Open Thread for Thursday, March 7, 2019

Shazam! No, wait -- that's the other one...

Shazam! No, wait — that’s the other one…

Some possible topics:

  1. Men seeking sex in SC massage parlors are likely abusing human trafficking victims, experts say — Long headline, but I’m glad to see it. Mandy has been trying to address this problem for awhile, and this should help in the cause.
  2. Megachurch had 4 alleged child predators — and over a dozen victims, SC police say — The Catholic Church has an additional scandal, having to do with the mishandling of these kinds of cases. But sexual predators are just as common in other institutions where men have access to trusting victims. And everyone needs to wake up to it, and put a stop to it.
  3. Martin Shkreli Steers His Old Company From Prison—With Contraband Cellphone — He’s back: the scumbag we all love to hate.
  4. House passes broad measure condemning hate after allegations of anti-Semitism — But will that solve the problem? Hope so. Otherwise, principled Democrats should take a hint from those across the pond who quit the Labour Party over this very problem.
  5. How Captain Marvel went from love interest to the most powerful Avenger — OK, but if she’s the most powerful Avenger, how come she wasn’t in any of the other Avenger movies? And how did she go from being a guy to a gal? Was it like a Bruce Jenner thing? And what about the DC one? Guess I’ll have to see this one to find out…

29 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, March 7, 2019

  1. Mr. Smith

    No.5: Rep. Omar’s comments were not anti-Semitic. The allegation made against her is an effort to delegitimize her by painting her as an anti-Semitic bigot in order to try to shut down debate about Israeli policies. And others are piling on by assuming she is one because some have said she is and she wears a head covering – and we “know” those folks can’t be trusted, right? The House Democratic leadership folded in the face of demagoguery and misinformed overreaction, together their own intense concern to avoid anything that could make them appear less than supremely virtuous, especially in matters of inclusivity.


    Paul Wildman: “The Dishonest Smearing of Ilhan Omar”

    Ben Ehrenreich: “The Shameful Campaign to Silence Ilhan Omar”

    David Dayen: “Ilhan Omar’s Victory for Political Sanity”

    1. bud

      The Benjamins comment was borderline but the allegiance to Israel ibservatio is frankly spot on. Our foreign policy is far, far to beholden to Israel. It’s about damn time someone pointed that out.

  2. Doug Ross

    In the latest example of the economic stupidity of Elizabeth Warren, she is expected to reveal a plan today to break up all the big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc.

    She lives in a fantasy world where she waves her bony finger and the economy transforms to her utopian model.

    “Ms. Warren’s plan creates two tiers of companies that would fall under the new regulations: those that have an annual global revenue of $25 billion or more, and those with annual revenue of $90 million to $25 billion. The upper tier would be required to “structurally separate” their products from their marketplace. Smaller companies would be subject to regulations but would not be forced to separate themselves from the online marketplace.”

    Just picking some random valuation as the tiers is stupid. But to think breaking up companies is going to be possible is just plain dumb. If she ever manages to go up against Trump, I will vote for Trump without hesitation.

  3. bud

    North Korea appears to be rebuilding its missile launch facility. Trade deficit hit a record. Kids are still being caged at the Mexican border. Twelve year high in the number of border crossings. Suicides up.

    Plenty of failures by the Trump administration yet all conservatives talk about is the “great” economy. Great for who? Thankfully we have sensible reformers like Elizabeth Warren trying to keep us out of a new guilded age.

    1. Doug Ross

      Pick any policy idea Warren has and let’s discuss the details of the implementation.

      How about the wealth tax? Explain how it would be calculated for someone like Bill Gates. Who would do the calculation? How long would it take to ACCURATELY calculate his wealth? How would you measure the value of real estate and personal property? If something materially changed in one of his investments between the time the calculation was first done and before the final number was determined, wouldn’t you have to go back and recalculate it again? How many years of litigation do you think would be required to settle a single billionaire’s tax bill?

      We won’t discuss other supposed progressive countries that tried to do it and abandoned it, okay?

      It’s harebrained academics like Warren who will help Trump win again.

      1. bud

        Trump probably wins with <5% unemploymemt rate but loses for sure above 6%. Dem policy plans will have little bearing on voter’s decision. Heck many voters don’t care if Trump cages children so why would they care about a sensible wealth tax?

        1. Doug Ross

          Sensible… except nobody (including you) can explain how it works or why it failed in other countries like Sweden.

          It’s pure class warfare without an ounce of intelligence.

