The Watering Hole, Monday, March 11th, 2013: From Morons to Marvels

Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has been in the news a lot lately, in part for having been one of the select few Republicans who were invited to the recent dinner meeting with President Obama. In an appearance yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Senator Johnson stated,

“If we’re going to really get to an agreement, this is a good step…You have to start meeting with people. You have to start developing relationships. You’ve got to spend a fair amount of time figuring out what we agree on first.”

[Especially when the Republican “leaders” won’t tell their flock the truth about what the President has offered, and the flock and the media are too dumb or brainwashed to lift a couple of fingers and check!]

The same “This Week” appearance also saw Paul Krugman, in his inimitable manner, school Senator Johnson on the Social Security program.

Prior to that, in the debate over authorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Senator Johnson was one of a group of “…Republicans [who] have objected to new provisions in the law, including one allowing tribal courts for the first time to prosecute men who aren’t American Indians when they’re accused of abusing an American Indian woman on a reservation. . .”, according to ThinkProgress, which also quotes Senator Johnson as saying:

“the Senate has approved a piece of legislation that sounds nice, but which is fatally flawed. By including an unconstitutional expansion of tribal authority and introducing a bill before the Congressional Budget Office could review it to estimate its cost, Senate Democrats made it impossible for me to support a bill covering an issue I would like to address.”

Coincidentally and fortuitously (or not), when searching for a link on a completely different topic, I ran across this one about Ron Johnson from 2010. It includes a video of Johnson, demonstrating the average conservative’s love of fetuses but not actual children, while “…testifying against the Wisconsin Child Victims Act, which would have eliminated the statute of limitation on lawsuits brought by victims of abuse by priests against the Catholic Church.

Okay, as a palate-cleanser, I believe that there’s something for everyone in these photo slideshows from The Weather Channel.

For all of us who love space science and/or who have experienced various types of mind-enhancement, here’s (now think Muppets “Pigs in Space” voice) “Light Trails from Space.”

Staying in space for the moment, the Comet Pan-STARRS is in the ‘hood, and should start to be visible to the naked eye tomorrow. The chart shown in this article indicates where the large comet can be located (in the western sky at sunset) over the next two weeks or so.

Last from TWC (and getting back to ‘trails’…you’ll see): unusual (and occasionally claustrophobia-inducing) tunnels are highlighted in this feature. Although the first tunnel shown only has the one photo – see below – the rest of them have some amazing shots. Tunnel #18, Shanghai’s Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, described as “senseless, yet fabulous“, could likely induce trails even for persons who have never seen trails before. A youtube video of the entire ride is linked to under the description of the Shanghai tunnel, but I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet. Who’s gonna go first? 🙂


Ukraine "Tunnel of Love"

Ukraine “Tunnel of Love”

This is our Open thread – what topic would you like to discuss?

80 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, March 11th, 2013: From Morons to Marvels

  1. Have you noticed that more and more, everything you look at on the internet has some little ad popping into photos and videos, or superimposed over text? I’m getting good at avoiding noticing the purpose of the ad, because I’m focused on looking for the little ‘x’ that gets rid of it. I’m more likely to look at an ad alongside an article that interests me, than one that gets in my way, and less likely to respond positively to anything that balloons out over what I’m trying to see. I hold annoying ads against any product I have a choice about not buying.

      • Well, I only remember that pertained to Showtime and HBO after TV moved to satellites. The original point to cable was the Community Antenna concept, for areas that had bad reception, but could put a receiver on a mountain, and send a boosted signal through the cable to the subscribers in the areas that couldn’t otherwise receive a quality signal. You were still seeing broadcast affiliates, so there were still commercials.

      • I watch the Encore channels on my cable, which are commercial free. I like the 50s-60s western shows like Have Gun Will Travel, Lawman, and Gunsmoke. They get hand-me-down movies from the Starz channels, once they have run a while there. Encore is included in my digital tier, which I need for MSNBC and Current, as well as the DVR tuner that takes a lot of stress out of watching a show and being interrupted, because you can pause the show, and come back where you stopped it.

