Wednesday Open Thread

Since I'll be following Tsarnaev and then heading to court (here, not in Boston), here's an open thread for other topics. All topics welcome, except Freddie Gray. Please use threads dedicated to Gray for comments about him.

< Freddie Gray Thread #3 | Defense Closing in Tsarnaev Trial >
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    The police officers (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 13, 2015 at 12:54:52 PM EST
    ...who shot Tamir Rice to death six months ago have yet to be interviewed about the shooting.  They are on duty and getting paid.

    The "investigation" of an event that took a few seconds and was captured on video "is not yet complete."  What is so complicated about asking the people who took part what they did?  Is there something confusing about the video evidence?

    How many of the police apologists on this forum believe that a citizen who was captured on video shooting a kid to death would not spend a minute in jail or even be asked to recount the events?

    Remember this took place while they were on duty and being paid by the taxpayers.  But fill out a report?  WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHTS?

    Are police held to a higher standard, or to no standard at all?

    Please proceed.

    For what it's worth (none / 0) (#5)
    by McBain on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:10:17 PM EST
    Cuyahoga County sheriff says the investigation is almost done.

    As I said before, based on the evidence presented so far, it doesn't appear the shooting officer is the one who messed up.  It looks like the driving officer pulled up too close to Rice.

    If Rice reached for his plastic gun after the cop told him to put his hands up, it will probably be a legally justifiable homicide. The Rice family might be able to win a civil suit because of the actions of the driver.    


    The officer who pulled the trigger (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:47:54 PM EST
    killed an unarmed 12 year old boy within a couple of seconds of observing him.  There is no way the kid could have acted in a threatening manner in two seconds.

    The officer did not attempt to follow any police procedures, he issued no warning and he killed a kid holding a toy gun IN AN OPEN CARRY STATE.  If the officer thought he was dealing with an adult, that "adult" would have been within his rights to be holding a firearm.

    If he understood that Tamir was a 12-year old CHILD, why did he just shoot him without determining what exactly was going on?

    When police kill an unarmed kid and don't suffer any form of punishment, justice has not been served.  Why do you believe it is taking so long to investigate something that is on video?  Is there some question about what took place that the video does not answer?


    That officer - Timothy Loehmann - (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Anne on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:18:14 PM EST
    should never have been wearing a uniform, much less carrying a weapon.

    Loehmann previously also was unsuccessful in getting jobs with police departments in Akron, Euclid and Parma Heights. He had been looking for a police job since he resigned from the Independence police department in November 2012 following a poor performance review. He had worked there for five months.

    Loehmann eventually landed a job with the Cleveland police department in March 2014. The city's background check did not turn up the Independence performance review.

    And about that poor performance review:

    The Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice had issues with handling guns during his brief tenure with a suburban police department.

    A Nov. 29, 2012 letter contained in Tim Loehmann's personnel file from the Independence Police Department says that during firearms qualification training he was "distracted" and "weepy."

    "He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal," according to the letter written by Deputy Chief Jim Polak of the Independence police.

    The letter recommended that the department part ways with Loehmann, who went on to become a police officer with the Cleveland Division of Police.

    I can't imagine what forensic evidence still needs to be collected, six months later, or what interviews still need to be conducted.  It feels like stalling, to what end I don't know.  Maybe the whole thing will go away?

    It's unacceptable.


    Silly Repack (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by sj on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:33:41 PM EST
    He was a 12 year old black boy who was "big for his age". How could he possibly be anything but threatening?



    Sh*t... (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:01:55 PM EST
    black skin at any size or age makes me fear for my life instantaneously. /sarcasm on steroids

    I guess I'm (non-violently) no better...I see a cop and I fear for my property and liberty instantaneously.  And if I see a banker, I fear for whatever was left over from last week's paycheck instantaneously.  A politician?  I fear for all of the above retroactively. /no sarcasm


    And what should the rest of us think ... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:21:32 PM EST
    ... when we see you -- that we're likely to pick up the check?

    one of the reasons... (none / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:56:32 PM EST
    I'm check to check is because I'll fight you for the check;)

    Point is every human being is prejudiced...but as long as that prejudice isn't used to instigate violence, and is recognized, it's an acceptable human flaw.


    No (none / 0) (#13)
    by McBain on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:08:36 PM EST
    "There is no way the kid could have acted in a threatening manner in two seconds."

    Of course he could have.  2 seconds is plenty of time to reach for a weapon.

    "If the officer thought he was dealing with an adult, that "adult" would have been within his rights to be holding a firearm."

    If you waive a realistic gun around in public, there's a good chance the cops will pay you a visit.  If you reach for that gun when they tell you to put your hands up, they're going to shoot. It doesn't  matter if it's an open carry state.  


    Two seconds is not enough time to (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Anne on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:25:41 PM EST
    assess a situation, especially not for a police officer who has a documented history of not handling guns well.

    Were people screaming in fear?  Hiding behind trees or tables?  Did they see anyone running away? If they were, was it the presence of police that made them scatter?  What was the kid's body language?  Was he pointing the fake gun at anyone?

    Those questions can't be answered in 2 seconds.

    And let's not forget how they treated Tamir's sister when she tried to go to him.  Or the fact that the police neither rendered any aid to Tamir or called for medical assistance.  

    Do you ever take the side of the victim?


    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:31:58 PM EST
    they seemed to skip the whole assess the situation step and went straight for the kill. Two seconds is indeed plenty of time to draw and fire a weapon but it also a  short time to comprehend and comply with LEO's, especially when you throw in the element of surprise. Ironically if this had really been an armed, violent person with decent aim we would be talking about a couple of our brave boys in blue being buried.

    Will there ever be a time when, oops my bad is no longer a valid excuse for LEO? Obviously some fools with guns wear badges.


    If he waits he could be shot (none / 0) (#56)
    by McBain on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:55:47 PM EST
    That's what you don't get.  The cop didn't know if the gun was real or not. He was in a potential life or death situation. 2 seconds is an eternity in trigger time. H

    You're letting the emotion of the situation cloud your thinking.  Yes, it's a shame a young person died but his young age doesn't mean we have to find the cop guilty.  

    How the police treated his sister or anything else they did after the shooting doesn't change the facts of the shooting itself.  They might help the civil case.  



    Once again (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 13, 2015 at 08:44:51 PM EST
    ...if the cop thought the gun was real and that the "big-for-his-age" kid was an adult, then that adult would presumably been within his rights in an open carry state to be holding a firearm.

    If Tamir Rice had been 22 years old and holding a real weapon, should the police have shot him, since he would have been within his rights?  Why wouldn't they bother to determine whether the gun was real and lawfully possessed?  (cough*black kid*cough)

    You keep blaming the victim for not knowing what was about to take place in the last two seconds of his life.  The police were RESPONDING, so they had a warning that they were about to have an encounter.  

    The element of surprise is absolute.  Have a loud, sudden situation take place in front of you while you are minding your own lawful business, and if you REACT IN ANY WAY to this sudden arrival, you get no chance to even assess the situation.

    I can't believe there are people who have zero empathy for innocent victims of obvious police malfeasance, but then I find out otherwise.


    It wouldn't matter if he were an adult with a (3.50 / 2) (#102)
    by McBain on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:47:30 PM EST
    permit to carry a gun.  The police heard he was waiving it around in public.  Do you understand, what a bad idea that is? I'm not sure you do.

    Then, according to the police, he reached for that gun when told to raise his hands.  That's why he was shot.  

    Rice's age and race had nothing to do with this situation.  His actions and the actions of the driving cop caused this tragedy.  Blaming the shooter shows you can't see past your emotions.  


    Police can do no wrong (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:25:53 PM EST
    If you waive a realistic gun around in public, there's a good chance the cops will pay you a visit.  If you reach for that gun when they tell you to put your hands up, they're going to shoot. It doesn't  matter if it's an open carry state.  

    And if you don't do any of those things and get shot anyway, should the police officer who had been fired for incompetence from another department have to suffer any inconvenience?

    Should the department that hired him be responsible for accepting him even though he had failed at every previous level of police work?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to think it's okay to shoot the kid because the VICTIM screwed up.


    It depends what you mean by "OK" (none / 0) (#47)
    by McBain on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:38:55 PM EST
    If the reports of Rice reaching for his gun are correct, the shooting will probably be legally justified.  I wish it didn't happen but I understand why it did.  So far, I don't blame the shooter.  

    "Should the department that hired him be responsible for accepting him even though he had failed at every previous level of police work?"

    If you're talking about the shooter, it appears he did as he was trained to do.  You can't blame him for the mistake the driver might have made.


    Oh, sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph! (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:18:47 PM EST
    McBain: "If you waive a realistic gun around in public, there's a good chance the cops will pay you a visit.  If you reach for that gun when they tell you to put your hands up, they're going to shoot. It doesn't  matter if it's an open carry state."

    Please stop defending the indefensible. Tamir Rice was 12 years old. Clearly, nobody asked him to put his hands up, or gave him time to put them up. And now he's dead, because that officer shot him first and asked questions later.

    I swear to the heavens above, McBain, regardless of the related issue in these threads, you've got your head shoved so far up law enforcement's collective a$$, its a wonder that more of its members don't complain about hemorrhoids.



    God Damn... (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:51:06 PM EST
    ...that is part of being a cop, being able to distinguish between someone who poses a danger and a child carrying a toy.

    Any idiot can run around killing people with things that look like guns.  That's fricken easy, they are called video games.  In the real world most grown people expect the police not to shoot and kill kids playing with toys.


    But he was scared! (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 07:06:15 PM EST
    He feared for his life Scott!!!

    Who doesn't pop off a few rounds when they get scared...I empty two clips a day myself.


    ... and not tequila shooters. Which reminds me, we're out of Cuervo. You want to drive to the liquor store, or should I?



    If You Are Drinking Cuervo... (none / 0) (#125)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:25:23 AM EST
    ...you might look at getting you old job back.  Joke, but that is not even descent tequila.

    That's sooooo depressing (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:20:39 PM EST
    As for the primary officers (Loehmann/Gorbach [sic]), Cleveland interviewed them about the incident immediately after it happened.  

    However, because Garrity protections essentially "protects" officers from having their immediate remarks held against them in the future, those interviews/statements cannot be used in our investigation.

    Indictment and jail time (none / 0) (#95)
    by Jack203 on Wed May 13, 2015 at 09:57:42 PM EST
    Loehman's horrendous negligence resulted in a 12 year old's death.  



    Congressional Budget & Real Life (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by christinep on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:25:04 PM EST
    For today's example of when budgetary action and real life collide, simply take a look at the Repubs' cut to Amtrak within hours of the rail tragedy near Philadelphia.  
    From reports of the early investigation this a.m., fatalities numbered at least 6 people and injuries were in the hundreds.  Mention was also made of the deteriorating infrastructure relative to the Trenton-bound train.  So ... we witness real-life tragedy; and, the House seems to think that the best budgetary approach is reducing funding for Amtrak.  You have to ask what the goal of such budget reduction is ... strategy or stupidity?

    Maybe I'm just really cynical (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by CST on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:39:36 PM EST
    But I get the feeling house Republicans could give less than a single $hit about anyone in the NE corridor.

    Also (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by CST on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:50:14 PM EST
    the giant headline on CNN right now that says 100+ indicating that the driver was going twice the speed limit makes me angry on 2 counts.

    1 - That the driver was going twice the speed limit.

    2 - That the speed limit on an amtrak train at that location was 50mph because that's how terrible our tracks are.


