Thursday Open Thread

Busy day here. Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Boehner (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CoralGables on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 12:37:35 PM EST
    again tosses out the Hastert Rule and lets the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act go to a vote.

    It passed with a House vote of 286-138, with 87 Republicans joining 199 Democrats.

    The first spam email in my gmail box (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by shoephone on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:28:57 PM EST
    this morning:
    Cat Food
    Special Coupons For Cat Food!

    Funny, because I haven't even been doing any google searches on social security...

    I've been lucky enough (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:43:18 PM EST
    to get multiple emails each day from such notable people as Brittany Spears, Oprah, Ann Hathaway, Selma Hayek, Madonna, Reese Witherspoon, etc.

    They all want me to lose weight with them!

    Or something like that...


    If Ann Hathaway loses any more weight (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by shoephone on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:48:21 PM EST
    she's going to disappear.

    If I got the magic wish to look like anyone for a day, it would be Selma Hayek.


    I fully concur. (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:05:21 PM EST
    Kiera Knightly's the other one.. (none / 0) (#27)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:14:24 PM EST
    I don't get this translucent-sylph look some women seem to be going for..

    Sadly I just assume (none / 0) (#28)
    by shoephone on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:26:11 PM EST
    they are bulimic. Not unusual in Hollywood.

    That's (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:47:46 PM EST

    Talk about multiple emails:

    I have recently received an email from an honest-to-goodness CEO of  The National Bank of Botswana.

    All I have to do is forward my personal information to this gentleman who has assured me that, owing to a peculiar circumstance in the family of a deceased attorney, a successor to the inheritance of a fortune of over 26 million dollars is being sought and I fit the bill.

    I will shortly receive 16.5 million dollars that will be transferred to my bank account as soon as my financials have been approved.

    And just today, another offer from another distressed banker seeking someone to receive a generous percentage of an abandoned trust account in the Bahamas.

    I'm gonna clean up.


    I hope you remember us when your ship (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:09:20 PM EST
    she comes in!

    Aye. (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:25:34 PM EST
    That I will.

    You may have won millions, (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:06:55 AM EST
    but I now have TWO notables vying for my attention:
    Salma Hayek lose weight Sample

    Jennifer Aniston did it

    that was very irresponsible (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by TeresaInPa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:29:43 AM EST
    of Jennifer Aniston considering she is pregnant with twins. Not the times to lose weight.

    Ooh! (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:48:59 PM EST
    I only get ones that say I've won the Nigerian lottery - if I only send them a check for $1000 for processing and my personal information!

    I used to write back to the Nigerians (5.00 / 8) (#14)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:56:27 PM EST
    and say that while I was not interested in being scammed out of my savings (thank you very much anyway), I suggested that they keep my name and email address on file for when they were indicted, because I might be able to help them then to work out a deal with the feds to keep their sentences within reasonable bounds. I never got a polite response to that, though, so I stopped responding. (One reply I got was only two words long, the second of which was "you" and the first of which was not "Thank.") Too bad; their loss.

    Hilarious! (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:09:16 PM EST
    Would it have been unethical to request (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by observed on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 10:53:42 PM EST
    a retainer in your message?
    What's a reasonable fee in a case like that---$5,000?

    Not unethical at all (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Peter G on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:49:17 AM EST
    I wish I had thought of that!

    Well, there will surely be a next time. (none / 0) (#92)
    by observed on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:19:58 AM EST
    Do keep us informed!

    A Couple Years Ago... (none / 0) (#58)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 10:42:34 PM EST
    ...I was trying to score Super Bowl ticket.  I use Craigslist occasionally, but every ad for SB tickets wanted me to wire money through Western Union.  I got feed up and started messing with them, telling them I sent the cash.  I figured why lead them to WU believing they scored.  What never occurred to me was how gullible the con men are when they think they scored.

    Well, at least they extended you... (none / 0) (#93)
    by unitron on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 04:23:14 AM EST
    ...the courtesy of a reply.

    Of course they probably extended something else as well.


