Archive for April, 2007

The Schools! The Schools!

Apr 30, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Iraq

This has been the favorite cry of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders when confronted with the realities of Bush administration foreign policy disasters.  Not that this article will stop them in the future (seven out of eight projects declared successes are in shambles, apparently) nor will it help clarify to them why on earth an Iraqi might be disappointed with how things have turned out.  

And to borrow a favorite Republican slogan; when will they learn that we can’t solve these problems by throwing money at them?

-mg 

I see the rebuilding of Katrina is going just as well.  Any of you “loyal Bushies” want to take a crack at explaining why negligence like this shouldn’t be investigated?  

Champagne taste, beer budget.

Apr 30, 2007 in Uncategorized

The answer?  Miller High Life, the self described champagne of beers.

But seriously, this article about folks who buy cars that they can’t possibly afford hits close to home for me.  The author discusses the often delusional rationale that goes into many new car purchases.  The most perplexing of which is the justification of taking on higher debt because the more expensive purchase will depreciate more slowly.  

Car valuations matter because an increasing number of consumers are “upside down” on their auto loans, meaning they owe more than the car is worth. In the first quarter of 2007, 29 percent of consumers were upside down on their vehicles, Kelley Blue Book reports. Additionally, on average, people traded in cars on which they still owed more than $3,600. And what do many of these buyers do with that loan balance when they want another car?

They roll that negative equity — the $3,600 and often much more — into yet another vehicle loan.

“It is a pandemic,” says Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

It is also financial lunacy. And making matters worse are risky lending practices similar to what we’ve been seeing in the mortgage industry. 

Aside from the fact that when you factor in the total cost of the loan the slower depreciation rationalization is completely untrue I think it should be pointed out that buyers do this for more than just cars.  An example I can think of that is even more baffling is the purchase of personal computers with a high interest loan.  In two years you’re still making payments on an item that’s worth less than a tank of gas and that you’re going to have to dump off at the Goodwill store to get rid of.  How smart is that?  Intelligent or not it’s typical of a culture that is locked into a “something for nothing” mindset.  The ultimate embodiment being Las Vegas.  America’s favorite place to go and pretend to be rich.

-mg 

Don’t blame me.

Apr 30, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Disappointing Dems, Politics

If Tenet’s goal was to try and salvage his reputation and put some distance between himself and those who previously held him in confidence then he’s failing miserably with his latest book.  Michael Scheuer has an opinion piece in today’s Washington Post that paints the familiar picture of Tenet as an image obsessed, people pleaser who presided over the long range decline of the agency.  Scheuer argues that yes, there is plenty of blame to go around, but instead of meditating on his own culpability Tenet expends his energy making excuses for his own lapses in responsibility:  

Tenet now paints himself as a scapegoat for an administration in which there never was “a serious consideration of the implications of a U.S. invasion,” insisting that he warned Bush, Cheney and their Cabinet about the risks of occupying Iraq. Well, fine; the CIA repeatedly warned Tenet of the inevitable disaster an Iraq war would cause — spreading bin Ladenism, spurring a bloody Sunni-Shiite war and lethally destabilizing the region.

But as with Rice and the warnings in the summer of 2001: Now he tells us. At this late date, the Bush-bashing that Tenet’s book will inevitably stir up seems designed to rehabilitate Tenet in his first home, the Democratic Party. He seems to blame the war on everyone but Bush (who gave Tenet the Medal of Freedom) and former secretary of state Colin L. Powell (who remains the Democrats’ ideal Republican). Tenet’s attacks focus instead on the walking dead, politically speaking: the glowering and unpopular Cheney; the hapless Rice; the band of irretrievably discredited bumblers who used to run the Pentagon, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith; their neoconservative acolytes such as Richard Perle; and the die-hard geopolitical fantasists at the Weekly Standard and National Review.

They’re all culpable, of course. But Tenet’s attempts to shift the blame won’t wash. At day’s end, his exercise in finger-pointing is designed to disguise the central, tragic fact of his book. Tenet in effect is saying that he knew all too well why the United States should not invade Iraq, that he told his political masters and that he was ignored. But above all, he’s saying that he lacked the moral courage to resign and speak out publicly to try to stop our country from striding into what he knew would be an abyss.

Scheuer has no love of the previous administration and there are certainly enough digs at Clinton to keep the mouth-breathers happy but he also pulls no punches with Bush Co. which, sadly, will disqualify anything he has to say in the middling minds of right-wing bloggers:

Of course, it’s good to finally have Tenet’s side of the Iraq and 9/11 stories. But whatever his book says, he was not much of a CIA chief. Still, he may have been the ideal CIA leader for Clinton and Bush — denigrating good intelligence to sate the former’s cowardly pacifism and accepting bad intelligence to please the latter’s Wilsonian militarism. Sadly but fittingly, “At the Center of the Storm” is likely to remind us that sometimes what lies at the center of a storm is a deafening silence.

Owy, stingy! 

-mg

The persistent delusions of the right re: Iraq.

Apr 29, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Iraq, Politics

In my continuing quest to find intelligent rightwing bloggers, I looked to another “respectable” rightwing blog, Stop The ACLU. At least they stick their priorities, ending civil liberties, right out in front, eh? It’s unfortunate, however, that they give themselves such a narrow moniker when they have a much broader cause: being slack-jawed Republicanists.

I must say, the quality of Stop The ACLU is quite meager. These guys are straight-up Kool-Aid drinkers, easy targets, yet here I go anyway…

A plea for eternal patience in Iraq by Chris Short:

Basically, (Democrats) are going to force the President to use his veto power and then keep sending the President funding bills that include pork barrel spending or a timetable for withdrawal.

To be charitable, the “or” may have been a typo on Chris’ part. On the other hand, he has likely so internalized Bush’s superficial misleading objections to pork that he has actually come to believe Bush would veto based on pork alone. Yet it’s absolutely without doubt that Bush and the Republicans don’t care about pork at all, it’s pure political hay. They don’t like the deadlines, period. Send Bush a bill with pork and he’ll do the same thing he did while Republicans doubled pork spending: sign it with a smile. (more…)

Groan…

Apr 29, 2007 in Drugs

Sometimes people forward me stuff that’s supposed to be “witty” but in reality is denser than the earth’s core.

