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Week In The News: Syrian Peace Talks, Olympic Terror Threats, Obama On Pot

Syria peace talks. The President on pot. A hunt for black widows in Sochi. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Haitham al-Maleh, senior member of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Syria's main political opposition group, sits alone at the opposition table during the first day of the Syrian peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. The Syrian peace talks begin with a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad's future. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Assad's decision to meet peaceful dissent with brutal force had robbed him of all legitimacy, while Assad's foreign minister declared that no one outside Syria had the right to remove the government. (AP)

Haitham al-Maleh, senior member of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), Syria’s main political opposition group, sits alone at the opposition table during the first day of the Syrian peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. The Syrian peace talks begin with a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad’s future. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Assad’s decision to meet peaceful dissent with brutal force had robbed him of all legitimacy, while Assad’s foreign minister declared that no one outside Syria had the right to remove the government. (AP)

No peace in the Syria peace talks and an opening to Edward Snowden in the news this week. In Switzerland, the rage of Syrians has not diminished. In Washington, the Department of Justice saying there may be a deal to be made with NSA leaker Snowden. We’ve got more trouble for governors – Chris Christie and now Virgina’s ex, Bob McDonnell, and his wife. More chemical issues in West Virginia’s water. Black widows in Sochi. The President speaking to pot. And word that the world’s 85 richest people have as much as the poorest 3.5 billion. Wow.This hour On Point, live from New Orleans: our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Stephanie Grace, columnist for The Advocate in New Orleans. (@stephgracenola)

Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent for The National Journal. (@MichaelPHirsh)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

BBC News: Syria Geneva II: UN to hold talks with rival groups – “If all goes well, the hope seems to be that the big political questions which they cannot agree on will be sidestepped, our correspondent says. Instead concrete steps such as local truces and access for aid convoys in Syria will be discussed. But with the lack of trust on either side, even that may collapse into disagreements.”

The Guardian: Rouhani to take center stage at Davos economic forum — “Officials have played down the chances of a meeting between the pair but stranger things have happened in the cushy corridors of Davos, where world leaders mingle freely with celebrities, CEOs and ministers in a more relaxed atmosphere than usual summits. Rouhani announced on Twitter that he was to have bilateral meetings with officials from other countries.”

NBC News: Sochi Olympics terrorism threat: Two more ‘black widow’ suspects identified — “Russian security officials are hunting for two more young Muslim women — so-called “black widow” terror suspects — who they believe are planning to target the final stages of the Olympic torch relay with suicide bomb attacks. Wanted posters distributed by police say that the women have been dispatched by underground groups to attack between Tuesday and Thursday in Rostov-on-Don, where the torch is expected to arrive Wednesday on its way to the Olympic city of Sochi.”

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  • SteveTheTeacher

    “I would love to put a bullet in his (Edward Snowden’s) head.” Pentagon official.

    “In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself.” NSA Analyst.

    “I think if we had the chance, we would end it very quickly. Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower.” Army Intelligent Officer.

    Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/americas-spies-want-edward-snowden-dead

    Those of us committed to social justice do not make such threats. Human life is invaluable, even the lives of those who speak/act in the abhorrent manner of the Espionage officials quoted above. No doubt, any hint of such a vile sentiment towards a government official would result in the government pursuing a terrorism case.

    To Edward Snowden and those of us who support his actions, what is most chilling is the government’s lack of comment / lack of action on these terroristic threats to Edward Snowden.

    • Labropotes

      Steve, I dearly wish that news outlets like NPR didn’t wait for official committees’ conclusions or federal judges’ “maybes” to call what the NSA has done a crime. In this way, Fox news exceeds NPR in openly taking a position when they have one. NPR on NSA domestic surveillance has served primarily as a channel for official propaganda not the fourth branch of government that a democracy needs.

    • alsordi

      These death threats are by entrenched fascists, protecting their power and undeserved paychecks, who use patriotism as cover.
      Edward Snowden is a hero of the bravest kind.
      In the event of his murder, the bankster’s media will attempt to erase or defame his memory and deprive him of martyrdom. Lest we forget.
      Long live Edward Snowden!!
      May he soon meet the girl from Ipanema !!

      • Labropotes

        Snowden for President!

        • alsordi

          Snowden as director of the new Department of Civil Liberties and Intelligence oversight. Diane Feinstein need not apply.

      • MrNutso

        It’s a typical response from ends justify the means type people.

    • John Cedar

      What does your rant have to do with the oxymoronic term “social justice”?
      Musing about vigilantism is not a terrorist threat.

      • SteveTheTeacher

        “What does your rant have to do with the oxymoronic term “social justice”?” – John Cedar

        As Gandhi said: “What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.”

        I didn’t mean to imply that social justice has been fully accomplished in the US.

        Regarding the Pentagon, NSA, Army Intelligence terrorist threats:

        Given the mass surveillance program that President Obama has allowed to continue, the data on on those of us who have visited Glen Greenwald / Laura Poitras sites and sites favorable to Snowden sites, is in the NSA database.

        What is to prevent one of these espionage agents from using such data to identify those of us who are outspoken supporters Edward Snowden and targeting some of us for “accidents?”

        The murderous commentary of the US espionage officials has a widespread terrorizing impact.

    • Fredlinskip

      “Human life is invaluable”.
      Should this not be changed perhaps to “American Human life”. It seems from an American perspective, when it comes to foreign military engagement, collateral damage is just “par for the course” not worth a second thought.

      If Snowden was a spy who was costing American lives, perhaps “taking him out” might be an option. No?
      How many billions has Snowden cost our nation so far?

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Yes.

        The US might go down the path of the East Germany Stasi model whereby the executive branch / military are empowered to kill citizens deemed to be enemies of the state.

        How will the limit be established regarding those who merit state sponsored murder?

        Will murder be OK’d just for Whistle blowers like Snowden and Binney? For critical journalists like Glen Greenwald? For supporters of whistle blowers? For social justice activists?

        On the other hand, with the interconnections brought about through technological advances such as the internet, I see growing numbers of people, around the world, coming to an understanding that the notion that national borders are artificial and anachronistic constructs.

        We get to a better place, worldwide, as outrage becomes more universal following murder, whether by terrorist bomb or unmanned drone strike.

        • Fredlinskip

          Appreciate your concerns, but don’t necessarily agree.

          Part of my point has to do with Americans in general who, especially following 9/11, seemed to be far too casual towards the “value of human life” in their blind rush towards military intervention abroad. Human life IS “invaluable”- whether we are talking about an American citizen or a citizen of Iraq under the rule of Sadaam.(I still maintain that Iraq occupation was misguided and unnecessary, but back to subject at hand).

          I understand that because of our Founding document called the Constitution, our actions are sometimes different if “alleged” offender (or should I say terrorist?) is an American citizen.

          Snowden is not simply a whistle blower. He has compromised American Security. He is no hero. Not everything that NSA does should be public property. There is advantage to secrecy.

          Yes there should be concern about privacy issues, but sometimes these issues should be hammered out behind the scenes by our 3 branches of government and not necessarily completely in public view.

          As far as “bumping Snowden off”, personally if he’s compromising American security and costing us 10’s of billions, perhaps it’s justified.
          Don’t think it would ever happen though.

          • SteveTheTeacher

            Good evening Fredlinskip,

            It is reassuring to hear that you share my sentiment that too few put a high enough value on human life.

            You expressed the sense that Edward Snowden has compromised national security. I remember reading James Bamfords “The Shadow Factory” (2008) in which much of what Snowden revealed was discussed. Whistle blowers Thomas Drake and William Binney later confirmed much of what Bamford reported, and later Snowden, revealed. The major difference between Snowden’s and the previous revelations, was that Snowden provided undeniable documents and official names.

            Additionally, it is my understanding that Edward Snowden has already given all of his data to journalists Laura Poitras and Glen Greenwald. They then made copies which that gave to others and gave orders for distribution of the information in the event of their “accidental” demise. The slow trickle of press reports is a function of the time it takes to go through the documents, and the journalists desire to maintain interest in the topic.

            Adopting a practice of “bumping off” those who leak, or may possibly leak the data, would have to be extended to several journalists, their family, friends, etc.

  • Labropotes

    In the news this week was the revelation that Chinese government officials and their families have been assisted by PWC and UBS, among others, to hide between one and four trillion dollars in Caribbean banks. Credit Suisse helped Wen Jiabao’s son create a British Virgin Island company while his father was leading China.

    This wealth is likely stored in US Treasuries and equities, and in the debt and equities of other developed nations. Would it be appropriate for us to renege on the commitments stolen from their rightful beneficiaries, the Chinese people?

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    Is the issue “income inequality” or “expansion of government”?

    FTA:
    Even on policy, Obama will find Francis a challenge. The Obama administration, for instance, forced an end to a school voucher program in Washington DC – where the federal government has direct jurisdiction – that helped educate poor children and prepare them for economic success. Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Social Development, including the USCCB programs to fight poverty, and he brought up that decision when speaking to the Washington Post about the upcoming meeting. “If Obama would see our way with the voucher system,” Wenski said, “we could help get a lot of kids out of poverty by giving them the tools to have a successful life through Catholic schools.”

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2014/01/23/Pope-s-Views-Inequality-Test-Obama-s-Mettle#sthash.q34uNwMT.dpuf

    • northeaster17

      Doesn’t Congress administer D.C.? That’s my impression.

  • HonestDebate1

    New York Mayor De Blasio didn’t plow the streets of the upper East side in a district that largely voted against him. A political vendetta. Expect a huge media frenzy.

    • jimino

      Here’s the view of the coverage you refer to from one of Gotham’s other journalistic mainstays:

      “The Post, emboldened, filed a follow-up report which noted a series of undoubtedly factual events throughout Manhattan, including: a man cracking his head on the pavement (because of de Blasio); a young
      man on his way to physical therapy unable to get there (because of de Blasio); pedestrians “tumbling to the ground in front of the UN”; and a cabby trying to move his stuck vehicle while declaring, “This is madness. This is bad, bad. Why is it not cleared?” All this because we now live in a terrifying apocalyptic wasteland where the Poors have their streets plowed and sprinkled with gold flake, while the rich fight
      each other near trashcan fires for the last scrap of stewed rat.”

      Oh the humanity.

      • HonestDebate1

        I told you so.

        • Leonard Bast

          You are clearly irony impaired.

          • HonestDebate1

            Now that’s ironic!

      • Ray in VT

        My brother in law and sister in law, who live in Queens but work in Manhattan, are both sick right now. I’m pretty sure that it is De Blasio’s fault.

        • HonestDebate1

          No, it’s obviously Christie’s fault… or maybe Bush.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that Christie’s people had anything to do with it, and Bush’s lies just got our people killed in Iraq and spied on without any sort of judicial oversight. I don’t recall them doing any sort of bio-warfare on domestic opponents. Those people just had to stand in “free speech zones” if they had complaints.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • Ray in VT

            That’s sick.

          • Don_B1

            But note, both George W. Bush and Christopher Christie refuse to acknowledge Anthropogenic Global Warming, which is what is contributing to the loss of Arctic ice, thus weakening the barrier holding Polar Vortices over the North Pole and away from, in this instance, North America. So the additional CO2, that they could have prevented with aggressive policies, contributed to all those incidents.

          • Don_B1

            For the science behind the polar vortex, see:

            http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0106/How-frigid-polar-vortex-could-be-result-of-global-warming-video?cmpid=editorpicks&google_editors_picks=true

            For a longer and deeper explanation that should still be readable/understandable, see

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/06/3122491/cold-polar-vortex/

            Note that yet another vortex breakout is scheduled for early next week, as early as Sunday for the upper MidWest.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are cold Januarys the new normal?

          • Ray in VT

            I’m pretty sure that it is often cold in January, especially during uncommon weather events. Is record January heat in Australia the new normal?

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s always hot in January in Australia, it’s the middle of summer.

          • Don_B1

            The “new normal” is extremes of temperature in both directions but centered on a warmer average and more and bigger storms that will disrupt human life.

            As you well know!

          • HonestDebate1

            Where are the bigger storms? And please, send some global warming my way.

          • Steve__T

            That would depend on, where in the world you are. California Hi 74 F – Lo 39 North Carolina Hi 42 F – Lo 20 F

    • George Potts

      De Blasio is on the right side of income redistribution, so the media will give him a pass.

    • Labropotes

      I think there is a real risk of racial balkanization in NYC if similar events happen going forward. The upper east side is conspicuously caucasian, over 80%, whereas the whole of NYC is 35% caucasian. I for one do not want that. Anyone remember the Bronx in the 70′s and early 80′s?

  • alsordi

    Ban Ki Moon’s lame explanation for not dis-inviting Iran to the Syrian talks was non-sensical double-talk, showing the degree to which the UN is coerced and compromised.
    The world is in desperate need of a true world organization to resolve disputes,and a court to prosecute war crimes such as Guantanamo and Shock and Awe in Iraq.

    This new organization is best not to be located in New York City. Somewhere in Spain or Portugal would be much better.

  • Ed75

    This week was the March for Life, a big success, the March for Life San Francisco is tomorrow. The theme this year was the promotion of adoption, which has largely disappeared. And the goal of addressing women’s welfare in general, of which abortion is not a part.

  • Ed75

    Pope Francis plans to go to Lebanon in the spring where he will meet with the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinope, to mark the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul’s trip to Israel and meeting with the then patriarch in 1964. He plans to travel to South Korea to be present for a national Catholic youth day, South Korea is very Catholic. The report on the apparitions at Medjugorge from 1982 to the present has been given to Pope Francis, we should hear soon, everyone loves Medjugorge. Finally the Vatican archival material about Pope Pius XII will probably be made available to researchers byPope Francis as prior to his possible beatification.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:
    The IRS harassment of the president’s political adversaries and the agency’s role in obstructing the participation of tea-party groups in the 2012 campaign are among the most egregious episodes of Obama administration malfeasance – and that’s saying something with this crowd.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/369222/cruz-holder-appoint-independent-prosecutor-irs-scandal-andrew-c-mccarthy

    • George Potts

      I think my comments are being deleted.

      • HonestDebate1

        Sometimes they get caught in the hopper.

  • George Potts

    #SuperBowlSaturday is the cure for #SuperBowlMondayHangover.