    You won the lottery! Sounds like you (none / 0) (#8)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:59:53 PM EST
    are way luckier than me!

    Did you pen today's (none / 0) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:11:20 PM EST
    HA HA! (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:23:16 PM EST
    No, but I seem to be on their radar!

    In the last couple of months (none / 0) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:42:24 PM EST
    I have done some research on-line of the requirements for Medicaid in Missouri as well as the medical and mental health options available for the homeless and the poor who do not qualify for Medicaid. Now I am getting robo calls on my home phone (which is unlisted) telling me that their records indicate that I do not have health insurance and to press 1 for an agent to get insurance. I am also on the state's Do Not Call List. Of course, no company name is given with these calls.

    Also, getting the same type of calls regarding problems with my credit card. I do not have a credit card nor have I done any research on them.

    Beyond irritating.


    MO, you do know the (none / 0) (#50)
    by fishcamp on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:33:06 PM EST
    do not call list recently expired and you have to call them again to reup or do it online.  At least that's what I heard so I did it again.  I really don't know how they get through to cell phones but they do.

    Woodward-gate! (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:50:05 PM EST
    The column that started it - was Bob Woodward "threatened" by the White House?

    Then the actual email chain was released, making the exchange sound pretty innocuous.

    And yet, another reporter saying essentially the same thing about the thin-skin of the WH.

    So, is Bob Woodward looking for another 15 minutes of fame?  Or is this about something else?  From the first link:

    The Woodward reporting has caused the White House spin machine to sputter at a crucial time. The president was running around the country, campaign-style, warning that Republicans were at fault for the massive cuts set to hit Friday. What Obama never says: It was his own staff that proposed sequestration, and the tax hikes he now proposes -- aimed at replacing half of the cuts -- were never part of that very specific plan.

    The White House instead has, with great success, fudged the facts. The administration has convinced a majority of the country that Republicans are more to blame by emphasizing that Republicans voted for the plan. Which they did -- after Obama conceived it.

    The truth is that Obama and Republicans supported it because everyone believed it was a such a stupid idea that the grown-ups in Washington would never actually let it happen. They thought Obama and Congress would come up with a grand bargain on spending, entitlement cuts and tax increases, instead of allowing the sequestration ax to fall.

    They were wrong.

    So the blame game is in full swing -- and Woodward is smack in the middle of it. The Obama White House is out to discredit him. Behind the scenes, Obama allies are spreading word that the Woodward book broadly -- and his reporting on sequestration specifically -- are misleading because Republicans, especially House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, were so clearly among the chief sources.

    It is no secret on Capitol Hill that Cantor and his staff cooperated extensively with Woodward. It is fairly obvious as you breeze through the opening chapters of the book. But we have talked with many Democrats and Republicans who cooperated with the book. And all of them say that while they might dispute some of the broader analytical points Woodward makes, the play-by-play is basically spot on.

    Woodward: A legend in his own mind (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by shoephone on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:45:13 PM EST
    It's hard to believe anybody takes that old crank seriously anymore, but the road to the beltway/media complex is paved with fools.

    Honestly (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:48:44 PM EST
    I do believe, however, that he is not wrong in his assertion that this WH has very thin-skinned people who are pretty vindictive.

    So much for hope and change.


    But the WH didn't threaten him (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by shoephone on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:50:01 PM EST
    Woodward is a liar. That's all I'm pointing out.

    Ron Fournier (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:58:34 PM EST
    Of the National Journal has said he has had the same words spoken to him by the WH on more than one occasion - "You will regret this."

    I have no doubt in my mind that the WH would cut off access to anyone who they thought was being mean to them.

    This is also a nice distraction for the WH from anyone looking too closely into their involvement in the sequestration battle - it allows them to be free to continue the  "EEEEVVVVVIIIIILLLL Republicans" them while claiming no responsibility of their own.


    If you read the email exchange (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by shoephone on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:12:27 PM EST
    between Woodward and Sperling, you would see that not only was Woodward not threatened, but that his reply to the WH was very friendly.

