Terraformed April1 -4, 2008

Worth A Look

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

When Liberalism’s Moment Ended

Forty years ago, American liberalism suffered a blow from which it has still not recovered. On April 4, 1968, a relatively brief but extraordinary moment of progressive reform ended, and a long period of conservative ascendancy began.

Mr. Presser on the otherhand attributes the decline of liberalism to the death of *Martin and Bobby, as I do, but for different people there are different cut off points.

The salient thing is none of that really **matters, what matters today is for you to be here now.

*edited to clarify what he said. (that doesn’t work with my stuff.)

**edited to clarify what I said, I am referring to the decline of liberalism.

Teh googled

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Call me.

Seriously.

Just A Reminder

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I do shameless plugs for other people.

Adali Stephenson once said that liberals care about people, and all people equally.

Trainwreck, reveals things Republicans hope you never find out, including…

Especially if you’re a Republican.

Hillary, Call Me

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Mark, Mark, Mark

Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist met with Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free-trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes.

Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn’t there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm.

Obviously, I can help.

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain Vows To Bar B Q Hawk

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Citing his national security credentials and bar b q ing skill McCain vowed to cook the birds goose if it messed with his hair.

Mr. Bush’s War

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that clashes continued to be fought in Basra on Thursday between Iraqi government troops and the Mahdi Army militia.It also says that US troops in civilian clothing were targeted in the Shiite city of Hillah south of Baghdad. They were attacked by unknown gunmen and had to call in airstrikes on enemy positions. So how come they were wearing civilian cloths?The New York Times confirms that “over a thousand”officers and troops of the Iraqi army declined to fight the Mahdi Army in Basra or deserted their posts. It also reports that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki replaced them by inducting 10,000 Shiite “tribal” fighters into the Iraqi army. But the Iraqi press didn’t call them “tribal,” it called them Badr Corps, the paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, headed by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and now al-Maliki’s main political ally. I’m not sure about the source of the discrepancy, but the NYT piece seems to be based on interviews with Iraqi and American government officials. It is possible that the need to strengthen the Iraqi army by turning to a Shiite militia trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (terrorists!) was just too embarrassing to admit. So the officials used the euphemism “tribal forces” with the foreign press.

via IC, which proves that we are civilized, as we only send thousands of Congressional aides to yell at volunteer poll workers and such.

I can only presume that things are going so well that the military in civvies were off duty and doing the tourist thing. After all, teh surge is working.

Al-Qaeda ‘weakened’

Separately, an American intelligence report on security in Iraq says the improvements seen since the surge in troops last year have been maintained.

The latest National Intelligence Estimate highlighted how Sunni Muslim tribes have helped weaken al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The new report was given to Congress a week before the most senior US general in Iraq, David Petraeus, gives evidence to a Senate committee.

The report does not mention the Iraqi government’s efforts last week to disarm militant Shia groups.

Reckon not.

The Nice Thing About Not Looking At A Computer All Day?

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not looking at a computer all day.

The Nice Thing About Not Watching TV?

April 3, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not watching tv.

Light Posting

April 3, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Stuff to do.

Worth A Read

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Democratic Campaign and Cognitive Dissonance

And I will say the first thing that all of us liberal Democrats who really care about the outcomes must do, is ask, why should that person (my candidate’s opponent) not get the benefit of doubt or at least some the assumption that they are in the campaign for good and noble reasons? And why spend so much tearing down the other candidate after you know how damaging these emotions are for you? Not one of our candidates is perfect (but then again neither am I nor are you), so let’s make sure we don’t feed into the emotionally toxic systems that will destroy even us (good people that we are) in our pursuit of getting rid of the current gang. Truly in this case, as Votaire says, we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of good. Nothing will condemn humankind more than letting the war-mongers and know-nothings hold on to the White House for Four More Years. Both our candidates know that, but do you?

The Tune I’m In

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Things To Ponder

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Deep Thought

Didn’t Apollo Creed beat Rocky?

Pinched

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Science Behind Global Warming Skeptics

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Burn, Melt, Repeat

By the time we’ve burned all the oil in Greenland, Antarctica is bound to be ice-free. Just imagine all the resources we’ll find down there!