  • Ray in VT

    Illinois GOP Congressional candidate hopeful: tornodoes, autism and dementia are God’s punishment for gays and abortion. Also, the 1929 stock market crash didn’t happen.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/susanne-atanus-gop_n_4652255.html

    • HonestDebate1

      Why on earth do you consider her hopeful with those positions? Did you read the update in your link?

      • Ray in VT

        Maybe because she’s running for the spot, as she did in 2012 and 2010. I did read the update. Does it in any way contradict what I wrote?

        • northeaster17

          In the right Texas or Idaho county she could very well win

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB
          • Ray in VT

            Does he believe that tornadoes are God’s punishment for gay rights?

          • J__o__h__n

            Ed?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            I don’t think so But he does believew that by being a good Democrat that a lady can say “no”

          • Ray in VT

            Who doesn’t think that a lady can say no, aside from some who might not feel that spousal rape is a thing that can exist.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Your empty rhetoric aside, why do you believe more Democrats haven’t called for his resignation? Is it a plank of the Democratic Party Platform that criminal conviction(s) should not bar a Democratic Politician from holding office?

          • Ray in VT

            Politics probably. State laws probably vary as to what conditions bar one from office, and I would be surprised if any party has specifically crafted a plank addressing the issue.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Indeed.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            My friend Pete did a post about how the story of State Rep Carlos Henriquez would have been publicized if he was a Republican from Missouri :

            http://datechguyblog.com/2014/01/27/a-carlos-henriquez-alternative-reality-timeline/

            You can disagree if you wish but you should not ignore the fact that more and more people are seeing the MSM (including NPR,) as a partisan propaganda machine. This is bad for all of us that are concerned with the health of our Republic.

        • Labropotes

          Yeah it does sort of. In the update, it says, “Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, emphasized in another statement that Atanus ‘is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.’”

          • Ray in VT

            I really don’t think so. I think that it’s great that the party denounced her, just so long as it doesn’t back her if she wins the primary, which is probably pretty unlikely.

          • HonestDebate1

            “… which is probably pretty unlikely.”

            Did you mean hopeful?

          • Ray in VT

            In what regard?

          • Labropotes

            Like Lieberman? /sarc

        • HonestDebate1

          Other than the fact that she has no reason whatsoever to be hopeful, no. But it did contradict what you implied. Maybe I inferred but in the context of your repeated efforts to paint the GOP as full of Aikens and Moudocks, my opinion is you were implying the GOP thought like her.

          Maybe you can prove me wrong by denouncing in the strongest terms that the GOP, as a party, supports her positions. You won’t hear the right saying Democrats think Guam will tip over and that Neil Armstrong planted a flag on Mars. That would be just as ridiculous despite the fact those people are actually holding office.

          • Ray in VT

            So, the establishment is just stepping on an independent, proud Christian? Why is the GOP so anti-Christian?

            I implied nothing. I merely cited that fact that yet another person is seeking elected office as a Republican makes outrageous claims regarding God punishing America via disease and weather. Such positions may not be planks in the GOP platform, but there certainly seems to be a problem in the party with some of its elected members expressing such views.

          • Labropotes

            That’s not fair, Ray. What group can’t be put down by projecting the most extreme views of one member onto the entirety?

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think that I really said that. I am, however, pointing out that there are certainly examples of candidates and elected officials within the GOP that have made such claims. Such views are fairly routinely expressed in the white evangelical community, which leans pretty heavy towards the GOP.

          • HonestDebate1

            So now you’re interjecting race too?

          • Ray in VT

            I am merely citing facts. Do you have problems with facts? It’s not like I’m making a bunch of claims about out of control black people going on crime sprees.

          • HonestDebate1

            Facts? Here ya’ go.

            Bill Clinton and MLK Jr. are/were evangelicals. The Democrat party is plum full of black Christians. I don’t get your injecting race at all. You seem to be judging by the color of skin.

          • Ray in VT

            Great anecdotal evidence. Next thing you’ll be telling me is that Rush’s audience is diverse because of a picture that he put on his website.

            79% of white evangelicals voted for Romney in 2012. The statements of people like Pat Robertson and John Hagee are full of the sort of “God’s going to get us for being good to the homersexuals” sort of talk that comes out of the mouths of some GOP candidates.

            How am I judging by the color of one’s skin? I am merely observing the statements that come out of one community and noting that one party’s foundation rests upon that bloc. Where would the GOP be without such people? Their support makes several states into battlegrounds, but even their opposition to gay rights couldn’t get the GOP in some of those states over the hump during the past couple of cycles.

          • HonestDebate1

            Rush’s audience is diverse because they are diverse. What does the color of skin (other than aesthetics) have to do with diversity? Walter Williams and Al Sharpton are as diverse as can be.

            And yes I know, the Pat Roberts presidency was a sad chapter for America.

          • Ray in VT

            Please cite some facts to back that up. I have provided you with sources, and you gave me a picture.

          • HonestDebate1

            The picture had nothing to do with race. It showed a bunch of kids enjoying his best seller.

            Again, what does skin color have to do with diversity if one believes people are capable of independent thought?

          • Ray in VT

            Or showed an old man misinforming some poor kids. My heart goes out to them.

            “What does skin color have to do with diversity”. It has a lot to do with it, as a group that is overwhelmingly of one ethnic group cannot be called ethnically diverse. I wouldn’t call dittohead nation capable of independent thought.

          • HonestDebate1

            Oh I see, diversity means ethnically diverse. Evidently, if you add great importance to that then it’s not only ditto heads who are not capable of independent thought. I disagree. I add no importance to ethnicity other than personal curiosity.

            Put Clarence Thomas, Toure’, Thomas Sowell, Al Sharpton, Allen West (love him) and Cornel West in the same room, now that’s diversity that counts. Or put Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Bill Richardson, John Lewis and Keith Ellison is a room and ethnic diversity doesn’t mean squat.

          • HonestDebate1

            That wasn’t much of a denouncement. Do the following cozy up without contradiction? I don’t see how.

            “…there certainly seems to be a problem in the party with some of its elected members expressing such views.”

            “I implied nothing.”

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t think so. I merely cited an example of a candidate taking an extreme position. You could have left it at that, but if you would like to also discuss the comments of Virginia State Delegate and one time U.S. Senate hopeful Bob Marshall, then we could bring him into the discussion, Virginia Lt. Governor candidate E.W. Jackson’s comment regarding how homosexuality “brings the judgement of God”. Perhaps we could also discuss the Florida candidate who has called for President Obama to be hanged.

          • HonestDebate1

            You have such a supple wrist.

          • Ray in VT

            Thank you. I try to keep in shape. I take it, though, that you may have another meaning in mind?

          • HonestDebate1

            Who. (that’s not a question)

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — not only those who have been elected, but also candidates and others as well.

            Whether this “wingnut phenomenon” is new, or simply better reported, is an open question.

            And of course, there are wingnuts within all political affiliations.

          • Ray in VT

            Agreed on the last point. I think that it is probably just better reporting generally. Take, for instance, crime. People seem to be under the impression that crime is on the rise, perhaps due to how the media report crime, despite the fact that crime has been in a pretty significant decline for some time.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — TYFYR.

            The abundance of devices that can easily record images is also a large factor, as are the advances is near-instantaneous information sharing.

            One of my first paid jobs was in the “wireroom” shared by two local newspapers. It was filled with teletypes loudly banging out reports from various news organizations onto rolled paper. The reports were then torn off, sorted by department, and sent around the building via conveyor belts (to those on the same floor), and pneumatic tubes (to other floors).

            Photos came across wirephoto machines, which were early versions of fax machines. Believe it or not, the machines would ring, then the telephone receiver would be jammed into the wirephoto printer.

            Obviously, things are quite a bit different these days.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          So are the LaRouche backed candidates Democratic hopefuls? What about those supported by the Phelps Cult, are they the avatars of the good Democrats? Of course not, no one would. But inside an extremist echo chamber such baseless charges are taken seriously.

    • MrNutso

      You mean it’s not true? That would be an easier explanation than man cannot control the weather or the brain.

  • George Potts

    Can we all agree that 4th trimester abortions are wrong?

    • John Cedar

      No! Because its HER body!
      Which is why the MSN ignored the infanticide trial in Chicago until they were shamed into covering it.
      They figured abortion a few minutes into the fourth trimester was close enough to the third to not count and not be newsworthy.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8SKL6bnkNU

    • MrNutso

      4th trimester?

  • George Potts

    #SuperBowlSaturday is the cure for #SuperBowlMondayHangover.

  • HonestDebate1

    Dinesh D’Sousa has been brought up on Federal charges. He wrote a book that was highly successful and critical of Obama. Who could seen that one coming?

    http://hotair.com/archives/2014/01/24/obama-critic-indicted-for-campaign-finance-fraud-obstruction/

  • George Potts

    #Obama #420

  • George Potts

    Dennis Rodman is being investigated by Obama for two reasons:

    1. He is embarrassing Obama by cozying up to Kim Jong “Kill My Uncle” Ung.

    2. His last name is close to Hillary’s maiden name, Rodham.

  • George Potts

    Are they going to talk about the debasing of most of the world’s currencies in Davos?

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:

    Since then, of course, the new “weaponized IRS” has, in fact, come to be seen as illegitimate by many more Americans. I suspect that, over time, this loss of moral legitimacy will cause many to base their tax strategies on what they think they can get away with, not on what they’re entitled to. And when they hear of someone being audited, many Americans will ask not “what did he do wrong?” but “who in government did he offend?”

    This is particularly true since the Obama administration is currently changing IRS rules to muzzle Tea Partiers.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/01/20/irs-scandal-obama-donald-korb-tea-party-column/4647671/

  • George Potts

    Don’t government officials realize it is a lot easier to make your own marijuana than it is to make your own beer, wine, and spirits?

    It is foolish to think he that taxing marijuana will not be subverted by people growing their own.

    That being said, Obama should commute all sentences of people in jail for marijuana sales and possession.

    • John

      Uh…. Tobacco? Economies of scale would eventually have most people buying rather than growing out of convenience… I think it is foolish to believe that most people would take the time and effort to set up complex grow cycles (plants can take 3-4 month before harvest), understand plant cloning (only female plants produce good smoking buds), pay for expensive lights and ventilation for the winter and then they have to understand the curing process as well… Sure people will grow but probably no more than people brew.

      • George Potts

        It is a lot harder to grow tobacco than it is to grow marijuana. Hemp is a weed, tobacco is hard to grow and process.

  • George Potts

    The reality show I am waiting to come to the US: “Benefits Street.” The real picture of income redistribution.

  • northeaster17

    NYTimes today
    “Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change”

    “Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change.”
    First the Pentegon. Now these guy’s. Might a few more minds be changed?

    • HonestDebate1
      • HonestDebate1

        Never mind, I stand corrected.

        http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/08/14/mega-droughts

        • northeaster17

          Good to see you coming around

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        It causes both droughts and floods. In different places and/or at different times.

        Does it cause cognitive dissonance?

        • HonestDebate1

          Yes, evidently it causes everything under the sun; droughts, floods, hot weather, cold weather, snow and ice in Antarctica that is melting glaciers… or something.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Those things are not contradictory.

          • HonestDebate1

            I understand, AGW causes them all. Surely your agree.

          • jefe68

            A little challenged in basic climate science I see.

          • nj_v2

            Science is among the many challenges for DishonestMisDebatorGreggg.

        • Don_B1

          It’s mention is a trigger for [Dis]HonestDebate1′s mind to visit the large portion of his brain’s inanity store.

          He just loves to set off a distracting thread on any blog with false claims.

          In other words, it brings the troll out.

    • George Potts

      What does drinking water in India have to do with global warming?

      I do believe that drinking water is important and does need to be managed.

      These things are not related.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Last time I looked, India is on the same globe. Water evaporates more in warmer temperatures, and snow pack fed rivers are the source of water in India and many other places – like California.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    The drought and wildfires in California is an issue that is raising it’s ugly head. The satellite pictures of the year to year comparison of the Sierra Nevada snow pack is disturbing:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82910&eocn=home&eoci=iotd_readmore

    The revelation that there was (at least?) a second chemical spilled into the *drinking* *water* for at least 300,000 people in West Virginia – and everybody else who lives downstream, along the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers is criminal. The WV governor Tomblin(?) is also criminally negligent.

    • George Potts

      So, what is your solution?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Isn’t the free market already solving it?

      • northeaster17

        Lets start with stonger oversite over industry that reside near or discharge into waterways.

    • nj_v2

      Related:

      Watch the planet get hotter for the last 130 years:

      2013 Continues Long-Term Warming Trend

      NASA Earth Observatory

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pXFkPTomCI#t=25

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Related?

        “In a joint press conference NOAA and NASA have just released data for the global surface temperature for 2013. In summary they both show that the ‘pause’ in global surface temperature that began in 1997, according to some estimates, continues.”

        http://www.thegwpf.org/nasa-noaa-confirm-global-temperature-standstill-continues/

        • Ray in VT

          Interesting how you just about always link to the “skeptics” versus going straight to the source, such as the NCDC, which pegs 2013 as the 4th warmest year on record.

          • 1Brett1

            I’m just surprised that he didn’t use the example of his ice cubes not melting in his scotch to prove global warming is a liberal scam…

          • HonestDebate1

            The ice does melt but the level doesn’t change. Go figure.

          • Ray in VT

            So the oceans are like a glass of water (or scotch)? Can the level in your glass also be 20cm higher on one side than on the other?

          • HonestDebate1

            It depends on how much of the Scotch you drink and the phase of the moon.

          • Ray in VT

            How much have you had this morning?

          • HonestDebate1

            Not enough.

          • Don_B1

            The reason for that has been known since the days of Archimedes!

            Maybe you should try to find a time travel machine and go back to talk to him. I doubt he would put up with you for long.

            But he could send you to the Borgias for lying.

          • HonestDebate1

            Lie? I thought you just agreed. Geesh.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            It is still 17 years with no warming. We are now past Santer’s 17 year threshold that he set in 2007. I wonder if he has revised his theories.