          • Those are on either METV or Antenna TV, which are both auxiliary channels of local network affiliates here. I discovered Antenna TV when I saw they were running WKRP in Cincinnati on Sunday nights, and now on Tuesdays. Last night I watched Maude on Antenna TV. I had forgotten how hot Adrienne Barbeau was in that show.

  2. In a rare occurrence, Sen. Johnson and George Will were outnumbered on the This Week Roundtable. Julianna Goldman was a surprise to me. I expected her to be from the right, but her comments were helpful to Krugman and Wasserman-Schultz. She probably won’t be asked back.

    Johnson brought up one point that wasn’t discussed much, that Medicare has taken in one dollar from current seniors for every three it will pay out for their medical care. I wonder whether this takes into account the compounded interest of those Medicare deductions, paid in over a lifetime of earning, plus the effect of inflation. We’ll probably not see an honest accounting of this. If Medicare isn’t adequately funded, then we need to take a little more out of paychecks until it is.

    • The problem with Medicare is Part B and Part D. Part B pays toward all doctors’ visits and doctors do their best to get patients into their office as many times as possible. They have seniors coming in every month or two and sometimes twice/month. Most of these visits are unnecessary. Seniors also see many different doctors and are prescribed at least one medication from each doctor that they see. Medicare Part D is not allowed to negotiate drug prices so medications are overpriced. If Medicare stopped contributing to all those unnecessary doctor visits, seniors wouldn’t be running to the doctor every other week. My father who lived to the age of 87, visited at least one doctor/month and my mother-in-law saw a doctor every other week. Last time that I saw her, her ankles were swollen with edema and she had just come back from a doctor’s visit. I asked her if the doctor was concerned about the swelling and she told me that the doctor said they would discuss the swelling at her next visit which was in two weeks. This was in Florida, the number one Medicare state.

      • medicare abuses run rampant, as do abuses in medicaid. a local mental health center just got shutdown for such abuses……over billing, and billing for services never provided. these are common problems.

      • I’m in my sixth year on Medicare, and do my level best to NEVER have to see a damn doctor! Since I do have to take a daily dose of Warfarin, however, I have to get my blood checked monthly (but the local pharmacist does it, no doc required), and the doc does sort of ‘demand’ I come in once a year. I do my level best to avoid it (at my age, if I have something wrong with me I want to be the last to know) and only go if the doc insists before they’ll refill my script.

        Medicare costs me a hundred a month or so, deducted from my S.S. check, and because I don’t go to Walmart or Walgreens or some ‘official’ drugstore to fill my script — because I fill it locally at a small privately-owned pharmacy (heaven forbid!) — I have to pay the full script cost of $7 per month, plus the $20 per month for blood work. If I have to see the doc, there’s another $20 (co-pay) out the window, the equivalent of two quarts of decent dark rum. I much prefer rum to doctor visits. Anyway, Medicare only pays the balance of what the doc charges beyond the $20 I have to pay; but Medicare sucks $1200 out of my bank account every year, so they come out way ahead. Hard to figure out how Medicare could possibly be going broke! 🙂

      • I had the same experience with my mom Cats. The doctor sent her for blood tests, vein studies, specialist visits, and then scheduled a follow up with himself where the results of the other things were never discussed unless I brought them up. It was an awfully expensive way to monitor her inevitable decline and did nothing to arrest it.

        • Another trick that doctors do is visit patients in the hospital that aren’t their patients but they note that they stopped in the room to check on the patient in the patient’s chart and then bill for this visit.

    • Thanks, Cats, and thanks for the additional link, too.

