Saturday, May 31, 2008
The proposed Iraqi-American agreement would provide a legal framework for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after Dec. 31, when their U.N. mandate expires. Sadr views the pact as a blow to Iraq's sovereignty. His main Shiite rival, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who heads the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq -- an influential Shiite political party that is part of Maliki's ruling coalition -- has also denounced the plans. Aides to Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, have also expressed concern.Oh, looks like the U. S. is negotiating w/ its puppet Al-Maliki to stay longer. Kinda like Edgar Bergen & Mortimer Snerd (or Paul Winchell & Jerry Mahoney, if you want your references from the '50s) negotiating w/ each other. Someone's hand is up someone else's booty.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Upon the cast, your broken arm Stairway to the stars, I think I'll write good health to you Stairway to the stars, I hope you heal up real quickHe's like Hallmark cards, a lyric for every possible situation. As to Clear Channel, information will be on its way tomorrow, cara Sophia, & we do hope you heal up real quick. And sue like nobody's business. Ciao!!
He had spent the previous four years as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate, sampling life in the world’s most exclusive club as he escorted its members on trips around the globe — sitting with the sultan of Oman on the floor of his desert tent, or smuggling a senator’s private supply of Scotch through Saudi Arabian customs.We see how he ran on his status as a "war hero," as opposed to knowing anything about the Arid Zone & what an actual representative would have to know about the state to, um, represent it. And how Cindy's dad helped. A lot.
He had found a sense of purpose in an apprenticeship to some of the Senate’s fiercest cold warriors. And in Senator John G. Tower, a hawkish Texas Republican, he had found a new mentor, beginning a relationship that many compared to the bond between a father and son.
With Mr. Tower’s encouragement, Mr. McCain declined the prospect of his first admiral’s star to make a run for Congress, saying that he could “do more good there,” Mr. Lehman recalled. But Mr. Lehman knew duty was only part of the reason.
“He just loved it up there,” Mr. Lehman recalled. “Like very few military people, John heard the music up there, and he really wanted to do it.”
With Hensley beer money and other contributions, the McCain camp began spreading his story through advertising. There were photos and videotapes of him limping across the tarmac, returning home after years as a prisoner of war. The candidate also was aided by his friendship with Arizona Republic Publisher Darrow "Duke" Tully, who touted himself as a war hero and was eager to spread McCain's story across his pages. The two were so close that Tully was named godfather to John and Cindy McCain's first child. (Tully resigned from the paper after it was learned that he had fabricated his war achievements; it turned out he had never served in the military.) Another influential friend was financier Charles H. Keating Jr. The Phoenix resident raised more than $100,000 for McCain. (Keating went to prison in the 1990s for his role in the failure of Lincoln Savings & Loan.)
Carlson had moved to the Phoenix area about 15 years before McCain and worked to build her Arizona resume. She was a county committeewoman and a state representative. Before that she headed a local GOP women's group. When Rhodes stepped down, she figured it was her turn to move up. Two other candidates jumped in, which threatened to split the important Mormon vote. Then, as she said, in waltzed this out-of-towner named John McCain. "It bothered me. It bothered a lot of people," she said. At town hall meetings, she said, McCain's aura as a war hero upstaged everything. "It's pretty hard to run against that," she said. "How do you debate issues important to Arizona like groundwater contamination when everyone is talking about him as a POW celebrity?"Then you could turn to the local fish-wrapper's op-ed page & see how dedicated Johnny Mack is to his fellow vets. Apparently if they actually get benefits comparable to WWII vets, Sid's afraid they won't re-up for the many, many more wars "we" must have in order to insure democracy, squash terrorism, & control every natural resource that some other country has the nerve to be sitting on.
We've previously covered (alright, alright, excerpted & linked to, not "covered") the "McCain screws his fellow vets" angle. Twice.
