Friday, December 21, 2007

Tucker on Ron Paul

A must read. (here)

The Definition of Saw

For those of you who missed it, Mitterola has repetedly said that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King.

The only problem is that his father never did march with MLK.

Now Mittishka has come out with what can only be called a Clintonesque moment.
His defense?
"If you look at the literature or look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of -- in the sense I've described."
In other words, "It depends on the definition of the word: saw"

When this was not received well, he stomped his figurative feet and declared,
"I'm an English literature major"
Uh, yeah. Sure. Good for you, fella.

Well here at the Moon we are nothing if not fair; so without further ado, here are the 28 definitions of Saw (past tense of the verb "to see") found on
see1 /si/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[see] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, saw, seen, see·ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to perceive with the eyes; look at.
Er... No, this doesn't work; Romney Sr. did not march with MLK, so it could not have been seen.
2. to view; visit or attend as a spectator: to see a play.
Same as point #1. it was not viewed. End of story.
3. to perceive by means of computer vision.
This one is quite funny (to me). Imagine the size of the computer of the day required for this to be a viable explanation?
4. to scan or view, esp. by electronic means: The satellite can see the entire southern half of the country.
See point #4
5. to perceive (things) mentally; discern; understand: to see the point of an argument.
This one is getting closer. He did not see his dad with MLK per se, but he understood that it would have been cool --and politically advantageous.
6. to construct a mental image of; visualize: He still saw his father as he was 25 years ago.
Good, it can be said that he constructed the mental image.
7. to accept or imagine or suppose as acceptable: I can't see him as president.
Please, no.
8. to be cognizant of; recognize: to see the good in others; to see where the mistake is.
Hmmm, I am starting to see where the mistake is.
9. to foresee: He could see war ahead.
How do you use the conjugation "saw" to mean foresee... let's call this one N/A
10. to ascertain, learn, or find out: See who is at the door.
This one again relies on fact. If they never marched together, they could not be seen together.
11. to have knowledge or experience of: to see service in the foreign corps.
I feel like I am repeating myself. If they never marched together, the requisite knowledge does not exist.
12. to make sure: See that the work is done.
The point of the statement was undoubtabley to make sure something was done, it was to plant the perception of greatness without regard for truth. It sounds good and is believable without relating to truth. It is truly truthy... er... it has a high truthiness factor... (I miss Colbert as well)
13. to meet and converse with: Are you seeing her at lunch today?
Again, even in past tense, this relies on actual facts not "figurative" ones.
14. to receive as a visitor: The ambassador finally saw him.
Er, no.
15. to visit: He's gone to see his aunt.
Not this one either...
16. to court, keep company with, or date frequently: They've been seeing each other for a long time.
As in, "He has been courting the truth for a while now, but it is not serious."
17. to provide aid or assistance to; take care of: He's seeing his brother through college.
18. to attend or escort: to see someone home.
A real stretch... The comment, if well received, could see him victorious... No, still not applicable.
19. Cards. to match (a bet) or match the bet of (a bettor) by staking an equal sum; call: I'll see your five and raise you five more.
Fun, but no.
20. to prefer (someone or something) to be as indicated (usually used as a mild oath): I'll see you in hell before I sell you this house. He'll see the business fail before he admits he's wrong.
This one strikes me as a bit funny. He'll use a bizarre parsing of a simple verb before he sees himself admit he fabricates stories for political advancement.
21. to read or read about: I saw it in the newspaper.
No, he didn't.
22. to have the power of sight.
N/A (well unless you mean in the religious sense... but is that good?)
23. to be capable of perceiving by means of computer vision.
See point #3
24. to understand intellectually or spiritually; have insight: Philosophy teaches us to see.
Ding, Ding, Ding, I think we have a winner. He understood, intellectually, that his father was with MKL in spirit. Er... is this really a justification for suggesting that you saw an event?
25. to give attention or care: See, there it goes.
Too easy.
26. to find out; make inquiry: Go and see for yourself.
Perhaps he should have.
  • 27. to consider; think; deliberate: Let me see, how does that song go?
Think? Consider? Deliberate? Not likely, there are people to torture, wars to fight, money to spend.
28. to look about; observe: They heard the noise and came out to see.
It, quite simply, was never observed.
—Verb phrases
-- I have omitted these as there is no suggestion that a verb phrase was utilized.

Okay, my point... well, "humans are crazy" might be the best point that comes out of this. Who is crazy? Mitt? Well, maybe but he is the leading candidate in a campaign to preside over the US of A.

To quote Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us."


American Psychological Association (APA):

saw. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved December 21, 2007, from website:

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

saw. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: December 21, 2007).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

"saw." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 21 Dec. 2007.>.

Is America Ready For a President who Doesn't Watch Football OR Baseball?

Forget the standard, "Is America ready for a black president?" or even, "Is America ready for a woman president?"

For those of you who missed it: whilst Mitterola was parsing the word "was" in an effort to get out of a lie he has repeated so many times he appears to have convinced himself it is true he uttered the following.
"When we say I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn't necessarily mean you were there."
Patriots? World Series?

We might not want a religious test for those who would lead the US of A, but how about a simple test of American-ness?

Or perhaps the country would be better off forgetting such matters and choose someone who will take the oath of office seriously and protect the constitution above all else.

if you suspend your disbelief you can see that what I said was sort of close to the truth so I am in the clear... Right?

I miss Jon Stewart.

Hello??? This has to be one of the great blunders of the campaign. The party of torture is about to be led by a man that inaccurately parses the word, "saw" --as in, to cut up the truth. How is this preferable to a leader that parses the word, "is" to defend a blow job?
"I 'saw' him in the figurative sense."
I see... So you saw him in your mind's eye? It was the sixties, lots of people were seeing things with their third eye...
"The reference of seeing my father lead in civil rights," he said, "and seeing my father march with Martin Luther King is in the sense of this figurative awareness of and recognition of his leadership."
Your honor, please ask the witness to answer the question, "Did you see this event occur?" This is insane.
"I've tried to be as accurate as I can be," he continued, smiling firmly. "If you look at the literature or look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of -- in the sense I've described."
This sounds like the literary equivalent of a tax loophole. I lied, but then looked up my language in the dictionary, and if you suspend your disbelief you can see that what I said was sort of close to the truth so I am in the clear... Right?
"I'm an English literature major," he insisted at one point. "When we say I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn't necessarily mean you were there." (He meant the Super Bowl, of course.)
There are so many things wrong with this I will leave it for another post

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Every Candidate Failed a Basic Test

I could not believe my ears when I heard the democratic candidates on stage say that the president is sworn to protect the USA from aggressors as well as the constitution. This is patently false.

Here is the oath that the president swears:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Note that this is not abridged.

If given the choice between defending the constitution or defending against conflict, the president is sworn to defend the constitution.

The framers of the great experiment that is the USA were very clear, the constitution is worth the lives of some of its people. (I recommend giving Thomas Paine a quick read)

Have these people never heard the phrase, "Give me liberty or give me death"?

Almost every candidate failed the test (to be fair, they didn't know they were taking a test --too bad)


Where's that Plymouth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ever Seen a Solar Flare

Very Cool.
Click here for the NASA video.

Loonie breaks through $1.10 US

And Kudlow still insists it is healthy and that inflation will NOT follow. He's either smokin' something, dumb as a box of rocks or a shill for someone...

Too early for a Plymouth. Or is it?

Today's Toles

Check it out:
Click here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And Fox News is Playing the Violin

On a partisan press

Let me begin by stating my position clearly.

I hate the partisan press.

In the political world the press needs to hold the government's collective feet to the fire. It is a staple of democracy and a tradition that goes back at least a couple of millennia.

