The Watering Hole: January 10 – The Rubicon

On January 10 49 BCE, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. He did this because he just had to say: “Alea iacta est.” which he thought was really clever.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

94 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: January 10 – The Rubicon

  1. Well, I woke up at 2:30am, and the world is white outside. There’s a bit more snow out there than on Christmas day, but I don’t think it will last much past today.

    Outstanding, it’s following the pattern, and headed your way!

  2. If I put this here, does it qualify as a retweet? I hope not. This is from Max-1 at C&L.

    Michael Moore on twitter.

    If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web w/crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he b sitting right now? Just asking.

  3. Great line from sandy h at TP this morning. She writes, “I really don’t know why everyone is saying Loughner is crazy when he has accepted the Republican BS propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Are they saying all GOP supporters are nuts or just Faux News junkies?”

    I may use a variation of that one myself if/when the moment is right. 😉

  4. Not many of us about today. Everyone must have made it to work and school.

    The northern half of Alabama is having a do-over for today! Everything’s cancelled! They even cancelled the BCS Championship viewing parties for the Auburn folks.

    • I’m here, House. Just catching up on TP and some email. 🙂

      Are you having a snow day? We’re hanging around 10 degrees today, but it’s sunny and that’s nice.

      • Hi all. I noticed something this morning that reminded me of something I saw in a movie years ago.. So, I looked it up.
        It was a headline with the shooter’s name “Jared Lee Loughner”. The movie quote I remembered was from “Conspiracy Theory” with Mel Gibson. Here are the lines:

        Jerry: David Berkowitz, Ted Bundy, Richard Speck…
        Alice: What about them?
        Jerry: Serial killers. Serial killers only have two names. You ever notice that? But lone gunmen assassins, they always have three names. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman…
        Alice: John Hinckley. He shot Reagan. He only has two names.
        Jerry: Yeah, but he only just shot Reagan. Reagan didn’t die. If Reagan had died, I’m pretty sure we probably would all know what John Hinckley’s middle name was.

        Anyway, why IS it they always list all three names when it comes to lone assassins…. Just asking.

  5. UofA/Tucson Medical center :

    “No change is good – stable
    CT scans shows no progressive swelling – good sign but cautious as it can take up to three days to show. With each day showing no progressive swelling is a positive.”

  6. Could it hearken to admonishment from parents who would use our entire given name when we did not adhere to or acted out that brought disapproval: “Warren Sloculm Smith” get down here right now”?

  7. Hey ebb, I just refreshed that page at AJ and it said that you and 1 other liked the comment. That’s the 1st time I’ve seen a liker’s handle posted!

  8. Yes we are snowed in. I saw several people walking dogs earlier, down the tracks of the only vehicle to pass down my side street. My estimate is we got about six inches accumulation. I’ve been watching the Alabama DOT cameras down around Birmingham. There’s not much traffic on the roads down there either.

  9. House, must have been simultaneously posting – so I read your answer just as I was asking my question —–


    Good Morning, CheeseFlap!

  10. 2ebb, I could get to the market five blocks down the street. What I don’t want to do is clean the snow off the car to do it. I’d also have to call ahead to make sure they were able to open.

  11. Thanks for the heads up on the Krugman piece. Another passage where I think he just nails the core issue:

    And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

    It’s not the same.

    • Well, if you can stand it, check out Michelle Malkin’s website. Thom Hartmann is talking about how the Right is out in force today trying to set up a false equivalency, sort of like “they do it too”, or “they started it”…, but she has gone over the top. I am sure you will start seeing every one of these images marched out onto FOX Noise.
      I will admit there are crazy nutcases at both extremes.. Especially throughout the last presidential election cycle, maybe further back than that. Crazier than I can remember. I think it is based on fear and distrust, but it has been used, stoked and taken advantage of, and it is at a dangerous point.

      Our leaders, those running for office, and those visible people with a platform, a microphone, a TV station, etc.. have a responsibility to try and tone down the rhetoric. There is no place in our public discourse talking about using violence, taking people out, etc.. If we can’t have debates, disagreements on important issues and direction, etc. without fear for our lives or wellbeing, then we no longer have a democracy.

