Per the promise, the weekly open thread. How long will the rain last this week? When will the oil spill be fixed? Who will win the primaries today? Inaquiring minds want to know.

40 Thoughts to “Weekly Open Thread 5/18/2010”

  1. On tuition for illegal immigrant children:

    # What to do, what to do…
    # Posted by Katherine Gotthardt on May 18, 2010 at 8:00am EDT

    IMO, a resident is a resident. Citizen status is a federal label and a federal issue that needs to be handled at the federal level. When we try to deal with these issues on the state and local levels, we create even more inconsistencies and social strife, ultimately costing tax payers more in putting out fires which are the byproducts of bad policy.

    Upset parents might want to consider coming together to demand federal intervention…without demonizing immigrants or enticing haters and political posturing. Agree on one or two suggestions to send to Congress and every other regulating body and push those one or two suggestions.

    CC’s that are financially affected by illegal immigration should demand more federal funding. Again, they need to do this as a group according to the process described above.

    Don’t try to include too much in one suggestion or the group will dissolve into factions.

    Besides, we know from history that Congress cannot digest more than one or two ideas at a time without going into partisan convulsions.

  2. Formerly Anonymous

    I’ll stick to flogging my usual dead horse and encourage everyone to read Robert J. Samuelson’s article in the Post yesterday. I couldn’t have written it better myself.

    We have chartered a course for the next ten or more years that is unsustainable even under optimistic assumptions about the economy. (Including that the current recession has already ended and that there will not be another recession between now and 2020. Anybody believe that?)

    I would be very hard pressed to name an issue more important to the long term security and prosperity of America than getting control over the deficit and debt. That we aren’t even discussing the issue is maddeningly frustrating.

  3. Poor Richard

    Almost everyone agrees we need to cut the budget in the abstract,
    but just not their favorite programs.

    Want to perform political suicide? Just try and reduce Social Security.
    (Note: A higher percent of elderly vote than any other age group).

    – Don’t cut me, don’t cut thee, cut the program behind the tree.

  4. PWC Taxpayer

    Last week was an interesting week for liberals. First, we had Woody Allen publically calling for Pres. Obama to be given dictitorial powers to “get things moving in the right direction” ???? and then, after Chris Matthews tried to hold Dick Cheney accountable for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ???? , demanding action from President Obama, to nationalize the oil industry to solve the problem. Matthews demanded Obama go after BP: “Why doesn’t the President go in there, nationalize an industry and get the job done for the people?” and pointed out that in China they would have a much harsher response to BP: “They execute people for this. Major industrial leaders that commit crimes like this.”

    Give me shivers up my leg. I think maybe the wing nuts have come loose.

  5. marinm


    Did the SCOTUS overturn Snowden v. Hughes or Slaughter-House Cases while I was asleep? 🙂

    There are two classes of citizenship in the United States – U.S. Citizenship and Citizenship granted by each individual State of this union.

    Now, here is what’s ironical about bringing up Slaughter-House. Gura (the guy that won the Heller case) fought the recent case against Chicago trying to strike down Slaughter-House but I don’t think the SCOTUS will buy off on the arguement. It would’ve been a HUGE win for liberterans as Slaughter-House is seen as a major restriction on free trade and private property rights and the application of the 2nd amendment to restore the 14th was interesting. Such that the Brady Campaign and NAACP filed friend of the court briefs that didn’t want Slaughter-House overturned even if that meant that guns could be allowed in Chicago.

    Interesting, is it not?

  6. marinm

    PWC, is it not interesting that all these powers they want to give to Obama are the very same powers that they could NEVER see giving to Bush?

    A woman at an ACLU meeting I attended once said that she didn’t understand why it was so hard to change the Virginia Constitution (requires at least two sessions and ratification by the voters – so multiple years). I stood up and said plainly, would you want President Bush to be able to change the constitution to whatever he wanted?

    Of course she said no. But, it took her awhile to understand that what you gave to one President or Governor you give to the next. Would Matthews or Allen trust that same amount of power to President Palin?

