Monday, March 30, 2009

You're a loser, and not what you appear to be

posted by The Sailor @ 6:22 PM Permalink

Updated for clarification and better writing. (We wish we could write as well as AKM!)

I'm sure this comes as a surprise to you ... not!, but we think even Democratic donkeys can become braying jackasses. Case in point: Alaska State Rep. Mike Doogan.

Rep. Doogan has chosen to spend a considerable amount of his constituents time, (and maybe AK State resources, and maybe violated AK ethics and laws and Federal laws), to out an anonymous blogger in Alaska who did nothing but chide him about email etiquette. It starts out like this:
Now that Christmas is past, and our bellies are full of figgy pudding, and pumpkin pie, lets lie back in our recliners with a snifter of warm brandy, put our feet up, stroke the head of our golden retriever, and ponder. There is much to ponder here in the North Land, but there is one particular subject that has come to my mind many times over the past two days. It involves a series of emails that occurred on Christmas Eve.
Here's a sample of the aforementioned original email from Rep Mike Doogan:
“Are you people nuts? You send me — and everybody else in the legislature, from the looks of things — Spam and then lecture me on email etiquette — as if there were such a thing? Here’s an etiquette suggestion: Abandon your phony names, do your own thinking and don’t expect everybody to share you obsessions.”
Now that seems a might rude to me, especially coming from a state employee, but he then took the lowest road of all. He devoted his time to finding out exactly who this AKMuckraker is.
From: “”
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 2:55:14 PM
Subject: your identity

**********[Identity protected by this blog]:

I am reliably told that you are the anonymous blogger who writes Mudflats. I am planning to reveal this in the enews I send to my constituents tomorrow, and am writing to let you know this and offer the opportunity to comment.

Mike Doogan
And then DID blast the blogger's name all over the internet!
Anonymous Blogger Anonymous No More

The identity of the person who writes the liberal Democratic Mudflats blog has been secret since the blog began, protected by the Anchorage Daily News, among others. My own theory about the public process is you can say what you want, as long as you are willing to stand behind it using your real name. So I was interested to learn that the woman who writes the blog is Anchorage resident ***************. [Once again, we retract the blogger's name.]

Best wishes,

Our country was founded on anonymity as basic to our freedoms. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison all wrote anonymously! And lately the US Supreme Court agreed. Sheesh, even Clarence Thomas agreed!

Anonymous whistleblowers are protected by federal and state laws. So to see an elected rep out a blogger for revenge of such a petty nature is just disgusting and despicable.

What upset me the most was this blog plog post by AKM ending with:
And with that, Mudflatters, I need to take a little time off to assess things, and take stock of how life will be changing for me and my family.
Why did AKM choose anonymity? Here are that person's reasons and our own:
I might be a state employee. I might not want my children to get grief at school. I might be fleeing from an ex-partner who was abusive and would rather he not know where I am. My family might not want to talk to me anymore. I might alienate my best friend. Maybe I don’t feel like having a brick thrown through my window. My spouse might work for the Palin administration. Maybe I’d just rather people not know where I live or where I work. Or none of those things may be true.
I'll add yet another reason: If you read blogs, over time, or just read their commenters over time, you get to know that aspect of the person. Knowing our names, our addresses, our skin color, our sex or sexual orientation, doesn't matter a whit.

It's our thoughts & ideas that count, and the facts that we link to to support our opinions that count. Judge us on what we write, not your preconceptions of who we are by false categories.

I'm pleased to note that AKM is back blogging:
Thank You, from AKMuckraker.

I have to admit this has taken a bit of getting used to. I’m not one to crave the spotlight, and I generally enjoy my boring little life. So, I’m needing a little time to regroup. Thank you all for the understanding, and indulging this naturally private and introverted blogger who normally posts pretty frequently. Public figures choose a public life. Private citizens don’t necessarily choose that.
Now that AKM is outed, maybe that person will run for Doogan's seat. It's not my district, but I'll contribute to the campaign.

If for no other reason than this:
A Bedtime Political Parable

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good bedtime story at the Mudflats. We’re overdue. (Plumps your pillow, smooths the hair off your forehead and tucks you in. Scans the shelf and pulls out a nice hardcover) I know! Let’s have a parable.
I hope AKM & Co have sweet dreams, but "We’ll have to find out what happens, and how it ends another night."

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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I don't know about you

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:16 PM Permalink

But sometimes, especially these days, I really need a drink. Problem is, I don't really like the taste of the much of it and wine just ain't strong enough. I can handle Dewars maybe if it's loaded with soda water and ice. Everything else makes my upper lip reflexively curl up. My uncle makes a mean martini that's quite tasty, but I suspect I think it's tasty because he made it and he's so proud of his technique and he stands there and smiles this ridiculous adorable smile while you sip it and well, you can't help but think it tastes good.

Not only the taste, but the effects it has on my poor, ridiculously weak stomach is not to be joked about.

So, after years of searching for a libation that I can enjoy on the rocks, I finally found one. It's called Shōchū. From the Wiki:
Shōchū ( ?) is a distilled beverage native to Japan. It is most commonly distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice. Typically, it contains 25% alcohol by volume (weaker than whisky or standard-strength vodka but stronger than wine and sake).
(I prefer the barley version.) I don't know why I'm sharing this information with our readers, but I really think that these days, there are more people out there who could really use a drink but aren't used to drinking. This stuff is the perfect solution. It won't rot your liver and it gives you a nice, gentle high, just enough to let some of this economic bull$hit roll off your back for an hour or so.

We here at VidiotSpeak aim to make everyone's life just a little more pleasant.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Jericho was cancelled

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:54 PM Permalink

If you haven't ordered Jericho on your Netflix yet, do it. It's a VERY good show and unusually seditious... which is why I think it was canceled. It's not perfect mind you. It still goes on about saving the United States, but it does point out the more glaring contradictions in the system.

So, last night, Mr. Vidiot and I were finally getting around to watching the last few episodes on Joost and both of us were stunned by one of the scenes.

Not to ruin too much of the plot line, our hero Jake (played oddly well by Skeet Ulrich) is being Gitmo'd by a commander working for the provisional government that has been formed several months after 23 US cities were destroyed by nuclear bombs. By this point in the series, Jericho has withstood radiation fallout, an EMP blast, thieving criminals, a resource war with a neighboring town, and a multitude of threats from both random bad guys and organized bad guys. One of the organized bad guy groups is a Brown and Root/Halliburton knockoff called Jennings and Rall/Ravenwood. Well, anyway, while Jake is being Gitmo'd, in his haze, he starts to hallucinate a conversation with his grandfather that goes something like this (and this is transcribed by memory and various resources on the web that recount the scene so it's not exact):
Jake says, "It's not a matter of convincing one man that he's wrong. It's a whole system!"

"You think it's impossible?" his grandfather asks and then adds that it's all happened before, "If the names weren't Jennings and Rall, they would be names like The British East India Trading Company. If it wasn't Ravenwood, it would be The Hessian Mercenaries. It all comes down to the same thing."

Jake looks up at his grandfather. "Revolution," he realizes.

His grandfather nods, smiling and repeats what Jake said "Revolution."
And THAT'S why the show got canceled. It shows people working together and fighting back against corrupt corporations and a corrupt government. Granted, in the show, they're doing it to restore the US government, which out here in reality land is the corrupt and wholly owned subsidiary of the multi-national and trans-national corporation complex, but hey, nothing is perfect.

How this show got by the censors and why is anyone's guess.

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I'm proud of these high school students.

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:21 PM Permalink

As some of you may know, New York City allows the MTA to randomly search anyone's bags and packages before entering the transit system. For some reason, the courts have not ruled this a violation of right to privacy (go figure). These searches are supposed to be random, but they're not which means that many working-class high school students get "randomly" checked because they're the type of kids cops love to harass. In one of the worst schools, a social studies teacher I know hands out wallet sized cards with the Bill of Rights printed on them. (If you want any for yourself, email me.)

