Monday, March 30, 2009

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

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, and the US Supreme Court agrees. 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 us, over time, or just read commenters over time, you get to know that aspect of the person. Knowing our names, 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 VidiotSpeak

Death To The Liberal Insect

Death To The Liberal Insect

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The swollen bag of pus that is Orange Co., CA's newspaper of birdcage bottoms, the OC Register, manages to step on their collective dick once again:

But not to fear, because, to start with, President Obama can seemingly purr his way out of anything, as when asked at his press conference the other day why the public should acquiesce in "sweeping authority for the government to take over companies."

My, oh my, did he sound reasonable. You see, the absence of this power makes it difficult to do what needs to be done – fixing AIG, for instance. In the case of federally insured banks, he said, the government can pounce, but is held back by law from grabbing other kinds of private companies. What's needed is a system that allows orderly procedures to tidy up everything.

Uh, huh. So what if the issue was doing away with warrant-less search and seizure of anyone the police wanted to investigate? The absence of that power makes it far more difficult for officers to get the goods on criminals, and there is consequently more crime than there would otherwise be, it could be argued. We allow these searches when the courts say OK. What's now required is a system permitting them whenever the police want so that we can have a more orderly society.

It's always possible to make certain kinds of pragmatic-sounding arguments for the demolition of liberty. I once heard then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore give a seemingly rational defense of curtailing press freedoms. Otherwise, he said, you could have riots. You could have chaos. What's more important, he wanted to know – having yakety-yak criticism, or saving life and limb?

Patently idiotic. Even more disturbing is that this paper purports to be not a neocon rag but a Libertarian organ. Thus, the argument that warrant-less search and seizure is too awful to contemplate rings hollow, knowing that the late GWBush administration orchestrated and executed just such searches and seizures, including holding "enemy combatants" with no charges filed, no access to the legal system, and no recourse. But that was OK, because it was in the name of the "War on Terra".

And the Prime Minister of Singapore wanted to curtail freedom of the press? Of course, that would never happen here. Unless you count Ari Fleischer back on 9/26/01:

And that's why—there was an earlier question about has the President said anything to people in his own party—they're reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.

Yeah, I though so.

The Register did complain about Bush & Co. once in a while, but by and large, they were silent on many of his tyrannical overreaches. Thus the Libertarian tendencies fall victim to Wingnuttery. Like certain Supreme Court justices, the results are pre-ordained, and the methodology is all that varies.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Just Us System

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 VidiotSpeak

Friday, March 27, 2009

Patria o busto

Putting the Che in Michelle


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

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 VidiotSpeak

Tell Her No

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 VidiotSpeak

Thursday, March 26, 2009

As sounding brass

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 VidiotSpeak

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You're tellin' lies, so don't you criticize

"It is much easier to be critical than to be correct."
~ Benjamin Disraeli
(1804 - 1881)

Though I'm not a fan of his politics, I do think that his quote is an appropriate appraisal of the various Republicans, Dittoheads and Neocons heckling Obama as he tackles the huge mess left behind by the "let the market police itself" philosophy that they subscribed to.

Besides, his name was a part of a pretty cool album:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gansta Bankster!

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 VidiotSpeak

Don't You Forget About Me

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 VidiotSpeak

Monday, March 23, 2009

All We Are Saying Is Give Banks A Chance

All We Are Saying Is Give Banks A Chance

I don't know where I'm a gonna go, when the volcano blow

Who was that incredibly naive jerk a few weeks ago who complained about spending federal money to monitor volcanoes? Oh yeah, rising Repub star Bobby Jindal:
In his official Republican response to President Barack Obama's speech to the nation Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said repeatedly that "Americans can do anything!"

With one exception, apparently. We don't need to keep an eye on simmering volcanoes.

Jindal singled out "volcano monitoring" as an unnecessary frill that Democrats stuck in the recently adopted stimulus package.

"Their legislation is larded with wasteful spending," Jindal said. "It includes ... $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C."

Surprise, Bobby. You totally FAIL. From Alaska Volcano Observatory:
The eruption of Mt. Redoubt continues. The height of the eruption cloud is estimated to be 50,000 ft above sea level. Further reports will be issued as more information becomes available.
I'm pretty sure folks would appreciate a warning about fucking mountains blowing up, which seems to be somewhat common in Alaska. But if Gov. Jindal had his way, I guess there would be no warning system in place.

