Thursday, October 30, 2008

Grant vs Seymour, 1868

     Ulysses S. Grant, Union General, faced New York Governor Horatio Seymour.

     Reconstruction was the big issue. 
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Frank Blair Jr., was a loose cannon who unintentionally proved to be one of the best weapons in the Republican arsenal. [...] Blair came from a prominent political family, had founded the Free-Soil [anti-slavery] party in Missouri, served in the Union military, and lost his wealth financing the Union cause. After the war, however, he became a vocal critic of Radical Reconstruction. During the 1868 campaign, Blair advocated nullification of the Reconstruction Acts and predicted that a Grant presidency would degenerate into a military dictatorship. His harsh words and abrasive personality tended to alienate potential supporters.
From Harpweek
Sarah Palin Is The Bestestest, D'uh!

     From the most recent Palin interview, she shows how much of a normal person she really is, average, even.

     "Sarah Palin says she doesn't know why most women don't support her candidacy or why others believe she is unqualified to be vice president, but she says that makes her determined to keep fighting."

     "I truly believe that the wisdom of the people will be revealed that day, when they elect Barack Obama." I may have added that last bit.


     "I was disappointed that my kids had to see that," referring to vulgar t-shirts. Personally, I am dissapointed she uses minors as campaign props.

     "She said questions about her wardrobe and whether she could be vice president and raise a family at the same time were questions never asked of male candidates." She obviously missed the f*cktard Tim Russert (Nick Denton over at Gawker thinks Tim Russert was a great journalist, which is why Never go there anymore) ask John Edwards about his $400 haircut. And as for family rearing, she is running saying that she is a "normal" person, and running on the team that generally supports stay-at-home Moms and the "traditional" family.

     She says " that final, hard-as-glass ceiling must be broken." which suggests she doesn't know what "glass ceiling" means.

     "Palin was equally at a loss to explain why people, including several prominent Republicans, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, claim she is unqualified to be vice president." She was, however, completely sure that Obama was a Socialist with dubious Xian credentials.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who said I couldn't?

     So I am reviewing the 1876 Tilden/Hayes election.  People point it out, the ignorant weasels, as an example when the Popular vote winner(51-48) was not the Electoral College winner (185-184).

     Personally, it is an odd election for me.  The Democrat represented the racist South, but he was probably ripped off.  Who was more intelligent?  Who was more competent (hussein), I can't say.

     This website has a great rundown, and this quote.  You need to recall that the media enterprises have their own institutional interests.  I pointed out before that they want the race to appear close.  They are legally obligated to make money.
During the Electoral College controversy, both political camps hurled accusations, debate sometimes reached a fever-pitch, and General William Sherman ordered four artillery companies to the nation’s capital to maintain order. The crisis sent newspaper sales soaring, although responsible commentators tried to quiet fears of renewed civil war.
(emphasis mine)
The Worst Thing in the World

     I guess my perspective can be summed up as "Body Count."  I'd rather hear about 100 dead people in Rawalpindi than 99 dead people in Iowa, although I certainly make an exception if it might actually impact my life (very local events).

     By this measure neither Iraq nor Sudan were the great crises occurring during the infamous reign of George Walker.  By far, far, far the biggest meat grinder has been the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This is especially sad since the DRC was also the worst ruled of all African colonies.  It was the setting for Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" which formed the framework of Stanley Kubrick Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocolypse Now."

     The Mobutu regime had lasted for 32 years, with support from the United States.  His country had been staging grounds for attacks by rebels in Uganda and Angola.  Combined with the secondary impacts of the Rwandan genocide, Angola, Uganda, Burundi and Rwandan Tutsis, rebels marched on Kinshasa and replaced Mobutu with Laurent Kabila (the First Congo War, 1996-97).  Kabila ended up surrounding himself with Rwandans, which didn't endear him to the locals, and he didn't put a stop to Rwandan rebels in DRC attacking Rwanda.  It wasn't long before Uganda and Rwanda (mostly) started up the war again, this time against Kabila (the Second Congo War, 1998-2003) whom they had helped put in power.

     It is estimated that about 3,900,000 people died.  That's 100 times as many as Saddam Hussein was accused of killing, it happened five times as fast, and it all happened in the last decade.  I seem to recall one week in the last 7+ years when the topic came up in the national political debate (during the 2004 Olympics, after the conflict was officially over). 

