Wednesday Open Thread

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

BTD Go Gators! I actually think Florida is a great bet but I'm staying way, took under 48.

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    A real donnybrook between Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:53:17 PM EST
    is happening on the issue of Sandy Aid funding.


    "There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner," he said. "This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch."
    The decision drew bipartisan outrage from New York and New Jersey lawmakers. When it became clear there would be no vote Tuesday night, Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) was seen heatedly confronting Boehner about the issue. A furious Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday said residents of the states should not donate to House Republicans. "I'm saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds," he said. link

    Could this not the fiscal cliff debacle cost Boehner his leadership?

    "Until it happens to me and mine.. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:09:49 PM EST
    screw you."

    Republican citizenship and civics 101. With freedom, and scorched-earth Libertarianism for all..

    And all of them: Boehner, LoBiondo, King, and Christie would have to have the entire families gunned down by a semi-auto weilding Norquist before any of them would publicly stand up to either Norquist or the NRA.


    Finally getting around... (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:27:44 PM EST
    to reading "Sex at Dawn"...which mainly examines the anything but monogamous sexual practices of our hunter-gatherer homo sapien ancestors, but also their small scale societies and how they lived in general.  Interesting sh*t, lemme tell ya.  

    If the authors are correct, the "law of jungle" is no law at all...it's a bullsh*t law we made up to justify our endless greed and cruelty towards our fellow homo sapiens after we started farming, and by extension, hoarding.  Blame it on human nature, perhaps, but you must specify human nature post agriculture in societies over approx. 150 people.

    Now I really wanna live like an Apeman, specifically like the Bonobo;)


    Dude, you are the walrus. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:15:40 PM EST
    called "Sex at Dusk," which I imagine is a buzz-kill so I don't expect to hear your review of it!

    Here's a review of "Sex at Dusk" (none / 0) (#21)
    by Slayersrezo on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:19:25 PM EST
    Sex at Dusk review

    While I had vaguely heard of the "Sex at Dusk" book before, prior to learning of it the only ones who seemed mad at "Sex at Dawn" were primatologists - who feel it gets its facts wrong about Bonobo sexuality.


    What I would like to see, (none / 0) (#23)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:44:21 PM EST
    before anyone says that any species is "promiscuous" or not, are the DNA studies that prove that females of a particular species are only (or primarily) having offspring with a particular mate.  
    I don't believe that Lynn Saxon, any more than Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, have any DNA evidence whatsoever as to the promiscuity, or lack thereof, of the bonobos.
    There have been some genetic studies of this in birds (Link.) (Link.)
    I await comparable DNA studies on bonobos, or other primates, for that matter, before I decide that primatologists know what the he!! they are talking about.    ;-)

    There are genetic studies of that in humans (none / 0) (#54)
    by Slayersrezo on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:29:33 PM EST
    As well as studies that deal with such things as analyzing incidence of paternity fraud based on DNA analysis traced through surnames.

    Research on paternity

    Most studies would put "paternity fraud" at less than 10 percent but more than 1 percent, though the various studies do show quite a variation. I suppose some of it can be due to culture (yes, I believe you can encourage or discourage this behavior)and some due to the technological or other constraints of the various studies. What I think is obvious is that the vast majority of infants belong genetically to the men they are assigned to legally; draw you own conclusions about promiscuity from that.


    Check out Sara Blaffer Hrdy's (none / 0) (#43)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:50:41 PM EST
    The Woman that Never Evolved, which expands on her earlier primate work, described in The Langurs of Abu: Female and Male Strategies of Reproduction.

    Sometimes Atrios is quite pithy (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:24:44 PM EST
    It's a bit amusing watching Peter King and Christie freak out because the a**oles in their asshole club are acting like a**oles. And it's too much to ask for them to generalize their current situation - sometimes people are down and need help, even without a hurricane.

    I like his last point especailly.... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:26:36 PM EST
    the economy has ravaged many communities...I don't see them demanding help for anyone else.

    Can't find anything to disagree with (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:38:08 PM EST
    in that statement. In fact, it is to be applauded.

    And of course, we all know ... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:46:44 PM EST
    ... how much empathy and concern Peter King has heretofore shown toward people in need. It only follows that he would bend Speaker Boehner's ear and criticize him regarding the prospect of federal aid for his own embattled Long Island district, after his constituents got royally pummeled by Hurricane Sandy.

    I think it's especially ironic that Congressman King has suddenly experienced a "Come to Jesus" moment on the subject of federal aid in the wake of natural disasters, given that he was one of only eleven members of Congress who opposed the $51.8 billion federal relief package for Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina as too costly, and further described his 2005 "nay" vote on that legislation as both "a good vote" and "a principled vote."

    Anyone who insists that King isn't being simultaneously disingenuous and hypocritical on this issue, seriously needs to have his or her head examined for a probable rock infestation. And sad to say, Nassau and Suffolk County voters are now reaping a long-overdue and bitter harvest, thanks to their demonstrable willingness to repeatedly re-elect this ten-gallon a$$hat to Congress.



    "Anyone who insists that King isn't being ... (5.00 / 4) (#28)
    by unitron on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:07:18 PM EST
    ...simultaneously disingenuous and hypocritical on this issue..."

