The resignation of the 16-member government opened the door to speculation that the emir, the country's head of state, would dissolve parliament and call elections to defuse growing tension between the two branches of government in Kuwait's volatile democracy.And democracy.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Nine of the 12 said McCain could have won their vote. Mark Parowski, who described himself as a "hard-core Republican," didn't pick Obama until the moment he was in the election booth. His wife had been to Obama's last rally in Manassas, Va., the night before, along with 90,000 others, and said it sounded as if Obama was talking right to her in her living room. His disgust with Republicans was a big factor in his vote, Parowski said, but he also saw backing Obama as a chance to make a generational change.[...]No one thought he was an elitist celebrity. Several mentioned that he'd once been so poor he owned a car with a hole in the floor. Two women (both of whom voted for Bush in the last two elections) had been impressed by Oprah's endorsement, which was when they first heard about Obama.
A regular on the Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, Mary Katharine Ham is the online editor of The Washington Examiner. Formerly the managing editor of Townhall.com, O'Reilly is wearing a green three-quarter length sheared mink coat with laser grooving from Miller's Furs. (Courtesy 2008 Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute/Photography by KochFoto)Talk about lipstick on a pig. Ms. Ham doesn't usually look this bad when she's not tarted up. Maybe the stylist was having some fun.
The National Black Republicans Association has called for president elect Obama to issue a formal apology for the Democratic Party’s 150 year history of racism.
"President-elect Barack Obama has yet to attend church services since winning the White House earlier this month, a departure from the example of his two immediate predecessors.Working link to the Politico story. Is this why Obama should go to church more often, so he can be told he's gawd's personal choice? We were under the impression that B. O.'s ego was so swollen (due to his right wing-granted "messianic" status) that having his ass kissed in the name of gawd wouldn't be such a good idea. Nonetheless, we'll doubtless be hearing that he's a gawdless Muslim, & here's the proof: No church! This is going to be an ugly eight yrs. And since the Prez-elect is calm, cool, collected & too damn smart to make much of a fool of himself, we'll have to be looking to the rabid weasel assault on him for amusement/outrage, not the actions of the administration. Alright!!
Both President-elect George W. Bush and President-elect Bill Clinton managed to attend church in the weeks after they were elected.
In the weeks after the contested 2000 election, Bush regularly attended services at Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, and Al Gore was frequently photographed arriving at and leaving church in Virginia.
"On his first day as president-elect, following weeks of Florida recounts and court hearings, Bush went to church with his wife, Laura. They attended an invite-only prayer service on Thursday, Dec. 14, at Tarrytown United Methodist Church. About 300 people attended, including top campaign staff and visiting clergy. During the service, the Rev. Mark Craig, senior pastor at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, told Bush, "You have been chosen by God to lead the people."
Obama was an infrequent churchgoer on the campaign trail.... blah, blah"
Obama skips church, heads to gym JONATHAN MARTIN & CAROL E. LEE | 11/23/08 3:41 PM EST http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15902.html
Rev. Mark Craig, senior pastor at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, told Bush, "You have been chosen by God to lead the people."
The group's dozens of staffers have been paid through the end of the year. After that, Freedom's Watch is likely to shut its doors permanently, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Technically an issue-advocacy group rather than a political campaign arm, Washington-based Freedom's Watch spent $30 million on television and radio ads in the general election, plus an undisclosed amount on mail and phone-call campaigns.Golly gee willikers gosh, we hope that nice Mr. Fleischer ("People better start watching what they say.") won't have to do real work any time soon. But we don't know if the lecture circuit for disgraced losers is going to be as lucrative as previously. What w/ the economy & all.
Monday, November 24, 2008
[A] stinging 400-page independent commission report ... concluded the military isn't ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and that National Guard forces don't have the equipment or training they need for the job.Gosh, once again the Pentagon is fighting the last century's wars w/ high-dollar contracts for useless hardware given to military-industrial corporations that donate to the Republican Party, rather than train & equip troops. That's only been happening since we became vaguely aware of events in the larger world, around the time JFK was murdered. No surprise there. Any serious changes to be made? Not by SecDef Gates.