          1. bud

            Class warfare? We already have class warfare but only the rich are fighting. Thanks to pragmatists like Elizabeth Warren perhaps the less wealthy can fire a few salvos.

            1. Doug Ross

              I await your explanation of how a wealth tax would “work”.

              Sweden is always held up as the model progressive country. Elizabeth Warren should read this and reconsider her dumb idea:
              This was from 2007…


              “The proposal to abolish wealth tax will be put forward in the government’s spring programme, due to be released in a few weeks, the party leaders wrote in a joint article in Dagens Nyheter.
              Prime Minister and Moderate Leader Fredrik Reinfeldt wrote together with the Liberals’ Lars Leijonborg, the Centre Party’s Maud Olofsson and Christian Democrat Göran Hägglund. They pointed out that Sweden is one of only four OECD countries to tax wealth. Sweden could lose its competitive edge if the tax remains, they said.”

              “We have now found a way of financing this so that we can do this in a good way,” he said.

              Asked who gains from the proposal, he said:

              “The big winners are, in the long term, all Swedes, because we need to have the conditions for jobs and companies necessary to match global competition. One issue is that little money stays in the country. There has been a big discussion in recent years about how globalization makes capital more and more non-national and harder to keep within national boundaries,” he said.

              So, bud, did the Swedes get it wrong? They sound positively CAPITALISTIC, don’t they?

              1. bud

                Sweden’s tax collections are considerably higher than the US. Not as high as the happiest nation on earth, Denmark, but still high. Time to soak the rich. No amount of fear mongering about the damage caused changes the fact that countries with high tax rates live longer, happier lives.

                1. Doug Ross

                  “soak the rich”

                  Yep… bumper sticker politics. That’s the hallmark of a great society.

                  Really, all I want is a paragraph from you that explains how a wealth tax would be implemented. Something that demonstrates a level of thought above “soak the rich”.

                2. bud

                  Here are a few more:

                  Gut the military
                  Capital punishment increases crime
                  Revoke the electoral college
                  Speaking of college – Make it Free
                  Break up big banks
                  Boycott Amazon
                  Unregulated capitalism is a scourge on society
                  Israel is not the 51st state
                  Medicare for all – NOW!
                  Require Tax Returns for POTUS candidates
                  Free birth control for everyone worldwide
                  Global Warming is the biggest threat to humanity
                  Support Planned Parenthood
                  Ratify the ERA

                3. Doug Ross

                  Do you personally boycott Amazon? Never use it or watch any of their video content?

                  Amazon is an amazing success story. Do you realize how many other businesses depend on Amazon — not just for providing access to billions of consumers worldwide — but serving as the IT backbone via Amazon Web Services?

                  I suppose you shop at Sears, Barnes and Noble, and watch Blockbuster videos.

                4. bud

                  My family buys from Amazon. But I never have and never will. But you’ve put your finger on the problem. Amazon is becoming a monopoly. Capitalism only works with competition.

                5. Doug Ross

                  A monopoly where you can choose to not participate is not a monopoly. is doing fine. Ask authors whether they’d like to go back to selling books in stores.

                6. Doug Ross

                  Here’s what’s great about Amazon. My wife and I were driving somewhere and she said she needed a longer Apple charger cord for the car. I got on Amazon and ordered one in two minutes. It was at our house the next day (A SUNDAY!).

                  So who benefits from Amazon? Me, because I don’t have to go to a store to buy something — and if you try to buy the same cord at Best Buy, it will cost at least 50% more. The environment benefits because I don’t have to drive 20 minutes each way to go get the cord – it is delivered by a truck with multiple packages on board. The vendor of the cord benefits because they reach a customer they likely wouldn’t get in a brick-and-mortar store. And for that, Amazon takes a small cut of the price for the service.

                  So I had options — there was no monopoly — but Amazon provides the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver to customers. That’s called running a business, not a monopoly.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    But it perplexes me.

                    Just a few minutes ago, I got a call from a guy trying to deliver a package to my house. He seemed reluctant to just leave it. I had one like that about a month ago.

                    And yet, this was no high-value item, and I had sought no special handling for it. And other times, they’ll just LEAVE something really valuable — like a new laptop.

