Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maybe a virgin sacrifice into a volcano...


Sorry Georgie. It won't work. The finals are in and you've failed. Big time. There aren't any reset buttons or do overs. You and your neocon cronies have broken the United States of America. Congratulations.


Don't forget to read the top ten Republican idiots of the week.

I'll just leave you with a quote that will serve Palin well in the upcoming debates:
PALIN: I'll try to find you some, and I'll bring them to you.

The fundamentals are all fucked up, John

But you knew that.... right?

Monday, September 29, 2008

McCain takes credit for the bailout bill

before it doesn't pass.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his top aides took credit for building a winning bailout coalition – hours before the vote failed and stocks tanked.

The rush to claim he had engineered a victory now looks like a strategic blunder that will prolong the McCain’s campaign’s difficulty in finding a winning message on the economy.

Shortly before the vote, McCain had bragged about his involvement and mocked Sen. Barack Obama for staying on the sidelines.

“I've never been afraid of stepping in to solve problems for the American people, and I'm not going to stop now,” McCain told a rally in Columbus, Ohio. “Sen. Obama took a very different approach to the crisis our country faced. At first he didn't want to get involved. Then he was monitoring the situation.”
McCain, grinning, flashed a sarcastic thumbs up.

Why can't we be like the Swedes?

When they had almost an identical economic meltdown:

But Sweden took a different course than the one now being proposed by the United States Treasury. And Swedish officials say there are lessons from their own nightmare that Washington may be missing.

Sweden did not just bail out its financial institutions by having the government take over the bad debts. It extracted pounds of flesh from bank shareholders before writing checks. Banks had to write down losses and issue warrants to the government.

That strategy held banks responsible and turned the government into an owner. When distressed assets were sold, the profits flowed to taxpayers, and the government was able to recoup more money later by selling its shares in the companies as well.

Gee.. a thoughtful deliberate action instead of a panicked demand for money. How strange.


The Bush administration is spreading freedoms and democracy

By bringing in cholera to Iraqis, poisoning their environment, ruining their infrastructure. Perhaps even building nuclear bases in the country...

By an uptick in violence in Afghanistan.

By breaking the world's economies.

Heckuva job, Georgie!


McCain: Worse than Bush

And that's saying a lot.

Paul Krugman:
At this point, one has the suspicion that a McCain administration would have us longing for Bush-era competence.

The real revelation of the last few weeks, however, has been just how erratic Mr. McCain’s views on economics are. At any given moment, he seems to have very strong opinions — but a few days later, he goes off in a completely different direction.

Thus on Sept. 15 he declared — for at least the 18th time this year — that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” This was the day after Lehman failed and Merrill Lynch was taken over, and the financial crisis entered a new, even more dangerous stage.

But three days later he declared that America’s financial markets have become a “casino,” and said that he’d fire the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission — which, by the way, isn’t in the president’s power.

And then he found a new set of villains — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored lenders. (Despite some real scandals at Fannie and Freddie, they played little role in causing the crisis: most of the really bad lending came from private loan originators.) And he moralistically accused other politicians, including Mr. Obama, of being under Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial influence; it turns out that a firm owned by his own campaign manager was being paid by Freddie until just last month.

Then Mr. Paulson released his plan, and Mr. McCain weighed vehemently into the debate. But he admitted, several days after the Paulson plan was released, that he hadn’t actually read the plan, which was only three pages long.

O.K., I think you get the picture.

The modern economy, it turns out, is a dangerous place — and it’s not the kind of danger you can deal with by talking tough and denouncing evildoers. Does Mr. McCain have the judgment and temperament to deal with that part of the job he seeks?

Check the ingredients label before you buy

But realize that you cannot always tell if the company has used Chinese products to make their food item:
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's health ministry said melamine had been detected in 12 food items from China, including cookies, candies and drinks, as the fall-out from China's tainted-milk scandal spread to Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency found that 12 out of 19 Chinese milk products on sale in the country tested positive for melamine, the health ministry said in a statement posted on its website (http:/wwww.depkes.go.id).

The government has temporarily banned imports of dairy products in China, and the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency ordered all regional offices to pull Chinese dairy products off shop shelves for investigation as more details of China's tainted food scandal emerged.
How many times in the past several years have products of all kinds been pulled from shelves because of horrible toxic chemicals or poisons?

China apparently has NO LEARNING CURVE on this. They've been caught, apologized, promised not to do it again, and have promptly turned around and done it again. How many people do they have to kill before companies realize China will dump anything (and I mean anything) into their products?

It would be nice to be able to stop buying anything that comes from China but I realize it's impossible.

But wherever possible, if it says China on the label, I will not buy it.

Update: Check where your Cadbury chocolate was made.

Update: List of foods from China that were found contaminated.

Update 9/30: Sign the petition to strengthen the FDA.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What is John McCain hiding by not releasing his medical records?

Update 9/28: DaveV at Daily Kos notes the noticeable droop of the left side of McCain's face.

Update 10/1: Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat notes the various stages of melanoma that McCain has had and what the survival rate is.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Keating Five Scandal

Kinda fits with the stuff happening on Wall Street today, doncha think? Why hasn't the media picked up on this?

Can you imagine what they would be doing if Obama or Clinton had this scandal in their background?

Why is McCain getting a free ride? Why is he not answering persistent and probing questions about his unsavory past and questionable strip mall investments with Charles Keating?


The world that time forgot....

Notice something interesting? McCain's name is never mentioned.

(via Wonkette)

Why wouldn't you want your running mate to talk about you after the debate?

Joe Biden was having a blast. Where was Sarah Palin?
As The New Republic's Michael Crowley noted during the post-debate coverage, Palin's absence looked particularly awkward given the fact that Joe Biden was appearing all over the place:

Amusing moment on CNN just now. Wolf Blitzer, coming out of a commercial:

"We've been getting some emails from views out there wondering why we spent some time interviewing Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and not Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. We would have loved to interview--we'd still love to interview Sarah Palin. Unfortunately we asked, we didn't get that interview...We're hoping that Sarah Palin will join us at some point down the road."

