Today’s open thread

By

Filed Under Open Thread on Oct 26 

As evidenced in yesterday’s Rate that Ad post, PD regulars have a history of going off-topic. We have a few trusty readers capable of turning a post about Newt Gingrich’s fundraising into a debate over Krabby Patties and Spongebob’s cholesterol.

In this open thread, feel free to debate anything imaginable. Post links, share stories or ads the editors have missed. You can even dissect Spongebob’s health history.

The basic rules still apply. Keep it PG and be civil.

Comments

  • German Observer

    Great idea to have a thread for all the topics usually not exactly related to the regukar posts.

    First, as a non-native-speaker I’d humbly like to ask to avoid abbreviations (‘btw’ and ‘USA’ are okay, but everything beyond becomes quite difficult- what the hell means ‘PG’ just as an example?) , puns, colloqial terms and local slang? Thanks a lot ion advance.

    Secondly I want to bring up again the topic, shortly discussed in this legendary power-rankings-thread of private campaign funding. To me this clearly opens the door wide for a sort of corruption. As a candidate you wouldn’t act against the interests of your funders. Plus, I don’t see any advantages. Where is the point in floods of ads during the campaign-seasons? Wouldn’t it be wothwile, when the president would spend his time in gouverning than on fundraising dinners? And Cain could use the time to think about hiow his 9-9-9 could work, or respectivly how to explain it with out using apples and oranges.
    .
    Here is how it could work. Every funding of private persons, companies, institutions etc. (‘etc.’ is okay as well)are forbidden. To give candidates a chance to spread their message, their expenditures are taken by their respective parties. As it is in the interest of the state and society to have a political debate and to boster the process, that voters can form their attitudes its justified to fund the partys proportionally to their electoral share. So, say 3$ per vote are refunded out of the state treasury, which makes a total of roughly 130-140 millions for each party to spend and calculate with, and thats it.
    .
    Then, let’s bring up again the topic of the voting system. I know that the winner-takes-it-all sytstem, where electoral votes are collected on the states level has some adavanteages. But anyway, to me the disadvanteges weigh heavier. The votes of a large proportion of the population simply don’t count, which I hold to be undemocratic, esspecially as its almost the same states which are more or less irrelevant and it always comes down to the same 10-15 battle-ground states. A campaign, where really all 50 states are relevant as every single vote is relevant would be far more interesting and in the sense of the country – though there are only two examples in history where popular vote and electoral vote decisivly differed. Also, the system obviously favors manipulation of the voting-process on the level of states, districts and countys. When it really comes down to the question, if a state is won or not, the party in power would try to set the rules as it brings advantages to their candidates, as has been seen in the past.
    .
    Finally, just as a question, does anylbody see a real chance that the United States of America one day would deserve this name again? From an outside-perspective the differences between small town – Amarica and big-city-America, between the conservatives and the progressives, between reds and blues seem so deep, that one likes to propose just to cut the country into two pieces – and everybody would be happy.
    .
    I guess we all would agree, that Obamas birth hour as a relevant political figure was his speech at the Boston convention, claiming that there is no red states of America and no blue states of America, but a united states of America. I feel, that this message resonated well with the electorate and people are just fed up with all that quarrels. But has that really git a chance? Is there any perspective to unite the “United” States again or is this just a phantasy?

    • German Observer

      Oh, I forgot: do you think Ron Paul has a shot of winning the nomination? If yes: why, if no: why not?

      • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

        Good grief that first post is a mile long! As for your second post, Ron Paul has no shot. He has consistently polled around 8-10% despite spending like a madman lately. He has his base but is not very appealing to the general audience.

    • Chris

      PG = Parental Guidance

      somtimes advisable on this site!

    • Brian H

      GO. “let’s bring up again the topic of the voting system”.
      .
      GO. The system for which you advocate would not exist if we eliminated the winner-take-all system that exists with the electoral college. You stated that the winner take all makes the smaller states irrelevant. Actually, it does just the opposite. You mentioned the 10-15 “battleground” states. Under a popular vote system there would not be 10 to 15 states that matter. There would be much much less. What would happen in that the politicians would simply compete in the 10-15 largest cities, they would never leave the coasts. The “flyover” states would get no play whatsoever. The reason the electoral college will NEVER be changed is because it would take a constitutional amendment in which 3/4 of all states would have to agree to change it. This will never happen because the smaller states will never vote for such a system, they are the ones that would lose all political influence. The smaller states love the electoral college exactly for the reasons you advocate, it gives them influence and a voice in the process. A popular vote system would destroy that.