  7. PWC Taxpayer


    From the time of Ceaser himself, the first thing a despot does to end a republic is to get surrogates to make the case for the need to suspend the democratic process or to attack a part of the economy. People forget that Hitler and Chavez were elected too. But wait, before anyone says this is crazy talk, remember GM and the federal employees who now control salaries of chief executives in the financial markets. It is only a small incremental step is it not?

  8. Formerly, I think it is important to discuss. Most of us just don’t know how to talk about money because of the complexitites of macro economics.

  9. @marinm
    Okay, you are talking WAY over my head.

    BTW PW Tax, Woody Allen is a child molester. Who would listen to him anyway?

  10. @marinm
    Is there actually “citizenship” for a state, or is it “residence”? When I was looking to get free college in CA, it said you had to be a resident. A resident, at that time, was anyone who lived in the state for six months or more.

  11. PWC Taxpayer

    @Posting As Pinko

    Legal residency is now an oxymoron???? Is that your point?

  12. starryflights

    Gulf Oil Leaks Could Gush for Years “We don’t have any idea how to
    stop this,” expert says.

    … noted Matthew Simmons, retired chair of the energy-industry
    investment banking firm Simmons & Company International:

    If the oil can’t be stopped, the underground reservoir may continue
    bleeding until it’s dry.


  13. @starryflights

    Hey I have a good idea. Let’s drill in VA and see if we can’t poison ourselves some more.

  14. Vigilant Vulture

    @Posting As Pinko
    Virginia wants to tap into the natural gas in the Atlantic, it is not so much the oil. I would suggest looking at this website for more information regarding Virginia energy.

  15. PWC Taxpayer

    Interestingly, since January 2005, inspectors from the federal agency responsible for ensuring that the Deepwater Horizon was operating safely – this is the rig that blew up April 20, killing 11 people before sinking and triggering a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico- issued just one minor infraction for the rig. That strong track record led the agency, the Federal DOI Minerals Management Service last year to herald the Deepwater Horizon as an industry model for safety.

    I just wish I could believe it was a coincidence that a rig blew up after three fail-safe preventative systems failed all at the same time – surprizingly — at the same time we are talking about expanding offshore drilling- what are the odds?

    that or

    MMS and Interior are so incompetent – doing the work in-house – that we will have to sacrifice not just a major acquatic coast, but our own disposable incomes as gas prices are affected and off-shore drilling for the long term is delayed. Who benefits from that ???? as ifI didn’t know.

  16. marinm

    The U.S. Supreme Court in Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1, 7 (1943), also affirmed: “The protection extended to citizens of the United States by the privileges and immunities clause includes those rights and privileges which, under the laws and Constitution of the United States, are incident to citizenship of the United States, but does not include rights pertaining to state citizenship and derived solely from the relationship of the citizen and his state established by state law. The right to become a candidate for state office, like the right to vote for the election of state officers, is a right or privilege of state citizenship, not of national citizenship, which alone is protected by the privileges and immunities clause.”

    Additionally, look to Section 1 of the 14th Amendment. Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    The Constitution declares there are two types of citizenship; one held at the federal level and one at the State level. Which to me says (and I said as much in another thread) that AZ or any state can banish someone residing in that state for a violation of law and revoke there state citizenship. So, AZ could give due process to an illegal in state court and then banish him/her to a sanctuary city like San Fran or LA. Now, that’s a ‘boycott’ that I’d like to see. 🙂

    PWC, nice find with #16. Thats very interesting information.

  17. Conspiracy theories?

    How about some sources for some of this conspiracy theory.

  18. Poor Richard

    We don’t them ther gov’ment pointy head bureucrats messing with our private
    enterprise system. No sir -ree! Until a mine caves in or an oil well blows or
    a flood or hurricane hits or Lord knows what else. Then where the hell are they?
    Why didn’t they prevent it?

    Crony capitalism is great; until it isn’t, which is way too often.

    1. The miners demonstrated against Massey in Richmond yesterday. They want the safety standards enforced.

  19. marinm

    To clarify MH, did the Massey miners demonstrate or was it members of the UMW who do NOT represent the miners at Massey or are affiliated with the miners at the Upper Branch Mine?