      I know I am going to look more carefully at what I say and how I say it.

      • You know, most of the junk Malkin put up I’d never, ever heard of or seen before. I wonder where she dug that stuff up from.. I remember being angry at Bush and Cheney for doing all the things they did, and being anxious about the direction they were taking the country, but I wanted them arrested and tried. I wanted justice done, which meant following our system of justice in this country. Investigations. I would not have condoned anyone talking about using force to take over the government, or doing something to try and cause them bodily harm.. Can anyone even remember a single instance in the last couple of elections where a single Democratic or liberal candidate or talking head advocated violence while running against their opponent, or used violent metaphors or suggestive language? A single Democratic or liberal candidate or talking head advocating seceding or overthrowing our government? I can’t come up with a single instance..

  12. Muse, I took at peek at the Malkin screed.

    The right want to always turn this into a zero-sum game. That “see the left does it.” But I wonder if they think that then justifies their own hate?

      • Zooey, I didn’t read what she had to say about it because I feel the same way about her as I do about Ann Coulter. They are just plain hateful and vile, and I can’t bear to hear their voices let alone read what they write. It was the lineup of graphics a mile long that she posted to make her point..

          • 10-4… Though I think I will just turn the computer off today. The last two days have been too hard. I’m going to catch up here and do something positive. 😀

            • I didn’t mean to chase you off, muse!

              Although I need to get this office cleaned up before classes start on Wednesday, so I should push away from this thing. 😉

            • I’m reading this article at Politico about the response the tragedy and the discussion about the level of dangerous rhetoric, and basically, it’s about Palin. Jonathan Martin is pondering how this is going to affect Palin’s political future. It made me wonder..

              If you remove Palin’s “brand of confrontational politics” which pushes the envelope and pours out the red meat.. What is she left with other than a perky personality? She’s suited to a TV reality show (though hers has been cancelled after one season), maybe even a ‘pundit’ for FOX Noise, but for a serious candidate for the office of the presidency? I really believe she is a bully (and a narcissist), and the reason she has been popular thus far has more to do with the fact that she says and does things that other candidates would never dare to do (and shouldn’t do). Take that away and she’s got nothing. She is seriously unqualified. She is wrapping paper with a fancy, elaborate bow on a box that is empty. The great pretender..

              The presidency isn’t and shouldn’t be a popularity contest. It is too serious and there is too much at stake.

  13. On the Moment of Silence thread: I put together a somewhat lengthy quote, excerpts from a speech Robert Kennedy gave in Ohio the day after the MLK assassination (it speaks as loudly and profoundly today as it did then, 42 years ago). I debated on whether to post in on the Moment of Silence or the following Lax Gun Control thread, chose the latter only because I thought more might see it there. It may be too long for most to want to read (and certainly is too long for any troll), but it’s so profound I thought it was worth a whack. It’s gotten a fair response.

  14. Three years – that’ll be commuted to ‘house arrest’ or some such ‘poppy cock’!

    I detest Delay (spit).


    I’m going to watch the car chase scene again – just to regain some ‘sanity’ =;>

  15. house, I posted “Bullitt” – with you in mind! Vroom, vroom!

    One of my favorite movies – because of the scenery. It was shot on sight – loves me The City!

    • Sorry, I’m not quite gone yet.. 😉
      I hope you all will indulge me because this comment is kinda long.. I just read through the David Frum stupidity at TP, Frum blaming it on the guy being a pothead (unbelievable), and after reading through the comments decided to put these thoughts here instead:

      Lots of people question how a crazy person could get a gun in the first place.

      Mentally disturbed people don’t wear a sign on them saying “Hi, I’m a crazy person”.. Often times they seem a little odd on meeting, but blend in. Their medical records are private. You actually need to spend some time around a person before you pick up that there is something seriously off about them. The professor at the school he was kicked out of seemed to pick up right away that something was off, but didn’t act on it immediately before taking action.
      So, even if this person was seriously disturbed (which he likely was), he may have walked into that gun shop and filled out the papers and left in a fairly appropriate manor in the short amount of time there. Is the gun shop owner supposed to ‘diagnose’ his customer or just run the background check? Even if he notes something not quite right, if there is nothing in that background check does he sell him the gun anyway?

