149 Thoughts to “Open Thread……………………………………..January 31, 2011”

  1. marinm

    @Lafayette, thanks for being a relay! 🙂 Sorry that MH’s interwebs are down.

    Based on that response I don’t think she believes that MS doesn’t use our military to train future gang members as well……………………… They are…innovative.

  2. marin, actually I don’t. Got proof?

    The internet is back and I am loaded for bear.

  3. From VPAP

    Update: Primaries set for August 23

    Date: 01/31/2011

    Both chambers of the General Assembly have approved legislation that would postpone this year’s primary elections from June until August 23.

    The later primary elections are needed to give the General Assembly and local governments time to redraw electoral districts to reflect population changes in the 2010 Census.

  4. Horrible news:

    The Cairo Museum is on fire from a malatov cocktail.

  5. marinm

    MH, grats on getting your internet back.

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justicelawlegislation/a/gangs.htm is a good start.

    Ask any military recruiter you talk to. They teach them how to recognize gang tat’s, signs, and territories.

    You can also google FBI Gang Threat Assessment for information from the FBI and DOJ.

    The fire makes me sad. 🙁

  6. Morris Davis

    marin – You are right about the presence of gang members in the military. To be clear, however, gang members were an issue from the time I joined in 1983 until I retired in 2008. It was a persistent issue, but not one that just started or just got dramatically worse. Many gang members are precluded from joining because of a lack of education, a criminal record, or excessive tattoos.

    The article you cited from usmilitary.about.com is by Rod Powers. Mr. Powers’ most recent blog post is entitled “Bachmann Plan Would Cut Veterans Benefits.” He notes that Bachmann’s plan to cut government spending would freeze the VA health care budget and cut $4.5B from disability payments to veterans who incurred disabilities while serving their country. I wonder if she has a “Support the Troops” sticker on her car?

    Here’s a link to Bachmann’s proposed cuts. http://bachmann.house.gov/UploadedFiles/01_27_11_Potential_Spending_Cuts_and_Estimated_Money_Saved.pdf The part about the VA is on page 2. These same proposed cuts were included in a plan to cut government spending prepared by the Heritage Foundation last fall. The Heritage Foundation is supported by two brothers. Guess who? I wonder if they have “Support the Troops” stickers on their limos and private jets?


    In the interst of Freedom of Information, I want to present this link to MHz, a non commercial company based in Falls Church that have worked to get un-filtered 24 hour access to international news feeds in the DC/MD/VA metro area.

    MHz broadcasts Al-Jazeera English as part of it’s service on all major cable service providers as well as digital airwave broadcast.

    Here is a link to their main website:


    Here is a link to where you can access unfiltered international news via cable, satelite, FIOS or digital airwave broadcast:


    When compaired to CNN, MSNBC and FOX, you may get the feeling that there are important things happening in the world that is being kept from you…

    You have the right to Freedom of Information!

  8. marinm

    Mo, yup. If I had made it sound like it was a recent thing – I appologize. That wasn’t my intent.

    I like the part about limos. Nice touch. I’ll take a look at the link provided.

    I’m of the opinion that while retirement benefits aren’t off the table we should – as much as we can – live up to the promises we’ve already made. So, even if I support dismantling SS I think those that have paid in should not lose that benefit. We’d have to do it as a phased approach. Will review the link!

  9. marinm

    Cap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for SS disability payments. Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments.

    Does that mean they currently double dip or they want to shift the books to have it come out of SSDI rather than the VA budget line? Just seems like odd wording to me.

  10. I was unaware of gang issues in the military. I just can’t imagine MS-13 cleaning up enough to enlist but obviously, there is a lot I don’t know. It makes sense that the military would not be exempt from any ‘organized crime.’

    Thanks Moe and Marinm.

