Friday Morning Open Thread

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    The tax drama continues (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:54:49 AM EST
    the Obama campaign will settle for 5 years of returns.  Perhaps Romney's campaign strategy is to just wait it out (I personally am getting a bit fatigued) but while I'm sure interest will ebb after enough time it will never go away.

    As always, it's so gratifying (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:37:29 PM EST
    to watch Obama negotiate with himself. And lose.

    I thought it was a good move. (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by observed on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:50:38 PM EST
    Clearly Romney doesn't want to release ANY more returns. Asking for 5 years makes Obama look reasonable, while still keeping pressure on Romney.
    By the way, didn't Romney release some tax returns when he ran for governor of MA?

    Judging by past "negotiating" prowess (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 02:25:56 PM EST
    the Obama team has a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory where Republicans are concerned.

    Romney also refused to release his tax returns when running for MA governor, and this was after it came out that he had fudged on his residency status as a MA stater, having, in fact, declared residency in Utah for 1999-2001. He saved $54,000 in taxes as a result.

    Questions continued to pile on Romney over the next several months, but he stood firm in his denial to make his tax returns public. In a debate, he responded to a student's question about not releasing them with the same answer of "privacy." (He had attacked Sen. Ted Kennedy for giving the same reasoning during his 1994 U.S. Senate run.)

    And then he had the unmitigated gall to insist that Shannon O' Brien, his opponent, release her husband's tax returns. She had already released her own.

    Romney has been getting away with this nonsense for years. This slimy little hypocrite needs to be held to account. And Obama needs stand firm on this latest demand for five years and not give an inch more of ground.


    Sorry, link broke (none / 0) (#33)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 02:27:56 PM EST
    Well, Romney and his wife (none / 0) (#17)
    by observed on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:08:56 PM EST
    have both said they are afraid of how the information in their returns could be used against them. A couple more slip-ups like that, and the issue could become more damaging for Romney.

    Slip up (none / 0) (#19)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:38:24 PM EST
    Romney also said he would not tell give details on his strategies because they would be used against him as well.  That seemed to go under the radar as well.  

    Did he really (none / 0) (#24)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:25:51 PM EST
    He's such a weirdo.  He really should be doing much better but his suspicious/entitled personality is holding them back big-time.  Thankfully  Of course, Ryan isn't helping either.

    I know. (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:56:25 PM EST
    When he talks to everyone like they're "the help" it just reinforces that belief among many voters.

    Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 06:18:49 PM EST
    I'm used to politicians sounding out of touch but Romney is on a whole 'nother level.

    It's that time again.... (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:04:05 PM EST
    the annual McArab annual family reunion weekend starts tonight...Lebanese delicacies, Long Island sweet corn (best in the world!), binge drinking, pick-up games, family oral histories, lotta laughs & some tears with the extended clan of Lebanese Micks.

    Last year I was on antibiotics and had to spend the whole weekend on the torturous wagon...I'm back with a vengeance this year, ready to do damage.  Wish my liver luck...

    Super special added bonus this year...family outing to the Peconic Bay Winery on Sunday afternoon for a tribute to the late great Levon Helm by the Dirt Farmer Band.  Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams and more.  Woo-Hoo!  


    Curiosity (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by Cylinder on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 06:38:56 PM EST
    MSL's science team has selected Curiosity's first drive target - Glenelg - a feature 400 meters from the rover that serves as a boundary between at least three geologic areas.

    MSL will begin its mobility tests, first testing its ability to turn the four steering wheels over the next 2 days and then going for a very short drive early next week.

    After spending some time finishing systems test - including the Chemcam laser that should be tested over the weekend - Curiosity will begin the traverse to Glenelg in a couple of weeks.

    The MSL rover is expected to then traverse to the foothills of Mt. Sharp and begin its ascent by the end of the year.

    Thank you (none / 0) (#45)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:54:43 PM EST
    I appreciate your updates, as it reminds me in the midst of my distractions to take a moment and check it out :) I always find this 'stuff' fascinating!

    Thank you (none / 0) (#47)
    by Cylinder on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:36:55 PM EST
    Thanks for the feedback.

    If we have any of our cousins from the north posting here, JPL will be using Canadian place names for the first 100 names to use in this mission - mostly named after geologic features found in the Great White North.


    Well, we got ... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:39:11 PM EST
    ... Younger Daughter moved into her dorm today at University of Hawaii at Hilo, so we're now officially empty nesters. Her classes start on Monday, and she's really excited. This is going to be a great experience for her.