The commission's report included 95 recommendations. But Gates did not order many of those changes urged by the commission to give National Guard and Reserve troops better access to promotions, military training and education programs and other benefits. Instead, in most cases he ordered leaders in the Defense Department and the military services to review their programs to determine whether changes are needed.So we have a commission, followed by a "program review," followed by little or no action on any recommendations, and then sweet oblivion. Perhaps just as well. We're not at all enthusiastic about this:
Arnold L. Punaro, who was chairman of the commission, welcomed Gates' recommendations Monday, saying that improving the military's role in homeland defense and enhancing the clout of the reserves "represent a historic break with the past."We don't like the idea of the military becoming more involved w/ homeland defense, this not being a banana republic.
Unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation laws. Illegal treatment, storage and disposal of a hazardous waste without a permit.Fuck w/ the environment, get a free pass, we guess. Silliest conviction?
Unlawful use of a telephone in a narcotics felony.Silly-sounding, yes, but more apropos would be "most chickenshit." What's next, manslaughter charges if one calls a friend to meet at a bar & someone dies hours later due to drunk driving, say? And, obviously, the "PATRIOT" Act. or a secret executive order, enables them to listen to & record said 'phone call. Open & shut.
In its invasion of Afghanistan, do you believe the United States benefited from the Soviet experience? Do you see any evidence of your lessons from the Soviet defeat? I can tell you which mistakes you made and which mistakes we made. They are the same mistakes.[...]We said, "Afghans, you are living according to the Soviet way of life, where religion is separated from the state, mullahs should be expelled, religion is the opiate of the people. You'll be living in collective farms. You will have pioneer camps, Comsomol [youth] organizations, and so on and so forth." The Soviet way of life in a country that still lives in the Dark Ages! And what did you say? You said, "We are giving you democracy." They cannot even translate the term properly. Under us there was a lot of corruption, and today there's a lot of corruption. Neither under you nor under us did an ordinary person get anything.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
But step 1 is to fire Limbaugh and his ilk as the intellectual bosses of the GOP. They shouldn't be muzzled, as some liberals want to do by reviving the "fairness doctrine" in broadcasting, just ignored more frequently. In recent years, Republicans have let right-wing talk-show hosts whip the GOP base into frenzies -- over immigration, brain-damage victim Terry Schiavo and same-sex marriage -- that have branded the party as troglodyte.
The result is that the demographic groups representing the future of American politics shifted decisively to the Democratic Party in 2008 -- Latinos, young people, the well-educated, moderates, working women, first-time voters, suburbanites and "seculars." As former White House political guru Karl Rove observed last week, "the GOP will find it hard to regain the majority" if it keeps losing Latinos. [...] At a briefing last week jointly sponsored by the "New Democrat" Progressive Policy Institute and Web site Democratic Strategist, author Ruy Teixeira said that the gist of his 2002 book, "The Emerging Democratic Majority," is now becoming reality. "Democrats are going where they're growing," he said, while Republicans are isolating themselves in a fading portion of the population -- old, white, less-educated, highly religious Southerners.
One might almost say "The Party's over." Or even, "The Party's over, whitey!"The lesson is clear: No party can win a national election depending mainly on voters who are pale, male and gray. As Jon Huntsman Jr., the Republican governor of Utah, puts it: "We're fundamentally staring down a demographic shift that we've never seen before in America."
[W]ell-educated suburbanites [...] fault Republican leaders for overemphasizing some issues (abortion, same-sex marriage) while ignoring others (the environment, climate change).Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, wrote recently in the Washington Post: "Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness."[...]YOUTH. Voters under 30 favored Obama by 66 percent to 32 percent, the biggest margin for any party since exit polling began in 1972. Underlying trends are even more threatening to Republicans. Younger voters are more racially diverse than their elders: Only 62 percent were white compared to 74 percent for the electorate as a whole. And they are more likely to be female and secular, both signs of Democratic tendencies.
As Republicans plot their return to power, one stark fact emerges from the 2008 election: They can't count on the white guys anymore. There are just not enough of them. And their influence will continue to diminish in the years ahead.
