Friday Open Thread

I'm still busy with work today. Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Feel good story (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 06:59:33 AM EST
    Couple adopting a child

    This went viral on Facebook.

    Sweet! (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Angel on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:01:26 AM EST
    Mr. Angel was adopted as an infant so I have an affinity for people who adopt.  

    An adopted child (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by Natal on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:44:31 PM EST
    is one who has finally found his/her true parents, speaking as an adoptee.

    My sister (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:51:06 PM EST
    Has spent her career working in child protective services in Florida.

    It takes special people to do that work and it's takes especially special people to be foster parents and adoptive parents.


    Bless your sister (5.00 / 3) (#110)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:30:51 PM EST
    My sister in law did it for years. And then if one of the 5,000 cases you have to manage dies of abuse or something tragic you take the hit.

    You are right. It takes special people to do all of those.


    My friend I have mentioned (none / 0) (#119)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:17:28 PM EST
    who was struck down recently with terrible health problems was a dedicated foster parent.  Their house was always full.   We she went down three kids had to go back into the system.   Very sad.

    I just filled up (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:32:23 AM EST
    1.73 a gal.   After a short happy dance I come home and hear on the nooze how we should all be very concerned about the poor oil companies.  Some of whom are actually, God forbid, cutting some jobs.  

    Speaking only for me I am VERY concerned that the oil companies may not be able to continue this year making more profit annually than any commercial enterprise in the history of history.

    VERY concerned.

    Predictions (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:49:10 AM EST
    are that Texas is going to be hit once again very hard with the drop in oil prices.

    I feel no sorrow at all for the oil companies but I'm sure the price drop will have them begging for more subsidies.


    While Not an Oil Company Employee... (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:25:47 AM EST
    ...I work for a company that makes the equipment they use to find and extract it from the ground.  I am not sweating it, the Middle East has a way of ensuring cheap gas is nothing more than a fond memory.

    We have a record year last year, and of all the oil extracted from the planet, there is not a drop that goes to the market that does not pass by our equipment numerous times.

    We had a good year, next year who knows, its Jan 16th.

    But everyone with the flippant attitudes about people who will not have jobs who have nothing to do with oil or oil companies globally, check yourself, there are people lives you are dismissing.  I will be fine, you know death and taxes, but the people who are really hurt, are the blue collar workers, the people on the front line of layoffs and closures.  Executives, for the most part, always find a way to ensure they are paid.

    The last recession was not pretty, and just because it's not happening to you or your area, or because you are saving $10 every couple of weeks, doesn't mean it any less devastating to people, unlike me, that actually work for a living.

    I am also proud to say my company, in the last recession, was one of the very few to lay off almost no one.  We cut hours, and times were tight, but I am fortunate enough to work for a company that deeply cares about all of it's employees.

    BigOil sucks balls, but the issues I am reading here have more to deal with handful of politicians and executives, rather than the people who will actually feel the pain of low gas prices, throughout the country.  

    My dad even mentioned that back home in nowhere Wisconsin, they are already feeling the pain as that is the area in which sand for fracking is being extracted and shipped to ND.  There are are blue collar people that drive trucks, work on the railroad, and operate the machinery that refines sand, they are not BigOil in any sense.  This will extend far beyond Texas.

    Nothing wrong with good priced gas, but the United States does not need the cheapest gas on the planet, nor should liberals be cheering at the economic demise of an area of the country they are politically at odds with, plus they are a lot of democrats and some liberals here, nearly half.  I get it and I know most of the regulars have good hearts, but to me, who is connected, it seemed very callous.

    Ga6thDem, while it's a reply to you, it is not directed at you.


    It's always the way it goes... (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:50:33 AM EST
    sh*t rolls downhill, as the saying goes.  

    When a corporation sees profits dip, it's always the lowest level employees who seem to bear the brunt with layoffs, pay cuts, etc...executives keep on skatin' or if the joint goes belly up the golden parachute is there.  With some exceptions of course, there are good companies out there who actually value and care about their people...they're just few and far between.


    I really (none / 0) (#24)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:38:36 AM EST
    do feel for anybody losing their jobs but not the entities of big oil themselves. I know a lot of people work where they can get a job and really can't be choosy about that kind of thing.

    I Am With You 100% (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:59:48 PM EST
    I hate corporate America, which includes Big Oil, but I am also in it, and in realty, very few earn a living either directly or indirectly, outside of it.

    And I am sure I posted my dislike of companies like KBR, but the crack about Texas, just kind hit a nerve.  Like were are going to get what we deserve.


    Well, (none / 0) (#104)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:21:28 PM EST
    it was not meant that way. I was just meant as a statement of fact. I have a friend who lived in Texas during the both the bust and the boom back in the 1980's. She told me all these people came for jobs desperate for jobs from places like KY and she let one group live in a camper in her back yard. She said when the bust came people were desperate in a different way but the people who came in the campers just packed up and left. She stayed on a while after the bust because she still had a job. She said apartment complexes were giving six month's free rent with six month's paid rent. She said it was really depressing and bad. So hopefully it will not be that bad this time.

    I know (none / 0) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:40:50 AM EST
    of the suffering. GA has consistently had one of the highest unemployment numbers in the nation. UE for young people just starting out is something like 20%. And nobody is suffering more than the rural areas and the exurbs here in GA.

    The same argument (none / 0) (#90)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:14:20 PM EST
    also applies to people who work in health insurance companies, medical device companies, banks, defense firms, etc, towards whom many in this blog have flippant attitudes. If you want to change the system and start from scratch to build a better system, a lot of little people will be hit first (and a generation may get completely devastated) before any change is seen (even if assuming for the sake of argument that the change is going to be for the better).

    I guess some people would like nationalized health care but not nationalized energy! It is always a question of whose ox is getting gored.


    Two words... (5.00 / 4) (#93)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:41:03 PM EST
    would go far to lessen any burden of reform of crooked markets and crooked industries in a crooked economy...guaranteed income.

    Sh*t automation and the lesser need for labor alone necessitates us giving it serious thought.  


    Not the Same... (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:29:52 PM EST
    ...wanting nationalized Health Care is not the same as being happy that that Texas/Oil Companies will be hitting hard times.

    Criticizing Big Oil is not what I have the problem with, in another post #62 I wrote:  

    And I am sure I posted my dislike of companies like KBR, but the crack about Texas, just kind hit a nerve.  Like were are going to get what we deserve.

    Nationalized Energy it not something I have given much thought, but I am not against it, just never gave it much though as it seems like the last industry that would ever get nationalized here.  I don't think it's right that anyone owns mineral rights, those should be nationalized to benefit everyone, if you can't do it yourself, you don't have the rights to it, which apparently go to the core of the earth.  Let's hope they never figure out how to tap the iron and other heavy metals or we just might lose that magnetic field that protects us from the sun.


    I'm currently driving (none / 0) (#133)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:43:58 PM EST
    a 15 year old Tahoe V8.

    Definitely happy dancing at every fill up.


    Scott, I agree (none / 0) (#103)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:18:32 PM EST
    and yes the earth moved.

    The new supplies being brought on line within the US hurt SA and the other big players so they are driving down prices by increasing supplies in what is, in effect, a price war.

    As soon as they thin the herd prices will go back up.


    Don't Get Too Exited... (5.00 / 3) (#127)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:33:19 PM EST
    ...I am pretty sure everyone, every where, agrees that people falling on hard times is bad.

    I don't keep up with it, drove me nuts at first, trying to decipher why oil prices do anything.  But the word I keep hearing is that OPEC is trying to stick it to Putin and get him out of the game.  Don't really care as the price of oil has more variables than the human mind or computers can account for.

    And for the record, my new vehicle which has a tank 2 gallons smaller than my last one, had it's first official fillup.  I couldn't do the happy dance, but I did think about all the people who need this, right after the holidays, and that made me feel nearly as good as the $40 fill up.  My last vehicle's record was over $90, not by much, and that did not give me any comfort.  That's fumes to plum full, whereas my recent fill-up was right as the low fuel light appeared.

    My dad, on the farm, loves it, can't tell me enough how awesome it is.  He's a cool cat, but damn if he doesn't love him him some bargains, even when he know he is irritating me with happy chat.


    Technology changes everything (none / 0) (#136)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:48:33 PM EST
    Once upon a time a job in telecommunications was cradle to the grave as was a job in the airlines. Deregulation zapped the friendly skies and the voice with a smile isn't answering your call.

    I've also read where SA and company want to stick it to Putin. Probably true for political reasons... he has radical islamist problems.. but you would think they would just co opt him. And that may be the end game.

    The 2008 bubble was a speculator bubble. The players became convinced that there would be a shortage. When that didn't happen and when Bush opened up additional sites off the coast in 7/08 the bubble burst.


    The same, tired talking points (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by Yman on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 06:47:41 PM EST
    The 2008 bubble was a speculator bubble. The players became convinced that there would be a shortage. When that didn't happen and when Bush opened up additional sites off the coast in 7/08 the bubble burst.

    Without the tiniest bit of evidence to support them.  Oil prices dropped in 2007-08 because demand dropped sharply due the the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

    Heck'uva job, Bushie!


    Not just "some areas" of the U.S. going (none / 0) (#156)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:26:00 PM EST
    to feel a lot of pain. Dozens and dozens of countries are sinking into recession, and hundreds of companies, not just oil producers, are announcing massive job cuts

    Also, not only will millions of innocent people be forced into poverty, but, major inter-country friction will occur, leading to all sorts of problems. Crazy leaders may gain power, anarchy, and, dislocations could occur, border disputes might lead to violence. If anyone thinks a major nuclear power(s,) like Russia, being driven to insolvency portends good thing for the future....good luck with that.

    Just keep hearing, "be careful what you wish for." The stock market is not just for the millionaires. Millions of people have their retirement funds in 401k's, I.R.A's, and other retirement accounts. It's already lost hundreds of points. And, analysts are predicting that the year, 2015, will see continued declines for many months to come.

    I love $1.75 gas also, but, the hurt this is putting on so many millions of people worldwide kind of takes the joy out of it, for me, anyway.


    Ga, do you understand that the (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:15:22 AM EST
    so-called subsidies are for depletion and do the same thing as equipment depreciation in non energy/natural resource companies?

    And please don't think I am defending big oil. I'm not. Just pointing out that you need to condemn all "subsidies" if that's what you want to call the depletion allowance.


