Wednesday, December 31, 2008
10 men have been president in my lifetime, and my earliest non-familial memory is of the assassination of one of them. When JFK was shot it shook the world, and even at 4 years old I could feel the importance of the event.
I grew up during an era when nuclear annihilation was a real possibility. The grade school 'duck and cover' drills can't have been good for our psyche, but they did impart a certain fatalistic cheer: "well, we haven't been nuked yet" was a good response to all bad news. And we've gotten through this past half century without a nuclear war (including the Reagan years), so there's reason for hope.
Having watched marches and riots for civil rights, I'll soon get to see an African-American president. More proof that we can make progress.
But something has changed in the American spirit during my lifetime. I'm not sure if I can define it, but we no longer have the "can-do" confidence that I grew up with. The determination that put a man on the moon is no longer present. Instead, there is an ideological morass where the public waits for someone else (i.e. "the government") to address the problems that we face. Opportunities that used to be available are now gone, and nobody seems to know how to build new ones. Technologies that seemed impossible during my childhood are now at our fingertips, but it's not clear how they will be applied to solve our current crisis'. The old economy is gone, but there isn't a new one that works for the people. Global warming isn't really all that complex, yet converting to renewable energy isn't being done. We can find the billions for wars or wall street, but something as simple as saving the planet doesn't fit in the budget.
50 years. I'm sounding like a curmudgeon on my birthday. I'm really trying to be more optimistic. I'll start now:
Happy New Year, everybody! I've always had my birthday on a holiday, and I think everyone else should, too. Or at least have a holiday on your birthday. A good reason to celebrate. This year we get the gift of a new president (something we've all really needed), one with a lot more brains and compassion than the one who's leaving. In spite of all the challenges facing him, we have some reason for hope...just a little optimism as the New Year begins.
Again, Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Over the past few decades America has built it's business system based on a "consumer economy" that depends on the public to buy more stuff, rather than the development or manufacture of real material goods that people need. Our jobs declined as we stopped making things and instead focused on consuming them. An intangible model at best, it's now facing a catastrophic failure.
As we count down the last days of 2008 (and get to my birthday), the prevailing mood is one of "oh, shit, what's next?" Despite the optimism of a new president, the outlook is gloomy.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
"Yes, Virginia, there WAS a Santa Claus"
Well, whether I want it or not, I'm getting a white Christmas. We've received a fair amount of snow (around 3 feet) over the past week, but tomorrow we're supposed to get the heaviest yet. The forecast is calling for "blizzard conditions" for most of the day. Luckily, I don't have to go anywhere. While a friend is hosting a Christmas potluck dinner that would be fun to join in on, if the weather is as bad as predicted I'll stay home. Even the best of the seasons good cheer doesn't serve well when frozen.
Actually, I haven't got much Christmas spirit this year. Not having any family nearby, and being extremely broke, I'm grateful for the friends around me. But that's true year round, not just seasonally. I'm wishing all good cheer to all, all year long.
So I hereby wish you all a happy, warm holiday.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The clearest example so far is our current financial disaster. While the terms "bailout" and "stimulus" have been badly abused for rhetorical purposes, there is a fundamental difference in their actual meaning.
Shrub's plan to deal with the economic crisis is to give major financial institutions a whole lot of taxpayer money. This is a "bailout" and is a reactive response to the problem.
Obama's proposed plan is based on infrastructure projects and alternative energy development. This is "stimulus" and is proactive.
The difference is that one is an attempt to fix a past mistake, while the other is an attempt to develop a stronger future. And they represent a major difference in the fundamental philosophy of government.
There is no guarantee that Obama's plan will work, or that he'll engage in a proactive plan in other areas of government, but it's a good start.
(Now if they'd just send me some money)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
(video added because I could.)
I'm sure you've already read about it, but an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at our shrub to celebrate shrub's visit to Baghdad:
I'm also sure that I'm not alone in my support for the journalist. Hell, I'd be throwing something harder than my shoes if I had the chance. Perhaps a live weasel would be appropriate.
BAGHDAD (AFP) — A journalist hurled two shoes at President George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq on Sunday, highlighting hostility still felt toward the outgoing US leader who acknowledged that the war is still not won.