    Yes 100mph! (none / 0) (#12)
    by smott on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:00:33 PM EST
    My God, are those trains even built to go that fast?
    On a 50mph curve.
    Have they interviewed the engineer?

    Yes they are (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by CST on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:15:42 PM EST
    The trains go 100mph elsewhere on the track, just not at that location.  Not sure if they interviewed the engineer yet.

    100mph for a train is not that fast.  High speed rail trains in Europe are typically between 200 and 400 kmph, which is roughly 125 - 250 mph, and in China/Japan they are passing that 400kmph speed.  

    We are woefully behind in high-speed rail in this country.


    Actually it was 107 (2.00 / 1) (#97)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:03:52 PM EST
    and that is more than twice the speed limit and how fast they go in Europe/Japan has nothing to do with it.

    And yes, we should build some high speed rail... maybe if they find that $1 billion we can get started.


    I'm sure they could find it (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Chuck0 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:20:33 AM EST
    in the pockets of alot of Iraqi politicians. Handed over to them by Bremmer, et al.

    Might be! (none / 0) (#114)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:41:58 AM EST
    How about looking at the Porkolous Bill spending??

    Think any of it went to some Congress critter's favorite whatever in h/she's district??


    Trains are for socialists (none / 0) (#115)
    by MKS on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:44:28 AM EST
    Republicans hate trains because mass transit is for communists and serves large "urban" areas....

    Automobiles are the holy grail of America (none / 0) (#134)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:38:29 AM EST
    Ever since General Motors bought all the locomotive companies (for the purpose of bankrupting them) 100 years ago, nothing that could stand in the way of the auto industry was allowed to live.

    That's the problem with monopoly industries. Oil has more money to bribe Congress with than alternative energy. That's why alternate energy won't thrive until the last drop of oil is depleted. (or earth burns up first)

    It's as simple as that. Congress will pass laws based on who can line their pockets more. What's best for the country isn't even on the table.


    That part of the NE Corridor (none / 0) (#132)
    by smott on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:26:37 AM EST
    Especially just past 30th St is in no we built for speeds like that.
    I'm amazed that in 9-10 minutes with the various stops and starts the engineer could have even gotten the train up to that speed.
    I guess now he's saying he has no recollection......

    And, what is also being said ... (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:24:30 PM EST
    Starting with the CBS morning news, NYTimes, and other well-publicized reports, stories are today pointing out that the technology to mandate/override a speeding train is very available.  In this case, the reports now emphasize, the train was not equipped with the safety feature that may well have prevented this speeding derailment.  

    You might want to consider the connection between safety equipment and upgraded technology and investment in our significant rail transport system AND accident & loss prevention.  

    Investment in infrastructure is not a glamorous thing ... it is a basic thing which is sorely felt when we fail to maintain & improve it with the sensible technology at hand.  Sometimes less isn't more; sometimes it is just plain less.  In addition to considering that, you might also want to consider what the good citizens of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other immediately effected areas think about this happening ... because they will have a voice, a strong voice, now and in the coming year.  Investing in infrastructure is not simply good government in the long run, but also sound advice in the near term.


    Ain't that the truth. (none / 0) (#166)
    by Chuck0 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:25:55 PM EST
    When I heard where the accident took place, I was amazed he could get up that much speed that soon out of 30th Street station.

    I have taken that train many times. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Peter G on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:59:22 PM EST
    Frankly, I am surprised that the speed limit is as high as 50 mph in the area where it derailed.  It is immediately adjacent to old industrial and working class residential parts of the city, the most urbanized part of the route. The Spouse and I were just talking about this last night (of course); we were guessing the speed limit there was 40 mph or even less. The scheduled duration of the run from Philadelphia to Trenton, however, I am now reminded (looking at my schedule) is 28-30 minutes. The distance is a bit over 30 miles. So obviously the average speed is about 60 mph, suggesting that for a good bit of the run the train must go well over that speed.

    Ah-HAH! (none / 0) (#52)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:49:13 PM EST
    Peter G: "The Spouse and I were just talking about this last night (of course); we were guessing the speed limit there was 40 mph or even less."

    So THAT'S where The Spouse was! And all this time, she was telling me that she was at community meetings, when she's been with you all along! I feel so betrayed, bewildered ...


    Actually, we were together at a nonprofit Event (none / 0) (#59)
    by Peter G on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:02:55 PM EST
    from 5:30 to 9:30 pm (counting transpo to and from), and THEN she went to meet at 10 pm with some neighbors who had a parking-related grievance against a local church. We were together again from 11:15 to around midnight (bedtime). I guess you know The Spouse pretty well; I didn't realize that, Donald. She's a local government elected official. Typical schedule last night.

    LOL! (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:20:29 PM EST
    Actually, "The Spouse" is how I refer to my own significant other in these threads, who's an elementary school teacher. I guess that given your Spouse's rank and your own seniority, I'll just have to pick another handle for mine, I guess.

    Hmmmm, let's see, how does "My Saucy Wench" sound? Oh, hi, Anne and Tracy! What's up with the crow bar and bat?



    Forgiven as long as you (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 13, 2015 at 07:17:46 PM EST
    Call your SO that to her face.  I sort of like my husband calling me a saucy wench when we are together....alone  :). It makes the kids grimace and groan when he says it when we aren't alone :)

    LOL! Whenever my SO talks sweet to me, ... (none / 0) (#86)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 07:28:40 PM EST
    ... it's invariably because she wants something -- like the cat's litter box cleaned, or the trash taken out, or me to carry something heavy for her.



    Oh, too bad, Donald (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Zorba on Wed May 13, 2015 at 07:36:36 PM EST
    That's not why I talk sweet to Mr. Zorba.........;-)

    Double LOL (none / 0) (#64)
    by Peter G on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:28:55 PM EST
    I actually try as best I can not to drag My First Wife (and only, of 39 years) into TL matters. She has her own handle here; we do not cross-reference.

    You're going to have to (none / 0) (#67)
    by Zorba on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:40:50 PM EST
    Beware of me, too, Donald.  I will back up Anne and Tracy.
    And I have a chainsaw.  Two of them, actually.  Plus an axe and a Japanese saw.......need I go on?   ;-)

    OMG! I forgot to watch my flank! (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:13:10 PM EST



    Congress has never understood Amtrak, ... (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:03:20 PM EST
    ... regardless of whichever party has been in control since Amtrak was first established during the Nixon administration. Indeed most present-day Americans fail to really "get" the concept of rail travel. But while many see it as some sort of obsolete vestige of a bygone era, it's that sort of thinking which has actually become antiquated in the year 2015, from the standpoint of proper urban planning.

    Right now, in our major urban regions around the country, we need modern rail transit networks to be a viable and practical alternative that both complement and supplement our airports and highways, given that the latter are presently operating either at or near their peak capacities. And I won't get into the highway traffic issues that often occur within the vicinity of busy metropolitan commercial airports.

    The true determinant of an airport's actual capacity is its number of active and available runways during peak travel times, and not its number of gates or amount of terminal space, as those who use San Diego Int'l Airport on a regular basis can probably attest.

    With one runway servicing 22 commercial airlines and about 600 daily takeoffs and landings, SAN is the busiest single-runway airport in the United States, and the second-busiest in the world after London Gatwick. Frequent lines of 10 to 12 aircraft awaiting their turn for takeoff, often leading to wait times of 20+ minutes after departing the gate, are not uncommon.

    That's why, even though the actual flight time between San Diego and San Francisco is 60-65 minutes on average, Southwest Airlines presently schedules the average SAN-SFO flight leg at 90 minutes, to account for those additional minutes you'll spend on the ground awaiting your turn on the runway.

    SFO, even with four active runways, has its own serious issues with capacity. One potential solution there has always been to shift flights across the bay to Oakland, but airlines aren't cooperating in that regard and anyway, OAK has only one runway that's capable of handling heavy jets. San Jose Int'l built an additional runway in the 1990s, but that airport is rapidly approaching its peak capacity, as well.

    High-speed rail is such an attractive and very necessary option for both the California and eastern seaboard corridors, particularly when the respective populations of both regions are expected to increase by over 20% from their present numbers by the year 2050. And as those of us who are over age 50 can likely attest, 35 years is really not all that long a time, historically speaking.

    Clearly, high speed rail is an investment on our nation's and our grandchildren's future. We have a moral and ethical obligation to prepare both for that rapidly approaching time, and we're not doing that when large swaths of our national demographic continues to pretend that it's still 1985 and "Morning in America."



    The future eye (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by christinep on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:20:20 PM EST
    If we as a country would take a clear-eyed look at potential benefits, we might want to consider rebuilding, restoring, refurbishing rail connections in the country's center as well.  One of a number of reasons involves airline traffic and allocation ... especially noticeable in one-time subsidized air centers before deregulation, when people could fly scheduled airlines somewhat conveniently from places like Helena, Mt. or Pierre, SD or other smaller (but well-located) cities. And, years prior, train traffic easily connecting Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc was available without going north to Chicago or south to New Orleans. Just like large corporate mergers, the result of airline deregulation has shoved most people into the big box hubs & largest cities ... and, done little more than increase the time and cost of travel for anyone not living in the largest cities. (BTW, my Denver home benefits; but, many mid-size locales face a diminished slate of options.  Trains would be nice.)

    If we could strategically plan for and implement a mixed/complementary transportation system, it seems to me that reality would widen & ease transportation possibilities in our country to the effect that all kinds of travelers would have increased opportunity for travel at a potentially lesser cost.


    I hear you, christine. (none / 0) (#71)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:11:46 PM EST
    Currently, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation subsidizes air service to 160 small communities across the United States under its Essential Air Service Program, which cost $241 million for FY 2014, and has been rife with abuse by some of the participating air carriers over the years.

    For example, the renowned (and formerly infamous) Hansen's Disease settlement at Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai is one of the most isolated communities in the United States, which can only be accessed either by airplane, boat, or a six-mile hike or mule ride from upcountry Molokai that descends for 2,000 feet down a steep cliffside switchback trail.

    Yet under the EAS program, the carrier formerly serving Kalaupapa was charging government personnel (doctors, nurses, social workers, park rangers) upwards of $500 one-way to fly to and from Honolulu, which is a distance of only 60 miles each way. I can fly the 2,500-mile route  between HNL and LAX round trip for less money.

    Once the resultant scam / scandal was finally exposed, the federal contract for Kalaupapa was taken away from that carrier four years ago and given to another, which is presently charging much more reasonable rates, given the existing federal subsidy that it already receives from USDOT for providing that essential service.

    And of course, with the advent of the hub-and-spokes model of airline routing adopted by individual carriers since deregulation took effect in the late 1970s and early '80s, air carriers have long been charging sometimes outlandish fares if they have a monopoly on a route between two given points. If you're going to Alaska, flying to and from Anchorage is fairly inexpensive. But fly out of there to Fairbanks, Bethel, Barrow or Nome, and that's where Alaska Airlines gets you.

    While geographically remote communities in Hawaii and Alaska admittedly provide questionable examples for the rest of the country on this particular subject, I deliberately chose them to show how such isolation can leave residents vulnerable to serious abuse by air carriers either selected by the federal government under the EAS program to service them, or enjoying a virtual monopoly of service due to market demographics.

    And that's all the more reason to develop or re-introduce an alternative rail transit option to small towns and rural communities throughout the mainland United States wherever possible. And in many instances, that service will likely need to be subsidized as well. Otherwise, allowing for a marketplace solution to serve area residents is often the equivalent of granting the well-connected yet another license to fleece the rubes.



