Saturday Morning Nemo and Open Thread

To the East Cost Power Companies, who are trying to restore power to thousands or millions from last nights blizzard Nemo on the East Coast"

"Can't start a fire without a spark."

Here's hoping they get it turned back on soon. Living in the dark is fun at night-- not so much in the day. [More...]

Assuming I had reading light, I would re-read Snowblind, by Robert Sabbag, the best book on 1970's cocaine smuggling from Colombia. It's exciting,not written in legalese, and an all around great read. You can get the 1998 paperback copy here. The full title is "Snowblind: A Brief Career in the Cocaine Trade." (1998). You can read it by candlelight if necessary.

If you are looking for a movie for a home-bound day, I recommend Who'll Stop the Rain, with Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld, about American soldiers from Berkeley in the Vietnam war who decide to smuggle heroin back to the U.S.. The movie is an adaptation of Robert Stone's book, Dog Soldiers.

I hope those of you on the East Coast stay safe and warm, and find plenty of things to do, with or without power.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Religion (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:40:24 AM EST
    I'm thinking about what I consider to be the undue, and, in my view, dangerous influence by religious institutions upon our government. Most recently, this was brought to my mind by the tsuris involving contraception and Obamacare.

    I was wondering if someone could tell me the stated rationale for the tax-exempt status of religious institutions - including murky ones like Pat Robertson's.

    The First Amendment dictates that the "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Establishing a tax code that does not take money from an enterprise, amounts to granting money to an enterprise imo.

    In brief, tax 'em.

    How much dough would come flowing in were that to happen?
    Not to mention that, as Jefferson said, "religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god,"

    I would breathe a little easier if we didn't support religious institutions financially - even indirectly. And I could do without prayer-breakfasts at the White House. I could do without Easter Egg rolls. I could do without a White House Christmas tree. I could do without the invocations of God by secular government officials.

    The constitution provides that government officials not be questioned as to their religious beliefs. (Article V1 of the first Amendment). I would breathe easier if those in office, or running for office, didn't regale us with their religious convictions.

    And, yes, I'd take, "E pluribus unum" over "In God We trust" any day.

    I question (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:27:06 PM EST
    whether some of the groups or organizations who call themselves churches are even really churches. A guy who I went to high school with decided to become a minister (no schooling or anything) and found an empty space in a strip shopping mall and opened up a church. He's obviously got enough people to give him money to keep the organization going but honestly they don't do weddings or funerals or provide any of the traditional ceremonies that a lot of mainstream churches do. After this I started to question whether a lot of these strip shopping mall "churches" are really that.

    I keep waiting for my evil fricken cousin to (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:50:54 PM EST
    do this.  He is a raving Christian who owns a mini-storage.  Don't ever store anything truly of value with him.  Things happen to them, or he didn't receive payment and now he has applied for title to your RV or boat.  He has a reputation though now, and since the economy has tanked he can't sell this mini-storage and build another in a new state that hasn't met him yet (he's done that before).  He is so pissed though at life in general these days.  Ten years ago he was considering going into "the ministry" though.

    Finally watched Mea Maxima Culpa (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:45:15 PM EST
    tonight, and it's hard to even find the words.

    As near as I can tell, this had very little to do with religion itself, and a lot to do with power and corruption that hid behind the religion and allowed pedophilia to thrive.

    Why secular government would accommodate the Catholic Bishops on anything is beyond me.


    I tend to be very anti-religion period (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:00:01 AM EST
    I was not always so though.  Grew up Lutheran.  Was never taught to judge or even ask a person what their religious affiliation was, and that was never a criteria either in deciding who needed a hand up during a down time.  Things have changed so much for many.

    The Catholic church had a history of feeding and helping the poor in places.  I respect that.  I respect anything they have done to ease suffering.  They create suffering too though and believe that the suffering they create is divine.  They are not alone in this.  The fight I had with my cousin recently had me arguing that Christians would not hate the ACA if they understood what it was and I brought up the struggles that Joshua has had and how ACA ended so much of that at least for now.  If I were a good Christian though according to him Josh would have never been born with his syndrome and I wouldn't have to fight anything....God would answer my prayers.

    If any one single event in my life has closed the door on me ever having much respect for most of our current common religions it has been giving birth to my son.  

