NFL weekend open thread

Bird Dog's picture

I was so busy last November that I missed the deadline on the Forvm Pick 'em Sweepstakes, so I bailed. All I have left is rooting for those 'Hawks. Lately, that hasn't been such a bad thing. God, I love football. Watching it, that is. I never could play the game, and I passed that bad football-playing gene to my football-loving son, to his lament.

Here are some tab-clearing items that need clearing.

The Circus versus The Circus Harassing the Circus. The Circus wins.

On Friday Feld Entertainment, producer of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced a legal settlement under which the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has paid $9.3 million to the company.

Yes, you read that correctly. A special-interest group sued a corporation and in the resulting settlement it was not the business but the activist group that had to write a check.


After nine years of litigation, a federal court found that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue under the Endangered Species Act and that the former Ringling employee was "not credible" and "essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness" whose only source of income during the litigation was the animal-rights groups that were his co-plaintiffs.

2012 was a great year. Sayeth the Spectator. Poverty down, GDP up, lifespans lengthening, war down. Lots to argue about.

Jeffrey Goldberg on the gun control debate. Plenty of myths floating around. It's now clear that talk about guns is complete overshadowing talk about dealing with the mentally ill.

Al Qaeda has its own country. Northern Mali, which is approximately the size of Texas or France. Who knew that Texas and France are roughly the same size.

Christie pisses off party poobahs. Again. The New Jersey is running for reelection this year, so there are political motivations, but he also has the benefit of being right. The arguable part is whether his ire was rightfully focused on Boehner or the chuckleheads in Boehner's caucus.

Thoughts on the our deficits. From a Republican outcast. Sigh.

The Liberal Propaganda Channel. For those lefties complaining about FoxNews' ideological tilt, you have a place to go. Pew paints the picture.

This didn't escape the attention of the Baltimore Sun's TV critic.

ON MSNBC, the ratio of negative to positive stories on GOP candidate Mitt Romney was 71 to 3.

That's not a news channel. That's a propaganda machine, and owner Comcast should probably change Phil Griffin's title from president to high minister of information, or something equally befitting the work of a party propagandist hack in a totalitarian regime. You wonder how mainstream news organizations allow their reporters and correspondents to appear in such a cauldron of bias.

Paraguay's awful and little-known history. Who knew that three neighboring nations went to war and ganged up on this landlocked nation, resulting in the loss of 90% of its male population. Like with the descendants of American slaves, Paraguayans are still feeling the ill effects of its dismal history.

China's awful and squelched history. 45 million dead at the hands of Mao. Here's a pictorial of Mao's Big Lie.

Boehner still Speaker. This is actually good news for Republicans and Democrats alike.

Good advice for the GOP going forward. From Peter Wehner:

Presumably Republicans will be in a stronger position as we approach our next governing crisis: the debt ceiling deadline in early March.


There is a twin danger for the GOP, however. One is that they enter negotiations assuming the president is responsible and acting in good faith—and that a “good government” solution will be found and a grand bargain will be struck. That’s not going to happen. Mr. Obama is a dogmatist and a committed progressive. He has no interest in reining in spending or reforming entitlements. He wants to, in his words, “transform” America. And he has a burning desire to destroy the GOP.

The second danger facing Republicans is they once again engage in brinksmanship with the president—that they elevate the debt ceiling debate and (unwisely) threaten to allow the United States to default right up until the moment when they cave (which they would be forced to do).


My counsel to them would therefore be to take the threat of default off the table sooner rather than later. (One way to do this would be to pass legislation that increases the debt limit for, say, six months at a time.) Republicans should simultaneously put forward reasonable and realistic cuts to offset the increase in the debt limit, in the hope that they can secure some gains. Which leads me to my broader piece of advice.

The Republican Party tends to do quite poorly when it engages in high-profile negotiations/confrontations with Democratic presidents. It happened to Newt Gingrich in 1995 over Medicare and the government shutdown. It happened to the GOP Congress in 1998 over impeachment. And it happened to John Boehner and the GOP in the summer of 2011 and December 2012 over the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff.


The reason for this has been, in part, because it’s impossible to govern when a party controls just one legislative chamber. The president, especially one with a sympathetic press, has enormous things working in his favor in any showdown with Congress.

On the flip side, the two greatest electoral gains for Republicans in Congress happened in 1994 and 2010. Those elections were not preceded by dramatic, high-stakes, last-second negotiations that took place in a crisis atmosphere. Rather, they came in the aftermath of Democratic presidents and Democratically-controlled Congress’ overreaching. Republicans forcefully criticized the policies of Clinton (in 1993 and 1994) and Obama (in 2009 and 2010)–but they did not threaten to shut down the government, cause America to go into default, and encourage America to go over any fiscal cliffs.


So what does that mean for the here and now? The mindset of the GOP should be to jettison the idea that Obama is a responsible interlocutor (Speaker Boehner seems to have gotten that message in pledging that he will no longer negotiate one-on-one with Obama). Second, congressional Republicans should accept the fact that even though they have a majority in the House, their power to shape the governing agenda is still severely limited. There will be no meaningful reforms of entitlements or the tax code. Accept it; and accept that they cannot undo the damage of Obamaism so long as he remains president.

Republicans should of course check Mr. Obama’s ambitions where they can and when they occupy the political high ground (like on the implementation of ObamaCare). But trying to put America on a different course right now, given the present circumstances, is a fool’s errand. Prudence is a political virtue–and in this case, prudence argues for modesty of aims and expectations.