Fox news drives me crazy.

In totalitarian regimes the first thing any dictator does is take control of the media. It is no co-incidence that we believe that the Russian people are completely behind Putin. Putin controls the media.

Why would any newsman in a free society blindly tow the party line?

There is no good answer.

Some results of this in no particular order:

1. People in general do not believe the press,
2. People with partisan viewpoints only watch the news that espouses their point of view giving them a very narrow view of the country,
3. People are more comfortable with the info the get from the Daily Show than from the evening news, and
4. The government gets away with untold evils.

(Send me your additions and I will repost a more complete list next week)

One of my favorite anecdotes

A local and recently elected politician could not wait to deal with the press. You see, the incumbent who was thrashed in the election was vicerated by the media during his entire term. The new representative took this to mean that the press was clearly on his side and would be a great asset during his term.

He was wrong. His vivisection by the local press began with his first decision and he openly wondered where all his friends had gone.

Integral part of the democratic process

The press is an integral part of the democratic process, that is why it has a special place in the bill of rights.

When an administration runs amok and rips up the constitution it is the press that is supposed to step in (remember watergate?) and expose the crimes.


Well, those under the command of the administration cannot always be counted upon to act in the interest of the people. The press is NOT under the command of the administration and must, yes must, hold the governments collective feet to the fire. If they don't the system fails.

They haven't, and the system has failed.


Don't think the system has failed?

The USA is actively engaging in torture. By doing so they are collecting flawed intelligence and making unilateral decisions based on it. The green back has fallen 50 percent. Inflation is about to grip the nation.

And Fox News is playing the Violin.

Time for a Plymouth... er make it a double.

Only One of the Men Running has Balls

Finally someone is standing up in the house and taking the administration to task.

Note: this is important, there is a big difference between speaking to the press and standing up in the house and making such a declaration.

"In all of this, Vice-President Richard B. Cheney has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as vice-president and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and the manifest jury of the people -- injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office." video here.

Added Note: The Republicans actually got on side with sending this to debate --they must have seen a way to embarrass the dems. But, the dems decided to send it off to the judicial review graveyard. To bad the party doesn't have Kucinich's balls.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Animator vs. Animation

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish for this:

Animator vs. Animation

by alanbecker

The definition of time well wasted (that is a compliment)

Can Massive US Inflation Be Avoided?

Can massive inflation be avoided?


Will it be?

I doubt it.

What does Massive mean? I predict that the US will see a total of 30-35 percent inflation over the next 24-30 months.

Am I crazy?

You be the judge. Take the sum of the following points:

1. The Fed is printing more money that it has in a very long time (here). How can this not be inflationary?

2. The Greenback is at record lows against the currencies of ALL of it's major trade partners (here is a chart vs the Canadian loonie).

3. A very large percentage of the products purchased in the US are at least in part manufactured overseas.

4. China has been artificially keeping its currency low (this could change at a moment's notice)

5. The price of oil has tripled in just a few years and shows no sign bouncing back --of course, with the devaluation of the greenback on the world stage it cannot bounce back.

6. The record budget deficits that the current administration has (and continues to) run up is (are) not going towards investment in the country's future. (remember Iraq was only going to cost a total of 60 billion, tops.)

7. The effect of the change in the cost of imports has not been passed on to the consumer. (This has to be corrected. Do you think that Toyota is happy selling cars to the US for 40 percent less than it did 3 years ago? By accepting US currency this is what they are doing)

8. The message from the pundits is that the economy is good, that unemployment is low, etc. They always fail to mention that the international purchasing power of their post tax income has been almost cut in half in the last 5 years. By lying to the people the pundits are setting them up to be blindsided. You are going to hear, "who could have seen it coming" repeated as a mantra. Folks, this is basic economics.

If you combine just a few of the above points you have a recipe for disaster.

The most ominous point to me is number 7. There has been a bit of a consumer price honeymoon largely because of stockpiled and pre-purchased assets: from toys to steel to oil.

Look around your home and tally up everything that is made overseas (including items with foreign made parts). Now understand this. Because of the devaluation of the almighty buck all of those items cost someone 40-50 percent more than they did when you purchased them. Do you think overseas producers are happy to absorb that added cost without passing it on to the American consumer?

Back to number 7. Once the increase price of goods starts to be passed on to the consumer inflation will be unstoppable. It is not rocket science.

Can US Manufacturers take up the slack?

I can hear the naysayers saying that as assets become more expensive overseas the domestic manufacturing sector will take up the slack. This is true. But is it a good thing? In order to take up the slack US manufacturers will have to make products less expensively and of similar quality to those made in China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Canada, etc.

Can the US make cheaper products than China? Yes, but only by lowering the standard of living of its people.

An example of the incongruity of stable US prices

There is a controversy brewing in the land to the north of the US. Right now the average price of a new car in Canada is 30 percent higher than in the US. Do you think Toyota is happy with Canadians paying them 30 percent less simply by driving a few miles south? No, Toyota has countered by prohibiting their American dealers from selling cars to Canadians. Naturally a class action lawsuit has followed. But the real problem is not that cars are too expensive in Canada, the problem is that they are way to cheap in the good old US of A. Toyota will not be able to keep Canadians from legally purchasing cars in The States (remember NAFTA?).

The incongruity of cross border pricing can only be resolved by rationalization. Once the price of that Toyota has been rationalized it will cost 30 percent more in the US. This will happen in the next 24-30 months and will be typical of the increase in the cost of goods nationwide.

A 30 percent increase in the cost of goods equals 30 percent inflation, no matter how it is spun by Fox News.

Don't believe me?

Run the following test:

Click on the American Toyota website (here) and price any vehicle, then click on the Canadian Toyota website (here) and price the exact same vehicle. Then go to a currency converter such as the one at Oanda (here) and marvel at the difference as little as a mile can make.

Still don't believe me?

Why is Warren Buffett keeping his cash reserves in foreign currency (and for the first time looking overseas for investment)?

Time for a Plymouth.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Surprising Study on How We Read

Thanks to Slashdot for this gem from the BBC News:
...the eyes often focussed on different letters in the same word, about two characters apart, he said.

"They could be uncrossed, in the sense that the two lines of sight are not crossed when you look at a word, or alternatively the two lines of sight may be crossed," he added.

Infographic of eye movement while reading
The team's results demonstrated that both eyes lock on to the same letter 53% of the time; for 39% of the time they see different letters with uncrossed eyes; and for 8% of the time the eyes are crossing to focus on different letters.

Perhaps this is the process behind this meme that has been making the rounds of the net for several years now:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Having trouble reading it? Just relax and let your eyes scan it.

More info on this meme here. (Don't be a victim, the "Cambridge research" part is misleading)

The BBC News article is here.

Cool Stuff

Thursday, September 20, 2007

CNN Spins Dollar News

The greenback has slid to the value of the Canadian dollar. Yes, it is true. Parity was reached today. And how did CNN spin it?

Canadian dollar catches up to U.S. dollar

Value of 'loonie' reaches that of American dollar for the first time in over 30 years.

TORONTO (AP) -- The Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar on Thursday for the first time since November 1976.

(More here)

Please do not be fooled. The loonie did not climb to the value of the U.S. dollar; The U.S. dollar has plummeted to the value of the Canadian dollar.

Still not convinced? Check this out:

NOTE: Recent events do not show on this graph. Today the blue line slid off the bottom of the chart.

This is not a symptom of a strong US economy

More gin might be in order.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rate Cut Euphoria Scares Me

I am not kidding.

To those Americans living solely between the oceans and the borders the rate cut was good news. In fact the Dow rallied to a multi-month high.


How can this be a bad thing?

