Friday, 2/19/10, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

36 responses to “Friday, 2/19/10, Public Square

  1. fnord

    “O’Keefe and Young Conservative Troublemakers Hit CPAC

    On the way from the press room to a Thursday night reception I snapped the quick photo below of James O’Keefe (left), who made it to CPAC after all, and who has been tight-lipped to reporters but hardly shy about making the rounds with conservative admirers. O’Keefe’s partner in the mysterious office sting of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joseph Basel (center) is also pictured, and as Ken Vogel reports, Stan Dai also made the rounds at CPAC-related parties. And O’Keefe’s partner in the ACORN sting, Hannah Giles — the young activist who posed as a prostitute — has also been meeting here with conservatives, spending some time on Thursday at Blogger’s Row.”

  2. fnord

    What pushes someone disappointed with “the feds” over the edge of sanity? What goes into making a Timothy McVeigh / Unibomber… type?

    A few weeks ago federal marshalls were shot and killed in LasVegas, yesterday a man flew his plane into an office bldg. that housed some IRS employees.

    Are these kinds of actions increasing? Or are they happening at the same rate as always?

    • indypendent

      I think we will be seeing more of them because we certainly have more talking head idiots out ther pushing their own anti-government, anti-Obama agenda.

      Funny, isn’t it, these same people that profess to hate our government just love their government checks with their names on them! And let’s not dare touch their Medicare – they will kill their young over that infraction!

    • I think that frustration with government is growing in ALL circles–not just with conservatives. I, myself, am extremely frustrated with the US Congress and it’s total lack of ability to do ANYTHING remotely helpful in our time of greatest need.

      I think that the realization that our government works for corporations but not for us is spreading and with that realization, resentment is spreading. Not that I in any way advocate these fruitless acts of violence, but I see the frustration building and some people are going to lash out inappropriately.

      Here is a part of the “manifesto” that this guy posted before he committed his heinous act of violence. Sadly, I can agree with quite a bit of it.

      “We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

      While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

      Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.”

      I could have written a lot of that myself.

      Just sayin.

      • fnord

        I agree, Paula, and I also could have written that.

        He did, however, use the wrong example when he cited GM. Because the automobile companies paid a price for their bailout that wasn’t charged to the banks and insurance companies. Those executives were let go, sometimes even their golden fleece blankets were affected. The auto companies faced, and some met, bankruptcy. How many financial institutions faced those kinds of consequences? Cash for clunkers offered benefits for average Americans. There was a difference. However, the bailout was there as they too were deemed too big to fail even tho their greed placed them where they needed to be bailed out.

      • I did see that and some other mistakes in his reasoning. I have pointed out to many that the “bailout” of the big three automakers was different than the wholesale bailout of the banks and insurance companies. GM did put themselves in a position to go down, but it was really the new depression (they can call it a recession, but I see it differently) that caused people to stop buying cars and houses. People who were worried about a complete collapse of our economy and whether or not they would have jobs. And rightly so.

        I don’t know now that I agree with the gov’t bailout of the carmakers. I definitely supported it at the time because I couldn’t imagine what would have happened had all those workers lost their jobs. But the auto executives deserved to lose their jobs–and they did, as you rightly pointed out. It was because they were purposefully putting out an inferior product for years and using their power and money to influence government regulation in their favor.

        But those who REALLY deserved to die broke and alone were the bankers, insurance company executives, brokers and regulators that created and supported this unsustainable financial bubble that profited so many rich people and only the poor and working classes suffered the consequences when upon its inevitable failure. And those folks sweated a bit, but never suffered and are still living it up.

  3. fnord

    You know what disappoints me?

    Our weather forecast!


  4. fnord

    Next summer when I complain that it’s too hot (notice I didn’t say ‘if’), please remind me of this winter!

  5. fnord

    Speaking of government checks.

    During 2009 if SS retirement pay increased your federal tax liability, the state of Kansas offered a credit for that amount of increase. At least, I think that’s what I heard.

