Wednesday, April 30, 2008

War Synchronicity

Has anyone ever asked Bush a question like "Do you feel any responsibility for how badly the war in Iraq has been going?"  If they haven't I suspect because it is they are afraid to do so.

That's what I was thinking yesterday, today I find out that tomorrow is the anniversary of the horrid "mission accomplished" poster.  I had no idea the White House, that this "man", George Walker, actually is saying
"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said `mission accomplished' for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission," White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday. "And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner.

Also, from the same AP article, it turns out George Walker is responsible for two of the longest four wars in American history:
1 Viet Nam 8 Years, 5 Months
2 American Revolution 6 Years, 10 Months
3 Afghanistan 6 Years, 7 Months
4 Iraq 5 Years, 1 Month
Afghanistan will reach the #2 spot mid-summer, and if the next President can't end Iraq in their first year, it, too, will surpass the American Revolution.

Monday, April 28, 2008

By the way, I watched Jeremiah Wright this morning (Update 1)

He did a fine job, even sticking up for his incorrect view that the US invented AIDS.  A couple times he was a bit childish, but, then again, I liked him in the first place.

Update: He was a little foolish conflating the attacks on his soundbites with an attack on the Black Church. 
War Criminal Carnival!

The Hudson Institute is hosting Paul Wolfowitz talk about Doug Feith's new book.  Neither Paul nor Doug, psychotically, are at all repentant or sorry.

Wolfowitz closed his remarks with the kind of historical ignorance which dominated his entire sheep-in-wolf's clothing existence.  He said he'd never heard of an insurgency where foreigners were brought in to kill locals.  Does he smoke crack?  I don't think he does.  I think he was just born stupid.  Can you picture this "Look, we'd like your help overthrowing our oppressors, but you aren't a local, and if you killed one of the overlords, it would be a case of us bringing in outsiders to kill locals."

Were any Chechens killed in the First Chechen War?  My research shows "1,500 Dagestanis , 1,000 Georgians and Abkhazians , 500 Ingushes and 200 Azeris , as well as 300 Turks , 400 Slavs from Baltic states and Ukraine, and more than 100 Arabs and Iranians" were involved.

The French were brought in to help fight the American Revolution, and undoubtedly Americans fought with the British against them, perhaps 50,000.

I charge George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith with a million counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Bush and Abbas on Friday, LaHood on Thursday, and Iraq Today (Update 3)

The US President met the President of the West Bank friday. I wrote this down then.

In translation, Abbas said he and Bush were "committed" to "eliminating" road blocks to peace, which, considering Bush's previous statements on Hamas, obviously includes eliminating the elected government of Palestine.

UPDATE: Might take a while, but to do a search of all the times Bush has said something is a "priority" or "a top priority" or "the top priority" might make for some pretty muddle headed amusement.

This next bit sorta seems dangerously trivial.

Roy "The" LaHood (R-Ill, part of the former Hastert machine), spoke at the Arab-American Dinner.

I think he had some arrangement with some members of the audience to clap in the middle of this sentence, to fool the assembled people (many of whom would be immigrants, or first or second generation) into clapping for the Republican's current immigration policy. 
(close paraphrase)
My ancestors did what all good immigrants did to make this country great: (pause, a few claps, then more claps as we realize he's saying immigrants make this country great) learn English, work hard and play by the rules.

Article about Iraq contracts and descoping
But rather than terminate the [lucrative Bechtel] project, U.S. officials modified the contract to change the scope of the work. As a result, a U.S. database of Iraq reconstruction contracts shows the project as complete "when in fact the hospital was only 35% complete when work was stopped," said investigators in describing the practice of "descoping" as frequent.
Little Georgie only got 3 right out of 10 on his test, let's make 3 into the new 100 percent!  Isn't this the soft bigotry of low expectations? 

UPDATE: I don't think Danielle meant to say we were wasting taxpayers:
Danielle Brian, executive director of the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, said the latest audit report points to significant U.S. taxpayer waste in current reconstruction efforts.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Doesn't This Sound Nice?

Spend the first thirty years of your life learning things
The next thirty applying what you've learned
And the last thirty teaching all of the above

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Some Language Will Survive

But I don't think it ought to be English, because it would be embarassing to have the speeches of George Walker Bush so enduringly preserved.

Maybe worse will be made, no matter the language, and I am being oversensitive.

