Sunday News and Open Thread

New York changes focus in tackling the sex trade -- pimps and johns get arrested, hookers get a pass. Oh yeah, it's hard out here for a pimp (winner best original song, 2006 Academy Awards, Hustle and Flow.)

France elects a Socialist President, Francois Hollande. Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy is out.

Connecticut legalizes medical marijuana. The Senate passed the bill, the Governor says he'll sign it and it goes into effect Oct. 1. CT is now the 17th State to allow medical marijuana.

The transcripts from yesterday's hearing at Guantanamo for the 9/11 Defendants are up on the Military Commission's website. There are no individual urls to link to, but you can access and download each one. Go here, click on KSM et al (2) (active), then click on transcripts.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Great news from France (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by brodie on Sun May 06, 2012 at 07:59:13 PM EST
    although I feel badly for Sarko's charming wife Carla Bruni.  First time since 1995 that the major left party has won the presidency.

    And they held a fair, honest election that wasn't bought and paid for by the wealthy, where minor party candidates got equal media time in the first round, where the final two candidates went at it for three hours in debate, where the voters got the leisure of voting on the weekend, and where the whole election process lasted only a few months once the parties selected their leaders.

    Oh, and no Electoral College to muck things up.

    Meanwhile over here in the land of the free and of the Bill of Rights, we aren't even guaranteed a clear right to vote in the Constitution.

    Merkel and the rest of the austerians are (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Sun May 06, 2012 at 09:23:26 PM EST
    going nuts because of Hollande's win. I am reading lots of comments insisting that the mighty markets will bring Hollande to heel in sort order. He is powerless before the mighty markets.

    As for Greece. Well, good luck to them trying to form a functioning government. More violence in the streets seems almost inevitable. The people have been pushed beyond their limits, but the mighty markets will not submit to the mere people.

    I don't see how the euro as we currently know it survives.


    Although Merlkel is German. (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:21:17 PM EST
    I wrote austerians, not Austrians. (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by caseyOR on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:50:19 AM EST
    Austerians are those who, even in the face of evidence it is not working, insist that austerity must prevail. The people, the little people, must suffer to pay for the sins of the greedy b@st@rds who drove the world economy over a cliff.

    Merkel is one of the loudest voices demanding that the budgets of other Euro nations be cut and government programs, especially those that actually help people, be cut or eliminated.


    Got it. Sorry. (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:55:42 AM EST
    you're being a tad over the top (none / 0) (#7)
    by bocajeff on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:22:27 PM EST
    "we aren't even guaranteed a right to a fair election"...I know where you're heading but if you think that isn't guaranteed, or that France doesn't have it's own problems then you are naive...

    And you bring up the constitution and then denigrate the electoral college as "mucking things up". Huh? The muck is in the constitution.

    Again, I know what you are trying to say, but you aren't doing it well...


    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by sj on Sun May 06, 2012 at 11:23:07 PM EST
    if you know what brodie is trying to say, and I know what brodie is trying to say, then I expect s/he's not doing that bad in the communications department. :)

    But then I didn't read anything in the comment that says France doesn't have problems of its own -- only that they managed the election itself quite well.  


    I don't think the Con (none / 0) (#16)
    by brodie on Mon May 07, 2012 at 08:37:41 AM EST
    clearly guarantees us a right to vote in federal elections.  If you want to challenge that make your case with specifics.  Maybe you'll persuade me.

    As for France, they clearly do elections better than us, virtually from start to finish.  They do other things better too, but not everything and they have their own major problems.

    Such as the large mostly Muslim immigrant group, constituting a whopping 10% of the overall population, which suffers disproportionately from social and economic discrimination.  It's a ticking time bomb which needs to be carefully handled by the new French president; Sarkozy definitely failed in dealing with it.  Aggressively integrating young Muslims into a dynamic job market has to be the goal.


    The problem is that there is (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon May 07, 2012 at 08:46:32 AM EST
    no job market... dynamic or otherwise... Especially for works who under educated and also do not fit into the majority culture.

    Watch what happens there. It is coming to the US in the near future.


    Rhubarb! (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Zorba on Mon May 07, 2012 at 04:56:46 PM EST
    Our rhubarb is ready.  I picked some, and bought some strawberries from the farm stand.  I have the first strawberry-rhubarb pie of the season in the oven.  Plus some vanilla ice cream and whipped cream to go on it when it's done.  I may skip dinner and just eat pie.   ;-)
    The lettuce is up and ready for picking.  The potatoes are doing very well- can't wait for new potatoes.  The rest of our tomato plants are planted.  All the seeds but the squash are in.  (We always plant squash a bit later.  It comes up so fast, and by waiting, we seem to avoid the worst of the squash bug infestations.)
    I love my garden!

