Saturday Open Thread

Four days to set up a brand new computer is a record for me. I've had so many battles with tech support at various companies I feel like I've been through a war zone.

After the hardware issues (most of which resulted from poor or inaccurate setup instructions), there are the software licensing issues when trying to re-install your programs on a new computer, particularly with Adobe (Acrobat Professional and Photoshop) Microsoft Office and Corel Wordperfect. I was lucky this time, and didn't have to buy new versions of any of them.

I have a few more installations to go (scanner, fax machine, labeling and postage machine) after which I will take all the boxes and my old computer out to my storage unit and hopefully be done by tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Pali (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:36:24 PM EST
    Your link does not work.

    If you have trouble using the link icons here, at least use tiny URL. Here is link to tiny URL.

    Tiny URL

    Sorry (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:40:28 PM EST
    i have patiently replied with exactly the information in your comment.  At this point more that once.

    The more I learn about the Garner case (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:57:20 AM EST
    the more it looks like a civil case, not criminal. Maybe there will be federal charges but I don't think they can make a strong case against that one officer.

    I have a feeling the Garner family will have success in suing the police department.  They don't need to go after one officer. They can bring up the chokehold and what happened after the chokehold..... which might be the major offense.

    Assuming the officer's (none / 0) (#158)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:15:25 PM EST
    actions caused Garner's death, he may be at risk of a conviction for violatting Garner's civil rights, based on the fact the officer knew or should have known he was violating the City of New York's policy bannibg use of the chokehold.

    It now seems to me (none / 0) (#185)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:47:15 PM EST
    Garner's death was a team effort. I don't see the chokehold cop as the only one responsible.  

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#189)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:23:26 PM EST
    Exactly.  Thank you for proving my point.  Once again, you ommitted (again), when Johnson was specifying what he meant by the throat/neck area, that I pointed out to you the day before your post.

    "The Officer grabbed, he grabbed a hold of Big mike's shirt around the neck area" - absolutely no where in his testimony does Johnson make a claim that he was choking Brown, let alone long enough for him to leave bruises on his neck.


    Leaving aside the issue of whether he grabbed him by his neck/throat area - or just by his shirt (as DJ specified) - absolutely no where does DJ say he "choked" him (as you claimed) or that he did so long enough to leave your silly "choke marks" you keep fantasizing about.

    Your "proof" that a lack of "choke marks" means DJ was lying is a completely fail.  Even someone with eyesight that's beyond failing should be able to see that.  Unless they just have their head buried somewhere.  Let's be kind and say ... "in the sand".


    Howdy's Helpful Homemaking Hints (5.00 / 2) (#205)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 05:26:53 PM EST
    had to pass this on

    Does anyone use those generic "crystal lite" drink mixes?
    I drink gallons of them.  I mostly drink orange but there are others.  I never take it straight but mixed with about 10% real juice it makes a killer refreshment with next to no calories.
    So a while ago I started saving the little tall rectangular boxes without really knowing why.  But I figured it out.  They make sensational storage and organizing containers.

    The tall thin shape means you can but lots of them in a small space.  And the even stack! I just found that out. Since I have a chest freezer that's great.   This afternoon I made a gigantic pot of excellent vegetable beef soup and used them as freezer containers.  They hold exactly one bowl.  They also, I've found hold exactly one can of something like stock if you want to open a can but not use all of it.

    So, there it is.

    Not sure what's weirder, that this is what my life has become or that I am actually totally ok with that?!

    ^^^ Thank you, Heloise! :} (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by Angel on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 05:59:24 PM EST

    Or, I did like it but, (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 12:36:04 PM EST
    the boss lady must be watching, or the NSA.

    I would give you a five (3.00 / 2) (#207)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 06:10:49 PM EST
    but then no one would know what you are thanking me fer

    jim, as I'v said before, (3.00 / 2) (#208)
    by fishcamp on Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 08:21:52 PM EST
    I'm a self appointed Table Captain.  I do appreciate the kindness in your response.  I also agree that they await your arrival to pounce, and that's when it gets tiring, since the comments always seem to be the same, no matter the subject.  Individually all three of you make sensible and valuable comments.  It's when the three of you drive around in the clown car too long together, that it gets tedious for the rest of us. :-)

    I think the best advice (2.00 / 1) (#210)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 09:02:48 AM EST
    For both you and Jim would be to get off of your crosses, somebody else could use the wood.

    Do nothing? NOT ANYMORE (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 12:46:48 PM EST
    House and Senate Unanimous: No Social Security for Nazis

    In some cases, as described in the AP investigation, a final deportation order was never obtained, and instead a suspected Nazi war criminal would leave the country voluntarily or as the result of a deal with the Justice Department, and thus keep their Social Security payments.

    If there's anybody who doesn't deserve due process (none / 0) (#2)
    by toggle on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 12:57:49 PM EST
    It's those darned Nazis!

    AWSUM (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:11:07 PM EST
    i hoped the bait would be taken but I'm honestly amazed that even you took it.

    Please tell us more about how put upon the poor nazi war criminals are.


    There Are Two Programs... (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:05:11 PM EST
    ...on Netflix called something like Nazi Hunters.  Very cool how they managed to track them down, and what they do once they have confirmation.

    In total there are about 15 episodes in which some of the most notorious Nazis were brought to justice.  Almost all were protected in S American, which means they couldn't be extradited.

    Nothing to do with SSecurity, but I remember one was advising one of the A American dictatorships on extracting information, real sick stuff, but he was eventually caught.  It's very odd that some, even at trial continued to insist they were innocent, even though all SS members were tattooed and the SS members were the ones in charge of mass murder.

    There was one in America who was nailed by a postcard that 40 some years later still had a viable finger print on it.  Very interesting stuff.

    There are a ton of Nazi party members that did not commit war crimes, being a Nazi should not automatically disqualify them, but lying on immigration papers should.


    Are oblivious to advise on linking? (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:23:25 PM EST
    or are you willfully ignoring it?

    You comment will be deleted.  If you would like your comments to not be deleted there are extensive descriptions of proper linking in recent past open threads.  That you have been repeatedly referred to.

    Sorry. I don't really care if your comments are deleted I just find it hard to understand.

    the comment you are replying to was deleted (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:21:16 PM EST
    for pasting an overly long url.

    Capt Howdy (none / 0) (#12)
    by Palli on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:50:59 PM EST
    Sir, I preview my comment it reads accurately with the entire link shown absolutely correctly in the preview.  If I decide to comment again I will take a screen shoot and I could send it to anyone via email for proof.

    WHAT (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:53:21 PM EST
    is your problem?  We are trying to help you.  Or would you like to slur MO Blue too.

    I regret (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by Palli on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:21:40 AM EST
    I am always on edge reading and commenting on TalkLeft. Although I have much in common with many of the rational thoughts expressed here, I do not fit in- technologically or socially. Please do not conclude that I am slurring MOBlue or do not enjoy the sly wit of Uncle Chip or do not appreciate all the information that adds to my understanding of many issues that hold my attention. (Although I will not miss the persistent mental convolutions of a couple posters.) I am walking again so I have less need for internet exchanges and can get out to do the work that my beliefs require.

    Hey Pali (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:16:57 PM EST
    I never thought you were saying anything negative about me.

    I have been doing links for years using the icons above the comment box yet encountered major problems trying to link properly on my iPad so I can truly relate to you not understanding what you were doing wrong. I was to the point of pulling out my hair when the kind folks here very, very patiently took me step by step through a different process. Took them more than one comment for me to fully understand what they were trying to tell me.

    I am happy you are walking again and will be able to spend your time doing other things but hope you continue to post here from time to time.


    MOBlue (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by Palli on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:28:12 PM EST
    She knows/knew that.  Michael

    No one wants to harass you (none / 0) (#167)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:01:53 PM EST
    if you want to link just read the open on Dec 2(I think) for extensive discussions on linking.   As Mo Blue said, if you can't master the icons its very easy to use tinyurl.com to make a shorter link.

    If you post long urls in a comment they will be deleted.


    If the tinyurl.com site (none / 0) (#168)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:07:50 PM EST
    is confusing just say so and some will help you.

    From Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:01:40 PM EST
    you know, the person who runs the site-

    it was deleted (none / 0) (#203)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Dec 02, 2014 at 11:10:07 PM EST
    The site margins for the center column (where all the posts and comments are) are not wide enough to accomodate long urls. They skew the site.  If you want to link to an article or website or whatever, type the name and embed the link. There's a link button at the top of the comment box to help you.
    Readers here have explained multiple times. I've had this rule since 2002 when I started this site. We all learned how to do it. If you want to comment, you will have to either (a) learn how to link using html code (which is not the same as just pasting your link in the comment box) or (b) not use urls in your comments.

    This is not negotiable. I'm not going to have the site display improperly to accommodate those who don't want to follow the commenting rules.

    URL's within the body of the comment must be in html format or they will be deleted as they skew the site. Use the link button at the top of the comment box to paste in the url. You can also find a shorter link via tinyurl.com and post that.
    Also please use the preview button to make sure you've done it correctly.

    Parent |  1  2  3  4  5

    Two hostages lost (none / 0) (#6)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:27:06 PM EST
    in Yemen. One an American, one from South Africa. Too bad, but the right thing to do, in my mind.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:41:24 PM EST
    better that having your head sawed off on camera

    Rescue effort thwarted by a barking dog. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:45:36 PM EST
    Interesting. Even evil b******s have dogs (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 09:28:34 PM EST
    who protect them.