     This is one of the more confusing wars.  The anti-Kabila forces of the Second Congo War were not united, and formed three separate rebel groups in different parts of the giant country.  Many of them had been his allies in the previous decade.  Did I mention it was a giant country?  Look how big. 

     Why did I bring this up?  Fighting is starting again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Upsmanship

     CNN is covering the media attention on Sarah Palin.  I'll be covering CNN's coverage.

Yah, But What's A Ry?

     Is John McCain's "Country First" slogan really about Cindy McCain?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mix It Up

     The election is coming close, and some right wingers are convinced that the election of the Terrorist Obama means the end of America.

     Please visit a right wing website and act sane.  Don't tackle a site that has too many comments (like Little Green Footballs) since you won't be able to keep up.  Like Daily Kos for lefties, that site is for true believers.  Find a blog with few or no commenters.

     I spent a long time at Art Chrenkoff's blog, and was called a "one man comment insurgency" during the first years of the Iraq War for my regular attempts to keep the war-mongers at least tententiously connected to reality. 

     Don't pick fights, don't insult people, just fact check them.  Oh, they'll say, the Bush tax cuts were good for the economy, the middle class is doing great (seriously, I heard that _today_).  Well, the census department has labor statistics.  For all races, for income in 2000, the table is here.  It shows median income was 42,151.  For 2007 income the median income is 50,233.  Inflation adjusted 42,151 in 2007 dollars, according to the BLS is 50,753.  The median income has declined during the Bush years.

     Maybe you just want to join me?  I'm fighting over at a website called "NewsBusters.  My account name is Josh SN.  I only participate in some posts.  I'm doing fine, but I can't cover all their posts. 

     UPDATE: At least go by and check out how bad things really are.  NewsBusters is "important" because these people are covered by News.Google.Com
My Ideas on Education, Part II

     Continued from here

     My idea is heavily based on how the United States Marine Corps tries to teach.  No one pretends that Marines, as a whole, are the sharpest pencils in the box, and, yet the Marine Corps has to train Marines to do jobs that involve life and death of other Marines, for example, aircraft repair. 

     One course I know about was divided up.  Although the whole school was more than seven months long, it was divided into one (very occasionally two) week modules.  There is one course on basic diode/transistor logic: flops, registers and adders.  Another on boolean logic (a and b and c or d if e).  Each day of class in a module consumes the whole day, eight hours or so.

     I believe there is likely a cost to constantly changing the topic, every 55 minutes, during the school day, far above the extra books carried on small backs, time spent roaming the hallways, and locker visits.  I believe that being "left behind" a whole year costs social progress (when the only goal is have them learn what they failed to prove they learned).  The problem might be in math, or reading, or perhaps writing, but maybe not in all three.  If you only stay back one week and you only stay back in one subject (say, pre-calculus) you can stay with your peers in every other class.  Depending on the particulars (one module in math each two or three months?) the "new" peers you might find won't be particularly different in their social development levels.

     Of course, I am open to compromise.  I imagine that if each day had 7 hours of classes, there would still be 1 class of math, 1 of english, and 1 of physical education each day, so the "module" class would only be for four hours (or so).  I think there should still be a break every 55 minutes, so the kids can get up and stretch.  Who knows, maybe more often (35 minutes? 15 minutes) would be better. 

     Another advantage of the module system is summer school.  If a student re-takes a module, for a month, in the summer, the class isn't abbreviated, they get to repeat the whole course.  This also let's students who might be forced to miss class in February to "get ahead" the previous summer.

     Another advantage is the school year itself.  With its long summer vacations, the system was designed when America had principally a farm-based economy.  With week or two long modules, there is no need for an entire class to wait until the fall for school to start, with children ranging 365 days in age for 1st grade.  Children can start school in any month, and could take their "summer vacation" in any month.  This will help parents who can't get any time off in the summer (but it would tend to hurt summer camps.)

     Another advantage is really neat, and it has to do with school textbooks.  Textbooks are a very difficult industry to break into.  You have to write a book for a class that will last a year (large) and which follows the statewide standards of the big states (California and Texas, I think is how that works) in order to get wide-ranging sales.  If the classes only last a week, it will be much easier to produce "workbooks" for them.  They probably don't even need to be hardbound!  However, this is also a disadvantage, since such textbooks do not currently exist at all.