And we'll leave you w/ this:
At one point, Mack reportedly tried to maneuver around the celebrity candidate by reaching out to McCain's first wife, Carol, in search of anything that might sink him. But Carol alerted McCain and, at the next debate, he unloaded. "If you ever try to hurt anyone in my family again," McCain said he warned Mack, "I will personally beat the [expletive] out of you." In describing the incident in his memoirs, McCain said: "I used as much steel as I'm capable of demonstrating" in forcing Mack to back off. Asked about the episode, Mack said: "I don't want to talk about it.""If you ever try to hurt anybody in my family..." Let's see, what's more hurtful, dumping your wife who raised your children while you were in the Hanoi Hilton, or asking the dumpee (Not really a family member any more, is she?) if she might have something bad to say about the asswipe who dumped her? Get the impression that Sid's response to virtually anything said to or about him would be "I will personally beat the [expletive] out of you?" Including other nations & world leaders? Just what we need, yet another pin-dicked pseudo-macho hothead in the White House.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The bedroom community for New York bankers and traders isn't suffering like the rest of the nation, but it's still feeling the pinch.We don't know if Times readers are supposed to feel sorry for people who actually have "disposable income," & believe that the wealthy are suffering as much as we are & we shouldn't go kill them, or if this is some sort of liberal/Marxist attempt at class warfare, to make the wage-slaves want to take their guns to Greenwich & bag a few non-productive parasites. (Remember, "class warfare" is not when the disposable income crowd cheats & exploits those who work for their – & the disposable incomers – living, "class warfare" is when someone mentions that working people are being fucked by their employers on a daily basis. Very, very similar to the right wing approach to "race." Mention racism & you're "playing the race card," or you're the anti-honkie racist.)
Sylwester Lemanski was this close to selling a $400,000 Lamborghini to a Wall Street investment banker. The customer had been eyeing the car for months at the dealership Lemanski manages. He had decided on the model and color -- a titanium Murcielago -- and needed only to sign on the bottom line. Then, as financial markets teetered in March and layoffs mounted on Wall Street, the customer started getting cold feet. Lemanski could feel the deal slipping away.Oh, the pain.
Hedge-fund titans still have plenty of money. But pain is acute among rank-and-file investment bankers and traders -- those earning only $2 million or so a year -- who are worried about their jobs.You call sitting in a fucking office all day long having your assistant get you lattes & make lunch reservations a "job?" Try digging a ditch, driving a truck, or working retail for a while, "rank-and-filers." You wouldn't last a day. And a customer would probably punch your lights out. We're tempted to do so just on general principles.
The big concern: As energy and commodity prices soar, cost increases will seep into areas beyond food and energy, sparking a full-blown episode of inflation. So far, government statistics say that hasn't happened. Core prices — those minus food and energy — have risen just 2.3% the 12 months ended April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nevertheless, the inflation that consumers feel the most is much higher. Energy alone has soared 15.9%, and the price of a barrel of light sweet crude oil has skyrocketed 107% to $131.03. Including food and energy, prices are up 3.9%, the government says. Already, says David Huether, economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, soaring energy prices mean that the average worker's wages have fallen, when adjusted for inflation. "If you exclude energy, real wages would be rising now," Huether says.St. Nick on a Stick, when the NAM (they would have been w/ Prescott Bush supporting Hitler in the '30s, they are so right wing) says it's a problem for workers, you'd better take it seriously. It happened during the Nixon/Ford administration, now America's idiots let Bush in once & sort of reëlected him the second time around & the result is the same. Do you fucking morons never learn? And by the way, "inflation concerns?" Have you priced (let alone purchased) milk or bread lately? The very staffs (staves?) of life (along w/ circuses, of course) aren't exactly what they were a yr. ago.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