    Computer Set-up (none / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:47:23 PM EST
    I did this with my gf's computer, maybe 3 months ago and I think Windows 8 sucks, sucks, sucks.  Some software doesn't work, there are tons of little bothersome bugs, and I just simply don't like the way it's designed.

    After some research.
    They haven't stopped with Windows 7, which is what I have on my computers and at work, they are just limiting the licensing to Enterprise License holders.  I mean seriously, MS simply said FU customers, you'll take what we give you, never mind all you idiots who don't like touching their screens and using a product nearly all businesses are using.

    It's going to be a long time before I upgrade, which is a shame in that my small laptop needs replacing and it's that time of the year.

    And yes, it's Saturday and I am at work.  Sucks, but I have a lot of vacation and taking the second half of December off.  I took the second half of November off and the problem with long breaks is you realize just how much a job sucks, even a good one like mine.

    Sorry about the work thing (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:51:39 PM EST
    i will never buy or use another MS product.  All it took was using an iPad

    I skipped windows 8 (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:28:15 PM EST
    I knew it would be awful for work programs. They are still selling high-end desktops that come pre-installed with Windows 7 professional (8 is also installed if you want to activate it, which I don't.) So at least I avoided Windows 8 issues.

    I don't like Windows 8, either, ... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 03:21:18 PM EST
    simply for the touchscreen aspect of it, which is all but incompatible for the work I do. And Microsoft isn't the only one that's unconcerned with customer satisfaction. I got exasperated with Google for much the same thing. They had a great product in iGoogle with which you could personalize your own home page, but then they just decided to chuck it, because hey, Chrome! Well, I tried Chrome and it was no iGoogle, and I very quickly grew to despise it. Now I tend to avoid Google products.

    Possible Obama Executive Order (none / 0) (#15)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:54:15 PM EST
    I have been hearing some rumors that Obama may use the executive order power to lift sanctions on Cuba and allow travel there.

    Granted these rumors are floating around Boot Key Harbor and lots of folks in the harbor are cruisers who would very much like to take their boats to the superb marina at Varadero; a rather short passage for a boat like mine.  I could leave early in the afternoon and be able to eat breakfast there.

    Any of you folks well connected to the current administration know how likely this is.

    No, but if you do go, (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:11:19 PM EST
    check in with Isaura, at Hemingway Marina, she's a great gal and in the know about all things in Cuba, including how to get around the prohibited email and cell phone adventures.  If we don't see each other just tell her Don from the boat Sherry D.  Here are some contacts:  www.hemingwayyachtclub.org.             yachtclub@cnih.mh.tur.cu.  republicas@prto.mh.cyt.cu.   You will be legal if you get an invite, which means you are not spending any money, and doing business with the enemy.

    My evil twin brother (none / 0) (#39)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 03:48:27 PM EST
    who died just last week in a tragic aeroplane accident reports that the Hemingway Marina is a much different place than the marinas at Veradero.  The parking lot at Hemingway is less than fifty feet from the docks and the folks doing black market business camp out there.  There is also a lineup of girls (quite frankly what would be underage girls if one takes 18 to be of age) and you point to the one you want and she is escorted to your boat.  Problem is that if you leave your boat there for any length of time it is subject to being looted.  One guy from Scotland had to return home for medical reasons and when he returned all the running rigging was gone.  At Veradero there is a fence around the marina and it is secured the the Cuban secret police, who's rule of engagement is shoot to kill.  It is also cheaper at Veradero than Hemingway, as well as being closer to a great national park.  My plan is to take my bike and cycle around Cuba so Veradero seems like a better choice.  Of course since my evil twin brother died just last week in a tragic aeroplane accident none of this can be verified.  But my chart plotter shows a 150 true course from Boot Key to Veradero.

    Sorry to hear that rage (none / 0) (#41)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 03:57:01 PM EST
    Sure that's not... (none / 0) (#45)
    by gbrbsb on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 04:16:33 PM EST
    VAradero and not VEradero your talking about?

    Stunning beaches at Varadero but much too touristy for me. I'm either a city or an out in the sticks away from it all living with the natives sort of person. La Habana is the best!

    P.S. Not sure whether to be sorry or not about the demise of your "evil" twin brother but my condolences just the same.


    I sit corrected (none / 0) (#47)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:00:01 PM EST
    But my attraction to Varadero is due to better marina facilities at a lower cost.  I am not a real fan of the black market (especially with worries about the secret police) and even less of a fan of having 15 year old girls nagging that they need foreign customers with hard currency so they can pay the rent; not to mention a greater number of con men in Havana.  Lots of folks are very afraid to leave a boat at Hemingway due to lax security, but Varadero is almost universally viewed as being much safer.  Of course none of this is an issue for a land lubber.

    I wasn't always a "land lubber"... (5.00 / 7) (#87)
    by gbrbsb on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 09:23:40 PM EST
    ... but my sea faring days ended when my father scuttled his last boat off the coast of Barcelona. We'd travelled up from Alicante (Spain) to relive his youth taking her up through the French canals to Paris, to the coast and across the English channel when he moved back to the UK.

    He'd always had a romance with boats, (converted bawleys), and after years without one it was to be his retirement swan song. He bought her in need of restoration but it was done so badly they didn't fit her with enough ballast even for the Mediterranean, by which time to make her open seaworthy was going to be even more costly so he decided it would be throwing good money after bad and let her go.

    Probably for the best since he had been prone to huge gaffes with boats. He sank one off the coast of France leaving my mother and he swimming over a mile to shore carrying me aged 2 ;  he managed to interrupt the annual boat race in the centre of Paris because of a jammed rudder ;  he took the wrong turning down a French canal which left us see-sawing over a weir with him having to piggy back me aged 5 along the top to the bank and then return to the boat to wait for a farmer's cart horse to tow us off ;  and with me he beached another on an offshore sand-bank coming back from France when he miscalculated how many knots she could do so that when it was about the time he had calculated for us to arrive he assumed lights from a campsite must be the port and in we went! To give him his due, while I aged 12 had to row myself, a chronically seasick hitchhiker we picked up in Boulogne in exchange for his help with the crossing, and a tired racing pigeon that also hitched a ride with us, to shore in the dark, like a good captain he refused to abandon ship staying onboard to float her off the next morning... well, maybe it had more to do with saving the coast guard's towing fee than being a good captain !


    I'm giving you a "5" (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by ZtoA on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 03:07:47 AM EST
    but it is since your comment is so interesting and utterly confusing ---and that is because, WTF does it mean? Is this actually english? This 'sea talk' is so interesting. Could you write that in actual lay talk?  

    So sorry to hear about your brother (none / 0) (#102)
    by ZtoA on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 03:00:49 AM EST
    BTW I really like your photos!! But sorry to hear about your brother.

    ... but man, I'd sure love to see that happen. I've always wanted to visit Cuba, and it's always ticked me off that a loud little handful of demented and unreconstructed fascist refugees from the Fulgencio Batista era can continue to hold hostage our country's policy toward that country. For all the problems that the Cuban people have experienced under the Castros' rule, they're still much better off than they ever were when the Batistas were running that island as a personal fiefdom, on behalf of U.S. corporate sugar planters and the Cosa Nostra.

    As to the final sentence of your comment, (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 03:27:15 PM EST
    I think that is questionable.

    What's questionable, ... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:19:30 PM EST
    ... that the Batista regime ran Cuba as a personal fiefdom, or that they were in the hip pocket of the American-dominated sugar industry and the Mafia?

    Cuban sugar mills were mostly owned by Americans by the 1890s, even before the Spanish-American War. In many respects, 1898 was the Year of the Sugar Barons, because that was when the United States formally seized both the Hawaiian Islands and Cuba outright, which together then accounted for over half of all sugar consumed in this country. Fulgencio Batista, who dominated Cuba for the better part of a quarter-century, was very good to U.S. agricultural interests.

    With regards to the Mafia, Batista's personal business relationships with Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficanti, Sr. and other Mafioso are well-documented, and the Mob's interests -- such as the famous Sans Souci Resort and Casino in Havana -- flourished under the Batista regime. During Batista's early years as Cuba's strongman in the 1930s, mobster Ignazio Antinori of Tampa freely traded in on his associations with the regime to smuggle both narcotics and raw materials for bootleg liquor production into the U.S.

    That's why the Mob was so eager to cooperate with the CIA to get rid of Fidel Castro. Because even though Lansky & Co. had also played both sides of the 1950s Cuban Revolution by funneling money secretly to Castro during the early years of the revolt, he had turned on them and gave them the boot once he took power in January 1959, even going so far as to imprison a few of them, including Trafficante's son Santo, Jr.

    Fidel Castro had freed Cuba from its American overlords, and our country's business interests really didn't like that. That was the underlying reason for our open hostility toward the new regime. The Cold War simply served as a flimsy rationale and excuse for maintaining that hostility, but it was never its primary cause. Rather, I'd argue that our economic embargo of that island and our repeated attempts to overthrow Castro's government and kill him literally drove the Cuban leader right into the Kremlin's arms.



    Despite all of the above, it is arguable (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:32:11 PM EST
    whether residents of Cuba who are working class, not employed by the government-owned tourist industry, are enjoying a standard of living superior to that of similarly-situated prople prior to Fidel's take-over.

    And that simply was not the case prior to January 1959.

    For better or for worse, the Castro (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:19:22 PM EST
    dictatorship calls the shots for Cubans.

    Better the Castro regime, than ... (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 10:29:11 PM EST
    ... U.S. economic interests courtesy of the Platt Amendment.

    I respect your grasp of history. (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 10:56:17 PM EST
    But, in my opinion, your are appraising the current situation in Cuba through rose-colored glasses.