    So, that's your typical Liberal response, (none / 0) (#16)
    by NYShooter on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:25:29 PM EST
    Throw money at the problem?"

    You do know, I would hope, we still have a half dozen, unfunded,  "wars on terrah" to win, don't you? And, with Asia, Russia/Ukraine, heating up, do you really believe a mere 30,000 nuclear warheads are going to be enough of a deterrent to fend off potential threats from powerful military forces in countries like, oh let's say,.......NEPAL?? Ha! didn't think so.

    Boy, I tell ya, while Libs like you are running around, burning Ole Glory, writing speaches, waving sines, fornu...forny...fernic......"doing it" in public for all to see, you can thank the trinity we still have a few real patriots around. Take Ronald Reagan, for instance. He's dead? Well, o.k. but if he was still around, you don't see that upstart, Grenada, thumbing its nose at us any more, do ya? Ha, ha, Ole Ray-Gun showed them what a trillion dollar military looks like, didn't he? Well, didn't he?

    And, you want to waste money on crap like roads and bridges. Get it from those lazy bums that use their food stamps to buy matching plasma screen t.v's. Why don't you do that, huh??


    What do you mean, Ronald Reagan's dead? (none / 0) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:38:02 PM EST
    He's not dead, Shooter. He's just frozen cryogenically. And when we find a cure for Alzheimer's, we're going to thaw him out and give him the antidote. And then, once he's cured, the Gipper's going to stand up and look around, and boy oh boy, is he going to be royally pi$$ed off at what he sees!

    Yep, if I were a liberal, I wouldn't want to be in the same room when ol' Gip picks up that chain saw he used to use to cut tree branches at his California ranch, and fires it up. You know that scene in "Scarface"? It's be the same thing, only this time in English.



    On a lighter note, or (none / 0) (#66)
    by NYShooter on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:36:57 PM EST
    maybe, a weirder note, we're not that far off from melding humans & machines.

    I'm sure you've read some of the far-reaching studies & experiments where technology and biology are combining to manufacture a real "Robo-Man."

    Today's medical technology can make artificial, almost anything. And, electronic technology can capture & down load human brain waves.

    But, if I live long enough to see Ronnie waking up, and bursting into a GE commercial, that's it, I'm heading for the hills and living the hermit's life I've dreamt about since I was a boy.


    Like Tupac at Coachella (none / 0) (#127)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:47:56 AM EST
    in 2012 ?  He was killed in 1996.

    So you are saying at one (none / 0) (#21)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:50:00 PM EST
    time 100 mph was allowed on that curve, but now due to budget cuts only 50 mph is allowed on the curve?  Need link.

    I don't believe the comment you are (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Anne on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:02:30 PM EST
    responding to made any correlation between budget cuts and speed limits.

    According to this, the speed limit on either side of the curve was 70 mph, the speed on the curve itself was 50 mph.  There was no mechanism for automatically slowing down a train that was over the speed limit.

    Plenty of information here, and here.

    Whether it was just speed, or speed and track conditions, is not known at this point, but I can't imagine cutting Amtrak's funding will be doing much to allow for much-needed infrastructure improvements to increase safety.


    Not that you asked me (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by CST on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:08:46 PM EST
    But the fact that the NE corridor track is so slow is directly related to a lack of investment in infrastructure.

    We have trains that go 160 mph.  And a 50mph track.  Shameful.


    Absolutely true (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Zorba on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:27:44 PM EST
    And this accident freaks me out because Mr. Zorba and I travel Amtrak on that corridor all the time to visit Daughter Zorba in New York City.
    Not that it's any safer to drive to and from, and in, NYC.  Probably much less safe.  :-(

    This just in (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:26:29 PM EST
    The train was doing 100 MPH, twice the posted maximum speed.

    Now maybe you can explain how "infrastructure" could have prevented the accident...

    And BTW, we have given the feds around a trillion dollars for "improvements."

    Got any idea where the money went?


    for the 3rd or 4th time in this thread (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by CST on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:38:18 PM EST
    The trains we have are capable of going 160 mph.  There are many other countries that routinely have trains travelling at those speeds without issue.

    What we don't have, is track that allows trains to travel those speeds safely.  That would require an upgrade in infrastructure.

    And the NE corridor rail actually makes a profit, which in turn gets spent on rail in other parts of the country.  So "you" haven't given the feds $hit for that.  The riders of that train line are subsidizing the rest of the country's rail lines because congress can't be bothered to properly fund those lines.


    Have you read ANYTHING? (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by sj on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:04:56 PM EST
    Almost forgot:



    LOL! (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:42:56 PM EST
    Oh, yeah -- !!!

    Easy enough. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Chuck0 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:24:20 AM EST
    It's called Positive Train Control System. Mandated by Congress to be installed by the end of this year. But, oh yeah, they've cut funding for such infrastructure.

    Where did the billions (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by jondee on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:21:53 PM EST
    that supposedly disappeared in Iraq after the invasion?

    Funny how party-line-spouting conservatives almost NEVER notice when money is lost, skimmed off, and wasted in the name of Defense..  

    You tea baggers need to disengage from each other, take a step back and consider that money spent on infrastructure improvements isn't ultimately for "the feds" but for the citizenry of this country..

    Monies for bridges, roads, schools and hospitals isn't the federal gubmint, the revenuers, and danged civil rights agitators 'a stealin' from us all. Though hard-right big money boys keep telling you that..


    Uh, jondeee (none / 0) (#198)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:49:35 PM EST
    no place have I written that we shouldn't spend on infrastructure.

    I have just asked where did the money that we gave them, go??

    Most people I know prioritize their spending.

    Infrastructure got shorted.

    Who was in charge for the past 6 years??

    O b a m a


    This just in (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:26:29 PM EST
    The train was doing 100 MPH, twice the posted maximum speed.

    Now maybe you can explain how "infrastructure" could have prevented the accident...

    And BTW, we have given the feds around a trillion dollars for "improvements."

    Got any idea where the money went?


    Jim (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:55:47 PM EST
    Got any idea where the money went?
    you should know better then most that all those climatologists don't come cheap.  

    I suspect we gave the rest to the Ruskies so they could bribe the Clintons and steal all of our uranium.

    I am disappointed with you Jim, you are usually on top of outrages such as these.


    As usual (none / 0) (#58)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:58:24 PM EST
    all hat and no links.

    I see that you can answer the question (none / 0) (#98)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:09:17 PM EST
    but choose to hide behind some nonsense.



    When it comes to nonsense (none / 0) (#105)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:28:07 AM EST
    you'll always be ahead of the rest of us, Jim, until you can wean yourself from Fox News.



    I can always leave it to (none / 0) (#118)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:54:40 AM EST
    you to start the insults.

    I'll ask again.

    Where did all the money go?? We've spent trillions in the past 6 years.

    Where did it go??

    Not all of  it went to the military.

    Some of it went to Pakistan and Egypt and Hamas and ....

    Some of it went to pay for the subsidy for Obamacare....

    etc. etc. etc,

    In the meantime Obama said this in his speech at Georgetown U...

    We're going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we're going to have to change how the media reports on these issues

    If that doesn't scare the heck out of you then you're no liberal.


    You seem to be the one with a (5.00 / 4) (#122)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:17:12 AM EST
    burning desire to know how and where the government has been spending its money, so here's a novel idea: stop trolling for and demanding that others get you answers and do your own damn research.  You have a computer.  You're familiar with search engines.  So, go for it, jim.

    And while you're at it, pay particular attention to the pet projects and pork your own members of Congress have lobbied for - and find out what kinds of spending they've opposed.  You might learn something.

    Not that you'll ever put one finger to one key on your keyboard to get answers to the questions you keep asking - you don't really want to know, content to harangue and harass people, and not-so-deftly try to change the subject from the consequences of this country's failure to maintain or improve critical infrastructure to your usual blame-the-Democrats-for-everything theme song.

    In other words: SSDD


    At least with some numbers on the table (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:06:57 AM EST
    Jim will have to put up or shut up now, instead of making vague, unsourced memes he heard or saw somewhere on the TeeVee or the Internets.

    your usual blame-the-Democrats-for everything-theme-song

    Dontcha know that you and I are both Hillarybots who are just haters of everything this country stands for?

    It was news to me as well.


    If you're such a smart techie (none / 0) (#120)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:08:45 AM EST
    you'd be able to answer you own question.

    But since you obviously are in a nasty mood, I'll amp swear the question anyway.

    Here's the info, now you can b*tch and moan about how only 23% of the budget goes to the military.

    26% for pensions.

    26% for health care.

    11% for welfare.

    So, tell me, what spending do you want to reduce, Jim?


    Jim... (none / 0) (#144)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:50:07 PM EST
    ...the IRS puts this out every year, it's included in the 1040 instruction book, page 100.  Income and outlays.

    LINK, it's a pdf link.

    Where did all what go, the few dollars going to Amtrak, do you want receipts, what exactly are you looking for.  Obviously the US rail system is underfunded to the point were we are dead last in dollars spent on rail in industrialized nations.

    I suspect a lot of their budget is going to insurance or costs related to derailments since I read this morning that there were 1200 train derailments in 2014, 100 a month.  But I am sure it has nothing to do with infrastructure.  



    What a crock of sh*t (none / 0) (#160)
    by jondee on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:30:01 PM EST
    you have some kind of proof that Obama directed funding "to Hamas"?

    I didn't think so, Uncle Troll.

    All you got is yer sneakin' suspicion that that Obama is a dang secret Muslim who wants to harm the Ole Yoo, S of A (Hell, everybody knows that.)


    et al (2.00 / 1) (#199)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:54:03 PM EST
    You folks sure get stirred up when someone asks a question.

    The point is, was and will be..

    We have pi$$ed away billions of dollars on non essential things.

    Obama has been in charge. He even bragged about "shovel ready" projects.

    So, what happened???


    Question appears (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by sj on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:05:36 PM EST
    even more clueless the second time.

    Happy to (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Yman on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:39:47 AM EST
    Much of the northeast corridor has a newer technology called PTC (Positive Train Control) systems that would automatically slow the train if it was going too fast for whatever reason, but not the section of track where this occurred.  There is not enough funding to put it in place along the entire system, but rather than provide the funding, Roy Blunt (R) has proposed a bill to extend the Dec. 2015 deadline until 2020.

    Anything else you need?


    Hobbyist model railroad setups (none / 0) (#186)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:01:59 PM EST
    have more sophisticated control systems than our rail system.  

    Re infrastructure... Train buffs have littered Youtube with video of trains traversing some spectacularly wretched stretches of rail.  I stumbled across them while researching a local commuter rail effort.


    More on train funding/infrastructure (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Yman on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:47:15 AM EST
    House Republicans voted Wednesday to chop about a fifth of Amtrak's budget, less than a day after a deadly train crash that Democrats pointed to as a prime example of the dangers of shortchanging the nation's transportation needs.

    They also rebuffed Democrats' attempts to provide money for an advanced speed-control technology that federal investigators later said would have prevented the crash.

    "Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred," National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday evening. Sumwalt, who is leading the crash probe, spoke hours after the House Appropriations Committee voted down a Democratic amendment that would have offered $825 million for the technology known as positive train control.



    Consultants, Marketers,,, (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:59:19 PM EST
    overpaid executives, assorted grifters...ya know, everywhere but.

