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Afternoon open thread

Okay, I got my Christmas lights up. All 250 strands. You should be able to see them from space tonight.

What are you doing today?

This is an . . . oh, you already know.

Elizabeth Edwards Funeral live-blog

Elizabeth Edwards 1949-2010

Elizabeth Edwards will be laid to rest today at 1 p.m. eastern in Raleigh, North Carolina. The funeral is open to the public and will be televised by CNN.

Westboro Bigotist church will be protesting.

You can express your thoughts and feelings here.

CNN is live-streaming here

Bernie Sanders says what the Big Dawg couldn’t

I missed most of the FiliBernie yesterday where Bernie Sanders took to a nearly empty Senate floor and spoke for 8 hours and 36 minutes.  Fortunately, I caught it on C-Span2 the second time around.

Bernie laid it all out.  The irresponsible tax breaks for millionaires, the distress of the unemployed, the immorality of the giant wealth transfer from the have-nots to the have-mores:

I checked the {{very limited}} coverage of what should be Bernie’s historic speech and the comments were overwhelmingly positive.  This is what most Americans think and what they want to hear their politicians saying:

“So Clinton appeared in the WH briefing room–who cares? Bernie was the best show of the day.”

“i loved it. truth. at long last, truth.”

“Thank you Senator Saunders. Thank you. Your speech gave me hope.”

“I was so moved by both the substance and the style of my fellow ex Nu Yawkuh in the well of the Senate that I called both my senators and my congressman. I actually broke down weeping while speaking to one of their staff people. God bless Bernie Sanders.”

“It’s no wonder people were listening. Senator Sanders was speaking for the vast majority of people who are sick and tired of seeing sham “compromises” that always favor the large corporations and the wealthiest segment of our society. Why don’t we see Bernie Sanders more often on mainstream media? Could it be because he tells the unvarnished truth?”

The positive comments go on and on and on.

By the way, there is something really disturbing about the NYTimes coverage of Bernie’s speech.  Last night, they had an article with hundreds and hundreds of comments in support of Bernie.  Readers were so grateful to Bernie for finally giving their anger and disappointment a voice.  But this morning?  Can’t find it on their site.  It appears that the Times deep sixed it.  Update: Here is the original article I saw last night.  Scroll down to see the comments.  I can only find an update about how Bernie is now a C-Span sensation and, once again, the comments are overwhelmingly positive.

Now, I understand why Bill Clinton is supporting this bill.  He made it pretty clear yesterday.  This was the best deal that Obama could get.  And it was the best deal Obama could get because he royally f^*#ed it up at the beginning of his term by lowballing the stimulus.  So, now, the country is teetering on the verge of another plunge and we are at risk of deflation once again.  And the only way Barry is going to get any stimulus money now is by cutting a very unfavorable deal for the taxpayers with the greedy, hard hearted, antisocial, callous, mean, murderous, careless, un-American Republicans.

But let’s not sugar coat this bill, Bill.  Bernie spelled it all out yesterday.  Republicans will never be satisfied with compromise.  They want it all and they won’t be happy until they have complete control of the money supply and can do whatever they want.  I don’t think it even occurs to Republicans that they are going to destroy their money machine when they’ve nailed the coffin shut on the middle class.  They don’t think that far in advance.  They don’t consider themselves to be beholden to the country.  The money they get from us in the form of bailouts and our 401k stashes they play with, well, that’s just like chips in a global casino.  The get it from a bank called the United States of America but keep the winnings and let the hard working citizens of this country go begging to the Chinese to pay for essentials.

It’s wrong, Bill.  You may see Obama as facing a pragmatic dilema, trying to cut a deal to keep us from falling further.  But the problem is fundamental.  And it can’t be covered up or deleted from media websites and explained away as being the best that can be arranged at this late date before the Republicans take power.  It must be addressed.  Is it moral to steal from working Americans and are you going to let them get away with it?

Bernie was out there yesterday, all by himself on the Senate floor, speaking about the immorality of greed and speaking up for the working class.  But he is not all alone in the country where people talk about this to their friends, families and neighbors every day.  A recent poll by Bloomberg shows:

Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is “dangerously out of control,” only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay.

The public wants Congress to keep its hands off entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. They oppose cuts in most other major domestic programs and defense. They want to maintain subsidies for farmers and tax breaks like the mortgage-interest deduction. And they’re against an increase in the gasoline tax.

That aversion to sacrifice is at odds with a spate of recent studies, including one by President Barack Obama’s debt panel, that say reductions in Medicare, Social Security, military and other spending are necessary to curb a deficit that totaled $1.29 trillion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, or 9 percent of the gross domestic product.

“The idea that we can solve our structural-deficit problems merely by asking more of the well-off is totally unrealistic,” said David Walker, who was U.S. comptroller general from 1998 to 2008 and now leads a group advocating against deficits. “The math simply doesn’t work.”

That’s right, David.  We want the expensive wars to stop and we want our jobs back so we can refill the coffers.

Do what Bernie asks you to do: call your congressman and senators, and tell them you do not support this tax bill.  Tell them the payroll tax relief is not what you expected of them because it will undermine Social Security.  Tell them to Soak the Rich for a change.  That’s it, send them a fax with the message “Soak the Rich”.  And then ask your family and friends to do the same.  Bernie wants you to speak out.  And remember to thank Bernie.  Send him an email or phone his office and thank him for sticking up for you.

Don’t give up without a fight.

Saturday morning eeeeeeeeew!

Columbia professor is charged with incest, accused of bedding young relative for 3 years

A popular Columbia professor was charged Thursday with incest – accused of a sick sex relationship with a female relative, prosecutors said.

Political science Prof. David Epstein, 46, bedded the young woman over a three-year period ending last year, according to court papers.

He was arraigned before a Manhattan judge on a single felony incest count.

“We ask that everyone remember that he is innocent until proven otherwise and that these allegations are nothing more than allegations,” said Epstein’s defense lawyer Matthew Galluzzo.

University spokesman Robert Hornsby said that Epstein “is now on administrative leave and will not be teaching students.”

Epstein, who specializes in American politics and voting rights, has taught at Harvard and Stanford and often is quoted by news organizations. He also has blogged on The Huffington Post.

Sources said the victim was over 18 when the relationship began in 2006 and that the two often exchanged twisted text messages.

The “female relative” he was schtupping is his daughter.

According to Reuters, she was 20 years old when the sexual relationship began.

The Columbia Spectator gives us more juicy tidbits:

Epstein declined to comment when reached on his cell phone Thursday evening.

His wife, Sharyn O’Halloran, chair of the executive committee of the University Senate and a tenured professor, also declined to comment when reached by phone.


An update on Epstein’s Facebook account says he is no longer listed as married.

Epstein and O’Halloran have co-authored numerous publications on American politics since meeting as postdoctoral students at Stanford University in the 1980s.

Epstein is currently teaching a lecture class called “Scope and Methods,” as well as a class titled “Research Topics and Game Theory.”

A wingnut blogger places the story in the “right” perspective:

Palin-Hating Columbia Professor, Huffington Post Blogger, Busted for Incest

I’m surprised he didn’t squeeze in that Columbia is Obama’s alma mater.

If you’re really interested in the subject Tracy Clark-Flory discusses the law on “consensual” incest at Salon.

You can go take a shower now. Sorry about your breakfast.