Did anyone ever see a picture of George with a bottle of Johnnie Walker, and with the picture called "Georgie Walker?"  If not, why not?  To distinguish him from his father in conversation I propose we call him George Walker.
This is Really Starting to Tick Me Off

What Admiral Mullen said yesterday, repeatedly, that Iranian support for insurgents, which he had expected to go down, has remained remarkably "consistent" over the last two years  He was a pussy and dodged addressing the issue of exactly who in Iran was behind these different things (could it be a faction?)  He also ignored the idea that maybe some of this evidence should be presented to the public.  In fact, if a "press conference" had something to do with information being disseminated, Admiral Mullen is a failure.  My opinion?  Loyal to Bush and not very bright.  In fact, he might not even be bright.

But compare that this entire flea-bitten story from the AP:
US official: Iran boosting support for Iraqi insurgents
By LOLITA C. BALDOR – 21 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he's concerned about increased Iranian arms and training aid to insurgents in Iraq.
Adm. Mike Mullen told a Pentagon news conference Friday that he has "no smoking gun" proof that the highest leadership in the Iranian government has approved stepped up support for insurgents who are killing U.S. and Iraqi forces. But he said that it's clear that recently made Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq, including to insurgents leading the fight in Basra. As Mullen put it, Iran "seems to be ratcheting things up."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flatmate Having a "Dinner Party"

I'll be using this as an excuse to FWTM, a game we expand to Fuck With The Moonies.

They moved their NYC HQ from near my old apartment to near my new apartment, dotcha know.
When You Tripe A Letter

If your friend, acquaintance, or unknown appears to have made an error, consider the multiple causes for it?  They were unfamiliar with the facts (ignorance), they had been misapprised of the situation (duped, for any of the reasons), have the wrong facts at hand (stupid), or being intentionally deceitful (evil).

Without mentioning the last, unless it comes to blows, give the error-prone a choice.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Recommendation for Soccer (aka Football)

I understand, how, in primitive times, straight lines seemed the way to go, but the proper lines for a goalie box should reflect the goal itself.  Therefore it should be an ellipse and not a square.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

To Jack Abramoff

Who says I have the moral courage not to give in to the desire to eschew all the temptations that a politically connected guy like Jack Abramoff didn't?  An accusation against a Justice Department official appeared today in the C-SPAN chiron.  But, honestly, the offer of millions of dollars has never come across my doorstep (unless a housemate or neighbor picked it up) and how can I really say?

We did not build this, or any other city I can think of, on Rock & Roll.  Sweet Begonias Behinds.

Could we get Representative Gingrey out of there?  It's not like awfulness is in such short supply that he couldn't find another job.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Physics Question

I want, at least want, causality to be part of the theory of time travel.  I do not want to consider the alternative, however right it might be.

If causality is real, and we can't go back and support Adolph as an art student, preventing his move into politics, does that mean all "time travel" is impossible?  I think not.

Perhaps the real question is "Will we ever meet aliens smarter than ourselves or not?" and I don't think the rational answer is "Awesome the bestestest!" Claims by the current leadership of the United States of America notwithstanding.

Anyway. Perhaps it is possible that causality prevents time travel, that does not prevent time viewing.  Time Viewing could use information available in the current time to deduce what things were like earlier, and display them.   Perhaps nothing meaningful, more likely nothing meaningful, will come of this viewing, except in a few instances, for example, the Kennedy and King assassinations.
My Suggestion for a Constititutional Amendment

I would suggest, for future Constitutions, or an amendment to our own, that there is provided a method for State Legislatures to repeal laws.  If 3/4 of the States vote against the law, it is repealed.

A lot of people talk about how amazingly smart the American Revolutionaries were when they drafted the Constitution.  We are taught Montesquieu's "separation of powers," with the uniquely American system of "checks and balances" between the three branches of the Federal Government, works to prevent too much power in any one set of hands.

There is one major flaw in this design, which appeared right away, and there is no sensible way to deal with the problem.  From the Kentucky and Viriginia Resolutions, to the Nullification Crisis in South Carolina, to the Civil War itself, States have (naturally) resisted actions of the Federal government.  Although the three branches might be able to check each other, there is no direct way for the States to resist Federal law.  None whatsoever.

