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Archives for: February 2009

"So am I"

"I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

"So am I."

Video at the whitehouse.gov link.

I decided to remain skeptical after his election, but I have to admit that the more I see of this guy the more I like him.

Permalink02/28/09, 12:03:53 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 269 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

A Party of Hate

I was reading about how the the GOP has become "the Party of Hate", but decided not to post about it because I think you guys know, by now, that I'd like to see the GOP go the way of the Whigs and the Tories. You saw the same videos that I saw of the ovewhelming ugliness of the crowds attending mccain/PALIN rallies. It felt too much like beating a dead horse.

This morning this was the first story I clicked on when I opened up google news:

Chicago Man Arrested for Allegedly Targeting Obama With HIV-Infected Blood
It's only the second time ever that HIV-infected blood has been sent with malicious intent through the U.S. mail system, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said.

(Emphasis mine.)

Read more! »

Permalink02/28/09, 09:25:40 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 611 views, Latest Posts 4 feedbacks

Vote For Hubble Telescope's Next Picture

Permalink02/27/09, 10:26:18 pm, by oralloy Email , 251 views, User Posts Send feedback

Moon + Venus tonight = Cool

Go look outside after sunset if you have a clear sky.

Permalink02/27/09, 07:24:54 pm, by oralloy Email , 296 views, User Posts 4 feedbacks

Ways of Seeing

The excellent 1972 BBC TV series about Art, now on YouTube!

Permalink02/27/09, 05:42:41 pm, by icy Email , 254 views, User Posts 3 feedbacks

The Most Dangerous Place to Drive?

http://www.webmd.com/news/20090226/the-most-dangerous-place-to-drive?src=RSS_PUBLIC

The CDC analysis says 46% of the motor vehicle-related deaths from 1999 to 2005 occurred in the South, where the average annual rate was 19.5 per 100,000 people, followed by 14.7 in the Midwest, 14.2 in the West, and 9.8 in the Northeast.

Here are the states with the highest average annual death rates per 100,000:

1. Mississippi 31.9
2. Wyoming 27.7
3. Arkansas 25.6, Montana 25.6
4. Alabama 25.1
5. South Carolina 24.6
6. South Dakota 24.2
7. New Mexico 23.8
8. Tennessee 22.8
9. Louisiana 22.2

Here are the states with the lowest death rates per 100,000:

1. Massachusetts 7.9 (best or safest)
2. New York 8.4 (tie with Washington, D.C.)
3. Rhode Island 8.5
4. New Jersey 9.0
5. Connecticut 9.3
6. Hawaii 10.2
7. New Hampshire 11.2
8. California 12
9. Washington (state) 12.1
10. Illinois 12.3

Uh, think there's any red state/blue state connection?

Permalink02/27/09, 03:56:41 pm, by mtnlion, 271 views, User Posts Send feedback

Citi, U.S. close to stock deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc and the United States are close to an agreement in which the government will substantially raise its stake in the bank, but demand a boardroom shakeup, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Under a deal expected to be announced early Friday, the Treasury Department would agree to convert some of its current holdings of preferred Citigroup shares into common stock, the Journal reported on its website.

The government will convert its stake only to the extent that Citigroup can persuade private investors to do so alongside the government, the people said. The Treasury will match the private investors' conversions dollar-for-dollar up to $25 billion, the Journal said.

A representative of Citigroup and a spokesman for the U.S. Treasury were not immediately available for comment.

The size of the government's new stake will hinge on the amount of preferred shares that private investors, including sovereign wealth funds, agree to convert into common stock. The Treasury's stake is expected to rise to 30 percent to 40 percent of Citigroup's shares, the Journal said.

IIRC, Citibank is the largest employer in Delaware.

Permalink02/27/09, 07:40:58 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 310 views, Latest Posts 5 feedbacks

Unhinged in 30 days

The right-wing media's Obama era implosion

by Eric Boehlert

The Republican Noise Machine doesn't need the customary 100 days to size up the new president. Right-wing commentators barely needed 30 days to come to their conclusion that they hate everything Barack Obama stands for.

A nice rundown of the crazed reaction of the RW noise machine to a President who actually won his election, has repeatedly gone out of his way to listen to all sides of an argument, and is even willing to admit when he's made a mistake.

I think this paragraph sums it up nicely.