    I have noticed that it is during the (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by caseyOR on Mon May 07, 2012 at 06:33:06 PM EST
    gardening season, with its abundant delicious fruits and vegetables and the attendant preparing of such for human consumption, that I most yearn for the comforting environs of the Republic of Zorba.

    Right on schedule, I am calculating the cost of a cross-country car trip from Oregon to the RoZ.


    Our sour cherry tree (none / 0) (#37)
    by Zorba on Mon May 07, 2012 at 06:55:50 PM EST
    (the pie cherries, as well as for cherry jelly) is doing much better than I expected.  Last October's big snow storm knocked so many branches off of it, as well as many of our other trees, I was worried that it would not set fruit well this season, but there seem to be lots of little green cherries.  So we should do well for cherry pies and cherry jelly.
    Come on over, casey.  We have a guest bedroom.  And plenty of food.  Do you like venison?  I have a freezer-full.

    Cherry pie is my very favorite pie! (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by caseyOR on Mon May 07, 2012 at 07:02:51 PM EST
    And I love sour cherry jam. I've never had cherry jelly but can think of no reason I would not like that, also. When will the cherries be ready?

    About the venison. I have never eaten venison. What is it like? Please don't say to tastes like chicken :-) I rarely eat meat anymore because I do not trust our food safety system, but that would not be a consideration with venison.

    Did you hunt the deer yourself?


    Venison is more like beef (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Zorba on Mon May 07, 2012 at 07:38:25 PM EST
    But it's very, very lean.  Obviously, it has not been fattened, or fed hormones or anything.  No, we don't hunt any more, and haven't for a long time, but we have neighbors that we allow to hunt, and they supply us with a steady supply of venison, already frozen, packaged, and labelled.
    The sour cherries will probably be ready in June.  At least 3 or 4 weeks, at any rate.  They last longer on the tree than sweet cherries, too.  Our sweet cherries did not set fruit very well this year, unfortunately.  We should have a ton of apples, though, and the peach tree looks good.

    Essential Greenwald on the killing (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by ruffian on Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:58:34 AM EST
    of civilians in Afghanistan:

    At some point -- and more than a decade would certainly qualify -- the act of continuously killing innocent people, countless children, in the Muslim world most certainly does reflect upon, and even alters, the moral character of a country, especially its leaders. You can't just spend year after year piling up the corpses of children and credibly insist that it has no bearing on who you are. That's particularly true when, as is the case in Afghanistan, the cause of the war is so vague as to be virtually unknowable. It's woefully inadequate to reflexively dismiss every one of these incidents as the regrettable but meaningless by-product of our national prerogative.

    I can add little to that. I hate what we have become.

    Masterpiece Mysteries has season 2 of Sherlock (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Sun May 06, 2012 at 05:34:21 PM EST
    starting tonight on your local PBS channel. This is the updated-for-the-21st-century version of Sherlock Holmes, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson.

    Last season was fabulous. I have every reason to believe this season will be just as good. If you missed last season, well, it is never too late to start a good thing.

    Love it! Recording it now while I watch (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:43:44 PM EST
    Amazing Race finale and Mad Men.

    Two vivacious professional women (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 10:25:05 PM EST
    who. Had also been @ Disney Hall in LA for a really amazing concert by the L A Philharmonic, gavel me a ride. To train station as they were hurrying to catch there fave Sumday night TV.  

    I watch Sunday night TV all week long (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Mon May 07, 2012 at 07:04:05 AM EST
    thanks to Tivo!  Why do all those shows have to be on the same night?

    vivacious, professional, and well rounded!!! (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:37:23 AM EST
    They were also "tivoing.". (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon May 07, 2012 at 11:30:57 AM EST
    And mentioned "I, Claudius,".  Is it being shown again now?

    There is a new I Claudius DVD boxed set out (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Mon May 07, 2012 at 01:14:01 PM EST
    Amazing Race finale has some real drama (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Sun May 06, 2012 at 08:44:42 PM EST
     All the teams are still in it up to the end.

    To Jeralyn (none / 0) (#10)
    by clword123 on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:04:52 AM EST
    I found the site by chance and it's a rather refreshing blog, where I can get different perspectives on issues. Thank you.

    The wait is over (none / 0) (#14)
    by ruffian on Mon May 07, 2012 at 07:10:30 AM EST
    Hilary Mantel's 'Bring Up The Bodies', the sequel to 'Wolf Hall', comes out tomorrow!  I listened to 'Wolf Hall' on audiobook, but I will devour this one the old fashioned way.

    excellent news (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dr Molly on Mon May 07, 2012 at 07:27:41 AM EST
    New York changes focus in tackling the sex trade -- pimps and johns get arrested, hookers get a pass.