Gov. Jindal, here's your Katrina moment. Savor it, it tastes like shit.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

give me back my job again

Rep. Miller and Sen. Harkin completely get it regarding EFCA. Via email:
U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and U.S. Sen. Tom
Harkin (D-IA) today said that a proposal unveiled by three companies
this weekend as an alternative to the Employee Free Choice Act would
further undermine workers' rights on the job. Miller and Harkin,
leaders in the House and Senate on the Employee Free Choice Act,
issued the following statement opposing this approach:

“This proposal is unacceptable. It was written by CEOs for CEOs. It is
not a serious attempt at labor law reform because it fails to
fundamentally address key problems that currently prevent workers from
being able to join together and bargain for a better life.

“This proposal maintains the status quo by denying workers a real say
in the workplace. It denies workers the ability to choose majority
sign-up, the one method for organizing proven to reduce coercion and
pressure from all sides on workers. It rejects a tried and proven
method for ensuring good faith bargaining, denying workers a fair
chance to gain the same kind of enforceable contracts that CEOs always
take for themselves.

“It even increases the power of CEOs to dominate workers’ choices by
allowing CEOs to initiate drives to get rid of a union – a choice that
should belong to workers, not CEOs. It is nothing more than a classic
Washington lobbying campaign intended to confuse the issues and
disguise the real agenda of maintaining the status quo.

Well said, gentlemen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

crime of bein' hungry and poor

Following up on my previous post in re: Limbaugh as Fearless Leader, He Who Must Be Obeyed, we see this from a predictable Republican operative. Either he's too stupid to actually read, or, more likely, he has gotten the Limbaugh Daily Brief and memorized the lies:
"Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?" Teamsters President James Hoffa recently demanded. He callously dismissed this cornerstone of American self-government that helped emancipated slaves vote after the Civil War and has decided presidential elections since Grover Cleveland beat Benjamin Harrison in 1892.

Hoffa and other union bosses, egged on by Democrats from Capitol Hill to the White House, display world-class hypocrisy, violate international labor standards, and contradict their own sales pitch as they desperately promote "card-check" legislation to drive secret ballots from union-authorization elections.

Once a majority of workers at a labor-targeted institution signs cards showing interest in unionization, rather than trigger a secret-ballot election (as happens today), those cards automatically would impose union-monopoly representation on every worker, including those who never signed cards.

Imagine a candidate with a majority of voters' signatures on his qualifying petition. Suddenly, November's secret-ballot election is cancelled, and he instantly becomes congressman.

As one blogger says, the stupid, it burns. From the SEIU blog:
Corporate front groups' one-line attack on the Employee Free Choice Act is the false claim that it somehow eliminates the secret ballot option for workers to join unions. Although it's blatantly false and dishonest, desperate corporate interests continue to hammer that argument without shame.

But it seems one of their closest allies is finally willing to acknowledge the truth. In this morning's Wall Street Journal, the corporate-friendly editorial board admits:
"The bill doesn't remove the secret-ballot option from the National Labor Relations Act," wrote the WSJ.

There you have it. The Employee Free Choice Act "doesn't remove the secret ballot."

Think Progress has a good explanation:
CONSERVATIVE CANARD: To generate opposition to the EFCA, conservatives have been spouting the canard that the legislation will strip workers of their right to a secret ballot. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who opposes EFCA, argued, "This act takes away the right to a secret ballot." In a similar vein, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao writes today in the Wall Street Journal, "It is incredible that interest groups who say they are advocates for workers are striving to end workers' opportunity to have private union elections." In reality, the EFCA does not abolish elections. It merely shifts the balance of the playing field -- from one that is currently tilted overwhelmingly in favor of employers who dictate whether employees can organize, to a process that is instead employee-driven. "Under the proposed legislation, workers get to choose the union formation process -- elections or majority sign-up. What the Employee Free Choice Act does prevent is an employer manipulating the flawed system to influence the election outcome." The myths propagated by the right have prompted some Democrats, including Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), to withhold their support for the bill.

Malicious R's and stupid D's. Not helpful.


It's Spring!

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.