It's astounding to watch the avalanche of hate ooze from conservative media quarters. And why? Because Obama passed an economic recovery bill. Good Lord, imagine if he had failed to win the popular vote and then led the country into a pre-emptive war based on faulty intelligence, a war that lost thousands of American lives, and tens of thousands of foreign lives, while milking the U.S. treasury out of a few trillion dollars in the process.

Permalink02/26/09, 09:00:00 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 285 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Obama lays out spending cuts in new budget

A list of some of the proposed spending cuts obtained by CNN shows that the programs on the chopping block include outdated farm subsidy programs, pricey Pentagon weapons programs and the "carried-interest" loophole on Wall Street.

Each program, however, has political patrons on Capitol Hill who will fight to save the budget items, setting the stage for major political battles as the details of the budget are debated by lawmakers in the months ahead.

Let's see if the "fiscal conservative" Republicans get away with continuing to carry the water for the wealthy. I'm betting it's going to get tougher for them to do it in the shadows.

Permalink02/26/09, 07:24:43 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 440 views, Latest Posts 24 feedbacks

Jindal/Palin 2012!!!

Where can I donate to this "dream ticket"???

C'mon, GOP. Run 'em. I'll donate. I promise. ;->

Permalink02/24/09, 10:50:28 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 348 views, Latest Posts 9 feedbacks

Bathroom Humor

One guy in the stall, another at the urinal. The guy in the stall breaks wind, and the guy at the urinal says "Your voice sounds different, but your breath smells the same."

Permalink02/24/09, 07:56:17 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 216 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

cats and dogs of war

I am cat-sitting 7 cats this week.

As the owner crosses her apartment, they shadow her like a guerilla recon patrol. One brave one on Point, a couple slinking low along the baseboards, a couple peeking around corners, one flanking across high shelves, one wary sniper lingering atop the fridge. Each advances singly to the next selected position, rather than all moving at once.

The exact-opposite from my dog, who favors walking and halting in step-- the more people & dogs along for the march, the better.

Other than the cats, I'm still collecting unemployment. That changes, at least for a week, when I install this guy's art show at a gallery:

"Kessler's Circus places the viewer inside the American war machine. An army tent pitched inside the gallery houses mechanical sculptures and barracks stacked with video monitors. The work depicts the American military-industrial complex as macabre circus, traveling from country to country, importing nothing and exporting atrocities under the veil of democracy. Rather than simply presenting a mediated spectacle, Kessler indicts the audience in the violence.

Surrounded by handmade mechanisms and surveillance cameras, the viewer becomes part of the machine. There is an induced sense of vertigo and surge of paranoia, as the viewer's own faces appear in the video feed. Entering Kessler's Circus, one is immersed in an undefined state, conflating machine and spectacle with entertainment and horror.

Kessler's Circus updates and politicizes the experience of Calder's Circus. Following the tradition of performative mechanized sculpture, Kessler creates a playful format for his exploration of our modern war experience. The mischievous nature of Kessler's hand belies a dark violence that is at once captivating and frightening. The business of death as mediated spectacle exposes anxieties and complacencies concerning surveillance, propaganda, and our ravenous consumption of celebrity.
"

Permalink02/24/09, 08:15:49 am, by icy Email , 444 views, User Posts 6 feedbacks

Attention to Detail

I'm pleased with President Obama's decision to include the costs of war in the budget.

We can't have a rational discussion of the costs of any other program until the immense amount of money being funnelled to the military-industrial complex is put in perspective.

Spending on the military was INCREASED by 10%, this year, yet the RW extremists claim the military budget was cut because they didnt get all of the increases they asked for.

Why is spending on the military never questioned, yet funding medical care for kids or retiree medical benefits for unions are demonized?

Because we lack the proper perspective.

We spend more on our military than the next 20 nations combined. It's long past time to move some of that funding to national health care and weaning us off fossil fuels.

Permalink02/24/09, 07:44:14 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 211 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Sky Show Tonight

Green "Two-Tailed" Comet Arrives

A fresh new face has moved into our neighborhood, but once this green-colored comet swings by Earth tonight, it may never come back (picture of green comet Lulin).

Comet Lulin is currently sailing through the inner solar system and is getting closer to our home planet, with its nearest approach expected on February 24.

Although it's hard to glimpse with the naked eye, the comet "should be a fairly easy object [to see using] modest amateur telescopes or even binoculars," said Don Yeomans, a comet expert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Astronomer Mark Hammergren of Chicago's Adler Planetarium added that the icy body has the potential to do something unexpected.

More at the link.

Update: Movie of the comet.