  11. Things in Egypt are getting horrible. Just horrible.

  12. Morris Davis

    Marin – I’m not sure, buy I think they get both. The DAV, VFW, and AMVETS have called her “heartless” and “wrong-headed” and vowed to fight. Here is a post in Stars and Stripes. http://www.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/stripes-central-1.8040/veterans-vow-to-fight-bachmann-budget-cuts-1.133573

  13. marinm


    Also interesting was this FB notice I got http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/sen-mccaskills-bold-decision

    If this bill is distorted and twisted, it could cost me my Senate seat, but it’s a price I am willing to pay,” McCaskill said in a floor speech supporting the bill on Tuesday.

    It is a price I am willing to pay for my country, and more importantly, it is a price I am willing to pay for my grandchildren.

    “Getting control of spending is very, very hard, but we have to do it and we have to do it now,” McCaskill said in her floor speech. “But this bill is possible. It tells the American people that our spending is going to be capped at a certain amount of economic spending in this country.”

    I still somehow smell a trap but this is sort of refreshing….

  14. @marin,

    I don’t talk to military recruiters. They no longer want me. :mrgreen:


    Marin said:

    Cap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending, and reduce disability compensation to account for SS disability payments. Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security Disability Insurance payments.

    ARRGGHHHHH–tell that to someone injured or wounded while in service. I really have to digest what you are saying. Are you comparing someone who say, has lupus, aids, or MS and gets disability to someone who has had half their head blown away in service to their country? Those people wounded in service should have no expense spared.

    Yesterday, Steve was telling us he was buying his own hearing aids rather than relying on the VA because he didn’t want analog. His disability occurred while serving his country. He should not be forced to take hearing aids of a lesser quality. No vet should have to take second best. Yet most vets I know have to fight and scrape for everything they get.

    I don’t think we can compare disabilities received in service to those that happen in the civilian population. I feel the same way about cops. Any talk of cheaping on them brings out my loaded for bear mode. (translation: bitch mode)

  15. marinm

    MH, I copied and pasted Bachmann’s paragraph (from Mo’s link) so those aren’t my words.

    My words were underneath where I asked if what she (Bachmann) was talking about some sort of double dipping. I don’t know the answer to that. That’s why I was asking the question. 🙂

    1. @marin,

      Sorry, I thought you said them. I was horrified. Bachmann saying them…I am horrified also. Ugh.

      As for double dipping, I am not sure if that is possible. Maybe George or Moe know.

  16. @Rick Bentley;

    You were right. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was an excellent movie. I enjoyed it a great dea.

  17. marinm


    Yah, Moe in #16 above thinks that it may be the case but I just don’t have any experience in how that system works. Maybe the lesson that we teach our next generation is to live within our means (both from a personal and govt perspective) because of the pain we’ll need to endure to get back on fiscal track.

    I think people do on the whole want to make sure govt lives within it’s means.. It may be that the next two years we debate on how we do that and to what extent. But, the good news is we’re atleast having that conversation now.

  18. Morris Davis

    I can’t figure exactly what a veteran who is totally disabled would get. I do know that 100% disability from the VA (with a spouse and dependent) is $2,943.00 a month. Social Security Disability Insurance (military members pay into SS) payments are harder to calculate and depend on how much the individual earned. As best I can tell, an average for a military member (and to get SSDI the disability has to make the person unemployable) would be in the $800 to $1,400 a month range. So a totally disabled vet would likely get about $40,000 to 50,000 a year. I admit I’m biased, but if we can afford tens of billions to give the top 1% of earners a tax break we can afford a few billion to give 100% disabled veterans a reasonable standard of living.

    1. @Moe,

      If we can fight wars that cost a billion dollars a week and put our people in harms way, then we can afford to take care of them when they are unable to care for themselves or their families as a result of that harm.

  19. marinm

    Got the wierdest call just now. I think it was a Republican phone poll with a lot of questions about George Allen. What made it funny was that the lady doing it was having problems reading the script (english wasn’t a problem just reading comprehension was).

    Asked generic questions about would you vote for a TP candidate versus Allen or Jamie Radtke (they had fleeting mention of Stewart but really drilled into feelings on Jamie), was “immigration” or abortion a major issue for me, national debt, how much FoxNews or talk radio I listened to, etc… Very amusing. Towards the end I got the idea that it was probably a Radtke pool because she started talking about how Allen voted to increase debt, voted for big government, etc.