Muntazer al-Zaidi jumped up as Bush held a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, shouted "It is the farewell kiss, you dog" and threw his footwear.
The president lowered his head and the first shoe hit the American and Iraqi flags behind the two leaders. The second was off target.
The incident has been followed by demonstrations:
Only a little over a month left to go. We're going to need more shoes.
Hundreds of Iraqis joined anti-US demonstrations to protest at Bush's farewell visit on Sunday to Iraq, which was plunged into a deadly insurgency and near civil war in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion.
In Baghdad's Shiite slum of Sadr City, supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for protests against Bush and demanded the release of the reporter. Thousands took to the streets Monday, chanting, "Bush, Bush, listen well: Two shoes on your head."
Talking to a small group of reporters after the incident, Bush said, "I didn't know what the guy said, but I saw his sole." He told the reporters that "you were more concerned than I was. I was watching your faces."
"I'm pretty good at ducking, as most of you know," Bush joked, adding quickly that "I'm talking about ducking your questions."
Friday, December 12, 2008
Of course the senate rethuglicans had to kill it...might help some union workers...they don't give money to most rethug senators...screw them. The final vote of 52-35 (35 being the rethugs) shot it down.
Sometimes I wonder how the rethugs ever win. I mean, how many times do they get to kick working class people before the people strike back? After almost 8 years of shrub and crew's demolition of the American dream, you would think that they would at least try to pretend to care, but they don't.
We try to hang our hopes on the knowledge that Obama's coming, and that he'll change things for the better. God, I hope so. But I'm not optimistic. The mess has gotten too damn big for any 'quick fix' and a lot of suffering will pass before a real turnaround can take effect.
Or maybe my mood is just because it's December. I have seasonal affective disorder, and I tend to get depressed this time of year.
Nah, it's not just me.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife.Uhm, Gov., when you campaigned as a "reformer" to replace a corrupt governor, you might have thought that people would pay attention; and that "re-forming" corruption didn't mean moving it into your own pockets. Slimeball!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy entered a recession a year ago this month, the panel that dates American business cycles said today, making this contraction already the longest since 1982.
Thanks for telling us, guys. But most of us were all too aware that the economy was in shitty shape, going back even farther than that. Despite shrub and the rethuglicans repeated cheers that "our economy is strong", anybody living on the lower end of the money pyramid knew it sucked.
In my own situation, the job market is terrible. I spent the summer and fall working for a buddies landscaping business while trying to find better employment without luck. One sign that the economy was in trouble was when a number of his accounts started dropping his services (some he's had for almost 20 years). These are relatively well off folks (poor people don't hire gardeners) but they felt they had to cut back their spending somewhere. I still made enough to get by, but not more. And now the season is done. I'm broke and looking for work, and I've got a lot of company. This morning I was one of about 25 applying for a warehouse job that pays little and demands a lot. Just another sign of the times.
Added: Our good blog buddy Monkeyfister (http://www.monkeyfister.blogspot.com/) has some great advice for how to survive the coming years. Some of his suggestions may be unavailable to some of us, but he's got a lot of resources available that may be usefull to many.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thanks to all of you who keep stopping by even with the sparcity of posts. Hope you're spending the holidays with folks you love (or at least try to like), and that your day will bring you reasons for "thanks."
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Should Napolitano end up head of DHS, the republican secretary of state, Jan Brewer, will fill the remainder of the term. And St. Sleazy will most likely get re-elected to the Senate due to name recognition alone, as it's unlikely that Napolitano would leave the cabinet in such a short time.
I know Obama has spoken of sacrifice for the good of the nation, but, damn, did he have to take my Governor as part of it?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I haven't been able to post any lengthy screeds on the defeat of Ted Stevens or the rehabilitation of Joe Lieberman or what Hillary Clinton might mean as Sec. of State, and that frustrates me. But all these have moved along without my blogging of them, so I guess my opinion really isn't all that important. I do still wish that I had more opportunity to express it, as my whole reason for starting this blog was to give me a forum to express MY opinion, which is of course quite wise and well reasoned in comparison with the opinions I hear from others. Just ask me.
All of this is a way of apologizing for the lack of posts. Reality has been rather uncooperative lately.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
How much of a change Obama means for America remains to be seen. But the attitude of my younger voters was a clear signal that there is a change in the political energy that may be felt for years to come.
