Wednesday Open Thread

Here's an open thread, all topics welcome. (Except Zimmerman.)

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    A judicial ear, albeit a tin one. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 03:27:38 PM EST
    Apparently, Chief Justice Roberts has heard that Americans want a government that listens to them, not one that listens-in on them.  A step or two ahead of some legislators working to change FISA that now gives the Chief Justice the unilateral power to assign federal judges to the 11-member FISC and the 3-member review panel, Roberts has named  Democratic-appointed (Clinton) judge  Jose Cabranes,  to the panel that hears rare appeals of the FISC rulings.  Cabranes is hardly a liberal counterweight to conservatives on privacy rights.

    Roberts has tended to assign judges who were appointed by a Republican.  Of the present 14 FISA assignments, two were Democratic- appointees (both considered conservatives).

    A Court that is secret not just in its specific rulings, but in how it works and how it decides, needs a trustworthy process for appointments, starting with structural assurances for an ideologic mix especially on matters of privacy.  Hopefully, Congress and the president will not be bowled over by Roberts sudden attention to credibility.

    From that same article: (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 03:38:24 PM EST
    Although Judge Cabranes was appointed to United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Bill Clinton, he is considered among the more conservative-leaning Democratic appointees on crime and security issues. In 2005, some supporters - including Michael Mukasey, who later became President George W. Bush's attorney general - floated his name as a potential Supreme Court nominee. "Of the Democratic appointees, he is more of a centrist than most," said Daniel Richman, a Columbia professor who specializes in criminal law.


    Judge Cabranes, who has never served in the executive branch, is not a liberal counterweight to conservatives on privacy rights, legal experts said. In 2009, he was on a panel that dismissed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a group of lawyers seeking to know whether they had been wiretapped under the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. While his opinion did not say whether the program was legal, he wrote that there was "no evidence" that the National Security Agency was keeping the information secret "for the purpose of concealing activities that violate the Constitution or are otherwise illegal."

    Cabranes is a bone meant to quiet the rumblings of those who don't think there's anything the least little bit "independent" or "bipartisan" about the FISA court.

    I guess they really do think we're that stupid.


    No wonder... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 03:43:47 PM EST
    fast food workers are planning a Labor day action...they'd be better off financially on welfare in most states.  Since they work in fast food, they are used to suffering indignity anyway, so the adjustment might not be too bad.

    Of course Cato says this proves welfare is too generous (lol), I say it's Exhibit Z that proves the minimum wage is a cruel joke with no basis in the reality of cost of living.

    Sh*t, look out Donald because my arse would be better off on welfare in your fine state...maybe I'll move.  But I don't do indignity too well...tough call.

    Well, since many on welfare (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by nycstray on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:20:18 PM EST
    get their medical covered, and many minimum wage workers prob can't afford coverage, I'm guessing that's part of the higher 'hourly wage' welfare recipients are receiving.

    Good point... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:17:54 AM EST
    wonder if they factored in the public assistance low wage workers often qualify for and receive...aka the corporate welfare.

    Not sure that minimum wage ... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:27:27 PM EST
    argument works for most people.

    I think they might be better off showing how minimal the price increases would need to be for them to get a living wage.

    I've seen the math on it.  It's pennies.  And it would still allow for special promotions like dollar menus and so on.

    I think many people are afraid that if fast food workers are given a living wage, the prices would skyrocket.  And they really wouldn't need to.


    Not really (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:51:27 PM EST
    I've seen the math on it.  It's pennies.  And it would still allow for special promotions like dollar menus and so on.

    Except the guy who made the claim (Arnobio Morelix, an undergrad at the University of Kansas) excluded many things from his calculation, including the company's franchise model, which would significantly change the results. Even the Huffington Post, who broke the story, has basically retracted it, because Morelix' numbers don't really add up.

    If Janney is right (and I'm a bit skeptical. Five percent margins seem awfully low), McDonald's franchisees in the US pay out, very roughly, $7.4 billion in labor costs a year and make about $1.6 billion in operating profit. Doubling pay without dipping into profit would mean menu prices would have to rise 24 percent--and that's assuming such price increases wouldn't hurt sales, which they would.


    The answer is:  no one really knows what would happen. Prices could go up, or more likely, McDonald's (along with all other fast food businesess) would curtail other labor costs by reducing the number of total staff.  So, in theory, you could have people being paid more - a "living wage", but fewer people working.

    Mind you - I'm all for paying people more money.  But by trying to spread bad information with false logic is not the way to go about doing it.


    Yes, spreading false information ... (4.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:24:08 PM EST
    with bad logic isn't helpful.  But you still did it.  Offering some of the hoariest of logic free arguments going.

    Really? (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:26:25 PM EST
    Leaving out vital information in making caluculations and assumptions on how a business model actually works,which EVERYONE with credibility (including the people who first ran with the story)is "logic free"?

    O-kay.  You go on believing your fantasy land ideals.  Leave the hard stuff for people who actually, you know, think.


    Whatever. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:34:33 PM EST
    I'm not going tit-for-tat with you.

    Do some study on price sensitivity in fast food consumers.  And you'll quickly realize you're parroting fat cat nonsense.


    You really think (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:39:33 PM EST
    an undergrad came up with a theory that no one had before? One that could change the face of low wage jobs?  

    If McDonald's could raise people's wages to $15, and only their prices by as little as 68 cents for a Big Mac, (assuming no sales loss at all from raised prices), and keep all their other costs constant, while still maintaining their profit level, wouldn't it be good business for them to do that?  "Hey - we pay our employees a great wage, AND we still get to make a great profit!" Gee, I wonder why they haven't thought of that yet?

    Jeebus - if I could ignore 40+% of my monthly costs, while maintaining the same incoming revenue (as AM's model does), I'd be rolling in the dough!  How can I sign up for that?


    I'm not qualified to respond (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:43:02 AM EST
    to the study itself, but I do recall that one of Henry Ford's policies that did prove out was to pay his workers enough to buy his cars. So I don't think it's really a new theory.

    Also, I wanted to say that you have a real disdain for undergrads and high school drop-outs. Lack of a degree doesn't mean that one is incapable of higher thought. Nor does a degree ensure that one is capable of critical thinking.


    Really? (none / 0) (#42)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:44:44 AM EST
    Also, I wanted to say that you have a real disdain for undergrads and high school drop-outs. Lack of a degree doesn't mean that one is incapable of higher thought. Nor does a degree ensure that one is capable of critical thinking.

    Not sure how you got that out of my comment, but your leap of logic is not a surprise, as it is common with you. THAT's what I have a disdain for.

    My point was that this guy is an undergrad and he made an attempt at a theory - one that economists, politicians, business titans, and everyday people have been struggling with, andyet he comes up with a theory that everyone quickly jumped on without actually doing the math.  It was a good attempt and it started a conversation.  But instead of focusing on the fact that his theory left out a HUGE chunk information, and came up with faulty results (those results which have been widely proven to be false, with the exceptions of the hanger-oners like MSNBC), you instead to come up with the fantasy that I have disdain for those without education because you don't like what I have to say because it doesn't comport with your little view of the world and how life works in reality.

    With this comment, YOU have shown that you are incapable of higher thought in this case.


    And a hyper-libertarian (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:05:38 PM EST
    who just happened to be the Koch Bros house pet economist, was awarded the Nobel Prize a few years back. So much for formal credentials and accolades as a reliable measure of credibility.

    "Business Titans"..I love it.


    LOL, I used your own words (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:40:50 PM EST
    To get that out of your comment
    You really think (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:39:33 PM MDT

    an undergrad came up with a theory that no one had before?

    All your Snowden "high school drop-out" comments are another. But you have left lots of clues.

    It doesn't matter if the guy was an undergrad, a PhD, graduate student or savant. Discuss the theory, not the credentials. But you love you some credentials.

    You really don't know what you reveal about yourself over time, do you? And that "you" wasn't necessarily applied just to the jb "you", although it is  true about the jb "you" as well. You just pretty much have disdain. Period.

    That may be a "lower" thought but I can live with that ::shrug:: your disdain is so consistent as to be meaningless when expressed. Although the shrillness gets irritating. wev

    FTR however, I don't have disdain for you personally, only for some of your attitudes. You find good stuff. No one as all one thing.


    I read something the other day that (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:23:50 AM EST
    speaks to your question, about a growing company called WinCo:

    WinCo, a small, employee-owned grocery store chain based in Boise, Idaho, is able to beat Walmart's prices on goods while providing its employees with good benefits.

    The company, which will soon have close to 100 stores with the latest openings in Texas, has almost 15,000 employees. Those who work at the store long enough qualify for a pension plan into which the company puts an amount equal to 20 percent of their yearly pay. More than 400 "front-line" workers -- clerks, cashiers, and others who are not at the executive level -- have retirement accounts that are worth at least $1 million, according to a company spokesman.

    It also provides full health benefits for those who work at least 24 hours a week, beyond the requirements in the Affordable Care Act. While the company is private and hasn't made wage information available, Glassdoor reports that cashiers and clerks make more than $11 an hour. Thanks to these benefits and wages, the company has low turnover. An industry analyst estimated that the average hourly worker stays with the company for more than eight years.


    Yet WinCo's prices are often lower than Walmart's. To drive them down, the company doesn't rely on distributors to get products and instead sends its own trucks to get food and other goods in bulk, which can amount to a 10 to 50 percent discount. It requires that customers bag their own groceries to cut down on the cost of a worker doing it for them. It doesn't take credit cards to eliminate the processing fees. And its stands and displays are "pragmatic" and "lack frills."

    I'd also note that it is employee-owned, which likely also makes a difference.

    But here you have an example of a business that is managing to make money AND provide a living wage and excellent benefits for its employees.

    It can be done.


    And Costco has long proved this to be true (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by shoephone on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:38:47 AM EST
    Good wages, good benefits, profits for the company. Happy employees, happy owners. I see some of the same people working at Costco today that I saw there 20 years ago!

    Of course it (2.00 / 3) (#145)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:46:31 PM EST
    Can be done, but it also means ZERO jobs for those who for whatever reasons cannot be that productive. For $15 you won't hire McD employees, you get reliable people who put work first over other obligations like school and kids.

