Saturday Open Thread [2.11.12]

Filed in Open Thread by on February 11, 2012

I’d almost forgotten it was winter, with daffodils coming up and willow trees budding already. Unfortunately for most of my friends, I am a fan of winter and look forward to a few snow days each season, so am hoping there will be a proper snostorm before it is all said and done. But here we are, cruising the internets and catching up on the stuff that happened during the week:

1. The News Journal’s paywall. Which doesn’t seem to have happened, right? Apparently there have been a glitch or two along the way and perhaps it will launch this week. Or perhaps not. It doesn’t look good for a newspaper to not be ready to start collecting on the value they create — especially since this business has been wringing its hands over this very thing almost since Al Gore created the internet. So those of us who want to get the transaction over with (the paying for an electronic version transaction), you need to call the NJ, with your credit card in hand. I know all of you OGs remember how this is done. This is the number — 800-801-3322.

2. Americans Gaining Energy Independence With U.S. as Top Producer — So it looks like the production of natural gas and domestic oil (mostly gas though) are pushing us faster to “energy independence”. You also have to factor in (as this article does) the fact that we’ve been in a deep recession and Americans have cut way back on their energy use and that consumption isn’t rising especially fast as we get out of that recession. (Conservation does pay!) The risk, of course, is that no one is actually paying for the risks of that new energy — either fracking or shale oil extraction. And in your lifetimes, these states will have their hands out to you — the Federal taxpayer — to clean up the mess they’ve made. In the meantime, feel free to ignore any claims to urgency for “energy independence”. (Side question — the price of natural gas has gotten ridiculously cheap. Anyone seen a major reduction in the cost of natural gas on their Delmarva bills?)

3. Tilting the Budget Process to the G.O.P. — You’re kidding, right? The House voted last week to have the CBO analyze proposed budgets by forcing them into a Laffer Curve:

The dynamic calculation would be supplementary and not replace the current official scoring methodology, but the obvious long-term goal is to require official revenue estimates to incorporate “Laffer curve” effects in order to make it easier to cut taxes and harder to raise them.

Notwithstanding the fairly obvious bunkum of this whole thing, is anybody noticing that the GOP is using the legislative process to make the world fit their ideology? Nuts — and it looks to me like Bruce Bartlett is the only part of the media explaining this.

4. The long-awaited mortgage settlement was loudly launched this week and you can count me as part of the unimpressed. FT Alphaville provides the documents and a great graphic breaking it down. Yves Smith explains why you should hate this deal. For me, the $2000.00 settlement on people whose homes were improperly foreclosed upon is the big red flag. It isn’t too far off of those class action suits you join via some postcard in your mail — then three years later you get a check for $2.07. Except this is for people who lost their homes improperly — this is certainly not enough to settle on these folks. And while AGs all over (including ours) have been insisting that this preserves their rights to investigate, sue or prosecute, I’m wondering how much energy they’ll put into this now. I know that this is hard stuff, but banker types really did some pretty bad stuff here and there needs to be perp walks and jail time.

5. CPAC Gangsta Rap — So-called Gangsta rap from the people who are working overtime to invoke every bit of racial stupidity they can to the GOP campaign. Can I get a drive-by from all of you white folks reading this now expelling these people from your race? If these folks are hell bent on embarrassing you all like this, you need to start yanking back their Caucasian Passes, gang.

So what interests you today?

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"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas." -Shirley Chisholm

Comments (27)

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  1. Joanne Christian says:

    What interests me today? Well, since you asked–the mail included the new rules for renewing my driver’s license in this state. OMG. Birth certificate, SS card, and every document showing name changes different from your birth certificate name–as in if necessary, multiple marriage certificates, or divorce decrees. No photocopies permitted. Oh–and other residency verification, complete w/ having been postmarked within the last 60 days. It’s easier to get a passport–go figure.

  2. Liberal Elite says:

    The GOP’s war against women continues. This one is shocking in multiple ways.

    “Republicans Retreat on Domestic Violence”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/opinion/republicans-retreat-on-domestic-violence.html

    “Even in the ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill, it should be possible to secure broad bipartisan agreement on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law at the center of the nation’s efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The law’s renewal has strong backing from law enforcement and groups that work with victims, and earlier reauthorizations of the law, in 2000 and 2005, passed Congress with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

    Yet not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor…”

    Someone should warn women who are foolish enough to align with the Republican party.