I'm Hawkin' Here

I'm Hawkin' Here

I'm a loser

Someone who shares a mutual friend with me added me as a "friend" on Facebook tonight. He listed his Political views as Conservative, his Religious views as Christian.


But one of his groups is Barack Obama Is Not My President.

Sorry, pal. I never even said that about the abomination that was George W. Bush. If you can't accept that Barack Obama is President, you have no business commenting or even thinking about politics in America.

So long, and have a nice day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Going down

Never have so many bent over so far and been corn-holed so deeply. The latest is Jim Tedisco (R-Mouthful), candidate for Congress from NY-20 apologizing to Boss Limbaugh:
"Jim's comments were in response to a question about what voters are asking him about on the campaign trail," writes campaign spokesman Adam Kramer. "So far, the concerns he has been hearing from voters on the campaign trail have been local in nature, such as his support for lower property taxes, fiscal responsibility, and his opponent's appalling support for the AIG bonus loophole. That was his point and any effort to characterize it otherwise is a distortion of the facts."

Here's how the Republican brand is doing lately:

With numbers following this trend, why do these cowards follow a guy whose numbers are even lower:
Over the past few weeks, the White House has been casting right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh as the head of the Republican Party, and based on a new CBS News poll, it appears they may be onto something. According to the poll, Limbaugh’s favorable rating stands at just 19 percent, a full 43 points lower than President Barack Obama’s.

Limbaugh’s unfavorable rating, meanwhile, stands at 40 percent, while 41 percent say they don’t know or don’t have an opinion. Not surprisingly, the conservative commentator, who has said he hopes that the president’s economic policies fail, is far more popular with Republicans – 47 percent view him favorably – than with Democrats, just seven percent of whom view him favorably.

Can't even get a majority of his own party. Under normal circumstances that would be worse than weak. For Republicans, it's a mandate.


We Don't Need No Education

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 VidiotSpeak

One Thing Leads To Another

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 VidiotSpeak

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And we'll drink and dance with one hand free, And have the world so easily

UPDATED below.

I don't suppose I have to spend a whole lot of time going over details of the whole AIG bailout and bonus brouhaha. It's pretty much everywhere at the moment.

The bonuses were kind of the icing on the cake to all the news from the past several months of the very companies crying "Help!" with their palms outstretched to the taxpayers turning around and being caught continuing their pampered lifestyles with spa vacations, superbowl parties and so on. They are like the trophy wife in a divorce wanting $100,000 a month in alimony to continue "the lifestyle I've become accustomed to". Like the sports star who will turn his nose up at a $15 million a year contract to hold out for $25 million a year with the reasoning "I have to feed my family", to which the average person wonders "What the hell do you feed them... bowls of diamonds??!!"
They are in a different world than the rest of us and can't understand (or, at least, don't care) that their greed and massive excess is disgusting to those "beneath" them in the economic scale. But the part that galls people the most is that it's now being practiced on the taxpayers dime. Taxes paid by people not worried about having to buy one less Rolls Royce or vacation home, but instead worried about staying in their one home and having money to put food in the refrigerator.
I did get a chuckle out of this:
Edward M. Liddy, the government-appointed chairman of A.I.G., said at least some bonuses were needed to keep the most skilled executives.
“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses."
And that's the biggest outrage: Having to hand out big bonuses to the very same people - contracted or not - who put their company, and the globe, into the mess that necessitated the bailout in the first place. "The best and the brightest". Steering the ship into the rocks and then making Gilligan an admiral. Yeah. It all makes sense to me.
If they are the best and the brightest, then God help us all. Hannibal Lecter was considered extremely bright, but I certainly wouldn't turn my back on him.

Addendum by The Sailor: Just when you thought the AIG scandals couldn't get any worse, we the people,owners of 80% of AIG, are suing ourselves for tax refunds:
A.I.G. Sues U.S. for Return of $306 Million in Tax Payments

While the American International Group comes under fire from Congress over executive bonuses, it is quietly fighting the federal government for the return of $306 million in tax payments, some related to deals that were conducted through offshore tax havens.
The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 27 in Federal District Court in Manhattan, details, among other things, certain tax-related dealings of the financial products unit, the once high-flying division that has been singled out for its role in A.I.G.’s financial crisis last fall. Other deals involved A.I.G. offshore entities whose function centers on executive compensation and include C. V. Starr & Company, a closely held concern controlled by Maurice R. Greenberg, A.I.G.’s former chairman, and the Starr International Company, a privately held enterprise incorporated in Panama, and commonly known as SICO.
Can you freakin' believe the sheer gall of these folks!?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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

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 VidiotSpeak

Curb Your Dogs


An avuncular word to a country I care about very much.