    People of all skill levels should be able to find work that suits their abilities and that means either subsidy or removing the minimum wage.


    Winco (none / 0) (#122)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:14:50 PM EST
    Looks like a bulk foods giant warehouse store, why compare them to WalMart that even in large stores tends to have fewer grocery items than normal local stores?

    What sort of wages do people get at Costco or Sams club?


    That whooshing sound is the (5.00 / 3) (#124)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:29:02 PM EST
    point, going right over your head.  The point is that the business model of paying people well and providing them with good benefits works; the company in question isn't losing money, it's growing and expanding.

    As for your other question, you should be as capable as the rest of us of doing basic research, so I suggest you spend some time with your search engine of choice, and answer your own questions.

    One thing that's glaringly obvious: you didn't even follow the link provided for you, or you'd know what the folks at Costco are making.


    Do you know how to do internet searches?? (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 01:32:14 AM EST
    Honestly, instead of asking inane questions, try doing your own internet searches. There is TONS of information on Costco's business practices and employee wages and benefits. Try this article on for size -- from 2006 -- which compares Costco wages and benefits with those of Sam's Club.

    Though the businesses are direct competitors and quite similar overall, a remarkable disparity shows up in their wage and benefits structures. The average wage at Costco is $17 an hour. Wal-Mart does not break out the pay of its Sam's Club workers, but a full-time worker at Wal-Mart makes $10.11 an hour on average, and a variety of sources suggest that Sam's Club's pay scale is similar to Wal-Mart's. A 2005 New York Times article by Steven Greenhouse reported that at $17 an hour, Costco's average pay is 72% higher than Sam's Club's ($9.86 an hour). Interviews that a colleague and I conducted with a dozen Sam's Club employees in San Francisco and Denver put the average hourly wage at about $10. And a 2004 BusinessWeek article by Stanley Holmes and Wendy Zellner estimated Sam's Club's average hourly wage at $11.52.

    On the benefits side, 82% of Costco employees have health-insurance coverage, compared with less than half at Wal-Mart. And Costco workers pay just 8% of their health premiums, whereas Wal-Mart workers pay 33% of theirs. Ninety-one percent of Costco's employees are covered by retirement plans, with the company contributing an annual average of $1,330 per employee, while 64 percent of employees at Sam's Club are covered, with the company contributing an annual average of $747 per employee.

    Costco's practices are clearly more expensive, but they have an offsetting cost-containment effect: Turnover is unusually low, at 17% overall and just 6% after one year's employment. In contrast, turnover at Wal-Mart is 44% a year, close to the industry average.

    And this Bloomberg News article is from June 6, 2013 (recent enough for you?) which shows that Costso'c averge wage is now more than $20 per hour, with Wal-Mart still lagging far behind.

    Despite the sagging economy and challenges to the industry, Costco pays its hourly workers an average of $20.89 an hour, not including overtime (vs. the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour). By comparison, Walmart said its average wage for full-time employees in the U.S. is $12.67 an hour, according to a letter it sent in April to activist Ralph Nader. Eighty-eight percent of Costco employees have company-sponsored health insurance; Walmart says that "more than half" of its do. Costco workers with coverage pay premiums that amount to less than 10 percent of the overall cost of their plans. It treats its employees well in the belief that a happier work environment will result in a more profitable company. "I just think people need to make a living wage with health benefits," says Jelinek. "It also puts more money back into the economy and creates a healthier country. It's really that simple."

    In February, Jelinek set Costco's convictions in ink, writing a public letter at the behest of Nader, urging Congress to increase the federal minimum wage for the first time since 2009. "We know it's a lot more profitable in the long term to minimize employee turnover and maximize employee productivity, commitment and loyalty,"

    Price sensitivity (none / 0) (#39)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:48:32 AM EST

    There is enormous price sensitivity among a large fraction of fast food customers.  Micky D's dollar menu would be no more if they could raise price without hurting the bottom line.



    Remember the 99 cent whopper (none / 0) (#123)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:21:47 PM EST
    Ah those were the days. Short on money one year we had a birthday party for my son at Burger King for about $20 including buying a cake, whoppers and drinks for all, and a few hours in the playground.

    Restaurants have been closing right and left over the last few years, not fast food, but Sizzler, HomeTown Buffet, many of mid priced places lost a lot of locations. When money is tight the first thing most families do is eat at home.


    "Remember the 99 cent whopper"? (5.00 / 4) (#134)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:22:41 AM EST
    Yes, I do -- but that was over two decades ago. If your earning power and spending capacity has eroded in the 20-plus years since, that's because middle- and working-class incomes have both stagnated and even receded, and have failed to keep up with the actual and true rate of inflation.

    That's primarily due neither to massive government overspending on social programs or minority welfare queens on the make, but to the pursuit of shortsighted economic policies by the powers-that-be which placed the short-term profit taking of a relatively wealthy few shareholders over the long-term needs of the far larger but not-so-wealthy working and middle classes (discussed below), and which encouraged and rewarded the massive outsourcing of good-paying manufacturing jobs overseas to vastly cheaper labor markets -- ultimately leaving our own U.S. workdorce high and dry, and twisting in a very cold and sour wind.

    Further, lots of small businesses, not just restaurant franchises, have been compelled to close their doors since the Great Recession began back in the late summer of 2008. Yet you continue to repeatedly advocate the same reactionary and failed economic policies that got us here in the first place. When you find yourself in a hole, isn't it wise to cease digging, rather than accelerate the excavation to nowhere?

    A comprehensive economic survey on wealth and power conducted by G. William Domhoff, Ph.D., of the Univ. of California at Santa Cruz found that in 2010, 91.6% of all shares of common stock in this country are owned and held by the wealthiest 20% of Americans, while the remaining 80% of us hold only a 8.4% stake in the stock market.

    Further, that same survey shows that in 2010, the wealthiest 20% of Americans owned an astonishing 88.9% of all financial assets and net worth in the United States, yet simultaneously accounted for only 64.3% of all local, state and federal tax revenues collected. Again, that means the remaining 80% of us, who own only 11.1% of our nation's financial assets and net worth, are responsible for providing 35.7% of all government revenues.

    Finally, the survey reveals that the share of our nation's wealth owned by the richest 1% of Americans nearly doubled during the period of 1976-1995, from 19.9% to 38.5%. While that share has since receded back slightly to 35.6% in 2010, that still represents an astonishing 44% increase in the top 1%'s share of wealth over a 35-year period.

    Therefore, should you now be thinking, "Wow! What's wrong with this picture?", then welcome back to the real world of today.

    If you're truly interested in learning why your own earning power and financial position has eroded over the previous few decades, I'd strongly suggest that Dr. Domhoff's study is the responsible place to commence your search for answers -- and not the babbling talking heads of AM squawk radio, who constantly scapegoat poor whites and minorities over the corporate-controlled airwaves.

    And remember, while looking to yesteryear through rose-colored glasses is a natural human trait, one should no more try to recreate a mythical past which never really existed in the first place, than one should attempt to live in it.



    And why is money tight at home? (5.00 / 4) (#135)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:28:19 AM EST
    Stagnant or falling wages and the ever growing income inequality.

    When my broke-arse gets a raise I spend more money...more eating out, more concerts, more vacations, more weed.  When we spend more money more businesses make money, and if they share the gravy with their workers they spend more money...everybody wins!

    When wages are stagnant and falling it slows the entire economy, everybody but the 1% loses.


    The author of the original study, ... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 06:06:18 PM EST
    ... by Arnobio Morelix, an undergraduate student at the University Of Kansas, initially said that his analysis included independent McDonald's franchises, when it did not. Those independent franchises comprise about 80% of all McDonald's restaurants worldwide.

    While I definitely support an increase in the living wage, I have to admit that I, too, was skeptical when Lawrence O'Donnell first touted this particular study on his program, with its accompanying dubious claims that (a) payroll and fringe benefits amount to only 17% of McDonald's operating costs, and (b) the average price of a Big Mac would only rise by 68 cents, from $3.99 to $4.67, if you doubled everyone's salary from the fry cook to the CEO.

    Actually, employee payroll and fringe benefits in fast food restaurants typically amount to about 35% of overall operating costs, which is more than double Morelix's initial 17% estimate. further, there exists a pretty low profit margin by item, so these restaurants really depend upon maintaining a consistently high volume of sales in order to turn a profit.

    What this means is that McDonald's, et al., are actually the fast food equivalent of Wal-Mart. And as we've long noted, there is a hidden but substantive cost that our society ultimately pays for encouraging this sort of dubious low price / low wage / high volume business model, which over the long term has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of American workers enjoying household incomes that now fall below federal poverty guidelines.



    With a McDouble at $1.00 you can meet your daily calorie requirements for under $5.00.  Its my "go to" when the end of the paycheck arrives before the end of the month.

    Sorry, the low price model works really well for the cash strapped.  I'd love to be able to afford Ruth's Chris burgers, but it ain't ever going to happen barring a lottery win.


    Narrow thinking (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:17:25 AM EST
    A living wage would mean that less people would be cash strapped and would be able to eat something a whole lot healthier than a McDouble at McDonalds. Less obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure would result from people not being forced to eat high fat, high calorie and high sodium food due to lack of funds.

    A living wage would mean less people on Medicaid, food stamps and section 8 housing. A living wage would mean less people would be required to work 2 - 3 jobs just to survive. Those with children would have the time and energy to help them move towards a better life.

    A living wage would increase demand and help the economy.

    A living wage would mean that more funds would be collected for SS and Medicare and those on the lower income spectrum would receive higher SS benefits and be less cash strapped when they retire.


    How right you are (2.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:12:09 PM EST

    Those in comfortable circumstances always seem to know better than those of lesser means how they should make sacrifices to conform to the tastes of the comfortable.  

    BTW, how does being unemployed at a "Living Wage" mean less people on Medicaid, food stamps and section 8 housing, or for that matter afford more expensive food?



    Once again you are making (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:24:29 PM EST
    assumptions based on absolutely no knowledge of either my past or current financial circumstances. Like many of your assumptions you are flat wrong.

    The idea is not to dictate to those of lesser means what sacrifices they should make but to provide them with a living wage so that they don't need to sacrifice one necessity for another.