While his exact plans remain unclear, Haggard is unmistakably making himself a public figure again, nine months after his former church said he walked away from an oversight process meant to restore him. [...] Haggard's Nov. 2 return to the pulpit was set in motion by the Rev. Chris Byrd, a college classmate from Oral Roberts University. Byrd said he first invited Haggard to speak at his church last summer to offer the Haggard family support, help them heal and teach his own flock about sin and forgiveness.Both alums of Oral Roberts are they? How does that happen?
Byrd said he was not restoring Haggard to Christian ministry and introduced him as a businessman — hinting at a possible future speaking to churches and civic groups. "You could make a career out of your reformed fallen Christian life," said David Edward Harrell, a retired Auburn University history professor who studies charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. "What you can't do is go back and do the same thing. Once you've lost that clientele, it's lost."Fortunately for Pastor Ted, there's another born each minute.
[Haggard] had moved his family back to Colorado Springs and was selling life insurance at their $700,000 home down the road from New Life Church, angering some who thought he should stay away.
If I had my druthers right now we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day. Forget the inaugural balls; we can’t afford them. Forget the grandstands; we don’t need them. Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One.
Right now there is something deeply dysfunctional, bordering on scandalously irresponsible, in the fractious way our political elite are behaving — with business as usual in the most unusual economic moment of our lifetimes. They don’t seem to understand: Our financial system is imperiled.As if that would be the end of the universe or something.
The stock and credit markets haven’t been fooled. They have started to price financial stocks at Great Depression levels, not just recession levels. With $5, you can now buy one share of Citigroup and have enough left over for a bite at McDonalds.Tom obviously doesn't get out much, as that $5.00 he's talking about is barely enough for a "bite" at Mickey D's. Who knows what Citigroup is worth today? And it is possible we should be worried. It's not just Mr. "I Married an Heiress" whose knickers are bunched tightly.
“A great judgment has to be made now as to just how big and bad the situation is,” says Jeffrey Garten, the Yale School of Management professor of international finance. “This is a crucial judgment. Do we think that a couple of hundred billion more and couple of bad quarters will take care of this problem, or do we think that despite everything that we have done so far — despite the $700 billion fund to rescue banks, the lowering of interest rates and the way the Fed has stepped in directly to shore up certain markets — the bottom is nowhere in sight and we are staring at a deep hole that the entire world could fall into?”We just want to know when we'll see the real suffering, the bread-lines & food riots, the suicides of the wealthy, the abandoned & burned-out storefronts, the empty malls, the cars being pulled by teams of horses, etc. We don't have forever, let's get a move on here!
If it’s the latter, then we need a huge catalyst of confidence and capital to turn this thing around. Only the new president and his team, synchronizing with the world’s other big economies, can provide it.
“The biggest mistake Obama could make,” added Garten, “is thinking this problem is smaller than it is. On the other hand, there is far less danger in overestimating what will be necessary to solve it.”
Saturday, November 22, 2008
There are many ways to measure how screwed Republicans are after the last election. You can look at the avalanche of swing states that broke big for Barack. You can look at the demographic shifts that left McCain-Palin with decisive wins only among voters over age 60 and towns with populations under 50,000. Or you can look at my emergency telegram from John McCain.Over 60 & under 50,000. Nice. Even nicer is the realization that we may see an actual evolutionary change in the politics of This Great Nation of Ours; it's not every day a major party disappears from the landscape, & the two current parties have been at this crap for 148 yrs.
But nostalgia is apparently alive and well at the RNC. They’ve been sending these same fundraising letters since at least the 1970s, when a portion of the population could still equate “telegram” with “urgent.” How quickly the Republicans recognize their need to modernize will depend on how much they like losing. It’s not an impossible task to catch the Democrats, but it will require a cultural revolution inside the GOP. Because, like generals fighting the last war (or campaigns re-running culture war scripts that riff on late-1960s divides), the right-wing direct mail “gurus” who profit from every GOP campaign didn’t feel it necessary to update their templates for the third presidential campaign of the 21st century. Or, arguably worse, they were actually aiming for the very, very old among us.
Either way, it illustrates a comment made to me by a top GOP strategist during the campaign: “Our voters don’t use the Internet.” No doubt this was a well-researched fact. But accepting it is also the kiss of death, because it becomes justification for inaction. It’s an acceptance that the GOP has become that party that pridefully plays to the low tech, an inevitably declining slice of the demographic pie. They have become the “Party of Memory” that Emerson wrote about in the early days of our democracy, versus “the Party of Hope” as re-branded by Obama.No further doubt possible: they're actually, actively proud of their bestial ignorance. We'll miss them when they're gone.