Well, I just found out that these kids are pulling out these cards and while their bags are being searched, they read the Fourth Amendment to the cops. If the cops tell them to shut up, they start reading the First Amendment. They don't stop the cops from searching the bags because that would get them arrested, they just politely point out to the cops that the Constitution is being violated.

Bravo and Brava, students, bravo and brava.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

[Not] all the children are insane…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 5:03 PM Permalink

…which was what I was beginning to believe when I read Sailor's piece below about testing welfare and food stamp reciperants for drug use and cutting them off if it is found out that they have indulged in one of man's all time favorite vices.

Missouri Republican's say:
"Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature
. Link He continued:
"If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?"
Maybe because being poor doesn't require any kind of special license, special skills requiring a license, no highly technical skills (the skill-set of which must require extensive training, years of schooling, and then testing to satisfy regulatory authorities in that field), and doesn't even require a college degree, even though many college graduates, thanks to the GOP, find themselves both unemployed and/or unemployable.

And at $400 a test this can hardly be justified during these awful, republican-induced, and disastrous financial times. So it is now apparent that these scathingly stupid legislators have come up with a scathingly stupid idea to deprive help and hope to those who need it the very worst.

BUT WAIT, Obi Wan Kenobi! There are still people out there that care, many of them attempting to right the ship of state through only one of the means still available with the power to stop this nonsense.

See this from the LAT titled:
Former judge fired up on making pot legal

I'm sitting in Costa Mesa with a silver-haired gent who once ran for Congress as a Republican and used to lock up drug dealers as a federal prosecutor, a man who served as an Orange County judge for 25 years. And what are we talking about? He's begging me to tell you we need to legalize drugs in America.

"Please quote me," says Jim Gray, insisting the war on drugs is hopeless. "What we are doing has failed."…

But take a look at the world, people.

Mexican drug lords are better armed than police and killing thousands who don't buy into the corruption, with the violence crashing our borders, and American enemies abroad are financed by the opium trade.

Ten days ago I visited a Los Angeles elementary school where students practice dropping to the floor and making themselves as flat as pancakes to avoid stray bullets from the gang-infested neighborhood, and drugs play a role in that violence. On Wednesday I strolled through downtown Los Angeles and marijuana smoke filled the air, a mocking reminder of the impossible task of eradicating drugs, despite the trillions spent and the thousands of people we've locked away in our jails and prisons.…

Gray was on the Municipal Court bench in the 1980s when he took his first hit from the reform pipe. The vast majority of the cases coming before him were alcohol-related, he said, and he was able to divert defendants into screening and recovery. But he couldn't do the same in drug cases, and he was frustrated, both on the Municipal Court bench and later on the Superior Court bench.

"Our jails are filled with low-level users who sold to support the habit," says Gray, who believes that the tougher the criminal justice system gets on drug offenders, the fewer resources it has to go after rapists, robbers and other criminals.…

If Gray had his way, no one under 21 could buy drugs. But anyone older than that could legally buy marijuana -- which, he says, causes nowhere near the amount of death and disease as alcohol. The state would need to see how that works, he said, before moving on to legalizing the sale of harder drugs. Sure, he says, legalization might lead to more toking at first, but he believes drug use would wane when it's no longer forbidden and the novelty wears off.

I'm not sure I agree, but I do buy into Gray's argument about who the winners are in the current system.

First, there are the drug lords in Mexico and beyond. Then the drug gangs that peddle the stuff here. Next come the law enforcement agencies, prison contractors and prison guards, which use the war on drugs to demand more resources. And finally, there are the politicians who have wooed voters since the Nixon administration by pledging to support the war on drugs.

"My personal opinion," says Gray, "is that we couldn't have done worse if we tried."
Couldn't possibly have said that better myself, Judge Gray. By now the GOP has suspended your library card.

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The Just Us System

posted by The Sailor @ 1:16 PM Permalink

Convictions Reversed in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's highest court on Thursday overturned hundreds of juvenile convictions issued by a corrupt judge who took millions of dollars in kickbacks from youth detention centers.
In one of the most egregious cases of judicial corruption ever seen, federal prosecutors charged Ciavarella and another Luzerne County judge, Michael Conahan, with taking $2.6 million in payoffs to put juvenile offenders in privately owned lockups.
Prosecutors have described a scheme in which Conahan, the former president judge of Luzerne County, shut down the county-owned juvenile detention center in 2002 and signed an agreement with PA Child Care LLC to send youth offenders to its new facility outside Wilkes-Barre.
The Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center asked the Supreme Court to intervene in Luzerne County last year, citing statistics that Ciavarella was opting for detention in far high numbers than would be expected. The justices rejected the request without comment in early January, then changed their mind after Conahan and Ciavarella were charged.
Yet another example of why inherent government functions shouldn't be privatized. Just like cops and the DEA shouldn't have a profit motive to bust people, (i.e. civil forfeiture laws), and mercenaries & private contractors (i.e. Blackwater & KBR) shouldn't have a role in a combat theater. It always leads to corruption worse than any gov't corruption.

And note the State Supreme Court ignored it completely, until the judge & co were charged with crimes.
Next up:
Missouri retracts police memo which labeled activists as 'militia'

The Missouri Department of Public Safety has retracted a controversial profiling memo which linked libertarian activists, Christians, constitutionalists, supporters of Congressman Ron Paul and other traditionally conservative groups to underground militias.

It also specifically cautioned police to be on the lookout for bumper stickers advertising third party candidates, or people with copies of the United States Constitution.
Well, dog nose the US Constitution is a powerful weapon, and everyone who reads or carries a copy, especially the 4th amendment, should be looked upon with suspicion![/snark]

Not to make light of the growing problem with militias and hate groups who want to kill the president and overthrow the country, but shouldn't the cops be looking for violent groups and not peaceful folks? And one would think they should be looking at the Constitution themselves instead of looking for people holding it. It sounds like they think having a copy is probable cause. (hint to cops: It's easy to tell the violent ones; they have assault rifles and explosives. The peaceful ones vote and hold protests.)
States consider drug tests for welfare recipients

Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.
Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing.

"Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature
[Christine Nelson, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures said] They also cost less than the $400 or so needed for tests that can catch a sufficient range of illegal drugs, and rule out false positive results with a follow-up test.
Jeebus, where do I start!? It's not 'something for nothing' these are programs that people have paid into for years, it's called FICA, the Federal Insurance Contributions Act!

And this stupidity burns so bad "Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs", uh, yes they are! Jobs shipped overseas, economic meltdown, homes foreclosed due to regulatory malfeasance and removal. Can anyone else tell that that was a republican who said that!?

And if you want to save money, spending $400 per just the 12.5 million unemployed folks in this country is 5 TRILLION dollars! (Somebody check my math.)

And that doesn't include welfare or foodstamp recipients, nor the retesting for false positives!

Not to mention they're searching for drugs without probable cause and that different drugs stay in the system for various amounts of time. Is it really fair to conclude someone wasn't 'able, ready or willing to work' because they smoked a joint 2 weeks ago!?

I have a counter proposal: Test every elected or appointed politician randomly for drugs. Test them everyday they are legislating for alcohol. These folks are behind the wheel of our cities, states and country. They too get our tax dollars, and they can obviously do more harm to more citizens that any drunk driver.

And last but not least:
NJ girl, 14, arrested after posting nude pics

A 14-year-old New Jersey girl has been accused of child pornography after posting nearly 30 explicit nude pictures of herself on — charges that could force her to register as a sex offender if convicted.

The case comes as prosecutors nationwide pursue child pornography cases resulting from kids sending nude photos to one another over cell phones and e-mail. Legal experts, though, could not recall another case of a child porn charge resulting from a teen's posting to a social networking site.
The teen, whose name has not been released because of her age, was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.
Prosecutors in states including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin have tried stop it by charging teens who send and receive the pictures.