    They Are Not... (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:29:28 AM EST
    ...'so called' or 'legal', they are subsidies, adding adverbs to infer they are deserved is complete BS, Jim, and you know it.  

    Subsidies IMO should go to companies that need help because they provide a good or service that is needed, not the people/companies making record profits.


    Subsidies (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:21:21 PM EST
    Shouldn't go anywhere.

    Your just company is some else's evil corporation.  These tax breaks, regs and other means of government protection always sound good at first and may be appropriate for the time they are enacted.  But then times change and they are no longer valid but once in place they sure are hard to get rid of.

    Crony capitalism is one of the things that keeps this country from expanding faster and also increases the inequality gap.

    From small local businesses all the way up to big corporations it shouldn't be who has the best relationships with politicians that decides who succeeds.

    There's a reason Washington DC is has the highest per capita income in the nation.  That's where the money is.

    Neither party has a justifiable stance on this reality in my opinion.   The only differences between the two is which companies they favor and in many cases they both favor the same ones anyway.


    I Agree Mostly... (none / 0) (#129)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:37:58 PM EST
    ...that what I think, but I wasn't advocating it, just stating that Jim keeps acting like Oil Company subsidies aren't really subsidies.  It was a reply that covered more than the one post above from Jim about them.

    I wouldn't mind some tax code tweaking for industries that rake it in.


    Unfortunately, like most things, (none / 0) (#153)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:01:30 PM EST
    what's great news for some is terrible news for others,

    I like filling up at half the price also. But, I can't block out of my mind that the fight against global warming just got a (maybe fatal) shot in the head.


    Oh, for crying out loud (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by sj on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:11:52 PM EST
    Stop being such a hypocrite. When oil prices go up you cry and whine "Obama..."

    Now that prices are going down you are scrambling to shift the discussion to (yes, actually) defending oil companies. Get a brain to go along with your virtual mouth.


    Please oh sun (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:21:19 PM EST
    rise once in the west

    Dead On... (none / 0) (#65)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:05:00 PM EST
    ...we won't hear back from Jim about the price of gas until Fox News tells him what to think about it.  Not later than Monday they tell me.

    My guess, we need another war to bring the prices up by election time.  The current ones are helping republicans, at all.


    Surely (none / 0) (#23)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:36:32 AM EST
    even you don't believe the nonsense you write. But then again maybe you do.

    Mr No such thing as a greenhouse gas (none / 0) (#38)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:59:55 AM EST
    defend Big Oil?

    Perish the thought.

    Why would anyone think that?


    depletion allowannces and depreciation (none / 0) (#96)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:48:30 PM EST
     of equipment are not the "same thing" and only similar in the mechanics of how they are applied and accounting principles, not in their intents of effects.

      If I buy equipment to stamp out fenders, I can deduct depreciation OF THE EQUIPMENT from my income based on a schedule an amount intended to offset the equipment becomes less valuable over time due to wear and tear, obsolescence etc.

      I cannot, however deduct for depreciation of the fenders I produce with the equipment and hold in inventory, because, as the IRS explains:

     You cannot depreciate inventory because it is not held for use in your business. Inventory is any property you hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of your business

       I also do not get a tax break when I reduce my inventory of fenders by selling it to my customers to offset the  fact it will now cost me more money to make more fenders to sell.

      The depletion allowance on the other hand gives mineral owners a deduction based on the reduction of their inventory resulting from extraction and sales. they get this is addition to the depreciation allowances they get for the equipment used to extract and sell it.


    Sorry Reconstructionist (none / 0) (#102)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:14:26 PM EST
    but a rose by any other name smells the same.

    The DPA does what depreciation does. It allows the company a reduction in taxes to be used to replace equipment/resources used in that business.

    e.g. The reduction gives them additional funds to use for exploration and new drilling.

    Slado - I don't know if you have ever been in or owned a business but consider this. Without the DPA/deprecation allowance replacement of worn out equipment would come directly from after tax income and that tax would have already increased due no DPA/depreciation.

    Expansion would be greatly hindered.

    SJ - This has nothing to do with Obama who has had nothing to do with the decrease. Unless, that is, you want to blame the reduction in demand on the extended decline in Obama's economy.

    scott - Help Repubs "at" all? If that's what you meant I agree. The reduction, if they hold, will help the economy thus helping Demos.

    Howdy - As was said, "The Sun also rises."


    Unsurprisingly, (none / 0) (#108)
    by Reconstructionist on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:29:29 PM EST
      you entirely obfuscate the distinction I called to your attention.

      They do not do the same thing. Depreciation does not allow me to deduct for the possession or sale of my inventory. Depletion allowances do.

      You describe fairly accurately what depletion allowances do (and the question of whether they are good policy is an entirely different discussion but one that cannot be intelligently conducted with one who either can't understand or deliberately misleads).

      You do not accurately describe depreciation.  Depreciation only applies to the things used to produce and market saleable goods or commodities. It does not apply to the goods and commodities being sold (nor does it apply to the raw materials that ultimately comprise what is sold. IOW, my fender stamping business doesn't get to depreciate the rolled steel and aluminum  that I'm going to run through the stamper to make fenders. that's the case no matter how long the unfinished metal remains in my possession.

       On the other hand, as I pump natural gas or oil out of my wells and sell it to my customers, I get a tax deduction precisely for having less of what I sell.

      It's pretty simple actually.


    Please (none / 0) (#113)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:43:08 PM EST
    pass the popcorn

    No, I did not disagree with your distinctions. (none / 0) (#124)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:26:32 PM EST
    I just pointed out that they do the same thing.

    Allow companies to keep more of their profits by giving then an allowance.

    Hopefully, as I noted to Slado, the reduction in taxes and increases in profits spur growth.

    And yes, I under the difference between depreciation and expense items.

    And yes, the concept is simple as we both have pointed out. Of course the devil is in the details as is often true of many things Congress has its hands in.

    That's why we have lawyers and CPA's.


    I should note (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by Reconstructionist on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 11:03:18 AM EST
      that as I alluded, I am not a principled opponent of "subsidies." I strongly believe government should intervene, including by using tax policies, to provide incentives for economic behaviors which promote the general welfare and provide disincentives for behaviors which harm the general welfare. I agree the devil is in the details.

      I don't believe the utility of governmental action can be dismissed by calling it "socialism" or "central planning" and making facile claims it is "anti-freedom" as some people on the right use to discredit government intervention which they dislike. I also believe that calling some policies "corporate welfare" or "bailouts" and then generally asserting they are therefore bad policy as some on the left are wont to do is misguided.

      Oversimplifying a bit, policies should be evaluated by: whether they are fair and rational methods to achieve goals (a mostly objective if often complex and speculative endeavor); and whether those goals are the "correct" ones (a subjective or "political" analysis).

      I can accept that if a majority agrees that a goal I do not share is a proper one then a fair and rational means of achieving that goal is appropriate. I can always try to change minds about the worthiness of the goal and that is how politics is intended to work.

      On the other hand, when a policy, even one  with a goal I share,  does not "work" (i.e., promote the stated goal) or works only by causing greater ancillary harm then the intended benefit derived I have a real problem with it.

      Now, I admit I have laid out a theoretical framework that some might argue is divorced from practical reality.  I can't refute the observation that policies are very often not chosen because they promote the general welfare but because  certain special interests have  enough political power to obtain  a special benefit at the expense of the general welfare.

      This is, in my mind, a different scenario from the one where "I disagree with the majority" about the worthiness of a goal (i.e., whether the goal promotes the general welfare, about which reasonable people will disagree). This is a scenario where the will of the majority is disregarded.

       Concentrated power (financial and political which are obviously interdependent) and the probably perpetual reality that "the majority's" lack of engagement with,  understanding of  and relatively much smaller stakes in specific policies  allows for the enactment of policies that are by intent (never expressed) designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. (A policy that costs each of 300 million people a relatively small amount of money will often generate less direct  "action" from that large group  than will be forthcoming  from 30,000 who will benefit greatly)

       So,  without leaders who take it upon them selves to represent inchoate majorities comprised of people who have neither the degree of concern  or understanding of a specific policy, special interests will very often triumph.

      That leads to the crux of the problem and my greatest frustration. Too many people for various reasons, including but not limited to apathy, cynicism and ignorance, don't even make the small effort to play a role in choosing their leaders at all.

       Moreover,  many of those who do (at least by voting) don't  select leaders who will act in their interest on economic issues. Some, but not all by a longshot, of this can be explained by people being excited to support candidates based on hot button social issues or appeals to base prejudices. That might explain working class "tea party types" voting for leaders whose actions are demonstrably opposed to their interests, but it does not explain why moderates and liberals help elect and re-elect (again and again) people who have demonstrated they will act to benefit the powerful few at their expense in exchange for reciprocal support.



    Well, I'm glad that we agree (none / 0) (#183)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 11:19:23 AM EST
    My point was global, your points were in the details.

    Subsidies are loved or hated based on the benefit.

    Some of my Libertarian friends hate subsidies. But when the local small airport closed because funding was cut they screamed about having to drive over a 100 miles to catch a plane. Their Ox had been gored.

    I think it is the same with oil. Get rid of the depletion allowance and prices will jump. Anyone for $5.00 gas??


    is cost based and limited, while oil/gas is percentage of gross income based and unlimited.

    So, suuuuper simplified, if you bought a mineral mine you can deduct from that mine's yearly gross income a percentage of the amount that you bought the mine for.

    And your deduction of the cost of the mine is spread out over a limited number of years, and the total deduction over those years equals the amount you spent to buy the mine.

    Waaaaaay simplified example:

    Cost of buying mineral mine = $100.
    Depletion is (say) 10 years (ie, 10% of mine purchase price/year) so = $100/10 = $10/year.
    Gross income is $50/year.

    Net income for those 10 years is $50 - $10 = $40/year.

    Total deduction over 10 years = 10 x $10 = $100 = cost of buying the mine.

    And, after those 10 years, you cannot deduct anymore because your previous total depletion deductions equal your purchase price ($100).

    Oil and gas depletion allowances, however, are a percentage of the field's gross income, not a percentage of what you paid for the field.

    And that percentage is deducted forever, it is not limited to a certain number of years.

    So, let's say oil is selling for $1/barrel, and a field's yearly production is 50 barrels, and thus it generates a gross income of $50/year, and you bought the field for $100.

    Let's say the oil/gas depletion allowance is 10 percent.

    Your net income is the $50/year - $5(10%) = $45/year, and that $5/10% deduction is taken for an unlimited number of years.