    I'm not saying that the Cuban people are ... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:08:01 AM EST
    ... doing great. They're not. But in the context of that country's own history, the average Cuban is better off today than he / she was 60 years ago, particularly in the eastern agricultural belt of the country. There were more than very good reasons why the Batista regime fell on New Year's Eve of 1958, and why U.S.-based economic interests -- legitimate and otherwise -- were subsequently expelled by Castro in the wake of the Cuban Revolution.

    And, as I like to say, (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by MKS on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 10:26:36 PM EST
    ..the U.S. bears some responsibility for empowering Castro in the late 1950s.

    When the U.S. toppled the democratically elected Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954, it radicalized the Latin Left.  Prior to the CIA coup, the Left had succeed in electing a President and Assembly that made land reforms on behalf of the Mayans....

    The lesson learned by the Latin Left:  Democracy is for wimps.  Only bullets matter.  The most notorious young man who became radicalized by the CIA coup--a medical doctor named Ernesto Guevera. He had been a feckless, womanizing doctor who wanted nothing more than a posting in the Mayan countryside.

    As an exile in Mexico City after the coup, Guevera met someone who would have no problem using violence--Castro.

    Blowback is a b*tch.  


    They are not (5.00 / 2) (#95)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 11:56:22 PM EST
    Per my link they are suppressed into poverty by the government to maintain the regime.   If the government controls everything including the most you can be paid how is that better then any government?  Maybe NK?

    As a dissident says sure they get free education and healthcare but that is only so the state can keep them working.

    No freedom politically, no economic freedom, no real freedom to come and go and the country is falling in on itself with 60 year old cars a buildings that simply collapse from neglect.

    The dream of Castro was and is a complete failure.

    The nation will remain isolated and miserable until the regime chooses to open up its stranglehold on the economy.   The elite live well and the rest are told how to live.

    Can't imagine they couldn't have found a better way without Castro's 60 year failure.


    Really? (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 08:04:23 AM EST
    You can't imagine Haiti ... or Jamaica ... or the Dominican Republic ...

    Look I'm glad I don't live there either (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Slado on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:09:05 AM EST
    But there is a difference between poverty and institutional poverty and total lack of freedom.

    To your point it is a choice between some freedom that you can't enjoy because of zero economic opportunity and no freedom were you get some base services from the central government.  

    Cuba is in this position because they chose to embrace Communism and it might have been better if they hadn't.    Would they look like Haiti now or could they have developed into something better?  

    We'll never know but I do feel people pretend Cuba is better off then it is because of propaganda from a regime.  


    There are some other differences, too (5.00 / 2) (#118)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:54:29 AM EST
    I was just answering your question about imagining Cuba couldn't be better off if they weren't communist.  Maybe they would be, maybe not.  Kind of a silly question, but your point was to suggest they wouldn't be in such bad shape (and would likely be better) if they weren't a communist system.  My point is it's quite easy to imagine they wouldn't be better (or would be worse) just by looking at some of their neighbors.  Or, by looking at one of dozens of other countries that aren't communist or socialist where are least they have their "freedoms" ...

    ...   to be illiterate, to go without healthcare, to starve ...

    But at least they're not communists or socialists.


    Donald you do know (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:34:40 PM EST
    that Al Capone had a huge mansion at Varadero, just one of many in the area; all of which were grabbed by Castro rather quickly after he took over.  The Varadero area is not home to lots of mansions turned into museums including both the Capone and du Pont mansions.

    No, I didn't. (none / 0) (#61)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:40:07 PM EST
    I knew that Capone had maintained some business interests down there, but I was unaware that he actually owned a mansion / vacation home at Varadero, or that he was practically neighbors with the Du Ponts.

    Thanks for the interesting info.


    Oops. Pardon me. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:25:31 PM EST
    I initially misread your statement and then answered it accordingly. Re-reading it in light of others' comments, your contention was obviously that Cuba's no better off under Castro than it was under Batista.

    I still don't agree with you, but my bad.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 04:13:23 PM EST
    It's an interesting historical question.  I'm a huge Harry Turtledove fan so I find this fascinating.

    I don't think the replacement regime was much better then the regime it replaced.   To me it was a choice between two bad forms of government.     Castro made his bed with the Soviet Union with the hopes it would become the dominant force in the world and when it failed he was 30 or so years into his experiment and was left high and dry when the financial support from Moscow stopped coming.  

    Instead of becoming like the Chinease and starting a slow progression to more capitalism they appear to be holding the same pure communist model which has left the country poor if not for the bit of foreign tourism they get from around the world and even the US now.   But without the infrastructure and political will for institutional change, an open press, less government involvement and control of the economy it just isn't going to go anywhere if not get worse.

    Simply put they need to open up the government to foreign investment and partnerships much like China to improve the lives of their people.   We need to end our embargo because what's the point anymore?  We won.   Capitalism defeated Communism.   Simply put us acknowledging that we haven't completly won and maintaining the embargo is the only thing keeping the regime afloat.   By being isolated it can hold on to its power and blame us for all their troubles and in a weird way they're right.   If we lift the embargo and start to slowly move in with business we will transform the country much faster then they ever could hope to themselves.   If we continue this ridiculous holdover from the Cold War they will continue to suffer needlessly.

    How about an Obama to Cuba trip like Nixon to China?  Let's make a long term plan to bring these two neighbors together and just end it.  What's the point now?  I'd love to visit without having to scam the system.  Just this past year my parents went on a "Medical" mission and my in laws on a "Artisan" mission.   Just fronts to get a few Anerican dollars into the country.   They enjoyed it but said the conditions are third world or below and the whole society in terms of infrastructure and basic facilities is breaking down.   Get out of the cities and it's even worse.  

    In conclusion I don't think Cuba is better off.   They replaced a dictator with communism and communism doesn't work.   Eventually the dictatorship would have fallen and some sort of social democracy would have risen to replace it.   We'd all have vacationed there by now just like we've done in the Bahammas or Mexico.  

    Would it be a workers paradise?  Would it be the same?  No but it'd be better.

    Maybe with a little political sanity we can start over and in a few decades make that 60 year experiment of Communusm in Cuba a distant memory.


    Food for thought (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 04:40:01 PM EST
    One mans view of Cuba

    Without Castro what would it have been?


    Slado,that is an excellent article, (none / 0) (#79)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:23:31 PM EST
    and it was exactly that way when I was there.  We were fishing the Hemingway Blue Marlin tournament and for some crazy reasons lines were not out of the water until five pm.  Every single tournament I'v fished, in the world, lines are out at three.  By the time you get back to the dock, it's dark, and you have to clear customs in and out, every day.  We brought a freezer load of steaks and veggies, and bar-b-qed next to the boat every night.  Twice we went to the private paladaras, which are peoples houses.  We were the only people there, but the food was fine.  None of the restaurants in town are good, none.  My freezer was a $300 Sears cheapie that I saw in one of the dollar stores for $1,000.  The entire scene was ridiculous, but the fishing was great.  I slept on the boat, since I don't trust any 3rd world country regarding theft.  We had fun, and yes, there were working girls everywhere, and beauties too, half Russian, half Cuban.  We were all too pooped to pop, since tournaments are like a job.  The fruit breakfasts at the Marina were excellent, but that was it. Sad.

    Great idea John Adams could compose (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:12:46 PM EST
    a new opera, "Obama in China."  Get people's minds off "The Death of Klinghoffer."  Though this time the  protest would originate in Little Havana. Maybe a subplot invilving Elian and Ms. Reno.

    "Obama in Cuba."" He's (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:37:51 PM EST
    already been to China I think.

    For those who don't know what Oculus (none / 0) (#89)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 09:44:19 PM EST
    is talking about: Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer

    I loved Nixon in China.  It played on PBS decades ago.


    San Diego Opera, (none / 0) (#90)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 10:01:09 PM EST
    which almost went out of business in June, is staging "Nixon in China" for the first time this season.

    The big mistake folks make about (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:27:15 PM EST
    Cuba is pretending it is like the Bahamas or Mexico.  In reality Cuba is one of the islands in the Greater Antilles, along with Jamica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and the DR), and the Cayman Islands.

    Puerto Rico is an outlier as the rest of the countries are clearly third world with no real economy other than tourism, and not even tourism in Haiti.  All these countries are backwards and have few resources and broken economies.  None of them have anything close to a modern system of government.  I would rate Haiti as the worst, even worse than Cuba in terms of quality of life for average citizens.

    I doubt any system of government in Cuba would transform it into an economic success.  Not to mention it is not easy to choose between Batista, the American Mafia, or the Russian Mafia and its huge presence at Cayo Largo.


    It was Castro who nationalized everything (none / 0) (#49)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:16:21 PM EST
    in the country, banks, businesses, land, everything.  That's why thousands of doctors, lawyers, educational people, and others fled the country.  Our government won't give in to their dictatorship until they change. Naturally every other country in the world, that wants to invest there can do so.  Sorry to hear the Canadian resort at Hemingway Marina has changed for the worse.  It was very secure, and organized in 2001, when I was there last.  I still get invitations to their marlin tournaments, and Christmas greetings, every year.  Strange.

    Given what existed in Cuba prior to 1959, ... (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:34:46 PM EST
    ... I don't blame Castro for doing what he did in nationalizing the country's industries and financial institutions upon coming to power.

    Maybe the top 5% of Cuban society didn't fare so well in the Revolution, but overall the average Cuban is probably much better off today than were his / her parents and grandparents 60 years ago.

    That said, I agree with you that the Cuban government needs to recognize that the Cold War is over, and enter the 21st century.



    If I am (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:39:51 PM EST
    reading this right they have a lower Infant mortality rate than we do.

