Via Washington Post:
Election junkies in acute withdrawal need suffer no longer. Though the exciting Obama-McCain race is over, the cockfight among the losers has only just begun. The conservative crackup may be ugly, but as entertainment, it's two thumbs up!
For the first time in history, the United States Army promoted a female to four-star general.
Gen. Ann Dunwoody's elevation to the pinnacle of the officer corps was the culmination of a protracted fight by women. The military named its first female one-star in 1970, the first two-star in 1978 and the first three-star in 1996.
This isn't the first time General Dunwoody has broken barriers:
But Dunwoody's 33-year Army career was peppered with military firsts. She was the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division. She was also the first woman general officer at Fort Bragg. And she was among the Army's first female three-star generals.
Congratulations to General Dunwoody for cracking that hard military ceiling - and a hearty round of applause for all the hard-working military women who went before her to make it possible.
Bankruptcy Bill Set for Passage; Victory for BushToday:
WASHINGTON, March 8 - The Senate assured final passage of the first major overhaul of the nation's bankruptcy laws in 27 years on Tuesday, when it took two votes that cleared the remaining political obstacles to a measure that the nation's credit and retail industries have sought for years.
The bill would disqualify many families from taking advantage of the more generous provisions of the current bankruptcy code that permit them to extinguish their debts for a "fresh start." It would also impose significant new costs on those seeking bankruptcy protection and give lenders and businesses new legal tools for recovering debts.[...]
But critics said the measure was a thinly disguised gift to banks and credit card companies, which, they contend, are largely responsible for the high rate of bankruptcies because they heavily promote credit cards and loans that often come with large and largely unseen fees for late payments. They said that the measure would impose new obstacles on many middle-income families seeking desperately needed protection from creditors, and that it would take far longer for those families to start over after suffering serious illnesses, unemployment and other calamities.[...]
"The administration supports the passage of bankruptcy reform because ultimately this will lead to more accessibility to credit for more Americans, particularly lower-income workers," said Trent D. Duffy, a deputy White House spokesman.
Downturn Drags More Consumers Into BankruptcyShorter analysis: It's a victory for Bush that record numbers of Americans are filing for bankruptcy due to a "gift" he gave banks and credit card companies. Is there anything this man touched that didn't turn to shi*?
Filings totaled 108,595, surpassing 100,000 for the first time since a law that made it more difficult — and often twice as expensive — to file for bankruptcy took effect in 2005. That translated to an average of 4,936 bankruptcies filed each business day last month, up nearly 34 percent from October 2007.
It still needs to be approved by the entire 275-member Parliament, and the Sadr Party and other nationalist elements are still rather cheesed by the idea of waiting even that long for the US occupation to end.
That's not to say that all is sweetness and light in Mesopotamia; far from it. Bombings continue in Baghdad and other cities, and people are still getting killed.
And now to Afghanistan.
Two US soldiers were wounded and one soldier in the UK's Royal Gurkhas Regiment was killed in separate attacks and operations in southern Afghanistan. Thirty militants were killed in operations down in Helmand Province, and a leading militant was captured alive.
Meanwhile relations with Pakistan along its border with Afghanistan continue to remain a very sore spot. Pakistan decried yet another missile attack by a suspected US-controlled drone aircraft in Waziristan that killed eight suspected militants. Anti-American sentiment in that part of the country and in the rest of Pakistan are rising, and President Zardari repeated his call to stop the missiles, saying that it wasn't exactly making his job any easier.
The Khyber Pass (where supplies for our troops come through) is in one of those restive northwest border provinces that is giving shelter and support to the resurgent Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. Things are getting rather nasty there, and several supply convoys have come under attack. On Tuesday a convoy of 13 trucks (12 carrying wheat and one toting Humvees for US forces) was hijacked by about 60 to 70 militants.
So Pakistan has closed the Khyber Pass until things improve a bit, security-wise, and there's a traffic jam as trucks wait for the green light.
Newt Gingrich and Bobby Jundal succumb to Bush Derangement Syndrome - agree Palin is awesome: http://firedoglake.com/2008/11/16/newt-gingrich-and-bobby-jindal-succumb-to-bush-derangement-syndrome-agree-palin-is-awesome/
Provoking war? Israel blocks humanitarian aid to Gaza and threatens attacks: http://firedoglake.com/2008/11/16/provoking-war-israel-blocks-humanitarian-aid-to-gaza-and-threatens-attacks/
Newsweek: Pardon me? Don't Bet On It
The Justice department is getting flooded with a new wave of requests for pardons and commutations from convicted felons hoping for clemency from President Bush before he leaves office. A number of politically connected Washington lawyers have been retained to push the cases, but there are few signs that Bush will be open to anything resembling the last minute "pardon party" that marked President Clinton's final days in office.
