Saturday, July 31, 2010

Earl's Music Blogging

From the always excellent Errol Gardner.

R.I.P. Maury Chaykin and Ben Keith

Two guys you have seen and heard but you never knew their names.

Unemployed? Get used to it. Part 2

Bob Herbert reports on a study of recession data that indicates that unlike previous economic downturns, corporations cut far more employees than the circumstances would require.
The recession officially started in December 2007. From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2009, real aggregate output in the U.S., as measured by the gross domestic product, fell by about 2.5 percent. But employers cut their payrolls by 6 percent.

In many cases, bosses told panicked workers who were still on the job that they had to take pay cuts or cuts in hours, or both. And raises were out of the question. The staggering job losses and stagnant wages are central reasons why any real recovery has been so difficult.

“They threw out far more workers and hours than they lost output,” said Professor Sum. “Here’s what happened: At the end of the fourth quarter in 2008, you see corporate profits begin to really take off, and they grow by the time you get to the first quarter of 2010 by $572 billion. And over that same time period, wage and salary payments go down by $122 billion.”
According to the good professor, increased worker productivity is the cause, with the value of that increase siphoned from the workers to the management. If you call productivity increased workloads requiring longer hours without extra pay that might be true.

Can you say Deflation?

Good because now you know the name of the greatest threat to the US economy, outside of the Republican cement heads. William Greider, writing in The Nation, explains what your new word means and why it is such a threat.

Sen. John Ensign awaits his criminal indictments

The junior senator from Nevada probably thought he could evade punishment for his various criminal acts. After all, Diaper Dave Vitter from Louisiana is making a credible run for re-election after having been caught consorting with hookers for the second time in his public life. John must have thought things were looking up when all the main stream media played down the story of his crimes in deference to his Republican connections. Besides, it was way more fun to make a Fox scandal out of the latest Democrat to fart in public. But those days are over thanks to two events that will probably perp walk John before the year is out.

The first was Tom Coburn changing from his position of privilege as a Doctor in his contacts with John to turning over 1200 papers relating to those contacts. And the second was the passage of a Senate resolution.
By voice vote, the Senate approved the resolution that would authorize employees of the Senate to give testimony to a grand jury in Washington.

Senate aides said that the resolution was necessary because Senate rules would prohibit employees from testifying outside of the halls of Congress. The rule was put in place as a way to uphold the Senate's constitutional right under the Speech or Debate clause, which prohibits members of the House and Senate from being prosecuted for work related to their legislative duties.
Things are looking bad for Sen. John "Pussyhound" Ensign so I will remind him of one important thing to remember. In prison the right hair pommade can make all the difference.

Decemberists in July

Friday, July 30, 2010

Your Dylan Dally Moment

Tonight, Jane Hamsher on pot on the Dylan Ratigan show.

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Chuck Todd is a douche bag

Anthony Weiner calmly puts him in his place and sets the record.

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Taking food from the mouths of children

Joan McCarter over at DKos explains this latest bit of Republican scumduggery.

J Street response to ADL bigotry

The Anti Defamation League has come out against the Sufi community center in downtown New York. Today, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami released the following statement:
The principle at stake in the Cordoba House controversy goes to the heart of American democracy and the value we place on freedom of religion. Should one religious group in this country be treated differently than another? We believe the answer is no.

As Mayor Bloomberg has said, proposing a church or a synagogue for that site would raise no questions. The Muslim community has an equal right to build a community center wherever it is legal to do so. We would hope the American Jewish community would be at the forefront of standing up for the freedom and equality of a religious minority looking to exercise its legal rights in the United States, rather than casting aspersions on its funders and giving in to the fear-mongerers and pandering politicians urging it to relocate.

What better ammunition to feed the Osama bin Ladens of the world and their claim of anti-Muslim bias in the United States as they seek to whip up global jihad than to hold this proposal for a Muslim religious center to a different and tougher standard than other religious institutions would be.
The sad irony is that the ADL by any measure would be considered a far more belligerent group than the Sufis.

There's a fire in his belly

And Rep. Anthony Weiner let it loose in response to the Republicans stopping the 9/11 Responders Health Care bill. Anthony was PISSED!

And this morning he beat up on that old dumb ox Peter King.

Met Life says its raining again.

At least on the backs and shoes of its death benefits account holders. You know those accounts that are not FDIC insured because they are mixed with the general funds of the company, that are accessible only by draft (even if it looks like a check) and pay a miserable rate of return because MetLife pockets the rest.
Chief Executive Officer Robert Henrikson said today in a conference call with analysts. “Our accountholders tell us they love it.
With a picture of the jowly, old pig himself.

Friday Twoons

Jim Morin

Pat Oliphant

click pic to big

Workers! We don't need no stinking workers.

From the NY Times:
There are limits on the degree to which you can substitute capital for labor,” Mr. Ryding said. “But you can understand that businesses don’t have to pay health care on equipment and software, and these get better tax treatment than you get for hiring people. If you can get away with upgrading capital spending and deferring hiring for a while, that makes economic sense, especially in this uncertain policy environment.
Unemployed? Get used to it.

Cluster bombs are nasty devices

Which is why the US and Russia and Israel have refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Over 100 countries have signed it, including most of our allies, and more than 30 have ratified it so it is now in effect. Why are we holding out?

Zach Wamp was a christian, once upon a time

Years back, Zach was thought religious enough to be a member of the C Street cult. It looks like his stay there did not allow time to read up to the New Testament as his latest efforts in his run for governor of Tennessee resemble the fist of an angry god.
When the subject of extending unemployment benefits arose, Wamp complained that giving people unemployment insurance was “creating a culture of dependence which we do not need.” He then said that he wants “people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting”:

Wamp [...] said small business, the NFIB and he as governor “must resist… any more mandates to small business to help the unemployed — that we have continued to extend on a federal level, I think, unemployment compensation so long that there’s disincentives for people to actually re-enter the workforce or go out and look for a job.