    If any Massey miner protested they should be immediatly terminated.

  20. Pat.Herve

    marinm – If any Massey miner protested they should be immediatly terminated. – why should they be terminated if they protested?

  21. marinm

    Would you continue to employ someone that protested your company?

  22. Here is the article.

    You are guaranteed the right to protest. Marin, you are very quick to embrace the second amendment, regardless of how distasteful some of the ways it can be applied is exibited. Yet you cavalierly cast off first amendment like a soiled glove. Why should a person be fired for demonstrating on their employer? That’s what a picket is– a demonstration on your employer. They have every right to protest and it is guaranteed to them via the Constitution, just like your beloved 2nd amendment.

  23. marinm

    MH, if you notice from above I didn’t say a miner or anyone else doesn’t have a first amendment right to speech. The absolutly do. But, am employer can terminate that employee as an employer is not constrained by the 1st Amendment.

    For example; my 2nd Amendment rights end on YOUR property line. You are the Queen and High Empress of your lands. You may order to me disarm and I *must* comply if I want access to your property.

    Lets put this another way. I send a racial, gender or otherwise crude joke via email on my employee workstation to the entire company. Is that protected speech? Would the employeer be violating my rights of free speech by firing me?

    The employee has every right to picket and protest his employer. His employer equally has the right to terminate that employee for insubordination or whatever reason they want or don’t want to convey.

    It all boils down to. If you want to bite the hand that feeds you; you ought not be surprised when it smacks you with a newspaper.

  24. Pat.Herve

    marin – so what you are saying, is that if an employee sees wrong doing (unsafe working conditions), they should not complain because they might get fired.

  25. marinm

    Didn’t say that at all. Re-read above posts. Also, true ‘whistle-blowing’ is protected by federal law. Private employees protesting a private employer is not.

  26. e

    Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States: “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

  27. Marin, I am not sure what you are saying. No. of course you can’t send racial crap over the company’s computer or bash the company via computer. If you tell the boss what he can do to himself, expect to be fired. The speech is not protected nor should it be as far as employment goes.

    However, peaceful protest is handled differently. Now in reality, can they get you? Of course. But there is a right to assemble. I am not sure about union rules as they vary from state to state. I would imagine in states where collective bargaining was recognized, the right to demonstrate would be stronger.

    Please clarify further…why you feel any Massey employees should be fired.

  28. Pat.Herve

    I have not followed up on the protest, but I believe the protest was about unsafe working conditions, and the support of the families of those killed and injured at the mine.

    To me, that would be the workers protesting that their are unsafe working conditions, and if they were fired for that, it would mean that the company does not care about its unsafe working conditions.

    It was not a protest about wages or benefits.

  29. marinm

    Sure MH.

    The protest in Richmond didn’t have any miners that worked for the company. Instead, as reported by RTD.

    The United Mine Workers of America and environmental groups staged the protest under the watchful eye of dozens of police officers, including several mounted units.

    Odd pairing for sure but they both have the same agenda. Bringing down big business.

    That was to the original question in #21. It wasn’t employees protesting there own company. It was an unaffiliated union protesting (presumably) on behalf of those unrepresented miners (to get a foot hold onto that mine and gain more union members).

    As you responded in #29 a private employer can show you the door for you as an employee excercising your right to free speech. As in the example, my freedom of speech may allow me to use racial slurs in public on a street corner or on a soap box but when done in the confines of my employment you can be terminated (at least in VA – some other states of course differ). So, anything done that can bring disgrace to my employer – it could be a naughty email, could be me posting on facebook “I hate my job!” or it could me picketing my own company. Do any of those to a private employer and yes you’ll be tossed. That doesn’t stop you from saying anything – you have that right. But the employer can’t turn on the fire hoses to get rid of you.

    Now of course the parasites that enjoy ‘union protection’ have a greater ability to protest per collective bargaining agreement. But, in the above I only spoke to Massey employees (non-union) that would seek to picket..thus my comment about hoping they get terminated.