    We also met her roommate, a very nice young woman from Kona, over on the west side of the Big Island (about 150 miles and nearly three-hour drive from Hilo). I daresay dorm life doesn't seem to be all that much different from when I went to college, still that same feeling of anxiety mixed with anticipation.

    We're going to spend the weekend here in Hilo, before returning to Honolulu on Monday morning. We're in the mood to be mellow. Hilo is your classic old plantation town -- albeit nowadays without the plantations -- and the nice thing about small-town life here is that it compels one to downshift, which tends to lowers the blood pressure.

    Have a great weekend, everybody! Aloha.

    Not many genuine swing voters (none / 0) (#1)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:36:58 AM EST
    Despite the fact that 1/3 of voters call themselves independents, pollsters say the actual number of voters truly up for grabs is in the 3-5% range.

    It's not surprising (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:31:20 AM EST
    I tend to think of "swing voters" as a subcategory of "Independent". To me, an "independent" has no affiliation or loyalty to one party or the other, even though they may generally vote for one party. Basically, I think many people who consider themselves "independent" don't do things like vote stratight ticket as much as diehard Democrats or Republicans, especially down at the local level.

    I also think many Independents will actually listen with to what both sides say and make up their minds accordingly, as opposed to automatically dismissing what someone says because they are from the "wrong party".  Those voters may still end up voting for the side they are more comfortably aligned with, but are willing to concede when the other side makes a good point (especially as we all know that neither side is completely right every time they open their mouths, nor are they completely wrong every time they do so).

    And when most polls show the race being fairly close, then 3-5% is very significant.


    I also think (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:33:12 AM EST
    That many people prefer to call themselves "independent" because both sides act abominaly at times and have such idiots representing them, that they feel it's embarrassing to align themselves with either side.

    That's true in my case... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:51:37 AM EST
    Independent because I can't get down with a party that calls me criminal.  Pox on both.

    But not a swing voter...I made up my mind a long time ago...the best from column C, D or E.  But I must admit the stench of this Romney character has given me some pause...I think Romney/Ryan could well be a graver threat to the country than Bush/Cheney.  If my state wasn't a mortal lock for Obama, I'd certainly have to think longer and harder on it.  

    But since Romney would volunteer to pay a 40% fed income tax rate before ever winning the NY's electoral votes, I have the luxury of voting my conscience.


    Why do they act abominably? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:01:35 AM EST
     What is the point in a representative democracy to not stand by party?  Breaking up the party allegiance in the name of some kind of higher truth has resulted in this system we have of the vacuum being filled by the moneyed class buying the candidates so they can garner the "independent" voter.

    We have bastardized political parties and what their role is in a democracy.  I hate it, but at least the Tea Partiers get the power in a party.  


    And (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:07:28 AM EST
    What is the point in a representative democracy to not stand by party?

    I thought it was to stand by the people, not the party.


    People (none / 0) (#9)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:15:17 AM EST
    Ahh, the people are the party.  A set of people united by common interests.  People are not individual atoms floating in space.  They have to have a unifying political identity.  "People" means nothing, without political identity.  If you don't have power through numbers you get smashed the way we got smashed.  

    Blame (2.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:18:33 AM EST
    I blame the Independents for wanting to be just the "People" that are above the dirty work of politics.  That they are somehow not to be blamed.  Of course I blame them, each and every time you look a the elections Democrats have sold their brand to garner the manic Independent voter who sits back and then can claim political virtue and a high moral ground.  

    Duh, politics is, was and will be dirty.  


    I blame those who blame the voter (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by sj on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:10:20 PM EST
    If either party wants voters to line up behind them then stand for something.  Don't blame the voters because Party leaders took the low road.  

    Hear, Hear.... (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:40:00 PM EST
    I'm certainly not dead-set opposed to supporting a political party...show me one that has a basic respect for inalienable rights, supports equality under the law, and I'm all ears with an open mind.  

    I'm not asking for perfection, the basics would suffice.


    Yeah, great (none / 0) (#27)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:48:38 PM EST
    Allegedly we all believe that.  The point is that politics is practical.  We can't even do the basics because we are all chasing fantasies.  

    Key word "allegedly" (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 02:03:55 PM EST
    I'd say the allegations have been proven false.  It is clear the Democratic Party & the Republican Party do not believe in inalienable rights or equality under the law, just look at the law books.