    Crony capitalist oligarchy...can you dig it?


    btw (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by CST on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:03:10 PM EST
    the real answer to that question is "roadway construction"

    If he's to be taken at face value, he's referring to the Stimulus package.

    We haven't come close to spending that on Amtrak any time in the recent past.


    Okay and fine and where did the money go?? (2.00 / 1) (#99)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:10:44 PM EST
    We haven't come close to spending that on Amtrak any time in the recent past.

    Jim, Amtrak received $1.3 billion of ... (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:14:01 AM EST
    ... the $831 billion appropriated by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), aka the "federal stimulus package." This amount is very roughly equal to what it had been receiving in annual subsidies prior to the passage of the ARRA.

    Provisions in the ARRA required Amtrak to spend  $850 million of its stimulus funds for capital expenditures, of which no more than 60% could be spent on the Northeast Corridor (Washington-New York-Boston).

    The bill also required Amtrak to expend the remaining $450 million on security. Further, Amtrak had to spend all these funds by Feb. 17, 2011, with any remaining amounts at that date to lapse back to the U.S. Treasury.

    From what I've been able to ascertain from Amtrak's report to Congress, here's a rough breakdown of its capital expenditures from those funds:

    • $100 million to replace the Niantic River Bridge in Connecticut, a project Amtrak has delayed for more than a decade because it didn't have the funds;
    • $65 million to upgrade 10 other bridges in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York;
    • $90.8 million to refurbish out-of-service rail cars and locomotives for reintroduction into service;
    • $35 million to construct a maintenance facility in Seattle;
    • $25 million to build a maintenance facility in Los Angeles;
    • $47.5 million to improve existing maintenance facilities in Chicago;
    • $25 million to upgrade Miami's Hialeah maintenance facility;
    • $40 million in stimulus proceeds to upgrade and improve accessibility at more than 200 stations in 40 states;
    • $20 million to renovate the Wilmington, Del., station;
    • $10 million to replace the Auto Train station in Sanford, FL;
    • $50 million to expand positive train-control (PTC) systems on the Northeast Corridor;
    • $10 million to upgrade PTC in Michigan;
    • $85 million to install fire detection and suppression systems in all train cars;
    • $50 million to improve emergency egress from buildings and tunnels; and
    • $75 million to improve track and railbed conditions.

    That left $21.7 million that had yet to be spent on capital projects as of this report. I have no idea how Amtrak spent the $450 million designated for security, and being that it's 11:00 p.m. out here, I'm too tired to look and I'm going to bed.



    Wonderbar, Donald (2.00 / 1) (#119)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:00:42 AM EST
    Now, where did the other $829.7 billion go??

    It went different places (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by CST on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:25:03 AM EST
    $288 billion went to TAX CUTS

    $155 billion for healthcare

    $100 billion for education

    $82.2 billion for food stamps/unemployment/seniors

    $48.1 billion for transportation related projects - the majority of which was spent on ROADWAY CONSTRUCTION and bridges.

    The rest of the list is here, basically covers energy infrastructure, water/sewage infrastructure, housing, scientific research, etc...


    The money (none / 0) (#100)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:27:10 PM EST
    probably went for duct tape and bailing wire to keep our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure from completely collapsing.



    Wow (none / 0) (#40)
    by sj on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:16:49 PM EST
    Hats off to you for making sense of that.
    If he's to be taken at face value, he's referring to the Stimulus package

    A ha.... (none / 0) (#79)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:49:35 PM EST
    I had the scandal that is US Foreign Aid on the brain...Vice did a segment on it recently in regards to Haiti post earthquake. What a racket! Sinful, sinful, sinful.

    And what my brother tells me about the USPS and the tens of millions they pay consultants for info any letter carrier could tell ya for free about how the USPS could be improved.  

    Safe to assume similar grift is present in all government functions. Especially Defense.

    I think alotta the resistance to budget increases and tax increases stems from systemic crony capitalist grifting.  


    Who's your brother -- Bill O'Reilly? (none / 0) (#103)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:48:47 PM EST
    kdog: "And what my brother tells me about the USPS and the tens of millions they pay consultants for info any letter carrier could tell ya for free about how the USPS could be improved."

    Because quite honestly, that's the sort of unsubstantiated claim about government spending which usually runs in tandem with shopworn demands that departments and agencies purge themselves of always-unidentified "waste, fraud and abuse."

    Presently, most USPS consultant contracts are actually for professional and technical services regarding the ongoing maintenance and requisite upgrades of the Postal Service's technological capacity.

    Further, and I'm speaking for myself only, I think the U.S. Postal Service does an outstanding job with delivery of service, which I generally find to be both considerably cheaper and far more reliable than the same offered by either FedEx or UPS.

    Here's what's happened to USPS, as best as I can understand and explain it. In 2002, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) found that the Postal Service had overpaid into the federal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) by approximately $50 billion between the years 1972 and 2000 -- an amount which has since increased to $75 billion, were we to extend it out to 2009.

    Now, those overpayments could have been easily corrected by a relatively simple accounting offset, which would have allowed USPS to reduce future payments into CSRS for a defined period, and tap into the existing fund surplus to pay for its current retirement expenses. Only it wasn't so simple, once the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress got involved.

    In 2003, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that such a proposed short-term change in the retirement contribution formula from USPS could cause a reduction in federal revenues to the CSRS, and thus increase deficits in the unified federal budget by as much as about $3.5 billion annually. This assumed, of course, that USPS' contributions to CSRS came directly from federal revenues, rather than income generated by USPS, which was actually the case.

    And this is where things started to go badly askew for the Postal Service, because as a result of the CBO's finding, congressional Republicans subsequently required USPS to place any and all such prior and future overpayments to CSRS into a separate escrow account, which would heretofore be unavailable to the Postal Service until Congress itself determined how those funds would be expended. (Emphasis provided for reasons subsequently expounded upon below.)

    Further, USPS was required to assume the retirement payments of those employees who had accrued retirement benefits as a result of the time they spent in prior military service. This was an expense which was formerly paid to the military retiree directly by the U.S. Treasury, and had absolutely nothing to do with that retiree's present duties as a USPS employee. It's since been estimated that the $50 billion in overpayments to CSRS by USPS were almost completely consumed by that additional fiscal burden.

    Then in 2006, the GOP-controlled Congress further mandated that USPS make ten (10) annual payments of between $5.4 billion and $5.8 billion to the newly created USPS Retiree Health Benefits Fund, which could not be used to pay actual retiree health benefits during those 10 years.

    Additionally, it prohibited USPS from offering to its customers any and all services which Congress deemed to be "non-postal," such as contracting with state and local agencies to provide licensing services to various communities, or operating a nationwide postal savings bank, which the former U.S. Post Office actually once did with considerable success from 1911 to 1967.

    It should be noted here that the level of those annual payments to the newly-authorized USPS Retiree Health Benefits Fund was not based upon any independent actuarial determination. Rather, those numbers had been produced by CBO as the amounts necessary to offset the loss of escrow account payments by USPS, due primarily to the previously mandated congressional transfer of military retirement expenses to the USPS retirement fund within CSRS.

    (Incidentally, those military retirement costs have since been re-transferred back to the U.S. Treasury, now that $50 billion in overpayments to the USPS retirement fund in CSRS have been effectively exhausted as a result of the first transfer.)

    It's these particular annual payments to the USPS Retiree Health Benefits Fund which are placing USPS at serious immediate risk of default, because they've essentially become a congressionally-imposed unfunded liability. The corresponding budget pressures placed upon the Postal Service by that liability are what led to, among other things, the recent proposals to stop Saturday mail deliveries and close selected post offices, which have since been dropped due to the resultant public outcry.

    Now, remember that all this began because OMB had initially found that USPS had nearly three decades of surplus overpayments in its employee retirement fund within CSRS. Because rather than allow USPS to draw down that surplus by using the escrow account monies to fund current retirement expenses, Congress decided instead to prohibit USPS from accessing those monies at all, unless the Postal Service immediately assumed a corresponding liability of an equal magnitude.

    In short, the present losses suffered by USPS are not due to any perceived inefficiencies on the Postal Service's part, but instead likely due to rank intent on the part of congressional Republicans, whose far-right zanies have long sought to drive USPS into default and bankruptcy in the service of heaven knows whatever ideological falderol they're pimping about "market-based" solutions.

    So, to recount, USPS has overpaid into its health and retirement funds. But it's prohibited from tapping these surplus funds because: (1) the CBO first -- and mistakenly, IMHO -- deemed that surplus to be part of part of the existing unified federal budget; and (2) Congress then accordingly required that these surplus overpayments be set aside in an escrow account, and then prohibited USPS from using those funds unless it first undertook a corresponding liability.

    Thus, according to Congress, any use of those surplus CSRS funds for actual USPS retirement expenses, without that corresponding offset, would therefore increase the federal budget deficit by a similar amount. The end result has been a congressional skimming of $75 billion from USPS, followed by its imposition of a $60 billion unfunded liability, which has now placed the Postal Service at considerable risk of financial ruin.

    Can you say "shell game," boys and girls? Clearly, Republicans in Congress are intentionally trying to hamstring the Postal Service. And they are very close to succeeding, because USPS has since defaulted on its 2013 and 2014 payments to its Retiree Health Benefits Fund.

    This is an absolutely insane fiscal policy which has imposed upon our U.S. Postal Service by Congress. And further, it's ultimately and purposefully self-destructive to that quasi-public organization, because were it not for all these aforementioned congressional budgetary machinations, USPS would otherwise be entirely self-sufficient and -supporting, and very likely running in the black.

    Thus, USPS's present fiscal woes are a wholly manufactured and contrived crisis which could be resolved rather quickly, were Congress to instead return to USPS all those funds which were diverted from its coffers in the first place due to its nonsensical mandates, and repeal its 2006 prohibition on USPS's ability to offer so-called "non-postal" services to consumers.



    You missed my point... (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by kdog on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:10:03 AM EST
    I play softball for a NACL team, I'm well aware of their primary economic hurdle being ridiculous congressional mandates...but I was talking about the millions they spend on outside consulting firms like Accenture and McKinsey & Co to learn things any letter carrier could tell management, if they only cared to ask. These are not unsubstantiated claims my man.  

    Just as an example of why "more funding" alone isn't an answer to any problem.  It's all about allocation baby.  Allocation, allocation, allocation.  A misallocated billion dollar budget is not as effective as a well allocated 500 million dollar budget.

    And when so much funding is skimmed off the top by consulting grifters and assorted corporate professional government pork-hunters, be it US Foreign Aid or the DOD or DOT or USPS, more funding often just means more grifting and less addressing of the actual needs...in this case, inadequate rail infrastructure.

    Now of course some waste and grift is unavoidable, humans being human and all, but personally I think we've far exceeded an acceptable level of grift and waste in government spending.  It's gone from grift being a bug to grift being the feature.  

    But what do I know...I just work for a living while my private corporate paymasters pay consultants millions of dollars to tell them what I could tell them for free, if only they asked.  Or they'll overpay a business/marketing major right of school who has no understanding of our business to design some elaborate sales scheme that I know right off the bat ain't gonna work because I'm the one who actually talks to the god damn customers every god damn day and knows what they want/need.  End rant;)


    kdog: "Now of course some waste and grift is unavoidable, humans being human and all, but personally I think we've far exceeded an acceptable level of grift and waste in government spending."