In northeastern Pennsylvania, a prosecutor recently threatened to file child porn charges against three teenage girls who authorities say took racy cell-phone pictures that ended up on classmates' cell phones.
In the last case the girls sent OMG!!1! 'racy pictures!' (jeebus, get a grip! (No not there;-)

OMG, OMG, the sky is falling!!!1!

But seriously folks, can you actually charge a child for 'child porn' for sending or posting pictures of herself to an equally underage boyfriend? And how was this reported to the cops?

BTW, even the mothers of these last children, and the mother of Megan, of Megan's Law fame, object to this persecution.

Hmmm, anyone else think the prosecutors might be up for re-election?

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome to the White House, I think you're gonna like it

posted by The Sailor @ 7:25 PM Permalink

Big props to our blog buddy John Aravosis at AMERICAblog for his invitation to the White House!

Nope, it wasn't because he was a blogger, or maybe not just because he was a blogger, he was invited to the White House to attend a reception that President Obama and the Greek archbishop were hosting for Greek Independence Day.
Georgia [Georgia10 of DKos] and I got up to the side of the stage and didn't move. Fifteen minutes later, Obama came in with Biden and Greek Archbishop Demetrios, and Obama preceded to stand about three feet away from me.
When Obama shook my hand, he looked at me and said "God bless you." It was rather odd. I've never had someone say that to me when I wasn't sneezing. It became immediately evident that this is a guy who takes his faith seriously.

I just got blessed by the president. Gotta call mom.
Read the whole thing and see the pix he took while he was there.

Wow, it seems like the White House is The Peoples House again!

Cross posted at SteveAudio


Tell Her No

posted by The Sailor @ 5:40 PM Permalink

The Grand Obstructionist Party released their budget proposal today! All 18 pages! And once again the the party of 'no' lives up to their sobriquet: No numbers, no ideas, and nothing new.

What's the basis of their Grand Old Plan! TAX CUTS for the rich! Because that's worked so well for Reagan, (who posted the highest deficit in history ... until) Bush (who left the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan out of his budgets, just like the Boner et al did in theirs.)

And as always, they lied about it:
Lowers Taxes [Warning:PDF]
Instead of raising taxes on all Americans in the midst of a recession, Republicans seek to reduce the tax burden on working families and small businesses, in order to create jobs and unlock private capital.
Republicans propose a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10 percent and 25 percent for any income thereafter, with a
generous standard deduction and personal exemption.
So the rich get their taxes cut by 10% and the rest of us either pay the same or get our taxes cut by 5%. That's not simple, it's simplistic. If my taxes were cut 5% I would pay about $250 less. A millionaire would pay $100,000 less.

And how do they propose to pay for these tax cuts? By cutting Medicare and Medicaid.
Oh, and apparently magical ponies who $hit money:
Reporters -- mainstream, liberal and conservative -- greeted the Republican document with a collective scoff.

"Are you going to have any further details on this today?" the first asked.

"On what?" asked Boehner.

"There's no detail in here," noted the reporter.

Answered Boehner: "This is a blueprint for where we're going. Are you asking about some other document?"

A second reporter followed up: "What about some numbers? What about the out-year deficit? What about balancing the budget? How are you going to do it?"

"We'll have the alternative budget details next week," promised Boehner. Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had wisely departed the room after offering his opening remarks. ("Today's Republican road-to-recovery is the latest in a series of GOP initiatives, solutions and plans," he had offered.)

A third reporter asked Boehner about the Republican goal for deficit reduction, noting President Obama aimed to cut it in half in five years. "What's your goal?"

"To do better," said Boehner.

"How? How much?"

"You'll see next week."

"Wait. Why not today? Because he asked you to present a budget."

"Now, hold on," said Boehner. "The president came to Capitol Hill and laid out his blueprint for his budget during the State of the Union. He didn't offer his details until days later."

"In general, where do you see cuts coming?" the Huffington Post asked.

"We'll wait and see next week,"
he said.

Another reporter reminded Boehner that he has "criticized Democrats for throwing together a stimulus quickly and nobody knew what they were voting on. Are you saying that your budget will be unveiled on the same day that the House is expected to vote on it?"

"No, I expect it'll be out next week," he said, though the House is expected to vote on the budget next week
. "But understand that a budget really is a one-page document. It's just a bunch of numbers."
Whaaa!? "But understand that a budget really is a one-page document. It's just a bunch of numbers."

Jeebus, the nation's budget is 'just one page and just a bunch of numbers'!? WTF!?

You stupid boner, a budget is wars and health care and highways and science and environment and food safety ... ... ... arggggh, the stupid, it burns!!!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:42 PM Permalink

…should know that I am a dog lover to the extreme and that I have a particular affinity for Boston Terriers, one of, if not the only wholly American-bred breed of dogs.

So although this has no practical applications for the country as a whole, I came across this picture in the NYT of a beautiful example of my favorite dogs (I have five of these cuties myself and my life wouldn't be nearly as rich without them).

So, if you will forgive this sidetracking off to a total unimportant event of the day, please indulge me and click on the link.

I disagree with the conclusions of the article, based on anecdotal evidence only that dogs and cats can pose really bad hazards for tripping and injuring their owners, when I have read study after study that pet owners live longer than non-pet owners, and that dog owners in general outlive either the non-pet owner or the owners of cats both.

We now return you to our regular programming.


Well, this is pretty clear

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:42 AM Permalink

I know. You all think I'm out of my mind going on about capitalism and blah blah blah. And I've said repeatedly that all of these bailouts and stimulus packages do nothing but prop up the system of capitalism because it's about to die. Well, here it is from one of the horse's mouths.
Then things really started heating up. In February, Dodd slipped an amendment capping bonuses for TARP beneficiaries into the $787 billion stimulus package, and Wall Street went ballistic. "I'm trying to save capitalism, while some people are trying to save a paycheck," Dodd scoffs.
Any questions?

Update: And again, Feinstein's support is wavering for the pro-labor Employee Free Choice Act:
This is trouble, because Feinstein is citing the economy as a reason for seeking changes to the measure. One big worry for labor is that the economy will be used as cover by Senators who are looking for ways to vote against it for other reasons.
What does this mean? It means again, that the State is protecting the capitalists' profits over the people. They're choosing to support big business over the little guy so that the system of capitalism can continue.

Not unusual, even expected, but extremely blatant and obvious.


Headline that made me laugh out loud

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:40 AM Permalink

Malkin's new fear: Government will control newspapers

It's as if she's never even heard of Project Mockingbird.

Operation Mockingbird was a secret Central Intelligence Agency campaign to influence domestic and foreign media beginning in the 1950s.

The activities, extent and even the existence of the CIA project remain in dispute: the operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis' 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire. But Davis' book, alleging that the media had been recruited (and infiltrated) by the CIA for propaganda purposes, was itself controversial and has since been shown to have had a number of erroneous assertions.[1] More evidence of Mockingbird's existence emerged in the 2007 memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond, by convicted Watergate "plumber" E. Howard Hunt and The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America by Hugh Wilford (2008)[2].

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The Media Lied? I'm Shocked!

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:55 AM Permalink

Well, they either lied or it was some really shoddy reporting. Remember that news story a few days ago, the one that said "Home sales rose in February." Well, funny thing:
No, New Home Sales data did not improve. In fact, they were not only not positive, they were actually horrific. The year over year number was a terrible down 41%. Sales from this same period a year ago have nearly been halved.

Why did the media report this as positive? If you only read the headline number, you saw a positive datapoint: February was plus 4.7% over January.