    So in this example it takes 20 years ($100/$5 = 20) for the depletion allowance to equal your purchase cost.

    But if the field pumps for 40 years, the total depletion allowance you take over those 40 years is double what you paid for the field.

    However, if you deplete the field in only 10 years, you only get to deduct 1/2 the purchase price. (Though if you invest in other oil fields, I would assume your remaining 1/2 of the depletion deductions can be applied to those other  investments.)

    And, of course, if oil prices rise, your gross income rises and your yearly depletion allowance deduction and net income rises as well.


    Sorry, this stuff interests me and (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:32:32 PM EST
    I got carried away.

    I paid $1.83 yesterday. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:07:25 PM EST
    When I got home I said to my SO that I felt almost like a thief paying that for gas considering it was nearly $3.83 just six months ago.

    At Costco... (none / 0) (#158)
    by desertswine on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:05:11 PM EST
    down the street its $1.54 - cheapest I've seen in years.

    When taking inflation into account (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:48:57 AM EST
    Gas is now at the lowest price since Clinton was president, and the 2nd lowest in the 95 years it's been tracked. Who was it again around here that was harping daily about the price of gas?

    Not daily, but monkeys will (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:36:10 AM EST
    fly out their rear end before the commentator in question will give Obama any credit for bringing the price of gas down from what it was when Bush II left office.

    Given that Obama has (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:11:14 AM EST
    stated he is for high gasoline prices and has closed
    government land for drilling.... please explain how he has done anything to drop the prices???

    Did you miss the fact (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:33:00 AM EST
    That the U.S. has become a net energy exporter during this administration? Must of been Palins "drill baby drill" incantation that did it. You betcha!

    Why is it? (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:12:24 PM EST
    That when unemployment is high (it's not now) and gas prices are high, etc, to those of your ilk, it's "Obama's economy" and I seem to remember you bleating about he had to stop blaming the economy on the last guy. Now gas prices are low, unemployment is lower, yet somehow none of it can be attributed to this President. It dam sure can't be attributed to the do-nothing GOP congress.

    It's called blatant partisanship (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:25:45 PM EST
    Now all of the sudden republicans care about income inequality and real unemployment just like Dems did when Bush was rocking with a good economy.

    Reason is there is always different ways to look at the same numbers.


    Who said prices are low? Lower? Okay (1.00 / 1) (#137)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 06:32:42 PM EST
    FlJoe, christinep,ChuckO, et al

    The weekend before Katrina gasoline was around $1.50/gallon. They went to around $2.00 and haven't come back since, peaking near $4.50 in 6/2008.

    The Demos ran on promising to lower prices in 2006 which has to rank up there with Clinton claiming he didn't have sex with that woman and Nixon opining he wasn't a crook.

    The economy is not that great in much of the country. U3 is down because many have just quit looking and the work force participation rate is near what it was in 1976. And Congress has done nothing because Harry wouldn't let any Repub bills come to a vote.

    I again ask that someone tell me what Obama has actually done. He stated he wouldn't mind higher prices and shut down the actions Bush and the Democrats took in 2008 to open up more federal land. It is my understanding that the new oil is mostly coming from private lands and fracking.

    Historical gasoline prices

    Demos claim they'll reduce gas prices in 2006

    Obama tells MSNBC he wouldn't mind higher prices 8/2008

    Obama shuts down what the Demos/Bush did

    Obama tells a guy to buy a new car..just like Hoover did

    Bush opens up offshore drilling 7/14/08


    I agree. (none / 0) (#149)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:44:42 PM EST
    Gas prices are lower, not necessarily low. I guess it's all in your perspective.

    And you missed my point. I didn't say Obama necessarily did anything to lower gas prices. But when the economy didn't bounce back within 2 years of Obama's election after 8 disastrous years of Bush, conservatives complained that the administration was blaming the recession on Obama. But yet when things do get better, Obama gets no credit for anything. You are all nothing but complete hypocrites.

    Old biker saying. "When we do right, no one remembers, when we do wrong, no one forgets." Seems that way with Obama with your crowd. Bad = must be Obama's fault. Good = can't possibly be Obama.


    Since I am not a Repub (none / 0) (#162)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:04:49 AM EST
    I don't know who "You are all" is.

    But I do plead guilty to be in complete disagreement with just about everything Obama has done. I say just about because there must be something....I just can't think of one.

    And I am unaware of 8 bad years under Bush. The economy was booming for a great deal of the time. Gasoline was around $2.00, unemployment under 5 with the market going up when the Demos took charge of both Houses in 1/07... It went bad from there.

    Obama's economy has staggered along going from worse to worse. The slight improvement Demos want to brag about in Q3 1024 is inflated by some gerrymandering of the Obamacare numbers and I don't think it will hold in Q1 although the low energy prices will help. That we are in as good a shape now as we are is because of the historic low interest rates. Pray that the Fed doesn't get nervous over inflation and raise them.

    And Obama's foreign policies have been Jimmy Carter redux. He has lost all across the board and we'll be lucky to not get into a sure enough shooting war in the next two years;


    Yeah, Jim, you're not a Republican. (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 02:12:00 AM EST
    You just vote and apologize for them because, you know, freedom.

    He's unaware of bad times under Bush (none / 0) (#168)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 08:43:22 AM EST
    like the invasion of Iraq, the housing market going to hell along with the loss of jobs that followed.......

    You can't make this up, folks!  

    And he's part of that very small % of people who aren't Republican, but watches and believes everything Fox News tells him anyway.

    You can't make this up, folks!


    As an Independent (none / 0) (#180)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 10:57:10 AM EST
    Donald, I vote for whoever I think is best for the job. That would be local, state and national. If you want my vote then meet MY requirements. NOT the requirements of the party's nominating committee. Now, since your employment, in the past and to an extent now, depended in part on the favor of the Demo party officials I can see why you have trouble understanding that distinction.

    On a Presidential level that hasn't happened since Cater mid wifed the modern radical islamist movement. Other places, yes.

    And I'm not slamming political influence. I had my Rabbi's over the years in private business and a person who doesn't gather allies around them is just waiting to get zapped.

    Mordiggian, I seem to remember that the Senate vote re Iraq was 99 to 1 for. I had some esteemed Demo company. I also remember that Obama refused to leave the number of troops in Iraq that the military wanted thus becoming the midwife for ISIS.

    To paraphrase Patton about retreating: "I don't want to take the same ground twice and pay for it again with the lives of my soldiers."

    The housing crisis came from the bursting of the housing bubble created by Carter and Clinton and topped off by the Demos, led by Barney Frank, refusal to take the necessary action Bush wanted in 2003 and McCain in 2005. You, as I do, blame Bush for not taking strong enough actions but the Demos are the ones that just said no.

    If you will do some research you will also discover that the Federal Reserve started to cut rates in the Fall of 2007 and continued that action. It was too little but by the spring of 2008 the housing situation had stabilized. In the spring of 2008 the oil price bubble started rapidly rising. The price went from around $80/barrel to over $140/barrel in about two months driven by the speculators belief that the Demo controlled congress, as Pelosi and other key Demos had stated, would not take any action to increase supplies. That, plus the belief that the emerging economies of India, China, etc., would create a demand driven shortage jacked gasoline to around $4.50/gallon.

    BTW - Pelosi jumped in bed with Pickens on one of his wind power start up's and benefited from high oil prices. Where, oh where has my Special Prosecutor gone when I need him??

    Bush issued an EO in 7/2008 and the rest happened as I noted above in comment #137.

    And no one has needed to watch Fox, or MSNBC to see how miserably Obama's foreign and domestic policies have failed. The proof is in the EBT paid for pudding and the "Let them eat cake" benefits extended to the super rich and the graves of our people killed at Benghazi.

    And that's a pity. Because while I didn't like Bubba I, and my family, prospered under him. And while I knew in my heart what Obama was I had hope that he would introduce a single payer health care system. Instead he and the Demos passed a welfare bill for his base and the insurance industry.

    See Ashley's comment

    Fannie eases credit 9/99

    NYTimes 9/11

    Prime Rate


    Where's a SP when needed??

    Peggy Joseph

    Dow Jones Industrial Average

    Ins companies profits up under Obamacare


    Epic screed. (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by FlJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:02:57 PM EST
    40 years of disappointment in your leaders and you can only find fault with Dems? If Obama mid-wifed ISIS then surely you should call out the Bush/Cheny neo-con gang as the baby daddy.  

    Jim, if you want to be considered in the same time zone as independent you need to be the one to just say no the next time they pass the kool-aid jug around.


    You know you don't have to ever vote for a (2.00 / 1) (#195)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 02:37:01 PM EST
    Demo or a Repub and you can still be an Independent.

    Or at least that is what my Libertarian friends tell me.

    As I have posted before I thought that we needed to do a regime change in Iraq but have noted many mistakes in how it was done. Chief among them was disbanding the Iraqi army. We should have sent them to their barracks, kept paying them and then moved them into the new army. Most were just professional soldiers and not criminals for Saddam.

    BUT, that was corrected with the surge and then Obama booted it. So maybe we should not say Obama was a midwife. More like an evil step mother who drowned the child.


    This is what he used to have (none / 0) (#187)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:20:39 PM EST
    on his site:

    There are no moderate Democrats.
    A few are less radical than the others.

    But from the perspective of practically everybody else here, you're as "independent" as Guam and Puerto Rico.

    Jim found a new favorite word (none / 0) (#188)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 01:08:27 PM EST
    "Midwifed" - v. - from the Latin midus wifius, meaning utter BS made up from rightwing talking points.

    I hope you are wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by Chuck0 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 01:38:18 PM EST
    "Pray that the Fed doesn't get nervous over inflation and raise them."

    Interest rates are way too low. I want them to go up. My savings aren't earning anything at all.


    Yes, interest rates are a two (2.00 / 1) (#193)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 02:15:19 PM EST
    edged sword. Many retirees have taken money out of money market accounts and placed in stocks and seen some decent gains. But if the Feds move up those gains will be decreased. And I got out of the market  early in 08 and back in late in 09 and I watching the markets with both eyes wide open.

    Also, most mortgages are now not fixed. They are based on the prime plus 1 or 2 points adjusted periodically. If the prime moves up to say, 8% people who now have a 4% loan will have a 10% loan and be in deep dodo.