Permalink02/23/09, 05:19:58 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 284 views, Latest Posts 2 feedbacks

Bill Bailey

This may be of interest. A couple of summers ago my wife and I made what's become an annual pilgrimage to the midwest to visit our families. We decided that we'd stop in Michigan to look at a property that I found on landandfarm.com on our way back to the East coast. On paper it looked like exactly what we were looking for, ~20 acres with "a shack" that we could live in while I built a retirement home. It wasn't exactly what we were looking for when we saw it in person, but that was OK. It was on the way home, anyway, and I'd never been to the West coast of Michigan.

Read more! »

Permalink02/23/09, 07:57:29 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 643 views, Latest Posts 6 feedbacks

Republicans to "the middle": F#$% Off!

From The Orlando Sentinel:

Bush, the son of former Gov. Jeb Bush, grandson of former President George H.W. Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush, addressed a national conference of young Republicans and told them there is a rift in the party between fiscal conservatives and what he calls "D light" -- Republicans trying to appeal to the political middle.

LMAO

The "permanent majority" Repubicans are now calling "the middle" "D light".

As if we needed any more proof that they're the party of extremists, and no one else...

Permalink02/22/09, 07:08:53 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 234 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Al's Suggestions

From the "inconvenient truth" website, these are aimed more at lowering your carbon footprint, but many of them would also reduce your monthly expenses. Others might be good to do while you're working, especially if you think you're on the verge of a layoff.

Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)

Move your thermostat down 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer

Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner

Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible

Turn off electronic devices you’re not using

Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them

Be sure you’re recycling at home

Buy recycled paper products

Plant a tree

Get a home energy audit (Many utilities offer free home energy audits)

Switch to green power

Buy locally grown and produced foods

Buy fresh foods instead of frozen

Seek out and support local farmers markets

Buy organic foods as much as possible

Avoid heavily packaged products

Eat less meat

Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible

Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates

Keep your car tuned up

Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated

When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle

Try car sharing

Try telecommuting from home

Fly less

Permalink02/21/09, 09:18:30 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 267 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Since We're On The Subject...

From ThinkProgress:

Wash. Post defends George Will’s climate change denial: We ‘check facts to the fullest extent possible.’

The Washington Post has refused to run corrections on George Will’s recent “global cooling” column, despite its “stunning, boneheaded, egregious errors.” In response to a ThinkProgress request, Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander “sought clarification from the editorial page editors”:

Basically, I was told that the Post has a multi-layer editing process and checks facts to the fullest extent possible. In this instance, George Will’s column was checked by people he personally employs, as well as two editors at the Washington Post Writers Group, which syndicates Will; our op-ed page editor; and two copy editors.

Read Alexander’s full response at the Wonk Room.

This is the RW's modus operandi, willfully aided and abetted by media conglomerates who know who butters their bread; Tell a lie, refuse to acknowledge it's a lie, wait for it to become "common wisdom".

Permalink02/20/09, 07:27:44 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 343 views, Latest Posts 4 feedbacks

Deflation?

This would not be good news.

Deflation warning bells ring louder
Consumer prices may fall on an annual basis for the first time in more than 50 years. Is this the beginning of a deflationary spiral or just a blip?

Permalink02/19/09, 11:26:14 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 406 views, Latest Posts 5 feedbacks

Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene

Permalink02/18/09, 10:00:00 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 240 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

The Obameter

PolitiFact has compiled more than 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter.

We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.

The Obameter Scorecard

* Promise Kept 11

* Compromise 3

* Promise Broken 2

* Stalled 0

* In the Works 20

* No Action 474

Depending on whether you think he's destined to be a 1-term or 2-term President (there are 208 weeks in 4 years), that's 11/474*100 = 2.3% of promises kept in 1.9% of his one term (or 0.96% of his two terms). If you're feeling generous and want to include compromises, it's 2.95%. Throw in the 20 "in the works", subtract 2 for "broken promises", and he's already done (a whopping) 7.2% of the things he said he'd do.

Not, BTW, that I agreed with everything he promised to do...

Permalink02/18/09, 08:33:45 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 205 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Quayle With a Ponytail

(h/t to Huffpo for the nickname)

Back Home in Alaska, Palin Finds Cold Comfort
Scrutiny Has Been Intense Since Election

Read more! »

Permalink02/18/09, 07:24:18 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 460 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Sky Watching

Backward green comet makes one-time only visit
By SETH BORENSTEIN – 15 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — An odd, greenish backward-flying comet is zipping by Earth this month, as it takes its only trip toward the sun from the farthest edges of the solar system. The comet is called Lulin, and there's a chance it can be seen with the naked eye — far from city lights, astronomers say. But you'll most likely need a telescope, or at least binoculars, to spot it.