      I love TWC website (except the freakin’ ads), there’s always something interesting in the sidebars, especially photo slideshows. I have several other links earmarked for future posts, so I’ll be doing Monday Mixes, Monday Madness, Monday Mash-ups, etc. for a while. 🙂

  3. Intrade Shut Down Due To Financial Probe

    A notice on the site’s home page gave few details of the probe, but said that it had halted trading on the site “due to circumstances recently discovered” that require further investigation and “may include financial irregularities.”

    Just in time to fuck up the betting on the next Pope!

  4. Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial:

    Kwame Kilpatrick guilty, Counts 1 through 5 (extortion and attempted extortion); count 9 (extortion); 17 through 26 (bribery and mail fraud), 18 (wire fraud) 30 through 36 (tax evasion).

    Kwame Kilpatrick not Guilty: 10 (extortion) 27 and 28 (mail fraud)

    Kwame Kilpatrick no consensus 7 and 8 (extortion) 16 (bribery)

    • NOTE: The eggs may take on the flavor of the coloring agent.

      Well, yeah, if you’re going to eat them later. I’m not a fan of hard boiled eggs, myself.
      One comment had using kool aid as a dye. Doesn’t kool aid have the same artificial crap dyes as the Paas Egg Dye?

    • I wonder what killed them. Pigs are a lot like us, I doubt it’s difficult for a swine disease to jump to humans. In our own country, hog farmers have a much higher incidence of MRSA due to the development of resistant strains in factory farmed hogs.

  5. A 2012 study reviewed the records of two Michigan hospitals from a six-year period and found that they normally treated an average of 23 heart attacks on the Sunday of the changeover compared to an average of 13 on other Sundays — a whopping increase of more than 55 percent. A Swedish study also found an increase in heart attacks during the first three weekdays after the switch.

    Heart attacks aren’t the only danger. Traffic accidents also increase by 11 percent the week following the onset of DST, and workplace injuries are also more common. In addition, a study published in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythm found that the week following the onset of DST is especially dangerous for men: More men are more likely to commit suicide following the time switch than at any other time during the year.

    • Hot damn! That’s why I felt like shit this morning when I got up!
      I still got dressed and vanpooled to work, where I sit like a zombie and think about all the goddamn stuff I don’t have the energy nor mindset to tackle today…

  6. You gotta be shitting me:

    ~George W. Bush’s Art Teacher: He Will Go Down in History “As a Great Artist”~

    Atlanta’s Fox 5 talked to Bonnie Flood, a Georgia art instructor who spent about a month teaching the 43rd president how to paint, saying she worked with him for around six hours a day. “He picked it up so quick, it was amazing actually,” she said. “His whole heart is in it.” His real passion, at least in the beginning, was to paint dogs. “I think he said he’d painted 50 dogs,” she said. But Flood said she later convinced him to expand his repertoire and paint more landscapes. Flood said she wasn’t sure what to call Bush, so she started calling him “43” because that is how he signs his paintings.

  7. How Paul Krugman was taken down by the right-wing smear machine – not!


    OK, I’m an evil person — and my scheming has paid off.

    On Friday I started hearing from friends about a fake story making the rounds about my allegedly filing for personal bankruptcy; I even got asked about the story by a reporter from Russian television, who was very embarrassed when I told him it was fake. But I decided not to post anything about it; instead, I wanted to wait and see which right-wing media outlets would fall for the hoax.

    And came through!

  8. Who’s listening to Thom Hartmann?

    Are you getting this?

    In a commentary on “Argo” winning the Best Picture Oscar, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr has provided new details about how Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign obstructed resolving the Iranian hostage crisis to prevent President Jimmy Carter’s reelection.

    • More information on the October Surprise matter:

      Newly discovered documents at the Reagan presidential library reveal that Reagan’s neocons at the State Department – particularly Robert McFarlane and Paul Wolfowitz – initiated a policy review in 1981 to allow Israel to undertake secret military shipments to Iran. McFarlane and Wolfowitz also maneuvered to put McFarlane in charge of U.S. relations toward Iran and to establish a clandestine U.S. back-channel to the Israeli government outside the knowledge of even senior U.S. government officials.

