Open Thread

I am on vacation until Monday, May 7. But, as always, our threads go on. Carry on.

We’ll be in Gloucester MA (Cressy’s Beach, Stage Fort Park) on Sunday, April 29, at 6:30 PM ET for a sunset remembrance of our Trail Mix pal Sean Holton, for those in the neighborhood who might be able to join us.

106 thoughts on “Open Thread”

  1. who knows, maybe someday that bio printer can print us out a whole workable congress. today a kidney, tomorrow a kennedy?

  2. A fight between the Koch brothers and the Cato Institute. This could become interesting.

    Independent and Principled? Behind the Cato Myth
    By Mark Ames, April 20, 2012

    It began as a fairly straight-forward story about a shareholder lawsuit: The Koch brothers, Charles and David, who together own 50 percent of the libertarian Cato Institute, filed suit to recover a 25 percent stake held by longtime chairman William Niskanen, who died last autumn and whose widow has yet to relinquish those shares.

    Cato’s shareholder’s agreement is “pretty clear” according to legal writer Alison Frankel: shareholders cannot sell or transfer their shares without first offering them back to the Institute and then to the remaining Cato shareholders. But there’s one legal ambiguity: Cato’s shareholder agreement “doesn’t specifically address what happens when a shareholder dies.”

  3. Interesting. On the Today show they were showing some young girls who were willing to get into a car driven by a person who said he had been smoking pot. Their mothers were very concerned.

    I Googled it and found that studies find that impairment with marijuana doesn’t lead to accidents. They tend to be a little more cautious.

    “The results to date of crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes.”

  4. more from above nola link:

    Republicans in Washington were among the legislative lions of environmental legislation, but those were days when moderate and even liberal Republicans roamed the Capitol.

    But, said Tulane University law professor Oliver Houck, who has a long history in environmental law, Ronald Reagan began a process of demonizing government that culminated in the rise of tea party politicians like Landry, remaking the GOP into a party “in lockstep” in its opposition to environmental regulation.

    “You can’t be a rational moderate on the environment,” Houck said. “The moderates have been driven out.”

    Still, Houck said, “I think the longing and the passion for a clean environment is at this point in the American genes, it’s widely and deeply felt and you see it surge in really odd places, like Nebraska, rising up over the Keystone pipeline.”

  5. Our local trash collectors delivered a little bucket to everyone last week with instructions on how to recycle “biodegradable” materials that can either be made into mulch or dumped in the brown ground waste container.

    Shade of my childhood without garbage disposals. Everything old is new again.

  6. those were days when moderate and even liberal Republicans roamed the Capitol

    along with democrat dinosaurs and pterodactyl dixiecrats

  7. April 22
    1793 – Philadelphia played host to the first circus attended by George Washington. It would be years before Congress provided a two-ring circus of its own for the President!

  8. Carol

    I saw your comment from yesterday morning where, in essence, you asked what the devil is going with that URL going around for people to check on whether the government’s going to take their internet access away because they have a virus.

    My reaction is, don’t push any such URLs. I consider them to be very high risk.

    Instead, assuming you are using the current version of Windows, which is Windows7, enable all the built-in security options available in that program at the default level.

    Microsoft has been very aggressive in stomping out viruses as they emerge and in tracking down and causing the prosecution of the creators of viruses. They realize those efforts are vital in protecting their consumer base and their brand.

    Microsoft also publishes many recurring very informative and useful tools for home users that will help them stay secure:

  9. solar, have you seen this? one of your competitors?

    In one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by flooding in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, developers have built a prototype house that’s aimed at providing a quick housing solution for areas blown away by hurricanes and tornadoes or knocked down by earthquakes.

    The dwelling in the Lakeview section of New Orleans is somewhat box-like, with a roof that slants inward and an arched structure in front that forms a covered front porch.

    But style isn’t the purpose of the house that’s meant to go up quickly after disasters and then serve as permanent housing that can withstand future calamities. It’s designed to be environmentally friendly, survive outside damaged utility grids and can be shipped in pieces in a single container and assembled like an erector set.

  10. I’d like to remind Susan Collins (why can’t she resign what a loser) and Nooners that the head of the Secret Service is Shrubian

  11. Nooners needs to retire. Today she claimed the secret service scandal is indicative of a slide in our culture and that people no longer want to be mature

    this from a woman who saw magic dolphins and tried to push Nancy out of the way and jump in to Ronnie’s coffin

  12. Mathew Dowd and Nooners prefer to live in the 1950’s
    when people like them could control everything -jerks

  13. Opinion, rumor, innuendo, and emphatic assertion have now supplanted our trust and reliance on truth and facts. A unique way of presenting an idea, or maybe fact.

    Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012
    In memoriam: After years of health problems, Facts has finally died.

    By Rex W. Huppke, April 19, 2012

    People unable to understand how science works began to question Facts. And at the same time there was a rise in political partisanship and a growth in the number of media outlets that would disseminate information, rarely relying on feedback from Facts.

    “There was an erosion of any kind of collective sense of what’s true or how you would go about verifying any truth claims,” Poovey said. “Opinion has become the new truth. And many people who already have opinions see in the ‘news’ an affirmation of the opinion they already had, and that confirms their opinion as fact.”

  14. Where’s Oprah when you really need her Obamarama
    and what about Maria Shriver now and Caroline Kennedy and all those folks…..all I hear are crickets

    and the campaign is depending on the very people they screwed over…women and people who would like to use marijuana legally

  15. Beyond Timothy Leary and Valley of the Dolls: Psychedelic Drugs and Healing in the 21st Century
    by Taylor Marsh

    There is no medical reason to keep marijuana out of the hands of the sick or dying.

    What this is about is money.

    There isn’t a national politician today who will man the line against moneyed interests on behalf of we the people. Neither Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would dare, both of whom are fueled by the same elite few who control the levers of financial power.

  16. Tax fairness would increase growth
    Robert Reich

    Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, wants to lower taxes on the rich. He supports the House Republicans’ plan to cut the highest tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, thereby reducing the taxes of millionaires by an average of at least $150,000 a year.

    This should be a no-brainer. Rich Americans are taking home a larger share of America’s total income than they have at any time since the 1920s, yet paying the lowest tax rate in more than 30 years.

  17. Pat, surely you are exactly correct.

    But, who verified the authenticity of the news release from the ‘FBI’? Who triple checked the accuracy of the URL and the code which it supposedly triggers? Who is willing to stake her reputation that the code hasn’t been hi-jacked? A representative from the Secret Service?

    There is an agency within the government that I would trust to provide the intended service; the FBI sure as hell isn’t that agency.

  18. Obama’s total lack of prevention, cleanup and distribution of reimbursements for the Gulf Coast BP Oil Spill in 2010 just may come back to bite him in the keister.

    George Washington: 2 Years After the BP Oil Spill, Is the Gulf Ecosystem Collapsing?

    The Gulf Ecosystem Is Being Decimated

    The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.

    Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:

  19. Tony , Ron Paul has been speaking out against the drug war for thirty years , And probably will again , in Philadelphia today at another big campaign rally .
    The constitution does not give the federal government authority for the drug war

  20. Olbermann mostly spoke only when asked a question by host George Stephanopoulos. The only exception was his objection to Peggy Noonan’s suggestion that Mitch Daniels and Rob Portman, who both have business backgrounds, would be good vice-presidential picks.

    “Do — do you really want a second businessman on that ticket, though, in light of the — if it’s not a majority view, it’s a very large view right now that business has never been viewed less favorably in this country since they ran Jay Gould out of town,” Olbermann said.

    Noonan answered that a lot of voters associate business people with job creation. “What about running a government?” Olbermann asked.

    Noonan must be suffering from short term memory loss.
    These two clowns ruined every thing they touched in the Bush administration. 600,000 jobs lost in a single month, and 9 percent unemployment are not exactly a sterling record of job creation. Don’t even get me started on budget surpluses!

  21. Romney on spending: Guns triumph over butter

    Reducing government deficits Mitt Romney’s way would mean less money for health care for the poor and disabled and big cuts to nuts-and-bolts functions such as food inspection, border security and education.

    Romney also promises budget increases for the Pentagon, above those sought by some GOP defense hawks, meaning that the rest of the government would have to shrink even more. Nonmilitary programs would incur still larger cuts than those called for in the tightfisted GOP budget that the House passed last month.

  22. guns v. butter cont’d

    Differences over the government’s budget and spiraling deficits are among the starkest that separate Republican Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama. Obama’s budget generally avoids risk, with minimal cuts to rapidly growing health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid while socking wealthier people with tax increases. It’s all part of an effort to close trillion-dollar-plus deficits.

    Romney, by contrast, proposes broad cuts in government spending, possibly overpromising on reductions that even a Congress stuffed with conservatives might find hard to deliver.

  23. flatus, tend to agree with your assessment since they haven’t shown much improvement in their own miscommunications problems.

  24. speaking of communications problems:

    A massive European satellite the size of a school bus that has mysteriously stopped communicating with Earth has been spotted by another satellite in orbit.

    The giant Envisat satellite, which is the world’s largest imaging satellite for civilian use, was photographed in stunning detail by a French spacecraft that is also designed to snap high-resolution images of Earth, officials with the European Space Agency (ESA) said Friday (April 20).