Read more! »

Permalink02/18/09, 07:11:34 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 415 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Wetback ....

... can't even understand the language.
I stopped at the Ban Thakhek Gang Mini-Mart on my way home from teaching tonight, for a 70-cent bottle of beer.
Another guy stopped for a $1 phone card. He handed the kid at the shop some money at the same time I held out my dollar for my beer, and he muttered something that I didn't catch.
The kid took his money, but he didn't take mine -- and he did a quick 180 turn, and started heading to the back of the shop -- as I was still holding my dollar bill out in the air.
The other customer snatched my dollar right out of my hand!!
"Fvck you!", I thought, and snatched my dollar right BACK from this smart-ass.

Read more! »

Permalink02/17/09, 11:50:56 am, by lewagner Email , 690 views, User Posts 10 feedbacks

An American Foreign Legion

What a great, descriptive phrase; "The American Foreign Legion". It's reminiscent of renaming food, and at the same time describes perfectly how our "defense" has turned into a far-flung protection corps for the only really profitable business in America, the seizure of oil from other countries to keep down the cost of refueling over-sized gas-guzzlers in the price range of the average American who's still lucky enough to be employed.

Is the U.S. Military Now an Imperial Police Force?
By William Astore

A leaner, meaner, higher tech force -- that was what George W. Bush and his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised to transform the American military into. Instead, they came close to turning it into a foreign legion. Foreign as in being constantly deployed overseas on imperial errands; foreign as in being ever more reliant on private military contractors; foreign as in being increasingly segregated from the elites that profit most from its actions, yet serve the least in its ranks.

Read more! »

Permalink02/17/09, 07:50:28 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 467 views, Latest Posts 1 feedback

President's: Best to Worst

CSPAN just released "its second Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership. 65 presidential historians ranked the 42 former occupants of the White House on ten attributes of leadership."

C'mon, you know you wanna read it.

Permalink02/16/09, 07:31:26 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 297 views, Latest Posts 7 feedbacks

The Banking Crisis Over Here

(KPL) The Bank of Lao PDR, Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) and Agricultural Promotion Bank expected that the rate of unpaid debt would be increased by 3 per cent this year.
However, the banks have adjusted an incentive plot of low-interest rate with its hope of debtors would pay off. They will also increase loan to three groups.

Read more! »

Permalink02/14/09, 07:28:39 pm, by lewagner Email , 455 views, User Posts 5 feedbacks

Happy Valentine's Day!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a panel of scientists examined the mystery of what happens when hearts throb and lips lock. Kissing, it turns out, unleashes chemicals that ease stress hormones in both sexes and encourage bonding in men, though not so much in women.

Permalink02/14/09, 08:58:09 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 243 views, Latest Posts 1 feedback

Stop Believing in the Easter Bunny

Frank Schaeffer, whose father Francis was influential in the rise of the Religious Right, has penned an open letter to Barack Obama to tell him that they cannot be worked with:

"As someone who appeared numerous times on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson, as someone for whom Jerry Falwell used to send his private jet to bring me to speak at his college, as an author who had James Dobson giveaway 150,000 copies of my one of my fundamentalist "books" allow me to explain something: the Republican Party is controlled by two ideological groups. First, is the Religious Right. Second, are the neoconservatives. Both groups share one thing in common: they are driven by fear and paranoia. Between them there is no Republican "center" for you to appeal to, just two versions of hate-filled extremes.

The Religious Right supply the kind of people who at McCain and Palin rallies were yelling things such as "kill him" about you. That's the constituency to which your hand was extended when looking for compromise on your financial bailout bill.

There's only one thing that makes sense for you now. Mr. President, you need to forget a bipartisan approach and get on with the business of governing by winning each battle. You will never be able to work with the Republicans because they hate you. Believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the norm not the exception. James Dobson and the rest are praying for you to fail."

Link Trail: DU to Right Wing Leftovers

Permalink02/13/09, 07:33:17 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 284 views, Latest Posts 5 feedbacks

Who funds and runs the Politico?

I'd be surprised if anyone who reads this blog wasn't already aware that Politico is a den of RW hackery, but there could still be something here you could use at family gatherings. ;->

Permalink02/13/09, 07:19:50 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 216 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

well, this'll fix what ails us

Let's see, what got us into this mess?...

