Clinton's decision to hammer Israel comes as the Clintons and President Barack Obama are planning to give the Palestinians $900 million toward the rebuilding of Gaza in the wake of the Israeli offensive that was sparked by Hamas rocket fire.
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Friday, February 27
Did Republican state Sen. Dave Schultheis of Colorado Springs even consider for one second that pregnant women who have HIV are not necessarily sexually promiscuous and even if they are, it's none of his goddammed business? No, he did not. He concluded that pregnant women with HIV were indeed sexually promiscuous and voted against a bill that would "reward" such sluts with a free HIV test.
Thank you, Madam President. You know, this was a difficult bill for me. I voted yes in committee on it because of discussions surrounding the fact that — well, let me just basically say this, it basically modifies the communicable disease laws and it requires the health care providers to test pregnant women for HIV unless they opt out. And that’s basically, that’s the main part of this bill. I voted yes on it. I was a little bit troubled with my vote and was just wondering what was bothering me. I woke up the next morning — Thursday morning — at 5 a.m. and I wrestled with this bill for another hour from 5 to 6 and finally came to the conclusion I’m going to be a no vote on this. I’m trying to think through what the role of government is here. And I am not convinced that part of the role of government should be to protect individuals from the negative consequences of their actions.
Sexual promiscuity, we know, causes a lot of problems in our state, one of which, obviously, is the contraction of HIV. And we have other programs that deal with the negative consequences — we put up part of our high schools where we allow students maybe 13 years old who put their child in a small daycare center there.
We do things continually to remove the negative consequences that take place from poor behavior and unacceptable behavior, quite frankly, and I don’t think that’s the role of this body.
As a result of that I finally came to the conclusion I would have to be a no vote on this because this stems from sexual promiscuity for the most part, and I just can’t vote on this bill and I wanted to explain to this body why I was going to be a no vote on this.
“What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that,” he said. “The family will see the negative consequences of that promiscuity and it may make a number of people over the coming years begin to realize that there are negative consequences and maybe they should adjust their behavior.”
In good news, the bill passed 32-1. Democrats however are wondering why the sane Republicans didn't admonish Schultheis for his "opinion."
I wish people would give some thought about what it really means to stand by someone for 40 or 50 years. You know - after all the romance and ‘aren’t you cute’s’ have gone the way of the Dodo. ‘For better or worse’ isn’t just an outdated bromide like that ‘obey’ bullshit; and it means much more than not bailing during catastrophic injury or illness. It means being there to help and support. It means not blaming them for whatever accident or illness has crippled their body – and offering comfort when that body is wracked by pain or disease. Perhaps most importantly – it means not adding to that pain through repetitive emotional abuse. You do not look at your spouse and say “You’re no fun anymore” or flinch away - repulsed because they need a hug or some other physical reminder that they yet retain their humanity. When they already feel bad because they cannot attend that concert or go on that wished for vacation because of surgery or pain, you do not compound their misery with selfish displays of disgust and regret. Marriage isn’t a euphemism – it’s a reality; and that reality can sometimes chafe and burn. Love is supposed to circumvent all that. Don’t they say it conquers all?
Allow me to get personal for a moment. Before I married my husband, yet while we were living with one another, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The thing was exceptionally large (about the size of a soda can) and if not removed would definitely kill him within six months. Time became compressed. Important decisions had to be made lightening quick: where to have the surgery (as surgery was our only option), how to pay for it all (insurance left us liable for 20%) – and most importantly (from my point of view) - whether or not to hang around for what could be a challenging aftermath. Yes – I really thought about it. His doctors were crystal clear in their assessment. Should he survive the surgery (which lasted 12 of the longest hours of my life) he might be left blind, deaf or paralyzed. That’s one hell of a lot to handle when you’re barely 30 years of age. So I thought – can I manage this? More importantly – do I want to? Have I the strength to make such a decision? Because once made - there would be no going back. It was all or nothing – I stay, or I go; no third road option. Obviously I stayed – but that’s not my point. My point is I seriously considered every angle. It was more than ‘do I love this man’; it was ‘do I have the physical and emotional strength to cope with what could be a lifetime of struggle’? My answer was yes. Now – the surgery was a success (thank god) – and outside of some facial paralysis and his being deaf in one ear, there were no lasting physical effects. Personality wise....now that’s something different altogether. No one said he’d become a different person. I was totally unprepared for that. But I made my decision. I married him, I loved him, I cared for him – 20 years now and counting. But not everybody really thinks of these things – of the changes that can happen at a moments notice.
Side-stepping the realities of life are not the sole province of the young, either. Grown-ups do it too. Even for those certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had duly considered all vicissitudes – life can suddenly rear up and bite them squarely in the ass. And there they are – relying on that ‘for better or worse’ clause in the marriage certificate. Abruptly they discover that clause to be non-binding; that their spouse may have considered ‘for better or worse’ as only relating specifically to them. You’d think the opposite would be true – but it’s not. Whatever the reason – one spouse suddenly finds themselves in a place they don’t particularly want to be. But leaving someone because of accident or illness is really frowned upon societally speaking. The person doing the leaving is looked down on as morally bankrupt. So people stay. They stay somewhere they do not want to be. And it makes them angry – they are stuck, now, you see – no exit. And whether they intend to or not – that anger and frustration gets taken out on their spouse. Why get married in the first place, you ask? Well (and this rings especially true for men) - because it was fun. They had met someone with whom they always had a good time; and they anticipated that good time lasting forever – uncluttered and unsullied by either age or infirmity. Suddenly bam! Paralysis or cancer. Pain and doctors bills. That carefree, ‘you and me against the world’ relationship has changed – irrevocably. The same thing often happens with the birth or death of a child. Whatever the reason – one spouse withdraws – leaving the other to handle the situation virtually alone.
I’m not really assigning blame here. Some people are just wholly unsuited to heavy physical or emotional responsibility; something they cannot admit, even to themselves. Perhaps they looked upon marriage as being taken care of - spouse as substitute parent. It may never have occurred to them that they might be the ones having to administer that care – and it leaves them as angry as a child being denied a wished-for toy. Though they might not give breath to the words, “I resent you!” – the sentiment nevertheless runs underneath everything they say and do. Now imagine how all this feels when you are on the receiving end. It hurts. It hurts, it de-humanizes, it crush’s the very soul. Rejection by a spouse is bad enough in the best of circumstances; when you’re fighting trench war on a physical level it can be devastating. Many people would consider divorce at this point. In my opinion - divorce effectually leaves the unaffected spouse off the hook. Not that that spouse can really be the one to suggest it without seeming to desert their marriage at a critical point. Now here’s where it all gets a bit sticky. If they can push the other into suggesting it – say, nag or belittle them into fleeing for sanity’s sake.....well; best of both worlds! Social taboos regarding abandonment have not been violated - and most importantly - they become separated from that which they wished to avoid in the first place: a sick or deteriorating spouse. Poof! Responsibility all gone. Any imperative to stay till the bitter end has been resolved. It now becomes the sick spouse’s sole responsibility to provide for their own care and comfort. The additional pain and suffering this causes the affected partner is dismissed under a cloud of denial. “It wasn’t my fault” or “I’m not the one who asked for a divorce”. Whatever the excuse – the reality is: someone desperately trying to process massive physical, mental and emotional changes is now expected to handle all that, along with the logistical and practical end, without a net.