    So you're saying he's being a Republican?


    Speaking as a Democratic official, ... (none / 0) (#45)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:14:33 PM EST
    ... I'll note that just because you can talk game don't mean that you got game. (Please see Schumer, Sen. Charles and Baucus, Sen. Max.)

    Our party has certainly had its share of elected officials who, come game time, have proved to us repeatedly that they can be counted on to shoot nothing but bricks. (Please see Durbin, Sen. Dick and Booker, Mayor Corey.)

    And further, there are some Democrats who've actually found some pretty creative ways to call attention to themselves as ethical embarrassments to the name brand. (Please see Blagojevich, former Gov. Rod; Jefferson, former Congressman William and McGreevey, former Gov. Jim.)

    Now, having duly acknowledged my own party's shortcomings, why, yes, as a matter of fact I am saying exactly that. What is a typical Republican nowadays, if not simultaneously disingenuous and hypocritical?

    I'll credit the occupants of GOP clown car for one thing, though -- they sure have chutzpah to spare. And if they even believe half the bull$H!+ they've said publicly over the last two years, they're also friggin' sociopathic.



    Speaking as a clothespin Democrat... (none / 0) (#70)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:15:26 PM EST
    ...i.e., one who holds his nose as much as necessary to vote anti-Republican, I'm painfully aware of the lack of perfection in the only viable alternative to the GOP, but nowadays being a Republican means a voluntary suspension of sanity.

    At least with the Democrats, crazy is an occasional occurrence, not an aspiration.


    With Boehner's new-found braggadocio (none / 0) (#7)
    by christinep on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:41:45 PM EST
    About his big comment to Senator Reid in a WH waiting area outside the Oval Office, it seems he opts to play Macho Speaker Boehner to appeal to the House Repub Boys.  Maybe arm-wrestling will be the next ploy, since his old prp tears don't work with the likes of those itching to beat up on the WH.

    My, my...the fiasco about funding Hurricane Sandy relief has also added a complicating aspect to the Repubs-in-disarray.  And, the only have two short months to get their final strategy together for the upcoming sequester/debt limit imbroglio.  With exposed differing approaches within that bunch, how far do they go--e.g.--in the open assault on life & work benefits (Social Security & Medicare), and how do they prevent themselves from the obvious tone-deaf overreach?  In peering toward that set of negotiations, the make-up of the players (and how to play them) may be key.


    Which (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:02:36 PM EST
    is why, much to the dismay of many here, I repeat my point from the start of the cliff negotiations. The key for the Dems going forward is, "watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together".

    Stick together on what? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:08:37 PM EST
    That is the question.

    Stick together (none / 0) (#40)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:23:15 PM EST
    on gutting S.S. & Medicare, of course

    They're not going to gut ... (3.50 / 2) (#51)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:37:18 PM EST
    ... Social Security and Medicare, particularly when so many people are paying attention. To do so would be to commit political seppuku, plain and simple.

    I'm going to say it again -- we need to make our voices be heard on this issue by calling and writing our congresscritters and letting them know directly and exactly what we think. It doesn't do any good for us to preach to the choir here at TL, if we don't follow up personally with our representatives in Congress.

    Speaking as someone who's been in the biz for nearly 25 years and started literally at the grass roots level, I can assure you that the folks on Capitol Hill, in your respective statehouses and in your city halls do indeed pay attention to constituent feedback, particularly when it approaches critical mass.

    If more of us rank-and-filers who nominally subscribe to progressive Democratic Party principles would actually commit to being players rather than just talkers, I think a lot of us would be very pleasantly surprised at what could ultimately be accomplished with some well-coordinated mass action.

    I didn't get to where I am in local politics by simply sitting on my hands and being a nice guy, wishing and hoping that those in office would somehow see it my way telepathically and do the right thing.

    Instead, a good number of us are where we are in Hawaii Democratic politics because we put our money where our mouths were. We became organized, we became vocal, and we became active and sometimes even obnoxious enough that the powers-that-be couldn't ignore us.

    And once they could no longer ignore us, they could no longer be comfortable in thinking that blowing us off would necessarily come without an accompanying political price, to be exacted later at a place and time of our own choosing. Democracy, after all, only works optimally when it's a full-contact and participatory -- rather than merely a spectator -- sport.

    And today, the southeast coastline of Oahu is forever preserved as a state park, rather than subject to resort and condominium development as it would've been othwerwise, because some 25 years ago, a relative handful of us took it upon ourselves to learn very quickly not just how the game is actually played, but how to play it better than our opponents could and did.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
    - Margaret Mead (1901-1978), anthropologist and humanitarian



    I've already contacted my representative (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:20:07 PM EST
    and both of my senators, twice each in the past three weeks.

    If they're not going to do any cutting to SS or Medicare -- because doing so would be committing political seppuku -- then why do we even need to keep after them about it?

    It has already been said by the president, on a number of different occasions, that he plans to "reform" SS and Medicare. Pelosi said last week that using Chained CPI as a calculator would "strengthen" Social Security. Hoyer said last week that it must be done.

