Terraformed April 15-18, 2008

When Both Are Correct

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Carter Meets With Leader of Hamas Despite Objections There is quite a spin in this report,

“Were Jimmy Carter to have met with me, and two days later with Khaled Meshal, it could have created a facade of negotiations between us and Hamas,” Olmert said in an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

when the paragraph starts out with the interpretation that contradicts the statement,

Carter was snubbed by virtually all of Israel’s top leaders, Olmert included, when he visited this week. “Were Jimmy Carter to have met with me, and two days later with Khaled Meshal, it could have created a facade of negotiations between us and Hamas,” Olmert said in an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Blessed Are The Pacemakers

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

For they shall provide a jumper to the thumper.

Blessed Are The Peace Makers

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

For they shall be called sons of God.


Brooks Discovers Obama’s A Politician

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

How Obama Fell to Earth

But he did not knock her out, and the aura around Obama has changed. Furiously courting Democratic primary voters and apparently exhausted, Obama has emerged as a more conventional politician and a more orthodox liberal.

Must have stumbled into No Quarter, currently a hot bed of anti Obama activity.

Another opinion?

Heat — and a Little Light

But for viewers who kept wading until they got to the other side of the swamp, this turned out to be one of the better debates of the campaign — and that’s saying something, since it was the 21st such encounter for Clinton and Obama. One imagines they’re a little tired of the drill, and of each other. No wonder they were so manifestly uninterested when Gibson pressed them to agree to a joint ticket.

McCain’t Release Tax Returns

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

John McCain releases his tax returns — but not hers

John McCain has just released details from his tax returns from 2006 and 2007, and possibly the most interesting tidbit is that he did not release his wife’s returns — and McCain married into wealth. According to the campaign:

“Since the beginning of their marriage, Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain have always maintained separate finances. As required by federal law and Senate rules, Mrs. McCain has released significant and extensive financial information through Senate and Presidential disclosure forms. In the interest of protecting the privacy of her children, Mrs. McCain will not be releasing her personal tax returns.”

Well, isn’t that special. That will fly with the base, but apparently there isn’t enough room on the airplane for all the reporters in Murica.

They Do It Because The Media Allows Them To

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sometimes you find a treasure trove of information, seemingly unrelated, and probably not intended,
“you mean more soldiers.” Dick Cavett

At a conference I was moderating a few months ago, I grew weary of listening to this kind of “burospeek” and asked one man if by “kinetic exhaustion” he meant “tired of fighting.” He admitted that he did. pl

The pope and the bishops

The bishops collectively are responsible for a failure in this pastoral responsibility and in so many others. The bishops of the Catholic Church are quite autonomous in their territorial “rights.” They are also a kind of self-perpetuating “club,” rather like generals and admirals. They will do nothing to discipline each other. It is the pope’s responsibility to do that.

The only thing I can figure is that the news really is so bad that the television news fears running afoul of the censors,

censors, magistrates at Rome, two in number, who were elected every five years but held office for eighteen months only, in order to take the census, i.e. make up the official list of citizens and carry out the solemn purification, lustrum, which concluded it and which gave its name to the interval of five years between each purification. The registration of citizens took place in a special building on the Campus Martius. The censors’ power and prestige derived from their duty of revising the roll of senators, removing those who had acted against law and morality and replacing them by others. Throughout the middle and late republic the censorship stood at the head of the cursus honorum, but its authority was reduced by the legislation of Sulla.

having no fear of being sincere one might suppose.

Torture & The Law Goes Way Of Native Americans & Christianity

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Torture and the Law

With nine months remaining in President George W. Bush’s term, virtually no legal analyst expects that anyone in his administration will face indictment and prosecution in connection with the torture of terrorism detainees. However, a new admission from Bush last week has some legal analysts contending that the case for such prosecution has gotten significantly stronger.