Friedman's problem. In a nutshell: "I expect a lot from Obama..."

Obamacare means less hiring in 2013. Elections, consequences.

Obama picks Hagel for SecDef. Like with his preference for good doggy Rice, bad decision. I doubt he'll make it past a GOP filibuster. There are liberal reasons and conservative reasons for his not deserving the job.

Fracking safe in NY, Keystone safe in NE. The reports here and here.



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I recently read the biography of Mao

mmghosh's picture

by his doctor


and then of course there is Jung Chang.


While completely horrified at Mao's activities (and its blowback here), I can't help but thinking that the incredible advances made by China in the past 4 decades could not have happened without a major contribution by Mao's policy decisions, given that he was the Supreme Leader.  Though what these contributions could be (apart from the general benefits of a committed left wing administration) are hard to fathom right now.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Good collection of stuff to chew through.

mmghosh's picture

But about what you missed - I made a separate open thread on the investigation of the ongoing bank scandals (that should please catchy).

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Hagel & Brennan


Normally wouldn't see much merit in Hagel for Secretary of Defense,  but I'm favorably impressed by his list of enemies.  Neither the arguments against him or the arguments in favor seem very relevant.   The criticisms are mostly on foreign policy issues that aren't a core part of the job,  on the other hand being a senator involves relatively little management or executive experience,  which ought to be a main qualification.   He does seem to meet the most basic requirement for the person who would have to confirm a nuclear attack order,  i.e. more or less sane and not a mindless yes-man.   Overall a wash,  couldn't expect much better from Obama.


Brennan appears to have flip-flopped on torture depending on which administration he was (potentially) working for.   Usually flip-flopping by a subordinate in itself isn't a disqualification,  a subordinate's job is to carry out and support policy made at the top adn to go along with changes.  But of course the one exception is when the orders from the top are clearly illegal.  His Bush-era statements on torture IMO disqualify him, especially as CIA Director.

Bizzare quote of the day


From Mitch McConnell: 


""As the leader of the Republicans what I'm telling you is we elected the president to be president. It's time for him to step up to the plate and lead us in the direction of reducing our excessive spending," McConnell said."


What you mean "we," Kimosabe?


Seriously, is there a good reason to negotiate with Republicans on whether or not to default on the nation's obligations? Because that's what the question before Congress is. 


They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

McConnell is Begininng to Irritate Me...I Saw the Interview


...and it is all...President Obama has a duty to lead the Country towards the Republican Agenda, all of it...he keeps saying this over and over...




Obama has a duty to my agenda!


Best Wishes, Traveller

It's sort of humorous


McConnell: "We don't have the guts to spell out what we want, but we're going to hold our breath and turn blue until we're given what we want."

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

and this bit....

Jay C's picture

You know, until we adjust the entitlements so that they meet the demographics of our country, we can’t ever solve this problem. The time to solve it is now.”

What on earth can he mean by this? I'm assuming this is just GOP shorthand for "shortchange the poor, the sick, the elderly and little children til the Grim Reaper adjusts the 'demographics'", but I may be missing something...

The thing is


Boehner isn't going to be the teddy bear on the grill any more. He says he's not going to negotiate with Obama, and that the bills are going to come out of "regular order"... meaning the House is going to have to vote for their opening position. Yikes... seems like a political death wish for Reps, but I guess it is easier for Boehner.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Not looking good for the Seahawks

HankP's picture

I'm sure they'll tighten up the defense and offense as the game goes on, but down two touchdowns in the first quarter is no way to start.

I blame it all on the Internet

What a turnaround

HankP's picture

Seahawks have dominated since the end of the first quarter.

I blame it all on the Internet

But a lot/most? of that was RGIII's injury


Still. Seahawks is lookin pretty formidable.


HankP's picture

but the real problem was that the Redskins had the second best running back in the league and they hardly used him in the second half. Injuries are part of the game, you have to work around them. And the Redskins backup QB is pretty good.


I blame it all on the Internet

A dogamatist who wants to transform America and destroy


his opponents? That's projection if I ever saw it...

To: Catchy (& Hank?) Re: Venezuela Bet(s?)

Bernard Guerrero's picture

I'll predict 2% real growth for Venezuela in 2013, and, if you're interested in a longer-term wager, a compound average real growth rate of 0% over the next 5 years, 2013 inclusive.


-Potential side wagers:

A) Venezuela will devalue yet again in 2013, by 30%

B) Hugo will croak (ok, probably CW by now, but if you're up for it.)

C) Average inflation for 2013 at 26%


If you're interested, I'd make similar wagers on lefty-semi-darling Argentina.



2% could test your unsustainability claim


But it might not, because it could be the effect of two events we already agree upon - fiscal drag from slowing down spending post-election and possible disruption to the economy b/c of Chavez's passing away. 


If you were willing to predict a recession like Bank of America or lower growth, I'd take that bet.


In any case, since Chavez's passing looks imminent, it makes sense to wait and see if we can leave out that short-term, potentially confounding factor. How about a bet on a 1 yr.-period of growth after a changing of the guard?


I'd be willing to take issue with your 5 year claim now, however, with the proviso that Venezuela doesn't immediately fall into the hands of the opposition party after Chavez passes away, since they have no record of growth.

Nice Thread, Thanks for the Work, Is Assad the Better Choice?



...I don't have an answer to this question, but it has been lingering on the back of my mind for quite a while now.


Assad is at least a secularist, the rebels largely Islamist....and I am tired of helping to establish Theocratic Regimes.


(See Iraq and Afghanistan)