    Oh, the denial. It just gets curiouser and curiouser.


    As Benjamin Franklin observed, ... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:18:50 AM EST
    ... the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We just need to continue letting those elected officials know that we're paying attention.

    And also, thank you for calling your senators and representative. It can and does make a difference, if we can achieve that critical mass. A good politician will always seek to count the votes and gauge support and opposition before committing him- or herself. The more calls the Democratic congresspeople get, the more likely they'll be to stand their ground, knowing that we have their backs -- to either prop them up or hustle them out the door, as needed.



    And really, Donald (5.00 / 5) (#53)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:28:14 PM EST
    Please stop assuming that commenters here are only good for talk but not action. A number of us have worked out butts off on campaigns, others have moderated candidate debates, traveled around our states as part of speakers bureaus, worked as poll watchers on election day, and so much more. It's getting really tiresome to get flak from you because we don't all want to be party officials -- party "insiders" -- like you. I respect your commitment. Why can't you respect others for the hard political work they have done over a period of many years?

    What else is "The Grand Bargain" (5.00 / 6) (#56)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:12:34 AM EST
    if not gutting Social Security & Medicare (and Medicaid, of course)

    We got to nick rich people (and, yes, they're "rich." Less than 1.5% of all Americans earn over $450,000. Only 2.67% make more than $200,000."

    So that's what Obama got from "Them."

    And, from us? No, it hasn't happened yet. But, why are we even debating this?

    Obama has been broadcasting his desire to "strengthen"  S.S. & Medicare since his first election. And, when he offered his Grand Bargain to Boehner a couple of years ago and those fools rejected it, even many die-hard Republicans threw in the towel, criticizing their Leadership for letting the greatest destruction of, previously untouchable "entitlements," slip through their fingers.

    Our President wants to Gut it, The Republicans want to destroy it, and the Democratic Congressional members (The millionairess, Pelosi, especially)  will round up the  victory votes in a snap.

    Like always, Obama begins his "negotiating" by offering more concessions than the Republicans ever dreamed of.  And the foolish public applauds him for showing his bi-partisanship.  If the public had even a hint of a clue as to what the Grand Bargain contained, he might have lost all 50 States, including Massachusetts & Vermont.

    So, what are we debating? Certainly, not "if"  Social Security is going to be damaged, simply "how bad" will the damage be?


    I'm not assuming anything. (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:05:05 AM EST
    I simply responded to what I felt to be an unwarranted and cynical assumption about Democrats uniting to shred Social Security and Medicare. It's been my experience over the years that the most politically cynical amongst us also tend to be non-commital and the least politically active.

    And again, it's also been my experience that overt and repeated cynicism, coming as it is from people who would otherwise insist that they're on my side, actually does more to erode and deflate moral among Democrats and progressives than anything the Republicans might say or do. My initial reaction is to challenge the cynics personally to get involved, if they think they can do better.

    While there are myriad reasons why someone might become cynical while working in the political system, there are far too many others out there who just like to complain, who aren't interested in participating in the active search for solutions, and who are perfectly content to either let others do the heavy lifting or shove sticks into the wheel spokes of process, all the while reserving for themselves the right to criticize whatever results are achieved, if there are any to be had.

    (GOP Tea Partiers come immediately to mind, but we also have more than a few of those on our side as well.)

    I'm really glad you have worked your butt off in past campaigns, etc. I love to hear that, and wish others would similarly share their personal experiences, like I try to do, so that we might inspire one another to make a difference. Given what lies ahead, especially if we can't somehow overturn Citizens United, you may well be called upon to do it again.

    As a party official, I very much appreciate people like you who volunteer for poll watching, neighborhood canvassing, phone banking, sign waving, etc., because I'm often the guy who organizes those activities at the district / precinct level. I love people to be involved in the process, because I believe that numbers and commitment are the only real leverage that average citizens have to counter the politics of Big Money. And as you've probably guessed, I'm absolutely passionate about encouraging and maximizing citizen participation.

    Not everyone wants to be or can afford to be so involved that they become party officials (it's an unpaid position at my level), and it's not so easily a matter of wanting to be an "insider" even if you do seek such a dubious and often self-proclaimed status.

    Real, sustained party building is often painstaking, tedious and time consuming, and other than the satisfaction of a job well done, the personal rewards are going to be few and far between. Political organizations and parties will always run into trouble when there are too many courtiers hanging around, and not enough warriors to be found.

    From my perspective, people who do aspire to be "political insiders" are generally not interested in doing the nuts-and-bolts grunt work that's associated with every successful campaign and candidate. Such schmoozers, gladhanders, brown-nosers and camp followers are a dime a dozen, and honestly, I've little practical use for them.

    When I talk to community groups and individuals in my official capacity, I simply ask that if people truly care about what's happening in their community, state and country, that they make a personal commitment to do what they can to be part of the process and make themselves relevant to the debate.

    (However, I also caution them that whatever they do should also be within reason. If you have pressing family obligations, common sense dictates that you shouldn't allow your political interests and activities to supercede them. Politics makes for a very poor emotional crutch.)

