Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pat Robertsin a True Christian?

Such is the argument of Richard Dawkins to those who would criticize the wrinkled old hell-spawn for his remarks about Haiti.
Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition. The agonised theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable “mystery”, or who see God in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti, or (most nauseating of all) who claim to see God “suffering on the cross” in the ruins of Port-au-Prince, those faux-anguished hypocrites are denying the centrepiece of their own theology. It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.

Where was God in Noah’s flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for “sin”. Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire and brimstone? He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry, lock, stock and barrel, as punishment for “sin”.

“Oh but that’s the Old Testament. No one believes those stories literally any more. The New Testament is all about love.” Dear modern, enlightened, theologically sophisticated, gentle Christian, you cannot be serious. Your entire religion is founded on an obsession with “sin”, with punishment and with atonement. Where do you find the effrontery to condemn Pat Robertson, you who have signed up to the odious doctrine that the central purpose of Jesus’s incarnation was to have himself tortured as a scapegoat for the “sins” of all mankind, past, present and future, beginning with the “sin” of Adam, who (as any modern theologian well knows) never even existed?

Yes, I know you hate the word “scapegoat” (with good reason, because it is a barbaric idea) but what other word would you use? The only respect in which “scapegoat” falls short as a perfect epitome of Christian theology is that the Christian atonement is even more unpleasant. The goat of Jewish tradition was merely driven into the wilderness with its cargo of symbolic sin. Jesus was supposedly tortured and executed to atone for sins that, any rational person might protest, he had it in his power simply to forgive, without the agony. Among all the ideas ever to occur to a nasty human mind (Paul’s of course), the Christian “atonement” would win a prize for pointless futility as well as moral depravity.

h/t BlondeSense

So who is polishing Roger Ailes rod?

And on Monday, Megyn Kelly will begin anchoring a third all-about-America newscast, “America Live.”

But there is no concealing the rise of Ms. Kelly, a 39-year-old lawyer who is becoming a solo anchor for the first time. She seems to be progressing through Fox’s star-making machinery, which has turned news anchors like Shepard Smith into household names.

Ms. Kelly appears weekly on Mr. O’Reilly’s opinion program, often putting her legal background to use. Inside the News Corporation, the owner of Fox, Ms. Kelly has been mentioned as a leading candidate for a prime-time anchor job. Fox’s contract with Greta Van Susteren, the longtime 10 p.m. anchor, is up at the end of the year.
If you were an attractive, ambitious 39 year old lawyer/TV talking head fast tracking to the top would you?

During the Super Bowl

When you watch the Tebow ad for the misanthropic Dobson group Focus on the Family, you will probably wish you could have watched this ad instead.

Go see Go Daddy's 2010 Super Bowl® Commercials

Bless you Paul Krugman

Watch him call Fux Nooze "deliberate misinformation" as he sits next to Roger "The Hutt" Ailes.

Can you make a Princeton professor a saint?

Big Old Ass Kiss of the Week

Stolen in its entirety from the Charlotte Observer:
Bank of America's new chief executive has yet to stop by the Caribou Coffee in the bank's headquarters for a latte named in his honor, but the drink is getting a warm reception from other customers, said the inventor of The Moynihan.

The drink honoring CEO Brian Moynihan features white chocolate, hazelnut and Irish cream and starts at $4.25.

Sarah Stevens, a shift supervisor in training, came up with the idea soon after Moynihan was picked for the job last month. "I wanted to get his attention and draw more business," Stevens says.

O shit, not another Bush!

This one is the worst of the lot, the one Poppy wanted as president instead of the idiot bastard child, the Jebster. Quietly he has been shoring up his base in current Florida GOP politics.
But in recent months, as the Republican Party of Florida has grappled with a leadership vacuum, Bush's political profile has grown as fast as the national deficit.

He headlined a fundraiser for Bill McCollum's gubernatorial campaign, starred in a YouTube video touting Jeff Atwater's campaign for state chief financial officer and helped install state Sen. John Thrasher as the state party's heir apparent -- all the while looming on the sidelines of the fierce Republican Senate primary between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio.

The capper came Thursday when, at the top of the 7 o'clock hour, right after Vice President Joe Biden, Bush made a rare network television appearance on NBC's Today Show. The intensely private Bush's interview with the overly familiar Matt Lauer rattled Florida political circles.

Was this the beginning of a Jeb juggernaut that would culminate in a 2012 presidential bid?

``My wife called me immediately and said he looked presidential,'' said Thrasher, who as the former House speaker helped Bush lay down his agenda. ``I said, `Who knows? We'll see.' I'm ready to go to Iowa any time he's ready.''
And if Obama keeps fucking up, he will make this Bush, a more radical conservative than W and a slicker thief than Neil, look good to the great unwashed masses.

The Chinese are mad at Obama

Just because he sold some military hardware to a secessionist group of Chinese on Taiwan. Thanks to previous GOP passed legislation Obama had to sell them the stuff and the military industrial complex needed the sales. China has never liked these actions but they are getting all in Obama's face on this one. Probably because they have seen how easy it is to roll him when you do.

Frank Rich is right.

Recommending illegal acts is OK for lawyers.

It is not recommended but so far it does not seem to have interrupted the career paths of John "Organ Failure" Yoo or Jay "Waterboards" Bybee.
Bush administration lawyers who paved the way for sleep deprivation and waterboarding of terrorism suspects exercised poor judgment but will not be referred to authorities for possible sanctions, according to a forthcoming ethics report, a legal source confirmed.
Can't figure this one out, these were two easy targets. Letting them off the hook just confirms Obama's approval of Bushovik torture policy. Can't figure out why he wants to wear that medal on his chest.

R.I.P. Tom Brookshier

A great player and a great broadcaster.

His first name is Elmore

Which is not sufficient reason to do your banking after hours with a loaded pistol in the hands of a loaded actor.
Actor Elmore "Rip" Torn has been charged with breaking into a Connecticut bank and carrying a loaded handgun while intoxicated.

State police say the 78-year-old Salisbury resident was arrested Friday night after police found him inside the Litchfield Bancorp with a loaded revolver.
A smart lawyer will say he was testing the believability of a new script. If not, the Alzheimers defense is still available.

