Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sticking Point(s)

This is one of the things I've been worrying about.  Dumping Will Kill Us

If we aren't careful, we're gonna get a reform law that simply sets us up to fail. Either the public option leads to a system that transfers enormous amounts of money from taxpayers to insurance companies; or it strips out the quaality of care from private plans because it applies so much pricing pressure; or it kills the insurance industry outright; or, or, or, etc.

I think the one thing that's obvious is that this is gonna get painful.

Just The Way You Are

Dove started this a few years ago, and it seemed like a great idea. Real women depicted in a real way. Haven't heard much about it lately; I'm hoping they stick with it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Crock Of The Week

Cluster Fox

The Rupert Street Journal may have let one slip by.
The token librul, Thomas Franks somehow got this past 'em.

"But no journalistic operation is better prepared to sing the tragedy of its own martyrdom than Fox News. To all the usual journalistic instincts it adds its grand narrative of Middle America's disrespectful treatment by the liberal elite. Persecution fantasy is Fox News's lifeblood; give it the faintest whiff of the real thing and look out for a gale-force hissy fit."

Live To Work vs Work To Live

By way of The Agonist, here's a post from a guy named Joe Bageant.

"America looks like one big workhouse, "under God, indivisible, with time off to shit, shower and shop." A country whose citizens have been reduced to "human assets" of a vast and relentless economic machine, moving human parts oiled by commodities and kept in motion by the edict, "produce or die." Where employment and a job dominates all other aspects of life, and the loss of which spells the loss of everything."

"But you won't hear anyone complaining. America doesn't like whiners. A whiner or a cynic is about the worst thing you can be in the land of gunpoint optimism. Foreigners often remark on the upbeat American personality. I assure them that our American corpocracy has its ways of pistol whipping or sedating its human assets into the appropriate level of cheeriness."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


From an Op-Ed piece by Scott Corey as posted on Juan Cole's Informed Comment.

"Today, power is so diffuse that empire and isolation are equally dead. Control of information, money, natural resources, and ideological persuasiveness all move parts of the political world. Still, all of it hangs on a framework of formal authority residing in a collection of states that wield force, legitimacy, representation, and diplomacy.
Terrorism prospers in the complexity of this political world. Political identity is no longer simple and fixed, so friend and enemy are hard to know. If I hit you, we fight, because the enmity is clear. If I coerce you with weapons, you might be intimidated or you might defy me, but the choice is clear. However, if I kill someone else in a spectacular manner, you need to know why before you can react. My cause might be just. My enemy might be your enemy. Or I might be coming for you and yours if you take the wrong path."

News vs Opinion

At ClusterFox, they seem to blur the line just a bit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beck's Projections

Listen closely, and you can make out the subliminal message: Teach your kids to expect less. There are winners and losers in life; the people you see on TV and the people you read about in the papers are the winners, and all of you are losers. Get used to it.

Carl Sagan Sings(?)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Virginia Gubernatorial Race

Nick's project for his Government Class is this campaign spot - with my own humble self doing a guest shot as narrator.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Evidence-Based Reality

And the debate rages on.  From an article in Wired, Amy Wallace takes a look at what's beginning to happen as a result of the "Anti-Vaccination Movement".
In May, The New England Journal of Medicine laid the blame for clusters of disease outbreaks throughout the US squarely at the feet of declining vaccination rates, while nonprofit health care provider Kaiser Permanente reported that unvaccinated children were 23 times more likely to get pertussis, a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes violent coughing and is potentially lethal to infants. In the June issue of the journal Pediatrics, Jason Glanz, an epidemiologist at Kaiser’s Institute for Health Research, revealed that the number of reported pertussis cases jumped from 1,000 in 1976 to 26,000 in 2004. A disease that vaccines made rare, in other words, is making a comeback. “This study helps dispel one of the commonly held beliefs among vaccine-refusing parents: that their children are not at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases,” Glanz says.
“I used to say that the tide would turn when children started to die. Well, children have started to die,” Offit says, frowning as he ticks off recent fatal cases of meningitis in unvaccinated children in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. “So now I’ve changed it to ‘when enough children start to die.’ Because obviously, we’re not there yet.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

For The Record

I caught a short glimpse of Frank Gaffney on Hardball trying to argue that a real insurgency caused problems in Germany after WWII - which somehow is supposed to mean we should stay in Iraq and Afghanistan in spite of the locals' deep desire to get us outa there.