So think very, very carefully before saying ‘I do’. Look long and hard at the person standing beside you. Will they still be standing there were you in a wheelchair? Would you do the same for them? I think Paul McCartney said it best – which is sad, in a way, considering his own recent failure on this account: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?” Though I must say - he never left his first wife’s side while she was dying. He really did mean ‘for better or for worse’ when he took those vows, his lovely wife Linda holding a white kitten for her bouquet. Theirs was an enduring marriage between two people who truly loved and respected one another. His current wife bailed at the first sign of trouble. Seems she didn’t want to be married to an ‘old man’; just to his money. That says a great deal about her character – don’t you think? And character is the key, here.
So if you’re only pulling a Brittany Spears – don’t bother. Trust me when I say your prospective spouse would be much better off without you in the long run.
Thursday, February 26
I picked out two locations seemingly at random and chose a 50 megaton nuke to see the damage.
Check out the site and locate your little piece of radioactive Heaven.
Google Map Shows Precisely What Would Happen if your Town Got Nuked!
Here's the program site:
Here's another spot sort of out of the way:
Anyway, the point is that women fear a lot of things when it comes to getting themselves together to get a divorce. Many women get skeered about money when they think about divorcing. I understand this. Let me tell you that someone very close to me (wink, wink) found herself married to a true compulsive spend-freak. And, as so often happens with these folks, his credit was crap---years of charging without the fuss and bother of repaying had seen to that. He always seemed to think that those pesky statements the credit-card companies insisted on sending out each month were mere suggestions or hints for payments rather than reminders of his legal obligation. And he took very personal offense at the presumptuous calls from stiffed creditors. It didn't take too terrible long for the word to spread about him amongst lenders, and he found himself labeled "persona non credit" on pretty much a national basis. That only left her credit---which was so handily impeccable---for him to use and, of course, he conned (and browbeat) her into giving him permission and a card to go with it.
Several years and many, many thousands of dollars later, she decided she could no longer afford the questionable luxury of that marriage and began making inquiries into the fees of various divorce attorneys. Besides paying her attorney, she knew she was going to be faced with having her income cut by more than half, and it was a pretty safe bet that, judging from her soon-to-be-ex's track record with honoring debts, she was more than likely gonna have the pleasure of choosing between filing personal bankruptcy or personally repaying all the bills he'd run up in her name. After selling several assets and paying off thousands of dollars' worth of crap he'd bought---for himself---over the years, the final tally of outstanding credit-card debt still stood at more than thirty thousand dollars. We never calculated what it would cost to repay all that based on minimum payments and 18 percent interest, but we were pretty sure she'd never live that long, anyway.
To say that this was a daunting prospect just woefully understates it. She was nauseous for months just thinking about it, but meanwhile, he was still finding ways to charge things in her name and she finally knew she had no choice and she sucked it up and did it. She divorced him and cut him off from her cards.The first thing she noticed was that her credit-card balances stopped going up every month. The next thing she noticed was that, even without his income, she still managed to have money for herself and her children that she never had before. She figured up what the total of her minimum payments were each month and budgeted that amount as Sacred Funds---nothing could touch it. Then she started with the smallest bills and concentrated on getting them paid off completely. When one was paid off, she would add that amount of its previous minimum payment to paying off the balance of the next one. She never missed a payment on a single one and she paid it all back, every single solitary dime, with not one penny's worth of help from the sonofabitch who created every bit of the debt.
She had to learn that she was ultimately responsibility for her situation. Yes, he did all the charging, but he could not have done her one dime's worth of damage without her permission, and until she found balls enough to withdrew that permission, she was helping to rack up the balances. He had her convinced, on some level, that she could not survive him being unhappy---but somebody finally succeeded in pointing out to her how very easily he tolerated her unhappiness.
My point here is, yes, the price of freedom from this guy was exceedingly high, but the cost---financially, sure, but more importantly, spiritually and emotionally----of staying with him was far, far greater. The price of the lesson she learned about letting somebody browbeat you into violating your own standards in order to pacify them was a high one. We can only imagine what the ultimate cost would have been had she failed to finally learn her lesson. Pay the price and move on.
And see, that's where I think divorce is---or can be--a positive thing. I believe that we're brought together with people for a reason. We bring out the very best in each other and that's why we fall in love. Then, before long, we commence bringing out the very worst in each other so we can learn about ourselves.
I have learned----or at least I hope to Gawd I've learned---that we are not, as I previously thought, put in each other's lives to order to observe and correct the flaws in the other person (as clear and easy, not to mention fun and totally gratifying, as this process would admittedly be). I mean, how hard is to see in the case I just mentioned that all he needed to do was grow the fuck up and stop spending more money that the two of them could possibly hope to earn? Pretty danged simple if you ask me, but of course, nobody did----certainly not him.
Trust me, she did spend years focusing on that aspect of the situation----trying with absolutely ze-ro success, to get him to see the error and folly of his ways, and to change. All that happened was that he got surlier and the balances got bigger, in direct proportion to each other and to how much she nagged and whined. It reminds me of Aunt Vonnie's bird, which kept on pecking my cousin Anita's little-girl fingers till they bled every time she poked them in the cage. Anita spent much of her childhood standing at the birdcage, yowling, "Aunt Vonnie, your bird's biting me again!" She could not get that stupid bird to stop biting her, until one day, on a whim, she stopped putting her fingers in the cage and miracle of miracles, the biting stopped!
For him to stop overspending was his lesson, and she could not learn that for him nor could she cause him to learn it. Her lesson, on the other hand, was to stop enabling him to overspend. And all it took was two little letters of the alphabet---those being N and O----coupled with determination and resolve, creating a resounding NO! Why is it we can scare ourselves nearly slap to death saying that little bitty word no?
Some women aren't so much worried about money and afraid of big stuff as they are the loss of the convenience and routine they've become accustomed to in married life. A good friend of mine was in just such a situation. She had a great job, financial security of her own, tons of friends---and excellent life, except for her drinkin', cheatin' mean-ass husband. But, sweet thing, he did regularly take out the garbage, washed her car real good, and changed all the burned-out light bulbs. She actually stayed married a long time to this man, who was breaking her heart on a regular basis---and not being one bit sorry about it---just because she couldn't figure out how she was gonna get all those chores done herself. Now, this woman is not dumb, She's as smart as they come. But she couldn't see the illogic of her predicament. She was scared---scared of breaking out of normalcy and habit and tradition, and there's no question, their pull is powerful.
Finally, I jerked her up and said, "You can pay somebody minimum wage to do all that and more. And while we're talking about hired help here, let's just imagine that your housekeeper came to work drunk, lied to you all the time, cheated on her husband and used working at your house as a cover, stole from you, and was just plain mean to you besides. How long would you employ this person?"
"Here's what we're really dealing with here," I explained. "You're married to a man who's a lousy husband but a halfway decent domestic flunky. And you're in a quandary about it? Hunny, I will come take out your garbage and change your light bulbs. Be done with this guy." And so she was. Now she's got the shiniest, cleanest cars in town and household help begging to take out garbage.
If you find yourself in a similar quandary, I'll come take out your garbage, too. Quit investing your life in a relationship that'll bring you only minimal returns. If you find yourself burdend with an overload of skay-ry things on your mind as you head down the road towards the breakup, don't be skeert of going for more and concentrating on yourself, which is something society tells women not to do.
Max Blumenthal has a piece about Jindal's 'secret' past. Apparently this is old news and has been published before, but I found it interesting because I was out of the loop.
Jindal boasts of exorcising a demon spirit from a girl friend in college. She had reeked of sulphur wherever she went. It appears that Jindal came to Catholicism through what we in the biz call "the back door, " as he was caught up in all the supernatural stuff which is not quite what makes for a fabulous "Christian" (or Catholic for that matter.) He claimed that for a time when he tried to pray, he felt a force bearing down on him making it hard for him to breathe. It sounds more like a psychological issue, but who am I to judge? I'll be keeping an eye on him because he may just be the south's answer to Sarah Palin. The story is definitely worth a perusal.