    What group...be it a political party, a social club, the government, the nation...can exist for any amount of time or accomplish anything, by kicking it's members in the junk?  We're just supposed to accept it, vote for them & send them checks, because it is practical?  


    Maybe it is a chicke -or-egg thing (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by christinep on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 03:57:27 PM EST
    While you make a good point about the tendency to blame the voter, looking at where responsibility should lie in a democratic form of government does seem to call for an analysis beyond victim or perpetrator notions.  

    I have felt both ways over the years.  Where I seem to have come down stems from a strong belief that we really are "all in this together.". Ultimately.  For me, I'll campaign/fight/persuade for my candidate(s) & party...if unsuccessful, I genuinely feel that at least an iota of responsibility rests with me, & that we should try harder next time. Why take responsibility for other's voting mistakes (btw, the view would be much harsher than "mistakes")?  Because, systemically, the country probably works better without having a conspiracy theory or feelings of alienation about my rightwing neighbor...a neighbor, btw, who is a complete noodle head with opinions to match; but, who is a citizen with a voting interest.

    I really don't know, sj...except to consider again how very different in attitude & position my own extended family has been.  There is a lot to be said for taking a measure of responsibility for where you/we live...no matter how attenuated.  


    sj (none / 0) (#26)
    by Stellaaa on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:46:52 PM EST
    Pray tell, what will the politicians stand for when the electorate is  broken up into factions and individuals?  Face it, it's not working.  

    This is one (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:58:53 PM EST
    of the reasons I find Obama so disastrous for the party. He gave everybody no issues to really around and issues are what unite people into a party.

    Of course this fall we have the guy who "people project their hopes and dreams onto" against Mr. "Etch a Sketch" himself. So there are probably a lot of people who feel this way.


    What, pray tell, (none / 0) (#34)
    by sj on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 03:01:00 PM EST
    do they stand for now?  There are two aspects: long-term goals and the here-and-now.  I sublimated long-term goals for here-and-now for years.  And long-term goals/targets got further and further away.  I say this as a long time party operative, not just a voter.  

    We agree on this:  It's not working.  

    I'm doing my part to not contribute to the problem.  I'm no longer voting against my own interests.


    The myth of the "independent" (none / 0) (#36)
    by christinep on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 03:31:02 PM EST
    In addition to the well-publicized findings that Independents do tend to favor one side or the other overall, earlier political science studies suggest that Independents typically are less informed about the state of current affairs than those who choose party alignment.  The uninformed voter, of course, is more susceptible to the pull of changing fads & emotional ploys of the market.  

    The myth of the (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 03:48:57 PM EST
    "political science studies" paints a broad brush and pulls out the oh so helpful "uniformed voter" card. How far behind can the "low information voter" card be . . .

    IIRC, you were for  HRC in the primaries, so you should be very aware of that broad brush of the "uninformed voter",  and how, ahem, accurate it can be, according to "political science studies" ;)


    Sorry to not have the studies at hand (none / 0) (#39)
    by christinep on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:08:35 PM EST
    ...and, certainly, I'm not using code about any findings about Independents.  There is a lot of info out there--even this go-round about "information" and the voter.  'Guess I take the repeated findings for granted (along with living with a husband who wrote his dissertation about so-called "maverick voting" behavior years ago.). To me, I now lazily accept the repeated findings, without attribution.

    I submit (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by sj on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:40:22 PM EST
    that a study conducted years ago may have limited application today.  Maybe be a little less "lazy" and review the parameters.  See also "newly Independent voter".

    Actually (none / 0) (#41)
    by christinep on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 06:16:06 PM EST
    I recall that Pew Research may have some newer findings as well this season about information & the voter, in general.  Recognize that neither I nor any study says "all" independent voters.

    I'd like to see some stats (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:13:08 PM EST
    on who they polled/what they asked/whatever before I made any judgements and painted with that brush these days. Especially since you are walking back on it with we aren't talking' "all".

    If I had to pick a group(s) of under-informed voters, it would be the ones on both sides that just spout the talking points. They are quite vocal and (imo) come off as the most uninformed. Seems 'Indie with leaning' these days might be closer to "I'm most like a insert party here, but not totally comfortable with what they are doing".


    Not walking back anything (none / 0) (#48)
    by christinep on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:34:24 PM EST
    From the outset, the frame has been for "typical."