“And this is creating a culture of dependence which we do not need. We want people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting. And so we’ve got to not allow any more mandates.”
Zach Almighty, facing a congressional pension and being important enough to qualify for wingnut welfare, sees no reason why he should help his fellow man in any way when they can't contribute to his campaign. In fairness to the Wampster, he is merely mouthing the standard Republican orthodoxy. As these the wealthiest of my brethren do unto me, so shall I do unto them when elected. The rest can go to hell for all I care.

Do you think, maybe, the Book of Matthew was excised from the C Street bible?

Canadian oil spill company like BP but not

The canadian owners of the pipeline in Michigan that burst share some of the same attributes as BP, another notorious foreign polluter.
A Canadian company at the center of a huge oil spill in southern Michigan has a history of pipeline problems, including leaks, an explosion and dozens of regulatory violations.

Enbridge Inc. or its affiliates have been cited for 30 enforcement actions since 2002 by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which is the U.S. Department of Transportation's regulatory arm.

In a warning letter sent Jan. 21, the agency told the company it may have violated safety codes by improperly monitoring corrosion in the pipeline responsible for the massive spill Monday in Talmadge Creek. The creek feeds into the Kalamazoo River, which eventually flows into Lake Michigan.
Another corporation padding its profits by cutting corners and operating on the cheap. But unlike those limey bastards at BP, the canadian owners did show a good side. Their response to the spill was more immediate and hopefully more competent.
Enbridge CEO Patrick D. Daniel again apologized Thursday to the residents "for the mess that we have made." Hundreds of workers and contractors went to work on the oil Thursday with more than 12,000 feet of containment and absorption boom, 14 skimmers, 43 vacuum trucks and a number of tanker trucks, excavators and other trucks, he said.

Health officials went door-to-door, telling Calhoun County residents in about 30 to 50 homes near the spill to evacuate because of air quality concerns. Others were told to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.
More concern for the people affected than for the corporate executives, that's a good sign.

Why does Obama kick his friends and play kissy face with his enemies?

Paul Krugman, for all his knowledge and wisdom doesn't have the answer to that question either. But he does make clear that such a policy would be a very bad idea if it keeps Elizabeth Warren out of the CFPB.
But protecting consumers, ensuring that they aren’t the victims of predatory financial practices, is something voters can relate to. And choosing a high-profile consumer advocate to lead the agency providing that protection — someone whose scholarship and advocacy were largely responsible for the agency’s creation — is the natural move, both substantively and politically. Meanwhile, the alternative — disappointing supporters yet again by choosing some little-known technocrat — seems like an obvious error.

So why is this issue still up in the air? Yes, Republicans might well try to filibuster a Warren appointment, but that’s a fight the administration should welcome.

O.K., I don’t really know what’s going on. But I worry that Mr. Obama is still wrapped up in his dream of transcending partisanship, while his aides dislike the idea of having to deal with strong, independent voices. And the end result of this game-playing is an administration that seems determined to alienate its friends.
I keep telling Obama the same thing and he doesn't listen to me either. But Dr. Krugman does leave us with some words to the wise.
Just to be clear, progressives would be foolish to sit out this election: Mr. Obama may not be the politician of their dreams, but his enemies are definitely the stuff of their nightmares. But Mr. Obama has a responsibility, too. He can’t expect strong support from people his administration keeps ignoring and insulting.
SO we will see if "Wise is as wise does".

Who needs to know

Before the WikiLeaks, the policy in the military was to get information needed by the troops to the troops and if that meant everybody had security clearances, so be it.
"One of the lessons learned from the first Gulf War in 1991 was how little useful intelligence information was being received by battalion and company commanders in the field," Gates recalled, "and so there has been an effort over the last 15 or so years . . . to push as much information as far forward as possible, which means putting it in a secret channel that almost everybody has access to."

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accelerated that effort, Gates said, granting secret security clearances to hundreds of people who previously wouldn't have had them.

Now, as a result of the WikiLeaks publication, that policy will need to be reassessed. "Should we change the way we approach that, or do we continue to take the risk?" Gates said.
When everybody knows is it still a secret?

Administration works to expand exports

For the only things still made in this country that anybody wants, armaments.
The United States is currently the world biggest weapons supplier — holding 30 per cent of the market — but the Obama administration has begun modifying export control regulations in hopes of enlarging the U.S. market share, according to U.S. officials.

President Barack Obama already has taken the first steps by tucking new language into the Iran sanctions bill signed in early July. His aides are now compiling the "munitions list," which regulates the sale of military items.

The administration's stated reason for the changes is to simplify the sale of weapons to U.S. allies, but potential spinoffs include generating business for the U.S. defense industry, creating jobs and contributing to Obama's drive to double U.S. exports by 2015.
Woot! Woot! We're No. 1! We're No. 1!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mind your P's & Q's

And your Baghlan Province, too. The NY Times has a sad tale of what happens in Afghanistan when the only contact with the central government is the brother of the president and his rich buddies buying the local cement plant, firing half the workers and cutting wages for the rest. The rest of the time the Taliban takes care of business.
Since then, the Taliban have blocked most roads to the district and attacked any government or development workers who have tried to pass, local elders said. The police have returned but are all but confined to a 500-yard area around the district center, said Obidullah Khan, an Uzbek tribal elder in Dahana-i-Ghori.

A corrupt judiciary and the lack of government services have made it easy for the Taliban to gain a foothold in rural areas. At least the Taliban judicial system is swift and free of bribes, said Nuria Hamidi, a provincial council member. “They are solving issues quicker than the government, and people in the bazaar say, ‘I had this problem or that problem and the Taliban solved it,’ ” she said.

The Taliban have also been able to exploit ethnic differences, suggesting that the Tajik-dominated local government does not care for the Pashtuns here.
So after years of no one paying any mind to this part of Afghanistan, 3000 troops of the 10th Mountain are there to play Whack-A-Mole, until they pop up somewhere else.