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I
pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as they see fit. In order to get that paycheck. I am required to pass a random urine test, which I have no problem with.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don’t have to pass a urine test.

Shouldn’t one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check, because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sit on their butt.

Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check.

Pass on if you agree

I don’t think anybody should be urine tested for a job, not without probable cause. If I’m doing my job, it shouldn’t matter if I’ve got everything from coke to elephant laxatives in my bloodstream. If my bloodstream is the only place where the drugs can be detected, then it’s nobody’s fucking business. If a person is screwing up on the job or acting goofy then I can see a rationale, but otherwise, let’s stop letting private industry agree en masse to negate our rights to be secure in our persons.

-jb

Think your job sucks?

Apr 28, 2007 in Journamalism, Librulz

You could be Mark Knoller. It was his job to come up with a hastily cobbled together “rebuttal” to last nights special with Bill Moyers regarding the well documented (liberal) media capitulation to the White House Iraq war marketing campaign. Knoller and his comb-over mail in a few examples of “tough” questions asked at the featured March 6th, 2003 press conference. Of course if you saw the documentary you would know that regardless of the questions asked the press conference was admittedly and openly scripted. George even makes one of his typically ham-fisted jokes about it. Taken out of context these questions may seem as if they had some traction but to characterize them as hard-hitting is completely disingenuous and kinda funny, really. When a question is asked to elicit an expected response the tenor and substance lose all relevancy.

Those in the press who still remember what journalistic standards are know full well they failed their duties. Unfortunately the disciples of Broder still run free.

-mg

Elections.

Apr 26, 2007 in Uncategorized

[youtube 31FFTx6AKmU We still can’t use youtube.]

-jb

What conservative blogger isn’t an idiot?

Apr 26, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Iraq

And if they aren’t, how long before they’re declared to be liberal? There is the obvious case of Andrew Sullivan, one of the most philosophically formidable conservatives, who is freely declared to be a liberal by virtually the entire right-o-sphere because he long ago stopped toeing the Bush line. To be honest and insightful seems to almost by definition exclude one from the Kool-Aid Kidz. Here’s the stalwart “Captain” Ed Morrissey, who, naturally, has never served in the military (when’s he going to give himself a promotion?).

MYTH #2:
General Petraeus Does Not Know What Is Happening In Iraq

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I Don’t Believe Him.” Q: “…General Petraeus is going to come to the Hill and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq, that the so-called surge is working. Will you believe him when he says that?” SEN. REID (D-NV): “No, I don’t believe him, because it’s not happening. All you have to do is look at the facts.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 04/23/07)

FACT:

David H. Petraeus:
Four-Star General, Commander, Multinational Forces-Iraq

Harry Reid:
Senator Who Doesn’t Listen To Commanders of Military Forces

Well, it’s rather hard to keep up since they get fired the second they stop pushing Bush’s propaganda. Nobody advocated a tiny little “surge” created through extending tours until Bush wanted it, and the second he said so, it became The Only Way to the loyal.

Truthfully, Harry Reid should avoid trying to pretend Petraeus is on his side. And Private Ed should pretend avoiding somebody who disagreed with Bush could keep his job.

Let’s look at some more Ed. I won’t go far, I’ll just sample recent entries. There’s this sublime bit of moronic simplistic pap which tells you this man should be nowhere near our foreign policy:

The war will define our era and our politics. Either we continue taking the war to the terrorists, wherever we find them — and we’ve found them in abundance in al-Anbar — or we declare defeat and return home, awaiting the next attack. Rudy has made his choice clear.

Where to start? Did we find terrorists in al-Anbar? Or has the Iraq War been like Miracle-Gro for terrorism? How many terrorists were there before we invaded? Were they terrorists when there wasn’t actually terrorism in Iraq? Or did the war flush them out, finding the ones who would pick up arms against an occupation, or join a civil war after chaos was unleashed? By that logic, we should step things up, no? Let’s start bulldozing homes and torturing Iraqis in public squares. Maybe light some children on fire (more of that tasty white phosphorus please!). Surely this will provoke even more terrorists to show their faces, no?

More:

Hussein Agha does not make these points in favor of American occupation. In fact, he believes that the “magic has taken over the magician,” and that the US has boxed itself into a situation with no exit solutions. However, his argument becomes all the more powerful as a result. We cannot just walk away from Iraq; no matter how bad some believe it to be, the chain of events a precipitate withdrawal will commence will be exponentially worse for the region and for the US.

No solutions, but we must stay so that Turkey doesn’t declare war on the Kurds. Standing up to Turkey and defending the self-determination of the Kurds just isn’t an option, is it? Nearly everything else cited as what would happen if we left is either preferable to endless war or simply outside of our control. “…his argument becomes all the more powerful as a result.” Oh, naturally! It seems that Private Ed cannot comprehend that much of the damage is already done, or what the word “exponentially” means. When Bush invaded without knowing the difference between a Shiite and a Sunni, the divide and Shiite dominance was all but inevitable. Sunnis were provoking Shiites into civil war and Bush still thought he was fighting Saddam loyalists and Al Queda. But now Ed believes that if British-drawn borders dissolve it will be just terrible for the Middle East. It is those borders that are a significant source of the problem, and our belief that we must maintain endless war in order to prop up those borders is absurd.

Never mind the fact that “Captain” Ed is forever willing to put up other Americans’ lives and money into this boondoggle venture. Thoroughly safe from an IED and sacrificing nothing, he will somehow manage the “courage” to keep up this charade in Iraq. Yes, the war is lost, and Bush lost it. We may manage to forge a political solution that moves things towards a possibly not-so-bad state some day. Maybe next year, maybe thirty years, maybe seventy-five; certainly Private Ed has no way of knowing. And what he thinks he knows will guarantee it doesn’t come soon if people with his ridiculously simple-minded approach are still in charge of our policy.