Lad Needs To Get Around A Little More

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Dreaming of A Stateless World

Maybe there is a God.

On the other hand — you know, the hand with all those progressive-y fingers sticking out of it — what to do with Obama’s affirmation of the glories of “the traditional realistic policy” of George I, JFK and Reagan?! I briefly scanned several of the big liberal-y, progressive-y blogs and maybe I missed the detailed discussions of what this might mean about The Messiah Who’s Going to Change Everything, but…they don’t seem to be talking about this! At all! Wotta surprise!

Just saying.

McSwamper

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

100 Years War

Furthermore, McCain’s frequent “You don’t know anything” tirades about national security might be more effective if he had a better sense of the war in question. When I asked him about Basra in January, he assured me that it was “not a problem.” Last week, he seemed to think it was a good idea for the militia that calls itself the Iraqi Army to attack the militia that calls itself the Mahdi Army. So did George W. Bush, who posited it as the good guys fighting the “terrorists.” This betrayed a fundamental lack of knowledge about Shi’ite politics, something any good President or presidential contender–especially one who styles himself a “national security” expert–needs to study.

McLobbyist

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Black Claims McCain’s Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: ‘I Don’t Know What The Criticism Is’

McCain’s advisers have a history of using their connections to the senator to win lucrative contracts, raising questions about the independence of their work now. McCain, similarly, has pushed for positions that have benefited his advisers’ past and current clients. Some examples of the lobbyist ties of McCain’s senior staff:

– Rick Davis, Campaign Manager: Between 2002 and 2005, Verizon paid Davis $640,000 to lobby on its behalf. Davis signed Verizon up as a client in 2001, just a year after he managed McCain’s first presidential campaign. McCain served as Senate Commerce Committee chairman for most of that time. Verizon and Davis terminated their contract after 2005, when McCain gave up the chairmanship. [Senate Lobbying Database; USA Today, 3/23/08]

– Christian Ferry, Deputy Campaign Manager: Ferry “partnered with Davis in representing SBC and Verizon from 2003 to 2005.” [USA Today, 3/23/08]

– David Crane, Senior Policy Adviser: Crane is a lobbyist and president of Quadripoint Strategies and “served as a senior policy advisor” to McCain on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “He previously worked as a lobbyist and senior vice president for Global USA and The Washington Group. His clients have included Bank of America, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” [Media Matters, 2/26/08]

– John Green, Congressional Liaison: Green is co-founder and managing director of Ogilvy Government Relations, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying firms. Recently, McCain pushed the Pentagon to open the bidding process for new Air Force tankers to EADS — a European company — “a move loudly objected to…by numerous members of Congress.” Green received $1,080,000 to lobby for EADS, although he is now on a “leave of absence” from Ogilvy. [AP, 3/11/08]

– Thomas Loeffler, Campaign Co-Chairman: Loeffler is founder, chairman, and senior partner at the Loeffler Group. While serving as McCain’s national finance chairman, Loeffler also lobbied for EADS in the Air Force deal. [AP, 3/11/08]

Of course there is more there.

Maybe Mr. Black will read it too. Then he’ll unnerstan.

Political Systempunkt

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You always look for an opportunity to point out something to your readers to let ‘em know what the hell is really going on, and today I got one.

Keep An Eye On It

In this post The Atlantic Monthly’s Marc Ambinder notes that top lobbyist Doug Davenport is joining the McCain campaign as one of its ten regional campaign managers. He also, as Ambinder notes, one of the founders and current chief lobbyist for the DCI Group. Now, as long time TPM readers know, DCI is the Republican outfit when it comes to ‘astroturf’ (i.e., phoney) grassroots campaigns and sundry campaign bamboozlment.

basically all these guys are doing is;

In global guerrilla warfare (a combination of open source innovation, bazaar transactions, and low tech weapons), the point of greatest emphasis is called a systempunkt. It is the point point in a system (either an infrastructure or a market), always identified by autonomous groups within the bazaar, where a swarm of small insults will cause a cascade of collapse in the targeted system. Within infrastructure, this collapse takes the form of disrupted flows that result in immediate financial loss or ongoing supply shortages. Within a market, an attack on the systempunkt destabilizes the psychology of the market to induce severe inefficiencies and uncertainties. The ultimate objective of this activity, in aggregate, is the collapse of the target state and globalization.

following these lines of thinking, (edited)it is pretty much what we are seeing from diverse sources aimed at diverse candidates.