    The current practice of driving down wages and forcing more and more people into poverty eliminates jobs due to lack of demand. It also increases the need for Medicaid, food stamps and section 8 housing for the working poor.


    More Freakonomics nonsense (5.00 / 4) (#48)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:15:30 AM EST
    There are a lot of choices between a McDouble and a Ruth's Chris burger (and even less than the cost of a McDouble) that are much better alternatives.

    An occasional trip to Mcdonald's isn't much of an issue, but the problem is that many times it's much more than just an "'end-of-the-month 'go to'".  Analyses like Kyle Smith's ignore the actual costs of such food to our society, the environment, and the economy.  Not to mention the fact that his claims about the McDouble being the "cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history" is just plain false.  The McDouble would easily lose against one of the most simple food combinations (rice and beans) even by Smith's own metric - cost per calories.

    Immediate cost for 5 McDoubles (1,950 calories) - $5.00
    Immediate cost for 1,950 calories of rice and canned beans (@$2.00) - dry beans would be less.

    Smith simply wants to bash those on the left who eat healthy.  It's the nutritional equivalent of bashing academics and the well-educated.


    Actually, that rice and beans ... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:33:36 AM EST
    ... cost is too high.  420 calories of beans (a little more than one can) would cost @ $1.  1,500 calories of rice (a little over 2 cups of dry rice) would cost @ $.39.  But maybe the cost of cooking fuel and salt/seasonings would bring it into the $2 range.

    Make your calories count! Eat a McDouble! (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:58:43 PM EST
    Never mind the sodium count, or the saturated fats, etc.

    I'm in American Samoa right now, and your comment only serves to highlight the reason why poor communities such as this South Pacific island territory are afflicted by the obesity epidemic. Eating healthy, i.e., fresh foods, has been priced out of their range, and they're stuck with consuming high-caloric, high-fat, high-sodium processed foods.

    And you're perfectly content to see that this cycle continues, aren't you? What's even more galling, you'll then begrudge whatever additional tax revenues are necessary to provide for burdens of cost upon society when they go on Medicaid and SSDI because they've developed heart disease and diabetes at age 45.

    You're a real piece of work, Abdul.


    American Samoa! I spent two months there... (none / 0) (#91)
    by Aspidistra on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:36:47 PM EST
    And gained ten pounds.  The heat makes it hard to exercise, and there are fast food places all over the island (including two McDonald's) for a population of 55,000 people.  I've lived all over the world and never gained weight in any other place I've lived, so I have a lot of sympathy for the situation so many Samoans struggle with.

    Obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are off the charts in American Samoa , and a lot of it has to do with how much fast food is consumed by the population.  Ironically, first world levels of regulation mean that the street vendors you find in less developed countries selling healthy, simple food on the side of the road are not allowed to operate.  But Carl Jr's, Pizza Hut, Burger King, and McDonald's can sell incredibly cheap, unhealthy food no problem.  Sigh.


    It's beautiful down here. (none / 0) (#111)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 06:04:31 PM EST
    But you're right -- the heat is oppressive.

    Further, as far as I can tell, most homes and hotels do not have air conditioning. I know our hotel sure doesn't. Even with all the windows open and the ceiling fans on full blast, it was miserable sleeping last night.

    The office I'm working out of, on the grounds of the LBJ Tropical Medical Center, is a delightfully restored Quonset Hut, c. World War II. And like most everyone else, I'm in short sleeves and khakis.


    Fast food is a TERRIBLE (none / 0) (#146)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:56:40 PM EST
    value. To eat cheap you stick to basics and cook it yourself. Beans, rice, not much meat, vegetable stews and soups, whole chickens, meat to flavor not as a main course.

    Yes, and this assumes (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by Zorba on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:28:20 PM EST
    that you live in an area where there are grocery stores, farm stands in season, and butcher shops and such where you can purchase such healthy foods. Not so very much available in inner cities, I'm afraid. It also assumes that you are working a job where you can not only afford and have access to such products, but that you have enough time and energy after work (which may involve more than one low-paying job for many) to cook beans, grains, and rice. Mikado Cat, you must be living in a bubble. I wish that everyone could live in the ideal world that you inhabit. You need to get out more, and have some human feeling for how way too many people in this country are forced to live.

    McDonald's is the equivalent of Walmart (none / 0) (#46)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:37:21 AM EST
    and Walmart is the equivalent of "no jobs lost as a result of NAFTA"..

    CDS this, y'all.


    While putting $75 (1.71 / 7) (#27)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:23:22 AM EST
    of gas in my car today I was listening to the gas pump radio station offering office help for $6/hr with no taxes or benefits, its offshore virtual help looking to appeal to smaller businesses. Asking if you want fries with that need not be done by a local employee.

    Entry level jobs are almost impossible to find right now. Many adults are holding on to low paying jobs that kids used to be hired for during the summer etc. and then move on to better jobs.

    Living wages for entry level unskilled jobs is a VERY bad idea.

    Wages and benefits for not working are too high, and never should exceed a working wage. I would like to see benefits both targeted, money for kids only going for kids clothes and food, not adult luxury items, and reduced, but with no penalty for working.


    Say what? (5.00 / 4) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:14:58 AM EST
    Mikado Cat: "Living wages for entry level unskilled jobs is a VERY bad idea. Wages and benefits for not working are too high, and never should exceed a working wage. I would like to see benefits both targeted, money for kids only going for kids clothes and food, not adult luxury items, and reduced, but with no penalty for working."

    To be blunt, those are absolutely ridiculous and appallingly callous statements. Left up to people like you, who clearly overvalue your own socio-economic worth while simultaneously devaluing everyone else's, the "working wage" would still be $1.35 an hour! Why don't you also advocate for the re-introduction of indentured servitude, while you're at it?

    And honestly, what's up with the resurrection of Ronald Reagan's divisive Cadillac-drivin' welfare queen argument? That divisive political tripe had one purpose only, to stoke white resentment at the mythical abuse of social service programs by people of color. And while it made for some snappy sound bites on the 6 o'clock news, it had no more basis in reality 35 years ago than it does today.

    If you as a businessman are not willing to pay your workers a living wage, then by all means, do the work yourself and save 100% of your labor costs. In the meantime, I'm going to suggest that the rest of us take up a collection on your behalf, so you can go out and buy yourself a sorely needed clue.



    The GOP (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 06:46:16 AM EST
    perpetually stuck in 1980 thinks that the welfare queen thing is going to be an electoral winning strategy for them. That worked really well for the Romney campaign didn't it?

    LOL! That said, let's not get too cocky here. (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:29:01 PM EST
    As badly flawed a presidential candidate as he was, Mitt Romney still received 47% of the popular vote, and further took 62% of the white vote.

    Please keep in mind that had we not enjoyed a record-high electoral turnout of young people, Latinos, blacks and Asian-Americans -- who far too often had to overcome multiple obstacles thrown into their pathways to the polls by the GOP -- the 2012 election could have just as easily gone the other way.

    For the near future anyway, we're in no position to take the ongoing demographic shift for granted.



    Nope (none / 0) (#143)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 03:22:39 PM EST
    not getting cocky. I have always said the GOP has a chance at winning an election. The GOP however will have to modernize to do it. I don't see that happening right now.

    Given the GOP's abominable behavior ... (none / 0) (#144)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 04:17:47 PM EST
    ... on the subjects of voting rights, women's rights and GLBT civil rights, I'd offer that the window of opportunity presently available to Republicans for achieving that transition to relevance in 21st century American society is not only very narrow, but they're inexplicably about to slam it shut on themselves for at least a generation, if they don't phuquin' wise up and stop trying to retard the scene.

    Living wages are a bad idea? (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:35:28 AM EST
    So you're saying slave wages are a good idea?  Allrighty then...

    I'm sure fast-food customers will tolerate their drive thru order being processed by an Indian call center...lol.  One of the mfgs I work with tried outsourcing their tech calls to India...it lasted less than a year, too many customers complaining.  Can't imagine how much money that idiotic penny wise-pound foolish move cost 'em.

    Not to mention you cannot outsource the underpaid slob working the deep fryer, the underpaid slob washing the dishes, etc.

    Our economy cannot function when people have no money to buy sh*t...like sj said even a ruthless capitalist like Henry Ford understood this basic tenet, and paid his workers enough to live on with a little left over to buy sh*t like his cars.

    Lastly, be careful what you wish for..."a hungry mob is an angry mob".  


    Clueless, cruel and indifferent. (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:29:50 AM EST
    Somehow, you've managed to reach new heights of all three, and demonstrated  to many of us the danger of having people with your mindset in charge of economic and jobs policies.

    People in entry level jobs still need to eat.  They still need shelter and clothing.  They need health care, and some way to get back and forth to work, whether that's a bicycle, access to affordable public transportation, or a car.  

    They are willing to do some of the jobs the rest of us don't want to do: clean toilets and empty trash cans, wait on rude people in fast-food restaurants, wash dishes, bathe and change the diapers of the elderly, drive cabs and wash windows and cut lawns.  Many of them are willing to hold down two or three of these kinds of jobs and put in longer, harder, more physically taxing hours than the rest of us, just to survive.

    And you think paying them enough money so that they can service us and also have a decent quality of life is a terrible idea.  When the wages earned for work are so low that people still qualify for assistance, that isn't a sign that assistance is too generous, it's a sign that wages are too low for people to live on.

    Your approach highlights why there is a growing income-equality gap in this country; what's never been clear to me is why that seems to be okay with people like you.  Is it sheer greed?  Is it fear of falling into that group?  Is it not wanting whatever it is you do to be considered only marginally "better" than what someone else is doing in a so-called menial job?  Do we just need someone to look down on so we can tell ourselves we're better than someone else?  That, hey, you might not like your job, but it beats smelling like French fries at the end of the day?

    Is what we do for a living or how much money we make define what makes us a good person?  

    [rolling eyes and trying not to gag]


    Entry level jobs (1.60 / 5) (#125)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:33:30 PM EST
    should be just that, entry level, a first job where you learn to show up on time five days a week and follow simple instructions, then MOVE ON, get some skills and give someone else a chance to get started. Asking people if they want fries with that should not pay a living wage because the person doing it should be still living at home and going to school.