I know times are tough, and getting tougher by the second. Frustrations run high when the loaf on the table gets smaller every week, or doesn't even appear at all. But I want to pull your coat about something, and I'm not going to be kind or easy.

Today, I saw this item, and I must confess that I am somewhat disappointed in America at the moment.

Don't tell me it's just some random event, because it damn well isn't. This person represents your country at the interface between it and the rest of the world, and to have them spout such low-grade right-wing radio stupidities while failing to perform their duties is a troubling reminder of how jingoistic and isolationist the U.S.A. can be when the pressure mounts.

The only thing that is going to restore whatever you had before you lost it is enlightened interdependence. People helping people. Countries helping countries.
You need the rest of the world to help you get back on track and you cannot afford (especially considering the level of debt you are in and to whom it is owed) to have your representatives alienating those whom are attempting to add to your success rather than steal from it, such as your elected representatives have done.

Canada is your largest trading partner. Who else will buy your goods in such vast quantities and create a circle of success yet again, should the shoulders of your country once more be put to the grindstone? Albania?

Smarten the fuck up, America. Don't make us bury you - it has taken so long for you to begin bringing yourselves back from the Abyss.



Don't come around here no more

More on the idiocy of Jindal, Perry, and in this case, Mark Sanford:

I hope this results in their political suicide. 24% unemployment, and they're standing on their 'principles'.


The sweetest thing

Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig:
is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa AD 385–461), one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on March 17.

The day is the national holiday of Ireland. It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland and Montserrat. In Canada, Great Britain, Australia, the United States and New Zealand, it is widely celebrated but is not an official holiday.[1]
So here's some great Irish music:

Monday, March 16, 2009

You're Unbelieveable

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 VidiotSpeak

25 or 6 to 4

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 '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.

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 VidiotSpeak

Young Love, First Love

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 VidiotSpeak

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Play the game everyone play the game

The other day we all got to see the Jon Stewart/Jim Cramer on-air "feud" reach its conclusion with an appearance by CNBC's "Mad Money" man on the Daily Show. But this wasn't for a debate on the issues. Cramer knew he had no ammo to fire back as Stewart certainly had the "goods" on Cramer via indisputable video clips of Jim basically bragging about how someone clever like him and others could manipulate the activity on the market while a clueless (at best) SEC stood by slack-jawed and silent.

Cramer's appearance, to me, seemed more like a naughty boy caught smoking behind the woodshed being marched in front of his parents to sheepishly face the music, attempting damage control with weak-at-best defenses, but mostly just sweating and wanting the moment to hurry up and pass. At the end of the show you could almost see the huge sigh of relief burst forth from him. He knew his dismissals of Jon Stewart being a "comedian" during the past week wasn't getting him any further out of the exposed mess he was in, so he had little choice but to go on the Daily Show and take it on the chin and hope that finally made it all go away.

I don't see how after all that has gone down he'll be able to go back and make the stock situation "entertaining" again. People don't tend to laugh as much at silly sound effects after they've lost half or more of their retirement nest egg.

I won't go into everything covered by Jon Stewart, but you can see the entire episode here.

Here are a few of the past quotes on video that Cramer could hardly defend:

"A lot of times when I was short at my hedge fund, and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity before hand that could drive the futures," Cramer said. "It doesn't take much money. Or, if I were long and I would want to make things a little bit rosy, I would go in and take a bunch of stocks and make sure they are higher–maybe commit $5 million in capital and I could affect it. Now, you need maybe $10 million in capital to knock the stuff down. But it's a fun game. And it's a lucrative game."

"What's important when you are in that hedge fund mode is to not doing anything that is remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view–it is important to create a new truth to develop a fiction," Cramer advises. "You can't take any chances."