I know a lot of the lefty’s don’t get off on reading or thinking about this stuff, but the fact is that is why I support Obama, because he will, like I do. The problem with being too much of a partisan, too self assured, is a tendency to forget that we are Americans first. That has been a Republican problem for years, in spite of their patriotic lofties to God, *Country, and Apple Pies. I would hope that the Democrats would learn their tactics, but not emmulate them.

*Update: I added a link to Country,

In a recent interview with GQ, former Bush adviser Karl Rove criticized Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for “not wearing a flag lapel pin,” saying that “to a lot of ordinary people, putting that flag lapel pin on is true patriotism.” As Rove made this comment, however, interviewer Lisa Depaulo noticed that he wasn’t wearing a pin:

DEPAULO: You’re not wearing a flag pin, Karl.

Updated Insert: I forgot. IOKIYAR

Investors may want to pay attention to this stuff too. Ya never know if someone thinks you’re a fool with too much money.

Support This Blog

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Major World Hunger Crisis

We get tunnel vision on superdelegates and stump speeches and credentials committees, all of which have their own level of importance. When I see a headline that millions are in danger of starvation I stop thinking about all that and pay attention.

This goes well beyond any political issue. Over the past week we’ve all received urgent calls for money from candidates for state and federal office. Poor people worldwide don’t have a flashy email they can send you. Yet they need your support more than ever.

WFP’s Fill the Cup program has for small amounts that can feed the hungry for a week or more. That’s probably the best way to get resources into the hands of those who need them.

Global Giving has programs that feed children in Niger and India, for example.

World Hunger Year tackles community-based solutions to hunger and poverty.

CARE has a World Hunger Campaign.

Do the research, see which organization fits with your comfort level, and give. Millions of people are at risk and our financial mess has at least a little to do with it. The other thing you can do is DEMAND that your Congresscritter raise US donations to the World Food Program. Global poverty is an economic and national security issue. It’s also, as John Edwards called it, the moral test of our generation.

John McBush’s Senate Armed Forces Committee Oversight

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I guess all that Senate experience is paying off for someone, just not us.

Update: And while we’re on the subject of the military-industrial complex, did everyone see this article?

The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages. … In another case, the initial contract target price of Boeing’s program to modernize avionics in the C-130 cargo plane is expected to skyrocket 323 percent, to $2 billion. Another Boeing program, for a radio system, is up 310 percent, to $966 million.

This may not be a reason to vote for Obama over McCain, but it’s certainly a reason to vote for Obama over Clinton. It’s tough to look at all those generals and admirals up there with her — and John freaking Murtha — on the podium and think she’s going to be the one to harness this beast. Obama, on the other hand…

Live Coverage Of The Dedication Of The Co-Cathedral of The Sacred Heat

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Maybe Congress Ought To Use The FOIA

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Yo Yo’s Walking the dog with Yoo Yoo’s,

More than five years after its composition, we finally see a copy of John Yoo’s March 14, 2003 memo to William Haynes, then the Defense Department’s general counsel. It was, as The New York Times and Washington Post report, a green light for military interrogators to use just about any technique the Pentagon deemed useful. Criminal statutes prohibiting torture stopped at the water’s edge, because, Yoo wrote, “such criminal statutes, if they were misconstrued to apply to the interrogation of enemy combatants, would conflict with the Constitution’s grant of Commander in Chief power solely to the President.”

As Thomas J. Romig, who was then the Army’s judge advocate general, tells the Post, “it appears to argue there are no rules in a time of war.” As Marty Lederman, a former lawyer at OLC writes, “it is, in effect, the blueprint that led to Abu Ghraib and the other abuses within the armed forces in 2003 and early 2004.”