    If the faith itself is implicated I would have to say that part of the problem lies with the divinization (had to look that up) of priests.  Years back I lived next to a priest who had left the faith, he married a nun.  I think they were having an affair and decided that their faith was unhealthy and they left it to marry.  She was quiet and sad about it I thought but he was pretty vocal that the celibacy thing is unneccessary and it makes adults just a tad crazy to not be able to get their sexual needs met.

    They talked about it on Bill Maher last week too, and Maher (who will not have his sexuality shackled in any way...I kid, I kid Bill Maher) brought up how mentally and emotionally unhealthy it is too and that some evidence exists that most of us can't deny our sexuality but it can get very distorted in attempting to be denied.

    There are some Catholics out there who want their faith and to be emotionally and spiritually healthy at the same time and they have been pushing the Vatican around a bit.  I love the practicing Catholics standing up to their church.  I want them to win.

    Remember when they confronted Murphy at his cabin though and the deaf woman who was caring for Murphy and knew the boys too kept arguing they could not confront him and they must forgive him and move on because they are Catholics?  There is something within the practicing faith that impedes the worshippers too, but some Catholics are challenging that.

    It fascinated me that the signal from Sunday morning Vatican radio is so strong you can hear it on the electric doorbells of Rome.  If I get a chance today, I'll watch it a second time for more detail.  Ruffian kept bringing up House of Cards yesterday. I started watching House of Cards at 9:00 pm when Josh went to sleep (he's sick right now), that was the wrong damned thing to do and I knew it. I watched until 3:00 in the morning.


    Never thought to pray that my Downs daughter would (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by the capstan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:23:38 PM EST
    become something else.  If she were changed, she would not be the daughter I have loved.  Yes, I know she does not suffer physically--tho her life is surely different from that of her 'normal' siblings.  Now when it comes to my gay child, I am deeply sorry that he hears and reads the hatred (to put it bluntly) so many bear him.  But I know the caring, moral person he is, and how could I change him?

    Tracey, I've had many more years to come to terms with these things than you have, but it's my faith, not that of others, that sustained me until my eyes saw my daughter for the blessing (love without self-iinterest) that my daughter really is.  And someday, life will be batter for gays, and perhaps my son will have helped lead the way.

    Hang in there


    I don't mind questioning God (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:43:29 PM EST
    I think I'm becoming somewhat atheist though these days and it is strengthening me more than faith ever did.

    When Josh was born I meditated a lot, I kept feeling at peace and got my love on.  I could not fathom where the for profit insurance company would push us.  Meditation did not save my child nor has it gotten him what he needs.  Faith did not either, the for profit insurance company has their whole system designed to exploit all of that with those who are suffering and could cost them money.  The only thing that saved Joshua was fighting like a motherphucker all the time.  Now most Christians hate Obama, hate ACA or what they seethingly call Obamacasre, ACA has made life somewhat sane for us.  I can't see how I have any room in my life for faith.  Faith in what other than our abilities to fight like motherphuckers :)?  I have simply found myself in a life position that ripped off the veil.  I'm going to have a hell of a time trying to reposition it on....for like forever.  Remember all that imprinting on your brain that occurs right after childbirth?  There is some major anti-religion $hit imprinted on mine now :)  Can't help it, and if there is a God he obviously wanted me this way :)


    No, the only 'imprinting' that I recall (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by the capstan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:13:44 PM EST
    involved being told that I could have a 'normal' life if my daughter died or were put in an institution.  But I am stubborn, and my mom's family taught me how to love my first child just the way she really was.  (As I am sure you do Josh; that's clear from all you write.)

    We've had our battles--to keep her at home (where she would hinder the younger ones' development and cause me to be totally screwed up), to obtain care from medical staff who thought she'd be better off dead, to get her in some sort of school program, to bring her to Sunday School and include her in Scouts,, etc.  My other kids learned some lessons too--to insist, not that she be included in everything, but that she always was to be respected.

    We are all better people than we would have been without her.  And I guess that is because from somewhere I learned to have faith in me.  I sort of think there is God--maybe not the God of the church, but some entity that keeps me going even when I do not want to keep going.  That's my own heretical conclusion and I stand by it.