I'm told that Biden appeared on every major network tonight except ABC (which only turned him down because Palin wasn't available, on an equal-time sort of basis).

It's pretty strange when a candidate can't trust his own running mate to be out there spinning on his behalf.
Can you imagine Caribou Barbie having to become president? Really ... PRESIDENT? She's George Bush in a dress, a lot better looking, but even more extreme. She's vindictive, a religious zealot, insists on total loyalty, believes in censorship, lies to the press with ease, and is being trained by Rove and his minions as we speak. Talk about being not only Bush's third term but Bush's third term on steroids!

Has anyone yet asked WHY?

Why did the concept of torture come up? Why was it even considered? Who could possibly be so cold hearted, unethical, and unconcerned about blowback that they would think it was a good idea? (Don't answer that.) Because of the recent news that Condi Rice has admitted torture was discussed at the highest levels in the White House (which we knew anyway, but it's nice to have an admission), I bring back this post:

They even watched:


JUAN GONZALEZ: And Alberto Gonzales’s trip to Guantanamo, could you talk about that?

PHILIPPE SANDS: Well, I’ve spoken for the first time, or at least people I’ve spoken with have for the first time now become publicly identified as closely involved. Diane Beaver was the lawyer down at Guantanamo. Mike Dunlavey was her boss. General Hill was the commander of United States SouthCom based at Miami. I’ve spoken to all three of them, and both Diane Beaver and Mike Dunlavey, who have largely been scapegoated by the administration, described to me the visit that Mr. Gonzales made, accompanied by Mr. Addington, who’s Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, and Jim Haynes, who is Rumsfeld’s lawyer.

They came down. They talked about interrogation techniques. They apparently even watched an interrogation or two. I was told that the driving individual was Mr. Addington, who was obviously the man in control. And I was told in particular by Diane Beaver that she was quite fearful of Mr. Haynes, and she also shared with me that Alberto Gonzales was rather quiet.
I've it before and I say it now, these members of Bush's cabal were into torture. It made them feel like they could shock and awe the world with their mighty and powerful ... military and bombs.


Hard to push how mighty and powerful we are when all this war has shown is how craven and cowardly these creeps actually are.


If we can't bring ourselves to do it, let there please be one brave European country who can take our war criminals to the Hague!


Because torture is always immoral.

Even the military knows this:
The former head of interrogations at Guantánamo Bay found that records of an al-Qaida suspect tortured at the prison camp were mysteriously lost by the US military, according to a new book by one of Britain's top human rights lawyers.

Retired general Michael Dunlavey, who supervised Guantánamo for eight months in 2002, tried to locate records on Mohammed al-Qahtani, accused by the US of plotting the 9/11 attacks, but found they had disappeared.

The records on al-Qahtani, who was interrogated for 48 days - "were backed up ... after I left, there was a snafu and all was lost", Dunlavey told Philippe Sands QC, who reports the conversation in his book Torture Team, previewed last week by the Guardian. Snafu stands for Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

Saudi-born al-Qahtani was sexually taunted, forced to perform dog tricks and given enemas at Guantánamo.

The CIA admitted last year that it destroyed videotapes of al-Qaida suspects being interrogated at a secret "black site" in Thailand. No proof has so far emerged that tapes of interrogations at Guantánamo were destroyed, but Sands' report suggests the US may have also buried politically sensitive proof relating to abuse by interrogators at the prison camp.

Other new evidence has also emerged in the last month that raises questions about destroyed tapes at Guantánamo.
We need to see accountability, responsibility, justice. We need to see impeachment.


Books people don't want you to read.

Fascinating lists of banned books present day and 20th century. Read one today. A lot of books today being challenged are ones for children that deal with sex or question religion. But if you ever think banning anything is ok, look at the list of 100 banned/ challenged books of this last century:
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Ulysses, James Joyce
Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
Beloved, Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1984, George Orwell
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Lolita, Vladmir Nabokov
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Native Son, Richard Wright
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin
All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
Lady Chatterley's Lover, DH Lawrence
Sons and Lovers, DH Lawrence
Women in Love, DH Lawrence
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
A Separate Peace, John Knowles
Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser
Rabbit, Run, John Updike
How many of these books are now classics and used in schools? Imagine never being transformed by reading them (I count 19 out of the list that I've actually read, more if I include reading sections of the novel or seeing the movies.) How many have become movies that still resonate today?

Censorship of books should never happen. We don't need the thought police trying to control what we think, although I realize fear is behind the desire to burn unsettling thoughts and have myself occasionally wished to destroy something I violently disagree with. But time will blow away the chaff, expose the falsehoods and the lies; the quality and the truth will remain.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Soldiers from Iraq duty being brought home

And being toughed up to deal with protesters:

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.

Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.

And: (my bold)

The colonel’s remark suggests that, in preparation for their“homefront” duties, rank-and-file troops are also being routinely Tasered. The brutalizing effect and intent of such a macabre training exercise is to inure troops against sympathy for the pain and suffering they may be called upon to inflict on the civilian population using these same “non-lethal” weapons.

According to military officials quoted by the Army Times, the deployment of regular Army troops in the US begun with the First Brigade Combat Team is to become permanent, with different units rotated into the assignment on an annual basis.

In an online interview with reporters earlier this month, NorthCom officers were asked about the implications of the new deployment for the Posse Comitatus Act, the 230-year-old legal statute that bars the use of US military forces for law enforcement purposes within the US itself.

Col. Lou Volger, NorthCom’s chief of future operations, tried to downplay any enforcement role, but added, “We will integrate with law enforcement to understand the situation and make sure we’re aware of any threats.”

Volger acknowledged the obvious, that the Brigade Combat Team is a military force, while attempting to dismiss the likelihood that it would play any military role. It “has forces for security,” he said, “but that’s really—they call them security forces, but that’s really just to establish our own footprint and make sure that we can operate and run our own bases.”

