Thursday Open Thread

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

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    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 235 (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 03:52:18 PM EST
    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 236 (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Dadler on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 11:00:41 AM EST
    Winter Olympics: The real Sochi (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 03:49:00 PM EST
    Mother Jones reviews The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus (link). Good stuff. If good is a proper word in the context of the subject matter.

    A man I know lived in Russia (none / 0) (#13)
    by fishcamp on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 08:34:01 AM EST
    for ten years while managing a chain of hotels owned by KLM.  He says Sochi is a terrible place loaded with Russian mafia types.  The prostitution and drug use gets worse every year.  It's hard to believe the Olympic committee fell for Putin's BS.  The Olympics used to be fun and exciting but this one doesn't sound  good to me.  Glad I'm not going.  Excellent article Dadler.

    The only way Sochi got these Olympics, IMO... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dadler on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:23:41 AM EST
    ...is through corruption, bribery, whatever. I can't see any other reason, Putin's sales pitch or no.

    That wouldn't surprise me. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:17:02 PM EST
    After all, that's exactly what the good folks in Salt Lake City did to snag the 2002 Winter Games.

    Or (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:31:55 PM EST
    Many other cities, such as Nagano.

    Dear Armando, (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:15:12 PM EST
    Have you abandoned us?

    And me with my pre-existing (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by ruffian on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 07:49:07 PM EST
    abandonment issues!

    I haven't had much to say lately either. What has been abandoned is all my hope fueled outrage - or was it outrage fueled hope?


    Maybe BTD discovered that ... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:01:02 PM EST
    ... he can make over $6,500 a week working from home on his computer, after learning about that exciting new opportunity from his best friend's cousin's mother-in-law.



    I'm thinking it's the ganbling (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:12:44 PM EST
    from home. Didn't even post football bets.

    The plight of the working poor (none / 0) (#6)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:05:54 PM EST

    in post manufacturing, bankster driven Britain....

    Working poor (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:48:45 PM EST
    get nailed in every welfare state, earn a dollar or a Euro, lose 50% or more of what you earn in benefits. My last trip to London I did a lot of walking in poor areas, ethnic dining, thrift shops, cheap hotels and its the same as here, some never have worked a day, some bust their behind and get as much work as they can.

    Same and very different, I like London, to visit anyway, working and living there I'm not sure if I could fit into the structure.

    Square peg - round hole (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Yman on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:03:21 PM EST
    Working poor get nailed in every welfare state, earn a dollar or a Euro, lose 50% or more of what you earn in benefits.

    Much as you may wish otherwise, the article is not about taxes in Britain or any other "welfare state".

    BTW - An occasional link to back up your claims with actual facts might prove somewhat more convincing.


    The story out of North Korea (none / 0) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:56:08 AM EST
    on the execution of Jang Song Thaek (Uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) last month was bad enough. Today the method of execution is being reported by the Straits Times in Singapore as "quan jue", execution by dogs:  

    unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up.

    How about a warning in your subject line. (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 01:41:17 AM EST
    I Know... (none / 0) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:52:32 AM EST
    ...it's before lunch here.

    Or maybe not (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:58:39 AM EST
    "Bottom Line is... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 11:46:23 AM EST
    ...Unlikely but I Can't Rule it Out" O'Carroll, whose NKNews site is known for its sober and careful coverage of North Korea, acknowledged. "While this one definitely feels exaggerated, who knows? With North Korea's KCNA publishing films showing the destruction of effigies of [former South Korean President] Lee Myung-bak by hungry dogs last year, and of course publishing several cartoons depicting the gruesome death of the same president, at least parts of the story could be within the realm of true. Don't forget the North Koreans even hosted competitions last year to think up the most gruesome way to kill 'Traitor' [Lee Myung-bak]; the prize? The winner could carry out that particular death sentence!"