    The photo of Envisat in space reveals that the $2.9 billion spacecraft is intact and that its huge solar array is deployed. Envisat is a huge satellite that weighs about 17,600 pounds (8,000 kilograms)….

  25. YES!… the Bruins win in overtime and force a game seven.

    OSH… the ceremony is next Sunday. Wish you were coming.

  26. willard could pick portman for vp. portman was babybush’s budget director. No onus to him. I think 2/3 of what babybush spent was off budget.


  27. I celebrated Earth Day #1. A pal of mine was pictured in LIFE Magazine buring an auto engine. Man, was that wrong.

  28. Going around the internet :
    “Dear Peggy:
    I don’t know what Founding Father and President Thomas Jefferson would have thought about TV, cars, spaceships, cellphones, skyscrapers, computers or nuclear weapons. But I do know what Jefferson would have thought about the Buffett Rule. He would have liked it.

    The Buffett Rule is the Obama Administration’s proposal to adopt a 30% minimum tax rate on personal income above $1 million a year. It would promote one of the central tenets of progressivism: that the burden of taxes should fall on the rich, not the poor.

    In 1811, two years after Jefferson left the Presidency, Jefferson wrote a letter to General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a hero of the American Revolution. Jefferson said that he supported taxes (then tariffs, since there was no income tax yet) falling entirely on the wealthy. As Jefferson explained: “The farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of this country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings.”

    Here is someone else who was an outspoken proponent of progressive taxation: Adam Smith, who literally “wrote the book” on capitalism. In 1776, in The Wealth of Nations, Smith wrote:

    “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    (I wonder: When Adam Smith wrote about the “luxuries and vanities” of the rich, was he contemplating Mitt Romney’s elevator for Romney’s car? Or is that simply beyond contemplation?)

    Two hundred years ago, when America was founded, progressive taxation was viewed as just common sense. We still have common sense, don’t we?

    First, let’s see the Buffett Rule for individuals. Then the Buffett Rule for corporations. That would be progressive. And that would be progress.
    Alan Grayson”

  29. XR,

    It is not a band width violation, if you have something important to say.

    I would urge all rippers to read it, however there is small point in reading if you are unable to comprehend what you read. The modern GOP, ignorance is bliss. :sad:

  30. XR and Jace,
    You guys have me all confused about the Buffett Rules. All I really need to know is if there is an early bird special.

  31. Flatus,

    I am confused as well. The way this country has been buffeted the last five or six years, I could have sworn that the ‘buffet’ rule was already in place.

    No early bird specials that I’m aware of, but for what it’s worth there is a senior discount. 😉

  32. The early bird catches (eats) the worm. This is the top reason to avoid being an early bird.
    There is a similar old Swedish maxim, Morgon stund har gul i mund. A very literal translation is, ‘morning hours have gold in the teeth’. It means that if you are an early bird you’ll be able to afford gold fillings. However, we smart alexics think that if you sleep late maybe your teeth won’t rot.

  33. Good morning! Did anyone see Sunday Morning yesterday? There was a prosecutor on discussing the Edwards case- she contends that there is / was no law in place that he broke. The feds have had something like 56? agents working on this case. I don’t like the man but I dislike even more the gov. wasting vaste amounts of tax payer’s dollars on cases like this.

  34. Well..IMO Sea..if Edwards didn’t break any laws..they need to throw him in jail..invent some new laws..and then try him. No..I don’t like all the money that the government wastes either.

  35. Quote of the day

    “Suppose God really does say homosexuality is wrong. So what? Even God’s opinion is just an opinion.”

  36. jack, think this will work for her?

    As one of the U.S. Senate’s most endangered Democratic incumbents, Claire McCaskill knows she’s a top target of the new conservative super PACs that have radically reordered the political landscape in 2012.

    Independent conservative groups have already spent more than $3 million on television and radio ads in Missouri hoping to pick up one of the four seats that Republicans need to take control of the Senate.
    McCaskill’s response has been an unconventional and risky strategy: She’s targeting the super PACs right back….
    …. She devoted her first campaign ad for reelection to the argument that out-of-state special interests are trying to knock her out of the Senate in November.

    “You make one company mad by casting a principled vote, and they say, ‘Okay, we’ll just gin up $10 million of our corporate money and take her out anonymously,’ ” she said.