Despite the fact that Congress has been asking for the declassification of this memo, it appears to have only been released now as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Update: More here and as Christy notes;

The Vanity Fair piece that Scott references is startling in its brutal prose, so be forewarned before clicking through this link. But it, like the Yoo memorandum, needs to be read and discussed in the open. Because there is much, much more to come, the indications are all over the footnotes and whispers on this, and have been for months. And what we do not know still? It’s beyond my ability to even imagine how much worse it could be, because thus far we have reached a level that should never, ever have occurred by law or by basic standards of human decency.

Update II: John notes,

Glenzilla has a piece up that is so scathing it will singe your eyebrows when you read it:

That John Yoo is a full professor at one of the country’s most prestigious law schools, and a welcomed expert on our newspaper’s Op-Ed pages and television news programs, speaks volumes about what our country has become. We sure did take care of that despicable Pvt. Lyndie England, though, because we don’t tolerate barbaric conduct of the type in which she engaged completely on her own.

“Everything we sort of expected it would say is there.”

Taze ‘em Bro!

Obama’s Llama

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Walking On The Moon

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

http://Terraformed4_files/rpHuQi17EaErel0.swf

That’s the Florida Senate Democratic minority leader Steven Geller overtly pretending to object to the new calendar, laughing about it the whole time.

Geller: The chair of the Democratic National Committee has of coursed threatened that if we move the primary to before the first Tuesday in February that they will sanction us at the Democratic National Convention. So the Democratic leader and the Democratic leader pro-tem are jointly making this motion, which we will duly show to them later, that we tried not to have the election before the first Tuesday in March.

Chair: And so Sen. Geller are you urging a negative vote or would you like us to pass this vote?

Geller [laughing]: Oh no sir, we really really want this, don’t we senator?

Chair: I understand. Please don’t throw me into the bramble bush.

Liberally snarfed from the web site that dare not be mentioned by name.

This happened before being thrown under the bus was the pet rock of pundits and politicians. I figure that getting a paper trail for electronic balloting machines has more to do with insuring the democratic process than all the bluster about disenfranchising the Florida voters, who were not.

I only assert that if a way can be found to do a do over there and in Michigan that is fair to both candidates it ought to be done. Rules are rules, however and one sided bombast on the issue neither informs, nor helps, when that one simple fact is ignored.The noisiest people on this issue are those who are not even Democrats.

They assert that the democratic process is being subverted by DNC and disenfranchises the people of these two States, which is a half truth even if we work on the underlying assumption that rules are for other people, especially when they agree with the ends of those means.

“Independents” ought to join the Democratic Party and change the rules if they do not like them, but to assert that an entire population of a state, Republicans and non eligible citizens are being disenfranchised is ludicrously disingenuous caterwauling for personal political and economic gain.

!@#! Safari editors.(,) poor workman who blames his tool. You boys try and remember that tonight.

Bernanke: Economy Continues To Refract

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Fed took action to preserve integrity of financial system. … and the lack thereof .

Then They Meet Me

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics

The Right has perfected the art of creating mythical cults of personality around their leaders. They are strong, courageous, honor-bound, protective, morally upstanding salt-of-the earth Everyman-warriors — contemptuous of elitist prerogatives, and oozing traditional masculine virtues and cultural normalcy. As important, if not more so, is the corresponding character demonization of liberals, Democrats and a growing group of miscellaneous right-wing opponents — those weak, subversive, conniving, appeasing, gender-confused, elitist freaks, whose men are as effeminate and cowardly as their women are angry, threatening and emasculating.

I am all of those things.

It ain’t easy being EZ.

Hey! Does that make me a bi-polar bi-partisan?

Give Peace A Chance

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Meshal: Hamas backs Palestinian state in ‘67 borders

Hamas supports the united Palestinian position calling for the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, and the right of return for refugees, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam.

In a special interview with Wednesday’s edition of the paper, Meshal said the Palestinian position had received a vote of consensus during the national accords of 2006 and that this position is considered acceptable to the Arab world at large.

via War and Piece

That Ain’t Spencer.

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

on the banks of the old raritan

This is.

On the eve of Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker’s Capitol Hill testimony next week, it would be helpful to know how the U.S. intelligence community measures progress/backsliding along the same metrics as it did nine months ago. But alas: the default policy set last fall by a put-upon Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, is to restrict the release of declassified intelligence summaries. The Iraq NIE-update is no exception. “Generally, the officials looked at it and did not see any type of overwhelming need to put this in the public domain,” the official said. After all, when a democracy goes to war, you wouldn’t want an informed citizenry or anything.