See also Gov. Jindal Follow-up: What Is 'Volcano Monitoring'?
Apparently Bobby Jindal criticized government spending on volcano monitoring and other projects by the US Geological Survey. You would think that being governor of a state that was ravaged by natural disasters, he would look into things like this before opening his mouth.
Watch Dr. Paul tell it like it is ...... (the first two minutes)
and then see a fine example of what TV news reporting REALLY REALLY is -- THE BIGGEST CROCK OF SHIT ever served up to the public.
here's their dialogue following Dr. Pauls statement -- UFB!
all right this is not going as planned
It. Is. Not.
we were told (ha ha, ha ha) it would be a very limited number of opening statements.....and......it.....seems.....to......be...... . gettingoutofcontrol.
yes it is....
HERE'S WHAT WE FORGOT! Everybody's taping this live --WHY would they miss an opportunity for free air time?? (gasp) -- GUESS WHAT (slapping hand down on desk!!) WE'RE TAKING A BREAK!!!!!
we're gonna take a commercial break....get them out of the way so that when something REAL substantive is happening we're gonna have to interrupt then
OMFG -- Something REAL SUBSTANTIVE????
substantive - having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable :defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which such things are established.
Smoke This Recession -It's simple: First we tax the booze. Then we legalize the pot. Done. by THE MASTER....MARK MORFORD
There is a far more potent, obvious solution to the state's budget woes, a huge, untapped revenue source, and now might be the perfect time to, you know, light it up.
Really now, could there be a better time to decriminalize/fully legalize pot? Or, more fully, to decriminalize pot, and then spread respectable pot shops and vending machines and dispensaries far and wide, instill quality control and decent oversight and then tax the living hell out of the glorious, stress-reducing goodness, as we stop wasting billions fighting its grand ubiquity and instead sink into profitable pools of warm, hazy progress? Don't you already know the answer?
It's difficult to imagine that some intrepid legislator hasn't already walked into Arnie "Pot is not a drug" Schwarzenegger's office and said, "Governator, now is the time. Light it up. Inhale the new reality. Pot is, by a huge margin, the single largest cash crop in the state unless you count porn stars and celebrity rehab. It rakes in upwards of $14 billion a year -- maybe a lot more than that -- and that's just from five clever hippies and a couple intrepid grandmas in Ukiah. Imagine what we could do if we went all-in."
Are the discussions ongoing? Are they passing the bong of possibility around the state Senate chambers? You're damn right they are. What's holding them back? Probably the usual: the negative PR, looking "soft" on crime, encouraging permissiveness, pressure from prison lobbies, and so on. Don't worry, Sacramento. Everyone's already plenty drunk/high on prescription meds trying to alleviate fears of losing their job to care about that nonsense right now. Get to it......
...Anyone left, furthermore, who doesn't know that pot is far safer than booze, less addictive, nonviolent, more transportable, easier to light, and generally won't interfere with your ability to crawl across the carpet and lick cookie crumbs from your lover's thighs? And sure, while heavy, daily usage can make you slow and stupid and rather useless to the world, well, so can a six-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper and six hours of TV every day. Gateway drug? That's on Channel 2, right after "Oprah."
And another thing. Maybe it wouldn't be merely tax 'n' puff. Maybe California, already the pot-growing capital of the nation, could become something more. A hub. A world-class research center. Pot education, study, medicine, import/export, the works. We could ship our crop to various nations in desperate need of chilling the hell out, like Israel. Palestine. Pakistan. Russia. The N-Judah on a Friday afternoon. We could become the largest research and manufacturing center in the world. How proud we would be. You know, sort of.
Wednesday, February 25
It looks as though Banksters and other financial opportunists aren't the only ones taking advantage of the time between now and when the new administration decides to get tough (or is that IF it decides?)
Exclusive: Lawyer says Guantanamo abuse worse since Obama
LONDON (Reuters) - Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards "get their kicks in" before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees.
Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.
He seemed a touch irritated by all the applause, at least to my perception. His rhetoric soared, he spoke in complete sentences and he didn't condescend or talk down to people.
Shortly thereafter, the Republican Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, stepped out from behind his state flag to give a possible rebuttal. He seemed rather stiff and wooden, and he ... well, here's a transcript of his speech below, with some comments from me in boldface. Judge what he had to say on its own merits:
Tonight, we witnessed a great moment in the history of our Republic. In the very chamber where Congress once voted to abolish slavery, our first African-American president stepped forward to address the state of our union. With his speech tonight, the president completed a redemptive journey that took our nation from Independence Hall to Gettysburg to the lunch counter and now, finally, the Oval Office.
Yes. Get on with it.
Regardless of party, all Americans are moved by the president's personal story -- the son of an American mother and a Kenyan father, who grew up to become leader of the free world. Like the president's father, my own parents came to this country from a distant land. When they arrived in Baton Rouge, my mother was already 4-½-months pregnant. I was what folks in the insurance industry now call a "pre-existing condition." To find work, my dad picked up the yellow pages and started calling local businesses. Even after landing a job, he could still not afford to pay for my delivery, so he worked out an installment plan with the doctor. Fortunately for me, he never missed a payment.
A distant land - just come out and say it, Bobby - India. You know, the country that houses all those call centers?
As I grew up, my mom and dad taught me the values that attracted them to this country, and they instilled in me an immigrant's wonder at the greatness of America. As a child, I remember going to the grocery store with my dad. Growing up in India, he had seen extreme poverty. And as we walked through the aisles, looking at the endless variety on the shelves, he would tell me: "Bobby, Americans can do anything." I still believe that to this day: Americans can do anything. When we pull together, there is no challenge we can't overcome.
As the president made clear this evening, we are now in a time of challenge. Many of you listening tonight have lost jobs. Others have seen your college and retirement savings dwindle. Many of you are worried about losing your health care and your homes. And you are looking to your elected leaders in Washington for solutions.
Republicans are ready to work with the new president to provide those solutions. Here in my state of Louisiana, we don't care what party you belong to, if you have good ideas to make life better for our people. We need more of that attitude from both Democrats and Republicans in our nation's capital. All of us want our economy to recover and our nation to prosper. So where we agree, Republicans must be the president's strongest partners. And where we disagree, Republicans have a responsibility to be candid and offer better ideas for a path forward.
So you offer the same "better ideas" that got us into this mess in the first place?
Today in Washington, some are promising that government will rescue us from the economic storms raging all around us.
Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina -- we have our doubts.
Let me tell you a story.
During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine. When I walked into his makeshift office, I'd never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: "Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!" I asked him: "Sheriff, what's got you so mad?" He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. The boats were all lined up ready to go, when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, "Sheriff, that's ridiculous." And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: "Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!" Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and go start rescuing people.
Um, Bobby, I don't think you help your case by citing the greatest domestic disaster of the Bush (i.e., Republican) administration.
There is a lesson in this experience: The strength of America is not found in our government. It is found in the compassionate hearts and the enterprising spirit of our citizens. We are grateful for the support we have received from across the nation for the ongoing recovery efforts. This spirit got Louisiana through the hurricanes and this spirit will get our nation through the storms we face today.
Last time I checked, the government of the United States was made up of American people, not the Lizard People of Vitvodle IX.
To solve our current problems, Washington must lead. But the way to lead is not to raise taxes and not to just put more money and power in hands of Washington politicians. The way to lead is by empowering you, the American people. Because we believe that Americans can do anything.