  37. There really are ‘Two Americas’.
    Edwards may be about to find out where the other America lives.

  38. What I did earthday weekend
    First, I was totally oblivious as to it being earthday yesterday.

    I started the week end buying a pickup load of compost to work into my garden. It was still hot and stinky. I got my neighbors attention with the smell, it seems I stunk up the whole neighborhood.
    Saturday, we decided to do landscaping in front of the Bluecorn house
    ( named Bluecorn after Bobs noble experiment, at the time it was a bank owned property, it had sun and our yard didn’t, so we snuck over and planted it’s yard. Sometimes we are gorilla gardeners.)

    We did a raised bed using locking landscape blocks across the front of the house which faces north so will be another shade garden for our hosta collection to expand into. To the side we created a sun garden for the butterflys.
    I needed some dirt so I went back to the compost place, they had “fine sandy loam” top soil amended with 20% compost, or at least that was what the ad said. I bought a pickup load about a ton in weight.
    Wheelbarrowed it around to the garden and filled it with this “soil”. After it was all moved and spread out , I watered it in. The water just set there on top, and set there and set there. we left it over night and the water managed to pentrate an inch in.
    What we bought wasn’t “fine sandy loam” but clay totally useless for anything except leak proofing a pond. So Sunday I dug all that crap out and moved it to the back of the house where I am having water leak into the basement and piled it up against the foundation.

    But I did get my compost worked into garden planted tomatos Pepper Cabbages and eggplant. made some little cages to go around them to frustrate the rabbits.


  39. Book: GOP freshman class turned into ‘a monster’ for Boehner, other House leaders

    ….The freshman resistance caused feuds among Boehner and his lieutenants that led some to fear a mutiny, heightened several showdowns with President Obama and eventually led to fissures among the rookies, pitting those who seldom trusted the leaders against those who reflexively did, according to “Do Not Ask What Good We Do,” an account of the freshman class’s impact by Robert Draper.

    The infighting reached such a point in the fall that some newcomers requested that the weekly freshman meetings be disbanded because they had turned into shouting matches, with freshmen loudly criticizing the leaders….

  40. Pat

    Looks like a good approach. Now all she needs to do is repeat often “New York City Banker” and she will have half the folks in southern MO saying”I don’t like her but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some Sum b*tch from New York City tell me what to do”


  41. noteworthy comment to that above article on the house newbies:

    cliffc1 wrote:
    Why bother with a house speaker if he can not establish and maintain order? Why bother to have a house majority leader if he is unable to consolidate and rally “his” forces? What results is a gross waste of taxpayer time and money expended over two long years to the care and feeding of a bunch of out of control children.
    And they have the Gaul to comment and complain about the waste and abuse of other government agencies while accepting pay and perks for doing nothing. Above all else they are absolute hypocrites.
    This is not what the founding fathers intended and constitutes a gross violation of the Constituton and the public trust. They should be investigated for ethics violations and incompetence.

  42. jace, thanks for the huntsman link. this might help move him up in the possible nominee list for sos (when hill steps down).

    Jon Huntsman leveled harsh criticism at his party on Sunday evening, BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller reported, comparing the Republican Party to communist China and questioning the strength of this year’s presidential field.

    During an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Huntsman spoke candidly about his party’s flaws, lamenting the Republican National Committee’s decision to rescind an invitation to a major fundraising event after Huntsman called for a third-party candidate to enter the race.

    “This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script,” Huntsman said

  43. What I did on earthday… it rained… it was the first full day of rain this spring. I prayed thanks to the rain gods.

    What didn’t I do on earthday… politics. The longer I go giving myself a day off from politics on Sundays… the better it gets.

  44. Hmm, what would Edwards prefer? A month pilloried in the town stocks, eight hours a day, or 25-years hard labor? Let him choose.

  45. Earth day here in our small part of South Carolina was filled with wind and lots of much needed, over two-inches, rain.

    The rain arrived, per usual, after days of failed weather forecaster promises that a deluge was on the way. I finally set the yard sprinklers for the middle of the night. Sure enough, I was awoken by sheets of rain pelting the bedroom window. Thank goodness for the sprinklers!

  46. A few more details for those joining our Sean Holton remembrance — Gloucester MA (Cressy’s Beach, Stage Fort Park) — this Sunday, April 29, at 6:30 PM ET — for a sunset (7:30 PM ET) tribute. It will be quite informal and we’ll do something after, maybe a restaurant or just get some take-out at home. Any questions, write to

  47. flatus, his kids would probably prefer the local stocks option. at least they would have a parent around as they grow up. hard to want to see the cad tossed in prison when they’re the ones that will suffer most.

  48. “Thank goodness for the sprinklers”
    Maybe I will try that the next time the weather critter says it is going to rain because he has sure been a liar this spring. “it’s gonna rain, it’s gonna rain, it is for sure gonna rain this time” and on and on and on.