Under Educated Below Their Intelligence

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

This is a decidedly rough post, but I thought it might be as good a place to store it as any. As often as I chap
Lou Dobb’s ass, it is to be noted that he inspires more research on my part than anyone since Vaughn Hamilton in English 101. (2 kudos in one sentence, top that guys.)

America’s Failure in Science EducationG

LOBAL COMPETITION. Until now, America has compensated for its failure to adequately educate the next generation by importing brainpower. In 2000, a stunning 38% of U.S. jobs requiring a PhD in science or technology were filled by people who were born abroad, up from 24% in 1990, according to the NSB. Similarly, doctoral positions at the nation’s leading universities are often filled with foreign students.

However, because the “the global competition for science and engineering talent is intensifying…the U.S. may not be able to rely on the international market to fill our unmet needs,” warns the NSB. Indeed, as globalization accelerates, bright young Indian or Chinese scientists may well have better opportunities at home than in the U.S.

Permission To ForgetEven the abstract of this book can give you an inkling of one of the facets of this problem which is delineated, and the entire paper is here,
Appendix I: Educational Failure and the Need for Remediation: The Human Cost

The unlettered, as Ong and Havelock establish, do not think in terms of regular cause and effect; they do not think in abstractions or according to general principles; they do not think in precise quantities (the idea of precise quantity remains baffling to them); they do not think in objective terms at all, but relate everything to the immediate, the personal, and the subjective.41 The lettered, by contrast, acquire the ability to follow complex lines of cause and effect, to link statements with evidence in an objective way, to suppress the merely subjective for the sake of establishing external truths, and to deal with ethical issues in a distanced and principled way. Says Ong in a summary passage: “The distancing which writing effects develops a new kind of precision in verbalization by removing it from the rich but chaotic existential context of much oral utterance . . . . Orally managed language . . . is not noted for analytic precision.”

One of the meanings of the word education, then, is the ability to think carefully about things in an objective way and according to abstract, or general, principles. It bears considerable repetition that the students who need remedial education need it in the areas of reading and writing and math: Their capacity for precision, for precise thinking, is insufficiently developed.

Think of the way education is organized

Perhaps it is time for educators to realize that the present high school education may be archaic for today’s world. After all, it is organizationally and content-wise [3Rs etc.] little changed over hundreds of years… even though schools have gotten larger.

Rather than recognizing the opportunities available with larger schools, the educational system forces larger schools to conform to the small school model and wonders why it doesn’t work.

Let’s get a little creative in our thinking. Instead of thinking of a large high school as a bloated version of a small high school, why not organize it into the university model? Take advantage of the large number of teachers with a variety of interests and skills.

Measured Progress: A Report on the High School Reform Movement

Takes the opposite position on smaller schools from the previous article, and of course I wonder why they should have to be mutually exclusive solutions.

How we confuse symbols and things

But in the meantime, most “educated” people cannot tell the difference between a fact and an idea, the most common confusion of symbol and thing. Most believe if they collect enough facts, this will compensate for their inability to grasp the ideas behind those facts. And, because of this “poverty of ideas,” most cannot work out the simplest conceptual questions, such as “why is the sky dark at night?” (unless you are in a small minority, the actual reason is not what you think — see more here ).

Hey! Watch it Lou.

Education: A Look at the Past, Present and Future

The following essay contains some thoughts I have about the problems we face with education in our country and what I think needs to be done in order to make things better. I am a liberal, but my opinions in this essay, and about education, can easily be categorized as conservative. I know from first hand experience that our system of education in this country doesn’t work. I am currently an A student in college; however I was considered a failure in high school and eventually dropped out. The system failed me, here’s why.

I think that we should attribute the problem of education, not to a lack of funding, but to a lack of accountability from our teachers, a lack of involvement from our parents and a lack of enthusiasm from our students.

http://www.edjj.org/links/

Isn’t Anything The Way It Appears?!