    Took about 15 minutes and when my wife heard the question about “How much do you watch FoxNews” she started laughing her butt off.

  20. Morris Davis

    marinm :Got the wierdest call just now. I think it was a Republican phone poll. What made it funny was that the lady doing it was having problems reading the script (english wasn’t a problem just reading comprehension was).

    They’ve got to stop letting Sarah Palin make those calls.

  21. DB

    Update on the paycheck issue for “little DB”. Little DB took the documentation of her bounced paycheck into work yesterday and her manager told “You’ll have to wait” for reimbursement. When the first paycheck bounced she had to wait another two week period before she was reimbursed. This time I was like “Oh no no.” So today I walked into the place and told manager that I was the mom of little DB and I was there to collect on her returned paycheck “NOW”. There some flurry of excitement while the managers tried to find the documentation she dropped off yesterday to no avail. Then one asked me “How much do we owe her?” I said 247 plus fees. Then one of them grabbed a check book and wrote a check. Really hope this one is good.

  22. Morris Davis :

    marinm :Got the wierdest call just now. I think it was a Republican phone poll. What made it funny was that the lady doing it was having problems reading the script (english wasn’t a problem just reading comprehension was).

    They’ve got to stop letting Sarah Palin make those calls.

    Moe, she is just trying to help out. ho ho ho

  23. cheer DB. Good for you. Little DB is lucky you are going to bat for her.

    You should probably run it through your own account so it doesn’t pack so much of a wallop to hers.

    What sleaze bags they are.

  24. Marin, I wish they would call me 🙄 Could I give them an earful!!!

    However, when I get those kinds of calls, they usually have a few questions to disqualify me and hang up quickly. They wouldn’t have wasted their time with this home-girl.

  25. marinm

    Next time when they call tell them that your to the right of Cuccinilli and that Glenn Beck is a “liberal”.. They’ll welcome you with open arms, angel harps will play and you’ll feel the bask and glow of enlightenment. 🙂

  26. Starryflights

    Senate Republicans lose vote on health law

    By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent David Espo, Ap Special Correspondent – 1 hr 8 mins ago
    WASHINGTON – A Republican drive to repeal the year-old health care law ended in party-line defeat in the Senate on Wednesday, leaving the Supreme Court to render a final, unpredictable verdict on an issue steeped in political and constitutional controversy.

    The vote was 47-51.



  27. @marin,

    Lightning will have struck me by that time. shudder!!!! Talk about riding the lightning bolt!!!

    Starry, I can’t even predict that one. It sounds like the R’s willing and knowlingly wasted time.

  28. Big Dog

    Suggest reading the blog Not Larry Sabato this morning. It has a very
    interesting posting up on Prince William politics.

  29. Yes it does, Big Dog. Have you even seen anything about that candidate in the papers?

  30. @Moon-howler
    They didn’t waste time. They forced the Democrats to vote for something on a party line vote against the wishes of their constituents. Many of their constituents, in some places a majority, do not want this bill. I’d say that was time well spent.

  31. Big Dog

    M-H, the blog Blue Virginia also has a posting on Dr. Lateef.

    “A Woodbridge eye surgeon seeking a ‘new vision’ for PWC”.

  32. Emma

    Starry, you often say here that people need to respect the Constitution. If SCOTUS rules the HCR to be unconstitutional, then all of those “nay” repeal votes show that those legislators do not respect the Constitution, rightt?@Starryflights

    Hardly a waste of time at all.

  33. @Cargo, you assume no one wants HCR. That simply is not true. Why do you think that?

    @Big Dog, I have news for everything–it will take an eye surgeon to bring in a new vision for PWC. Good slogan. I noticed that the inapproriate ethnic slurs have already started. I hope this isn’t going to turn in to one of those situations where a certain blogger makes me embarrassed to be a human being.

  34. Every Republican talking head I heard on TV said that they knew they didn’t have the votes in the Senate. If you know, then why do it? Do they have that kind of time to throw around?