That is why Republicans put forward plans to create jobs by lowering income tax rates for working families, cutting taxes for small businesses, strengthening incentives for businesses to invest in new equipment and hire new workers, and stabilizing home values by creating a new tax credit for home-buyers. These plans would cost less and create more jobs.
Ahh, tax cuts. The only way to solve our problem is to continue to hamstring and stunt government. Will we hold bake sales for any new Air Force jets? And it's rather odd that the GOP talks big noise about small businesses when the Bush tax policies favored the people who make obscene amounts of money.
But Democratic leaders in Congress -- they rejected this approach. Instead of trusting us to make wise decisions with our own money, they passed the largest government spending bill in history, with a price tag of more than $1 trillion with interest. While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a "magnetic levitation" line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called "volcano monitoring." Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.
Outright lie on the trains for the loss, Bobby. The $8 billion is for nationwide high speed rail development. And you may feel that Louisiana doesn't need volcano monitoring, but people who live in certain parts of Wyoming, California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii might argue with you.
Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line, and saddle future generations with debt. Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It's irresponsible. And it's no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs, or build a prosperous future for our children.
In Louisiana, we took a different approach. Since I became governor, we cut more than 250 earmarks from our state budget. To create jobs for our citizens, we cut taxes six times -- including the largest income tax cut in the history of our state. We passed those tax cuts with bipartisan majorities. Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences -- we worked together to make sure our people could keep more of what they earn. If it can be done in Baton Rouge, surely it can be done in Washington, D.C.
And how are things going for those areas ravaged by Katrina? Has the state population rebounded and poverty gone away?
To strengthen our economy, we need urgent action to keep energy prices down. All of us remember what it felt like to pay $4 at the pump and unless we act now, those prices will return. To stop that from happening, we need to increase conservation, increase energy efficiency, increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels, increase our use of nuclear power, and increase drilling for oil and gas here at home. We believe that Americans can do anything and if we unleash the innovative spirit of our citizens, we can achieve energy independence.
"Drill, baby, drill!" Oh, and never mind the fact that it'll take ten years to have all that oil hit the pumps and only lower gas prices by pennies. Just think of all those rainbow-colored waves and the great view from the tar-spattered beaches!
To strengthen our economy, we also need to address the crisis in health care. Republicans believe in a simple principle: No American should have to worry about losing their health coverage -- period. We stand for universal access to affordable health care coverage. What we oppose is universal government-run health care. Health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients, not by government bureaucrats. We believe Americans can do anything, and if we put aside partisan politics and work together, we can make our system of private medicine affordable and accessible for every one of our citizens.
Gov. Jindal wants health care decisions made by insurance-industry and medical-industry bureaucrats, in keeping with the Victorian free-market values of the conservative wing of the GOP.
To strengthen our economy, we also need to make sure every child in America gets the best possible education. After Katrina, we reinvented the New Orleans school system, opening dozens of new charter schools, and creating a new scholarship program that is giving parents the chance to send their children to private or parochial schools of their choice. We believe that, with the proper education, the children of America can do anything. And it shouldn't take a devastating storm to bring this kind of innovation to education in our country.
No, it shouldn't, and I'm pleased you didn't mention school vouchers. Of course, you did masquerade it as a scholarship program, but I suppose that's in the spirit of Mardi Gras.
To strengthen our economy, we must promote confidence in America by ensuring ours is the most ethical and transparent system in the world. In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana was said to be half under water, and the other half is under indictment. No one says that anymore. Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation and today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past. We need to bring transparency to Washington, D.C., so we can rid our Capitol of corruption and ensure we never see the passage of another trillion dollar spending bill that Congress has not even read and the American people haven't even seen.
I couldn't stop chuckling at that. Louisiana's politics are corrupt, and I'm not certain it can be so easily stopped. As Rep. Jefferson, Rep. Cao and Senator Vitter about that.
As we take these steps, we must remember for all our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years, or make deep cuts in funding for our troops. America's fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.
I don't recall seeing or hearing anything about that - apart from getting rid of overpriced shit that we needed for fighting the last war or for refighting the Cold War against the Soviet Union (which no longer exists). And where was the GOP when American troops were dying from inadequate armor? Jindal makes a glancing case for the Perpetual War so beloved by the neocons.
In all these areas, Republicans want to work with President Obama. We appreciate his message of hope, but sometimes it seems we look for hope in different places. Democratic leaders in Washington -- they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people. In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the National Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and to create jobs.
How is giving money to the states increasing dependence on the Federal government? It's our money.
In recent years, these distinctions in philosophy became less clear -- our party got away from its principles. You elected Republicans to champion limited government, fiscal discipline and personal responsibility. Instead, Republicans went along with earmarks and big government spending in Washington. Republicans lost your trust -- and rightly so.
And you want us to go back to the GOP's philosophy. I think we decided that direction back in November.
Tonight, on behalf of our leaders in Congress and my fellow Republican governors, I say this: Our party is determined to regain your trust. We will do so by standing up for the principles that we share, the principles you elected us to fight for, the principles that built this into the greatest, most prosperous country on earth.
With GOP leaders like Bunning, Brownback, Cantor, Steele, et.al.? Good luck with that.
You know, a few weeks ago, the president warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said "we may not be able to reverse." Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover. Don't let anyone tell you that America's best days are behind her. This is the nation that cast off the scourge of slavery, overcame the Great Depression, prevailed in two World Wars, won the struggle for civil rights, defeated the Soviet menace, and responded with determined courage to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The American spirit has triumphed over almost every form of adversity known to man, and the American spirit will triumph again.
He said September 11th! Take a drink! Obama laid out the truth, and some people can't take that. While he might have painted a somewhat lighter image, he corrected that in his address.
We can have confidence in our future, because, amid all of today's challenges, we also count many blessings: We have the most innovative citizens, the most abundant resources, the most resilient economy, the most powerful military, and the freest political system in the history of the world. My fellow citizens, never forget: We are Americans. And like my dad said years ago, Americans can do anything.Thank you for listening. God bless you. God bless Louisiana. And God bless America.
And with the waving of the flag and standard boilerplate at the finish, Governor Jindal fades from view. Somewhere in some quiet lacuna in Hell, the ghost of Ronald Reagan weeps as he realizes that the rhetorical torch has passed to the Democrats and the GOP may not have much to offer except obstruction for the foreseeable future.
It's rather interesting that an MSNBC snap poll stated that Gov. Jindal's speech was not well received, with 79% saying that he didn't offer any real alternatives and, in one commenter's words, "talked to us like we were three-year-olds."
As a Republican, I am thrilled to see the GOP sink further, and wish Obama all the best.
Tuesday, February 24
The Pa. DEP (read that dip!) can’t seem to find around 2 and a half GALLONS of thallium reported missing from an industrial diamond powders factory in the small town of Verona, about 10 miles northeast of Pittsburgh (not the one in Italy (Verona, not Pittsburgh)).
Stories vary about the knowledge or lack thereof pertaining to its whereabouts. The company was sold after the original owner died in 2003 and the new owners were either told or not, depending on who you believe that the really nasty stuff was or wasn’t there.
How dangerous is thallium? Well:
“Disposal of the thallium and thallium compounds, which was used for 50 years by the company, is regulated by the DEP because it is highly toxic and poisonous. It is a suspected carcinogen and can enter the body through skin contact, either as a gas or liquid. It is a slow-acting poison that causes hair loss, flu-like symptoms, excruciating skin and joint pain, paralysis and within two weeks, respiratory failure.”