Lt. Col. James Shores, another NorthCom officer, chimed in, “Let’s say even if there was a scenario that developed into a branch of a civil disturbance—even at that point it would take a presidential directive to even get it close to anything that you’re suggesting.”
Update 9/27: Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat found the possible original link.

Now all your thoughts are belong to us.

(09-23) 17:06 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bush administration has overturned a 22-year-old policy and now allows customs agents to seize, read and copy documents from travelers at airports and borders without suspicion of wrongdoing, civil rights lawyers in San Francisco said Tuesday in releasing records obtained in a lawsuit.

The records also indicate that the government gives customs agents unlimited authority to question travelers about their religious beliefs and political opinions, said lawyers from the Asian Law Caucus and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They said they had asked the Department of Homeland Security for details of any policy that would guide or limit such questioning and received no reply.

"We're concerned that people of South Asian or Muslim-looking background are being targeted inappropriately" for questioning and searches, said Asian Law Caucus attorney Shirin Sinnar.

Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the new policies reflect "the realities of the post-9/11 environment."

Nice. We really need to get the Department of Homeland Security some black knee high boots and a flashy arm band. Jesus.

Update: 9/27: Phila of Bouphonia posts over at Echidne's, and has much more to say and says it better'n me.

Nobody light a match!

Methane being released in the north in huge amounts because of melting ice:
The U.K.'s Independent reported today some pretty shocking news in "Exclusive: The methane time bomb":

The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists ...

The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.

Assuming these findings are published in a peer-reviewed publication, as is planned, they should be taken quite seriously for four reasons. First, many fear that a huge methane release is what happened during the Permian-Triassic extinction event and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. Second, releasing even a small fraction of the sub-sea methane would make a stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions at non-catastrophic concentrations all but impossible.

Third, as NOAA reported earlier this year, levels of methane rose sharply last year for the first time since 1998..[snip]

Fourth, the findings are apparently based on very new and credible in situ measurements:

Scientists aboard a research ship that has sailed the entire length of Russia's northern coast have discovered intense concentrations of methane -- sometimes at up to 100 times background levels -- over several areas covering thousands of square miles of the Siberian continental shelf.
So. If we don't get washed out of our homes by the rising sea levels, blown out of them by more category 5 hurricanes, tossed out of them by foreclosures and another Great Depression... we can be gassed to death in them by methane...

Shouldn't we ...ah... be doing something? Like planting shrubberies? Igniting the methane hot spots? Dumping ice cubes into the ocean? Something?


Because it won't just be the polar bears who'll disappear...

Don't make excuses for Sarah Palin.

Jack Cafferty:
"I'm 65 and have been covering politics, as have you, for a long time. That is one of the most pathetic pieces of tape I of ever seen for someone aspiring to one of the highest offices in this country."
Watch the video.

Igor's revenge

Murray Waas reports on the website of the Atlantic that Alberto Gonzales is now telling investigators that he was being personally directed by President Bush when, as White House counsel, Gonzales made a much-discussed late-night visit in 2004 to the hospital room of then Attorney General John Ashcroft, in order to get Ashcroft to certify that the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program was legal.
I guess Abu Gonzales didn't like being thrown under the bus...



Phila of Bouphonia compiles the list.


Obama vs. McCain, round one


But what we will probably get:


And with the VP debates between Biden and Palin:


But what we will probably get:


So McCain will play the last card he has. The sympathy card:


But at that point, most of the watching audience will no longer care:


Quite enough recklessness already this century.

Comparison of experiences of past vice presidents to Palin's:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our country after eight years of the Bush administration


A single home is left standing among debris from Hurricane Ike September 14, 2008 in Gilchrist, Texas. Floodwaters from Hurricane Ike were reportedly as high as eight feet in some areas causing widespread damage across the coast of Texas. (David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)

Dying because it's a good political move

Soldiers are told to stay in Iraq not to protect our freedoms, not because of the supposed revenge for 9/11, not to spread democracy... but for political circumstances.

Maddow cited an interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, conducted last week by Iraqi state television, during which "he said when he was negotiating with the Bush administration to pick a withdrawal date for our troops to come home, they initially settled on about 15 months from now, the end of 2010. But then ... the Bush administration came back and told the Iraqis they'd actually like our troops to stay in Iraq an extra year, through 2011 ... 'due to political circumstances related to the US domestic situation.'"

"So the prime minister of Iraq says on tape," Maddow summarized, "according to our own government's translation, that the Bush administration wants to prolong the war in Iraq for an extra year because of our domestic politics."

"If you feel like your hair is on fire right now," she added, "you're not alone."
In the Bush Cheney administration, soldiers are expendable.


Rewarding incompetence.

Dean Baker of TPM Cafe:

This raises the basic point that it is extremely difficult to trust this administration. It was good to hear President Bush say that he doesn't want the CEOs that wrecked their companies profit from this bailout, but does anyone believe that he will structure the bailout to ensure that this does not happen? Similarly, he has gone along with the idea that the government will get an equity stake in financial companies in exchange for buying their junk, but does anyone believe that we will get as good a deal as Warren Buffet did when he bought a stake in Goldman Sachs?

There can be no presumption of good faith from this administration. Unless the conditions are written in stone, for example specific rules that limit executive compensation using the same type of language that CEOs use when they sign contracts with their companies, there is no reason for the public to believe that they will get a fair deal in this bailout. The public should also demand that some genuine outsiders, representatives of labor, consumer groups and other non-Wall Street segments of society, have a direct oversight role in this deal.

If these demands are too extreme for the Bush administration, then they are not telling the truth about the financial crisis. If the risks are really as great as President Bush claims, then he should unhesitatingly agree to guarantees that will prevent the incompetents from profiting further from their incompetence. We shall see.

So this bailout is kinda like George Bush's golden parachute.... shoring up the economy so he can saunter from the Oval Office with plausible deniability? (The economy collapsed on Obama's watch!) Bush is doing it again, isn't he?