Bill McInturff, speaking at a National Journal breakfast on Thursday, said the political environment for the GOP in 2008 was worse than anything he has seen in his time polling since former Soviet empires were breaking the shackles of communism. "Reporters would call me up and say, 'have you ever seen this?'" McInturff said of George W. Bush's approval ratings. "And I say, 'yeah, Bulgaria 1992.'"Man. That is harsh. Even better? This:
Testify, brother!Unrestrained by the formalities of the election, McInturff levied some sharps words at fellow GOPers who -- generally speaking -- never really were bullish on the idea of a McCain presidency. The most biting jabs were saved for communications guru Frank Luntz."I saw Frank Luntz," said McInturff, "who is a moron -- I want to make sure this is clearly on the record -- he was talking to Republican governors, making fun of John for not being able to use a BlackBerry. The man can't do it because he is much more disabled than people can imagine... I would like to take a hammer and start breaking bones in Frank's arms."
Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.Ms. Collins is right. Get him out now!! One caveat however.
The person who would like this plan least probably would be Barack Obama. Who would want to be saddled with the auto industry’s problems ahead of schedule? The heads of America’s great carmaking corporations are so dim that they couldn’t even survive hearings run by members of Congress who actually wanted to help them. Really, when somebody asks you exactly how much money you need, the answer should not be something along the line of “a whole bunch.”
This NASA computer graphic shows three craters in the eastern Hellas region of Mars containing concealed glaciers detected by radar. The left image shows how the surface looks today with the ice covered by a layer of Martian soil. The right image depicts the hidden glaciers.From the L. A. Times.
It is still unclear, however, whether the water is accessible from the surface. Holt said the radar measurements indicated that it could be covered by as much as 30 feet of debris.
"If you could get a backhoe in there, you could get at it," said Jeffrey Plaut, a geologist at JPL. "You'd have to figure out how to get a backhoe to Mars."
Issue of the DayU.S. intel panel warns of coming national decline
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Now it's official -- sort of. The United States is in decline.
[...]"The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons," it said.
The report is also an indirect but very explicit repudiation of the grand strategy of outgoing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the neo-conservative intellectuals who served them.
It clearly rejects their assumption that a new century of U.S. global supremacy, leadership and even control more total than any the United States enjoyed in the past is likely or even achievable.
Instead, the NIC report warns of an increasingly uncontrollable, fragmented world with strategic, military and economic power increasingly diffused -- and with the danger of local and wider wars, especially over scarce resources, greater than ever before.
"The international system will be almost unrecognizable by 2025, owing to the rise of emerging powers, a globalizing economy, a transfer of wealth from West to East, and the growing influence of non-state actors. Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor, the United States' relative strength -- even in the military realm -- will decline and U.S. leverage will become more strained," it said.
No. Wow. What a shock. Now there's really no reason at all to get out of bed tomorrow, is there?
Friday, November 21, 2008
Bloomberg w/ greater detail:
Anti-aircraft guns and short-range surface-to-air missiles were used during the exercise conducted at a desert range near the city of Muzaffargarh in the central Pubjab province.
"The elements of Army Air Defence demonstrated their shooting skills by targeting the drones flying at different altitudes," the military said in a statement.
Air defence commander Lieutenant-General Ashraf Saleem praised the "precision and agility" of the gunners.
Pakistani Army Tests Missile Capable of Shooting Down DronesNow we'll be wondering all night long. Were they just testing the anti-drone missile? Did they actually shoot anything down? Had the missile they were testing ever been used/tested before? Why didn't the IHT type anything about it being a test?
By Farhan Sharif
Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan successfully tested a short-range, surface-to-air missile capable of destroying drones, the country's military said, two days after protesting to the U.S. over attacks on its territory by the unmanned aircraft.