Among other things...artificially low interest rates, politicians in bed with mortgage companies and builders, Wall Street greed, Main Street greed, lack of transparency in lending, lack of understanding of mortgage terms and CDO's. So to correct these issues lets pass a stimulus package of the following:

* $24 million for United States Department of Agriculture buildings and rent
* $176 million for renovating Agricultural Research Service buildings
* $290 million for flood prevention
* $50 million for watershed rehabilitation
* $1.4 billion for wastewater disposal programs
* $295 million for administrative expenses associated with food stamp programs

Read more! »

Permalink02/13/09, 04:59:13 pm, by whatta Email , 559 views, User Posts 6 feedbacks

Damned Unions

Remember when "we shouldn't bail out Detroit" because "it's all the union's fault"? Have the extremists who still vote Republican ever been right about anything? Are they capable of learning or admitting mistakes? I think not.

Toyota cutting North American production

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said late Thursday it will reduce production at its North American manufacturing plants in an effort to grapple with what the Japanese automaker termed "the worst automotive slump in decades."

Toyota said it will take steps including cutting production days in April, reducing paid hours for workers, eliminating executive "and salaried" bonuses, cutting executive pay and offering a "voluntary exit" to employees "who wish to pursue other opportunities."

Toyota also said it sees "no wage increases for the foreseeable future." Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. employs roughly 25,000 hourly workers, while bonuses for roughly 3,000 executives and salaried workers are being eliminated as part of the cutbacks, according to a report in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Read more! »

Permalink02/12/09, 10:50:29 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 429 views, Latest Posts 4 feedbacks

Stimulus Reality

Permalink02/12/09, 05:59:14 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 203 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Binyam Mohamed torture evidence 'hidden from Obama'

(This is the guy who had his dick cut up to obtain "priceless information" that ultimately led to him being released.)

US defence officials are preventing Barack Obama from seeing evidence that a former British resident held in Guantánamo Bay has been tortured, the prisoner's lawyer said last night, as campaigners and the Foreign Office prepared for the man's release in as little as a week.

Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the legal charity Reprieve, which represents Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed, sent Obama evidence of what he called "truly mediaeval" abuse but substantial parts were blanked out so the president could not read it.

In the letter to the president [PDF] , Stafford Smith urges him to order the disclosure of the evidence.

Stafford Smith tells Obama he should be aware of the "bizarre reality" of the situation. "You, as commander in chief, are being denied access to material that would help prove that crimes have been committed by US personnel. This decision is being made by the very people who you command."

In my experience, only someone who's guilty and knows it works this hard to hide the truth.

EDIT: Link

Permalink02/11/09, 09:03:43 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 220 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

7 Major "Missing Links" Since Darwin

Drawings and text on National Geographic web site.

"Doing my part to piss off the religious right."

Permalink02/11/09, 08:20:02 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 183 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Bank CEOs to Face Congress

4 questions for big bank CEOs

The heads of BofA, Citi and six other banks that got the first round of TARP funds appear before Congress Wednesday. Here is what lawmakers should be asking.

Here's mine: If you loaned your sister $20,000 to save her house and she threw a $20,000 party but didn't invite you, would you agree with her when she claimed that she "used your money for house payments, and (her) own money for the party"?

Dollar bills aren't individuals, each with a unique identity.

Permalink02/11/09, 07:24:19 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 233 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

Torture, When Put to the Test

Donald P. Gregg (served as national security adviser to Vice President George H.W. Bush)

When former Vice President Dick Cheney warned last week that terrorists will be emboldened by President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo and to ban harsh interrogation techniques, I was reminded of a story.

During wartime service with the CIA in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972, I was in charge of intelligence operations in the 10 provinces surrounding Saigon. One of my tasks was to prevent rocket attacks on Saigon's port.

Keeping Saigon safe required human intelligence, most often from captured prisoners. I had a running debate about how North Vietnamese prisoners should be treated with the South Vietnamese colonel who conducted interrogations. This colonel routinely tortured prisoners, producing a flood of information, much of it totally false. I argued for better treatment and pressed for key prisoners to be turned over to the CIA, where humane interrogation methods were the rule - and more accurate intelligence was the result.

Read more! »

Permalink02/10/09, 11:30:00 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 435 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

The Difference

When the TARP was passed, I had some level of trust in congress but based on his record I didn't trust the President in the slightest. I believed, and still believe, that it was his (and/or Cheney's) last grab of taxpayer dollars. I'd add, now, that it may have been his last attempt to sabotage his successor by "poisoning the well". It's no secret that one reason so many opppose another bail out package is the way the TARP was used.