Leaving us the mess after trashing the place.


Don't think it will work this time, Georgie.

Why they don't want Palin to debate Biden

She doesn't have the verbal skills, the depth of knowledge, the ability to think on her feet, does she? It's just now dawning on the McCain campaign?:
Her lack of depth was painfully on display last week when she was asked at a Michigan town meeting, "I'd like to know that all that oil we're going to drill here is going to stay here domestically and it's not going to be exported by the oil companies." You can listen to her answer here:
Oil of coal, of course, is a fungible commodity and they don't flag, ya know, the molecules where, where it's going to, where it's not, but and in the, in the sense of the Congress today they know our very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So I believe that what Congress is going to do also is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it's Americans who get stuck holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here; it's gotta flow into our domestic markets first.
Not quite Miss Teen South Carolina territory, but borderline gibberish, self-contradictory, and kind of pointless.

Let's forget that she starts by saying "of coal" instead of "of course." Could happen to anyone who is nervous. She is correct that oil is a fungible (i.e. completely interchangeable) commodity -- the world market doesn't care or have any way of knowing where the original oil comes from. But why add the "flag the molecules" line? Obviously nobody would flag molecules. If she thought "fungible" might not be understood by her audience, how could "flag the molecules" add either simplicity or clarity?
I betcha they won't be able to have the vice presidential debate. It will just be too hard for them to organize it around this awful ... ah... (a) economic disaster (b)war in Iraq (c)hurricane season (d)airplane part missing (e) dog that ate the debate schedule....

(Via JJ of Unrepentant Old Hippie)

You can't suspend the democratic process!

(Via Chet of Vanity Press)

Listen to Representative Marcy Kaptur on the Wall Street bailout

(via Steve of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat and Mark Adams of American Street)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This economic meltdown teaches us why you shouldn't vote into government

Those who profess to hate it. Their incompetence is deliberate, deregulation is their mantra. We now see where lack of oversight and destruction of checks and balances will lead. To total ruin.


When the federal government is run by morons

You turn to the states to make good:

Los Angeles, CA (AHN) - Seven U.S. western states and four Canadian provinces unveiled Tuesday a regional climate initiative that will cut greenhouse gas pollutants through an emission trading system.

Under the so-called Western Climate Initiative, Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec will issue industries permits to pollute but with a cap. The permits could then be traded by the industries among themselves to cheaply cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The initiative also allows participating states and province to offset emissions by planting trees or capturing landfill emissions, which are considered cheaper alternatives than installing expensive equipment to cut fossil fuel burning or switching to cleaner power.

The Western Climate Initiative.

The Los Angeles Times:
"We're sending a strong message to our federal governments that states and provinces are moving forward in the absence of federal action," said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, adding that the effort would spur renewable energy development and create "green jobs."

California, which passed a landmark global warming law in 2006, is well on its way to curbing emissions. But other states and provinces will have to overcome opposition in legislatures and from influential businesses. And several states have yet to sign on, including Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Wyoming. Nevada has the fastest-growing population in the nation, and Colorado and Wyoming are booming energy states.

The plan also relies on a complex trading system in which businesses can buy and barter their way out of trimming emissions. Europe has instituted a carbon market, but not without some controversy. And many economists say that a tax on carbon would be a more efficient way to reduce global warming.

The initiative comes as studies suggest that climate change is taking a toll on the Western region of the U.S. and Canada. Scientists say that without dramatic cuts in the global burning of fossil fuels, Western states will suffer disproportionately from water shortages, severe wildfires, coastal flooding and species die-offs.

The Western plan covers about 20% of the U.S. economy and more than 70% of the Canadian economy, affecting power plants, industrial facilities and transportation, among other economic sectors. The seven states are Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The Canadian provinces are British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
Gee. Even our local politicians recognize that before their state begins to look like this...


...people are expecting them to do something. NOW. As in immediately.

Thank you, Governor Gropenator, sir.

What the Brits think of Americans

Besides bafflement and confusion:
It's not so much contempt they feel toward America as bafflement: Sarah Palin is as alien to Brits as a prehistoric creature dragged from the depths of the sea. You can't accuse them of objecting to a strong, ideologically rigid female presence in politics (hello, Margaret Thatcher and her handbag of doom!), but the forces that formed her ideology are bewildering. Remember, fewer than 10 per cent of Britons regularly attend church; they do not have the death penalty; abortion is a private, not a political matter; and their familiarity with guns extends to occasionally going out in plaid trousers and blasting the heads off tiny birds.

So the British newspapers have, like The New York Herald shoving Henry Stanley out the door in search of Dr. Livingstone, sent their reporters to explore America's dark, unknowable heart. “Judgment day is not far away,” read the headline on The Times's story about one of Palin's spiritual advisers – the one who thinks the apocalypse may be coming, and not just to a cinema near you.

The Daily Mail, as cheeky as it is fear-mongering, sent a female reporter to have a Palin makeover, which, she informed us perkily, made her feel “very powerful indeed.” The story was illustrated with a series of famous faces – including Barack Obama's – stuck under the now-famous glasses and bun.

When The Sunday Times sent its acerbic critic A.A. Gill (no bleeding heart) to the Republican convention, he watched Palin speak and pronounced, “I think she looks hard and calculating and a bit of a bitch.” This week the BBC released a poll of 22,000 people in 22 countries, which revealed that by an overwhelming margin – four to one – the world wants Obama to win. Of course, their vote is as meaningless as mine, which raises the dire prospect of four more years trying to explain a country that, increasingly, I don't understand myself.

(The writer is Canadian.) And as an American, I'd like to apologize profoundly for the last eight years. I'd like to say we won't do it again, but we have yet to figure out a way to fumigate for stupidity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

But.. this campaign wasn't supposed to be about the issues!

