Tuesday Open Thread

The big bitcoin trial over Silk Road begins today. WIRED tells you why it matters.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome

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    Will wonders never cease (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Uncle Chip on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 08:42:11 AM EST
    Murder charges for N.M. cops in homeless man shooting

    It is blatant murder and yet the officers and their department and lawyers have the audacity to call it self-defense.

    If not for the video these officers would have been decorated by the Chief for taking down a dangerous illegal camper armed with a sleeping bag.

    Montana police officer breaks down weeping... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 03:58:32 PM EST
    53 Historians Weigh in on (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 09:31:22 AM EST
    Barack Obama's Legacy.

    Pretty interesting reading.

    Here's a sample:

    So-called transformative presidents forge lasting coalitions for their political party, shape a coherent and distinctive agenda of public policy, and rebuild institutions in ways that perpetuate their coalition and their policy agenda. Crucial to all of this is a public philosophy that gives meaning to the president's political vision and Constitution understanding. Obama has no public philosophy, save a commitment to pragmatism -- a kind of anti-public philosophy. This does not mean that Obama will be regarded as an unsuccessful president. His successes, however, are all pragmatic supplements to prior transformations rather than elements of a new and lasting political coalition or constitutional vision.

    - Jeffrey Tulis


    I suspect that future historians are likely to focus on the rising inequality in the American economy during the Obama years, the deepening precariousness experienced by people who once anticipated a greater level of security and prosperity, and on the poisonous impact this has on the entire American political system. The crash of 2008 and its aftermath may come to be seen as a moment when greater reform was possible -- a resolution to the crisis that placed greater weight on holding the financial system accountable and on aiding middle-class people who were hurt, as well as a chance for the deeper reassessment of the basis of the American economy, an opportunity to pursue policies that could have restored a greater level of equality. This didn't happen, and it's the great missed opportunity of the Obama presidency.

    - Kimberly Phillips-Fein

    Each of the quotes highlighted in the article has a link to that person's full questionnaire - and those are interesting as well.

    Re: Obama's "legacy"... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 10:52:17 AM EST
    I  think this is a good read, and an interesting supplement to the above.

    The title: Obama Makes Bushism the New Normal.

    As we extend our military involvement in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, and continue our massive internal spying, I feel the specter of Bush all the more.


    With Obama (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 07:28:48 PM EST
    is never was about issues. It was always about him being "transformative" because of who he is. Something I'm sure most people around here never bought into but a lot of people did.

    (former) Gov. Robert McDonell (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 12:11:14 PM EST
    No, you don't get to stay out of jail pending your appeal. So sayeth the judge.

    U.S. District Judge James Spencer writes in his rejection order that there is no substantial question of law that would warrant a retrial. Spencer writes that the government clearly proved its case that McDonnell used his office for personal gain, resulting in the jury's verdict.

    "McDonnell knew what (Jonnie) Williams was seeking," Spencer writes. "McDonnell attempted to use his gubernatorial office to influence governmental decision in favor of Star Scientific."

    "McDonnell assuredly did more than provide meer [sic] access to Williams - he performed `official acts' as that term is defined under federal bribery laws.....This is not a `close question' that justifies release pending appeal," according to the judge's order.

    Al Jazeera (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 10:45:34 AM EST
    Interesting article showing the conflict between the traditional network and its new western affiliates

    I think some if the comments gets at the heart of the difference between the west and much of the Islamic world.

    Almost all Muslins think the terrorists went to far but many and probably a majority do not stand with Charlie.

    1971 (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 01:25:54 PM EST
    1971 is a 2014 American documentary film and the directorial debut of producer Johanna Hamilton, who also co-wrote the film.


    On March 8, 1971, eight ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, PA. Calling themselves the Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI, they removed every file in the office. Mailed anonymously, the stolen documents started to show up in newsrooms. The heist yielded a trove of damning evidence. The most significant revelation was COINTELPRO, a controversial, secret, illegal surveillance program overseen by lifelong Bureau director J. Edgar Hoover. Despite one of the largest investigations ever conducted, the FBI was unable to catch the burglars. Those responsible have never revealed their identities. Until now. For the first time, the burglars have decided to speak about their actions. 1971 is their story, examining the consequences and implications of their actions--then and now.

    John McCain on the tube now (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 07:27:23 AM EST
    Blowing hard about no representation during the France unity demonstration.  Blowing hard about ISIS running wild.  Graham was on last night blowing hard about ISIS running wild.

    The Republicans run the House and the Senate.  Draw up the legislation mofos declaring war on ISIS.  Do it or sit down and shut up.  If this keeps up today, someone might have to visit their Twitter accounts reminding them that declarations of war are needed to do what they want done.