Now, I have less trust in congress (and almost none in the "60 votes are required" Senate), and "hope" as much as "believe" that the President will do the right thing.

Read more! »

Permalink02/10/09, 09:26:00 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 452 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

Is It Really This Bad?

Disclaimer: Take anything you read on a financial message board with a grain of salt. I am not endorsing the link attached as a reliable source of information or investment advice. I discovered the Motley Fool before I found Yahoo message boards and that experience tells me that not all information found there is true, and not all of it is untrue. You will have to decide for yourself if you believe this, or not.

USA was 3 hrs away from Economic, Political Collapse in September 2008

Read more! »

Permalink02/10/09, 07:31:06 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 430 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

International Conspiracy to Torture

Gitmo Detainee’s ‘Genitals Were Sliced With A Scalpel,’ Waterboarding ‘Far Down The List Of Things They Did’

Last week, two British High Court judges ruled against releasing documents describing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. The judges said the Bush administration “had threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with Britain if the information were made public.”

Read more! »

Permalink02/09/09, 01:09:29 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 390 views, Latest Posts 1 feedback

Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford

Have you guys seen Hulu, yet?

Permalink02/08/09, 10:46:00 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 276 views, Latest Posts 5 feedbacks

Slumdogs Unite!

Frank Rich:

SOMEDAY historians may look back at Tom Daschle’s flameout as a minor one-car (and chauffeur) accident. But that will depend on whether or not it’s followed by a multi-vehicle pileup that still could come. Even as President Obama refreshingly took responsibility for having “screwed up,” it’s not clear that he fully understands the huge forces that hit his young administration last week.

The tsunami of populist rage coursing through America is bigger than Daschle’s overdue tax bill, bigger than John Thain’s trash can, bigger than any bailed-out C.E.O.’s bonus. It’s even bigger than the Obama phenomenon itself. It could maim the president’s best-laid plans and what remains of our economy if he doesn’t get in front of the mounting public anger.

snip

As Jon Stewart might say, oh those pesky ordinary Americans!

Permalink02/08/09, 03:14:51 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 228 views, Latest Posts 1 feedback

It Took Bush 8 Years to Break It

Give Obama 8 years to fix it.

Three U.S. Banks Shut by Regulators as Financial Crisis Deepens

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Three banks, two in California and one in Georgia, were seized by regulators, bringing this year’s tally of closings to nine as a recession and record foreclosures extend the biggest financial crisis in more than 70 years.

Permalink02/07/09, 09:30:00 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 230 views, Latest Posts 7 feedbacks

Steele's Campaign Spending Questioned

Uh-oh...

Michael S. Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, arranged for his 2006 Senate campaign to pay a defunct company run by his sister for services that were never performed, his finance chairman from that campaign has told federal prosecutors.

A corrupt Republican? Say it ain't so!

Edit: Link

Permalink02/07/09, 06:23:05 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 168 views, Latest Posts Send feedback

Diaper Boy Takes It In The...

This is great, from Congress Matters:

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), in offering one of the stupidest amendments in the entire stimulus debate, is diapered pantsed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) for his idiotic vindictiveness, pettiness and ingratitude:

Vitter's amendment was particularly petty, as Durbin points out, given that ACORN volunteers rehabilitated some 3500 homes in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Vitter thanks them for their service by trying to use them as a whipping boy.

Permalink02/07/09, 04:21:10 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 247 views, Latest Posts 1 feedback

Dang Me!

I'm teaching good-old American cuss-words to the Laotians, here.
I special-tutor 2 hours a week at World Vision, a basically fundamentalist Xtian organization, which is certainly NOT proselytizing religion, here in the Lao PDR. It's fvcking against the LAW, here in the Lao PDR to proselytize religion.
So, World Vision employees, here in the Lao PDR, according to Lao PDR law, are not required to be Christians.
I'm not, for instance.
To keep their World Vision job, however, World Vision employees do have to pretend to put up with some quasi-proselytizing, which they more-or-less privately deride as being queer, in Lao. (Everyone here at World Vison must mind his/her p's and q's, so we speak mostly in Lao.) ;>)
The proselytizer doesn't understand Lao, though, and she just keeps on talking stupid queer sh*t, like: "All these Lao employees are going to go to hell, if they don't change their evil ways."
This stupid woman is trying to forbid things sacred to Lao culture, such as wine, women, and song.