      Another great advantage of the electoral college is that it is a 50 state election and any chance of competing is to have a state by state organization. The fringer parties do not clog up the election. We do not have Presidential campaigns with 20 parties running. It is what has helped the USA maintain smooth transitions of power.

  • Brian H

    Another classic commercial from Camp-Cain. Again not a spoof, this ad was real.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSlC7BxmSqY
    .
    Any thoughts on amateur hour?

    • Promise Kept

      For one thing, by the length of it, this is obviously for internet only, at well over three minutes.
      .
      Next, the segue between the action scene and the actor’s pause to come out of character to talk about Cain, wasn’t well-scripted, imo.
      .
      Finally, when it did appear that this wasn’t hoaxed, but seemed to be an honest attempt at campaigning by none other than Cain, himself,…well, it made me wonder if he wasn’t being paid to take a fall, because miscalculations as bad as these two recent videos don’t just happen among the “Godfathers” by accident, do they?

  • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

    Wow. You guys got deep. I’m suddenly regretting the open thread idea :)

    • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

      Considering that I know your secret identity, “dodgers”, you should be fined for even using the term “intelligent discussions”.

      • Rob

        LOL!

        • dodgers

          It’s true. Rob has only just joined. The “intelligence” level in the “intelligent discussions” is about to increase dramatically.

    • Rob

      Yeah, my trolling options are limited. Doh.

      • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

        Admitting is the first step.

  • dw
  • dw

    There’s a lot of poop on this horse track. It’s getting flung around like mashed potatoes in a food fight. No one is getting hurt. They are just making each other look really silly.
    .
    But, I’m feeling a little de ja vu. Somehow, this primary reminds me of the Democrat primary from the last election. Could there be another stunning, surprise upset – bigger than Obama’s thrashing of Hillary?. Maybe the GOP front runners will get so preoccupied with their silly food fight that a horse at the back of the pack will quietly work his way to the front to win it all. Gary Johnson, anyone?
    .
    And, while I’m on topic :-) , when are we going to repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments?!?

    • Chris

      16th amendment – sure, but how are you going to be able to pay for all your wars?

      17th amendment – I’m actually studying this at the moment, what would you like to see replace it?

      • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

        16th Amendment – Apportion the States as happened previous to this amendment. Wars are a problem, but the real issue driving the federal budget into the ground is entitlement spending. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are over half the budget and growing annually be double digits.

        17th Amendment – Go back to the way it was before. The individual state legislators (representing much smaller populations) would appoint Senators, who would then better represent a state’s interest, rather than turning every election into a national election (they would also have the ability to recall a Senator not representing the state’s interest). Many, if not a large majority, of these campaigns, are waged with money from out of state interests. The individual states no longer have representation in Washington.

        • Chris

          16th – according to my professor, the only reason why states exist in the first place is to raise money to wage war! There will still be social security in the states, no? You might not have to pay as many federal taxes but your state tax bill would go up

          17th – interesting, I like the idea of taking the election out of the senate, but I thought the biggest problem was state representative, ie small states getting the same number of senators as large ones

          Sorry, dont mean to turn this into an academic discussion, its just what I’ve been looking at right now

          • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

            No problem Chris, these are actually the discussions I enjoy most.

            16th-Your professor is on crack. He/she is apparently not aware that this country was founded from a confederation of independent states. The best modern comparison (for structure’s sake) would be the European Union. Much of the funding provided to the states is from “federal grants”. This is essentially, tax money taken from the general population, then redistributed to the states, such as in medicaid and education, but not necessarily reflecting taxes paid by individual states. Repealing the 16th Amendment would necessarily cause structural changes where the federal government would only receive funds from the states for federal needs, which originally amounted to war and the cost of the very few federal departments that existed. Repealing the 16th would also spark additional competition between states to grow business, as more of a state’s money would stay in the state.