    I am so sorry (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:49:51 PM EST
    You will never know exactly who you are to the deepest depth until faced with extreme ostracization.  When social stigma/social compact betrayal butts up against the birth of your child, you come to know deeply exactly who you are.  After that you will never forget who you are.

    I rejoice in your knowing and your strength.  You are not confused about what this business called life is about.


    Our battles were different, but (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by the capstan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:22:20 PM EST
    you and I have done pretty well, I think.  Again, hang in there, Tracy; Josh is a winner!

    I think sometimes what these things (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Anne on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:43:38 PM EST
    teach us is how to have faith in ourselves; I think a great deal of strength can come from that, too, but it's not easy.

    I read a wonderful story in the Washington Post magazine today, about a couple named Bill and Shelley.  He has Down's Syndrome and she is mentally disabled from hydrocephalus in utero.  Granted, these are two high-functioning adults, with strong family and community support - not all people with their challenges are so fortunate, and both families faced challenges that those of us with so-called "normal" children didn't.

    As both you and Tracy know, having a child with physical or mental challenges forces you to figure out who you are, too - and I think you quickly figure out that if you don't believe in yourself, those challenges are going to be harder.

    I really think it's people like you and Tracy and your children who help change the world, who help the rest of us see what we need to see in ourselves, and find within us the things that make us - and the world - better.


    thank you, Anne! (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by the capstan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:29:26 PM EST
    I bookmarked that--

    I respect the Catholic church as (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by observed on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:10:19 PM EST
    much as I respect Hamas. Hell, at least Hamas is not full of child rapists (that  I know of), and they DO feed the poor. Don't believe they have massacred whole cities full of heretics---yet.
    Did you read about the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland? For 100 years the RCC used thousands of woman as slave labour to clean priests' garments and the like.
    Look, people have a right to believe any shite they like. It really is a fundamental human right. However---and this is a key point---failing to tax churches creates a magnet for corruption like shiit for flies; also, in my opinion, it goes against the very core meaning of the 1st amendment.

    We have (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:13:47 PM EST
    a special needs ministry at my church and have two children in wheelchairs that we reserve the back row for their families because it is easily accessible for wheelchairs.

    So there are those of us out there but unfortunately the squeaky wheel gets the grease and the fundamentalists get all the attention.


    Ga, a thought (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:47:28 PM EST
    You note:

    they don't do weddings or funerals or provide any of the traditional ceremonies that a lot of mainstream churches do.

    Neither did Jesus.


    Somebody did them: (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by the capstan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:55:03 PM EST
    Jesus attended a wedding--and rescinded a burial.

    Oh, (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:15:56 PM EST
    did Jesus profess to be the leader of a church? Jesus would be more akin to the street preachers of today the majority of which probably do no have a church. I guess I could start declaring my house a church if I got a few people to come over and give me a few bucks for speaking on something in the bible.

    You know, that works for me (none / 0) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:09:02 AM EST
    Even laying aside the good that the various religious groups do....

    But I ask you. Would you also remove all tax deductions for other charitable organizations?

    And can I assume you would stop all government funding of the various "non profits?"

    And would you tax their contributions?


    Good (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 04:02:53 PM EST

    When you call a religion a "charitable organization" is where the trouble begins.

    Are Churches spending all of their money on charitable activities?
    I don't think so.
    The edifices are too splendid and the salaries too elevated.

    And, they spend money trying to influence government policy.
    That might be the biggest "tell".

    Is giving to a Catholic Church the same as giving to the ACLU? Good question. I don't think so. But, it is a good question.

    When it comes to feeding the needy, the American government is supposed to be doing that. Churches should not be doing what the government should be doing. That is not sufficient reason to fund a religion. That is a reason to defund it and to instead lobby the government to spend its money on people instead of bombs.

    Technically that is the crux of the issue.

    All I can say is that my gut tells me that these religions have an agenda that is too specific to them. The good work that they might be doing, might be doing, seems to me to be secondary to their general agenda - which appears to me to be to erect gigantic elaborate edifices and to create and handsomely support a decadent bureaucracy


    I would not have a problem (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 04:35:10 PM EST
    with churches, synagogues, temples, whatever, being able to write off as charitable contributions those moneys which go to actual charities, and helping those who cannot help themselves, etc.  
    But any money that they make that is going to maintaining or expanding their buildings, paying their ministers, and especially, trying to influence government policy, then, no, that money should be taxed.  Just as our salaries are taxed, and so is any money that we may give to the DNC and the RNC, for instance.  