          • Ray in VT

            17 with no warming, eh? That moving average has certainly climbed over the past 17 years, although if one just wants to pick an anomaly of a year and call that the starting point, then one can do that, but I don’t think that it is a particularly valid way to go. This decade is certainly on pace to be warmer than the last, which was warmer than the last, which was warmer than the last, and if winds pushing warmer waters further down into the Eastern Pacific reverse, as happened in 1997-1998, then we might very well see a return of an increased rate of land/ocean temperature rise.

        • nj_v2

          More stupid, denialist smoke from the usual suspects.

          Why are so many conservatives so ignorant of science?

          David Whitehouse? Haha. No demonstrated experience or expertise in climate, proven history of disinformation.

          Just the kind of source that shills like WftC like to cite.

          http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=David_Whitehouse

          Failed 2010 Global temperature prediction

          In an early December 2010 Global Warming Policy Foundation blogpost, Whitehouse predicted that “2010 will be remembered for just two warm months [March and June], attributable to the El Nino effect, with the rest of the year being nothing but average, or less than average temperature.”[2]

          According to the NASA and NOAA datasets, 2010 tied with 2005 for the hottest year on record[3]; and NASA’s GISS data showed November 2010 as the hottest November on record[4].

          And the use of the term “average” in Whitehouse’s statement was misleading, as the dataset referenced (CRU, through Oct 2010) actually shows every month in 2010 to be considerably warmer than the corresponding historic (1850+) average.[5] – a pattern evident visually inNASA’s GISS data.[6]. Whitehouse later explained (see Talk page) that he meant the “average” for just one decade – a timeframe statisticians consider too short to be meaningful[7] in seeing the underlying trend.[3]

          Another of Whitehouse’s blogposts [4]at the GWPF was debunked by London School of Economics climate change guru Bob Ward with the epithet “I do not know of any other web page about global warming that is so error-ridden.”[8]

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            More attack the messenger deflection. I have no idea who Whitehouse is or who Bob Ward is and I don’t care.

            The scientific record is not disputed by the scientists. It is only disputed by propagandists. Can we call them ‘deniers’?

          • Ray in VT

            So you don’t know or care who wrote what you linked to or what their qualifications or associations are?

            So the “skeptics”, who are labelled as “deniers” by many who support the scientific community’s assessment of the situation, and who have been known to call the scientific community liars, cheats and allege that they are a part of some sort of vast conspiracy, call who exactly “deniers”?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I don’t care because his statement that the pause in the global temperature record continues is accepted by the scientific community. So he is not the ‘source’; he just summarized the record and that is why I quoted him.

            Therefore, any attempt to smear him in this case is a deflection and I have little patience for it.

          • Ray in VT

            The facts are the facts, although statements such as “When asked for an explanation for the ‘pause’ by reporters Dr Gavin
            Schmidt of NASA and Dr Thomas Karl of NOAA spoke of contributions from
            volcanoes, pollution, a quiet Sun and natural variability. In other
            words, they don’t know.” certainly betrays some prejudices I think. It seems to me that he is attempting to downplay the longer term concerns of the scientific community in this area and either ignoring or downplaying issues such as despite a rather weak solar cycle global temperatures have remained elevated.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Ah. They don’t know. Now there is something we can agree on.

            However, the temperature record is the temperature record.

            I think a sea change is happening in the scientific community as a result of the hiatus in warming. Instead of monolithically looking toward CO2 they are starting to look at natural variability. Maybe the science will get better as their minds open up.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that their minds are plenty open. I just think that for almost all of those involved heavily in researching the area “natural variability” has been ruled out.

          • Don_B1

            What “scientific community” are you referring to, the few who populate WUWT and other like websites such as the one you linked? Those that publish distortion and lie after distortion and lie, like the one you linked to?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Are you denying the temperature record?

            From Dr. Judith Curry’s testimony to the Senate last week:

            “For the past 16 years, there has been no significant increase in surface temperature. There is a growing discrepancy between observations and climate model projections. Observations since 2011 have fallen below the 90% envelope of climate model projections”

            http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/16/senate-epw-hearing-on-the-presidents-climate-action-plan/#more-14335

          • HonestDebate1

            Bingo.

          • Don_B1

            And YOU support the propagandist camp!

            TROLL!

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            More name calling. The refuge of scoundrels. So sad.

          • Don_B1

            I am describing your conduct on this site; as they say, if the shoe fits, …

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            What is the “propagandist camp” that I support?

            I am against propaganda. What I am for is proper scientific method and honesty in reporting the science.

          • Don_B1

            Actually, there are some AGW deniers who do know the science, but they use their knowledge only to create false claims that appear to be scientific to those who are less scientifically literate.

            Whether Mr. Whitehouse is one of them I would not know.

    • hennorama

      Neil Blanchard — if you think the Sierra Nevada lackofsnowpack is disturbing, you probably shouldn’t watch the film Chasing Ice.

      From the website’s synopsis;

      “Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.”

      See:
      http://www.chasingice.com/about-the-Film/synopsis/#sthash.t67diMC3.dpuf

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        I have watched it, and it is beautiful and disturbing, all at once.

        • hennorama

          Neil Blanchard — I agree.

          I suspected that you would have already seen the film, but reckoned it deserving of any possible promotion.

    • tbphkm33

      I read an article just yesterday about how California and the southwest has experiences mega droughts lasting decades and even centuries in the past. Scientists are wondering if today may not be the start of another mega drought. Would be ironic if the region was settled and grew in an unusually wet century.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        According to the tree rings, this may be the worst drought there since ~1580. I’m sure it has been dry before, but the question is, how dry will it be now with the effects of climate change?

    • Don_B1

      The economist William Nordhaus has just completed a book, reviewed here:

      http://blog.yupnet.org/tag/economists/

      which demonstrates the economic consequences of ignoring the burning of fossil fuels for energy.

      See also, this summary from Peter Sinclair:

      http://climatecrocks.com/2014/01/22/think-on-these-things/

      and this:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/kristof-neglected-topic-winner-climate-change.html?emc=edit_tnt_20140119&tntemail0=y&_r=0

      from Nicholas Kristof.

  • MrNutso

    Republicans are ready to enter debt ceiling hostage negotiations.

    “A clean debt ceiling bill cannot pass the House”. Unless of course, they let Democrats vote for it.

    • George Potts

      We have entered a new era. Government can spend without limits and there will be no consequence.

      Until there is.

      How big a wheelbarrow of hundreds will you need to buy a loaf of bread? Michelle will say, if they can’t buy bread, they can just eat cake, on the Vineyard.

      • lobstahbisque

        I prefer sherry on the porch myself.

        • Labropotes

          Bread? That wheat could have been used to make beer!

    • George Potts

      The easier method.

      Spend less government money.

      Make people who collect a government check do something for it.

  • MrNutso

    And lets not forget, we need the Government to stop helping women control their libido or reproductive systems.

    In a somewhat ironic twist, unlike other safety net programs where if you take away the benefits people will get off their backs and start looking for a job, eliminating contraceptive benefits will prevent women from getting on their backs.

    • George Potts

      What. That is the mythical “war on women” that the Democrats have invented to scare people of dweeby Republicans who care about viable fetuses with a heartbeat.

      • lobstahbisque

        You newbees are so cute!

      • MrNutso

        So how do you categorize comments about rape, birth control, and requirements for transvaginal ultrasounds?

        • nj_v2

          Please, DNFTTs.

  • George Potts

    Earning money and working are so old fashioned. We have entered a new era where the winners pay to bribe the “non-winners” into poverty and dependence on government administration of their lives.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      I’m sorry, but your fantasy is not insulting enough people. Please try to come up with something that insults everyone with it’s fact-free theory.

      • MrNutso

        It’s free association day at On Point.

        • jefe68

          I thought it was feed the troll day…

  • George Potts

    Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are so wealthy that they can pay for my healthcare.

  • George Potts

    Is anyone going to support the global warming myth today?

  • George Potts

    Higher ed has destroyed themselves on easy money from government loans.

    Kids should be allowed to declare bankruptcy to get rid of student loans.

    • alsordi

      If bankers with their funny bloated assets can get bailed out with more funny money… why not students as well?

      • George Potts

        So, we agree.

  • DeJay79

    Wow GP is in full troll mode today.

    • George Potts

      Trolls disagree with you. Idiots agree with you.

    • jefe68

    • jefe68

      Maybe he’s had to much caffeine this morning.
      Either way this chap is the front runner for today’s troll award .

    • hennorama

      DeJay79 — few monikers deserve an automatic click of the handy [Collapse] minus sign, but this may be one.

      • nj_v2

        Unfortunately, that just disappears the one post. Digust needs an “ignore-handle” function.

  • alsordi

    How appropriate that such a total fraud as is John Kerry spout such arrogant hypocrisy and empty demands to the rest of the world.

    • George Potts

      Did Kerry threaten Assad not to cross a red line?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Hopefully, one of these days Obama will approve the XL Pipeline so that we can benefit from the creation of many jobs and cheaper oil as a result of getting those tar sands oils flowing, refined, and delivered to gas stations throughout the country so that the American people can benefit.

    • George Potts

      Isn’t there an owl or a newt that will be negatively affected by the pipeline?

      The “protection” for the spotted owl isn’t working. The spotted owl is losing to the barred owl. Human impact was a red herring to ban logging.

      • Labropotes

        0.2% of Oregon’s old growth forest still exists.

  • nj_v2

    ConservoWorld jackazzery, malfeasance, regression, and general idiocity of the week…

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/south-dakota-attorney-general-marty-jackley-martin-luther-king-capital-punishment

    South Dakota Attorney General Quotes Martin Luther King To Express Support For Death Penalty

    [[ South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley pulled a quote from an unlikely source this week to emphasize his support for capital punishment.

    Responding to the Supreme Court's rejection of an appeal from death row inmate Charles Rhines, Jackley cited Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" in applauding the decision.

    “The United States Supreme Court’s order today affirms that South Dakota has taken proper precautions in drafting and implementing its death penalty statutes to assure that they meet constitutional requirements. Donnivan Schaeffer’s family has waited 22 years in their search for justice. In the wake of yesterday’s day of remembrance, it is well to recall what Martin Luther King Jr. recognized in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail: ‘Justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”

    It was strange, as the Argus Leader's David Montgomery noted, because King was an avowed opponent to the death penalty. ]]

    (clipped)

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/florida-house-candidate-joshua-black-calls-for-hanging-of-president-obama/2161944

    Right-Wing Media: Low-Income Americans Are Inheriting Too Much, Working Too Little
    Right-Wing Media Take BLS Study Out Of Context

    [[ "Ignoring the fact that Limbaugh, Friends, and National Review are attacking a straw man -- they never identify anyone who is arguing that wealthy Americans don't work hard -- their argument omits an important statistic from the BLS study they cite: The average value of "wealth transfers" (of which inheritances are a large percentage) to low-income Americans versus those to wealthier Americans." ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/ann-coulter-pot-economy-piers-morgan_n_4650921.html

    Ann Coulter Is Against Weed Because A Pool Guy Didn’t Clean Her Pool, Or Something

    [[ "Ann Coulter railed wildly against the legalization of pot on Wednesday, saying that it would turn people into drugged zombies incapable of work—or something like that." ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://www.salon.com/2014/01/22/glenn_beck_says_bill_nyes_fight_against_creationism_is_like_the_catholic_churchs_war_on_galileo/?source=newsletter

    Glenn Beck says Bill Nye’s fight against creationism is like the Catholic Church’s war on Galileo
    The right-wing pundit says proponents of teaching creationism in school will be vindicated by history

    [[ "On Tuesday night, Glenn Beck apologized for using divisive rhetoric and helping to “tear the country apart” while he was a host at Fox News.

    In a related story, on Tuesday night, Glenn Beck compared Bill Nye the Science Guy to the people who silenced and oppressed Galileo, one of history’s most celebrated thinkers." ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/florida-house-candidate-joshua-black-calls-for-hanging-of-president-obama/2161944

    Florida House candidate Joshua Black calls for hanging of President Obama

    [[ ST. PETERSBURG — As Americans honored the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, a Republican candidate for Florida House District 68 said President Barack Obama should be hanged for war crimes.

    "I'm past impeachment," Joshua Black wrote on Twitter. "It's time to arrest and hang him high." ]]

    (clipped)

    • William

      Your Left Wing Nutters Gov. Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio telling the world that anyone that is pro-life is not welcome in the state of New York really is a great way to start off the New Year huh?

      • Ray in VT

        When did they tell any pro-life people to get out? The North Country is going to get pretty depopulated, especially if those “nutters” want to kick out the people who think that homosexuality is pretty much the same as bestiality. On the bright side, though, maybe my brother can pick up some cheap land from all of the people getting kicked out.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          Ray inVT Endorses New Trail of Tears!!

          • Ray in VT

            I’m just looking out for my own, which Ayn Rand says I should do without compassion, as that is disgusting and weak. So, in conclusion, screw those people.

          • jefe68

            Oh please. Stop whining.

    • HonestDebate1

      Dude, Obama said honor MLK by signing up for Obamacare.

      • Human2013

        Sounds good to me. There is no way that you can tout human equality and deny humans basic medical care. MLK would be on board with Obamacare.

        • HonestDebate1

          No one was denied basic medical care. MLK was a Republican who believed strongly in education, a firm work ethic, and independence. I don’t agree at all.

          • Steve__T

            MLK was a Republican !!!!!!

            Haaaaa HA haaaa..Ooooooo good one.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s true.

          • Steve__T

            OK I’ll bite, prove it.

          • HonestDebate1

            Why? Look it up and disprove it. There are theories out there you can counter with but I do think it’s funny that you seem totally surprised by something that been known. He was also the worst kind of scoundrel according to many here, he was a Southern Baptist preacher.

          • Steve__T

            Look up what? What theories? You are, in my son’s vernacular “Wacky Wacked”

            OBTW thanks, for biting on my bite, and exposing yourself as the true, dishonest Mass Debator #1

    • hennorama

      nj_v2 — don’t forget this little gem:

      “On MLK Day, tone-deaf Sarah Palin says Obama plays the race card”

      FTA:

      [[Showing pure contempt for the ideals that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. embraced, and on the day we have chosen as a nation to celebrate his life, the former Alaska governor chose to make a spectacle of herself on Facebook.

      This is the entirety of her post:

      “Happy MLK, Jr. Day!

      “‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.