      I googled “requirements to buy a gun” and came up with this:
      The Brady Bill was enacted in 1994, and at a minimum, each state requires a firearm background check to include a search of the National Instant Check System (NICS), which identifies anyone barred from owning a gun.

      However, states vary widely in their requirements for enforcing the law. Twenty-one states require only the NICS check. In the states of Connecticut, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia both state and federal firearm background checks are required. Residents of Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Missouri are only required to pass a federal firearm background check but they do need a permit. One problem with the law is that only licensed firearms sellers are required to comply with it.

      So, if Jared Loughner had not been previously barred from owning a gun due to the two requirements dealing with mental disturbance in that background check (1: Those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution, and 2: Those who are mentally incompetent in the eyes of the court [this I found by Googling “Firearm Background Check“]), it seems his name would not necessarily pop up in the background check. It’s not clear from news reports if he had been in real trouble or been plugged into the judicial system yet, or in any kind of treatment for his mental disturbance/illness..
      So, why wouldn’t they sell him the gun?

      So what is the solution from keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people who aren’t already in the system identified as such?
      Of course some of what I wrote on this guy is assumption and what little has been reported on him thus far…

      • I should also add that I don’t own a gun, (wouldn’t own a gun), and I don’t know anyone who owns a gun, so I am only basing this on what I read in looking it up.

  16. The odd thing that sticks with me is how could he afford to buy a Glock? A while back I checked on buying a handgun in a more nervous moment and HOLY CRAP! I’ve bought cars for less money than they want for one of those things. I decided then that I was perfectly content with the size of my willy.

  17. Sorry, I’m not quite gone yet…

    No one wants you to leave ‘Muse. 😀

    Zxbe, we won’t quite break freezing today, with heavy cloud cover. Tonight’s low is 28, with a 36 and some sun tomorrow. Then we don’t break 32 again until Friday. Whatever’s out there tomorrow at dark will be there for several more days.

  18. All good points, Muse. “Crazy” people don’t necessarily run around wrapped in aluminum foil, talking to themselves out loud (and who knows it’s not a bluetooth device) and can often function well enough that you’d never know they have problems. You know, the “quiet ones”.

  19. You know, the “quiet ones”.

    A majority of the ‘interviews’ with neighbors is “He/they kept to themselves. Curtains drawn. But He/they would always wave hello or goodbye.” “We never saw/suspected a thing”.

  20. Ailes tells Fox staff to tone down the rhetoric. Of course he called any links to the Tea Party or Fox “bullshit.” What’s interesting is as the head of a news organization shouldn’t they investigate if there’s a link to the Tea Party before they label it as bullshit?

    Of course he did the old false-equivalency and said the other side does it too, but he hopes they will tone it down. One has to wonder. At least he’s admitting that the fox new rhetoric is too high. That’s a start.

  21. Rush is lining up the talking points for the right to defend themselves from criticism:

    Summary of the talking points listed:

    He’s a lone nut
    Heavy metal music
    He doesn’t watch Fox
    Sheriff is covering his butt
    Blame the parents
    Sheriff is a Democrat
    Where’s the social safety net
    Oklahoma City
    Criminalizing speech
    Hypocrisy on violence
    Democrats are ghouls
    A direct denial (aka a lie)

  22. Amanda Terkel has a great article about an e-mail Garbrielle sent the day before the shooting.

    On the eve of the shooting that left her critically injured, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) wrote an email to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R), asking his help in toning down the partisan rhetoric in the country.

    “After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation,” wrote Giffords. “I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.”

      • I believe that along with a national discussion and the level of dangerous violent political rhetoric, we HAVE to have a national discussion (followed by change) about making available real treatment and care (out patient or residential), intensive when necessary, and support for families of people with mental disturbance and illness. I know of this from personal experience over a lot of years, and it is SERIOUSLY lacking in this country. It is shameful.
        There are people and families across this country who are in crisis without any resources available to them.
        We HAVE to have a national discussion about real, reasonable gun controls, and a system with which to enforce and track it. Not because I’m a “liberal” or a “Democrat”, but because it’s smart, it’s the right thing to do, and in a civilized society, it must be done so people can live safely. Why should anyone be sold a handgun that can shoot off 30 bullets from a clip before anyone even realizes they are shooting.. They are only intended to kill people. I don’t understand why that is okay..
        What happened to common sense..