Well, as regular readers will know, I am concerned with the state of the dollar. My simple point is that a weak dollar is a symptom of a weak economy.

Let me see if I explain. The USA is running budgetary deficits. That means that every day the US Government uses other countries money to pay it's bills. This Government treats China and Dubai the way many people treat Visa and Mastercard.

This is how it works. The US spends billions of dollars more than it collects in taxes and fees. In order to pay for that spending the government goes to China and Dubai (and others but those two are currently the main purchasers) and says, "Please purchase our bonds at 4ish% interest so that we can keep spending".

As long as there are buyers of debt at these prices the economy is safe; but, if those countries decide to buy even a little bit less than needed, the US government would be force to either immediately reduce spending (not likely), raise taxes (not on Dubya's watch) or raise the rate on the bond to make it more attractive (hurting home buyers and generally slowing the economy but perhaps avoiding a catastrophic economic event).

By lowering the rate (as happened today) the government is making those all important debt instruments less attractive. And what happened to the dollar today, when the rate was decreased and the Dow jumped? It fell --again.

I laughed out loud while listening to the Glenn Beck Show in CNN today. He had an admitted doomsday economist on that suggested if all goes wrong the dollar could see a drop in its valuation of as much as 50% !!!

Guess what? It has already happened.

In January 2002 one greenback was worth 1.61 Canadian dollars; today the close was 1.0146!!!

Does this make sense to you? What it means is that anything purchase from outside the walls of Bushdom is now forty percent more expensive than it would be if it were purchase with pre-Dubya dollars. People, this includes oil. Yes, Oil! The quirky result of the massive military spending (largely the reason for the current deficits) is that by paying for it with debt we have increased the price of the commodity that was at the core of the action: oil.

Am I making sense?

Let me lay out a likely bad case scenario. While the USA is lowering the interest offered on its debt instruments, countries such as Canada that do not run deficits and have little risk of dollar devaluation are keeping their interest rates stable. So Dubai and China can get over 5% from a Canada that is paying down its debt and is a good bet to not default by devaluing or they can get around 4% from the US. So, Dubai and China buy a bit less American debt. This is not unlike what Daddy Bush faced after his, "No new taxes" speech. Remember that?

So, to summarize. The US dollar is plummeting. US debt instruments are less attractive to those who would be bailing the Bushies out. And spending is up.

Folks, this is frightening.

And unless we have an administration that is willing to reduce spending to equal the record tax and fee revenue (here) that Bush has collected the outlook is terrifying.

Forget recession, this is a recipe for a depression. Now, that is depressing and frightening.


Time for a plymouth and a nap.

For a related rant click here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Pay for Iraq By Cutting Corruption

The Nation is reporting on a "sensitive but not classified" report detailing rampant corruption in Iraq. This on the eve of Mr. Bush's rumored request of an additional 50 Billion bucks for the cause.

Remember the days when a senior official was dismissed for suggesting that the total cost could reach $200 Billion? (Here) At the time Donald Rumsfeld claimed that the total cost would be in the $50-60 Billion range.

Again I am reminded of the apparent misplacement of 363 tons of shrink-wrapped hundred dollar bills -- 12 Billion smackers, oops. (Here)

Okay. Here is the solution. It is simple in theory. Spend a small part of that 50 billion on a two teams of accountants. One forensic. One dedicated to keeping the books from here on.

Seriously, when you pay for something you are supposed to get something. Money can be accounted for. That is where the term, accounting, comes from.

At this point I suggest you read the report in the nation. (Here)

I have no doubt that a properly charged team of forensic accountants (and a billion bucks would both buy a big enough team and pay for itself) would remove offenders.

This is a point that must be remembered: the corruption is not only by foreign nationals. Money cannot be traded for nothing without an explicit okay from a US official. There is no doubt in my mind that there are American officials feeding the corruption for their own gain.

These officials will be the ones shouting the loudest when any forensic accounting is suggested. Look for it.

Drink time. Cheers.

Protecting Kids From the Evils of Yoga

Once again the Christian church has stepped in to ensure that the spiritual and physical well being of children is protected. A kid's program that had kids exercising and pretending to be animals (as well as having fun) has been outlawed. (more in Ananova)

This reminds me of the French language proponents in the Canadian Province of Quebec who attempt to promote their cause by limiting all others. They can't defend against competition, so they ban it.

However, this is different. Yoga is not religious competition for Christianity: yoga is not a religion. But, and this is where the church is missing the boat, it can be combined with any reflective, meditative thought process.

If the church were lead by anyone with an imagination they would be integrating fun yoga with religious lesson planning.

Once more, the incompetent are in charge.

Almost time for my first plymouth. Cheers.

Farewell Tony Snow

I will miss you. You have had an unbelievable ability to deliver incredulous lines with well applied and earnestly delivered sincerity. As I don't believe you are stupid, I must believe you are one of the great political actors of our time.

I have only one request. Please do not sign on with Fox News. Your talents are better exercised in a more adversarial situation; to end up on a roster made up of unchallenged toadies would, I fear, bore both you and me beyond our limits.

I wish you well in your future struggles and hope to see you back in the public arena as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Perjury Trumps Lewd Conduct

Folks, let's put aside that this person has been a vocal opponent to gay rights. Let's put aside that this person has left a trail of half covered up gay experiences going back a quarter century. Let's put aside that the police might have overreached, their behavior bordering on entrapment.

Okay, have we put all of this aside? No? Okay I'll wait.




Here are the important and indisputable facts.

1.) Larry Craig is a lawmaker sworn to uphold the Constitution.
2.) He entered a guilty Plea to a crime.
3.) He claims he lied when he entered the guilty plea.
4.) Lying while entering a guilty plea is a more serious crime than the original offense.

That is all we need to know. He needs to be dismissed immediately. His boss, his constituents, need(s) to toss him out. Now.

This is an educated lawmaker. He knows, and if not certainly should have known, that it was possible to enter a plea that has the same result as a guilty plea without admitting fault. It is called a Nolo plea --short for Nolo Contendre. Literally, no contest.

He is not worthy of the title "Senator" and needs to be dismissed with cause immediately.

Vick Profits from Craig, Just as Gonzales Profited from Vick

Who profits most from Craig's proclamation that he is guilty of perjury not gay sex? Micheal Vick of course. Without Craig's flaccid protestations as to his sexuality we would still be hearing pundits waxing on and on about Michael Vick.

But to be fair, Alberto "I cannot recall" Gonzales was the benifactor of Vick's media time. If not for either of these PR nightmares the whole week would have been spent dissecting the evil tenure of Mr. G.

So, a serious socio-political story that has far reaching implications is overshadowed by an illiterate jock who should go to jail for an evil, yet petty, crime. Then this gets overshadowed by a failed search for a blow job.

2007 is shaping up to be an interesting year.

Countdown til Larry Craig finds Jesus

Wait for it. Craig is still denying both that anything untoward took place and that he is gay. Folks, he entered a guilty plea. He did not plead nolo contendere (no contest), which would have resulted in the same fine/probation but would not have resulted in his current predicament.

What predicament?

Well, this lawmaker under oath and before a judge stated that he was guilty, that he did perform the act that he was accused of. Now he says he made a mistake. He lied under oath. He said he was guilty when he did nothing wrong. Note that the mistake was not the act that has resulted in his being a criminal.

So, the choice is clear. Either he committed purgery, a crime far more serious than seeking a blow job in bathroom stall, or he is lying to the people.

How does one get out from under the harsh lights?

Wait for it.

I am predicting that within a week a teary eyed Senator Larry Craig will be on CNN seeking forgiveness and claiming that he is glad that this has happened as it has brought him closer to God. He will go on to announce that he is seeking religious counseling and that he still believes that homosexuality is a sin.

