Sunday, November 30, 2008
The consulting company he started after leaving the government in 2001, BR McCaffrey Associates, promises to “build linkages” between government officials and contractors like Defense Solutions for up to $10,000 a month. He has also earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm in New York that has grown into a defense industry powerhouse by buying contractors whose profits soared from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he is the chairman of HNTB Federal Services, an engineering and construction management company that often competes for national security contracts.
On NBC and in other public forums, General McCaffrey has consistently advocated wartime policies and spending priorities that are in line with his corporate interests. But those interests are not described to NBC’s viewers. He is held out as a dispassionate expert, not someone who helps companies win contracts related to the wars he discusses on television.
VENTURA COUNTY COAST-
LOS ANGELES COUNTY COAST INCLUDING DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES-
519 PM PST SUN NOV 30 2008
...HIGHER THAN NORMAL SURF CONDITIONS THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON...
HIGHER THAN NORMAL SURF CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO PERSIST ACROSS WEST FACING BEACHES OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES...THEN BEGIN TO DIMINISH MONDAY NIGHT. BREAKERS OF 3 TO 5 FEET WILL BE COMMON ACROSS WEST FACING BEACHES...WITH OCCASIONAL SETS TO 7 FEET LIKELY...ESPECIALLY IN VENTURA COUNTY.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
a strategy that has prevented any repeat of the 9/11 terrorist attack....From the previously mentioned Dr. Benkin:
US anti-terrorist actions have prevented any attacks on its soil since September 11th, and they are wrapping up their successful mission in Iraq. But the unity of resolve that characterized the United States in the days following 9/11 is a distant memory. The US President who launched the war on Islamist extremism, George W. Bush, will be leaving office in a matter of weeks; and his administration has been engaged in trying to pressure Israel into rewarding the Islamists. Moreover, Americans have just elected a President, Barack Obama, whose policy is to negotiate with those nation-states that sponsor Islamist terror.One could get the impression that these brave keyboardists, who, rabid as they are, doubtless have some insight & knowledge of what's up in the radical jihadist Islamic fundamental Islamist terrorist community, may know that something is up, & hope that it happens as soon as Obama assumes office, validating the "W. kept us safe for seven yrs." idea, as well as B. O. "palling around w/ terrorists."
You can read more of the rabid "Dr." Benkin's essay at International Analyst Network.
It's shocking that some of the world's most trusted leaders are autocrats. Has a gap emerged between democracy and global leadership? I was surprised at the low level of confidence around the world. With the decline of the U.S. President as a global leader for an extended period, you would think that some other leader would step into that breach and become a galvanizing focus as an alternative.
When the terrorists say on their websites that they seek to break up India and reclaim it for Islam, they speak a language many Hindu Indians understand. And India has proved to be the softest of soft targets.We favor the elimination of all colonial constructs (like India) as well.
This is why all Indians — Muslims and Hindu alike — know that the deepening divide threatens the country’s existence. Many years ago, a divide like this re-energised the Hindu nationalist BJP. Today who knows who it might throw up? The hour of men like Narendra Modi, who oversaw a pogrom of Indian Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, might have come at last.
Yeah, that's the only problem in the world, people don't know how to handle guns. This guy is loose among us now?But a closer look at some of the newly pardoned shows many of them are church-going, blue-collar workers from rural areas (and ardent Bush supporters) who had little trouble finding jobs after their convictions. There is another common thread: the important role firearms once played in their lives.[...] Robert Mohon Jr. of Grant, Ala., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and served a year in prison in the late 1980s, wrote in his petition that he was concerned about his heritage. He wanted to pass down his father's hunting rifles to his grandchildren and teach them "the enjoyment of the outdoors." His felony record was standing in the way. "That's what's wrong with the world today -- nobody knows how to handle guns," says the 61-year-old retiree.