The 'Werewolf' in Germany was mostly fiction - made up of frightened hungry teenagers and some number of die-hard Nazi buttheads.  A Pentagon report listed 42 American soldiers "killed as a result of enemy action" between June and December 1945. In 1946, there were three.

Get. Out. Now.

Once An Asshole, Always An Asshole

“They’re opening them [oil fields] up to other companies all over the world … We’re entitled to it. Heck, we even lost 5,000 of our people, 65,000 injured and a trillion, five hundred billion dollars," -T. Boone Pickens, speaking to Congress about Iraq.

I have to admit, when Pickens was doing his commercials for wind energy, I tho't maybe we were seeing the beginnings of real change in how we'd go about feeding the beast - which (I'd hoped) would change the beast.  Now I see it was just standard bullshit - he saw an opportunity and tried to capitalize on it.  Nothin' wrong with that in itself, but pricks like T Boone Pickens feel entitled to the resources that somebody else paid for.  They actually believe that my kids should fight and bleed and die in some desert shithole to make sure they have access to the enormous profits they can make by selling the oil back to the machinery being used to go to places like Iraq to secure their access to the oil supplies.

There's no soul in any of this.  We've allowed Purpose and Self-Determintation to be stripped out of everything we do. 

Green Economy

100% electric motorcycle.  15,000 miles on about $100 in electricity.

Return To Glass-Steagall

"By not making another financial crisis impossible, they are making another financial crisis inevitable, and next time it will be even worse."

cupidty –noun; eager or excessive desire, esp. to possess something; greed; avarice.

Read this from Ian Welsh.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Warning

We're gettin' fucked with our pants on, guys. And it doesn't stop until we all stand up and make it stop.  So here's your homework assignment for tonight.

Front Line - The Warning

Be aware of the problem, and at least be supportive of people who try to do something about it.

Mr Grayson Rocks The House

Pointing out the stupid shit that sometimes passes for "The People's Business" is an important function. Let's hope he has the integrity to do the same with the Dems from time to time as well.

Money In Your Pocket

When the cost of healthcare coverage (as a percentage of compensation) goes down, wages go up.

Ezra Klein posted a good look at the concept.

Mind Your Mother

"The problem with modern contrarianism is that it's lazy. Too often, it's the sole focus of a piece, and it's the focus for reasons purely of entertainment or ideology. Which is too bad, because the kind of journalism that's most useful is the kind that explains both first order things and counterreactions and doesn't pander to readers' desires to pretend that the world is simpler than it really is. After all, counterreactions may usually be less important than first-order effects, but they're still worth investigating. Some tax cuts really don't raise as much revenue as you'd think. Raising the minimum wage really can have perverse effects in specific slices of the economy. If you're genuinely interested in knowing how the world works, you want to know this."

Kevin Drum explains at Mother Jones.

Give 'Em Hell, Harry

From a speech Harry Truman gave at a convention of The AHA in 1952.

At about 11:40, he makes the point that healthcare is vital to national security. "only the strong survive, and only the healthy can be strong."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I got my first ever comment.  It's from somebody signing as "Snowball", posted yesterday, and I just noticed it this evening.  Yay.  Thanks, Snowball.

Ten Years Of Hell

Matt Taibbi does some great reporting. It's a long piece, and I had to circle back to read some of it more than twice, but the perspective is important.
"By the middle of the Bush years, the great investment banks like Bear and Lehman no longer made their money financing real businesses and creating jobs. Instead, Wall Street now serves, in the words of one former investment executive, as "Lucy to America's Charlie Brown," endlessly creating new products to lure the great herd of unwitting investors into whatever tawdry greed-bubble is being spun at the moment: Come kick the football again, only this time we'll call it the Internet, real estate, oil futures. Wall Street has turned the economy into a giant asset-stripping scheme, one whose purpose is to suck the last bits of meat from the carcass of the middle class."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rush Is Out

Rush LimpBalls has run the standard play (claim to be the victim and deny any ownership of your own actions) in his attempt to salvage something from his latest little dalliance at the edges of the NFL.