At least I hope so.
I admit, I'm a cynical old goat. For all that I like about Barack becoming our president, I'm still skeptical about how much he'll actually be able to accomplish. The poor bastard is inheriting one hell of a mess, and the republicans aren't going to go quietly into oblivion as a result of this defeat (though I really wish they would.) The challenges ahead for Obama and America may be among the greatest in our history, and a president only has control of a fraction of the unfolding of events. In short, this thing may be too broken for even a great president to fix.
But there is that small piece of optimism, that glimmering of 'hope' that I haven't felt in a long while. Maybe, just maybe, this country is turning in the right direction. Maybe we can create a better future. Maybe those young people that I saw voting can lead to dynamic new possibilities.
If nothing else, it should be a lot more interesting to watch than the ongoing disaster of the last eight years.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Langston Hughes: Let America Be America Again
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
UPDATE: As of 2 PM MST today, the above link had made it to the top of Yahoo's front page news, posibly as a result of the bank nationalization plan and the fact that the DJIA has another spectacularly shitty day. Earlier, I was going to call for a DOW of about 8200 prior to the elections; now I think we could drop as low as 6500 by the time we go to the polls.
The US government's debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiralling figure.
The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.
The board was erected to highlight the $2.7 trillion level of debt in 1989.
The clock's owners say two more zeros will be added, allowing the clock to record a quadrillion dollars of debt.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Thanks to Gandhisxmas for his recent rants, and Sweaterman for his return. If it weren't for you guys, people might think this blog was dead. Our readership may be small, but I think of you all as friends and I feel badly about offering so little as of late. Even the Boobies have been inconsistent, and that's just not right. Anyway, I thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Here is an excerpt of an interview with Noam Chomsky where he talks about the election and the PR industry that has turned the US into a big stnking turd that is swiflty being flushed down the toilet.
SG: One question on the elections: If Obama wins, will that bring any changes in U.S. foreign policy?
NC: The prior question is whether he will win; my assumption all along is that McCain will probably win. Now that he has picked Sarah Palin as his vice president, I think those probabilities have increased, for reasons that are understood by party managers and have been expressed very well by McCain's campaign manager. He said the election is not about issues, it is about character and personality, and so on. Meaning, it is not a serious election. That is the way U.S. elections are run. Issues are marginalized. They don't talk about them and the media coverage is about Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons or Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter.
McCain is supposed to be a specialist on national security issues. Why? Suppose that some Russian pilot was shot down bombing heavily populated areas in Kabul and tortured by Reagan's freedom fighters in the l980's. Well, we might feel sorry for him, but does that make him an expert on National Security? But McCain is an expert on national security because he was shot down bombing heavily populated urban areas in Hanoi and he was tortured by the Vietnamese. Well, we feel sorry for him, but he is no expert on National Security. But you can't say that. These elections are run by the public relations industry. The intellectual community goes along. Issues are marginalized. The focus is on personalities, on Jeremiah Wright's sermons, Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter, or whatever it may be. In that terrain, the Republicans have a big advantage. They also have a formidable slander and vilification machine which has yet to go into full operation. They can appeal to latent racism, as they are already doing. They can construct a class issue. Obama is the elite Harvard liberal; McCain is the down to earth ordinary American, and it so happens that he is one of the richest people in the Senate. Same thing they pulled for Bush. You have to vote for Bush because he is the kind of guy you would like to meet in a bar and have a beer with; he wants to go back to his Ranch in Texas and cut brush. In reality he was a spoiled fraternity boy who went to an elite university and joined a secret society where the future rulers of the world are trained, and was able to succeed in politics because his family had wealthy friends. I am convinced, personally, that Bush was trained to mispronounce words to say things like "mis-underestimate" or "nu-cu-ler", so liberal intellectuals would make jokes about it; then the Republican propaganda machine could say see these elitist liberals who run the world are making fun of us ordinary guys who did not go to Harvard (but he did go to Yale, but forget it).