Here we have more evidence that the most vocal opponents of homosexuality are simply lashing out at their own sexuality.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gonzales Resigns... so what?

I will editorialize more on this later. My first thought is, "so what?" There is little hope that Dubya will put forward a principled, ethical person for this job. It saddens me that my first emotion is fear: fear that the next one will be worse than the last.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Give 'Em What They Want 'n' Tell 'Em What To Do

Does any one else find this frightening?

People don't scare me (often) but groups of people are another matter. Groups can be persuaded to act in atrocious ways. There is something about Putin's plans to assemble a youth movement aligned with and prepared to follow his views that makes the little hairs on the back of my neck snap to attention.
From the Daily Mail

A Quick Chuckle Vol 3

Always read the small print. Men lined up for a topless car wash for charity. You can guess the rest.
From Ananova.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

AC Cleans House on Jeopardy

An oldie but a goodie, Anderson takes on Maria Bartiromo & Kweisi Mfume. This video gold has forever ruined my ability to take Maria B. seriously. I hope she had the decency to be embarrassed.
Click here to watch the second half on

Cool Advertising on Kiev Subway.

Check this out.

From the site:
A new way of advertising in Kiev subway: it’s not a movie in the window - it’s many single paintings written on the wall of the metro tunnel, so when the train moves at a high speed the pictures change very fast and it seems that there is a movie showing out for the passengers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Overvalued, Devalued Dollar

A recent article in Bloomberg has fired up a rant. Ready?

As regular readers will know, I am concerned with the state of the dollar. My simple point is that a weak dollar is a symptom of a weak economy. This concern is fueled by the apparent lack of concern from the Bush administration.

All is not well.

Right now the US is totally dependent on foreign countries (mostly China) purchasing debt. That deficit that pundits like Tony B. and Pat B. (the "B" Twins) don't care about does not involve some fantasy banking system, quite the contrary, it involves real countries buying real debt at prices they are happy with.

It is that last part that scares me.

What would happen if the total debt became large enough that China, Dubai and others decided to purchase a bit less of of the fresh version? I am not talking about a fictitious dooms-day scenario, but a very real possibility. If foreign countries decided to purchase a bit less American debt, the US would be faced with two options. One, raise the interest payed in order to sell debt, or two, cut spending.

The second is politically unpopular, the first, devastating. An increase in debt rate would be a de facto further devaluation of the dollar (again, weak economy, weak dollar). This means an immediate raise in the price of every import --including oil.

Does this sound like fiction? Well, in the past 6 years the US Dollar has gone from purchasing 1.56 Canadian Dollars to the current rate of 1.06 Canadian Dollars. The neighbors from the north have not suddenly become the most prosperous nation. No, their economy has been stable. It is the dollar that is now two thirds as valuable as it was not too long ago.

What does this mean? It means that a huge amount of the increase in the price of a barrel of oil is only being felt in the US. The price of oil has not gone up near as much elsewhere. The dollar has gone down.

Okay, time to tie this to the article in Bloomberg.


The U.S. Treasury took two years to persuade the International Monetary Fund to police global currency markets -- and just two months to trash the initiative once the IMF adopted it.

Treasury officials recruited the IMF to be a currency cop as China and other countries meddle with exchange rates to gain a trade advantage. Instead, the international lending organization took aim at the dollar, calling it overvalued in an Aug. 1 report.
IMF staff economists told U.S. officials in meetings ended July 27 that their research showed the dollar was 10 percent to 30 percent overpriced, according to an account included in the 54-page Aug. 1 report.
The Experts that the US hired to look into currency fixing have come to the conclusion that the current greenback is overvalued. This is frightening.

This means abysmal US dollar purchasing power on the international stage is being artificially supported.

Who is overvaluing it? Not the US. No, the dollar is being held aloft by the countries that are happy to buy debt at an inflated price. To a large degree it is being artificially buoyed by the very country the pols are upset with, China.

China doesn't need to buy US debt. They could spend some of their enormous pile of surplus cash on their own economy. They could, in very short order, raise both the level and the numbers of the Chinese middle class to the point where the average Chinese family had a car instead of a couple of bicycles. (What would this do to the price of oil?) But they "choose" to buy overvalued American debt.

By the way, what do you think the response was to the IMF ruling?
...on Aug. 2 an aide to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress that it's impossible to measure a currency's fair value.
So, to summarize. The US has asked the IMF to look into the Chinese currency because it is unfairly valued. But when the IMF looks at the unfair value of the greenback, the response is swift,'s impossible to measure a currency's fair value.
Where did I put my gin.

The American economy is not, as Karl Rove said on Meet The Press this last Sunday,
...dynamic and powerful, providing jobs and increases in real income for people.
After almost seven years of Bush/Cheney leadership, the American economy is weakened. It is not in serious trouble, but it is close. Overseas (and up north) the dollar now buys two-thirds of what it did less than a decade ago. The perception that all is well is part of the problem.

But all is not lost. I have a solution. It may sound simple, but that does not mean it lacks merit.

Stop borrowing.

That is the only way to regain control of the dollar. It is the only way to ensure that the dollar does not collapse.

How to stop borrowing? Simple. Spend less.

This administration is poised to collect record revenues (here), all they have to do to get out of this quagmire is spend less than they bring in.

Basic fiscal responsibility.


Rant over.

Time for the last plymouth of the night. Cheers.

Bullet Proof Baby Products

This is a follow up to my post about bullet proof back packs.

My feelings are the same: I hate that the current conditions in America make these items viable. But, I would think about it --If I had kids.
More in The Presurfer

Good Economy?

More evidence that the devaluation of the Greenback is not good. Did you know that it is now economically viable for call centers in India to re-outsource their labour to Ohio? Yes. US companies are outsourcing to India and Indian companies are outsourcing to Ohio.

Why is this happening now? Well, it is simply because the US dollar has slid 40-50 per cent internationally in the past 6 years.

Remember, a strong economy has a strong currency. It is that simple.
Read about the re-outsourcing on

A Big Fat Cold

Yet another reason to step up research for a cold cure. It appears that one of the cold viruses that attacks humans has a distinct residual effect. If stimulates the growth of fat cells.
More in

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vick Chew Toy

I know I promised not to write about Vickers until his allocution. I am not breaking my promise; I am not writing about him.
Check this out. (Here) Genius.

Who Couldn't use a #@%&-ing Day Off?

That's what I need. A fornicating day off. Humans are crazy.
More in the Denver Post.

Those Darn Washers

This story has had a lot of press lately; but, I have yet to read a news/editorial/blog posting that makes the argument that this is a great example of how the US can afford to pay for better education and health service for its people.

If you have not heard the story:
A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas, U.S. officials said.

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

There is no doubt in my mind that the US could afford good quality health service for all Americans simply by cutting government waste. How can this be done? Well, it is easier than you think. Although these are hyperbolic examples, irrational spending is a staple for companies doing business with the Government at all levels, from 500 dollar toilet seats to 500,000 dollar washers.

People, When you pay your taxes, you do not decide what goes where: it all goes into general revenue. It is my guess that if we reduced irrational spending country wide (and that include getting rid of the waste in the IRS) we would, without raising taxes find several hundred billion dollars. That is billion, with a "B".

This abuse occurs at every level and must be fought at every level, from the local contractor selling 500 dollar toilet seats to the Member of Congress with both a contractor in the family and an earmark. Bridges to nowhere need to end up with charges being laid.

Basically the US needs to do a better job of taking care of its people's money.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fred Thompson: Already a Candidate?

Fred Thompson might already be a candidate. This could be bad for NBC.