    The mobility myth (5.00 / 3) (#139)
    by Yman on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:45:08 AM EST
    In the real world that's not the way it's working:

    Despite what the data make clear about the barriers to upward mobility in the fast food industry, spokespersons for the industry and representatives from the major chains have collectively promoted a "mobility myth" that characterizes low-wage fast food jobs as springboards for advancement to managerial positions or opportunities to open a franchise [National Employment Law Project, July, 2013.

    The number of minimum/low wage jobs without benefits is only growing worse:

    Given the prevalence of low-wage jobs without benefits in our labor market, and the likelihood that these sectors will grow rather than decline, some attention to the strategy of improving the jobs is critical to strengthening our economy and communities. Unless these jobs are improved, our nation will permanently consign a large portion of workers in the United States to bad jobs. [Center for Economic and Policy Research, July, 2007)

    Not to mention the millions of recent college grads who are working minimum wage jobs after they got an education.


    Spouting that sort of ignorant nonsense ... (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:51:01 AM EST
    ... is both callous and irresponsible, given that less than one in four minimum wage earners in the United States are students who live at home and can be claimed as a dependent by a parent.

    FYI, nearly half of all who work for minimum wage (49%) are adult women, and almost one in three are adult males -- and further, almost one-quarter of all minimum wage earners are the primary breadwinners in their respective households.

    The decisive majority of TL readers are in fact well-educated and -informed, so if you don't appreciate being constantly upbraided and hoisted on your own petard, I'd suggest that you first try to do some basic research on such subjects before you post, and don't simply spew crap from your a$$.



    Our new male version of (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 09:40:17 AM EST
    Chatty Cathy does not do details and has an aversion to facts that do not conform to his Rush Limbaugh world view.

    Research - Phewwww - He knows what he knows cause he knows it. IOW, regardless of actual statistics - all minimum wage workers live at home, don't need a living wage and are working for experience.


    I'm afraid you're right. (none / 0) (#142)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:32:49 AM EST
    But ever the optimist, I continue to hold out hope that one day, people like him will come to understand that there's a big, beautiful and colorful world awaiting them beyond the city limits of Pleasantville.

    Minimum wage (1.67 / 3) (#147)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 09:05:32 PM EST
    Is why you have adults working in fast food, nobody that wants to stay in business hires lower skilled workers of less ability for the same wage as they can hire better workers. Raise the minimum wage and you zero out jobs for lesser skilled workers or those who carry more risk to employ like first time workers.

    What I am saying is that for a worker that can only do a job well enough to support a $5/hr wage they should still be allowed to find a job, not be excluded from the labor market for some feel good politics.

    You say I am harsh, but its you who deny people the opportunity to work if their ability falls short of minimum wage.


    $5 per hour? What century do you live in? (none / 0) (#148)
    by shoephone on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 12:52:12 AM EST
    Right (1.67 / 3) (#149)
    by Mikado Cat on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:36:14 AM EST
    So anyone whose ability, desire to work, whatever doesn't make their value to an employer exceed that minimum wage cannot hold a job.

    Set the minimum anyplace you want, but all it does is restrict employment to those worth more to an employer than that minimum wage.

    If the best a person does is worth $5/hr, that means no job unless it has some kind of subsidy.

    What exactly is the "good" part of taking peoples jobs away?


    Your idiocy is unprecedented here (5.00 / 3) (#150)
    by shoephone on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 01:52:39 AM EST
    Jeralyn can delete this if she wishes. Your comments are the most consistently idiotic I have seen on this blog.

    I second your comment (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:47:58 AM EST
    His comments are more representative of the worst of Red State than what is normally found on Talk Left.

    Keeping the minimum wage low (5.00 / 2) (#152)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:41:34 AM EST
    is how overall wages are depressed, so that even as you go up the ladder to a job that requires more skill, more education, more training and experience, the wages are still not sufficient for anything resembling a decent quality of life.  

    A little anecdote for your consideration: almost two years ago, my elderly aunt died.  She had had Alzheimer's and had been in a nursing home for about 4 years.  It wasn't cheap - the average monthly bill was around $10,000.  But I noticed something: there was almost no turnover among the staff - the aides who helped with feeding and dressing and bathing. The people who changed the linens and cleaned the bathrooms.  I mentioned this to someone in administration during a conversation, and she told me that the turnover was negligible because they made a decision some time ago to pay these employees well.  She said that with these Alzheimer's patients, consistency of routine was important to keeping their overall stress and anxiety levels low, and seeing the same faces every day was part of that routine.  The people who worked there were happy to work there, and that was reflected in the level of care and attention they gave to the residents.  

    Now, maybe you'd think the jobs these people were doing weren't worth more than $5 an hour, that these jobs should have been reserved for high school students, or someone who'd never had a job before, or just any person who could manage to show up on time every day, but what was important to me, and to the families of the other patients, was that our loved ones be cared for as if they mattered.  

    When employers cheap out on wages, they convey to the employee not that they think the job isn't worth more money, but that the person doing the job isn't worth more.  And that has all kinds of negative consequences.

    I suppose your idiotic and ignorant comments have had one benefit: they have provided us the opportunity to understand how much stupid there is out there.  Next time you're putting $75 worth of gas in your car, or looking for someone from whom to borrow some Grey Poupon, be grateful for your economic circumstances, because if you had to make a living selling your thoughts on jobs and the economy, you might be one of those people with three part-time jobs who still can't make ends meet.


    Precisely my argument (none / 0) (#157)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:55:05 AM EST
    The nursing home pays a premium to get better employees, and does not hire those who for whatever reason are not able to work at that level.

    This removes no one from poverty, it excludes anyone from working unless they meet the standards of the higher pay.

    The way you raise wages is to create more jobs, not fewer jobs for only the higher skilled people.

    Have none of you actually employed anyone in a competitive business? There is almost no flexibility in wages even for quality issues, you meet a price and quality level or go out of business.


    I think you are trying to have it both ways. (5.00 / 3) (#158)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:06:38 AM EST
    You've been arguing for some time that jobs that require no education, specialized training or particular skill shouldn't come with a living wage, lest people be content to keep these low-level jobs and not move up and out to make room for the next crop of unskilled labor.

    But what specialized training, education and skill does it take to assist someone with feeding, bathing and dressing?  In how many nursing homes are those jobs treated like skilled labor?

    The nursing home pays its employees well because it sees value in the services those employees provide, and respects them for the jobs they do.  Of course they expect a level of performance commensurate with the hourly wage they are paying, but that doesn't seem to be a problem.  I don't know if you've ever noticed this, but people who are paid well for what they do tend to be happier in the workplace, more willing to actually do a good job, and create a culture that fosters excellence in each other and in new employees.

    "Removes no one from poverty?"  On what planet?  Those nursing home employees who might be making twice what you are willing to pay them, are more likely to be able to spend more in their communities, whether it's being able to spend more at the local grocery store, go out to eat once in a while, see a movie, buy their kids a new toy, a new book, new clothes.  Spending creates demand.  So maybe the grocery hires a couple new cashiers, the restaurant hires more staff for the dining room, the department store hires more salespeople.  Those new employees, in turn, have money to spend.

    That spiral's direction is up, not down.  Demand creates jobs.  People making minimum wage don't have money to spend, because many of them are working three jobs just to pay for the basics.

    You don't raise wages just by creating more jobs, especially when those jobs are predominantly minimum wage, restaurant and service industry jobs.  I guess you haven't been paying attention these last 10 years or so?  Not that I expect you to do any research at all, but if you did, you'd find that your theory is full if sh!t.

    I don't think you have a clue.


    Ditto (none / 0) (#162)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:09:26 PM EST
    Raising someones pay does not increase their skills, or make them a better worker. The fact that you will fire them and hire a better worker for the better wage will have some effect, but many people do not have the option of increasing the quality of work they do, and are replaced.

    Having a relative in a much less expensive 24/7 care facility I can tell you easily the difference. The care givers are friendly, speak English, the facility smells better, the rooms are nicer, its like a medical facility and not a converted house, none of the employees are on parole, all are fully licensed. Not great, but its what many can afford, and fair chance all of the workers are not paid even minimum wage because they are family members of the owner.

    Once the demand for labor exceeds the supply wages go up, entry level or highly skilled, its supply and demand. Arbitrarily raise wages and the job goes away if it can, either off shore or automation.

    The last 10 years? More like the last 30 years of removing jobs by political management of wages instead of market forces. Whole industries have left the USA, and entry level jobs are now almost impossible for kids to get, which is serving the military well, but I don't see what else.


    Do you know for a fact that the workers (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:41:20 PM EST
    are receiving less than the minimum wage or are you just making an assumption that would fit your POV?

    From the qualifier that you used

    fair chance all of the workers are not paid even minimum wage because they are family members of the owner

    you appear not to actually know what salary they are receiving. As a members of the family, they could be receiving other monetary benefits or a share of the profits as well as a living wage.


    I have (5.00 / 3) (#159)
    by Yman on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:40:42 AM EST
    So has my wife.  Yet both of us disagree with your basic premise, as do economists who have researched the issue of the effects of a minimum wage.

    What happens when the minimum wage goes up? In theory, this should be simple. A hike in the minimum wage raises the cost of low-wage workers. That should make firms less likely to hire those people. Unemployment should rise. Basic Econ 101, right?

    Except that the real world seems to be much murkier. Yes, a number of studies have found a link between a higher minimum wage and higher unemployment. But many others, such as this recent paper from U.C. Berkeley that exploited differences across state borders, have found no effect at all. Quite often, hiking the minimum wage by a buck or two doesn't appear to worsen unemployment in any noticeable way.

    Not to mention the fact that, apart from the split of opinion  on whether the minimum wage decreases employment, a strong plurality agree that the benefits of raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation outweighed the costs.  47% agree or strongly agree, versus 11% who disagree or strongly disagree.

    Yet you state your premise as though it were a self-evident truism.


    Raising the min (none / 0) (#163)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:25:28 PM EST
    does two things; it changes who gets a job to a higher skilled group and leaves the lesser skilled unemployed, and it shifts some jobs off shore or eliminates them.