Anti abortion militants planning new murders

Oh it is true that no one is saying that, but these evil bastards are like the hound that gets in the chicken coop. After that first taste of blood, there is no stopping their efforts for more. It is getting so bad that even moderate Americans are starting to think it is time for these SOB's to be assaulted, burned out and gunned down, as needed, to maintain public order.

Your Sunday Sermon

Rev. Leroy of The First Church of What's Happening Now will preach on the importance of giving

A failure of leadership

Frank Rich looks at the failure of our government in recent years to enact any significant need legislation due to a marked lack of leadership. He defines that leadership and provides a lengthy bill of indictment of the failure. In the end however, one paragraph says it all about the state of the Union.
Americans like Obama far more than they like any Congressional leader. They might even like more of his policies if he spelled them out. But none of that matters if no Democrat fears him enough to do any of his bidding and no Republican believes there’s any price to be paid for always saying no.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Volcker says size does matter

In an Op-Ed in the NY Times, Paul Volcker reviews what has happened to banking and what needs to be done. Along the way he discusses various regulatory need, determines that none are "too big to fail" and discovers a cure for insomnia. His conclusion is, however, quite clear.
The implication is clear. We need to face up to needed structural changes, and place them into law. To do less will simply mean ultimate failure — failure to accept responsibility for learning from the lessons of the past and anticipating the needs of the future.


A video as enjoyable for the images as for the music

From the land of the laughing beaver

Where they like their donuts warm and their beer cold comes a report in the Financial Times about the country that didn't collapse with the Great Bush Depression, Canada. Krugman on his blog says the reason is a regulatory system that would not allow the excess required for a full scale Wall St. meltdown. That is true as far as it goes, but there is an attitude of fiduciary responsibility as well that was tossed out the window in this country.
Asked to account for the resilience of his country’s banking system, Carney started with the fact that “Canadian bankers are still bankers. They still – through the organisations and up to the top of the organisation – are proficient at managing credit risk and market risk … they have retained a banking culture through[out] the organisation.”
Sounds stodgy, but when you don't lose your shirt, stodgy is good.

There is shit and there is good shit

And it is not too often you find them together as the police in Arizona did the other day.
In a messy drug bust this week, investigators uncovered more than 700 pounds of marijuana stuffed in a septic tank truck full of human waste, Arizona police said Friday.

And the search of the truck was as awful as it sounds.

"Yeah, that really does suck," Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves told CNN. "It's a long way to go to make a bust."

Hidden in the holding tank of the truck were 743 pounds of pot, worth about $409,000 on the street, police said in a news release.

An officer pulled over the septic tank truck Wednesday after a check of the license showed it was invalid, police said. The truck was headed northbound on I-19 and stopped about 35 miles south of Tucson, Arizona. Police patrolling the area tend to be more vigilant, Graves said, because the interstate -- which leads directly to Mexico -- is a major thoroughfare for drug and human trafficking.

After the stop, the officer discovered that the commercial vehicle markings on the truck were also invalid. A subsequent search revealed the bales of marijuana in red and orange packages amid the waste.
Dude, this shit smells like shit!

From the pen of Tony Auth

Gail Collins looks at the vast resevoir of political courage

And notices that it has run dry. If we are judged by our politicians, we have become a nation of piss leg cowards.
As I was saying, last November, the Justice Department announced that the terror trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed would be held in Manhattan. Almost everyone in New York rallied around. This was seen as standing up to terrorism.

“It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center, where so many New Yorkers were murdered,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Now everything’s flipped. The politicians are running for the hills, and the issue has been repackaged as standing up to traffic jams...

..It’s all part of a cult of selfishness that decrees it’s fine to throw your body in front of any initiative, no matter how important, if resistance looks more profitable.

The economy has a lot to do with this. So does Washington’s increasing confidence that Barack Obama can be rolled. We’re currently stuck in a place where people no longer feel as though they need to be part of the solution.
Piss leg cowards.

Talk about a Sisyphaen task

The BBC has made an attempt to explain why American voters are so adamant about voting against their best interests.
to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

Why are they manning the barricades to defend insurance companies that routinely deny claims and cancel policies?

It might be tempting to put the whole thing down to what the historian Richard Hofstadter back in the 1960s called "the paranoid style" of American politics, in which God, guns and race get mixed into a toxic stew of resentment at anything coming out of Washington.

But that would be a mistake.

If people vote against their own interests, it is not because they do not understand what is in their interest or have not yet had it properly explained to them.

They do it because they resent having their interests decided for them by politicians who think they know best.

There is nothing voters hate more than having things explained to them as though they were idiots.
That they are idiots has no bearing on the issue.

CBS OK with government intrusion into vaginas

But has a real problem with an ad for a gay match making service. Apparently CBS thinks that stuff should stay in the locker room where it belongs.

The Feds shut down 5 banks yesterday

And two interesting facts emerged as the dust settled. First we see the emergence of an investment group as owners of a new bank that assumed the assets of one of the failures.
Miami-based Premier American Bank, N.A., a new bank with a national charter set up last week, is buying the deposits and $499.1 million of the assets of Florida Community Bank. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later sale. In addition, the FDIC and Premier American Bank — owned by the investment firm Bond Street Holdings — agreed to share losses on $305.4 million of Florida Community Bank's loans and other assets.
The new owners have a brand spanking new web site that, so far, only says this about them
Bond Street Investors has been formed to invest in banking franchises, capitalizing on the opportunities afforded today from the dislocation in the financial markets. Investments in healthy banking institutions, cleansed through the FDIC auction process, will provide much needed lending capital, and are poised to grow and prosper.
Looks good but the unknown investors want a return. If that return doesn't show when expected you can bet on desperate management grasping for every means legal or not to make that profit. Failing that, they will strip out all the assets they can and kick the corpse back to the Feds.

The second interesting fact is
The two shuttered banks in Georgia followed 25 bank failures there last year, more than in any other state.
Georgia seems to have been fertile ground for fast and loose banking. I hope someone is investigating, the people of Georgia from teabaggers to DFHs decerve better.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Your Two Minute Ed

Ed and friends discuss Obama's visit to a Baltimore kindergarten.

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Orrin Hatch, Major Mormon Asshole

But I repeat myself. But Sen Hatch is showing himself to be a Mormon or an asshole if you prefer in his latest interview with his home town paper, the Salt Lake Tribune. It seems that the GOP has an unassailable copyright on the reconciliation process and any attempt by the Democrats to use it will result in open warfare in DC.
Hatch said Thursday that using reconciliation would be "one of the worst grabs for power in the history of the country" that would permanently impact relations between the two parties.