Your Two Minute Ed

Tonight Ed is righteously indignant for the 99er's and it is good in our eyes. I did cut off the part with Bernie Sanders, you can find it at MSNBC.

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Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan looks at the Pru/Met Life insurance scam with death benefits.

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When W was preznitent

The people who worked at Ground Zero were heroes, working in a miasmic haze of toxins to find the remains of every last victim for a proper burial. Now that the toxic haze is proving deadlier than anyone ever thought possible Rep Carolyn Maloney D-NY put forth a bill to ensure their health care is properly covered.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), would provide medical monitoring to those exposed to toxins at ground zero, bolster treatment at specialized centers for those afflicted by toxins on Sept. 11 and reopen a compensation fund to provide for the economic loss of victims.

And it’s all paid for by closing a tax loophole on foreign companies with U.S. subsidiaries, Democrats said.
The Republican response to those workers is, in so many words, Fuck you. As the GOP says, sure they deserve good care but they are not wealthy enough to really deserve it.

Quote of the Day

Let me put it this way: there's never enough until we restore the 8 million jobs lost in the Bush Recession. Until that happens, it doesn't matter. I mean, it matters, but it's not enough.
VP Joe Biden, showing how to properly frame an answer.

The first line of defense for Social Security

MoveOn has a handy list of the top 5 lies that are being spread about Social Security and the reality of each one. Print a copy for yourself and share it with all your friends.
Top 5 Social Security Myths

Rumors of Social Security's demise are greatly exaggerated. But some powerful people keep spreading lies about the program to scare people into accepting benefit cuts. Can you check out this list of Social Security myths and share it with your friends, family and coworkers?

Myth: Social Security is going broke.

Reality: There is no Social Security crisis. By 2023, Social Security will have a $4.6 trillion surplus (yes, trillion with a 'T'). It can pay out all scheduled benefits for the next quarter-century with no changes whatsoever.1 After 2037, it'll still be able to pay out 75% of scheduled benefits--and again, that's without any changes. The program started preparing for the Baby Boomers retirement decades ago. Anyone who insists Social Security is broke probably wants to break it themselves.

Myth: We have to raise the retirement age because people are living longer.

Reality: This is red-herring to trick you into agreeing to benefit cuts. Retirees are living about the same amount of time as they were in the 1930s. The reason average life expectancy is higher is mostly because many fewer people die as children than did 70 years ago.3 What's more, what gains there have been are distributed very unevenly--since 1972, life expectancy increased by 6.5 years for workers in the top half of the income brackets, but by less than 2 years for those in the bottom half.4 But those intent on cutting Social Security love this argument because raising the retirement age is the same as an across-the-board benefit cut.

Myth: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

Myth: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market--which would have been disastrous--but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

Myth: Social Security adds to the deficit

Reality: It's not just wrong -- it's impossible! By law, Social Security funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.

h/t to digby

Another Republican push for a double dip depression

From TPM:
Senate Republicans blocked a bill to increase small business lending Thursday, dealing a setback to President Barack Obama's jobs agenda.

The bill would create a $30 billion government fund to help community banks increase lending to small businesses, combining it with about $12 billion in tax breaks aimed at small businesses. Democrats say banks should be able to use the lending fund to leverage up to $300 billion in loans to small businesses, helping to loosen tight credit markets.

The fund would be available only to banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

The latest Republican madness

Taking away your citizenship as a birthright. Sure, you say they are only talking about people who are here illegally, but when have these madmen ever stopped at the first step. Sen. Lindsey "Lightfoot" Graham may seem reasonable in proposing this,
But there's another problem we have in this nation that I think is novel and needs to be fixed. If you come across the border illegally and you have a child in America, automatically, that child becomes an American citizen. Under the 14th Amendment, three court cases says there's a constitutional right to that," Graham said in an appearance Wednesday on Greta Van Susteren's show.

He also added: "But I may introduce a constitutional amendment that changes the rules if you have a child here. Birthright citizenship I think is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child's automatically not a citizen.
Poor Lightfoot has pretended to be a supporter of the Constitution and now shows himself to be channeling the Tancredo-Brewer wing of a party that long ago lost its connections with the values of America and humanity.

Today they say only illegal immigrants but what group will they target tomorrow if they win?

Oh God! Not another "We Dint Do Nuttin" case

You know what I mean. Some big corporation gets caught red handed screwing large numbers of people for for profit or just because they can. Before the Feds can drag their sorry asses through a public trial they reach a "settlement". The "settlement" says, We dint do nuttin but we will pay a big fine and you will keep the evidence locked up". The latest example is Citi.
Citigroup has agreed to pay $75 million to settle federal claims that it failed to disclose vast holdings of subprime mortgage investments that crippled the bank during the financial crisis, according to two people briefed on the settlement.

In an unusual move, the Securities and Exchange Commission has also singled out two Citigroup executives — Gary L. Crittenden, the former chief financial officer, and Arthur Tildesley, the former head of investor relations — for omitting material information in disclosures to shareholders, according to the two people briefed on the deal.

Mr. Crittenden has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine; Mr. Tildesley will pay $80,000.

The settlement, which was expected to be announced later on Thursday, centers on events in 2007 and 2008, when Citigroup’s reported losses abruptly cascaded, eventually prompting the federal government to rescue the bank. The case is the first to focus on whether banks adequately disclosed the increasingly precarious state of their finances.

As is customary in such settlements, Citigroup will nether admit nor deny the S.E.C. accusations, according to the two people briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition they not be named because the settlement had not been announced.
It is good to see the Feds collecting some scalps but it would be nice if the fines were a little bigger, by a factor of 10 at least. Then the punishment would fit the crime, which they didn't do.