The economic downturn and rising unemployment rate are making the military a more attractive option, Pentagon officials say. In some cases, the peace of mind that comes with good benefits and a regular paycheck is overcoming concerns about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which any new enlistee is likely to join. [...] Good news for the Army has coincided with terrible news elsewhere. The unemployment rate has jumped from 4.8 to 6.5 percent in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that time, the ranks of the unemployed grew by 2.8 million, to 10.1 million.
But no matter what sorts of benefits recruiters offer, or how slick the ad campaign, one of the main draws continues to be service to country, said Sgt. 1st Class Thad Copeland, an Army recruiter based in Alexandria. Even if someone is joining because he can't find a job elsewhere, he needs to know that decision could mean a trip to the front lines.
"I know what your first question is, and the answer is yes," Copeland tells his prospects. "You are getting deployed."
Today in History - Nov. 29
-- Today is Saturday, Nov. 29, the 334th day of 2008. There are 32 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Nov. 29, 1963, President Johnson named a commission headed by Earl Warren to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy.
On this date:
In 1530, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, onetime adviser to England's King Henry VIII, died.
In 1864, a Colorado militia killed at least 150 peaceful Cheyenne Indians in the Sand Creek Massacre.
In 1924, Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium, before he could complete his opera "Turandot." (It was finished by Franco Alfano.)
In 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the partitioning of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
In 1961, Enos the chimp was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard the Mercury-Atlas 5 spacecraft, which orbited earth twice before returning.
In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced he was leaving the Johnson administration to become president of the World Bank.
In 1981, actress Natalie Wood drowned in a boating accident off Santa Catalina Island, Calif., at age 43.
In 1986, actor Cary Grant died in Davenport, Iowa, at age 82.
In 2001, George Harrison, the "quiet Beatle," died in Los Angeles following a battle with cancer; he was 58.
Ten years ago: Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected legalizing heroin and other narcotics.
Five years ago: Gunmen in Iraq ambushed and killed two Japanese diplomats; seven members of Spain's military intelligence agency were killed in Mahmudiyah. Thirty-three people were killed in the crash of a military plane in Congo.
One year ago: A court in Sudan convicted British teacher Gillian Gibbons of insulting Islam for letting her students name a teddy bear "Muhammad" and sentenced her to 15 days in prison. (Gibbons was pardoned after spending more than a week in custody; she then left the country.) Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, embarked on a new, five-year term as a civilian president, a day after ceding the powerful post of army chief. Former Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde died in Chicago at age 83. Former General Motors chief executive Roger B. Smith died in Detroit at age 82.
Today's Birthdays: Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Vin Scully is 81. Blues singer-musician John Mayall is 75. Actress Diane Ladd is 73. Composer-musician Chuck Mangione is 68. Country singer Jody Miller is 67. Pop singer-musician Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals) is 64. Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee is 62. Comedian Garry Shandling is 59. Actor Jeff Fahey is 56. Movie director Joel Coen is 54. Actor-comedian-game show host Howie Mandel is 53. Actress Cathy Moriarty is 48. Actress Kim Delaney is 47. Actor Tom Sizemore is 47. Actor Andrew McCarthy is 46. Actor Don Cheadle is 44. Actor-producer Neill Barry is 43. Musician Wallis Buchanan (Jamiroquai) is 43. Pop singer Jonathan Knight (New Kids on the Block) is 40. Rock musician Martin Carr (Boo Radleys) is 40. Actor Larry Joe Campbell is 38. Rock musician Frank Delgado (Deftones) is 38. Actress Gena Lee Nolin is 37. Actor Brian Baumgartner is 36. Actress Anna Faris is 32. Actor Julian Ovenden is 32. Rapper The Game is 29. Rock musician Ringo Garza is 27. Actor Lucas Black is 26.
Thought for Today: "Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable." -- Mark Twain (1835-1910).
"It's a different set of rights. People who are homosexuals should have every right in terms of their civil rights, to be employed, to do anything they want. But that's not really the issue. I know you talked about it and I think you got into it a little bit early on. But when we're talking about a redefinition of an institution, that's different than individual civil rights. We're never going to convince each other," Huckabee told Behar.