      “Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.” ]]

      http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-ra-on-mlk-day-tonedeaf-sarah-palin-says-obama-plays-the-race-card-20140120,0,3099194.story#ixzz2rLCByooK

      • HonestDebate1

        How can you possibly find fault with that? How is calling for racial harmony playing the race card?

  • stephenreal

    What if Snowden is working for the internet gangsters out of the Soviet bloc states?

    • northeaster17

      There is a long way to go to make that sort of charge stand on it’s own

  • Labropotes

    Let’s remember that Eric Holder recommended the pardoning of Marc Rich who fled American justice for a purely ignoble purpose, but was very generous to Friends of Bill.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      How much money do you think Rich paid US Justice official Holder back then to push Rich’s pardon to the front of the queue, in violation of the department’s own policies? After all, Rich and his money were in Switzerland.

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Rich’s money isn’t doing him any good now! Justice for all of his market manipulation and greed may be delayed, but it is not denied.

    • George Potts

      Are you saying if Snowden were to donate a significant amount of money to Obama or the Democrats they might appreciate the kindness of strangers.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Snowden knows what he faces if he returns to the USA. A GITMO US Justice system headed by two black lawyers: Holder and Obama. Given our civil rights history.. isn’t that ironic?

    • stephenreal

      race baiting so soon white man?

  • George Potts

    Bring back the “Choom Gang”

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    GOPer politicians curse the day they were born — with only two hands to stick in your pockets. Republicans crossbreeding with octopi. Look for it soon on the Recombinant DNA channel. Check your cable provider for details.

    • George Potts

      You win the troll award.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Classic projection. A call for psychological help.

  • Mark Billian

    Does Snowden even own the material he is accused of stealing so that a plea bargain can call for him to halt the disclosures? Hasn’t he turned the documents over to the Guardian and the Times? Wouldn’t he reply that the material is out of his hands?

  • George Potts

    Ray Nagin refused to send school buses to evacuate the Lower 9th because he didn’t want to disrespect them with simple transportation. He felt better letting them suffer.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    GOPer pol money-grubbers make the Clintons almost look honorable. Almost.

    • George Potts

      Nope. The Clinton Foundation has collected billions from foreign governments.

      • HonestDebate1

        But there was no controlling legal authority… or something.

  • SteveTheTeacher

    Interesting to hear the generally positive spin on the National Bureau of Economic Research finding that the ability to climb the economic ladder has not changed in the last few decades.

    In the same period of time, there has been an increasing level of educational achievement among those of low and moderate incomes and and those from Black and Hispanic communities.

    (Some sources: http://gini-research.org/system/uploads/443/original/US.pdf?1370077377 and http://www.nationaljournal.com/columns/political-connections/how-colleges-are-making-income-inequality-worse-20130307 and http://chronicle.com/article/New-Census-Data-Show-Minority/130910/)

    While education has been identified as a way of climbing the economic ladder, the findings of the National Bureau of Economic Research show that entrenched nature of US class/caste divide has persisted despite increased levels of higher education among those of low and middle incomes and people from Black and Hispanic communities.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      I guess “academics” figure the more than doubling of the US resident population since 1955 means there are more ladders to the top: for the mass of humanity cannibal rat-ting one another at the bottom.

  • Labropotes

    Ray Nagin’s crime is revolting because he described America’s neglect of New Orleans after Katrina as racially motivated, while simultaneously using his authority to deprive New Orleanians of impartial administration, harming those he so clamorously defended. Rankest kind of hypocrisy.

    • George Potts

      Have you seen what happened in Detroit or Lowell, MA?

  • George Potts

    If you don’t worship Obama and the Clintons you are a troll.

    • jefe68

      Ding, ding, ding… and we have winner!

      • nj_v2

        Yep

      • HonestDebate1

        Read your comments.

        • jefe68

          Oh you mean like this: Why do you post so much inanity?

          Read your own bud.

          • HonestDebate1

            I just think you screaming troll is hilarious. I don’t carry on like that.

          • jefe68

            Oh boy. If you think I’m a troll, that’s funny. We could go on and on with these back and forth memes all day. It’s a waste of time. You support some extreme right wing ideologies that I find abhorrent.
            That you can’t see the difference speaks volumes to how far your head is up your political dogma.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alright, but that was an inflammatory, irrelevant, off-topic message to provoke anger and disruption. I don’t do that, but you seem to do it often.

          • jefe68

            Do what often? Tell you to go fly a kite.
            I will say this, you whine a lot on this forum.

      • hennorama

        jefe68 — do you think the misspellings of ‘controversial’ and ‘forum’ were intentional?

        • jefe68

          Who knows, I liked the image and man this George Potts seems to be off the rails.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — agreed on both counts.

        • brettearle

          “What’dya take me for a fool?”

          **************************

          “No one taught him take instead of tyke….

          “Here them down in SoHo square, dropping H’s everywhere, speaking English, anyway they’d like…”

          ***************************

          “You, sir, did you go to school?”

          • hennorama

            brettearle — TYFYR.

            Thy New English Chat?

            Hatchets Newly Nigh?

            Scathingly Whet, Hen?

          • brettearle

            Ok…

            So how long did it take you to do that?

            “Look at Henn,
            A Prisoner of the Mutter;
            Condemned by every syllable
            He utters…..”

            [just teasin']

          • hennorama

            brettearle — not terribly long. I had started on a different track, coming up with the rather questionable “My Fairy Lad” and “Fairy Madly,” so I switched.

            Here’s another:

            Heal Thy Sting, Wench.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Two poofs and a witch.

  • MrNutso

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Not Beiber!

  • George Potts

    #SuperbowlSaturday is the cure for #SuperbowlMondayHangover.

    Football talk is probably considered troll talk on this site.

    • nj_v2

      ^ Trolly troll

    • DeJay79

      good point but don’t mess with my football on Sundays.

  • James Patrick Dwyer Jr.

    Do you think Snowden would trust any agreement with the American government, no matter who signed it? Remember he was told he would not be severely punished but water boarding would be allowed, it’s alright to do that now. It wasn’t allowed when I was in, but times change.

    • northeaster17

      The U.S. Goverment should be the last people Snowden should trust.

  • George Potts

    Maybe Assad can help Putin with Sochi.

  • MatthewNashville

    Come on Mr President, just go ahead and say you think it should be legalized and stop teasing us.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Pens BEAT the Islanders last night on Long Island. Thanks for reminding me. Go Penguins – #1 in the East.

  • Labropotes

    I strongly agree with the caller who’s calling out American media for reporting so disrespectfully on the Russian Olympics.

    • J__o__h__n

      I hope Mitt attends and insults everyone again.

      • Labropotes

        Imagine how bad the Russian 47% must be.

  • ToyYoda

    OT: For those NE Patriot fans out there. Who would you like to see win the SB? Manning or Pete Carroll? And why? Among the avid Patriot fans I know, they have a deep hatred for both. (I live in NE, and personally I like both of them. But I think I will root for Manning, because I think it would make for a great story for a person coming back from -what should have been- a career ending neck injury.)

    • Ray in VT

      That’s a tough one. I would be fine with either, although I don’t know how many more shots Manning has left, while Wilson should have many more opportunities, although Marino only got the one shot. I think that the contest between such a great offense and such a great defense should make for a very good game, at least on paper.

    • DeJay79

      Even three years ago I would never have said this but..
      Manning all the way. Since going to Denver I disdain him much less and I’ve always felt he was a great player. As much as I wanted the Pats to knock his socks off that last game, that just did not happen and now I’d be happy to see him win a well deserved super bowl ring.

    • HonestDebate1

      The Panthers lost, it’s hard for me to care.

      • Ray in VT

        Yeah, but they had a fine season, and Newton’s growth this past season should be a sign of even better things yet to come.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      You make a good case for Denver …. but what about the Welker factor? And then there is the overreaction to the Richard Sherman post-game emotion.

      However, you gotta love Manning. How many more shots will he have at his age?

      I think I’ll just root for a good game and sit back and enjoy.

      • HonestDebate1

        Years ago I played at an after game party in Knoxville. Manning’s Vols were playing the Florida Gators. They were pumped, we could hear the cheers from the stadium a block away. They had big grills barbecuing alligators, literally. Florida won and no one showed up at the party. Those who did were pissed. It wasn’t fun.

        No point really.

    • StilllHere

      Pete Carroll is a cheater and runs a semi-criminal organization.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Have the Patriots won a Superbowl since the Belichick cheating scandal? I don’t think so. Cheater trophies like doping: not the American way.

  • Labropotes

    The higher the THC, the less you need to smoke. Win win.

  • adks12020

    Yes, pot is stronger now than ever. That just means that you pay more for it and smoke less of it.

  • George Potts

    Who wants to smoke marijuana and cannot? Pardon all people who have been jailed for using or selling marijuana today and end all cases that are in the courts.

    What will happen to companies and organizations that test for marijuana use?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If they treated pot like alcohol, some states in the east wouldn’t let you purchase it on Sunday.

    • adks12020

      And, although a little annoying, that would be just fine. There are 6 other days in the week.

  • J__o__h__n

    I had hoped we’d heard the last of Patrick Kennedy’s whiny voice when he stopped serving in Congress.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      The Kennedys are like Herpes Simplex. Always under the surface waiting to break out when your immune system is weak.

      • J__o__h__n

        I liked Ted.

        • OnPointComments

          My favorite Ted Kennedy quote: “But don’t you realize — that’s where I sail!” –his comments on building the eco-friendly offshore wind farm on Nantucket Sound.

  • Pia Vastatrix

    One problem with pot is that heavy users tend to give you the perfect Christmas present. Two years in a row.

    • George Potts

      WHAT?

    • hennorama

      Pia Vastatrix — doubly thoughtful, and simultaneously mindless.

  • Duras

    It’s too bad we couldn’t make Mitt Romney the president of the South, and say “eff it, keep the South, keep your crappy universities, your crappy hospitals, your poverty, your pension-less jobs … I’m sick of the Civil War.”

    • tbphkm33

      Okay then. It would be difficult to split up the Union. Just remember, Mexico has made it clear it in way is willing to take back Texas.

      • OnPointComments

        Can we keep Texas, and just give Mexico the liberal debutante darling Wendy Davis? She might like adding Hispanic heritage to her fabricated life story.

  • George Potts

    The age for alcohol should be lowered to 18. How many 19 year olds who want to drink beer cannot? They just have a harder time.

  • tbphkm33

    This is actually an interesting study that compares Facebook’s rise to that of an infectious disease. Fads like Facebook are indeed a lot like an infectious disease in how individuals discover the service, are infatuated with it and finally grow tired. Unfortunately for Facebook, they have illustrated no ability to move beyond their original business plan – save drop a ton more ads into the service and sell even more user data.

    Facebook will lose 80% of users by 2017, say Princeton researchers
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/22/facebook-princeton-researchers-infectious-disease

  • nj_v2

    The briefly-referred-to Oxfam study:

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/01/20

    The Global Elite: Rigging the Rules That Fuel Inequality

    New report from Oxfam states that 85 of the world’s
    richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population

    [[ The global elite have rigged the rules so that "economic growth looks more like a winner-take-all system" that undermines democracy and threatens future generations with a "cascade of privilege and disadvantage," a new report from Oxfam states.

    The report, Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality, states that just 85 of the world's richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population. Further:

    Seven out of 10 people live in countries where economic inequality has increased over the past three decades.

    In 24 out of 26 countries the top one percent increased their share of income from 1980 to 2012.

    In the U.S. following the 2009 financial crisis, the bottom 90 percent has become poorer while the top one percent has captured 95 percent of the growth.

    Among the factors that are contributing to policies that favor the rich and corporations over everyone else are tax havens and tax structures that enable tax dodging, financial deregulation, and austerity policies that have benefited investors while hurting everyone else. As the report states, these policies undermine democracy: ]]

    (snipped)

    • William

      It seems a deeply inaccurate report. In the last 30 years we have seen the demise of almost all of the Communist nations except for 2 and the people that were suffering under Communism have seen their lives greatly improved economically and politically.

      • brettearle

        I’m not a communist. Far from it.

        But there is a great difference between the literal definition of `communism’ and the Totalitarian dictatorships of, for example, Stalin and Mao.

        I am not splitting hairs.

        You cannot make your claim without recognizing that the original concept of Communism–under the above regimes, in these countries–spun out of control and morphed into something else.

        • tbphkm33

          Nopublican’s also fail to understand the difference between capitalism and market socialism. Hmm, northern Europe and Japan are actually market socialist economies. All 1st world countries. Then there is crony capitalist USA, now a 2nd world country.

          • brettearle

            To the degree that I have the cursory knowledge to understand what you are pointing out, I appreciate your expanded comments.

            It’s likely possible to point out, too, that the changing political economies of China and Russia move them closer, in a few ways, to some forms of Free Market Enterprise.

          • William

            I lived in Japan and they have been in an economic slump going on 20 years. They cling to their old ways and refuse to grasp that the world has changed and they need to move to a more open capitalist style system.

        • William

          It would be had to defend Communism as any sort of economic system that people can live with or even try to make work. It was tried, it failed.

          • brettearle

            Have you studied each and every case?

            Or is your view simply a Right Wing bias?

            I don’t support Communism.

            But, especially these days, I don’t see Capitalism doing all that well, either.

          • William

            The facts are pretty clear and Communism failed. Numerous countries, hundreds of millions of people, 7 some decades, and it failed. There is no other system besides Capitalism that has uplifted more people and provided a better standard of living.

    • OnPointComments

      Who deserves the estimated $1 billion dollar wealth of author J. K. Rowling more than J. K. Rowling?

      • Human2013

        There’s no dispute that J.K. deserves compensation for her literary capabilities. The problem is if that figure should be $1,000,000,000. J.K. is not soley responsible for the popularity of her series. Why do such extremes have to exist in society?

        • OnPointComments

          Who are you going to give the money to instead, if not J. K. Rowling?

          • Human2013

            How about the thousands of employees along the publication chain that work to make her books a success. We can start with them.

          • OnPointComments

            Haven’t the thousands of employees along the publication chain already been paid for their services? Were they paid less than the wage agreed to by the worker and the company? The reason there are extremes in wealth is that there are extremes in creativity, ingenuity, intellect, work ethic, education, timing, life choices, and myriad other reasons.