Many have speculated on when Mr. Thompson will enter the race. Few have speculated on why it has taken so long. Well, you see, once ol' Freddie is officially a candidate NBC must either pull all of his Law and Order episodes, give other candidates equal time or be fined heavily for giving one candidate too much airtime.

Why do I bring this up? There are specific rules that define candidacy. A person cannot simply say they are not a candidate and proceed to campaign. One of the rules stipulates that as soon as a person who has established a "testing the waters" exemption spends more than $5000.00 they must announce.

So, has Fred Thompson broken the law? Well, according to his own tax filings he has spent $625,743. That's a tiny bit more than five grand.

I am not the only one to think so. Today, Lane Hudson filed a complaint with the FEC. (here)

I am curious to see how this affects NBC.

Box Score: Bears - 1 Humans - 0

Man gets drunk and climbs into a bear pit at the zoo. The hungry bears say, "Thank you."
More on the CNN Web-site.

Vick Pleads Guilty

It is imperative that this man be banned from Professional football for the remainder of his life. The crimes he has perpetrated are far more serious and damaging to the sport and that nation than anything Pete Rose ever did.

I sincerely hope he made good use of that education his football talents purchased for him during his two years at Virginia Tech. Perhaps he would have been better prepared if he had stayed in college. Perhaps not.

I promise, not another Vick blog entry until his allocution (if it is part of the plea).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rove on MTP: Unbelievable.

For those who missed it, here are some quotes.

I had intended to to this without commenting, letting his words sink in... But I am a weak man; I simply could not let these words go without replying. After all, that's what this is all about.

All quotes are from the Meet the Press transcript pages. Here

So, Let's begin with a soft one.
MR. GREGORY: (on the Republican Party) But do you feel responsible for its current state?

MR. ROVE: Well, look, every, every person who identifies with the Republican Party ought to, ought to, ought to feel some responsibility.

Being only on my first Plymouth of the day, I can let this one go....

No, no I can't, sorry.

The fact is, people who identify with the real conservative, Republican values of small government, low taxes, separation of church and state, and keeping the government out of people's private affairs are not responsible for the state of the party ruled by an administration that has raised record tax revenue (here), made terrible decisions based on Christian beliefs (subject for a future editorial), stomped all over the constitution (here) and has brought the government into the bedrooms of the nation like no other since Nixon.

Moving on.
Our party, when this president came in, we faced a recession.
Um, er... really? Actually in saying this he is showing the genius of Karl Rove. "Facing" means it is ahead. And during the 2000 election the recession was still ahead. The fact is, in 2000 the US was riding high. The tech bubble was deflating, but on the whole the economy was strong.

Which brings us to the present.
Our economy is dynamic and powerful, providing jobs and increases in real income for people.
Time for my second Plymouth.

People, the economy appears to be dynamic and powerful, but the US is printing money like it is wallpaper --and that is what over produced currency becomes. Oil has gone up; but, 40-45 per cent of the increase is due to the devalued greenback. The state of the dollar has driven the cost of imports through the roof --remember that the US is to a great degree a net importer. Not to mention the lousy-mortgage situation.

No, the economy in not dynamic and powerful. It is at the sign-in desk in the emergency room looking for its insurance card.

He went on.
You look at education reform, you look at energy, you look at higher education, you look at welfare, and you look at the compassion agenda, you look at faith-based, you look at AIDS in Africa, you look at trade—on a whole range of issues, this president has been able to offer a bold and optimistic agenda and get it done.
Uh, get what done exactly?

Education reform? That's done? Really? So, the US is now leading the world in the education of its people? No. The education record of the US is and continues to be one of the worst in the world. To be fair, it was not good before Bush; but (going back to Karl's quote) he has not got the job done.

Energy? The US is facing an energy crisis not unlike the one it faced in the '70s and the devaluation of the dollar is largely responsible. They are still talking about drilling in Anwar. Against the recommendation of the scientific community and as a direct hand out to farmers they are supporting the use corn for the production of ethanol. I could go on --and will in another editorial.

Compassion agenda? Aids in Africa? Trade?

One last item on this quote. How is introducing a faith based agenda a good thing? What would Thomas Paine say?

On to Iraq.
What would’ve happened if, if we’d said at the end of D-Day, “Oh, you know what? We’ve suffered too many casualties. Let us, let us, let us step back from this important battle”?
Is he actually suggesting that the current state of the aggression in Iraq is comparable to the European Theater at the end of D-Day? Is he suggesting that the Bush/Petraeus team is comparable to FDR-Churchill/Ike, Monty, Patton, Smith, Bradley team? Not to mention that the whole western world was on board and that every American was forced to be and, perhaps more importantly, felt part of the fight --at the very least through rationing.

On Saddam prior to invading Iraq.
16 UN resolutions that said “live up to the agreement that you made in the aftermath of the first Gulf war to disclose your weapons of mass destruction and to account for them.” He didn’t.
Perhaps Mr. Rove didn't get the memo. There were no WMDs to for Saddam to disclose.

On Valeri Plame after talking to Novak
MR. ROVE: ...You know, I acted in an appropriate manner, made all the appropriate individuals aware of, of, of my contact (with Novak). I met with the FBI right at the beginning of this, told them everything.

MR. GREGORY: Do you think you owe Valerie Plame an apology?


A significant part of the Rove strategy that has permeated the administration is that one should never admit fault, never show weakness, never apologize. Despite his record, on this he is wrong. Apologizing when you mess up is one of those things that good parents teach their kids. I am not going to suggest that Mr Rove Sr. is to blame, but I do believe that a good person takes responsibility for their actions and apologizes when they mess up. There is great power in this behavior.

On testifying before congress
The counsel’s office had made a very generous offer. If they want to find out what Harriet Miers and I said and did, we’d be happy to go up there and have a visit with them about it.
He really wanted to make the point so he said it again.
If they want to hear from me, the counsel’s office had made a generous offer. They didn’t take us up on it.
For those who don't recall the offer, Mr. Rove was happy to testify before congress in a secret session, with no record and no oath of honesty. Now, it would still be illegal for him to mislead the panel (lie) but without witnesses or a record (more here), how could his true testimony be guaranteed? Would he lie or manipulate the truth? Yes, yes he would.

Time for my third Plymouth. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


On August 7th, I suggested that Giuliani's comments in support of McCain foreshadowed a possible ticket. (Here)

Once again, ABC News is late to the party. (Here)

Saddam is Not a Threat --NSA Brent Scowcroft, 1996

This 1996 interview with Bush Senior's National Security Adviser is a great follow up of the now famous Cheney 1994 interview (Here). Once again this clearly supports that fact that a mistake was made when Iraq was made a priority over Afghanistan.

Fox News on Fred Thompson

Last week they covered Michael Vick's alleged purchase of missiles from Iran with the proceeds from the sale of stolen pit bulls on eBay. Now the "esteemed" Fox News believes that choice of footwear at a country fair is newsworthy. Absurd.

A Great Big D'oh!

We have all suffered from embarrassing moments. This even tops the Howard Dean scream.
From Ananova

I Hate that this Makes Sense. But it Does.

Bullet proof back packs ready for back-to-school sales.
More from The Boston Channel

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mock Indignation over Gonzales Testimony

Either Gonzales has Alzheimer's disease or he needs to be impeached. I cannot believe that he, a young ostensibly competent attorney, can get away with repeating, "I don't recall." so many times. In a court of law the jury would be instructed to take his testimony, in its entirety, with a grain of salt. He knows he cannot be found guilty of purgery if he lies and says he cannot recall events. But he can be declared hostile, asked leading questions and have his credibility openly impugned. A special prosecutor could do this. But that is not going to happen. He could be sanctioned, but either he would have to do it to himself or Cheney would have to. No, the only appropriate move is to appoint a special prosecutor (ala Ken Starr) to look into possible criminal contempt.

