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Saturday, December 31

In a first, gas and other fuels are top US export

This is how it ends. Not with a bang, not with a whimper,
but with a Ka-ching!

Published: Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 1:38 a.m.
NEW YORK - For the first time, the top export of the United States, the world's biggest gas guzzler, is - wait for it - fuel.

Measured in dollars, the nation is on pace this year to ship more gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel than any other single export, according to U.S. Census data going back to 1990. It will also be the first year in more than 60 that America has been a net exporter of these fuels.

Read the rest...if you can stomach it!

Oh! By the way. 
Happy Same Old Year - courtesy of America's Terrorists, 
Big Business.

Friday, December 30

How progressive is your Rep or Senator?

Here's a cool site that compares how progressive those who Occupy Congress are in their voting habits.

To get a better indication of your anointed one, compare your rep to Grijalva of Arizona.

A lower score means voting was basically for a Republican, conservative, big business/pharma or war monger measure.

So how does your stack up? Time to replace him or her?

Sunday, December 25

Christmas Gifts

Well, another Christmas is almost past, Dear Readers, and overall this year was a complete success.

As is traditional in my family, we had a formal sit down dinner on the 24th, followed not by the Airing of the Grievances but by the opening of presents. I got three books on African history (King Leopold's Ghost, The Scramble for Africa, and The Boer War) and a new pair of work boots. I definitely needed the latter.

Everyone else in the family was satisfied with the gifts they received, and were immensely stuffed by the meal I made. Said meal consisted of:

Prime rib with bacon-spinach stuffing
Duchess potatoes with mushroom gravy
Spiced carrots
Minty orzo with peas
Rum-raisin apple pie
Lemon fruitcake


Then I saw the news this morning, and I received another gift - the gift of delicious schadenfreude. It seems that neither Rick Perry nor Newt Gingrich will be on the ballot in Virginia when that state holds its primary later next year. You see, you need to post up ten thousand signatures in order to get on the ballot, and Rick and Newton failed to do it.

Well, no problem, you say; they'll just run a write-in campaign. Ah, but Virginia's election laws prohibit write-ins during the primaries. So Rick and Newt are left out in the cold.

Adding to this comedy of errors was the statement made by Gingrich's campaign staff, which likened the contretemps to Pearl Harbor and called it a setback (implying that the Japanese attack that killed 2,000 Americans was also a 'setback'). I'm waiting to see how that gets walked back.

Meanwhile, I shall go to bed having had a very merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23

Boehner Pwns Himself

It's not fun being Speaker John Boehner this Christmas.

I'll try to contain my laughter and deep, warm, fuzzy freudenschade.

And it started with an extension of the payroll tax cut. Earlier this year, the Democrats suggested a one-year extension, and the Republicans balked. So the Dems in the Senate suggested a two-month stopgap, and the Republicans in the Senate (after due amounts of hemming and hawing) decided it was a pretty good idea. The Senate passed it easily, with wide bipartisan support, and sent it on to the House.

And things fell apart.

I will now digress, to give you a little insight into the fundamental differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate. When the Constitution was being drawn up, Alexander Hamilton suggested that the Senate be what the House of Lords was in Britain - the Upper House, populated by people who were above the baser instincts of those drawn and elevated from the great masses of the people.

(This, by the way, is why the original version of the Constitution - now modified by the 17th Amendment - required Senators to be elected by state legislatures, not by popular vote.)

The House of Representatives, on the other hand, was to be and still is elected by popular vote. Its members tend to be passionate and somewhat more vociferous than their Senate counterparts. Some might even say 'bumptious,' requiring the Speaker to be strong leader capable of directing not only his own caucus but by negotiating in good faith with the opposition.

Okay, digression over.

The payroll tax stopgap hits the House and got hit by a dung-bomb. You see, the extreme-right-so-extreme-that-if-you-squint-they-look-anarchist wing of the GOP said no. These are the same people who'd rather see Americans lapse into poverty by the millions rather than let Obama or the Democrats be perceived as winning. Buoyed, then, by the extremists in his caucus, Boehner said no.