These are games run by the public relations industry, which is a huge industry. It spends enormous resources manipulating attitudes and opinions. They design and control elections so that public in effect is marginalized. They keep away from issues for a very good reason. We know a lot about American public opinion. It is a very heavily polled country, mainly because business wants to keep its finger on the public pulse. So there is a ton of information, valid information. On a host of major issues, domestic and international, both political parties are well to the right of the population. So therefore, you don't want to talk about issues, not if you want to keep the business parties in power. Further, the population is aware of this, but the press won't publish it; 80 percent of the population says the country is run by a few big interests, looking out for themselves, not the benefit of the people, By about 3 to one, people object to the fact that issues are not at the center of the campaigns. They want issues to be discussed, not personalities. Party managers know that, but they won't go along with it; it is too dangerous. They have got to make sure that the two factions of the business party, Republicans and Democrats, stay in power. So you don't deal with public concerns.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Asked about Herritage's statement, Palin's foreign policy adviser, Steve Biegun, insisted the candidate's position was correct. Russia's "old behaviors" of aggressively flying into U.S. airspace have been exhibited recently, he said.
"Governor Palin told me that when Russian aircraft buzz American airspace and U.S. aircraft are mobilized at Elmendorf Air Force Base, she is informed by her commander," said Biegun, who did not offer any additional explanation for the contradiction.
"The point she was making is that the geographical location of Alaska has unique attributes. This doesn't happen to many states in the union," Biegun said. "Her point was that she's pretty up close to some of the big issues of international affairs."
Yeah, well so are all the families that host foreign exchange students, you stupid twat. Right up there, up-close and personal, as Jim McKay used to say, with those whole "foreignality" and "internationality" things.
Good lord this woman is dumber than a bag of dirt.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Chinese regulators have told domestic banks to stop interbank lending to U.S. financial institutions to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.
The Hong Kong newspaper cited unidentified industry sources as saying the instruction from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to U.S. banks but not to banks from other countries.
While I'm not eager to see the economy meltdown from the Big Shitpile into...um...a steaming lava-like mass of shit, and I completely oppose the
700 billion 1.2 trillion 1.8 trillion dollar bailout (and counting) I cannot for the life of me see that this is going to help.
Of course, Wall St. rejoices now that you and I are on the hook for that money.
UPDATE: As of this afternoon, Reuters has released a new article here, which softens the tone of the original somewhat to make it sound as if we are still trading with Chinese banks, but just that American financial firms are having minor difficulties:
U.S. and some other foreign banks were finding it more difficult to borrow money from the market because of concern about the health of the global financial system.
Some Chinese banks have temporarily stopped offering new lending to U.S. banks, in yuan and other currencies, three traders said.
However, they said foreign banks were not being excluded from trade completely and that the market was not panicking.
However, the South China Morning Post sounds a little more ominous below (sorry no link, but I'm not subscribed to the SCMP). The timing of these articles seems really suspicious and I wonder if they are just added pressure on Congress to pass that f*cking bailout plan....
Mainland lenders ordered to halt interbank deals with US firms
Jane Cai and Adam Chen in Beijing
Sep 25, 2008
Email to friend | Print a copy
Mainland regulators have told domestic banks to stop lending to United States financial institutions in the interbank market in a bid to prevent possible losses during the financial crisis, industry sources said yesterday.
The ban from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) applied to interbank lending of all currencies to US banks but not to banks from other countries, a source said.
The CBRC was not available for comment yesterday.
The decree appears to be Beijing's first attempt to erect defences against the deepening US financial meltdown after the mainland's major lenders reported billions of US dollars in exposure to the credit crisis.
Lending transactions on the mainland interbank market totalled 10.65 trillion yuan (HK$12.17 trillion) last year, according to the People's Bank of China.
In the first eight months of this year, transactions totalled 10.11 trillion yuan, up 104 per cent from a year earlier.
At the end of last year, the mainland interbank market had 717 members, including banks, securities companies and trust companies.
Another banking source said the CBRC issued the ban after obtaining data about the exposure of mainland banks to bonds issued by bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings.
Top officials said they were keeping a close watch on the crisis and warned mainland financial institutions to be cautious in their daily business and overseas expansion.
"The international transaction volume of Chinese banks is not big. Those concerning subprime loans are probably lower than US$10 billion," deputy central bank governor Ma Delun wrote this week in the China Business Post, a PBOC-affiliated newspaper.
But the deteriorating situation in the US has shocked top officials.