But the likelihood of retributive measures against the Bush administration for torture remains remote. Huq observed that the “political appetite for that is nil,” since “an excessive of zeal for prosecuting national-security activities, historically, hasn’t happened.” His preference is to legislate the videotaping of all terrorism interrogations. A measure to do that, introduced and supported by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), has been introduced, but it has no schedule for a mark-up, according to Holt’s office.

Well if we pretend hard enough it didn’t really happen.

Now where did I put that flag lapel pin??>

The Inner Chalabian of John McCain

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Via Bruce Falconer, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports that McCain strategist Charlie Black vouched for “convicted felon, disbarred lawyer, and failed business owner.”

Via Laura Rozen

Now tell me that Russert and Twitty didn’t know about this stuff, or half of McCain’s base for that matter.

Let’s pretend for a minute that they don’t know about Hillary’s connection to the American Muslim Association too.

In the end the talking heads are just as much activists for the campaigns as anyone working for them, or they would report, you know, the news.

It’s Official Now, DFH Were Right About Iraq All Along

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Pentagon Institute: War in Iraq is a ‘Major Debacle’

The National Defense Institute, identified by McClatchy as the Pentagon’s “premier educational institute,” came out with a sobering assessment (PDF) of the Iraq war yesterday:

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.

It pretty much goes downhill from there:

The only problem with this, as far as I can tell ,AFAIK for the rest of you, is that this is really just the beginning of when the consensus of the powers that be and the common people diverged, and that the gap between what is being reported and what is actually occurring is increasing as various issues take center stage in the conscience of the media elite, whether driven by the political or media elite.

Social Security is another one where there is a lot of caterwauling by the conservatives about the system going broke, along with the failure of the media to hold anyone in the current administration accountable for the massive corruption that we see unfolding in DoJ, HUD, DoD etc. etc.

That’s Bill Oreilly’s far left, and Lou Dobb’s ethnocentric interests that have been right about these things all along. If any of these networks were even reasonable close to fair and balanced they would have on air push back, somewhere, anywhere.

In these issues, and many others we run into the same bailiwicks,

The possibly apocryphal quote (the internet seems to make all quotes possibly apocryphal) from Margaret Thatcher is “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.” There are good and bad reasons for this.

Obviously there is the Thatcheresque class association. Poor people ride buses! Paint it green and tart it up to look like a fake trolley and such people will ride them because they associate those with tourism.

The fact remains that there is an effete core of intellectual dullards posing as manly mans for the munchkins of the public, who have absolutely no idea what the American people are thinking, even after having told us what to think. They are always quite shocked that we disagree, and so find some phantom far lefty, ethnocentric interest to bash instead of looking at their own lack of clarity and understanding on many of the issues.

Being wealthy doesn’t necessarily mean that in all other fields one must be as dense as a rock, it’s just that television tends to make it appear that way.

The Pope Comes To America

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

There’s another cult in Texas on the run,
The wingnuts on the TV are coming completely undone,
When the wheels fly off the machine it really is a scene
where every act is an intermission with nothing in between.

McCabe And The Flying ABC Circus

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz


Remember that woman from the debate last night who the moderators showed videotape of asking whether Barack Obama “believes in the flag”? Her name is Nash McCabe.

I remember thinking it was sort of odd to have a couple one-off uses of ordinary voter questions when it didn’t really seem like it was part of the format. But I was too distracted by the general inanity of the debate to focus on this issue too closely.

Well, it turns out TPM Reader JL did give it some thought. And he came up with something very interesting (see JL’s post at the DrexelDems blog). He did a little googling and found out Nash is pretty popular with the traveling press now in Pennsylvania. It turns out McCabe was featured in an April 4th story in the Times which begins like this …

It would be wonderful if it were just ABC guilty of this horse manure, but it’s not, it’s the whole kitten-kaboodle of national news organizations doing this little song and dance as they manipulate their viewers into assuming certain things about any particular candidate.