He also throws out the usual dodge of pointing at Al Sharpton (Tawana Brawley) and Jesse Jackson (HymieTown), and trying to say, "it's OK if I'm a racist asshole because those other guys are racist assholes too."

Rush is given space in (where else, right?) The Rupert Street Journal to plead his case

The last full paragraph is my favorite.  First, he whines about "the news business...contempt for conservatives".  (Does this mean that Rush has a paricular soft spot for liberals that I'm just not seeing?  And is he somehow working under an assumption that the tight little group of the NFL Ownership is just chock full of Democrats?)   Then he seems to be saying that his poor humble self is being denied access to the American Dream just because he's a simple hardworking guy getting' beat up by those leftwing bullies.

Poor Rush - but guess what?  The rubes are gonna eat it up.  I'm bettin' his ad revenues get a nice bump outa this after all.

Too Rich To Care

If you don't have it, then (obviously) you don't deserve it.

This is why unregulated free enterprise always leads to bloody revolt.

NY Times Op-Ed by Paul Sullivan - can this guy get any more tone deaf?

Here's No More Mister Nice Guy taking it apart.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10 Years Of Hell

From Lance Mannion:

"We’re experiencing a jobless recovery right now. That’s a problem. But my fear is that we’re on our way to a jobless economy"


"It’s a good bet that company execs rarely think of their companies as making something or doing something special at all. All big businesses are in the business of selling stock."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Creationism vs Evolution (cont'd) Updated 10-17-09 1110 EST

We're a nation of laws, and law requires factual evidence.

Creationists claim that their faith (ie: absence of evidence) is the same as the presence of the factual evidence of science.

If I'm in a position of authority, and I've established my Belief as The Law, then I should be able to drag anyone into court and convict them of the worst crimes imaginable simply by saying I believe them to be guilty.
Kansas decided a couple of years ago that science courses in public schools would deal with teaching Evolution and not Creationism.  The full force of law is now behind Science - meaning that the use of deadly force can be brought to bear on anyone teaching anything else in a science class in Kansas.
Logical Extreme: If I teach Creationism in my science class when Creationism has been banned, I can be fired.  If I refuse to leave the building, then I can be forcibly removed.  If I resist being removed, then the authorities have the option to escalate all the way to the point where they can kill me if they deem it necessary.  It's not good straight-line logic, but the net effect is that I've been killed for trying to do what I tho't was right.  Is this something of a Logical Fallacy?

One point remains clear: The law is not a trifling thing.

Today's Worst

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10 Years Of Hell

Well now, this oughta make your day.  The guys at The Agonist are in their usual cheery mood.

"If you are an American and want to survive this, you have got to get your living costs down. You have to find a cheaper mortgage or cheaper housing, you have to monitor your food costs, shrink your electrical and heating bills, renegotiate your homeowners and life insurance, and pray that the federal government does something to reduce health care costs. Your wages are going to stagnate for a long time to come - if you can keep a job - and you are going to have to play the deflation game yourself when it comes to managing your costs."


There are a few things for which Capitalism is just not well-suited.  Prisons for example.

Here's a story from The Texas Observer reporting on a riot in Pecos.
"As the crisis negotiators quickly found out, the riot had not been prompted by gang infighting, racial tensions or a spontaneous outburst of violence. The men incarcerated at the Pecos prison are considered “low-security”; most are serving relatively short sentences for immigration violations or drug offenses. All are set to be deported at the end of their sentences.
Leaders of the rebellion were demanding a meeting with the Mexican Consulate, the FBI and the warden to discuss a number of grievances that they said GEO Group, the prison company that manages the 3,700-bed facility, had refused to address.
The evening of the uprising, the inmates sent a delegation of seven men—a Venezuelan, a Cuban, a Nigerian, and four Mexicans—to meet with the authorities.
They explained that the uprising had erupted from widespread dissatisfaction with almost every aspect of the prison: inedible food, a dearth of legal resources, the use of solitary confinement to punish people who complained about their medical treatment, overcrowding and, above all, poor health care.
The delegates pointed to a string of deaths (according to public records, five men died in Reeves between August 2008 and March 2009, including two suicides) they attributed to the prison’s inattention to medical needs."