    Over these last couple of decades, I've simply heard far too many people make such assertions about "millions" and "billions" of dollars being "wasted" on consultants, only to subsequently learn that the amount actually being spent for such services was but a small fraction of these wild claims -- that is, if those claims were even partly true at all. I mean, just look at all the fact-free and misleading nonsense that certain online acquaintances of ours here at TL offer up on a near-daily basis.

    As a former legislative policy analyst, it was my job to be as accurate in my assessments of issues and problems as humanly possible, so I tend to not take such anecdotal statements merely at face value. Before I make any determinations, I want to see some fairly hard numbers or estimates, not vague generalities based mostly upon hearsay.

    (That's not to say that such hearsay is therefore unimportant and immaterial, because if what I pick up from someone like you dovetails with more something more concrete that I'm hearing or seeing elsewhere, as an analyst I'd be foolish to not follow up such a potential lead, however initially tenuous it might otherwise be.)

    Further, and as you know, I presently work as a consultant. From my experience both in my current role and formerly in government, I'd offer that it's quite likely that the U.S. Postal Service does not presently possess the in-house management capacity to survey and interview any or all of its own rather vast work force. That's a specialized skill which is not necessary on a daily or weekly basis.

    USPS's mission is to deliver the mail, and that's where management's attention and efforts should be primarily and properly focused. It's actually much cheaper for such organizations and institutions to contract out to consultants like me for such work as it's needed.

    I conduct performance audits and perform feasibility studies as part of my repertoire of professional services. I can tell you first hand and personally that it's an awful lot of work and can take up to four months to interview and survey just one hundred people at a given organization, analyze the resultant answers and data, and incorporate it all into my final report, which will encompasses other research as well.

    We tend to charge anywhere between $25,000 and $70,000 for such work, depending on the full scope of the job and -- because these are generally nonprofits we work with -- the client's financial capacity to incur such an expense. (In such cases as we might determine, our fees are assessed on a sliding scale.)

    Given that, I'll leave it to you to consider what I'd likely bill USPS to perform such a feasibility study or performance audit involving the survey and / or interview of several thousand letter carriers or other employees -- provided, of course, that I didn't first conclude that such an effort was beyond my own firm's present and limited capacity to undertake such a large task on our own, and decline the would-be client's solicitation.

    Yes, there is a certain level of waste, fraud and abuse that occurs in the performance of government operations, much as there is in any large corporation or organization. But that percentage is almost certainly lower that what you and others might imagine it to be in most all departments and agencies. The exceptions are exactly that -- exceptions.

    Further, the vast majority of government workers, bureaucrats and contractors are in fact honest, hard-working, competent and diligent in the performance of their respective duties. And speaking as someone who used to be among their ranks, they don't deserve all these publicly offered and specious assumptions -- whether from some cable TV pundit, opportunistic politician, or simply the average Joe and Jill in the neighborhood -- that they're most all somehow otherwise.

    So, absent at least some sort of real evidence or strong indication that there is in fact corruption and incompetence leading to the wholesale waste of taxpayer dollars, let's please not be so glib about such matters -- lest we find ourselves pandering to our own innate cynicism.

    Okay, and speaking of work, I better get back to mine. My clients aren't paying me to gab with you, as enjoyable as it is.

    Have a great rest of the day. Aloha.


    Hmmmm (none / 0) (#200)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:55:34 PM EST
    Aren't you a consultant??

    Correction: (none / 0) (#104)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:59:47 PM EST
    "Now, remember that all this began because OMB had initially found that USPS had nearly three decades of surplus overpayments in its employee retirement fund within CSRS."

    It was the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and not the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which discovered the surplus overpayments by USPS to CSRS. My apologies for any confusion that might otherwise cause while reading my rather lengthy dissertation on the subject.



    George W. Bush is (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:14:51 PM EST
    the smart brother. Startling, perhaps, but only for those who did not have Jeb for governor.  

    After  FOX interviewer Megyn Kelly's tossed Jeb this softball question: "knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion (Iraq)?", and Jeb responded that he still would have, he has been trying to quench the fires of criticism even from wingers such as Laura Ingrahm.  

     After a day and time for some advice from his experts, Jeb took a stab at something. He called in to Sean Hannity's radio talk show claiming he misunderstood the question. " I interpreted the question wrong, I guess," Bush said.  I was talking about given what people knew then.

     But, when Hannity asked, once again, about the invasion of Iraq in a yes or no fashion, he responded, "yeah, I don't know what that decision would've been," "that's a hypothetical but the simple fact was mistakes were made, as they always are in life and foreign policy.  So we need to learn from the past to make sure we're strong gong forward."

    Yes, we need to learn from the past to make sure we're going forward.  Jon Stewart wondered what the answer to a question to Jeb, such as, knowing what we know now about the Titanic, would you still get on?  My guess is that Jeb would still go full steam ahead, rationalizing that the Titanic did, after all, remove the tip of the iceberg.  

    About those Bush Bros. (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Wed May 13, 2015 at 04:56:49 PM EST
    You may be on to something, KeysDan ... an unsettling thought, but W may be a bit "quicker" than Jeb.  What a standard, huh!

    Clearly, Jeb "the smart?? one" will need tutoring in talking and much more.  Another example: I heard that Jeb has added another addendum to his Iraq-answer-dilemma by suggesting his hedge comes from a concern about upsetting the troops if he talked more about it.  For those of you familiar with his Florida gubernatorial stint, how was he at debates?

    On the subject of the strangely enticing Repub debates: What if the question were asked to each of the candidates "Who is the greatest of the living ex-Presidents in your opinion" (Seems that question has been informally asked and that it was tricky-difficult for those Repub biggies to answer.) A difficult question, indeed.


    Jeb was defeated in (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:24:23 PM EST
    the governor's race (1994) by Lawton Chiles (the year W. won in TX, a major blow, he won in 1998 defeating Lt. Gov Buddy McKay, and was re-elected in 2002 by defeating Bill McBride.  He governed as he learned while at the Heritage Foundation--right wing policies.   He has the distinction of being the only Florida governor to have been denied an honorary degree from the University of Florida.

    Jeb's response to a question about his favorite living president would, of course, be his father.  But, it might be W. to gain neocons and a broader range of wackos.  W. would surely appreciate it and favor him with a painting of himself and Cheney in a stand of sunflowers.


    I Disagree... (none / 0) (#121)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:16:09 AM EST
    ...it's just been so long since GWB was been quoted we all forget exactly how stoopid he was/is.

    HERE is a college kid taking down Jeb in regards to ISIS.  Jeb was not amused and rather rude.

    "The threat of ISIS was created by the Iraqi Coalition Authority which ousted the entire government of Iraq. It was when 30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military ... were forced out. They had no employment. They had no income. Yet they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons," Ziedrich said. "Your brother created ISIS."

    Oh, and he inadvertently announced his candidacy, then added the word 'if'.  LINK

    And this is just for Jim, Republicans piling on Jeb over Iraq, each insisting the invasion was a mistake. LINK


    NYT op ed columnist, (none / 0) (#133)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:26:57 AM EST
    Gail Collins article, "Jeb is Awful" May 14, 2015, covers the Bush brothers.  Yes, it is a challenge to determine which brother is the "smart one."--a relative term for these relatives.  And, we have been dealing with only the office holding/seeking ones (leaving off Brother Neil of Silverado S and L schandal, and, Marvin).  

    The back-up or stand-in (none / 0) (#153)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:40:15 PM EST
    Starting to become clear: If Jeb Bush continues to falter, the real $$$$$ probably move to the mentored one, Marco.  

    A few weeks ago, I had again concluded that Marco Rubio's resume & looks were not sufficient to allow him to beat out the Repub field.  But...my, my...maybe this is a year where the Repubs resemble the likes of Rick Perry or Rick Santorum or a combo.  Checking news clips this a.m., I watched conservative Joe Scarborough interview Mark Halperin and ask in a lamenting & deploring tone why Jeb Bush couldn't answer the question about going to war in Iraq after three days of giving unsatisfactory answers. Scarborough even exclaimed that to say anything other than you would not go to war there knowing what we know now is tantamount to being dumb enough to put your face in a blender.

    So it goes.  Maybe it is the news media this week ... but Jeb Bush is directly being portrayed by a number of his Repubs in writing and on TV as--um--dumb.  Hoo-ha ... Pretzel Marco Rubio, the man-in-waiting?


    It would be ironic (none / 0) (#168)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:33:49 PM EST
    if Rubio was the beneficiary of Jeb's hawkish foreign policy.  Marco Rubio has been, of late (as in the onset of his candidacy) advertising his inner hawk.   And, his outer vacillation.  Originally, Rubio advocated for arming the Syrian "rebels," but later voted against the use of military force against the Syrian regime. And, he was originally in line with the Obama position on Iran.  

    He recently, at the Council on Foreign Relations,  went on about the need to "adequately fund" the military, returning to higher spending levels.  He, of course, opposes normalizing relations with Cuba, wants to re=authorize the Patriot Act, sees no difference between him and Bibi Netanyahu, and does not believe a two=state solution (Israel/Palestine) is realistic.  Being a mad bomber has never hurt a Republican. It's cat nip.  

    Rubio is being advised by Elliott Abrams, who was convicted in the Iran Contra scandal (he took a plea from the Special Prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh) but was pardoned by Daddy Bush on his way out the WH door.  Elliott is a dependable hawk's hawk and should help Rubio in a crowded field of primary hawks. But, I think it will be hard for him to out-hawk Lindsey.

    But, as you note, that Republican clown car may be full, but, in actuality, is empty.  Jeb was the hope of many.  Rubio will be propped up and given a make-over and comb-over.


    Seems to Me Like... (none / 0) (#171)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:45:28 PM EST
    ...the republican that can keep his/her mouth shut the longest will get the nomination by default.

    Yup - a player to be named later (none / 0) (#172)
    by ruffian on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:07:22 PM EST
    An advantage, of sorts and a stretch, (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:00:04 PM EST
    of Marco Rubio as the Republican candidate is that he doing an all or nothing.  He said he will not seek a second term as US senator. A break for Florida and the nation.

    The presidency, but not the senate, is more his cup of tea.  I don't think he can beat Secretary Clinton--he will pass out in the debates of dehydration with the first substantive question.   And, of course, there is his good "friend" David Rivera to deal with.


    We've come full circle, to where (none / 0) (#173)
    by ruffian on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:14:51 PM EST
    the money does not care who the candidate is. All the candidates say pretty much the same things to chase the money early, so absent any longstanding personal loyalty from big money donors, the money just does not care. The money no longer even has to go to a candidate, it can go to a PAC, who can make whatever ads they want...since that is where the bulk of the money goes anyway.  The candidates will dance to the TV tune of whoever is paying the piper and the GOP primary voters can select empty suit of their choice. Really no telling who it could be.

    That's (none / 0) (#176)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:41:00 PM EST
    the crux of their problem though. They can't keep their mouths shut. Every time they open their mouth and start yammering more voters start running away.

    Sometimes (none / 0) (#180)
    by FlJoe on Thu May 14, 2015 at 05:19:44 PM EST
    I wonder if Jeb is just trolling us. He had the luxury of being in contention without showing his cards early. Instead he is out there making stupid unforced errors. Like he never expected to be asked about W's folly? The best he could do is "hell yeah I woulda kicked ass", I paraphrase here, and his "but Hillary too" dig is rich.

    We should all remember Rubio is a protege of Bush. He is a quite an acceptable plan "B" for the neo-cons and the money boys even to Bush himself.

    If and when the "sensible" wing of the GOP figures that the Bush name is too much of an albatross all their money and energy will flow to Rubio, probably making him a strong favorite in my book.