"It is going to be outright war and it should be, because it would be such an abuse of the reconciliation rules," Hatch said. "If they abuse those rules it is going to lead to even more heated animosities between not just the two parties, but even between individual senators."
Sen Hatch however has seen fit to vote for reconciliation at least 7 times in the last 10 years, all for GOP favored programs that damaged the economic viability of the US. Sen Hatch can do this because he is a Mormon/Asshole and a Republican. Either qualifies you to be a lying, hypocritical sack of shit.

The petitions are in

And with over 700,000 signatures, it looks like the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010" will be on the California ballot in November.
The new initiative would allow California residents to cultivate up to 25 square feet of pot and possess or transport up to 1 ounce. It would include fines and criminal sanctions for providing marijuana to minors.

The initiative would allow cities to tax pot sales and regulate how much pot can be sold legally. It would permit individual cities to ban local sales but let citizens possess and consume marijuana.
Hoo boy, the next ten months should be very interesting. Will Potcremento be the new capitol of Cheebifornia?

Short version of Paul Krugman

We are fucked and it is the peacocks fault.

Another congressman to retire

This time it is Indiana GOoPer Steve Buyer. He says it is because his wife is sick. Everybody else says, how's your foundation doing, dude.

Kucinich to Obama "Sack up!"

Mild mannered Dennis Kucinich has called for President Obama to take bold steps to reform America and pull us out of the Bush Depression.
Deeply disillusioned last week by his party's insufficient response to the recession, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said Thursday he views President Obama's State of the Union as a step in the right direction but urged him to "be much bolder."

"It would be helpful if he could take a page from Franklin Roosevelt," Kucinich told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. "FDR saw the need for broad structural changes in the economy and also the need for government to invest and put America back to work."

"If we can't fix our economic injustices and improve the standard of living for regular people, we could lose our country."
Or to put it another way, The Audacity of Hope isn't worth shit without the Audacity of Performance.

Danton put it so well, Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace et la Patrie sera sauvée!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Heart Belongs to Daddy

Mary Martin, who sang it in the original Cole Porter production, recreates the scene for the 1946 movie "Night and Day"

So you won't waste time watching the Super Bowl

The Upright Citizens Brigade brings you the unseen Tim Tebow ad.

h/t TBogg

Joseph Galloway to retire

And another intelligent voice leaves the American newspaper scene.

Good thing it was a Christian university

Because when you go to a Christian university, especially a Texas Christian University, you know that Jesus is on your side when your fraternity brothers get real piss drunk and brand your sorry ass way more than you agreed to before you passed out.
Carter was injured on the last night of his fraternity’s ski trip at Breckenridge, Colo. He and fellow members of his fraternity, as well as members of the Tri Delta Sorority, had rented a house for the trip.

Carter said that the group drank and got rowdy and that at some point he agreed to allow his fraternity brothers to finish branding the Kappa Sigma letters on his rear end with a hot coat hanger — a brand that was started on a spring break trip more than a year ago.

It was a dumb, drunken decision, Carter said Wednesday.

But his fraternity brothers, Carter said, took things too far. Not only did they complete the brand, they also branded large triangles — the Greek symbol for Tri Delta Sorority — on his other buttock while he was passed out.

"I woke up the next morning and I was in a lot of pain," Carter said. "My whole other butt cheek was destroyed."
Be of good cheer young Carter, Jesus will also be with you when the plastic surgeons rebuild your dumb ass. But it will probably stay a dumb ass as they are not brain surgeons.

Matt Taibbi eviscerates BoBo Brooks

Now, that is a fairly easy thing to do for anyone with half a sack of brains. BoBo is like a watermelon waiting to be sliced up for dessert. But Matt is a good writer so you know you will enjoy reading it.

Chairman Ben "Wrongway Peachfuzz" Bernancke gets a 2nd chance

We all hope he gets a second chance to do the job right. It is far more likely he will get a second chance to let the banks create another Depression.

From the pen of Mike Lukovich

Somebody is trying out for a job with Blackwater.

From the WaPo:
Soldiers in a military convoy shot and killed a local imam as he was sitting in his car with his children here Thursday morning, according to the U.S. military and several Afghans who live near the scene of the shooting.

The nationality of the soldiers was not immediately clear. U.S. officials said only that the convoy was part of the U.S.-led coalition, without specifying the country. Residents said the soldiers were American.

U.S. officials expressed regret for what they called "an unfortunate incident" and said in a statement that soldiers in the convoy "fired on what appeared to be a threatening vehicle." Neighbors said the imam did nothing to provoke the shooting, but was in his car, with three children in the back seat, waiting for a fourth son to get into the vehicle.
When we talk of hearts and minds , the idea is to win them and not to aim at them.
"A lot of innocent people have been killed by the Americans," said Shabaz Khan, 20, a high school student who attended the mosque. "How long can they keep doing this? The people will bear it for a day, or two days, or three days. Eventually everyone will stand against them and fight the jihad."

Forty Republicans vote to destroy US credit

And probably thought well of themselves for doing it.
The Senate agreed Thursday to raise the legal limit on government borrowing to a record $14.3 trillion, a total that would permit the Treasury Department to cover the nation's bills through the end of this year.

The vote fell strictly along party lines, with all 60 Democrats supporting and all 40 Republicans opposing a plan to increase the cap by $1.9 trillion.
Even though Dick "Dick" Cheney himself said deficits don't matter, Republicans just hate paying for anything.

Bloomberg didn't get the deal he wanted

So like most spoiled children he has declared that the Feds can't play in his city.
The Obama administration on Wednesday lost its most prominent backer of the plan to try the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in Lower Manhattan when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the trial should not be held in New York City.

The mayor’s reversal was a political blow to the White House’s efforts to resolve a landmark terror case a few blocks from where Al Qaeda hijackers rammed planes into the World Trade Center, a trial that the president saw as an important demonstration of American justice.