Would it be asking too much for the media to quit responding to everything written in the blogosphere, and report the f’n news? Would it be asking too much for our millionaire Jimmy Olsen’s to grow the f’ up?

Update: I added a link, from the original source. It doesn’t change anything that I think about the media projection of sloth and form over substance journalmalism.

So it’s not just bad that they sought out someone to ask the question, but that they did it in order to avoid asking the question themselves because, you know, it’s sort of embarrassing. It’s not about content; it’s about TV content and TV optics. There’s no way for Gibson to ask that without looking petty and stupid. So they used this woman.

Update II: Enough said, via Digby’s place, Tristero’s pen.

US Arms Sales Projected To Increase

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Heavy shelling in Burundi capital

Burundi’s army has launched a counter-attack after the capital was shelled overnight by suspected rebels.

A BBC correspondent in the city says the sound of explosions and gunfire could be heard throughout the night. Odd that a Christian nation would be an arms merchant for the world.

The United States is the only power in the world that derives so much income from the arms industry, then decries the violence of the arms they have profited from.

Another Wall For The Green Zone

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

U.S. Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City

BAGHDAD — Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.

This is misleading from the get-go, the wall is not to stem infiltration, but to keep the Shiia militias from launching rockets and mortars into the sovereign state of Iraq, currently located in the Green Zone.

The construction, which began Tuesday night, is intended to turn the southern quarter of Sadr City near the international Green Zone into a protected enclave, secured by Iraqi and American forces, where the Iraqi government can undertake reconstruction efforts.

More BS, the Iraqi government is having budgeting problems, so it can’t spend any of the oil revenue that is stashed in the Cayman;s for reconstruction, so one must expect that the NY Times is here, catapulting the Pentagon’s press release, formerly known as propaganda, always known as BS.

Casual observers of the situation are well aware that other walls have been built to separate Sunni and Shiia population centers from each other which has resulted in the “success of the surge,” that too, being neither.

On Wednesday night, huge cranes slowly lifted heavy concrete blocks into place under a moonless sky. The barriers were implanted on Al Quds Street, a major thoroughfare that separates the Tharwa and Jamilla districts to the south from the heart of Sadr City to the north.

So now the truth comes out. It is only designed to slow the movement of militia members within Sadr City, which impediment will cause greater hardship on civilians, who having been impoverished under Saddam. will now receive the empty promises from Washington DC through their Iraqi nation state in the Green Zone.

The upside for the Americans is that the press in the States will pick this story up as victory around the corner yet again, and continue to lie to their own people, for the government in DC, formerly the capital of the American Republic.

Pesky Brits

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Washington diary: On misspeaking By Matt Frei

A medieval Bible scholar scrutinising parchment documents, or a philologist grappling with the language of the Dead Sea Scrolls would feel at home in the current election campaign.

Who else would be prepared to agonise over the true meanings of a few words, the way the candidates, their surrogates or the ringside observers of my profession are?

The last time I came across this degree of semantic scrutiny was at Oxford University, where jealous academics took special glee in gouging each other’s eyes out over a few misused words.

The tribe of Obama is currently battling the tribe of Clinton over the exact meaning of the word “bitter”.

Pretty good observations in this one.

How Bad Was It?

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

TPM has a clip that runs roughly eight minutes, and IMHO, re-enforces my earlier opinion of the debate. Not having watched it sort of helps because I didn’t have to get over it.

While The Media Slept

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

‘Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S.’ Pt. 2

Everyone remembers that on Aug. 6, 2001, while President George W. Bush was clearing brush in Texas, he received an intelligence brief warning about Al Qaeda’s strategic intent to attack the U.S. homeland. After three years of denying this occurred, the 9/11 Commission’s Richard Ben Veniste treated us to this dramatic moment with Condoleezza Rice:

BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB [President’s Daily Brief]?

RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

Today we have a second round of the PDB. It’s a General Accountability Office report titled “The United States Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.” (pdf) Via Max Bergmann at Democracy Arsenal, take a look at this system-blinking-red passage, drawing off an assessment from the director of national intelligence:

This is the kind of stuff I remember before we invaded Iraq, while the MSM was busy being better than everyone else the facts started piling up pointing towards the invasion, which was blown off by the mainstream and Very Serious People, because they wanted that war too. They believed the administration because they wanted to.

Now this stuff is fixing to blow up in our faces again, but that’s OK, the Pope is town, and there are sects to fry in Texas. They support all the legislation necessary to diminish civil liberty to keep them safe from terrorists, and yet when the evidence hits them in the eye like a big pizza pie, that’s an ignore it.

Later they will play a remorseful tune day and night as they mourn the dead heros of the next attack.

Debate My Arse

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The thing that really strikes me about this last debate, but more or less with all or them this cycle is how they have basically turned into press conferences with absolutely no debate.

When people make that choice, they take into account how candidates stand on the issues,” he said, but also are concerned with “experience, character [and] credibility.”

Stephanopoulos is correct in this statement, voters are concerned with the character issues, but that is something that can be figured out realitively easily, and as I noted in an earlier post, sometimes without any basis in fact or knowledge of the candidates whatsoever.

But to nail down something on an issue orientated topic almost requires an objective questioner to compel the candidates to get to the subtext of those issues. They will not do it in any other format, and so the media questioners, for whatever reason, fail both their veiwers and the the public at large.

Update: I think I’m glad I missed this one. From all I’ve been able to gather about this one, and my experience watching the others, there seems to be sense among the top tier journalist that it is their job to make or break a candidate, not for the public good mind you, but to enhance their stature I suppose amongst their peers, and further their own careers. There really isn’t much I can do about that stuff, other than call people assholes, and turn off the TV when they appear.

Just Wondering

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Those of us who didn’t watch the debate are perplexed, having found a majority of the citoyen reviews pan the moderators, and most of the people that work for the media covering these things are asking people who look like the candidates what was so wonderful about their candidate, while the rest of us wonder when the banality of it all will end, all 23 pages of it.

Anyway there’s the transcript link.

I can’t think of any reason why I would want to watch anymore of, or read anymore of this kind of stuff. Usually the point of a debate is to articulate and clarify the issues for the voters, but this season the moderators have seemed to be as much a part of the debate and of the post debate analysis as the candidates responses, as they play to their peers in the media bidness.

You know I keep suggesting these media elite ought to get a blog for that sort of stuff so that they can separate their personal and professional public persona’s in such a way as to avoid a lot of the criticisms being leveled at them. But what do I know?

There Was A Debate?

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The People Are More Civilized Than Their Institutions

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

These posts flutter out into the “blogospheres” into two carillons and fourteen tubas of television boom-boxes or the smogospheres on radio, along with uber tomes of the neoconic wingding wing, which loquaciously remind one and all how smugly we could all write if we were always wrong, and on the pages of the enquiring Washington and New York, Times and Post. You know when you’ve butt shot a big dog opinionator in print with a thrown rock when they whine and yelp on tayvay. Yeah, you gotta be really big time to make into this paragraph by name.

Still I do my best to further your careers with a phantom debating opponent. Just think of all the left wing bloggers sitting around in front of the box in their boxers and briefs, brief and bereft of bombast for to bamboozle a mesmerized head stuffing food into its’ face.

For that alone I should be allowed to spew profanities at you. But we’ll have none of that, shall we? I’m sure it would be un-and-Under American to do so, at least until the Pope and Gordon Brown leave. Whence it could revert to a flag label someone else, not me, put on your lapel or it would be an upside down patriotism, issue, and you would know that I did it to make you mad. Think about it.

Becoming institutionalized is not a one way street, and the larger the institution the greater the degree of institutionalization behavioral patterns emerge into the territorial fiefdoms and tribal warfare’s of American corporate and political spheres of influence on everyone, from outside mowing the lawn to the South Lawn.

