Friday Open Thread

I'm out for most of the day. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

< Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail | Judge Rejects Zimmerman Request to Depose Ben Crump >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    This one is for kdog. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:27:49 AM EST
    Classical pianist making his living by busking at Venice Beach, CA.
    Things have change since he first arrived. He says the environment has become oppressive and that he has received several tickets for playing the piano after dark. "It seems like they're trying to save the financial situation of Los Angeles by giving all these tickets out in Venice."
    In an interview of his I heard on the radio the other day, he said when the other guys in jail asked him what he was in for, they were surprised when he told them it was for playing music after sunset.

    I like Pino's style dude... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:24:50 AM EST
    and his views on "success".

    When asked about being successful, Pino replied with, "Success is an elusive thing. As far as financially, no I don't think I'm successful. As far as being the pianist that I want to be, yeah, I'm always happy when I'm playing - as long as there's fire in the furnace!"

    "As long as there's fire in the furnace"...well said sir.  

    Shame on Venice Beach for trying to put the fire out with their war on music.  Sh*t the city should be paying him for beautifying the place and drawing tourists, not busting his balls and wallet with petty fines.  I wonder if he's got a civil rights case, anti-busking laws have consistently been found to be unconstitutional...but they're probably harassing him over noise ordinances, not busking per say.


    LAPD, man (none / 0) (#4)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:48:05 AM EST
    Killjoys to the max.

    Venice Beach is such a beautiful freakshow on the left coast, why on earth would you want to bust this priceless piece of it?



    people might of complained (none / 0) (#6)
    by nyjets on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:59:51 AM EST
    I would imagine a lot of people might have felt the music was annoying.

    maybe (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:02:58 PM EST
    i doubt it. the people who live in or near venice beach live their for the eccletic mix of life. unless it's completely gentrified since i was last there. the canals are one thing, but the boardwalk? please.

    at least not enough to change the traditional Venice Beach vibe, imo.

    I wonder if there is a city-wide restriction on outdoor music after dark, that really makes no sense in this particular location.


    Can't see how it would be annoying (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by ZtoA on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:03:50 PM EST
    I was just on Venice Beach and sat and listened to him, and several other musicians and he was wonderful. I bought a couple of CDs to support their music making.

    I can see it (none / 0) (#11)
    by nyjets on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:29:27 PM EST
    If i was coming home from work, the last thing I would want is to be forced to listen to someone elses music.
    Outdoor music is nice and all, but people have the right for some peace at night.

    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by sj on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:45:39 PM EST
    And I thought I was a curmudgeon.  :)

    area of VB. This area is mainly a commercial area and has a pretty active nightlife.

    Yes, this is not a residential area (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ZtoA on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:00:47 PM EST
    lots of beach bars which are fun, full of people and not at all quiet. I think LAPD is ticket happy these days. Traps are set for jaywalking and the tickets are extremely expensive.

    Many a municipality... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:34:40 PM EST
    is ticket happy these days in a quest for more revenue.  Any street vendor in NYC will tell you all about it...sh*t ain't right.

    Such a nefarious underhanded way of raising revenue, imo.  But I guess everybody prefers "cracking down on criminals" to tax increases and/or spending cuts...at least until they get some bullsh*t ticket and it's their ox being gored.

    More budget effective and better for our quality of life if we just laid off all the cops who write all these bullsh*t tickets...obviously the PD and other agencies with fining powers are overstaffed if they're reduced to ticketing petty nonsense like music after dusk or your hot dog cart being 2 inches too close to the curb.


    Heh -- my only jaywalking ticket ever (none / 0) (#21)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:34:41 PM EST
    was in Venice Beach, 25+ years ago.  On a very early post-sunrise Sunday morning, when I didn't want to walk 500 yards to the nearest crosswalk (an obvious jaywalking setup position, in hindsight) and instead proceeded directly ahead to my car across a semi-wide street where, that early, no vehicles were operating.  

    LAPD dude was lying in wait.  And being young and stupid and kinda cranky that early, I gave him a piece of my mind about police priorities, especially noting what was then VB's rather high major crime rate.  

    Thank goodness I suppose that I was jaywalking while white.

    A friend, a few yrs earlier, rather headstrong herself, refused to pay a whopping jaywalking bill, went before the judge and argued her case, lost, wouldn't pay the added fine for being late, and was sent to downtown women's jail (Sylbil Brand) for a night (with all the humiliating intake procedures they had in place at the time for anyone entering their facility).  