  49. interesting possible spin-offs of the edwards case:

    How will campaign finance be affected? Though, as Politico points out, “few candidates pay their mistresses,” politicians do tend to rack up other personal expenses. One activist fears that if Edwards is convicted, it will encourage campaigns to foot the bill for those costs by suggesting “every bit of money a candidate spends could be seen as in furtherance of his campaign and therefore … a candidate can use campaign funds for almost anything.”

    How will other politicians be affected? Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. John Ensign both appear to be the subject of similar investigations. Richardson allegedly arranged payments to a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him, while Ensign allegedly arranged payments to the husband of his mistress.

  50. I think buying a pickup was a mistake. I’ve move 2 ton of gravel today by wheelbarrow back to where I needed it. A ton of dirt yesterday and another ton of dirt tommorrow to replace the one I moved twice over the weekend.



  51. Pat
    the interesting thing is that if the money had been from his pac instead of his campaign it would have been legal. There are stringent rules on campaign spending and almost none on pacs and super pacs.



    Tony , Ron Paul has been speaking out against the drug war for thirty years , And probably will again , in Philadelphia today at another big campaign rally .

    Yep, Ron Paul is to be commended for speaking out on the drug war for years..Straight talk and common sense, that is what is needed..Ah, but there’s to much money to be made off fighting the losing drug war..

  53. Bill Clinton’s New Role as Pres. Obama’s ‘Campaign Whisperer’
    by Taylor Marsh

    Bill Clinton’s role is critical, because there’s been no sense that Axelrod and Plouffe have gotten a clue how to run against Mitt Romney with a candidate that’s no longer about “change” and “hope” in anyone’s eyes. It begins with the lack of a campaign slogan. That there has been no mention of what Pres. Obama wants to do in his second term isn’t surprising, because if Pres. Obama came out and admitted he’s in on some form of entitlement grand bargain, his activist base would bail. It’s about defining his opponent as a choice people can’t afford to make, which is best made through Romney’s austerity penchant for the 99%, but not the 1%, with emphasis on his far right policy approach, not populism.

  54. Thanks Patd. That was fun. I like Karaoke..especially when no one can hear me sing.

  55. I think buying a pickup was a mistake. I’ve move 2 ton of gravel today by wheelbarrow back to where I needed it. A ton of dirt yesterday and another ton of dirt tommorrow to replace the one I moved twice over the weekend.




    The money spent on a pick-up would have bought a damn fine skid-steer.

    Good luck with the garden.

    Sell the wheelbarrow. 😉


  56. Eggs have hatched at Laughlin power plant

    By NEIL YOUNG/The Daily News
    Published: Monday, April 23, 2012 1:30 AM MDT
    LAUGHLIN — The two Great Horned Owl chicks at the Mohave Generating Station have hatched.

    Currently, Mom is less worried about her nest being imploded than her chicks ending up on another bird’s dinner table, said Paul Klein, Southern California Edison spokesman. SCE is the plant operator and is overseeing the demolition of the 1,580-megawatt coal-fired facility, which closed at the end of 2005.

    The discovery of the nest delayed the implosion of the boiler structures slated for last Friday, due to the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The act forbids SCE from disturbing the nest. The goal is to try to get permission to move the nest, or barring that, wait for the chicks to grow big enough to leave the nest in six to eight weeks.

    “We have not established a date (for the implosion) yet. We’re still targeting prior to Memorial Day,” Klein said.


    This appeared in our local paper. Thought I had better pass it on to our resident owl lover. :smile:

  57. I am going to buy the a 5 year lease, on a billboard .

    I’m betting everything.

  58. “Spending every nickle . as smart as I can, as fast as I can.”


    Thanks for stimulating the economy. God know it needs it. :smile:

  59. “Still kickin’ ass in Texas.”

    Hell CBob, figured you’d kicked it all by now.
    You been loafin’? 😉

  60. I’ve been moving stone and seeds .
    A Fresh place, at the end of the world.

  61. I’d like to see a fresh place at the end of the world.
    It sounds nice.

    Build it and we will come. 😉

  62. “I’ve been moving stone and seeds.”

    Jack has been doing a lot of that too, I hope that it’s not contagious 😉 .

    Get some sleep.


  63. Jack has been doing a lot of that too ………

    Except it’ll be 101F here in 2 days , and ‘Jack’ is all I get.

  64. ‘Jack’,………… will now explain how 101F in April is perfectly normal.

  65. ‘Jack’,………… Is the word , for a male mule.

    NEVER forget that.

  66. ‘Jack’,………… Is the word , for a male mule.

    And every “Jack’ shoots blanks.

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