The Constitution can be amended, but the process by which the States can do that is intractably flawed and has never been exercised.  If 2/3rds of State Legislatures want a Constitutional Convention, they can convene one and then Amendments could be proposed.  The first problem is that the State passing the resolution for Convention is not deciding what the Convention will be about.  We all know that the Second Constitutional Convention far outstripped its original mandate.  But more importantly, what if they just want one law changed, and not the whole Constitution?  Out of luck, Chuck! 

What the "checks and balances" clearly have not done is prevent the increase in Federal Power at the expense of the States.  That is not to say that Federal Officials, William Rhenquist for example, haven't sought to reduce Federal jurisdiction. 
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Look, I know this is, effectively, a State's Rights proposal.  That doesn't actually make me a Republican.  What it shows is that I can see problems (in this case, a very old problem) and present solutions.  So there!
Susan Schwab, Our Braindead Trade Representative

She says the Colombia Free Trade deal is different, because most of Colombia's products (92% she said) get into America duty-free anyway, so this will be "leveling the playing field."  That blew my mind, that a human being could actually think that is not incredibly surprising, but that someone who works in the field could say that makes me throw up.

Then she acknowledged the narco-trafficking problem.  Lots of cocaine is grown in Colombia or is transited through there.  She said the trade deal might help that because people might turn to coffee or cut flowers instead of coca.  Did she not just fucking say that 92% of Colombian stuff gets in duty free already?  COFFEE GETS IN DUTY FREE.  Ergo, this can't make any ***-damned difference to coffee growers, and, in fact, will hurt them as some US imports replace domestic production. 

Susan Schwab, 100% Braindead Corporate Whore.
Education Ideas

I believe part of the problem with public schooling today is that we used to force all women into the teaching and nursing professions, which meant that very bright women, barred from professional careers, became teachers.  I would not go back for the world.  Another major problem is that 11% of students go to private schools and "[e]ighty percent of political contributions come from the wealthiest one-quarter of 1 percent of the population."[1]  If there is significant overlap, it means that most of the people who fund US politics have no direct concern with public education.

In order to teach better, I believe the school year should be shredded and reorganized.  Another major benefit will accrue to students who can jump ahead or fall behind.  I'm thinking classes should be three and four weeks long.  When the Marine Corps had to teach its anti-academic "students" the particulars of their military jobs, they taught them in modules of 1 to 2 weeks, eight hours a day.  I am thinking to make sure English, Math and Physical Education are taught for an hour each day, meaning it would be about a half day for the module class.  Students would, just like now, get 5 minutes an hour, to stretch their legs.  Now that time is used between classes, here it would not.  When I was in first grade, a student was held back.  He peed himself.  If a student is held back from his "Vocabulary 1" class they will still advance with their peers in all other fields, and some way down the line will repeat Vocab1 when their peers go to Vocab2. Students who "skip" grades are usually better at math or english.  Being able to skip ahead much less than a whole year, for example skipping Addition2, will make that transition smoother.

In order to increase parental involvement, each classroom will be video recorded and available online, live during the day, to parents. This is slightly fascistic, but legally they are just kids.

This argument is for all the libertarians and free-marketeers out there.  If the average wage for teachers is lower than the average wage, won't we inevitably bring education levels down?  The average teacher wage should be at least as high as the average wage.  People don't often think of teachers as part of government, but a popular government(elections, juries) simply will not work if popular ignorance prevails.

The last suggestion is the most well known.  Class sizes need to be much smaller.
PTSD and the Rand Study

C-SPAN hosted Terri Tanielian to talk about a year long report by Rand called Invisible Wounds of War, about PTSD.

What I found interesting was the way she completely dodged answering some questions from callers.  For example, one caller said that diagnoses for PTSD are entirely based on forms filled in by the patient.  The caller said that there are physical based tests (stress reaction?) for determining PTSD more accurately.  Terri didn't address that at all.

Another caller had two good points which Terri avoided completely.  Are soldiers getting discharged so the military can avoid paying benefits?  This article from the Nation says that they are being pushed out on a personality disorder discharge.  Terri pretends the question was never asked.  Then the same person said that, at Ford Hood at least, members of the VA used to help soldiers fill out their forms, to maximize their benefits, but then the military stopped them from helping.  Terri talks, but never comes close to addressing the actual question.

By the way, even though she did an abysmal job, dodging questions, she always fucking said "That's a really good|important question."

Terri admits that although 25 people supposedly worked on this report for nearly a year, one peice of information they did not bother to collect was what military job (Military Occupational Specialty) the former servicemembers had!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pentagon Using Media to Propagandize Americans

You are surprised?  The NY Times has the story.