To get the the facts, you need to read below the headline. In the present case, it wasn’t the seasonality factor that was confusing, it was the “90-percent confidence intervals” — or as it is more commonly known, the margin of error.
Why would they lie? Could it be that the market was seemingly doing better and if people were comfortable and thinking that the market was turning around AND the housing market was doing better that maybe it was time to go out and spend again?

See, these are the folks who didn't tell you the market was in trouble when it was. These are the same folks who didn't tell you housing values were declining until way after the fact. There is an agenda and the agenda is tell the people whatever is necessary to make them behave as good little consumers.

But are they conscious of the agenda? I don't know. I've spoken with reporters and for the most part, they're nice people and they don't seem nefarious in any way. I think they're just so ensconced in the system that they just work as a cog in the machine, never really realizing they are little more than cogs. The institution now controls the people who created it.

I know most of you who read the blogs already know to not trust the corporate owned media but sometimes the breadth of it is just shocking.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

As sounding brass

posted by The Sailor @ 5:26 PM Permalink

The other night our president gave a speech and then answered questions from the press. (there goes the whole 'Obama needs a teleprompter so his puppet masters can control him' meme.)

And what does the '4th estate' complain about? Not his policies, not his answers to their questions, they complain he didn't call on their MSM buddies. Jeebus, how shallow can these 'reporters' be?

A small sample of the outrage they exuded:
Obama skips major papers: No NYT, WaPo, WSJ, USA Today

During President Obama's second East Room news conference, he took questions from 13 reporters over about an hour -- that's the same as during his first presser on Feb. 9.

But in quite a departure from the first presser -- and White House protocol -- Obama skipped over the nation's top newspapers. Indeed, there were no questions from the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. That might not sit well with the already insecure newspaper industry.
Nobody gives a f*%k about your insecurities. We're dying over here!
[...]in his second prime-time news conference from the White House, it was Barack Obama the lecturer, a familiar character from early in the campaign. Placid and unsmiling, he was the professor in chief, offering familiar arguments in long paragraphs — often introduced with the phrase, “as I said before” — sounding like the teacher speaking in the stillness of a classroom where students are restlessly waiting for the ring of the bell.
Ohh, was the poor repoter bored because he couldn't understand the complexities of Obama's answers, after having them repeated? Or was his wittle feewings hurt?
President Obama's dull delivery during press conference fails to inspire

But many probably wished "American Idol" hadn't been bumped from the lineup to make room for the President.
Ahh yes, the 'many probably' dodge because you don't have any facts. FYI, American Idol wasn't 'bumped', it was delayed.
Obama seems less at ease

He passed over reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, opting instead to call on correspondents from Univision, Ebony magazine and Stars and Stripes.
And one final parting shot:
The President took a total of 13 questions, none of which were from a mainstream newspaper. After tapping the AP, then the networks, then the cablers, Obama turned his attention to more niche publications such as Stars & Stripes and Univision, arguably because he rightly guessed their questions would skew with topics he wanted to talk about i.e. the military and Mexico border issues.
The speech and press conference focused almost entirely on the economy! What the hell was this moron watching? I'm so glad you asked. He was probably with Eric Cantor watching the Britney Spears concert.

Hey fellas? Get over yourselves. It's not about you. We all heard what he said. And we don't need your spin or your ignorant badgering. We don't need no stinking badgers!

And to the moron who thinks he only called on 'niche' reporters?
That's not true. He called on the AP, NBC, ABC, CBS, Univision, Stars and Stripes, CNN, Ebony & AFP. Shoot, he even called on Faux News and the Washington Times! There was only so much time and he answered original questions and followups at length.

BTW, the military, Blacks and Latinos are not a niche in this country, they are Americans who have just as much right as you to ask questions of our president as the MSM does.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Irony of the Year

posted by The Vidiot @ 12:53 PM Permalink

I know, it's only March so claiming that something is the Irony of the year is well, presumptuous. However, I dare say nothing could be more ironic than the 13th amendment subverting "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act" coming out of the first administration headed by an African American man.
Under section 6104 of the bill, entitled “Duties,” in subsection B6, the legislation states that a commission will be set up to investigate, “Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.”

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gansta Bankster!

posted by The Sailor @ 5:40 PM Permalink

Citigroup, Bank of America, JPMorgan Criticize Limits

Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., recipients of more than $100 billion in U.S. rescue funds, criticized congressional proposals to tax Wall Street bonuses.
Wait, what!? Don't We The People own these guys?

They should STFU until they can be in a prison where they can squeal like a pig all night long.

Donating for dollars? Many bailed-out banks still contributing to campaign funds

Bank of America's political action committee (PAC) gave $24,500 in January and February, "including $1,500 to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and another $15,000 to members of the House and Senate banking panels."
Citigroup, which has received a total of $45 billion in federal aid, donated $29,620 to members of Congress, including $2,500 to House GOP Whip Eric Cantor.

Cantor, who like nearly all of his GOP colleagues opposed the stimulus plan, also received $10,000 from Swiss banking giant UBS, which got $5 billion in federal bailout funds via AIG as one of the scandal-ridden insurance companies' "counterparties." In February, UBS agreed to pay U.S. authorities $780 million in fines, penalties and restitution and hand over customer details to settle charges of tax fraud in the United States that threatened the bank's existence.
Jeebus, they're using OUR money to lobby bribe Congress!

WaMu sues FDIC for more than $13 billion over forced sale

Washington Mutual, the bankrupt, seized and "under investigation" financial institution which saw some operations forcibly sold off to JPMorgan Chase in 2008, is suing the agency that guarantees Americans' deposits, and that agency is running low on funds.
Washington Mutual was seized by federal regulators in Sept. 2008; the company filed for bankruptcy immediately thereafter. The ensuing investigation "one of the largest and most complex federal investigations ever undertaken in Western Washington," a US Attorney told the Seattle Times
Waa, waa, WaMu!

House reviews advice given to 401(k), IRA holders

Lawmakers took a hard look Tuesday at rules adopted in the final days of the Bush administration on how millions of Americans with 401(k) and individual retirement accounts get guidance on investing for retirement.
Current law states that a pension plan may contract with an investment adviser if the adviser charges the same no matter what products they recommend or if they provide advice from a computer model that meets requirements for objectivity. The Labor Department rules go beyond the statute, providing various exemptions, including allowing advisers to provide personalized advice
Gosh, no one could predict that having your 'financial adviser' be beholden to his own interests and not yours would result in a financial meltdown!

I am so sick of the 'I got mine jack, FY' mentality.

Bank of America’s Bernstein Says Sell Bank Stocks After Rally

Removing devalued loans and securities from banks’ balance sheets is a short-term solution that will delay the problem’s ultimate solution, which is bank takeovers, Bernstein said.
“The history of bubbles shows quite well that financial sector consolidation is inevitable,” Bernstein, Bank of America’s chief investment strategist, wrote in a research note.
Dude, we own you, you've already proved that you don't know jack! The problem isn't that we need more bankster mergers, the problem was because we allowed banks to get too large to let fail!

The 'free market' will always trend toward monopolies, that's why we used to have anti-trust laws!

Cross posted at SteveAudio


Don't You Forget About Me

posted by The Sailor @ 5:23 PM Permalink

This is freakin' brilliant!
Is There an Antidote to the Republican Amnesia?

Memory eventually fails us all, but apparently the decline strikes one party far more than the other.

In recent weeks, my friends across the aisle have expended a lot of breath proclaiming that the Democrats caused the present financial crisis by failing to pass legislation to regulate financial services companies in the years 1995 through 2006.

There is only small one problem with this story -- throughout this entire period the Republicans were in complete charge of the House and for the most critical years they controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency.