    6176, if you’re reading, could you help me out so with an answer?

    I’m wondering if this has anything to do with the stimulus package? Do all states do this? I hear so much about Kansas being broke, yet this could be a considerable amount of lost revenue if my understanding of what I heard is correct.

    • Fnord, see line 7, Schedule S, form K-40 and instructions concerning same. If the requirements are met, there is an adjustment to Federal AGI made to arrive at Kansas AGI, which affects Kansas taxable income. Not a credit, and, not new for 2009. Same adjustment has been around a bit; just checked and it was there for 2008.

  6. fnord

    Kristen is my good friend — Canadian citizen who came to America to earn her doctorate at Harvard and now is doing post-doc work at The Salk Institute in San Diego. Here is a good article about her work —

  7. indypendent

    Anyone here interested in the Tiger Woods apology?

    I just watched it – not because I am such a fan of Tiger – but because I was curious to see if his wife would be with him.

    She wasn’t.

    I am not defending the man but he did say in his apology that due to his money and fame, the temptations were not too hard to find and satisfy. He went on to say that he had gotten away from his roots that his mother taught him and his Buddhism faith. He acknowledged that he had let alot of people down and he let himself down.

    Do I beleive everything he said – NO. But I do know that every person has done something they are ashamed of and every person deserves to rectify that episode in their life.

    Tiger deserves that chance and I guess we shall see what Tiger does in the next year and whether he was sincere in his apology or not.

    One thing the man did that I totally agree with is when he told the media to back off his wife, kids and family members. He told them to stop following them around because they did not do anything wrong. And, for that, Tiger gets a big thank you from me.

    Again, I am not defending what Tiger did, but maybe our celebrity-obsessed society makes a Tiger? Maybe it is our 24/7 television coverage that drives this insanity of celebrity worship to over the top?

    I also liked it when Tiger said he is getting back to his Buddhist faith. I’m sure that will frustrate Brit Hume and the rest of those pious Evangelical Christians to no end. Remember when Brit Hume came out and said Tiger needed to be a saved Christian? That was the one part of the entire Tiger apology that gave me a chuckle!

    • My sister just emailed me to say that the company she works for put the apology on the big screen tv in their conference room and there was quite a gathering.

      What a world we live in. That’s all I can say.

  8. fnord

    I hope for the sake of his family, and his future as a human being, that he lives up to his words. He is a talented golfer and I hope he can make other areas of his life as successful as his golf game.

    • When we, as a culture, revere a sports player over the everyday worker and parent, we get what we deserve, as a society, when he turns out to be less than a role model for our children.

      I have taught my son not to look up to stars and celebrities, therefore, I could care less what sort of weaknesses Tiger Woods might be evidencing. I REALLY don’t care, as in don’t read about it, don’t watch about it and don’t think about it at all. It doesn’t affect me or my family in any way, except that we are both amused and disgusted by the members of our society that are hanging on every detail.

      Tiger Woods is a GOLFER. What does he really contribute to society? America, our culture is decrepit when we consider a person like this to be a role model. Even if we NEVER knew about his proclivities.

      • WSClark

        Sports stars are entertainers – pure and simple. We pay to see them perform, just as we pay for tickets to see Springsteen, Beyonce or Brad Paisley.

        It is the nature of entertainment. Ancient Romans probably paid gladiators equivalent to millions to watch them “perform.”

        Is Tom Brady worth $12mm a year to play QB for the NE Patriots? Is A-Rod worth $25mm to play for the Yankees? Is De Niro worth $20mm per picture? Is Celine Dion worth a nickel?

        Is LeBron James worth $28mm BEFORE he even steps on a basketball court?

        Probably not – but those people do things that we could never possibly do – and that is why they are paid as they are.

        They make money for their employers.

        If it was all fair, garbage men would be the highest paid workers on the planet.

        But who would pay to watch a garbage man pick up trash?