    Other factors create jobs at higher wage rates as those with the ability to adapt and learn new skills are rewarded with higher pay. The overall unemployment rate need not change depending on how the economy grows as a whole, not just the bottom wage earners. Raise the minimum wage and the poor get poorer and the working make more, and the higher up the more the increase.

    I don't know what industry you were in, but I have worked in factories with minimum wage as the entry level, and some that are hired learn skills and make more, those who do not or can not are fired. Its sad to fire somebody over 10 cents an hour, but it was a competitive industry with a limited time a new employee could be subsidized by the owners.


    Since we've already established that ... (5.00 / 3) (#170)
    by Yman on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:08:29 PM EST
    ... you don't run a business (after you raised the issue), I'm curious ... are you an economist?  Because all you've offered is your own opinion (stated as fact).

    Personally, I'll take the opinions of top economists (supported by research) over Joe-the-Plumber's personal anecdotes (supported by nothing) any day of the week.


    "Have none of you (none / 0) (#160)
    by MKS on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:48:55 AM EST
    actually employed anyone...."

    Why is this a standard argument....usually when the point has been lost.

    Tired talking points.....also ad hominem....all learned from the same school.....


    Its (none / 0) (#165)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:56:13 PM EST
    The difference between theory and practice. When you have employees and little margin you have to make the hard choices, do you pay your rent, or keep somebody on the job so they can pay their rent, and I've been on both sides of it. Do you fire the six lowest profit making employees in the hope that the two dozen others will have a job in two months.

    Now try this when you know the whole families, names of the kids, and who has troubles not of their own making, and who has made troubles for themselves.

    As I said though, 90% of that industry is gone out of the US.


    If I'm going to give you 8 or more (5.00 / 2) (#172)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:06:20 PM EST
    hours a day, be a public face of your business, if people are going to judge your business by their interaction with me, if I'm going to think enough about your business to do things to help it, then you're going to pay me a living wage.  Period.

    It's the least you can do.

    But, apparently, you just want to make arguments for why you can or should do even less, and then - and this is my favorite part - you want to see this as the solution to our employment and economic woes.

    I really wish you would take your half-baked, small-minded and don't-work ideas and go peddle them somewhere else, where people will think you are brilliant, instead of what you really are: night-light level wattage.


    Yes, I have heard it all before (none / 0) (#171)
    by MKS on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:51:03 PM EST
    It is a tired argument that has no merit.

    Liberal economics is based on practice, not theory as is conservative economics.


    Do you personally run a business? (none / 0) (#161)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:56:46 PM EST
    Do you have a personal interest in driving wages down to poverty levels and below so that you can increase your bottom line?  

    Taxpayers subsidize businesses that pay employees substandard wages by providing their employees with Medicaid, food stamps and section 8 housing.



    Had all I wanted long ago (none / 0) (#164)
    by Mikado Cat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:43:48 PM EST
    Two of the industries I worked in don't really exist in the US anymore, and I have zero interest in ever working with minimum wage employees, its not profitable.

    I would like to see everyone that wants to work to be able to find a job, and many are not capable of half of minimum wage.

    Are you familiar with Goodwill Industries? Its not just a bunch of second hand shops, the money goes to subsidize employment for the handicapped. Create a system where welfare can be used to subsidize minimum wage for low skilled or low ability workers and I am fine with it.


    So you don't run a business (5.00 / 3) (#166)
    by MO Blue on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:25:05 PM EST
    You just threw that out there because you had nothing better to offer.

    Your caveat regarding employing the disabled is just another red herring. There are already disability programs and subsidized hiring programs that deal with that hiring the disabled.

    The minimum wage that is under discussion is for people who works minimum wage jobs in the service industry who are not disabled. But you knew that...

    You just support the right wing agenda of driving wages down throughout the U.S.  


    You've never run a business, then??? (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by shoephone on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:45:28 PM EST
    What a joke you are. I've run two businesses, hired employees, always at more than minimum wage, some were already skilled, some I had to train myself. You don't know what you are talking about.

    Like I said before: your posts are idiotic. But more than that, you are completely full of sh*t. And you've just proved it aagain, with your comments on this thread.


    What has not (5.00 / 5) (#169)
    by NYShooter on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:00:17 PM EST
    been discussed here is the tremendous boost to the economy that a raise in minimum wages would bring. For many years now economists have been promoting the "multiplier effect" that raising wages bring into the economy. You know the story: A low wage earner gets an additional dollar, and, by necessity, spends the whole dollar. So, instead of bringing a home-made bologna sandwich to work he splurges and buys a deli sandwich. The deli owner now needs more help, and, so, he hires another worker, or an electrician to upgrade his lighting, and, so on, and so on.

    The last figures I heard is that for each additional dollar a worker earns, three to four additional dollars are brought into the economy.


    Talofa from American Samoa, kdog. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:25:02 PM EST
    The Spouse and I arrived last night, after a 5-1/2 hour flight from Honolulu. I'm on a business trip and site visit to the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Faga'alu Village, which is halfway between the territorial capital of Pago Pago and the airport. The hospital complex is big and pretty much dominates the village, taking up over half its area.

    This is my very first time in the Samoan Islands, although The Spouse has been here before on three different occasions when she was in the U.S. Coast Guard. She's visiting with a few friends from the old USCG days who live down here, and they'll pick me up later this afternoon.

    Tutuila is a beautiful island, but sad to say for an American territory, conditions here seem to be only one small step above third world for the most part -- save of course for the ubiquitous McDonald's (speaking of fast food) right outside the airport. And for a relatively small island, it sure has a lot of big churches. Maybe American Samoa is actually the model the GOP wants to impose on the rest of us.

    I'm done at LBJ on Saturday morning, but since Hawaiian Airlines only flies here three times a week, the next flight to Honolulu isn't until 11:20 p.m. Monday night. So, because we're effectively exiled for nearly three days, we're going to hop across the straits for two days to visit Apia, the capital of the Republic of Samoa on the island of Upolu, which is a 30-min. flight west from Pago Pago -- but on the other side of the international dateline, so we'll arrive there at 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

    Talk to you all later. Talofa. ("Aloha" in Samoan.)


    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 103 (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Dadler on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:20:40 PM EST
    I heard someone ask today (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Edger on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:19:35 PM EST
    So, what will y'all be doing after the collapse of civilization? IMHO it's too late for a revolution.

    I answered: You mean after the 'rise' of civilization, don't you? (soundtrack)

    What we have now is not very civilized, imo.

    Larry Sabato in conjunction (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:05:51 PM EST
    with the University of Virginia is offering a free online course titled The Kennedy Half Century that starts October 21.

    There is a brief video on youtube about the course

    You can sign up for and/or read about the course here

    Sounds like something a handful of TL regulars might be interested in.

    I can't get the (none / 0) (#30)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:47:23 AM EST
    link to load, but I'd like to see what it says. I spent a few hours today on a fruitless search for the full text, as delivered, of Robert Kennedy's speech at Capetown on the Day of Affirmation. I found lots of excerpts, and several copies of the text as provided to the news organizations, but the quote that is bouncing around in my head isn't in that version.

    I thought a had a link to it, but...


    Here is a YouTube video of that Bobby (none / 0) (#34)
    by caseyOR on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:31:10 AM EST
    Kennedy Day of Affirmation speech in Capetown.

    Does this help, sj?


    Thanks (none / 0) (#103)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:04:47 PM EST
    I'll take a look. I watched/listened to one yesterday, too. I don't mind being moved nearly to tears again. :\

    I also found these two documentaries: RFK In the Land of Apartheid and A Ripple of Hope.

    But I would really like the text so I can choose for myself which parts to select.
    (later in the day)

    I have to say, it is the strangest darn thing.  I definitely want this paragraph:

    The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society. Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.
    But I want it in context and I cannot find a version of the speech that has it all. I can only find this paragraph in excerpts.

    Here it is (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:17:33 PM EST
    This page (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:19:58 PM EST
    ... has an audio link so you can listen to the actual speech, if that helps.  Click on the "play" arrow next to the speaker symbol on the side of the speech you want to listen to.

    Maybe I'm confused (none / 0) (#108)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:37:39 PM EST
    Maybe the text that I want is in the news release version. It wasn't in the audio version that I listened to yesterday. When I get home I'm going to look for the audio version that I downloaded a few years ago. I hope I still have it.

    Now I'm on a mission. I hope it's a successful one. I have have only minutes at a time to devote to the search until I get home.


    This course is all JFK (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:34:42 AM EST
    It's tied into the 50th anniversary of his death coming up this November.

    The above link is working this morning.

    Here's another link describing the course if the one above crashes again


    They red baited, but not as much (none / 0) (#101)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:42:14 PM EST
    as the Republicans, came down on organized labor, but not as much as the Republicans, they greenlighted terrorist attacks against Cuba but stopped short of supporting the full out invasion many on the Right wanted, and Jack, after acting as if a country the size of Massachusetts was a threat to most powerful nation on earth, got into an atomic-dick-measuring contest with Khrushchev and Castro..

    "The Kennedys" (it's practically a brand name) were 90% mystique and 10% substance. But the Right managed to make them look positively enlightened. The more things cange..      


    A few vacations back (none / 0) (#130)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:26:01 PM EST
    we were doing a loop of the southwest and visited the last Titan missile site that is intact and possible to tour outside of Tucson. It left no doubt just how serious the missile crisis of the 60's was.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 104 (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 10:37:22 AM EST
    And now comes word of who is going (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:39:14 PM EST
    to be on the NSA Review Committee:

    ABC reports that, along with former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell, former Homeland Security Czar Richard Clarke, and former Obama special assistant for economic policy Peter Swire, the White House (or James Clapper -- who knows at this point) has picked Cass Sunstein for its Review Committee on NSA programs.

    Frankly, a lot of people are investing misplaced confidence that Richard Clarke will make this committee useful. While he's good on a lot of issues, he's as hawkish on cybersecurity as anyone else in this country. And as I keep pointing out, these programs are really about cybersecurity. Richard Clarke is not going to do a damned thing to rein in a program that increasingly serves to surveil US Internet data to protect against cyberthreats.

    Jesus Christ.  More g/d rubber-stamping.  And g/d Cass Sunstein.

    Glenn wrote about Sunstein, here:

       In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government.  This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists.  The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

        Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups."  He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging (on the ground that those who don't believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government).   This program would target those advocating false "conspiracy theories," which they define to mean: "an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role."