Long story short?  Ex-military guys repeat Gov't propaganda on the air.
Why does God want America to Lose in Iraq?

Deep inside I know it is a punishment for the sins of Democrats and other traitiors, and that America still has to pay for the stain on her soul caused by that Bill Clinton, and I'm not trying to second guess God, but couldn't the Almighty have found another way for America to pay for its dalliance with liberalism? 

For example, God can part waters, cause floods and storms, and yet, it seems like the only really big, killer storm hit Louisiana and Mississippi.  Couldn't there have been a sandstorm that raged for years that caused Baghdad to disappear from the face of the Earth, like Tanis did in Raiders of the Lost Ark?

I know that God's Chosen One will have to suffer a noncomprehending populace, so I know that is why President Bush's poll numbers have reached record lows for his term. 

Since starting to write this, I have figured out that God really does have it all in hand, and I don't have to worry about anything.  This clear, lordly thinking has caused me to redouble my efforts to ban homosexuality and abortion.  When it comes right down to it, far more people have been killed by Liberal Democrats than all America's soldiers in all wars put together.

To redeeming the forty million dead abortion baby holocaust, and then on to Victory in Iraq!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Very Bad Guess

How will tomorrow's speech by Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of England, go?  Here's a bad guess
In the name of her Royal Brittanic Majesty
Queen Elizabeth the Second
I hereby
unilaterally revoke
the 1783 Treaty of Paris
the United States of America
and her subsequent posessions
shall be faithful to
and loyal servants of
the Crown of Britain
[pause for effect]
You will notice no differences
At first

Execpt where it concerns
Foreign Policy
I Eat

I eat Kasugai brand super gummy candies, especially: Litchi, Kiwi, Peach, Apple and Mango.
A Question of Differences

ERRATA: It does not appear as if there are state laws that require babies to be born in hospitals.  I had been told there were, long ago, by someone I trusted to know what they were talking about.  However, on the topic of infanticide, you could consider the (passed in 2005) Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
Do you believe it would be considered an "extreme" pro-choice position to want to repeal State laws that require births to be conducted in a hospital?

Without such laws, infanticide is easier.

Alexander Hamilton wanted laws on this to be easier, so that women could retain their dignity, and hope to join polite society. At least according to Richard Brookhiser's book "What Would the Founders Do?"  Link from Google Books.  Section begins "As a politician, Hamilton spoke up for single mothers." and ends with "Morris married an unwed mother because he thought for himself."
You know who has no privacy?

Dogs have no privacy.  In the monitored state, it would be fair to say people were living like dogs.
Catches Today: Sharpton/Robertson, Expelled, and the Pope

I saw a television advertisement this morning with Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson sitting together on a couch.  I'll let that sink in before I continue.  Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson were sitting together, looking as cozy as could be, explaining how the one thing they could agree on was environmentalism, protecting the planet.  I still like Albert Gore, Jr.

I also heard an advertisement for the abyssmal, Ben Stein narrated, anti-intellectual movie called Expelled, which takes the side of Intelligent Design.  The ad ended by saying "No Intelligence Allowed" but what I heard was "No Intelligents Allowed."

The Pope went on and on about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  He rarely strayed from that topic.  I don't find it completely defensible, I'm surprised the Catholic Church does.  He was quite the politician, never naming names.  We know he is against the Iraq War, as was James Pierpont (was that his name?) the Second, When he said that people's whose rights are trampled will rush to the arms of the militants, I thought "American occupation of Iraq" but, of course, any dictator could have been the antecedent.

UPDATE: I also caught a news flash (almost forgot) saying that South Korea decided to a deal on trade in US cattle flesh
scant hours before a meeting between the US President and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at Camp David.  I mention this because I am amused at how confused Bush gets when the itinerary gets changed right before a meeting.  A cheer for South Korea!
Parenting: Responsibility and the Monster Under the Bed


Having a child is a responsibility to raise an adult
not an opportunity to act like a child.

At least in public, could adults act like adults around their children,
saving the regression for their private lives?
I'd like to at least be fooled into thinking I live in a civilized country.

The Monster Under The Bed

You have a kid who leaps to the bed,
to avoid the monster underneath
you take the kid, during the day, and a vacuum and thoroughly clean under the bed.

By having the kid watch you clean the area,
they'll see there is no monster
and even learned how much effort is involved in cleaning.