Obama’s Still Wrong

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama reassures Jewish leaders on Hamas, Wright

Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday criticized former President Jimmy Carter for meeting with leaders of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas as he tried to reassure Jewish voters that his candidacy isn’t a threat to them or U.S. support for Israel.

I find it rather difficult to believe that Jewish leaders cannot discern the difference between what Carter is doing and what Obama is trying to reassure them of.

Talking to Hamas does not threaten Jews, Israel or anyone else. The whole idea that it could is sheer lunacy. It reduces international relations to a binary war or peace, with no room in the middle for a way toward peace.

Nor do I see how talking to Hamas is a threat to our support for Israel. The whole concept is just bullocks.

The Israelis and Palestinians are like a guy stuck in the bottom of a well who refuse to pulled up because the guy up on the surface has borrowed the rope from the other guy.

Secure Elections Act

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Irvu writes

“The US House of Representatives is considering HR. 5036, the ‘Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008,’ as introduced by Representative Rush Holt. The bill is scheduled for a floor vote later today. It would provide for emergency paper ballots, money for the addition of voter verifiable paper ballots to existing systems, and post-election audits. Crucially, the change to paper is opt-in, making it possible for local jurisdictions to govern their own choices. Here are two summaries of the bill. It was reported out of committee with strong bipartisan support. As of this morning the White house has opposed the bill but not threatened a veto, and some previously supportive Republicans have now changed their tune. Calls may be made to your house rep (click on ‘Find your representative’). Here’s a sample support letter.”


Navy Engages Blogs

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Navy Blogging Discussion, Again

It is noteworthy this policy is over 2 years old, because it is almost as if it was pulled out of the stack recently. The Navy shifted policy to engage the blogs sometime in early March. It is unclear where the shift came from, what was the cause, or who is driving it from within the Navy but a shift has happened.

I’ve seen it personally on a number of levels. It isn’t just the Professional community outside the Navy either, my Navy.mil hits are up nearly 300% in the last two months, and that was before blog entries began appearing in CLIPs.

I always thought that it was a bandwidth hog with videos and tunes, instead of a worry about talking out of school. Anyway good for them.


April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Could John McCain Actually Achieve The Impossible?

Could John McCain – and his advisers – actually be dumber than George W. Bush? Now, before you scoff…

People like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet don’t need their prescriptions underwritten by taxpayers. Those who can afford to buy their own prescription drugs should be expected to do so.

The last I checked, Medicare was for folks 65 and older and Bill Gates is 52.

I wonder why McBush didn’t mention some of his Senate colleagues at least. Oh yeah they have Senate health insurance, paid for by taxpayers who don’t have health care insurance.

The only people dumber than these guys are us.

Hug Your Inner Tubes Better Yet

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Embrace Your Inner Teddy Roosevelt

John McCain is for low taxes, rapid economic growth, and free trade. Those are the underpinnings of everything else he deems important:

Low taxes mean individuals keep more of their own money and therefore are freer to make choices and less dependent on government;

Obviously the readership of the National Standard are pretty dense according to this remark. (That would explain why their writers appear to be so too, eh, Billy?) I read on, but you can probably quote the Gipper in your own head, on why great nations need less government to exert great nation status on the lesser folk of the boondock world. It’s what Teddy Roosevelt would have done.

McCain Is Old Like The Hills, Not Like The Hill

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain Is Old Like Reagan, Not Like Dole ( Caution source linked is full of pop ups and other additional content that browsers gag on.)

Or, to put it another way, it’s not that age isn’t important to voters. It’s just that they prefer to measure it in less-than-literal terms, favoring the candidate who represents “the future” – no matter how old or young – over the one who represents “the past.” In this sense, a senior citizen is perfectly capable of running a youthful campaign, just as a middle-aged politician can seem hopelessly trapped in a bygone era.