    Yes, they do. (5.00 / 3) (#64)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:47:10 PM EST
    Cuba's national health service is actually very good, which is no small feat given the U.S. embargo. Its literacy rate is now also slightly higher than ours.

    The main problem with Cuba's (none / 0) (#66)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:53:25 PM EST
    excellent health problem is they do not have access to all the drugs that they need.

    I have read that (none / 0) (#69)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:59:26 PM EST
    which is why I looked at that indicator

    Capt (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Slado on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:12:05 AM EST
    They have buildings falling in on themselves, cars from the 50's and shortages of doctors and nurses.

    Sorry.  If I have to have a baby I'd prefer it be done here in the USA.  

    Just common sense and the knowledge that you're comparing statistics from a democracy and one a police state should cast doubt on this talking point.

    The average Cuban has their complete life controlled by the government and that life kind of sucks.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#112)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:13:12 AM EST
    i get it.  I read the piece.  See my comment #85 below.  Agree with fish.  It was very good.

    A question (none / 0) (#113)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:26:35 AM EST

    The average Cuban has their complete life controlled by the government and that life kind of sucks

    And our embargo on them has:

    A.  Increased this tendency?

    B.  Decreased this tendency?

    C.  Your own nuanced answer to the question.


    As a casual observer (none / 0) (#115)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:43:50 AM EST
    i doubt it makes much difference except when it comes to things like medications which are free.   If you have no money to buy, and they do not even doctors and lawyers are limited to a max salary of 30.00 a month, more things to buy would hardly improve things much.

    The lack of auto parts, or even autos (none / 0) (#117)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:53:41 AM EST
    might be remedied by ending the embargo, and it would also remove a propaganda point for the government about how evil the yuma capitalists are towards the average Cuban.

    I'll put you down as 'other'.


    I don't know what other means (none / 0) (#120)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:57:44 AM EST
    but what is the average person going to use to buy these auto parts?

    A National Geographic article (5.00 / 2) (#127)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:31:04 AM EST
    This is a rather long article about current day Cuba from National Geograpgic that is slightly more nuanced than the one in the Manhattan Institutes magazine. It covers much that is still wrong but also gives the views of everyday people, some with hope for the future and some who feel that Cuba offers them no hope. One thing it does say is that doctors (and others) who make slightly under $33 supplement their income by driving cabs (etc.). Relatives in the U.S. supplement Cuban's income with money and goods and goods (found items hmm) obtained from their jobs and resold is SOP.

    Dr. M's cabbie days earn him the CUC equivalent of 15 times his salary as a physician.


    If tourism is the major way that the people in Cuba can raise their standard of living, then it is my opinion that the U.S. Embargo has hurt rather than helped the average person in Cuba and probably has impeded a move to a more free society.


    Thank you for addressing the (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:36:08 AM EST
    question directly, and giving your 2 cents abiut the embargo.

    Howdy, speaking of auto parts, (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by fishcamp on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:14:11 AM EST
    it would amaze you how they cobble parts together to fit cars.  I saw a modified Studebaker carburetor on an old Buick.  Castro hated Harley Davidson motorcycles, so he rounded up, and destroyed almost all of them on the island.  The few that remain are the classic knuckle heads and pan heads of past times.  For some reason he now lets the remaining owners ride their classic bikes.  And no, there is no money available for the needed auto parts, and no parts anyway.  They do have some weird Russian cars, but their spare parts are mostly gone.  I guess the countries that do have embassies in Cuba, must send their car parts over in diplomatic pouches.  If they came into the tiny airport marked as car parts, they would immediately disappear.

    I liked (none / 0) (#140)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:34:45 AM EST
    the comparison to Elyssium.  It's something almost anyone can relate to.  Cuba sounds very much like what a post apocalyptic world would look like.

    Che's son offers Harley tours of (none / 0) (#156)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:06:48 PM EST
    Oculus, excellent photo, (none / 0) (#171)
    by fishcamp on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:11:49 PM EST
    and article about Harley's.  Is that Meyer Lansky's Hotel Nacional in the background?  Of course it is, and the photo was taken from the Maleçcon, next to the old US embassy building.  That building is still there, and there's a giant white spot where the US embassy emblem used to be.  You're very good at this Cuba info.

    Occ is very good at a lot of things (none / 0) (#176)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:18:51 PM EST
    damn prosecutors



    Will I never outlive my infamous (none / 0) (#177)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:24:32 PM EST
    past? That was 25 yrs. ago.

    I have to ask (none / 0) (#184)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:43:31 PM EST
    since I really don't know
    What did you have to do with the Polanski case?

    Personally? Nada. (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:05:11 PM EST
    IIRC (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:42:28 PM EST
    didn't you have some strong views on the subject when it was a topic of discussion here

    I'm  not 100% positive but I think that was an area where we agreed for the most part.


    I did have strong views, mostly (5.00 / 2) (#198)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 03:01:32 PM EST
    bc there were some who either ignored the court record or just did not understand it, which dd not deter them from commenting. Frustrating.

    Business Insider (none / 0) (#121)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:01:16 AM EST
    In the first six months since the Cuban government implemented a policy that would allow average citizen to buy cars without special permits, the country's 11 million inhabitants bought a grand total of just 50 cars and four motorcycles from government-sanctioned dealerships, reports Reuters.

    Why? Because cars in Cuba are insanely expensive. While the average Cuban state worker makes roughly $20 a month in salary, one Peugeot dealership in Havana is asking $91,000 for a discontinued 206 economy car and a whopping $262,000 for a new 508 family sedan.

    For perspective, at $262,000, the Havana Peugeot dealer is asking more for a family sedan than its American counterparts are asking for a Bentley Continental GT ($180,000) or Ferrari 458 ($234,000), and a price on par with a new Rolls-Royce Ghost ($263,000).



    The embargo ending (none / 0) (#122)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:05:04 AM EST
    would be a nightmare for the current government, even if hardly anyone could afford car parts for their cars.  

    Other means you've yet to weigh in on the question of ending the embargo.

    But if you think that the embargo is in the best interests of the Cuban people, I would be interested to hear your line of reasoning in reaching this conclusion.


    I didn't say that (none / 0) (#123)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:06:41 AM EST
    and I'm pretty sure no one else did..

    I'm out.


    Never said you did, just wanted some clarity (2.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:15:19 AM EST
    and if you want to flounce out of here rather than directly discuss the pros and cons of the embargo, that's your right.

    Need to check the small print (none / 0) (#63)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:45:49 PM EST
    from the good captain's link:

    "Note that due to differences in reporting, these numbers may not be comparable across countries; while the WHO recommendation is that all children who show signs of life should be recorded as live births, in many countries this standard is not followed, artificially lowering their infant mortality rates relative to countries which follow those standards."

    In many countries an infant has to live for a week or it is not considered a live birth.  On the other hand in America any sign of life is a live birth, even if the infant dies in seconds after it is born.


    before, fwiw. Counties using different methods to measuring such things is an issue.

    Additionally, it is interesting to look at the "why?" What causes infant mortality?

    iirc, from the last time this came up, one of the main causes is obesity, which leads to premature babies, which leads to infant mortality.

    Guess which country on the list ranks #1 in obesity?


    Do you believe Politifact? (none / 0) (#72)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:03:05 PM EST
    they have a rather long piece on this

    Our ruling

    Harkin said that Cuba has "a lower child mortality rate than ours. Their life expectancy is now greater than ours."

    According to the official statistics, Cuba does beat out the United States for both infant and child mortality, and on life expectancy, the data is mixed, with a slight edge to the United States. However, the combination of the Cuban government's heavy-handed enforcement of statistical targets and the lack of transparency has led some experts to suggest taking the numbers with a grain of salt. On balance, we rate Harkin's claim Half True.

    Is that in response to my comment on what (none / 0) (#73)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:06:31 PM EST
    causes child mortality? And why the US is numero uno?

    In response to this (none / 0) (#74)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:11:36 PM EST
    before, fwiw. Counties using different methods to measuring such things is an issue.

    It's discussed at some length


    Ah, thanks. (none / 0) (#75)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:12:44 PM EST
    I was also surprised (none / 0) (#76)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:13:54 PM EST
    about the child mortality part.  

    Donald, I hate to disagree with you, (none / 0) (#82)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:34:27 PM EST
    but absolutely none of the people are better off than they were before Castro, none.  Read Slado's linked article, and you will understand what's really happening over there.  I'v seen it and would not go back.  I'v been to Haiti and, quite frankly, I think Cuba is worse.  If we hadn't brought our own food, we would have left.

    But that country existed as a virtual U.S. protectorate for the batter part of six decades, which saw the destruction of its peasant communities due to the expansion of sugar plantations, and wholesale degradation of the environment in eastern Cuba as small-scale agriculture was replaced by a plantation society dominated by a white oligarchy -- not unlike that which existed in Hawaii during the same period.

    Per Justin McCollum, A Brief Historiography of U.S. Hegemony in the Cuban Sugar Industry (California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, 2011), the adoption of financial policies by American banks, which barred indigenous Cuban agricultural interests from access to necessary and expensive capital, forced many of these local interests to sell their property to Americans.

    Within two decades of Spain's ouster from Cuba by U.S. troops, many of the independent cane farmers who previously owned their lands became tenants who ended up farming U.S.-owned corporate land. They became bound to the U.S.-owned mills and to the market price of sugar.

    A crash in the sugar market in 1920-21 put further pressure on the Cuban economy, giving U.S. financial interests an opportunity to take advantage of the situation by forcing a banking "reform" bill through the Cuban Congress, which in turn caused the largest banks in Cuba to fail, creating a vacuum that was conveniently filled by U.S. banks.