    Being a political player doesn't necessarily mean that you aspire to be an "insider" and hobnob with high-ranking public officials at party social functions, which are actually quite boring for the most part, given that the attendees are often what I call "the usual suspects," i.e., the same people you most always see at such events.

    Rather, it simply means that you care about your community and country and that you value and stand by your personal principles, and that you are willing to act on your concerns politically, either alone or in concert with others like-minded, when you feel that action is so warranted.



    Donald, for a few years now, it has (5.00 / 6) (#60)
    by Anne on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:36:21 AM EST
    begun to seem to many of us that political activism - at least at the national level - is a way of keeping us busy while our representatives cater to the interests and needs of the big-money donors - because they sure don't seem to be listening to what we're saying in all those phone calls and e-mails and faxes.

    And why should they listen, when they know that when election time rolls around, we can be counted on to vote for them no matter how thoroughly they have ignored us, because we dare not risk electing the more evil candidate on the other side?  

    Now, with respect to the safety net/social insurance programs, the term "gut" is probably not the best word to describe what's being talked about, since "gut" is an action that is swift, sudden and instantly deadly.  No, what's afoot with the safety net isn't the equivalent of opening the car hood and removing the engine, it's more like pounding nails into all four tires and waiting for the air to slowly leak out until the car isn't driveable.  The ideas being discussed will not instantly kill these programs, but they will weaken them and be harmful to those who depend on them.

    Really, Donald, while we all respect your role in local politics, most of those commenting here are informed and intelligent enough to be able to assess and analyze and identify what's going on nationally - it's sadly amusing that we keep being right, and you keep telling us that we need the Donald-issued Passport of Involvement before we can claim credibility.


    No our government is not going to (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:20:02 AM EST
    "gut" the social insurance programs this year. They going to implement Newt Gingrich's plan for them to

    "wither on the vine because we think people are voluntarily going to leave it -- voluntarily."

    Each step* being purposed is intended to make these programs provide less value for the money and make them less desirable so that they lose the strong support of the American people. Once the value has been sufficiently reduced - "people are voluntarily going to leave it -- voluntarily."

    *increased means testing, raising eligibility ages, chained CPI, increased premiums and forced out of pocket expense rather than GAP coverage


    In my view, an example (none / 0) (#65)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:47:19 AM EST
    of step-wise Medicare popularity diminishment that is newly  in place (and, a nuanced reason for, and aggressive opposition by the rich to ACA) is that part of ACA that introduces, as of Jan l, 2013, a new Medicare unearned income tax.  To those who qualify, a 3.8% tax is owed on the lesser of net investment income or the amount by which their AGI exceeds the $200,000/$250,000 threshold.

     It is not that I worry that we will need to have a tag day for those so affected, but it seems to be among steps to make Medicare more costly, and, hence, more unpopular among a politically powerful cohort.


    I'm the NYShooter, (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:38:08 AM EST
    and I approved this "refinement."

    Cynics (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by shoephone on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:51:55 PM EST
    In my experience, the most cynical people are the people who were once the most committed to a cause, a party, a candidate, or an idea. And then got burned, repeatedly. So, I totally identify with those people.

    I no longer care for party politics because it is, in my view, a sham. Others can do what they like, and pursue their goals however they see fit. For me, it's all about policies, and I'll continue to work for good policies. But the party leaders? Well, in the case of Washington State, the Democratic party leader is an egocentric a$$hole of major proportions. I can't stand to talk to him, listen to him, or look at him. And the politicians? They're liars, cowards, and cheats. They've lost me. And that's their fault, not mine.


    I'm with you Donald (none / 0) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:52:31 AM EST
    I don't think they have a hope in hell of chaining anything to the CPI either.  We have already been contacted by the Military Officers Association and Warrant Officers Association and everyone is teaming with the AARP crowd, we are ready for a fight.  Will they break the unity by giving the military a CPI pass?  That just sounds like elder abuse then.  And, tax brackets will follow inflation so I don't see how any Republican is going to push the CPI thing since the individuals that will be damaged and who they are then saying are not good enough for the inflation based measure are often their base.

    I sincerely hope (none / 0) (#69)
    by sj on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:59:12 AM EST
    that you and Donald are right.  But I'm not hopeful.  I think that the attempt will at least be made.  

    And if the attempt has been made once, it makes it easier to keep the idea alive and even normalize it.

    Just an FYI, though: the GOP base has been voting against their own interest for years now.  I wouldn't count on that.


    Many Democrats (none / 0) (#73)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:00:34 PM EST
    Have voted against their own interests for years now too - supporting higher taxes, much stricter environmental legislation over union jobs, looser sentencing statutes and guidelines for criminals, etc.

    Everyone does it.


    Well I agree with your statement (none / 0) (#74)
    by sj on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:07:42 PM EST
    Your examples so much.  But definitely agree with the statement.

    PS Welcome back


    Its a huge misstep by the Tea Party types (none / 0) (#8)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:57:03 PM EST
    I realize grandstanding and screwing over New Orleans was popular among the base but Sandy hit an area that's well to be blunt, whiter and the GOP base has friends and relatives who are probably among those who would get help.