There is one interesting comparison in the NYT article.
The Citigroup settlement follows the S.E.C.’s $550 million settlement with Goldman Sachs over claims that Goldman misled investors in a complex mortgage investment.

The Citigroup settlement differs from that one, because the S.E.C. is essentially asserting Citigroup misled its own shareholders, whereas it asserted Goldman misled its customers.
Even though they didn't really do it (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) it does raise some questions. If Citi screwed its shareholders, why isn't it trading on the pink sheets by now? And if Goldmine Sachs screwed its customers, why does anyone still do business with them?

Put your budget cuts where your mouth is

Unless you are a House Republican, then you can flap your gums and pass all the gas you want but you are not going to mess with a Veterans Funding bill.
House Republicans who have spent months demanding spending cuts blanched Wednesday at their first opportunity to actually make them, instead joining Democrats in treating a bill to pay for veterans programs in 2011 as politically sacrosanct in an election year.

The veterans measure is the first of a dozen spending bills for the upcoming 2011 budget year to come up for a vote. Democrats, meanwhile, were doing some ducking and weaving of their own to avoid time-consuming floor debates and politically difficult votes on other measures.

It's of little surprise that Democrats picked the Veterans Affairs bill as the first in the appropriations pile to bring to a vote. It passed by a 411-6 vote.
It's easier to let Mitch The Chin screw the veterans.

How to dump a CEO

Colbert shows us how it is done thanks to the live Tony Hayward cam.

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Shirley Sherrod will sue Andrew Breitfart

To which we can only add, "You Go Ms. Shirley!" And if there is anything we can do for you, just ask.

Desperate Diaper Dave Vitter

The only way you can explain why Diaper Dave dabbled in birtherism and now is trying to resurrect the "death panels" lie. Diaper Dave is attacking the FDA for removing approval from a breast cancer drug shown to do more harm than good. And as one would expect from a Republican, Diaper Dave is acting for the benefit of a corporation at the expense of women. This also may explain why Diaper Dave kept a vicious mysogynist on his staff long after he was aware of the mans problems. C'mon Louisiana, is this the best you can do?

PS. The New Yorker has a long and thoughtful piece on what the mouth breathers call death panels. If you or any one you know is facing an end of life situation, you will want to read this carefully.

Why do teabaggers hate the Constitution?

Perhaps it is because despite their best efforts, it still applies to everyone else in this country, too. Witness their efforts in California to take the First Amendment all to themselves.
A recent series of unsigned emails and anonymous Web postings has called for a protest during Friday prayers outside the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley, in Riverside County. Protest organizers are upset at the Islamic group's plans to build a new mosque to replace its current makeshift mosque.

One of the emails, obtained by CAIR, declared: "Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant [sic] on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law...."

The email goes on to say that Muslims "hate dogs. ... Tennessee was able to stop the Mosque so bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voice on Friday."
One commenter at another blog post suggested that the mosque get some Koreans dressed up as butchers when the howling mob shows up. To which I would add, they should stand next to a sign that reads, "We pay cash for your old dogs".

Another fine Louisiana musician

Mary Gauthier has been playing for 20 years and this is her second career.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blinder can see what the sighted Senate can't

From the HuffPo:
Not all budgetary dollars are created equal," said Alan Blinder, professor and co-director of Princeton University's Center for Economic Policy Studies, in a conference Wednesday morning. "Some have a lot of bang for the buck, and some have very little. The GDP increase per dollar of budgetary cost is in the range of 1.6, 1.7 for things like food stamps and unemployment benefits, and in the range of .35 for extending the Bush tax cuts. We could get some substantial job creation by simply reprogramming the $75 billion that would be saved over the next two years by not extending the upper-bracket Bush tax cuts and spending it instead on unemployment benefits, food stamps, and the like.
Bush tax cuts are almost worthless for the economy. Better to spend the money on the social safety net, after remaking the safety net

Holy cow! Wonkette uncovers the truth

You know all that fustian and bombast about "building a mosque" next to the WTC site? And how the American Taliban tried to equate Sufis with Salafis, which is like equating Benedictine monks with Pat Robertson's cult. It turns out they were just blowing smoke up your ass.
Wonkette operative “Evan B.” writes: “The debate over the planned mosque at Ground Zero seems a bit retarded to me; I work directly between the planned mosque and a mosque that has existed before 9/11 and continues to operate to this day. The existing mosque and the proposed mosque are probably 800 feet apart; one city block, let’s say.

But they use the term “masjid” (”mosque”) to refer to their mosque instead of “mosque,” so the dumb bigots will likely continue to be ignorant of its existence.
I guess Forrest Gump was right, "Stupid is as stupid does." That certainly is true about the Wasilla Winky Dink.

Calico Music Blogging

Your Two Minute Ed

Ed and Joan Walsh articulate the Republican plan to trash the United States.

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Minnesota answers the question

h/t watertiger

Glenda's Gold Scam in graphic form

Infographic by The Big Picture

click through for larger view

Don't be confused

The previous post does not mean that the health insurance companies aren't continuing their own scummy ways.
WellPoint Inc. became the third U.S. health insurer this month to increase its 2010 profit forecast, stirring investor concern that state and federal regulators may increase scrutiny of the industry’s prices.

WellPoint’s earnings may be at least $6.30 a share this year, more than a prior forecast of at least $6, the Indianapolis-based insurer said in a statement today.

WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Aetna Inc. all cited lower medical costs in raising forecasts, saying fewer people visited doctors and hospitals because of the recession.
Fewer people now have health insurance and since companies like to lay off older more expensive and less healthy employees, all those premium dollars won't get spent. It should be a very good year for our scum populations.