    Marcy reminds us that the point of the Review Group is not to see if the programs can be made more protective of privacy, but to see if they can make us all more comfortable with them as they currently exist.

    [trying not to throw something]

    Curious (2.00 / 1) (#81)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:58:36 PM EST
    as to why you add a link to "ABC reports" in a quote that isn't the ABC report.

    Wouldn't it be better to quote what was said rather than slip in punditry from other mouthpieces first?


    Six of one, half-dozen of the other. (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:10:11 PM EST
    I think Anne is probably more aligned with Marcy Wheeler's take on the matter than that of ABC News -- but just as Marcy did, she respectfully included that blog's hyperlink to "ABC reports" to allow us the option to see for ourselves exactly what ABC News reported.

    The quote from Marcy Wheeler (5.00 / 4) (#86)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:14:41 PM EST
    included the link to ABC News, which she included, I believe, as support for reporting the names of the people on the Review Group.

    Are you saying I should have cited the ABC report first, as if that was my primary source for the news, and then provided Marcy's take on it?

    I have to say, there sure has been a lot of nit-picky, not-really-the-point criticism around here lately; are we that bored?


    The link is in the article you quoted from (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:21:49 PM EST
    and you quoted from the article directly with no 'creative' editing.

    It appears you are being asked to edit things you quotes to turn them in to "sort of but not really" quotes to make them more acceptable to some.


    Meanwhile...let's not talk about the (5.00 / 6) (#90)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:32:54 PM EST
    members of the Review Group, because that's not really all that important.

    Much better to parse and pick over the words and the format of the comment, since we all know that the Review Group isn't going to actually do anything but recommend ways in which we frogs can be coaxed into believing that we aren't actually being slowly boiled to death, we're just enjoying a nice, hot bath.  Maybe we will get bubbles and aromatherapy and new age music to take our minds off what's really going on.

    I'm feeling more relaxed already, aren't you?


    Drifting (none / 0) (#97)
    by Edger on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:03:56 PM EST
    on the sea of love where there are no secrets, or something. @@

    I clicked (none / 0) (#92)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:40:38 PM EST
    it because I was stunned ABC would write such a biased article only to find the quote following "ABC Reports" had nothing to do with what ABC reports, and instead it was a quote from something called Empty Wheel.

    Perhaps more accurately it should have said "Empty Wheel reports". Although by that article they are less report and more bloviate.


    "...from something called Empty Wheel." (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by shoephone on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:47:13 PM EST
    Wow. Too funny.

    FTR, If it weren't for Jeralyn and Marcy Wheeler ("something called Empty Wheel") I would not have been properly informed on the Libby trial.


    If I was going to quote the ABC report, (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:51:27 PM EST
    you would not have seen "ABC reports" within the blockquote, but set off from it.

    I can see where you might have been confused - I should have made it more obvious that I was quoting Marcy's post; normally I would do that, so apologies for unintentionally leading you astray.

    I am myself not clear if you are accusing Marcy of bloviating, or ABC; I hope it's ABC, because Marcy has done reams of in-depth, wonky reporting on all-things-NSA, and not just since the recent events.


    No problem Anne (none / 0) (#99)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:10:08 PM EST
    I was just caught offguard by ABC News sounding like one of a thousand biased blogs.

    As for Empty Wheel, if that's typical of the writing style at that blog it's best I keep my opinion to myself.


    In all honesty, Marcy is who I (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:55:09 PM EST
    read when I want to get way down into the details of things; the post I quoted from was not one of the weedy ones.  She is top notch at finding the discrepancies between what we are being told, and what is revealed in documents that I would just get lost in.

    My impression when I read her is of a mind that just snaps and crackles with electricity and moves at speeds I could never hope to reach.

    You should give her a try, though it can be hard to jump in in the middle of an issue and feel like you have any idea what's going on.


    But that said, one can't deny that the woman does her homework, and does it thoroughly. And on issues like the present NSA controversy, I'm much more in sync with her thoughts on the subject than those presently offered by the mainstream Beltway punditariat.

    I think it's the site (none / 0) (#107)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:34:02 PM EST
    that a bmaz link took me to yesterday on the Bradley Manning trial. Although I'm not always in agreement with the thoughts of bmaz, I would call his/her post on the Manning sentencing thorough and educational without any empty punditry added in. Much more my style for getting info and if bmaz reads this, very well done.

    Yes (none / 0) (#113)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 06:16:52 PM EST
    bmaz is a contributor at emptyweel.

    Maybe that's for the best (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:26:17 PM EST
    As for Empty Wheel, if that's typical of the writing style at that blog it's best I keep my opinion to myself.
    Because she actually has a take on the information being provided rather than speculating on ... oh lets say for example...where the speaker is presently and who might providing asylum.

    Scott Rasmussen (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:54:11 PM EST
    has left Rasmussen reports.

    In their press release the company letter states:

    The Company emphasized that Mr. Rasmussen's legacy remains intact.  His polling methodologies and protocols, widely acknowledged as among the most accurate and reliable in the industry, continue to guide and inform the company's public opinion survey techniques.

    Odd since Rasmussen has been one of the very worst polling outfits over the past two elections. In both 2010 and 2012 Rasmussen overinflated the GOP votes by a 4 point margin they never achieved.

    Accuracy wasn't very good when Rasmussen was there, and the first statement after he's gone is just as inaccurate.

    Breaking: San Diego's mayor to step down. (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:47:13 PM EST
    The L.A. Times is reporting that embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will resign from office as part of a mediation deal reached with the City Council over his sexual harassment lawsuit. The Council is expected to ratify the deal tomorrow, and more information will soon be forthcoming, I'm sure.

    Good riddance.

    Exactly, Donald. (none / 0) (#112)
    by Zorba on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 06:08:57 PM EST
    Good riddance. It's way past time.

    The City Council meets tomorrow (none / 0) (#117)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:53:48 PM EST
    To approve or disapprove the mediation settlement deal.

    Any idea what is included in the (none / 0) (#118)
    by caseyOR on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:07:15 PM EST
    settlement deal? Does Filner get some money out of this? I read somewhere that if he stayed in office until the end of the year his pension would get a substantial boost. Any chance he gets that boost in the settlement?

    Speaking for me only, I hope he gets absolutely nothing. Sadly, that is probably not the case.


    LAT says proposed settlement (none / 0) (#119)
    by oculus on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:12:03 PM EST
    has the City picking some of his legal fees.

    Maureen Dowd Caught Doctoring a Quote! (none / 0) (#7)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:43:55 PM EST
    Today the NYT's was forced to print a retraction due to a doctored quote that appeared in a column by Maureen Dowd.  The altered quote made it appear that Bill  de Blasio's wife was making a homophobic comment about Christine Quinn.

    Read more about it here.

    The newspaper of record.  Sigh.

    If you are looking to read between the lines (none / 0) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 04:58:52 PM EST
    the real quote sounds just as fishy.

    There was no need to alter it. If you think de Blasio's wife was attacking Quinn's sexuality, it jumps off the page at you.


    Nope. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:12:45 PM EST
    I don't think you're following the campaign.  The paid sick leave question is a big issue.  And that's clearly what the quote is about.

    Quinn is not only against a bill requiring a minimum paid sick days.  Something favored by 74% of NYers, according to one poll.  She blocked it from getting a vote.  And this has hurt her in the campaign.


    Don't have to follow the campaign (none / 0) (#15)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:35:44 PM EST
    I have no dog in the fight.

    but the quote is clear:

    "Well, I am a woman, and she is not speaking to the issues I care about, and I think a lot of women feel the same way. I don't see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, workplace; she is not speaking to any of those issues."

    I can certainly see where some would see that opening as insinuating Quinn isn't a woman.

    It's a wife of a candidate trying to sway women away from the female candidate. She walked a fine line and whether she crossed it is up to the reader.


    Zzzzz ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:39:06 PM EST
    Start a fight with someone else.  I'm not interested.

    Not starting a fight (none / 0) (#18)
    by CoralGables on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:49:07 PM EST
    I don't care who wins but it reads to me that de Blasio's wife took a shot at Quinn's sexuality. You see it differently. Good luck with your candidate.

    Yes, by all means (none / 0) (#64)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:45:01 PM EST
    let's agonize Hamlet-like over the possible pricking of the sensitivities of a companydyke who's siding (once again) with the bosses and shareholders over the already overworked and beleguered American worker..

    Talk about using a tempest in a teapot to distract people from the main issue at hand..



    I know (none / 0) (#127)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:04:29 PM EST
    nothing about either candidate, neither full or edited quote gave me any suggestions about their personal lives, seemed like policy issues to me.

    I don't think she crossed it, personally. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 06:32:05 PM EST
    But that said, it sure looks like Chirlane McCray was carving out some room on her husband's campaign bandwagon for those voters whose own worldview is filtered through the warped prism of homophobia. It's right out of the political cynic's playbook.

    Further, I'd offer that it's not unlike Barack Obama scratching the side of his nose with his raised middle finger while simultaneously mentioning Hillary Clinton at select campaign stops during the 2008 primary season, to the delight of his audiences. (Did he actually flip her off, or was he really just scratching an itch?)

    McCray's statement, as you so noted, suggestively leaves it up to the reader or TV viewer to determine what she really meant by it. At the very least, she should definitely clarify her remarks, and not leave them open to someone else's reinterpretation in the worst possible light.



    So, doesn't that make McCray's statement a (none / 0) (#25)
    by caseyOR on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:11:03 PM EST
    dog whistle? You know, because the homophobia will only be heard by homophobes.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:27:17 AM EST
    Would Ms. McCray similarly opine that gay men like Barney Frank can't possibly relate to the inherent social value of a good public education system? Because really, what's the difference?

    Help me out here...... (none / 0) (#126)
    by NYShooter on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:01:39 PM EST
    If McCray's statement was a dog whistle, "you know, because the homophobia will only be heard by homophobes," how come everyone commenting here "heard" it?

    talk about snatching at fleas (none / 0) (#66)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:00:03 PM EST
    and swallowing camels..

    The dogwhistle was, if anything, to people who already had the sense that Quinn doesn't exactly empathize deeply with everyday working people..