To this day, the president seems unbothered by the disconnect between the chief rationale for the war and the driving motivation behind it, and unconcerned about how the case was packaged. The policy is the right one and history will judge it so, once a free Iraq is firmly in place and the Middle East begins to become more democratic. Bush clung to the same belief during an interview with Tim Russert of NBC News in early February 2004. The Meet the Press host asked, "In light of not finding the weapons of mass destruction, do you believe the war in Iraq is a war of choice or a war of necessity? " The president said, "That's an interesting question. Please elaborate on that a bit. A war of choice or a war of necessity? It's a war of necessity. In my judgment, we had no choice, when we look at the intelligence I looked at, that says the man was a threat." I remember talking to the president about this question following the interview. He seemed puzzled and asked me what Russert was getting at with the question. This, in turn, puzzled me. Surely this distinction between a necessary, unavoidable war and a war that the United States could have avoided but chose to wage was an obvious one that Bush must have thought about in the months before the invasion. Evidently it wasn't obvious to the president, nor did his national security team make sure it was. He set the policy early on and then his team focused his attention on how to sell it. It strikes me today as an indication of his lack of inquisitiveness and his detrimental resistance to reflection, something his advisers needed to compensate for better than they did. Most objective observers today would say that in 2003 there was no urgent need to address the threat posed by Saddam with a large-scale invasion, and therefore the war was not necessary. But this is a question President Bush seems not to want to grapple with.Yes, George W. is that lazy, ignorant, & unreflective. McClellan says that proud C student Bush is intelligent, but just doesn't want to think. "It's hard work," as George has said. And he wants no part of it, after all, he's a Bush, & that sort of thing is really beneath him. We should also point out that McClellan is not a "Washington insider" or Wall Street nabob who joined the administration only to be disillusioned & write a book, but a fellow Texan who worked for Bush long before he was appointed president. One last bit, from the WaPo:
In another section, McClellan describes Bush as able to convince himself of his own spin and relates a phone call he overheard Bush having during the 2000 campaign, in which he said he could not remember whether he had used cocaine. "I remember thinking to myself, 'How can that be?'" he writes.We're also holding our breath as to when Congress will act on impeachment of these fucks. What more do you cowards need? This is well beyond the political; if starting an unnecessary war isn't a high crime or misdemeanor, what the hell is?
"We want what Middle America has as well," said the second-generation Mexican American, recounting the meeting. "We like to go to nice places like Claim Jumpers, Chili's and Applebee's. . . . We don't want the fly-by-night business, the 'amigo store,' which they use to attract Latinos like myself." [...] Anthony Bejarano, a Baldwin Park councilman and graduate of Georgetown University law school, is a fourth-generation Mexican American who says he speaks "very little Spanish." He said that the proliferation of what the mayor calls "amigo stores" forces him to go to other cities to shop. "I love to go to traditional Mexican restaurants. I shop at Vallarta [supermarket], but I can't get everything I need," he said. "At the end of the day, it's all Mexican restaurants here. When we want Italian, when we want sushi, where do we go? If I want a pair of Kenneth Coles, I have to go to Arcadia."Yeah, everything Pat Buchanan says is absolutely true: The Meskins all want to live in enclaves eating tortillas until they suddenly emerge to take America back from the Anglos who stole it from them right after they stole it from the First Americans. And we certainly sympathize w/ those poor souls who have to go all the way to Arcadia to get some Kenneth Coles. Corporate America is following the money, of course, which is how everyone gets assimilated.
The response by many retailers was often "This is not our customer," said Luis Valenzuela, executive vice president for NAI Capital, a commercial real estate brokerage firm. "The difference now is that corporate America has realized there's tremendous buying power in these communities." [...] And after the Starbucks opened in South Gate, it became one of the chain's leading seller of Frappuccinos, Valenzuela said. "You had some mainstream stores who really took a risk, for the first time really going into a predominantly Spanish-speaking area," Valenzuela said. "After that, you really saw Ross, Marshall, Applebee's, Chili's and a lot of those businesses in Latino areas," he said.By the way, if any of our readers have ever set foot in a Claim Jumper, Chili's, Applebee's, Olive Garden or the like, let alone eaten in one, you are cordially invited to fuck off & die, & never to darken our web log again. Moving on to crime, the racist crowd, if they weren't pathetic losers looking to blame their misfortunes on someone else, might be informed by the Times story indicating that it isn't genetics but lead poisoning that makes inner city/urban people a little more criminal than white suburbanites. Especially when combined w/ whatever social pathologies exist in those inner cities.
About 38 million U.S. homes, 40% of the nation's housing, still contain lead-based paint, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The problem is particularly acute in urban areas, which typically have older housing that has not been renovated.Remember the Roman Empire, whose decline & fall has been attributed to the use of lead pipes in plumbing.
