Saturday Open Thread

From the President:


Good Morning. I hope you are enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

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12 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    New Orleans levees…who built that?

    Anyone who paid attention to what actually happened in 2005 during Katrina knows that the hurricane itself did enough damage. But the real toll on the City of New Orleans came from the failure of its levees.

    In tracking the promises Obama made during his 2008 campaign, Politifact includes this one:

    Will ensure that New Orleans has a levee and pumping system to protect the city against a 100-year storm by 2011, with the ultimate goal of protecting the entire city from a Category 5 storm.

    And on August 24, 2011, they scored it as a promise kept.

    Now, in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, the wind and rain have done their damage. But what about the levees?

    Seven years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers was desperately trying to plug breaches in the city’s broken and busted levee system.

    Since those catastrophic days, the Army Corps has worked at breakneck speed — and at a cost of billions of dollars — to install new floodgates, pumps, floodwalls and levees across New Orleans. The work paid off. A day after Isaac hit New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, officials said the 130-mile flood protection system did its job.

    “If I had to give it a grade, I would give it an A-minus, and only a minus because of the small challenges we had,” said Tim Doody, the president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, a commission that oversees levees protecting New Orleans.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Harvard Students in Cheating Scandal Say Collaboration Was Accepted


    Published: August 31, 2012

    Harvard students suspected in a major cheating scandal said on Friday that many of the accusations are based on innocent — or at least tolerated — collaboration among students, and with help from graduate-student teachers who sometimes gave them answers to test questions.

    Students said they were tripped up by a course whose tests were confusing, whose grading was inconsistent, and for which the professor and teaching assistants gave contradictory signals about what was expected. They face the possibility of a one-year suspension from Harvard or revocation of their diplomas if they have already graduated, and some said that they will sue the university if any serious punishment is meted out.

    In years past, the course, Introduction to Congress, had a reputation as one of the easiest at Harvard College. Some of the 279 students who took it in the spring semester said that the teacher, Matthew B. Platt, an assistant professor of government, told them at the outset that he gave high grades and that neither attending his lectures nor the discussion sessions with graduate teaching fellows was mandatory.

    “He said, ‘I gave out 120 A’s last year, and I’ll give out 120 more,’ ” one accused student said.

    But evaluations posted online by students after finals — before the cheating charges were made — in Harvard’s Q Guide were filled with seething assessments, and made clear that the class was no longer easy. Many students, who posted anonymously, described Dr. Platt as a great lecturer, but the guide included far more comments like “I felt that many of the exam questions were designed to trick you rather than test your understanding of the material,” “the exams are absolutely absurd and don’t match the material covered in the lecture at all,” “went from being easy last year to just being plain old confusing,” and “this was perhaps the worst class I have ever taken.”

    Harvard University revealed on Wednesday that nearly half of the undergraduates in the spring class were under investigation for suspected cheating, for working together or for plagiarizing on a take-home final exam. Jay Harris, the dean of undergraduate education, called the episode “unprecedented in its scope and magnitude.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    August 29, 2012

    The Legitimate Children of Rape

    Posted by Andrew Solomon

    Writing in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Felicia H. Stewart and Dr. James Trussell have estimated that there are twenty-five thousand rape-related pregnancies each year in the United States. While these numbers make up only a small part of this country’s annual three million unwanted pregnancies, the numbers are still extremely high. Nonetheless, the relationship between rape and pregnancy has been a topic of highly politicized debate since long before Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape,” Paul Ryan’s bill with its category of “forcible rape,” and Sharron Angle’s suggestion, two years ago, that women pregnant through rape make “a lemon situation into lemonade.” There is a veritable war of statistics about rape and pregnancy, and the confusion is exacerbated by the competing agendas of the pro-choice and anti-abortion movements. It has been argued that fear promotes ovulation, and that women who are raped have a ten-per-cent risk of pregnancy; there are estimates of as little as one per cent. Numbers are also skewed when they are adjusted to include or exclude women not of reproductive age; for sodomy and other forms of rape that cannot cause pregnancy; for rape victims who may be using oral birth control or I.U.D.s; and for women who are raped and become or are pregnant as a result of consensual sex with a husband or partner who is not the rapist, before or after the rape. Women who are being abused on an ongoing basis are particularly likely to conceive in rape. Catherine MacKinnon has written, “Forced pregnancy is familiar, beginning in rape and proceeding through the denial of abortions; this occurred during slavery and still happens to women who cannot afford abortions.”

    I have been researching a book, “Far from the Tree,” that deals in part with women raising children conceived in rape, and have therefore met the living reproof to Akin’s remark. Life for these children may be extremely difficult. One of the few groups founded to address this population, Stigma Inc., took as its motto, “Rape survivors are the victims … their children are the forgotten victims.”

    Read more

  4. rikyrah says:

    Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

    Jon Stewart brilliantly deconstructs Eastwood speech as Republican id+*

    by BruinKid.