  3. JP Connor Jr says:

    Hello everybody, in a continuing effort to actually use facts here I have a little Quiz. Who held a fundraiser in his back yard in Rehoboth tonight which was sparsely attended and included Zero elected officials?
    That’s right it’s that champion of consumers quoted below from May 2010:)

    2:46 AM, May. 13, 2010
    The acting consumer services director for Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart’s office, Mitch Crane, testified Wednesday in general support of the bill, but called for several changes. He said it may treat insurance carriers unfairly and suggested that doctors who order unnecessary tests should also be penalized.

    “Sometimes it’s in the best interest of some doctors to order the tests,” Crane said, since some doctors own test equipment and gain financially by putting it to use.

  4. Joe Cass says:

    Singer Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48 according to the Associated Press and other reports.

  5. mediawatch says:

    On the NJ paywall – tried calling them the other night with a question about the new rates. As soon as I gave the customer service rep the reason for my call, I was disconnected.

    JP: What are we to make of no elected officials showing up for an outdoor fundraiser on a chilly day in mid-February? I mean, do they go to the beach in the rain? You know damn well that elected officials either support the incumbent or try to remain neutral. Don’t care how good the weather is, I wouldn’t count on them flocking to the next KWS event.

  6. MJ says:

    Whitney Houston is dead.

  7. JPconnorjr says:

    Back yard is a regional not a venue reference it was in a Reho restaurant:). Feel free to monitor her next event and report.

  8. MJ says:

    JP – the fundraiser was not at Mitch’s home, it was at Rigby’s in downtown Rehoboth and it was sponsored by The Victory Fund, not Mitch’s campaign.

    If you’re going to misrepresent things, at least get some of the facts correct.

    Oh, BTW, Mitch lives in Lewes, not Rehoboth, but then again, you probably believe that all gays in Sussex County live in Rehoboth, don’t ya? Schmuck!

  9. MJ says:

    MW – KWS will probably have to pay mileage for any officeholder to show up to one of her fundraisers. Either that or fly them in on her broom.

  10. JPconnorjr says:

    Coming from the guy that claims he doesn’t call names. Watch this space for more of your candidates own words. I never said it was at his house see the post above yours.. I made no reference whatever to orientation or where people might live. It is accurate that your candidate’s region is southeastern Sussex .your ability to take innocuous accurate characterizations and weave a tirade does not cover the fact that you did not refute that the event was a bust.

  11. thenewphil says:

    lol @ MJ.

    Also, I’m still reading the News Journal online, so lol @ them too.

  12. thenewphil says:

    Medical Marijuana stopped in its tracks because the governor realizes it’s illegal. I guess I’m confused. Didn’t everyone know that right from the beginning?

  13. Geezer says:

    “Watch this space for more of your candidates own words.”

    At least they’re in recognizable English, which is more than can be said of your candidate’s statements.

    You write quite often about what you’ve learned. Put this one on the to-learn list: Politicians who give you a helping hand when you’re down are most often making down payments on future favors. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Yet here you are, acting the guard dog for the least-qualified public servant in Delaware’s last 50 years (yes, even including Ruth Ann Minner).

    You do neither yourself nor your patroness any honor by attacking her opponent. But don’t stop, because the only way to unseat KWS is by making this race an issue. Please keep it up.

  14. Fighting for the Consumer says:

    Say it ain’t so…

    The acting consumer services director for Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart’s office, Mitch Crane, testified Wednesday in general support of the bill, but called for several changes. He said it may treat insurance carriers unfairly and suggested that doctors who order unnecessary tests should also be penalized.

    “Sometimes it’s in the best interest of some doctors to order the tests,” Crane said, since some doctors own test equipment and gain financially by putting it to use.

  15. Medical marijuana was stopped in its tracks b/c, once again, the maddening Obama Administration changed both its interpretation and prioritization of what should and should not be enforced.

    Add in happy culture warrior Charles Oberly, yet another Joe Biden appointee, and you kill the progress dead.

    Speaking of our local Justice Department guy, how is that investigation into the rampant corruption of the Minner Administration coming?

    I’m gonna wager that it isn’t coming at all. If Joe Biden doesn’t want it (and, don’t forget, he leaned on Minner to keep the Senate seat vacant for Beau), it’s not gonna happen.

    Typical Delaware Way: Screw people in chronic pain from relief, spare the most corrupt administration in Delaware history.