            Only in the mind of the committed liberal can a company advertise a job, a person apply for the job and get it, and the foregone conclusion be that the worker has been exploited by the company by hiring him.

          • Human2013

            Only in the mind of the conservative can one justify a $1billion dollar salary to a $20K salary. Humans build upon their interactions with the world, the collective human intelligence. They seem to forget this in their claim to “extreme creativity, ingenuity and intellect” as you call it.

          • OnPointComments

            Why doesn’t the $20K salary simply write a best seller and earn the $1 billion dollar bounty? If the $20K salary does this, how easily will a replacement be found for the $20K job? As distasteful as it is to you, the efforts and results of some people are worth more than those of others.

        • Don_B1

          Actually, a good portion of it should be taxed so that it can go to the general betterment of all, so that more will be able to work and earn money to buy her next book and thus all boats will rise.

          • HonestDebate1

            From each according to his ability to each according to his need. Perfect.

          • OnPointComments

            Actually, she has paid a good portion of tax on her earnings, and has given well over a hundred million to charities.

      • Steve__T

        It’s a stupid question. It’s off topic, and the question has no merit.

      • StilllHere

        The State, according to the usual suspects here. She didn’t build that.

    • Human2013

      I think it’s time to revisit the wisdom of Karl Marx. He astutely pointed out that the worker will always be exploited in a capitalist system. The only reason the US seemed to be the epitome of a well run economic system is beacause workers unionized, consulted and pooled their voices and there WAS a tax system that appropriately taxed incomes. For the anti-socialists out there, please consider this. The only reason the entire world in comfortable buying US treasury bonds and other securities is because the US had a stable Social structure with stable inflation and litte civil unrest. What happens when that starts to erode as it certainly will? What happens when the trillion dollar defense budget isn’t supported by China?

      • OnPointComments

        In which country is their a higher standard of living and a higher probability of achieving a successful life, the USA or Cuba?

        “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” –Winston Churchill

        • Human2013

          Excellent quote from a man on the prosperous side of Colonialism. In measures of happiness, the Cubans far exceed Americans. What’s your idea of success? Wealth or happiness?

          • OnPointComments

            I’ll go with freedom.

          • Human2013

            Freedom to be on antidepressants.

          • pete18

            “In measures of happiness, the Cubans far exceed Americans. ”

            Yeah, who did that study? Do you have a link?

        • Human2013

          “You are horrified at our intending to due away with private property. But in your society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths”

          Oh my, it’s almost like he forecasted the housing crash for the middle class. Or the fact that private investors or buying up private property in droves. As if he knew that most of the college grads of today will never be able to save enough to put down a down-payment on a home.

          • OnPointComments

            To stick with the J. K. Rowling story for a moment, she went from living on welfare to success, and it happens every day in this country. One of the things that liberals like to do, whether out of laziness or ignorance, is to point to a segment of the population and tell us that everything in this abstract segment, including the people, is static, unchanging, and hopeless, and that simply isn’t true. From a study by the US Treasury, “Income Mobility in the U.S. from 1996 to 2005:”

            • There was considerable income mobility of individuals in the U.S. economy during the 1996 through 2005 period as over half of taxpayers moved to a different income quintile over this period.
            • Roughly half of taxpayers who began in the bottom income quintile in 1996 moved up to a higher income group by 2005.
            • Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005. Moreover, the median real income of these taxpayers declined over this period.
            • The degree of mobility among income groups is unchanged from the prior decade (1987 through 1996).
            • Economic growth resulted in rising incomes for most taxpayers over the period from 1996 to 2005. Median incomes of all taxpayers increased by 24 percent after adjusting for inflation. The real incomes of two-thirds of all taxpayers increased over this period. In addition, the median incomes of those initially in the lower income groups increased more than the median incomes of those initially in the higher income groups.
            http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/Documents/incomemobilitystudy03-08revise.pdf

          • Human2013

            I’m not concerned with past statistics as much as I’m concerned about future statistics. Once the economic policies of the last two decades start to really set in and take effect.

          • Duras

            They sadly don’t understand that argument.
            It’s obvious they don’t know the difference between Marxism and communism, but I often question that they know what capitalism is.

            The banks are sucking up private property (that was the aim of the housing bill) and these flocking idiots go around shouting “commie, commie” like goose-stepping fascists.

            Republicans have so much in common with the communist societies they fear monger to the sane Americans.

        • tbphkm33

          Maybe a more apt comparison would be between the USA and northern Europe. Where, the USA is actually on the losing side. Its about time American’s come to terms with being the richest 2nd world country out there.

          • OnPointComments

            Are you suggesting that it would be better for everyone if the US fractured itself into small, homogenous countries, instead of the large diverse country that we are? Wouldn’t that be the first step in becoming like northern Europe?

          • Duras

            Northern European countries do have better quality of life, better social mobility, and better life expectancy.

            Also, your point is quite inane and ironic given the republican protest for states rights and a fear of a national agenda.

            Obviously the macro-economic polices are working for Northern Europe. Would you go to Germany and cut taxes on the rich 50%, cut spending, undo their socialized healthcare, and start charging tuition for college?

          • tbphkm33

            My point is simply that a group of independent northern European countries have beaten the US for years now. While the US has degenerated into crony capitalism based upon establishing monopolies at the expense of The People, the countries of northern Europe are enjoying drastically higher standards of living than what is seen in the US.

            Simply, the US has lost its way. US style capitalism has failed all but the rich and powerful. The modern US model is unsustainable.

      • Duras

        Do you notice on this very thread that conservatives are living the profit/innovation contradiction?

        We could innovate energy, making it cheaper and cleaner (cleaner for the environment and public health), but that would “not be cost effective.” Of course the industries of old technologies have a century of wealthy and new technologies can’t enter the market place with such disparity of resources.

        If you are for innovation, you should encourage innovation. But the conversation over renewable energy reveals that republicans are for profit before innovation. We would do a lot more renewables if corruption wasn’t legal.

      • Labropotes
  • northeaster17

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/01/23/frigid-temperatures-heating-up-home-heating-bills/4777795/
    One line in this story links stronger exports as one of the factors in rising heating costs this winter. It goes to show that America’s energy resources really aren’t America’s. Who would have thunk..

  • Richard Jablonski

    Regarding the chemical leak into the Elk River in West Virginia, what were all the chemicals in the mixture held by the tank? We have heard that these included MCHM and PPH ( polyethylene glycol ethers ), but were there others, potentially more toxic? What do the MSDS sheets ( Material Safety Data Sheets ) show in terms of the oral and dermal toxicities? What companies supplied the chemicals to Freedom Industries? The public deserves to see that facts.

    • hennorama

      Richard Jablonski — you might consider the very good local reporting done by the Charleston Gazette, including this recent article that answers some of your questions:

      “Information on leak’s 2nd chemical ‘very limited’
      Freedom marked chemical ID as ‘proprietary’ ”

      http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401220031

      • brettearle

        Should all make us aware of Terrorist scenarios, in these cases, n’est-ce pas?

        Not that I wish to be an alarmist or anything….

        • hennorama

          brettearle — I’m confident that “letting the market decide” will work out juuuuuust fine.

          No regulations or oversight are needed, and the Dept. of Homeland Security probably feels the same way.

          There’s just one niggling detail — it doesn’t:

          “Chemical Security and Resilience: A Collaborative Effort

          “The manufacturing, use, storage, and distribution of chemicals must be secured from threats including terrorism and accidents. Some chemical facilities possess materials that could be stolen and used to make weapons. A successful attack on certain high-risk facilities could cause a significant number of deaths and injuries. The impacts of an accident or attack are far-reaching and can occur in a variety of ways.

          “Ensuring chemical security and resilience is critical to the well-being and safety of our Nation. In addition to voluntary programs, the Federal approach includes a regulatory framework for chemical substances spanning multiple agencies and subject areas. From chemical lists managed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to chemical watch lists managed by law enforcement agencies and site inspections by the Department of Homeland Security, the current regulatory framework is both comprehensive and complex.”

          See:
          https://www.dhs.gov/topic/chemical-security

          • HonestDebate1

            “No regulations or oversight are needed, and the Dept. of Homeland Security probably feels the same way.”

            Please tell me the name of the (can’t be more than one) idiot who makes that claim and I’ll punch them in the face.

          • Steve__T

            Stop beating yourself

          • HonestDebate1

            Thank you for the comment Steve. I get such a kick out of seeing who clicks like on gratuitously nasty comments that not only make no sense but attempt to tell me what I think in a completely absurd manner. I just cannot relate to such shallowness. How could they be so petty that they actually gain some satisfaction over such silliness? And they put their names on it!

            I doesn’t get any better, I can’t stop laughing. Victory is won.

          • Steve__T

            You can’t stop laughing, we can’t either, All Righty Then.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’ve created a monster.

          • Steve__T

            ….boo.

          • jefe68

            I told you he was a clown.

          • 1Brett1

            When you declared, “victory is won!” Did you go outside, build up a small mound of dirt then stand on top of it with your arms raised triumphantly in the air?

            …It truly is funny and ironic that you point your finger and say, “petty,” “shallow” and “silly,” then end your comment with the phrase, “victory is won.”

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I just listened to some Santana.

          • jefe68

            You think his comment was nasty?
            Boy you sure do have a skewed view of how comments are posted.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m a harmless lovable fuzzball.

          • 1Brett1

            Now, now, don’t give in to those violent tendencies; remember what your father would have said to that.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t have a violent tendency in my id anywhere. I had loving parents and strong role models. I thought I said that before. I’ve actually never been in a fight in my life but anyone who says there should be no oversight or regulations is an absolute idiot who deserves a smack in the mouth.

          • 1Brett1

            Your “id”? You’re a Freudian?

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m an Independent.

          • 1Brett1

            Yeah, an “Independent” who is dependent on Right-wing media for his talking points…You must take some stock in Freud’s theories, using “id.”

          • HonestDebate1

            You quoted me wrong.

          • brettearle

            Are you of the opinion that there is competent oversight for this?

            I am not sure what you are exactly saying.

            It truly is unbelievable how many dangers there are, out there–and they aren’t ones that were around and about, so extant, even 50 years ago:

            Nuclear Waste; Air Pollution; Industrial Waste; Fossil Fuel `treatment runoffs’; Artificial Ingredients, Additives, and Preservatives, in Foods and Beverages; Radon; Infrastructure dangers; etc, etc, etc, etc.

            It is simply significant–however– not to panic and overreact, like the Right wing does, so often.

            Sometimes, i will fall victim to their way of thinking–vis a vis, for example, North Korea and Iran.

          • hennorama

            brettearle — thanks for replying.

            Sorry for the confusion about my comment. Sarcasm does not always come across well “in here.”

            It’s quite clear that chemical production, processing and storage facilities can pose significant risks to the environment and human life. Current regulation is insufficient in many ways, beginning with the fact that very limited testing has been done on more than 60,000 chemicals that were effectively exempted from most of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

            DHS and other Federal agencies have tried to address the terrorism threats posed by these facilities. Securing these facilities, the vast majority of which are privately owned, against risks of terrorist activity is an enormous undertaking, as are the potential costs involved.

            DHS, as mandated by Congress, has taken a risk-based approach to these issues, first compiling a list of “Chemicals Of Interest,” which includes dozens of chemicals that are toxic, flammable and explosive, and dozens of others that are Chemical Weapons/Chemical Weapons Precursors, Weapons of Mass Effect, and Explosives/Improvised Explosive Device Precursors, and then “establishing risk-based performance standards for security chemical facilities.”

            It has had mixed success. A recent (March 2013) GAO report stated

            “For example, the risk assessment approach is based primarily on consequences arising from human casualties, but does not consider economic consequences, as called for by the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) and the CFATS regulation, nor does it include vulnerability, consistent with the NIPP,” and “[g]iven the critical nature of ISCD’s risk assessment approach in laying the foundation for further regulatory steps in improving facility security, it is important that its approach for assigning facilities to tiers is complete within the NIPP risk management framework and the CFATS regulation.”

            [PS] Translation: we still have a loooooooong way to go to secure these facilities.

            Sources:
            http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-toxic-substances-control-act
            https://www.dhs.gov/risk-chemical-facility-anti-terrorism-standards-cfats
            http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/chemsec_appendixa-chemicalofinterestlist.pdf
            http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/04/chemical-security-risk-based-solutions-key-to-fixing-flaws#_ftn1
            http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-412T

        • HonestDebate1

          That’s a good point Brettearle.

  • HonestDebate1

    We have now established AGW causes floods and droughts, hot and cold weather, glaciers to melt and trap ships in ice; and we know AGW causes tornados and hurricanes. But I have seen no one make the claim AGW caused the incredible lack of hurricanes and tornadoes this season.

    Ant takers?

    • Ray in VT

      “Incredible lack of hurricanes”? It seems that this year, like 2009, was a quiet year in the Atlantic. For information about hurricanes and climate change, see http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/global-warming-and-hurricanes. Tornadoes are still a puzzle to scientists, as the exact factors that lead to or discourage tornado formation are not precisely known. This addresses some of the issues http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24605-climate-changes-influence-on-tornadoes-is-a-mixed-bag.html#.UuKbB7Qo7cs.

      • HonestDebate1

        Yes, I know Hurricanes are on the very long list of things that AGW causes, that wasn’t my question. What is the science behind the incredible lack of hurricanes? And by incredible lack I mean the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years, none of which were major. There were fewer tornados in 2013 as well. It set a record for the 60 years they’ve been keeping track. I feel sure it’s because of AGW but I need someone to explain it to me.

        • 1Brett1

          Any discussion I’ve heard in terms of consensus, by scientists acknowledging anthropomorphic contributions to overall effects in the earth’s climate, pertain to the concept of more erratic/less stable climate. That very concept in, say, for example, winters, would mean that more snowfall/more winter storms/colder temperatures would occur, but it also indicates that there are going to be unusually mild temperatures/less winter storms, and that those inconsistent weather conditions are going to be more prevalent. The same would be true of all types of weather conditions. Another thing that your comments regarding this topic seem to omit is that climate and weather are two different phenomena in terms of the science. An individual weather event, or even one aspect of weather patterns in the short term, doesn’t prove or disprove anything, but you know that already.

          Also, when you said, “…by incredible lack [sic] I mean the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years, none of which were major,” I guess you don’t consider Hurricane Sandy “major”? Mighty Alrighty.