    Woodward is full of sh*t. The emails prove it.


    Woodward is not the one who should (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:10:05 PM EST
    feel threatened by what was said in the email exchange with Sperling. Excerpt from email:

    The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bar[g]ain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding -- from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios -- but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA [Budget Control Act of 2011]: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

    ....I haven't heard anyone say publicly that the sequester "deal" as far as the White House was concerned was to cut "entitlements" in exchange for new revenues.....link

    Yes, the sequester was a a part of (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by KeysDan on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:58:02 PM EST
    crisis series DNA--passing and deploying a law to achieve a "balanced" deficit reduction plan that enabled, in bipartisan fashion, cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid. If you can't do that, what is a good crisis for?

    The administration's miscalculation seems to be that the Republicans would agree to revenues (as anemic as they were)  in the fiscal cliff component of the crisis, and, again, agree to increased revenues in the next in the series.   Moreover, it may have gone unnoticed that vampires are in these days, and the sequester's supposed draconian feature of defense cuts is not so scary--even to some Republicans.  It will all be for naught, if we achieve just cuts, but not cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid.


    Which is what I said in the first place (none / 0) (#63)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:32:53 AM EST
    Then the actual email chain was released, making the exchange sound pretty innocuous.

    You're arguing with something I already said and agree with.


    And, actually (none / 0) (#67)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:46:57 AM EST
    The "Threat" meme was overblown by the media (surprise!) and not by Woodward himself.

    A "threat" theme has exploded into the newstream today regarding the Woodward story. It relates to Woodward's reaction to the e-mail from the White House official (Gene Sperling) warning Woodward that he'd "regret" writing what he'd written about the White House position on the sequester negotiation. Politico wrote that in an interview, Woodward had repeated the "regret" line, "making clear he saw it as a veiled threat." Pressed moments ago on whether he'd ever used the term "threat" or "threatened" by the e-mail, Woodward responded, "No, I have not....I am uncomfortable because it is not the way to operate," he said. When asked whether he felt there'd be payback on this front, Woodward declined to get into that matter.

    Seems it was Politico's stressing of the "threat" meme that started this and the internets took off with it.


    I doubt very much (none / 0) (#86)
    by NYShooter on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:19:06 PM EST
    that Sperling said, "regret."

    IOW, regret is not the same as "regret," if you know what I mean.

    Scare quotes are a clever way to distort a meaning the author never intended.


    A question: (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by lentinel on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:38:24 PM EST
    What Obama never says: It was his own staff that proposed sequestration, and the tax hikes he now proposes -- aimed at replacing half of the cuts -- were never part of that very specific plan.
    The White House instead has, with great success, fudged the facts. The administration has convinced a majority of the country that Republicans are more to blame by emphasizing that Republicans voted for the plan. Which they did -- after Obama conceived it.

    Is there not some truth to this assertion?


    First of all (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:01:00 PM EST
    The Republicans, to my knowledge, have never said they would agree to increased taxes. Since the Democrats dance to whatever tune the Republicans are playing, the terminology is something like "revenue augmentation," or close loopholes. Basically, that's the same Voo Doo the Republicans play when they claim they can balance the budget without any new revenues by simply eliminating "waste and fraud." After having been prodded a thousand times to name a single program, or savings, they would introduce to get more revenue without new taxes, I believe the best plan I heard was to gas up all government vehicles at Pete's Sunoco on his Wednesday nickel-off days.

    A pox on both their houses (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:39:20 AM EST

    Washington has reached a strange place indeed when the opposition party offers the president more control over spending -- and he refuses it. Apparently, in addition to its policy objections, the White House figured that a softened sequester couldn't force Republicans to accept a long-term deal including higher revenue. It's a gamble that the worse things might get now, the better they will get later. A strange place, and a sad one.

    he was told (none / 0) (#69)
    by TeresaInPa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:02:19 AM EST
    "you will regret this"..... what does that sound like to you?  Surely you do not buy the white house BS that it meant "you're going to feel silly when you find out you were wrong" or some such nonsense.