Not with guns and bombs, but via covert sources: Islamic charities, the ACLU--even presidential candidates. They are all pawns in a stealth holy war. Unwittingly advancing the jihadist agenda not by violence, but through endeavors designed to acclimate and subject us to Islamic law--just the way Osama bin Laden wants it. [...] America, Spencer demonstrates, is all but oblivious to a new kind of threat presented by a loosely organized movement whose activists are well funded, highly motivated, and relentless in pursuit of their agenda. This book is a wake-up call for a country so focused on foreign threats that it has left itself vulnerable to a growing danger much closer to home.Hokey Fuckin' Smokes! Get our broker on the horn & tell her to put all our liquid funds in whoever the hell makes diapers for grown-ups. Once this book is out, Depends will be flying off the shelves! Conspicuously absent from any discussion or mention during the broadcast (the part we heard, at least) were such manifestations of American Xianity as pharmacists refusing birth-control & "morning after" birth control. Also conspicuous by its absence was any mention of the various propositions, initiatives, etc. designed to impose a religious definition of "traditional marriage" on our legal system, & take rights from groups of American citizens. We can add Roman Catholic bishops advising their flocks not to come to communion or any of the other mystical ceremonies of Catholicism if any of their sheep dared vote for now Prez-elect Obama. Now let's compare. Taxi drivers voluntarily pass on fares, for silly reasons, costing themselves money & costing the fares as much as three or four minutes getting a more welcoming hack. This is dangerous & will have all "our" hot-pantsed women in burqas w/in X wks. of B. O.'s inauguration. Versus a pharmacist possibly placing a life in danger due to superstitious beliefs. Or a bishop essentially damning congregants to hell for their votes. What kind of psychological damage might that do to someone already unhinged enough to be heavily invested in religious superstition? Not worth a mention from Messrs. Medved & Spencer.
Ha ha ha! We can't wait until deflation makes the money that you saps slave to earn, that must be pried from the skeletal fingers of your parasitical employers, worth even less, as your wages & salaries shrink, while here at Just Another Blog, between the incredible advertising revenues & our "too lazy to work" Gov't. handout our money will be worth even more. "Bring it on!"
Markets 'in panic mode'The latest teeth-gnashing plunge Thursday virtually wiped out the remaining gains from the five-year bull market that began in 2002. With the news dominated by grim economic data, including a 16-year high in weekly unemployment claims and the failure of Congress to reach a deal to help U.S. automakers, the Dow Jones industrial average sank almost 450 points -- its eighth triple-digit drop in 12 trading days.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Attorney General Mukasey collapses
Was giving a speech to Federalist Society when he began shakingLatest. Even later. Hope he's alright, but who cares otherwise? Should Obama's team take over Justice now?
I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred This song's humor wore out long ago, and now it's just vulgar, cheesy, and so annoying. It's kind of become a really bad, hairy, cheap-cologne-wearing gigolo anthem. All By Myself by Eric Carmen Music to make even the happiest person on earth sick with despair. There's no amount of nostalgia in the world that can make us yearn for this song -- even if our dog died... even if we lost our job... and especially if we're trying to party! When I Grow Up by The Pussycat Dolls These girls are H-O-T. We get it. And if your party playlist was voted on looks alone, they'd be near the top. But this repetitive, hi-pitched, electro-pop track lacks the sexy vibe of "Don't Cha" and just leaves us wishing the Dolls would grow up and sing a little something else. Endless Love by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross Just thinking about this gushy ballad makes us so happy the ‘80s are over! Even the divine Miss Ross can't save this duet from being maudlin. Macarena by Los Del Rio This flash-in-the-pan phenom is our pick for the most annoying song of all time. Even if half your guests agree with us (and we think the will), cross this dance ditty permanently off your list. Fergalicious by Fergie The funky Fergie stutters her way through this irritating tune, parts of which sound like a broken record, literally. She may have the best abs in the music 'biz, but do you and your friends really want to listen to her sing about herself for nearly five minutes? I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry Too loud. Too obvious. Just trying too darn hard. With its in-your-face content and dumbed-down lyrics, it comes off as a one-hit-wonder curiosity for the under-twenty set. The kind of tune you'd expect to hear playing at a teen-store at the mall, not a hip soiree. We like the taste of cherry chapstick too but... My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion Your gathering will sink and crash like the legendary Titanic. Need we say more? Don't Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin Childish, perky pop -- upbeat to the point of being really really annoying. This is a song that makes you be happy that you're near the door. The End by The Doors Weighing in at over 11 minutes long, this song will stop even the most raucous party in its tracks. The lyrics - "Father...I want to kill you" - are not quite the feelgood hit of the century.Sez you! Then:
On the other hand, if you are looking for your guests to leave, look here!Yes, you too can be just this fucking stupid. We suspect that most of our largest demographic doesn't have a one of those tunes, w/ the possible exception of "The End" on a CD purchased when you were suckered into re-purchasing your record collection on CDs.Or maybe on the Apocalypse Now soundtrack. But any of the others?