          • HonestDebate1

            As I have pointed out many times, I believe man may have some affect on climate, so there’s that.

            I am amazed at how many times people lecture me on climate and weather. I get it but I am not a weather denier. I think it gets cold in the winter but OP commenters blamed climate. When there is a drought OP blames climate. When there is a flood OP blames climate. When it’s hot OP blames climate. So it’s not me who doesn’t make the distinction.

            And I keep waiting for the more erratic/less stable climate. Where is it? The pause in warming has been 17 years now. The 2007 IPCC 4th assessment predictions were wrong as the 5th assessment makes clear. We have all this CO2 and the temperature didn’t rise as predicted. When Katrina hit it was a major storm (category 5) and it was said that would be the norm from here on out. It didn’t happen. NOAA predicted a very turbulent hurricane season for 2013, But they were very wrong as I pointed out. And were are the tornadoes? The case cannot be made that the climate has become more erratic. It just hasn’t.

            Sandy was 2012 not 2013. It maxed out at category 3. I don;t mean to belittle the damage and suffering but that is not major or unique. Hurricanes do not know or care where they hit. they don;t know or care how populated or developed the area is.

          • jefe68

            Why do you even bother trying to have a rational exchange with this guy?
            He’s not interested in what science has to say on the subject unless it fits his dogma.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m all about the science. Refute my reply.

          • jefe68

            And yet at the same time there were some of the strongest typhoons in the Pacific with the Super Typhoon Haiyan being a one of the largest ever recorded.

            I really do not think you are interested in this subject other than it being some more fodder for you to play gotcha games with.

            The science on this is pretty much proved the earth’s climate is changing rapidly.
            One hurricane season or winter does not change that, maybe in your mind it does, but hey, it’s not about you, is it.

          • HonestDebate1

            “The science on this is pretty much proved the earth’s climate is changing rapidly.”

            No it hasn’t, the science says the opposite. Yes Typhon Haiyan was a big one but 2013 didn’t have atypical number of typhoons. It couldn’t hold a candle to 1964.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon#Records

          • jefe68

            Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.

            American Association for the Advancement of Science
            “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.” (2006)

            American Chemical Society
            “Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.” (2004)

            American Physical Society

            “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.” (2007

            American Geophysical Union

            “Human‐induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.” (Adopted 2003, revised and reaffirmed 2007, 2012, 2013)

            American Medical Association

            “Our AMA … supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant.” (2013)

            American Meteorological Society

            “It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.” (2012)

            The Geological Society of America

            “The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s.” (2006; revised 2010)

            There’s more:

            http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, do you know how bogus the 97% number is? I’m not got to debunk it yet again. Believe what you want. And you are citing the IPCC 2007 4th assessment sham but ignore the 5th assessment last year that debunks it’s own findings. The irony is just below.

            “As I have pointed out many times, I believe man may have some affect on climate, so there’s that.”

          • tbphkm33

            “interested” or “capable” – lets remember there is a large anti-intellectual movement in the US. A lot of people lack even the most basic skills to comprehend science.

          • HonestDebate1

            Add me to that group, I haven’t a clue. Maybe you can help me, no one else wants to.

    • Labropotes

      AGW makes April’s gentle rains pierce the drought

      Of March right to the root, and bath each sprout

      Through every vein with liquid of such power

      It brings forth the engendering of the flower?

      • HonestDebate1

        That brought a tear to my eye.

  • OnPointComments

    A story of government agents out of control:

    AMC movie theater calls “federal agents” to arrest a Google Glass user
    http://the-gadgeteer.com/2014/01/20/amc-movie-theater-calls-fbi-to-arrest-a-google-glass-user/#more-150894

    Excerpt:
    About an hour into the movie, a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says “follow me outside immediately”. It was quite embarrassing and outside of the theater there were about 5-10 cops and mall cops…I asked to see his badge again and I asked what was the problem and I asked for my Glass back. The response was “you see all these cops you know we are legit, we are with the ‘federal service’ and you have been caught illegally taping the movie”.

    What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me…They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.

    Eventually, after a long time somebody came with a laptop and an USB cable at which point he told me it was my last chance to come clean…Then they went through my phone, and 5 minutes later they concluded I had done nothing wrong… the “federal agents” talking to me were DHS [Department of Homeland Security].

    • jefe68

      Gee, how’s idea was the Department of Homeland Security…

      • OnPointComments

        “Exactly one month after the attacks, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security. The Bush administration rejected the idea, but Democratic members of the Senate continued to press it. Finally, in June 2002, more than seven months after the initial proposal, President Bush reversed his stand. The Homeland Security Act called for pulling together various federal agencies and offices into the newly established Department of Homeland Security (DHS), led by the first Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania.”
        http://www.allgov.com/departments/department-of-homeland-security?detailsDepartmentID=571

        • OnPointComments

          I’m amused by the down votes. It’s straight facts. It’s as if someone asked for a phone number, another person posted the comment “519-888-5555,” and three people said they didn’t like that number.

          • Duras

            Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001

            Following is the text of President Bush’s address in Atlanta, Ga., on homeland security and the ongoing war on terrorism.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/bushtext_110801.html

          • HonestDebate1

            There were no lezbo sex scandals with Bush (no pun).

          • 1Brett1

            “lezbo”? Wow, and these things you say on a public forum…mm, mm, mm; imagine what you say “off the record” when you’re with your friends!?! I wonder how many so-called gigs at lesbian parties you would be playing if they heard some of your language? –Wait, don’t tell me, the lesbians you know prefer the term you used?! If you know a lesbian who uses a wheelchair, do you call her a “handicapped lezbo”?

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s a term of endearment but I don’t know any handicapped lezbos. Relax dude. I’ll tell you what it looks like from here. It looks like you get your PC labels from a book and don’t have much real world experience. People are not all that offended in then real world, they’re just living life as we all are. You should hear what they call me. It’s all good, no one gets bogged down.

            But it’s not bout me and my friends. It’s about a sex scandal at DHS. I only used the term to make you dance.

          • 1Brett1

            So, it’s PC NOT to call a lesbian a “lezbo” or NOT to call a disabled person “handicapped”? Mighty alrighty; that would be funny if it didn’t sound so bigoted/a bad case of arrested development on your part…and, BTW, I have 40 years experience working directly with people, so you are wrong on all accounts.

            As far as a “term of endearment,” you were using these unfavorable terms in some context other than your so-called terms of endearment toward your “friends.” So, your justification is especially repugnant.

          • HonestDebate1

            So, it’s PC NOT to call a lesbian a “lezbo” or NOT to call a disabled person “handicapped”?

            I’m not going to even try to understand that. And I was not talking about your experience with the handicapped. I was talking about your experience with lezbos.

            Here’s what I mean. In the real world it doesn’t come up. When I’m working for a gay person or hanging out with a room full of lezbos, we don’t talk about preferred terms for their gayness or my lack thereof. We talk about music, football, food and whatever else normal people talk about. There is not a thought about sexuality that’s any different than any conversation with anybody. Good friends may yuk it up and get saucy but good friends understand each other.

            Go up to a gay person and have a conversation about their gayness and focus on that see where it gets you. Use any term you want. Introduce them to someone else as gay, lesbian, fa@@ot, lezbo, kueer or whatever. It’s still a non-sequitur and the insult is bringing it up at all not what word you use.

            Do you do that with handicapped people? Do you asked them how they would like to be referred to? Just call them by their name. That’s what regular people do.

            This is a stupid blog, who cares? Who is insulted to the point of tears because I wrote lezbo? I mean besides you.

            Finally if your point is always going to be that I’m repugnant then you’ve already made it 1000 times. The sexual harassment at DHS should not be tolerated but you’re worried about semantics.

          • John Cedar

            I’m surprised he thinks being gay is a form of being handicapped. I am shocked to find out about the “40 years of experience” with the disabled. No doubt a career choice for atonement. If they don’t like being called handicapped then why do they park in handicapped parking spaces?

            Honestdebate1, I notice that you are much brighter than the frequent participants here, and as far as your detractors go, you consistently run circles ’round them logically. I am curious, have you found that your natural gift has allowed you to become wildly successful at most everything you try? do you enjoy financial success, relationship success that most people would envy?

          • HonestDebate1

            Thanks John Cedar, I appreciate that and back atcha’. I don’t know about a natural gift but persistence and passion have been very good for me. I have indeed been successful at everything I’ve been passionate and persistent with. I don’t know about envy either but I have everything I want, a loving monogamous relationship of 28 years (and counting) and my future is secure. I’m very happy. I also have much left to do and it itches.

          • 1Brett1

            Please, your whole comment is nonsense. What is your age? It probably doesn’t match your level of immaturity. What I said did not at all infer anything about homosexuality being a form of disability. If that is the way you interpret simple, straight-forward, written communication, then you have serious receptive language deficits. Your comment is insulting to someone who has devoted most of his adult life to helping people with disabilities and seeing first-hand the persecution gay people have suffered.

            BTW, Those parking spaces have a symbol (at least in areas where people are living in the 21st century) in case you hadn’t noticed.

          • HonestDebate1

            If I am not mistaken John Cedar is a contractor. I have also carried a commercial contractor license since 1999. I don’t use it though, it’s just a feather in my cap. But I can tell you there are entire code books on “handicapped” access requirements.

            But get real, no one is persecuting gays or humiliating the handicapped. As far your fragile feelings go, lighten up. You are the king of insults, who cares? Not me.

          • 1Brett1

            In the last week on this forum, you’ve used the terms, “the handicapped,” “lezbos,” and you’ve used the n-word (albeit replacing the g’s with @@).

            You also persist in using them. I can’t say why you are committed to using these words, but I’d say it is you who has some problem with respecting people of diverse backgrounds.

          • brettearle

            It’s often in the DNA of Right Wingers

            [Of course, I know you know that. Just had to say it.]

          • HonestDebate1

            That is so disappointing coming from someone I respected and really tried to like. O well, can’t put the genie back in the bottle,

          • brettearle

            Are you suggesting that Right Wingers don’t have a history of verbal disrespect for those whom they consider outliers or minorities?

          • HonestDebate1

            As a whole yes absolutely. Anyone is capable of disrespecting others. It has nothing to do with Party. The left called Herman Cain a monkey in a window after the debate. The left called Michael Steele a house ni@@a. The left is saying hideous things about the handicapped candidate for Lt. Governor in VA. Bill Clinton told Ted Kennedy Obama should be getting them coffee. They called Colin Powell an Uncle Tom. I’d go down the list but it disgusts me so I’ll stop here.

            And your comment was directed at me. You can say a lot about me but you know in your heart I’m not what you suggested. To be clear, call me what you want. I don’t give others, especially other who don’t know me, the power to offend me, So it’s cool but I am disappointed. Your comment added nothing.

          • brettearle

            The Forum expunged my comment, to you, far above–with regard to the mall shooting.

            And I don’t know why. I may resubmit it.

            But with regard to words and the impulse to impugn….

            Frankly, HD…..

            I was out of line with you, a few weeks ago.

            I went overboard–and I shouldn’t have.

            But also, frankly, in general….

            I don’t have any deep desire or motivation to earn your respect.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t care anymore Brettearle. Do what you gotta do. I’ll just keep on trying to be as honest as I possibly can about my views. That’s what I do.

          • HonestDebate1

            I hate anyone who isn’t straight able-bodied and white. You got me pegged.

          • 1Brett1

            People don’t need your love, or even tolerance (BTW, nice putting words in my mouth); they do need your respect, though, and your use of language indicates a profound lack of respect.

          • HonestDebate1

            Look Brett, I am done talking about me. Get a clue and look at context. I could not have made my most excellent point without those words. It’s not about me it’s about whatever happens to be the issue at hand. To listen to you one would think I’m standing on the corner shouting invectives. I fight against that sort of thing.

            How do you come to those crazy conclusions? And while I’m at it, you said I was sympathetic to Freud because I used the word id. That’s another crazy-assed cra… ugh… conclusion. All I know about Freud is that he blames my mother. I didn’t even know he used the word id. Your zeal to tell me what I think coupled with your whacked logic is as if I said you were sympathetic to Hitler because you once said NAZI.

            Have a nice day.

          • 1Brett1

            The context in each of your comments doesn’t justify using those phrases.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • hennorama

            1Brett1 — to be fair, The Equine Excrement Expert may have meant “many blacks refer to themselves as niNJas” when he wrote “as ni@@as” in a recent comment.

            This is unlikely, of course, considering both the context and that he likes to write such things as “blacks are …”

          • HonestDebate1

            You guys are unreal. There will never ever be racial harmony as long as attitudes like your’s, Brett’s and Jeffe’s exist.

          • 1Brett1

            Perhaps you are right. I have heard him justify use of the n-word because some black people use the term themselves. Or, at least that he considers the use among some in the African-American community a hypocrisy, justifying use of the term, in that some black people use the term so why should it not be justified?

            I see it either way as a justification to a) continue using the term and b) as an oblique way/as part of a host of reasons that exemplify why liberals should not have empathy for continuing certain civil rights policies.

          • HonestDebate1

            I have never ever justified the n word. Ever. It’s not about me. Implying racism where it doesn’t exist is sick. But then again you have outright said I’m racist over and over and over again. That is the shallowest form of debate and a big reason why we are so divided as a nation along racial lines.

            It truly breaks my heart more than I can express.

          • 1Brett1

            Yet, you would use the word, even more than once, on this forum. I guess it is okay because you spelled it oddly, in a phonetically slang way both times? Is that your way to deny that you used it or to justify never justifying it?

            It’s racist to use the n-word and to use it again when called out on using it, and to deny any wrongdoing because one feels the context allows its use. The word “lezbo” is a slur, as well, and is wrong to use, especially a second time when called on it.

            There’s no implication, I am being direct, and those phrases in your comments exist and are easily verifiable as having been used.

            There is no debate; you used slurs; I called you out on it, you denied it, and then you pretended I am the one promoting some sort of divisiveness. I’d say you are engaging in the most despicable form of discourse.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re a hoot! Do you even no what a slur is? You should look it up. It was a slur when I called you an idiot. If you read “Huckleberry Finn” who have you slurred?