    Are the (none / 0) (#41)
    by NYShooter on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:26:06 PM EST
    "..friends and relatives..." millionaires?

    No? then they're black.



    The bill should anyone be interested (none / 0) (#9)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:58:23 PM EST
    is here

    Passed by the Senate on 12/28, ammendment to H.R.1


    All is lovey - dovey once again in the (none / 0) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:08:31 PM EST
    House Republicans from (4.00 / 1) (#14)
    by indy in sc on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:17:22 PM EST
    the affected areas fell in line pretty quickly, but I think  Chris Christie will keep up his outward anger until it actually passes since some have indicated they don't like the "pork" in the bill.  I actually believe that he does care about the recovery for his constituents and is trying to do what he can for them, but he is also a pol and he realizes that all this is just burnishing his image and reinforcing his brand as--dare I say it--a Maverick that will go against his party when necessary.  

    Before, his brand was about bluster for bluster's sake, which was entertaining, but not national office material.  Now he can claim "man of the people" status (instead of man of the party).  He is wise to pick these kinds of fights with his party.


    Chris Christie (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:23:44 PM EST
    is running for president, don't forget.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#19)
    by indy in sc on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:26:57 PM EST
    Chris Christie ... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:07:02 PM EST
    ... is merely a one-eyed Pied Piper in the Land of the Blind.

    He's only bringing a vote this week (none / 0) (#17)
    by rdandrea on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:25:57 PM EST
    on the first $9 billion of Sandy aid.  He promises another vote by the end of the month.

    $9 billion isn't going to cut it, and splitting the aid bill into two (which House Appropriations did in the last session, except the first installment was bigger) is going to ensure that the Northeast never gets a penny over $9 billion.

    It's smoke and mirrors.


    In lieu of explanation, how about speculation? (none / 0) (#33)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:14:26 PM EST
    I haven't heard any plausible reason given for Boehner's failure to call the vote last night ... so let the speculation begin!

    Did he not have the votes? Unlikely. Add the NY/NJ R's to 98% of D's.

    Would intransigent anti-spending R's have demanded full and fair (i.e., extended and embarrassing) on-the-record debate? That might have convinced him "the time is not right".

    Or did he expect an embarrassing and divisive number of Nay votes, with or without debate?

    Any other explanations come to mind?


    He was in a foul mood, tired and just did not (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:19:07 PM EST
    feel like it. And he is not too bright on a good day.

    Sure (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:47:34 PM EST
    one behind the scenes purely hypothetical scenario.

    Boehner wanted to go ahead with the Senate approved fiscal cliff bill in violation of the Hastert Rule for Republican House Speakers, and follow it with a vote on the Sandy bill. He caught crap for it from qute a few Republicans House members (including a Cantor dagger) who didn't think the Fiscal Cliff bill should come up for a vote by invoking the GOP caucus Hastert Rule.

    Although there was a promise by Cantor that the Sandy Bill would be voted upon on the floor, the same scenario would be in play for Sandy as it was for the fiscal cliff bill. It would pass but without a majority of the GOP voting for it, again in violation of the Hastert Rule.

    Thus Boehner, when asked why they weren't voting on Sandy replied...ask Cantor.


    Al Jazeera is buying Current TV (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:00:57 PM EST
    Probably will not keep the current shows. I was worried last month when all the advertising was for stuff like 'the clapper'. I liked a few of their hosts- Young Turks, Jennifer Granholm. Too bad it did not work.

    I'd offer that it didn't work because ... (none / 0) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:31:36 PM EST
    ... Current TV was not readily accessible to most cable television subscribers, who like myself are frugal at heart and have only the basic cable package -- that is, we're cheap SOBs. I certainly wasn't going to pay Oceanic Time-Warner an additional $29.95 / mo. just to watch Current TV on Channel 993 or wherever the hell it is on the digital dial out here.

    But, hey, let's look at the possible upside. Al Jazeera obviously has some deep pockets behind them, and maybe this purchase is but the first step in making the investments necessary to ensure that Current TV is ultimately successful. Having watched al Jazeera online on a near-daily basis, I do like their work, and they appear genuinely committed to producing a quality product.



    John Boehner reelected as House Speaker. (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:56:24 PM EST
    Boehner held onto his post riding herd on the batch*t crazy GOP caucus.

    I know he earns around $200,000/yr. as Speaker. But I've to wonder if it is really worth it.

    I'm guessing it's an open bar in the Speaker's office every day, all day.

    Oregon won the Fiesta Bowl 35-17 over (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:36:36 PM EST
    Kansas State. Nice job, Ducks.

    Been watching CF more than (none / 0) (#80)
    by brodie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:45:34 AM EST
    50 years, thought I'd seen it all and knew all the rules there were to know, but that was the first time I'd ever seen, ever heard of, such a thing as a one-point safety.

    And no, the team which blundered into having the one-point safety called against it did not have to then free-kick the ball to the scoring team, as with the normal 2-point variety.

    Other takeaway:  the refs missed numerous personal fouls -- mostly helmet to helmet contact by the defense against the ball carrier and late hits out of bounds.

    Still, the Ducks were clearly the better team.  And that magnificent rapid response TD to close the first half-, done in less than 50 seconds, was the game changer.