    We have (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:06:41 AM EST
    Actually shoved out and marginalized the politicians in the middle - they are getting thrown out of office and not winning.  I know that's a bad thing around here - more moderate Democrats in Congress, but when you throw them out, you know who else goes?  Moderate Republicans.  What are you left with?  The crazies who won't even sit down and negotiate.  

    It also shows how wholly uncivil it's become.


    Whose "we" (none / 0) (#14)
    by me only on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:39:47 AM EST
    last time I checked I was elected to my state's government.

    You're an elected official? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by sj on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:08:14 PM EST
    I've read most of your comments.  Can we call you "Exhibit A"?

    wasn't (none / 0) (#31)
    by me only on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 02:14:41 PM EST
    And who are the ones who are ... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 03:02:36 PM EST
    ... defeating moderate Democrats? For the most part, they're not falling in party primaries to militant leftists, but rather in the general election to crazy GOP wingbaggers.

    Harry Truman offers you the reason why: "If a voter has a choice between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, he'll vote for the Republican every time."

    This is simply my own observation, based upon my own experience in politics, but while political independents (see Lieberman, Joe and Harman, Jane) sure like to call attention to themselves by pointing out to anyone who's willing to listen how independent they are, as a general rule they tend not to get a lot accomplished or offer very much in terms of practical solutions.

    Rather, they comprise the "Me, too!" faction of American politics, with their moistened fingers forever held up in the air to gauge the prevailing political gusts.



    A jury in US District Court awarded (none / 0) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:17:19 AM EST
    Chris Armstrong, former U of Michigan student governmentand  president, $4.5 million in a defamation/emotional distress suit against former Michigan Assistant Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell.  

    The handsome, gay student leader claimed that he was stalked and harassed by Shirvell on his anti-gay blog "Chris Armstrong Watch", Facebook posts, depictions of a Swastika superimposed on a rainbow flag,  visits to the Ann Arbor campus, including showing up at his home at l:30 am

    Shirvell was upset with the student government's advocacy for gender-neutral housing, but, at trial, Shirvell did admit that he did not act similarly to other student organization leaders who also supported the move.

    After initially being backed up by the Michigan Attorney General, Shirvell was fired as Assistant AG after an internal investigation showed he "repeadtedly violated office policy, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources."  

    Christ Armstrong indicated before trial that he would drop the suit if Shirvell would just apologize.  Shirvell had filed suit against Armstrong for emotional distress, but that case was dismissed in April.  Shiirvell says he plans to appeal.  He will be working for Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based Christian legal group.  If he has talents along these lines, there may be a bakery somewhere  that could use his talents.

    Davey Crockett (from today's Writer's (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:22:33 AM EST

    Today is the birthday of American soldier, politician, and folk hero David -- better known as "Davy" -- Crockett, born in Greene County, Tennessee (1786). He was first elected to the state legislature of Tennessee in 1821, and the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827, where he served three nonconsecutive terms in all. He was defeated in 1835 by a peg-legged lawyer named Andrew Huntsman, and gave up politics, saying, "Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me, you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas." He left the next day, and he was killed at the Battle of the Alamo the following year.

    Although he was a skilled hunter and marksman, and had a reputation for telling tall tales, much of his rustic frontier image was a product of political spin. On his way to Congress, he reportedly bragged to a crowd, "I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust [tree]." His legend was cemented by the Davy Crockett Almanack, a series of humorous books published from 1835 to 1856.

     {Italics added.]

    King of the wild frontier. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by caseyOR on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:37:45 AM EST
    Good old Davey Crockett. Sadly, much of what i think I know about Davey I got from watching the TV show. So, of course, my image of Davey bears a remarkable resemblance to a young Fess Parker. :-)

    I don't remember Crockett's Congressional (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:14:41 PM EST
    career being mentioned in the TV series.  But then again, we didn't have a TV!

    Ah, yes (none / 0) (#13)
    by me only on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:38:57 AM EST
    Not yours to give.

    Hey me only... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by fishcamp on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 11:46:37 PM EST
    who are you and what are you talking about?

    Egypt documentary by my mother (none / 0) (#20)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:48:32 PM EST
    Very good film (none / 0) (#51)
    by fishcamp on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:18:17 AM EST
    Dadler.  I am truly glad I live in America.

    Thanks, fish (none / 0) (#52)
    by Dadler on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 05:12:49 PM EST
    Pass it on.  Peace.