Behar reminded Huckabee that segregation was an institution, too, in a way.
"But here is the difference, said Huckabee, "Bull Connor was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama. John Lewis got his skull cracked on the Selma bridge."
OK. At a book signing Friday at the Borders in Panama City Beach, Fla., Huck said a pile of silly crap too.
"The main focus of the book is that America can be a great nation again and the Republican Party can be relevant, but it has to get back to its clear convictions," he told the crowd at the Pier Park Borders. "When we've left them we've lost our way and we've lost elections."
Huckabee said Republicans win elections when the party is true to ideals like the sanctity of life and traditional marriage.
"When we get squishy on that stuff, we lose, it's as simple as that," he said.
Huckabee also blamed the recent Wall Street bailout for the Republicans' poor showing in the November general election and expressed concern that the new administration might seek to revive the Carter-era Fairness Docterine [sic], which he called "not only unconstitutional, but unconscionable."
How much longer they can continue to delude themselves like that is any one's guess, but if they keep it up there may well be three or even four semi-major parties available for this yr.'s Republican runners-up to lead over a cliff.
There'll probably be a few hard-liners & die-hards left to leap off that cliff, if these responses are anything more than anecdotal happenstance.
Deborah Tainsh said they came because they feel Huckabee "truly understands the depth of the War on Terror and how important it is."UPDATED (@ approx. 0420 29 November 2008) Friday was busy for the formerly heavy-set Huckabee. He arrived in Tampa at 0900 (more specifically, Inkwood Books in Hyde Park) having already worked a crowd in Sarasota. In Tampa, a Hucklebee supporter spoke to a reporter:
Kathy Sorensen came from Treasure Island to catch a glimpse of the man she says would make a terrific president — someday. "It's not that he's a man of God, because I'm a Christian," Sorensen said. "It's that he has ideas like the FairTax. It is more fair. Poor people wouldn't be buying iPods if we had a FairTax."Now just a moment? Is she saying that the "Fair Tax" is deliberately regressive, just to keep poor people from buying iPods? Should this be brought to the attention of Megan McArdle, of the prestigious & ancient Atlantic? And two more nice Republican ladies speak to the press.
Yup. And also, you betcha. (Is Pat Robertson dead or something?)
"This is bigger than the presidency," said Kathy Cox of St. Petersburg. "This is about him getting a message out that integrity matters. I like his values. I'm Christian; he's a Christian."
Cox's sister, Nancy Main, was visiting for Thanksgiving from North Carolina. She likes Huckabee, too, and said he could play the same role Pat Robertson has played for years as the proxy for religious conservatives. "He's someone the rural parts of America can relate to," Main said.
Friday, November 28, 2008
"I knew this would happen," she said. "They were too hard on (the boy). I knew (the boy) did it. He spent the night in my bed cuddling up to me. I had a feeling he did it. If any 8-year-old boy is capable of doing this, it's (the boy)."
(The boy) does seem like a resentful little bastard.
In a police interview released last week, the boy said he had been spanked five times the night before the shootings because he did not bring home some papers from school. The boy told a state Child Protective Services worker that his 1,000th spanking would be his last, according to the documents released Wednesday.
In an affidavit for a search warrant, Sgt. Lucas Rodriguez writes that the boy tallied the spankings on a piece of paper.
Previous reports stating that the late father wanted to give Junior a gun so he wouldn't be afraid of them might indicate that the youngster was a budding sissy, but we guess he showed them!
And from the "I did not know that" Dep't.:
OTTAWA – Researchers say they have located the world's oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.
The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly "cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.
"To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.
Remnants of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.
The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.
After her granddaughter settled on which kind of wheels she wanted for Christmas, Patricia Griffith of DeQuincy, La., left her home at midnight for the Lake Charles, La., K-Mart to ensure a place at the head of the line. "I'm after some stuff for my 3-year-old grandbaby," said Griffith. She noted, "We're going to get two TVs that are on sale." She added, "I'm spending more because my grandbaby gets whatever she wants. She's the only one I have, and my daughter can't have no more, so we buy whatever she wants."Her granddaughter wants two tee vees? Are we not reading that right?