Fortunately, we have tools to aid memory -- pencil and paper, word processing, transcripts, newspapers, and the Congressional record. And as described in the most reputable published sources, in 2005 I in fact worked together with my Republican colleague Michael Oxley, then Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, to write a bill to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We passed the bill out of committee with an overwhelming majority -- every Democrat voted in favor of the legislation. However, on the House floor the Republican leadership added a poison pill amendment, which would have prevented non-profit institutions with religious affiliations from receiving funds. I voted against the legislation in protest, though I continued to work with Mr. Oxley to encourage the Senate to pass a good bill. But these efforts were defeated because President Bush blocked further consideration of the legislation. In the words of Mr. Oxley, no flaming liberal, the Bush administration gave his efforts 'the one-finger salute.'

The Republicans can claim some supposed successes despite my awesome power. In 1999 they passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which overturned a Depression-era law preventing commercial banks from acting like investment banks. In 2000, they passed another bill which loosened regulation of derivative markets. I voted against these bills -- but to no avail.

Under Republican President George W. Bush, many federal agencies turned a blind eye to activities which would later precipitate the global financial meltdown. The Securities and Exchange Commission decided to allow the nation's largest financial institutions to "self-regulate;" the Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan declined to use its power to regulate subprime mortgages; the Comptroller of the Currency decided to preempt state consumer laws on subprime mortgages.

Meanwhile, President Bush himself demanded that Fannie and Freddie increase the percentage of subprime loans they purchased, supposedly because of his belief in an "ownership society." Incidentally, increased lending to subprime borrowers would also fuel astronomical profits by the financial services industry. I publicly opposed giving mortgages to unqualified borrowers because I believed that some families are better off renting.

Yet somehow none of this was recorded in the Republican collective memory.
I urge you to read the whole thing.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:05 PM Permalink

reads the headline from the Huffington Post, and from the article in The Hill [at the same link to HP. Bill]:
Congressional Republicans are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input.

Displeased with the former vice-president's recent media appearances, Republican lawmakers say he's hurting GOP efforts to reinvent itself after back-to-back electoral drubbings.

The veep, who showed a penchant for secrecy during eight years in the White House,has popped up in media interviews to defend the Bush-Cheney record while suggesting that the country is not as safe under President Obama.

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public...But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”

Another House Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said he wasn’t surprised that Cheney has strongly criticized Obama early in his term, but argued that it’s not helping the GOP cause.

The legislator said Cheney, whose approval ratings were lower than President Bush’s during the last Congress, didn’t think through the political implications of going after Obama.
And for good measure:
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), who is running for governor, suggested that past leaders should not be seeking the spotlight at a time when the party is rebuilding and redefining itself, after “hitting bottom” in the devastating losses last November.…

“Interpret it however you want to, but what I’m saying is: We should focus on the people that will lead us tomorrow, not the people who led us yesterday,” Wamp said. “With all due respect to former Vice President Cheney, he represents what’s behind us*, not what’s ahead of us.”

To the delight of some Democrats, Cheney, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele have attracted headlines in recent weeks.

Asked about Cheney’s criticisms of Obama, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last week said, “I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal.”
Footnote * added: Is Representative Wamp saying that Cheney is the GOP's ass?

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China sounds off against the dollar

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:39 PM Permalink

See this article from the NYT:
In another indication that China is growing increasingly concerned about holding huge dollar reserves, the head of its central bank has called for the eventual creation of a new international currency reserve to replace the dollar.

In a paper released Monday, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, said a new currency reserve system controlled by the International Monetary Fund could prove more stable and economically viable.

A new system is necessary, he said, because the global economic crisis has revealed the “inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system.”
I have been predicting for some time now that a country such as China, with trillions of U.S. dollars in their treasury, would drop the dollar as the currency of choice for financial stability.

And who can blame them after the way gw bush raped and savaged our country, overseeing the largest transfer of money from the poor to the rich in all of history?

And I'm sure as I can be that other countries will be more than willing to follow China's lead. Got euros?

Good job, bushy.

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Hooray! Fewer bush babies has got to be good…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:20 PM Permalink

…for the country. And no, I'm not talking about some animal from Australia, I'm talking about a court throwing out yet another piece of the gw bush f-cked up legacy.

From the NYT:
A federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration on Monday to make the Plan B morning-after birth control pill available without prescription to women as young as 17.

The judge ruled that the agency had improperly bowed to political pressure from the Bush administration in 2006 when it set 18 as the age limit.…

Some women’s health advocates hailed the decision.

“It is a complete vindication of the argument that reproductive rights advocates have been making for years, that in the Bush administration it was politics, not science, driving decisions around women’s health,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the attorneys for the plaintiff in the suit against the F.D.A.
This is a sound position in my mind and may prevent many unwanted "bush babies," as I refer to them.

Of course there are the usual detractors from anything that makes good sense.
But some conservative groups voiced concern that the ruling could promote sexual promiscuity. “Now some minor girls will be able to obtain this drug without any guidance from a doctor and without any parental supervision,” the Family Research Council said in a statement.…

On Monday, in a decision that criticized former F.D.A. officials, Judge Edward R. Korman of Federal District Court in New York threw out the F.D.A. ruling.

Judge Korman wrote that officials of the agency had repeatedly delayed action on the petition, moving only when members of Congress threatened to hold up confirmation hearings on acting F.D.A. commissioners. Several officials also violated the agency’s own policies, he wrote.

Citing depositions, Judge Korman wrote that agency officials had improperly communicated with White House officials about Plan B. And, he said, F.D.A. employees sought to influence decisions by appointing people with anti-abortion views to an independent panel of experts reviewing Plan B for the agency.

The agency also departed from its normal procedures, the judge wrote, by ignoring favorable conclusions about the drug by an advisory panel as well its own scientists and officials who found that the drug could be safely used by women at least as young as 17.

Such “political considerations, delays and implausible justifications” showed that the F.D.A. had acted without good faith or reasoned decision making, Judge Korman wrote.
W-h-h-a-a-t? Was this judge intimating that the bush maladministration and the F.D.A. were guilty of improprieties? What a shock.

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posted by The Vidiot @ 7:34 AM Permalink

There we were, hoping to finally hear at least a sliver of sanity on Bill Moyers show on PBS this week. He was interviewing Mike Davis whose books Mr. Vidiot respects. So, I thought, great, finally, somebody is going to say something radical that will get people thinking. And what did they talk about? Socialism. And boy was it annoying.

For one thing, Mr. Davis seems to have sold out. How can someone who has chronicalled the ravages of capitalism on the poor even begin to speak the way he spoke during that interview? He was so completely conservative and so completely wrong on so many issues I can't even begin to pick it apart. They didn't even talk about socialism correctly.

When I first watched it, I saw it without Mr. Vidiot and I thought, "No. I must be interpreting this wrong. I have to be in idiot becuase I think he just said a lot of dumb stuff and he's Mike Davis! He can't be this dumb." So I made Mr. Vidiot watch it last night and he was as flummuxed as I.

According to Mr. Vidiot, they're using the term "socialism" all wrong. What's happening today is not a move towards socialism, it's a move towards post-capitalism. It's sort of a transition time between capitalism and post-capitalism that Mr. Vidiot calls "post traditional capitalism" wherein capitalism is kept afloat by the government. It's not true capitalism in that the corporations are not surviving on their own. They need the help of the government with bailouts and stimulus packages. According to Mr. Vidiot, it's a natural evolution of the system of capitalism that, hopefully, in the end, will benefit the majority of the world's population. Kind of like walking upright. (Feudalism was like walking on all fours. Capitalism is like walking on our knuckles.)

But Mr. Moyers and Mr. Davis got it all wrong. And frighteningly so. If Mr. Davis is supposed to be one of the great voices of the radical left, the radical left is dead meat.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

As ye sow, so shall ye reap…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:50 PM Permalink

…is, I believe the old expression for what happens when you forget the Golden Rule or even just forget to treat all peoples with respect, don't assume guilt, and seek the benefit of a working and fair system of justice before you put people in prison.