    Why not quote the rest? (none / 0) (#70)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:19:01 AM EST
    Even conservatives are backing away from this silly claim of a "threat" - not to mention Woodward himself.

    From the Politico article that started the whole thing:

        "I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today," the official typed [in a page-long email]. "You're focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here. ... I think you will regret staking out that claim."

    When discussing the article on Hannity, Woodward repeated the last sentence, making clear he saw it as a veiled threat. " 'You'll regret.' Come on," he said. "I think if Obama himself saw the way they're dealing with some of this, he would say, 'Whoa, we don't tell any reporter 'you're going to regret challenging us.'"

    When he went on CNN the same day, Woodward said, :"It was said very clearly [in an email], 'You will regret doing this.' ... It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, 'You're going to regret doing something that you believe in.' "

    In fact, during the Hannity interview, Woodward appeared to reiterate his initial concerns, saying that Gene Sperling's use of the word "regret" was code for "you'd better watch out."

    The conservative media hyped this for days, until the full text of the emails was released.  Now?   Not so much:

    Tucker Carlson - the claims of a "threat" were hyped.

    Erik Erikson:  "Ok wow. Finally read the email to Woodward. I must now move to the "not a threat" camp."

    Jennifer Rubin:  "the full e-mails reveal less bullying and far more pomposity, suggesting the White House would have its critic's best interest at heart."

    National Review:  while Sperling's statement to Woodward was "certainly regrettable," it was "not some ham-fisted attempt to intimidate Woodward."

    Robert Laurie (Herman Cain's website) "I'm not seeing any threat. It's a real stretch to claim this back and forth is, in any way, menacing."

    Even Woodward himself is backing away from the claim, despite the fact that he was suggesting it on Hannity:

    Woodward said that others had described him as labeling an email from Sperling as "a threat" and claimed, "I haven't used that language."

     "I never characterized it as a 'threat.' ... I think that was Politico's word. I said I think [Sperling's] language is unfortunate, and I don't think it's the way to operate."


    Jeezus..it's Politico and it's Woodward: (none / 0) (#71)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:38:00 AM EST
    what more does anyone need to know?

    Charlie Pierce has a regular feature: Things in Politico that Make Me Want to Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity, in which he discusses the latest dreck from Politico, or as he calls it, Tiger Beat On the Potomac.

    The opening paragraph of yesterday's edition:

    I am looking out the window, fully expecting to see the two Presiding Geniuses of Tiger Beat On The Potomac floating gracefully above the Potomac, because they are plainly as puffed up as human beings can be without simply exploding on the spot. They were summoned to an undisclosed location where Bob Woodward is hiding because someone in the Obama administration pointed out that he might one day regret having been publicly stupid on the subject of the sequester, and Bob knows what that means. So, huddled in his bunker, fiddling with the knobs on the crystal set and eating cold Spaghetti-O's out of the can, Bob summoned two of the only reporters he knows who share the same level of self-delusion that he does.

    They do seem like they were made for each other, don't they?


    I (none / 0) (#73)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:55:58 AM EST
    don't take issue with anything you wrote.

    But there is, imo, reason to believe that the Obama White House can be very vindictive - and even dangerously so.

    Personally, I would take a "you'll regret it" from those guys with a bit of trepidation. No matter the context...

    That's just me.


    Not to worry, lentinel; if Woodward (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:34:44 AM EST
    gets iced out, the WH will fill his spot with someone willing to get out the message they want in exchange for access to power.

