Weekend Open Thread

“There are only two forces that unite men–fear and interest.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte

34 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Town Of Davenport, Iowa Descends Into Hell Following Gay Marriage Ceremony

    FORMER DAVENPORT, IA-Immediately following the performance of a same-sex marriage ceremony Sunday afternoon at Holy Christ Almighty Lutheran Church on Lincoln Avenue, the city of Davenport, IA and all 99,685 of its residents were reportedly smitten into oblivion by the merciless wrath of God and flung into the deepest bowels of eternal hell.

  2. PitaPita says:

    Now that’s a horse race.  Today’s campaigns give the ‘Sport of Kings’ a bad rap.

  3. SSG_Dan says:

    Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke.

    They stand four-square for the American home-but not for housing.

    They are strong for labor-but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights.

    They favor minimum wage-the smaller the minimum wage the better.

    They endorse educational opportunity for all-but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools.

    They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine-for people who can afford them.

    They consider electrical power a great blessing-but only when the private power companies get their rake-off.

    They think American standard of living is a fine thing-so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people.

    And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”

    ~Harry S. Truman

  4. PitaPita says:

    Okay, I’m probably going to get in hot water here with the Denver daily but Lynn does a decent job today listing the legislators that won’t be returning after Wednesday.

    Thirty-three of 100 lawmakers are saying goodbye – and that’s just Wednesday, when the session ends. There could be more after November, as some incumbents are in tough races.

    http://www.denverpost.com/legi

    I admit there are any number I am happy to see in the ranks of the soon-to-be ‘former’ status.  Still I do agree with Nancy Spence.

    “I think the people of Colorado lose when there’s that much turnover,” said Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, who is term-limited. “You lose institutional memory, which is so important.”

    The challenge now is to elect Reps. & Senators that don’t live in the dark ages.

    • gertie97 says:

      The institutional memory remains at the Statehouse — with the lobbyists, many of whom are former legislators.

      Our legislature’s performance in recent years is proof term limits do not work.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        And how does it tie to the loss of institutional memory? I’ll agree that institutional memory has some big advantages (and some big negatives). But I think the legislature has worked fairly well the last couple of years.

        ps – That doesn’t mean it’s done everything I think it should or the legislation has always gone the way I wanted.

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            should be blamed on term limits. Term limits are complained about a lot in general but it’s rare that people bring up specifics.

            • gertie97 says:

              about the state’s poor excuse of funding higher ed?

              About having the state budget on autopilot with Medicaid, K-12 and prisons eating a mandated and ever-growing share budget?

              Lock-step allegiance to TABOR no matter what the consequences?

              Nearly the same allegiance to Amendment 23?

              Because of term limits, legislators are getting elected largely by allegiance-no-matter-what to one side of the political spectrum or the other. Working together is rare–tossing rhetorical bombs is the norm. Building long-term coalitions is incompatible with term limits. Just when a legislator begins to “get it,” he or she is gone.

              • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                The budget constraints are due to TABOR. If every legislator had been in office for 20 years, we would still face that limit (and the limit of A-23).

                And the election of “allegiance-no-matter-what” (which I agree is a big problem) occurs in every state and for federal offices here. I don’t think you can lay the blame for that on term limits. In fact, imagine some of the nut-cases presently in the legislature able to stay there forever…

                • Ralphie says:

                  of Friday’s Senate floor session.  Anytime in the last 3 hours should do–the second-reading debate on HB12-1267.  That should demonstrate the level of dysfunction of the current legislature.

                  Term limits have replaced relationship-based politics with transaction-based politics.

                  Before term limits, legislators became friends and could talk across the aisle and come to understandings with each other for the good of Colorado.  No more.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      go to http://www.leg.state.co.us/

                      click on “Session Information,” then on “Audio and Video Broadcasts.”

                      Click on “Senate Chambers” at the top left.  It will give you a menu of audio archives.  You want May 4.

                      I’d give you a direct link, but sometimes the legislature site gives you a session token and the direct links might not work.

                    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                      I jumped around and so I may have missed the bad parts. But what I heard didn’t strike me as bad. There are significant disagreements between the people speaking, but that will happen at times – its politics.

                      But I didn’t listen to the whole thing. And I don’t know what the norm is for the legislature.

                • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

                  of this issue carry some weight. It just occurs to me, that if money didn’t rule politics and elections, it probably wouldn’t be an issue.

            • Libertad 2.0 says:

              you bring up no specifics to back up your counterargument, so round and round we go…

  5. Algernon MoncriefAlgernon Moncrief says:

    A New Review of the Monahan Paper, “Public Pension Plan Reform: The Legal Framework.”

    Many of you are familiar with the public pension law analysis, “Public Pension Plan Reform: The Legal Framework,” by Professor Amy Monahan at the University of Minnesota School of Law.  Monahan’s paper addresses the legal obligations of state and local pension plan sponsors in the United States.