The McCain campaign group had all the media parroting talk about lipsticks and pigs! Things were going wonderfully! Now suddenly the obviously liberal media is demanding specifics. What specifics? The media is lying!:
Sen. John McCain’s top campaign aides convened a conference call today to complain of being called “liars.” They pressed the media to scrutinize specific elements of Sen. Barack Obama’s record.

But the call was so rife with simple, often inexplicable misstatements of fact that it may have had the opposite effect: to deepen the perception, dangerous to McCain, that he and his aides have little regard for factual accuracy.

The errors in McCain strategist Steve Schmidt’s charges against Obama and Sen. Joe Biden were particularly notable because they seemed unnecessary. Schmidt repeatedly gilded the lily: He exaggerated the Biden family's already problematic ties to the credit card industry; Obama’s embarrassing relationship with a 1960s radical; and an Obama supporter’s over-the-top attack on Sarah Palin when — in each case — the truth would have been damaging enough.


Asked about the series of errors, McCain aides could not provide evidence to back up Schmidt’s assertions.
Facts? We don't need no stinkin' facts! Repeat after McCain: The fundamentals are strong! Strong I tell you! Rippling with muscles... like America should be! Like it should have been back in 'Nam! Which is on the list to bomb once McCain gets into office! Facts? Look... something shiny!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Check your spam

You might have missed this one:
Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

And the walls came tumbling down...


The top ten list of the week.

And a quote:
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week insisted that the price tag for bailing out Wall Street would come to a princely $700 billion - cha-ching! - a vast pile of cash that we could somehow never seem to find when it was needed for silly things like healthcare or education or fixing Social Security. But here comes Wall Street, cap in hand, and what do you know? There it is.

crossposted at SteveAudio

But you know that you can't teach an old dog

new tricks...

What's that crashing sound?!!


Click the picture to go and see Tengrains's Hanky's Panky!! Playing now at theaters near you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrr Reeepeaat, maties!

It's September 19th!

Avast, me hearties! It's talk like a pirate day, it tis. ARRrrrrr.

Yeh need a name
first of all. Me name is ellroon, Black Lizzie.

And then th' video t' help yeh words:

And the best part of Pirates of Penzance:

jac of Yet Another Website has more, even on how to pick up wenches! Arrr.

English t'Pirate Translator fer those who canna deal w'th'speech.


Even back in 1989, McCain wasn't talking about being a POW...

Oh wait.... yes, he was.

Tom Fitzpatrick in 1989 for the Phoenix New Times writes about McCain's actions:(my bold)
McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five


So you spend your days desperately trying to make sure you will be one of the survivors. You keep volunteering to go on radio and television stations to protest your innocence. Last week you made ABC's Nightline.

Not long before that you somehow managed to get James Kilpatrick, the national columnist, to write a favorable paragraph about you. Last Sunday morning, you made it to national television again; this time on ABC's This Week With David Brinkley. You smiled at the panel with your usual studied insouciance. Sitting next to you was Senator John Glenn of Ohio.

Brinkley, Sam Donaldson, and George Will were the interrogators.
It was a sobering scene. There you sat with Glenn, both sweating before the cameras, waiting to answer questions: two badly tarnished American icons.

No one forgets that Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. You won't let anyone forget that you were a prisoner of war. But you have played that tune too long. By now your constant reminders about your war record make you seem like a modern version of Arthur Miller's tragic failure Willy Loman.

Clearly, both you and Glenn sold your fame for Charles Keating's money.

It was a Faustian bargain. It was also a bad joke on the rest of us and a disaster for many old people who lost their life's savings to Keating.

The money was never really Keating's to give. But he never would have got his hands on it if you and the rest of the Keating Five didn't halt the government takeover for two long years while Keating's people continued their looting.

And now, the tab for the Savings and Loan heist must be paid from taxpayer pockets.

On Sunday, Senators Dennis DeConcini, Alan Cranston, and Riegle refused offers to appear on the Brinkley show. What must we make of that?

You, the closest of them to Keating and the deepest in his debt, have chosen the path of the hard sell. You may even make it out of the pot, but to many, your protestations of innocence taste like gall.
After reading this article it's clear that McCain is actually kind of a shit. And today's media's romance with the Straight Talker is beginning to hit the rocks:
But now, Drew's done. After noting McCain's shift to the hard right, away from the 2000 persona that made him a hero to many, Drew explains that McCain "morph[ed] into just another panderer -- to Bush and the Republican Party's conservative base."
[S]ome very smart political analysts believed from the outset that McCain could win the nomination by sticking with his old self. And they still believe that McCain won the nomination not because he gave himself over to the base but as a result of a process of elimination of inferior candidates who divided up the conservative vote, as these observers had predicted. (These people insisted on anonymity because McCain is known in Republican circles to have a long memory and a vindictive streak.)

It's taken how many years?


Because this is the end of the Bush administration and legal protection will disappear? Or because we are demanding the names of the people who thought torture was interesting, intriguing, something to study? Why has it taken five effing years to realize that shit splatters?
Members of the American Psychological Association have voted to prohibit consultation in the interrogations of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or so-called black sites operated by the Central Intelligence Agency overseas, the association said on Wednesday.

The vote, 8,792 to 6,157 in a mail-in balloting concluded Monday, may help to settle a long debate within the profession over the ethics of such work. Psychologists have helped military and C.I.A. interrogators evaluate detainees, plan questioning strategy and judge its psychological costs. The association’s ethics code, while condemning a list of coercive techniques adopted in the Bush administration’s antiterrorism campaign, has allowed some consultation “for national security-related purposes.”
Do you really want to be treated by someone who was involved in torture? Don't you think you'd want to know your doctor thought torture was a good idea? Would you trust being treated by someone who was involved in torture? We want to know who these 'professionals' are before they sink back into anonymity and become our lawyers, our doctors, our psychiatrists, our pediatricians.