    The question remains. (1.00 / 2) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:12:26 PM EST
    Would you also remove all tax deductions for other charitable organizations?? To be plainer, that would be deductions from federal and state income taxes.

    Would you agree that Planned Parenthood gets no tax payer funds along with United Way and Catholic Charities??

    Now, if you remove all tax deductions associated with these organizations, and all religious groups and if you tax them as you would any other business what right would you have to say how they spend their income??

    As things exist now I agree that many denominations spend money on things they should not. The Catholic Church probably leads that group, but many do not. Buildings are modest and so are salaries. Removing the tax deduction and taxing their incomes would definitely harm them.

    So treating them as a "business" is as simple as it first seems. I think we can agree on that.

    And no, it is not the government's job to feed the needy. A safety net? Fine. But all the other stuff?? Telling us eating Big Mac's are bad for us? That's nuts. If you don't know that then public education has failed and we should start over. But we won't. We've went from Teddy's reforms to banning big gulps proving once again that once the camel gets his nose under the tent he will soon be in our beds.


    I think (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:31:13 PM EST
    you could probably separate out churches from the rest. Churches are not completely charitable organizations and a lot of the charity that churches is really done by individual members.

    The churches could claim the donations that they make to charitable organizations just like you or I do.


    None of you folks want to do the 100% thing (1.00 / 1) (#58)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:39:04 PM EST
    You all have your biases. I say:

    Have churches pay taxes on all income and property.

    Eliminate all tax deductions for contributions to churches and/or non-profits and politicians.

    Eliminate all tax paper dollars going to non-profits. No grants. Nothing.

    Have non-profits pay taxes on all income and property.

    I mean, you wanna be fair... don't ya?


    There is no need ... (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:51:07 PM EST
    ... to eliminate tax deductions for all charities if you remove it for religious organizations (i.e. there is no "separation of charitable organization and state"), although it would certainly be something to consider.  At the very least, however, groups that benefit from charitable tax deductions should be closely regulated.

    BTW - Your focus on the Catholic Church is interesting.  I have no idea whether the Catholic Church spends more on non-necessities than other churches and neither do you, given that churches aren't required to publish their budgets.


    the catholic church (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:11:42 PM EST
    interferes more in the lives of non members than other denominations. In addition Lentinel referenced the Catholic Bishops and their latest attempts at social engineering by demanding special dispensation from covering birth control.

    Not the issue (none / 0) (#54)
    by Yman on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:01:01 PM EST
    Jim claimed that:

    As things exist now I agree that many denominations spend money on things they should not. The Catholic Church probably leads that group, but many do not.

    My point was that he had no way of knowing which denominations spent money on "things they shouldn't", given that churches aren't required to publish their budgets - as they are in some countries.


    Aww, and you started so good. (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:59:16 PM EST
    You see, all the organizations you named are not analogous insofar as their tax status should be.  Take the Catholic Church, for instance. As Ms Zorba offered, The percentage of their work that could be defined as "charitable" would be tax deductible. And, that would include the percentage of salaries and real estate used for those activities. The deduction would be very similar to the one any citizen could take for using a room in their house as an office.

    And, that same formula would be used for "for profit" businesses also. Naturally, a much smaller percentage of a business`s income would be deductible because a much smaller percentage of their income would be dedicated to charitable purposes.

    So, you see, treating them "all the same" really is that simple.

    And, I'm not going to bother addressing your other "simple" Glenn Beck talking points: Big Macs, Big Gulps, etc. Cause, taking that to its logical conclusion, you'll be telling us that Businesses shouldn't be wasting their money on silly things like having to tell us what's even in the food they sell us.

    But, at least you finished with a good joke, a joke that only you could tell. You agree with Government supplying a "safety net," but, Government has no business "feeding the poor."

    LOL, Hardy, Har, Har

    Good one, Jim.