    I think any time one uses the phrase (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:16:22 PM EST
    "the kind of person" you risk people coming to their own conclusions about what that really means and what kind of person that might be.  

    I wasn't aware of Quinn's orientation, so when I read the quote, I read it as an issue of accessibility, not sexuality.  Now that I know what all the fuss is about, I can understand how the way Dowd packaged the remarks, it could have been taken as meaning that the "kind of person" Quinn is is the gay kind, and of course those kinds of people wouldn't have any interest in childcare and being able to stay home with children when they're sick.

    There are two issues here: one is where Quinn stands on the issues, and the other is why Dowd felt entitled to truncate and package McCray's remarks the way she did.

    I tend to come down on the side of Dowd being deliberate about it, just because she's been caught doing this kind of thing before, and because I think she sees herself as being a lot more clever than she really is.

    This is going to be the worst campaign season ever...


    What Anne said. (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:01:10 PM EST
    McCray's remarks regarding "the kind of person" Christine Quinn is can be interpreted however you wish to see them. That's the beauty of cynical politics. Your take on them is just as valid as mine and caseyOR's.



    Correct me if I'm misreading (none / 0) (#84)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:10:04 PM EST
    But my take on your earlier comment has you referring to Christine Quinn as a "companydyke". If the words of Bill de Blasio's wife were meant as a dog whistle I would say that by that comment she found an audience with you.

    I read an interview recently (none / 0) (#96)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:58:06 PM EST
    with the gay spiritual teacher Ram Das in which he joked about how his brother called him "Rammmed As*".

    Now there's a fully engaged human who doesn't take himself too seriously. We could use a little more of that -- in place of this splintering, distracting, largely irrelevant, victimization Olympics..

    And once again, in the middle of an important contest someone being ambiguously insensitive again takes precedence over the main issue at hand..


    too many ms.. (none / 0) (#98)
    by jondee on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:07:24 PM EST
    because it can also be used as a mantra..;-)

    More intrigue... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:34:38 PM EST
    De Blasio's wife Chirlane McCray self-identified as a lesbian for years...she had an essay published in Essense Magazine back in the day titled "I am a Lesbian".  

    Well, you know what that means, don't you? (none / 0) (#80)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:53:25 PM EST
    It's time for "Dueling Dykes"!

    Dykes (none / 0) (#83)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:08:51 PM EST
    Considering your entreaty which included 75 women legislators (16 Senators + 59 in the House of Representatives)
    that D.C. Dems really need to grow a pair.

    It is interesting that your latest comment include Dykes that have grown a pair. Obviously an act of god bestowed on one who is righteous:

    Dykes is a devout Christian and has served as a minister in a small church in Florida; the influence of Christianity is present in much of his work.

    Dykes is a minister? (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 03:20:53 PM EST
    And all this time, I just though he was a professional banjo player.

    And speaking for myself only, and a few crackpots like Michele Bachmann and Virginia Foxx excepted, it's my opinion that the women who serve on Capitol Hill have generally proved themselves to have more huevos, than their male counterparts have cojones.

    ;-D Aloha.


    She (none / 0) (#44)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:52:47 AM EST
    offered an "apology" - but added that her truncated version made no difference in "substance". A non-apology apology.

    Having read both the entire quote, and the one offered by Dowd, I must say that there was an enormous difference in substance between the two. Dowd's version completely distorted the meaning of the actual quote.

    I think, for some reason, she has lost her marbles.
    My guess is that her brain got fried by hanging out too closely with pols.


    In the interest of who said what. (none / 0) (#128)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:13:27 PM EST
    This snip from WSJ

    But Quinn, appearing at an unrelated news conference a short time after the correction was published, said she believed "the sentiment is the same" in the new quote.

    "The sentiment is really saddening and troubling," she said. "It makes me sad that the political attacks have come to this."

    Dowd, speaking to Politico on Wednesday, apologized for the error but said she believed "the substance is the same" in the correct quote.


    There is (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:34:52 AM EST
    absolutely no way that I would infer, from the original unabridged text, that McCray was referring either to Quinn's sexual orientation or the fact that she doesn't have children.

    McCray refers to what Quinn is putting out there with regard to policy regarding issues she cares about.

    "Well, I am a woman, and she is not speaking to the issues I care about, and I think a lot of women feel the same way. I don't see her speaking to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, workplace; she is not speaking to any of those issues."

    That is what McCray said.
    It is not a personal attack in any way.
    It is a reaction to policy positions taken - or not taken - by Quinn.

    Quinn's reaction is, I believe, a smoke-screen.
    And Dowd's reaction is defensive b.s.

    imo, of course.


    Again (none / 0) (#55)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:17:43 PM EST
    I'm sure you meant to add.

    Sincere condolences to the family ... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:00:03 PM EST
    ... and friends of Jana Lutteropp, who died this morning at Maui Memorial Medical Center, one week after being attacked by a large tiger shark while snorkeling off Makena Beach.

    We've had eight shark attacks in Hawaii thus far in 2013, three of them in the last three weeks alone. We also had 12 separate attacks in 2012,  including one by a large grey nurse shark on a friend of mine (whose paddleboard got seriously munched while he was unscathed), so we're definitely seeing a significant spike in the number of such incidents over the last few years.

    What's causing this spike is anyone's guess. However, Ms. Lutteropp marks our first fatality resulting from a shark attack since April 2004.

    The law of the sea (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ragebot on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:24:50 PM EST
    You are no longer at the top of the food chain.  I live on a 42 foot catamaran in the Florida Keys and often sail it out of sight of land.  It is awe inspiring to see things like flying fish fleeing bigger fish or a bait ball.

    But it does bring home the fact that living on the land changes ones idea about just where man is on the food chain.


    We're still at the top of the food chain. (none / 0) (#79)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:44:24 PM EST
    Judging by the crashing populations of North Atlantic cod and Pacific billfish as a result of our almost willful ignorance of the concept of sustainable fisheries, what we've doing in the oceans is the aquatic equivalent of strip mining.

    We're just not on top of the food chain when we're physically in the water, where we can be mistaken for fish food by larger creatures and snagged for lunch.


    Maui sharks (none / 0) (#22)
    by the capstan on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:14:58 PM EST
    We stayed at Napili for many years--love it there! But one year we had to disillusion a 'newbie' who was telling others that there were NO sharks near Maui.  I am sorry to hear of the recent incidents, and especially this death.

    Glad you did that. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 10:28:13 PM EST
    I don't ever want to alarm people unduly, but we have lots of sharks in Hawaii. The most dangerous to us humans is the tiger shark, which can grow up to 18-20 feet in length and are fairly common in island waters.

    Largest tiger I've ever seen personally was one that was caught off Kailua over in windward Oahu and brought to Heeia Pier, where it was hoisted by its tail. It was over 17 ft. in length, and over a ton in weight -- an awe-inspiring and humbling sight, to say the least.

    Out in the water when I'm surfing, the ones I see the most are small grey nurse and reef sharks which are less than 5 ft. in length, and they're scavengers that tend to avoid humans.

    But when we surf, we're acutely aware that the tigers are out there, and we're cognizant that we're in their natural element and not ours. When some idiots started a shark tour business for tourists near home in east Honolulu a few years ago, in which the tourists would sit in cages while the boat operators chum the surrounding waters for sharks, they were attracting 10-12 ft. long tigers into Maunalua Bay near the popular surf spot called "China Walls." We got those clowns shut down forthwith.

    Sharks are not the mindless eating machines they are portrayed to be in the media, and like any animal, they can be conditioned to expect things; they'd start to gather for a free meal whenever they heard the boats leave Hawaii Kai harbor and head into the bay. You'd think it should be painfully obvious to most people that it's probably not a bright idea to train large pelagic sharks like tigers and makos to associate people with food, but these guys didn't care, when they were charging tourists up to $100 a head to "swim with the sharks."



    All animals (none / 0) (#28)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:35:20 AM EST
    go where the food is, so that is what I would look for, what new food source for sharks has turned up and move it far from where people swim or surf.

    OTOH I really like to eat shark, but I like eating almost every fish I ever tried.


    ... to a newly available food source in our islands. Rather, the increased presence of pelagic sharks like tigers and white tips so close to our coastal areas may be caused by the rapid depletion of their formerly available sources of sustenance in the open ocean, thanks in no small part to the destructive effects of overfishing, driftnetting and longlining on fish populations.

    The oceans are no more an inexhaustible bounty of resources than are the continents.


    Near the coast (none / 0) (#129)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:16:38 PM EST
    they might not be eating a natural food source, could be fishing boats dumping prior going home etc. Natural or otherwise if it can be moved it should be.

    Big Brother... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:48:52 AM EST
    getting closer to be able to put a face to all of our emails, phone calls, and internet browsing histories.

    Meet the new BOSS.

    Its a login only (none / 0) (#131)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:27:07 PM EST

    Sorry... (none / 0) (#136)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:31:41 AM EST
    didn't realize, I don't have a login either.  But I was able to read the article through a link from another site, I think it was Fark.

    Chris Lane (none / 0) (#52)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:04:46 PM EST
    Kinda silly of the White House Spokesman (3.50 / 2) (#60)
    by ragebot on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:38:48 PM EST
    To claim the prez did not know about the case.

    High ranking pols in Oz have called for a boycott of the US because of the shooting.

    If Obama was not aware of this someone should be fired for not alerting him to the fact that a pols in a large important country were advising against traveling to the US.

    More likely this is a lie by the WH spokesman.


    When did he say that? (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:56:49 PM EST
    Kinda silly of the White House Spokesman To claim the prez did not know about the case.

    Do you mean in response to Fox New's/Ed Henry's trolling?  The spokesman (Josh Earnest) said he was not familiar with the shooting, as opposed to Obama.

    When asked by Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry about the Chris Lane case, Earnest responded, "I'm not familiar with it, actually."

    You missed the point (none / 0) (#153)
    by ragebot on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:15:02 AM EST
    If the press sec of the prez is not aware of the former PM, and current high ranking pol, from Oz calling for a boycott of the US something is wrong.

    You missed MY point (none / 0) (#155)
    by Yman on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:35:06 AM EST
    Which was that your claim was false, and your conclusion nothing more than speculation - speculation based on a false premise.