From the WaPo:
The release of hundreds of prisoners from Camp Bucca, a U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq, has facilitated the revival of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents in Basra, Baghdad and the borderless expanse here along the Euphrates, according to police chiefs, intelligence officials in the Interior Ministry and residents.…

Their warnings make for an irony at the beginning of the end of the American presence here. As the United States dismantles Bucca, viewed by many as an appalling miscarriage of justice where prisoners were not charged or permitted to see evidence against them, freed detainees may end up swelling the ranks of a subdued insurgency.…

Since leading the invasion of Iraq and overthrowing Saddam Hussein in April 2003, the United States has detained about 100,000 people in the country. At the height of the U.S. troop buildup, or "surge," 26,000 of those prisoners were incarcerated in Bucca, a sprawling camp near the Kuwaiti border in southern Iraq. That number has fallen to 9,600. In all, since Jan. 1, the military has released nearly 2,000 prisoners, and it plans to close the facility by summer.…
I think it would be entirely fair to say that when you treat 100,000 prisoners as we have treated these, you have manufactured 100,000 new enemies, or at least people whom will never tout the benefits of "freedom, American-style."

The bush years were the most shameful years in American history, on a par with slavery and refusing women the vote, and it is a sad commentary for America that none of the uppity-ups of the bush maladministration responsible for this debacle and the others that have beset the country and reduced our country to the status of a banana republic with no bananas.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's Spring!

posted by The Sailor @ 6:34 PM Permalink

Ahh, air on a G string always takes me Bach, or maybe it's just spring fever! Whatever, if it's not baroque, don't fix it.


Friday, March 20, 2009

We Don't Need No Education

posted by The Sailor @ 10:43 PM Permalink

Gee, Republican Governors Sarah Palin (AK), Mark Sanford (SC), Tim Pawlenty (MN), Piyush Jindal (LA), all want to reject part of President Obama's economic stimulus plan.

And what part of the plan do the want to reject? I'm so glad you asked. They want to reject the part that supports education and extends unemployment benefits. And why do they want to reject such obviously needed money for the children and jobless in their states? Because they want to run for president and they don't have a leg or platform to run on if President Obama succeeds.

Palin rejects federal stimulus money

The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education. There’s also $17 million in Department of Labor funds (vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment services, etc.), about $9 million for Health and Social Services and about $7 million for Public Safety.
And their common excuse is their states would have to raise taxes on businesses or cut back on benefits once the federal funding runs out. Earth to planet GOP - Maybe if your kids get an education they can get better jobs and pay taxes, maybe if the unemployed families can feed their families and have new job training (after you SOBs shipped their current jobs overseas) they can find work and pay their taxes, maybe if these under served folks can get health care up front they won't need to go to 10x more expensive emergency rooms, maybe if we have more public safety there will be fewer crimes which cost all citizens more in taxes.

But they don't care about their citizens, they only care about political positioning for the next election.

Paraphrasing the old joke; Governors, you've agreed you'll take our money, now you're just haggling over how much.

Whores. Dishonest whores.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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One Thing Leads To Another

posted by The Sailor @ 5:48 PM Permalink

The media posits, supposedly reflecting the peoples' view republican & MSM concern trolls view that President Obama is spread too thin, has bit off more than he can chew, can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

After 8 years of a president that couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time, couldn't speak english with or without a telepromter, I welcome a president who can multitask.

And who can figure out that the financial meltdown, oil dependence, health care and education are all interrelated.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President Obama:
"I know that there are some on Wall Street and in Washington who've said that we should only focus on the banking crisis and one problem at a time. Well, we're spending a lot of time focusing on this banking crisis, and we will continue to do so because until we get liquidity flowing again, we will not fully recover. But the American people don't have the luxury of just focusing on Wall Street. They don't have the luxury of choosing to pay either their mortgage or their medical bills. They don't get to pick between paying for their kids' college tuition and saving enough money for retirement. They have to do all these things. They have to confront all these problems. And as a consequence, so do we."
Now, there are those who say the plans in this budget are too ambitious to enact; to say that -- they say that in the face of challenges that we face, we should be trying to do less, than more. What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore. The cost of our health care is too high to ignore. The dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore. Our education deficit is growing too wide to ignore. To kick these problems down the road for another four years or another eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. That's not why I ran for this office. I didn't come here to pass on our problems to the next President or the next generation -- I came here to solve them.
Can anyone argue the points President Obama made?

The US pays more for health care than any country in the world, yet we are 37th in the world for actual health care.

But what about the children!?
29th on Infant Mortality

The infant mortality rate in this country declined sharply in the 20th century but then plateaued from 2000 to 2005.
In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world in infant mortality. By 2004, the last year for which comparative data are available, it had dropped to 29th, tied with Poland and Slovakia.
Gee, I wonder what happened between 2000 and 2005!?

And that's just how health care is tied into our economic troubles. Don't get me started on energy dependence. And education? Well there might be a post soon on that!

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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A man going into NYC saw a rather well dressed man…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:29 PM Permalink

…standing by the foot of a long bridge with no pedestrian lanes. He stopped by the man and asked him where he was going, to which the man replied, "I'm an investment banker trying to get a ride across the river and my limousine broke down about a mile back."

Said the man driving, "I have plenty of room and I am also headed downtown, so may I offer you a ride?"

The investment banker stated, "That would be quite kind of you, sir," and got into the automobile.

As soon as they had crossed the river the hitchhiker drew a gun from his briefcase and stole the kind man's wallet, clothes, and his car, leaving the kind man broke, naked and freezing in the cold.

"Why, oh why after I have shown you such kindness would you do such a horrible thing as this to me," wailed the kind man.

Laughing a wild, maniacal laugh the thief hitchhiker stuck his head out the window and shouted back to the man, "I TOLD you I was an investment banker and you were still stupid enough to help me, so don't seek any pity now!"

An updated fable for our times.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The gaping maw of capitalism

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:33 AM Permalink

OK, maybe the headline is a little grandiose, but folks, you have to admit that the whole AIG thing is so outrageous and clear and well, it's obvious who works for whom. (And I know the following is merely stating the obvious, but it just gets me so angry, and the coffee is kicking into high gear and well, here goes.)

Everybody's knickers are twisted over the bonuses being paid out to the very people who helped create the maelstrom. But now we're finding out that the Senate cleared the way for such a thing to happen.
Dodd just admitted on CNN that he inserted a loophole in the stimulus legislation that allowed million-dollar bonuses to insurance giant AIG to go forward – after previously denying any involvement in writing the controversial provision.
He said in his defense (from the same article)
I’m the one who has led the fight against excessive executive compensation, often over the objections of many. I did not want to make any changes to my original Senate-passed amendment but I did so at the request of Administration officials, who gave us no indication that this was in any way related to AIG. Let me be clear – I was completely unaware of these AIG bonuses until I learned of them last week.
OK, so it's not just the legislative branch that was supporting the criminals, it's the executive as well.

So, we know that the money that was given to them was handed out to various and sundry capitalists
Senator Barack Obama received a $101,332 bonus from American International Group in the form of political contributions according to The two biggest Congressional recipients of bonuses from the A.I.G. are - Senators Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama.
as well as various and sundry corporations to cover whatever losses they may have had when people stopped paying their mortgages.
Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG's bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG's counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars
Remember, AIG is insurance. SO, those folks who had bought up the mortgages and who saw the writing on the wall a few years ago bought insurance with AIG to cover those expected losses.

Lots of say, "Oh yeah. I know. The system is rigged in their favor" and then we go on with our lives, not really believing it to our core, so we do nothing about it. But how much more blatant does it need to be? They print the money, hand it to one privileged group who then disburses it amongst another privileged group, with the help of another privileged group, and none of it, NONE of it goes to actually helping anybody.