This should be done with all due haste.

What brings on this renewed rant? The newly released notes from FBI chief Robert S. Mueller who was in the room with Ashcroft shortly before and soon after the meeting which Al cannot recall.

From Mueller's notes:
Saw AG, Janet Ashcroft in the room. AG is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed.
He goes on:
The AG then reviewed for them the legal concerns relating to the program. The AG also told them that he was barred from obtaining the advice he needed on the program by the strict compartmentalization rules of the WH.
Politicians are coming out of the woodwork with their mock indignation.

The committee chairman, Rep. John Conyers D-Mich:

Particularly disconcerting is the new revelation that the White House sought Mr. Ashcroft's authorization for the surveillance program, yet refused to let him seek the advice he needed on the program.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt:

...I ask that you look into whether the attorney general, in the course of his testimony, engaged in any misconduct, engaged in conduct inappropriate for a cabinet officer and the nation's chief law enforcement officer, or violated any duty.

Why do I say "mock" indignation? Because I am tired of the Democrats jumping up and down with outrage, then quietly voting for the status quo.

I will happily admit I am wrong, if I am. But, I am willing to bet a beer that the congress will, in the end, have the ability to go after forgetful Al and they will choose not too. Of course they will spin it as being good for America, or a time for healing. When they do that I want you to recall the indignation that they are expressing now: mock indignation.

Prove me wrong. Please.
More on Mueller's notes in the Associated Press

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gay Marriage is a Legal Issue, Not a Sentimental One

After penning my little rant about Gay marriage last week (here) I was flooded with emails (well, 4 emails --which for this infant blog is a flood) calling me all sorts of names, but mostly saying that if you live together "which "those people" are allowed to do" --how gracious-- you are basically married. So, I was asked, what is the big deal with the status quo?

Let me make this perfectly clear. Marriage is not simply a living arrangement, it is a legal designation with far reaching implications.

For instance, according to the 2000 census, over 30% of female same-sex couples and 20% of male same-sex couples have at least one dependent under 18 living at home.

Here is a brief list of legal issues. In many states:

--Neither the parent or child has visitation rights if the parents separate.

--The child cannot claim inheritances or other household assets in case of death.

--If one parent dies, the second parent has no legal right to take custody or care for the child.

--A parent without legal right to a child cannot legally register him/her for school.

--Parents cannot put children on some health insurance plans.

--Parents cannot make medical decisions for the child.

--The child has no claim to the social security or other insurance benefits of the parent.

--Gay couple parents without adoption rights do not benefit from the generous tax deductions granted to heterosexual parents.

Note: this is just a small list dealing only with children, I have not listed survivor rights, protection from discrimination, et cetera.

Please don't, again, try to tell me that these appalling issues are dictated by the Bible. The United States of America is NOT a theocracy. No lawmaker ever swears an oath to uphold the bible; they swear to uphold the constitution.

Let us not forget that the largest voices opposing the abolition of slavery as well as the suffragette movement came from those quoting the Bible.

Again, let me formally state that this should NOT be an issue. Basic rights (under the law) should be for everyone. Period.

Required Reading

I was recently incented to dig up and reread what is perhaps the greatest essay every written on the subject of modern liberal democracy. It was penned by Fareed Zackaria in 1997 and should be required reading by anyone getting into politics. Don't just take my word for it; do a quick search for it the following
"The Rise of Illiberal Democracy " Fareed Zakaria
11,700 results for an article written in 1997.

Read it here

I will not comment, or suppose to know more than Mister Zakaria --few do. I just urge you to read it.

I Can't wait to See This on Colbert

Am I the only one that cannot wait to see this? And what is with the story that the big virgin was not permitted to plug his new airline? Did he not know this before agreeing to appear? Is that not the reason for his making this journey around America?

Humans are crazy.

Hurricane Dean

No this is not a reference to the scream that ended a career.

Just a fingers crossed that this will turn into nothing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Humans Are Crazy Vol. 2

Apparently Michael Vick stole a pair of pitbulls, sold them on ebay and used the proceeds to purchase missiles from the Iran government.

Actually the real question here is, "What the %#$# is Fox News doing covering this?"

Don't believe me? Click here.

Not my Fault: Bush

"I did say it should be a goal of the nation to shut down Guantanamo, I also made it clear that part of the delay was the reluctance of some nations to take back some of the people being held there."
That was the president late last week. What he is saying, if I read his words correctly is that because some of the detainees are not welcome in their originating countries, Guantanamo cannot be shut down.

I have written before on the danger of taking white-out to the constitution and I am not about to here. Other than to say that these individuals need to have their day in court. Some of them might belong where they are, but if only one of them is an innocent then this needs to be discovered and corrected immediately.
More on Reuters

Bush's Democratic Tendancies

Well, not exactly.

But he has raised more tax revenue than any other president in history. Details here.

Yes, Mr. No New Taxes has somehow managed to collect a record $2,120,000,000,000.00 in the first ten months of the year.

You would think with record revenues that he would be paying down the debt. You would think that with record revenues the government could afford to help some of the folks with prescriptions, or medicaid. You would, of course be wrong. In true Democrat fashion, bush has not only collected record taxes, he has built the largest government is history and he has spent the most ever. Everything that scares the Republican machine about the democrats. (Well, that and two men kissing).

Now to be fair, compared to the GDP these taxes are not the largest in history, but they are so close that W should have his Republican decoder ring confiscated immediately.

Position Wanted: Loyal, Unprincipled Kingmaker Looking For Work

Now his son has emerged from the period in his life where an at-home dad is most needed, Karl Rove is going to spend more time with his family. Now, there is a dedicated family man.

No, he is what he has always been: opportunistic. With "W" set to retire he will soon be redundant and it is my guess that he is not ready to retire. It is my guess that, despite his articulated reasons for leaving, he is not ready to spend more time with his family.

The big question is, "Whose campaign is going to capitalize on his political advice?" That is what he specializes in. He is not a policy adviser as many people think. He has never worn that hat under "W". He does not specialize in "policy". He is/was George W Bush's political adviser.

My guess? After every one involved signs a mutual nondisclosure agreement, he will sign on to Fred Thompson's campaign. A political adviser as savvy as Rove must know that his presence is a liability.

Equally, he is a proven kingmaker and someone will want him on their team --even if it means secret skype conference calls at midnight.

Rove in Today's Toles

If you haven't seen Tom Toles cartoon in today's Washington Post, Click Here

Gonzales Gets Power of Life & Death!

Last year in a controversial decision the Patriot Act was re-affirmed.

One of these days the bozos in Washington are going to have someone they truly trust read through these documents before they vote on them. (Yes, actually reading the documents IS too much to ask).

Did you know that in the new Patriot Act Roberto "I don't recall" Gonzales has the power to decide that a death-row appeals process is taking too long and to expedite the execution? Previously this power has resided in the hands of federal judges.

Now this might not sound like a big deal, but let me assure you that these amendments are not written casually. The mere fact that it is there implies that it will be used. Perhaps they expect at least one Guantanamo detainee to get a death sentence in a civilian court. This could keep the case out of the appeal courts.

But, to bring in any measure meant to "fast track" executions at a time when the number of past and planned executions have been dismissed due to DNA testing is accelerating boggles this bystanders mind.

Again, these things don't happen by accident. The question is, "Whom do they want to kill?" Rest assured it is someone.
More in the LA Times

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fairness for Vick?

NAACP Leaders Urge Fairness for Vick

I agree --sort of.

Mr. Vick should not lose what he has rightfully achieved until he is found culpable: this means guilty in criminal court and/or liable in civil court --two very different burdens of proof.