    Who said it was at night? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:54:18 PM EST
    He got busted for playing "after dark."  Nothing was said about how long after "dark" he was playing.  This time of year, the sun sets at 5:45 PM in Venice Beach.  I hardly call that "night."  And many people probably are not even home from work at that time.

    that he was busted for playing music after dark they all moved away from him on the bench there, and gave him the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till he said, "And creating a nuisance."  And they all came back, shook his hand, and they all had a great time there on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things.

    I also hear (none / 0) (#25)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:08:36 PM EST
     "you can get anything you want" at Venice Beach.

    cept'n Alice (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Coral Gables on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:32:18 PM EST
    That's Alice's Restaurant! ;) (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:12:10 PM EST
    At first I thought sarc referenced a line from a movie and I was racking my brain trying to think of the film.  

    Well played gentlemen...well played.


    true truth (none / 0) (#31)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:01:30 PM EST
    Bragging rights (5.00 / 7) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:46:25 PM EST
    Just in case you haven't gotten the message already, the White House wants to make sure everyone knows President Obama supports cutting Social Security benefits. They are even bragging about Obama's desire to cut Social Security benefits on the official White House blog:

    And he's laid out a specific plan to do more. His proposal resolves the sequester and reduces our deficit by over $4 trillion dollars in a balanced way- by cutting spending, finding savings in entitlement programs and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. As a result the deficit would be cut below its historic average and the debt would fall as a share of the economy over the next decade.  Just two months ago Speaker Boehner said there was $800 billion in deficit reduction that could be achieved by only closing loopholes and reducing tax expenditures.  So we know we can get this done. Let's be clear: the President's proposal to Speaker Boehner is still on the table. Here it is again

    If you click on the link it takes you to a PDF of the Obama's current offer. One of the single biggest items in it is "Spending Savings from Superlative CPI with protections for vulnerable $130." That is adopting the chained-CPI for for Social Security benefits. It would be a cut to benefits every year that would build cumulatively. The AARP actually has a calculator to show roughly how big a cut it would be for you. link

    Oy (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 12:59:02 PM EST
    Just Oy.    

    And see this (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:03:08 PM EST
    cartoon by Cam Cardow.  Found on Truthdig.
    Might be exaggerated, but it won't be so funny when people have to work longer and longer because they cannot afford to retire.

    You know, it would almost be (5.00 / 6) (#27)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:31:17 PM EST
    refreshing if Obama would stop hiding behind rhetoric like "Superlative" CPI, and just adopt the language of his hero, Alan Simpson, who doesn't leave much doubt about how he regards the social safety net programs.

    I don't know, it's one thing to be wrong about something, but it's even more disgusting when someone is too much of a weasel to be honest about it.

    "Superlative" reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where "breathtaking" played a prominent role; after the pediatrician called the apparently ugliest baby ever, "breathtaking," Elaine wasn't feeling too good about things when he called her that, too...


    True betrayal (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:49:36 PM EST
    While it is not mentioned enough, this poll perfectly shows how far out on the radical fringe President Obama and many of the so-called "Washington Centrists" are on the issue of Social Security. Only 10 percent of Americans share the opinion that Social Security benefits should be cut. Obama's position of Social Security is a true betrayal of his base given that just three percent of Democrats think Social Security spending should be reduced. link

    41% thinks that Social Security should be increased rather than decreased.


    Paul Krugman's observation (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:43:51 PM EST
    on Alan Simpson, is that "Simpson is grossly ignorant on precisely the subjects on which he is treated as a guru, not understanding the finances of social security, the truth about life expectancy and much more..."

    Of course, Dr. Krugman can probably look forward to a crank letter from Simpson, belated as is his wont, along the lines of Simpson's response to Ashley Carson, then executive director of The Older Women's League.  Simpson, in that letter, not only called social security the cow with the 310 million tits (a forerunner of Romney's 47 percent takers), but ended his letter telling Ms. Carson that she should contact him when she finds honest work (apparently representing tens of millions of older women is not honest work).  

    Dr.  Krugman is right on Simpson, but in fairness he should add  Bowles to his opprobrium, and recognize the underlying agreement of the president.