And you thought Health Insurance Cos. were scum

Bloomberg is reporting on the latest insurance scam by the big insurers, this time it involves the $400,000 death benefit to families of fallen soldiers. It seems Prudential and Met Life are giving families checkbooks to use when they are ready to collect the monies. But they aren't checks, they are drafts which means the bank has to collect the money from Pru or Met before it pays out. This means that if you use them like a check they will bounce on you. It also means that the money is not in a bank but in a "retained asset" account with Pru or Met.
Lohman, a public health nurse who helps special-needs children, says she had always believed that her son’s life insurance funds were in a bank insured by the FDIC. That money -- like $28 billion in 1 million death-benefit accounts managed by insurers -- wasn’t actually sitting in a bank.

It was being held in Prudential’s general corporate account, earning investment income for the insurer. Prudential paid survivors like Lohman 1 percent interest in 2008 on their Alliance Accounts, while it earned a 4.8 percent return on its corporate funds, according to regulatory filings.

“I’m shocked,” says Lohman, breaking into tears as she learns how the Alliance Account works. “It’s a betrayal. It saddens me as an American that a company would stoop so low as to make a profit on the death of a soldier. Is there anything lower than that?”
Profiting from the deaths of American soldiers in a most shameless manner. No doubt Prudential CEO John Strangfeld used the profits from this to justify his $18 Million payday. Just as Met Life CEO C Robert Hendrikson used it to justify his $12 Million payday. Well done, gents!

The new definition of Victory in the Kabul Quagmire

From Gen. James Mattis USMC and newly appointed head of Central Command.
Mattis defined success in Afghanistan as propping up an Afghan government that is stable enough to keep “extremists” from using the country as a terrorist base.
All those who believe this is possible, please hold your breath until it occurs.

Hump Day Toons

From the Dynamic Duo of Pat Oliphant and Tom Toles

click pic to big

Where has all the oil gone?

NOAA is wondering that as they can't seem to find as much as they expected.
Oil from the BP blowout is degrading rapidly in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and becoming increasingly difficult to find on the water surface, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.

"The light crude oil is biodegrading quickly," NOAA director Jane Lubchenco said during the response team daily briefing. "We know that a significant amount of the oil has dispersed and been biodegraded by naturally occurring bacteria."

Lubchenco said, however, that both the near- and long-term environmental effects of the release of several million barrels of oil remain serious and to some extent unpredictable.

"The sheer volume of oil that's out there has to mean there are some pretty significant impacts," she said. "What we have yet to determine is the full impact the oil will have not just on the shoreline, not just on wildlife, but beneath the surface."

But much of the oil appears to have been broken down into tiny, microscopic particles that are being consumed by bacteria. Little or none of the oil is on seafloor, she said, but is instead floating in the gulf waters.
Not enough information to know where it all has gone but perhaps BP's unrestrained us of dispersant has sent the oil to places we just don't know about, yet. Time will tell.

Looks like the GOP strategy is working

The latest report on orders to factory for big-ticket items on Wednesday offered another sign that the United States economy was losing strength in the second half the year.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that demand for durable goods from American factories fell 1 percent in June. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, new orders decreased 0.6 percent.

The report comes on heels of Tuesday’s latest take on consumer confidence, which dropped sharply in July. With many consumers still reluctant to spend because of worries about the job market, manufacturing has helped power economic growth in the last few months.
Add to this the expected increase in unemployment because the Republicans prevented all attempts and jobs bills and aid to the states and we should be seeing the onset of the second half of the Great Bush Depression just about in time for a Merry Christmas. Kudos to Mitch The Chin and The Great Orange Boner.

Quote of the Day

The British Empire prided itself on discovering warrior races in places it conquered — Gurkhas, Sikhs, Pathans, as the Brits called Pashtuns. But why are they warrior cultures only until we need them to be warriors on our side? Then they’re untrainably lame, even when we spend $25 billion on building up the Afghan military and the National Police Force, dubbed “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight” by Newsweek.
MoDo, dumping her own brain leaks into one column today.

When you mix teabags and douchebags

This is what you get.

Plenty of money for war

But funding for state aid and jobs just couldn't find any friends in the Senate. No profit in state aid and jobs, the war is where you make the big bucks.

Thin Air Music Blogging

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A primary for Obama?

Well, Gov Ed Rendell says it might happen if Obama doesn't start to withdraw from the Kabul Quagmire next year.

Sadly he said this in response to question from that old racist pig Pat Buchanan.

A sad failure tries to stop what the people want

That would be Chris Dodd who not only claims that Elizabeth Warren can't be confirmed but say Obama shouldn't go for a recess appointment either. Chris Dodd is retiring from the Senate after this term, like his father before him he retires a failure but his father, at least could blame the alcohol.

NOW thinks sexism may be behind the Obama reluctance to appoint her. Chris could get down with that.

Another Two Minute Ed

Because Ed has a good talk about the war with Dennis Kucinich.

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Your Two Minute Ed

Tonite Ed says let the law take its course.

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All of the tax cuts should be allowed to expire. As I remember, back when I was making more money than now, the tax cut amounted to shit in my bracket. I won't be hurt if all the cuts expire but my country will be better off they do.

Republican Fiscal Disaster Policy

As in the fiscal disaster the Republicans hope to achieve if they regain the majority and enact their fiscally suicidal policies. And it is explained in simple English by Martin Wolf of the Financial Times. In any other country the people who espoused policies like this would be called terrorists. In the US we call them Republicans.

h/t Krugman b/w/o AmericaBlog

At home and abroad

Pat Oliphant

Tony Auth

click pic to big

WikiLeaks doc dump may stall support for Afghan war

And we are supposed to believe this is a bad thing? Better the troops come home now before too many more die for a failure.

The source of Republican joy

Bob Herbert looks at the economic disaster that is spreading over the American workforce like a BP oil spill.
The pain coursing through American families is all too real and no one seems to know what to do about it. A rigorous new analysis for the Rockefeller Foundation shows that Americans are more economically insecure now than they have been in a quarter of a century, and the trend lines suggest that things will only get worse.