We want their names.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Katrina II

Reports of tragedy filtering out of Galveston and Bolivar by Robert Ryland:

He's in a pretty high-up supervisory position for a refinery down on the coast.
His refinery has some equipment and lines in and around Galveston county, and before they were to bring them back on line he and his crew had to inspect the place for damage and potential hazards. So they were given permission....after a background check....to helicopter in and inspect, which meant coming in over Galveston.

I kid you not when I say that he told me they saw AT LEAST 1500 bodies in trees scattered about Galveston. They also saw a lot in various ditches and marshes, esp. on the north side of East Galv. Bay, east side of Trinity Bay, and in the marshes between I-45 and Seabrook/Clear Lake/Deer Park.

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Think back on how it has been for the last eight years. Remember how people were put down, mocked, and verbally pissed on when they spoke up, spoke out, spoke against the Bush administration. Remember how members of the Republican Congress wouldn't tell Democrats where the committees were meeting. Remember how the assumption was that there would be a one party rule for a thousand years because it was the Republicans time and they deserved it.

Remember. And read what Digby said:
If this election is close they will fight back any of Obama's proposals ferociously. They see such elections as illegitimate four year respites from rightful Republican rule. They will not see themselves as having been repudiated, but rather having been failed by both Bush and McCain --- because they were apostates. True conservatives never give up, never give in, never ... compromise with Democrats.

Liberals are going to have to decisively defeat the modern conservative movement in a big election if they want to move past this partisan fighting. As long as each side is roughly equal in numbers, and the races are close, this will remain a pitched battle.

Let's hope this will be a big decisive progressive win in November. But --- let's not count on it. I think the smart money is on a close election, which means there is no margin being nice to Republicans. They certainly aren't going to be nice in return.
They are going to actively resist, deliberately poison the well, lay landmines, block legislation, undermine, sabotage, delay. They are going to fight tooth and nail against anything at all that the Obama administration will want. They will purposely hurt the country if it hurts Democrats.

Know this and be prepared. Because if Obama wins, we are going to be told we must forgive and forget.

I'm not going to forgive something that has not been repented, regretted and changed. I'm not going to forget the relentless hounding of Clinton or the eight horrible years of Bush. We can make nice, but it will be on Obama's terms, not dictated by the very same people who broke this country, trashed our government, and think that we can just sweep the shards under the rug and pretend that bygones will be bygones.

Because everyone knows that if they were to regain power tomorrow, they'd do exactly the same things over again.

Our Waterloo

The Worst Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression by Nouriel Roubini:
This financial crisis signals the beginning of the decline of the American Empire; over time the relative economic, financial, military, geostrategic power of the US and reserve role of the US dollar will significantly decline.
And so George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney will go down in the history books as the people who broke the United States of America. Thanks, guys!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Now I know who Palin reminds me of!

Edited to add the video:

Thanks to Brad of Sadly, No!, I can suggest we take a bit of this:

With a bit of this:


With a sprinkling of this:


And this:

And you get this:


Instead of pets, now they are killing babies.

Greed does not have a learning curve, apparently:
BEIJING -- China’s Ministry of Health on Monday announced that two babies have died in recent months and 1,253 others have been sickened by contaminated milk powder in a rapidly expanding food safety scandal that became public last week.

More than 340 infants remain hospitalized, including 53 in serious condition.

Meanwhile, inspection teams are visiting dairy farms and processing centers in the country’s four main milk-producing provinces to insure that producers are not violating safety standards.

Authorities have confirmed that the tainted milk powder was laced with melamine, a chemical additive sometimes used to make plastics and fertilizer. Last year, a contaminated pet food scare in the United States was traced to Chinese animal feed that had been blended with melamine.
This is not the first time they have poisoned children with milk.

Tell me again why on earth we are buying ANYTHING from China? Lead, date rape drugs, melamine, you name it, it's been jammed into our food and other products we buy from China.

We want it cheap, but it will be toxic. Take your pick from these products:
Keeping track of the other incidences:

poisonous baby clothing,
cub scout patches,
food poisoning of school children,
hydrogen explosions in school,
toxic seafood and pork....

Update: How could I forget about the poisoning pet food with melamine?
And toothpaste?
And cough syrup?

Adding to this list:


Fake Kosher
Formaldehyde in baby clothes
I told you guys their attempts to self-regulate would last only two minutes.

Andover, Andover, can Rover come over?

For a citizen's arrest?!:
Saturday morning, the dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a two day planning session with a single focus: To arrest, put to trial and carry out sentence on criminals in the Bush Administration.

The conference, arranged by Lawrence Vevel, cofounder of the Andover school, will focus on which of Bush's officials and members of Congress could be charged with war crimes. The plan also calls for "necessary organizational structures" to be established, with the purpose of pursuing the guilty "to the ends of the Earth."
Yes, please. May they travel in fear for the rest of their evil craven lives.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lies and deceptions

It worked so well the first time.
Indeed, today alone we learned that the McCain campaign's claim that Governor Palin traveled to Iraq is a lie. In fact, she didn't cross the Kuwait border. We learned that the McCain campaign is desperate enough to tell the press phony crowd numbers, which they falsely attributed to local elected officials and the United States Secret Service. And we learned that despite Senator McCain's claim that Governor Palin is a fiscal conservative, spending actually increased during her brief tenure as Governor.
But remember, it's isn't about the issues.

Apparently they're hoping you haven't been paying attention, you have completely bought into the illusion, or that you are, as the Republicans sincerely hope, actually stupid.

Republicans in burkas

Juan Cole:

Sept. 9, 2008 | John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the "transcendent challenge" of the 21st century, "radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God's will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.

McCain pledged to work for peace based on "the transformative ideals on which we were founded." Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language. She tried to fire the librarian for defying her. Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The reality of playing the stupid victim card...

He said it, not me: Divorced from reality

Stupid is as stupid does:
It isn't surprising that the McCain campaign wants this sort of tawdry, Freak Show/Reality Show vapidity to determine the outcome of the election. If you were them, wouldn't you want that, too? And though it's not news that establishment media outlets are so easily and happily manipulated by these tactics, tactics which enable them to cover "stories" which their empty-headed reporters can easily comprehend, it is still striking to watch the now-decades-old process unfold and observe how absolutely nothing has changed:
National Security = Energy to McCain.