    Here - try this one on for size (bold is mine):

    ...an even more extraordinary outburst from National Journal's Ron Fournier, formerly the Washington bureau chief for Associated Press. Fournier has written this incredibly petulant column today where he whines in paragraph after paragraph about being criticized in an unpleasant tone by an anonymous White House official over his reporting. Fournier is very angry about how he has been spoken to and instructed the official never to email him ever again: such fragile flowers they are. Fournier then makes the following confession about why he won't reveal the identity of this mean person; I know it's a bit naive, but I actually found this slightly shocking:

       "Going back to my first political beat, covering Bill Clinton's administration in Arkansas and later in Washington, I've had a practice that is fairly common in journalism:

        "A handful of sources I deal with regularly are granted blanket anonymity. Any time we communicate, they know I am prepared to report the information at will (matters of fact, not spin or opinion) and that I will not attribute it to them."

    That's a blanket, automatic grant of anonymity extended in all cases for the benefit of the most powerful political officials in the country. They don't even have to ask for anonymity. There are no negotiations over it. They automatically get it. Fournier eagerly serves as an information dump: White House officials feed him what they want the public to hear; he dutifully goes forth and regurgitates it (when he deems it to be "fact"); and in all cases, he shields their identity from public knowledge. Whatever that's called, it isn't journalism - though I have no doubt, as he says, that it's an incredibly common practice in how the DC media ingratiates itself with the President and his top advisers.

    See? No problem...plenty of - urk - journalists willing to be mouthpieces for whatever the administration wants to say!


    That's (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:24:16 PM EST

    The looming possibility of being "iced-out" by the kill-list-dronemaster-in-chief or one of his merry band that creeps me out.


    Lanny Davis (none / 0) (#82)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:12:47 PM EST
    Says the same kind of thing happened to him.

    A day after Woodward's claim that a senior White House official had told him he would "regret" writing a column criticizing President Obama's stance on the sequester, Lanny Davis, a longtime close advisor to President Bill Clinton, told WMAL's Mornings on the Mall Thursday he had received similar threats for newspaper columns he had written about Obama in the Washington Times.

    Davis told WMAL that his editor, John Solomon, "received a phone call from a senior Obama White House official who didn't like some of my columns, even though I'm a supporter of Obama. I couldn't imagine why this call was made."  Davis says the Obama aide told Solomon, "that if he continued to run my columns, he would lose, or his reporters would lose their White House credentials."

    Davis says he does not know if the White House official involved in his case is the same one who is alleged to have threatened Woodward, but he says the language used in both cases is very similar.  In any case, Davis says his editor, Solomon, was not worried by the threat.  

    "He didn't take it seriously, because he didn't think that could ever happen.  He thought it was bluster," Davis told WMAL. "I called three senior people at the White House, and I said, 'I want this person to be told this can never happen again, and it's inappropriate.'  I got a call back from someone who was in the White House saying it will never happen again."

    All this shows is how accustomed (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:43:09 PM EST
    people in power are to believing they decide what should be reported - and that isn't something that started with the Obama administration.

    I think, though, that it's as bad as it's ever been, with the result that we are closer than we've ever been to having a significant chunk of the media serving as a propaganda arm of the WH and the opposition party.  It's one reason we are mired in crisis all the time now, because the media never challenge what's going on, never ask the questions that might shut them out of the inner circles.

    The only way politicians stop getting away with leveraging information for access is when the media stop functioning as stenographic lap dogs.

    I don't think that's going to happen any time soon, do you?


    Nope (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 04:23:10 PM EST
    Another voice that echoes the same sentiment (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 11:49:05 AM EST
    Dana Milbank

    And yet Woodward is correct to single out the Obama White House for its excessive pugnacity. His exchange with Sperling may be a poor example of it, but there's little argument that 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has become a frat house for the thin-skinned and the foul-mouthed.

    "As editor in chief of National Journal, I received several e-mails and telephone calls from [a] White House official filled with vulgarity, abusive language, and virtually the same phrase that Politico characterized as a veiled threat," Ron Fournier, one of Washington's best journalists, wrote in Woodward's defense. "Once I moved back to daily reporting this year, the badgering intensified."

    I've received the same communications -- and so has everybody else I know who has dealt with this White House. If this administration launched drone strikes at the rate Sperling and his colleagues launch F-bombs, there would be nobody left in Yemen.