It's never as simple as it seems, but when you set up a system that provides a profit incentive for a certain outcome, try not to act surprised when that outcome is what you get.  The goals are always lofty-sounding;   "we have to do something (about Illegal Immigration, Illegal Drug Use, etc) to keep Real Americans safe", but the practice is that we're paying companies to put Scary-Looking Dark-Skinned People in jail, so that's what they're doing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creationism vs Evolution

(this is a work in progress; I just want to jot some things down as they pop into my head)

We're a nation of laws, and law requires factual evidence.

Creationists claim that their absence of evidence (faith) is the same as the presence of the factual evidence of science.

If I accept the creationists' belief as the law, then I should be able to drag them all into court and convict them all of the worst crimes imaginable simply by saying I believe them to be guilty.

Unemployment Numbers for September 09

The unemployment rate increased a tenth of a percentage point to 9.8% in September, in line with the Bloomberg market consensus.

The rate has doubled since the start of the recession. This 4.9 point increase is the highest recessionary increase on record.
The labor force contracted significantly in September.

Some scary shit from The Fed in Atlanta.

Why is it they never give us the real numbers the first time around?

Short Memory

Cluster Fox needs you to believe; they need you to clap your hands so Tinker Bell doesn't die; they need you to ignore that man behind the curtain. And they need you to believe there's no such thing as a video archive. These people have no soul.

Crooks & Liars

Monday, October 12, 2009

It Gets Worse...

...Before It Gets a Lot Worse.

This bit from Bill Moyers isn't fun.

In just the last few months, the health care industry has spent 380 million dollars on lobbying, advertising and campaign contributions. And a million and a half of it went to -- don't hold your breath -- Finance Committee Chairman Baucus, who said he saw "a lot to like" in two proposed public options but voted "no."

Don't just get mad. Get busy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reality's Bias

"Terrorist activity" was uncovered in a smallish town northeast of San Diego when a a young man showed up at a local ER with a few of his fingers missing; apparently caused by an explosion.  This first report on Cluster Fox was all about a possible link with Najibulah Zazi simply because the cops found the same explosive at this guy's house as they found at Zazi's place.  They had absolutely no information that the two incidents were related in any way, but there's Trace Gallagher breathlessly speculating.

The first report is an obvious attempt to link this new development with the Zazi case, trying to amp up the fear of dark-skinned bad guys.  But in the followup, when the emphasis has to shift away from Zazi, they pivot deftly to the standard paranoia - 'your children are in danger; your neighbors can't be trusted; a grisly death for you and your loved ones lurks around every corner.'

And here's the kicker: They intercut video of a cop carrying an AERIAL BOMB with shots of kids' toys in somebody's yard somewhere, while the Lady News Model and The Hero Cop read their Scary Story Script in voiceover mode.  None of the video is identified - either as File Footage or whatever.  So the viewer is left to draw the inference that "this must be something big". 

These people have no soul.  Whatever Fox News is in fact, it's not very often a news organization. Reality itself is biased against these dimwits.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


"They gave Obama the peace prize because he's not Bush" 

Damn straight.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good and Cheap

Two words that don't often bump into each other in the real world - but there's a wine we've recently discovered that puts things together in a pretty good way.

Bandit Wine.  Give it a try.

If Only They'd Had More Guns

A Pennsylvania woman who drew national attention for carrying a loaded handgun to her daughter's soccer game has been shot and killed in an apparent murder-suicide, the Lebanon Daily News reports.