McCain is going negative because Obama made him:
A series of ads — including accusations that Barack Obama backed teaching sex education to Illinois kindergartners and charges that Obama called Sarah Palin a lipstick-wearing pig — have provoked a cascade of criticism of McCain’s tactics.

The furor presents a breathtaking contrast to McCain’s image as a kind of anti-politician who plays fair, disdains politics as usual and has never forgotten how his 2000 presidential campaign was incinerated by a series of loathsome dirty tricks in the South Carolina primary.

The defense from the candidate himself — heard only on “The View” because he hasn’t held a news conference in more than a month — is to essentially assert that he’s savaging Obama because the Illinois senator wouldn’t agree to the series of town hall meetings McCain proposed at the end of the Democratic primary season.

Blog sprinkles


Tangled web of lies and stealing.

Feminists in distress over Palin

Sign the petition

Creationism at school will bring in students to science class


Personal experiences on how to deal with hurricanes and the aftermath

Michael Palin for President!

(stolen from Chet Scoville of Vanity Press)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness by David Barry:

We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any day now, you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Atlantic Ocean and making two basic meteorological points.

(1) There is no need to panic.
(2) We could all be killed.

Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Florida. If you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one." Based on our insurance industry experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:

STEP 1: Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.

STEP 2: Put these supplies into your car.

STEP 3: Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween. Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Florida.

HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements:

(1) It is reasonably well-built, and
(2) It is located in Wisconsin

Unfortunately, if your home is located in Florida, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss.

SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors, There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:

Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they're cheap. But remember, they are made of PLYWOOD!!!

Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.

Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them.

Hurricane-proof windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in Nebraska.


Hurricane Proofing your property: As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting relatives, etc. You should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles.

EVACUATION ROUTE: If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver's license; if it says "Florida," you live in a low-lying area).
The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely.

HURRICANE SUPPLIES: If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Florida tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:

x 23 flashlights. At least $167 worth of batteries that turn out, when the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.

x Bleach. (No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for, but it's traditional, so GET some!)

x A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)

x A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask
anybody who went through Andrew; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)

x $35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.

Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean.


Sign up for it now you will


Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNS) - To all wannabe Jedi Masters, here's your chance to feel the force. U.K.'s first Jedi course will be offered at Queen's University Belfast, hoping to attract Star Wars fans to their classes.

The university will be offering the course "Feel the Force: How to Train in the Jedi Way" in November. As per its ad material, the classes would teach "real life psychological techniques behind Jedi mind tricks."

Course leader, Allen Baird, hopes his novel approach would appeal to younger people to open learning towards "wider issues behind the Star Wars universe, like balance, destiny, dualism, fatherhood and fascism."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sleazy Old Man McCain

They've been trying to work sex and fear into an anti-Obama ad for months. Just exposes how a Bush Republican thinks.
What happened: A new 30-second TV ad attacks Barack Obama's record on education, saying that Obama backed legislation to teach "'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners." The announcer then says, "Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family."

Why that's wrong: This is a deliberately misleading accusation. It came hours after the Obama campaign released a TV ad critical of McCain's votes on public education. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama did vote for but was not a sponsor of legislation dealing with sex ed for grades K-12.

But the legislation allowed local school boards to teach "age-appropriate" sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners, and it gave schools the ability to warn young children about inappropriate touching and sexual predators.


Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Tuesday of McCain's ad: "It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls."
What the hell is wrong with these people?

Don't mock the Constitution!

Ari Melber of the Washington Independent:
Obama is one of the 13 senators to co-sponsor the Restoring the Constitution Act, a bill to restore the rule of law and roll back major parts of the Military Commissions Act, which the Supreme Court recently found unconstitutional. The 5-4 decision was praised by Obama, while Sen. John McCain derided it as one of the “worst” judgments in history.

Watching both parties’ conventions, you wouldn’t know the rule of law has been seriously undermined by the Bush administration, or that torture, rendition, domestic warrantless surveillance and other crimes have become common tools of U.S. policy under a corrupted Justice Dept.

It was heartening, if only for a few moments, to watch a citizen raise those issues, and for a presidential candidate to respond with principle and passion for restoring the constitutional order.

And Ari offers this YouTube:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Lady and the Gramps

(borrowed from the threads at Eschaton)....

McCain: Unfit for high office.

Alaskans Speak (In A Frightened Whisper): Palin Is “Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean” by Charley James


Once in office, Palin set out to build a machine that chewed up anyone who got in her way. The good, Godly Christian turns out to be anything but.

“She’s doesn’t like different opinions and she refuses to compromise,” Kilkenny notes. “When she was mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t hers. Worse, ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits but on the basis of who proposed them.”

Sound familiar? Palin may well be Dick Cheney’s reincarnate.

Something else has a familiar Republican ring to it: Her tax policies, and a “refund surpluses but borrow for the future” attitude.
Charley James also wrote this next article:
When Palin’s name began leaking out the morning of Aug. 30, I sent an e-mail to an old friend from childhood who has been teaching in Alaska since he finished far too much graduate school, basically asking, “Who is Sarah Palin when it’s not raining and what was she before?”

He wrote back with not just a lengthy, invective-filled diatribe against her and the horse she rode in on but also a link to a 63-page vetting report on Palin he said was done up some time ago by Alaska Democrats. After reading it – information in the dossier goes all the way back to 2002 – I wrote again asking if he knew people I could contact for a possible article. A short list of names was provided, including Lucille the Waitress, the much-discussed and oft-doubted woman who seems to have drawn the largest number of questions from commentators on the article.
Here is the pdf report.