They neglected to mention just how bad this stuff really is...honest! And didn't say how far 2 and a half gallons would go in affecting how many people. But let's just say the L.A.Coliseum may be a small comparison...depending on the intelligence level of the folks who may have borrowed it. A snipit from AP ONLINE, Nov. 2006:
LONDON - Thallium is frequently referred to as the poison of choice: Only a gram of the colorless, odorless, water-soluble heavy metal can kill. It is as toxic as arsenic, and even more so than lead.
Col. Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB and Federal Security Service agent, was under armed guard at a hospital Monday, fighting for his life after being given the deadly poison in London.
Litvinenko's white blood cell count - generally used as a gauge of the immune system - is down to nearly zero, said Dr. John Henry, a clinical toxicologist involved in his care. - (more online)
And 2 and a half gallons is about 330,000 grams! (Remember what 1 gram can do. And diluting it 3 to one could render a million people incredibly sick for a very, very long time or permanently disable them!)
Now I don’t want to get all alarmist here (for personal reasons) but there are a number of these plants and others around the U.S. that use thallium and other swell exotic stuff and with the incredible scrutiny the Bush Administration has provided over the last 8 years, I have to wonder if all of this stuff (and other very, very bad substances) is accounted for? I have my doubts but sure don’t want to sound negative!
I don’t imagine anyone would consider using something like this for, say, doing bad things? I’m absolutely positive that they just wanted it to sell and make some money to tide them over during these hard times. Of course, that just may be intriguing supposition.
(Fred) Mr. Pena said he did inventories that listed the thallium and discussed the need to safely dispose of it in multiple meetings with the law firm.
"I warned them before they sold it about the thallium and focused on the danger," Mr. Pena said. "I warned the new owner too, to stay away from it."
The former factory is now being used by a home building and remodeling company. Officials there could not be reached for comment.
So the question is, “Where is this really bad stuff?” Hmmm? Don’t nobody seem to know! ME? I suspect aliens acting on the behalf of Xenu took it. That may be hard to prove, but I guess I’ll try.
Oh yeah! One last little item.
The former factory is now being used by a home building and remodeling company. Officials there could not be reached for comment.
Good thing there aren't any other dangerous chemicals around, or we could have something interesting on our hands!
WARNING! Bailout Politics IS Theft From The Middle Class and Societal Folly:
We are being told by the media that the current turmoil is an economic crisis. It is in fact a failure of the leaning tower of all our scientific pragmatically evolved systems of societal support. Injections of trillions is only impoverishing the middle class, enriching the upper class, and, this is doing absolutely nothing to address the real problem. The real problem has been evolving ever since the Enlightenment.
Okay people, this is not an article by another economist. So read it. It may just save your life.
The current topical turmoil being reported and noticed daily by everyone on the planet is no economic crisis. The economic worries are only a symptom of a much graver problem.
Since the Enlightenment humanity has been building a vast pragmatic house of cards. This house of cards is best understood when we look at the rise in population over the last few hundred years. A graph would show a steadily increasing upward sweep to over 6 billion people now living on the planet.
We are going to lose minimally a billion people very quickly, and possibly many more. So pay attention.
All our scientifically designed and pragmatically engineered processes and societal structures that have allowed and encouraged this unsustainable growth in population are failing. It is not just a question of money and economics.
Every one of these scientifically designed and pragmatically engineered processes of societal structure are interdependent. These have been layered one atop the other for hundreds of years.
The last time these systems society has seen evolve catastrophically came undone to this extent is now being widely acknowledged to be the Great Depression. This however only can hint at the calamity we face. Here's why-
In 1930 the population of the U.S. was roughly 80 million.
Today our population is 310 million.
And of the 310 million people living in our country, each is far more dependent upon the failing systems than any were at the time of the Great Depression. This is not an economic crisis. It is an impossible logistical crisis. Consider-
In 1930 85%-95% of the American people lived on farms.
Today, less than 2% of the American population lives on anything that could even remotely be considered a farm where food can be grown and raised.
That is the obvious benefit, being able to grow your own food. This benefit was incurred by those who survived the Great Depression on a farm. But that is only the half of it.
Remember there are more than three times as many Americans alive today! And of these, less than 2% could grow any part of their own food given the required warning to get them prepared for such a crisis.
And since the 1930s the interdependence of every facet our our scientific society has increased manifold. It is all coming undone at the same time because of this interdependence. Let me explain-
We all have read how the banks have failed, and no matter how much money gets pumped into them, they continue to fail. They continue to fail because everything else around the banks is also failing.
One of those facets of society that is going to fail with tragic consequences is modern scientific and pragmatically implemented agriculture.
Big agribusiness is going to fail worldwide with tragic consequence. Agribusinesses will fail just like the banks, for lack of money and for their dependence upon every other facet of our complex societal arrangements that keep everything running. When big agribusiness cannot get a single part for a large piece of agricultural machinery, they are out of business, caput, no mas... And the systems that support all large agribusinesses are failing every day.
Due to an insufficient understanding of what is transpiring, our government like every other government, is trying to socialize banking, impoverishing the middle class in the process, while leaving the other complex societal structures to fail simply because everything is interconnected.
When agribusiness fails, people will starve. People are going to starve.
The only hope is to reverse the socialization of banking and let the banks fail. We are going to come in for a hard landing anyway, but this way at least people can fend for themselves instead of having everyone commit everything they are worth toward defending so many collapsing financial institutions that cannot possibly be saved.
Only capitalism can feed this world today. Socialism, especially a hackneyed, frantically implemented socialism, will fail horribly.
Don Robertson, The American Philosopher.
I was lucky enough to be paid a visit by our old friend and co-blogger, Red State Blues, last night. We had a lovely time eating Mexican food and discussing the future of blogging.
I miss you all. Feel free to use the comments to chit chat. See you later in the week.
Sunday, February 22
Oh! Thank Gawd or Gawdess! It’s finally out! Meghan McCain isn’t impressed with Michael Steele or Sarah Palin! Now maybe, finally, I can get some sleep at night. You have no idea how long I’ve fretted over whether or when this political expert would make her decision on those two: a decision that could ultimately affect not only the entire hip-hop world but maybe even the wolves in Alaska.
But now, thanks to Politico’s Ben Smith (who has such a grasp on the obvious, AND the important stories of this country), I, along with countless others, can rest peacefully without the aid of Ambien.
This startling revelation comes right from the expert mouth of the insightful post-adolescent who claimed just a few short months ago that “no one knows war like her family” or some similar, brilliantly uttered, fact-filled revelation.
Really Ben, were there no missing white girl stories, no faux pas from anyone in the Obama Administration, no rampant speculation on how the down trodden wealthy will suffer because of the current economic crisis? Yet in all your "which to choose",“journalistic” capacity, you threw off any of those potential press stoppers and took it upon yourself to make sure the unknowing public became informed about the views of someone with vast amounts of political wherewithal, an unsurpassed intellect.
And Meghan McCain’s not impressed with Steele or Palin! Thank You! Thank You! Thank you for enlightening the rest of us. Because I truly would not have known what to think about Steele or Palin if it weren’t for your brilliant column explaining her thoughts!
You are now right up there in conservative pampering with the likes of George Will and the Washington Post! A true conservative influence and reportive hero! And...dare I say it? Maybe even mine!
Damn! It’s just so great to have someone with your insight worrying about the thoughts of the Republicans for a change since sooo much media time has been devoted to the Democrats.
If that piece doesn’t rate Pulitzer nomination, there should be an investigation! Keep up the great reporting, Ben. I’m sure sooner or later the media will discover your real talent; the blogs already have.