"If we do not correctly diagnose the causes, and instead act in haste to implement more rather than better regulations, we can do long-term harm," Paulson said in a speech in Simi Valley, Calif.[...]Paulson on Thursday again defended his management, including his decision last week to officially abandon the original rescue strategy: buying rotten mortgages and other bad debts from banks to free up their balance sheets and get them to lend more freely."By proactively addressing the problems we saw coming and being pragmatic enough to change strategy in the face of changed facts and despite the inevitable criticism — we prevented a far worse financial crisis," Paulson insisted.[...]"There was no playbook for responding to a once or twice in a hundred year event," Paulson argued, saying he needed to shift strategy to respond to worsening financial and economic conditions.Our suggestion on this: give it up already. Stop pretending that economics is even a soft science. You're dealing w/ human greed, envy & a thousand other animal instincts. You can't make a system like that work smoothly.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Ayman al-Zawahri's speech was al-Qaida's first reaction to Obama's election victory — and it suggested the terror network is worried the new American leader could undermine its rallying cry that the United States is an enemy oppressor.Obama has been welcomed by many in the Middle East who hope he will end what they see as American aggression against Muslims and Arabs under President George W. Bush. Some believe his race and Muslim family connections could make him more understanding of the developing world's concerns.Al-Zawahri dug into U.S. racial history to try to directly knock down that belief and argue Obama will be no more sympathetic than white leaders to what the al-Qaida leader called "the oppressed" of the world.He said Obama was the "direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s Muslim African-American rights leader, who is known among some in the Arab world and seen as a symbol of anti-imperialism.Al-Zawahri also called Obama — along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — "house Negroes."The video included old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters' house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites and discrimination.Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri used the phrase "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But in the video message, posted on Islamic militant Web sites Wednesday, al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of the speech that translated the phrase as "house Negroes."
Mr. Frum witnessed the upbraiding his fellow conservative, the columnist Kathleen Parker, received when she wrote in her syndicated column on the National Review’s Web site arguing that Governor Palin was unfit to be vice president. Ms. Parker received nearly 11,000 e-mail messages, one of which lamented that her mother did not abort her. “Who says public discourse hasn’t deteriorated?” she wrote in a followup column that ran on the Web site. (National Review, as Mr. Lowry pointed out, can hardly be held responsible for a reader’s nasty e-mail messages.)Ms. Parker, again:
[The GOP] has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners. Short break as writer ties blindfold and smokes her last cigarette. Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle. [...] Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely comprised of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting. With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course. Even Sarah Palin has blamed Bush policies for the GOP loss. She's not entirely wrong, but she's also part of the problem. Her recent conjecture about whether to run for president in 2012 (does anyone really doubt she will?) speaks for itself: "I'm like, okay, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is.... And if there is an open door in (20)12 or four years later, and if it's something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door." Let's do pray that God shows Alaska's governor the door.No you dih-n't, Kathy P., no you dih-n't!
"They're very well armed. Tactically they are very good," Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of staff, said this week. He said the pirate gangs were "very good at what they do." The Gulf of Aden effectively controls access to the Suez Canal, which allows ships to go from Europe to Asia without having to take the much longer and more expensive route around the southern tip of Africa. NATO, the United States and a number of European nations have all sent ships to the region to try to stop the piracy, which has only increased instead.This seems to have reduced the Suez Canal to an expensive boondoggle.
So begins the return to barbarism. Whether it will be a long decline or a brutally short finish is all that remains to be seen. At the root of this evil, as most others, we find capitalism, specifically the greed of the small businessman.