I mean, AIG has gotten, what, around $150 billion and the Louisiana wetlands only need $15-20 billion to get them started towards a healthy level. What is that? A measly 13%? And it would benefit how many people? Millions? Toss in another $80 billion to rebuild New Orleans and you STILL haven't paid out as much as has been paid to just AIG.

So we have a few people getting a lot a money and a lot of people getting no money.

Yeah, that seems right and OK with me. Please sir, may I have some more? Oh, thank you very much. Don't stop, I LOVE having my sensibilities bludgeoned.

Update: Excellent point over at Urban Survival today:
Landry made an interesting point after we agreed that honesty and integrity seemed to be in increasingly short supply in the country of late. He noted that with the executive bonuses, there's a fine line because if government can arbitrarily negate written contracts it sets a dangerous precedent: from then on - when contracts can be voided at the government's will, you could get to a point where systemic trust could break down. A most astute observation on his part.

And that's why the bonuses were allowed; because to do otherwise would would be more indicative of the lies of capitalism.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another open sore laid bare

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:30 PM Permalink

Still think the government represents we, the people?
The measure, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), was removed by negotiators in a late-night, close door meeting. In the negotiations, senators agreed to limit executive compensation but decided to forgo barring excessive bonuses -- in fact, they specifically exempted it.
Are you getting it yet?

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You know corporations have run amok...

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:28 PM Permalink

...when they start laying claim to rainwater.
But according to the state of Colorado, the rain that falls on Holstrom's property is not hers to keep. It should be allowed to fall to the ground and flow unimpeded into surrounding creeks and streams, the law states, to become the property of farmers, ranchers, developers and water agencies that have bought the rights to those waterways.

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I christen thee Jonathan Livingston Spacebat.

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:04 PM Permalink

This bat the held on for dear life and died "the most glorious death imaginable."
On a cool spring eve March 15th, 2009 a bat, crippled and wistful, clung to the Space Shuttle Discovery as it was thrust toward the great beyond. Goodbye and godspeed, my magnificent Spacebat.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

OMG, are our leaders so incredibly stupid that they…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:59 PM Permalink

…do not realize that Russia parking long range bombers in Cuba and Venezuela in no way, shape, form, or anything else bears absolutely any resemblance to JFK's Cuban Missile Crisis. That crisis was understandable, having Russian nukes parked 90 miles off our shores did indeed pose an immediate and dire threat, as a missile launched at us from such close range would be impossible to deal with in the ten minutes or so it would take the missile to hit.

Long range Russian bombers are an altogether different, and far less serious threat to us, as I have yet to see a Russian bomber that can or could outrun an American F-16 and the awesome speed and range of the missiles an F-16 can carry.

Let 'em rattle their swords all they want. Russia would be way, way outgunned if they sent long range bombers towards or across our borders.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The Red Menace has returned!

Bovine excrement.

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I don't know why, I love her like I do

posted by The Sailor @ 5:40 PM Permalink

Via Crooks and Liars:
Former Cook County GOP Chairman beaten by wife for prostitutes

OK, what do you do when your wife comes home late at night unexpectedly, only to find you in the childrens playroom with two prostitutes, whereupon she begins beating on your dumb ass with a Guitar Hero controller and punching at you? Call the cops of course, and have her arrested! is the obvious answer.[...]
According to the police report, Eni Skoien became enraged and attacked her husband early Sunday morning when she discovered him with two prostitutes.

The police report said Gary Skoien acknowledged to authorities that the women were prostitutes. But he later denied that and tried unsuccessfully to have the report changed.
According to the report, 36-year-old Eni Skoien came home about 1:15 a.m. Sunday and, after discovering the women in the home, struck Gary Skoien, 55, with a closed fist and several times with a toy guitar. The beating left him bloodied, police said.
Following Sunday's incident, Gary Skoien petitioned for and received an order of protection barring his wife from their home and from contacting him or their children for 21 days.
Republican chutzpa, he gets 2 hookers and she has her home & children taken away!

And I hate to make light of this serious family tragedy, but I will anyway: In comments, (after all the 'but think about the children' comments), was "yes, think of the children, now they have to share a controller!"

But compared to this next guy that guy was a prince! Via Wikileaks:
The "dirty bomb" that disappeared

It has all the makings of a great story. But outside of the US state of Maine and select counter-terrorism circles, you won't have heard about it. For this is a story with all the right ingredients but one wrong ingredient.

On the right side is a leaked FBI intelligence report, Obama's inauguration, a multi-million dollar trust fund, a woman, uranium, thorium, the first attempt to build a "dirty bomb" on US soil, and, of course, murder.

On the wrong is the body of James G. Cummings, white supremacist millionaire, found in his Belfast home on December 9, 2008, shot to death.

After local police attended the scene, the FBI moved in and sealed off the building. Men in protective suits descended on the home but police refused to comment about what they found. Mrs. Cummings was taken into custody.

Then on January 12, 2009, Wikileaks revealed a confidential FBI field intelligence report on the incident as part of a Presidential inauguration threat analysis.[1]

According to the FBI report, Cummings had four lots of one gallon containers of bomb-grade hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium (also radioactive), lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium (radiation booster), boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon.
The FBI states it also seized literature on how to build “dirty bombs” and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60 and other radioactive materials.
Local tradesmen who worked at the Cummings home told Maine reporters that Cummings was an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler and had a collection of Nazi memorabilia around the house, including a prominently displayed flag with a swastika.
Hmm, maybe the relative punishments fit the crimes.

THIS is an actual terrorist! And a civilian broke the law and executed a terrorist. A terrorist that had gathered radioactive materials and explosives and literature to combine them to use them to assassinate the President and overthrow our government. Umm, where is the outrage amongst republicans!? Why isn't this story 24/7 on all major media outlets!?

Could it be because the 'victim' was white and rich and male?
I dunno, but this seems just like a '24-Jack Bauer' scenario that Cheney et al love to refer to.

p.s. Jack Bauer, just like Murphy Brown, are fictional characters. The rest of us live in a reality based world.

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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Boy, this is getting scary…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:24 PM Permalink

… when you read headlines like this in the LA Times, Most viewed/e-mailed section:
Louisiana shooting puzzles witnesses
I know things are rough down in Louisiana, but when they start shooting witnesses to the act of putting together puzzles, they've gone too damn far.


I've got a question about this whole AIG bailout thing…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:59 PM Permalink

…a bailout that to me indicates AIG has broken nearly every contract they have, especially the social and legal contracts made with those whom they insure.

Since they have broken so many pieces of their contracts with us and the government now owns nearly 80% of the company, why aren't ALL their contracts considered null and void, particularly those contracts with the managers and CEOs now receiving bonuses directly from its major stockholders, i.e., we the people.

With an 80% ownership status it seems that every employee contract should be reconsidered: Every single employee should be directed to submit resignations to the Obama Administration with a team of Obama appointed executors deciding which resignation they will accept or not.

Perhaps if they were strung up by the thumbs (Cheney could handle all torture), tied to the rack, enclosed within an Iron Maiden, thumb screws applied, branded as idiots with a burning hot rod, and forced to listen endlessly to the collective speeches of gw bush they would learn their lessons and capitulate.

Or maybe not. They could all be masochists out for a cheap thrill.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

You're Unbelieveable

posted by The Sailor @ 8:12 PM Permalink

Gosh, the economy must be OK because I'm getting unsolicited snailmail from Ken Fisher! You know, Ken Fisher!, the Forbes columnist!! and CIO of Fisher Investments!!!

So I googled Mr Fisher and guess what? This is what he recommnded:
American International Group (nyse: AIG - news - people )

This giant insurer is lower than it was one, three, five or even eight years ago--back when it sold for 40 times earnings. Now it is just eight times earnings and 1.2 times annual revenue. But with an exceptionally strong presence in insurance and broader finance, and slow but steady growth, it will enjoy a good run in the stock market in 2008.
And that was in 2008.