    1 point safety, crazy stuff! (none / 0) (#81)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:59:43 AM EST
    Meanwhile, (none / 0) (#18)
    by indy in sc on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:26:20 PM EST
    Of course they didn't (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by Zorba on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:55:39 PM EST
    This is what they do (or rather, don't do).  Over and over again.  Heaven forbid that they support anything that might actually help any, you know, "immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans."  Otherwise known as "those people."
    Or women in general, for that matter.  {{Sigh}}

    Just being female... (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by unitron on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:35:26 PM EST
    ...pretty much makes a women an honorary member of "those people".

    Although John Lennon put it more pithily.


    The more time passes, (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:45:03 PM EST
    the more I miss John Lennon. The things he said and some of the lyrics he wrote still cut to the core. If there's a better song about real lives in the drudgery of day-to-day existence then "Working Class Hero" I haven't heard it.

    Just happened to hear G Harrison's song (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:07:48 PM EST
    for John 'All Those Years Ago' this morning. It really hit me hard. We don't have a voice quite like John  today. Or George either for that matter. He is my new year go-to music, so sweet and hopeful.

    Lyrics here


    For years, the only artwork I have ever had (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:10:52 PM EST
    on the wall above my desk is a photo of George, circa 1966, playing the sitar. Miss him greatly.

    I was so restless yesterday looking for the (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:24:30 PM EST
    right thing to listen to- stumbled on the All Things Must Pass album in my itunes library and breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was perfect. I miss him too!

    I learned recently, due to Ravi Shankar newspaper (none / 0) (#37)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:52:56 PM EST
    Shankar for a total of six weeks!  Such a complex music and instrument.

    I think you left something out? (none / 0) (#39)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:11:52 PM EST

    Did you mean to say that George only studied with Shankar for a total of six weeks? I thought it more like a few months, but six weeks wouldn't really surprise me. George was innately musical, had a great ear and some of the cleanest technique as a guitar player.


    I do not believe it is possible to (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:47:58 PM EST
    master the sitar in six weeks. It takes that long to tune it!

    And even then ... (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:33:33 PM EST

    I aspired to learning the Sitar. There (none / 0) (#55)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:32:35 AM EST
    is a wonderful Sitar player who performs and teaches at UCSD, one of Shankar's "gurudom."  But I decided I'm too old, as it takes 20-years to get a handle on the instrument, ragas, and improvisation skills.  But I do really love hearing this music.  

    I expect George would have agreed with you (none / 0) (#64)
    by sj on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:16:38 AM EST
    but not continuing to study under Ravi Shankar doesn't mean he didn't continue to study at all.

    Had to look it up, iisis.net, (none / 0) (#67)
    by brodie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:15:17 AM EST
    but GH in a previous lifetime was apparently one Heinrich Biber -- accomplished and acclaimed in his time violinist and composer -- a Bohemian-Austrian musician of the 17th C.

    The talent was already there at birth.  He just needed to find/stumble upon the pathways to access it, and he would find his career.

    Yeah, I believe this is roughly how it works.

    Interesting (but not surprising) that his widow apparently is also a believer in this stuff, and hopes to rejoin George in her next lifetime.


    The Republican War on Women is in full swing (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:01:44 PM EST
    The Guttmacher Institute reports that 2012 saw the second highest increase of restrictions on abortion.

    Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions.

    (Note: This analysis refers to reproductive health and rights-related "provisions," rather than bills or laws, since bills introduced and eventually enacted in the states contain multiple relevant provisions.)

    Which states led the charge?

    Twenty-four of the 43 new abortion restrictions were enacted in just six states. Arizona led the way, enacting seven restrictions; Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin each enacted at least three. Although some of the most high-profile debates occurred around legislation requiring that women seeking an abortion be required to first undergo an ultrasound or imposing strict regulations on abortion providers, most of the new restrictions enacted in 2012 concerned limits on later abortion, coverage in health exchanges or medication abortion.

    But don't forget Alabama and Georgia! They did their due diligence in confining women to the role of chattel.

    Read the whole thing -- if you have the stomach for it.


    Yep, the whackos are back (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by kmblue on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:10:07 PM EST
    trying to deny women their hard won freedom of choice.  
    To these whackos, I say:  see you on the barricades.

    They never really went away (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:12:27 PM EST
    It's just that they are now given full cover by the rest of the Republican party -- and, dare I say, a few of the blue dog Dems.

    You can add Michigan to the list. Gov. Snydely (none / 0) (#44)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:57:55 PM EST
    Grrrr (none / 0) (#62)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:02:53 AM EST
    Eight states adopted other measures related to abortion, including provisions that:
    *allow a medical professional in Arizona to withhold from a woman information about her pregnancy that could prompt her to obtain an abortion;

    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (none / 0) (#46)
    by Makarov on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:18:01 PM EST
    in the person of Governor Tom Corbett is suing the NCAA. They filed a request for injunctive relief of the NCAA sanctions placed on Penn State last July. The sanctions include a 4 year bowl ban, 4 year loss of scholarships (10 per year), and an unprecedented $60M fine.