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Economic Coverage Versus Economic Reality

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The President’s Party Affiliation and Changes in Inequality

…What it shows is the difference that the President’s party affiliation makes to the distribution of income during the four years of the president’s term. (The distributional outcomes are shown with one year’s lag.) When a Republican president is in power, people at the top of the income distribution experience much larger real income gains than those at the bottom–a difference of 1.5 percent per year going from the bottom to the top quintile in the income distribution. The situation is reversed when a Democrat is in power: those who benefit the most are the lower income groups. If you are in the bottom quintile, the difference between having a Democratic or a Republican president in office is an income gain (or loss) of more than 2 percent per year! Strikingly, compared to Republicans, Democratic presidents generate higher income gains for all income groups (although the difference is statistically significant only for lower income groups).

So fair is liberal bias. Now I get it!

Pesky Lawsuits

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Judge Rules Rep. Boehner Can Collect $1 Million-Plus in Fees From 1996 Taped Call Case

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader John Boehner can collect more than $1 million in his lawsuit against Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Chief Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the decision in a decade-long dispute over an illegally taped telephone call. In the 1996 call, Republican leaders discussed an ethics case against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. A Florida couple recorded the cell phone call on a radio scanner and McDermott leaked the tape to two newspapers.

So what do you think about trial lawyers now Boehner?

How will Broder reconcile this?

Why am I watching Brit?

Will Boehner forgive Turner?!

Will Christians forgive Turner?!

What the hell is going on around here!!

Pesky Texas Caucuses

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

After the Flood: Fixing Our Caucus System

Two days after the big meltdown here in SD10, and already those of us who served on credentials and had a hand in running the convention are trading emails speculating on how we can prevent things from spiraling so far out of control again. After all, we want our conventions to be meaningful and well-attended, from the state convention all the way down to the precincts. We have to fix some things to make that truly possible, though.

It all sounds reasonable to me.

Twofer Tuesday

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

cleaning-station.jpg

Not Your Right Wing War On The Media

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Party Crashers

Apparently Jay Rosen was intrigued (and concerned) by Will Bunch’s characterization of the liberal bloggers at Eschacon “declaring war” on the press. I find that interesting since, as far as I’m concerned, liberal bloggers declared war on the press many years ago. I’m not sure that this is even controversial. Pushing back on biased, anti-Democrat and pro-Republican lies and editorial judgment is supposed to be one of our primary raison d’etres.

Digs splains things.

All Your House Are Belong To US

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Some Times I Forget

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Peace

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

In Passing

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sailor killed in Iraq awarded Medal of Honor

Michael A. Monsoor, who grew up in Garden Grove, has been selected to receive the medal posthumously for his efforts to save fellow SEALs during a firefight in 2006.

Latest Bank and Housing Crashings

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Deutsche Bank to Write Down Record 2.5 Billion

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest bank, will write down 2.5 billion euros ($3.9 billion) of loans and asset-backed securities and said markets are deteriorating. “Conditions have become significantly more challenging during the last few weeks,” Deutsche Bank said today in a statement. The Frankfurt-based company’s shares, which have declined 17 percent this year, rose on speculation the worst of the losses in the banking industry may almost be over.

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Shitpile still shitty.PARIS — UBS, the largest Swiss bank, said Tuesday that it would write down another $19 billion related to the American real estate market and said that its chairman, Marcel Ospel, would step down.UBS said the write-down would result in a first-quarter loss of about 12 billion Swiss francs, or $12 billion, and that it would seek new capital of about $15 billion, the second time it has announced plans to raise money since the credit markets began to contract.

The President’s Party Affiliation and Changes in Inequality

I’m looking forward to reading pages 4 – n. … I find that I’m completely convinced by the main premise .. that a great deal of the increase in inequality has been an effect of Republican approaches to taxation and redistribution. I’m simply not convinced that this is pernicious. I do think economic stratification is pernicious, but that has more to do with the Democratic Party standing in the way of fundamental structural reform in education as it has to do with Republican tax cuts for rich people, doesn’t it? … Page 4, here I come!