    Try, for example (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Peter G on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:31:47 PM EST
    This one: #21 today. Using the classic "fake question" format, a common marker of trollery.

    I'll admit it, I walked into it today (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed May 13, 2015 at 08:18:52 PM EST
    FlJoe, I apologize for calling you a Troll.  I get worked up when I see the personal insults that fly around here regularly, and I just lost it, and fell into a bad habit.  I will leave for a while.

    Many regulars here are intelligent, (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by Peter G on Wed May 13, 2015 at 09:15:18 PM EST
    well informed, serious without being humorless, and have opinions about issues that matter.  They (may I even say that on occasion I would go so far as to say, "we"?) enjoy a debate or discussion with someone who disagrees with our host's clearly stated "left" p/o/v, and may be coming from another perspective. Folks who mainly like to bait and provoke -- particularly when mixed with being dishonest and/or ill-informed -- are another story.

    NP (none / 0) (#93)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 13, 2015 at 09:49:02 PM EST
    I admit to getting overly snarky at times.
    Sparring with some of the posters around here can be......lets call it frustrating. I tend to blow off my frustrations using humor no actual insults intended.

    A promise kept! (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by lentinel on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:11:33 PM EST
    The Obama administration gave conditional approval on Monday to allow Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. to start drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska this summer.

    This is comforting because Shell's record for safety and concern for environmental protection is stellar and well-documented.

    How well I remember when then Senator Obama, running for office, boldly declared during one of the debates,

    "The chant is 'drill, baby, drill.' And that's what we hear all across this country..."

    And now, it will finally come to pass.

    or was that Palin?

    Just a minute.. I

    Go pour yourself (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Zorba on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:48:39 PM EST
     a nice glass of wine, lentinel.  That's what I'm about to do.

    Will do! (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by lentinel on Wed May 13, 2015 at 09:08:34 PM EST
    Thanks Zorba.

    A very good (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by lentinel on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:45:41 AM EST
    article on the confrontation between a 19 year-old student, Ivy Ziedrich, and Jeb Bush.

    Bush had argued that the Obama administration's weak foreign policy was responsible for the rise of the terrorist group, also known as ISIS, in the Middle East.

    Ziedrich countered that Obama wasn't to blame -- and that it was his predecessor's decision to disband the Iraqi army that made the group's formation possible.

    "Your brother created ISIS," she told Bush.

    Full text and excellent links here:

    Do we have any Democratic candidates, or incumbents, or members of the media, willing to express the truth as clearly this young woman did?

    Maybe the best thing that has happened in this election season is the entry of Jeb into the fray.

    It is putting the wars - and the staggeringly horrifying results - front and center.

    Hillary hasn't said a peep - as far as I know.
    But if goaded to comment, she may be forced to.

    I would like as a litmus test for any potential candidate to know their stand on what Bush did. I what to know how they perceive the machinations that got us into this cycle of endless wars.

    For the moment, as with Obama, they all seem to want to protect him, rather than excoriate that lying rogue.

    We have Russ Feingold running to retake his seat (5.00 / 4) (#188)
    by Towanda on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:09:09 PM EST
    in the Senate.  He announced today.

    Pleeeeease help to defeat Senator Sunspots Johnson.


    It's pouring here. :-) (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:12:02 PM EST

    Could fry bacon here (none / 0) (#167)
    by CoralGables on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:30:09 PM EST
    Hey Don "Cold Train" Hawaii, (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri May 15, 2015 at 12:38:31 AM EST
    Megyn Kelly of Fox News -- whose low-cut, sleeveless black cocktail dress suggests that she's perhaps meeting some friends at Avenue following the show


    #TomShady (none / 0) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 13, 2015 at 12:47:55 PM EST
    See HERE.

    Twelve billboards that refer to the disgraced quarterback as "#TomShady" went up all over Jersey Tuesday morning. The signs also feature the famous "J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!" rallying cry.

    As I'v said, and we all know (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by fishcamp on Wed May 13, 2015 at 12:55:35 PM EST
    Everybody lies...

    I'm rarely suprised by cheating (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by McBain on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:12:44 PM EST
    when money, power and fame are involved.  The temptation for athletes, politicians,  and wall street investors is too great.

    Fishcamp, I hate to say it, but (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Peter G on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:46:22 PM EST
    that's a lie also.

    Peter,I hope you're (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by fishcamp on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:51:43 AM EST
    not lying to me. :-)

    I don't think QBs from eras past (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Wed May 13, 2015 at 03:56:26 PM EST
    would do that.

    Bart Starr?   I doubt it.

    Ask Roger Staubach, and he would calmly and distinctly respond, "I don't cheat."  Not the evasiveness of Tom Brady.

    Part of it was their belief they did not need to cheat.  But also cheating was not how they did things...


    Funny... (none / 0) (#123)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:18:46 AM EST
    ...considering Brady most certainly did not need to cheat either.  That is the real shame of all of it, he did it because he could, not because he needed an edge.

    If we're really honest about cheating (none / 0) (#135)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:58:53 AM EST
    what Brady did was a nothing-burger. On a scale of 1-10, it barely reaches 1. This had nothing to do with "THE INTEGRITY OF THE GAME." Athletes have been doing this type of minor crap forever, whether it's pine tar on Brett's bat an inch higher than regulations allow, or loosening the ropes to make Ali's Rope-a-Dope better. A slap on the wrist, a reprimand, and move on.

    In my opinion, this over reaction is because, A...it's the Patriots, and B. it's a spillover from the lousy way Goodell handled Domestic Violence.

    Just Google, "Past infractions by NFL Teams," and see how many rule violations have occurred, and what their penalties were. The Patriots were blasted about 100 times more than comparable "crimes" by other teams. Just ridiculous.


    Then why have rules at all? (5.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 11:43:02 AM EST
    Everyone wants some kind of competitive advantage, I get that, but aren't the rules designed to, as much as possible, make sure everyone's playing the same game?

    What does "integrity of the game" mean?  I guess it means less and less to more and more people, who just want their team to win and don't care how that happens.  I mean, look at Tom Brady.  Here's someone who clearly has phenomenal talent, who's usually surrounded by other extremely talented players, who has excellent coaches year after year.  Why does he have to go outside the rules to gain more advantage - using underinflated footballs - than he already has?  

    Is it ego, years and years of being treated like a god, such that he can't bear the thought of being viewed as ordinary?

    Tom Brady's not supposed to be bigger than the game, no one is, and cheating - whether it's minor or major - is about making yourself bigger than the game.


    Anne, I agree with everything you said, (none / 0) (#139)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:36:25 PM EST
    "cheating - whether it's minor or major," is what my post is about. There is a difference between minor and major. There just is. Brady committed a breach of the rules; it's beneath him, or, should be beneath him. A lot of people, including me, will think less of him now. Maybe that can be shrugged off, but not in my eyes. In my opinion, and I'm a Giants fan through and through, I considered Tom Brady up there with icons like Derek Jeter. Not any more. Derek did it the right way, and, as an example for future generations, Derek will stand there alone, instead of arm & arm with Tom Brady.

    I'm speaking on a relative basis regarding both his infraction and the penalty. At another time, with another player, and, with another coach/team,  this would not have been treated in the overblown manner this has been.

    I'm not talking about if a violation occurred, I'm talking about how, relatively, serious it was, and how steep the penalty should have been.

    From some of the hair-on-fire comments expressed, forced downing an Ebola vial wouldn't have been satisfactory.


    I Pretty Much Disagree with Everything You Wrote (5.00 / 2) (#151)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:37:03 PM EST
    Compared to the Saints, Brady and Belichick got off easy.  The suspension was two weeks for cheating and two for not cooperating, which is inline with their substance abuse policy.

    It had everything to do with the integrity of the game, it was an adjustment to the apex of all games, the ball.

    Brady pressured others to do his bidding, then refused to cooperate, then left them out to hang and lose their source of income.  Two people don't work for the Patriots because of Brady's cheating.

    Using examples outside of football that are decades old isn't really dealing with the reality of the sports today, namely the NFL which has been increasing penalties fairly steadily for years.  

    Brady's punishment is inline with Rice, Hardy, Smith, Peterson, and the numerous substance and performance enhancing cases in 2014 IMO.  HERE is the list of NFL suspensions, 4 weeks is pretty much the standard in 2014, which suspended around 60 people. 6 already suspended before the season starts this year not including Brady, 2 for the entire season.

    I would not have let him play until he turned over his phone.  They should understand the amount and nature of the pressure he applied before the punishment was determined.


    And Brady and Manning (5.00 / 2) (#183)
    by MKS on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:21:54 PM EST
    got the rules changed a few years ago so that they would have custody of their own footballs.....

    The refs should have custody, just like in most sports.


    Exactly. (none / 0) (#170)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:36:08 PM EST
    And Brady plays for a gifted but overly driven coach who's managed to instill a dubious culture not only within the Patriots team itself, but -- given owner Robert Craft's recent public statements -- apparently the entire New England franchise as well, which asserts that rules are tedious nuisances for other people to follow, and that it ain't cheatin' if ya ain't yet been caught.

    I kinda love it, I think. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anne on Wed May 13, 2015 at 12:54:01 PM EST
    It's very Jets, but I'd love for them to have put a couple up in the Boston area.

    Too bad the Jets' record doesn't exactly make them a team the Pats particularly fear.

    I think Ted Wells' response to all the criticism of the investigation he led is making it less likely that an appeal will result in much, if any, reduction in number of games suspended.


    If ya can't beat them... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 01:21:20 PM EST
    mock their lack of sportsmanship, and lack of fair play.

    Tom Shady it is!  


    That's for sure. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:05:33 PM EST
    You know, I bet if Ted Wells and Bill Belichick thought they could get away with it, they'd have the opponents' locker room at Gillette Stadium painted a light and soothing shade of pink.

    Well.. (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Wed May 13, 2015 at 02:40:32 PM EST
    my prediction for Rex's Bills this year is that their defense will be improved and they'll be a lot dirtier..

    Hopefully no one gets permanently maimed or killed out there..


    OTOH, I'm sure (none / 0) (#69)
    by Zorba on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:49:44 PM EST
    that Tom Brady is crying himself to sleep every night over this.
    As he contemplates his many, many millions of dollars.  ;-)

    C'mon, "Z" (none / 0) (#140)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:39:54 PM EST
    Brady might not lose any sleep over this but, I'll bet you the charity that (presumably) receives the million dollars will be quite grateful.

    Patriots issue ridiculous (none / 0) (#152)
    by caseyOR on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:38:49 PM EST
    statement in response to deflate gate report.

    The most damning parts of the Wells report are text messages exchanged between Jim McNally and John Jastremski, two Pats employees who worked in the locker room and talked a lot about Tom Brady and deflating footballs. McNally even referred to himself as "The Deflator" in one of the messages. However! The Pats have a perfectly reasonable explanation for that:

    Mr. Jastremski would sometimes work out and bulk up -- he is a slender guy and his goal was to get to 200 pounds. Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. "Deflate" was a term they used to refer to losing weight. One can specifically see this use of the term in a Nov. 30, 2014 text from Mr. McNally to Mr. Jastremski: "deflate and give somebody that jacket." (p. 87). This banter, and Mr. McNally's goal of losing weight, meant Mr. McNally was the "deflator." There was nothing complicated or sinister about it. If there was any doubt about the jocular nature of the May 9, 2014 texts, a review of all the texts between these two men that day would dispel it.