  23. Queensland having devastating floods. From the SMH.

    Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says “whole families” are missing and the death toll will “potentially quite dramatically” rise from eight.

    There’s dramatic video showing ‘how a car park vanished in flood’.

  24. People have been using the adjective “biblical” for the floods in N. Australia.

    Of course, they also used that term for Pakistan last year.

    And Tennessee a couple years prior.

    Extreme weather events are an immediate prediction of AGW, so I sure feel relieved knowing that the whole thing was a massive (flood-like?) hoax perptrated in perfectly synchronized harmony by many tens-of-thousands of scientists world-wide who hate America and want to bring about the proletarian revolution.

  25. Well I sang with fist held high – but still haven’t figured out if I’m:socialists, communists, social democrats or an anarchists.

    Wait, I just maybe a combination of all four!

    Thanks for posting that version – I’ve bookmarked it!

    It reminded me of:

    At SJSU (San Jose State University) the statue of 1968 Olympics Black Power salute statue stands prominently – and I always salute and thank Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

  26. “Social Democrats” are just a flavor of “socialists.”

    “Communists,” as the term has evolved, mostly seem to be single-party anti-propertarian socialists.

    Anarchists are just silly. The first and most natural thing that people do when freed from the yoke of government is form a government. The alternative is a kind of “every man for himself, and God against all” type of gangsterism that makes Somalia look civilized.

    I suppose I should go on and note that, even without anything like a specialization in the area of political and social philosophy, I can easily identify at least four major thematic trends behind the idea of socialism (clearly there is a great deal of overlap in these classifications):

    1) LEGAL SOCIALISM: As the name suggests, this is a legal system, one in which the laws decidedly favor the providers of labor and services in a society. This is the form of socialism that most directly opposes capitalism. Capitalism is a *legal* — NOT, it is to be noted, economic — system in which the laws favor the holders of wealth and capital. Both of these systems are distinct from a market economic system, this latter being an economic form in which prices and availability of goods and services are determined by market forces rather than centralized command structures. There have been non-market capitalisms (Nazi germany and some of the “tigers” of East Asia had command economies) and there are and have been market oriented socialisms (Tito’s Yugoslavia, some of the Western European powers to varying degrees.)

    (2) GOVERNMENTAL SOCIALISM: This is a system in which the gov’t “owns” and operates various crucial social infrastructures on a not-for-profit basis. These can include things like healthcare, transportation, communication, water and power, housing, etc. England has socialized medicine, while “Obamacare” is so obviously not even remotely socialistic that the accusations would be comical were they not so patently disgusting.

    It is worth observing with the above two that minor amounts of gov’t regulation of business cannot, by even the most reckless stretch of the imagination, qualify as socialism. Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations, widely consider the “bible” of the free market, was himself a vocal advocate of gov’t regulation of “capitalists”. (He used the terms “merchants and manufactures”; the word “Capitalist” did not first appear until 1790, 14 years after Wealth was published. Yet it is patently obvious who Smith is talking about, and he has no kind words for them.)

    (3) CRITICAL SOCIALISM: This is a purely philosophical position, an approach that criticizes existing institutional and social structures from their power relations, most specifically from the ways that power is used and distributed along lines of wealth and capital.