    So maybe it's BS, but the fact that people are buying it really is an indication of what the world thinks of NK.  I mean really, so Kim Jong Un just used machine guns to execute his uncle instead of hungry dogs...


    The exceution was brutal (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 11:54:52 AM EST
    But the fact that this has only floated around the net for a month(and it's the first I've heard of it), and no one has picked up on it tells me that it's very possible to be just an internet rumor.

    A sceptic: (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 01:38:09 PM EST
    Federal District Judge Kopf's Blog Closed (none / 0) (#12)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 01:51:43 AM EST
    Earlier this year, Jeralyn recommended Judge Kopf's blog post, "The best gift I ever got from a convicted killer," and his response to something she'd written here, "Despite what Jeralyn says, I'm not a leftist."

    From the ABA Journal story:

    Kopf's decision comes after a Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) story aired both criticism and support for judges who write books and blogs and speak with reporters. The article reported that some judges were "chagrined" by one of Kopf's posts during the government shutdown in which he wrote, "It's time to tell Congress to go to hell."

    Judge Kopf's farewell to blogging.

    The impact of social class essentialism (none / 0) (#22)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:27:43 PM EST
    on social Darwinism policies. link

    Another glitch in Obamacare (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:13:34 PM EST
    Whether you have an exchange plan, (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:28:23 PM EST
    or a private one, if the insurance company is one that is offering plans on the exchange, getting through to them is next to impossible.

    My daughter's been trying to talk to someone at CareFirst about crediting the premium she paid for her husband and son's old plan to the new one they were approved for for all three of them, and has yet to get anything more than a recorded message about "unusually high call volume."  And some really crappy music - not even the occasional, "your call is important to you," or "the estimated wait time is just short of an eternity."  

    She pointed me to this story:  

    Paperwork problems almost delayed suburban Chicago resident Sheri Zajcew's scheduled surgery Thursday, but Dr. John Venetos decided to operate without a routine go-ahead from the insurance company. That was after Venetos' office manager spent two hours on hold with the insurer Thursday, trying to get an answer about whether the patient needed prior authorization for the surgery. The office manager finally gave up.


    Venetos, a Chicago digestive system specialist, described "tremendous uncertainty and anxiety" among patients calling his office recently. Some thought they'd signed up for coverage but hadn't received insurance cards yet. Others had insurance policies that were canceled and weren't sure if their coverage had been reinstated after Gov. Pat Quinn decided to allow one-year extensions of canceled plans.

    Venetos said he has decided to take a risk and provide care for these patients, at least until there's less confusion about coverage.

    "We feel it's the right thing to do," Venetos said. "We may end up stuck holding the bag and not getting paid on these claims."

    My daughter finally gave up, stopped payment on the old check and put a new check in the mail for the new plan.

    In my case, also with CareFirst, the invoice that usually comes by the 10th of the month arrived on New Year's Eve, and the only bright spot is that, because they failed to give me the required 45 days notice of a rate increase, they are waiving the increase for January.

    It really shouldn't have to be this hard - it's not like there hasn't been four freaking years to prepare for it.


    Well, what can I say? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:34:12 PM EST
    Gee, "only" four years?
    Yes, this is snark.
    Medicare For All.  That is all I have to say.  

    Hope you and all enjoyed (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:51:09 PM EST
    the holidays, Mme. Z. --dan

    We did, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:31:30 PM EST
    Dan, we did.  Lots of good food, good friends, and close relatives.  Plus plenty of good wine.  What could be better?  
    I hope that you have a wonderful New Year!

    Hope you and family (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:38:25 PM EST
    had a great Christmas and New Year season.  Welcome back from me.

    Thanks, Dan (none / 0) (#28)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:43:09 PM EST
    Happy New Year to you and yours.

    We had a lovely Christmas.  Sadly, three days later, we had to have our 14 yr old lab put down, and that's been really hard, even though we knew it was the right thing to do; we miss her.