Mr. Bloomberg said that a more secure location, like a military base, would be less disruptive and less costly. His remarks echoed growing opposition from Wall Street executives, the real estate industry and neighborhood groups, who have questioned the burdens that such a trial would bring to a heavily trafficked area of the city.
It was not mentioned what the White House failed to give one of America's richest men that pissed him off, but the Legion of Pants Pissers immediately jumped on His Dishonors remarks to crow their cowardly objections as well. The sooner the trials begin, the sooner we can end the yellow bellied whining of the Never Right wing.

Karzai of the Afghans wants Reconciliation

In his case, he wants reconciliation with all the elements of Afghan society, including the Taliban. In this he is correct in his assumptions and it behooves the US and its NATO allies to get out of his way and indeed out ofhis country and let him work out the details. President Obama should act on this money saving measure as soon as possible.

GOP trying to make Teabuggers a 3rd rate burglary

We have been here numerous times before with GOP efforts to derail democracy. Every time they get caught in one of their nefarious schemes, they work hard, sometimes furiously to downplay its importance to protect those who initiated the scheme. One point should remain clear. The harder they work to call it a prank, the larger the actual conspiracy is.


Why are Jon Stewart and the Daily Show staff head and shoulders smarter than the entire Democratic party in DC?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Way better than a new All Defense Mfg Strike Fighter

Rep Jerry McNerney D-CA has proposed some new defense spending that might actually do some good.
Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., proposes increases in eight different military pays:

• Hostile fire pay, now $225 a month, would increase to $600.

• Imminent danger pay, also $225 a month, would increase to $350 a month.

• Family separation allowance, now $250 a month, would increase to $450 a month.

• Continuation pay for special warfare officers, now $5,000 for each year of additional service, would increase to up to $20,000 for each year of additional service.

• Hazardous duty pay, which ranges from $150 to $450 a month, would increase to $200 to $500 a month. Service members could continue to receive up to three separate hazard pays at the same time.

• Hospitalization pay for members medically evacuated from a combat zone, now $430 a month, would increase to $600.

• Special pay for members of weapons of mass destruction civil support teams, now $150 a month, would increase to $300 a month.

• Special pay for psychologists and social workers, now $2,000 to $5,000 a year, would increase to $4,000 to $10,000 a year.

• Special pay for extending an overseas tour, now $80 a month or $2,000 a year if paid in lump sum, would increase to $200 a month or $3,000 in a lump sum.

McNerney calls the package of pay increases the Combat Operations and Medical Benefit Authorization for our Troops Act, or COMBAT Act. Introduced Jan. 13, the bill, HR 4440, was referred to the House Armed Services Committee for consideration as part of the 2011 defense budget.
Way more useful than buying some junior birdman a new hot rod.

Want to see what a haircut taxpayers took with AIG

The documents are now public and unredacted and you can see them on the Huffington Post. They are not pretty. Here is one example
Thanks to the release of this document, which AIG had wanted to disclose in December 2008, a month before Geithner left the New York Fed to head the Treasury Department, the public can see that Goldman's $14 billion in assets was really worth just $6 billion. The firm had $8.4 billion in collateral from AIG, noteworthy because more than $2 billion of that came after the government's first bailout of AIG on Sept. 16., according to a Nov. 2008 presentation prepared for the New York Fed that was released this week.

In all, taxpayers indirectly pumped about $8 billion into Goldman Sachs through AIG. Goldman posted a $1.3 billion profit for 2008.
So without taxpayer funding of Goldmine Sachs failure, they would have lost about $6 Billion. Probably would have had to trim their bonuses a little. The sad part is until Obama throws Tiny Tim under the bus, he is handing political points to the GOP.

Was one of the Teabuggers tapping Sen-elect Brown's daughter?

Wonkette has the evidence, Joe Basel is the Teabugger in question and his Facebook looks like he is planning a dinner of boned fish, in Louisiana no less. With everybody on the right running like hell from these douchebags, I wonder if he is singing this song now.

A man who knows how to plan a speech

No, not the President, but The Rude Pundit who indulges us in his favorite fantasy for President Obamas SOTU tonight.
1. Obama walks to the podium with Joe Lieberman's ragged-necked, bloody, disembodied head and announces that the Connecticut Senator has been kicked out of the Democratic caucus. He tosses the head at Mitch McConnell, who weeps as he fucks Lieberman's grotesque, frozen-in-mid-scream mouth. The President says, "The State of the Union is who's next?"

2. Obama introduces Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright as guests seated behind Michelle Obama, who fist bumps them both. The President says, "Scared now, fuckers?" [more]
It's hard to top the first point, but they don't call him Rude for nothing. It is the kind of speech that would have me cheering and lighting fireworks.

And, on top of everything else...

There is still Bigfoot out there, watching and waiting. Not quite sure what the old Sasquatch is waiting for unless its another bunch of douchebags with beef jerky. This does not keep some from looking for the old hairball.
One night 54 years ago, Cliff Crook says, he stared into the face of a Northwest boogeyman. He called it a "woods giant." Today, it's better known as Bigfoot.

"I had a real terrifying encounter," said Crook, now 69. "It's not something that goes away."

Crook appeared on the front page of The News Tribune in 1990 when some mushroom hunters found possible Bigfoot footprints near the Nisqually River. Crook found the prints credible.

He called The News Tribune recently to announce more Bigfoot footprint news, what he called the biggest find in 30 years.
You have to admire his persistence. After 54 years, he is not bothered by the lack of bones or BF poop or shed hair in the springtime or demonstrable encounters or legitimate photographs. Lord knows what the boys were really doing in the woods 54 years ago, but he still remembers.

...Or the game really is over.

You know Elizabeth Warren is not a politician because you can understand what she says. Unfortunately we are fucked because the politicians have to make it happen.

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Third World here we come

Steve Clemons, in his critique of President Obama's promised spending freeze points out a major difference between a growing nation and a declining nation. What the growing nation does:
China has been massively investing in its high speed rail, its science labs, its educational system, its roads, its energy grid an its information super-duper highway. It has been obsessed with job retention and job creation. It has been building a mind-boggling number of every kind of power plant imaginable -- natural gas, high end coal, low end coal. It's investing in next gen renewable energy projects on a scale larger than the United States. It has been subsidizing all of this with a neo-mercantilist currency policy, pumping exports which it finances to consumers not only in the US but all over the world. China flaunts a robust "Buy China" requirement in its government and semi-private industrial procurements and contracting.
What the declining nation does:
Obama's team, content to have bailed out Wall Street, seem to now run the rest of the economy on a cash accounting basis. That's bad, self-defeating policy.