    The team should be hit with a million dollar fine for that statement alone.


    A million here, a million there (none / 0) (#177)
    by Zorba on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:49:44 PM EST
    That's peanuts, chump change, for them.

    Yeah, poor Tom Brady. (none / 0) (#187)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:07:17 PM EST
    Four game days he'll "likely or probably" be able to spend at home with Gisele.

    Here's one to watch (none / 0) (#61)
    by Uncle Chip on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:17:26 PM EST
    Elderly Couple Honk At Off Duty Police Officer: Cop Breaks Man's Nose, Smashes Teeth Out With Gun

    I believe this will go before Bob McCulloch to determine if charges will be filed.

    Rep. Alan Grayson (none / 0) (#68)
    by CoralGables on Wed May 13, 2015 at 05:47:58 PM EST
    is on the fast track to becoming an embarrassment to the State of Florida. He's bucking the current Washington DC trend since he has a D next to his name. Maybe he doesn't appreciate all the attention the Republican crazies are getting and decided to hop aboard.

    What (none / 0) (#73)
    by lentinel on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:17:21 PM EST
    are you referring to?

    Because he opposes Obama's "fast track"?

    Or are you referring to something else?


    Are you some kind of robot CG? (none / 0) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:27:06 PM EST
    (Sigh!) What did Alan do this time? (none / 0) (#76)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:27:37 PM EST
    I actually think that he's pretty smart, but that said, he seriously needs to get his overall act together if he wants to be taken more seriously by mainstream libtards such as myself. He reminds me way too much of Anthony Weiner -- sans the dicpix, of course -- in that he seems really addicted to the attention showered on him by the cable TV news networks, by virtue of making himself available for soundbites, quips and retorts, children's birthday parties, etc. And that comb-over, mon Dieu!

    It would be difficult to post (none / 0) (#77)
    by CoralGables on Wed May 13, 2015 at 06:33:53 PM EST
    He was cussing at a reporter so much I'd break my ! key trying to follow the blog rules.

    In a nutshell, he was found to own a hedge fund he incorporated in the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes.


    Speaking of grifters lol... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by kdog on Wed May 13, 2015 at 07:03:08 PM EST
    If I hear that Bernie Sanders is Mr. Burns silent partner over at Springfield Nuclear, I quit;)

    So I see! (none / 0) (#83)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 13, 2015 at 07:14:06 PM EST
    And we should further note that Grayson's also cloaked himself in a self-perceived aura on political invincibility, so that mother#@&%ing @$$holish d&+#@!bag reporters can't keep #%&@ing on him.

    What a class act Congressman Grayson is! He actually reminds me of a late former city councilman we had out here back in the 1980s, who was similarly a profane and bullying blowhard with a short fuse and a penchant for self-promotion and personal drama.

    In one notorious yet perversely amusing incident during a council hearing, this particular councilman took increasing umbrage at what this older Japanese-American woman was saying in her testimony. But when she wouldn't back down, he finally just lost it, started shouting at her to shut up, then rose furiously from his seat and stormed toward her like some madman.

    And in so doing, he frightened this much smaller woman so much that she immediately whipped out a small can of pepper spray from her purse and fired it right into his face, causing him to fall backwards to the floor in a wailing heap, to the subsequent applause of many in the room.

    Voters in his district later made sure that it was his last term.


    Don't fall asleep during meetings! (none / 0) (#92)
    by Yman on Wed May 13, 2015 at 09:29:22 PM EST
    Falling asleep during a meeting and disrespecting the Leader are the reasons given for the execution of North Korea's Defense Minister.  He was executed with anti-aircraft firing guns in front of hundreds of onlookers, no less ...

    Is there a similarity here (none / 0) (#94)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 13, 2015 at 09:51:05 PM EST
    With how Hollywood theatrically killed the littlest Kim recently?

    and (none / 0) (#96)
    by FlJoe on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:03:19 PM EST
    the good news he only has a handful of nukes a dozen or so tops.

    Yikes... (none / 0) (#101)
    by desertswine on Wed May 13, 2015 at 10:32:35 PM EST
    I guess they missed the debate about "humane" executions.

    They've photographed the antiaircraft gun (none / 0) (#189)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:13:24 PM EST
    executions from space.

    Senate Dems cave. Again. (none / 0) (#112)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:17:25 AM EST
    This time, they let Obama roll them on their opposition to fast-track authorization.

    So depressing.

    Senate leaders, after personal intercessions by President Obama, reached an agreement Wednesday on a path to grant the president accelerated power to complete a sweeping trade accord ringing the Pacific Ocean -- just a day after fellow Democrats had blocked him.

    The larger aim is to secure a 12-nation agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, spanning the Pacific from Canada and Chile to Japan and Australia and encompassing 40 percent of the world's economic output. Mr. Obama sees the pact as a central part of his economic legacy, the largest trade deal in two decades and the realization of his foreign policy pivot toward Asia.

    Naked Capitalism:

    Today, Obama got ten Democratic senators to flip their votes without giving them the concession that they had wanted, that of passing a set of other trade-related provisions along with Fast Track authorization. As we indicated yesterday, one of the changes they had wanted, putting more stringent sanctions in place against foreign government currency manipulation, was anathema to the Administration. So after what appears to have been no more than a dressing down, ten Democratic party senators relented, giving Obama a clear path to moving Fast Track authorization to a vote in the Senate.

    Senate Dems are going to be allowed to get stand-alone votes on the provisions they wanted attached to fast track.  If they fail?  Oh, well.

    Mission accomplished.


    The ten Senators who rolled over: (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:26:44 AM EST
    Tom Carper (Del)
    Michael Bennet (Colo.)
    Maria Cantwell (Wash.)
    Ben Cardin (Md.)
    Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)
    Tim Kaine (Va.)
    Patty Murray (Wash.)
    Bill Nelson (Fla.)
    Mark Warner (Va.)
    Ron Wyden (Ore.).

    Ben Cardin's going to be hearing from me.


    He'll be hearing (none / 0) (#128)
    by Zorba on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:54:39 AM EST
    from me, too.

    Just (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by FlJoe on Thu May 14, 2015 at 10:02:53 AM EST
    called Bill Nelson office.

    Follow Harry Reid ... (none / 0) (#148)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:10:59 PM EST
    IMO, we will see a bartered solution/a compromise in the style of Tip O'Neill or Edward Dirksen.  The provisions added for separate vote in the sidebar agreement that predictably resulted in the move could well provide the measure of protection as to limiting currency manipulation, okay-ing a trade compact with Africa, tightening enforcement & customs requirements (aka the old tariffs equivalent), etc. that Reid sought in the first instance. (Reid has indicated that the changes were "fair.")

    For years, as I found myself almost bouncing off walls trying to understand the many layers inherent in international trade deals, I couldn't quite merge the "ideal" with the "real."  That may be because there is a lot or regionalism in the negotiation of trade deals ... e.g., Oregon's Senator Ron Wyden supports the international pact because of the number of jobs that have been added to Oregon as a result of the manufacturing/business component in his state; but, other states--particularly Rust Belt--rightly worry (in view of earlier NAFTA consequences) about the ramifications workers in those states.  It is interesting to note as well that states such as Massachusetts have somewhat of a history of protectionism in the 20th century (the shoe industry, for one, and their champion the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.)  Interwoven complexities.

    I've gone back & forth on this for some time ... how to achieve greater protection of and/or equivalent replacement for jobs while not reflexively turning our economic back on the global economy.  We know, of course, that the cheap goods from China and other nations with abhorrent working conditions are not only undercutting certain manufacturing here, but that the threat of that is deeper & broader in future ... does or can an international agreement mitigate that economic imbalance in some fashion or let it thrive unaltered?  As the daughter of a strong union man (and with all the relatives the same), I am troubled by some of the past negative aspects; but, I'm equally aware that the world of today calls for--demands--a prospective approach to obtaining the best deal for the working man & woman that we can get lest we once again bleed jobs by failure to move forward with the world.

    There needs be a bit of wait-and-see here.  That is why it makes sense to pay attention to Harry Reid's cues on this one.  For this deal to get done, it really means that all the players have to be able to have "won" something ... then, each component has to explain to its base that their hard work resulted in some position change.  Already we see that Sherrod Brown has indicated that the agreement to vote on add-on provisions (which he sought) is not too bad, etc.  Watch the signals as all components move from their original hardline provisions in an attempt to get something rather than witness a lose-lose.  Classic negotiation; old-fashioned bargaining.  So far.


    It's Everett Dirksen, not Edward. (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by caseyOR on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:23:42 PM EST
    And let's not get too excited about some kind of Tip O'Neil deal here. Under Tip the Dems caved time after time to Reagan. We would all be a whole lot better off if Tip had been a little less accommodating to Reagan and a little more staunch in his support for what I always thought were basic Democratic principles.

    Yes, it is Everett (none / 0) (#154)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:52:56 PM EST
    And, no, I'm not getting "too excited" about the ultimate result.  What I do expect is that at least some of the add-ons will pass ... because Harry Reid knows that something has to be obtained for any assistance he gives (as Mitch McConnell, who must show that he can get the votes, understands.)

    As to ultimate result--in the Senate--I think that it might be better than feared given who wants a significant trade deal to begin with AND given the reality here that liberals have demonstrated a bit of leverage in that a number of their votes are needed for passage.


    The question for me is (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by caseyOR on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:00:20 PM EST
    will those add-ons really do anything to make passage of fast track and TPP a good deal for anyone but major corporations?

    I think they will not make TPP in any real way a good deal for the vast majority of people.

    And that it was so easy for Obama to get 10 Democratic senators to flip their votes is both sad and infuriating.


    The guy finally learns to handle congress... (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:18:29 PM EST
    ... and this is what he hands us.  

    But I'd sure really love to know what's in it first. I was burned once in my initial support for NAFTA's ratification, and I'm not presently inclined to make the same mistake twice.

    What if (none / 0) (#158)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:16:07 PM EST
    The original position of the Senators who altered their views within 24 hours had been intended to change in the event that the point was made and that the add-on potentials resulted.  The tip-off for me that a negotiating strategy pre-existed --again, if the leverage of the first vote convinced McConnell to include the add-on vote--was the actual rapidity of the move.  It would be very difficult procedurally and otherwise to make the change of view with such speed UNLESS a negotiating condition existed in the first place.  (Plus: Harry Reid gave a cue hours before the vote when he opined about it being too bad, etc. that the add-ons would not be allowed or included.)

    Just an observation....


    I hope you realize that what is at (5.00 / 2) (#155)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:57:36 PM EST
    issue here is the fast track bill that will grant the president the authority to negotiate trade agreements with no oversight from Congress, nor ability to amend the final agreement.  It can't be debated or discussed.  They will have 90 days from the signing of the agreement to hold an up-or-down vote to ratify or not.

    The objection to granting this authority is in part related to the extreme secrecy that surrounds the TPP itself; Congress is being asked to just trust that the president makes the right decisions.

    Another - and just as important - objection is to the ceding of constitutional authority that passing such legislation will represent.

    You raise the matter of unions.  You should go here, and take a look at the organizations and unions that oppose fast-track and the TPP.  It might give you pause.  The AFL-CIO, the International Association of Machinists, Communications Workers of America, the ACLU, among many.

    You're talking about the TPP as if you know what's in it.  You don't - you can't, because as has been widely publicized, it is being treated with all the protections and secrecy of a classified, national security document, with members of Congress only having the right to read in the confines of a highly secure area - they can't even take notes for later reference.  Nor can it be discussed - and the penalties for doing so are severe.  The small section that got leaked made the hair stand up on the backs of people's necks, and not in a good way.