    Simpson and Bowles are part of (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:58:23 AM EST
    the Fix the Debt con artists. Charlie Pierce:

    ....the blog's first rule of economics -- Fk The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money. The real reason we should stop talking about it for a while is that the people who are insisting that it will eat us and our posterity on toast are lying swine who would sell your white-haired granny to the Somali pirates for another three points on the Dow. Until we all acknowledge the fact that organized wealth in this country has become downright sociopathic in the heedless damage it does, any discussion of The Deficit can and will be hijacked by that quarter in order to gain absolution for its grievous sins and the right to go on committing them against the rest of us, over and over again.
    ...the Institute Of Policy Studies, who took a look at the various plutocrats and pirates who are behind Fix The Debt, the latest scam from the phony deficit scolds, albeit one made up almost exclusively of people who helped threw the national economy into the abyss for a decade, and then came looking for government handouts when it all went to hell.
    ....These are the people, of course, who are so concerned about The Deficit because of the impact it will gave on their children and grandchildren, most of whom, of course, will not have to work a day in their lives, because Grampy stole the country back in the day. The report is a truly remarkable look at who's really running things.

    The 71 Fix the Debt CEOs who lead publicly held companies have amassed an average of $9 million in their company retirement funds. A dozen have more than $20 million in their accounts. If each of them converted their assets to an annuity when they turned 65, they would receive a monthly check for at least $110,000 for life. The Fix the Debt CEO with the largest pension fund is Honeywell's David Cote, a long-time advocate of Social Security cuts. His $78 million nest egg is enough to provide a $428,000 check every month after he turns 65. Forty-one of the 71 companies offer employee pension funds. Of these, only two have sufficient assets in their funds to meet expected obligations. The rest have combined deficits of $103 billion, or about $2.5 billion on average. General Electric has the largest deficit in its worker pension fund, with $22 billion.


    The average Social Security recipient receives a little over $1200 a month, or roughly 400 times less than will David Cote who wants to cut these meager benefits so that CEOs like him and their corporations can pay even less taxes.


    I Tried the Calculator (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:45:03 PM EST
    I use the amount they had, $14,800 annual benefit, put that I was 70, and did it for multiple years:

    10 years 2,354.81. A 1.5% reduction.
    20 years 8,904.58.  A 3.0% reduction.
    30 years 19,528.49.  A 4.3% reduction.
    40 years 34,109.19.  A 5.5% reduction.

    The reduction is average, but because the rate is increasing, the actual reduction is higher the further you go out.
    In this example, from 30 to 40 years, the reduction is 9.85%.

    Loading the back-end with the heaviest cuts is beyond irresponsible.  It's downright cruel.


    Yes, it IS cruel (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by shoephone on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 02:54:57 PM EST
    And that's exactly the term I used when I called my congressional rep's office an hour ago to give my opinion on it. Since I'm in the just-under-55 group, I'll certainly get hosed by Chained CPI. Nothing superlative about it.

    The cruelity does not stop (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:10:11 PM EST
    with Social Security either. This change will reduce the number of children who qualify for school lunches, reduce eligibility for food stamps, WIC, and numerous other programs that the poor rely on to survive as well raise taxes on everyone with the working poor experiencing the largest percentage of increase.

    These "savings" taken from the poor, the sick and the elderly will be used to reduce tax rates for corporations and the very wealthy under the guise of tax reform.  


    and the ultimate cruelty (5.00 / 6) (#69)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:15:57 AM EST
    you can't pay for cat food with food stamps.

    lol! That rates a 5. (none / 0) (#72)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:48:08 AM EST
    Planning tip: Be sure to use cat food and not (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:28:31 PM EST
    dog food.  With cat food, the proportions of proteins and other nutrients is more conducive to human nutritional needs than is dog food.

    there is no way I can eat canned (5.00 / 5) (#68)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:14:15 AM EST
    cat food.  It's gonna have to be the dry food for me.

    Yawn (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:35:32 PM EST
    Your post makes absolutely no sense, but it's pretty clear you don't like RR or 'foreigners'.

    If only this country wasn't founded by, and almost entirely made up of, those pesky hard working foreigners...


    DD, you have ran into people who (2.00 / 1) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:23:48 PM EST
    refuse to admit that labor is a commodity and that if you have a constant influx of cheap workers then the pay will be low and the working conditions bad.

    That was true in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is true today.


    I have to stick up for American tech workers here (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:47:02 AM EST
    I wish I had at least minimum wage for all of the hours of unpaid overtime I have worked in my lifetime. I probably could retire. I don't doubt that workers from other countries could compete with us to some extent on wages, etc.  (Actually, I do doubt a little, but not enough to argue about it.) But unpaid overtime is a given in the tech world.

    Here is my problem with Reich's (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:36:44 PM EST
    article- he repeats the fallacies about Social Security that power so much of the Bowles-Simpson fandom.

    SS is not in trouble. Our collective longer life expectancy is due much more to declining infant and childhood deaths than it is to people dying at an older age. And, this longer life was factored into the SS equation by the people who were charged with figuring all this out back in the '50s.