    This isn't just a language issue (although it's amusing to think of Obama aides' ­obscenity-laced e-mails going to the National Archives). It is a symptom of a White House in perpetual combat -- with the media, with Republicans in Congress, with everybody -- and dedicated to incremental point-scoring, without a view of the real goal.

    Nope (4.00 / 1) (#85)
    by lentinel on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 05:00:06 PM EST
    You would think ... (none / 0) (#78)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:43:50 AM EST
    ... it would be enough, but some have to be beaten over the head with the obvious.

    And why not quote Woodward's response? (none / 0) (#79)
    by shoephone on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 11:21:07 AM EST
    This was Woodward's response to the alleged "threat":

    This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this.

    Yeah. Right. That sure sounds like someone who feels threatened.



    Well since I'm not a credulous (none / 0) (#95)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 05:11:01 PM EST
    moron who blindly believes the worst about the Obama administration regardless of the facts I actually read the emails and no I don't think it was a threat.

    And where was he complaining yesterday? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:40:20 PM EST
    On Fox News. That pretty sums up Woodward's credibility on this issue, as far as I'm concerned. He's communing with his inner drama queen.

    And he used to be a hero. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:42:58 PM EST
    Oh my...even heroes have feet of clay :) (none / 0) (#89)
    by christinep on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:36:08 PM EST
    everyone does (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by sj on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:03:45 PM EST
    even pearl clutchers.

    Of course. (none / 0) (#94)
    by christinep on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 09:49:04 AM EST
    Never be surprised that if you attack a (none / 0) (#74)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:54:07 AM EST
    friend.....the friend becomes an enemy and does over.

    BTW - I have enjoyed reading the excuses for what the WH did. You folks are merely the flip side of the same coin the far Right is on.


    What "excuses"? (none / 0) (#77)
    by Yman on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:39:48 AM EST
    Explaining your statements so that others will stop misinterpreting them is not an "excuse", Jim.

    But your attempt to act like you're not part of the far right was amusing ...


    And boy, does he know (none / 0) (#80)
    by jondee on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:07:26 PM EST
    the far Right.

    No, it shows (none / 0) (#75)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:22:35 AM EST
    that the other network news channels do not want to challenge the WH

    This Is The Best Thing (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:07:32 PM EST
    You're Going To See All Day

    Mitchell Marcus, the basketball team manager for Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, is developmentally disabled. He loves the game, but isn't able to play competitively. Nonetheless, Coach Peter Morales decided to put him in a game against Franklin High School.

    His teammates wanted to give Mitchell a chance to sink a basket. But even after several attempts, Mitchell was unsuccessful. Franklin High School gained possession of the ball. That's when Franklin High player Jonathan Montanez passed the ball to Mitchell for one more shot. Watch the video to see what happened next.

    That was great, (none / 0) (#18)
    by NYShooter on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:20:10 PM EST
    Thanks, MO

    According to a new Gallup poll, ... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:47:59 PM EST
    ... those of us who live in Hawaii are the happiest people in the whole U.S.A., while residents of West Virginia and most of ol' Dixie -- well, not so much.

    So, Hawaii IS part of the U.S.? (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:46:17 PM EST
    A state if you live there (none / 0) (#55)
    by CoralGables on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 08:00:47 PM EST
    A foreign, exotic place for vacations if you don't.

    One of the 57 states (none / 0) (#64)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:34:07 AM EST
    Hard to compete ... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Yman on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:58:24 PM EST
    ... against paradise.  :)

    Justice Scalia has been criticized for his (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by caseyOR on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:35:07 PM EST
    remarks during the oral presentation on the Voting Rights Act, specifically his remarks about what he terms "racial entitlements."

    That Scalia is spouting this stuff should surprise no one. What I find concerning is the reasoning he uses to support his view. He seems to believe that judges have the right? power? mandate? whatever to strike down legislation that the judge decides has become such an entrenched "entitlement" that members of Congress are afraid to vote to abolish it out of fear that voters will reject those politicians.