    The $60M has been in PA news recently. The NCAA recently announced the formation of a task force to do something with the money, possibly creating an endowment (that's not much of an endowment at today's interest rates) with the purpose to aid victims of or prevent child abuse. Various members of the PA legislature are pissed the money is leaving the state, since the Commonwealth funds Penn State to the tune of $200M per year. The NCAA would only commit 25% of the funds to programs in Pennsylvania. Penn State just made the first of 5 annual payments of $12M to the NCAA.

    As expected, Penn State is not a party to the lawsuit. They gave up the right to sue in the consent decree they signed with the NCAA.

    The governor is suing on behalf of the state, the university, and past, present, and future students, and businesses affected. The filing cites a 10% loss in Penn State's sports related revenue for 2011 versus 2010. The suit claims that revenue loss and funds to pay the NCAA's fine will be made up by either cuts to sports programs at Penn State, increased tuition and fees, state appropriations, or a combination of these.

    The suit goes on to state that the loss in revenue is expected to go on for years after the expiration of the sanctions. That is not an unreasonable expectation.

    The suit claims the NCAA acted against the authority in its own bylaws, and basically made an example of Penn State in order to boost the NCAA's own reputation at a time when Penn State couldn't fight back. It also claims the sanctions competitively disadvantage Penn State now and in the future, to the benefit of other major NCAA member universities, and this is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

    The suit cites numerous examples of other universities who exhibited "lack of institutional control" without receiving any sanction, much less a loss of athletic scholarship or ban in post-season play. Some examples include universities who are alleged to have concealed criminal wrong doing by athletes. The suit correctly points out that no NCAA member has ever been sanctioned with loss of scholarship or post-season play ban without an incident of improper athlete compensation or improper athletic eligibility, things which go to the heart of the NCAA's mission of maintaining a level playing field between schools.

    The suit asks for an immediate, permanent injunction against the sanctions, and that the sanctions be ruled in violation of the Sherman Act.

    You can read the filing here:

    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs NCAA

    I'll note two things about the timing of this suit. When the sanctions were first levied in July, Governor Corbett stated that Penn State needed to "accept the sanctions and move on" with repairing its reputation. Since then, the governor seems to have a change in heart.

    1. Corbett is expected to run for re-election in 2014. He is not currently popular, and there are a lot of negative feelings about his involvement with the entire Sandusky scandal. Corbett concealed existence of the Sandusky investigation and scope (to include 2 Penn State administrators charged with perjury) from other Penn State board of trustees members throughout 2011, even though he was updated of its progress.

    Suing the NCAA could be seen as an attempt to diffuse the issue of his involvement in firing former coach Joe Paterno (who remains popular in PA), and the expected decimation of Penn State's football program under the sanctions.

    2. Newly incoming state Attorney General Kane, a Democrat, plans to investigate Corbett's role in the Sandusky investigation. The State AG's office had the original criminal investigation handed to it (due to potential conflicts of interest from local DA's) more than 18 months before a grand jury was convened. Some have alleged Corbett (who was AG from 2009 until 2011) did nothing with the original criminal complaint, choosing to instead focus on prosecuting corruption among
    (mostly) Democratic state House and Senate members, until he was safely elected Governor in November of 2010.

    Corbett has denied he delayed or de-prioritized the original investigation in order to improve his chances of being elected Governor.

    Penn State got off easy. If I'd been (none / 0) (#50)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:56:47 PM EST
    running the NCAA Penn State would now have the distinction of being the second school to ever get the so-called "death penalty."

    Speaking of corruption... Detroit's ex mayor (none / 0) (#48)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:33:22 PM EST
    Easy answer (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:38:17 AM EST
    Since Sept. 21, a federal jury has heard two views of Detroit history: Was Kwame Kilpatrick a corrupt, fallen king or a misunderstood Detroit benefactor?

    Choice #1.  

    "Misunderstood Detroit benefactor?"  Puh-leeze.


    FINAL: Louisville 33, Florida 23. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:46:29 AM EST

    I'm sorry about the Gators, BTD. That must've hurt to watch as an alumnus, not only because it was wholly unexpected, but also because it was such a spanking.

    What surprised me the most was that the game wasn't as close as the final score, and in retrospect, the outcome was never really much in doubt from the very first play from scrimmage.

    It's as though the Gators thought that their reputation preceeded them, and that 90% of life's success is achieved by simply showing up. And for merely going through the motions, they were taken to the woodshed tonight by a hungry Cardinal team and beaten soundly.

    If there's an upside, it's that such a fiasco will serve to remind Florida to never believe their own press clippings, and to never take anything for granted.

    What is "diversity"? (none / 0) (#77)
    by jbindc on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:29:40 PM EST
    It appears they are struggling with that in New Jersey with regards to judicial nominees.

    New Jersey Democrats have long argued that they would approve only "diverse" nominees to the state Supreme Court. But now, as liberal opposition builds against Gov. Christie's most recent picks, the definition of diverse appears to be changing.

    One of the two nominees, Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman, was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and would be the first Asian American on the high court.