We could have accomplished so much if we had simply pursued Al Queda. We could have avoided so much if we had stayed out of Iraq or fomented a natural uprising (difficult after Bush I’s refusal, but possible). Instead, here we are, adrift on a sea of chickenhawk testosterone.

-jb

Hold up!

Apr 26, 2007 in Drugs, Ethanol

This ethanol crap has gone too far.

-mg

No Brian, there is no Santa Claus.

Apr 26, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Uncategorized

Brian on the fraud uncovered within the DC commuter subsidy program:

This was a Clinton project from start to finish. Had it been Bush’s, you and everyone else on the left would have been all over this. But since it was Clinton, you are strangely quiet about it.

First, lets put aside the fact that the so-called liberal Washington Post was the first to cover the story.  Now let’s take a look at where the Transit Subsidy Program came from:

Under the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government
Appropriations Act of 1991, Federal agencies are authorized to
establish a program which provides subsidies for commuting to and from
work using a qualifying mass transit system. The transit subsidy
program is intended to encourage and increase the use of public
transportation by EPA employees, to reduce emissions from vehicles
traveling to and from work, to improve air quality and to reduce energy
consumption.

That’s right, it was part of H.R.5241.

-mg

Not gonna happen.

Apr 25, 2007 in Housing Bubble

Keep dreamin’:

Lereah said he had expected the housing market to recover by this quarter, but that problems with subprime mortgages will delay that until this summer. During the housing boom, lenders gave exotic loans to people with weak credit. Now that delinquencies and foreclosures are increasing, lenders are tightening their standards, at the behest of federal agencies.

This summer a large portion of existing subprime mortgages will be resetting and when the owners of these loans have to bear the added brunt of paying interest on the actual principal of the loan you’re going to see a rather significant feedback loop take place.

Here’s another giggle:

“If you could take the subprime problems out of it, we were recovering,” he said. “I expect a couple of more sluggish months coming.”

Yeah, if we could just eliminate the thirty percent of the market that’s rotten we’d be on easy street. No big deal.

-mg

Some good news for once.

Apr 24, 2007 in Environment, Iowa

Essential Estrogen points us to this promising news from the Daily Iowan.   The Iowa Farmers Union is calling for a statewide moratorium on the construction of high-density livestock confinement buildings.  I posted about this last week and it’s really terrific to hear that there’s some momentum behind a solution.   We’ll see where it goes.

-mg

Yikes.

Apr 24, 2007 in Uncategorized

Britain’s best battle tank dealt a serious blow.  Somebody posted in the comments section that the poor tommy lost his legs.

-mg

How to be a hack.

Apr 24, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Journamalism, Librulz, Media, Uncategorized

The Librul Media ™ bogeyman phenomenon is the perfect summation of the operating principles of right-wing mouth-breathers. Using the flimsiest of definitional standards you invent and propagandize an enemy that appeals to the basest, most jingoistic prejudices of your targeted demographic and then use it as a convenient excuse to justify any position (I’d say action but wingers are more about you doing the work), right or wrong. It’s also very convenient since the proof given as evidence of a liberal bias is also it’s definition. All an outlet has to do to be labeled as liberal is to not evangelize for the Republican Party. What’s baffling is that even after years of Bush administration cheer-leading the editors of every major media outlet are characterized as insidious liberal villains intent on roping Lady Liberty to the railroad tracks.

Bill Moyers, a man I greatly respect, could make fifty television programs like this and it wouldn’t matter. Rush Limbaugh would open page 15C from the Bucketsville Examiner in Longmont, Arkabama and point to a community college blurb about sensible lawn fertilizer use and proclaim to millions how it is proof that Marxists have taken over the country.

Here’s what the raving liberal socialists at Bloomberg have to say:

Moyers supplies extensive evidence to back up that view.

The Washington Post, for instance, did some 140 front-page pieces between August 2002 and March 2003 “making the administration’s case for war” and only a handful raised serious questions about the policy, says Post media critic Howard Kurtz.

The New York Times, USA Today, PBS, the New York Daily News and a vast number of regional publications sang variations on the same theme, as did a large chorus of conservative and liberal pundits.

Who wasn’t a cheerleader? Oh, three dudes who worked for Knight Ridder but that doesn’t matter! What matters most is that the people who were behind the administration weren’t behind them quite enough. (It’s why we’re losing the war, you know!)

-mg

I can’t wait till my Canada trip.

Apr 24, 2007 in Energy

Gas will reach four dollars a gallon this summer if, well, there is no if.  Current media concern centers almost exclusively on the issue of whether consumption will be adversely impacted.  Granted, that’s legitimate but I’m concerned more about how it’s going to affect local school districts that have long relied on cheap diesel to operate their byzantine mass transit systems.  We’ll have to get Thomas Friedman to educate us on how we can convert the bus fleets to use the lunch room fry grease.  After that he can help the senior Physics class disprove the second law of thermodynamics.

On the positive side we can hopefully look forward to continued support of effective mass transit systems.  Metros like Minneapolis could really use the improved infrastructure considering the future impact a depressed housing market will have on areas like Maplewood or Eden Prairie which are served exclusively by an increasingly expensive freeway system.  The Hiawatha rail project is a terrific start.  I mention the Mpls-St.Paul area because I consider Des Moines a lost cause.  This being Iowa Liberal we wish we could say there was hope for the Des Moines area but we also have to be realistic.  People in Jordan Creek and West Des Moines will be passing local bond measures to keep The Cheesecake Factory open before they give mass transit any consideration.       

-mg           

No, no, no!

Apr 22, 2007 in Disappointing Dems, Politics

This sure as hell isn’t what I’d expect from a Democrat, especially on one of the most important issues of our day, public financing.

When told of the citizen’s concerns about how corporate money was impacting elections, Gronstal told them that’s the way things work. When asked about the chance of Clean Election legislation reaching the floor he flatly said, “Not a chance.”

Gronstal then went on a rant about how “naïve” these Iowans were, thinking that big money could be removed from Iowa elections, warning that “Republicans could just outspend us (Democrats) with a 527.”

Democrats can use 527s also, but the point of public financing is to get enough money and advertising time into the candidate’s hands that he doesn’t depend on big donors, and that the 527s should be acting independently. The fact that other citizens can run ads doesn’t mean we have to allow our politicians to be bribed.