Anyone interested in a pool on the use of nukes by India or Pakistan?
"We also found a dead body in the vessel," Commandant Kulpreet Yadav told Reuters. "We took the boat under tow and handed it over to the police for investigation."
Indian investigators say the militants who attacked Mumbai, killing around 120 people, arrived by sea in rubber dinghies, but are trying to trace the ship which ferried them close to the city.
Newspapers say three of the militants arrested have confessed to being Pakistani members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group. The NDTV news channel, citing unnamed sources, said the Indian-owned trawler had been hijacked in Pakistani waters 14 days ago.
-- Today is Friday, Nov. 28, the 333rd day of 2008. There are 33 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Nov. 28, 1942, nearly 500 people died in a fire that destroyed the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston.
On this date:
In 1520, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.
In 1907, future movie producer Louis B. Mayer opened his first movie theater, in Haverhill, Mass.
In 1919, American-born Lady Astor was elected the first female member of the British Parliament.
In 1943, President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began conferring in Tehran during World War II.
In 1958, Chad, Gabon and Middle Congo became autonomous republics within the French community.
In 1964, the United States launched the space probe Mariner 4 on a course to Mars.
In 1979, an Air New Zealand DC-10 en route to the South Pole crashed into a mountain in Antarctica, killing all 257 people aboard.
In 1987, a South African Airways Boeing 747 crashed into the Indian Ocean with the loss of all 159 people aboard.
In 1990, Margaret Thatcher resigned as British prime minister during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, who conferred the premiership on John Major.
In 2001, Enron Corp. collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion deal to take it over.
Ten years ago: Some Republicans expressed disappointment and outrage over President Clinton's written responses to 81 questions from the House Judiciary Committee concerning the Monica Lewinsky affair, with one accusing the president of "word games."
Five years ago: President Bush returned to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, after a secret, nearly 36-hour journey that took him to Iraq for a Thanksgiving visit with U.S. troops.
One year ago: A day after an international Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md., President Bush told the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories he was personally committed to their mission of peace. Republican presidential rivals Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney clashed over immigration in a provocative, no-holds-barred CNN/YouTube debate. O.J. Simpson pleaded not guilty in Las Vegas to charges of kidnapping and armed robbery stemming from a confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers. (Simpson and a co-defendant were convicted last month.) Broadway stagehands and theater producers reached a tentative agreement on ending a crippling 19-day-old strike.
Today's Birthdays: Recording executive Berry Gordy Jr. is 79. Former Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., is 72. Singer-songwriter Bruce Channel is 68. Singer Randy Newman is 65. Movie director Joe Dante is 62. CBS News correspondent Susan Spencer is 62. "Late Show" orchestra leader Paul Shaffer is 59. Actor Ed Harris is 58. Actress S. Epatha Merkerson is 56. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is 55. Country singer Kristine Arnold (Sweethearts of the Rodeo) is 52. Actor Judd Nelson is 49. Movie director Alfonso Cuaron is 47. Rock musician Matt Cameron is 46. Actress Jane Sibbett is 46. Comedian Jon Stewart is 46. Actress Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Dawn Robinson is 40. Hip-hop musician apl.de.ap (Black Eyed Peas) is 34. Actress Aimee Garcia is 30. Rapper Chamillionaire is 29.
Thought for Today: "I am not sure that God always knows who are His great men; He is so very careless of what happens to them while they live." -- Mary Hunter Austin, American novelist and playwright (1868-1934).
Thursday, November 27, 2008
During Reconstruction, many Southerners initially expressed reluctance at celebrating what they saw to be a Yankee holiday. And yet it was at this moment, as the recently rejoined United States struggled to reconcile its populace after a divisive Civil War, that it became useful to reinvent the history of Thanksgiving. Most Americans found it far more pleasant to imagine this American holiday as originating not during the traumas of the 1860s but rather during the more distant past of the early 1600s. To partisans of the Union and the Confederacy alike, the image of Pilgrims and Indians sitting down together to a shared meal offered a comforting vision of peace between potential rivals.
