed at better addressing the problem.  As the editorial notes, the military has been "disturbingly clueless" as represented by a poster campaign that carries the tag line, "ask her when she's sober" as if predation could be combated through a parody of an etiquette poster.   Dropping Rush on AFN would be a welcome component of Panetta's reforms.


    Maybe I'm having a stupid moment, but (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:42:32 AM EST
    I still don't understand something.  Let's say an employer provides a health insurance plan that does not currently offer coverage for contraception.  The ACA says those plans now have to offer the coverage at no additional premium cost, and the contraception itself will be at no cost to the individual.  It's being treated the same as other kinds of preventive care - yearly physicals, screenings, etc.  

    How is the addition of contraception as a form of preventive care, at no additional premium charge, or the contraception itself at no cost, somehow a taxpayer expense?  How are the taxpayers footing that bill?  

    Is this some weird kind of logic that flows from the fact that it is the ACA - the government -  that is mandating this?  If that's why people keep repeating Rush's claim that the taxpayers are paying for women to have sex, why isn't anyone setting that record straight?  

    Unless I'm wrong about who's paying for all the free birth control - not to mention the free physicals, free colonoscopies, free well-child visits, free cholesteral and diabetes screenings, free mammograms, and so on.  

    I just don't see how I, as a taxpayer, am contributing to the cost of birth control for Mary Jones, who gets her coverage through her employer, and either pays some portion or all of the premiums herself through payroll deduction.  If I am wrong, I guess I am also contributing to the cost of everyone else's preventive screenings and exams, too, right?

    And I don't hear anyone screaming about that.  Only the stuff that involves our icky lady parts.

    Please, if you - or anyone else - can enlighten me, that would be most appreciated.


    Apparently Rush and friends (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 02:08:23 PM EST
    don't mind the costs for the other preventative measures or they would be bringing those up as well, it is only the sex that women will be having when they want it that upsets them.

    Jobs are what?? (none / 0) (#47)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:16:52 PM EST
    Well, I guess it is OK if you aren't one of the millions unemployed.....U3 still at 8.3%.

    President Obama's call of support (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:28:39 PM EST
    to Ms. Fluke was the right thing to do and I was proud of him in so doing.   However, I, for one, and probably the only one, felt it unnecessary and diminishing to include his daughters in this important message.  

    He was calling as the president, not a father--it was a message that was important to make whether the president had only sons or was childless.  As grotesque as it would be for Rush to demean the president's children (e.g. as he did with Chelsea Clinton), who likely would be covered by the public figure exception, Ms. Fluke is a private citizen belittled and defamed for taking part in the democratic process.

    While being the father was probably intended to connect and empathize, it gave the impression that when he thought of Ms. Fluke he  related it to his personal, rather than, presidential impulses.


    Oh hell yeah (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 02:10:14 PM EST
    He was calling as a President, if he had been calling as a father he would have called Rush instead.

    I guess the question is, was he calling (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 02:43:29 PM EST
    her as the president, or as Sasha's and Malia's father?

    And did Fluke need Obama-the-Dad or Obama-the-President?

    In my opinion, she needed the president - she already has a dad, has no doubt heard from lots of other dads who can relate, who support what she said and stands for; she needed the president to let her know that he stands four-square behind not just the right to choose, but behind the right of all people to make their own health care decisions - men and women - based on their own views and beliefs and not on those of an employer.

    Charlie Pierce helped me see this when he blogged about the president's presser the other day:

    There was one part of the president's press conference today that gave me a bit of the political whim-whams, and I think it's worthy of its own post. Late in the proceedings, he was asked by Jessica Yellin of CNN whether or not he agreed with "some Democrats" -- specifically, with Democratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- that the Republican party is engaged in a "war on women."

    In Charlie's view - and mine - he completely ducked the question, going on about how women are not single-issue voters and so on.  But, here's the part of his answer that just makes no sense to me:

    You know, Jessica, as you know, if I start being in the business of arbitrating... Right, and what I do is I practice it. And so I'm going to try to lead by example in this situation, as opposed to commenting on every single comment that's made by either politicians or pundits. I would be very busy. I would not have time to do my job. That's your job to comment on what's said by politicians and pundits.

    And Charlie says:

    Not a simple, mumbling word about the right to decent health-care, let alone the right to choose. Given a golden opportunity to say flatly that he and his administration were foursquare behind these rights, he gave the whole thing a pass. I'm sure he's got poll numbers that tell him not to say "abortion" in public but, damn, this was disappointing

    "Dad" calles Fluke to share her pain; "President" can't even stand up at a press conference and pick a side.  

    He keeps being given opportunities to pick a side (see decision re: Plan B), and he keeps avoiding it - or trying to common-ground it from his role as Dad; meanwhile, the health care decisions of millions of women twist in the wind.

    Yes, the decision to cover contraception was the right one, but the way he has handled the inevitable pushback has weakened that decision, shown him to be vulnerable to pressure, and it's only a matter of time, in my opinion, before he gives more over to the other side.