I am referring to his NFL contract only. This he achieved on his merits. Of course the NFL bigwigs don't want him in uniform, but that does not alter the fact that he is under contract and will be until a court decided otherwise.

His endorsement deals are a different story. They were built on reputation and reputation alone --the Michael Vick Brand. He lost his reputation; he lost his deals. I have no issue with this sequence of events.

Do I feel bad for Mr. Vick? No. I feel bad for the Atlanta Falcon's fans. This was their turn.

Halloween in August

I love this:
Scary Poppins
(link will transport you to

Cheney in 1994: a Different Bird.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan's Dish for this must see tidbit.

Yes, that is Cheney detailing, very specifically all of the bad things that have happened since the US unilaterally went into Iraq. Thing is, it is from 1994. He was explaining the very good reasons that George Bush senior didn't overthrow Saddam after liberating Kuwait. The big question is, "What happened to him?" "Where did this guy go?"

It is my opinion that the Cheney in this interview was not speaking from the heart: he was following the party line. It was not until he could seize the reigns of power that the real Dick emerged. Now that he has his hands firmly on the puppet strings he is free to be, do and speak as he pleases. We are not the better for it.
Click here to see the video on

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Red Cross Brand Blunder

Did you know that the Red Cross Branding belonged to J&J for ten years before they generously allowed the Red Cross to use it, for free, forever? And that they had a proviso? Yes, apparently J&J did not want the logo to be used to sell canned ham and therefore stipulated that the logo must not be used for "reasons not directly related to their mission."

Seth has a great article on his blog

Well, apparently the wizards at the Red Cross have decided to capitalize on "their" branding and have come up with a few licensing deals. J&J is understandably upset, no doubt the corporation has been proud of it's huge donation to the cause. So J&J has taken steps to correct the situation.

And can you blame J&J? it turns out that one of the companies proudly sporting the J&J Red Cross is Curel, a J&J Competitor. Not sure if I am right to call it the J&J Red Cross? Check out the J&J Branding that dates back to the mid 1800s (here is a quick modern example)

Here is where I agree with Seth. You would think that the RC folks would say a quick mea culpa and life would go on (you know I bet J&J would even kick in a large donation for some recognition of their part in the branding of the Red Cross). But no, in this litigious culture that cannot happen.

So, the Red Cross has had free use of a J&J brand under non-commercialization conditions and chooses to license a it to a J&J competitor. J&J asked them to stop, they didn't, J&J sued and the bozos at the RC came out with this:
For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute, . . . simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene.
Obscene indeed --did I mention that J&J is the third largest charitable contributor in the United States? (Forbes).

The Red Cross messed up. So what? That happens. This should never have seen the light of day. Apologies should have been made, accepted, contracts voided (not legal anyhoo), donations made, lawyers be damned.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Real Iowa Straw Poll Winners Were G, M & T

That's Giuliani, McCain and Fred Thompson. Yes, I know that Mitt took the cake. But, 31%? Folks, three of the four front runners were not there and Mitt could not take more than 31% from the rest of the pack?

No matter how it is spun on tomorrows show's, this is a bad result for the Romney campaign.

But Was the Hat Yellow?

Man smuggles monkey aboard plane --under his hat!

Tired of Gay being an issue

Is anyone else tired of this being an issue? How can anyone believe that who a person chooses to kiss is in any way the government's business? It drives me crazy. I cannot accept any religious argument; the US is not a theocracy. The founding fathers did not want religious dogma interfering with policy and they were right.

Once again we are talking about the draft as the only answer to our dramatically over extended troops. Yet, the military is still discharging capable, dedicated and interested soldiers under don't ask, don't tell. It is insane.

What about marriage? Remember we have removed religion from the argument, lawmakers swear to uphold the constitution, not the Bible. So, without a religious argument, the only reason not to allow gay marriage (no, icky feelings are not valid reasons for lawmaking) is the support of the possibility of child rearing. Great. No benefits for people who choose to marry as seniors. Infertile couples who knowingly claim marriage benefits become guilty of fraud.

No, that won't work.

There are no non-religious arguments that hold water. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. Anyone who uses religion to hold a demographic down is allying themselves with those who used religion to support such serious threats to morality as the abolition of slavery and allowing women to vote.

I am so tired of this being an issue. People, we need competent people in our military and we need to get our politics out of the bedroom.

In the late '60s Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said, “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.” He was right.

Tax on Bond's Ball --Boo Hoo

I can't stand hearing supposed experts saying that they would not want to be in the position of having to pay taxes on Barry Bond's home run ball.

One talking head on CNN just said that he would run away from the ball if it was coming his way because of the IRS. Is he insane?

Let me play in out for you.
  • Game starts, dude doesn't have a home run ball.
  • Dude catches the ball.
  • Dude fights off idiots who try to steal the ball from him.
  • IRS calls up the dude and tells him he has to pony up 35% of the ball's value.
  • Dude has to sell the ball for $500,000 because he can't afford the tax.
  • Dude pays IRS $175,000.
  • Dude puts $325,000 in the bank.
  • Dude doesn't have a home run ball.
  • Game over.
So, horror of horrors, the guy from Queens ends up like he began, without the ball. But now he has almost a third of a million smackers in the bank. Bummer.

Now the legitimacy of collecting tax on the ball immediately is a subject for another post. I would like to see it categorized as a capital gain and taxed only after it is sold. But, as I said, that is for another post.

Friday, August 10, 2007

All of the Candidates Positions

Click here to here to zoom in (will transport you to Flickr)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bill Richardson Doesn't Get The Press He Deserves

Bill Richardson indisputably has the best foreign affairs resume in the primary game and yet in a time where foreign policy is the dominant issue he gets little or no press.

Too Bad, he has some great things to say. (and I love his "Job Interview" commercials)

Now he is coming out on the side of education. For anyone else this would seem as meaningless pandering but the way he ties it to the Iraqi situation is masterful and worthy of coverage --but I didn't see anything about it on CNN.
More in the Boston Globe.

How many presidential candidates have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times?

Outsourcing: Good For National Security?

Far from threats from Candidates like the suddenly hawkish Obama, Pakistan and General Musharraf could use the humble hand of friendly support from America's leaders. Sure he is no saint, but the repercussions of his potential loss of control over Pakistan could be devastating to the war on terror --and his support is dwindling.

Let's not forget that Pakistan not only has the bomb it is also where many of the enemies in the war on terror have chosen to settle and build training camps. Do we want an unfriendly administration to take over?

Now, to be sure, the help he requires might not be military, it might be economic. This is one place where national security might trump economics: outsourcing for the security of the nation. If we can keep Musharraf popular (by employing his people) we might be able to keep Al-Qaeda from getting their hands on a nuke.

This might be enough to get Lou Dobbs on the side of outsourcing.
More on Musharraf's plight in the Associated Press via the Chicago Tribune

But He Must Leave His Wife At Home

A Serbian farmer is allowed to take his prized bull to prison with him.
From Ananova

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Metric System. Is it just a Fad?

Here is a map of all of the countries that have not adopted the metric system.

A Good Day to Visit the Bank

Imagine walking into the bank to deposit about a grand and having more than three thousand times that much (Approx, $3,577,000) put in your account.
From Ananova

President of Canada?

In an election where foreign policy might be the number one issue (let's not forget that war is foreign policy) Barak Obama has made another blunder. This one might be small, but it might not. The question is, how rehearsed was his answer? Was it a slip of the tongue or did he actually think that Canada has a president?

The quote on trade aggreements:
I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada, to try to amend NAFTA, because I think that we can get labor agreements in that agreement right now. And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street; it should also be good for Main Street.
There are several issues with his statement I will list two.