Now to be fair I've also been solicited by folks who want to lower my mortgage, (I don't own a home,) give me great deals on a new car and think I should take out a second mortgage to pay down my credit card bills, (I still don't own a home & I pay my debit/credit card balance every month. Woo, hoo! Actual 0%!)

But how bad does Kenny Boy have to be doing that he sends out a cold call snailmail that offers me free! FREE!!1! "The Eight Biggest Mistakes Investors Make And How To Avoid Them" which he put together "solely for financially successful individuals."

Did I mention it was FREE!!1!!9!

Well of course he put them together for people with money, who else can afford snake oil!? (Jeebus, Kenny on South Park has a better record than you do!)

Now I repeatedly tried to contact Mr Fisher to interview him, but apparently he's always in a meeting ... yeah, probably all that work he has to do to oversee the boiler room operators that are taking the calls.

I really hate these bastards that have preyed on us for years and finally got caught in their Fonzi [sic] schemes.

The fact that Kenny Boy has to resort to cold calls again is a bit of schadenfreude for me, but I take no pleasure in seeing my 401(k) lose 40% its value and very little pleasure in seeing my CDs at 1.09%.

But I'm truly thankful that I still have a job and retirement accounts and health insurance.

BTW, just in case no one got the title of the post, it's by INXS. And the title & band name really sums it up.

And since I couldn't find the YouTube for INXS I'll leave you with a bit of basic accounting:

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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25 or 6 to 4

posted by The Sailor @ 5:27 PM Permalink

I was reading Dr. Sardonicus at Pole Hill Sanitarium and he had an interesting post a few days ago.
Albums that changed your life
Well. That's a deep subject.

But I got to thinking, there are some albums that may have affected my life. I'm not saying they changed it, they were probably more reflective of changes I had already made or wanted to make, but the good Dr's qualifier says "These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions."

I would take the rules one step further.

You have to hear the album in your mind. Not the dental drill that makes up a pop tune you can't get out of your head, but an album you can imagine that 'there was a band playing in my head.'

So hear goes albums that changed my life, in no particular order:
Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
Are You Experienced
(I didn't appreciate Hendrix until I got stoned. Take that For What What It's worth.)

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
(I wasn't even stoned, just a great awakening.)

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
(A few years later, but it's deeper and more personal to me.)

Spirit - 12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus
(One of the best albums ever. As far as I'm concerned, it ranks right up there with the Dark Side of the Moon and Abbey Road albums. It's brilliant in production, in composition, in musicianship.)

Yes - Yessongs
(Best live performances and best produced live album evah IMHO! p.s. I did see the tour, 3 times, and bought the LPs, the 8 tracks, the cassettes, the CDs ... yeah, I kinda liked it.
This is the band and the album that made me want to be a sound engineer! (Thank you Eddie Offord!))

Beatles - Revolver
Rubber Soul
White Album
Sgt Pepper's
Abbey Road
(These albums can turn your world around whether your 8 or 80. And the songs sound simple and true ... and while they're true they aren't simple. There's always a bridge to drive off, but the turnaround brings you back.)

Grateful Dead - American Beauty
(I think I recall the Dead saying this was their least favorite album. I don't care. I loved the songs, all of them, and I liked that they were great songs and didn't have 20 minutes of ego boo for each player. Sometimes discipline is a good thing.)

Leon Russell - Hank Wilson's Back
(1st exposure to traditional country, led to a love of traditional country. Expanded my horizons so far I went out and bought the originals and started listening to Bob Wills, George Jones, Hank, Patsy, shucks, the list just goes on an' on.)

Seatrain - Seatrain
(1st exposure to 'new grass', led to a love of bluegrass. Even before country, blue grass songs were songs that seemed simple but were refined thru time to distill their essence. My only fault with blue grass today is that it became faster and faster so folks could show off their licks and not honor the music.)

Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon
(I listened to this album over and over. I especially listened to it when I was driving home from a 12am - 8am job and would cue up 'Morgantown' to get past the first few miles.

Elton John/Bernie Taupin - Tumbleweed Connection
(How can 2 Brits capture the American West!?)

CSNY - 4 Way Street
(I could learn the chords and play (badly) for my friends. It made a difference in my life because I knew then I can do this! ... badly.)

Willie Nelson - Stardust
(1st exposure to standards, lead to a love of standards. I went back/forward so now I love listening to Frank Sinatra and Diana Krall)
But we were just talking about albums. Sometimes there are songs that changed your life. You're welcome to leave either in comments.

Cross posted at SteveAudio


At least we know how New York will spend its bailout…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:03 PM Permalink

…money: rebuilding the World Trade Center which will again rise from 70 feet underground to once again being the highest point in NYC.

It makes me wonder why, in these perilous financial times, a city would devote so much time and money doing something that will probably cost a few billion dollars and provide nothing to us commoners.

They have already begun construction and have ordered over 220,000 lbs. of steel. I'm sure the poor, the ill, infirm, the uneducated child, the jobless, and the homeless will get down on bended knee and praise the Lord that there will be a new shining jewel of a building for them to worship while they suffer interminably.

Something needs to change when the building of a new edifice takes priority over the care of the above-mentioned groups of people. Somebody has failed to think this through. The time to rebuild the WTC was immediately after they were felled and before our former occupant of the White House, and congress, set out on their grand adventure of starting two wars and allowing the banks and insurance companies the privilege of destroying our economy, exacerbating almost every single problem we had and have.

I think all insurance companies should be like Lloyd's of London, the ownership of which is spread among the investors who cannot file bankruptcy until each and everyone of its owners have sold every last asset, even personal ones, to the point where they themselves are completely destitute; the British are sticklers when it comes to insurance.

People before insurance companies! What a concept!

But I'm growing my beard, weaving my robes, making new sandals, carving a new staff, readying myself for the long trek to NYC, and preparing to abase myself before this new edifice to god man's folly.

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Young Love, First Love

posted by The Sailor @ 2:10 PM Permalink

Palin daughter splits from fiance

Bristol Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has split from her fiance, Levi Johnston.

Miss Palin's pregnancy by Mr Johnston, 19, made headlines shortly after Sarah Palin was named as John McCain's running mate in last year's elections.

The couple's son, Tripp Johnston, was born in December.

Mr Johnston told Associated Press (AP) that the couple had mutually decided "a while ago" to end their three-year relationship

Speaking outside his family's trailer home in Wasilla, north of Anchorage, Mr Johnston said some speculation about the break-up, circulating on the internet, had been inaccurate.
The Alaska governor revealed her daughter's pregnancy - and engagement - just days after being named as the Republican vice-presidential candidate by John McCain.

Mrs Palin is a social conservative who is opposed to abortion and the pregnancy became a talking point during the campaign.

In December, Mrs Palin said that her daughter and Mr Johnston were "committed to accomplish what millions of other young parents have accomplished, to provide a loving and secure environment for their child."
Obviously Sarah Palin's daughter was edumacated in the Republican School of Birth Control, AKA "Just Say No."

The Grand Obstructionist Party thinks that if we don't tell kids about sex and birth control they won't have sex. Studies show that if you don't inform kids about sex and birth control they'll still have sex, just not birth control. And that includes the kids who pledged abstinence!

In addition: "Mr Johnston told Associated Press (AP) that the couple had mutually decided "a while ago" to end their three-year relationship"
Umm, I'm guessing that would have been November 5th, 2008!

And did anyone else notice that their 'three-year relationship' started when she was 15! Gosh, where were the parents!?

I am so sick of republican hypocrisy. They actually celebrated this unwed mother's pregnancy while condemning unwed mothers at the same time!

And I feel sorry for the unwed couple who were thrust in the spotlight by Sarah Palin's naked ambition and trotted out as shining examples of 'family values.'

Cross posted at SteveAudio

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