But then the guy just got plain stupid.

At some point, an older gentleman interrupted the Senate Majority Leader, saying, “You’re nothing but a Republican in Democrat clothing.”

Like a petty tyrant who has finally been called on his bad behavior the Senate Majority Leader lost it. Gronstal squared off with the older gentleman and said, “That’s the lowest blow that anyone’s ever dealt me. You can kiss my ass!”

Visibly shaken, Gronstal stormed off. He walked a short distance away from the group and then lifted his head up to the top of the Capitol and SHOUTED “F*ck You!” A large group of elementary school children were touring the Rotunda while this was happening.

Talking like Dick Cheney isn’t exactly going to prove that you aren’t secretly a Republican…

-jb

“We here at public radio couldn’t be more pleased with ourselves.”

Apr 22, 2007 in Librulz, Uncategorized

I listen to a lot of NPR. I started tuning in when I was briefly employed in Minneapolis and for my job I had to spend a great deal of my day on the road (Minnesota public radio is fantastic).  NPR segments are ideal for this type of work since they run over the course of half-an-hour and lack the frequent interruptions a commercial radio station would have. A format like this makes the time slip by much more quickly and as an added bonus you might actually learn something. Still, though, the programming sometimes leaves a lot of be desired. Despite the repeated howls of liberal bias, the hosts and guests are rarely critical of the status quo and hosts like Robert Siegel seem more content to stroke their beards than ask challenging questions.

This Onion article hits the nail squarely on it’s self-absorbed head.

In what cultural anthropologists are calling a “colossal achievement” in the study of white-collar professionals, the popular radio show has successfully isolated all 7,442 known characteristics of college graduates who earn between $62,500 and $125,000 per year and feel strongly that something should be done about global warming.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to meet a lesbian couple for lunch at the local Ethiopian cafe where we’ll discuss whatever world music cd is popular this week.

-mg

Um…

Apr 22, 2007 in Politics

…isn’t it kind of obvious that Gonzales is just trying to avoid being prosecuted for lying to Congress while still protecting Bush?

Everything else is irrelevant.

Is there any other way to look at his testimony? He can’t seriously think he’s doing this to keep his job.

-jb

Incompetence.

Apr 21, 2007 in Politics, Uncategorized

If you’ve ever spent a day in your life in a corporate environment you would know that one of the most commonly recognizable errors by management is the promotion of grandstanders and suck-ups over those that, while they may not do as well in the office NCAA pool, possess greater native intelligence and talent.  I say this as a person who has spent a good deal of their adult life in a corporate environment and has been both the victim and beneficiary of this type of managerial blunder.  It’s an unfortunate fact that yes-men are promoted more often than their more qualified peers but who ever said that the corporate world was a meritocracy? 

Sadly, such has also been the overwhelming case with the Bush administration.  Rather than hire and promote with competence and intelligence as important criteria, Bush Co. has made their decisions based solely upon how fanatical a candidate is in their devotion to their sovereign.  Or to put it in their terms, whether or not they’re a committed “Bushie”.  Alberto Gonzales’ testimony before the Senate yesterday proves this point perfectly.

-mg

Cooler heads are prevailing.

Apr 21, 2007 in Gun Control, Politics

The fallout from Virginia Tech has been in some ways disheartening and in others leavening. Almost immediately the political dialogue got moving, and it was fairly damaging to anybody that engaged in it. Instapundit wants college kids packing heat? Randi Rhodes doesn’t think the Constitution guarantees the people the right to bear arms? Ugh. Underneath it all pulsated the familiar cry, “Something must be done.” Call it the American way, and sometimes it’s a virtue, but far too frequently we believe all human tragedy can be averted if only we would have passed some law. If we persist in doing this over isolated incidents based on their unique characteristics, we will eventually manage to outlaw all but a strict set of human behaviors, if we haven’t already.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t think mental health issues should qualify gun purchases. It seems to me to be a reasonable measure, preventing the demonstrably mentally ill from buying guns. It’s a fair thing to put on the table and talk about, but this fairly sensible measure has been nearly drowned out in all the blather out there. It will need some time and consideration.

Fortunately, many Democrats are allowing the issue some time to cool, and are sticking to their guns, so to speak, on guns. Gun control has ceased to be a major Democrat issue, and this has in no small part contributed to the resurgence of the party.

“If we’re going to be a majority party, it has to be a coalition of people that don’t agree on every issue,” said Karl Struble, a Democratic strategist who has produced pro-gun-rights ads for several candidates. “There are an awful lot of Democrats in the middle part of the country that do not believe there ought to be intrusive laws about the rights to own guns.”

Count me among them. My father is a gun enthusiast, champion shooter and trader. My grandfather was before him. I grew up in a gun-filled house, and while I never developed an enthusiasm for them, I’ve always enjoyed a little target shooting, particularly with a scope and rifle. My father has ever endured pressure from customers at gun shows who berate him for voting Democrat, but he’s stood by his principles and refused to let that one issue override all the others he cares passionately about. Today I’m proud to say the Democrat Party is more his home than ever. Yes, those who are into gun control are going to reside mostly in the Democrat Party, but their power is unquestionably diminished, if they have any at all outside of particular states with large urban populations.

-jb

Finishing up a thread…

Apr 19, 2007 in Politics, Science

…over at Iowa Voice with our beloved village idiot, regarding stem cell research. I always love writing two pages and then finding the comments section closed. Click below to read my last epic salvo.

-jb

(more…)

Iowa water…bad and getting worse.

Apr 19, 2007 in Disappointing Dems, Environment, Iowa

Anybody who lives in the Iowa City area could read this article and not be at all surprised.  It appears that the Iowa River is number three on the list of most endangered rivers because of failure to adequately adhere to Clean Water Act standards.  High on the list of pollutants are the usual suspects that can be found in most Iowa waterways;  fecalform bacteria, phosphates and nitrates from farm run-off and animal confinement operations.  To be fair we shouldn’t leave out your neurotic neighbors who are so obsessed with having a green lawn they think that the more fertilizer they apply the greener it will get.  I’m not going to hold out hope for any action on the part of our state government now that Patty Judge is our new assistant vice governor.  It’s common knowledge she’s in the pocket of the hog confinement industry.