And the backlash began. The Right Wing Propaganda Mouthpieces (like the Wall Street Journal) stood aghast at the very idea of Republicans actually refusing a tax cut. The Senate GOP perked up, and the wrinkled old woman Minority Leader (Mitch McConnell) refused to back Boehner's bright idea of setting up a conference. Even Karl Rove weighed in, saying that the Republicans had "lost the optics."

Boehner capitulated yesterday, as his own House caucus started to fracture.

Boehner plans on putting the bill up on a unanimous consent motion, which doesn't require calling the full House back into session. However, it means that only one Republican has to object to scotch things and make the Speaker look like many are perceiving him to be - a weak leader.

The Speaker of the House cannot be a weak leader, and it's been vividly illustrated that Boehner can't even command his own caucus, much less the more fractious and bumptious Tea Party members. He's lost respect, and you can't get respect back easily once you've lost it.

If one, just one, GOP House member says no to the motion approving the bill, payroll taxes will go up and the blame will be laid completely at the feet of the Republican House caucus and its leader, Speaker John Boehner. People will get extremely pissed at seeing their taxes go up while the GOP continues to insist on lowering taxes on the insanely rich.

One analyst suggested a fight developing, behind the scenes right now, between partisans within the House GOP.

Watch closely, and have some popcorn or Raisinets handy.

We may have Speaker Eric Cantor by Groundhog Day.

Thursday, December 22

That Was Quick

Four days ago the last US troops left Iraq.

Barely had the dust settled on the highway leading out into Kuwait than things went to shit. I have to confess, it was quicker than I expected, but in hindsight you can see where it was starting.

Years ago, on this very bit of blogging soil, Dear Reader, I predicted that when we left Iraq - no matter when we inevitably left that country - the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority would come to blows. The Sunnis have been the ruling faction in Iraq ever since the British created the nation out of several Ottoman provinces after the Great War and installed a Hashemite monarch from the Hejaz.

The Shiites are now in power, and simmering tensions are now coming to a boil. The political infighting that prevented a viable governing coalition in Baghdad for months got worse as soon as the Americans left.

Iraqi PM Maliki has issued an arrest warrant for Vice President al-Hashemi, alleging terrorism and purported ties to death squads. Al-Hashemi has hightailed it to Kurdistan.

And in a coordinated attack reminiscent of so many over the past years, fourteen bombs have gone off, killing about 70 and injuring 200.

Now, many people are going to excoriate President Obama for "leaving too early." But it wouldn't have mattered if we had left five years ago, or fifty years from now.

I'm just surprised they waited four days to start up.

Wednesday, December 21

Turn out the lights...the party's almost over...or not!

C O U N T D O W N !
One year to go!

It's over! 
The end of days! Armmmaaggedddddion! Transfiguation! Transmogrification! Dogs and cats living together...well, wait a minute!

Before you go bequeathing stuff to the nematodes who may be left, take a little bit of time to read this article. I know the rabid doomsdayers among you won't believe until you awaken December 22, 2012 (or the 24th depending on other factors) that the earth and all of us will still be here those days. So if you really, really feel things will happen the way sensationalistic authors and Hollywood claims, please feel free to donate all your worldly possessions to me so I can redistribute the wealth Christmas Day, 2012!

Below is the conclusion of the author. Don't believe it? Still think you're going to Valhalla or wherever? Then please send me your (good) stuff!

Worries about The End

More worrisome than the film itself is public hysteria around the actual date of December 21 (or 23), 2012, which has generated a great deal of fear and, for some people who are a bit more emotionally fragile, threats of suicide (see this article from National Geographic for more examples and information). This hysteria has been fed by the makers of the film for the purpose of hyping it, and it is growing increasingly difficult (particularly on the internet) to find voices of reason in an often-sinister wilderness of open speculation on the subject.

Hopefully, this hysteria will subside as calmer heads prevail and make their voices heard. Though we have a more-than-excellent chance of waking up on December 22 (or 24), 2012, in the same shape as we were when we went to sleep, we might want to keep an eye on those of us who are a bit more impressionable than others. Take a moment to let these worriers know they should take all the scary things they are reading on the internet about 2012 with a grain of salt - or twenty. After all, the ancient Maya didn't seem concerned enough to really write much of anything about it. Should we?