What needs to be run on a cash accounting basis -- that is not -- is the part of the budget Obama seems not to want to reign in.....a huge, runaway bill to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, the cost of America's Iraq engagement will still run more than $150 billion. And add to that $100 billion plus for Afghanistan.

One QUARTER OF A TRILLION DOLLARS is what the US is spending on two nations, Iraq and Afghanistan that together have a COMBINED GDP of just $23 billion.

That is lunacy. Americans have a US President who is going to say tonight -- we cannot afford our future, we cannot afford investment in ourselves, but we can afford to bail out Wall Street financiers, and we can afford to pump $250 billion into two small countries abroad, but we can't afford to do the right things by American working families -- who deserve far better.
One party, the Republicans don't believe any American is worth spending money on when there are wars to start and the the other party, the Democrats, are too afraid of the Republicans to end worthless wars and spend money on Americans. Novus Ordo Fuckuallum.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What did Diaper Dave Vitter know

And when did he know it. The latest news indicates that electronic devices were found and that Diaper Dave Vitter, La. Family Values Candidate and all around Whoremonger, has connections to the arrestees.

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The obituary of Democracy

David Michael Green has written a post mortem on the first year of President Obama and the three years following as well. It is not pretty.
What has Obama - this Conan O'Brien of presidents - done wrong in order to produce this devastating outcome? The short answer is: Just about everything imaginable.
Read the details.

Good advice

As a good progressive and on behalf of like minded people, it behooves me to recommend this wise tune from Hoots & Hellmouth to President Obama and his CoS Lahmbo Emmanuel.

Harumph! The filibuster is good for something.

When two of the dumbest US senators come up with a dumb plan to make Congress even less effective and gut some more of the safety net then the 60 vote margin actually has a positive result.
The Senate rejected a proposed bipartisan commission to recommend ways to reduce the U.S. government deficit as a report projected this year’s shortfall will reach $1.35 trillion, the second-biggest since World War II.

The vote was 53-46, falling seven short of the 60 needed for passage. The legislation would have required that the panel’s recommendations be voted on by Congress without being amended. Its chief sponsors, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad and ranking Republican Judd Gregg, had said they were short of the votes for approval.
Kent and Judd are also short a lot of human virtues like honesty, integrity, intelligence.

The New DC power structure

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

click pic to big

R.I.P. Pernell Roberts

Together again with the boys on that great Ponderosa in the sky

About that pod under your bed

Back in the 1950's when Communism was The Great Threat, the paranoia of the time, stirred up by the Republicans for political gain, was exemplified by the various low budget alien invader movies. Several of this genre dealt with aliens taking over our bodies. Nowadays we are once again experiencing great paranoia, stirred up by the Republicans for political gain. The difference this time is that instead of drive-in movies we have allegedly respectable scientists to scare us.
For the past 50 years, scientists have scoured the skies for radio signals from beyond our planet, hoping for some sign of extraterrestrial life. But one physicist says there's no reason alien life couldn't already be lurking among us – or maybe even in us.

Paul Davies, an award-winning Arizona State University physicist known for his popular science writing said Tuesday that life may have developed on Earth not once but several times.

Davies said the variant life forms – most likely tiny microbes – could still be hanging around "right under or noses – or even in our noses."
It would explain why Republicans are so different from human beings and why they constantly want to take over our bodies.

Sometimes Paul Krugman is a man of few words

Witness his response to President Obama's suggestion that a spending freeze is in order.
A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?

It’s appalling on every level.
A spending freeze worked so well for Herbert Hoover at the start of the Depression and for FDR in 1937 that President Obama has to try it himself. I guess Wall St feels that whatever is left of the middle class still has too much in assets that need to be transferred up to those who deserve it.

Soon even he won't believe himself

Bob Herbert has examined Obama's words as they pertain to his actions in his first year in office. He thinks he has identified the most serious problem that Obama faces in the months ahead.
Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted. He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it.
I think Bob is right on about this.

Colbert knows Ford

And does him in proper Colbert style.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Harold Ford Jr.
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

The true value of a golf course

Providing a long and level grass area to land when you run out of fuel at 2000 ft.
The Cessna 170 was expected to be moved from Hermann Park on Tuesday. The unplanned landing of the single-engine plane happened Monday night on a flight from Lafayette, La.

Veteran pilot Brendon Ford says an apparent gauge problem led him to believe he had more fuel than he actually did. Ford was bound for Columbus, about 70 miles west of Houston, when the engine started sputtering and gave out, at about 2,000 feet.

He spotted two fairways. He says there was just one person on the site he chose, so he flew over the top of him and landed. No one was injured.
Any other use is just a means of maintaining the landing site.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Your Two Minute Ed

Yes, it's from Friday but it still holds true.

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Rush Limbaugh and I share the same dream

From Rush's Op-Ed column:
In my mind's eye, a serene setting comes into view. I see a funeral procession driving down some small-town Main Street in Nowheresville, U.S.A. On one side of the street, a collection of sycophants and morons are paying their respects in subliterate, sanctimonious tones. Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, I can just make out the faint image of a young boy, his brow furrowed in confusion, clutching the hand of his father. "Who is that man, Daddy?" he asks as the hearse containing my bloated, lifeless body rolls by. "Who is that person they speak of?" The father will then lower his head and say, "There, my son, go the remains of Rush Hudson Limbaugh, the most abominable lump of festering dog shit in the history of American broadcasting. May the likes of him never again soil or tarnish the greatness of our fair country."
Yessir Rush! I too have had that dream about you and the fathers voice always comes through loud and clear.

Holy Cow! The Bushies hired supermen

Why else would the Bush State Dept have hired only one person to audit the $2.5 Billion contract to Dun Corp to train the Iraqi police?
Awarded in 2004 to private firm DynCorp International, the police contract is the largest awarded by the state department.

But Sigir's Stuart Bowen says in his report that weak oversight made the contract vulnerable to waste and fraud.

According to Mr Bowen's report, for years the state department had only one person in Iraq monitoring invoices during the early stages of the DynCorp contract, despite the complexity of the paperwork.

This meant many invoices were not questioned and as a result there is "no confidence in the accuracy of payments of more than $1bn to DynCorp", the report says.

The three people now employed in Iraq to oversee the work done by DynCorp are still too few, the audit concludes.