  35. @Moon-howler
    No…I said that some of those Democrats voted against the wishes of their constituents. Some people want HCR. Others don’t. A majority, according to many polls, do not want THIS reform enacted. Some of those constituents are a majority in those Democrats states.

    Political maneuvering means forcing unpopular votes. This is why Reid did not want it brought to a vote. Now those Senators are on record.

    And hey! The vote was 47 to 51 with Warner and Lieberman not voting. I don’t think they were there.

    All we needed was 4 votes. Stranger things have happened. And then the President vetoes the repeal. And its shown that the President cares more about his agenda then jobs.

    I mean, if HCR is such a good thing, why are all the friends of the Democrats getting waivers?

  36. marinm

    @MH, what slurs? Is Mr. Allen running for PWC Chair? …..bad joke. 🙂 50,000 out of work comedians in the current Administration and I’m trying to be funny. hehe.

    It’ll be interesting to hear what this doc has to say but I think he’s got an uphill climb.

    I think it’s fair to say that -R’s didn’t waste time – even if they knew they didn’t have the votes if it was partisan – because they forced some -D’s to take a side against their own constituents. With 23 senators up for vote next election that might be a kiss of death for some people….maybe enough to flip the senate. A conservative house and senate? One can dream………………..as long as they go conservative and not RINO. :p

  37. A different point of view on Egypt and President Obama from Polish news from a commenter here:http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/

    The latest from a different point of information…
    just watched noon newsreports out of Egypt on polish TVP Info…polish reporter was stopped and held in Hurghada…he is a polish/arabic mix…as he spoke via telephone he stated that all turist places are well guarded and Police is very polite and watchful toward anyone who “does not fit”..
    he was not charged but ordered to stay in a hotel…
    Polish gov is standing by with military and civilian airplanes ready to take polish citizens (over 6,000 turists) out of Egypt if situation there will promote itself toward violence…
    as of right now everyone is saying that outside of Cairo, Alexandria and few other cities “life is as normal as could be”…

    Polish politicians having a field day with Egypt/American politics, and are waiting for obama to take a stand…
    against our press releases all Europe including polish never liked obama, considered him like a “new kid in a sandbox”…
    not capable of managing anything but his golf outings…

  38. @marinm
    Its gotten that I actually consider Conservatives as Republican in Name Only since the “mainstream” Republicans have been Democrat-lite for so long.

  39. Cargo, serious question here. What happened to you to make you like reactionary right wing?

    You make the John Birch Society look like a bunch of commies. Geez.

    Who cares what some lone Pole thinks. That is like someone seeing Keith Olbermann on TV and thinking he spoke for all Americans. 🙄

    Trust me, Republicans have been getting exponentially more conservative rather than the other way around. Since the advent of 24 hour cable and the internet, I think things have gotten even worse.

  40. The General Assembly is considering HB2410. This bill would create a defined contribution retirement plan. Many think HB2310 will erode the funding status of VRS, increase future costs of the VRS pension, and bifurcate the VRS system.

    If you have ever worked for state or local government, you should check this bill out. I can’t imagine anyone who would choose a 403b plan over VRS which acts like an annuity for a retirement plan. To each his own, I guess.

    The Crash of 2008 should have taught us something.

  41. Framing the question–

    I just took Jackson Miller’s legislative survey. Too bad there were many framed questions. You know–questions asked in a way to get the desired outcome. Example:

    Do you support new laws that would protect the life of unborn children?

    Do you support laws that protect our 2nd Amendment Right to own and use firearms

    Do you support the repeal of the Federal government takeover of health care?

    Regardless of how one feels about these questions, they are loaded up with connotation. there is no neutrality.

    I can only assume that Jackson Miller really doesn’t give a rat’s ass what his constituents think, since he has posed the questions for a specific outcome.

    words like ‘unborn child’, ‘takeover’, are very loaded with emotion. The gun rights question is also binary. What if I believe there are some limits? How do I express that?

    I expect better out of my legislators. I also saw no questions about illegal immigration. He certainly is sponsoring a lot of bills involving illegal immigation for that to not have been mentioned.

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