Emphasis mine

Maybe not so nonsensical after all

The combination of the WSJ mean forecast, and the observed correlation over the 1991Q4-07Q4 period leads to an implied 40% log decline in the Case-Shiller price index (34.7% in percentage terms). (If one uses a static-no lag specification, then the implied drop is 34.8% in log terms.)

This doesn’t include the effects on home values on the coast going under the other water from the effects of global warming.

WaMu Alt-A Pool Deteriorates Further

Note the above progression. This cesspool from May of 2007, was 92.6% originally rated AAA, even though loans had full doc only 11% of the time. In less than one year, the pool was 25.3% 60-day delinquent or worse. Of that 25.3%, 13.35% is in foreclosure and 4.44% is bank owned real estate.

And the band gurgled on,

Lehman Alt-A Pools DowngradedMSN Money is reporting Moody’s downgrades certain Lehman XS Alt-A deals.Moody’s

Investors Service has downgraded the ratings of 279 tranches from 27 Alt-A transactions issued by Lehman XS Trust Series. One hundred sixty two downgraded tranches remain on review for possible further downgrade. Additionally, 97 tranches were placed on review for possible downgrade.The ratings were downgraded, in general, based on higher than anticipated rates of delinquency, foreclosure, and REO in the underlying collateral relative to credit enhancement levels.

This action is just a start. Expect far more downgrades in Alt-A mortgages. Prime mortgages will follow suit as well.

The voyage of the Economic Enterprise

To get a “feel” for how crazy things got, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at The Telegraph in London reports that “Bear Stearns had total positions of US$13.4 trillion. This is greater than the US national income, or equal to a quarter of world GDP – at least in ‘notional terms’.”

Whistlingly noted,

“If the Fed had not stepped in, we would have had pandemonium,” said James Melcher, president of the New York hedge fund Balestra Capital.

“There was the risk of a total meltdown at the beginning of last week. I don’t think most people have any idea how bad this chain could have been, and I am still not sure the Fed can maintain the solvency of the US banking system.”

So, you still think gas prices should be your biggest concern do ya? This link will explain the ’suckers’ rally we are seeing on Wall Street today. This will give you some insight as well.

George Soros has an opinion too

Speaking in a BBC documentary, Mr Soros said that at the heart of the financial crisis was the culmination of a 60-year-old boom in leverage, the result of which will be a far deeper downturn than many expect.

He also warned that the financial services industry now faces a painful crunch. “I think that the financial industry will have to shrink… and of course the indebtedness of the American consumer will have to shrink. The US currently consumes 6pc more than it produces. That will have to come down. So it’s an adjustment but it will be a very painful adjustment.

“I think that there will be a big backlash and there is even a danger that the global financial markets will be disrupted by protectionism.”

On the upside there is April Fools Day

Just Hope

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Funny how hope is such a good thing in this instance, isn’t it?

As a Ukrainian who was born in the USSR, I support Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko in their attempt to forge closer ties with the West.

These leaders have given me hope.

I guess we’ll hear the answer now, Published: May 4, 1998

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (Op-Ed, April 29) dismisses the idea that something as ”distant” as Hungarian membership in NATO could be linked to Moscow’s intransigence on other issues. This will no doubt come as a surprise to the many Russian legislators and policymakers who have made clear that such a link indeed exists. At what point will Ms. Albright realize that NATO expansion is producing an adverse Russian reaction? When the Baltic states join? Does she hope to include Belarus and Ukraine? What would she expect to see as a reaction from Moscow at that point?

Ten Years LaterThoughts to ponder

There is thereupon something that I’d like to point out – refusing to offer MAPs to Ukraine and Georgia, NATO will practically lose the chances of its further expansion. At the same time Russia will have an opportunity to realize, in future, its long-standing goal – to become “the third Rome”. It isn’t a secret that without Ukraine Russia can become a strong and powerful state, and it will be one, especially with its resources potential. But it will remain Russia. It will never get the might and power of the Soviet Union.

The Grand Game is still afoot.

If Georgia joins Nato, it will have to accept the loss of a considerable part of its territory, particularly after the precedent set by Kosovo. Neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia – which have both unilaterally proclaimed their independence from Georgia – is going to join Nato.