Meanwhile shipping companies have usually decided to pay the ransom demanded, eager to get crews and goods home safely, and at least one major shipper has said it will no longer use the Suez route through the Gulf of Aden. Norway's Odfjell said Monday its vessels would now go around Africa's Cape of Good Hope.
"The re-routing will entail extra sailing days and later cargo deliveries. This will incur significant extra cost, but we expect our customers' support and contribution" to cover the costs, CEO Terje Storeng said.
Many of the pirates have made small fortunes from their activities, which have broad support from many Somalis, including shopkeepers who are able to charge them higher prices for their goods in the impoverished nation.Hey, that's all that counts. Bleach on that money will wash the blood right off.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sarah Palin's performance in the waning days of the campaign—and especially at the Republican Governors Association conference—should put to rest the myth that her rhetorical skills are good or that they are even hers. (The base has McCain speechwriter Matthew Scully to thank for them.) As one Republican operative put it in an email to me shortly after Palin wrapped up at the RGA, "Who wrote that? Todd?" The lack of warmth other governors seemed to feel for Palin was just as surprising. Mostly confined to under the surface, the annoyance briefly crackled into view at the end of her bizarre presser, when Texas Governor Rick Perry overruled Palin's decision to end the event by calling on CNN's Dana Bash himself. Other than that, the governors and attendees kept criticism of Palin—which, to be fair, might stem somewhat from jealousy—off the record. One elected official, asked if he might have conducted himself differently had he gotten the VP pick, simply rolled his eyes, adding, sarcastically: "Oh, maybe."
"It's kind of a blank slate," said one conference attendee. "We could do anything." In fact, this observer believes the party has to groom new personalities BEFORE it gets to the business of figuring out its new message or its new agenda: "How do you get people to listen to a message if you don't have a messenger?" As for who the new messengers might be, one consultant at the conference, Patrick Ruffini, emphasized quantity over quality: "We need five or six Sarah Palins and five or six Bobby Jindals," he said, explaining: "The media is going to tear them down as fast as we can build them up. If we send enough of them out, some will be left standing" by 2012.
MIKE Huckabee will have gays on the war path when his new book, "Do the Right Thing," hits stores next week. "[Heterosexual] marriage matters . . . nothing in our society matters more," writes the ex-Arkansas governor, whom some see as the GOP front-runner to take on Barack Obama in 2012. "Our true strength doesn't come from our military or our gross national product; it comes from our families. What's the point of keeping the terrorists at bay in the Middle East if we can't keep decline and decadence at bay here at home?"Yeah, there's a good reason to bring the troops home. Putting the queers, adulterers & divorced into re-education camps, perhaps?
Assuming that the corporate Wall Street elite and its concomitant opinion-forming, omission, and misinformation machinery of the U.S. corporate media successfully installs their favorite choice - Democratic Party Republicrat Barack Obama - as the first colored President of the U.S. Empire, the majority of people in the United States are in for a rude awakening in the form of increased economic austerity, internal political repression, deepened racial disharmony, external U.S. military adventurism, and an endless stream of misleading disinformation from the corporate government. The peoples of the world will face intensified imperialistic and military assault and attempts at U.S. hegemony. This time, however, the imperialism of the U.S. Empire will be conveniently spearheaded, condoned and rationalized by its newest and most potent weapon: the dangerously double-talking “Emperor” in black face - Barack Obama. Moreover, in one fell and foul swoop, the corporate/military elite of the U.S. Empire intends to utilize Barack Obama as the “messiah” (created by none other than corporate America and its corporate media) to neutralize and destroy the ongoing Black liberation struggle for justice and equality in this nation, and in people’s liberation struggles throughout the world.Whooo! Testify!! Don't miss part two either, where we learn that
...the corporate media’s intense disinformation campaign and biased and overwhelming support for Barack Obama was initially, simply too potent, for the majority of people to see through or recognize how they were being manipulated, pimped, and bamboozled. But with renewed vigilance, over time that will change. It must also be remembered that liberation struggles for economic, social, and political justice, nationally and internationally, are long term dialectical affairs and they will not only continue, but in the course of time, become stronger.Never forget. We only do the groundwork for real, lasting social change.