    Etc., etc., etc. While the Castro regime does have numerous and serious faults, being repeatedly and relentlessly brought to heel by U.S. economic interests certainly hasn't been one of them.

    As the Castro brothers age and eventually depart from the scene, what happens in that country going forward will be for the Cuban people to decide, and not for us to do in their stead.



    Let me sum up (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 08:25:51 AM EST
    the Right and the Left's argument.

    Right: People were bad off pre Castro but were free.

    Left: People are better off under communism and Castro. Freedom is unimportant.

    Truth: Some people were better off pre Castro.

    Truth: Some people are better off now.

    The question is, under which regime are people  able to have a good life and improve their standard of living?

    Answer: We have little to judge pre Castro Cuba with except for obviously biased claims, such as by Donald, movies, such as Godfather II, and various books written by mostly Left wing "scholars."

    Post Castro we have the testimony of thousands of people fleeing Cuba, often in the most unsafe manner and the words of people such as fishcamp who have actually seen and experienced what's there now.

    I've never been to Cuba. (GITMO doesn't count.)But I did spend some time in Moscow in '68 under contract to the DOS. Based on my personal experience and observations Communism is a terrible form of government.

    The vast majority of people who make excuses for Cuba are politicians, government employees, various scholars and assorted media types.

    The "common man," which Communism is supposed to protect and help is not represented.

    The question now in front of us is: Should we establish diplomatic relations with Cuba?

    The answer is, obviously, yes. Communism is collapsing. We need to be able to influence what will replace it.


    Silly, straw "arguments" (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:29:38 AM EST
    No one - absolutely no one - I'd claiming that freedom is unimportant".  This is a ridiculous claim, but not surprising.

    BTW - There are many non-communist countries that lack both freedom and basic services (schools, food, healthcare).


    An example of freedom. (none / 0) (#134)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:10:22 AM EST
    I think that many Cubans would (none / 0) (#146)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:54:05 AM EST
    agree with you.

    The "rulers" would not.


    No doubt they would agree (none / 0) (#162)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:41:19 PM EST
    It's a fact.

    The "rulers" would not.

    OTOH - No idea what "rulers" you're talking about, or what that is supposed to mean.


    Everything I've read indicates (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:21:02 AM EST
    Batista was a dictator from 1952 to 1959. He was not elected during that period but assumed leadership via a military coup that  preempted the scheduled election. He suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, censored the media, his secret police to carried out a program of wide-scale violence, torture and public executions.

    I have a hard time accepting that people were free under the dictatorship of Batista any more than are free under the Castro dictatorship.

    Some people were better off under Batista and many were much worse off. That is not to say that the Castro government was good for the people of Cuba either.

    I do feel that we should lift the embargo and establish a diplomatic relationship with Cuba. Whether or not our influence in shaping the future of Cuba would be beneficial to the people of Cuba is very much open for debate.


    Agreed. (5.00 / 2) (#200)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 03:02:51 PM EST
    The Castros are in firm charge after 50 years of embargo and their hold will slip from mortality more than the immorality of the embargo.  Fidel Castro and his brother have used the embargo as an excuse for their disastrous rule. However, the embargo has not been without effect:  it has hurt the Cuban people.

    The Cold War is over, Cuba does not need to remain a proxy for Russia.  Indeed, it is past time to move Cuba away from Putin's renewed efforts for influence.  The clothes on our back to the computers on our desk are from a communists country-- China-- a trader partner and banker.  

    The political climate for a new look at Cuban-American relations is stymied by the older Cuban-Americans, but the younger people have a different outlook.   However, it will be a while for diplomatic relations to resume and the embargo to end as long as Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.FL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R..Fl) are around.  Of course, they should go away on many other grounds, but sane policy on Cuba is primal.


    I don't disagree (none / 0) (#139)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:32:15 AM EST
    with any of that

    Let's overlook the capitalist (none / 0) (#119)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:56:47 AM EST
    exploitation of Cuban resources for all the time before Castro took power.

    Let's just forget the corruption and poverty those who were in charge before left their people, they were "free".

    That's the ticket, yeah.


    Tis is a pretty impartial summary (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:02:46 AM EST

      A more interesting question to me than Batista v. Castro is what might have been if we had withdrawn support from Batista much earlier. At the time Batista staged the coup in 1952, there was little real support for communist revolution in Cuba. Much of the support that subsequently developed was probably driven far more by opposition to Batista and a thug government than an ideological  desire for communism in Cuba, let alone Castro's rather grandiose global ambitions (which he may also not have possessed that early on). We played perhaps the dominant role in creating the environment that allowed the revolution to succeed. Might there have been a "middle ground" coalition that could have gained and maintained power between 1953 and 1959, which would have resulted in a Cuba better than either Batista or Castro would allow?

      Many  scholars (not discussed in that article) even believe that had we approached Castro's regime differently in its infancy, he would have, if for no other reason than seeing it as his most likely chance at keeping power, settled for more incremental reforms, been less oppressive and confiscatory and chosen to follow a more truly "non-aligned" foreign policy rather than choosing to go full bore into Krushchev's embrace.

       Of course, at the height of the Cold War, we were not very nuanced in dealing with Cuba (or any part of the globe)and because the "you're for us or agin' us" policy prevailed under Ike and JFK,  our actions cemented the path Cuba took.


    In Plain Speaking (none / 0) (#148)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:55:45 AM EST
    Truman stated what his approach to Castro would've been:

    Now when Castro came into power, if I'd have been President, I'd have picked up the phone and called him direct in Havana. I wouldn't have gone through protocol or anything like that. I'd have called him up, and I'd have said, `Fidel, this is Harry Truman in Washington, and I'd like to have you come up here and have a little talk.'

    He'd have come, of course, and he'd have come to the White House, and I'd have said, `Fidel, it looks to me like you've had a pretty good revolution down there, and it's been a long time coming. Now you're going to need help, and there's only two places you can go to get it. One's right here, and the other's -- well, we both know where the other place is. Now you just tell me what you need, and I'll see to it that you get it.'

    Well, he'd have thanked me, and we'd have talked awhile, and then as he got up to go, I'd have said to him, `Now, Fidel, I've told you what we'll do for you. There's one thing you can do for me. Would you get a shave and a haircut and take a bath?'

    Of course, that son of a b*tch Eisenhower was too damn dumb to do anything like that. When Castro decided to go in the other direction for support, Eisenhower was probably still waiting for a goddamn staff report on what to think.

    And your point is?? (none / 0) (#144)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:52:26 AM EST
    That capitalism is worse than communism??

    Okay, I accept that as your opinion.


    They had the freedom to starve (none / 0) (#153)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:58:09 AM EST
    under capitalism, and, as others pointed out, they lived in a dictatorship before Castro, so I'm not sure what you're defending here except the 'freedom' of poor people to be exploited by capitalists and dictators in Cuba before Castro came to power.

    If they had the freedom to starve (1.00 / 1) (#172)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:13:32 PM EST
    under capitalism, did they not also starve under communism??

    The answer is yes.

    Point being that while pre Castro was bad for some, post Castro was bad for some and worse for many.

    People do not leave their homes and families unless their situations are absolutely terrible.

    See Mexico and CA for examples of the same thing.


    You have enough trouble (none / 0) (#163)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:44:20 PM EST
    ... formulating your own thoughts into words.  No reason for you to invent straw arguments for others.  Unless, of course, it makes you feel better defeating your own, silly claims.

    Jim, Yman, and Mordi... (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by fishcamp on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:46:22 PM EST
    we were having a terrific two day conversation, about Cuba, with excellent points, by many people, until you three showed up with your senseless bickering that has nothing to do with the original conversation.  I must point out, you guys do this all the time...why?

    If you have a problem with the other two (none / 0) (#201)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 03:16:57 PM EST
    Or myself, take it up with the management.

     I could say the same thing about certain other commentators than yourself or Yman or Jim, but somehow, their squabbles and on-going battles don't bother me, even when it is a subject I'm interested in.


    We used to have a vocal poster here who's (none / 0) (#83)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:40:33 PM EST
    nom de TL was "Che's Lounge."

    He'd have drawn and quartered you for posting such outrage...


    fishcamp offers some good perspective. (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:16:55 AM EST
    He's been there, and I appreciate his first-hand insight. No doubt, Cuba has serious issues, and needs to get with the times. But for that matter, so do we, with regards to the normalization of relations between our two countries. The Cold War is long over.

    Donald, I think what's happening here is, (none / 0) (#114)
    by fishcamp on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:27:28 AM EST
    you, with your tremendous knowledge of history, are speaking about the theories of the two different leaders of Cuba, in the past 100 years, or so, while I'm speaking about the food, clothing, and quality of life the Cuban people must now suffer through.  Granted Batista was a crook, a bad guy, and a thief, but the Cuban people had food.  With the Communist, Castro regime they do not.  We all know Communism does not work.  Castro just does not understand this concept.  Nobody knows what will happen to the country when the Castro brothers pass.  Maybe the State Department knows who is next in line, but I doubt any of us do.  Strangely, we don't even know the names of any of the mountains, beaches, or even many of the other cities, and it's only 100 miles away from us.  America with it's high moral set of ideals regarding democracy, refuses to give in, until Castro returns his nationalized properties back to the original owners.  This act is all but impossible, after all these years.  It would be similar to returning the stolen Nazi art to the original owners.  I truly do not have an answer to the problem, but I do know it's a terrible place to live.