The report also suggests the state department is ill-equipped to oversee the large sums of money flowing into Afghanistan because of its lack of people and resources to handle big private sector contracts.
See how weak the Democrats are, they need 3 people to audit the contract.

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

A common theme.

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Bubble Wrap is 50 years old

Go ahead and pop some, you know you want to.

I got to disagree

And it isn't often I feel any need to disagree with Paul Krugman. Today, his column addresses the problem of Ben Bernancke. Paul begins by reiterating the strong case against his re-appointment as Chairman of the Fed. He goes on to say he disagrees and presents a very weak case for his disagreement
There are other people with the intellectual heft and policy savvy to take on his role: among the possible choices would be my Princeton colleague Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman, and Janet Yellen, the president of the San Francisco Fed.

But — and here comes my defense of a Bernanke reappointment — any good alternative for the position would face a bruising fight in the Senate. And choosing a bad alternative would have truly dire consequences for the economy.

Furthermore, policy decisions at the Fed are made by committee vote. And while Mr. Bernanke seems insufficiently concerned about unemployment and too concerned about inflation, many of his colleagues are worse. Replacing him with someone less established, with less ability to sway the internal discussion, could end up strengthening the hands of the inflation hawks and doing even more damage to job creation.

That’s not a ringing endorsement, but it’s the best I can do.
This week, the best you can do won't fly. There are capable replacements for Ben and Barack needs to find one.

Tiny Tim sends tiny warning to Senate

If Bernancke is not confirmed for a second term the markets will drop. And...?

When you buy near the top of the market

You will probably crash and burn when the market drops to current levels. That is what happened to Stuyvesant Town in NYC.
The owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the iconic middle-class housing complexes overlooking the East River in Manhattan, have decided to turn over the properties to creditors, officials said Monday morning.

The decision by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty comes four years after the $5.4 billion purchase of the complexes’ 110 buildings and 11,227 apartments in what was the most expensive real estate deal of its kind in American history.

This month, the partnership headed by Tishman Speyer defaulted on $3 billion in debt on the properties, and in the last few days secondary lenders have been calling to replace the partnership.
Oh goody, a massive commercial real estate package is underwater so the business partners walk away from it! Just like some folks have been recommending to homeowners.

A Democrat refutes GOP lies

A most amazing thing happened on This Week on ABC. The moderator Terry Moran also asked a few good question, in this segment.

Mitch "The Chin" McConnell smoking crack again.

Mitch exhales another cloud

Every time Mitch smokes, he doesn't know his left from his right.
For McConnell, the president's whole problem is that he isn't moderate enough. "The president decided to go hard left," he said. "That's why he doesn't have many of my members. If he chooses to govern in the middle he will have broader support," said McConnell.
The idea that the current GOP would support a black man, even if he were so far to the right as to make DeMint and Inhofe look like liberals just illustrates how willing Mitch is to embrace any lie that will serve his corporate masters. Had Obama embraced his left instead of turning right, Mitch would be looking like a hopeless loser right now.

Sadly no tasting for the general public.

From the AP:
A cannabis festival in Aspen this spring will be the first in the state for approved growers to put their strains in a contest.

The Western Slope Cannabis Crown will have about 50 state-approved medical marijuana growers enter their strains of weed. The marijuana strains will be diagnostically tested for their THC levels. Growers will also be able to sell to medical marijuana patients. The customers would vote on a "people's choice" strain.

The Cannabis Crown organizer, Bobby Scurlock, says about 1,500 tickets have been sold for the two-day event.
And what will they call the award?

Monday Music Blogging

One of my favorite respectable blogs has a musical offering of one of Cape Bretons finest fiddle player. While I respect her ability I thought I would post a true master playing a piece composed by a master violinist and using the composers own Guaneri to play it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's just one fucking bad idea after another

Probably the worst idea of this administration was that if the GOP minority would not compromise with the Democratic majority, they would have to compromise with themselves. And drive a harder bargain than the GOP ever could. And that seminal bad idea has brought forth a veritable cornucopia of bad ideas. The latest:
The White House has decided to begin funding private companies to carry NASA astronauts into space, but the proposal faces major political and budget hurdles, according to people familiar with the matter.

The controversial proposal, expected to be included in the Obama administration's next budget, would open a new chapter in the U.S. space program. The goal is to set up a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar initiative allowing private firms, including some start-ups, to compete to build and operate spacecraft capable of ferrying U.S. astronauts into orbit—and eventually deeper into the solar system.
Because, you know how well private enterprise is at cutting corners, cooking books, using second rate materials at first rate prices and putting profit before everything else. And if you have doubts, check out this post from Comrade E.B. Misfit.

Why the GOP needs to be destroyed, Part 837529

One of the Republicans running for governor of South Carolina wants to talk about something he feels needs to be talked about. He may be correct about the need but his approach revealed all you need to know about his character.
Friday, Bauer said giving food to needy people means encouraging dependence. It also gives the recipients a license to have children who will also be dependent on public aid, he said.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told a Greenville-area crowd. "You know why? Because they breed.

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."
Ah yes, the poor person as animal, incapable of rising above his or her bestial passions.

Mr. Bauer is a strong supporter of the Christian brand of crowd control but seems to have lost track of the teaching of Jesus.
"It amazes me how some Republican politicians claim a monopoly on Christianity and then go out and say and do some of the most un-Christian things imaginable," said Charleston attorney Mullins McLeod, who participated in a candidates forum in Columbia along with Bauer Saturday. "... Bauer's comments are despicable and the total opposite of the Christian values Bauer espouses."
These criticisms will probably not stop Mr Bauer who views his religion more as a means to keep you in line than as a moral guidance for his life.

Support your local teabagger

They are the ones best suited to stymie mainstream GOP efforts to get people elected.
By all rights, Tom Perriello should have almost no chance to win reelection to Congress. He's a stimulus-backing, health-care-reform-loving, cap-and-trade-supporting liberal Democrat who represents a conservative central Virginia district where antipathy to the president and all things Washington runs high.

Perhaps too high. Perriello's opponents are so divided about who is the best conservative to replace him that they are transforming what should be a gimme for Republicans into a national emblem of GOP strife, potentially setting up a replay of the special election in Upstate New York in November that handed the Democrats a seat in a region they hadn't represented in more than 100 years.
Every teabagger who fails in the primary should be encouraged to run independently. It's for the good of the country.