Meleanie Hain, 31, of Lebanon, Pa., and her husband, Scott Hain, 33, were found dead after a two-hour standoff with police Wednesday night, the AP reports.

Hain was dubbed the 'pistol-packin' mom' after wearing her holstered 9mm Glock pistol to her 5-year-old daughter's soccer match in 2008.

The local sheriff revoked her concealed weapon permit after receiving several complaints, saying she had used poor judgment, The Patriot-News reports.

A county judge reinstated the permit, but asked Hain to conceal the pistol when she attends soccer games, The Patriot-News says.

Hains, however, said she would continue to carry the weapon openly and filed a federal civil rights suit that was awaiting a trial date.

Update at 10: 24 a.m. ET: The Lebanon Daily News says Lebanon police Chief Daniel Wright is providing little information aside from acknowledging that both were found dead and that he did not think anyone else was involved. The district attorney likewise refuses comment. The paper quotes several neighbors as saying they heard or saw the couple's children's running from the house screaming, "Daddy shot Mommy!" shortly before the 911 was called.

The paper also quotes one neighbor, Debbie Mise, as saying she feared something bad would eventually happen at the Hain home. "She just wasn't right," Mise said of Meleanie Hain, the paper reports. "You don't bring a gun to a kids' soccer game, and you don't wear a gun when you go shopping at Kohl's."

Lebanon Daily News


"A narrative is the series of events which the individual organism experiences. The meta-narrative is the collective history by which a group defines itself."


"One thing that has become clearer to me in the last six years is that democracy is for grownups, and most people, whatever lipservice they give to the concept, really don't want the responsibility of self-rule."

Read it all at The Agonist.

Energy Security = National Security

The fallout from some pretty stupid economic policies over the last 15 years continues to pile up.

The Demise of the Dollar.  It seems a bit overstated because there's not much really new here (there have been efforts along these lines in the past), but what gives it a taste of alarm and urgency is that we seem so unprepared for the shift.  I'm hoping Obama's Econ Team has been thinking hard about this, and that their willingness to let the dollar slip is part of the plan to get money flowing back into the US. 

We have 7 or 8 or 9 years before "the market basket of currencies" takes over as the global reserve currency - now if only we could think of some cool new industries to start building.  Hmmm.

UPDATE: From Crooks and Liars, some lessons on what it all means to us little people.

Obama's Prize

I'm a little stunned by the news.  The Guardian has put up a story announcing Obama as this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner.

(the quickie readers' poll asking if he deserves it is running better than 2-to-1 against.)

I can certainly go along with the choice because he's moving us back in the right direction, but the simple fact that the nomination deadline came when he'd been in office for all of about 30 days gives the thing an air of desperation.  Maybe the world (at least the nominating committee) has been even more alarmed at our beligerence the last 8 years than I tho't.  It occurs to me that there's some probability the committee wanted to give the American voters a collective pat on the head.  Dunno.  It'll be interesting to hear Rush and Fox and Savage spin on this one.  I wonder if anybody will speculate that Obama's Copenhagen trip was actually all about lobbying the committee on his own behalf.

Some Quotes

Education is a wonderful thing.  If you couldn't sign your name, you'd have to pay cash. -Rita Mae Brown

Education is a progressive discovery of your own ignorance -Will Durant

The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth which it prevents you from achieving. -Russell Green

From the smallest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from one attribute of man: the function of his reasoning mind -Ayn Rand

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sadie's Art

The Economics Of Parenting

From NPR's  Planet Money.

Crock Of The Week

Not as good as most, but still decent.

Sully Wises Up

One thing I really like about Andrew Sullivan is that he allows himself to learn, then he adjusts his view according to the new information.

Here's his post from today, citing Juan Cole's assessment of Iran's nuclear capabilities and apparent strategy.

BTW: You can get to Cole's blog here.  It can be dense and difficult, but the guy knows his shit.