    I see bully shooter shows up... (1.00 / 1) (#59)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:45:33 PM EST
    You again prove that in today's world it is impossible to be a liberal. If I say a safety net is fine but the government shouldn't be wasting money on banning big gulps I am a Glen Beck kinda guy.

    Really?? Is that the best you can do?

    Hardy what??? lol...

    Did you enjoy last week's snow?? Nashville always does so well with it.


    Exactly so, Shooter (none / 0) (#24)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:48:06 PM EST
    Exactly so.

    Hey, don't credit me (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:13:19 AM EST
    when it comes to Jim,

    They write their own.



    I Think... (none / 0) (#76)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:14:52 PM EST
    ...you are confusing charitable organization with non-profit organization.

    Churches operate for profit, and their main goal is not philanthropic.  The Catholic church is the largest land owner in the world.

    From a tax perspective, they are treated differently, except of course religious organizations, which are treated entirely different for entirely different reasons.  

    They are tax exempt because people do not want the government intruding into their business, not true of any non-profit or charitable organizations.  The government can't examine their records, financial or otherwise, which is not true of charitable/non-profit organizations.

    For the record, I don't really feel like jets, homes, cars, and big screen TV's are things any entity or person should be sheltered from paying taxes from.  But once we decide they can't operate in this manor, they lose their freedom from government interference.  And as much as I hate religion, I respect it enough to know the government needs to stay out.  Especially with it's newly founded disrespect of the very document that it is sworn to uphold.  But I suspect that National Security, if it already hasn't, will certainly trump religion's right from intrusion soon enough.

    My point, is their is no analogy or comparison to any other entity for religion.  They are their own beast that operates entirely out of the the governments grasp.


    largest landowner.

    One of the biggest? Yes, at about 276,000 sq miles it's ranked "merely" 3rd in the world.

    Here's 1 & 2:

    With her 6.6 billion acres, Elizabeth II is far and away the world's largest landowner, with the closest runner-up (King Abdullah) holding control over a mere 547 million, or about 12% of the lands owned by Her Majesty, The Queen.

    King Abdullah (none / 0) (#79)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:53:17 PM EST
    Nurtritional information (none / 0) (#80)
    by jondee on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 03:06:26 PM EST
    would fall under the under the general "education" category I think..

    You can always ignore it the way you ignore information about manmade greenhouse gases..

    Whats the problem? Michele talked about obesity, so proper nutrition must be another socialist conspiracy?  


    1. There is no separation of (none / 0) (#43)
    by TeresaInPa on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:48:26 PM EST
    politics and religion.  No separation of public figure and faith.  We can tell politicians to shut up and vote for the other person.  That is our best solution.
    2.  If we tax churches and other religious institutions then we have to put up with them using their resources to control communities.  Imagine if Saint Swithens in the Swamp was the largest employer and richest tax payer in Swamp town?  Now they get to control the town council, etc etc... because the town is dependent on/beholden to the church for most of it's revenue.  
    Not a good idea.

    There are churches that go over the line and act as political organizations.  They should lose tax exempt status.  But just pretending that all churches function as businesses that we somehow subsidize is not accurate.  The Founders knew what they were doing and the SCOTUS all these years have held up the work of the Founders. Yet it has become trendy the last few years for people on blogs to decide they know better.  


    I don't really get your (none / 0) (#72)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:18:44 AM EST
    kind of bizarre, "If you tax Them, They will own us," notion. I would think taxing Them would tend to weaken Them, no?

    Anyway, my reasoning for taxing Churches, and all religious entities, is pretty simple. I just don't understand what taxes have to do with the, "making of any law respecting an establishment of religion," as stated in the first amendment. In fact, I'm pretty sure a Constitutional scholar could make a good case that granting churches tax exempt taxes is expressly forbidden in that amendment.

    By not taxing churches the government is directly subsidizing them, and giving them an advantage over everyone else. Isn't that a textbook example of "promoting religion?" Why should they get all the advantages, such as police & fire protection, and force all ordinary citizens to pay, not only their fair share, but the church's share as well? What a weird  notion, making atheists pay double so that churches get a free ride. Isn't there something in the Constitution about "unreasonable search & seizure?" What could be more "unreasonable" than making non-religious folks pay more than they should have to so that the religious ones don't pay anything?