    The eminently sensible Scandinavian approach. Focusing on the actual exploiters rather than the exploited.

    Changing focus is better... (none / 0) (#18)
    by kdog on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:41:31 AM EST
    a change in the law would be best, so that only exploitation & abuse is illegal.

    Without a change to our old puritan laws, the next DA can change the focus back and start chaining and caging sex workers again....just like ruthless pimps.


    Of course I disagree. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Dr Molly on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:52:17 AM EST
    But we already know that.

    Yep... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:00:54 AM EST
    but we do agree that what that sick father/son pimpin' duo was doing should be a crime in every jurisdiction the world over.

    The Soccer Mom Madam, otoh, I don't think she is a criminal.  Shameful how the state is holding her in pre-trial detention with a ridiculous 2 million dollar bond.  Shameful and tyrannical.


    Of course I disagree. Again! (none / 0) (#21)
    by Dr Molly on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:11:04 AM EST
    You're a tough prohibitionist nut... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:25:42 AM EST
    to crack Doc;)

    Not really! (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Dr Molly on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:54:51 AM EST
    You just have to stop using black-and-white terms/thoughts like 'prohibitionist' 'puritanical' 'freedom' etc.!

    Black & White terms/thoughts... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Mon May 07, 2012 at 11:02:55 AM EST
    ya mean like legal/illegal? ;)

    You like the change in focus, I like the change in focus...it should be made permanent via law change so the next DA can't change the focus back.  Right now all the sex workers have for protection from exploitation from the law is a half-arse promise from an office known to lie and break promises.  We can do better than that.


    That is just (none / 0) (#27)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:01:31 PM EST

    Law Was Changed (none / 0) (#28)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 07, 2012 at 12:11:16 PM EST
    From the link in the original post:
    Under the old charges, pimps typically faced up to 15 years in prison for promoting prostitution with an adult. The newer sex trafficking charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. Also under the new law, the customers who pay adult prostitutes for sex face up to one year in jail, up from 90 days.

    I meant changing the law... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Mon May 07, 2012 at 01:22:46 PM EST
    to give sex workers the right to do with their bodies as they see fit. While maintaining laws against sex trafficking, exploitation, assault, failure to pay wages...ya know, real crime.

    Right now in all but Nevada outside Vegas, that is not the case.  And such laws ain't that far off from the GOP war on women "invasions of the uterus" we've been witnessing in a few states. Either you own your body or you don't.

    It's nice the NY ain't gonna prosecute sex workers anymore, or so they say...lets make it official by changing the law.


    How about changing a few laws (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by jondee on Mon May 07, 2012 at 01:57:03 PM EST
    so that these people - and lets be clear that we're talking about women and girls and men and boys - these people enter society with more PERCIEVED options -- so that the area of what they see fit is enlarged considerably..?

    Saying that most of these people "freely choose" to be sex workers is imo, about as useful an analysis as saying the trailer park folk freely choose to work at Walmart and Target..

    Right now Atlas isn't just shrugging; Ayn's favorite boy toy is squatting over all of us.



    OMG, what is happening lately... (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Dr Molly on Mon May 07, 2012 at 05:34:00 PM EST
    I so agree with all of jondee's comments.

    It's freaking me out


    I hear ya.... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Mon May 07, 2012 at 02:47:50 PM EST
    it would be nice if we could all work in non-degrading non-emotionally scarring or draining positions for a decent wage and benefits.  I'm all ears for that proposal my brother.

    Until then, I don't see what we're accomplishing except senselessly making people criminals, on top of all their other daily struggles.  In my world criminalization isn't a help, it's just another hindrance.


    People, (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jondee on Mon May 07, 2012 at 04:21:15 PM EST
    "the pursuit of happiness", and the evolution of the whole human potential of the whole human being prioritized over the nutbar money and power obsessions and commodity fetishes of the relative few..

    It ain't quantum mechanics..


    The idea... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:44:29 AM EST
    ain't rocket science, sure...the implementation and realization of that dream?  F*ck man it's been 5000 years or so and we ain't even close.

    And I'm confident making criminals of those making the best lemonade they can outta the lemons circumstances gave them gets us no closer.  


    the trouble is (none / 0) (#46)
    by jondee on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:32:41 PM EST
    the crusaders doing the criminalizing also think they're making lemonade..

    Grandstanding, pointing righteous fingers, moralizing, applying bandaids to gangrenous appendages..