    So, the big decision here is, does the Congress give the president this kind of authority?  It hasn't been done in over 40 years, so that ought to tell you something.

    If the okay this, just consider the authority that will reside in not just this president, whom you apparently trust, but in future presidents, whom you may not feel so warmly about.


    I do understand the issues. (none / 0) (#161)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:30:47 PM EST
    I also know that neither of us know what is in it. And, the position of the Union is understood and very appreciated as well.

    As with the Iran draft--also under wraps as such delicate negotiations often require--the result exceeded expectations.  In view of my genuine concern that tracks with apprehension expressed by labor and tempered by the process & initial result in the Iran situation, I will await further information.

    I am heartened that few are taking the whole process lightly or with naïve optimism ala NAFTA. I'm also confident--and trusting for a practical reason--that Democratic leadership has learned and digested the lessons of NAFTA where undue idealism led us to skip step-by-step enforcement measures. In any event, economies do not stand still; and, in that regard, it seems sensible neither to praise nor condemn what we cannot yet know.  Input on what we want to see in any agreement is key ... and, this time, it has been done (and done well.)  Waiting a bit to see the direction of the matter makes sense to me.


    christine, what is before the Senate (5.00 / 2) (#164)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:04:49 PM EST
    right now is not the TPP, it is the Fast Track trade authority bill.

    That is the legislation that would give the president the authority to negotiate trade deals without Congress' oversight, discussion, input or amendment.

    The jockeying and tap-dancing in the Senate is about getting the president that fast-track authority he so desperately wants.

    Once he gets that authority, he could negotiate and sign the TPP, at which point, Congress would have 90 days to ratify or reject.  And that's all they could do.

    Do you get it?  You're not getting further information on the TPP, other than being spoon-fed whatever the president wants you to know to garner support.  Your members of Congress are prohibited from telling you what's in the actual pact, and the conditions under which even they can access it means it's not likely they even know enough about it.  Why all the secrecy?  Why won't the administration be transparent about this trade pact?

    This alone is why many people do not believe it is wise for the president to be given fast-track authority.   Not just this president - any president.


    I do get it (none / 0) (#178)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:57:06 PM EST
    And, because I get it, I'm willing to wait a bit.  

    For what, christine? What is it (5.00 / 2) (#191)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 07:25:01 PM EST
    you're waiting for?  To see if Fast Track passes?

    It's really kinda simple: do you think the president - any president - should have unilateral power to negotiate trade agreements, most especially agreements we, the people, cannot even know the terms of?

    So, I ask again - what is it you're waiting for?


    This (5.00 / 2) (#192)
    by FlJoe on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:16:14 PM EST
    whole thing is like some cheezy horror movie. Red flags abound and are completely ignored.

    Obama swears by his presidential Nikes that this is a win, win, win situation for every living creature. Matter of fact this deal is sooooooooo good, it must be kept secret lest we cream in our jeans and ruin the party, or something. Makes sense to me.

    Fast track? Whats the rush anyway? Grandma dies unless the deal is done by Thursday? I see fast track as a bums rush, certainly traumatic words for certain Amtrak employees.

    "Casey Jones you better watch your speed."


    Like Anne, (5.00 / 2) (#193)
    by MO Blue on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:18:34 PM EST
    I'm more than curious as to what exactly you are waiting for?

    Since you get it, what exactly makes this such a good thing for the average American that it should not undergo the normal process?


    Thou talk'st of nothing (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by sj on Thu May 14, 2015 at 02:44:49 PM EST
    That's a lot of words to end up at the same place you always do: wait-and-see.

    IMO, the last thing we "need" is "wait-and-see". It is likely to skate right past the waiter-to-see.

    This vote was about fast tracking a far-reaching bill that has classified contents.

    If you're a member who wants to read the text, you've got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.

    By the time anything is seen it may be because implementation of a done deal brings it out into the open.

    By the way, the title of that article is "Extreme secrecy eroding support for Obama's trade pact".  Too bad it didn't erode fast enough.


    Guess what, sj? (3.50 / 2) (#179)
    by christinep on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:58:53 PM EST
    I'll wait & see ... and, let's save the hysterics.:)

    "hysterics" beats groveling, Christine. (5.00 / 3) (#194)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 14, 2015 at 08:43:10 PM EST
    "wait & see"

    By definition, that's too late.  

    Gotta wonder why you wasted that much verbiage defending a treaty whose contents, with the exception of a few wikileaked details, are unknown to you and unknowable.


    Now that you mention it, (none / 0) (#145)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:52:31 PM EST
     I do remember that you're a reader of Yves Smith (Naked Capitalism.) She, imo, is about as smart, un-relentless, and unafraid to Tell-It-Like-It-Is, as any reporter out there. She should be on everyone's "favorites" list if you want the best political/financial analysis possible.

    Other pluses: The "links" accompanying her daily posts are great, and, the site is free.  


    How can (none / 0) (#136)
    by FlJoe on Thu May 14, 2015 at 11:05:16 AM EST
    This be true.
    the law makes it illegal to "collect resource data" from any land outside of city boundaries, whether that land be private, public, or federal. Under to the law, "collect" means to "take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from open land which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government."

    It's Wyoming, Jake. n/t (none / 0) (#150)
    by caseyOR on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:27:56 PM EST
    oh no! on tap for tonight (none / 0) (#143)
    by ruffian on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:49:37 PM EST

    Gay is the new black (none / 0) (#146)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 14, 2015 at 12:59:17 PM EST
    I'm sort of struck by the sudden glut of interesting gay characters in popular fiction.  Expected in GoTs.  Even if they were rather stereotypical.  
    But I just binged the new season of Black Sails. Turns out the primary motivator of the main hard guy pirate is a tragic gay romance.  Didn't see that coming.
    I mentioned Penny Dreadful.  You sort of expect Dorian but the tough guy gunslinger was a bit of a surprise.
    I have been watching the USA series The Dig, which is surprisingly good.   Just learned the tough guy Israeli police detective is gay.  Ok.
    Suddenly they are every where you turn.

    I'm not complaining.


    Btw (none / 0) (#147)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 14, 2015 at 01:03:04 PM EST
    the baby scene is the worst.  I'm sorry I warned you but actually as soon as you see the baby you know what's coming and is like the necro romance last week, nooooo no no.  I don't want to see this.  It's the last scene and its excruciatingly well done.
    It seems this show has made it there mission.  I'm lovin it.

    No problem, I don't mind PD spoilers (none / 0) (#174)
    by ruffian on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:24:32 PM EST
    since reading about it does not near do it justice! Will watch later with a drink in hand.

    I do like the addition of more incidentally gay characters to shows. It doesn't have to be a major plot point, but fine also when it is. Do you watch 'Call the Midwife' on PBS? Maybe not your cup of tea...but a fantastic show. Takes place in 50's east end London, and follows the lives and work of a group of nun and nurse-midwives. A new nurse introduced last season now is revealed to be gay this season when she meets another gay nurse. Of course it is the 50's so minimal PDAs.

    If you want a guaranteed emotional catharsis every week...there it is! I Between the babies and parents, ex-nun who married the most wonderful doctor in the world, and rich female friendships of all type, I dare anyone to make it through an episode dry-eyed!


    Oh yeah..if you make it to near the end dry-eyed (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by ruffian on Thu May 14, 2015 at 04:26:19 PM EST
    the ending voice-over by Vanessa Redgrave will put you over the edge into sob-city.

    I just this afternoon (none / 0) (#181)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 14, 2015 at 05:31:13 PM EST
    finished The Dig.  You might like it.  It started a bit slow but gets up a head o steam.  Basically a story about a bunch of fanatics Christian and Jewish who what to start WWIII by blowing up the Dome of the Rock.   I felt the time was well spent.  10 episodes.  USA.
    USA has been catching up the upcoming series Mr Robot looks great.

    Audience award winner "Mr. Robot" -- which USA described in the program notes as a "psychological thriller" -- featured Christian Slater in a supporting role but was otherwise an unknown quantity going into the fest. And it still proved to be one of the fest's most surprising and intriguing series. It's a testament to the blend of cinematic execution that's invaded episodic narratives in recent years, in combination with the sort of character-centered storytelling that defines the most engaging storytelling. Most importantly, it inspires memories of the 1995 film "Hackers," in the best possible way.

    Mr Robot (none / 0) (#185)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:35:06 PM EST
    I tear up at least once an episode, lol (none / 0) (#197)
    by Anne on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:20:28 PM EST
    Babies being born always makes me cry, and I guess it's the way the writers so richly depict life - and death - and all the emotions in between, that has me watching every week.

    I think the show is up to around 1960, and as someone born in 1953, it makes me feel like I was born in the dark ages - can't believe how primitive things seem!


    marysue (none / 0) (#169)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 14, 2015 at 03:33:57 PM EST
    Dead babies, dead languages, and dead artifacts in the basement of the British Museum - what more could you want from an episode of Penny Dreadful?

    After the breakneck speed at which we were re-introduced to all of our faves in the season two premiere, Penny Dreadful returns to its normal, leisurely creep this week, and is all the better for it. This show is at its best not when delivering jump scares, but instead when building a slow terror over the course of a full hour. I think you can really see that difference in the treatment of the witches this week; sure, last week's carriage attack was freaky, but wasn't Hecate stalking that baby a million times more freaky?

    From our "Train Kept A-Rollin'" file: (none / 0) (#184)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 14, 2015 at 06:24:39 PM EST
    Megyn Kelly of Fox News -- whose low-cut, sleeveless black cocktail dress suggests that she's perhaps meeting some friends at Avenue following the show -- has a few choice words for Democrats like New York Congressman Steve Israel, who are bemoaning the decaying state of our country's transportation infrastructure:

    "There has been a predictable but no less despicable rush to turn this crash into a political talking point. [...] The engineer was going twice the speed limit ... Why aren't we talking about him? How exactly did the infrastructure fail?"

    And of course, Our Miss Megyn's choice words are entirely befitting a so-called news network that also saw fit to allow Sandy Rios, a Fox News contributor and professional homophobe, to posit the crackpot notion that the perceived sexual orientation of Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was somehow a factor in Tuesday's derailment in Philadelphia:

    "I am not inferring to those of you who are gay rights activists and who like to monitor this show, I'm not inferring that this accident happened because he was gay. But I do think it's an interesting part of the story, and I bet it will be edited out. I don't know, but I think it is something to be discussed and I think it's a factor and I doubt you will hear it anywhere else."

    She's probably right on that last part, given that most of us here likely also doubt that we'll hear it anywhere else other than Fox News -- at least, we certainly hope we won't.


    As a statement of community solidarity, ... (none / 0) (#195)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 14, 2015 at 09:10:20 PM EST
    ... with CA Gov. Jerry Brown's executive order that the state's municipalities cut their water usage by 25% in response to the ongoing California drought, this one has resonated with the locals and is much appreciated:

    The folks in charge of the Los Angeles Temple of the Church of Latter Day Saints on Santa Monica Blvd. have allowed the temple's near-iconic green lawns to go brown.

    I've been critical of the Mormons in the past and often for good reason, at least in my estimation. But on this particular issue, I tip my hat to them and say thank you.

    Good for them.

    Do your own research (none / 0) (#203)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri May 15, 2015 at 08:05:48 AM EST
    instead of,asking others to do it for you, Jim.