    Overall energy production & (none / 0) (#31)
    by christinep on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:17:52 AM EST
    less dependence on foreign oil ... that's how.  C'mon Jim, its time to own up to it.  The President has actually outperformed his predecessors in terms of the bottom line in this area, per the specification (aka cost of filling the average gas tank)that you set in numerous postings.  In the old days, here is where I and others would say "Be a man, own up to it."  (But, since we have progressed since the "good old days," lets just say "Be a man or woman--be honest--and own up to it.") You can do it.

    Given that a significant part of the power (none / 0) (#57)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:42:46 PM EST
    structure of the country wants the opposite of everything Obama wants....I think he can take credit, if only by indirection.

    Hey (none / 0) (#67)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:09:25 PM EST
    crystal bridges is totally a worthwhile road trip destination.  Wonderful.   I wish you could see the State of the Art show but it is leaving any day now.

    Thank you! been meaning to ask. (none / 0) (#82)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:51:18 PM EST
    I will add it to my road trip list of destinations.

    Let me know when (none / 0) (#87)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:58:15 PM EST
    i might meet you

    Sorry, Jim, but as usual (none / 0) (#169)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 08:49:21 AM EST
    you've been misinformed:

    That was then and this is now, and Obama ain't talking that way no more. Instead, he regularly boasts of America's soaring oil output and points to all he's done and is still doing to further increase domestic production. Thanks to the sort of heightened investment in domestic output his administration has sponsored, he told a cheering Congress in January, "more oil [was] produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world--the first time that's happened in nearly twenty years." Although still offering his usual bow to the dangers of climate change, Obama did not hesitate to promise to facilitate further gains in domestic output.

    In accord with his wishes, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on July 18th that it would reopen a large portion of the waters off the Eastern seaboard, an area stretching all the way from Florida to Delaware, to new oil and natural gas exploration. Under the BOEM plan, energy companies will be allowed to employ advanced seismic technology to locate promising reserves beneath the seabed in preparation for a round of offshore licensing scheduled for 2018. At that point, the companies can bid for and acquire actual drilling leases. Environmental organizations have condemned the plan, claiming the seismic tests often involve the use of sonic blasts that could prove harmful to endangered sea animals, including whales. The truth is, however, that those seismic tests, by opening future fossil fuel deposits to development and exploitation, are likely, in the long run, to hurt human beings at least as much.

    Here are some of the other measures recently taken by the administration to boost domestic oil production, according to a recent White House factsheet:

    • An increase in the sales of leases for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. In 2013, the Bureau of Land Management held 30 such sales--the most in a decade--offering 5.7 million acres for lease by industry.
    • An increase in the speed with which permits are being issued for actual drilling on federal lands. What's called "processing time" has, the White House boasts, been cut from 228 days in 2012 to 194 days in 2013.

    • The opening up of an additional 59 million acres for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a disastrous BP oil spill in April 2010.

    In other words, global warming be damned!

    In a turnaround that has gotten next to no attention and remarkably little criticism, President Obama is now making a legacy record for himself that will put the "permanent reduction of our dependence on oil" in its grave. His administration is instead on a drill-baby-drill course to increase production in every way imaginable on US territory, including offshore areas that were long closed to drilling due to environmental concerns.

    What explains this dramatic turnaround?  

    The new oil is coming from private (none / 0) (#182)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 11:11:21 AM EST
    drilling. Obama's actions are late and confusing.

    Let me see, the time for lease approval has been decreased by 34 days???  Wow.

    And the BOEM in July of 2014 said the oil companies can look for new oil so they can drill in 2018??

    What is this, Back to the Future again????

    And then we have:

    WASHINGTON -- In President Obama's latest move using executive authority to tackle climate change, White House officials on Wednesday announced plans to impose new regulations on the oil and gas industry's emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The administration's goal is to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent by 2025 from the levels recorded in 2012.



    Confusing? (none / 0) (#185)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:04:55 PM EST
    It would seem that decreasing the  application time and allowing more exploration, just not on federal land, are indicative thst he knows what he is doing and where he is going on this issue.  

    As for late, I'm sure if Romney had won, we'd be paying 1.50$/gal by now. So you have to take what you can get.

    As for the methane regulation, methane is a significant greenhouse gas, and if it cuts into the oil companies profit by 0.2% or so, you'll forgive a Leftie like me from having a pity party for them.

    Hope this helps!


    34 says??? Wow!!! (2.00 / 2) (#192)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 02:01:06 PM EST
    And allowing more exploration NOW has nothing to do with the new available NOW.

    It may in the future. And when it does you can claim all the things Obama did back "then" in 2014 to help.

    In the meantime I'll justice note what he did in 2008 and 2009 to harm and the new regulations in 2014.

    BTW - If he knows what he is doing now... Doesn't that mean he didn't know in 2008 and 2009??


    We should insist (none / 0) (#9)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:49:51 AM EST
    On congress raising our taxes so we can give more tax breaks to these poor struggling "persons". It's the least we should do.

    Well (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:01:53 AM EST
    even republicans are now talking about raising gas taxes to fund infrastructure.  With offsets of course.

    I hope (none / 0) (#14)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:41:10 AM EST
    Grover Norquist is not too offended by this blasphemy, might have to put him on the no fly list.

    Ok official end of slack (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:26:59 AM EST
    Did you really think he was going to (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:33:46 PM EST
    overturn centuries of Catholic dogma?  He may be ruffling some of the powers that be who've gotten a little too comfortable in Church hierarchy, enjoying the luxuries of Church life while the poor suffer, but it seems he also feels the faithful have strayed and taken too lightly the Church's positions on gay marriage and contraception/abortion.

    Besides, I'm sure it placates the cardinals and bishops who may have been starting to worry this Pope was going completely off the reservation.

    I'm not Catholic, and the Pope is not the boss of me - but even if I were Catholic, I'd likely be one of those who didn't feel I had to answer to a middle man.  


    I guess I was lulled (none / 0) (#144)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:40:25 PM EST
    he had been doing so many things we are not used to hearing from a pontiff.

    Pope Francis (none / 0) (#116)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:00:05 PM EST
    did what he was supposed to do.  Through his charisma and humility, he got the subject changed--took the altar boy/bishop cover-up scandal off the front page.   The Pope's change of "tone" was not a change in dogma or a repudiation of his predecessor's positions.   But, for many Catholics, whose theology is at the Baltimore Catechism level of sophistication, tone equates to theology. And, actually, there is a lot of truth in that.  If the Pope retains his tone, not all will be lost.  

    I hope you are right Dan (none / 0) (#120)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:19:16 PM EST
    cause that really pi$$es me off.  Very disappointing.

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#134)
    by KeysDan on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:45:32 PM EST
    Disappointing for sure.  My hope, such as it is, is based on the wording of the Pope's statement--which needed to be clarified to get its opprobrium by a Vatican spokesman.   Benedict, by contrast, wrote that homosexuality is "intrinsically disordered"  or objectively disordered."  No need for clarification here.

    Pope Francis is no doubt under siege by his Curia and other Bishops appointed by Pope John Paul II and Benedict.  Gays, birth control and grits, always works.  And, guns, maybe, with his saying it is "normal" to get a punch in the nose for an insult. A no, no for religions.

    The Catholic Church is nothing, if not a survivor.  It has a couple of thousand years at it...the way they were going, with the altar boy/bishop cover-up, it was not looking good.  And, Benedict was so bad, he apparently felt that he had to resign, not an everyday occurrence, or even an every-millenial one. After all, what scandal could be worse for a religion, not to mention one that runs schools, youth camps, and other entrustments of children.  As I have often thought, with this scandal so fresh, the Catholic Church should not speak about moral matters for at least 100 years.


    Pay attention to the wording, the emphasis (none / 0) (#142)
    by christinep on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:12:59 PM EST
    Pope Francis speaks in terms of goals and reasons for the overall position about life and humankind's relation to each other ... he specifically states also his understanding that individuals in the Church may not be at those challenging positions ... and, importantly, he welcomes all and does not dismiss nor condemn in the people.  

    Your observation about tone is astute, KeysDan.


    Secretary of Late John Kerry (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:37:12 AM EST
    Horrible Optics (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Jim in St Louis on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:52:45 PM EST
    JT is (was once) great of course, but who planned and approved this silly farce? Doesn't the lyric go something like 'I'll be there'  when of course Kerry was not there.  That is what prompted this whole trip.  I know its all just posturing and optics and does not really matter in a serious way- but jeez its embarressing.

    Personally (none / 0) (#107)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:28:55 PM EST
    I'd rather listen to a past his prime JT then listen to Kerry or any politician mouth some hypocritical platitudes. This whole issue of optics about how, when and why we paid homage to the corpses of Charlie is ridiculous. This world is facing stupendous problems and the discussion devolves to questions we should be asking of Miss Manners on a slow day.

    James Taylor's greatest asset was his simple,honest and heartfelt songs. You will hear nothing close to that from these world leaders whether they are late to the party or not.


    I followed your link thinking surely (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:06:19 PM EST
    this must be a story from The Onion. Sadly, it did not take me to that satiric source.

    Honestly, this move by John Kerry is, well, it is embarrassing. Is this the level to which U.S. diplomacy has now fallen? The least Kerry could have done was take Carole King along, too. She could have serenaded the French with her song Where You Lead from the Tapestry album.

    Wanting you the way I do
    I only want to be with you
    And I would go to the ends of the earth
    'Cause, darling, to me that's what you're worth

    Where you lead, I will follow
    Anywhere that you tell me to
    If you need, you need me to be with you
    I will follow where you lead

    If you're out on the road
    Feeling lonely and so cold
    All you have to do is call my name
    And I'll be there on the next train

    Where you lead, I will follow
    Anywhere that you tell me to
    If you need, you need me to be with you
    I will follow where you lead

    my god (5.00 / 2) (#92)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:29:13 PM EST

    just excruciating


    Agreed. (5.00 / 4) (#112)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:41:31 PM EST
    Next time, Kerry should bring Jerry Lewis instead, like the French wanted in the first place.

    Watch your back Jimmy... (none / 0) (#50)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:00:32 PM EST
    music is blasphemy in some circles, might offend someone enough to pick up an AK with your soft folk-rock stylings you old provocateur you!

    If they were trying to get (none / 0) (#51)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:02:51 PM EST
    James Taylor they'd start to shoot and then fall asleep before they could pull the trigger.

    I wish GG Allin... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:15:39 PM EST
    was still with us, we could send that mother*cker wherever free speech is threatened so the offended could see how good they have it!  Nobody blasphemed like GG.