     I shall repeat myself: Week long modules make skipping ahead and falling behand allow students to follow their own tracks without much of the cost in the current system.  Spending all day in one class concentrates the student in a way that 55 minute classes prevent.  Textbooks no longer need to be lugged around the same way.  Textbook development can be more flexible.  The school year no longer has to dictate vacation choices of parents.
The Truth About Acorn!

     Even if they fake-registered 100,000,000 people, that wouldn't have any impact on the polls. 

     In fact, most "Likely Voter" models used by the pollsters don't even count new registrants.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hee Hee, Thanks Kristin

The Vet Who Did Not Vet, a Dr. Seuss-ish tale of McCain choosing Palin.

Let's Pretend You Aren't a Religious Rightwinger

     Ralph Reed is, based on my limited knowledge, the founder of the Astro-Turf wing of the Religious Right.  This involves sending incendiary mailings to right wingers "Do you want Americans to abort Jesus to pay for Health Care for Muslims?" combined with fund raising requests.

     Ralph Reed recently published a book called "Dark Horse."  The book, in case you were wondering, is about an evil black man becoming the President of the United States.  He wins because the Evangelicals leave the Republicans, splitting the "conservative" vote.

     He even writes how the Democratic nomination process went all the way to the Convention.

     Talking about the book on August 17th, 2008, Ralph Reed says he believes a major party Vice-Presidential candidate will be a woman.  It really sounds like he knows it is going to be Sarah Palin.

     By the way, "economic conservatives" are for less government intervention in the economy, but "social conservatives" are for more government intervention in your personal life.  One of the two, depending on your country of origin, should be called the "liberal" position.  In foreign countries, liberals are for free markets.  So, maybe they should be called "liberal on economics, conservative on social issues."  The reverse is true in America.

Follow the Leader: Opinion Polls and the Modern Presidents

A book by Paul Brace and Barbara Hinckley.  This was covered in a BookTV interview in 1992 (here). 

They pointed to a late-in-the-race 1992 issue in polls.  The pollsters moved from a Registered Voter to a Likely Voter model, and there was a bump for George Herbert Walker Bush, not because he was doing better, but because they changed the way they did the polls.  But the fraudulent fact that he was "polling better" became headline news in many major papers.
David Moore: Author of the Opinion Makers

Apparently, before the war in Iraq, Gallup ran an experiment.

Sure, we all know most people (70%?) supported the war.  But Gallup asked a follow up question.  They asked supporters of the war if they'd be upset if we didn't go to war, and they asked people against the war if they'd be upset if we did.  This question would be asked within a minute of asking the interviewee whether or not they supported the war.  I believe I am relaying the results of that survey correctly.  40% of Americans didn't seem to care if their preference was followed.

He also points to the leading way the corporate media (which owns most of the polls) asked about Abu Ghraib.  He says that up to four times the pollster would have to educate the respondent about the "abuses" at Abu Ghraib.  Since they used the word "abuse" four times, of course it wouldn't sound like it was actually torture.
Sarah Palin's College Board

Turns out this story was a hoax.  Sorry for the confusion.  To see the original post, if you want, view the source of this webpage and look at the commented HTML.
Corrections Department

Boris Johnson is already Mayor of London.  Gosh, that article I found in E+A+A's bathroom was OLD!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HE Found it!

     Alan Greenspan said today, in testimony before Congres, "Yes, I found a flaw," when referring to his free market ideology.

     _HE_ found it.

     All of us were just sitting around, nothing going on, and like a light in the darkness, a flashbulb of an idea went off in Mr. Greenspan's brain.

     "Eureka! I've discovered a flaw, and if we don't act now, people might get thrown out of their homes which are foreclosed... in record numbers!"

     IN OTHER NEWS Barry Goldwater's granddaughter, the one who made a documentary about him, has endorsed Barack Obama.  She says
My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman's right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930's, a cause my grandfather supported. I'm not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years.

The only person President or Congressman-then-Vice-President with a more conservative voting record than Barry Goldwater in the last 75 years has been Dick Cheney.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pastor Conrad for John Sidney McCain III

I pray to Hindu and Buddha to raise B. Hussein Osama to the Presidency, just like Pastor Conrad (takes 15-20 seconds to get going).

