Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Headlines - Tuesday

Now that Citigroup has received a huge chunk of your tax dollars....
Are you gonna pay your Citibank bill this month?
Yes. I never miss a payment. Every month I send in my check, making sure to dab a small blot of my own fecal matter in the memo line.
Yes, it's perfectly justified that I'm being charged a 33% APR while they get $20 billion in free money.
I don't have any food, clothing or shelter. So no, I might go with the late charge this month.
Why start now? Oh my God, did I cause this?!
Since Citigroup laid me off last week, no, I don't think I'll be able to get them their monthly minimum just now. But congrats on the $20B guys!
Fun fact: according to the November 20th edition of The Guardian, Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed invested $349 million in the ailing banking giant to help their ailing stock prices. 
Then suddenly, over the weekend when everyone is watching football and crowding the supermarkets buying turkey and cranberries, suddenly out of nowhere the Fed pumps billions into the company, and lo and behold, on Monday the company's stock rises over 57 percent. Not a bad one-day haul for Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

But then, George W. Bush has always taken good care of his Saudi friends, even at the expense of, oh, say, almost 3000 people's lives on a sunny day in September seven years ago. 

Note to Barack Obama: there are ways to deal with all those unqualified appointees that Bush has smuggled into the civil service:

"A maverick Thai general who has threatened to bomb anti-government protesters and drop snakes on them from helicopters has been reassigned as an aerobics teacher, the Bangkok Post said on Friday.

I can see it now: John Yoo's minions assigned to teach Pilates classes in our nation's federal penitentiaries. Preferably in deeply embarrassing Spandex costumes. "I have prepared one dance", they will say. "It's called the 'indefinite detention without charges' dance." At which point the prisoners will laugh in their faces.

I think the Thai government might be onto something.

Around 3.5 billion U.S. dollars have been earmarked for reviving the wrecked air force in post-Taliban Afghanistan, Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said Sunday.
Post Taliban?
An Israeli security assessment has recommended drawing up plans to attack Iran ASAP: http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=76329&sectionid=351020101
Raise your hand if you're in favor of.....
Still embarrassing us.....
U.S. President George W. Bush awaits the start of the first meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Lima, Peru, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
Great. Now we have to stay in Iraq so the pirates won't take over. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h1f3-vIWfV0RDvx-otQvI3AcQ0vw
Money is the universal language
The last time I met Saif Abdallah, in the winter of 2006, he was proud to have helped kill dozens, possibly hundreds of American soldiers. Then 28, he was a geeky electronics engineer who made trigger devices for roadside bombs known as IEDs — the No. 1 cause of U.S. troop casualties. I remember the relish he took in listing his clients, most of them Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups, whom he saw as fellow-patriots, trying to drive out the American occupier. He had also devised triggers for al-Qaeda. "They pay me," he said, with a shrug. "Anybody who wants to kill American soldiers, if they pay me, I work for them." Guess who pays him now? The American taxpayer.
"I've worked hard on a lot of fronts.  America is more secure now than it was. I have given it my all."  Der Fuhrer, talking about his month long vacations and ignoring the bin Laden memo.

Consciousness of a Conservative: A Philosophy Without a Party - by Ted Rall Link

Conservatives think the election results prove that conservatism is in trouble. Actually, conservatism is fine. It's the Republican Party that's in trouble...In the United States, conservatism is a philosophy without a party...

For the sake of my long-suffering conservative friends as well as the country, it's time to unravel the conflation of conservatism and the Republican Party.

Why do I care? Simple: America needs conservatives--real conservatives. Deficit hawks, America Firsters and get-that-dang-guvmint-outta-my-bizness types are essential watchdogs of fiscal responsibility and personal freedom. Moreover, ideological diversity sparks intellectual innovation.  

Ted's right. If Republicans were actually conservatives, their party would be more successful. But the party of smaller government was hijacked by the religio-crazies and the Neo-Cons.


Joan Walsh: Trust Obama on Clinton Link

Many of Obama's supporters are ready to throw him under a bus for considering Hillary. Why do so many of Obama's fans not trust his judgment?

I think that everyone who hates the Clintons should be required to give back all the money they made during the '90's. It's that simple. - Anne on Cape Cod 

Good point - Clinton tripled the stock market and many Democrats have nothing good to say about the best administration of our lifetime.


25 awesome foods you never knew could be deep-fried.