Gerson Counsels Inclusion

Michael Gerson has an OP-Ed over at WaPo  this morning, in which he laments the departure of Mel Martinez, and worries that it means Republicans will continue to lose favor with Latinos.  Duh.  To his credit,  Gerson has criticized the anti-immigrant fervor of the Repubs in the past. But he seems never to point out that the actual treatment of actual people by the Republicans is wrong and mean-spirited.  He sees it as a PR problem - he worries only that Latinos will resist voting against their own interests due to poor messaging on the part of the politicians.

Some conservatives dismiss electoral considerations as soiled and cynical. They will make their case, even if that means sacrificing Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and . . . Indiana. Yes, Indiana, which had supported Republican presidential candidates for 40 years before Obama captured it on the strength of Hispanic votes. This is a good definition of extremism -- the assumption that irrelevance is evidence of integrity. In fact, it is a moral achievement of democracy that it eventually forces political parties to appeal to minorities and outsiders instead of demonizing them. The scramble for votes, in the long run, requires inclusion.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Healthcare Situation In Canuckistan

From The Denver Post.
Myth: Canada's health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.

The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn't when everybody is covered.

Dead Americans - October 2009

As of the end of the 7th day in October 2009:

2 Americans have died this month as a result of combat in Iraq.
17 Americans have died this month as a result of combat in Afghanistan.
840 Americans have died this month as a result of not having adequate health insurance.

Monsters Of Folk - Dear God

Just got the CD - these guys are new for me. I think I can hear a weird blend of Marvin Gaye, The BeeGees, and Loggins & Messina on this one. Other cuts have a Dead feel; or maybe The Byrds.

Star Power

From a story at Reuters via Yahoo:
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – The United States is the most admired country globally thanks largely to the star power of President Barack Obama and his administration, according to a new poll.
It climbed from seventh place last year, ahead of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan which completed the top five nations in the Nation Brand Index (NBI).
"What's really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States for 2009," said Simon Anholt, the founder of NBI, which measured the global image of 50 countries each year.

God's Chosen

Ya really think Jesus would wear a USA t-shirt?  I threw up a little in the back of my throat.

Karen Armstrong

A TED lecture (

Cluster Fox

The issues have lost some of their magic, but apparently, Fox believes there's still a sizable audience for their bit about having the Dems in charge of national security puts us all in danger.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Sound Of A Falling Shoe

A couple of potentially big Uh-Oh's:

First is a report at Reuters.

Put that together with this from Calculated Risk a week ago, and it's pretty close to where we just unplug it and stay drunk for a while.

10 Years Of Hell

One thing that hasn't seen much improvement under Obama is BLS's difficulties figuring out what's actually happening with unemployment.  I'd like to see somebody go back and chart the monthly stats as first reported against the real numbers that come out (quietly) several weeks later.

In case you can't see this well, go to

...the right of the people peaceably to assemble...

It seems a bit counterintuitive, but I think the development of things like non-lethal weapons - area denial devices, sandbag projectiles, etc - is seriously dangerous to active participation in a democracy. These weapons give the bureaucrats and aparatchiks in government the illusion that they can 'control' people; claiming the humanitarian high ground, without using deadly force. Suddenly, they're several steps closer to being able to do whatever they please "in the name of the king and for the good of the state".

Red State Update

It takes some guts to do this.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cancer Awareness

Moyers and The Wire

Bill Moyers' Journal has a very interesting interview with the creator of HBO's The Wire.

(Be sure to look for the full version - in 2 parts)

The guy has a lot to say about telling a story that journalists should be telling us and aren't - we're only getting some of these stories thru "reality-based fiction".  That's a pretty weird concept.  I should prob'ly think on that one for a while.

"God Bless Atheism"

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Blues

New to me anyway - guy plays the shit out of it.

Stop --Joe Bonamassa

Dead Peasants

Obama "Loses" Olympics

Obama's trip to Denmark was about something, but it wasn't about making a pitch for a Chicago Olympics.  I think he agreed to take a shot at it since he was there anyway, and the IOC meeting provided cover for something else.
Of course, the righty-wingers are trying to make it out to be something like: 'Obama fails in Copenhagen, and that means the IOC will soon have nuclear weapons.'

A couple of things come to mind.