    I could go on about why I think granting churches tax-exempt status is a misapplication of the first amendment. But, as you've already stated, it's been adjudicated over the years, and my side has lost. But, just because prior Supreme Courts have ruled in the Church's favor, as Justice Scalia has shown us, that doesn't mean it was right, fair, or justifiable.


    Here's some thoughts and history (none / 0) (#74)
    by jbindc on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:47:47 AM EST
    Juice is flowin'... (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by kdog on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:36:13 AM EST
    looks like about 2.5 feet or so of white wet stuff here in Western Suffolk county, more the further east ya go.  Drivers stranded all over the LIE, our major highways/parkways are closed.  

    Nice score when I went out to start shoveling, a guy in a bobcat rolled by...plowed all my sh*t for 20 bucks, he's gonna make a killin' today! That'll save me muscles for football tomorrow...snow games!

    Today it's a big breakfast and a cabin fever smokefest...stay safe and warm y'all!  

    do you drive? (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:10:48 AM EST
    I never minded that stuff when I lived there cause I never had a car.

    we have so far gotten off pretty easy this year.  knock wood.

    meet Little Sh!t


    Aww... (none / 0) (#71)
    by sj on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:00:30 AM EST
    what a cutie.

    Thank gawd for Air Train! (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 10:12:54 AM EST
    While you're stuck inside (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 10:39:06 AM EST
    check out the shooting percentage stats from Lebron over the last 4 games.

    I heard from (none / 0) (#12)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 01:28:12 PM EST
    Daughter Zorba, who lives in Brooklyn.  They didn't get nearly as much snow as you did.  She said the streets are clear, and they can get out and about if they want.
    We haven't been able to get a hold of one of our friends in Boston- his cell phone service appears to be out (he doesn't have a land-line).  Our other Boston friend seems to be okay- she emailed us pictures of all the snow around where she lives.  There's a whole lot of it!
    And I'm glad that you're okay, kdog, and have electricity!  Keep safe!

    A very (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:59:37 AM EST
    brief but eloquent statement by Jullian Assange is available here.

    It relates to the ongoing practice by this administration of having secret kill lists, and exercising their perceived right to target and kill American citizens and others at will - without due process and accountable to no one.

    Assange seems more American to me than the Americans in both the legislative and executive branches of our present government. He also seems more knowledgeable and caring about our constitution than most American citizens.

    Power still on here (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CST on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 11:34:52 AM EST
    Although there is no T service and a travel ban is still in effect.  Luckily we've got plenty of food and wine in the house.  My neighbors right over the bridge in Quincy were not so lucky as the entire town has lost power.  This is the biggest snowfall I've seen in the city since I was in Pittsburgh in 2003 and not alive during the blizzard of '78.  Right now the new big fear is flooding.

    My mother is stuck in Miami right now, they already told her the earliest flight she can get is on Monday.  We told her to enjoy the beach and let us handle the shoveling.

    Cold but clear and windy here in MD; (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:31:35 PM EST
    one of those days with crystal-clear skies.

    But, really, really windy.

    I wouldn't mind a couple days of being forced to stay inside, but if that's going to happen, perhaps Mother Nature could arrange her visit for a weekday...but maybe Ma Nature is still cutting us a break for the Snowmageddon of 2011, and will spare us again this winter.

    Guess we'll see soon enough!

    More amateur Rambos (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:52:50 PM EST
    The self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" is joining forces with action movie star Steven Seagal to train volunteer armed posse members to defend Phoenix-area schools against gunmen.

    Oyyyyyyy ...

    {head desk} (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:48:11 PM EST
    The volunteers, dressed in uniforms and driving patrol vehicles -- some authorized to carry guns after training -- won't go onto school grounds unless they spot danger, but will instead patrol around the facilities, Arpaio said.

    I'm guessing some will carry guns authorized or not . . . . I'd like to know what their idea of "spot danger" is . . . .


    I don't know about you, (none / 0) (#26)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:50:43 PM EST
    nycstray, but I think I'm ready for a good, stiff Jack Daniels on ice.  {{Sigh}}

    Just thankful I don't have (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:21:25 PM EST
    school age kids in AZ . . . .