      Not only did the documents tend to support the statements by Veliotes but they also fit with comments that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir made in a 1993 interview in Tel Aviv. Shamir said he had read the 1991 book, October Surprise, by Carter’s former National Security Council aide Gary Sick, which made the case for believing that the Republicans had intervened in the 1980 hostage negotiations to disrupt Carter’s reelection.

      With the topic raised, one interviewer asked, “What do you think? Was there an October Surprise?”

      “Of course, it was,” Shamir responded without hesitation. “It was.”

      And, there were plenty of other corroborating statements as well. In 1996, for instance, while former President Carter was meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Arafat in Gaza City, Arafat tried to confess his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations.

      “There is something I want to tell you,” Arafat said, addressing Carter in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. “You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election,” Arafat said, according to Brinkley’s article in the fall 1996 issue of Diplomatic Quarterly.

      As recently as this past week, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr reiterated his account of Republican overtures to Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis and how that secret initiative prevented release of the hostages.

      In a Christian Science Monitor commentary about the movie “Argo,” Bani-Sadr wrote that “Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation … which prevented the attempts by myself and then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 U.S. presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan.”

      Though Bani-Sadr had discussed the Reagan-Khomeini collaboration before, he added in his commentary that “two of my advisors, Hussein Navab Safavi and Sadr-al-Hefazi, were executed by Khomeini’s regime because they had become aware of this secret relationship between Khomeini, his son Ahmad, … and the Reagan administration.”

      In December 1992, when a House Task Force was examining this so-called “October Surprise” controversy – and encountering fierce Republican resistance – Bani-Sadr submitted a letter detailing his behind-the-scenes struggle with Khomeini and his son Ahmad over their secret dealings with the Reagan campaign.

      Bani-Sadr’s letter – dated Dec. 17, 1992 – was part of a flood of last-minute evidence implicating the Reagan campaign in the hostage scheme. However, by the time the letter and the other evidence arrived, the leadership of the House Task Force had decided to simply declare the Reagan campaign innocent. [See’s “‘October Surprise’ and ‘Argo.’”]

  9. I read that there is still controversy over the name of Washington’s football team, the Redskins. The name and logo are offensive to many and insulting to Native Americans, who probably would have no objections if the sport was lacrosse.

    After giving the matter great thought I think I have a compromise solution that will work. The new team mascot will be a red rooster and the team will be the Red Cocks! This way fans can still paint themselves red and dress up with the feathers they already have, and the war chant will be replaced by cock-a-doodle doos.

    Go skins go!!

    • I think it was at Scottsdale Community College in AZ where the student body voted to reject their “insulting” label, whatever it was, and decided instead on one that was cool and would bother no one.


      • Being a native of Baltimore I suffered at the loss of the Colts along with thousands of members of different Colt “Corral” fan clubs. I don’t know if the Ravens have “Nest” fan clubs but was thinking that having a team named after a spider would allow for “Web” fan clubs.

  10. QOTD:

    “My administration recently put out a photo of me skeet shooting and even that wasn’t enough for some people. Next week, we’re releasing a photo of me clinging to religion.” — President Barack Obama at the Gridiron Club Dinner.

    • I wonder if the likes of Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman and Linda McMahon are the transforming society types or the struggle for equality types?

  11. A Big Gulp Too Far:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed on Monday to appeal a judge’s ruling that struck down his pioneering ban on large sugary drinks sold by the city’s restaurants, movie theaters and other food service businesses just a day before it was to take effect.

    The judge called the ban “arbitrary and capricious” in an 11th-hour decision that dealt a serious blow to Bloomberg, who has made public health a cornerstone of his administration, with laws prohibiting smoking in restaurants, bars and parks; banning trans fats; and requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts.

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