-mg      

The expectedly middle-of-the-road opinions of Morrissey.

Apr 18, 2007 in Barack Obama, Britpop

On Hillary, Obama, and Bush (plug your ears, thenthitive rightwingers):

I think that anything (Bush) say(s)…

Of course. Yes, I know. He’s a global embarrassment. Unfortunately, he’s turned America into the criminal nation in the eyes of the people in the Middle East — and in England.

And I think, in our guts, we know. America knows.

But it isn’t enough, because he is still there. He’s still there; he’s still functioning, he’s still beaming all over the place, and he’s still talking about caring about the elderly and earning a round of applause, and it’s a global joke, it really is. So, who would you like to see in the White House?

I actually would like to see Hillary Clinton.

Because?

Because, well, I’d like to see a woman, but the best president that I have lived under was Bill Clinton, even though he wasn’t perfect by any means.

But haven’t we had enough of the Clintons?

She might be better than him.

Well, that’s very likely, but nonetheless, haven’t we had enough of the name?

Okay. Well, Barack Obama?

Outstanding.


I don’t know enough about him.

Outstanding.

He is really good.

Mesmerizing, yes.

He could be president, and she could be vice president.

Well. [Laughs.] That suits me. Of course, it would be great to see a female president, but not just anybody. I mean, I think that Hillary has had her shot. She’s been around, she said a lot of silly things, and we don’t really want a woman for the sake of any old woman.

I know, like Condoleezza Rice.

Well, it would never happen. Because she has the sag of cruelty about her face, her eyes, her mouth. The jowl of cruelty. She has a Nazi face. But in England, of course, we had Margaret Thatcher as prime minister, and she was diabolical. So, it isn’t necessarily the case as long as the candidate’s female. But I think he [Obama] is mesmerizing, absolutely mesmerizing.

Well, that’s what I’ve heard; I haven’t seen him speak yet.

Oh, mesmerizing. I think he would really change the world.

I think, at this stage, any alternative to Bush, because he’s the embodiment of the old world. You should travel to the Middle East and see what people think about him. They’d rather have Saddam Hussein any day than George W. Bush… The truth about George Bush now is that nobody in America or across the globe has any reason, whatsoever, to believe anything he says.

Good gosh, when will the Mozzer learn to talk like a politician? Never, thank the wonders of the universe.

-jb

Brought to you by the Liberal Media ™.

Apr 18, 2007 in Uncategorized

Here’s what the right wing dipshits will be squawking about for the next week.

-mg

24 Hour Party People

Apr 18, 2007 in Britpop

Freebass, a band spawned by a shit-faced Mani, Peter Hook, and Andy Rourke, needs a lead vocalist.  I hear criteria are pretty stringent.  They’re apparently looking for someone with “ideas” which is a little hard to believe considering they’ve already recruited Liam Gallagher for some tracks.  Sounds like something I’ll reserve for a drunken round of allofmp3.com purchases.

-mg       

Senseless violence.

Apr 18, 2007 in Uncategorized

I cannot understand the depth of the Virginia Tech tragedy. I simply stand no chance. I cannot know the fear, the pain, the sudden onrush of death at the hands of another on a completely ordinary day, the loss felt by their loved ones, the long road ahead for the survivors. Nor can I ever understand what moved that killer beyond fantasy into calculated murderous rage. I only hope our blood-frenzied media and self-serving pundits will be able to show a fraction of the respect and sensitivity this incident demands.

However stupid of me, I will still hope for it.

-jb

UI College Republicans have some insidious windmills to chase.

Apr 17, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Uncategorized

Proving for the 56,786,112th time that they’re humorless ogres, the University of Iowa College Republicans are “raising awareness” of illegal immigration by hosting a capture the flag game entitled “Catch an Illegal Immigrant”.

The College Republicans are so adversely affected by lax immigration policy that they’re going to host a flag football game, you see, because it’s an extremely effective way to deal with the issue. 

-mg     

Thomas F*cking Friedman.

Apr 16, 2007 in WTF?

Since I’m on the subject of things that annoy me I might as well add every article written by Thomas Friedman to the list.

Jim Kunstler does the best take down of him I’ve read in a long time.

-mg

Bush’s base speaks out.

Apr 16, 2007 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Politics

Glenn L. Smith of Algona writes the Fort Dodge Messenger to complain about Democrats. He’s got us nailed! Hat tip to my sister for finding this…

Letters to the editor: April 10, 2007
Unhappy with liberals

To the editor:

I have been watching the antics of the new Congress, and one thing is very certain. Satan is really having a big laugh over their display, or lack of intelligence. What a disgrace they are generating. We as a nation are the envy of the world, or at least before the liberals came into power. Now we have become the laughingstock of the world by the stupidity displayed by the Congress.

Many years back, I had decided that liberalism is the biblical plague that is intent on destroying the world, and they certainly are doing everything possible in that direction. I have copies of two letters that were printed in The Messenger, that apparently feel some similar thoughts.

I recently received a book titled ‘‘The 5,000 Year Leap.’’ This is about the Constitution and the effort being made by the liberals to dismantle it in favor of their socialist viewpoint, and the stupidity that they are showing. There is only one writing in the world that is greater than the Constitution, and that is God’s word, the Bible. It is obvious who and why the Constitution is being attacked. Satan wants to control the world, always has, and will do anything that he deems necessary to reach that goal. Why are the liberals so stupid that they blindly follow him in his pursuit of power and control? Now I am not a very intelligent man, but to sell your soul to such a venture, really makes me wonder.

Where are we going? There are only two roads, up the mountain of success, or down into the gutter. We are facing an enemy that is uncontrollable, that is the liberal Congress, and they are far more dangerous than the enemy of radical Islam. Both are intent on having it their stupid way. Everyone from age 10 on should have the book, “The 5,000 Year Leap.” There is much to be learned.