Yeah it’s like middle aged bald guys doing the muscle beach thing, you know smoozing with the spring breakers. That’s why people write political viagra ads for him.

John McBush’s Gas Tax Relief

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Pandering by any other name.

It won’t pass in Congress, so what else is it besides confusing motion for action?

Update: We could theoretically discuss making up the lost revenue by bringing the troops home from Iraq. Theo rhetorically that would cover the cost.

It’s OK, We’re Professionals!

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz


The “one blogger” in this New Yorker story is Ann Friedman, the brilliant deputy editor of The American Prospect and a writer at Feministing. The New Yorker should learn how to credit the writers they quote.

John Cole Gets It Wrong

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Welcome To the Party, SUCKAS

One thing you can say about the Clintons- they sure know how to lose with their dignity in tact.

I think he meant in tack.

The Traditional Media Trys Trys Again

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The traditional media pundits did a spectacularly poor job predicting the fallout from “Bitter/Cling.” Shortly, they will all get raises.

I don’t think it was so much a failure to predict as it was a failure to influence the outcome.

I think it is important too, to remember that it wasn’t all of the media, but the two major cable news networks that looped this. That may explain why the tv is off around here now. It isn’t even a matter of trying to persuade, so much as bludgeon, their veiwers into thinking something is important when it isn’t. Whoever is in charge of story selection at the two cable news networks needs to go to blogspot or wordpress or typepad and get a real blog, instead of foisting their personal perspectives on the rest of us under the guise of fair and balanced reporting.

It is no longer a case of reporting the news, as it is in finding an event and making that event news, so that the Popes visit is somehow far more important to the lives of public at large than a misguided war falling apart at the seams is. Hell the organized crime wars in Juarez are resulting in a murder rate that would in New york City project out to 4500 in a year, and the closest we get to the news event in that is Lou Dobbs continuously ranting against the machine.

Admittedly I could be wrong, and most Americans need to be told not only what to think about, but be limited in the facts presented lest they actually figure out that the government and conglomerates are in bed with each other for sure, but the public is also in bed with them as the two hole solution to the advertisng and propaganda priapisms of power. People like me aren’t supposed to notice this is going on, which merely reinforced the observation that the media and government are massive f’n failures at doing what they say they are doing. The news ain’t and the government doesn’t.

Update: Market

I suppose it’s link to Ezra day. I think one should always be rather suspicious of market-based arguments to explain the content of the product we call “news.” MSNBC is a small part of a much larger organization whose interests are somewhat broader than just advertising revenue. Ditto ABC News, the Washington Post, CNN, etc. Even to the extent that MSNBC head honchos are trying to maximize advertising revenue and viewers of the right demographics, that doesn’t mean they have any idea what they’re doing.

Update II: The Lords General blogs in mysterious ways

Gene Weingarten
Washington Post

Dear Mr. Weingarten,

I just now finished listening to your interview on NPR’s On the Media. I was very happy to hear you praise Rush the way you did. Far too few people understand that he’s just funnin’ with blacks when he sings songs called “Obama the Magic Negro.”

Recarbonizing Industrialization

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Why Kyoto can’t work

Three climate experts offer some inconvenient truths. Roger Pielke, Tom Wigley and Christopher Green show it is even more urgent than we thought to abandon the failed Kyoto strategy and move quickly to policies that might actually reduce carbon emissions.

Any workable strategy has to include India and China: Kyoto did not. As they rapidly industrialise and reduce poverty, their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise steeply — by as much as 13% a year for the period from 2000 to 2010 in the case of China.

Of course the pointed heads will nay say this too, and having passed from the scene not have to endure the told you sos that they have had to endure with Iraq, globalization, etc. etc, ad infintum.