      • A psychatrist friend of mine says we pay entertainers and athletes so much money “because they make us feel.” He may be on to something, I don’t know…

      • You know, though, I can make conservatives feel anger, hatred, and blind rage, but they aren’t willing to give me any money. What is up with that?

  9. Zippy

    More bad news in politics. This guy has announced for Evan Bayh’s Senate seat:

    Maybe he’ll turn out better than I think, but a Democrat who opposed the stimulus bill is not someone in touch with reality, or someone we need in the US Senate.

    But, thanks to Bayh’s last minute decision, this may well be the only Democrat who will file before the deadline.

    Thanks, Evan. Don’t the door hit you in the ass.

  10. Zippy

    P.S. Having said that, I partially agree with Bayh’s critique of Washington. Sometimes doing something is better than doing nothing.

    But you don’t give everything before you even debate the issue, and that was Bayh’s specialty.

    Apparently, he was annoyed that the Republicans kept pulling away the football before he could kick it.

  11. tosmarttobegop

    For the most part my interaction with the IRS has been filing and receiving refunds.
    The most interaction other then that was for 1987, my Kansas Employee retirement was refunded at the end of December of 1986 and the taxes withheld for that year.

    But I did not get the check until January of 1987, the employees retirement sent all the paperwork to the IRS. Anyway I was informed that I owed for 1987 and I received the paperwork and forwarded to the IRS.

    One conversation with the IRS I made the simple statement that it was all a simple mistake on the IRS part and I was forwarding the paperwork.

    I was rebuffed in harsh terms, “PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES… THE IRS DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES!”.

    Three times the IRS was sent the paperwork and they were honest enough that they admitted they had lost it twice.

    But generally I found them to be arrogant and unwilling to listen to simple reason.

    The IRS is one of the Governments least restricted agency, with little formal process they can take property and freeze bank accounts. This is only to be settled later after an extended period of time.
    But until then you maybe home-less and without any funds.

    LOL I have a sister-in-law who at one time in life had both worked for the IRS and at a earlier age was a top-less dancer. I teased her that when I meant she had worked for the IRS people would hated her!
    But then I would tell them that she had been a top-less dancer and suddenly they would have respect for her.

    • indypendent

      I have worked in tax offices for many years and when dealing with the IRS.

      I was given some very wise advice 40 years ago –

      1) Always mail everything Certified Mail with Signature/Delivery Confirmation

      2) If asked questions by IRS, only give short, concise answers to the specific question. NEVER offer any additional information. It is the job of the IRS to get the information, not the other way around.

      3) Most of all, do not raise any red flags when filing your returns. Do not take extravagant amount of credits or questionable credits. The less sheets of paper you file, the better.

      My 5-yr old son got his social security number when we lived in Arizona and the IRS started requiring them. A few years ago, the IRS sent him a letter informing him he owed unpaid taxes on wages of $7,500 earned in Arizona. I had my son write the IRS, tell them he did not live in Arizona and that $7,500 of wages was not his to claim.

      He asked for a photocopy of the W-4 form of that person’s workplace to verify that it was not his signature.

      He received a letter a month later saying to disregard the first letter and it was determined the $7,500 was not his wages.

      The only way to deal with the IRS is to deal in black and white – don’t get emotional about the issue – simply ask for proof of what they say you owe.

      As we guessed, it was a case of stolen SS# or someone simply put in to the wrong SS# when filling out the tax forms.

      But never simply disregard a letter from the IRS – that will only bring down their wrath!

  12. lilacluvr

    Have you heard there is a movement to get John Mellencamp to run for Bayh’s senate seat?

    I remember Mellencamp has been an outspoken person for the everyday man and was very critical of Ronald Reagan.

    With all the celebrity status going on today and all the crapola we’ve seen in Congress in the last few decades, is it really too far fetched of an an idea to see a Senator Mellencamp?

    After all, Al Franken is a senator.

    BTW – I read in the link Zippy provided that Brad Ellsworth was voted the most beautiful person in Congress. What’s up with that?