For those beds go straight to the floor
move them and vaccuum.

Kids are far more sensitive to smells than adults are,
and sublitus (is that Latin for "under bed?") is the least likely place to get cleaned.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I know you are used to the cable news shows, where they spend untold hours talking about the word "bitter" or fake sex tapes or poll numbers, but the world marches on, and sometimes the marchers take over.

Bangladesh has an estimated 150 million people
In a country smaller than the size of Iowa.
Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries.
You know how the poorer half of the world lives on less than 2 dollars a day?
Well, most Bangladeshis are in the bottom half of that bottom half.

It was created as part of Pakistan,
as an explicitly Muslim country
at the end of British colonial rule[1]
and broke out on its own in 1971.

right now
has two major shortages,
rice and clean politicians

Prime Ministers from both major parties are under house arrest
or in jail
Major political figures, and their children,
again, from both parties,
are regularly being dragged before courts.

The military,
led by a guy named Moeen,
has taken over
in the last few months
and is calling itself a "caretaker" government
Moeen said,
before he took over,
that Westminster-style parliamentary democracy
hasn't worked in Bangladesh and
isn't going to work.

One possible clue exists as to what Moeen has in mind
although he is promising to hold elections this year
he promised to hold them last year, too.

Between world record rice prices and
a major cyclone that hit Bangladesh this November,
the country is short maybe 1.4 million tons of rice
even after India's promise of some assistance.
10000 people were engaged in food riots there in the last week.
I know Fox, CNN and MSNBC had time for a story on a fake Marlyn Monroe sex tape.

So here we have a
Islamic country where people are starving
even to death.

Considering the cost of things in Bangladesh,
I can't imagine that many things on Earth could as cheaply earn goodwill than helping to subsidize some rice,
or another more readily available and popular staple,
for these very poor people.

I understand about not wanting to be charitable on a regular basis
dependency theory
But even if you can say they had something to do with the price of rice
they had nothing to do with last year's cyclone.

Of course I'll point out
that I'm being a bit cynical here
I'm not saying we should be generous only because of the need
but also because they're Muslims
and a lot of the world's Muslims
have a really bad image of the United States.

It will probably cost about the same as one day in Iraq.

Extra Fact: Prices of rice have doubled, food riots have broken out in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroonm, Guinea, Haiti, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Yemen. Additionally, protests have occurred in Ivory Coast and Egypt.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Credit Default Swaps Scream "Insurance Fraud"

Are any of you homeowners?
Even if you aren't, you all know about fire insurance.
If your house burns down,
   and you didn't do it,
   a fire insurance policy is worth money.

What jumps to your mind
   when you hear
   about someone selling their fire insurance policy?
Only one things jumps to my mind,
   maybe I've just listened to too many 1940s and 50s radio dramas,
   insurance fraud.

That's exactly what the credit default swap market is all about,
   a stock market for insurance policies.
It's a little more sophisticated,
   as if you could divide up your fire insurance policy
   and sell little bits to different people.
But what's more amazing than that,
   this has to take the cake,
   you can sell as many copies of your fire insurance policy as you want!

Instead of being about a house burning down,
   it's about the value of a bond going down,
   something the banks call a "credit event,"
   like a rating agency downgrade,
   or outright default.

The banks who sell these policies,
   like I said,
   can sell as many copies as they want.

I don't think it takes a supra-genius
   to figure out what will happen
   if everyone in town
   stands to profit
   if your house burns down.

Extra Fact: 13% of all the people buying this excess "insurance" are unknown, their names are simply unreported.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monroe Tape Story Faked.

It was all over yesterday's so-called "news."  Did every major cables "news" show discuss it?  Seems like it. 

Proof?  You can prove it for yourself if you research the history of Keya Morgan.  He's got a record of some pretty outrageous lies.

By the way, the mouthpiece of Bush Republicanism, Fox News, (should we rightly call it Murdoch Republicanism?) had Shepard Smith introduce the story by clearly calling it a "SUCK-sess story."  In case you were wondering what act was being shown.

Keya Morgan stands to profit from any buzz.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fox Report and Endless Obama

Fox News ran a story during The Fox Report with Shephard Smith that a group of unnamed, "bipartisan" "Senators" want Iraqis to pay for the Iraqi "reconstruction" bill.

I may be no judge, but I think Shephard Smith is good at reading the news. I do not like the politics of the show, although the coverage of one story tonight certainly gave Pelosi the best of Bush.