Glenn L. Smith

Algona

Somebody should make sure he reads Iowa Voice too. It’s all about the communist conspiracies!

-jb

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan offers another portrait of a Bush-basehead.

Recreational Pharmaceuticals.

Apr 15, 2007 in Drugs

I sincerely despise drug commercials.  What can you glean from them besides that they may help khaki and denim wearing yuppies ride around in hot air balloons and induce old couples to ride tandem bicycles?

The above is funny because it’s honest.  If other drug ads were truly honest they’d have slogans like these:

  • Provigil – May improve the symptoms of those suffering from ADD or ADHD.  Will definitely give you huge fucking migraines.
  • Effexor – Shown to be effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder.  Will also make your dick soft and rob you of your libido.  Discontinuation of taking Effexor may result in extended periods of shrieking caused by bone-crushing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Vicodin – You’re gonna love it! ™
  • Viagra – Now available without a prescription!

Let me just say this; I’ve ingested all manner of recreational pharmaceuticals over the years and the ones that messed me up the most were the ones my doctor wrote me a prescription for.

-mg

AP Finds Documents On U.S. Atrocities in Korea in 1950

Apr 15, 2007 in Journamalism

The Liberal Media ™ is in an uproar over the uncovering of military documentation of war crimes violations during the Korean war.

Well, not really.  I mean, yes, the allegations are true.  U.S. soldiers regularly and repeatedly massacred refugees at the behest of top brass but that part about the media being in an uproar I made up.  Two outlets have picked up the story so far; CBS (it’s somewhere on their website, couldn’t find it from the front page, found it on Google) and Editor and Publisher.

Those familiar with Korean War history wont find the above too surprising since  MacArthur and McNaughton were always staunch supporters of the bombings of dikes and dams to induce widespread starvation and disease, a crime punishable by hanging at Nuremberg.  And by that I mean both the lack of media attention to and the breath-taking brutality of the No Gun Ri incident linked to above.

-mg

Fire sale.

Apr 15, 2007 in Housing Bubble

I’ve got a great book for those looking to invest in an already rapidly growing market.  If you buy it today you could probably flip it in a year for fifty cents.  That’s a lot of bird cage liner!

-mg

ISCA-nuggets

Apr 15, 2007 in Politics

Apr 13, 2007 10:25 from Japhy
Again, who on the Right wants to take power away from the central government
and leave people alone?

The pro-torture faction? The anti-abortion faction? The pro-prayer in public
schools faction? The anti-porn faction? The anti-marijuana faction? The
anti-gay faction? The anti-rap faction? The jack-up-defense-spending faction?

They had control of all three branches of government for SIX YEARS and they
didn’t shrink a goddamn thing, they didn’t leave anybody alone that wasn’t left
alone before (and they went after a bunch of people who HAD been left alone).

This is the most tiresome bullshit since term limits. The Right LOVES the
central government AS LONG AS IT’S CONTROLLED BY THE RIGHT. They only bitch
when someone else is in charge.

It’s ludicrous. It’s like continually believing the sun won’t come up
tomorrow, then making excuses every morning when it does.

Indeed!

-jb

Wheels within wheels…

Apr 14, 2007 in Science

Who says only the religious are filled with wonder at the workings of the universe? My only difference is that I can be overwhelmed without resorting to fairy tales…

A more in-depth look at the process of photosynthesis.

Electronic spectroscopy measurements made on a femtosecond (millionths of a billionth of a second) time-scale showed these oscillations meeting and interfering constructively, forming wavelike motions of energy (superposition states) that can explore all potential energy pathways simultaneously and reversibly, meaning they can retreat from wrong pathways with no penalty. This finding contradicts the classical description of the photosynthetic energy transfer process as one in which excitation energy hops from light-capturing pigment molecules to reaction center molecules step-by-step down the molecular energy ladder.

The possibility of being able to calculate the workings of this “everywhere-at-once” process is extremely exciting.

-jb

Surprised?

Apr 12, 2007 in Legal, Politics, Rove

The Deeth has a post about James Zogby’s recent trip through Iowa and below the fold he links to this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal that discusses the flap over the supposed voting fraud that took place in Wisconsin during the 2004 elections.  The gist?  The charges were intentionally trumped up so that Karl Rove could “lean on” AGs that weren’t playing ball.  You may remember the testimony from David Iglesias saying that he was fired for not vigorously pursuing bogus voter fraud issues in Arizona.

Update:  here’s the last nail in the coffin for Gonzalez.   

-mg

Attention conservatives!

Apr 11, 2007 in Energy, Middle East, National Security, Peak Oil

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find a way to blame the following on liberals:

Finally, the future decline of Saudi production implies that peak total liquids is forecast to occur in mid 2009. This means that coordinated conservation plans need to start now.

Further evidence supporting Saudi Arabia’s production decline continues to emerge. The evidence is not only technical and economic, but also behavioural. The analysis of the further evidence, described below, shows that Saudi Arabia is highly unlikely to produce over 8.5 million barrels/day of crude oil and lease condensate, on an annualised basis.

Saudi Arabia is in decline now. This means that the world’s production is in decline now. Future supply will be unable to meet forecast demands. Governments, corporations and individuals need to start making coordinated plans to prepare for the decline in world production.

I think we all know who’s to blame for Peak Oil. Yeah, that’s right….Bill Clinton!

-mg

Free markets for you, not for me.

Apr 11, 2007 in Uncategorized

Free markets for you, not for me.  Big business gets the nanny state while we must learn a lesson in tough love and “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps.”   It’s almost axiomatic.  Here’s what Trent Lott had to say about allowing competition in the stateside pharmaceutical market:   

“We’re going to tangle them up unmercifully on drug prices”, said Lott.

-mg

It’s the oil, stupid.

Apr 11, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Energy, Iran, Peak Oil, Uncategorized

“Conservatives” like this clown would have you believe that if Iraq were sitting on top of the worlds Macadamia nut reserves we would have still invaded Iraq.  Nevermind the fact that the worlds financial markets react reflexively to news from that region.