    • wicked

      When my second oldest was in grade school, her class ran a mock election. She voted for Dukakis…because she liked his hair.

      Moral of the story is that we like pretty people, no matter what our age. What a pitiful thing to say about our society.

  13. fnord

    One of the faster growing groups who become identity theft victimes are those too young to work but who have social security numbers since they’re required nowadays in order to ID them as a dependent for tax purposes.

    I am familiar with several instances where an illegal alien was using the SS number of people under the age of 16. Of course, they don’t get any warning their identity has been stolen for several years.

    One example — neighbor moves in and in the course of being ‘neighborly’ volunteers to take care of your house plants and pets during your vacation. You have no way of knowing they stole your children’s SS numbers until years down the road, long after the neighbor is gone, and one of two things happen. Either your child gets old enough to apply for employment or your former neighbor is brought before law enforcement and they notify you.

  14. tosmarttobegop

    My wife is deeply upset and sadden, she had ran out to the church only to find out one more long time members were leaving. It is over Politics, the pastor before the current one was more in line with the blinded Religious Right. Told the people that Saddam was behind 9-11 and the like.

    But he left and the Political flavor of the sermons toned down.
    Southern Baptist is big in the evangelical and the Religious Right movement.

    Anyway slowly the people have been leaving the church some due to church Politics.
    But lately the partisan Politics has raised its ugly head, some are Democrat and some Republican.
    On top of the couple announcing they are leaving the church over a Political joke that was told at the Valentine diner about Obama.

    They asked my wife how I handled it, they often have read things that I wrote to the local paper.
    Sadly I was annoy by the joke but did not say anything about it. I guess I get surrounds so much by the likes on the other blog it stopped really fazing me.

    They just could not overlook it, so they are leaving the church.

    But my wife also learned her best friend there is leaving too. She on the other hand is the other hand!
    Strongly R.R. and finding it hard to be around those who are not also heavily R.R. and against Obama.
    She feels that the church should be more Political and outspoken against Obama.

    Can’t please everyone huh?

    I am saddened too as I love both the couple and the best friend.

    One of many pieces of advise dad gave me is do not talk Politics or Religion with people you like.

    • fnord

      I’m so sorry. I know how close you become with people at church and that’s so sad that there is a split.

      Your Dad’s advice was good, BUT, I’m afraid if we allow this crazy divide to become worse, if we don’t all behave like respectful adults, how will it ever get better?

      Why does anyone have to be wrong? Further, why does anyone think a person who has drawn different political conclusions than those you have is either ill-informed, not wise, or anything more or less than a person who drew different political conclusions?

      As far as politics at church — doesn’t belong! Worship and fellowship of church members shouldn’t ever be drug down to the level of politics! Have we forgotten render unto Caesar…?

      Hugs to your wife!

    • fnord

      “One of many pieces of advise dad gave me is do not talk Politics or Religion with people you like.”

      And, all this time I really thought you did like me!

  15. tosmarttobegop

    Some of dad’s advise I listen to and some I did not! I did not go blind it turned out….Heeee

  16. tosmarttobegop

    But talking to you is OK, Its not like you are a Democrat now!

    One of those evil and mind-less Republican you are…

    • fnord

      I am, indeed, a registered Republican! Nope, not a democrat any longer. 🙂 (I could never in a thousand years be what Republicans have become!)

      Honestly! That little “D” or that little “R” aren’t very different — they bow to those corporate masters, who threaten our country!

  17. David B

    Last Saturday evening, as the first day of fighting in Marja between the Taliban and the Marines of Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines was ceasing with the approach of darkness, two Marine platoons converged for the night on a small Afghan compound. The platoons took cover behind the mud walls. The company manned its guns for the night and began to plan its missions for the next day.

    The compound had several small buildings, some no bigger than sheds. Gunnery Sgt. James McCarver examined each structure, looking for a place to set up the company’s radios. He settled on a one-room mud building about 10 feet wide by 25 feet long, and led the company command group and its radio operators inside.