            I didn’t call anyone a ni@@a. I condemned the usage when you excused it regarding Rachel Jentil and her potty mouth. And you just wrote “the n-word” (multiple times) so by your impeccable logic you just used a slur. I guess it is okay because you spelled it oddly. And you have used the word “lezbo” more that I have in these comments. You wrote “handicapped” too. Apply your own logic that writing a word in any context is a slur. Yes smarty pants that’s your argument and you make it in front of God and everybody then you sign your name to it. Amazing.

            Or what about Henny who wrote: 1Brett1 — to be fair, The Equine Excrement Expert may have meant “many blacks refer to themselves as niNJas” when he wrote “as ni@@as” in a recent comment.

            I would never in a million years imply Henny is a racist so I disagree with you in the strongest terms.

            Your entire reason for being is to convince me that I’m a racist. It’s the most bizarre thing ever.

          • 1Brett1

            Yeah, you just don’t get it. What you say is nonsense. But, I guess you don’t consider any of the terms you used to be insulting, so you don’t consider them to be slurs. Okay.

            You used the terms in a derogatory way; and, by the way, you aren’t Mark Twain in the 19th century south. I only used “lezbo” to quote you. I also used “handicapped” only to quote you. I didn’t even use the slur you used to describe black people (and, no, saying “the n-word” is not the same thing at all).

            What did I say regarding Rachel Jentil? While I did say she was an ignorant, unworldly, young woman who didn’t venture outside of her own little cultural world, I didn’t excuse her use of the n-word.

            Besides, while, I don’t like it when black people call themselves the n-word, it isn’t the same thing as when a white person, namely you, uses it.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re just not smart enough or too blinded by hate or both. Writing a bad word is not a slur. Writing a bad word is not an insult. An insult is an insult and a slur is a slur. Don’t try to figure it out your head might explode.

            You wrote: “Besides, while, I don’t like it when black people call themselves the n-word, it isn’t the same thing as when a white person, namely you, uses it.”

            I disagree in the strongest of terms. I advocate the same rules for everyone regardless of skin color. I hold everyone to the same standard regardless of skin color. Skin color means nothing at all to me. You don’t have to feel the same way.

            So now I’m done taking about you too (another point you missed).

          • 1Brett1

            You wrote that there was a “lezbo sex scandal.” That is using the term in a derogatory way. You used the other terms in derogatory ways. Based on your own words, you neither can recognize an insult nor a slur.

            If I had said I thought you were done talking about me, you would have said I was misquoting you…but, make no mistake, whether talking about you or me, and being “done,” as you say, doesn’t square with your behavior; you are still here doing the thing you said you weren’t going to do.

            You are also applying rules to your speech that just don’t apply in polite society. Most reasonable people would agree.

          • Steve__T

            I know you won’t check this out but you need to.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9ueKImELG8

          • hennorama

            1Brett1 — generalizing about groups of people based on the behavior of a few is seldom a good idea, and can paint with a very broad brush. This is especially true when discussing groups that one is not a part of, as if one’s external observation was sufficient.

            For example, I wouldn’t ascribe any particular traits to all middle-aged white men residing in NC based on external observations of a small sample size.

            As to the term in question, it is so clearly controversial that The EEE did not actually use it. That he felt OK using what he wrote rather than the generally accepted “n word” speaks volumes about this choice.

            The irony that he follows up with comments again generalizing, but this time about another group (“the left,” whoever they may be) is likely lost on the Omniscient One.

            Thanks for your attention.

          • jefe68

            It’s a term of endearment…

            There was a time when white folks used derogatory terms to describe African Americans, and they used the same rational as you do here.

            Your stripes are showing.

          • HonestDebate1

            Here’s the lyrics to Obama’s favorite rapper and frequent White House guest. You’ll have to click the link because the actual words won’t get past Mr. Moderator.

            http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jayz/aintnonigga.html

            And you want to gripe about my harmless use of lezbo?

          • 1Brett1

            Another flimsy justification: “others do it, so I am justified in my use of slurs.”

          • HonestDebate1

            I made no slurs, but the song is full of them. You truly are an idiot and I rarely, if ever, say that. It’s not my style. But you’ve got to be kidding.

          • 1Brett1

            Oh, yes, your use of “lezbos” as well as the n-word would be the use of slurs; there’s no doubt. You can say that your context justifies their use, but anyone can look at those comments in your profile and know that a) you’ve used slurs and b) your context does NOT excuse their use.

            “It’s not my style…” Translation: I do this all the time, but if I preface my statement with “it’s not my style…” I’ll appear more like a principled person.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • Labropotes

            M. Twain: telling the truth is like sitting on a powder keg and touching it off just to see where you’ll land.

          • jimino

            So is lying like this, especially if done well, also like this.

        • jimino

          Translation of right-wing propaganda:

          “Bush opposed the initial bill to assure that any new employees could not be protected by their union and to put even more authoritarian means at its disposal than originally proposed.”

          To claim it was to protect anyone’s civil rights is an outright lie.

    • StilllHere

      Obama’s DHS is almost as bad as his NSA and Justice Department.

  • hypocracy1

    Legalize and I’ll advertise

  • OnPointComments

    I heard a report on NPR the other day that said 20% of women on college campuses have been sexually assaulted. I thought to myself that the number seemed ridiculously, absurdly high, and if it were true, we’d probably have National Guard troops on all campuses. This article explains the number.

    TWISTING SEXUAL-ASSAULT STATISTICS
    President Obama’s numbers are hyperbolic.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/369422/twisting-sexual-assault-statistics-katherine-connell

    Excerpt:

    ‘It is estimated that one in five women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there — one in five,’ President Obama said on Wednesday.

    …if it were true it would mean that women at American colleges experience a “rate of sexual assault astronomically higher than anything seen in America’s most violent cities…”

    The NIJ study found that more than 60 percent of women who were victims of incapacitated rape did not think they had been raped…

    …consider another study to which the president’s report points, finding that 20 percent of women are raped in their lifetimes. In its definition of rape, the CDC’s “National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence” survey includes sex that occurred when the victim was drunk or high, regardless of whether she was incapacitated or unable to give consent. Participants were asked to respond to the question: “When you were drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to give consent, how many people ever had vaginal sex with you?” A woman could list instances of consensual sex she had while intoxicated that she did not consider to be rape — that were in fact not rape — and the researchers would nonetheless classify her as a rape victim.

    I wonder if the researchers said it wasn’t rape if the male was drunk too. I bet they didn’t.

    • hennorama

      OPC – in an effort to avoid misunderstanding, please allow a few questions:

      What is it that you are concerned about?

      Do you think that the data from these studies are invalid?

      Do you think that using the data from these studies is invalid?

      Do you think that the issues involved in rape and sexual assault are being overblown?

      Thanks in advance for your forthright, open, honest, frank, straightforward, candid, and non-evasive response.

      • OnPointComments

        Did you read the article? “A woman could list instances of consensual sex she had while intoxicated that she did not consider to be rape — that were in fact not rape — and the researchers would nonetheless classify her as a rape victim.” As the title of the article suggests, this is twisting sexual-assault statistics. And as further stated: “None of this is to deny that rape obviously can and frequently does occur in cases where alcohol is involved. Nor is it to say that the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses is not a serious problem. It is. It is serious enough to merit addressing without resorting to inflated statistics. And these numbers point to a larger problem with the culture of our colleges. The bogus “one in five” formulation does more to obscure the issue than to honestly address it.”

        I cannot understand the motive or goal of those who seek to infantalize women. Did you have consensual sex after a couple of glasses of wine? You were raped. You say it was consensual? You aren’t capable of rendering that judgment.

        Yes, the data is invalid and should not be used, and in this study, the statistics are overstated.

        Some questions for you:
        If a woman has been drinking, do you believe that she is incapable of making her own judgment about whether to engage in consensual sex? If she decides to engage in sexual relations, do you think she has in fact been raped, even though she doesn’t think so?

        If a woman states that sex was consensual, do you think researchers know better than she does whether the sex was consensual?

        • hennorama

          OPC — my apologies for the delay, as my comprehensive and frank response is “awaiting moderation.”

          • HonestDebate1

            “Comprehensive”? I hope you kept it under 400 words, we have new rules.

  • HonestDebate1

    What with the wobbly jet stream and all, can we expect some polar vortex relief this August?

    • jimino

      What’s your understanding of the “polar vortex”?

      • 1Brett1

        I’m guessing that his understanding is either non-existent or that he would characterize “polar vortex” as some made-up liberal fear-mongering term, or some such nonsense.

        • HonestDebate1

          No it’s not made up, it’s just hyped out the wazoo by the left because they are desperate for the earth to be destroyed so they can blame Republicans.

          • jefe68

            Hilarious at the same time being a tad jingoistic.

          • 1Brett1

            Come on, jefe, you know that liberals just want to destroy the earth so they can stomp around in the post-apocalyptic world and say, “see, the Republicans destroyed the world!” We discussed this grand liberal scheme at the last liberal meeting (BTW, I meant to tell you that your onion dip was divine!)…His level of absurdity has, at least, one unintended consequence on his part: it is absurdly comical. But, then, maybe we have misjudged the “honest” one; maybe he’s just a third-rate comedian, not unlike his hero Greg Gutfeld?!

          • jefe68

            He could have thought the idea of me making good onion dip funny.

          • 1Brett1

            Interesting…of the two possibilities I gave about your reasons for your initial comment about the “polar vortex,” you at least identified your reason (which was the latter one I suspected). I do, however, stand corrected, you believe everything I said you’d say about liberals, sans the made up part. You could probably save time in your commentary by just saying, “liberals are dumb, corrupt, bad people.”

          • HonestDebate1

            Why don’t you just reply to my reply to Jimino? Or my reply to you below?

            http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/01/24/sochi-obama-pot-geneva-ii-iran#comment-1215791735

            How about a little substance, it’s not about me.

            You could probably save time in your commentary by just saying, “liberals are dumb, corrupt, bad people.”

            Why would I say something stupid that I don’t believe? Please don’t tell me what I think.

          • jimino

            And to think I was considering that you weren’t completely nuts.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was just making Brett dance for everyone but I must say it’s gotten a little too easy and not that fulfilling. And of course, I don’t deny that I’m completely nuts.

            But let’s holster our snark guns for a minute. I really am interested in your opinion of my reply to you regarding the polar vortex relief in August. I will also confess that it wasn’t me who came up with it. It was a 15 year old girl who was helping me feed horses on a very cold morning. I didn’t have an answer for her.

          • 1Brett1

            “I was just making Brett dance for everyone but I must say it’s gotten a little too easy and not that fulfilling.”

            So, basically, you are admitting to committing troll behavior for the sake of being a troll–and you are making this proclamation with glee; I guess you are proud of yourself?..This is perhaps one of very few comments you’ve made that is actually honest…if it’s not fulfilling, then why do you persist in being a troll? Are you addicted to being a troll?

      • HonestDebate1

        As I understand, and I don’t claim to be an expert that’s why I asked the question, it has always been there and nothing new. It’s like a twirling dervish of frigid air at the poles. It affects us when a piece of it breaks off. The claim is that happens because of a wobbly jet stream caused by AGW.

        I further understand it exists on both poles. Obviously their seasons are polar opposites (pun intended). When it’s summer in the South pole its Winter in the North pole and vise versa. It seems to me the same thing could happen in the South pole during August.

        While I am not pretending my question wasn’t a little snark ridden, it was actually a serious one.

        What is your understanding?

  • HonestDebate1

    Mitt Romney slow jams the news:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HTJaJuA0Gw#t=109

    • John Cedar

      He would make a great president. I would vote for him again.

      It will be interesting to see how Fallon does in Leno’s slot. Fallon is a very talented entertainer but is by no means a Carson or Leno. But since Letterman seems to of pulled it off with cult appeal rather than a mass appeal, there is hope for Fallon.

      • Fredlinskip

        He WOULD make a great president;
        as long as you don’t care about the economy, employment, income inequality, the auto industry the environment, or majority of Americans-
        he’s the man.
        America is not a business.
        Everyone matters- not just a few at the top who have learned how best “to game the system”.
        IMO

        • pete18

          “He WOULD make a great president;
          as long as you don’t care about the economy, employment, income inequality, the auto industry the environment, or majority of Americans-”

          That an Obama supporter would make this statement and not see the absurd irony of it is priceless.

          • HonestDebate1

            You took the words right out of my mouth.

  • Ilya

    34:30 The situation in Ukraine is not about EU vs Russia anymore. It had never really been about that.

    It has been about the better chance for real democracy.

    They now have laws in Ukraine that basically cancel freedom of speech and associations. Moreover these laws are created without the proper legislative procedure.

    Why didn’t he mention that?

    An what about the snobbish comment about “no good people” ? Really?

  • HonestDebate1

    Charlene Lamb was in charge of the office that denied beefed up security for Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi. She just got a promotion to Regional Security Officer. Terrific.

    • HonestDebate1

      2 down votes, thank goodness at least two commenters agree this is unacceptable.

      On a related note, I did some checking at Disqus and found out their reasoning for not identifying down voters is to keep things positive. that makes no sense to me, if that was the case they shouldn’t have added the down votes at all. They asked for feedback so I clicked the “please let us know” link and said I think the anonymity simply creates more down votes and more negativity. I don’t know y’alls views but the link is here:

      http://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/658811-how-voting-works

      • 1Brett1

        That’s funny…just the other day you were telling another commenter not to worry about the down votes and that you wear them like a badge of honor; I guess your feelings have changed enough for you to spend time trying to appeal to DISQUS. Sounds like the down votes bother you a great deal, though. It’s difficult, however, to tell what your points are, as you ostensibly have flip-flopped on the down vote issue.

        As far as your first sentence, you are being disingenuous to state you think those down votes mean people, like you, find Lamb’s promotion unacceptable, further evidence of how “honest” you are.

        In your initial comment, you were being sarcastic, anyway (“terrific”). I can’t know why people down voted your comment, neither can you, but I suspect it may be due to your constant drum beating about some Benghazi conspiracy or other, and how you keep trying to wring something out of the incident, in one way or another, that is critical of the Obama Administration. One thing that can be said, at least, is that people probably didn’t down vote your comment because they agreed with it’s sarcastic tone.