Iran’s aim is not only “to install 3,000 centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility but it has planned for 50,000 centrifuges,” the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Almost a quarter of the world’s oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Iran has the second-biggest proved oil reserves and is the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. 

No big deal, though, right?  We better get used to market instability because it’s here to stay.  Welcome to Peak Oil.

-mg

Obama in Iowa.

Apr 11, 2007 in Barack Obama, Iowa

Goddamn, he was in Dakota City, practically my family’s back yard. Sounds to me like there are Americans who take Obama seriously, and then there’s Bush’s base. Every day he shows why.

“He’s low-key; he speaks like a professor,” said Jim Sayer, 51, a farmer from Humboldt. “Maybe I expected more emotion. But the lower key impresses me: He seems to be at the level that we are.”

Mary Margaret Gran, a middle-school teacher who met him when he spoke to 25 Iowans eating breakfast at a tiny diner in Colo on Friday morning, summed up her view the moment Mr. Obama had moved on to the next table.

“Rock star?” Ms. Gran said, offering the description herself. “That’s the national moniker. But dazzle is not what he is about at all. He’s peaceful.”

Indeed, those who learn about Obama realize he’s far more than a trend. I’m not the first one to highlight the following part of the story, but it bears repeating.

Mr. Obama was approached by a woman, her eyes wet. She spoke into his ear and began to weep, collapsing into his embrace. They stood like that for a full minute, Mr. Obama looking ashen, before she pulled away. She began crying again, Mr. Obama pulled her in for another embrace.

The woman left declining to give her name or recount their conversation. Mr. Obama said she told him what had happened to her 20-year-old son, who was serving in Iraq.

“Her son died,” he said. He paused. “What can you say? This happens to me every single place I go.”

The next day, at the rally here, Mr. Obama described the encounter for the crowd. The woman, he said, had asked if her son’s death was the result of a mistake by the government. “And I told her the service of our young men and women — the duty they show this country — that’s never a mistake,” he said.

He paused carefully as he reflected on that encounter. “It reminds you why you get into politics,” he said. “It reminds you that this isn’t a game.”

It reminds you that Obama’s thoughtfulness isn’t prepared for him by speechwriters to be ignored in policy, ala Bush, and that he obliterates Hillary Clinton in emotional honesty. There is no other candidate who can heal the wounds Bush has left on America.

-jb

Not a bad gig.

Apr 10, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Media, Politics

It’s gotta be pretty easy being a conservative blogger. You get to carry on about all sorts of trumped up malfeasance being perpetrated by cartoony straw-men with legions of network talking heads perpetuating your non-issues ad-infinitum. Then on the other hand you get to piss and moan about the “liberal media” because they’re not doing enough to promote your agenda.  Not a bad gig.  As Roger Ailes  once quipped, it’s a cherry business angle; you get to operate a media empire by claiming that you’re a victim that nobody respects or listens to.

The Pelosi trip to Syria is a sterling example of such lunacy. Richard Holbrooke does a damn good job summing it all up.

-mg

A look at the big picture.

Apr 10, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Housing Bubble, Uncategorized

Why the economy is headed for trouble: 

The EIA has to be more reality-based about current activity than their future projections, because the current import-export and refinery figures are out there for other people and other data-gathering organizations to see. The EIA’s future projections are a joke. They are based on the fantasy that everything will be okay despite what we see happening now. The EIA projects that all the world’s oil producers will increase their oil production hugely by 2030. They see Saudi Arabia shooting up to 17.1 million barrels a day when, in fact, Saudi production fell 7 percent just over the past year alone to 8.4 mm/b/d. They see Mexico shooting way up, despite the announcement last year by Pemex that the Cantarell field (60 percent of Mexico’s total production) is crashing at a minimum rate of 15 percent a year. They see Russia zooming way up, despite the fact that Russia is probably past the 70 percent mark of its original total reserves. If you go to this EIA chart, you’ll see practically everybody’s production shooting way up in the decades ahead, even the US, which, in reality, has seen nothing but steady annual decline for more than thirty years (we produce half now of what we did in 1970).

     The EIA is a perfect reflection of the public it serves. It appears to conduct daily business in a responsible way while it resolutely refuses to face the obvious realities of the future.

Unemployment at 4.4% doesn’t make the above go away, nor does it ensure that our empire of debt can be financed indefinitely because of promises made upon future productivity (bonds) which are in turn predicated on the exact dubious figures represented above.  Couple this with a drop in real estate values (previously assumed wealth, or, “equity) and you’ve got a devalued dollar.  The basic message here is that things are going to get a helluva lot more expensive (transportation in particular) within the coming years whether you’re working or not.  It’s why my boss is buying railroads. 

update:

Something I wanted to add earlier but my cold medicine kicked in: 

For all of you still pointing at the construction industry as proof of an overstated housing bubble keep this in mind; the money for the construction is put in escrow at the BEGINNING of the project. Thus, the project goes forward regardless of whether the builder feels there is a market for the building or not. This explains why construction projects continue to move ahead regardless of whether the developments are economically viable.      

-mg    

Bill O’Reilly vs. Geraldo Rivera

Apr 07, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, WTF?

Holy smokes.  Somebody shoot Bill with a tranq gun.

This isn’t a guy with conviction.  It’s a man with anger management issues.

-mg

Global warming; the debate is STILL over. Part 3

Apr 07, 2007 in Global warming

Grim news from the denizens of the reality-based crowd.

I’m wondering whether it’s even fair to call it a debate anymore since when presented with a mountain of data the nay-sayers best arguments consist of nothing more than “uh-uh!” I think that it’s safe to say at this point no level of evidence will sway those convinced that the climate is impervious to human influence. Scientists, or those most familiar with rationality, are getting a little tired of those who are strangers to reason:

Several scientists objected to the editing of the final draft by government negotiators but, in the end, agreed to compromises. However, some scientists vowed never to take part in the process again.

Five days of negotiations reached a climax when the delegates removed parts of a key chart highlighting devastating effects of climate change that kick in with every rise of 1.8 degrees, and in a tussle over the level of scientific reliability attached to key statements.