    Those people were a little bit too optimistic about longevity. Those in the bottom half of the economic spectrum are not living to quite as old an age as they had thought. Between 1986 and 2006 the life expectancy at age 65 for men in the lower half of the economic spectrum increased by only 13 months.

    Since we have already increased the Social Security age from 65 to 66 and now to 67, those lower income men are not living long enough to collect much if any Social Security.

    So, Reich is wrong, majorly wrong, in his main argument. He is perpetuating falsehoods, falsehoods tossed around by the same people who want to destroy SS.

    His playing fast and loose with such basic and critical facts casts doubt on everything else he wrote.


    He's also woefully out of touch (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by shoephone on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:01:52 PM EST
    with those of us who have been actively opposing the b.s. on the B/S Grand Bargain all along. He just doesn't understand why we're so g*dd*amned tired of fighting the corrupt powers-that-be, and now seem to be suffering from Showdown Fatigue.
    What's wrong with you people?? he wants to know.

    He's still got a good paying job (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:10:54 PM EST
    and is looking forward to a very comfortable retirement.

    I can think of a number of people on the left (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by shoephone on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:55:39 PM EST
    who are doing just fine financially and don't wonder at our "showdown fatigue." In fact, they question the status quo all the time. Peter and Marian Wright Edelman come to mind. Reich's problem is not that he's financially well off, it's that he still lives in the bubble of academia and is still ensconced within the inner circles of Democratic politics of yesteryear. He only likes to rock the boat just so much.

    Am I the only person here (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:25:08 AM EST
    who remembers that Obama campaigned on this during the 2008 primaries?  I remember that part of his appeal to all the newly minted democrats was that he said he would get the evil greedy boomers off their backs.  He presented himself as a new generation even though he is a boomer.  I remember telling a dippy 22 year old girl that all the way back in the stone age when I was 22, I too bought the rhetoric that social security was not going to be there for me.  I told her that she was falling for generational warfare talk.  I told her that plus the words "hope and change" were not enough to base a presidency on.  

    He campaigned on cutting Social security and medicare. Why is anyone feeling either surprised or betrayed?


    Many of us are not surprised at all (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:13:07 AM EST
    We remember all too well trying to convince those around us that Obama did plan to cut Social Security.

    The fact that I believed Obama when he said Social Security was on the table was one of the reasons I never supported Obama.

    Regardless of the number of times Obama puts cuts to the social insurance programs on record, I'm still trying to convince many of his supporters that they need to take this threat seriously and take action. If I can convince just one more person to make calls and write to their congresscritters each time I post his current proposals to cut these programs, maybe just maybe I won't be wasting my time.



    I seem to remember there were (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 03:17:06 PM EST
    A lot of people who convinced themselves that Obama "had to" say those things to get elected, and once in office, he'd be able to advocate for more progressive positions.

    That always seemed delusional to me - I chose to take him at his word, and it wasn't one I cared for.

    There are still people trying to convince themselves that Obama's a progressive, but I'm not buying it.


    Well (none / 0) (#79)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 03:52:16 PM EST
    He certainly did a big turnaround with gay marriage. It's not like he needs votes again, but he's sticking to his guns after he evolved 180 degrees. I'm guessing he recognized all along that DOMA was unconstitutional but he didn't want to alienate religious bigots.

    An analysis by Richard Stevenson (none / 0) (#74)
    by KeysDan on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 11:54:50 AM EST
    in Saturdays NYT, reports that WH aides point to Mr. Obama's continued willingness to swallow (better, advocate) over the intensifying objections of most of the left side of his party, a new way of calculating inflation adjustments for social security--in effect a cut.

    And, Mr. Obama has repeatedly alluded to his willingness to re-engage with Republicans on his last offer for $400 billion (more) in Medicare cuts.  Stevenson says that Mr. Obama sees his offer on entitlements as a way to build trust with Republicans.  

    But, inside the White House, there is deep skepticism about whether Republicans actually want to address Medicare in an immediate and concrete way--or whether Republicans would prefer to pillory Democrats for backing Medicare cuts, as they did successfully in 2010 and could again in 2014, and avoid voting for anything themselves that could bring a backlash from voters.

    I think cutting social programs is a swell way to build trust with Republicans, who do not even trust each other enough to come up with a single response to the SOTU, and it seems unlikely that Republicans would take advantage of Obama gulping down a hard to swallow poison pill.


    This is why... (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by Dadler on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:41:39 PM EST
    ...I believe Obama to be the single most psychologically addled man to hold office in quite some time. His grasp of human psychology, his read of Republicans, his "negotiating" skills, all point to a very limited intellect, and one GROSSLY lacking imagination or creativity.