    What a test of free speech: (none / 0) (#157)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:28:42 PM EST
    I can imagine defending Allin's rights, but after reading this post mortem review, I can't imagine someone actually paying to see him.

    I am Busy as Hell, but Cuba... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:08:08 PM EST
    ...WTF, travel restrictions are being removed.

    New travel and trade rules between the US and Cuba have come into effect in the biggest policy shift between the two countries in more than 50 years.

    Measures include allowing US citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for US businesses to export some technologies.

    Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba.

    The move implements last month's agreement to re-establish ties severed since 1961.

    Although the latest moves put a large dent in the US trade embargo against Cuba's communist government, only Congress can lift it completely.


    I am no expert, but I will be there as fast as I can, and legally, apparently.  We have been hashing out how to get their, illegally, without getting in trouble.  No one wanted to pull the trigger...

    Sounds good, but they don't have (5.00 / 1) (#170)
    by fishcamp on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:01:48 AM EST
    any credit card machines over there, and the communications network with the US is deplorable, so good luck with that one.  $100 worth of Cuban cigars is about five of the good ones, and their rum is sickenly sweet.  You won't know what the food really is, even in those Paladaras.  Bring your own medicine and bandages, if you have to go to the doctor or hospital.  Hopefully your hotel won't collapse while you're in it.  The beaches are polluted due to no sewer system.  There are no movie theaters, and TV is state run Communist educational stuff.  The buildings really aren't quaint, they are death traps.  So if you like this type of a vacation, Cuba is the place to go.  It will change, but not for years.  It's still a Communist country.

    This comment was paid for by (5.00 / 3) (#172)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:16:29 AM EST
    the Little Havana Tourist Association.

    Truth is stranger than fiction, (none / 0) (#174)
    by fishcamp on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:27:51 AM EST
    Oculus.  Would you like to go back to Cuba again?

    Let me rephrase the question Oculus. (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by fishcamp on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:39:49 AM EST
    Would you like to go to Cuba?

    I would love to (none / 0) (#179)
    by CoralGables on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 10:56:54 AM EST
    Yes. (none / 0) (#186)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:15:56 PM EST
    I have a friend who visited Cuba (none / 0) (#190)
    by ZtoA on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 01:20:22 PM EST
    around 5 years ago. He's US and Canadian citizen, Norwegian and Cree, (looks like he's Blackfoot) so he could go as a Canadian citizen tho he had to take a very circuitous route to get there.

    He loved it! Esp the music. He loved the people, even though after dancing with a girl, evidently, her father seemed to expect he would marry her. Guess the guy can dance. I don't think he travels in comfort tho, no credit cards and such. No one would ever dare to rob him tho - not with his face and build and dress. Very friendly tho. He also said the colors were wonderful.


    I Saw on the News... (none / 0) (#68)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:10:17 PM EST
    ...car buffs are already salivating, and I suspect so are developers.  No mention of either in today's announcement, but it's the next logical step, or rather, the next logical giant leap.

    Aparrently (none / 0) (#70)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:13:51 PM EST
    you have to "say" you fit into one of the several groups now allowed to go.  But as I understand it, proof is no longer required.

    I agree very exciting.  I would love to go.


    I Hvae Been There... (none / 0) (#88)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:05:02 PM EST
    ...for about 6 hours, GITMO, which isn't exactly the pearl of Cuba, but long before it was the shame of America.  I might even have a patch.

    Heard a story on teh radio this AM (none / 0) (#91)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:19:32 PM EST
    that due to Castro outlawing certain types of fishing (like for shark and commercial) Cuba now has essentially the only pristine reef on the planet: Jardines de la Reina.

    Well, not for long, it doesn't! (none / 0) (#111)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:35:42 PM EST
    At last, the ceaseless demands of America's saltwater aquarium owners will finally be sated in full! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-(Cough! Cough! Wheeze! Cough!)-ha-ha-ha-ha-(Cough! Cough!) ...!

    I Dive... (none / 0) (#117)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:06:02 PM EST
    ...and I like that, preserved reef.  Not for diving, just existing.  I was very impressed with, and can't imagine a reef could get much better than Bonnaire.  

    I would have assumed that area is Lion fish rich, which devastate reefs, no predators, but maybe Castro's Sharks like them.


    Very cool (5.00 / 2) (#138)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 06:42:03 PM EST
    NCAA and Penn State consent decree (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:36:33 PM EST
    is no longer valid b/c a Pennsylvania legislator filed a lawsuit. How can this be?

    How can this be? (none / 0) (#166)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 03:36:29 AM EST
    An all too public rush to harsh judgment,t without first pausing to really ascertain the actual facts of the matter, is how it came to be:

    "Make no mistake, this was a huge loss for the NCAA and once again underscored the association's dysfunctional approach to crisis management [...] Penn State president Rodney Erickson had told media outlets that if he hadn't signed the consent decree, the NCAA would have imposed the so-called death penalty on Penn State's football program, suspending play for the 2012 season. [...] So right away, there were questions about how the NCAA had gone about obtaining the consent decree. Emmert had made the decision to step into the mud, and he seemed to get dirty right away. Penn State bought the apparent bluff at the time, but now it's the NCAA that's folding."

    Basically, NCAA officials settled the matter out of count because they likely would've had their a$$es handed to them in it. And that's what happens when people judge hastily on innuendo and emotion, rather than act diligently and thoughtfully through facts and reason.

    First big mistake was when the Penn State Board of Trustees hired former FBI Director Louis Freeh to investigate what happened.

    Freeh's subsequent report to the board was dutifully scathing in its denunciations of the late football coach Joe Paterno, PSU President Graham Spanier, PSU VP Gary Schultz and PSU Athletic Director Tim Curley, yet he was rather shockingly cavalier about supporting his findings with, you know, actual hard evidence.

    In short, Freeh told trustees exactly what they wanted to hear, and both they and the media accepted the report's findings without much if any scrutiny because it exonerated them with regards to their own questionable conduct in this entire sorry affair.

    For its part, the NCAA also accepted Freeh's report without question, and that was the second big mistake here. Because once people started actually examining Freeh's work in detail, it looked increasingly shoddy, which rendered the lawsuit by PA State Sen. Jake Corman against the NCAA inevitable.

    As the longtime public face of Penn State to millions of people, Joe Paterno became both a tempting high-profile target and an easy scapegoat for public wrath, particularly as anger exploded in this scandal.

    But an actual examination of the facts shows that child welfare case workers and law enforcement personnel repeatedly and continuously overlooked far more evidence against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, than was ever available to Coach Paterno. Ensuing public anger should instead be directed at these "professionals," including former state Attorney General (and now-former Gov.) Tom Corbett.

    Speaking for myself only, I think there are going to be a number of people with an awful lot of egg on their faces, when all is finally said and done here.



    Hmmmmm. I was curious (none / 0) (#171)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:13:39 AM EST
    as to the civil procedure.  Doesn't seem likely a state legislator has standing regarding the consent decree.

    I'd think that as a state official, ... (none / 0) (#197)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 03:33:56 PM EST
    ... he has both the standing and the right to defend the institutional integrity a state agency or entity, of which Penn State is certainly one -- particularly if the terms under which that agency or institution was initially compelled to enter into said consent decree are subsequently undermined by changed circumstances.

    And in this case, that would be the subsequent gradual discrediting of the Freeh Report's findings, which had provided the primary basis for that consent decree between the NCAA and Penn State. While public opinion outside the Commonwealth has yet to catch up on this story, I believe people will start to reconsider their initial reactions once the realization takes hold in public consciousness that the NCAA has caved in full. From my perspective, the bad actors here appear to be:

    • NCAA President Mark Emmert, who clearly jumped the gun in an effort to race ahead of public opinion on this matter, and acted in rather egregious haste on the sole basis of information provided by the Freeh Report, the findings of which have since come under considerable scrutiny and increasing skepticism;

    • The Penn State Board of Trustees, who for their own part, once the story initially broke about Jerry Sandusky's arrest for child molestation, hastened to scapegoat Coach Joe Paterno for their own demonstrable shortcomings in providing requisite fiduciary oversight to the university as a whole; and

    • Louis Freeh, who apparently through his own professional negligence and / or ineptitude produced a painfully flawed report which enabled those trustees to actively maintain the public's misimpressions about their own role in this sorry affair, by instead shifting the primary blame to Coach Paterno, and further allowed the NCAA to compound the considerable damage done to an already compromised institution.

    It should also be noted here that the terms by which the NCAA agreed to rescind the consent decree with Penn State have no bearing on the Paterno family's own current civil lawsuit against both the NCAA and the university, which I would believe may have been further bolstered by these latest developments.



    I still don't see standing. Peter G? (none / 0) (#199)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 05:03:39 PM EST
    Oh Lord! (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:58:51 AM EST

    and he will campaign on poverty issues


    LOL! (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by Zorba on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 10:06:40 AM EST
    I thought he didn't care about the 47% because they weren't going to vote for him anyway.    
    Hypocrisy, thy name is Mitt.    ;-)

    To paraphrase Mark Twain (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 07:16:23 PM EST
    there are lies, damned lies, and then there are the stories
    Jim tells that always blame Obama.

    For those that care about such things (none / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:32:54 AM EST
    Idina Menzel will sing the National Anthem, John Legend will sing "America The Beautiful", and Katy Perry will perform at halftime at the Super Bowl.

    Idina Menzel is very impressive (none / 0) (#11)
    by Peter G on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:11:56 AM EST
    She was terrific in Wicked.

    I don't know how deep into musicals you are, (none / 0) (#61)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:55:24 PM EST
    but there is a really good DVD you can get from Netflix of the musical "Chess" in concert at the Royal Albert Hall, with Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, Adam Pascal, and Clarke Peters, with a full orchestra and choir.  Not the best all-around musical, but some of the songs are terrific and their performances are goose-bump producing!

    You Forgot Lenny Kravitz... (none / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:01:16 AM EST
    ...will also be performing, presumably a duet with Perry.

    I mean if there is one person fans of the NFL want to see it's the 14 year old girl phenom, Katy Perry, yeah.  I assume they brought Lenny in late to balance the ridiculousness of having Perry do the half time show, but just a guess.

    FYI, there is a good chance I am going.  The deal has been made, but I will not confirm until the ticket is in my hand.  A friend of mine has a coworker who won a package, once Dallas lost, the price became affordable for my friend and I.