                    There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

                    Happy ending, though: I got a notice by text that he did leave it…

  4. Jim Cross

    Ahhhh, Captain Marvel. It’s … well, complicated. There have been 8 Captain Marvels over the years and our female Captain Marvel has had her origins retconned multiple times. She started out as a supporting character to the Captain Marvel you referred to. She gained her powers in an accident that involved the original Captain and became Ms. Marvel. She became Captain Marvel in 2012 (the original one being dead in our reality). Prior to that she had suffered depowering and memory loss and also had a couple of other codenames along the way (comics!) As to why she hasn’t been seen before she is more of an intergalactic hero now so she was out somewhere in the galaxy doing hero things (Why hadn’t she heard of Thanos? Space is a big place!) As for the DC guy, that’s a long and complicated legal tale concerning rights to the character lapsing, a new character being created, and a reassertion of those rights. That is why DC’s “Captain Marvel” is now known as “Shazam.”

      1. Jim Cross

        I should mention that Monica Rambeau–the second Captain Marvel in the comics–appears in the movie as the daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend. And the current Ms.Marvel in the comics (the 4th going by that name) is a Muslim Pakistani-American teen who idolizes the current Captain Marvel (I am eagerly awaiting seeing her get a movie of her own).

  5. Doug Ross

    From… here’s why I should be paying less federal taxes in a nutshell… a breakdown of federal spending on government contracts last year.. including the last month where government agencies blow through all their budgets in order to ensure they don’t get reduced in the next year:

    “Of that $544.1 billion, almost $97 billion was spent in September 2018, the final month of the fiscal year, including $53.3 billion in the final seven days of the month. That’s compared to $47 billion spent in the entire month of August. As the fiscal year came crashing to an end, bureaucrats apparently did their best to spend as much money as quickly as possible. The Department of Defense led the pack, spending $61.2 billion in September. The Pentagon was followed not-so-closely by the Department of Health and Human Services ($5.7 billion), the Department of Veterans Affairs ($5.4 billion), and the Department of Homeland Security ($4.2 billion).

    Federal agencies spent $402.2 million on food that month, with the Pentagon shelling out $2.3 million on crab and $2.3 million on lobster tail. Also, “agencies spent $2.1 million on games, toys, and wheeled goods,” Open the Books notes, as well as “$412,008 on paint and artist’s brushes.” A whopping $490 million went to furniture, including a baffling $9,341 for a Wexford office chair. Agencies also spent $49,515 for skis and ski poles, $11,816 for a foosball table, and $258,901 on pianos.

    The biggest recipients of the contracts were a trio of military companies: Lockheed Martin ($8.3 billion), Boeing ($5.3 billion), and Raytheon ($3.4 billion). That $97 billion last September represents a 16 percent increase from the $83.7 billion federal agencies spent on contracts in September 2017. The figure was nearly $73.6 billion in 2016 and $69.6 billion in 2015.”

    So every time you want to cry about how we need to “soak the rich” to pay for social programs, just think of what better use the $4.6 million spent on lobster and crab in one month might have done for people in need. That would be the yearly food bills for about 800 poor families.

    Spending other people’s money with no accountability is the easiest job in the world.

  6. Doug Ross

    Very interesting article in the Post & Courier about a culture of corruption across the state in county Sheriff departments. Even Leon Lott does not escape scrutiny… there is a real problem with public employees who have no accountability over their spending.

  7. Harry Harris

    Strange that we elect law enforcement and other executive and administrative officials. It makes no sense to me to elect non-policy folks. The whole thing is a 18th century holdover from emerging democracy. Law enforcement, clerks of court, coroners, superintendents of education, etc. should be hired and fired per merit and qualifications, not picked in elections. Sheriffs, when i moved to SC in 1971, spent two years and $40K campaigning for a job that paid under $15K per year. I wondered why.

    1. Doug Ross

      When I ran for school board in 2002, one of the winners spent upwards of $30K for a part time job that paid I think $7200 a year back then.

      And now we have several members of the R2 School Board who are in trouble for not filing statement of economic interest forms. Some of the filings that came in later showed donations from the same construction company that does a large percentage of the work in the district — the companies that benefit from a school board that supports bond referendum initiatives that raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Good return on investment there.

      1. Harry Harris

        School board members and legislators should be under the same ethics law as other state employees (they are paid). “Nothing of value may be offered or accepted …” That includes meals. booze, trips, parties, and anything else. If the state started enforcing it strictly, a real difference could be made. These folks aren’t spending their own money, it’s the people’s. It wouldn’t take long to have a ripple effect if some were burned and publicly exposed.

        1. David T.

          Make school/city/county council board members volunteer only. No pay, no perks… those that want to volunteer for the betterment of the organization will run and weed out those who are doing it for an easy paycheck.

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