Space Junking

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sky jam: A computer-generated image released by the European Space Agency on Tuesday shows trackable objects, such as satellites, in low Earth orbit (LOE). There are now more than 12 000 objects that are monitored in orbit, 11 500 of which are in LOE, where debris can stay adrift for decades. (AFP)


Case Closed

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Rural N.C. voters speak on politics, ‘bitter’ label

The Kannapolis woman has spent a decade on disability, struggling to pay the rent and buy groceries on $872 a month.

“I’m very bitter about it,” Johnson, 60, said Tuesday. “You can’t even go in and buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for less than 10 bucks hardly.”

I don’t think they’re bitter,” said Hal Allmon Jr., owner of Hal’s Pawn and Guns in Concord. “They’re just frustrated.”

`Yeah, I’m bitter’

Dave Loveless, 35, manager of Movie Gallery in Belmont, said he understands Obama’s sentiment.”The average American is feeling disenfranchised,” he said.

Ronald Easterling of Kannapolis worked 16 years at the town’s old Pillowtex plant. Now he supports a family of five on the $8 an hour he makes at Wal-Mart.

“Yeah, I’m bitter,” he said, “because it’s gotten to the point now where politicians are turning their backs on what the rich people are doing. Only a few are making it now, and a lot of us ain’t.”

Jeff Watson, a Gastonia Democrat who voted twice for President Bush, hadn’t heard about Obama’s “guns and God” comment, but he didn’t like the sound of it. Watson, 45, doesn’t know who he’ll vote for in the primary, but he will vote for Republican Sen. John McCain in November.

“Don’t like neither one — their beliefs,” said Watson, a supervisor for a company that makes plastic parts, while shopping for gospel music at LifeWay Christian Stores in Gastonia. “I just pray about it and ask the Lord to help me.”

Nuff said.


BTW British PM Here Too

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

US prepares a rapturous welcome for world leader. And the PM is there too

Gordon Brown flew into the US last night hours after Pope Benedict XVI arrived for his first visit.

Although Brown’s three-day trip has been billed by Downing Street as one of the most important of his premiership, it is being swamped in the US by the coverage of the Pope’s visit.

Apparently the PM hasn’t many troops anymore either.

Well That Ain’t Going To Happening

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Queen’s English Is Dead

People like me, native English speakers, are heading to the ashcan of history. By 2010, estimates language researcher David Graddol, 2 billion people on the planet will be communicating in English — but only 350 million will be native speakers. By 2020, native speakers will have diminished to 300 million. My American English, which I grew up speaking in an accent that matched what I heard on National Public Radio and 60 Minutes, is already difficult for many English-speakers to understand.

Damned You by Yodda, to speak a new way.

I’ll admit sometimes I feel a little sad when my pal from Japan doesn’t get my double entendres or idiomatic jokes. I like to play with language, and it’s hard to be quite so ludic when language is a tool and nothing more.

I just don’t think that the growing number of second language speakers of English are going to rob the native speakers of the playfulness of the language. which is learned early on in childhood. There are certain things that are exclusive to writing or speaking one’s own native tongue as Ciardi has noted in “How Does A Poem Mean?” Long before language is a tool it is a toy, and some toys you can’t take away from the child within.

They Used To Call It Dumping

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama warns China over currency

Barack Obama, the US Democratic presidential hopeful, has warned China that if elected he could restrict access to US markets if Beijing does not stop manipulating the value of its currency.

“If you are doing the right thing and not trying to manipulate your currencies to our disadvantage then you will have access,” Obama told United Steelworkers union members and other industrial workers.

Hillary Clinton, Obama’s rival for the nomination, also criticised Chinese trade practices in her speech to the same audience.

“We need solutions to fix our trade laws, build a strong manufacturing base and stand up to China and say that unsafe toys and unfair currency practices are unacceptable.”

Beijing limits the value of the yuan to a narrow trading band and has said that restrictions are needed to protect China’s developing financial industries.