Money for Idiots
(The Weekly Standard, owned by Rupert Murdoch, loses more than a million dollars a year -- talk about money for idiots!)
and we wonder how guys like these get Op-Ed columns...
Saturday, February 21
If there ever was a state that needed federal help, Louisiana is one of them. I can't wrap my brain around this one. This is supposed to give him street cred for a 2012 run for POTUS. I don't think he'd be elected dog catcher after this move.
I am now well informed about "TWITTER" after having read this piece over at AlterNet by a veteran Twitter hater (a "twater") Alexander Zaitchick:
Twitter Nation Has Arrived: How Scared Should We Be?
Twitter provides the closest thing most people will ever get to their very own paparazzi or reality show, a trail of imagined eyes on their every move, thought and taste....
...Twitter brings us within sight of an apotheosis of those aspects of American culture that have become all too familiar in recent years: look-at-me adolescent neediness, constant-contact media addiction, birdlike attention-span compression and vapidity to the point of depravity. When 140 characters is the ascendant standard size for communication and debate, what comes next? Seventy characters? Twenty? The disappearance of words altogether, replaced by smiley-face and cranky-crab emoticons?
Wiki has a well written page about Twitter.
I guess I'm gonna have to step into this black hole and check it out.
Do any of our readers 'tweet'?
Friday, February 20
The thing is though, does anyone else think about how long it's taken for something so simple to be considered for generation energy?
Yes, we CAN harness the wave motion of the Pacific, and suck energy out of that!
'Harnessing waves for energy
Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP
Publication Date (Web): February 18, 2009
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society
Off Oregon’s rocky coast, sometime last September, scientists towed a 25-foot-tall buoy out to sea. Over several days, the tethered buoy converted the energy of coastal waves into pulses of energy. The exercise was an effort to test the output and durability of the buoy, which is a relatively simple “vertical” wave energy converter and one of the newest models to capture this form of renewable energy. It is also the 11th generation of a 7-kilowatt prototype for this technology.
Whether horizontal, like traditional wind turbines that dot windy landscapes, or vertical, like a bouncing pogo stick, these buoys are designed for one goal: harnessing energy from the continuous motion of oceans and rivers. Scientists are receiving significant amounts of funding to explore new technologies for wave energy and are making steady progress. But existing social, technical, and legal obstacles must be overcome before these technologies are deployed en masse in oceans.
The buoy tested last fall is one of several designs from engineer Annette von Jouanne’s lab, the Wallace Energy Systems and Renewables Facility at Oregon State University (OSU). In partnership with the U.S. Navy and wave energy company Columbia Power Technologies, von Jouanne and her colleagues designed buoys that are “point absorbers”, or “direct drive[s]” that move up and down with the waves. The motion runs “an electric generator directly without any mechanical linkages,” says Ted Brekken, an engineer and OSU professor on the team.
“We were quite happy with the results” of the most recent test, says Brekken. The buoy proved to be robust in fairly rough seas, he adds. For the new Oregon vertical buoy, scientists envision deploying arrays of larger versions to power a town or even provide up to one-tenth of Oregon’s energy needs.'
Whole piece can be found here. I know there will be some gnashing of teeth and pissing that well, it provides only up to 1/10 of Oregon's energy needs, that's not much. Just imagine what those needs would be if Oregon was completely energy efficient, though. If everyone had homes that were so energy efficient as to not need heating in the winters, nor cooling in the summers. Just as a for example.
Alternatives like ocean waves, and solar, and methane digestion work best if people are still looking towards conservation over all, but that's a grouse for another post. I'm just glad to read we're experimenting with this here, and it's getting some attention.
I don't recall when the big corporations started slowly, insidiously renaming the stadiums and arenas across this great nation, which, incidentally, is brought to you by Pepsi. But I do remember when it hit
home. Just up the road from where I live, the pastoral concert venue East Jaysus Creek Pavilion was changed to Richie Brother's Pavilion thanks to the fat cash infusion from the auctioneering giant. I still call it EJ Creek Pavilion. This is still a fee (Dodge Ram) country after all.
The economic reality is that there are scores of renamed and rehabbed stadiums and concert halls all over the country. And aren't those shiny new skyboxes worth the humiliation of admitting that you actually bought tickets to the Frito-Lay Bean Dip Rose Bowl or the Dr. Scholl's Corn Pads Fiesta Bowl?
It's hardly news that big money can change everything, but every now and then, say, while watching the WNBA's Light Days Panty Liner play of the game, I think that things have gone too far.
Oh, I was just kidding. Nobody watches the WNBA. On the other hand, maybe if absolutely everything is for sale, why not me? Baby need new shoes, as they say, and what I need is some corporate sponsorship. Why not the fruit-juicy Hawaiian Punch-line of the day? Are you listening Pepsi Co.?
For a little extra dough, I could insert into my clinics, lessons, and posts veiled, subliminal messages that would be great free advertising for my corporate sponsors. My doctor say Mylanta. Okay, maybe more subtle than that.
Don't blame me. This is, like cross-country two-way communications by Nextel, the way of the future. Hons, you know it won't be long before they start thanking us for watching NBC's continuing coverage of the Sonic Jalapeno Poppers War in Afghanistan.
We're so conditioned to corporate sponsorship, who among us would be all that surprised to see the Swiffer WetJet "moppin up the terrorist" moment of the day? Or The Toilet Duck "tank roll of the hour" The Monistat "Yes, Geraldo was a fungus among us" field report?
The possibilities are endless as the relief I aways get from Icy Hot. Purina could sponsor those moments when American Idol judge Randy Jackson affectionately calls someone "dawg." As in Might Dog! Now with more tender kibbles and bits.
Although stadiums have sold out across the country, surprisingly, sanity prevailed when Major League Baseball decided (after allegations of monumental tackiness) not to place red-and-yellow Spiderman 2 promo ads on the bases at a Yankee game. At first MLB officials didn't seem to get it. They did, after all, pinkie-swear not to put anything on the hallowed home plate. But they did plan to transform the on-deck circles into huge spiderwebs for the game.
It's small wonder that companies like Sony warmed to the idea. Sony the parent of Columbia Pictures (and a rather permissive parent at that, the kind that never minded if you , heh-heh, had an underage beer when you visited your buddy on Hamburger Helper night). With so many people zapping commercials these days by using digital video recorders like TiVo, you have to be creative in promoting your product.
Maybe that explains the ham-handled product placement in Cheaper by the Dozen, the two-hour Crate & Barrel ad staring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. Empty boxes with the nifty and unmistakable C & B logo were scattered in every room of the Baker house. Sure enough, when the brood moved uptown, the moving van was followed closely by the huge Crate & Barrel delivery truck. I think it backfired; now I associate owning C & B stuff to having twelve children. I'd rather eat my own eyeballs.
Subtle product placement is a thing of the past. If Gone With the Wind were made today, Clark Gable would pull Vivien Leigh close and say, "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn, but if I did, I'd choose Cingular Wireless with no roaming fees or activation cost."
In 2006 for the first time in it's hundred-year history, the Kentucky Derby allowed jockeys to wear advertisements on their silks. I shuttered. It's one thing to see Dale Jr. and his ilk coating themselves shamelessly in Viagra and Tide detergent decals but the Derby?!
I don't' blame the jockeys, who don't make all that much money, if you believe Spider-Man. Sorry, wrong Tobey Maguire movie. After all, they could be paid thirty thousand dollars to wear a little Wrangler jeans logo. Still, it tackies up everything and makes the world just a little bit more crass, a little less decent. Then again, what's my point? Did I mention that I'm for sale?