    Teenagers they don't recognize ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:35:55 PM EST
    ... walking around, ... wearing hoodies, ...

    What could (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:49:05 PM EST
    possibly go wrong with this idea???
    I mean, the combination of Arpaio and Seagal.  
    This is the ultimate wet dream of would-be "tough guys," after all.

    Don't forget those Goth kids either . . . . (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:19:24 PM EST
    So much for the storm of (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:27:46 AM EST
    the century, at least as to NY, NY. Walked three blocks to E train.  Sidewalks were clear. Crossing street I encountered slush but a guy carried my suitcase over it. Another guy carried it down the subway steps. Streets viewed from Air Train in Long Island were plowed and sun was out. Blue sky. Flight actually left early.

    I am (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by lentinel on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:26:40 AM EST
    out of town but was able to see what was happening in the Big Apple by tuning into the Times Square webcam.



    when I lived there (none / 0) (#52)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:03:31 AM EST
    we always looked forward to this kind of thing.  so quiet

    Quite an improvement. (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by lentinel on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:23:39 AM EST
    One of the ways that Obama has distinguished himself from one of G W Bush's god-awful practices:

    By emphasizing drone strikes, Mr. Obama need not bother with the tricky issues of detention and interrogation because terrorists tracked down on his watch are generally incinerated from the sky, not captured and questioned.

    That's what I call progress.

    "Who'll Stop the Rain" is a good film. (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by EL seattle on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:11:52 AM EST
    I know that Robert Stone purists were dissatisfied with it, but Stone's a tough writer to adapt for movies. (But I also liked "WUSA", so what do I know.) I think that the movie did a really good job of capturing the period of transition that happened as the optimism of Woodstock gave way to the cynicism of Altamont.

    "Who'll Stop the Rain" had a terrific cast. Nick Nolte, Michael Moriarty and Tuesday Weld and the supporing cast all seemed to take advantage of the opportunity to give solid performances. Too often, those actors have been trapped in movies that didn't offer them much of a chance to show how excellent they can actually be.

    Also, "Who'll Stop the Rain" has the best movie use of a Hank Snow song, ever. Thanks for mentioning the film.

    I See it's on Netflix (none / 0) (#77)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:20:28 PM EST
    If you do have power and Netflix (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:27:23 AM EST
    I highly recommend a snowed in weekend binge viewing of their new series House of Cards.

    I have no such weather excuse for the daytime...will wait for the evening to finish my binge. I already posted in the previous thread about it, but Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are 'must see'.

    Good luck everyone- stay safe.

    I met her once, briefly, back in the day...

    Ahhh Princess Buttercup (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 03:09:38 PM EST
    She would have stolen my heart.

    One of my top 3 movies. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 05:35:05 PM EST
    And it's on TV every week, it seems. My kids & I know every line.

    Oh, lord (none / 0) (#27)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 06:56:03 PM EST
    My kids are not only able to quote every line from The Princess Bride, they are also able to quote every line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    It gets pretty interesting when we all get together, I must say.   ;-)

    You yellow bastards, come back here and (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:21:37 PM EST
    take what's coming to you! I'll bite your legs off!

    Oh, just don't (none / 0) (#31)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:51:12 PM EST
    start, sarc.  I get enough of it with the Zorba kids.    ;-)

    Don't start? (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:41:06 PM EST

    On a side note, I watched Moneyball tonight for the first time, and who should pop up in a bit role as Billy Beane's ex-wife but Princess Buttercup.


    My name (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:04:36 PM EST
    is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.

    I (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:02:19 AM EST
    remember the BBC's "House of Cards" starring Ian Richardson.

    As I recall, it held my attention.

    But I think you are referring to a newer version with which I am as yet unfamiliar. I don't have Netflix, but I intend to seek it out.


    American version of BBC House of Cards (none / 0) (#8)
    by DFLer on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 10:44:47 AM EST
    produced by Netflix...that's a new one for original content.

    I think it's ONLY available on Netflix streaming, at least for now.

    Sign up for a free month!


    I finally (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 07:51:56 PM EST
    cracked under the stress today and sat down and cried for about an hour. I guess the dam just burst.  A friend of mine is going through similar stuff and is now getting ready to sell her house.