This makes you ask why:
Scott Richter Palin: Todd Palin Business Partner Emergency Motion - Todd Palin’s former business partner, named Scott .A.Richter who allegedly had an affair with Sarah Palin filled an emergency motion to seal his divorce records but it was denied.
The Palins own few undeveloped properties on the Safari Lake and Big Lake, AK in Alaska in partnership with Scott A. Richter and his ex-wife Debbie under “Richter Investments LLC.”.Debbie Richter was Palin’s campaign treasurer. Richter was awarded a job as the Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Division for her service.The State of Alaska gives its citizens “free money” checks every year out of this fund. This “free money” comes from oil royalties collected and investments.

McCain has no idea:

Who does this remind you of?: (pdf)
When Palin Left Office, 6.24% of Government Spending Was On Debt Service, Compared to None Before She Was Mayor. In fiscal 2003—the last fiscal year Palin approved the budget—the ratio of debt service to general government expenditures was 6.24 percent. There was no long-term debt before she took office. [Wasilla Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2003, Table 11]

Of course mayors can censor books that are offered at the local library!

Right? Isn't that what mayors do? Or is it what vice presidents do?

No. I don't think so.

The sign should actually read: We can do it! McCain will finish what Bush started.

NTodd of Dohiyi Mir's
photoshop is excellent.

Fafblog does it again.

Via Mahakal of Cannablog, Fafblog analyzes the mysteries of Sarah Palin:
Well there's a brand new political superstar on the scene and she's tough as nails and the media won't leave her alone and she's a rough-and-tumble Alaskan hockey mom and why are they asking all these questions and she is the pure reincarnation of the invincible Anglo-Saxon frontier earth mother and stop picking on her!
You must read the whole thing.

And then be grateful that Giblets is back.

What's that joke about wrestling with a pig?

Everybody gets covered in shit, nothing gets resolved, and the pig enjoys it: (my bold)
COOPER: Candy joins us now. Candy, it is important to know the lipstick on a pig comment was also then immediately followed by another old saying about wrapping up a fish or something.

CROWLEY: Wrapping up a fish in new paper and it still stinks.

You know, also important to note that John McCain used the same expression to talk about Hillary Clinton's health care plan. So I think what this really does is just tell you the edginess of what's out there. And it is also, as we've mentioned, in the best interest of the McCain campaign, which is looking for women voters. They have been talking about sexism of late, thinking that some of the response to Sarah Palin was sexist. That's why you saw the Obama campaign come back and say look, they're trying to play the sexism card again.

We're also joined now by CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen and "Time" magazine's political guru, Mark Halperin. David, much ado about nothing?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, listen, you can say all you want, John McCain said this about Hillary's health care proposal. But it was still foolish for Barack Obama to say because every night is precious for him, Anderson, in terms of getting his message out.

This is one night lost on your program where his message got muffled by this silliness over lipstick on a pig.

COOPER: Mark, you're shaking your head.

MARK HALPERIN, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Stop the madness. I think, with all due respect to the program's focus on, listen to David just said. I think this is the press just absolutely playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile tears.

COOPER: Crocodile tears.


COOPER: They knew exactly what it is.

HALPERIN: They knew exactly what he was saying. It's an expression. And this is a victory for the McCain campaign in the sense that every day they can make this a pig fight in the mud. It's good for them because it's reducing Barack Obama's message even more.

But I think this is a low point in the day and one of the low days of our collective coverage of this campaign. To spend even a minute on this expression, I think, is amazing and outrageous.


Morse of Media Needle makes a video:

Juan Cole:
John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the "transcendent challenge" of the 21st century, "radical Islamic extremism," contrasting it with "stability, tolerance and democracy." But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God's will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.

McCain pledged to work for peace based on "the transformative ideals on which we were founded." Tolerance and democracy require freedom of speech and the press, but while mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Palin inquired of the local librarian how to go about banning books that some of her constituents thought contained inappropriate language. She tried to fire the librarian for defying her. Book banning is common to fundamentalisms around the world, and the mind-set Palin displayed did not differ from that of the Hamas minister of education in the Palestinian government who banned a book of Palestinian folk tales for its sexually explicit language. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."

Reformed Mavrik

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Uh oh.

From this article:
The Real State of the US Economy: Henry Paulson has lost the control over US finance
William F. Engdahl lists the stores that are in trouble:
Behind the reassuring statements from Paulson and others that the "worst is over" the reality of the credit collapse since August 2007 is a deepening economic contraction which I have said several times in this space will surpass the Great Depression of the 1929-1938 period. A good friend who is an unemployed homebuilder in a prosperous part of Arizona just sent me the following list of US department retail store closures. It is worth noting that over 70% of the US GDP is consumer spending and that the entire Federal Reserve strategy of Alan Greenspan after the March 2000 collapse of the stock market bubble, was to bring US interest rates to their lowest levels since the 1930’s in order to stimulate consumer spending on credit, i.e. debt, to avoid "recession." Note the scale of the following store closings across America in recent weeks:

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide.

Eddie Bauer to close more stores after closing 27 stores in the first quarter.

Cache, a women’s retailer is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide

Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. Talbots will close all 78 of its kids and men's stores plus another 22 underperforming stores. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores

Foot Locker to close 140 stores

Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores. The 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Levitz - the furniture retailer, announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910.

Zales, Piercing Pagoda plans to close 82 stores by July 31 followed by closing another 23 underperforming stores.

Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores.

Home Depot store closings 15 of them amid a slumping US economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store.


Macy's - 9 stores closed

Movie Gallery – video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery

and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental

chain closed last fall as part of bankruptcy.

Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores closing

Pep Boys - 33 stores of auto parts supplier closing

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations to close with 4,000 employees following 5,000 layoffs last year.

J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are all scaling back

Ethan Allen Interiors: plans to close 12 of 300 stores to cut costs.

Wilsons the Leather Experts – closing 158 stores

Bombay Company: to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores.

Dillard's Inc. will close another six stores this year.

Georgie Bush told us to go shopping, but where will we go with no stores to go to and no money to spend?