Sunday, November 16, 2008

Headlines - Sunday

President-elect Obama's first radio address on YouTube:
One of the most insidious and evil industries in this country is the Credit Card industry. For years Visa, Mastercard, American Express and others have made "money" so easy and so cool - it was like taking a swim in a pool of endless of Andrews Jacksons and Benjamin Franklins while holding your martini. But exactly what kind of dive has the public taken? A swan dive - NOPE. It is a belly flop into an inch of water - when you come out, it hurts.
The extent of the protests has taken many Mormons by surprise. On Friday, the church's leadership took the unusual step of issuing a statement calling for "respect" and "civility" in the aftermath of the vote.

"Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues," the statement said. "People of faith have a democratic right to express their views in the public square without fear of reprisal."

Can someone show me where in the Constitution or Bill Of Rights it says that "people of faith" are somehow exempt from facing protests? That their "democratic right to express their views in the public square" trumps everyone else's?
Thoughts and prayers are with our SoCal friends during this time. May they be safe from the dangerous and frightening flames. And the animals too.

What do you know? The lousy economy sucks even for the very wealthy.

In the past year, the couple...have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share. The assorted Bucksbaum family trusts, once worth a combined $3.6 billion, are now worth less than $25 million.

Sure is a relief that Tom continues to have a good earning potential based on his books, newspaper column and media appearances. Otherwise, they'd really have to worry about the future.

Wondering what happened to Alan Keyes? Here's the latest, via Free Republic: Keyes sues to obtain Obama citizenship proof.
Via Paul Kedrofsky, here's a heartbreaking account of economic collapse in Iceland:
"Trust in the banks had evaporated and people were trying to find a safe haven for their cash. One man had waited for six hours in a bank while his life savings, more than £1m in kronur (at IKr200 to the pound), were counted out in cash in front of him. "I feel like an innocent man dragged from his bed, put in a barrel and hurled over Gullfoss!" wrote one journalist that morning. "We have been brought down by a handful of men who bet our nation's wealth, fame and prosperity on a throw of the dice." Gullfoss is one of Iceland's tourist attractions -- a majestic 100ft waterfall.

On collecting our daughter from her handball practice, I learnt the news that her club could not obtain the foreign currency it needed to release their new team shirts from customs. The city's myriad sports teams rely on local sponsors and our daughter also brought the news that this source of funding for her team was likely to dry up in the months to come. Later that evening, Skype, our communications lifeline, would not renew our credits with an Icelandic credit card. E-mails began to arrive from friends overseas, alarmed by news reports and asking if we were all right.

It's the best explanation I've seen of how it feels to live in a country whose first-world economy has completely melted down. Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert have a good account of what led up to it here. Buiter also has a scary piece about the possible relevance of Iceland's story to the UK here.

To judge by the stock market, a lot of people seem to think that we are at, or past, the worst of this crisis. I don't think so.

           Bush waits for the other national leaders to arrive at the G8.
                    This is him holding hands with his oil buddy:

Afterwards, Bush informed the press, "Obviously, you know, this crisis has not ended."
Can the Secret Service be relied upon to protect Barack Obama?


Krugman: Change it's hard to believe in

Because it's such good news. Elizabeth Warren, expert on personal bankruptcy, crusader against credit card industry lobbyists, and founder of the extremely useful blog Credit Slips, to be a member of the bailout oversight board.

Elections have consequences.


Dear Ted Stevens ...

Looks like you won't be a senator when they cart your crooked old ass to jail:

Democratic challenger Mark Begich's lead over Republican incumbent/felon Ted Stevens was 814 on Thursday. It's now 1,022, with "about 24,000 ballots left to be counted, coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula," according to the Anchorage Daily News. "The state will tally them all Tuesday." 

Enjoy your stay in prison, tube-boy.
Thousands rally nationwide for marriage equality
I think it's no secret that I am in favor of same-sex marriage, but I can't help but wish there had been such a turn out over stolen elections, an illegal war, torture, or this financial handout for CEO bonuses and fancy retreats.
4,201soldiers killed in Iraq; 627 in Afghanistan. 
Last April, top George W. Bush administration officials, desperate to exploit any possible crack in the close relationship between the Nouri al-Maliki government and Iran, launched a new round of charges that Iran had stepped up covert arms assistance to Shia militias.
Turns out it was really only 70 weapons - about 2% of those found:
No news on where the 190,000 assault rifles and pistols supplied by the US to Iraqi security forces ended up. 

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been "hundreds" of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

Two black students were kicked off the bus in Mississippi by a bus driver who pulled over and put them out beside the road after they simply were talking about the new President-elect after the election. The female white bus driver put students that insisted on saying his name off the bus. A basketball coach from the same school told members of the team that they would be suspended for saying the name Obama:


If it's Sunday, it's still conservative

In 2006, Media Matters conducted a study on Sunday political talk shows, finding that "Republicans and conservatives have been offered more opportunities to appear on the Sunday shows — in some cases, dramatically so." From 2001 to 2005, conservative guests outnumbered progressives "by 58 percent to 42 percent." Atrios notes that tomorrow's shows will also be dominated by conservative guests:

7 Appearances by Republican current elected officeholders
3 Appearances by Democratic current elected officeholders.
2 Appearances by Republican former elected officeholders.
1 Appearance by a Bush Cabinet Secretary.
T. Boone Pickens
Ted Turner.






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