Bush has taken a stingy stand on pardons, granting fewer of them—just 157, and none of them high profile—than any president in modern history. He has directed all hopefuls to submit applications to the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney, which evaluates all requests using strict, longstanding guidelines, including a requirement that applicants have finished serving their sentences and expressed remorse. The office received a record 555 pardon requests during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and an additional 103 in the past month.
Dick: I'm curious as to just how going shopping with what little money we have left, and considering the rapidly accelerating rate of unemployment, for a couple of shopping carts full of made-in-Asia-and-sold-by-WalMart Christmas goodies is going to save our economy. Oh, I know. It will provide the proper distraction while our government, in league with our corrupt financial institutions and abysmally failed automobile manufacturers, loot our treasury to the last available dime...and create debt our great-grandchildren will be paying off....
Friedman: Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
Enjoy Karl Rove's chitchat with Deborah Solomon in today's New York Times Magazine.
Whiny in-your-face bitterness. That's it. That's all from the Republican party.
Senate Democrats will decide by secret ballot tomorrow whether to take away Sen. Joe Lieberman's chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee - a post from which he oversees U.S. security issues, as well as the operations of a wide segment of the federal government."
Aside from the fact that he has been a traitor to the Democratic party, hopefully they will take into consideration the fact that he has not been a good chair.
Because nothing says Christmas like a burning cross
Thanks to the AFA, Christians everywhere can have their very own burning cross in their front yard for a mere $81.85, plus shipping and handling. Oddly enough, this does not seem to be a big seller in African American communities.
Polar bear and sled dog building a friendship: http://blondesense.blogspot.com/2008/11/fine-art-of-play.html
SALT LAKE CITY — The view of Delicate Arch natural bridge, an unspoiled landmark so iconic it's on Utah's license plates, could one day include a drilling platform under a proposal that environmentalists call a Bush administration "fire sale" for the oil and gas industry.
Late on Election Day, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a Dec. 19 auction of more than 50,000 acres of oil and gas parcels alongside or within view of Arches National Park and two other redrock national parks in Utah: Dinosaur and Canyonlands.
Goldman Sachs CEO and top execs will not get 2008 bonuses. Great, that's a start. We better start to see the rest of Wall Street fall in line with similar announcements.
The ADN looks at an epidemic in Alaska:
Among the grim statistics:
• Alaska's dropout rate, at 8 percent, was double the national average in the 2005-2006 school year, according to the latest figures available from the U.S. Department of Education.
• 38 percent of today's ninth-graders will have no high school diploma 10 years from now, according to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education.
• Alaska ranks 50th, or last, in the number of ninth-graders who will likely have a bachelor's degree in 10 years, according to the commission.
Just as well they have a role-model governor who is dedicated to the education of her own children - oh wait: Her eldest son has a history of vandalism and was given a GED on the way to Iraq; her oldest daughter was removed from high school for a mysterious length of time last year and is now about to have a baby (due December 18, Palin told us); her youngest daughter, Piper, missed school all fall because she was being carted around the country in Neiman Marcus underwear. And the governor herself, of course, couldn't manage to stay in one college, graduated with a degree in sports journalism, cut her own town's library funds and leveraged the town's budget on a new sports stadium (with new house thrown in!).
Dan Rather isn't laughing yet, but before it's over, he might be: http://brilliantatbreakfast.blogspot.com/2008/11/he-who-laughs-last.html:
In some work places, hand scanners are replacing punch cards. Some people are afraid it will mark them with the mark of the beast: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2008/11/13/the-hand-scanner-of-the-beast/
It's going to be an old-fashioned Christmas, with oranges and nuts in the stockings and not much else.
USAToday looks at all the ways people are cutting back to save money.
BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military has barred Iraqi interpreters working with American troops in Baghdad from wearing ski masks to disguise themselves, prompting some to resign and others to bare their faces even though they fear it could get them killed.
...because why would we need interpreters in Iraq?
Bush spoke after yesterday's session of the Oh God, All Our Economies Are So Totally Screwed summit.
He explained the elaborate preparations for this summit: "The first decision I had to make was who was coming to the meeting. And obviously I decided that we ought to have the G20 nations, as opposed to the G8 or the G13." Becuz, and see if you can follow mah thinking, 20 is more than 8 or even 13, at least that's what mah number advisers tell me.