    I am sceptical Fidel Castro does not, (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:07:17 AM EST
    by now, know that Communism is not a workable system, although his appication of it has worked well for him.

    interesting quote (none / 0) (#85)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:49:24 PM EST
    Re child mortality figures-

    "All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks."

    Donald with all due respect (none / 0) (#196)
    by ragebot on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:50:15 PM EST
    Almost everyone everywhere in the world is better off today than they were sixty years ago, and that includes folks in Cuba.

    As for folks in the Greater Antilles and Bahamas I would point out that both the DR and the Bahamas have recently invoked a new policy of returning folks they suspect are illegal aliens back to Haiti.  In the case of the DR even folks born in the DR who's parents are from Haiti are being sent back to Haiti, even if they have reached the age of majority.

    While this policy has drawn flack from other countries it does show, at least to some extent, how folks in the Greater Antilles view good or bad countries to live in.  Also interesting to note that no such policy is aimed at Cuba, probably because few or no Cubans are immigrating to the Bahamas, the DR, or Jamaica.

    Another consideration to normalizing relations with Cuba is how that would, or would not, change the wetfoot/dryfoot policy America has for Cuban immigrants.


    Three Penny Opera (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by ragebot on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:41:24 PM EST
    is the boat my Canadian friend Addison cruises on and he has a great blog about his many experiences in Cuba.  He just left for Varadero a couple of weekends ago and is flying back to Canada for Christmas.  He told me it is cheaper to fly from Canada to Varadero than Canada to Orlando.  Here is a link to his blog

    Adobe Photoshop is especially weird, (none / 0) (#16)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 01:59:02 PM EST
    since photos rendered with it cannot be opened by anyone else unless they have PS, on their computer.  A friend just sent me a photo, in PSD format, and it opened on my MBP.  Granted I have an old version of Photoshop that I bought on the streets of Bangkok for $3, and has not been compatible with this Apple OS for years. Only the shadow knows...BTW, I accidentally sat next to a member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and he set me straight on many subjects in the recent news.  Hardly had time to speak about fishing.  Good guy.

    Never been a fan of Adobe Photoshop... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:18:55 PM EST
    ... for that very reason. I wasn't unhappy with the photo editing process itself, but the inability to share files was exasperating. I finally got rid of it and installed Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo. It took a little getting used to, but once I got the hang of it, I've been more than pleased with the switch, and I can send photos unencumbered by any software requirements on the part of the recipient.

    Off-topic, but Oregon looked devastating last night with their complete demolition of Arizona. I can't envision the Ducks not being installed by the oddsmakers as the overall favorites for the national championship.



    All you have to do is save (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:32:05 PM EST
    the photos in the right format in p-shop. It's just like many programs. You can't open MS docs unless they are saved right either if you don't have MS . . .

    I share stuff all the time with folks that don't have p-shop.


    I love Photoshop (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:44:34 PM EST
    i don't have it right now because my desktop died and the old one I'm using cant really run it.

    But it's a wonderful thing.


    So do I (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:50:11 PM EST
    I do a majority of my work in it. I also like After Effects. It's p-shop that moves :P

    Just upgraded to CS2014. Some nice new stuff in it. They just keep making it easier for me :)


    Adobe Released.... (none / 0) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:13:25 PM EST
    Photoshop 3 for free because they no longer support it.  It's OK, not bad for free.

    GIMP can open most PSD files and I think it's a better program in that it's open source, so all the filters and extras are free and there are way more of them.

    I do graphics for fun and I like GIMP better, but then again anything open sourced has my vote.  But I still use PS as some of the filters have no equivalent in GIMP.


    If you save your photo (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:32:03 PM EST
    in Adobe Photoshop as a jpg instead of psd you don't have that problem. Anyone who can open a jpg can view it. I had Photoshop 6 for years, upgraded to CS-2 and then CS-5. I really like it, except that I haven't figured out how to scroll between images. I have to open them one at a time.

    Yes, it's true you can save photos to jpeg, (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:48:57 PM EST
    in Photoshop, but back in the beginning they were the only program out there that could handle complicated 3 d like effects for magazines, and they were only PSD.  Those types of businesses do not like jpegs.  Now there are all kinds of extensions one can use.  In fact yesterday I came upon jpeg 2000 for the first time.  It just depends what your needs are.  They used to have week long classes for learning Photoshop, but now it's easier to use.  Those Hells Angels prints were black and white, and I had carefully printed them in my old darkroom.  They needed no help.  Some of my thousands of old color Kodachrome, and Ectrachrome slides needed lots of Photoshop help, in order to sell them.  Now with digital cameras it's much easier, but more people are doing it for that reason.  Darkroom work was long and tedious.

    I woule love to see (none / 0) (#67)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:58:23 PM EST
    some of those

    I just made the jump to CS2014 (none / 0) (#28)
    by nycstray on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:33:39 PM EST
    very happy with it. They had a black friday special . . .

    Back when I had Adobe Photoshop, ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:49:29 PM EST
    ... that was easier said than done on my old PC with Windows XL. The strides that technology has made over the last few years are stunning. But I'm really used to Corel Paint Shop now and really like it, and you can easily scroll between images and even work on several at once, so I highly doubt that I'd go back to Adobe any time soon.

    Assuming time is money (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:04:02 PM EST
    to an attorney in private practice I must ask Jeralyn's. Why don't you hire a competent IT person to do this stuff?

    I haven't found one who is (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:44:43 PM EST
    "competent." They all seem to have their own way of doing things and after they have left, I have no idea how to change or reverse what they did to make the computer work like I want it to work. I really don't trust anyone to work on my computers because they are highly customized for my work needs. I know how to hook up a computer and install, update and set programs. It's not rocket science. This one has just been extremely difficult.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 03:10:50 PM EST
    I make it a point of watching Elder Daughter whenever she does something on either my PC or her mother's, so at least I have some idea what to do should we need to adjust or reverse it. One thing I must say is that she's actually very good at troubleshooting problems. It takes me a lot longer to figure it out than it does her.

    At work, we're moving upstairs to larger quarters in our downtown office building in a few weeks, and my partner and I are still debating whether we want to hire Elder Daughter to reconstruct our network, or have me do it myself. (My partner is all but hopeless on IT matters, and it's enough that she knows how to turn her computer on and off.) But my energy level has been at low ebb because of chemo, etc., so I'm leaning toward asking La Fille to do it.



    I'm gonna bet the answer is spelled (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by scribe on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:45:45 PM EST
    "client confidentiality".
    The long and the short of it is, the cops (of all flavors) have been notorious for years for tapping the phones of criminal defense attorneys (which is why their standard answer to all sorts of questions from clients and potential clients devolves to "I don't discuss this over the phone.  Come in to the office and we'll talk.") and surely would like nothing more than to get a techie to load something (e.g. "Magic Lantern" - a keystroke logger) alongside all the other software that would copy and send them everything the defense wrote or researched or, possibly, to give them the ability to brick the defense's computers or erase/block files at their whim.  Like in the middle of trial.

    Recall there's a case working through the system now where the FBI got with a Vegas casino to shut off the cable to some suspect's suite so (a) the occupants called the hotel for tech support and the techie they sent was an FBI guy who used the entry thus gained to search the room (and possibly plant bugs) and (b) in the interim, use the lousy, non-secure free hotel wifi, which they tapped.  

    So this is not mere conjecture.  It's the way they work.


    That was my guess (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:47:52 PM EST
    I can't speak for Jeralyn, but ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 02:42:33 PM EST
    ... I actually enjoy the challenge of doing it all myself, even though Elder Daughter is a trained IT specialist with a B.S. degree in the field. But if ever I do run into problems, I'm never too proud to ask for her assistance.

    Testimony of Witness 10 (none / 0) (#40)
    by Uncle Chip on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 03:55:08 PM EST
    This is Team Wilson's Star Witness quoted all over the media as proof that Brown was inside the truck struggling for the gun, that he didn't have his hands up, that he charged and charged again.

    Witness 10 is the only person at the Canfield scene to tell investigators 2 days after the shooting things with a precision that only the police could have with their access to the crime scene, shell casings, weapon, vehicle, dispatches, etc.

    Everything about him is suspicious --

    None of the stuff he told investigators became public for weeks and none of it was being said by witnesses and none of it could have been seen or heard from 480 feet away with a truck in his way.

    So how did it come out of his mouth 2 days after the shooting???

    No other witness, even within 50 feet, got the distances, times, shots right -- nor should they be expected to for an event lasting just 14 seconds -- no one, that is, except Witness 10 from 480 feet away.

    He appears to have heard and seen with the same ears and eyes of the Ferguson Police Department -- stating that he heard only one shot at the truck which was the standard FPD doctrine for weeks after that to the exclusion of most witnesses and ultimately investigators.

    We all need to know more about Witness 10 and those magnificent eyes and ears of his.

    Brown Grand Jury Documents

    Witness 10 interview with detectives on August 11th

    Witness 10 testimony at Grand Jury on September 23 [V6 pp149-]

    Yes, we should be skeptical of this witness (none / 0) (#42)
    by McBain on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 04:05:13 PM EST
    and every other witness in this case.... especially if their testimony lines up exactly with one side.

    Watch out for those black 'copters, Uncle (none / 0) (#44)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 04:14:49 PM EST
    They're coming to get you!

    Furthermore -- (none / 0) (#54)
    by Uncle Chip on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:28:52 PM EST
    It's also not so much what he did see but what he didn't see.

    Eagle-eye says that he didn't see Dorian Johnson at the truck window with Brown -- really????

    As if to imply that Johnson wasn't there and couldn't have been an eyewitness to what's going on at the Tahoe window between Brown and Wilson.