    So, to clarify I believe that when you as an employee enter into a ‘contract’ with your employer that you recognize that your employer can terminate you if you violate company policy, if you advocate against that company or do anything that’ll bring bad publicity to that company. Seems like common sense to me. If I wear a McDonald’s uniform to the neighborhood Burger King I expect to be fired. If I put up a protest sign that says “Massey doesn’t care about it’s employees” I expect to be fired.

    Your right to assemble and protest isn’t being impacted simply your employment relationship. They are different.

    MH and Pat, assuming you both are still employed and in the private work force. Ask your employers how they would respond if you walked outside of your workspace with a picket sign against that employer.

    MH, in response to #24 I hold the 1A very highly. For example; you have the right to protest my 2A rights by lobbying your representatives, making speeches, and counter protest 2A events. And, I will protect your right to do so with my 2A right. 🙂

  30. PWC Taxpayer

    MH – the violence is contrived / facilitated and so is the anger about the AZ law. Mexico does not want them to come back – any of them. They make good money here, have access to health care and are treated fairly by the law and the courts. If they come back in any significant number, they will be a politrical and and economic problem for Mexico and they know it.

  31. marinm

    BTW, since it hasn’t been said in other threads yet…

    RAND PAUL!! …and ding dong the witch is gone. Say good-bye to Sen. Specter! YEEEHAW!

    Yesterday was a great night for the Republic.

  32. Marin, I seriously disagree with you. I don’t know if Massey employees were in the demonstration or not. I rather expect they are since Massey owns several different mines. I believe those workers have ever right to advocate for safety and the UMW has every right to advocate for the same on behalf of all miners.

    You have disavowed unions on here a great deal. I don’t consider myself a union girl but I think in this case they are absolutely correct. Middle ground here for me.

    There are union protections for picketing. There are rules that work both ways. Each place of employment and union have their own unique situation. To compare union and worker expression to employees sending dirty jokes across the internet on company time and property is simply not a fair representation of what is happening here.

  33. TP, you are now a spokesperson for Mexico? How very interesting.

  34. marinm


    MH, not sure I understand what your point is and don’t want to assume so if you can help me understand I’d be appreciative.

    What do you believe are an employers obligations under the 1A and those of an employee? What happens when they intercept?

    Racial speech is already protected 1A speech (I’m using it as an example because it’s a good extreme example). So, if we change picketing to racial speech how does it change the above questions, if at all?

  35. I am not sure what you mean by radical speech. My comments only pertain to the right to picket, I dont think any employee has the right to send porno on company equipment, talk abusively to employers or employees.

    They do have the right to ask for higher wages, demand improved safety conditions etc. Most places do it off the property of the employer. In this case. Massey was meeting off site, so private property is not an issue. Since union laws vary from state to state, it is difficult to make sweeping generalizations. Non-union workers certainly don’t have the guarantees that union members have.

  36. marinm

    Ok, gotcha. To make my position clearer.

    An employee can say whatever they want about an employer.
    An employer in an at-will state can then say “You’re fired.”

    The employer didn’t infringe upon the picketers 1A right. The employee still maintains his 1A right to continue to picket as a non-employee.

    Is that right? Yup. Because if you spit on my face while I put food on your table I’ll take the food off your table and let you starve.

    An employee has every right to renegotiate his contract with his employer inclusive of wages, safety, conditions, et al. If the contract is not satisfactory to either then the employer or employee should be able to terminate and move on.

    I would rather put out 1000 people on to the streets than give into one employee asking to unionize.

  37. Formerly Anonymous

    If anyone would like to better educate themselves about some of the hard budget choices ahead, I encourage you to try the budget simulator at the link below. It runs you through a bunch of options and shows you what the impact on the budget is through 2018.

    After you run it and make all the hard choices, it will tell you if you met the goal or not.

    Here’s the sad part. The goal isn’t a balanced budget, it’s only to “stabilize the debt” . (Get new debt down to 60% of GDP for the next 8 years.)

    Look at all those hard choices you had to make just to get to a sea of red ink still worse than at any point since World War II and you’ll start to understand why this crisis is such a big deal. (That is, if the markets haven’t already convinced you of that.)

  38. Emma

    It’s the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man.

    Have some fun at

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