            17th-The founders originally designed the bicameral Congress to give equal power in one chamber to each state (the Senate) and skewed power by population in the other chamber (the House). There are additional rules for each chamber, outlining their powers that further this, such as all spending bills must originate in the House. This was intended to create balance. The primary argument given for the 17th Amendment was to counter problems with the process of states sending Senators. However, the result is Senators that run national campaigns and do not in many cases represent their states effectively.

            The problem with national population having the most power, rather than a balance, is the smaller states can be trampled on.

            • Chris

              Thanks Scott

              Actually, he is a professor of history and was talking about why states/countries are formed in general, he wasn’t talking about the United States of America or any of the American States. It caused a lively debate as you can imagine

              The problem with structural discussions is that it often boils down to people just wanting to pay less tax and not necessarily who is best to spend it. If someone thinks that all 50 states could manage their own eductation system for example and make it cheaper for the individual, that is a a valid argument, but I cant help thinking though that person’s outlook is more a feeling that they dont want to pay taxes to fund someone elses education, than which system works best

              • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

                My view is that generally anything is best operated when operated at the most local possible level. Obviously, national defense, cannot be operated at any level up but the federal level, but education on the other hand, can be managed by the states or even far more locally. There is a lot of evidence that shows the problems in education are related to national standardization, driven by the Department of Education and federal money involved.

                I think there is this perception out there that conservatives don’t want to pay taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no problem paying taxes. However, the federal government-led by either national party-has shown absolutely no restraint in spending our money, continually expanding its reach and power. It is easy to spend without controls money that goes into one giant hopper. But the more taxed monies stay local, taking from fewer and benefiting/effecting smaller groups of people (such as in a state or county), the more those people have control over the effective use and management of their taxes.

              • Chris

                that’s probably the single most articulate explanation of a conservative position I’ve heard

                in stark contract to the politicians (even if the horse race is more fun!)

            • dw

              Scott – so refreshing to see someone else who really understands how the USA was originally set up (re: role of senators). And, great articulation on the 16th Amendment.
              .
              You’re a Ron Paul supporter, right? Kudos to you on your knowledge. I hope other Ron Paul supporters have the same understanding. I think a lot of TEA Party supporters also have that understanding. Too bad the Democrats could care less about this, along with a lot of establishment GOP… Spread the word! Knowledge is power.

  • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

    Jason,

    Your knowledge of Spongebob is legendary.

  • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

    I’ll kick things off with a comment about Cain and yesterday’s ad. Rob said, “For me, Cain’s inability to answer simple questions correctly without double speak is his biggest problem, not a stupid ad.”
    .
    I agree no one should jump off his train over a silly ad. But it does raise important questions about his decision-making. The ad isn’t important in the grand scheme of things, but it could indicate an odd pattern of thinking.

    • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

      There is some truth in this. How can American’s take 9-9-9 seriously if Cain cannot explain it in a debate? It makes you questions whether Cain understands the plan. Who knows, maybe there is an exemption for smokers?

      • Alaina Segovia

        The problem is, it’s not that simple to explain in a sound bite or two why the plan is good (great in my opinion). He could certainly do a better job than he’s done, but I just haven’t been able to think of a way to adequately explain it in 30 seconds or less. However, I think he should give policy speeches on it and write a lot of op-eds.

        • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

          While I agree with you on policy speeches and op-eds, he needs to counter the primary attack (that was made 3 or 4 times in the last debate) of: “You’re going to add 9% sales tax to an existing 7% sales tax in Nevada? Nevadans don’t want that!” With: “The price of most products will drop far more than 9% when we reduced the corporate income tax from 35% to 9%, so you will pay less.” Keeps it simple and clean. Instead he just continually repeated “you’re comparing apples and oranges” and came off as not understanding his own plan.

      • Promise Kept

        Here’s Conan’s take on the ad.

        http://teamcoco.com/video/herman-cain-campaign-ad

    • Alaina Segovia

      My response to Rob and DW on that…

      The ad was the final straw. I don’t mind that Cain makes a few missteps here and there, but it’s something every couple of days.
      .
      I can also forgive him for having a lack of experience in certain areas if he surrounds himself with the right people, but I’ve seriously been questioning that lately. This ad moved me from seriously questioning to doubtful.
      .
      Newt is the only other option as far as I’m concerned. However, I may be back to Cain after I take a good look at his platform. I dont know. I just don’t feel good about anyone.