Rampant joblessness and skyrocketing medical costs are among the biggest factors tearing at the very fabric of American economic life so painstakingly put together in the early post-World War II decades...

Simply stated, more and more families are facing utter economic devastation: completely out of money, with their jobs, savings and retirement funds gone, and nowhere to turn for the next dollar.
Though he does not say so, we are seeing the fruits of 30 years of Reaganomics working together with a propaganda network capable of convincing us that shit smells like roses. But the worst part of it is those we chose to do sometning about it, they haven't a clue.
More than 14 million people are out of work and many more are either underemployed or so discouraged they’ve just stopped looking. Big corporations, sitting on fat profits even as the economy continues to struggle, have made it clear that they are not interested in putting a lot more people back to work any time soon.

Policy makers have dropped the ball completely in terms of dealing with this devastating long-term trend of ever-increasing economic insecurity for American families. Long-term solutions that have to do with extensive job creation and a strengthening of the safety net are required. But that doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda.

Glenda Beck is shouting Fire! in a crowded theater.

In this case, the loosely wrapped listeners of his audience. Most recently we saw what happened when one of those charming people got likkered up before trying to kill a few of the people that Glenda likes to rant against.
Thankfully, the planned domestic terrorist attack never came to pass because California Highway Patrol officers pulled Williams over for drunk driving on his way to his killing spree. Williams quickly opened fire, wounding two officers during a lengthy shootout. Luckily, Williams wasn't able to act out the ultimate goal of his dark anger -- fueled by the TV news he watched -- about how "Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items," as his mother put it. Williams wasn't able to open fire inside the offices of the Tides Foundation, an organization "nobody knew" about until Glenn Beck started targeting it.

And thankfully, Williams wasn't able to take his place alongside a growing list of domestic, anti-government terrorists, such as the recent Pentagon shooter, the Holocaust Museum gunman, the kamikaze pilot who flew his plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, and the Pittsburgh cop-killer who set up an ambush because he was convinced Obama was going to take away his guns.

All the vigilante attacks appear to have been fueled by an almost pathological hatred for the U.S. government -- the same open hatred that right-wing bloggers, AM talk radio hosts, and Fox News' lineup of anti-government prophets have been frantically fueling for the last year, pushing doomsday warnings of America's democratic demise under President Obama.

And the sad the sad truth is we're going to see more like Byron Williams. We're going to see more attempts at vigilante violence during the Age of Obama simply because the right-wing media, lead by Beck, continue to gleefully (albeit irresponsibly) stoke dangerous fires with the kind of relentlessly incendiary rhetoric that has no match in terms of modern day, mainstream use in American politics or media.
Scum like Glenda are the first to shout Kill! Kill! and the first to blink their eyes and ask Who me? when somebody does what they call for. Just like shouting fire in a crowded theater.

Colbert has returned

And we are a better world for it.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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Gee whiz! How did that happen?

Between 2004 and 2007 during the reign of Bush/Cheney the Pentagon drew on $9.1 Billion of Iraqi oil funds. Now when asked to account for those funds,
The U.S. Defense Department is unable to properly account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war ravaged nation, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The report by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction offers a compelling look at continued laxness in how such funds were being spent in a country where people complain basic services like electricity and clean water are sharply lacking seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The audit found that shoddy record keeping by the Defense Department left the Pentagon unable to fully account for $8.7 billion it withdrew between 2004 and 2007 from a special fund set up by the U.N. Security Council. Of that amount, Pentagon "could not provide documentation to substantiate how it spent $2.6 billion."
Now these were Iraqi funds held by the UN and earmarked for the benefit of Iraqis, but let's be real, no money is safe if there are Republicans in the neighborhood. And this audit does not include the $54 Billion in Congressionally approved Iraqi reconstruction funds. They can't account for a lot of that, too.

Unemployment is bad

And in a recession any program that succeeds at getting people back to work is a good thing. Unless you are a Republican. In case you have been asleep the last few years, the Republicans are actively opposing any policies that might help the US recover from the Great Bush Depression. Their purpose is to punish Americans for voting them out of power after 8 years of failure and putting a black man in the White House. Their aim is to regain the power they lost though it is beyond my understanding why anybody should be rewarded for trying to destroy their own country. Their latest effort in this regard is to block refunding of a very successful program.
Congress is set to increase unemployment by not reauthorizing a fund for a subsidized jobs program that will expire on September 30, jeopardizing 240,000 jobs in 37 states.

"Unless Congress extends the fund, tens of thousands of people across the country will lose jobs -- potentially raising the unemployment rate in places with particularly large programs, such as Illinois and Los Angeles," writes LaDonna Pavetti of the progressive Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

The stimulus bill created the jobs in question by creating an Emergency Fund to help states with their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (welfare) programs. The TANF Emergency Fund, among other things, helped states provide jobs for people with children.

In May, the House approved a bill that would have reauthorized funding for the TANF Emergency Fund program, but the "tax extenders" measure crumbled in the Senate over deficit concerns from the right. Senate Democrats eventually dropped the TANF funding, as well as $16 billion in Medicaid assistance to states, in an effort to pass an urgent reauthorization of unemployment benefits, which lapsed for 2.5 million people before Democrats finally succeeded in breaking a Republican filibuster last week.

Republicans have targeted the program, saying the it pays poor people not to work and that it represents a backdoor effort to undo welfare reform. (Republicans outside of Congress have praised the program.)
The perfidy of Republicans on display, no welfare for poor people, that is reserved for corporations and their rich friends. But it remains curious that state Republicans who have benefited from this program want it to continue.

Is there a better reason why all national Republicans need to be removed from office for the good of our country?

Target supports Minnesota racist homophobe

Who would be quite happy if all of Minnesota's bridges were to collapse. You might consider this a harsh assessment of Tom Emmer but is it really.
Emmer is a fiery conservative who opposes gay marriage, lauds Arizona's strict approach to illegal immigration, once advocated chemical castration for sex offenders and wants to lower taxes.
Target has gone over to the Reds and all this time I thought they were french.