    He is a quite empty vessel when you get down to it. But he's got a cult of personality going, so it doesn't matter.

    Either way, he is fully promoting a country that values money over human life, and he cannot hide from it, nor can he hid from the fact that he believes himself correct in doing so. Because of this, he is, essentially, mentally retarded.


    Yes, I agree, Dadler (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:03:54 PM EST
    He is an empty vessel.  Or, as I tell people I know,  the clothes have no emperor.

    President Obama (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by KeysDan on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:08:30 PM EST
    seems, to me, to be on what he feels will be a legacy-enhancing budget deal that enables him to do an "only Nixon could go to China" cut to social programs.  Or, a Clinton "ending welfare as we know it" moment.  However, he is not as bold about it, trying for bipartisan cover with a budget that is "balanced" with some more tax cuts.

    But, the Republicans aren't having it no matter how much he compromises in advance of negotiations.  If the president is lucky, the best bipartisan help he will get in "swallowing" the readily offered cuts to social security and medicare will be a swig of Marco Rubio's Poland Spring.


    Yep the Republicans want (5.00 / 5) (#91)
    by MO Blue on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:41:27 PM EST
    to let Obama take full ownership and pass those safety net cuts with Democratic votes in both the Senate and the House.

    They want Obama to do as much damage as possible to both the safety insurance programs and the Democratic Party. If the Democratic Senators and Representatives go along with this, they are complete idiots and it will be the Democratic Party that goes down the tubes and not the Republicans.


    A funny thing happened (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 03:57:50 PM EST
    on the way to the forum.   A detour was needed for Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, on his way to the papal conclave.  Yesterday, the Cardinal was deposed about sexual abuse cases against Catholic priests while he was Archbishop of Milwaukee (2002-2009).   Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the NY diocese said Cardinal Dolan had long-awaited the chance to discuss his decisions and actions to help victims, and added, that Dolan was "eager to cooperate".   It would seem that Dolan is that rara avis who looks forward to a deposition.

    Cardinal Roger Mahoney, retired Archbishop of Los Angeles and disgraced by being relieved of his public duties by his successor,  is scheduled to be questioned tomorrow in a lawsuit over a visiting Mexican priest who is believed to have molested 26 children.  The priest has been ousted but is still a fugitive.   Some Cardinale in Rome have suggested that Cardinal Mahoney skip the papal conclave to avoid "scandal" but Mahoney is undaunted and is heading off to Rome.  

    A frequently mentioned papal contender (maybe a second favorite), Cardinal Peter Turkson, of Ghana, in an interview with CNN's Christine Amanpour claimed that sexual abuse could not happen in Africa because of culture and tough homosexual laws (including that Uganda kill the gays thing). Turkson simultaneously demonstrated that he was singularly obtuse by linking homosexuality with pedophilia and  obscenely ignorant by solving the problem with denial.   You would think that Turkson's road to Rome would have been stopped by this bump, but maybe it will just burnish his credentials.

    Just watch (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 08:33:55 AM EST
    Turkson will be the next Pope.  

    Paging Kdog (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:35:59 PM EST
    My husband thinks "going off the grid" is about the only way to survive these days. When he said that, the dawg-man was the first person I thought of.

    My good friend and fellow pirate kdog may (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:47:34 PM EST
    not have a bank account, but he is hardly living "off the grid." Kdog lives in New York, in a house with both running hot and cold water and electricity. He purchases these utilities from municipal and quasi-public utility companies (water bureau and Con-Ed or whatever the power co. is there.).

    He drives on roads built and maintained by taxes that he pays. He may ride public transit, again paid for by the taxes he pays. Kdog enjoys many of the niceties of 21st century on-the-grid life.

    Now, if what your husband means is moving to a personal cash economy, working under the table and avoiding taxes and shunning banks and credit cards, well, he may be on to something.  The problem is that w/o that bank account or plastic card it gets harder to pay for running water and electricity. Not impossible, just harder.

    I realize this is probably more of a response to your simple comment about my good friend kdog than you expected. It is a topic of interest to me, though, a topic to which I have given some thought. Living off the grid is one of the major reasons our pirate boat is so appealing. Well, that and the whole sailing the seven seas thing.