    Viewed in context, however, Scalia's quote is actually even more disturbing than the initial headlines suggested. Beyond whatever resentments Justice Scalia may hold, his "racial entitlements" statement was also part of a broader theory about the proper role of judges in society. And if that theory were taken seriously by a majority of the justices, it would potentially undermine Medicare, Social Security and countless other programs.

    This article by Ian Milhiser explains how Scalia's comments could be used by conservative judges to overturn any law passed by Congress that fails to pass conservative muster.

    I am unnerved at the idea of a conservative judiciary shredding what remains of the the New Deal and quashing any new efforts by Congress to deal with for example, our epidemic of income inequality.

    I am not a lawyer, nor am I a Constitutional scholar. So, lawyers please weigh in here. Is Milhiser right?

    As you note, we shouldn't be surprised (none / 0) (#90)
    by christinep on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 12:40:00 PM EST
    Scalia is just showing his activism more frequently & in a more pronounced way.  We should nominate him for Activist Justice/Judge of the Year."  His speech at the awards dinner should be a feat worthy of a pretzel.

    Pick the next pope (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:04:44 PM EST
    Well, it was bound to happen, (none / 0) (#3)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:25:16 PM EST
    I suppose.  But since no money is to be won, I don't think that any of our regular sports bettors will be interested.   ;-)

    There's real money to be won... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 01:36:19 PM EST
    Here are the current odds with one online bookmaker,  Paddy Power.

    If Bono is at 1000-1, I should be able to get 1,000,000-1 on Bill Maher.


    {{Slaps forehead}} (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:01:09 PM EST
    Duh!  I should have known there would be!     ;-)

    I was in a pope pool when Benedict was chosen (none / 0) (#87)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:55:11 PM EST
    It was just random assignment of the cardinals though, not a real bet. Fun though! I forget which unpronounceable Italian name I drew.

    NYT re Bradley Manning's (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:05:22 PM EST
    statement in court today and his change of plea:


    Obama comes through again (none / 0) (#24)
    by NYLeft on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:00:04 PM EST
    this is not a surprise (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:39:32 PM EST
    That the Solicitor General is filing a brief, I mean.  The issue is whether the Administration will say that California same-sex marriages should be allowed to resume, because of the unique and strange way that Prop 8 took away a pre-existing right for invidious reasons, or whether it will go further and say that gender-limited marriage laws, like race-conscious marriage laws before 1967, are all unconstitutional.  I am guessing they will only take the former, more cautious position.  I also hope that I turn out to be wrong.

    Obama Prop 8 Amicus Brief (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by NYLeft on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:09:12 PM EST

    And a synopsis here.

    Darnit, the DOJ didn't argue for strict scrutiny. But intermediate scrutiny should work in this case. I believe the anti-gay argument against strict scrutiny goes something along the lines of: "Those gays have so much money and power and influence that they can convince even the office of the presidency to act in their interests. Why, look at Don't Ask Don't Tell, etc. (They must have forgotten that 1) Repealing DADT was in the best interests of the military and the country, and 2) Half the gays are women, hence not so rich and powerful with our 70 cents on the dollar salaries, and still being the weaker sex and all...).

    All in all, a good brief. Even the conservative justices are going to look silly trying to keep these archaic laws in place.


    I sincerely hope that (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:19:47 PM EST
    you are correct, NYLeft.  But I also am afraid that the conservative justices have not been worried about "looking silly" about any number of their decisions in the past.  I really, really hope that they do the right thing (and I also wish that the DOJ had argued for strict scrutiny).

    Gender discrimination (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:35:54 AM EST
    only gets intermediate scrutiny as well.

    The decision not to argue for strict scrutiny (none / 0) (#54)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:59:07 PM EST
    was announced (and defended) in the government's DOMA brief last week.  Nothing new in the Prop 8 brief on that front.