God's woman in Olympia

Representative-elect Shelly Short
Washington State House of Representatives

Rep-elect Short,


I can't tell you how great it feels to have such a godly woman in the state legislature. I'm even more heartened to see that the voters gave you a mandate to fulfil Our Lord and Savior's wishes by passing godly legislation. And let no one be mistaken; it was a mandate. The voters knew you were endorsed by Faith & Freedom and the Human Life PACs. They also saw you quoting the commandments in your campaign emails.

But as happy as I am to see you in the legislature, I hope you use it as a stepping stone for much greater things. You seem to have what it takes to join the Republican caucus in Congress or the US Senate. You definitely have that Ted Steven's touch in your family. Your husband, Mitch, demonstrated that when he plead guilty on Friday to charges that he had liberated thousands of dollars from the Stevens County Fair Board.

And as the Spokane
Spokesman Review noted, you also have the fiscally-conservative money-management skills that have become so identified with Republican governance:

...court records showed she faced a $36,000 IRS lien, a state tax warrant for another $1,000, and a $12,000 judgment for delinquent credit-card debt. She was also nearly $2,500 behind on property taxes. A 2007 lawsuit by an employee over back wages also included a promissory note from Mitch Short acknowledging he owed the woman more than $9,000.
Now, to paraphrase out Antichrist-elect,  that is more of the same we can use.

Heterosexually yours in a chaste, biblical, and non-Vitter kind of way,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot


President-elect Obama has introduced his economic team.

By the way, Krugman has this to say about Obama's economic team: "Seriously, isn't it amazing just how impressive the people being named to key positions in the Obama administration seem? Bye-bye hacks and cronies, hello people who actually know what they're doing. For a bunch of people who were written off as a permanent minority four years ago, the Democrats look remarkably like the natural governing party these days, with a deep bench of talent." He seems to be quite confident that Obama can do what needs to be done. Brad DeLong echoes Krugman's praise of Obama's team, as does Robert Reich, and these gents are as reality-based a set of persons as I've seen.


According to the Washington Post, Iraq's defense minister warned Saturday that the government would declare a state of emergency if there was no agreement to keep U.S. forces in the country past the end of the year.


Hey Detroit dudes, check out the state of California: 

Founded in 2006, transonic combustion has invented a way to improve the efficiency of standard car engines, wrenching out as much as 100 miles out of a gallon of gas. The technology relies on a new type of fuel injector and timing improvements that let the engine run on a leaner fuel-air mixture and operate at higher compression ratios. - pacific coast biz times
If y'all want taxpayer money, you might want to start talking to these guys. And GM? You have some 'splaining to do about why you squished the ev-1 you built it before. If you want your moolah, you'd better start building it again.
Bill for the financial crisis now $7.7 trillion: How to spend the next trillions so they work:
7.7 trillion won't be the final tally, either. Given how much the Fed, Treasury and other federal entities have pledged it's really hard to understand how little they've accomplished.  7.7 trillion is, well, real money but credit in the real economy is still constricting and jobs are melting away faster than an ice cube in a blow torch.
4,205 soldiers killed in Iraq; 629 in Afghanistan.
To all the wingnuts freaking out because Obama hasn't been going to church:
"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thouprayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." - Matthew 6:5-6

Of course, far be it from the "Christian Right" to pay any real attention to what Jesus said.
Remember on October 29th when a Day of Prayer for the World's Economies was called and they gathered around a gold statue on Wall Street and prayed for the stock markets, banks, and financial institutions of the world?
That didn't work out too well, so how about we try letting our president-elect go to the gym, meet with his financial gurus, or whatever else he needs to do on Sundays for a while until he can figure out how to try and fix this crisis? 
Wachovia, which lost $33 billion in the last two quarters, said 10 top executives may be entitled to $98.1 million in severance pay after the bank is acquired by Wells Fargo & Co.
Via MarketWatch: Phil Gramm's company makes the news in a not-so-good way yet again. They inflated property valuations by as much as $100 million in late 2007 and early 2008, which meant they could increase the fees they charged their clients - so sayeth whistleblower Richard Trusz. 
Matt Drudge has a story about Obama's new presidential limousine:

The Obamobile being prepared for the president-elect is said to be a monster gas-guzzler made by General Motors, the troubled car giant. It will look like a black Cadillac but is built like a tank. A spy photographer who tracks down future car models for magazines snatched pictures of the heavily disguised first-car-in-waiting when it was being road-tested last summer.

The armour-plated car, which has a raised roof, windows up to 5in thick, extra-strength tyres and a body made of steel, aluminium, titanium and ceramics, is thought to be based on a GMC 2500 truck that gets less than 10 miles to the gallon. Three cars are believed to be in production so that two can serve as decoys.