    Exactly, Casey (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:13:16 PM EST
    There are ways to pay your bills without either a checking account or a credit card, but that mostly involves paying with cash at a local store which accepts utility payments or buying a money order to send.  And it also requires that you are working for a company that pays you in cash.  Very, very few of them left, unless you are working under the table.  So you have to cash your paycheck at confiscatory rates, if you do not have a bank account.
    Not good, all the way around.
    The pirate boat sounds very, very appealing.    ;-)

    I should be more careful about language. (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:49:39 PM EST
    It is a pirate ship, not a boat. My bad.  :-)

    Hahaha! (none / 0) (#48)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:55:59 PM EST
    Yes, you're absolutely correct!

    well any of you are welcome (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by fishcamp on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:41:48 PM EST
    down here in the fabulous florida keys.  we can live off the grid, catch fish, eat papayas and mangoes but we will have to dive off my "boat" looking for treasure on "pirate ships".  Kdog...can you fish, drive boats, dive, grab bales, and escape the ever present "man" down here?  if so c'mon down.

    Don't know about kdog, fishcamp (none / 0) (#58)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:02:28 PM EST
    But I know how to fish (and clean and cook them), shoot a rifle and shotgun (and a bow and arrow), grow fruits and vegetables and preserve them (freezing, canning, drying them, as well as making jams and jellies).  
    If you need any of those skills, let me know.  Plus, I'm a d@mned good cook, as I have been told by others, many times.      ;-)

    Your (none / 0) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:16:54 AM EST
    third paragraph is what he is talking about--personal cash economy.

    No, we're keeping our checking account but he wants to do as much with cash as possible. It's mostly about putting less stuff "out there".


    The time is NOW to start planning (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by nycstray on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:15:33 PM EST
    your 'off grid' food garden and get your seedlings started  ;) Or see if there are any spots avail at your community gardens . . .

    We have already (none / 0) (#59)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:04:27 PM EST
    started our seedlings.  We plant a huge garden every year.

    My garden will be expanding this year :) !!!! (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by nycstray on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:26:53 PM EST
    I'll have my usual which gives me enough to grow a years worth of tomatoes etc, but I'm going to be doing some art/marketing for our newest community garden just 4 short blocks from me, so I'll have a plot there also :D {{happy dance}} I'll do all my canning/sauce type tomatoes there and use my yard space to expand my volume on other produce. So excited! Already have a kitchen garden on the front porch and am starting my seedlings tomorrow for the main garden in back. I'm going to be using eggshells this year as seedling pots :) I save eggshells for the garden anyway, and also have lots of cartons from the farmers market, so I'm set and ready to go :D

    Sounds great! (none / 0) (#62)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:42:43 PM EST
    You go!

    I realize Sec. 3 is the Big Kahuna as far (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:11:52 PM EST
    as the benefits of marriage are concerned, but why leave out Sec. 2? Surely, if Sec. 3 is struck down it becomes harder for some states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

    If a same-sex couple marries in New York then moves to Nebraska would they be denied all the benefits of marriage except for the federal ones like Social Security? Would it be possible that if one of this imaginary couple dies the survivor would get the federal benefit when it comes to inheritance, but be treated as non-married when it comes to inheritance by Nebraska?

    How about children? If this couple has children while legally married in New York both of them are legally the parents. If they move to Nebraska with the children are they both still considered a legal parent or must they choose one of them to have legal status?

    It seems that letting the various states pick and choose what marriages to recognize will be a nightmare.

    DD, you need to do a few things (5.00 / 2) (#101)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:14:15 AM EST
    to remain commenting here. First, you may not call people "illegal." Second, you are a chatterer on certain topics, see our comment rules. Your comments tend to be long screeds which also are nnot appropriate. if you have that much to say, you need to get your own site.

    This space is for comments, not repinting long articles, yours or others.'

    I completely disagree with your immigration position and you are now limited to four moderate length posts a day. I do not want to be associated with your position, and snippets of it will come up in Google under "TalkLeft" without saying I didn't write it.

    Talkleft is one of the strongest supporters of immigrants, documented and undocmented on the web, and I will not have you dilute my message by posting things I strongly oppose and believe are misguided. Please pick another site to do that on.

    I would not let someone come on here and continually argue for longer sentences, mandatory minimums, or the death penalty. Or a Republican agenda. If you don't agree with what you read here, please find another site that shares your view, and don't come here trying to influence TalkLeft's readers. That's poaching.


    Did you delete... (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by unitron on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 12:34:45 PM EST
    ...one or more of DD's posts which more closely fit the "infractions" which you described?

    At any rate, what he says about what's happened to construction is, in my experience, quite accurate.

    I worked construction from the early '80s to the early '90s, both in town and on the nearby military installations.

    Most of the crews were "white", as in local lower middle to middle middle class.  Most of the rest were black, again locals.