    Oh, sweetie (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:10:01 PM EST
    I am so sorry.  Is your husband's job situation still bad?  What is going on with the possible "short sale" of your house?  Not that a short sale is at all ideal, given that you still have to move from your beloved house and deal with all of that. One of my brothers and his wife had to declare bankruptcy and walk away from their house- this was so, so terrible for them, and their kids.
    I am sending you many, many hugs and best wishes.  Please know that we are all thinking of you.

    Yes, (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 08:50:09 PM EST
    he took the pay cut back in October versus not having a job which is understandable. Right now the payment is taking up 50% of our monthly income so we can probably hold on for a while like this but I know this cannot continue for very long. So instead of being shoved up against a wall having to make a last minute decision, I have checked into a short sale and all the other options out there but have done nothing as of right now.

    Thanks Zorba! We are trying to get a mortgage modification but I am not hopeful on that one. If they could lower the payment a couple of hundred dollars a month we could probably afford to stay. Maybe we will be one of the lucky few that actually gets one but I'm not holding my breath.


    Very, very (5.00 / 5) (#38)
    by Zorba on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 09:00:39 PM EST
    Best of luck to you and your family!

    best of luck to you and yours (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:02:29 AM EST
    I thank Crom every night that I was lucky enough to cash out a 401k and buy this or I would be in the same place.  

    Thanks (none / 0) (#68)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:24:33 PM EST
    I'm glad you're not having to deal with it either.

    I'm sure you've told us, but (none / 0) (#45)
    by NYShooter on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:22:23 AM EST
    what State is your home in, if I may ask?

    Georgia (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:24:03 PM EST
    the home of the most corrupt government in the US and that's saying something.

    Hm, I was hoping it was N.Y. (none / 0) (#73)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:05:47 AM EST
    New York has some of strictest foreclosure laws in the country. The judges mostly tend to be very homeowner friendly and have made actual foreclosure very difficult for the banks. I know there must be exceptions to what I'm saying, so those of you frothing at the mouth to prove me wrong, save your breath. (I use terms such as "virtually & mostly") Just within walking distance of my house in NY I know of two families who are still living in their home five full years after first being notified of foreclosure action, and one family, seven years. I've even read articles in the papers of banks simply giving up, and clean title reverting to the homeowner.

    But, anyway Ga6, my point isn't to make you feel worse about your situation, or your geography. It's just to let you know that the banks don't always have you over a barrel, as many homeowners believe. The fact that you stated you might be able to make the payments if the bank were only reasonable in modifying your loan would seem to me to be a pretty positive thing. Banks are getting a really vicious beating in the headlines every day regarding their horrid practices vis-à-vis modifications.

    I guess my advice to you would be to talk to your lawyer (assuming you have a lawyer) about the things I've mentioned in this post. Ask him, or her, if there's any corresponding laws in Georgia to the ones in NY. You can even refer to the examples I've mentioned here and ask him/her if there's anything similar in Ga. I'm not a lawyer, so I can only relay things from my personal experience. But, one thing I've discovered is that the banks rely on the fear that homeowners are gripped in after receiving that first foreclosure notice. From what I've read about your situation, maybe asking your lawyer if taking a somewhat more aggressive position towards the bank might be fruitful in regards to a more beneficial modification.

    Anyway, my best wishes to you, and don't be shy about asking me anything you'd like to ask me. (my email is in my profile)


    Thanks (none / 0) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:11:31 AM EST
    for the advice. My understanding is that the laws in GA are stacked against the consumer and they will come after you full force. A friend of mine had a second mortgage on her home and it got foreclosed. She did talk to a lawyer and he said just to wait and see what they do because they may drop it. He told her to do nothing unless they file suit and then you will probably need to file bankruptcy.

    Oh honey (none / 0) (#81)
    by sj on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:13:37 PM EST
    I'm so sorry. It has to be so incredibly frightening as well as demoralizing.  Add my hugs and best wishes to Zorba's.

    Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:21:35 PM EST
    Hopefully we will get some good news one day.

    Good news is coming (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by jbindc on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:15:41 AM EST
    I have faith!

    You know what? (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by sj on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 11:15:16 AM EST
    I'll add my faith to jb's and give it some welly.  I'll hold onto it for you for a while, if that's alright.