Where is the message machine that elected Obama

Frank Rich wants to know. In his first year the President has too often been silent or, at best, ambiguous about what he wants.
Worse, the master communicator in the White House has still not delivered a coherent message on his signature policy. He not only refused to signal his health care imperatives early on but even now he, like Congressional Democrats, has failed to explain clearly why and how reform relates to economic recovery — or, for that matter, what he wants the final bill to contain. Sure, a president needs political wiggle room as legislative sausage is made, but Scott Brown could and did drive his truck through the wide, wobbly parameters set by Obama.

Ask yourself this: All these months later, do you yet know what the health care plan means for your family’s bottom line, your taxes, your insurance? It’s this nebulousness, magnified by endless Senate versus House squabbling, that has allowed reform to be caricatured by its foes as an impenetrable Rube Goldberg monstrosity, a parody of deficit-ridden big government. Since most voters are understandably confused about what the bills contain, the opponents have been able to attribute any evil they want to Obamacare, from death panels to the death of Medicare, without fear of contradiction.
Granted, the media in crowd is more interested on John McCain, Joe Lieberman and others of their ilk, but where is the White House effort to crowd out these douchebags with their best spokesmen and allies? But I guess to have that you must be willing and able to fight. Sadly, in a political arena that calls for political fighting skills on the level of a Lewis or Ali we are getting the equivalent of Canvasback McGoon.

Obama embraces another horrendous idea

The President of Change has gone along with the proposal from the two dumbest senators in DC, Kent Conrad and Evan Bayh, and endorsed the Committee to Find New Ways to Cut Social Security and Medicare.
President Barack Obama Saturday endorsed a bipartisan plan to name a special task force charged with coming up with a plan to curb the spiraling budget deficit, though the idea has lots of opposition from both his allies and rivals on Capitol Hill.

The bipartisan 18-member panel backed by Obama would study the issue for much of the year and, if 14 members agree, report a deficit reduction blueprint after the November elections that would be voted on before the new Congress convenes next year. The 14 would have to include at least half of the panel's Republicans – a big obstacle.
If the President were like Johnson or Nixon we could rest easy knowing that he has most of the "special task force" members in his pocket, but Obama doesn't roll that way. So now we can only hope and pray that someone else can stop this brain dead idea in its tracks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'll drink to that!

From Yahoo:
Be sure to crack open a cold one on Jan. 24, the day canned beer celebrates its 75th birthday.

Two men, their music and some schtick

And you get a very funny take of some old musical favorites.

CAUTION: You must be over the age of 40 to laugh at this.

Iraq must be safe now

The jarheads are pulling out completely and leaving it to the Boy Scouts.

Can't see the forest for the trees.

To say Bob Herbert is not optimistic is putting too much shine on his view. WHat he is seeing is really quite dreadful. And the reason for it is the failure of the Democrats to see and do what is obvious and necessary.
The question for Democrats is whether there is anything that will wake them up to their obligation to extend a powerful hand to ordinary Americans and help them take the government, including the Supreme Court, back from the big banks, the giant corporations and the myriad other predatory interests that put the value of a dollar high above the value of human beings.

The Democrats still hold the presidency and large majorities in both houses of Congress. The idea that they are not spending every waking hour trying to fix the broken economic system and put suffering Americans back to work is beyond pathetic. Deficit reduction is now the mantra in Washington, which means that new large-scale investments in infrastructure and other measures to ease the employment crisis and jump-start the most promising industries of the 21st century are highly unlikely.

What we’ll get instead is rhetoric. It’s cheap, so we can expect a lot of it.
This might be survivable had not the GOP taken Haiti as their model for the future of this country.
The Republican Party has abandoned any serious approach to the nation’s biggest problems, economic or otherwise. It may be resurgent, but it’s not a serious party. That leaves only the Democrats, a party that once championed working people and the poor, but has long since lost its way.
Novus Ordo Fuckuallum.

Ruth Marcus gets it

In opening the floodgates for corporate money in election campaigns, the Supreme Court did not simply engage in a brazen power grab. It did so in an opinion stunning in its intellectual dishonesty.
Modern Conservatism might be considered a viable political philosophy if modern conservatives were able to embrace honesty as a guiding principle.

Another investigation into Goldmine Sachs

This time it is the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations headed by Carl Levin. This committee has been effective in the past, when the Senate was a functioning body. It remains to be seen how well they can do this time. One potential roadblock is that the subcommittee is part of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee so we can expect the chairman Joe Lieberschmuck to obstruct tht subcommittee as much as possible.

The picture of judicial activism

From the pen of Adam Zyglis

And another look at the SCOTUS decision,

Here we go again

Jeremy Scahill, the Nation's expert on mercenaries, reports that many of these groups are trying to position themselves for "duty" in Haiti. Granted the country is well habituated to foreign and private armies, but the latest bunch pretty much have to hype up the fear in their clients to score contracts. We can only hope that some government or UN group puts the kibosh on this waste of aid money.

Want a recession? Hire a Bush

Some folks have done the research and crunched the numbers and the result is in. Two Bush presidents and three recessions, one with daddy and two with the idiot bastard child.
NBER defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” NBER uses multiple indicators, rather than any single measurement of activity.

Let’s look at some data from the Reagan era as an example. According to NBER researchers, an economic peak occurred in July 1981 — signaling the start of a recession that lasted for 16 months until a November 1982 trough. That’s all there is to it.

Now let’s fast-forward to recent history. Three peaks have occurred since the 1982 trough, in:

* July 1990 (after 92 months of expansion) and the contraction lasted for 8 months;
* March 2001 (after 120 months of expansion) and it too lasted for 8 months;
* December 2007 (after 73 months of expansion). At this writing, we don’t know how long it will last.

What do these three recessions have in common? They all occurred under a Bush, the first under George H.W. and the second and third under George W.

What makes this data worthy of a BushToll nugget is President Bush’s and Vice President Cheney’s insistence as far back as 2002 that they inherited a recession from Bill Clinton. Not only is this false (Clinton’s eight-year term in office saw uninterrupted economic expansion), it’s become irrelevant in light of the current recession and economic collapse.
The Bush family is good for something, not that a sane person would want it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A true odd couple

But they do make beautiful music together.