    In the last 10 years almost every crew on almost every site I've seen has been mostly Hispanic in appearance, and I feel pretty safe in assuming that most of them didn't grow up around here.


    I'm no expert on the construction industry (5.00 / 0) (#105)
    by shoephone on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 01:37:18 PM EST
    although I did work a lot of new construction residential jobs as a painter. Here's what I know about house painters: whether they are native born, documented, or undocumented, as a client you get what you pay for. I lost a few jobs to Vietnamese or Mexican painters when they charged less than half my rate (and mine wasn't the highest around either). The final product on their jobs turned out to be barely passable.

    and worked a lot as a painter in the aftermath of the Northridge earthquake, and I agree with you regarding rates and quality.

    The thing is, for most of our clients back then, they really didn't know the difference between what a professional job was and a barely passable one.

    I found that we had to spend a lot of time educating our clients in order to keep them.


    But isn't all of the set painting work union? (none / 0) (#118)
    by shoephone on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:39:36 PM EST
    It's been years since I did any scene painting (and that was for regional theater) but I wasn't aware there was much room for dickering in the industry, at least on the hourly rates.

    Oops, my bad! (none / 0) (#120)
    by shoephone on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:42:39 PM EST
    I read too quickly and thought you were talking about entertainment industry painting. nevermind........

    Yes, as far as residential goes, I think homeowners are often clueless as to what it takes to do a proper paint job. And a lot of them have a habit of pointing at photo in a magazine and saying, "That's what we want. Can you do that?"


    Yup. From what I saw (none / 0) (#121)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:47:22 PM EST
    they literally don't see drips and streaks and other lame stuff, because they simply don't know what to look for.

    DD suggested (none / 0) (#107)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 02:22:35 PM EST
    putting employers in jail for breaking the law, eliminating tax breaks for outsourcing, repealing NAFTA, retooling unemployed college grads (instead of increasing the amount of tech workers currently authorized via H1B visas), getting our current undocumented into work visas to get them out of the shadows, modifying the Fourteenth Amendment and some other ideas.

    I think some of those ideas would be beneficial to undocumented.


    I understand what you're saying (none / 0) (#113)
    by sj on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:05:55 PM EST
    but I also think that it's heavily linked with the weakening of unions.  It used to be that most construction jobs were union with long term, dues-paying members.  Now most jobs tend to be non-union sites hiring anyone who will accept the lower wages.

    Where I live... (none / 0) (#119)
    by unitron on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:41:42 PM EST
    ...which is where I was speaking of with regard to the changes in the "ethnic" make-up of contstruction crews, there are not, and never have been, any construction unions.

    Or practically any other unions either.


    And of course ethnicity and race (none / 0) (#122)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:25:01 PM EST
    are not the relevant issue here. It's whether or not public policy should allow some immigrants to have an advantage over others in violation of immigration law. And more importantly, when we ignore undocumented, employers are able to take advantage of them and drive down wages for immigrants and citizens who do abide by the rules.

    Not sure why this concept gets me low ratings and angry responses. You'd think folks would want to help undocumented by stopping the cycle of allowing employers to profit off them at all of our expense.


    Thank you very much, Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:16:36 PM EST
    Reading the emotionally explosive & prejudicial commentary that DD exhibited here on the subject of immigration came close to pushing me off this site. For a number of reasons, the allegations & drift of that type of commentary on this particular site seemed very much out of place...either that, or as I was starting to think, maybe the place had done a sharp rightward turn and I was the one out of place.  So, again, Jeralyn, thank you for the direct & clear statement here.

    DD is banned and his (none / 0) (#123)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:41:55 PM EST
    comments deleted. I'm not having this site host that kind of prejudice, however he he wants to disguise it. I tried to be patient but his arrogance finally got to me. No one here, especially me (as his last comment stated)  needs to spend a day, let alone a week, with him to have knowledge of this topic.

    Thanks for the clarification. n/t (none / 0) (#55)
    by caseyOR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:27:26 PM EST
    I have (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 03:15:59 PM EST
    been influenced by Elizabeth Warren in my feeling about this:

    With a major civil trial scheduled to start Monday in New Orleans against BP over damages related to the explosion of an offshore drilling rig in 2010, federal officials and those from the five affected Gulf Coast states are trying to pull together to strike an 11th-hour settlement in the case.

    I do not want a settlement.

    I want these s.o.b.s brought to trial.

    Michelle Obama rocks. Say what you will about (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by caseyOR on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:13:29 PM EST
    the President, and I have, the First Lady is pretty damn cool. I saw her on Jimmy Fallon last night. She was there to talk about her Let's Move campaign. She was charming and funny.

