Open Thread for Thursday, August 18, 2016

Yeah, I know I showed you this before, but I just can't get over the image...

Yeah, I know I showed you this before, but I just can’t get over the image…

Only one more day in the week, and so much to deal with. So let’s distract ourselves, with everything from tragedy to farce:

  1. Justice Dept. says it will end use of private prisons — Well, it’s about time. If we as a society are going to take people’s freedom away, we have the obligation to run the prisons ourselves, not delegate that to the lowest bidder.
  2. U.S. Acknowledges Cash Payment to Iran Was ‘Leverage’ in Prisoner Release — So, yeah, ummm… there was a connection.
  3. Amnesty International: Over 17,000 People Have Died In Syrian Detention Centers — Oh, and have you seen the picture of the little boy?
  4. U.S. swimmers ‘invented robbery story’ — So, is this what we send these people down their for?
  5. Naked Donald Trump statues pop up in cities across the US — From what I could tell, it seems the sculptors made his… hands… look quite small…

Photo supplied to WashPost by Jason Goodrich

52 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, August 18, 2016

    1. Bart

      Based on the color and length of the hair, it may be a statue of Hillary since it is shown from the backside. Who can actually tell?

      1. Claus

        Why is it that the two times I’ve posted this exact same thought you did not approve it? I know it’s a slam against your candidate but fair is fair.

      2. Claus

        Maybe it’s time to write about tuition going up again at USC, while President Pastides received yet another seemingly annual $100,000 raise bringing his salary to $1.17 million and the Board of Trustees setting up retention funding in excess of $300,000 per year if he promises to never leave USC. Meanwhile other USC employees received the largest COLA in the past 10 years most of which were eaten up by increased retirement contributions and parking fees.

      1. Doug Ross

        Different, but still hilarious. I just want to make sure the PC police who laugh at the Trump statue would have also found it amusing if it had been Hillary on display. It’s either funny or not, regardless of the subject. I don’t find it as funny as others.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Do I approve of what these pranksters did? No, I do not. Our public life is not enriched by such degrading spectacles. Trump himself has dragged things down enough (he’s perfectly capable of showing his rear end without dropping trou); it’s not right to try to outdo him.

          But speculating about what a 70-year-old man looks like without his clothes isn’t the same as doing so with a 68-year-old woman. One thing is aimed at making fun; the other is far more hurtful.

          1. Claus

            So it’s funny to laugh at old men but not old women? You missed your calling, you could have wrote sitcom scripts for NBC.

          2. Doug Ross

            Huh? I hope all the feminists disagree. Equal opportunity means equal opportunity to be ridiculed. Bodies are bodies.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              There’s a high probability that a lot of feminists WILL disagree, especially some of the younger ones. Some of them writing for web publications actually seem to believe there are no differences at all between men and women, even physical.

              But they’re wrong.

              1. Tex

                “But they’re wrong.”

                That still doesn’t make me want to see a naked statue of Hillary. I had a great lunch and really don’t want to taste it that bad again.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  See it’s comments like that that illustrate the difference when we’re talking about women.

                  Say something about a statue of Trump naked, and people laugh and quickly forget it. Say something like that about a woman, and the bros will go out of their way trying to think of something nasty to say. As on the other comment from Tex on this same subject that I did not allow, in which he said “I’d probably end up wash my eyes out with boiling bleach.”

                  And I only allowed this one in order to make the point.

                2. TimG

                  Brad so you don’t get the fact that the Naked Trump statue was “sans testicles”? Is this was Naked Obama would you consider it as funny?

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Lots of people think Trump was behind the recent re-release of naked photos of Melania. Sauce for the gander

  1. Lynn Teague

    NYParks is said to have tweeted that they had to remove unauthorized erections, no matter how small. I don’t follow NYParks and can’t verify this.

    1. Bart

      Maybe we should ask the people at “Parks and Recreation” for a “ruling” on the issue at “hand”.

  2. Doug Ross

    “U.S. Acknowledges Cash Payment to Iran Was ‘Leverage’ in Prisoner Release”

    That’s weird. My thesaurus doesn’t show “leverage” as a synonym for ransom.

    Obama lied. Directly and without any equivocation. Either that or he’s so out of the loop as lame duck that he’ll believe anything his staff tells him.

    And in other news, The Washington Post is now labeling Hillary’s refusal to hold a press conference since last December as “ridiculous”. She gets away with murder. Not literally. Well, not proven. Her campaign schedule is very light. Does she have the energy to BE President 24×7?

    1. Mark Stewart

      Maybe I missed something, but wasn’t it Iran’s money we have been holding since the Shah was overthrown? Therefore, getting something for just giving it back is, in fact, not random but would instead be well-applied leverage.

      On the other hand, if it is our money; this was a big blunder. But it’s hard to tell past all the posturing who was right here. Or at least more right.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Yup, this was the application of leverage, not ransom. Republicans who clam ransom are, in fact, the one’s destabilizing America’s centuries old policy of not paying ransom.

        The Iranians paid for 4 guided missile destroyers, among other military hardware, which we instead kept and commissioned into our navy.