1.) Canada's government, a parliamentary democracy, has a very different form of government from the USA. Up there the figurative head of state is the Queen and the head of the government is the Prime Minister, there is no President. Barak should know this. Should he win the nomination and, subsequently, the election he will be meeting with Kings, Queens, Princes, Emirs, Presidents and Prime Ministers. It would be a good thing if he knew the difference.

2.) It is arrogant of him to think that he will just call up Mexico and Canada and alter agreements that have bolstered the economies of both nations. Canada is to a large degree an exporting nation, it is not in their best interest to "amend" an agreement that gives them relatively free access to the largest import and consumption driven market in the world. Why would they want to "amend" NAFTA? Why would Mexico? To bail out the US whose consumption addiction is now even more devastating than before due to their plummeting currency?

I don't believe that Obama's faux pas will have an effect on the primaries, but should he win the nomination, the merciless Republican machine will have yet another weapon to use to destroy him.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bad Neighbor

Sometimes mosquito infestations call for drastic measures and sometimes absent neighbors can be troublesome, but arson is not the answer. Crazy.

Will We See a McCain/Giuliani Ticket?

This looks like the beginnings of a partnership.

Buddy, Wanna buy an AK-47?

There are somethings you lose (keys, remote control, virginity) and some things you don't lose (wedding ring, 363 tons of shrink-wrapped hundred dollar bills, 190,000 AK-47s and pistols). Guess which one America has not lost in Iraq? Even though some poor official has probably misplaced his wedding ring, that cannot be blamed on America. The scary fact is, the other two have gone missing.

Yes, I know the misplaced (oops) 12 Billion dollars is old news and could in fact purchase purchase over ten million AK-47s (according to a source well informed on these matters), the almost 200,000 missing Ak-47s and pistols is more disturbing to me. To know that American and allied men and women are being shot with their own weapons is astounding.

Issued to Iraqi Forces Listed in the Iraqi Property Books Missing
AK-47s 185,000 75,000 110,000
Pistols 170,000 90,000 80,000
Body Armor 215,000 80,000 135,000
Helmets 140,000 25,000 115,000

When I heard that the money went missing, I thought it was a typical situation on a very large scale, but we are not supposed to misplace weapons. And we are not supposed to misplace enough weapons to arm a significant force. Let's not forget that the bad guys will be able to use the weapons not just against us, but also as currency.

From the Washington Post
"They really have no idea where they are," said Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information who has studied small-arms trade and received Pentagon briefings on the issue. "It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors."
Bad actors indeed. No, let us not down play the situation. The United States is unintentionally providing weapons to the enemy.

I thought there were checks and balances? When someone takes possession of a weapon, or a humvee, or a tennis racket don't they have to sign for it? Is there not a record of the chain of possession on enough fully automatic assault rifles, pistols, body armor and Helmets to stock 3 average sized Costco outlets?

Sorry, all I have right now is questions and an uncomfortable feeling in my gut.

Where is the responsibility?

Golf Story of the Week

A hole in one is something to brag about for the rest of your life. But on the wrong hole?

I'm afraid slicing is one of my problems.
From Ananova

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Quick Chuckle

The headline says it all:
Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty

No Warrant Required

It saddens me.

This administration continues to erode the freedoms that the founders saw as indisputable. We have often heard that the President's first obligation is the safety of the American people. This is, in fact, not true. The president's first sworn duty is to protect the constitution of the United States. The framers felt that the ideals of the country were more important than individual people, it is too bad that this President does not feel the same way.

We were told that the terrorists would win if we stopped shopping. That was absurd. Truth is the terrorists do not win when they blow up a bomb, or take down a building, or kill thousands of people; the terrorists win when they cause us to alter that which is fundamentally opposed to their way of life and foundational to ours: the Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

The founders would not be happy.
More in the New York Times

Cramer's Meltdown

I usually find Cramer's antics a little contrived --and I can't stand all the sound effects of his show. But, I became a bigger fan after watching his meltdown on CNBC on Friday.

I don't believe this was an act, I believe that this is a man that knows what he is talking about and cannot stand watching the Fed make a mistake that could put millions (yes, millions) of people out of their homes. He knows way more than I do and I am not going to make any points about what he is saying, however his extreme passion is well placed. Too often money shows are cleansed of emotion, this disregards the fact that peoples' lives are effected by the movements of the fed at a grassroots level: a small mistake by the fed hurts millions of people directly.

If you missed it, sit back, and click here.

After composing himself he gave this interview to explain the rant.

I almost wish he hadn't explained it.

Perhaps one day we'll see some emotion (other than defensive) in a presidential debate.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Republican Debate: The return of McCain?

This debate offered little other than the tired, slow-pitch questions coupled with pat, predictable answers and wired pseudo-attacks. That said, McCain did come out with a few duzzies reminiscent of the old McCain, the McCain that has given him non-partisan support over the years.

My two favorites:
I will veto every single bill that comes across my desk (with pork) and make the authors of those pork-barrel projects famous.

Look, I would be very careful that everyone understood that there is only one president. (A great dig at Bush/Cheney)
Ron Paul, again, went straight to the people with his return to old school conservatism message. But will the people pay attention? Not likely, the people will read the reports in the media and Ron P.'s message does not get coverage. I did like his Bush Cheney zinger:
...most people (in Washington), behind the scenes, think the Vice President is more powerful than the President. Philosophically, I think that this is the case.
We'll see what the big media has to say, but other than the above moments I saw nothing worth getting up early Sunday morning.

Maria B. on The Mclaughlin Group

For those who missed it, she held up well. Jumping into the fray when McLaughlin made the economy the issue, she even had a moment where she looked on Buchanan with great disdain. But --and there often is a but-- I can no longer watch her as I did before seeing her dismal performance on Jeopardy (here) where Anderson Cooper destroyed any vision of her being anything but CNBC eye candy.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Best flogging of O'Hanlon & Pollack (so far)

I was going to excerpt and comment, but that would be gilding the lily. Click here for the dissection.

Obama's Making Gains

In Iowa

What Could Be Better Than a Personal Submarine?

Your own flying saucer.
From Ananova

Friday, August 3, 2007

Do We Want a Leader that Colors Inside the Lines?

Very funny political ad.
From YouTube.

Tony Blankley's Wrong on General Petraeus

Now, I don't always agree with Tony B. but I usually understand his point. He is a learned man with lots to say. This time he is dead wrong.

For those who are not readers, let me summarize. In 1942 the following resolution was tabled in the English house of Commons,
"That this House, while paying tribute to the heroism and endurance of the Armed Forces... in circumstances of exceptional difficulty, has no confidence in the central direction of the war."
Mr. B. goes on to point out that shortly after that and after firing a string of unsuccessful generals, Churchill promoted General Bernard Law (Monty) Montgomery. Monty took charge and all was good. Mr. B. then makes the astonishing suggestion that General David Petraeus might be Bush's "Monty".

The big difference is simple. Churchill was a man that let his generals lead. If they failed, he sacked them; eventually he found a good one. The current executive branch takes an entirely different tact: they hire generals that can follow.

Churchill did not just listen to his generals (as Bush tells us he does) he did what they said needed to be done.

This argument is not complete without a discussion of the greatest general of WWII, General Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower. How much instruction to you think he took from FDR? He was given a job --to win-- and the authority to do it his way.

This is where Tony Blankley is wrong.

Petraeus might be a "Monty", or an "Ike", but the current administration has proven themselves incapable of letting competent people do their jobs. If he still there in '09 he might be the next president's "Ike" but he will not be Bush's and it is not his fault.
Read Tony Blankley's opinion here.