Brooke Shields New Commercial is Funny/Good

It gets good after a minute or two here. Note, this doesn't actually contain the commercial I saw which I thought was good, but contains the general jist.

Conservative Candidate for Mayor of London

He's a fop.  He's super-rich.  He's not any sort of intellectual heavyweight.  His hair, apparently, is the kind of blinding blonde-white that only little children have.  He is the Conservative Party's candidate for Mayor of London, running against Ken Livingstone, a big-time socialist running on the Labour Party ticket.  Boris Johnson endorses Obama

My Day

Know how bad my day was?  As an example, even though I'm in my fifth week at the company, only today did I get access to the ticketing system, so I can see tickets people assign to me.  Now I have to actually check that sort of thing.

Samuel Joe the Plumber

Plumber wants to buy the business he works for.  He thinks the business pulls in more than $250,000/year.  In actuality the business pulls in about 50-80 thousand in profit on $250,000 in sales.  It is a DAMN shame that this guy might actually buy a business.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So damn...


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogging Mechanics

     Until yesterday I didn't have my system set up so I could use the TV and computer at the same time.  Fixing this, I hope it means increased blogging. 

     Yesterday an old woman asked for my hand, I gave it to her, and she took a step off the curb.  Kinda like 1% of helping her across the road, but it is all she was asking for.

     I never blogged about my life here.  I went to Israel, Egypt and Jordan for two months, never mentioned it.  I was on an archaeological dig.  I went to Perth, Western Australia, for three weeks, never mentioned it.  I went to talk to some nano-technologists but ended up mostly hanging out with some political radicals.  I started a new job a few weeks ago, and lost over 20 pounds between January and August of this year, but probably have gained back 5-10 since I started the new job.  I had a membership at NYC's swankiest gym, but I can't get there from here, and there is a different gym across the street, so I will be starting there as soon as my second paycheck comes in.

     Oh, and I hung out with an old college friend, now mother of two, and her husband, kids, and her friends, most of whom had kids (ages 2-6).  We spent the night sitting around a fire (in Weehawken, NJ) and I spent the night and the next day five parents, five kids and myself went to the Central Park Zoo.  It was killing a day, but I don't feel so bad.  I worked hard for the right to kill as many days as I want.
Language & Conflict: Status of Forces Disagreement Between U.S. and Iraq

Roads to Iraq says Iraqi PM Allawi says there are translation problems with the agreement.  The NY Times has a story on the general fall apart of the non-agreement.

Awesome NY Times Graphics

I'm a big fan of information-laden graphics, generally.
Powell Endorsement Would Have Been Meaningful When Race Was Close

Few people now think McCain can overcome his disadvantages and win.  I hope that is true.  I hope the Powell endorsement will help that. 

     Let's not forget that Powell sat in front of the United Nations and spewed one of the most murderous lines of utter bullshit that humankind has heard in the last few decades.  Supposedly, Powell wouldn't repeat some of the crap the Bush administration told him to, but he did repeat some crap that any reasonable person should have known was garbage (e.g. "unaccounted for stockpiles"), and much else that was of dubious value, while completely avoiding anything that might have cast doubt on his talk (e.g. volunteered CIA interview with Saddam's son-in-law, the defector Gen. Hussein Kamel).

     It's a shame that people like Colin Powell are trumpeted by our press corps as people of substance, whose opinions matter.  He's not a terrible general, but as a politician, he should just shut the fuck up.
Interjection: The Mob Mentality of the Republicans

A lot of left-wing TV journalists are making a lot of this.  After Bush/Cheney was elected in 2000, weren't a lot people calling them fascists?  Nazis, even?  Isn't Adolph Hitler one person that a lot of people agree _should_ have been killed, even though, at one point, he was the elected leader of his country?

The last time the Democrats won the Presidency it was 1996, the year Fox News was born.  Thankfully now we have Rachel Maddow.

A few notes about Alfred E. Smith, losing Democratic Presidential candidate in 1928.  Between James Buchanan in 1856 and FDR in 1932, a span of 76 years, only two Democrats were elected President*, Stephen Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson.  Al Smith, from DUMBO+ in Brooklyn, was the last of the losing Democrats.  In Florida they handed out pictures of the Holland(?) Tunnel under construction and the caption read "Straight to Rome!".  He thought FDR was a lightweight.  He, along with 1924 Democratic Presidential loser John W. Davis, were leaders in the American Liberty League, heavily funded by corporate interests to work against the New Deal. 