    On page 28 of the paper Professor Monahan notes that public pension retirees in Colorado have a “contract, at some time prior to eligibility for retirement,” but that the point in time at which this contractual right arises is “unclear” based on the case law.  Further, Monahan writes “Colorado courts have held that prior to eligibility to retire, plan changes can be made if the changes ‘strengthen or better’ the retirement plan, or if they are actuarially necessary.”  Note the distinction “prior to eligibility for retirement.”

    Read Professor Monahan’s paper here:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa

    I recently came across a review of Professor Monahan’s paper by Paul M. Secunda, Professor of Law at the Marquette University Law School.  Professor Secunda published his review on February 16, 2012 at this site:

    http://worklaw.jotwell.com/pub

    Particularly intriguing is this passage in Secunda’s review:

    “Where states treat their pension promises as contracts, she (Monahan) discusses federal and state constitutional contract clause challenges when states seek to amend their state pension plans.  She points out, quite rightly, that such states are subject to these constitutional challenges because pension changes tend to cause a substantial impairment of the contract without being able to show that it was reasonable and necessary to an important public purpose (i.e., saving money alone has not been deemed an important public purpose).  The upshot is that it is very difficult for states with pensions based on contractual theories to reform their public pension plans even when the need to do so is obvious and dire.”

    Reading Secunda’s review I wondered what “important public purpose” other than insufficient public sector resources might exist in Colorado that could justify the breach of fully-vested public pension rights . . . particularly given that partially vested pension rights in Colorado were relatively unscathed by SB 10-001.  (Recall the Penry/Brophy statement “Fully 90 percent of the PERA fix comes from benefit cuts to current and future retirees.”)

    It’s clear that the Colorado General Assembly no longer believes that the state faces a fiscal “crisis.”  This fact was amply demonstrated a few weeks ago when the Legislature granted $100 million in discretionary tax relief.  Does the Colorado General Assembly want the power to beach public pension contracts on a whim?

    Monahan’s paper also highlights a Nebraska Supreme Court decision relating to public pension COLAs:

    “For example, in Calabro v. City of Omaha . . . the City of Omaha sought to eliminate a supplemental pension plan that paid cost-of-living increases to participants.  The Supreme Court of Nebraska found such a change to be an unconstitutional impairment of contract, even where third-party financial reports warned that “continued funding of the supplemental benefit would cause serious fiscal problems for the city.” (Calabro v. City of Omaha, 531 N.W.2d at 552).  In reaching its conclusion, the court focused on the fact that the same third-party financial reports emphasized the need for a new, alternative funding source for the benefits, not the elimination of the plan. As a result, the court was unconvinced that terminating the plan was the “only viable alternative for correcting its alleged fiscal woes.’”

    What can you do?  Go to the saveperacola.com website, click on the “Support” tab, and send them a contribution.  Call or e-mail every PERA member and retiree you know and ask them send support.  Call your public employee union representatives and ask them how they can stand idly by while the Colorado Legislature attempts to breach its contracts with public employees.  Colleagues of our public sector union officials across the country are aggressively defending the pension rights of their union members.  What has happened in Colorado is truly bizarre.

    To follow developments in the Colorado pension theft lawsuit sign up as a Friend of Save Pera Cola on Facebook.

    Have your friends sign up as Friends of Save Pera Cola.  Copy this post and e-mail it to PERA members and retirees you know.

  6. Sir RobinSir Robin says:

    Did anyone see when Jake Tapper asks John McCain his advice on selecting a V.P.!!!

    Hahaha

  7. Sir RobinSir Robin says:

    The mosr recent and most defining event in this country as of late is the 9/11/2001 attack on the United States by Al-Queda operatives using commercial jets to crash into the Twin Towers aand the Pentagon, with a 4th airplane possibly intended for the White House.

    The events leading up to these attacks, the warnings, the intelligence, the fuck-ups, the political posturing, and the tactical and strategic military decisions will forever remain a shameful chapter of incompetence on the part of the Bush administration.

    Osama Bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behnd these events, was not vigorously pursued, nor apprehended in the 8 years of thee Bush presidency. Indeed, we got this:

    So, the newly elect President of the United States, Barrack Obama, rightfully in my opinion, made it a priority to bring this man to justice. He got the job done.

    Much can be written further about this topic, and I’m happy to entertain any and all issues. One aspect of the story I still find troubling, is the story that his body was dumped at sea. I stronly disagree with this story, and if true, with the decision. It leaves to much speculation for warious parties to exploit. It was wrong.

    The Republicans should know that they attack the President on this subject at their peril. Are they smart enough to realize this?

    I doubt it.

    • droll says:

      bin Laden was not “brought to justice.” He was shot in the head and dumped in the ocean without benefit of a trial.

      I could slog through comments of yours, posting every one you’ve railed against these very means when you didn’t like the ends, but that can’t be entirely necessary, can it?

      • Fidel's dirt nap says:

        and I don’t think there were many options there.  I don’t think OBL would have gone peacefully.  The burial at sea was done to adhere to the Muslim practice of burying the dead within 24 hours, and to prevent any specific burial location from turning into some sort of shrine. You follow the news so I am pretty sure you know all of that already.

        Again I just don’t think there were many options for what to do with Bin Laden.  I didn’t like the means either, but if I had to choose I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Just my two cents.  

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