Ed has great guests, too

Like Elizabeth Warren today, who makes sense of all that economic flummery.

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And Dennis Kucinich yesterday.

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Your Two Minute Ed

Tonight Ed gets somethings that are bothering him off his chest.

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If only it were this easy

This video is priceless and so on target.

h/t AmericaBlog

The Boston Red Sox in their World Series year challenged each other to "Cowboy Up" when they needed to get it done. Maybe we can get the Dems to challenge each other to "Sack Up" and get it done.

Why Texas should be allowed to secede

Frim the pen of Ben Sargent.

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Old Doc Krugman's prescription for Health Insurance Reform

Doc believes that the House should pass the Senate bill as is and use a reconciliation bill to pass corrections on some of the more disturbing flaws in the bill. He explains his reasoning in the column today. More importantly, he lays out why the Democrats need to do something and not take all year on it.
Now, part of Democrats’ problem since Tuesday’s special election has been that they have been waiting in vain for leadership from the White House, where Mr. Obama has conspicuously failed to rise to the occasion.

But members of Congress, who were sent to Washington to serve the public, don’t have the right to hide behind the president’s passivity.

Bear in mind that the horrors of health insurance — outrageous premiums, coverage denied to those who need it most and dropped when you actually get sick — will get only worse if reform fails, and insurance companies know that they’re off the hook. And voters will blame politicians who, when they had a chance to do something, made excuses instead.

Ladies and gentlemen, the nation is waiting. Stop whining, and do what needs to be done.
By now, Congress should have figured out that the anger that put Noodles Brown in the Senate was anger at the failure to do more with HIR, not less. Reconcilition gives them a chance to restore the public option, or give us a Medicare buy-in and make the Wall St bonus grabbers pay for it.

Somebody has taken it to court

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has received a Complaint
against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.
Filed by a University of Illinois Professor of International Law, the complaint may be toothless in the US which is not a party to the Rome Statute. It is valid and enforceable in many other nations that are members of the court.

The Full Cheney

The WaPo today is reporting that the Justice Dept. is recommending that we fall back on Republican ethics and morality and retain 50 of the inmates at the Guantanamo Konzentrationslager indefinitely. If that is to be the case, I strongly urge the Justice Dept to officially name whatever facility they are housed in to honor the memory of the man who made possible this devolution of American ideals.

The Richard Bruce Cheney Memorial Konzentrationslager.

Rep. Alan Grayson, point man for the people

It allows corporations to spend all the money they want to buy and sell elected officials through the campaign process," he said. "It allows them to reward political sellouts, and it allows them to punish elected officials who actually try to do what's right for the people.
Rep. Alan Grayson, defining the result of the latest activist judicial decision by the Dread Chief Justice Roberts and his Scurvy Crew. He has more below from Countdown.

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Call or write your Congressman to support the Grayson Six Pack for Freedom.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the pen of Jim Morin

click pic to big

If they had this at my college

I probably would never have survived my freshman year. But if I had, I would have made it to all my class reunions.
Several dozen university students occupied a brewery near Gothenburg in western Sweden on Tuesday in their long-standing effort to convince the brewery to build a pipeline to carry beer to the students’ union.

The demonstration was part of a tradition started in 1959 when the Chalmers University student union purchased one share in what was then known as Pripp & Lyckholm, part of the company which operated the brewery until it was purchased by Carlsberg in 2000.

The stock purchase gave the students a seat at the company's annual shareholders meeting, allowing them an opportunity to push the brewery to build a roughly 100 kilometre long pipeline to the university in order to facilitate the supply of beer to the Chalmers’ student union.
100 klicks of pipeline for a bunch of students. Those Swedes know the value of higher education.

h/t Fark

Daniel DeGroot asks a question

Really simple actually and inspired by the Scott Horton expose in Harpers.

If we can't close the Konzentrationslager at Guantanomo, can we at least close the Death Camp at Camp No?

Pretty hard to argue against.

Do you give retention bonuses to people who have left?

AIG does.
One of the sources said about 40 percent of AIG Financial Products staff in line for the payout due in March of 2010 are former employees.
Nice work if you can get it.

A fine cover of an old favorite

Hooray for New Zealand

Biblical citations inscribed on U.S.-manufactured weapon sights used by New Zealand's troops in Afghanistan will be removed because they are inappropriate and could stoke religious tensions, New Zealand said Thursday.

"The inscriptions ... put us in a difficult situation. We were unaware of it and we're unhappy that the manufacturer didn't give us any indication that these were on there," Dunne said. "We deem them to be inappropriate."

"Now we are in discussions with the company in the United States who will ensure the inscriptions are removed, and we wouldn't want them on future sights," he told reporters.
Good on yer, Kiwis! Now let's hope the US military has not been overrun by the religious wackos.

UPDATE: Trijicon will stop putting the bible references on their military scopes and provide tools to remove existing references for all their military customers.

Bloomberg hearts Arianna?

Probably not, but the mayor does have a good business sense and can recognize a good investment when he sees it.
In his State of the City Address on Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that New York would seek to deposit $25 million of its municipal tax dollars in neighborhood credit unions. As the Mayor admits, this is a small proportion of the city's resources: New York City isn't about to divest from Wall Street. But a multi-million dollar deposit will be a big deal for the under-capitalized community-serving credit unions that reinvest their funds in New York's neighborhoods. And it's right in line with Move Your Money's focus on shifting resources away from too-big-to-fail banks toward institutions that invest in their communities. If individuals can make an impact by moving their money, how much more can cities do?
Putting the money back in the communities it came from is a winner.

Obama tries to walk the walk on banking.

He has proposed a new set of rules for the investment banking community based on input from Paul Volcker.
President Barack Obama is calling for tougher regulations on banks that would limit the size and complexity of large financial institutions.

The proposal would limit banks' ability to engage in high-risk trades. Restrictions would be placed on proprietary trading by commercial banks to separate those institutions from investment banks.

Calling it the "Volcker rule," after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker who flanked the president as he spoke, Obama said that banks will no longer be allowed to own, invest in or sponsor hedge funds and private equity firms for their own benefit. Volcker is chairman of the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and is widely respected on Wall Street.
This should help limit self dealing and insider trading at the biggest banks but it will limit their profit. We can judge how much from the amount of wailing and opposition they put up.

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