    This must explain the wind gusts we're (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 08:01:28 AM EST
    getting today, but what does it mean that they are cold gusts, not warm/hot ones?

    All I can think of is how much death these two men have in their souls that they could keep looking for any reason to beat the drums of war.

    Why are they not sick of war?

    I don't get it.


    They had the Mel Brooks film (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 08:08:42 AM EST
    High Anxiety on the HBO this weekend.  I do wish there was an Institute for the Very, Very, Nervous, we could send Sen Graham there whenever he starts having an attack of the vapors over what Obama is or isn't doing to his satisfaction.

    And come out of the closet, Lindsay.  You're beginning to make Liberace look like Jesse Ventura by comparison.


    I give you a 5 for High Anxiety (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 08:40:47 AM EST
    That movie is perfect for the day.

    The people of the U.S. are sick to death (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 08:38:48 AM EST
    Of war.  War brings no solutions to the existing problems.  It is hard to still be a military fam and listen to those two sell Obama's failures when what they are really selling is war.

    They try to build a feeling of not being safe and then point their finger at Obama.

    They could really point out how impotent Obama is by sending that declaration of war to his desk.  I long for Republicans to take that vote.

    I think sometimes the general population forgets that the Prez can do things short term, but real plans...that's war and requires a vote from Graham and a vote from McCain.

    They get away with way too much crap, even on CNN.  But if they aren't coddled then they won't speak with that reporter....maybe not hearing from them at all except Fox is exactly what is needed.  Then I could just become a Direct TV customer.


    I have (none / 0) (#10)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 10:55:54 AM EST
    gotten the impression that you are in fact in favor of the wars that Obama has initiated or extended - because you believe the motive is to counter genocide.

    I agree with your assessment the people in the US are sick to death of war, and that war will bring no solution to existing problems.

    Yet - here we are.


    Preventing genocide is not an (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 11:21:56 AM EST
    Act of war IMO of course.

    But... (none / 0) (#15)
    by lentinel on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 03:13:47 PM EST
    we are, I believe, you believe, preventing genocide by going to war (albeit undeclared) against ISIS. Or is this not a war we are waging?

    Allowing genocide spreads war (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 04:05:43 PM EST
    There's just so much death, everywhere you (none / 0) (#20)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 07:30:52 PM EST
    look.  Kill a few to prevent the killing of many?  Kill with machines to save lives on the battlefield?  And all those voices clamoring for more war.

    Time to snuggle a grandbaby...


    A fuller understanding (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 07:36:39 PM EST
    When Turkey seemed to be on the fence about helping Kobane it was because they feared angering Islamic Extremists inside Turkey who would commit acts of terror.

    They even feared allowing Peshmerga to help for the same reason, but a different Kurdish terrorist group within Turkey called the PKK had made a deal to stand down to promote safe productive society and they threatened to reconstitute and begin making attacks in Turkey if Kobane fell and a Kurdish genocide ended up taking place.

    Nato helped the Kurds hold Kobane, for now Turkey is not on fire.  If Turkey gets sucked into the destabilized war, that's terrifying for all of Europe.  Syria was projected a year before it fell into civil war to be too stable for that to happen. Everyone banked on that, but it turns out that if enough Syrians are murdered so is the stability, and now it looks like hope for future stability is being murdered now too.


    Tracey (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 01:15:06 AM EST
    We have stood by and allowed absolute tragedy to occur in Syria for the last four years.

    Tens of thousands of dead civilians and countless refuges.  When the same thing was happening in Lybia we used a Humanitarian l argument to justify our actions and what did that get us? A more chaotic country now then then.

    There is absolutely zero consistency by this administration on how and when he plans to use military force.


    Why be surprised by that? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 09:36:39 AM EST
    It is nearly impossible to know with certainty that some operations stopping any genocide will do anything other than create one day of less death.  It is an enormous pressure and responsibility for most leaders with a soul to make any choice in those situations.  And because the US changes Presidents every four to eight years...there's more inconsistency.

    Because my husband is active duty I know a little more than most care to about why we did not enter the Syria ordeal, because military times runs regular coverage on such affairs and soldiers are in constant conversations about global conflicts.  Those are goings on that can change our lives on a dime, maybe not yours, but it will change ours.

    Initial analysis of Syria really did indicate to "the experts" that it was secure, deeply stable, and would not fall into a prolonged civil war.  Obama wasn't impressed with how factious Libya became and terrific weapons being grabbed by just anyone.  Apparently when it started getting nasty in Syria Clinton and Obama disagreed about entering the conflict.  To their professional credit, this disagreement was not..did not leak.  And not much is known about that disagreement.  But Assad also has some really great weapons that nobody wants in the hands of a Jihadist group.