[*] Andrew Johnson had been a Democrat, but was only elected Vice-President.
[+] DUMBO stands for "Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Main Idea for Advancing Pedagogy: Part I

     This idea, like any other, has good points and bad, and perhaps has good and bad points I haven't even realized yet. 

     One of the bad points is that it might help the parents of home schoolers.  Home schooling is anti-social and undermines our crazy little world by insulating people from ideas.  Sure, if only geniuses did it, maybe things would work out well enough, but we know that, in large part, it is religious-tome-thumping individuals who are going to withdraw their children from the hated, debauched, decadent and depraved public school system (They don't sacrifice any school lunches to Zeus, by Jove!). They will do this to teach their offspring unpopular ideas.  That's really all there is to home-schooling, isn't it?  Wanting to teach children unpopular ideas like "Non-believers are damned for all eternity."  Perhaps not.

     The idea of "mine" is quite simple, and its roots come from experiences I have had.  When I was in kindergarten, at the very end of the year, one student was told he would not be advancing to first grade.  I guess these teachers were not the sensitive sort (telling him in front of everyone?) and the child ended up leaking an unpleasant smelling liquid onto the floor. 

     I was told I was a smart kid, and started to think of myself that way.  One possible event in the life of a smart kid is to skip a grade.  I even harbored hopes that they'd suggest that for me.  I was also told that it would kinda suck in some respects, so I never really worried that school administrators never called me to tell me I was just too smart for my current grade.

     Both being "kept back" and "skipping a grade" are events that have large impacts on child's life, impacts well outside of the educational goals a school education is trying to achieve. 

     Guesses what the idea is?  Have your own ideas?  Put them in the comment boxes below.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Governor Palin, Trooper Wooten and the Moose

A moose, still dead, finds it tragic, that his own death, a criminal matter, was only important as part of campaign of vengeance in the aftermath of a divorce proceeding.

Todd Palin met with Walter Monegan in the first few days of the Palin administration and the only topic was Trooper Wooten.  Todd presented Monegan with a bunch of papers, including pictures of a dead moose.  Monegan agreed to review the documentation, to see if anything about the Wooten investigation had been mishandled.

Trooper Wooten shot and killed a moose wihtout a permit.  We know this because the Governor's sister (his then wife, and moose-killing permit holder) was standing right next to him.  Another person with first hand knowledge of the incident was Sarah Palin's father, who butchered said moose, which remains, to the present day, very dead.

After the review Monegan told Todd Palin that normally a charge wouldn't be filed, because a permit-holder was present, and if charges were filed, they'd also have to charge Sarah's sister and Sarah's dad.

This from pages 16-23 of the 263 Branchflower report(pdf) on allegations of Palin's abuse of power.
Obama Preferred by International Audiences

PIPA did a poll of 23 countries concerning the 2008 US Presidential election and their results showed that in 22 of the 23 countries it wasn't even close, Obama was preferred.

The one country where it was close?  America.  I kid you a little.  They didn't actually poll Americans on that question, but at the time, July-August 2008, the race was very close in America.

It must be noted, however, that in Russia, Egypt and Turkey, most people didn't think either would be better.  I strongly suspect this is because of Obama's idiotic rhetoric concerning aggression in Georgia and South Ossetia, and his volte face of policy concerning Israel and Palestine. 
The Long, Long Cycle

I can't wait for this credit crisis to be over so I can go back to being blissfully unconcerned with the credit markets which will, inevitably, lead to another credit crisis.
The Business News Networks

Having recently started a job, I've been bummed about the recent economic news.  Being new means I have very little job security.  So, I tune into the business news channels to look at the Futures contracts on the various exchanges.  If the Dow futures are up .5%, it means the Dow will likely go up right away when the markets open for full trading the next day.