    Still thinking about you (none / 0) (#34)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:34:12 PM EST
    and your loss of Casey, Anne.  It's always hard to deal with the loss of any of our furry family.  Be well.

    I wonder (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:55:55 PM EST
    If anyone foresaw the kind of results this study shows:

    Medicaid expansion boosted emergency room visits in Oregon:

    Giving poor people health insurance, the belief was, would decrease their dependence on hospital emergency rooms by providing them access to more appropriate, lower-cost primary care.

    But a study published in the journal Science on Thursday finds that's not the case. When you give people Medicaid, it seems they use both more primary care and more emergency room services.

    Now, there is this caveat:

    It's not clear that the emergency room results will translate nationwide: The study only lasted 18 months and the study population is both more while and more urban than the rest of the nation.

    (I think they mean "more white").

    And of course, the theory is that most of these people only know to go to the emergency room for ailments and just have to be better educated on how to navigate the whole process of finding a doctor, and in many cases, having to schedule appointments months in advance.

    But interesting results nonetheless.


    One wonders (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:18:07 PM EST
    how many of these results had to do with the fact that their Medicaid was not accepted by a lot of the physicians that they might have gone to otherwise.
    Just saying........

    Well (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:24:55 PM EST
    Primary care visits to doctors went up, but so did visits to the emergency rooms (for non-emergency reasons).

    This all depends upon (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:25:17 PM EST
    if they can find any primary care physicians who will even accept their Medicare, though.

    Pardon, I meant (none / 0) (#40)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:25:44 PM EST

    But at least... (none / 0) (#46)
    by unitron on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 11:17:15 AM EST
    ...if they're now insured those ERs will actually get paid instead of having to pass the bill on to everyone else in the form of $10 Tylenol tablets and such.

    I was lucky (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:51:45 PM EST
    After much going back and forth trying to get through Healthcare.gov on mulitple occasions, I gave up.  It sucked and was a horrible experience and I can't believe millions of our tax dollars went to such a crappy portal.

    Since I already had a CareFirst policy that was being canceled, I signed up for my new plan through their website (I do not qualify for subsidies or tax credits), and avoided the exchanges altogether. I actually received 2 separate sets of cards (but no literature or "plan book" so I can actually look at the details of), and CF has almost been stalking me by calling me every other day with "courtesy calls". They certainly cashed my check quickly enough.

    Will be interesting to see what happens - I had two doctors' appointments on Monday - before the end of the year - so those doctor visits will be filled under the old plan - and then I got sick  on New Year's Day and had to fill a prescription -under the new plan. I am confident something will get screwed up.


    Glad to see you back, Anne. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:01:19 PM EST
    ...With apologies to Mr. Robinson... (none / 0) (#45)
    by unitron on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 11:15:03 AM EST
    ...I second that emotion.

    Man Busted at DQ Trying to sell Used Brains (none / 0) (#32)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:27:50 PM EST
    INDIANAPOLIS -- A 21-year-old Indianapolis man has been charged with stealing samples of the brains of dead mental patients from a medical museum, authorities said Thursday. The specimens were allegedly later sold online.

    The alleged scheme began to unravel when the executive director of the museum, Mary Ellen Hennessey Nottage, received a call last month from a man in California who said he had purchased "six jars of brain matter" for $600 on eBay, according to court documents.

    Eeeeewwww! (none / 0) (#35)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:36:34 PM EST
    What was he thinking?????

    Oh man... no no no (none / 0) (#41)
    by desertswine on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:48:41 AM EST
    I think I already saw some of those (none / 0) (#42)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:15:51 AM EST
    with artificial color and preservatives added for sale in a rural Wall Mart Superstore. The trick is to get 'em in bulk from China.