    And then he said that he didn't see the other units arrive after the shooting -- even though there are 3 of them arriving from his direction into the crime scene within 8, 20, and 30 seconds of the shooting.

    But he did see what was happening with the Monte Carlo during that time which those units would have had to pass in the process.

    I wonder if he has figured out yet just who he was working for there.


    ah, come on Uncle (2.00 / 1) (#94)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 11:23:20 PM EST
    We know that Johnson lied about Wilson choking Brown. I mean I posted the proof two times myself.

    Who is this "we" (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 08:06:28 AM EST
    "We" know no such thing, and you've posted "proof" of nothing.

    Let's say I give you that -- (none / 0) (#109)
    by Uncle Chip on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 08:25:55 AM EST
    Shouldn't Witness 10 have seen Dorian Johnson around the window/front of that truck during the altercation???

    How can his eyes be so good and so bad at the same time???

    Why is he volunteering information about who and what he did not see without being asked unless he was told to make sure he says it. That kind of stuff sends up red flags to investigators.  

    He is so certain about not seeing someone who was obviously there, and then goes on to testify about more that he did not see 180 feet further away down the road with the truck blocking his view.

    And lo and behold it's all the centerfold of the Team Wilson Narrative: Brown inside the truck struggling for the gun, No hands up when he turns around, then Charge and Charge again.

    Isn't that story of Witness 10 a wee bit suspicious to you especially since he and only he has it all down pat as opposed to the more conservative witnesses like the Visitor to Canfield here.

    BTW I noticed that Witness 10 says that Brown's hands were "not above his head" -- he doesn't deny that they might have been up -- just not above his head.

    He's not done yet. There will be a deposition in his future that he is going to try to run fast and far and furious from.


    What is a More Reasonable Explanation (none / 0) (#128)
    by RickyJim on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:35:09 AM EST
    for Brown's blood/DNA being on the gun and van and the bullet holes in the police van than Brown tried, unsuccessfully to take the gun away from Officer Wilson?  Police don't shoot up their own vehicles, just for fun.

    Interesting logic (none / 0) (#131)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:56:21 AM EST
    By that standard, any time a police officer fires his gun, absent proof to the contrary, it is justified, since they doing fire their guns"for fun".

    BTW - Another explanation  - They're was some sort of altercation at the car, but Brown wasn't trying to take his gun.

    That was easy.


    And the Gun Went Off By Itself? (none / 0) (#160)
    by RickyJim on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:25:17 PM EST
    HaHaHa.  Brown's DNA was found on the gun.  At least one shot went into the door panel and destroyed the lowered windshield showing it wasn't aimed.  I find no reason to doubt Wilson's account of how that happened unless you can propose a more likely explanation.

    What? (none / 0) (#165)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:55:50 PM EST
    Who made the ridiculous claim that "the gun fired itself" - besides you, of course?

    There was an altercation, Wilson fired the gun while he was in the car.  That does not mean that Brown was attempting to take the gun when Wilson fired it.

    The fact that you find no reason to doubt Wilson's account is not surprising ... or relevant to the original claim that the fact that Wilson fired the gun means that Brown was trying to take it.


    What is a More Reasonable (none / 0) (#195)
    by Uncle Chip on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:50:12 PM EST
    explanation is that Brown saw Wilson pull his gun and he then endeavored to try to get away from Wilson before the loose cannon shot and killed.

    That's where he was unsuccessful as subsequent events and eyewitness testimony proved.

    BTW I don't recall in Wilson's testimony him ever telling Brown that he was under arrest.


    Another day another nightmare (none / 0) (#51)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:24:31 PM EST
    For employees of Sony

    Sony hit again, employee families threatened, files released

    CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Sony staffers received a new email from hackers Friday, this time threatening their families, from the group that calls itself the Guardians of Peace or the "GOP."

    At the same time, someone purporting to be the GOP released another, massive, file dump on Friday, posting them on a sharing site called Pastebin.

    "It's over 100 gigabytes," said Daniel Tentler, with the security firm Carbon Dynamics. He is dissecting the file.

    The posting was titled "Gift of GOP for 3rd day: Financial data of Sony Pictures."

    The file was compressed and it wasn't immediately clear what it contained. However, whoever posted it claimed it included "many pieces of confidential data" in the accompanying message.

    The message also read, "Anyone who loves peace can be our member. Please tell your mind at the email address below if you share our intention." The email directed readers to a site that gives users anonymous, disposable email addresses.

    In a final line,which could mean that Sony will have its private data dripped slowly out into public arena, the message read, "The data to be released next week will excite you more."

    Left out the best part (none / 0) (#55)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 05:29:34 PM EST
    Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don't want to suffer damage. If you don't, not only you but your family will be in danger.

    Anyone have a home theater? (none / 0) (#71)
    by McBain on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 06:58:11 PM EST
    I'm tying to put one together on a budget.  I made my own 100" projector screen but need to replace my old projector with an HD version.  

    Anyone know what to look for? I'll probably get a used one off craigslist but I don't know much about lumens or contrast ratio.  What about cheap but decent sound bars?  

    I guess I've finally become old, because I don't enjoy going to movies as much anymore.  Someone's going to be talking or checking their smart phone. Few theaters have the character and atmosphere of the old ones.  Small popcorn goes for $6.  

    There is this (none / 0) (#77)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:17:59 PM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#80)
    by McBain on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:27:06 PM EST
    I'll check it out....and I've read other review sites... but I'm looking for personal experience.

    The only person I know who has a home theater has a ridiculous high end, super sound proof room, with an amazing screen that I would die for.  I'm looking for the poor man's version.


    Well (none / 0) (#81)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:30:24 PM EST
    I have a home theater but everything but the TV is at least 10 years old.  So it's not going to help you.

    I had one in 1978 (none / 0) (#100)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:24:11 AM EST
    It was a rear projector Advent Video Beam. The screen was 6 feet and the projection unit was massive. It cost around $3,000.00 back then. When I moved from that house, I gave it away to the first person who said he'd haul it out. There were a lot of funny magazine ads for it back them, some are for sale on Ebay (the ads, not the tv.) I'd never want another one.

    Currently using a 42" flat (none / 0) (#111)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:09:58 AM EST
    never had a projector.  My brother has one. I'm not that big on them.  I know they have gotten better over the years but there seems to be too many variables for getting a good sharp image.  Especially now that they are making really pretty huge flat screens.  I have seen really expensive projectors at various places I've worked and I never thought the image was as good as a flat.
    As far as sound I have an excellent sound system but it's big.  The speakers are Like 5' tall and the woofer is half the size of a washing machine..  My rear speakers are as big as front speakers need to be these days.  Like I said it's great. I love it I have a tube amp.  Considering the size of my house when I upgrade I will definitely go small.  Except for the TV.  Planning to upgrade soon to a big ole flat and move this one in the bedroom and the bedroom to the kitchen.

    Yes, I do love my video entertainment.


    Just throw your M&Ms at the culprits, that's (none / 0) (#84)
    by Angel on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:42:49 PM EST
    what I do.  Or at least that's what I did before the theater shootings. Worked every time.

    I'm (none / 0) (#86)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 06, 2014 at 07:52:15 PM EST
    With him.  I come to hate going to a theater.  I really have to want a big screen.  I think I may have to go see Gods and Kings next weekend.

    First tiny URL (none / 0) (#101)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:25:07 AM EST
    Hope it works.


    So much for peaceful protests.... but at least they didn't delay my commute.

    I don't even have to click on your (none / 0) (#116)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 09:48:17 AM EST
    Link to know this is about Berkeley.  I have been to protests though where anarchist movements have quickly joined and before the protestors even understood who they were or their intentions they began vandalizing property.  This is a democracy, protests are an important part of our social evolution, and anarchists cannot be allowed to hinder that important dynamic.  

    And it must be asked (none / 0) (#130)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 10:41:34 AM EST
    You spoke of social trends the other day.  Do you find it equally disturbing that the current Conservative movement trend is named after an American protest that we have all been taught from the cradle primarily involved vandalism?

    Not really (none / 0) (#137)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:24:01 AM EST
    but I understand your point. I don't really have a strong feeling one way or another about the current Tea Party.  

    I believe our current society is a good one.  Most of our protests seem silly.  This isn't the 1960s, racism isn't a big problem.  There's no evidence that race was involved in the Brown, Rice, or Garner deaths.  We don't have huge human rights violations like some countries. People should be grateful to live here.  


    You need to take off those rose-colored glasses (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by Angel on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:25:49 AM EST
    and get out into the real world.  

    Are you saying we don't have a good society? (2.00 / 1) (#141)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:38:31 AM EST
    Or do you just like to complain?

    Learn some reading comprehension skills. (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by Angel on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:54:44 AM EST
    That wasn't a complaint, it was merely a reaction to your naivety (cluelessness), this part of your comment in particular.

    This isn't the 1960s, racism isn't a big problem.

    One of my Facebook friends (none / 0) (#169)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:08:08 PM EST
    Is an African American blogger, and I tend to agree with one of her recent postings.  The issues of police aggression vs. service to the community and respectful treatment of citizens have quite obviously affected people in this country of all walks and races.  That is what is fueling the size and dedications of the protests.  The nation has reached a tipping point.

    We have now moved beyond arguing the virtues and vices of some recent specific events.  This has been a social issue that has been simmering for years, and the killing and maiming of children and innocent adults by SWAT teams have been driving us to this protest too along with a the recent crazy militarization of police forces.