First, he may or may not be going to the Climate Change conference in December.  If he's thinking he won't, then now's a good time to touch some bases and make his points face-to-face with people who will be there.
But second, the quickie with Stan McChrystal was prob'ly a lot more than it seemed.  I think it was a Come-To-Jesus meeting.  I think the general was told straight out that he can shut up and do his job as the president sees fit, or he can resign his commission and run for the office himself.

DoD Spending

I don't know what it means; if it means anything. 

The Power Elite

Try not to get mad enough to start throwing rocks thru their office windows.

Crooks and Liars

"Indeed, lawmakers receive top-notch, wait-free care, and money is largely no object. Members pay a flat annual fee of $503, and it covers all expenses -- without submitting claim forms to their insurer. Despite soaring costs throughout the health care system, prices have been largely stagnant in the Office of the Attending Physician for 17 years."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Liberal vs Conservative

"There is no contradiction in having a hard head and a soft heart." -Tom Morris


It's a tough gig coming up with something to fill air time every day. I'm not excusing the behavior - I'm just sayin'.
1) There's been a significant increase in the response "NONE" when people are asked about their religious affiliation. Beck sees this and jumps to the conclusion that it means they've all suddenly turned atheist. Because, of course, it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the really shitty things religion has been used for lately, right?
2) Beck bemoans the use of the melody of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" for a 'pro-Obama' song performed by school kids. Does he not realize that for a pretty good chunk of his audience, that tune is all about the Federal Army invading the sovereign states of The Confederacy? Hmm...

David Brooks

This is pretty interesting.  NYT has an OP-Ed piece by David Brooks today that calls the influence of the Righty-Winger Media (Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, et al) an illusion.  Main point is that their rise in popularity has coincided with the decline of the GOP's electoral success.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

Stud Mule For Sale

From Mother Jones - The Wall Street Gang rides again. 

Idle Observation 1: If every investment instrument can qualify for the same rating (ie AAA, B-, whatever), then we shouldn't be wasting time effort and money on ratings at all. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lovable Losers

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Democratic Super Majority
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Meet Aunt Ardi

National Geographic has a new realtive for us.

This adds another 1.2 million years to our evolutionary track., which now stretches back 4,400,000 years.

The Obama Problem

Some freak named John L Perry wrote an opinion piece "speculating" on what it would take to get military officers to stage a coup d'etat here in the US.

It was posted at for a short while yesterday, but by the time I came across the links on the various blogs I check every day, newsmax had taken it down and redirected the traffic to their main page.  No disclaimer; no retraction; nuthin'.

Here's the full text:

Obama Risks a Domestic Military ‘Intervention’ 9/29/09 11:37 PM
By: John L. Perry

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the
“Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

-Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”
-Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
-They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.
-They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
-They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.
-They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America’s troop strength is allowed to sag.
-They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.
-They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.

So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?
Wait until this president bungles into losing the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear bombs falls into the hands of militant Islam?

Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes,
destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?

What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, “I’m not interested in victory”) that they will be denied troops they must have to win?

Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty?

Do they resign en masse?

Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?

Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America’s military leadership is lost in a fool’s fog.

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would
replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the
president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a
Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal
responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.

John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two
presidents, is a regular columnist for Read John Perry's columns here.

© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Close To Unemployed

Per The Economic Policy Institute's new survey:

Every 12 Minutes

One American dies every 12 minutes because they don't have the healthcare insurance they need to cover the cost of their treatment.

865 dead Americans every week
3750 dead Americans every month

What lengths have we gone to; what have we spent, in terms of lives and money and soul, trying to prevent another 9/11?

Ad - David Vitter, ACORN and Hookers

It's prob'ly a good idea to take ACORN apart and to let a new umbrella group emerge - I just think we should be careful not to accept much of anything on face value that comes from a noisy minority out on the wing of either political party.

That said, this ad parody is a fair example of a double irony. Dems complain when the Repubs conflate 2 unrelated issues in order to put up a Straw Man, and here they are doing exactly that. I just think the ad's pretty funny.