    Last night, Jon Stewart broke down Clint Eastwood’s and Mitt Romney’s speeches, and then brilliantly tied it all together to reveal what’s in the mind of a Republican.

    MITT ROMNEY (8/30/2012): We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future.
    Yes, yes, yes. We Americans, uniquely among Earth’s people, move forward in time. Look, I don’t care how many Marcos Rubio you put in between Clint Eastwood and Mitt Romney, Romney ain’t outshining this little playlet I like to call The Old Man and the Seat.

    And here’s why it hurts. It hurt these Republicans bad, because this convention, like all conventions, is a scripted and focus-grouped fantasy, and the display of Eastwood’s Gran Torino id was the very thing Republicans had constructed the entire week to suppress! This convention was the vision of a perfect America that used to exist, until Barack Obama ruined it. And so what if that America had never actually existed?

    MITT ROMNEY (8/30/2012): To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. … That unique blend of optimism, humility. … It’s that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach your kid’s soccer team, or help out on school trips. … So when we see that new business opening up downtown, so when we go to work in the morning and see everybody else on the block doing the same thing. … My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed, than what church we went to.
    “Gee whiz, pops, that sounds awesome!”
    Yeah, that was the uncomplicated America you remember. I think in the ’60s, there were some churches in Alabama that would’ve disagreed with your “sports team versus place of worship” anecdote.

    (audience applause)


    And here is the most incredible part of the entire fiction. While convincing us that Barack Obama’s destroyed this country’s future, the Republicans have also invented a past where they were trying to help him succeed!

    MITT ROMNEY (8/30/2012): That choice was not the choice of our party, but Americans always come together after elections. … I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed.


  5. rikyrah says:

    The Assassination of Clint Eastwood by the Coward Mitt Romney
    Is there anyone this campaign won’t sell out?
    By Tom Scocca|
    Posted Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, at 7:14 PM ET

    The Mitt Romney campaign had two things to convey about the candidate at the Republican convention: his steadfast likability as a human being, and his hyper-competence as an executive. Whatever progress they made on either front was gone by Friday afternoon, as aides tried to spin away the halting, awkward endorsement-cum-comedy sketch Clint Eastwood had delivered on Romney’s behalf.

    The campaign had expected “a more standard endorsement,” the New York Times reported, citing two anonymous aides. “Aides said Mr. Eastwood does not like teleprompters and was trusted to deliver an on-message endorsement,” the story continued. This was not the campaign’s fault, no sir.

    “Not me,” said an exasperated-looking senior adviser, when asked who was responsible for Mr. Eastwood’s speech

  6. rikyrah says:

    Rove’s Game

    Craig Unger finds it distasteful:

    Undeniably, he’s back. He has re-invented himself. He is not merely Bush’s Brain; he’s the man who swallowed the Republican Party. As the maestro orchestrating the various super-pacs, he has inspired the wealthiest people on the right to pony up what could amount to $1 billion and has created an unelected position for himself of real enduring power with no term limits. Rival operatives in the party who loathe him nonetheless evince a grudging respect. “He’s playing a very long game,” says Roger Stone. “Even if Romney loses, that’s good for Karl, because he will still be in control. And there’s always Jeb Bush in 2016.”

    Sheelah Kolhatkar snuck into one of Rove’s billionaire fundraisers. Here’s what she learned:

    Rove, joined by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, laid out his strategy for winning the White House. “The people we’ve got to win in this election, by and large, voted for Barack Obama,” Rove said, in a soothing, professorial tone, explaining why the campaign hadn’t launched more pointed attacks on the president’s character. …

    What had emerged from that data is an “acute understanding of the nature of those undecided, persuadable” voters. “If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’” The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him—by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. “If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Romney was silent on whether, as president, he would support paying for such an expansion. Romney’s running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, has proposed eliminating $10 billion a year in disaster spending and requiring Congress to pay for emergencies by cutting from elsewhere in the budget. That proposal was blocked by GOP leaders.

    Hurricane Isaac is blamed for at least six deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi. It submerged hundreds of homes, forced thousands of others to evacuate and cut power to nearly half of Louisiana’s homes and businesses.

    Romney didn’t speak to reporters as he toured Jean Lafitte on Friday. The Romney campaign refused to say whether he would support additional funding for the levees, saying only that the GOP nominee “recognizes the importance of disaster prevention and would seek to ensure that we have the infrastructure we need to keep all Americans safe.”


    Romney and Jindal spent close to an hour meeting with first responders and local officials. Romney shook hands with National Guardsmen outside the U.S. Post Office and talked with a local resident, Jodie Chiarello, 42, who lost her home in Isaac’s flooding.

    “He just told me to, um, there’s assistance out there,” Chiarello said of her conversation with Romney. “He said, go home and call 211.” That’s a public service number offered in many states.

  8. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA HA Hellooooo; anybody home?

  9. Ametia says:

    There you go; Zombie-eyed GRANNY KILLER

  10. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone; I’m off to Charlotte! :-)

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