    BTW - No idea of what "pols" you're talking about, but if you're talking about Tim Fischer, I wouldn't have the slightest expectation that the POTUS (or even his spokesman) would be aware of the comment of a single, former deputy PM in Australia.  Not to mention the fact that Mr. Fischer's comments only became reported between 3 to 4 days ago, and the press conference in question was 3 days ago.


    Why would we? (none / 0) (#56)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:23:37 PM EST
    The victim was white and the three teenagers charged were mixed races (two black, one white).

    Rush Limbaugh already tried this argument and failed.


    I think he might mean that since two of (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:28:57 PM EST
    the alleged perpetrators are black, we aren't going to hear Obama making any "could have been me" or "could be my son" comparisons.

    At least that's how I took it, after I had the thought that Abdul was trolling.  



    Could be (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:34:31 PM EST
    You never know with Abdul, but the race angle has been tried by several winger commentators over the past few days.  Throw in a few of his logical pretzels and his trolling could be one of several angles.

    The Amir wasn't trolling ;-). (none / 0) (#68)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:12:48 PM EST
    The Amir is trying to say that the President has too much on his plate to comment on every interracial murder that comes up.

    As pointed out below, this is also international in scope.  I think this increases the likelyhood of a comment.

    "They don't have proper fathers in their lives. You can't be a friend to your son, you got to be the father," he said.

    This is a perfect segue for the President to point out how he had a male figure in his life.  There is NO need for race to be interjected.

    I think this is what the Amir was alluding too ;-).


    Yeah, right...[rolling eyes] (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:18:28 PM EST
    That's a bridge you're not going to be able to sell here.

    Yeah, right. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 02:06:17 PM EST
    And also keep telling yourself that the Republican Party really and truly has your best interests at heart, as they seek to defund Obamacare for the forty-umpteenth time, and block all attempts to raise the minimum wage and restore funding for the millions of kids thrown out of Head Start because of nonsensical budget sequesters.

    I'm whistling while turning my head away. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 04:41:56 PM EST
    Where did that come from, Donald?

    On another note, did you watch the interview?

    Mr Johnson called the police and is responsible for the arrest.  

    I will suggest that his report was undoubtly taken.

    Chris Lane was murdered as a part of a gang initiation, according to James Johnson, the father of a boy who was also allegedly targeted by the three youths accused of killing Mr Lane.
    The police decided to tell the public that the killing was for kicks...out of boredom...as stated by one of the gang members.

    An Australian news correspondent broke this story.  And where are the dozens of American journalists?  Waiting for the police or some social engineer to give them an update.  


    You were defending Abdul, who is ... (none / 0) (#109)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 05:42:28 PM EST
    ... a longstanding white-wing poster (troll?) at TL. Why is what the president said or didn't say about this tragedy more important than the tragedy itself?

    But to answer your question, the answer is no, I didn't follow this particular case. I hate to sound totally heartless, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to read everything in detail about what is -- at its core essence -- a local story.

    Further, our country has averaged about 35-40 unjustifiable homicides on any given day over the past few years, and each homicide represents an equally senseless tragedy to someone, somewhere.

    Obviously I'm generalizing, but with extenuating circumstances excepted, I don't believe that it's necessarily fair to elevate one case over the many others and turn it into a cause celebre, as our American media constantly seems wont to do. Quite honestly, I'd be a basket case were I to become emotionally vested in only a quarter of them.

    The only murder case I'm concerned with right now is one of our own, starring U.S. State Dept. Diplomatic Security agent Christopher Deedy who's been charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of a young, unarmed Hawaiian man at a Waikiki McDonald's in Nov. 2011. The jury has it right now, and is deliberating as we speak. (Disclosure: The victim in this case was a middle / high school classmate and friend of my eldest daughter.)



    I had thought about writing (none / 0) (#114)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 06:25:49 PM EST
    [sarcasm], but instead used the wink ;-) to indicate jest.

    I had not been too interested in the case, until the Amir posted the Aussie's newest break in the case.

    I'm quite surprised US media outlets have yet to pick up on this interview.  I expect it will happen by tomorrow.  The spin doctors and bloggers have totally missed it, making Lane another poster child for their causes...long before the whole story comes out.  

    Glad I didn't ask you if you were making the gang bangers into poster children for Headstart.

    Following some links on Deedy now...not covered well here.


    You know, I sometimes think in jest that ... (none / 0) (#116)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:23:46 PM EST
    Visteo1: "Following some links on Deedy now...not covered well here."

    ... the U.S. media is still feeling burned by their sensationally horrific wall-to-wall coverage 80 years ago of Honolulu's notorious "Massie Affair" -- in which their highly publicized so-called "victim," a pampered young socialite named Thalia Massie, was eventually proved to have falsely accused five local boys of gang-raping and bludgeoning her, in order to initially explain away to her U.S. Navy officer husband the vicious beating she suffered at the hands of someone else -- most likely, a former lover who was one of her husband's fellow officers.

    Over Thalia's objections, Lt. Thomas Massie called the Honolulu police to report her claim, which then compelled her to repeat the lie, and thus set in motion a tragic cascade of mind-numbing events. Five young men were conveniently arrested and charged with the crime, and the U.S. media quickly picked up the story and ran with it, pontificating remorselessly about the territory of Hawaii's failure to defend virtuous white womanhood from its own sex-addled Polynesian savages.

    Within a matter of months, it culminated in the tragic lynching of one of the five accused young men by Thalia's husband and her mother, Grace Bell Fortescue -- who was an heiress to the Bell Telephone fortune, and whose husband was the favorite nephew of former President Theodore Roosevelt, which added an even more attractive but highly toxic element of celebrity to the case.

    Despite the fact that both Lt. Massie and Mrs. Fortescue were caught red-handed by HPD while attempting to dispose of the body and were subsequently charged with murder, the U.S. media nevertheless hailed the two from coast to coast as national heroes, the famous defense attorney Clarence Darrow was retained by the Bell family to defend them, and the stage was set for arguably one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in the history of 20th century American jurisprudence.

    Historians have since speculated that Hawaii statehood may have been set back by over a quarter-century as a direct result of the tragic story's notoriety and infamy, thanks in no small part to the American media's disgracefully biased and racist coverage of the case.



    Thanks for the history (none / 0) (#120)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 08:26:39 PM EST
    on the "Massie Affair".

    The Deedy trial had one point that seemed bizaare.  The prosecuters did not offer lessor charges to murder 2.  This makes no sense to me.  

    An acquittal means he walks never to be tried again.  Some suggested that the prosecution is hoping for a hung jury, if he is not found guilty on the first go.  This way they could fix things with the case.  

    They must really feel confident about the hung jury to try that move...or they are just plain stupid.  Why not take a manslaughter conviction? With manslaughter as an option, an acquittal is less likely.  That way they still might get a crack at murder 2.

    There was no way to review the evidence.  What is your take?


    You're not the only one who's ... (none / 0) (#121)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:20:52 PM EST
    ... asking that question. I can understand why trial attorneys might like it, but the "all or nothing" approach to jury verdicts hardly serves the greater interests of justice.

    Section 701-109(5), Hawaii Revised Statutes, reads as follows:

    "The court is not obligated to charge the jury with respect to an included offense unless there is a rational basis in the evidence for a verdict acquitting the defendant of the offense charged and convicting the defendant of the included offense."

    However, in State of Hawaii v. Oliver Haanio (2001), the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled on so-called "all or nothing" cases, stating that those situations are "detrimental to the criminal justice system," and further that trial courts must offer jurors the option of lesser offenses, if there exists "a rational basis in the evidence, for a verdict acquitting the defendant of the charged offense and convicting the defendant of [the lesser] offense."

    Therefore, why Judge Karen Ahn declined to include such instructions on manslaughter is completely beyond me, especially since her decision appears to run completely counter to the Supreme Court's 2001 ruling in Haanio.

    If Christopher Deedy walks as a result of the jury's inability to convict on second degree murder, and if jurors subsequently state publicly that they would have convicted him of manslaughter had that option been provided to them, I'll guarantee that you're going to see a lot of very angry Hawaii citizens -- particularly in the Native Hawaiian community.



    Why would Obama say anything? (none / 0) (#132)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:30:58 PM EST
    Its not an election year.

    Source please (2.00 / 1) (#61)
    by ragebot on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:40:16 PM EST
    That one of the three perps involved in the shooting was white.  I saw the booking pix.

    The ones on Fox and Friends ... (5.00 / 2) (#71)
    by Yman on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:31:19 PM EST
    ... or the Daily Caller?  Turns out, they published a photo of the wrong Michael Jones.  Allen West did the same thing on his FB page.

    A Duncan police source confirmed to Mediaite, Wednesday morning, that 17 year-old Michael Jones is not "the one with the lightest skin," he is a white male.

    Thx (none / 0) (#138)
    by ragebot on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:41:12 AM EST
    I based my post on early reports

    Nice find, but.... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:40:59 PM EST
    Not too many are going to follow your link to a fantastic interview with that type of rhetoric.  I for one will not take your bait.  

    We will soon hear about it in the US media...

    Chris Lane was murdered as a part of a gang initiation, according to James Johnson, the father of a boy who was also allegedly targeted by the three youths accused of killing Mr Lane.



    Student Loans (none / 0) (#59)
    by Slado on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:32:39 PM EST
    Government creates a problem

    And now Obama plans to expand governmentt to fix it.

    More of the same.

    Lordy (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by sj on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 12:48:20 PM EST
    Speaking of "more of the same". You just think that's a nail for your "big government" hammer.

    I don't trust a school of thought (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:26:34 AM EST
    that almost always manages leave the Big Banks and Big Corporations out of it's "Big Government" critique.

    Taibbi is on the case... (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 01:11:15 PM EST
    in the new issue of RS.

    Dueling bad actors in that play Slado...greedy welfare queen "institutions of learning" with their rising tuitions that are approx. a googleplex higher than the rate of inflation, and Uncle Sam playing banker.  According to Taibbi, who akaik hasn't steered us wrong yet, the government stands to make a profit off the backs of students.

    Wise up kids...indentured servitude for life ain't worth it. It's up to we the people to stop playing the fool over and over and over.