        • HonestDebate1

          Your logic defies logic. I love the down votes and wear them like a badge of honor. I think they should be identified like the up votes are. Where is the contradiction? What on earth are you reading, it’s certainly not what I write.

          Do you give Lamb’s promotion a thumbs up or thumbs down? It’s not about me you know.

          • 1Brett1

            For someone who “love[s]…down votes,” seems like you’ve spent some time trying to change their frequency. Generally, when people “love” something, they don’t spend time trying to undermine how it works, that’s all.

            I do agree, however, that either doing away with down votes altogether or doing away with their anonymity would promote a more positive approach.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t care about the frequency at all. Where’d you get that? I was poo pooing the notion put forth by Disqus that they are not identified so that things remain positive. They have the opposite affect. And you evidently agree. You’re making no sense.

          • 1Brett1

            One minute you love them and wear them as a badge of honor, the next you don’t care about their frequency and have spent time trying to appeal to DISQUS to change them…You are making perfect sense; you are completely consistent in your contradictions.

          • HonestDebate1

            Again no contradiction. Read slower, it is disqus who is causing the frequency to go up by not identifying them. That’s fine with me but in direct contrast with their stated goal. I think they ought to be identified, if that means I don’t get as many then I’ll suffer through but I’ll know who doesn’t like me because it’s all about me.

            I gave the link, weigh in if you have an opinion.

            Whose head has rolled because of the Benghazi debacle? I can tell you whose heads rolled for Bridgegate and that was peanuts in comparison. Are you okay with the promotion?

          • 1Brett1

            You said that you found out about DISQUS’s reasoning AFTER you did some checking, so your claim that you were merely disagreeing with their reasoning makes for a false timeline/false justification for your “checking.”

            “I did some checking at Disqus and found out their reasoning for not identifying down voters is to keep things positive,” is your exact quote.

            Again, more dishonesty on your part, and I gave you a behavioral reason why I think you are actually bothered by the down votes, as you wouldn’t spend time “checking” if they didn’t bother you in some way.

            I don’t care about down votes; they don’t mean anything to me one way or the other. I cetainly am not going to spend time contacting DISQUS’s help line.

            It is also telling that you think down votes just means people don’t like you. At least some time they might just disagree with your comment or don’t like it in some way. (Only an egotist would take the down votes as personally as you do.) Unlike you, most likely people don’t feel the need to reply to every comment with which they disagree, is my guess, and a down vote is about what many of your comments deserve, if anything, at least that could be one explanation, since you are all in a lather about down votes.

            And, your welcome; I hope this helps you in some way to calm down about getting to the bottom of down votes and vociferously prattling on about changing the protocol.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s funny dude. I read your first paragraph 5 times and I still don’t get it. I told disqus the same thing I told you. I think they should be identified and their reasoning for not doing so is stupid, that’s all.

            Don’t you like me?

      • jefe68

        Thin skinned I see…

  • brettearle

    Wonderful!

    More mall shootings….

    Just Wonderful!

    As if men and women would come into malls, with baseball bats and machetes, and do the same thing, or be able to do the same thing, if Firearms were much, much more restricted.

    Hats off to the ugly and pathetic Gun Lobby in this country….

    C’mon Gentlemen, don’t be shy, Take a friggin’ Bow…..

    • HonestDebate1

      Was the mall a gun-free zone?

      • brettearle

        What’s your point?

        • HonestDebate1

          I was just curious, I had not heard about the shooting at all until you mentioned it. If it was not a gun-free zone then there was at least a chance someone could have stopped it. Just a chance but I’m sure the victim’s families would have wanted them to have a chance. I make that point because there were some who pointed to Columbine having an on duty policeman nearby who failed to stop the bloodshed as a reason the whole notion is futile. I never understood that logic. So again, I just hope that one chance they had was not taken away by the anti-gun lobby.

          I remember a mall shooting a year or two ago that was minimized because a citizen was legally carrying a concealed weapon and drew it. I think it was in Oregon. As I recall, and I’m fuzzy on it, he didn’t have to pull the trigger. The gunman saw him take aim and turned the gun on himself then it was over.

          • jefe68

            Yeah, more guns in public places is just what we need. I guess that worked out well in that Florida movie theater.

          • HonestDebate1

            What in the world do you mean? The theater was a gun free zone. It was a nut case and he was the only one with a gun.

          • jefe68

            You mean the ex cop? By the way you might want to look that one up. It seems anyone who has a permit to carry a gun can do so in movie theaters in Florida.

            http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/13/justice/florida-movie-theater-shooting/

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, the nutcase idiot ex-cop. Who else do you think I meant?

            From your link:

            On the theaters’ website is a list of prohibited items and actions. Among them: No cell phone use, including texting, in the theater auditorium. And no weapons allowed.

          • jefe68

            And yet the law in Florida stipulates that guy had every right to carry a gun into the theater. The theater did nothing to stop him or anyone else for that matter from caring a weapon onto the premises.
            There was an off duty cop in the same theater who disarmed him.

            How do you know he was crazy?
            In fact his actions after the shooting point to him being pretty much a sane person on one level. He sat there and put the gun on his lap and waited for the police to arrive.

            Your idea that gun free zones will stop senseless killings like this are the height of absurdity. As the if the increase of shootings in the state of Florida can attest too.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t know what law you are talking about. What law says a theater cannot prohibit guns? Do you mean he could carry because of his status as a ex cop? I’m not sure I follow.

            But really you are conflating by bringing up the Tampa incident at all in comparison to the mall shooting. This wasn’t someone who came in guns ablating intent on has murder. It was a not case idiot who got pissed at someone for making noise. How in the world do you prevent that?

            You wrote: “Your idea that gun free zones will stop senseless killings like this are the height of absurdity.”

            Yes it is the height of absurdity. I would never say anything that totally stupid and idiotic. I have no idea how you got that.

          • jefe68

            Florida law allows people with concealed carry permits to bring guns into movie theaters — but some theaters have their own rules banning weapons.

          • brettearle

            jef–

            Maybe I already told you this–but I’m still working on that assignment, that I gave myself, a couple of weeks back.

            You may, or may not, remember.

            I don’t expect the matter to be anyone else’s priority–other than mine.

  • Ilya

    34:30 The situation in Ukraine is not about EU vs Russia anymore. It had never really been about that.

    It has been about the better chance for real democracy.

    They now have laws in Ukraine that basically cancel freedom of speech
    and associations. Moreover these laws are created without the proper
    legislative procedure.

    Why didn’t he mention that?

    An what about the snobbish comment about “no good people” ? Really?

  • HonestDebate1

    “For the State of the Union, one of the things President Obama really ought to do is look in the TV camera and say to the over 5 million Americans all across this country who’ve had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare, to look in the camera and say, ‘I’m sorry — I told you if you like your health-insurance plan, you can keep it,’” the Texas senator said on Face the Nation on Sunday. “‘I told you if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, and that wasn’t true — I’m sorry.’”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/369464/cruz-obama-should-apologize-nation-state-union-andrew-johnson

    I absolutely agree.

  • OnPointComments

    Suppose the girlfriend (who is of legal age with reasonable physical and mental abilities) of your son (who is also of legal age with reasonable physical and mental abilities) confides in you that last night she cooked a special meal just for the two of them, and they had two bottles of great wine with the meal. She tells you that she drank way more than she should have and was unable to drive home, but it was so romantic, and they made love afterwards.

    Would you advise her to file sexual assault charges against your son?

    • hennorama

      OPC – thank you for your response.

      As there is no indication that their interaction was either unwanted or non-consensual, no I would not.

      Simply being intoxicated to the point where one decides not to drive does not mean it’s impossible to consent, and the woman in your example demonstrated her decision-making ability. In your example, “the girlfriend” made a responsible decision to not drive her vehicle, indicating an ability to make an informed choice.

      Quoting the CSAS again:

      “Many students drink without becoming incapacitated, and it would be inappropriate to assume that any incidents in which the victim was drinking could be classified as incapacitated sexual assaults.”

      Thanks again for your response.

      • OnPointComments

        It seems to me that, for some, it all boils down to a relatively simple question: can blood alcohol level alone (or any other manner of intoxication) determine whether an act of sexual relations constitutes assault or rape?

        My answer is no.

        • hennorama

          OPC — thank you for your response.

          Neither of the referenced studies concluded that “blood alcohol level alone (or any other manner of intoxication) [can] determine whether an act of sexual relations constitutes assault or rape.”

          However, the higher one’s BAC, the greater the decline in the ability to make informed decisions. And at BACs of .20 and above, few if any humans are capable of making informed decisions. Some of the effects of BACs of .20 and above are:

          Stupor

          Loss of Understanding

          Impaired Sensations

          Major memory impairment – “blackout” normally occurs in this range (complete memory loss), especially if the BAC rises rapidly; memory does not transfer from short-term to long-term storage (can occur as low as .08%)

          Mental confusion

          Severe Motor Impairment

          Loss of Consciousness

          (sources below)

          Here are a few points from the University of Notre Dame’s Office of Alcohol and Drug Education:

          “Women are much more vulnerable than men to adverse consequences of alcohol use.

          “Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men; in general women have less body water than men of similar body weight, so that women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol.

          “Women have smaller quantities of the enzyme dehydrogenase that breaks down alcohol in the stomach. A Woman will absorb about 30% more alcohol into her bloodstream than a man of the same weight who has consumed an equal amount.

          “For example: 140 lb. Male drinks two drinks in one hour, his blood alcohol level is .038. A 140 lb. female drinks two drinks in one hour and her blood alcohol level is .048.”

          See:
          http://oade.nd.edu/educate-yourself-alcohol/alcohol-and-women-critical-information/differences-between-men-and-women/

          http://www.rochester.edu/uhs/healthtopics/Alcohol/bac.html

          • OnPointComments

            I am aware of the effects of alcohol.

            From your comment: “Inability to Consent – A freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact could not occur because of age, illness, disability, being asleep, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs.”

            I am not commenting on any unwanted sexual contact. I am commenting about a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact between adults who are intoxicated beyond a legal limit. In my opinion, BAC alone does not determine whether sexual assault has occurred, and BAC does not override the intent of the parties.

          • hennorama

            OPC — thanks again for your continued engagement.

            Again, neither study concluded that “BAC alone … determine[s] whether sexual assault has occurred …”

            However, as previously indicated, high BAC results in diminished decision-making capability, and if one’s level of intoxication is such that one is unable to make a decision, one therefore cannot make a decision about whether or not to consent to sexual activity.

            BTW — the definition of “Inability to Consent” that I presented is not a legal definition. Rather, it is a uniform definition agreed upon by experts in the field:

            “External Panel

            “Ten professionals with backgrounds in sexual violence prevention or surveillance and from various settings, including universities, state health departments, hospitals, sexual assault coalitions, and federal agencies, served as panelists for this project. Members of the panel met three times over 18 months — in October 1999, September 2000, and February 2001. In addi­tion, an external group of 15 professionals working in the field of sexual violence was asked to review and comment on drafts of the documents. The goal of this process was to identify uniform
            definitions and data elements for sexual violence that could be implemented and pilot tested.”

  • HonestDebate1

    I disagree. Your premise “Because there would be less firearms, amongst the populations” is flawed because it is not possible. There are hundreds and hundreds of millions of guns already in American’s hands and our Constitution will not allow confiscation. But even if it were to come to pass the data is in. Everywhere there are more guns there is less crime.

    The seat belt is a great analogy. It is very wise to protect yourself but we don’t mandate people have guns like they do in Switzerland. Wearing a seat belt does not protect anyone else like a gun can.

    I agree 100… no 1000% that saving lives is the goal.

    http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcInfoBase.asp?CatID=43

    • brettearle

      Prove that crime is down everywhere, where there are more guns.

      Show me the money.

      Prove that crime is down in those areas–because guns are more plentiful in these areas.

      Show me the money.

      Prove that the NRA could have prevented the latest mall shooting.

      Show me the money.

  • HonestDebate1

    I agree with everything you wrote. It’s true but you will never be able to grasp that fact because you have the nuance of a jackhammer. Your conclusions come from outer space.

  • hennorama

    brettearle — when one considers the record of accuracy when highly trained police officers discharge their weapons, it gives pause about the idea of armed and not well trained citizens drawing and firing a weapon in a crowded setting.

    For example, when the NY Times studied “11 Years of Police Gunfire, in Painstaking Detail,” for the years 1996 to 2006, they found that “Officers hit their targets roughly 34 percent of the time,” and “When they fire at dogs, roughly 55 percent of shots hit home.”

    See:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/nyregion/08nypd.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    • brettearle

      Reviewed the article.

      Thank you.

      True Heroes are the ones who can make instant and accurate decisions.

      Or what seem, at the time, to be accurate decisions.

      But what if they don’t turn out to be accurate decisions–even if it looked like, at the time, they were?

      There is something that always, but always sticks in my craw–and it should for many others.

      When the police pursue an assailant or suspect–on foot or in a motor chase–they usually don’t go for the tires or the legs–often when the police are not being shot at all.

      What person, in the private sector is going to react more judiciously?

      The whole thing is sick and disgusting.

      How many more Newtowns will there have to be, before the sick idiots of the NRA–and those who support the NRA–genuflect before Amadu Diallo’s grave?

  • brettearle

    Brett, thanks for your comments.

    Coming from a high-quality particpant, such as yourself, they carry extra meaning.

    [Not to mention that there's a special importance when it comes from someone, with the same name.]

    As for subtexts, in a way, even if a number of opposing views are dead wrong and correspondingly convoluted, such sentiments keep us well-oiled and proactive.

  • brettearle

    Well put.

    In the case of the Lanza family, there was a complete breakdown in warnings, safety, protection, and security.

    A perfect storm, it would seem, if there ever was one.

    If I’m a parent of a teenager–even if that kid seems quite steady and stable–I don’t make my gun supply easily accessible, what—-so——-ever.

  • HonestDebate1

    I don’t think it was his job to make that call.

  • HonestDebate1

    It is not, or at least never was, the government’s job to decide what is adequate coverage. Millions of people were happy with their coverage. Millions of people would not have lost their plans if not for Obamacare.

    Obama never made that stipulation, he said he made it after he was called out on it but he never did. Never.

    It seems to me your position is the insurance companies are opportunistic and unscrupulous and that the public is incapable to understand their own needs. I disagree strongly.

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