Should We Fight for South Ossetia? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Two provinces of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, have seceded, with the backing of Russia. And there are 10 million Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east of that country, and Moscow and Kiev are at odds over which is sovereign on the Crimean Peninsula.To bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO would put America in the middle of these quarrels. We could be dragged into a confrontation with Russia over Abkhazia, or South Ossetia, or who owns Sebastopol. To bring these ex-republics of the Soviet Union into NATO would be an affront to Moscow not unlike 19th century Britain bringing the Confederate state of South Carolina under the protection of the British Empire.

Ukraine and Europe : A shotgun wedding is bound to fail By Anatol Lieven Published: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2004

Those who warn of such a reaction from Moscow are often accused of crying wolf, given Russia’s failure to react against NATO membership for the Baltic states. But Ukraine is much more important to Russia from every point of view. And there is also a famous proverb about camels and last straws.Taking Ukraine into NATO long before it is ready to join the EU would fail a basic test of realpolitik. Rather than a strong and stable buffer state, the West would acquire a weak and divided one — in other words, no true buffer state at all. That could be a recipe for disaster if, at any point in the future, America’s military commitment to Europe were to falter.

Bush promises to back Ukraine’s NATO bid

“In Bucharest this week, I will continue to make America’s position clear: we support MAP for Ukraine and Georgia,” Mr. Bush said. “My stop here should be a clear signal to everybody that I mean what I say: It’s in our interest for Ukraine to join.”

“France will not give its green light to the entry of Ukraine and Georgia,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in a radio interview Tuesday. He said potential NATO membership by the two countries could upset the balance of power between Europe and Russia.

So you geniuses trust the rocket man?

Ya Think?

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace Effort

Next thing you know they’ll be shooting missles and rockets at each other like they do the words quoted in this article. So when will Pravda dig up that Rabbi?

Unless of course your living in a vacume.

Not Just A Black Thang

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Who Are We? New Dialogue on Mixed Race

Jenifer Bratter once wore a T-shirt in college that read “100 percent black woman.” Her African-American friends would not have it.

“I remember getting a lot of flak because of the fact I wasn’t 100 percent black,” said Ms. Bratter, 34, recalling her years at Penn State.

“I was very hurt by that,” said Ms. Bratter, whose mother is black and whose father is white. “I remember feeling like, Isn’t this what everybody expects me to think?”

Shades of Mexico.

Quds Force Saves Bush’s Bacon

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not to worry, President for Strife is off to the Ukraine.

If it is true that the commander of the IRGC Quds Force mediated the intra-Shia fracas, then the US policy in Iraq of favoring the ISCI/Dawa/Badr dominated Maliki government is in serious trouble.

Is Your Blogger A Mole?

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’

A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers.”

Obviously, I’m safe. One has to wonder what planet these guys live on, given the diversity of the American public which is reflected in the blogosphere.

Libertarian Thinking Liberals Should Appreciate

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Benefits Of Reverend Wright

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Rev. Jeremiah Wright isn’t the problem

Rev. Jeremiah Wright isn’t the problemThe great shock so many people claim to be feeling over Wright’s sermons is preposterous. Anyone who is surprised and horrified that some black people feel anger at white people, and America, is living in a racial never-never land. Wright has called the U.S. “the United States of White America,” talks about the “oppression” of black people and says, “White America got their wake-up call after 9/11.” Gosh, who could have dreamed that angry racial grievances and left-wing political views are sometimes expressed in black churches?

It’s not surprising that the right is using Wright to paint Barack Obama as a closet Farrakhan, trying to let the air out of his trans-racial balloon by insinuating that he’s a dogmatic race man. But beyond the fake shock and the all-too-familiar racial politics, what the whole episode reveals is how narrow the range of acceptable discourse remains in this country. This is especially true of anything having to do with patriotism or 9/11 — which have become virtually interchangeable. Wright’s unforgivable sin was that he violated our rigid code of national etiquette. Instead of the requisite “God bless America,” he said “God damn America.” He said 9/11 was a case of chickens coming home to roost. Now we must all furrow our brows and agree that such dreadful words are anathema and that no presidential candidate can ever have been within earshot of them.

I know you’ve made up your mind, but let me try to confuse with some facts.

BTW: Don’t forget to get your war on.

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