Read more! »

Permalink02/07/09, 12:18:51 pm, by lewagner Email , 450 views, User Posts 1 feedback

Fundamentally flawed stimulus coverage

Jamison Foyers at Media Matters drives home a 16 penny nail with one fell swoop in this tome.

If there's one fact that should be made clear in every news report about the stimulus package working its way through Congress, it is this: Government spending is stimulative.

That's a basic principle of economics, and understanding it is essential to assessing any stimulus package. So it should be an underlying premise of the media's coverage of the stimulus debate. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Indeed, reporters routinely suggest that spending is not stimulative.

Economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explains: "Spending that is not stimulus is like cash that is not money. Spending is stimulus, spending is stimulus. Any spending will generate jobs. It is that simple. ... Any reporter who does not understand this fact has no business reporting on the economy."

Read more! »

Permalink02/07/09, 09:40:21 am, by billy b, 769 views, User Posts 2 feedbacks

Israel Willing to Bomb Iran's Nuclear Program

Permalink02/07/09, 04:34:52 am, by oralloy Email , 247 views, User Posts 2 feedbacks

salmonella-tainted products

WASHINGTON (AP) -- FDA says Georgia peanut processor knowingly shipped salmonella-tainted products.

http://www.google.com /hostednews /ap /article /ALe qM5ij DA5bg xiHlT vS_r- SSjsk S1Tq1 wD966 AVJ02

Permalink02/07/09, 04:30:39 am, by oralloy Email , 252 views, User Posts 3 feedbacks

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Permalink02/06/09, 09:52:00 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 236 views, Latest Posts 7 feedbacks

By the Numbers: Creeping Class Warfare, Republican Style

From the Rude Pundit. The Rude One isn't so rude, but still effective...

How about just a minute or two of perspective?

Amount to bailout AIG - at least $85 billion

Amount to bailout Citibank - at least $45 billion

Amount to bailout Bank of America - at least $45 billion, with guarantees on $118 billion in loans

Amount the Bush administration overpaid for bailed-out bank assets - $78 billion

[TOTAL = $371 Billions}

Proposed cuts to President Obama's economic stimulus bill (currently being debated by 20 "centrist" senators):

$1.1 billion to Head Start

$24.8 billion to states for budget shortfalls in education programs

$15 billion to states for additional education funding

$2 billion to Child Care Development Block Grants

$150 million to funding for programs in the Violence Against Women Act

[TOTAL = $43.05 Bn]

Read more! »

Permalink02/06/09, 03:52:43 pm, by billy b, 520 views, User Posts 2 feedbacks

Titanboa

Here's one big snake.

Just wait — this one will be featured in some cheesy Sci-Fi channel creature feature in a few months. Paleontologists have dug up a fossil boa that lived 58-60 million years ago. They haven't found a complete skeleton, but there's enough to get an estimate of the size. Look at these vertebrae!

Read more! »

Permalink02/05/09, 02:12:50 pm, by billy b, 1083 views, User Posts 2 feedbacks

Living (and Dying) in America

Martin Schur, 93, froze to death in his home last month. His death shocked his community after it was learned the power company limited his electricity because he owed $1,000. The story has taken a new twist: Schur left his estate to the local hospital, possibly more than $500,000. "He loved his community. He loved Bay City, Michigan," his nephew said. full story

snip

The World War II veteran's frozen body was found in his home January 17, just four days after a device that regulates how much power he uses -- installed because of failure to pay -- shut off his power. A medical examiner said the temperature was 32 degrees in the house when Schur's body was found.

The medical examiner told The Bay City Times that Schur died a "slow, painful death.

Ah, the joys of unrestrained capitalism.

"Failure to pay" is a capital offense.

What's next? Lopping off the hand of someone who steals a loaf of bread to feed his family?

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that our mammon money references God in this "good, christian nation". Right?

Permalink02/05/09, 07:26:56 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 277 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

Cheney is still a Crotch Stain

Via Fox News (of course).

Former Vice President Dick Cheney predicts a "high probability" of a nuclear or biological terrorist attack in the coming years and said the Obama administration is ill-equipped to prevent it.

In a candid interview published Wednesday on Politico.com, Cheney said he fears President Obama will put the county at risk

"When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry," he told the Web site.

From Politico:

Not content to wait for a historical verdict, Cheney said he is set to plunge into his own memoirs, feeling liberated to describe behind-the-scenes roles over several decades in government now that the “statute of limitations has expired” on many of the most sensitive episodes.