Researchers have long known that lead exposure reduces IQ by damaging brain cells in children during their early years.It is also known that lead increases children's distractibility, impulsiveness and restlessness and shortens their attention span, all factors considered precursors of aggressive or violent behavior. [...] "The most important message is that lead affects brain volume, independent of demographic and social factors that are often used to explain away poor outcomes" in life, Cecil said. "This is independent biological evidence showing that the brain is affected by lead."Two strikes & you're out. But let's keep thinking that colored folks are sub-human animals by nature, who can't ever be allowed into "decent" society. We anxiously await a Congressional initiative to strip & re-paint houses w/ lead paint. And as usual, we aren't holding our breath.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Ruminating over brain damage and other fun things on a Memorial Day weekend
Fighting off a bug this weekend and catching up on my reading. So I've been going through a big stack of cognitive/neurology newsletters I get, and as you'd imagine there is a lot of discussion on brain injuries suffered by Iraqi veterans, particularly due to concussion caused by IED's. Very profound after effects with a lot of changes in memory, skills and, most fascinatingly, behavior; victims can get quite nasty, vile and dangerous. (I'm more than a little familiar with these things first hand myself following seizures.) But it is astounding how much damage can be caused to the brain by concussion alone. Which got me to thinking.... I wonder, during the First World War, especially on the Western Front, just how many concussions were inflicted upon the soldiers who were subjected to all that shell fire? What was it? Hundreds of millions of shells fired? Is that an exaggeration? It had to be in the tens of millions anyway. Falling in a very small area, upon enormous numbers of men, for four years. Even accounting for all the duds and gas shells, that is an incredible amount of explosions in a small area upon a lot of guys over a long period of time. Who knows how many of those soldiers were concussed, and how often? There must have been, then, enormous numbers of men in postwar Europe who suffered from the after effects. So...did those after-effects collectively have an effect on post war Europe? Did those hundreds of thousands – maybe millions – of concussed soldiers with all those classic symptoms of paranoia and hostility and rage and depression and confusion – were they in numbers sufficient enough to actually alter the social and political atmosphere of societies and nations in the post-war years? Pre-war and post-war Europe were much different places. Post-WWI Europe was much more violent, rent by extremism and sociopathic political movements. And I wonder if any of that mass brain damage among the men of Europe in the twenties and thirties somehow made Nazism possible? Would normal people ever have fallen for it? Hell, was Hitler himself a victim of post-concussion effects...is that what made him so evil? He spent time in the trenches, exposed, and was nearly blown to hell a couple times. A lucky bastard...but did he suffer after effects? Just an idea. But the Europe of 1918 to 1945...man, that is one inexplicably berserk place. Another horrible phenomenon that fascinates me is all these incredibly violent 'armies' of boys in Africa. They seem to be raised from the masses of orphans left by AIDS. There must be tens of millions of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, and in many places so many adults have died or are dying that the social structure is simply not capable of taking care of them. Hence sociopaths collect them, Manson-like, into armies and they being kids they make ideal killers. Of course, HIV is becoming less lethal as the more virulent versions kill their hosts and, like malaria, soon it'll just incapacitate but leave the hosts capable of bearing and raising children. The supply of AIDS orphans will drop, and those armies will disappear. Funny how that happens. It's interesting that the Spanish flu pandemic had a mortality demographic somewhat similar to AIDS in that it killed almost exclusively people in the 18 to 35 year range (roughly..I can't remember the exact age range but it was young adults. The reason for this, btw, is that people above that and kids below had a resistance they'd developed after being subjected to a flu strain that the vulnerable group in between missed.) The flu killed tens of millions in Europe in 1918-19. I am guessing, then, that it left millions of orphans, especially combined with so many fathers having been killed in the war. It'd be interesting to see how many young Nazis in the early thirties were orphans. Anyway, little something to ponder on Memorial Day, I guess. War and its leftovers seem to linger long after the shooting stops. BrickEditor's Note: While we do present ourselves as the "Editor" here, we only spell-checked Brick's opus (Try it yourself sometime, B., it's fun!) & can't be responsible for any syntactical &/or grammatical errors. We don't have all day to check others' shoddy work. M. B.
Today, while you're consuming at a Memorial Day mattress sale, polluting the air while charring animal corpses laced w/ hormones & anti-biotics, financing terrorism by driving a gasoline-powered vehicle, or getting the white clothes out of the closet, please take a minute to remember all the Americans who've been murdered by your government for the benefit of the military-industrial complex, granting you the "freedom" & "liberty" to be wire-tapped by the FBI or any number of other three-letter government agencies, &/or used up & thrown away by a corporate entity.