You know what I've noticed about the "business" news channels?  The focus on the stock market.  If a company is really both debt (bonds) and stocks, then should (maybe) half the news be about the corporate bond market?  Of course, of course, bonds don't change nearly as much, and the business news does report ratings upgrades and downgrades.  But when they talk about a company, it might be nice to say something like
12,000,000 shares of stock outstanding currently trading at 2$/share with an earnings per share of 25 cents.
100,000,000 of bonds outstanding trading at 99.58 (of face value) and with a yield of 4.8%
For those that don't know, if a company declares bankruptcy, the bondholders are paid back first, then the stockholders share whatever is left.  The extra risk of stocks is related to the potential extra reward.  A ratings downgrade means the ratings agencies think the company has a decreased chance of paying back its debts, so they should be charged more (i.e. pay a higher interest rate) when they issue bonds.  Preferred stock gets paid off (in a bankruptcy situation) before regular stock, but also has less upside potential than common (voting) stock, and there is some type of bond that is riskier than all the rest, but still more secure than all stock, called subordinated debt (it gets paid off after all other bondholders) but I don't know if there is much of a public market in that.
Palin and the Alaskan Ethics Law

Papers are repeating one of the responses of Palin's lawyer, Van Flein to the charge that she abused her power as governor in the Troopergate matter.  "Here, there is no accusation, no finding and no facts that money or financial gain to the Governor was involved in the decision to remove Monegan," the governor's attorney says. "There can be no ethics violations under these circumstances."
Sec. 39.52.120. Misuse of official position.
   (b) A public officer may not
     (4) take or withhold official action in order to affect a matter in which the public officer has a personal or financial interest;
     (5) attempt to benefit a personal or financial interest through coercion of a subordinate or require another public officer to perform services for the private benefit of the public officer at any time;
(empahasis added)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Back to Blogging: Watching the NY Times Lay Down

     Been away from the computer for a while.  The author of FiveThirtyEight is pro-Obama, but his methodology is public.  His polling aggregation is fairly attractive, and the numbers about now look good (if you don't want John McCain to win, anyway, they look good).

     A french paper of non-high-repute published a communique between a Deputy French Ambassador and the French government, suggesting a dictator for Afghanistan is probably NATO's best bet.  The story included a comment that the U.S./NATO plan is doomed.  But a few other NY Times stories basically laid down for the administration.  There was a very long story on a holiday (Eid al-Fitr, end of Ramadan) party held by Iraqis.  Yah?  Really?  Give with the details, NY Times!  Um, I take it back!  A story on Afghanistan's poppy production was basically the repeat of the hopes and wishes of the Governor of Helmand.  The story re-affirms the hard-to-believe story that the poppy problem is a Taliban problem.  Helmand is not near the many parts of Afghanistan which are increasingly Taliban controlled.  In fact, this U.S. State Department map of poppy production from March, 2008 doesn't overlap well at all with this 2007 map of Taliban influence.  Sure, the Taliban has influence in Helmand, which is a Pushtun(Pashto-speaking) area, but they are much stronger in/near the Waziris, Peshawar and Jalalabad.  I suppose they could be farming in the South and sending the funds to the East, but they are strong in the East, not so much in the South.  Here is another, more recent, map of violence in Afghanistan, which furthers the point.

     The NY Times laid down again when discussing violence in Somalia.  The article starts by bemoaning the lack of health services in one of the most anarchic nation-sized places on Earth, firmly blaming the Somali Islamists who are battling the Ethiopian backed government.  But Somalia is actually divided into Somaliland, Puntland, Gulmudug and Ethiopian/Islamist embattled areas.  Most of the physical space of Somalia has no connection to the Ethiopian connected areas, much of which has been under very limited control of the Ethiopian backed government at any time (De Jure Government areas on the map).  Do I want Islamists to run Somalia?  No, I'd prefer they got their act together, educated their kids until their brains spin, and ran their own show.  Arguably, I'm for Greater Somalia (although I know neither Kenya nor Ethiopia is going to give up an acre of land without first shooting a lot of people, no matter what the people on that land might want).

     Somalian Islamists are throwing out _two_ (not all) aid groups from their areas.  This a week after four CARE offices were raided.  The NY Times doesn't even ponder that maybe the US Gov't was using these groups as cover for their operatives.  Keeping Americans ignorant is the job of a newspaper?  Bah.

Another article, which I swear did more covering for Wall St. in the print version, suggests that Germany might weather some sort of global depression (always possible, now more likely than some other times) best.