        Trying to resolve all relational irritants at once is sound negotiating policy; when it is possible. I’m still not convinced about the rightness of the nuclear deal with Iran; but once that decision was made, this stuff looks like appropriate horse-trading. Not ransom. It is irresponsible to claim otherwise.

        1. Claus

          So we sold Iran 4 guided missile destroyers fully loaded for $400 million dollars? What was this a Buy One, Get Three Free deal? At that price they should have bought a dozen.

          We should have kept it.

  3. Burl Burlingame

    Does this mean that states can still use private prisons, just not the feds? Whoever thought up the concept of private prisons ought to be sentenced to one. It’s a profit incentive to incarcerate.

        1. Doug Ross

          The revenue generated far exceeds the value of the crashes allegedly prevented. Plus there have been numerous corruption cases related to the private companies that process the fines giving kickbacks to politicians.

          1. Claus

            Don’t speed or run red lights and there won’t be an issue… but I’ve lived in SC long enough to figure out how you people drive.

        2. Doug Ross

          The revenue generated far exceeds the value of the crashes allegedly prevented. Plus there have been numerous corruption cases related to the private companies that process the fines giving kickbacks to politicians. It’s not about safety, it’s about money.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Right. Because that’s all anyone is motivated by.

            If a municipality if fining people for running red lights, that’s great. I urge them to use the money to put up more traffic cameras…

            1. Doug Ross

              Why else do you think these private camera businesses sell their product? For the benefit of the people?

              Chicago, D.C., Miami and other places have seen the corruption that occurs when you open up a new revenue stream. Here’s the latest from Chicago:

              “Federal prosecutors on Aug. 15 asked U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall to consider a 10-year sentence “as a floor” for John Bills, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Bills was convicted of 20 counts of fraud, extortion and other crimes in January for his role in steering a lucrative red-light-camera contract toward Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. In return, he received $600,000 in cash, an Arizona condo and other kickbacks from the company. He was formerly the second-in-command at the Chicago Department of Transportation.”

              If you think that’s a rare occurrence, you’re kidding yourself. Do you ever pause for a moment and say “You know, I think the government needs to back off a little bit..”?

        3. Bryan Caskey

          This piece in the Chicago Tribune cites a study which basically says the cameras are a mixed bag on safety, but they definitely raise revenue.

          I merely point this out as a rebuttal to bud’s absolutist position on the matter. I really don’t care one way or the other about red light cameras.

          I simply dislike people taking absolutist positions like “THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Or, “It is settled law!”

            The law may be what it is at a given moment, but it’s always being challenged — in courts, and of course in legislatures…

          2. Doug Ross

            Just think about the economics of the fines — how do you determine what the proper fine should be to prevent enough crashes to make it justifiable? And those fines become part of the localities budget — they become dependent on the revenue stream to fund other activities. What happens when people start driving safer and the revenue drops? Raise the fines? Cut the programs it supports? Raise other taxes?

            There already is a system in place to deal with red lights. There are laws to punish people who cause crashes when running lights. There are penalties applied to individuals in the form of increased insurance costs for at fault accidents. Driving through a yellow a second too late when it doesn’t result in any incident should not incur a fine.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Your argument seems to be general; you seem to be arguing there shouldn’t be fines for anything.

              And yet, I think the penalty for MORE things should be fines — as opposed to, say, prison. Those who do wrong should pay, rather than the rest of us paying to incarcerate them…

          3. Kathryn Fenner

            Science is never settled, but you can get to a vanishingly small chance of an alternative

          4. bud

            NHTSA research shows red light enforcement using cameras is cost effective in reducing right angle crashes at intersections with a history of such crashes. Rear end crashes do increase, however, injuries and fatalities are reduced overall. If used properly the cameras only photograph vehicles that ENTER the intersection after the light is already red. Slow moving vehicles are also excluded. This was done in Sacramento and the results were positive but few tickets were actually given. There can of course be abuse but given the carnage on the highways cameras are an effective way to address a major problem. In SC alone 979 people lost their lives in 2015. Seems like resources would be better spent on this very real problem than fretting over JV team threats 5000 miles away.

    1. Bob Amundson

      Just DOJ prisons (so Federally run immigration detention centers and State run prisons are not affected). Many thought (and still think) that privatization of prisons was a bad idea. “Build it and they will come.” And they did …

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        USPS does a great job with packages, and UPS and FEDEX don’t promise to deliver a letter anywhere in the country for the price of a Forever stamp.

        1. Tex

          I didn’t know FedEx or UPS had even considered delivering mail. I doubt there’s much profit to be made delivering junk mail.

          Other than packages that are sent USPS, I don’t know if I really get much real mail that couldn’t be delivered electronically. Most birthday cards and Christmas cards don’t make it up the driveway before they end up in the trash bin.

  4. Tex

    Naked Hillary may be a reality:

    “When asked if the studio would consider making a sculpture of Hillary Clinton in a similar style, the spokesperson replied enthusiastically. “Hillary’s not much better than Trump so we’ll probably make one of her too,” he said. What about Bernie Sanders? “If he had gotten the nomination we probably would [have left] good old Bernie alone.”

    Monroe was similarly eager about creating a Hillary artwork, saying he would do so “in a heartbeat. I have utter detest for her and her rapist husband.”

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