    (4) METAPHYSICAL SOCIALISM: This is often called “communitarianism.” But people will often see that word and think you’ve said “communism,” and so I tend to avoid it in all but informed discussions where the people I’m engaged with either already know what they are talking about or are at least capable of exercising care around unfamiliar terms. Communitarianism is the belief that the *community* is the first principle of all human existence: communities are both logically and temmporally first, individuals come later as an emergent property. How and to what extent individuals emerge, and what their characteristics are, is entirely variable, a thing to be investigated so that we might deliberately cultivate those kinds of individuals that realize the highest and best in human beings. This is the form of socialism that most directly contradicts liberalism. Classical, including most especially Laissez Faire liberalism, takes the individual as a metaphysically given “atom.” While this approach emphasizes the importance of the individual, it is contradicted by historical and anthropological facts, and is self-blinded to the possibilities inherent in human growth as persons. If the individual is just “given”, there is nothing left to do but accept it as it is.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was most definitely a metaphysical socialist, as was the American philosopher John Dewey. (The latter makes this evident in such works as Individualism, Old and New, and The Public and Its Problems.)

    The above is not a comprehensive list. For example, I do not see any way of shoe-horning such anti-propertarian anarchists as Pierre Proudhon or Emma Goldman into the above classification. On the other hand, “anti-propertarian anarchist” seems rather specific and ad hoc to merit its own category. The usefulness, I find, in the above is that it captures several important themes without committing the error of reductionism. Thus it illustrates some of the complexities of the concept of socialism, clearly shows that the word is being used in a grotesque manner in the American media, and does not slam the door on further complexifications and nuances.

  27. Thanks for that, Gary.

    Well, now I don’t know what the hell to call myself ;>

    I’m unconventional. Truthfully I don’t like to use, nor be labeled.

    Legally – never married. However;

    First ‘long term relationship’ – nearly 13 years before “Phil” died in a auto accident.

    Second (six years later) – nearly 15 years before “Mark” died due to complications of a hospital error.
    Neither required a ‘piece of paper’ to work! Thus my label can never be ‘married’ on any legal papers. So labels are kind of “pissy things”.

  28. My background in American Philosophy inclines me to a different view of labels from many:

    These are not “containers” in which the universe is to be shoved, Procrustes like, until it fits regardless. Rather they are heuristics with which we conduct inquiry. They are not concrete absolutes in which answers are given, but rather frameworks in which questions can be pursued. (Product vs. process distinction.)

  29. They are not concrete absolutes in which answers are given, but rather frameworks in which questions can be

    (Product vs. process distinction.)

    I like!

  30. I realize my rantings have been blaming the flaming rhetoric of Palin and her pals.
    Have been really thinking more and more on this.
    We always seem to ‘place blame’ no matter what happens. There are times and things that just don’t have a reasonable, neat explanation.
    This perpetrator acted on his own.

    I do not condone the rhetoric but to say it ignited the suspect…we’ll just have to wait for his trial…if he decides to testify or allow info out via his attorney.

    If the country begins to ‘stifle’ speech – even the devil spewing Palin, Beck, Rush, etc. have the right to their opinion according to the 1st Amendment – we start down a path of censorship.

  31. This morning at ten, Debbie will be attending the funeral of a seventh grade boy from the middle school at which she volunteers. He hung himself in his room last Thursday evening. He was not a “hero,” not “popular”; he was, rather, a sensitive lad, one who tried football last fall but lasted only two days, one who was often mocked because sometimes he would cry, one who was bullied for his obvious shortfalls by certain classmates. Why he chose last Thursday to end it no one knows, but his adolescence is nonetheless over shortly after it began.

    The community is, of course, upset and trying to figure things out. They’re not getting very far, though, probably because to do so requires too much looking in the mirror. This is a very rural area, in the mountain west, where for adolescent males two things count more than everything else combined: sports (esp. football), and guns/hunting, the combination being the true purview of “real” men. This boy’s passion was mathematics. Advanced class, etc.

    I was never a real man in the local context. Sports (esp football) still bores me, and I’ve never been hunting. I killed a back yard squirrel once with a pellet gun when I was in my late teens, felt an immense sadness inside as I watched it die. Haven’t shot a gun since. Not only that, but when my time was ripe I had NO INTEREST in marching off to war in the Nam, either. No interest in killing anything, not even those hated “Gooks”. Good thing that today I wear a beard, I guess — makes me look manly and rugged.

    The point is, I think, that society’s “standards” for “excellence” far too often only collectively embrace the pasture bull mentality which drives way too many of ‘us’ in the wrong direction(s). In a way, what happened in Tucson on Saturday may well be yet one more track of that same cat.

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