    I need a drink..:)


    It seems for some (none / 0) (#44)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue May 08, 2012 at 02:01:01 PM EST
    hooking is a pretty viable option.
    How much money does a legal Nevada brothel prostitute make on average after the brothel takes its 50 percent.?
    The HBO show cathouse makes it sound like a cool thing to do over spring break or the summer to get a lot of cash in a short period of time. Me and my girlfriends were just wondering......Does anyone have firsthand knowledge? Please no "comments" only answer if you are answering the question
    Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

    A good prostitute can make over $5,000 on a weekend

    As Mae West said.. (none / 0) (#45)
    by jondee on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:28:10 PM EST
    "Goodness had nothin' to do with it"..

    Would anyone here feel good about their mother, sister or daughter being in that racket, regardless of how much they were making?

    Then the next question is, WHY wouldn't we be okay with it? Would it be just because of the traditional stigma?


    I wouldn't wish it... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Tue May 08, 2012 at 03:42:07 PM EST
    for my moms, sister, etc...but at the end of the day it is their body and their choice and I wouldn't love them any less.  don't see why a stigma is attached, except we are conditioned that way.

    I mean, under the best of legal and fully consensual circumstances, is it really that much different than a laborer renting his/her body out?

    Personally I'd rather wank than have emotionless sex.  Emotionless sex plus a couple hundred bucks for the rent? I'd consider it and probably do it.


    well.. (none / 0) (#48)
    by jondee on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:19:17 PM EST
    traditionally, the 'administrative' end of the sex trade hasn't exactly attracted the kind of poets and visionaries who place a premium on deep feeling..

    But then, at the end of the day, whether it's the management side in more 'respectable' businesses, or the management side in the sex trade, the gerneral truism still holds: there's no money in poetry, and no poetry in money..    


    Those are good questions. (none / 0) (#49)
    by Dr Molly on Wed May 09, 2012 at 06:36:21 AM EST
    And another excellent one for kdog and his friends is:  if it's such a good job and pays well and it's a fine choice for a good life, why don't you do it yourself? I mean, you need some extra money, right? Why not just hang out at rest stops, sell bjs, and change careers for a more lucrative one?

    If you admit an honest answer to yourself about why that's not a good choice for you, then the next honest question you need to ask yourself is 'then why am i pretending it's a good life for others'?


    Who said it was a good life? (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by kdog on Wed May 09, 2012 at 01:54:06 PM EST
    All I'm saying is it shouldn't be a damn crime.

    If someone is content doing it, more power to them.  

    If not, a criminal record is not gonna make it any easier to find a new line of work.


    This all started because (none / 0) (#52)
    by Dr Molly on Wed May 09, 2012 at 05:08:41 PM EST
    the law is changing to make it NOT a crime for the actual prostitutes but for the exploiters. You still objected because you think prostitution should be a legal and is a 'personal choice'.  

    It's exploitation. And legalization of it has been proven to increase trafficking of women and children.


    No it didn't.... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Thu May 10, 2012 at 05:30:32 AM EST
    NY prosecutors said they are choosing not to prosecute some sex workers...there has been no change to no law.  They can change their minds tomorrow, the prohibition is still on the books.  I never wanna see a sex worker arrested and prosecuted, the only way to insure that is to change the law.  There still would be plenty of criminal laws left on the books to arrest and prosecute exploiters for assault, abuse, stealing wages, enslavement, etc.

    Sh*t this poor lady just got out of a cage after being entrapped.  Criminal record, kids taken away...this is good?

    Seems to me your position is the only way to fight exploitation is to make criminals of the exploited, and have faith prosecutors will be kind and only prosecute the bad guys. I think that's crazy...just as crazy as the position that the only way to help drug addicts is to criminalize them.    


    Nope, that's not my position, (none / 0) (#54)
    by Dr Molly on Sun May 13, 2012 at 06:58:57 AM EST
    nor did I ever say that. In fact, I said clearly: criminalize the expoiters, not the exploited.

    Your position, though, is clear - do nothing and continue to let the exploited be exploited forever. Let everyone fight for themselves, let the weak and the poor fend for themselves, don't punish anyone for anything no matter how heinous, don't try to prevent heinous exploitations and victimizations with laws, etc etc (the essence of libertarianism BTW).

    And then call it 'liberty' and call anyone that objects to that overly simplistic characterization of 'liberty' puritanical or tyrannical.

    This is why libertarianism is such a childish concept IMO. Classic childish black and white thinking about very complicated issues.


    Ya know, I once thought (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed May 09, 2012 at 12:27:10 PM EST
    that whole "rest stop" thing was basically an urban myth type thing, but back in college I used a freeway rest stop on my way back to school after a holiday and a note was written above the urinal, with that day's date on it, about bj's and a "brown van at the end of the parking lot" and sure enough as I drove away there was a brown van parked all by itself at the end of the lot just like the note said...

    SITE VIOLATOR! (none / 0) (#42)
    by caseyOR on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:46:48 AM EST