This has also helped Chinese exporters, who have been able to to sell their goods cheaply on US markets, leaving local manufacturers unable to compete.

Now it’s called being dumped on.

Update: The link is to al Jazeera, so before you click think, do you really want Uncle Sam following your net surfing for the rest of your life?

A Vast Amount Of Time

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Dissin’ The Blogs

From the way I understand it, in the highly competitive Oregon Seante primary, Steve Novick has more online and general progressive grtassroots support than Jeff Merkley. If I am wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments. And yet, recent comments by Novick might reveal that while he has online support, it isn’t exactly a constiuency that he takes very seriously. This following is written by a Merkley supporter, but Noick’s comments are hard to defend:

Deep inside the Willamette Week endorsement interview of the Dems running for the U.S. Senate, there’s a clip of Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick talking about blogging. And it sparked a mini-firestorm in the netroots over the weekend.

In the clip, Jeff Merkley praises the blogs, noting that the netroots will spread the word about our Senate race in the fall. But Steve Novick dismissed blogging as “a way for a number of people to waste a vast quantity of time.”

Hey! If I can get my two readers to blow cokes and coffee into the keyboard I am contributing to the economy in ways not measurable by standard deviants. This keeps them from wasting time as they think of reasons that these things happen when they are talking to the IT department.

Very Serious People

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama plays basketball not the sax.

From yesterday’s White House press briefing:

Q: …It’s been suggested that the President, who has met so often with Catholic leaders and reached out so aggressively to Catholic groups, and whose social views very closely reflect Catholic Orthodoxy, is actually America’s first Catholic President. What do you think of that? (Laughter.)

MS. PERINO: He’s also been called America’s — or, the first Jewish President, is what the Israelis call him, too.

The foolish questioner who posed that query must figure that John Kennedy really wasn’t Catholic, because he didn’t take his orders from the Vatican, and that maybe Bush does? Hmmm, let’s think about that.

Yeah Clinton was the first black President, and Carter, well, Carter…

McCain Should Know About Bankers

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Speech! Speech! (as derided, Live on TV)

Following the deregulation of the banking industry in the 1980s, savings and loan associations (also known as thrifts) were given the flexibility to invest their depositors’ funds in commercial real estate. (Previously, they had been restricted to investing in residential real estate.) Many savings and loan associations began making risky investments. As a result, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the federal agency that regulates the industry, tried to clamp down on the trend. In so doing, however, the FHLBB clashed with the Reagan administration, whose policy was deregulation of many industries, including the thrift industry. The administration declined to submit budgets to Congress that would request more funding for the FHLBB’s regulatory efforts.

In 1989, the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, Calif., collapsed. Lincoln’s chairman, Charles H. Keating Jr., was faulted for the thrift’s failure. Keating, however, told the House Banking Committee that the FHLBB and its former chief Edwin J. Gray were pursuing a vendetta against him.

You would think that McCain would talk about his experiences in dealing with shyster bankers jube jubing the public.

Still Sucks

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Bush beats Harry Truman … to set record for extended presidential unpopularity

In the new poll, Bush’s approval rate stood at 33 percent, just 1 percent age point above his all-time low. The President’s approval rating has been relatively stable in ABC/Post polling; he hasn’t topped 36 percent since November 2006.

Seventy percent of Americans give Bush a thumbs-down for his handling of the economy — a record. His rating for handling Iraq isn’t much better: 33 percent like it but 65 percent do not.

These guys never call my house.

Get Your YA YAs

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz


Researchers tell voting firms, time for a truce

A major issue with most electronic voting machines is that there is no way to do a software-independent audit of the election results. In the 2006 midterm elections, many states took extra security precautions after researchers found that Diebold’s election systems contained a serious flaw. Another election system failure may have resulted in a loss for the Democratic challenger in a contest for one of Florida’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, when the configuration of the electronic ballot likely resulted in a large number of people in a Democratic-leaning county failing to vote.

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