    Yet the Legislature's black caucus, the state Latino Action Network, and a broad coalition of more than 50 groups, including teachers' unions and Planned Parenthood, are opposing Bauman and the other nominee, Robert Hanna, who is white, primarily because they would not make the court more diverse - and specifically, because they're not African American or Latino.


    Democrats approved his first pick, Anne Patterson, who is white, after a long impasse. Christie touted his next two nominees as fulfilling Democratic calls for diversity: Bruce Harris is black and gay; Phillip Kwon was born in Korea. But Democrats turned them away, citing questionable qualifications in Harris' case and shady family business dealings along with stealth Republican leanings in Kwon's case. It was the first time since the modern judiciary was established in the mid-20th century that a Legislature rejected gubernatorial high court nominees.

    Is it just about political leanings or is there something else in play here?

    Now the republicans... (none / 0) (#79)
    by desertswine on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:39:37 AM EST
    want to kill Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl. First Big Bird and now this. Oh, when will this madness cease...

    25 years ago today, ... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 02:57:30 PM EST
    ... one of the greatest college basketball players in history suddenly collapsed and died at age 40 during a pickup game at a church gym in Pasadena, CA -- quite literally, across the street from my mother's house where I grew up.

    "Pistol Pete" averaged a phenomenal 44 points a game during his college career while playing for his father-coach at LSU, a career record which will probably not ever be surpassed in our own lifetimes.

    Unbeknownst to Pete Maravich and his family, physicians and coaches throughout his lifetime, and which was not discovered until his autopsy, Maravich had been born without a left coronary artery, and he played basketball with reckless abandon and exuberance for years despite that congenital defect. His overworked right coronary artery finally gave out that morning in Pasadena.

    To anyone who remembers seeing him play, Pete Maravich was "Showtime" in basketball, years before that term was coined to describe the L.A. Lakers of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It's sobering to think that had he lived, he'd now be 65 years old.

    The unjustly forgotten Connie Hawkins (none / 0) (#83)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:50:20 PM EST
    may have actually been the first "showtimer", but there's no question that Pistol Pete was a unique basketball phenomenon..

    His dad let him let it all hang out on the court at LSU, the way Miles used to let Coltrane take twenty minute solos..


    Right, Pete had sort of (none / 0) (#85)
    by brodie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:18:23 PM EST
    the opposite experience going from college to the pros, as Jordan.  Virtually no leash for Pete playing at LSU, while maybe the latter half of his career in the NBA he was on a leash, in part, iirc, as he didn't want to be seen as a selfish ball hog, or perhaps injuries/fatigue were a constant factor.

    Jordan did have a firm leash from Dean Smith in college, then almost no leash in the pros.

    Connie Hawkins I recall,, though again the ABA wasn't well covered in the media, and the NBA for most of his career in the 70s was undercovered by the networks.  A real artist in the clever ways he could score.  I think he had a stint with the Globetrotters, too.


    What basketball coach (none / 0) (#86)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:28:12 PM EST
    would be fine with a guy taking twenty foot hook shots in the middle of a game? Press Maravich was a tad, shall we say, indulgent? Though, the thing was, Pete made most of his shots..

    Wasn't he on the same team with Lou Hudson and Walt Bellamy at Atlanta? It definately wasn't the one-man-show situation that Pete was in at LSU..


    Couldn't say about the Hawks (none / 0) (#87)
    by brodie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:57:30 PM EST
    Just recall his NBA years early with the Jazz and finishing with the Celts, iirc.  He did get moved around.

    Probably the most gifted (none / 0) (#84)
    by brodie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:55:30 PM EST
    player with a ball in his hands than any other basketball player I've ever seen, Jordan included.

    I just wish I'd had the opportunity to see him play more, but I don't recall his LSU team coming to the west coast towns where I lived, and in the NBA for most of his career his teams only came to town once, and tickets were hard to get unless you had connections or money.

    There was, for instance, apparently in the 76-77 season, a memorable game at the Lakers' Fabulous Forum, pre-Magic, when Pete just took over and ran the Lakers off the court.  Standing O from the usually laid-back partisan L.A. crowd.

    Then too, in that pre-cable pre-ESPN era, the networks didn't nationally televise many games college or pro during the week, and Pistol's teams -- usually consisting of Pete and 4 no-name guys -- tended not to make it far in the playoffs, if they got that far.

    I did years ago manage to get ahold of a wonderfully entertaining Pete's Basketball Clinic video he made, showing how to perform some of his tricks with the ball, made not long before his death, iirc.

    An absolute wizard with the basketball.  I suspect the nightly grind of the NBA, compared with college, might have taken a major toll on his already damaged heart, otherwise he should have had as great a career there as in college.  Unforgettable player.


    Pete would also (none / 0) (#88)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:19:10 PM EST
    likely be the winner of any poll asking "what athlete played before his time". Pete averaged those 44 points a game in college before there was a 3 point line. And the 3 point line today isn't remotely close to the area where Pete would launch his outside shots.

    He would easily average over 50 a game today and ESPN (which didn't exist when he played) would have probably had a weekly highlight show covering him.

    Today, when arenas and stadiums are named after boosters and corporations, it's always nice to see a game from the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the LSU Campus.