There was little doubt about the science, which was based on 29,000 sets of data, much of it collected in the last five years. “For the first time we are not just arm-waving with models,” Martin Perry, who conducted the grueling negotiations, told reporters.

The United States, China and Saudi Arabia raised many of the objections to the phrasing, often seeking to tone down the certainty of some of the more dire projections.

The final IPCC report is the clearest and most comprehensive scientific statement to date on the impact of global warming mainly caused by man-induced carbon dioxide pollution.

One positive note touched upon in the article:

Often it was the U.S. delegation who stood with scientists and helped reach compromise, said Stanford University scientist Stephen Schneider, a frequent critic of the Bush administration’s global warming policies.

Alas, most of Red State Amurka will be too enamoured with Rapture fantasies to give a damn and the Wall Street Journal editorial board will cling to any dissenting “evidence” regardless of how preposterous or outlandish choosing instead to worship at the false idol of the phantom invisible hand.

-mg

50

Apr 06, 2007 in Housing Bubble

Fifty sub-prime lenders have bitten the dust.

Why should you care?  Because consumer spending is sadly the only engine of our economy left.  Home-owners have been spending against the future value in their property for a long time now (in the form of equity loans) and that value has been bundled with a ginormous amount of what are called “mortgage backed securities”.   When that value crashes it means that a lot of imaginary money disappears.

-mg

Cat.grace, your psychic talents are needed!

Apr 06, 2007 in Barack Obama

It wasn’t too long ago I was told this:

cat.grace Says:
March 7th, 2007 at 10:42 pm e

Obama has no money. No fundraising machine. No chance.

Cat.grace, if you’re reading, care to offer a retraction?

-jb

What you already know about the drug war.

Apr 06, 2007 in Drugs, Politics

Arriana Huffington lays out the obvious, but asks why Democrat presidential candidates are silent about it.

lamented the failures of our drug policy, acting as though he had been an innocent bystander rather than the chief executive presiding over these failures (indeed, the prison population doubled on his watch).

As a result of our political leaders’ neglect, the disparity has continued to wreak havoc on the black community. Even though the majority of crack users are white or Hispanic, 80% of sentenced crack defendants are black. The injustice is so egregious that a conservative Republican senator, Jeff Sessions, is now leading the charge in Congress to ease crack sentences.

“I believe that as a matter of law enforcement and good public policy crack cocaine sentences are too heavy and can’t be justified,” says Sessions. “People don’t want us to be soft on crime, but I think we ought to make the law more rational.”

There’s a talking point Hillary and Obama should adopt.

The Republican can get away with it in the old “only Nixon could go to China” way (anybody else getting sick of that?) but the Democrats remain fearful, thus reinforcing the underlying memes. Bill Clinton wasn’t soft on drugs, he was fucking vicious.

More importantly, the public is ahead of politicians on this issue. Support for treatment versus instant 10+ year jail sentences is already there. If the Democrats don’t watch out, the Republicans will snatch the title for ending the drug war. Then blacks might have some actual reason to treat them halfway seriously.

-jb

Oil quiz

Apr 05, 2007 in Uncategorized

Test your knowledge about United States energy policy.

-mg

More on electric cars.

Apr 05, 2007 in Energy

Yahoo does a feature article on them.

This is wonderful and tremendous:

One of the only highway-speed EV vehicles available on the road today, the Phoenix Motors SUT, is a full-size pickup truck that seats five comfortably, has a top speed of 95 miles an hour and uses safe UltraNano battery technology to power the high-torque electric motor. With the forthcoming quick charge system, Phoenix says you can fully charge the battery in less than 10 minutes.

Ten minutes? It’s over. Electric autos will win. The thought of one day driving a purely electric, speedy silent car on the highway and stopping at a station for a ten minute charge before soaring onto the road again is reason to live, albeit secondary to the prospect of future Morrissey albums.

-jb

Shark long jumped for LGF and rightwingers.

Apr 05, 2007 in Clueless Conservatives, Politics

I find it pretty hard to believe that rightwingers have many standards of intellectual honesty. Fact checking, logical conclusions, and reality itself all seem to take last place for these folks. Their first principle is “Clap louder so Tinkerbell doesn’t die!” They are willing to both perpetuate and follow the imaginary.

A good many of you undoubtedly are already aware, yet our few adoring yet lovably masochistic rightwinger fans who enjoy getting hammered with reality in our comment sections, who have been shot down on “fact” after “truthy bit” after “factesque non sequiter,” would still object. Ah, what to be done with such types?

Keeping up the topic of the Pelosi trip, here’s what’s considered a top blog by the right, Little Green Footballs, talking about Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria one, two, three times.

If you dare look at the comment sections, the readers are going completely batshit.

My 2 Cents 4/03/2007 11:38:09 am PDT

That may not be just the “modern Democratic leadership.” It may be the future of the USA, if the Democrats take the presidency in 2008. May God help us all.

That’s a mild one from that crowd. I’m feeling charitable.

Here’s Laura Bush wearing a hijab in the West Bank.

But LGF attempts to set the record straight by saying it wasn’t so much the headgear, but that she went to Syria.

Here’s GOP congressmen going there first, claiming White House cooperation.

It just frustrates me to think that here are people who are basically literate adult human beings, and they seem to express no ability to add two and two together. Add to that today’s success for Britain and Iran in negotiating a prisoner deal, and diplomacy is looking really good today. The Bush policy of refusing to negotiate with the kinds of people negotiations were invented for has been completely debunked, and yet “great thinker” Dennis Prager was ready for war.

Folks, what can be said about these charlatans?

-jb

UPDATE: Said better, with more, at the Mahablog. Condi in a hijab, who knew?

Not a good year to live in Florida.

Apr 05, 2007 in Uncategorized

This is a big bummer if you work in the insurance industry.  Not that the company I work for is going to go belly up any time soon (we’re owned by Berkshire Hathaway).  It’s just that my yearly bonus hinges upon our company growth and if the hurricane season is bad it’s going to mean big payouts and less cash for yours truly.  Last year our bonus was 23%.  If the hurricanes are as bad as they’re supposed to be this year I can kiss my dreams of a new bass boat goodbye. 

-mg