A) No one is reading al Qaeda members, who are not American citizens, Miranda rights.

B) No one has released more prisoners from Gitmo than Bush and Cheney.

C) Can we just put this douche-nozzle on trial for war crimes, already? It's obvious he's trying to cover his crimes against the constitution and the American people.

Permalink02/04/09, 09:19:36 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 266 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

Salazar Acts to Save the Environment

Permalink02/04/09, 05:07:54 pm, by oralloy Email , 219 views, User Posts 2 feedbacks

Obama to limit bankers' pay

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Executives of companies receiving federal bailout money will have their pay capped at $500,000 under a financial compensation plan that President Obama is expected to announce Wednesday, two senior administration officials said.

Permalink02/04/09, 07:55:18 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 334 views, Latest Posts 9 feedbacks

Teach Your Kids Fear & Submission

Via Common Dreams:

Next Up For the Kids: Their Own Little Guantanamo Play Set. Tasers Optional.

by Abby Zimet

From the Surreal Adventures in Capitalism Department comes Playmobil's Security Check Point ($62), where kids can learn about racial profiling, metal detectors, full body searches, questionable abridgements of civil rights and other pleasures of our so-called war on terror. This toy is real. The customer reviews, a collective, hilarious holler of protest, are the best part.

Read the comments on Amazon, here.

Permalink02/04/09, 07:38:26 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 266 views, Latest Posts 2 feedbacks

New Saturn Picture

Cassini finally released a "front on" Saturn image (earlier Cassini Saturn images were "from the side" -- an interesting perspective, but a full Saturn disc is nice too).

Main page:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ catalog/ PIA11141

Small:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ jpegMod/ PIA11141_modest.jpg

Full size JPEG:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ jpeg/ PIA11141.jpg

Full size uncompressed:
http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ tiff/ PIA11141.tif

Of all the space probes that have been by Saturn, I think this is the first "full" Saturn picture to ever include Titan in the frame.

-----

I wonder if NASA has ever heard of lossless compression. The JPEG seems to have been intelligently done, but all JPEGs lose data. The TIFF on the other hand didn't use any compression at all.

I ran the TIFF through a good PNG compressor and reduced it to less than 10% of its size without losing any data.

Permalink02/04/09, 05:41:23 am, by oralloy Email , 316 views, User Posts 4 feedbacks

Seven Sacred Pools

You can buy T-shirts that say "I survived the road to Hana" all over Maui. Of course, I couldn't buy one until I'd actually survived the road to Hana, so off we went. It's windy, twisty, bitch of a road with something like 57 one-lane bridges, complete with "yield to oncoming traffic" signs. Both of us had heartburn and felt a little dizzy by the time we got to each end.

Read more! »

Permalink02/03/09, 08:50:41 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 470 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

Judd Gregg

Now that the governor has promised to replace him with a Republibootlicker, nominating Gregg doesn't seem like such a hot idea.

Gregg snags part of jackpot

Read more! »

Permalink02/02/09, 11:14:50 pm, by Timbuk3 Email , 435 views, Latest Posts 1 feedback

Best Ads

Here.

Lots of "dark humor" this year. I liked the careerbuilder "is it time for a new job?" ad and the Doritos / Bus ad. The Bud / guy out the window ad was good, too.

I got my 3D glasses on, in time. ;->

Advice for AZ: stop voting Republican. Kyl sucks harder than McSame.

Permalink02/02/09, 07:43:11 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 237 views, Latest Posts 3 feedbacks

Sunrise Over Heleakala

Two days before I left one of my cats got sick. Kumahl is Tina's son, about 4, and a major-league sweetheart. He's big (14 lbs), and he's a "Ferdinand the Bull" type. He'd rather smell the flowers than fight. One vet called him "a purring machine" and remarked that she'd never seen a cat who was that sick and still purring.

Read more! »

Permalink02/01/09, 10:26:46 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 450 views, Latest Posts 4 feedbacks

Sunday Sermon?

I was OOT last weekend so I didn't notice it. Did the Sunday sermons stop?

Damn.

Churchie, I looked forward to those and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Perhaps you could do a "risen from the dead" theme using his disciples, apostles like Coburn, Cornyn, KB Hutchinson, et. al.?

The Revelations of Wide-Eyed McConnel?

Permalink02/01/09, 09:48:56 am, by Timbuk3 Email , 310 views, Latest Posts 6 feedbacks