The thing is that Obama has little to no say in anything involving his security. In fact, I would be surprised he even knows anything about this. Perhaps if America didn't have to deal with some of the crazies (you know, like the nuts you regularly saw at Sarah Palin rallies) the president – no matter what his or her party affiliation – could still cruise through the streets of Dallas in an open air limo. The fact is, Obama can't do that – and he has no say in it.

If the Secret Service determines that Obama is going to do "x" for his safety, Obama does "x" whether he wants to or not. I suspect security for Obama will be unprecedented. There are nuts out there – enabled on by crackpots on the right – who neither want "the most liberal, most socialist president in history" nor "an African American President" in the White House.

So, Obama will be carted around in a limo built like a tank that gets 10 miles to the gallon precicely because he has no other choice, and to use this as a jab to say that he's not as green as he promised he would be is plain stupid.


Paging Joe the Plumber: TVNewser: Alan Coombs is breaking up with Sean Insanity. 


Female conservative 'role models' all decked out in mink. Get your calendar here.  


Does anyone not understand that detaining people based on their ethnicity is wrong?

The Federal government under the Tsar of the Baboons sure doesn't understand that.
Which is why they had to litigate the issue. And lose.

The judge wrote: "Fear cannot be a factor to allow for the evisceration of the bedrock principle of our Constitution that no one can be arrested without probable cause that a crime has been committed."

No shit, and the fact that a Federal judge found it necessary to write those words is an indication of how far we have sunk under the administration of Dorquemada the Torturer.


The Gleaners


A farmer north of Denver, CO invited the public to glean his fields (take away the unharvested produce) on Saturday.

40,000 people showed up.

Heckuva job running the economy, Chimpy.
Here's a story about an eminent child psychiatrist who's been pushing powerful drugs to treat bipolar drugs - while getting paid by the drug manufacturer. Apparently our children live only to serve as Big Pharma's growth curve! - who knew?
South Carolina Republican Party Chairman and recently declared candidate for RNC chairman, Katon Dawson, was formerly a member of a the 80-year-old whites-only Forest Lake country club.

Back in September, when Dawson was first quietly laying the groundwork for his RNC run, The State newspaper reported that he resigned his membership in the nearly 80-year-old Forest Lake Club. Members told the newspaper at the time that the club's deed has a whites-only restriction and has no black members.

Dawson claimed to the paper that he'd actually been working since August to change the club's admission practices after reading about them in the press.

In August, Dawson did indeed send a letter to the country club calling for it to open its doors to minorities. But Dawson, who had been a member for 12 years, only sent the letter after reports of the club's racist membership rules appeared in the The State newspaper.

In spite of hard times, AIG, Citibank and a number of other federally bailed-out financial institutions have no plans to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in sports team sponsorships, even as they take billions in taxpayer support.
Keepin' us safer
The NSA kept a file on Tony Blair's private life and intercepted Iraqi president's 'pillow talk.'  
Last Thursday, Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest United States coal company and the scariest polluter in the United States, ranted that his critics were "communists," "atheists," and "greeniacs." In an address before the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson, WV, Blankenship said those who criticize him are "our enemies" like Osama bin Laden:

It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends. Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama bin Laden was critical of us?

What have the "atheists" at the Charleston Gazette done that merits Blankenship comparing them to Osama bin Laden? They've reported on:

The Fatal Aracoma Mine Fire. In the months before the fatal 2006 fire at the Aracoma mine, which had 25 violations of health and safety laws, Blankenship personally waived company policy and told mine managers to ignore rules and "run coal."

Political Corruption. Blankenship has spent millions of dollars to influence West Virginia judgeships and state legislative races, and palled around in Monte Carlo with state Supreme Court Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard and their "female friends" in July 2006. The state court reversed a $77 million verdict against Massey in 2008.

Mountaintop Removal. Massey Energy is the king of the incredibly destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining. The Bush Administration (which includes former Massey officials) overturned Clinton-era rules limiting the practice. Massey now plans to destroy Coal River Mountain despite lacking necessary permits.

Blankenship sits on the boards of the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Mining Association, who are running multimillion-dollar campaigns to block global warming regulations and fight the Employee Free Choice Act. He claims that global warming deniers like himself are being silenced by "greeniacs," and called Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, and Harry Reid "totally wrong" and "absolutely crazy.": 

How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Association, "I don't believe in climate change, but I'm afraid to say that because it is a political reality"? The greeniacs are taking over the world.

Fun fact: last spring, Blankenship was caught on tape threatening to shoot an ABC reporter and then assaulting him.


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