    Friendly amicus brief roundup (none / 0) (#57)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 09:23:54 PM EST
    Well, I guessed wrong all around (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:13:19 PM EST
    the US government's brief takes a bolder view than I guessed it would, but less bold than going "all the way."  The DOJ argues that since California, through civil unions etc., grants gay couples all the substantive legal rights of married couples, the withholding of official marital status serves no rational purpose and is therefore nothing but discriminatory labeling, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.  This argument apparently would apply to a total of eight states that now grant marriage-like rights to committed gay couples, without allowing them to wed.

    Yes, well (none / 0) (#48)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:23:42 PM EST
    They are not taking the boldest view.  But I guess baby steps are better than no steps, Peter.  If this is all we can get from the DOJ right now, it's certainly better than some of their steps previously.

    I'm OK with a lukewarm brief (none / 0) (#51)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:33:08 PM EST
    Personally, I'm hoping for a SCOTUS decision that:
    1. Strikes down Prop 8, but limits it to California so other state bans last for a few more years,
    2. Strikes down Section 3 of DOMA so the federal government has to recognize gay marriages in states that offer them, and
    3. Strikes down Section 2 of DOMA so states that have banned gay marriage still have to recognize other state's marriage contracts for same-sex couples.

    That way gays and lesbians will travel to states that allow same-sex marriage so they'll get all the gay money from gay marriages, at least until the anti-gay states catch on and catch up.  :)

    Perhaps more important, actually (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Peter G on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:56:30 PM EST
    is that the State of California has filed a brief arguing that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and that the proponents do not have standing to defend it.  Good on Governor Brown (for the first part of that, at least). And 14 states (well, 13 plus the D.C. government) have filed an amicus brief against Prop 8.  Including New Mexico, amazingly.  Can anyone explain the politics of that?!

    With New Mexico and Illinois signing on, (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by NYLeft on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 05:39:48 PM EST
    both of which don't offer same-sex marriage, the brief carries even more weight. Prop 8 blatantly codifies discrimination against a suspect group of citizens in violation of Equal Protection. A better question might be what the heck is wrong with other states that didn't support a demand for reinstatement of equality.

    Here are the states that signed the amicus brief: MA, CT, DE, IL IA, ME, MD, NH, NM, NY, OR, VT, WA & the DC.

    If your state is not listed, maybe you should call you Attorney General and ask why they won't support the Constitution.


    Thankfully, (none / 0) (#40)
    by Zorba on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:06:07 PM EST
    My state is on the list.

    Oregon signed this brief? I'm surprised. (none / 0) (#44)
    by caseyOR on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:02:19 PM EST
    I'm glad, but surprised because in 2004 Oregon voters amended the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

    So, YEA!, but I find this development interesting. So far I have not heard any outcry from the anti-marriage equality forces here in Oregon. I expect I will, though. Something about overreach by the state Attorney General, perhaps.


    Aw, c'mon (none / 0) (#49)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:27:21 PM EST
    We've got Ellen Rosenblum as Attorney General now.

    Yes, and Ellen is great. That doesn't (none / 0) (#53)
    by caseyOR on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 07:38:28 PM EST
    change the fact that same-sex marriage is forbidden by the state Constitution.

    I looked at the other states who signed on to the brief. I think Oregon is the only one with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. So, while I agree with Ellen's stance, and I am glad she signed on, I am surprised.

    And I await the squealing from the family values cabal.


    Best part of the brief (none / 0) (#39)
    by NYLeft on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 06:04:48 PM EST
    "The Amici States' experience with equal marriage rights controverts the Petitioners' and their amici's dire predictions about the future of the institution of marriage. That experience should carry substantially more weight than surmise and conjecture in the constitutional analysis of Proposition 8... The Amici States' experience proves that Petitioners' hypothetical justifications for excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage are entirely implausible." [em mine]

    In other words, these states (like Canada and other countries) have had gay marriages for years, and the sky hasn't fallen yet.


    A song for Sequestration Day (none / 0) (#62)
    by ruffian on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:30:55 AM EST
    You Haven't Done Nothin'.

    Loved this song 30+years ago, and unfortunately it is still true.