  16. thenewphil says:

    Well, maybe there was a change in the way it is being enforced, but I knew that State Employees were at risk as far back as at least early April, and definitely before the Governor signed the bill.

  17. thenewphil says:

    Trouble finding a link, but it was late march or early April when the Government threatened State Employees in Washington State.

  18. No maybe about it. Just read the article in today’s News-Journal.

    As to the other stuff, hey, you’re a genius. Just hadn’t recognized it yet. Did you write that back then? Or just writing it now with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight?

  19. Geezer says:

    I love this new KWS campaign push: “Our opponent is just as bad as we are!” Good luck with this. Well, not really.

  20. thenewphil says:

    I don’t think you’re following me.

    I am saying: It was well known, before the Governor signed the bill, that the federal government specifically said that state employees would be subject to arrest if they were involved in writing regulations or otherwise administering medical marijuana laws.

    There’s no hindsight needed. It was US Government policy in March and April to put state employees on notice that they were at risk. It was exactly the reason Washington State didn’t move forward in April.

    So, to intimate that they were blindsided by this news just now, and had to stop the program mid stride is disingenuous, at best. The US government had put everyone on notice BEFORE THE BILL WAS SIGNED.

  21. cassandra_m says:

    @Joanne — all of that documentation for your driver’s license is the result of the REAL ID Act, passed after 9/11 to make it harder for terrorists to get good ID. Supposedly. There are plenty of states who are refusing to comply. The downside of non-compliance is that you won’t be able to board planes or get into Federal buildings without a compliant document. It is a National ID, without calling it a National ID. No idea how it adds to security, really. The good news is that when I went to the DMV over a year ago to renew my licence it took about 30, 35 minutes to get it all done. Well organized and snappy, even though they had quite the full house to get through.

  22. cassandra_m says:

    AND, I am going to repeat for the IC candidates and partisans posting here — sockpuppetry is verboten at DL. Pick a name and use it. Posts determined to be written by sockpuppets can be deleted or disemvoweled without warning.

  23. fightingbluehen says:

    thenewphil is absolutely correct. To imply that the Fed issue with medical marijuana is a new revelation is a joke. The Feds have been raiding medical marijuana dispensaries , growers, etc. for many years now. Sounds to me like someone got their marching orders.
    Oh well, another win for the pharmaceutical companies. At least we can still get strung out on highly addictive pain killers when need be.

  24. MJ says:

    The Victory Fund fundraiser for Mitch yesterday was organized by John Klenart, who is on their board. His goal was 25 people and $2000; there were 30 there and they raised well over $2000. Rigby’s donated the food and drinks.

    As you know, elected officials have attended other fundraisers for Mitch: Pete Schwartzkopf, Karen Peterson, John Kowalko, Dave Sokola, Dennis E. Williams, Mike Barbieri, Earl Jaques. Fact is that not a single Democratic elected or party official appears on KWS’s 2011 financial statement.

    Mitch is not anti-insurance company, he is pro-consumer. Huge difference.

    The Bill you are referencing penalized insurance companies that deny tests that are ultimately deemed necessary. Mitch’s statement supported that Bill but called for an amendment to also penalizes doctors that order tests that are eventually deemed unnecessary. The Bill, you may recall, was in reponse to a nuclear stress test being denied. What Mitch was pointing out was that most all of the cardiologists groups OWN their own testing facilities and therefore benefit if THEY order nuclear stress tests instead of the routine test.

    Even though what Mitch said happened to be his own belief, his job was to represent the position of the Department, which he did.

    JP, you’re a one-man misinformation machine. Care to try again?

  25. MJ says:

    Oh, and JP, I never claimed that I didn’t call names. What I did say on another thread is if you’re acting like an asshat, I’m going to call you out.

  26. Will McVay says:

    While we may have known Obama had violated his promise to curtail the DEA’s disrespect of state medicinal marijuana laws, the hope was that Delaware’s laws were written in such a way as to circumvent the issues experience by other states in conflict with federal enforcement policies. The News Journal article describes a specific letter the governor received about Delaware’s laws in particular that encouraged him to punk out. Rep. Keeley is hinting that a reform to the law allowing patients to grow at home may protect state employees from these concerns, and I personally think that makes for better policy anyway.
    http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20120212/NEWS/202120349/Medical-marijuana-law-busted