Major League Baseball officials changed their minds thanks to the pressure of fans, those oft-forgotten families who shell out ninety dollars for so-so seats and over-boiled hot dogs. Only a few days earlier, MLB had boasted that Spider Man is a natural fit for baseball," a wacky statement that make about as much sense as "Why, yes, Mr. Billy Joel, I'd be delighted to let you drive me home!"
It's been tough times for a lot of big business, so I guess they're getting desperate. Telemarketers can't hassle us anymore now that we've got the Do Not Call registry. I was one of the first of an estimated ten million angry Americans who signed up to have their phone number removed from telemarketers' call lists. Within months, some sixty million were signed up. The rest, I presume, are clinically insane
The process was blissfully simple. With a few computer keystrokes, I could practically see legions of telemarketers, with their offer of "free" water-quality testing, home security systems, groceries, and so forth fleeing like those zombies in the low-interest credit card commercial.
And that's not all. Now that I'm registered, I can sue any telemarketer who calls me for eleven thousand dollars per harassing call. This is going to be some fun, particularly if that perky pest from the time-share group in Williamsburg Virginia, calls again. The last time she woke me on a Saturday morning to tell me that Williamsburg was waiting for me to see firsthand the "magical marriage of perfectly preserved history and modern-day fun," I told her that if I ever meet her in person, she better make sure that aren't any loaded muskets lying around.
Sadly, the don't-call list doesn't filter out all household pest, just 80 percent of them. Charities are exempt, even the phony ones. This mean the Quasi Fraternal Benevolent Lovers of Law Enforcement, who harass me more than anyone else, can legally call me. These people are the most persistent, interrupting my dinner preparations nightly with "Hello, we'd like to keep drug dealers off the street, and we need your help."
This has led to the unbecoming sight of me standing at the stove as my young grandchildren quietly colors at the kitchen table while I scream into the phone " Leave me alone! I love drugs!" Nothing else has worked, so I have high hopes for this approach.
While there were some concern that the new don't-call laws would put many thousands of telemarketers out of a job, causing a serious jump in the nation's unemployed, at this point I think I speak for many millions of Americans when I say, "So?"
Israel wrapped up their elections to the Knesset last week, leaving the centrist Kadima Party (headed by Tzipi Livni) only one seat ahead of the right-center Likud Party (headed by Binyamin Netanyahu). Neither party has a majority in the 120-seat Knesset, so the rush was on to find acceptable coalition partners.
When the third-place finisher Avigdor Lieberman of a far-right anti-Arab party endorsed Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres had no choice but to invite 'Bibi' to form a government. This will be the second time Netanyahu's been PM, and he's going to find his freedom of action regarding the Palestinians severely curtailed by the far right and ultra-religious parties that are posturing to join the coalition. Lieberman's list of cabinet ministries is mind-blowing (among them, Public Security and the Foreign Ministry). Part of Lieberman's platform included requiring all Israeli Arabs to either take a loyalty oath or forfeit Israeli citizenship. Stay tuned to this one, folks; it's gonna get nuts.
Moving east, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has disclosed that Iran enriched a lot more uranium that it had first estimated. By itself, that's not a big thing - but if Iran runs what it has through the centrifuges a while longer it will have enough oralloy (HEU, or highly enriched uranium) for at least one device.
By 'device,' read 'atomic bomb.'
Now, just because you have the ability to make something does not mean you are going to - witness South Africa, which became the first country to have the capacity to build the bomb and instead walked away from it, dismantling all its facilities under international surveillance and destroying all documentation. But Iran wants to recapture a bit of its former greatness as a world player, and the Bomb guarantees them a seat at the table if they play things right.
Lurking in the wings, however, is Israel, the Israeli lobby in the US and the US itself, which time and again has shown itself to be the Jewish State's bottom bitch. How will the incoming Netanyahu Government react to this?
Predictably, of course. We must remind ourselves that, official denials to the contrary, the Federation of American Scientists estimates that Israel has an arsenal of some 100 weapons of variable yields, all air-deliverable.
Now let's take a peek at the next troublesome little nuclear power in the continent. This will be number three, Pakistan. The Pakistani Government recently signed off on a cease-fire agreement with the Taliban in the Swat Valley, and the Taliban have stated that one of the terms of the agreement will include the imposition of Islamic law in the area.
Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal (although most of the attention in that area is directed toward India), and with the rise of Islamic extremism, the Taliban, the Lashkar e-Toyba and al-Qaeda all in the country, the civilian government's looking a bit weak around the ankles. And, we must remind ourselves, the nuclear weapons and their release authority is vested in the military - civilian command and control is rather shaky.
Which leads one inexorably to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Little Kim set off a pony bomb back in 2006, which made me laugh out loud when I heard the estimated yield (500 tons, not kilotons or megatons, but tons). North Korea might have enough oralloy or plutonium for two to five weapons, but if they're prone to fizzle like the 2006 test, they might not get used. North Korea is also dead-set on testing its Taepodong-2 missile again. This thing has the range to hit Alaska, but is prone to blowing up.
And while we're in the Worker's Paradise, let's talk a bit about Little Kim. It's widely rumored that he's had a stroke and "isn't all there," and he recently sacked his Defense Minister. Speculation is centering around his third son, Kim Jong Un, taking over when Daddy retires or dies (the latter is far more likely, in my estimation).
Of course, how the two older sons will react is an open question.
North Korea has recently started rattling its saber again in the direction of South Korea, which has Seoul rather edgy and Tokyo and Beijing worried.
Remember: The DPRK has about the second-largest army in the region. The US forces along the demilitarized zone aren't sanguine about their chances of holding off a million-strong avalanche, and they may not get much help as the US forces are stretched thin and tired out after spending nearly eight years at war.
So! Lots of stuff to watch. Get out the popcorn and have the remote handy. The Slave Media will probably devote all of its coverage to a missing twenty-year-old white girl.
After watching liberal allies of President Barack Obama flood the airwaves in support of the stimulus bill, a conservative third-party group is countering with a provocative new commercial using Jesus Christ to emphasize the scale of the $787 billion package.
The American Issues Project, which briefly aired a TV spot in last year's presidential race, will go up on Friday with a TV spot that marks the dollars spent with the passage of time.
“Suppose you spent $1 million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born — and kept spending through today,” says the announcer as an image of the three wise men flashes on the screen. “A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.”
I am of the opinion that this blog has run its course, but if you'd like to leave your opinion or suggestions please do so in the comments.
I am certain that when I get back from vacation that we will either decide to close the blog (rest assured that all of our contributors blog elsewhere so you will still be able to keep up with them) or take it in a whole new direction with a whole new focus. That's where you all come in.
Thanks so much for letting us be a part of your day!
Via The Smoking Argus Daily (excellent site!)
and WTF is The Carlyle Group up to?
Carlyle Senses a Profit in Toxic Bank Assets
Carlyle Group, a giant private-equity firm, has raised around $1 billion and hopes to add $2 billion more for investments in financial institutions that come up for sale under President Obama's economic rescue plan, according to people familiar with the company's plans.
Seeking to jump-start the economy, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner last week said he will seek private-sector help for the banks, offering loans at favorable rates and putting up government backing to reduce the risks to investors like Carlyle.
WTF???? I'd sense a profit too if someone had my back and reduced all my risk. WTF??? Kinda like the deal Fannie and Freddie got from the gubmint and then gave to all their "big bank borrowers" -- PISS ME OFF
I guess RISK (for the big boys that is) no longer means under financial or legal obligation, to be held responsible...
Thursday, February 19
I’m sure I heard it somewhere…there were WMD in Iraq – POSITIVELY ID’d by the Bush people. But some of us crazies, excuse me, nutters, called the Powers That Be on it and were called conspiracy theorists.