    You comment clearly emphases a point (5.00 / 3) (#183)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:40:31 PM EST
    that many want to ignore. This is not just an African American issue. This is not just a Michael Brown issue or an Eric Garner issue. The protesters are not just African Americans who are too stupid to know how great they have it. The protesters are from all walks of life. Many of the protesters regardless of race have degrees, including PHDs. The protesters are from all races and not just African Americans. Civilian police forces that can operate above the law without impunity are a danger to us all.

    I am 100% sure that race (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:41:08 AM EST
    rarely, if ever, causes you a problem. Of course that might change somewhat if you are slightly inconvenienced by protesters in your area.

    Maybe you should travel out West and deliver your "People should be grateful to live here". message. Some more places for you to take your gratitude message.


    What's so bad about our country? (none / 0) (#143)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:46:56 AM EST
    Where would your rather live?

    When are you traveling (5.00 / 2) (#151)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:57:04 AM EST
    To Texas, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Alaska, and South Carolina to preach your "People should be grateful to live here." message.

    Just so you understand, I have no intention of playing "Let's have a different argument" game with you now or any time in the future.


    Oh, I understand (1.50 / 2) (#155)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:03:15 PM EST
    You don't want to participate in an actual debate. You love to complain and point out when someone makes a mistake but you don't like to respond to any questions.

    Everything has to be on your terms.  You're a very selfish poster.  You have every right to be that way but it makes for lousy discussion.


    I will be more than happy to (5.00 / 2) (#161)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:28:16 PM EST
    debate an issue when stop playing conservative distort, distract and change argument midstream games  and actually participate in a real debate.

    I love the way you whine about everything and then state others only complain. You have learned the Fox News  techniques very well but those techniques have little to do with participating in an actual debate.

    Since you to  indulge in labels, you are an extremely dishonest poster. The only difference between you and whitecap is that he doesn't hide behind a shiny facade and is more honest when he posts.

    Rather than change the subject, once again when are you going to lecture your conservative friends on "People should be grateful to live here."


    What have I been dishonest about? (none / 0) (#180)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:35:18 PM EST
    When are you going to (none / 0) (#197)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:54:20 PM EST
    going to lecture your conservative friends on "People should be grateful to live here."  

    If you don't want to offer that admonishment to the conservatives who want to succeed from the U.S., maybe you you could admonish the conservatives who have suggested a military coup against Obama.


     here asserting this is a bad place to live, this would be a poor venue for admonishing them. You also seem to be, in your typical and  rather tiring fashion, implying he is a hypocrite by ascribing to him thoughts he has never expressed.

      It would seem to me he is likely not among those extremists and you are trying (and failing) to smear him with guilt by association with a group you have no legitimate reason to think he actually associates.

       Word to the wise. He makes a better presentation for his positions than you do for your positions. That's not because of his positions, it's because of you.



    Well thank you for your opinion (5.00 / 3) (#202)
    by MO Blue on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 03:52:52 PM EST
    I don't think your criteria stopped him from stating that the protesters should be grateful  for living him and yet admonish them he did. So once again you decided to establish a different criteria.

    You at times make a very good presentation of your points and at times not so much. Mainly your points get really distorted when you try and present an argument by adding or removing criteria than is nonexistent. The other time you lose credibility is when you disagreement of your POV as personal and choose to throw out labels such as hyper-partisan left.

    Sometimes your arguments are inaccurate because of the criteria you chose to insert and sometimes they are just a reflection of your personality.

    So you see, your pot calling the kettle black comment is not something I take too seriously but thank you for sharing.


    slow down a bit. (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:53:28 AM EST
      I agree racism is not as prevalent or virulent as it once was. That doesn't support the conclusion that racism is no longer " a big problem."

      You also need to avoid the trap of thinking that because certain phenomena evade empirical quantification that their existence is merely imaginary.

      On of the most frequent and well-placed criticisms of the way "social studies" academia approaches complex societal issues is that it focuses on (thus implicitly giving more weight to) things that can be measured -- because they can be measured.

      Until some mad scientist invents a machine to read people's minds we will never have empirical evidence as to the biases and motivations which provoke their actions.  That reality does not mean biases and motivation (good, bad or in between) don't exist.


    I understood your first and last paragraph (none / 0) (#157)
    by McBain on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:07:50 PM EST
    but not the middle two.  I think what you're saying is, if we can't measure racism or other important issues, it's difficult to know their actual impact?

    That's part of what i mean... (5.00 / 2) (#159)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:17:58 PM EST
      but the more important point I am making is that just because it's difficult to "know" their actual impact does not mean they don't have a real and sometimes profound impact.

      A less controversial example would be that to a an empiricist  I cannot "prove" I love my children and that my actions toward them are motivated by love. That doesn't make it less true but I cannot empirically refute someone who would accuse me of acting in a kind way toward them for some other reason such as  to serve my self interest of being perceived as a good person because I know what is socially acceptable.


    Seriously? (5.00 / 4) (#166)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:59:58 PM EST
    Most of our protests seem silly.  This isn't the 1960s, racism isn't a big problem.  There's no evidence that race was involved in the Brown, Rice, or Garner deaths.  We don't have huge human rights violations like some countries. People should be grateful to live here.


    Let me guess what race you are ...


    And yet (5.00 / 2) (#174)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:15:50 PM EST
    Racism is still a big problem in this country.  I don't find it of benefit to argue endlessly with you over the recent specific events.  A large portion of this country is in general pissed OBVIOUSLY.

    Six GITMO prisoners released (none / 0) (#104)
    by Politalkix on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 07:26:27 AM EST
    to be re-settled in Uruguay. link

    I provide copies of what Johnson said (none / 0) (#149)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:56:40 AM EST
    and what the ME said.

    De Nile is a river in Egypt.

    Yes, you did (none / 0) (#164)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 12:47:32 PM EST
    Well, except the part where Johnson said he grabbed him by the shirt in his neck "area".

    Too bad it it doesn't prove what you claim it does.


    Don't make things up. (none / 0) (#170)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:08:29 PM EST
    I provide the complete quote. You're the one wanting things left out.

    You mean AFTER I pointed (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:15:16 PM EST
    ... out your partial quote?


    BTW - Nice try at ignoring the fact that DJ's statements and the ME statement do not prove what you claim they did - that DJ was lying or that Wilson didn't choke Brown.


    I provide copies of what Johnson said (none / 0) (#150)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 11:56:40 AM EST
    and what the ME said.

    De Nile is a river in Egypt.

    We would be me (none / 0) (#182)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 01:39:51 PM EST
    and the rest of the unbiased people who read the GJ testimony.

    Did you?? Do you understand what


    his neck area and
     13 his throat. I watched his hands, you know, they
     14 really tightened up, so yeah, he had a good grip on
     15 it, that what's I saw first.

    actually describes??

    Do you understand that grabbing someone by their throat and tightening your grip is a dead solid perfect description of choking them???

    And do you understand that choking them leaves marks on the throat and that the ME testified that he found none??

    And that means that Johnson lied.

    Hmmmmmm??? Do you?? Come on. Deny it.

    More partial "quotes" (none / 0) (#190)
    by Yman on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:26:24 PM EST
    You're omitting the part where he said he grabbed him by the shirt, in the neck area.  Or the part where he didn't say how long Wilson had a hold of him - i.e. not long enough to leave "choke marks".


    Those inconvenient facts.


    Catching up to an old response (none / 0) (#194)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 02:47:30 PM EST

    I wrote on the MMGW subject:

    .... the vast majority [of scientists], however, still believe that the "evidence," accounting for the limitations and caveats, is very strong that the burning of fossil fuels acts to warm the atmosphere.

       A less substantial majority of scientists commit to the idea that the existing  predictive models attempting to estimate future temperature change based upon future actions or inactions are reliable and accurate. Personally, this is where I do see a deviation from "objective science" toward a results oriented agenda.

      The NYshooter asked:

    Wouldn't "A less substantial majority," be more accurate if stated as, " a much smaller minority?"

    I reply:

       No, that would be less much less accurate. It is not a small minority of scientists who doubt the reliability of the current predictive models attempting to forecast the future. In fact, it may not even be  a  bare majority that commit to the belief the existing models are reliable and accurate as I stated in that post.

       You are ascribing  to the large majority who believe MMGW has occurred and is likely to continue  a belief in our ability to predict that is much more controversial and far less widely accepted.

    oculus (none / 0) (#203)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 04:36:56 PM EST
    thanks.  I asked because of a comment SUO (I believe) made to the effect of "without that case, we would have no oculus"

    fishcamp, I didn't respond to any of your (none / 0) (#204)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 07, 2014 at 04:42:50 PM EST

    I added my own, #108, which was calm, detailed and non confrontational...to which Yman and Mordiggian did their usual trick. (I can post that the sun will come up tomorrow and both will take exception.)

    BTW - I enjoy some of yours and find them a change of pace and often interesting but rarely, if ever, respond directly to them.

    Now, if we shouldn't have our conversation as an off shoot of yours then please let me know who appointed you Table Captain.

    jim, thank you for your kind response. (none / 0) (#209)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 07:58:36 AM EST
    And yes, I do realize the other two often seem to await your arrival to pounce.  Individually all three of you have good comments, but the trio together has too much of the same stale stuff, no matter the subject.  BTW, as I'v previously stated I am a self appointed hall monitor, with Hells Angels backing :-)

    Very good Mordi, (none / 0) (#211)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 12:29:42 PM EST
    I like that one.

    "outrage" in regard to a fishcamp comment, was, er, sarcastic. Clearly I was mistaken about how obvious I was being.

    sarc, I saw it back then and, (none / 0) (#214)
    by fishcamp on Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 02:12:05 PM EST
    it didn't bother me a bit, especially since you're a fisherman.  I think a lot of us snap at each other and then, after a while we are just fine.