    And, as she showed in this skit she performed with Jimmy, she is a pretty good dancer. Here is "The Evolution of Mom Dancing" featuring Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon.

    Gotta love those bangs (none / 0) (#86)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:26:30 PM EST
    She's already figured out how to hide behind them.

    Michelle is way cooler than this ex-FLOTUS.

    Sad Mrs Bush, just sad.


    Very cute. Nicely done Michelle! (none / 0) (#88)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 06:55:19 PM EST
    Instead of worrying about (none / 0) (#2)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:15:58 AM EST
    the condition of Social Security in a few decades, our lawmakers need to start worrying about this, the thing I've mentioned here a few times, which represents an actual existential threat to us all.

    Tip of the hat to Michio Kaku for highlighting it, while the head of the Russian space agency also is taking it seriously..  I understand a few Chinese top space scientists are also concerned and trying to work the problem.

    Not so worried are our own geniuses at Nasa -- unless they are deliberately playing it down publicly so as not to alarm the public.

    Yes, there's still plenty of time until 2036, but we need the major planetary powers to start planning now -- preferably in cooperation with each other.

    The Last Thing We Need... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:17:02 AM EST
    ...is lawmakers getting involved.

    The Near-Earth Object Program Office of NASA's Science Mission Directorate is tracking the AG5, 140-meter wide asteroid that has the potential to impact Earth in 2040. NASA puts the odds at 1 in 625 of it hitting the Earth.

    The odds of hitting a populated are 1 in 100.  So the odds of this asteroid hitting a populated area of the earth are 1 in 62,500.  

    The article put the odds of dying from an Asteroid strike at 1 in 74,817,414/year.  Which is odd since at no time in human history has anyone be killed by an asteroid.  In other words, it's the absolutely least likely way to die.

    Not worth thinking about IMO, much less getting the nitwits in Washington all worked up over and spending another countless fortune on something that may not happen for a million years, long after human eradicate themselves from the planet.


    I wasn't referencing AG5 (none / 0) (#19)
    by brodie on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:23:58 PM EST
    and have never mentioned it here.

    I was instead trying to invoke interest in Asteroid Apophis with my reference to the year 2036, it's second and most dangerous flyby.  An object that seems to greatly interest the Russian head of their space program, a few top Chinese scientists, as well as Michio Kaku -- probably the closest person we have today to a dynamic liberal-thinking scientist for the masses in the Carl Sagan mode.

    Iow, if Kaku thinks it's worth worrying about and preparing for, that's good enough for this non-scientist.

    Read not only about Apophis -- first due in a very close flyby on Apr 13, 2029 -- but about how woefully inadequate and amateurish our current asteroid detection system is.

    We are going to need funding to come up to speed, let alone launch the needed project to take out/deflect Apophis.

    And I don't think it's wise or morally acceptable to take a head in the sand approach to real risks to the planet that could be averted with some funding and planning, particularly if we can enlist other majors in a joint cooperative venture.  We could save civilization from external threats while at the same time improving our planetary geopolitical situation with the right attitude.


    Feds going after Lance Armstrong? (none / 0) (#5)
    by unitron on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 10:56:53 AM EST
    Apparently what happened in France doesn't stay in France when the USPS is one of your team sponsors.

    They're talking fraud charges.

    It is a shame that he is not a banker (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:36:09 PM EST
    He would get an automatic get out of jail free card.

    Roger Clemens redux... (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by kdog on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:59:14 PM EST
    those silly feds and their sillier priorities.

    "Let the punishment fit the crime" has been replaced by "find the crime to fit the desired punishment".

    I predict a jury foils their plot, just like Clemens.

    USPS's crime was ever thinking sponsoring a cycling team was a wise business decision, dope or no dope.


    WOW Kdog... (none / 0) (#76)
    by fishcamp on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 01:23:30 PM EST
    you got a 5 from PeterG...extremely cool.

    The House version of the VAWA (none / 0) (#37)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:18:35 PM EST
    (Violence Against Women Act) is out. They unfortunately left out LGBT protections. The House bill also allows states (which receive VAWA grants) to determine the best recipients of those funds based on the victim populations in their areas.

    The Senate version of the bill allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Native American men who abuse Native American women on reservations. The House bill also grants that authority but adds a caveat that would allow charged individuals to move their case to a federal court if they feel their constitutional rights aren't being upheld.

    thread closed (none / 0) (#124)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:43:09 PM EST
    It got out of whack with a now banned commenter whose comments have been zapped. There were many comments in response to him so I doubt the thread will make much sense now.