There was a small article in the papers and on TV a while back about a CIA agent being outed by the Bush people (which Cheney and some guy named Libby were involved with, but denied) and the press said it wasn’t so; and some of us idiots, excuse me, nutters, called them out on it and we were pooh poohed and called crackpots, unpatriotic and conspiracy theorists.
Some time a few years back, some pictures were released of torture going on in Iraq by American Soldiers. But of course, when some of us who have “crazy ravings” commented that it was really happening, we were called conspiracy theorists and unpatriotic.
When it was discovered, sorry, “leaked” that prisoners were being mistreated at Gitmo and that some were being held because they blew their noses wrong, a number of really cogent types called us unpatriotic and conspiracy theorists.
When it was revealed, sorry, insinuated that news was being “fed” to the media like so much propaganda, from the Bush Administration and the media were complicit, some of us were called crazy radicals and conspiracy theorists.
When some from the left suggested that there were reports the U.S. of A. tortured prisoners and ignored the Geneva Convention and the heroes of the anti conspiracy theorists cheered the denials of the always truthful Bush Regime, and some of us called bull shit, we were called conspiracy theorists and unpatriotic.
When information became apparent that the 2 billion dollar war in Iraq JUST MIGHT COST a couple of dollars more and a rather intelligent commenter (who used to write comments on this blog) wrote some evil insinuations here and on his blogs that we were headed for some deep financial shit which some of us conspiracy theorists believed (which was laughed at by those who thought they were in the know)then came true, calling us (and him) conspiracy theorists or crazies or nutters or whatever the 3rd grade verbal insult of the day is, just might have been premature, or at least immature. (Doncha luv long convoluted sentences? Or will that be the next item to attack? Oh! Sorry. My bad. They already have been attacked!)
When the same extremely well informed individual successfully prognosticated the current economic crisis well ahead of 99% of the other so-called well informed pundits to the laughter of the insulting rabble, he and we were called crazies and conspiracy theorists for believing him because the economy was so strong. How dare anyone criticize that; and on a blog, too…where little lambs romp through ever changing patterns of pretty text and pictures, just like real life. Blue Skies, nothing but Blue Skies…do some see!
I guess I could go on but if my point hasn’t been absorbed by some with dry sponges for brains, there’s no use continuing.
Now we’re admonished for not posting all the “good times stuff.” The kind of stuff that Fox News claimed the other media, sorry THE media didn’t report. I guess we just post the bad stuff when there’s all these really swell stories out there that for conspiratorial reasons a few of us choose to keep repressed from those with their rose colored glasses who read this blog.
The above post is an effort at being a Democrat, a dumb one nevertheless, but a Democrat. We listen to the rabble on the right (and those political and pretend realist indigents from our own side) and try to be nice rather than calling some who disagree with what we post, names because they want to live in a make-believe world of cotton candy and Caribou Barbie Dolls and Jack Armstrongs. Heaven forbid we post something that doesn’t make everyone who reads this blog or any other, happy all the
It’s like newspapers. Lots of really swell Ozzie and Harriet stories on the front page, and many of them turn out to be true and many false. Well, maybe not the FRONT page but somewhere in the paper. But they are reported. Some people don’t read the newspapers anymore because there’s too much negativity in them. They read the sports, yeah, no troubling stories there. Or maybe the home section with the latest stories about things most of us can’t afford. That gets my morning going! Of course, there’s always the comics. Read them enough and you’ll be convinced that life is that big bowl of cherries that the people in charge the last few years have been feeding those like you.
No, let’s just read about the good things and those in power will take real good care of us. Over this last month there have been posts about copyright infringement, gun control, New Year’s Resolutions, subs colliding, a number of science and astronomy items, some really great personal reflections, religious articles and some funny shit. But that’s not good enough for at least one person. That one person is upset because he or she has to read something he or she doesn’t like reading for whatever reason. I can hear the tiny violin playing now. And it seems rather personal, too, the attacks. Reminiscent of a former commenter here who knew
everything there was to know about everything under the sun.
Maybe George Carlin’s advice should be considered! And for the record, it’s Tyme, not Thyme, for the reading and comprehension impaired. And why is it that anyone should have to answer to you so you don’t think they’re crazy? You really aren’t nearly as important as you must think you are…because you read this blog?
Next “Thyme” I’ll pretend I’m a Republican and respond as they do. How ‘bout that…ma’ darling?
Oh, if you’re looking for good times stuff (sorry, Jimmy doesn’t do that show any more) here are some sites you might want to bookmark for the next time you feel in a particularly insulting mood. They seem to be what you’re really after.
Of course, I could be wrong.
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
P.S. Please reread the post about the heroin. You seem to be the only one who doesn't understand the way things work. Buy cheap, store then sell high when the price rises. But I guess that's just a little to complex for ya. And they say men never stop to ask for directions...or instructions!
UPDATE: Oh this is rich. House Republicans can't seem to get enough of that stimulus money they opposed.
Wednesday, February 18
What is it with the Republicans? They don't have to follow the laws? Oh that's right. Their hero Boy George never did so they think they don't have to.
And where is the RIAA? Can't they get their heads out of the Republican's Assholes long enough to follow the law or their own policy? Guess not! The RIAA thinks it's just peachy keen, okey dokey for the Republicans to break the copyright law to help any cause they believe in but must go after those nasty kids sharing music and taking money away from Metallica and company (and the parasite at the RIAA).
So kids, the lesson is clear. When you want to share music with friends, just make sure there's a Republican poster or some kind of Right Wing Flyer around and, bingo! everything's beautiful...in it's own way; under gawd's Heaven, or under the conservative banner.
This one sort of speaks for itself after Sarah's daughter sort of mentioned that abstinence doesn't work and teens will have sex anyway.
Check out their site. Some interesting blurbs in the links.
Tuesday, February 17
That fellow is Osama bin Laden, or Osama bin Missin as I like to call him.
Now, a team of geographers from UCLA have weighed in, saying that by using two scientific theories from their field (geography), they think they've managed to narrow Osama's hiding places down to exactly three buildings in the same town in Pakistan's Kurram Agency region.
By using readily available data and by using these theories (known as distance-decay theory and biogeography theory), the team says that there's a strong likelihood that the most wanted man on Earth can be found in one of those three places.
(Of course, they suggest that the CIA investigate before carpet-bombing the crap out of the area, just in case they got their sums wrong.)
Which brings this to mind:
First we get stuck with a governor we didn't vote for. Then he goes on a tax raising binge. Then he gets to pick a kook to fill Senator Clinton's seat. She doesn't represent the sentiments of most New Yorkers (and most live downstate). And what is with all these female politicians who are mommies and advocate for deadly weapons? I wouldn't let my son play at kid's houses where there were weapons.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told Newsday that she keeps 2 rifles under her bed to protect her house and family. That was on the cover of the paper yesterday. Gun control activists went nuts and today she told the paper that she moved the guns to a secure location. I mean, duh. I wouldn't keep guns under my bed if I had kids.
And one other thing. What the hell is she so afraid of anyway? She lives in upstate NY. There's hardly anyone up there except deer. I live in downstate NY where it is so populated you wouldn't believe it and we are not gun nuts. If we all had guns, it would be a freaking blood bath. Every other person comes from somewhere else and still, we are not gun nuts. English is like the 19th language here and yet still, we are not gun nuts. If the so called terrorists strike again, where do you think they will strike? And yet, we are not gun nuts.
UPDATE on how unpopular Gov Paterson and Sen Gillibrand are in NY from Americablog.