The thing is, maybe someone at Fox News should watch a news station, perhaps Fox News would have done. See, Fox probably covered the Petraeus/Crocker hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee. If they had happened to watch the news, they would have seen Ambassador Crocker's opening statement, and they would have seen him saying that US funding of Iraq reconstruction was over. Done. He repeated this same fact later, in an answer to a question of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Obama's comments got an enormous amount of coverage. So far, more than all anti-Iraq War invasion speakers combined. Karl Rove gets particular bad marks for his hatchet job, where he expands Obama's remarks to include all rural people, instead of the people he was actually talking about, industrial workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas and they haven't come back for 25 years. Do any of those people cling to anti-trade or anti-immigration ideas?  You can bet your famn damily.  Dan Abrams on MSNBC, whose show I'd never seen before, copped the attitude that the media was making too much of the story, blowing it out of proportion, and then continued to host a panel discussion about it, and talk about it more than some other shows.

When I think of religion and losing wealth, I think of the Dark Ages. The Papacy was the biggest tax collector in Europe at the time, could pick Kings (sometimes) and could send the nations of Europe to war (sometimes).

UPDATE: Although all three of the 24 hour cable news stations extensively covered Obama's week old comments, not one of these "news" organizations covered any of Obama's comments today (speech at the Washington Convention Center) concerning those self-same comments.  He explained further, very specifically, again, referring to the same industrial workers who lose their jobs as firms move them overseas. 

Oh, and imagine what the news would look like if, for the last eight years, we parsed each time Bush said something really off the wall!

UPDATE2: So, if we are already done paying for reconstruction, what are Senators Nelson, Collins and Bayh talking about?  Well, part of it is the "reconstruction" fantasy, but part is this glorious idea, which I first heard of during the recent Petraeus/Crocker appearance on Capitol Hill.
Their bill also would require that Baghdad pay for the fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement. Plans are to propose the legislation as part of a war bill to cover spending through September.

So I was walking by the Eighth Church of Christ, Scientist, and I see they have free copies of the Christian Science Monitor outside.  I've thought for a while that the CSM has some of the most balanced coverage of international news that you can get from America, and it has none of the taint of Christian Science weirdness (e.g. they don't believe in medicine).

So, they have a story on the bill that is supposed to help Main Street (re: foreclosures) to a degree that might resemble the Fed's bailout of Wall Street (re: Bear Sterns).  What's been holding up the bill, and which Bush has threatened to veto it over, is a provision that would allow Judges to adjust the terms of existing mortgages.  They say that will put too much uncertainty in the market.

What the article points out is if were your yacht or your vacation home the Judge would have that authority. 

At least the bankers and credit agencies got through that corporate sleaze bankruptcy bill a few years ago, you remember, the one that said even if you declare bankruptcy, credit card debt that might have been forgiven is now totally payable, even before child support!.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm not making this up

Schwab, the USTR, said the goalposts keep moving for a Colombia.  See, a year or more ago, all the Democrats wanted was some labor and environmental conditions, now they want an extension of unemployment insurance, too.  I guess that the goalposts have moved, but we weren't in a recession over a year ago, so the field has moved, too, eh?  This was on C-SPAN Friday, an hour long interview with a reporter from the WSJ and USA Today.

Speaking of recessions, this trade deal, like the dozen or so others the Bush administration has pushed through, is supposed to help the economy.  That's the same story we heard when the Bush administration and a Republican Congress passed all those tax cuts.  So, between you and me, do we have a good reason to be in a recession?  Shouldn't this be the most jazzed up economy since the 1950s, when we had 90% tax rates on the rich?

Bob Novak gets the prize today.  When he was asked about the failure to pass the Colombia trade deal (on Bloomberg's "Politcal Capital" show with Hunt) he said the failure was because of, I really am not making this up, an international communist trade-union conspiracy that controls the Democrats (at least on the trade issue).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Murdoch's Money-Laundering Connection

Years ago, Berlusconi (right wing) was busted for funnelling 6 million to the former Socialist Prime Minster of Italy (IHT).  The go-between was a guy named Tarak ben Amar, a Tunisian film producer.

So Business Week has a blog called "Fine on Media" and someone there checked out Rupert Murdoch's old cellphone, on display at the Newseum (BW). In the cellphone was Amar's number.  Fancy that.