Monday, December 19

He's Not So Ronery Now

Kim Jong Il is dead. North Korea announced last night that the 'Dear Leader' had died at the age of 69, and has been duly succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong Un.

Note the adjective 'youngest.'

Jong Un's got two older brothers, who might conceivably harbor a soupcon of resentment at being cut out of the dynastic succession (the DPRK's unique even among Communist countries in that regard). Remember Fredo in Godfather II?

Yeah, like that.

According to the analysts, the young man's uncle is the Gray Eminence in Pyongyang. We'll have to see what develops. The rest of Asia is watching as well, and the markets took a dive on the news.

Because the one thing we don't want to see in a small, authoritarian, impoverished nation with a nuclear arsenal is uncertainty at the top.

Monday, December 12

For those who slammed Peter, and to an extent me, for being concerned theorists about this New American Century...

The growing menace of domestic drones

From salon: 
"...Last week, I wrote about the rapidly growing domestic drone industry and the largely undiscussed dangers it poses. The Los Angeles Times yesterday reported that local police in North Dakota used a Predator B drone — the most common unmanned aircraft employed by the U.S. military to attack and kill “insurgents” in the Muslim world — to apprehend three men. The suspects had refused to turn over six cows which had wandered onto their land (the laws governing open-range ownership are in dispute and the farm owners claimed they are entitled to keep the cows); after being tasered in an earlier incident on their land for allegedly resisting arrest, they brandished weapons at the officers who came to seize the cows. The police, armed with a warrant, then called in a Predator drone to fly over their land, locate them, and transmit video images to the police; when the drone revealed the suspects were unarmed, the police entered their property and arrested them."

Read the rest here:

Then update your passport. And if you think you're ok because "you don't do anything wrong", two things for ya.
1. Wait until you drive 5 mph over the speed limit day OR night and get tagged by local money/power hungry cops for local money hungry municipalities and IF you keep driving without a license, " the music is gonna get you!"

2. If I find who any of you Vichy Democrats who didn't raise any objection to this, I'll report you (anonymously, of course) as a possible _________ (fill in the blank) and I'm sure "Those Who Watch" will be curious to give you a chance to express your innocence...and I'll just laugh. (Those Who Watch jis luvs informants!) 

Oh, and one other thing. No where does it say that political groups, private companies, banks, Wall Street Corporations, Debt Collection Companies, Credit Card Companies, the RIAA, The MPAA or Telecom Companies or Apple or Microsoft or WalMart or especially Fox News or any other poor, persecuted copyright holders or besieged or beleaguered businesses (by the bad American Terrorist People until proven subservient) can't have and operate  their own drones...or join with a group of others to lower their costs!  
Lots of new jobs for traitors at...
The New American Blackwater Eye!

Looking forward to the Conventions next year...and the filling of those internment (or better yet, interment) camps that don't exist!

Welcome to Blade Runner - The Directors Government Cut!

Sunday, December 4

Good Morning Blues... ('tis the season!!)

Remixed and repackaged for your holiday listening pleasure

Uploaded by SwingMan1937
"This one's so early that Basie, Jimmy Rushing & the band still have Kansas City seeping out of their pores.

Great big band blues as only the Count could serve it up - this is the seemingly rare originally issued 'good' take that's not used on the Basie "Early Years" set put out in 1996.


"GOOD MORNING BLUES" (The Real Tuesday Weld Clarkenwell Mix) // Count Basie The original song, "Good Morning Blues," was one of signature tunes for Basie, the inimitable pianist, composer and big-band icon. A love song wrapped in a Christmas wish, the song is remixed here by Stephen Coates and his outfit, The Real Tuesday Weld, who give it a stripped-down, jazzy shimmy, based on Basie's sing-song piano riff and string flourishes.

Thursday, December 1

The One-Percent Holiday Song

(Sung to the tune of 'O Tannenbaum,' because why not.)

Oh Ninety-nine, oh Ninety-nine,
Why are you so sad this year?

Oh Ninety-nine, oh Ninety-nine,
Why should I shed a single tear?

This Christmastime it's plain to see
It's none for you, and all for me!

Oh Ninety-nine, oh Ninety-nine,
Why don't you get off your lazy rear?