    I am positive this will be my only time, so please oh please, everyone cheer for GB on Sunday at 2pm, yes, that is me begging for your support, on my knees if you like.  Yeah, I know, only the people on the field determine the outcome of the game, but what the F.  Just so the refs don't determine it, and needless to say, I will be proud of my team regardless.  Go Pack Go.


    FWIW, Katy Perry is ... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:04:48 PM EST
    ScottW714: "I mean if there is one person fans of the NFL want to see it's the 14 year old girl phenom, Katy Perry, yeah."

    ... actually 30 years old, and not 14. (I know -- I had assumed she was still a youngin', too, until I heard a radio DJ congratulate her last fall on her 30th birthday.)

    And I thought the same thing about Bruno Mars as the Super Bowl halftime show entertainment last year -- that is, until he brought the house down. He's certainly come a long way from his days as an Elvis impersonating Waikiki lounge act, for which I remember him.

    Maybe Ms. Perry will similarly surprise us.


    My general rule of thumb is (none / 0) (#42)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:09:14 PM EST
    the more dancers a singer requires on stage with them, the less musical talent they actually have.

    You have clarified a troubling point. (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:44:15 PM EST
    I have always wondered about the first time I saw Clapton. Gorgeous women, short skirts, stilletos, and dress-for-success jackets (think Nordies).  

    LOL. You probably weren't too bad (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:22:22 PM EST
    as a prosecutor.  You know precisely where to drive a point.

    No... (none / 0) (#60)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:51:14 PM EST
    ...I meant her fans, as in the 14 year old girls who think she is phenom.  Probably the single largest segment of the population that is least likely to watch the NFL, except for 30 mins a year, an commercial breaks.  I would imagine, many are just taping it to blab about the commercials.

    No disrespect meant for the 714 teenage girls who dig football and Katy Perry, worldwide.

    It irks me to no end that the a sports event is convoluted and rearranged for the half 'show'.  It can't be good for players to go 15mins half time all year, then all of sudden their biggest game, 30mins.  And that one year, in the Superdome, there was so much smoke from the fireworks, you hardly see the field for several minutes.

    The game should be like any other, except pay preview, then afterwards the idiots who like being subjected to advertizing, aka Corporate Americas biggest fleecing weapon, can watch all the lovely advertizing and teenie bopper music they want.  Give them a hour and twice the commercials if that is what they want...

    They could at least get someone fans generally like, or occasionally listen to, even country, which I dislike, would be better than KP, who will most likely lip sync so the girls don't freak out because she doesn't sound like the KP on iTunes.

    I have seen Lenny a couple times, he is pretty bad A, a small man in stature, but a giant in the talent department, the anti-KP if you will.


    Well, the first time I saw Katy Perry, ... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:21:45 PM EST
    ... I really thought she was no more than 18. I had no idea she was as old as she was. Thanks for clarifying your earlier comment for me.

    From what I understand, the NFL now wants to put Super Bowl halftime shows up for bid, and  essentially make the artists pay for the privilege of performing.

    This type of thinking is, of course, entirely consistent with the NFL's repeated attempts to shake down the State of Hawaii to the tune of millions of dollars for the privilege of hosting the Pro Bowl, even though it was Honolulu that actually saved that game from oblivion over 30 years ago in the first place, and actually turned it into a profitable event. Never mind that we've already long been absorbing all the operating costs of putting on the game, as it is.

    As far as I'm concerned, the NFL is starting to stand for "Naturally, Fleece the Locals." I hope nobody responds to their bids for further self-enrichment. It would serve them right to one day be compelled to hold the Pro Bowl in Buffalo or Kansas City during the dead of winter. That'll teach NFL players to aspire to All-Star status!



    You mean the Pro-Bowl... (none / 0) (#115)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:55:39 PM EST
    ...minus the some pros, that Bowl ?

    How you have a game of the 'best of the best' with out players from the SB is just plain dumb.  And that game, two years ago, is what the ProBowl really is, people getting paid not do much at all, and who can blame them, they are valuable machines, but it's still a farce.

    I personally like the competitions the week before, and I will never forget Favre throwing that long ball and everyone just in shock.  I want to say 112 yards.  80 is considered top notch.  He threw 105, 80 deep, but to the other side of the field in one of his first tosses for a TD, as he was going out of bounds.

    But I like seeing that competition, we just had ~20 weeks of what the players can do on the field, let's see what they got matched up with their own kind and the risk of injury reduced significantly.  

    Seeing Bears and Packers on the same team is just plain wrong, as well.

    Russell Brant took THIS and put it on the Twitter, might help with your age thing.


    LOL! Kudos to Russell Brand! (none / 0) (#118)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:11:41 PM EST
    Speaking of great Pro Bowl moments, my favorite was in 1993 when Dallas Cowboys QB Troy Aikman started the game for the NFC, and then left Aloha Stadium early in the fourth quarter without even bothering to tell the coaches, in order to go to Honolulu airport so he could catch a flight home.

    Super Bowl Teams? (none / 0) (#121)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:19:49 PM EST
    Hell many don't go because they just don't want to. Dan Marino was chosen to the Pro Bowl 9 times. He actually decided to make the trip twice. By the time they fill the rosters some are barely starters on their own teams. It's mostly a bunch of rich guys that haven't yet taken the time to take their families to Hawaii. The wife and kids want to go, so a few end up making the trip.

    It probably gets about the same tv ratings as the Meineke Car Care Bowl.


    Seems Like... (none / 0) (#131)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:40:59 PM EST
    ...now days they all show unless they are hurt, I would imagine the pot is a little sweeter.

    Scott, what do you have against teenage girls? (none / 0) (#161)
    by ZtoA on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:55:40 PM EST
    Girls now play team sports and many are interested in boy's sports too - even the ones girls are not allowed to play. It is a huge demographic (esp to sell to) and if they think something is a phenom then it is - just like boys who love their sports shoes, and t-shirts, and hats. Girls, often, like boys. Boys get to play football in HS and college, and I know the girls follow those sports closely.

    Girls may speak in a language you don't understand, but, believe me, they are saying things - not just talking... or "balbbing".


    Hey Z (none / 0) (#163)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 12:34:44 AM EST
    how are you?

    Nice of you to ask CH (5.00 / 2) (#189)
    by ZtoA on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 01:11:30 PM EST
    I'm going better, sort of, and not so great, sort of too. I seem to be having some residual nerve problems (may be from that bad drug reaction). But I did get out for a nice walk in the sprinkles before the hard rains this morning, and I loved it. Hardly had to use my cane much. I'm back to work every day (what is a weekend?) at least 8 hours, but not over 12 yet. I finally have lots of quiet and solitude in my days so that is great too. I'm looking forward to getting my second hip replaced later in Feb and want to get lots of work done before that.

    And, in the evenings, I'm starting to catch up (on my laptop) with movies from the last year or two. Watched Gone Girl, season 4 Downton Abbey, some Grimm, and want to find more. I'm reading a couple of great books, one even on the science of color. I'm going to a 'culinarea' dinner at Disjecta, a local arts center, which will combine a chef, curator and artists soon, and a performance of chamber music (deconstructed) later in the month at Disjecta too.

    I plan to have some nice health by April.


    And in other NFL news, ... (none / 0) (#128)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:33:47 PM EST
    ... Denver's trash is Chicago's treasure:

    Chicago Tribune | January 16, 2015
    Bears hire John Fox as new head coach -- "The Chicago Bears have their new head coach: John Fox. On Friday, in Week 3 of their coaching search, the Bears and new general manager Ryan Pace closed the deal with Fox, bringing the soon-to-be 60-year-old on board to become the 15th head coach in franchise history. A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that Fox's four-year deal with the Bears was finalized early Friday afternoon. Fox and Pace are expected to return to Chicago from Denver later Friday. The Bears will formally introduce Fox at 11 a.m. Monday at Halas Hall."

    IMHO, this is a shrewd and timely move by the Bears, because Fox is a proven commodity as a head coach, having taken both the Broncos and the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl. While he and his teams may not have won those two games, I bet there were 28 other NFL head coaches and teams who would've probably loved to have traded places with them at both those moments. Had the Bears not snapped him up, somebody else would have.



    Not Good for the Rest... (none / 0) (#132)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:43:23 PM EST
    ...of the NFC North.  Cough, Cough Packers !!!

    Denver is nuts for letting him go, and the Bears are damn lucky and will be a better team, and that stinks in my book.


    Adele Dazeem! (none / 0) (#56)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:40:12 PM EST
    That might be my only draw to watch the SB.

    Some sanity (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:38:12 AM EST
    Snyder balked at (none / 0) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:59:31 AM EST
    "allow[ing] people accused of domestic abuse to obtain concealed pistol licenses."

    One could argue that the NRA was standing up for the rights of one or two people [men] falsely accused.  But why?  Are there that many "falsely accused of wife beating" in the NRA constituency?


    Their top lawyer was charged (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:53:50 AM EST
    with murder in the early sixties.

    And people wonder why they're so defensive.


    Supreme Court and gay marriage (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:44:08 AM EST
    Pete Williams just said we could find out today if they take the case to resolve the circuit split.

    New notifier just told me they are taking the case (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by ruffian on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:53:01 PM EST
    If they grant review of any of the pending cases (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:16:07 AM EST
    it is quite possible they will announce that decision this afternoon, following their weekly Friday afternoon case conference. Sometimes, however, the orders from the conference are not announced until Monday morning.

    So Peter (none / 0) (#15)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:50:46 AM EST
    help me understand what this means.  If the court should decide, for example, that it the marriage bans are unconstitutional will that make gay marriage legal nationally, like instantly, or will there be more steps.

    And thanks for your continuing patients and attention in explaining these issues.


    No, no, no. The Supreme Court operates (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Peter G on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:49:26 AM EST
    in a two-step process. (1) Will they accept the case for review at all; and, if the answer to #1 is yes, then they set a schedule to (2) receive briefs, hear argument, and render a written decision. If they accept any of the cases for review today, the process will probably be for briefs to be filed on a schedule running from mid-February into March, oral arguments to be heard in April, and finally a decision rendered in June.

    Oh yeah (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:24:34 AM EST
    i get that.  But in June?