Karzai says his boys can do the job

You can view this news report and make up your own mind. As for me I say, if Karzai of the Afghans says they will be OK I say, "Hamid you da man, so long and thanks for all the figs".

h/t Steve Clemons

Bluesday Music Blogging

Someday, after a while.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Neel Cash-N-Carry

You remember him, the guy appointed by the Bushoviks to deliver large pallets of US currency to various favored Wall St banks to keep them from going under because of their own blunders? He's back and he has a new message that will warm the cockles of Wall St's tiny little hearts.
Cutting entitlement spending requires us to think beyond what is in our own immediate self-interest. But it also runs against our sense of fairness: We have, after all, paid for entitlements for earlier generations. Is it now fair to cut my benefits? No, it isn't. But if we don't focus on our collective good, all of us will suffer.
Yup, he wants to cut Social Security and Medicare for the good of us all and so he and other malefactors of great wealth won't have to pay too much in taxes. It's your cash he will carry to his master's vault.

Andrew Breitbart admits loving al-Qaeda

It can't be true you say, but it must be because it is on video. Watch and believe.

Your Two Minute Ed

Tonite Ed talks about Fox racism with Gov. Dean

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Your Dylan Dally Moment

Cenk sits infor Dylan on vacation and finds the biggest story of the year sitting on his desk.

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Tenn. Lt Gov Ramsey knows religion

And to his practiced eye, Islam is no religion.
At a recent event in Hamilton County, Ramsey was asked by a man in the audience about the "threat that's invading our country from the Muslims." Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole "Congress shall make no law" thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a "cult."

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it," Ramsey said. "Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face."

"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."
And we are supposed to take the word of a desperate 3rd place primary candidate about a subject he obviously knows nothing about. That might work in the land of 3 toothed mouth breathers, but it still violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

Mitch The Chin says Teabaggers not racist

Sure they have some members who think black people are only for shooting, but those folks have always been nothing but polite and friendly to him.

We will have Tom Tancredo to kick around some more

One of Colorado's most blatant racists and erstwhile congress moop Tom Tancredo says he he is jumping into the governors race.
Tancredo floated the possibility of a third-party gubernatorial run last week, demanding that the two-current GOP candidates who have both been beset by scandals withdraw from the race after the August 10 primary if polls show Democrat John Hickenlooper far ahead.

The Republicans - Scott McInnis and Dan Maes - both scoffed at Tancredo's threat, prompting the onetime Republican presidential candidate to step up his announcement.

"I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party," Tancredo told The Denver Post.
The thing to remember is no one wants Tancredo to run. Even the teabaggers have asked him not to but Tom's ego knows no bounds. Besides this is the year that Republican/Teabagger racism will break loose from all restraints and who better to lead the way.

In the Kabul Quagmire, don't trust your friends

Because no matter what they may say, you have no friends. The latest information dump from Wikileaks lends support to that position. According to the raw data revealed, our BFF the Pakistanis are also tight with the Taliban and other elements we are fighting.
Some of the reports describe Pakistani intelligence working alongside Al Qaeda to plan attacks. Experts cautioned that although Pakistan’s militant groups and Al Qaeda work together, directly linking the Pakistani spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, with Al Qaeda is difficult.

The records also contain firsthand accounts of American anger at Pakistan’s unwillingness to confront insurgents who launched attacks near Pakistani border posts, moved openly by the truckload across the frontier, and retreated to Pakistani territory for safety.

The behind-the-scenes frustrations of soldiers on the ground and glimpses of what appear to be Pakistani skullduggery contrast sharply with the frequently rosy public pronouncements of Pakistan as an ally by American officials, looking to sustain a drone campaign over parts of Pakistani territory to strike at Qaeda havens. Administration officials also want to keep nuclear-armed Pakistan on their side to safeguard NATO supplies flowing on routes that cross Pakistan to Afghanistan.

This month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in one of the frequent visits by American officials to Islamabad, announced $500 million in assistance and called the United States and Pakistan “partners joined in common cause.”

The reports suggest, however, that the Pakistani military has acted as both ally and enemy, as its spy agency runs what American officials have long suspected is a double game — appeasing certain American demands for cooperation while angling to exert influence in Afghanistan through many of the same insurgent networks that the Americans are fighting to eliminate.
With "friends " like this, even getting out of that shithole will be difficult.

Why did climate change legislation fail?

According to Dr Krugman, the answer lies pretty much where you would expect it if you pay attention. And no it was not the science or the economics of it that failed.
So it wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice.

If you want to understand opposition to climate action, follow the money. The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines.

Look at the scientists who question the consensus on climate change; look at the organizations pushing fake scandals; look at the think tanks claiming that any effort to limit emissions would cripple the economy. Again and again, you’ll find that they’re on the receiving end of a pipeline of funding that starts with big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, which has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting climate-change denial, or Koch Industries, which has been sponsoring anti-environmental organizations for two decades.

Or look at the politicians who have been most vociferously opposed to climate action. Where do they get much of their campaign money? You already know the answer.

By itself, however, greed wouldn’t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice — above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment.
Business as usual, more of the same. These two guiding principals of Congress are the cause of most of the legislative failures. So the next time something important comes up, don't pay attention to the arguments, do a little research and find out who is paying who. You will then be able to make predictions that will astound your friends.

Right wing crazies still pushing Iran attack

Because you really can't have enough Middle East wars. The latest war monger is Michael Hayden, former CIA director for the Bush/Cheney cartel.
A former CIA director says military action against Iran now seems more likely because no matter what the U.S. does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its suspected nuclear program.

Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, says that during his tenure a strike was "way down the list" of options. But he tells CNN's "State of the Union" that such action now "seems inexorable."