    What to do, how to help when conflicts escalate to genocide has to be weighed out, investigated, analyzed, and brain stormed.  But we are somewhat responsible for what has happened to Syrians because it has happened due to neighboring Iraq being destabilized and now the battlefield of a proxy war.  And we have experienced that that war can spread easily in that region.

    Sorry all this isn't clear cut and I can't promise simple answers and actions quickly followed by happily ever after.  Obama along with NATO was very calculating about intervening in Kobane.  Nobody jumped in quickly to save.  Everybody wanted Turkish leaders to understand that they had to be players and stop feeding the proxy war or that war's battlefield could quickly end up on their doorstep.


    In fact, when fighting proxy wars (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 11:23:04 AM EST
    Allowing genocides has its own war creating and making dynamics.

    Maybe McCain should have gone, eh? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 12:48:11 PM EST
    He knows how to buy a plane ticket.

    Virtual hurricane of (none / 0) (#4)
    by FlJoe on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 08:37:57 AM EST
    Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull
     From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
       B. Dylan

    According to emptywheel, America was (none / 0) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 09:56:23 PM EST

    The usual suspects are up in arms that President Obama neither attended nor sent a representative to Paris' unity rally yesterday.

    But I wonder whether the US was not invited?

    Ha'aretz has a report on how Bibi Netanyahu was not invited -- but decided to show anyway, once his political rivals decided to attend.


    Meanwhile, Andrea Mitchell tweeted:
    "Official tells me POTUS/VP weren't invited to Paris + security for them wld have been disruptive - so U.S.signaled France not to invite?"

    I read that (none / 0) (#27)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 10:46:55 PM EST
    neither Netanyahu nor Abbas were invited. Then, when Bibi decided to invite himself, Hollande thought it best to also invite Abbas.

    Beautiful Gil Scott-Heron song (none / 0) (#18)
    by Dadler on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 04:10:43 PM EST
    Any Twin Peaks fans here? (none / 0) (#22)
    by McBain on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 07:58:34 PM EST
    They're going run new episodes in a year or so.  I'm a big Lynch fan and I loved the first season of TP.  

    Eraserhead: Best $20,000 movie ever (none / 0) (#24)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 10:03:28 PM EST
    "Mother, they're still not sure if it even is a baaaaaaaby..."

    That movie had a good family dinner scene (none / 0) (#26)
    by McBain on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 10:40:41 PM EST
    Ever see Lynch's "Rabbits"?

    IMO of The best at any price (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 10:03:27 AM EST
    documentary:  you don't know jack

    About the strange real life of Henry.


    China unveils more stimulis (none / 0) (#25)
    by Politalkix on Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 10:10:29 PM EST
    Free Community College (none / 0) (#28)
    by Slado on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 01:06:53 AM EST
    Like all things that sound good on paper this idea seems to be lacking in details and consideration for if it is needed and what exactly is it going to get us.



    Ross Ulbricht (Silk Road) Trial Day 1 (none / 0) (#30)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 02:30:37 AM EST
    French Feminists Photoshop Male Leaders (none / 0) (#31)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 07:49:04 AM EST
    out of staged photo of Paris Je Suis Charlie photo-op.

    This was in response to the publication by an ultra-orthodox newspaper, of the same scene with female leaders removed.  Here's the scene overlaid with the newspaper's photoshoppery, with a slide control that you can swipe side to side to see the changes.

    Then, there's this (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 08:07:49 AM EST
    Too bad about his, cough, party affiliation. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 09:02:13 AM EST
    Then, there's this:

    Ohio Bartender Accused of Threatening to Poison Boehner.  The man told Ohio police that the speaker was mean to him and was responsible for Ebola, according to federal court filings. Hoyt "believes John Boehner is the devil, and Hoyt believes he is Jesus Christ," according to the complaint. Naturally, they've made a "federal case" out of it.


    Well, yes (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 11:25:38 AM EST
    Threatening the Speaker of the House IS a federal offense. Why wouldn't they make a federal case out of it?  

    Let his defense attorney make the case for insanity.


    Sounds to me that both are insane. (none / 0) (#38)
    by fishcamp on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 12:44:15 PM EST
    Pour your own... (none / 0) (#39)
    by Reconstructionist on Wed Jan 14, 2015 at 01:23:35 PM EST
    Bartender Mike mad at Boehner

      Warning autoplay in the link, but a disgruntled bartender is accused of threatening to kill the Speaker.