    I misunderstood your question (none / 0) (#39)
    by Peter G on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:02:12 PM EST
    I thought you were asking if today's decision could result in instant nationwide invalidation of gender restrictions on the right to marry. So, now that I understand the question ... yes, it is entirely possible, even probable, that the Supreme Court near the end of June, could invalidate all state and federal limitations and discrimination against same-sex marriages. If by "instantly" you mean, "within a few days," then yes, it is quite possible that they could make a decision that would be effective, nationwide, "instantly."  Or there could be some sort of "massive resistance" mounted (I can't imagine exactly how, but just sayin') like there was to Brown v Bd of Education and like there is and has been to Roe v. Wade, whereby implementation gets constantly undermined and derailed in certain parts of the country.

    As always (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:46:23 PM EST
    thank you

    GRANTED - Supreme Court to rule (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by Peter G on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:53:04 PM EST
    this spring on marriage equality.  As always, SCOTUSBlog has the news first.

    One of these days, the right (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:50:33 AM EST
    will come up with its own version of the final solution, to legislate away the relevant body parts.  No more trouble-causing penises or vaginas.  Just make them illegal.  

    Imagine the bumper stickers:

       They'll take my * when they pry it out of my cold dead hands


    Not just the right... (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:09:51 AM EST
    hardcore pc left on some college campuses have their genital issues too...no more The Vagina Monologues at Mount Holyoke College because it isn't inclusive of trans women who don't have vaginas.  I sh*t you not.

    Read the article... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by vml68 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:17:08 PM EST
    then started reading the comments. My lifelong learning now includes two new words, Furries and Bronies!
    I googled. All I can say is, to each his own :-)!

    PS.... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 01:17:50 PM EST
    Oculus, if you're reading, do not I repeat do not google GG Allin out of curiousity...there are some things you can't unsee.  Trust me;)

    Thanks for your concern. (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:00:53 PM EST
    No segue:  the surviving four members of the Grateful Dead will play a "final" reunion concert. Do you have your ticket yet?

    I heard rumors... (none / 0) (#69)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:12:31 PM EST
    is that official?  

    Why yes it is...3 shows in Chicago with Trey Anastasio filling in for the dear departed Jerry Garcia...hot diggity dog!

    Might have to find a way ol' pal...self-imposed hermitude here I come;)


    Oh, geez! (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Zorba on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:41:32 PM EST
    I've got to tell my brother about this.  When he was in college, he used to travel around to Grateful Dead concerts whenever he could, making money to go to the next concert by selling his tie-dyed t-shirts.
    Of course, he has a wife and two kids now who might not be so enthusiastic about him going......  ;-)

    Gawd. I'd move heaven and earth to (none / 0) (#95)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:48:03 PM EST
    hear Bob Weir again.

    One of TalkLeft's posters, RepackRider, (5.00 / 2) (#130)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:40:23 PM EST
    knows Bob Weir, well enough to have his phone number.  His Bob Weir interview appears in the book Repack wrote and mentioned before Christmas, Fat Tire Flyer.

    On a lark, I called Barnes & Noble and found a copy here in Ann Arbor, so I bought myself a copy because, support your local author, eh?  

    Repack accomplished the impossible, he turned the fun that other people were having into a great story.  Gizmos is the funniest chapter and reminded me of some of my own tendency toward over-complication.


    Loved Ann Arbor. Well, In Fall and Spring. (none / 0) (#135)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:45:57 PM EST
    Thanks for the kind words (none / 0) (#155)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:22:56 PM EST
    If you got as far as "Gizmo," you read the entire thing.  Glad you enjoyed it.

    LOL... (none / 0) (#98)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:57:40 PM EST
    I will never live that one down!

    I think the problem is I (none / 0) (#99)
    by oculus on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:00:11 PM EST
    lacked a shaman and the proper pre-conditioning. Want to go hear classical music w/me in April?

    The gentleman who does our taxes (none / 0) (#97)
    by christinep on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 03:55:00 PM EST
    is a Dead Head.  Some interesting info about him: CPA, retired military, dresses not only in suits but conservative ones, close to 80 years old, longtime married with adult son and grandchildren in Seattle.  

    He has quite the sense of humor, this dapper CPA.  A few years back as we sat in his office occasionally signing papers, Mr. Tax Guy responded with glee when I complimented him on his very artistic purple-toned tie.  Said he: Garcia ... a Garcia tie.  'Seems his son had come down from Seattle to go with this Dad to another rendition of a Grateful Dead concert. For years, they have managed to go as Father & Son Dead Heads to the concerts.  

    After reading about the upcoming reunion, I can't wait to take our tax stuff to the perfect tax guy.


    Do we share a brother? (none / 0) (#173)
    by vml68 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 09:18:28 AM EST
    My sibling used to do the same thing along with his friends when he was in college. I recall him telling me that on at least one occasion they sold sandwiches in addition to the t-shirts and they made a lot more money doing that.

    He named his younger child after a Dead song.


    Hahahahahaha! (none / 0) (#177)
    by Zorba on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 10:02:43 AM EST
    Maybe they were separated at birth.    ;-)

    Spoke to my brother today. (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by vml68 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 03:40:07 PM EST
    He has already booked his hotel room. He is planning to do the mail order for the tickets rather than wait till it goes on sale to the general public.

    Why am I not surprised?!


    A story you can appreciate (none / 0) (#73)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:19:09 PM EST
    last weekend I got to be " trip advisor" to my nephews first psychedelic experience. Shrooms. It was so much fun. I was plenty buzzed but to make him more at ease I did not "go". It was almost more fun watching him. He was exposed for the first time to the open mental spaces of Quicksilver Messenger Service, the mental funk of the Dead and the sheer mental floss of John Cage. His head, needless to say, will never be the same. I'm good.

    I christen thee... (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:23:52 PM EST
    Shaman Howdy...we are kindred spirit oddball uncles, you and I.

    Question... (none / 0) (#77)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:26:29 PM EST
    do you pay for 'shrooms down there or just go cowpie pickin'?

    Paid for these (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:31:11 PM EST
    They are taking two different questions (none / 0) (#80)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:39:01 PM EST
    can states refuse to grant same sex marriages and can the refuse to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states.

    It seems (none / 0) (#81)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:45:07 PM EST
    they want to be done with this issue.   No links yet.  Pete Williams just did a breaking news.

    That's a lot of Malarkey, my Nana said... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:15:19 AM EST
    and so, it seems, was little Alex Malarkey's story about dying and visiting Heaven:

    Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy's story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.

    "I did not die. I did not go to Heaven," Alex wrote. He continued, "I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible."

    There's a bit of cognitive dissonance in the last paragraph.

    Dick Morris's (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:21:04 AM EST
    anti Hillary PAC has gone bust with no donors. Maybe people are wising up to the fact that he's just another right wing parasite. Maybe they'll start shedding a lot of their other grifters and parasites.

    Why Dick Morris? (none / 0) (#41)
    by RickyJim on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:06:46 PM EST
    Didn't he used to work for Hillary and Bill as a political adviser?  I wonder what happened to make him so mad at Hillary.

    I don't think (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:54:34 PM EST
    he's just mad at Hillary. He's mad at both of them I think. I think it's because Bill fired him. But now he's making his living off of grifting the ring wingers with Clinton conspiracy theories. So at this point I think it's more about any kind of money he can get from the fleecing the rubes.

    I love that he is usually introduced (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:57:42 PM EST
    of FOX as the "former Clinton advisor".   Like Heres a guy who hasn't done anything of any note in 25 years.   And he was fired from that.

    My shop (none / 0) (#114)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 04:45:36 PM EST
    did some polling work for Dick when he was with the WH. Even did a brushfire poll for them the night before the Lewinski scandal broke.

    Nothing happened (none / 0) (#48)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:56:02 PM EST
    Morris, simply, reverted to what he always was, a hired political mercenary.

    Bill Clinton was smart enough to recognize that he was up against a Party that would, literally, do anything to win, including damaging the country. So, he decided to use the tried, and, true tactic of, "keep your friends close, and, your enemies closer." So, being an unscrupulous mercenary, and stabbing his own Party in the back, Morris was only too happy to cash the checks, while raising his profile as a successful hired gun.

    Having completed his assignment to help Clinton win many victories vs the Republicans, he went back to his natural party, the Republicans.


    At least their reasonable (none / 0) (#36)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 11:49:06 AM EST
    Saudi Arabia gives the blogger a break so his wounds can heal a little bit before they flog him again.


    IMO (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:49:26 PM EST
    the poor guyis suffering so we can have cheap gas.   My suspicion is that Obama said to the Sauds, keep pumpin or we let the radicals eat you in the ashes of your palaces.  So we "overlook" things.  Sec Oaktree was just saying how close our rekationsh is.

    It's not just gas (none / 0) (#64)
    by Slado on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:02:58 PM EST
    The problem is like with any other sovereign country how are we really going to get them to change their ways?

    We decided years ago that they were our ally but now it turns out their ideology of whahabism is what is sparking all this radical Islam that we're forced to deal with.

    While I understand the diplomatic realities I don't understand how we never talk about it and never discuss how they are so much of the problem.

    This is what frustrates me so much when our politicians tell us what real Islam is and how it is a religion of peace etc. etc. meanwhile one of allies in the Islamic world does this and all sorts of other things we would usually find horrible.

    All I want is an honest discussion where the stuff is coming from. But like everything that is way too much to ask.


    Slado, let's be realistic. (none / 0) (#148)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:38:24 PM EST
    Every country in the word does things that they feel are "in their interest." If The United States needs raw materials that we can't produce domestically, what do we do? We bribe, blackmail, and/or, threaten those countries that have what we want until we force an agreement. Of course, we're not beyond using our military, or C.I.A, to further that end, as we've done numerous times in the past. That's no secret, it's just a matter of fact. (For a quick history, just Google "The Dulles Brothers") And, it's justified in order to maintain our "high standard of living" as every President, past, present, and future, knows.

    Saudi Arabia is no different. Due to the wealth their oil discovery produced they have a tremendous interest in maintaining their security. They've accomplished this in several ways.

    They've established themselves as the "custodians" of the two Islamic holy cities (and mosques,) in Mecca and Medina. By its very nature this ranking places S.A. in a unique position, and thus, tends to insulate itself from attack. Every Muslim pilgrim alive goes, or hopes to go, on a pilgrimage to those holy sites. SA has worked very hard over the years to maintain itself as the "keeper of the flame" regarding Islam.

    The other way it protects itself is as old as history itself. It pays its would-be attackers to stay away. We may not like it, but the alternative would be for them to spend a huge portion of their national income on a very large military. Paying their potential enemies is a much simpler, and easier, way to accomplish what a huge military, supposedly, would do. And, as "keepers of the Faith," running schools that teach the most virulent strains of Islam, also tends to focus their graduate's attention outward, rather than inward.