Monday, November 17, 2008
"As is the case with Great Britain, Israel, and other nations that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, our service members are professionals who are able to work together effectively despite differences in race, gender, religion, and sexuality," the officers wrote. [...] Retired Adm. Charles Larson, a four-star admiral and two-time superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy who signed the statement with 104 other retired admirals and generals, said in an interview that he believed Clinton's approach was flawed because he rushed to change military culture. [...] The list of 104 former officers who signed the statement appears to signal growing support for resolving the status of gays in the military. Last year, 28 former generals and admirals signed a similar statement.Progress is inevitable; it just takes two eternities & feels like one's teeth are being pulled most of the time.
Now, thanks to the coarsening effect of the Internet on political discourse, the magazine may have lost something else: its reputation as the cradle for conservative intellectuals and home for erudite and well-mannered debate prized by its founder, the late William F. Buckley Jr.May we add that Just Another Blog (From L. A.) does so much more than its share to coarsen the political discourse that we're waiting for some (any) kind of award. And might we assume that the print & on-line portions of the vast NR empire are not too happy w/ each other?
National Review, as the most pedigreed voice of conservatives, has often been tainted — unfairly and by association, some argue — by the tone of blogs, reader comments and e-mail messages. “Bill was always very concerned about having a high-minded and thoughtful discourse,” Rich Lowry, the magazine’s editor, said. “If you read the magazine, that’s what it was and that’s what it is.”An admission of intellectual bankruptcy:
Wick Allison, publisher of the magazine from 1990 to 1993, believes that over the last several years the magazine became “the intellectual defender of the Bush administration” and said it had “run out of ideas.”Gee, how did that happen? How could they run out of so many ideas so soon? Former Bush speechwriter David Frum's exit from the magazine is the starting point for the NYT story. Here's what Frum has to say:
“I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated,” he said.Y'all made your bed w/ baloney & cheese blankets & white bread w/ mayo sheets; now you have to lie down w/ whomever that attracts (wretched, old & stupid people, mostly).
But putting clear blue water between moderate Republicanism and the religious right would undoubtedly give rise to a third party, a breakaway Christian Party. Such parties are familiar in American history, most recently in 1968 with George Wallace’s American Independent Party, and going back through Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, Strom Thurmond and Henry Wallace in 1948. Our Third Evangelical Awakening, which has lodged itself in the Republican party, will eventually begin to fall asleep, as did the two previous Awakenings, only more rapidly this time because of the spread of education and accelerated methods of communication.The author, a professor emeritus of English at Dartmouth College, wrote for the National Review for more than three decades, where he was senior editor, & wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan, when governor of California, and for Richard Nixon.
Now that we have “un-muddied” the water…..we stand on the edge of a caldera with no idea of the complexity, depth, explosiveness, or unpredictability of this phenomenon we have witnessed in the rise of Barack Obama! We as a country have never actually been here before, standing at the edge of possible dissolution of our country, except perhaps in the election of 1860. One realizes at once the perils of both diving into that hot pool of water, or running away to avoid the explosion….either scenario leads to serious burns!Sure, it seems to be from Texas, but this would be venturing farther than usual into the absurd. B. O.'s been the Pres.-Elect for two wks. and This Great Nation of Ours is closer to dissolution than any time since 1860?
"Most of this movement is not violent, but there is a substantive underbelly that is violent and does try to make a bridge to people who feel disenfranchised," says Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. "The question is: Will this swirl become a tornado or just an ill wind? We're not there yet, but there's dust on the horizon, a swirling of wind, and the atmospherics are getting put together for [conflict]."
But for nonviolent secessionist groups like the League of the South, the hope is for a more vigorous debate about the direction of the US and the South's role in it, says Michael Tuggle, a League blogger in North Carolina.Mr. Tuggle says his group isn't looking for an 1860-style secession but, rather, a model that Spain, for one, is moving toward, in which "there's a great deal of autonomy for constituent regions" – a foil to what is seen as unchecked, dangerous federal power in Washington."To a lot of people, the idea of secession doesn't seem so crazy anymore," says Tuggle. "People are talking about how left out they feel, ... and they feel that something strange and radical has taken over our country."Ooohh, somebody feels "left out?" Cracker, please!!