He predicts Iran will build its program to the point where it's just below having an actual weapon. Hayden says that would be as destabilizing to the region as the real thing.
But he was a Bush appointee, why would anyone give credence to what he has to say. They were all dead wrong for 8 years, how could they be any bettertwo years later?

Quote of the Day

Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on the camera. God, what am I supposed to do?
Ken Buck, Republican candidate for Senate in Colorado finally getting something right.

Fantastic Music Blogging

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Wiki Leaks again

This time it is 91,000 reports from the Afghan War from 2004 to 2010. You can find the raw reports here. They intend to have it on a dedicated webpage soon

Happy Birthday Jane Hamsher

The lodestar of progressive blogging is 51 today.

Classic Rock Music Blogging

Canine obedience school

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

A curious change

The latest news in the business world has Tony Hayward stepping down as CEO of BP. This is not really unexpected in light of the disaster that occurred on his watch. What is curious is that his replacement will be "Baghdad Bob" Dudley, BP's senior American executive and the man who currently heads up BP's Gulf operation.

To put that in another perspective, the man currently responsible for BP's disastrous cleanup efforts, dilatory well capping efforts, unsafe conditions and procedures on the Deepwater Horizon and continuing unsafe conditions and procedures at BP's refinery in Texas is being elevated to CEO of a company already notorious for shoddy or non-existent safety and now ostensibly responsible for cleaning up the mess.

Yup! That should do the trick.

The Public Option and the Deficit

A romance that would not be imagined in the wildest of fantasies, the two are now walking hand in hand through the hall of Congress. To support the newest attempt to add a public option to the healthcare options, the Progressive Caucus is tying it firmly to deficit reduction which the opposition has so strongly embraced. At the Netroots Nation, both Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Raul Grijalva spoke out about the CBO projection of a deficit reduction for the public option with Rep. Grijalva issuing the sharpest challenge,
In the wake of the CBO estimates, and amidst a climate of increasing concerns about the national debt, Grijalva charged that any self-styled deficit hawk against the measure is being disingenuous, if not worse.

"They’re hypocrites," he said of deficit hawks who may not back the program despite the new estimates for cost savings. "Basically, they’re against the public option, period, for philosophical reasons, and the excuse that it was going to be too expensive is phony. They're phonies."
Expect the Republicans to start crying and whining that the Democrats are being mean to them.

Headline from the Planet Duh!

Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in Decades
And the most activist, too, as the court throws out years of precedent and settled law to push their corporatist agenda.

MoDo identifies the flaw in the White House

And it is not just that the team has no balls.
The Obama White House is too white.

It has Barack Obama, raised in the Hawaiian hood and Indonesia, and Valerie Jarrett, who spent her early years in Iran.

But unlike Bill Clinton, who never needed help fathoming Southern black culture, Obama lacks advisers who are descended from the central African-American experience, ones who understand “the slave thing,” as a top black Democrat dryly puts it.

The first black president should expand beyond his campaign security blanket, the smug cordon of overprotective white guys surrounding him — a long political tradition underscored by Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 when she complained about the “smart-ass white boys” from Walter Mondale’s campaign who tried to boss her around.

Otherwise, this administration will keep tripping over race rather than inspiring on race.

The West Wing white guys who pushed to ditch Shirley Sherrod before Glenn Beck could pounce not only didn’t bother to Google, they weren’t familiar enough with civil rights history to recognize the name Sherrod. And they didn’t return the calls and e-mail of prominent blacks who tried to alert them that something was wrong.
Obama does need to replace some of his people with folks who know the real world.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Republicans promise to fight to expand the deficit.

They are gearing up to keep the tax cuts of their junior varsity saint and part time scut boy, W. The Democrats, on the other hand are dithering about their position with the "deficit hawks" quivering in fear at the thought of "raising taxes". The rest are mumbling about keeping the "middle class" tax cuts forgetting that the middle class is a vanishing breed thanks to Republican tax policies of earlier years. Also, as I remember it, the cuts for us in the bottom 95% of wage earners was somewhere between doodly and squat, and I was in a higher bracket then. And the dividend, capital gains and estate tax cuts didn't do us much good either.

The White House policy seems straight forward enough.
We do not buy into the theory that because the economy is still recovering, extending tax cuts for the highest earners is a necessary or effective policy response
The middle class tax cut extension is just a pander to voters, but it would be better to turn the Republicans deficit arguments back on them by pointing out the $2.5 Trillion deficit increase if all the tax cuts are extended. Let them expire and that becomes deficit reduction, just what the GOP says we need.

At this time we do know that extending all the tax cuts is bad and will blow the deficit sky high, keeping some of the cuts is wishy-washy and doesn't have a noticeable effect on what people worry about. If only the Democrats had a couple of good cage fighters and their own news network, they could rip the heart out of the Republicans on this issue.

New Orleans Music Blogging

One of the music treasures to come from the Crescent City.

Bonnie poops out, work resumes at BP disaster site.

Tropical storm Bonnie was unable to survive the fearsome landmass of Florida and settled into a tropical depression that has allowed the ships working at the Macondo well site to start returning. The results of the storm are mixed.
On the bright side, Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the storm's wave action of up to 8 feet in the northern Gulf will churn the oil, spreading what's left of the surface oil slicks and breaking tar balls up into smaller parts that will biodegrade more quickly.

The storm was too weak to churn up any oil deep under the sea, Lubchenco said.

However, the tropical depression, with sustained winds of about 30 mph, could drive some oil into marshes and bayous and onto beaches. Its counter-clockwise rotation also could move some oil away from the coastlines.
Back to work and hope the relief well is finished soon.

Dana Milbank finds an acorn

His column today, using Massey Energy CEO "Bloody" Don Blankenship as a focal point, laments the lack of responsibility in corporate America.
Blankenship's advice to fellow CEOs: "You should push back on the government."

He's got that reversed. Government should push back against a corporate culture that has lost its sense of shame.
Yup, he got that right.

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