    It's worked for them a long time now, and, as long as they have those huge reserves of oil, no country has wanted to be cut off, and placed on their "shiit list."  


    I agree with all of that (5.00 / 1) (#164)
    by Slado on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 01:02:07 AM EST
    Which is why I find our whole approach or policy towards radical Islam and even practiced Islam in some parts of the world so maddening.

    We have spent the last 13 years fighting a group of people who this administration won't even call Islamic and who almost all western leaders like Bush before Obama are terrorists who are not real Muslims.   No matter how many times they tell us they are and no matter where they get their funding and support from we don't want to acknowledge that Islam might just have a bit to do with it.   No we the secular west will decide who the real Muslims are.

    To that I ask well we're does the ideology they are using come from?   We're do you find the schools and religious leaders ptacticing it, funding it and making sure it continues to drive more and more people to the war against the west?    Look no further then the home of the religion for one huge source of the ideology that is not true Islam.

    How can we possibly fight against a set of ideas when we can't name it and won't go after it at its source?   What good are all the bombs and wasted life that we've produced the last 13 years?

    What is it about Islam that makes so many of our leaders hold their tongue?    To watch this administration go through mental gymnastics this week just to avoid the use of the term Islam was just depressing.    


    It's been (none / 0) (#167)
    by FlJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 08:39:14 AM EST
    a long geo-political slow dance with the devil.
    The west needs a continuous supply of oil, the Saudis have it. To facilitate the flow of oil there must be a stable government in SA, a brutal tyrannical monarchy works for us. In order to maintain their power the royals pull out the favorite trick of tyrants everywhere, keep the masses hating the other/outsider. Wahabism fits that bill nicely. When the Saudis have a problem with their home grown religious zealots they just export them. The west with their thirst for cheap oil looks the other way. They shoot horses, don't they?

    Methinks that if the Saudis marched a few of their princes to the chopping block and tied some of their clerics to the whipping post the worldwide jihadist movement would wither on the vine.

    The west knows where the source of this deadly menace lies. They just do not want to narc out their dealer.


    I love this (none / 0) (#47)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 12:55:03 PM EST
    Eric Holder takes an action (none / 0) (#72)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:18:45 PM EST
    that will please kdog link

    Your link did not work for me (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:23:25 PM EST
    and for the record kdog is not the only pothead regular here



    Nothing to do with the sacrament really... (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by kdog on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:33:36 PM EST
    just a check on the police's license to steal aka asset seizure...and yes I do find it pleasing.  
    Holder has barred state and local thieves from using federal law to jack people's sh*t.

    One of those "shame this must be specified" things, but definitely good news.


    Here is a link to the asset seizure policy (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 02:54:35 PM EST
    change story. Basically, the feds will make it less profitable for state and local cops to steal your stuff using the federal program. Cops can still seize assets under state law.

    Lots of caterwauling from cops about how they will not be able to protect and serve if they can no longer commit highway robbery.


    Wow (none / 0) (#140)
    by sj on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:05:09 PM EST
    I didn't see that one coming. That article also references this one that says:
    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Thursday that the federal government should collect "better, more accurate data" regarding how many civilians are killed by police and how many officers are killed in the line of duty.

    "The troubling reality is that we lack the ability right now to comprehensively track the number of incidents of either uses of force directed at police officers or uses of force by police," Holder said Thursday morning at a ceremony honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to his prepared remarks. "This strikes many -- including me -- as unacceptable."

    I think these are truly excellent moves. And I am trying very hard not to be bitter and cynical and point out that Holder has been AG since 2009.

    ...I guess I failed...


    I predict Obama will (none / 0) (#141)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:07:39 PM EST
    change the scheduling of pot before he leaves office.   Taking it out of the same category as hard drugs.

    Write that down.


    I certainly do hope you are right. (5.00 / 2) (#152)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:50:38 PM EST
    It is way, way past time to declassify marijuana from Schedule I. The policy is insane.

    I've believed that the two dumbest continuing policies of the US has been marijuana as a Schedule I drug and our policy towards Cuba.

    Obama has amazingly, out of the blue, done something about one of those idiotic policies. One can only hope, (yeah there's that hope and change) he will do something on the other.


    How BHO changed the game (none / 0) (#145)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:45:35 PM EST
    The deeply held belief in Democratic Party circles in pre-Obama days that nomination of a Southern Democrat was the only way a Democrat could win the Presidency will be discarded after the Obama Presidency. After Carter and Clinton, even John Edwards said as late as 2008 that primary voters should nominate him because of his Southern roots otherwise Democrats would lose once again. Such a belief will correctly be regarded as quaint now but it was not in 2008.

    Present day Democratic Party core values do not mesh with Southern traditions and the soul of the party does not reside in the South. Thank you, President BHO for re-shaping conversations and imaginations so effortlessly and thoroughly.


    I remember hearing (5.00 / 1) (#146)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:49:44 PM EST
    more than once that the first female CIC would have to be a republican because the voters would never trust a democratic woman.   Looks like that one may fallby the wayside too.

    And this is how a country (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 07:55:36 PM EST
    becomes progressive in due course. Not by placement of debatable markers that define "liberalism".

    The soul (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:50:02 PM EST
    of the party has not resided in the south for a long time. You are completely missing the point about southern Democrats. The belief that only southern Democrats could win came from the belief that other democrats were too far out of the center.

    "Deeply held belief" - heh (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by Yman on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 10:09:12 PM EST
    Yes, because two Democratic POTUS's were elected and a third candidate claimed it made him more electable, it was "deeply held in Democratic circles".

    Yes - thank you Obama for so "effortlessly" ridding us of that thoroughly imaginary belief.


    Supreme Court will hear same sex marriage (none / 0) (#125)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 05:28:19 PM EST
    link issue.

    I got to see American Sniper and Black Hat today (none / 0) (#150)
    by McBain on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 08:47:25 PM EST
    I didn't know anything about the American Sniper story.  It might not be the best movie of the year but I can see why it was nominated.  Definitely worth seeing. Bradley Cooper has put together an impressive body of work in the past 5 years.

    Black Hat is only for die hard Michael Mann fans like myself. This was more like his Miami Vice movie than his masterpiece Heat but there was enough Mann magic for me to enjoy, especially the second half.  My biggest problem with the film was casting Thor as a cyber hacker.  Chris Hemsworth is a good actor but just didn't look right in the role.

    Today (none / 0) (#154)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:16:23 PM EST
    just because I felt like punishing myself I watched a bit, that's all I could take, of God Is Not Dead.

    Oh man.  Take the barf bag.  I might have been able to take more if not for the vile Kevin Sorbo playing the scenery chewing evil atheist college professor .

    I would say if you have some really good weed and want to laugh a lot go for it.   But it's like drinking.  Don't do it alone.


    Donald - Boyhood (none / 0) (#196)
    by Slado on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 03:25:27 PM EST
    So the wife and I finished it last night and we both really enjoyed it.

    I enjoyed the performance by Ethan Hawke the best.  I enjoy the journey has character took and found him utterly believable and as monologues were always entertaining.

    I thought Patricia did okay but she did not light up the screen when she was on it.  It really would've been a hard character to do anything more with when you think about it. The movie did not do her any favors as far as her ability to pick men or be strong with her children and the last scene with her son wiped away much of the admiration you might have developed for her for at least getting them out of the house and on what you assume is a good start on life.

    I like the way he wrapped it up with the scene at college which left you with the impression that now that he was on his own he was going to be fine.  

    Not sure if it was the overall point but I felt that his "boyhood" developed him into a person that was ready to be a man much earlier than the rest of his peers would be usually.  

    Could've been a little shorter but overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

    Re: "Boyhood," Slado, suffice to say ... (none / 0) (#201)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Jan 17, 2015 at 06:26:29 PM EST
    ... that Patricia Arquette's Olivia was no saint and was not without her flaws, just like all of us. Rather, she was a diligent parent and a loving mother who at times made some very questionable and selfish personal choices in men, which in one obvious instance could've had seriously adverse consequences for her children, had she not wised up and gotten out.

    Olivia's emotional final scene with Mason, Jr. (Ellar Coltraine) was an exercise in self-revelation, brought about by her sudden realization that with her son's departure for college, her own child-rearing days were in fact done and she was now facing a serious personal transition. I didn't find one false note in any of that.

    Ethan Hawke's Mason, Sr. was undoubtedly a good father, despite the fact that he was also somewhat emotionally immature and self-absorbed at times, particularly during his children's early years. What I liked about his character was twofold, in that he: (1) Eventually grew up and learned that his mistakes were truly his own; and (2) Really tried to be a responsible parent and positive role model for his kids, even if he didn't always succeed on that count.

    Both actors were outstanding and deserve their Oscar nominations.

    I simply don't have the energy to even read (none / 0) (#203)
    by ZtoA on Sun Jan 18, 2015 at 01:09:09 AM EST
    Jim these days, but I do read the rebuttals. Thank you Yman, Donald, M-88 and all others for interesting reads!

    I've also gotten interested in sports so have started to read the thread-lets on those. The politics of sports are interesting, but the athletic artistry still is the core of the sport. So I like that (and I know it takes politics of an artistry - as well as anything- to be able to even get into the game). This was my favorite from today. As good as Jet Li's Fearless kata any day!

    Also, thank y'all for discussing current movies and TV. Since I do not 'do' either (can't 'do' public theaters and my TV set is in a very cold room in my home), I try to remember them for when I can (in my own way - meaning on my laptop when they are available) for the future. Tonite I'm watching "My Own Private Idaho" - for the first time. So much of Portland in it. I am watching it because I sort of heard a segment on OPB on the radio today while I was working (which was why I was only 'sort of' paying attention) about some new movie about what these characters would be like today. Seemed brilliant. Sleater-Kinney is also from Portland and I've gotten into them recently (yes, way late to the party), and Corin Tucker is part of an OPB show called "State of Wonder" which is weekly and is about the arts in Portland. Evidently Sleater-Kinney is out with a new 'album' (I was introduced to them from Portlandia and Carrie Bradshaw) but now find that I love their music - and all the member's music then and since. Portland's mayor announced that The Decemberists and Sleater-Kinney were... ?... our 'natinoal' bands/heros/favs.

    I also come to TL when I want to read real news that J posts. And hopefully more from BTD!