    It's unconscionable - which makes him one of the reasons we have to keep fighting this battle: he's not standing up for us when and where it counts.


    I watched that press conference (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 03:06:41 PM EST
    When you add this to what he allowed Larry Summers to do to women in the administration....Obama has a problem being the kind of brother that we women need in this day.

    During the facebook firestorm I thanked the guy in the medical field who showed up trying to sow peace for being a brother standing beside his sisters, not behind them pushing them into oncoming traffic simply because they got stuck with the ovaries and the womb in this situation.

    The war was over a long time ago for some of us.  I married a man, but he is my best friend too.  We planned our family out, we planned how we would accomplish our goals and in our plan I took the birth control.  Before we married though, I had a lot of sex with him that I guess Limbaugh calls "free" sex that only I'm responsible paying for?  It's almost as if my husband wasn't even there if I listen to Rush :)  And with all of this sex and other stuff we did together we became best friends, lovers, responsible parents, taxpayers, we became this really weird well rounded educated couple working together every day.

    My husband is not afraid of my being educated or even over educated (is there really such a thing?), and birth control has always been about US...it was about my husband's needs too even before he was my husband.  It's always okay with Rush and Santorum and every other Republican if young men have wild out of control sex all day every day....just not women damn it! And it feels like President Obama is ashamed of all of us women having all this free sex too.  He's not sure how he feels about it all.  If I were his wife, he'd be in so much trouble right now.....


    Like you, I was lucky enough to (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 03:23:32 PM EST
    find a man who respects my intelligence and autonomy and isn't threatened by it.  And like you, we made decisions in line not just with what might be best for one or the other of us at any given point, but also for what was best for our marriage and, eventually, our family; that bigger thing of "us" was always in the discussion.

    From what I can see, it appears that the Obamas are doing a great job of raising their children; they seem to be bright, responsible, respectful and well on their way to being accomplished young women who will make significant contributions to society.  

    And while I understand Obama's fear over his daughters becoming sexual beings, so fraught with danger as that is, I would seriously appreciate it if he would stop being afraid on our behalf, and develop enough trust in our ability to make the decisions that are best for us; all we need from him is true support for our autonomy, and I don't think we have that, not really.

    Will people make decisions that turn out badly?  Of course.  But it's not up to him to put barriers in place to prevent that for everyone else, based on his own fears.


    Not only are you not the only one (none / 0) (#44)
    by shoephone on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 03:17:29 PM EST
    but this post from Karen Garcia at Sardonicky sums it up really well, using Obama's recent history as a guide.

    And thanks for your impressions of it, Dan. I thought you summed it up quite well too.


    Geithner arrested? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:51:37 PM EST
    116 major bank resignations? What The Finance is this?

    Judge Napolitano testifies of Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve-insider Timothy Geither's arrest in this 4-minute corporate news show. American Kabuki list the daily-increasing bank resignations. David Wilcock and Benjamin Fulford explain and document history and deceit at the top of US and global finance, leading to current and imminent arrests.

    What does this mean?

    Not Holding My Breathe (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:59:27 PM EST
    It is Fox News.

    But Geithner in jail would bring a smile to my face.


    Me neither (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 04:07:57 PM EST
    Also, even if it's true according to Judge Napolitano he was apparently arrested then released.

    He must have friends in the white house, or somewhere higher...


    New Yorker (none / 0) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 04:02:36 PM EST
    Spoofs Romney's "Dog on top of Car" into "The Maddog on Top of Car" LINK

    Oops, I misread that... (none / 0) (#15)
    by EL seattle on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 06:59:35 PM EST
    I thought it said "The Maddow on Top of the Car".

    Miracles of modern technology: (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 05:02:25 PM EST
    my new Toshiba laptop does have a slot to insert memory card.  Who knew?

    I could use one of those (none / 0) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 05:16:47 PM EST
    or at a minimum an Albus Dumbledore pensieve to be used pro re nata

    Will you see Ralph Fiennes as (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 05:19:26 PM EST

    When it (none / 0) (#11)
    by CoralGables on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 06:01:52 PM EST
    appears on TBS if it doesn't interfere with baseball season. I presume he's no longer permitted to use the Avada Kedavra Curse in movies.

    Toshiba laptops suck (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 06:33:21 PM EST
    This friendly message was typed to from an unfriendly Toshiba laptop :)

    Toshiba laptops lead conflicted software lives.


    The price is right. (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:31:53 PM EST
    Yes, the price was right for mine (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:47:07 AM EST
    too.  And I'm having fewer problems lately due to some recent updates. There was a patchy time in there when I started getting a little frustrated. When I would looked online for solutions I saw that many Toshiba owners were having the same problems.  It's doing better now though.

    The price is right. (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 10:31:53 PM EST
    Bob Barker (none / 0) (#34)
    by CoralGables on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:39:46 AM EST
    and Drew Carey have Toshiba's?