    Why can't the entire USA (none / 0) (#43)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:28:44 AM EST
    be more like Hawaii? link

    Because only we can be ... (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:06:28 PM EST
    ... like ourselves. That uniqueness comes from the fact that Hawaii is the only state to be admitted to the union without a white majority population. Unlike our brothers and sisters on the continent, our ethic, racial and cultural diversity generally serves to define us as a people, and not divide us as a society.

    Politically and sociologically, Hawaii paid a heavy price for that diversity after Queen Liliuokalani was overthrown in 1893 by a U.S. Navy-backed coup d'état, orchestrated by the American Ambassador John L. Stevens and white sugar planters. The so-called "Republic of Hawaii" was then formally annexed by the United States in 1898 against the expressed wishes of its then-native Hawaiian majority, and non-white people soon suffered and withered under the oppressive control of a haole (white) business / military / Republican Party oligarchy, which lasted for the better part of six decades.

    But the Republicans were swept away by Hawaii voters in the 1954 territorial elections, a political sea change led in large part by the thousands of discharged U.S. soldiers of Japanese ancestry who were returning to the islands, distinguished combat veterans of the legendary 100th Battalion and 442nd Regiment who were not at all inclined to accept their former subordinate roles in the white-dominated plantation society which had dominated people's lives until the Second World War.

    Ironically, the man who successfully plotted the political overthrow of the haole establishment was himself an Irish-American Catholic, John Anthony Burns, who had moved to the islands as a 4-year-old youngster in 1913, when his father was stationed out here with the U.S. Army. But when his father subsequently abandoned the family six years later, his mother was compelled to scratch out a living for herself and her four children as a laundress -- and later as postmaster -- in the poorer neighborhoods of Kalihi-Palama in central Honolulu, where Burns grew up with mostly Japanese-American kids as his neighbors and playmates.

    Burns also attended St. Louis School, a venerable Catholic educational institution in east Honolulu with a mostly non-haole student body, where its clergy-faculty instilled in him a very strong social and moral compass, through which he soon developed a particular aversion to the white oligarchy which had its boots on the necks of his friends' families.

    As he reached adulthood and joined the Honolulu Police Dept., eventually becoming its youngest captain ever, Burns was determined to change all that and in the process, also cut his fellow haole down to size politically. Out of those friendships and experiences, Burns forged a hardwired and hardcore Democratic Party organization of mostly Asian-American candidates, party officers and precinct officials, most all of whom took their cues from his astute leadership.

    Elected in the 1954 landslide as Hawaii's lone non-voting delegate to Congress, Burns had a powerful friend and mentor in Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (D-TX), but his own political inner circle was comprised almost entirely of Japanese-American men and women -- outstanding people such as Bob and Ruth Oshiro, Mitsuo Takubuki, Dan Inouye, George Ariyoshi, Patsy Takemoto Mink and Spark Matsunaga.

    Once Hawaii finally achieved statehood and Burns was elected governor in 1962, they all subsequently rose to prominent positions of real influence and leadership. People of color finally began to really come into their own, politically and economically, and their innate liberalism soon asserted itself throughout island society.

    After King Kamehameha, King Kalakaua and Queen Liluokalani, Jack Burns arguably stands out as the most singularly influential political leader the modern history of the Hawaiian Islands, and older Japanese-Americans still revere him as one of their own, nearly forty years after his death. As the late Sen. Inouye and the late Congresswoman Mink used to regularly remind people, were it not for Burns' friendship, encouragement and tutelage, neither one of them would have ever gone to law school or ventured into politics.



    This might be one reason (none / 0) (#62)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 10:45:45 AM EST
    From your link:

    But there are limits to applying the Hawaii model to the rest of the nation, especially considering this state's unique economy and political makeup.