Yet this new image of Thanksgiving not only allowed Americans to gloss over the deep divisions that had led to the Civil War, it also overlooked much of the subsequent history of the Pilgrims' relations with their Indian neighbors. About 50 years after Massasoit and his fellow Wampanoags enjoyed their harvest meal at Plymouth, the Colonists' seizures of Wampanoag land would precipitate a vicious war between Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoags, now led by Massasoit's son, Metacom.At least they waited a few yrs. before starting slaughter & enslavement. People of Gawd, huh?
With this, America’s first pilgrims disappeared from the pages of history. Casualties of Europe’s murderous religious wars, they fell victim to Anglophile historians who erased their existence as readily as they demoted the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine to second-class status behind the later English colonies in Jamestown and Plymouth. But the truth cannot be so easily buried. Although overlooked, a brutal first chapter had been written in the most untidy history of a “Christian nation.” And the sectarian violence and hatred that ended with the deaths of a few hundred Huguenots in 1565 would be replayed often in early America, the supposed haven for religious dissent, which in fact tolerated next to none.So there, exceptionalists. This country is no big deal, in no way, shape or form founded by Jeezis or a Mormon, but has come as far as it has mostly by plain luck, unless your ancestors came over by land bridge rather than the Mayflower.
Piles of jewelry, clothing and electric drills are bypassing store shelves and heading straight to liquidators by the caseload as stores try to save as much cash as they can. Major department stores and mall-based chains have cut prices up to 70 percent to move out mounds of excess inventory stuck in the pipeline since the financial crisis hit in September and people snapped their wallets shut. Big moves of merchandise happen every year — but usually after Christmas. This year stores are desperate to shed inventory even before Thanksgiving. "The holiday season is over. The reason? It just never got started," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm. [...] At the company's Liquidation.com, which auctions surplus goods offered by stores and manufacturers to dollar stores and small businesses that sell on eBay, the number of auctions scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend has soared to 2,100 — eight times more than last Thanksgiving, said chief executive Bill Angrick. In other words, what normally happens after Christmas is taking place this weekend, he said."This is about survival. This is not about muddling through the holiday season," Angrick said.The party's over. (Can schadenfreude be sung?)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
National ID cards are widely used for identification purposes in many European countries, although they are not used in the Nordic countries. Many people are able to cross Europe's inner borders without passports, if they have valid national ID cards. There have been few problems associated with card use, although there were protests in Greece after European Union officials forced Greeks to drop the religious classification that was part of the ID card system. The situation is very different from that in Latin America, where people have become accustomed to carrying identification papers with them and are less worried about privacy issues. Brazil's card includes a photo, fingerprint, bar-code, both parents' full names, nationality, country of birth and date of birth. These cards are necessary to for almost any economic transaction — Brazil's stores ask for it when consumers make purchases, even when they pay cash.Yikes, it's the Mark of the Beast: "Ye can neither buy nor sell w/o it!!"
Britain's two prior experiences with national cards have not ended well. Cards were used in World War I in large part to establish the number of young men available for military service, but they were not well liked and were dropped in 1918, said Jon Agar, a science and technology professor at University College London. They were reintroduced in World War II and kept in place until 1952, when a court challenge spurred harsh judicial criticism of the use of the cards in peacetime.That led Prime Minister Winston Churchill's government to scrap the system. The court challenge stemmed from a routine traffic stop in which a policeman asked the motorist to produce his ID card, Agar said. "That was not the intent of the card," he said. "It was originally for national security and food rationing, not for police using it as a routine form of identification." He predicted Britons will generally accept the new cards until their use becomes compulsory for everyone. That will spur resentment, he said.But they'll doubtless submit, grumbling all the way.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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.
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.