I think Berlusconi and Murdoch represent a certain class of scum that, through cynical manipulation of the news, achieve power or money.  Scum is much to nice a word, since the future of the human race depends on accurate news, at least to some degree. 

Credit to Nick Denton for the catch.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Language & Conflict: China Alleges Uighur Plot Broken Up

I only bring this up because little news about the (allegedly al-Qaeda linked) Uighur (alternative spellings Uyghur and Uygur) rebels in China's (formerly Sinkiang) Xinjiang province hits the US newsstands.

China alleges it has stopped anti-Western terrorist plans, scheduled to occur during the Olympic games, to be committed by 45 Uighur terrorists.

The Uighur are a people who speak an Altaic language, like Turkish or Mongolian.  Xinjiang was briefly, in 1933, a country called East Turkestan.  Chinese is part of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Municipal Bond Market

Municipal Bonds, or Munis, are often tax advantaged, with no Federal taxes, and rarely State taxes if the municipality is in the same state.  The total market is about 300,000,000,000 dollars.

I'm thinking that, when the baby boomers retire, the appeal of that tax loophole is going to disappear for them.

I have not found out what percentage of the total Muni market is held by boomers.
Petraeus Hearing Review

Crocker: US Funded Reconstruction is Basically Over, Deal With It (opening statement and response to Nelson)
Petraeus: Surge must remain open ended (response to Levin)
Petraeus: We separate out some of our twenty three thousand prisoners and we call these people "irreconcilables" (response to Inhofe)
Nelson, Collins and Bayh (all centrists) perhaps others, want Iraqis to pay more of our operational costs.
Petraeus: Support of American People "absolutely wonderful" specifically "all American citizens" which includes me.
Obama had the best question.  He asked something like "if there were no US troops in Iraq and the security situation was just like this, could we call it a success?" but then he hedged, and said something like "if only a few battalions were in Iraq".
McCain made the Shia/Sunni mistake about Al-Qaeda again, and fairly smoothely corrected himself.
Per usual, I was not satisfied with the American Senators.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Who is Obama, really?

Wait, I haven't checked in simply years! I knew it!. The title of that article is "Are Americans So Bored With Reality Television They'd Put a Black Islamic Extremist in the White House?"

More to the point, and possibly factual, and possibly total bullshit, is this account of Obama snorting some of the dread white powder, cocaine.  I tried it once.  The funny part of the story is where the two guys I knew (but ended up not liking) had gone up into an apartment to wait for the dealer, while I was waiting outside, leaning against a car, doing beatbox.  Three guys came by and two of them went up, while one of the guys says something like "I'm going to be out here with this guy." So he leans against the car and starts doing beatbox with me.  Some time later he shows me has some coke.  I'd never seen it before except in the movies and this one time, at band camp (met).  Larger than marble sized balls of powder.  Yes, he was the dealer my friends had been waiting for.  I ended up going up with him, where I met a guy who looked exactly like Kurt Cobain and sounded like Crispin Glover, he was managing the Pioneer Square Theatre at the time, Seattle's biggest rock venue.

Since the topic of cocaine doesn't come up that often on this blog (Read I'll also throw in this youtube humor.
Is John McCain a Warmonger?

Yes, but it isn't nice to say so.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

NY Times, Ignorant Fascists or Plutocratic Tools: You Decide

As everyone's noticed over the last couple years, figures from the Limbaughs to Governor Charlie Crist to President Bush seem dead set on picking Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee.  The Radosh has found that the NY Times is even pimping for these left-wing-king-maker-wannabees.  See, Richard Mellon Scaife has come out for Hillary:
“I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today,” he wrote in an opinion article published Sunday, amid her campaign for president. “And it’s a very favorable one indeed.”

His sudden conversion from fervid Clinton basher to lukewarm Clinton fan occurred after Mrs. Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, sat down for a 90-minute interview with reporters and editors of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a newspaper owned by Mr. Scaife, the billionaire heir to the Mellon banking fortune.
Of course, if he really was having a "sudden conversion" (Paul to Tarsus?) he wouldn't have had the same damn conversion last year!.  From the February 2007 NY Times
Christopher Ruddy, who once worked full-time for Mr. Scaife investigating the Clintons and now runs a conservative online publication he co-owns with Mr. Scaife, said, “Both of us have had a rethinking.” “Clinton wasn’t such a bad president,” Mr. Ruddy said. “In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today.”