"You can't foment," Cramer says. "That's a violation. You can't create yourself an impression that a stock is down. But you do it anyway because the SEC doesn't understand it. That's the only sense that I would say that it is illegal. But a hedge fund that is not up a lot really has to do a lot to save itself. This is blatantly illegal. But when you have six days and your company may be in doubt because you are down, I think it is really important to foment. If I were one of these guys, foment an impression that Research In Motion isn't any good."

"Get people talking about it as if something is wrong with RIM," Cramer advises. "Then you would call the (Wall Street) Journal and talk the bozo reporter on Research in Motion and you would feed that Palm has got a killer it is going to give. These are the things that you must do on a day like today. And if you are not doing it, maybe you shouldn't be in the game."

"I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a fucking game," Stewart told Cramer.

It's quite clear Stewart's point was that nobody could count on long term investments when half the market was glorified gambling on financial instruments nobody quite understood, propped up by a class of intellectually dishonest hacks and, yes, the media has been an accomplice to promoting this house of cards. Jim Cramer admitted as much - that Stewart was right in his criticism.

And Jon Stewart was right when he said this is not about Jim Cramer. But hopefully this is just another step in the march to expose the serious loopholes in the whole system that allowed a group of greedy sharks to profit at the expense of everyone else, and lead to the changes needed to overhaul this system with the necessary oversight, regulations and checks and balances to make sure that corrupt get-rich-quick scum can't trash the economy again for their own profit, while those who SHOULD be policing it are either out to lunch or in on the game.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Come along and sing a song And join the jamboree

Bobby Jindal, Mark Sanford, Rick Perry: you ungrateful hypocritical ideologue bastards:
In a budget proposal released Friday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal indicated he is only rejecting $98 million of the federal stimulus funds due his state.

That figure is far less than the $700 million South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has indicated he may reject if the federal government does not allow Sanford to use that money to pay down his state's debt.

. . . Jindal's announcement also comes a day after Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he would reject the $555 million in federal funds direct to his state to expand unemployment benefits.

Kids, the money isn't to pay down your state's debt, that's your own goddam problem. The money is for, hold on now, STIMULUS of the economy, and a major part of that is to extend unemployment benefits. Hear that Gov. Goodhair? Because people, when they are either employed or getting unemplyment benefits, inject money into the economy.

But no, says Gov. Jindal (R-OverHisHead):
Gov. Bobby Jindal said Friday he doesn’t want Louisiana to tap into $98 million in stimulus money for expanding unemployment benefits for thousands of people who wouldn’t normally be eligible to receive them.

The Republican governor repeatedly had said he wasn’t sure the state should draw down all the stimulus money it’s eligible to receive, but the announcement was the first detail he’s offered about dollars he wants to refuse.

. . . The dollars that Jindal intends to reject could provide unemployment aid to 4,000 to 6,000 more Louisiana residents, the state labor department estimates. But the acceptance would require a permanent change in state law that would force businesses to pay higher unemployment taxes once the federal dollars run out, Jindal said.

Yep, we can't offer unemployment to those poor people who don't have jobs because TAXESTAXESTAXES!! Is this even true?

The basic thought is that if unemployment benefits are expanded to people previously not eligible, the when the Stimulus bucks run out, the state will have to raise taxes to keep up the benefits.

While googling the hell out of this, I found many weasel words: might, may, could, possibly, especially when reading news reports about the above-named Senators, and on Right-wing blogs. But little in the way of actual attribution to the actual text of the actual stimulus bill.

So I dunno. Maybe Gov's Jindal, Sanford, and Perry are right, that they would have to raise taxes to fix the clusterfuck that their state economies have become. Heck, even here in CA, Ahnuld has agreed to a state tax increase, because, well, we need it!

I think the House and the Senate missed a wonderful opportunity to make the Stimulus all-in: you take all, or nothing.

Or maybe Bobby, Mark, and Rick are wrong. Or maybe they're just actors on the Mickey Mouse Club; they certainly sound like it. If they were, I'd believe them more. Regardless, the Republican party has dwindled in relevance to somewhere just above the WCTU, and far below the Mickey Mouse Club:

Friday, March 13, 2009

These days are all, Happy and free (Those Happy Days)

Henry Winkler being led out of court after his indictment for
masterminding the world's biggest Fonzie Scheme

It's not a problem

I'm kinda sick, don't feel like writing, so here's some music by a great L.A. Band, The Eulogies:

It's a short clip, sorry, but a really nice song.