    Hawaii's extraordinary reliance on the federal government -- military spending accounts for 13.5 percent of the state's economy, more than any other state except Virginia -- has helped cushion the state from economic turmoil.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 237 (none / 0) (#44)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:23:52 AM EST
    The merging battlefields (none / 0) (#47)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 03:00:06 PM EST
    of Syria and Iraq. link7

    Post-colonialism is ugly (none / 0) (#50)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 03:55:52 PM EST
    Even uglier when the post-colonized weren't really post at all when it came down to it. Self-determination denied for so long, in a world so overrun with munitions, is a recipe for what we are seeing now in so many places: murderous hatred and chaos and what seems an endless cycle of hopeless repetition of same.

    Such is mortal existence, where the limitations of the flesh often trump the brilliance of any mind. Especially, to repeat and emphasize, when the powder-keg lid has been held down for so long, by so many parties, foreign and domestic, and all of whom have held it down for reasons of riches, of the Natural Resources + Unnatural Money = Complete Evil variety.

    Nothing good will happen in the near future, IMO. Nothing. That's just the stark reality that no amount of our "help" will change.


    WikiLeaks in Syria (none / 0) (#48)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 03:33:36 PM EST
    Mealymouthed denial from WikiLeaks (none / 0) (#49)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 03:40:53 PM EST
    Ok, but ... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 03:59:21 PM EST
    ...the trouble is, WE have armed scumbags easily as wretched as Assad on the other side.

    This is a phucking Pirandello play. Absurd beyond all measure. With real violence tho, which makes it genuinely horrific as well.


    The issue (none / 0) (#52)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 04:08:26 PM EST
    Putin controls the puppet strings of WikiLeaks. Why would the WikiLeaks Party from Australia meet Assad otherwise? WikiLeaks should not pretend that they are neutral and only opposed to secrecy of governments. The relationship that Greenwald and Snowden have with WikiLeaks that is controlled by Putin should also be explored.  

    A Cook's tour of logical fallacies in every post, (1.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 11:26:23 AM EST
    Or, as Colonel Potter said on M.A.S.H., HorseHockey.

    You have some like minded friends (none / 0) (#55)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:26:36 PM EST
    Please proceed and hold their hands. link I won't have anything to do with your political fantasies.

    Why would you? (none / 0) (#56)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:31:45 PM EST
    As evidenced above, you have so plenty of your own ...

    "controlled by Putin" (none / 0) (#57)
    by jondee on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:40:59 PM EST
    you're saying utterly controlled, or influenced by?

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 238 (none / 0) (#53)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 10:42:24 AM EST
    Jesus loved his wine, why can't see love her distilled grain spirits? (link)

    And the rest of last week's comics, for those who missed any.

    v. 237
    v. 236
    v. 235
    v. 234
    v. 233
    v. 232

    Have a great Sunday, peeps. Go Chargers, Go Niners!


    Sochi Olympics (none / 0) (#58)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:54:33 PM EST
    Two dictators play hockey. link

    My mind wandered when I saw the picture. Funnily enough, I was reminded of tales I had read about Nero at the Olympics. link

    Link (none / 0) (#59)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 01:59:22 PM EST
    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 239 (none / 0) (#60)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 10:57:08 AM EST
    The Mall of America needs to be selling this stuff. (link)

    v. 238
    v. 237
    v. 236

    Rainy days and Mondays, my good friends. Then tack on it's the first day back to work after the holiday break and, well, it just sucks. ;-)

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 240 (none / 0) (#63)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:33:15 PM EST
    HIS commitment (none / 0) (#64)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 12:33:41 PM EST

    Sen. Marco Rubio takes a victory lap ... (none / 0) (#65)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 06:54:36 PM EST
    ... after successfully blocking his own judicial nominee for Florida's Southern District.

    Maybe if he asks nicely, he can search through Mitt Romney's binders full of women for a replacement.


    Gates on BHO, Biden, HRC, GWB (none / 0) (#66)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 07:41:44 PM EST
    thanks (none / 0) (#67)
    by abdou on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:27:16 AM EST
    My mind wandered when I saw the picture. Funnily enough, I was reminded of tales I had read about Nero at the Olympics

    how to get a girlfriend