Mr Ma said that among the unexpected developments was the effect the crisis was having on normal assets, not just problematic assets; its impact on the whole credit market, not just single products; and its effect on Europe and other nations, not only the US.
The exposure of seven listed mainland banks to bonds related to Lehman Brothers totalled US$721 million.
Mainland banks had US$9.8 billion in exposure to US subprime loans at the end of last year and US$25 billion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by June 30.
More as it unfolds...
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
My paranoid side is thinking that this is the republican plan to destroy an Obama administration before he even gets elected. The corporate greedheads see him coming, and have decided that they better steal the nations wealth now, before Obama has a chance to use it to promote the common good. If they don't steal it now, they might not get another chance. As the dollar drops in value, it takes a lot more of them to buy a yacht or a private jet. If that same money were to fall into the hands of working Americans, they're likely to spend it in ways that don't enrich the already wealthy, and the republicans wouldn't want that to happen. Obama might even encourage a functional social economic system that helped average people, and that would be a threat to the oligarchy. In fact, it would be their worst nightmare.
Even before this latest economic "crisis", Sweaterman and I have discussed the mess that will be inherited by the next president. Sweaterman has even gone so far as to suggest that we let St. Sleazy McCain win, in order to permanently destroy the republican brand of economics. While I don't agree (the consequences of such a disaster are too painful to contemplate), I do understand the sentiment. Obama seems like a genuine 'nice guy', and it would be a shame to have him end up taking the blame for the consequences of the republicans corruption. The deck is already being stacked against him.
I suppose there is one positive side to all of this: should McCain win, he'll find it very difficult to afford more wars.
Added: Obama seems to have noticed:
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama said Tuesday that the huge costs of a financial bailout meant that he probably wouldn't be able to deliver everything he was promising in his campaign, at least not as quickly as he'd hoped.
"Does that mean that I can do everything that I've called for in this campaign right away? Probably not. I think we're going to have to phase it in. And a lot of it's
going to depend on what our tax revenues look like," Obama said on NBC.
The Democrat didn't identify which proposals he might delay if the government spends up to $700 billion to shore up the country's financial system, as the Bush
administration has proposed. Congress is negotiating the terms of the bailout this week in hopes of completing action by the weekend.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Our assets have seriously decreased in value in the face of the current market, and our revenues will not meet our obligations." said company president Pygalgia. "Part of this is due to a lack of production in two of our major sectors, Zymurgian and Sweaterman. Neither are expected to meet expectations in the coming weeks. The Gandhisxmas sector has performed well, and is expected to continue to do so, but this will not be enough to make up for the shortfall."
Advertising revenue for the Pygalgia Group has not met expectations, and will again be $0.00 (as it has been throughout the blogs history) forcing the company to reevaluate its advertising strategy.
Valued at over $30,ooo (see right), Pygalgia plans to seek a $30 billion federal emergency loan, but is open to other investment offers.
"As bad as it looks right now" said Pygalgia "we're much closer to solvent than AIG or WAMU. With the right package of assistance, we could be back up to speed in a matter of weeks. Or at least buying our own beer."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
We, the taxpayers, now own (80% of) the nations largest insurance company. But none of us will get insurance out of the deal. I know I'm still uninsured.
We, the taxpayers, now own the nations two largest mortgage brokers. But I doubt that any of us will get help with housing out of the deal. I know I'm still homeless.
If this were a socialist country, at least those things would be guaranteed. But republicans aren't truly socialists; they're oligarchs. And so the fruits of these nationalizations will only go to the rich.
And at the same time that we pour $85 billion into AIG, the people of Houston and Galveston are not getting relief from hurricane Ike. That Federal Emergency Management Agency? Not available in cases of actual emergency. Republicans have to cut spending somewhere, don't you know.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
But the major investment banks don't have to follow such simple rules. They can simply inflate the value of their assets to create a false 'bottom line' and if reality intrudes they get a government bailout. At least, that's the way it usually works. After all, the government always has a few extra billion for the rich. Okay, it comes from the taxpayers (us) or an increase in the deficit (us), but it's not like it's real money. The country isn't bankrupt as long as it can borrow more (unlike regular people), and the first rule of Wall Street is "there are no rules." In the circles of high finance greed is good, lying is rewarded, and oversight (regulations) are removed by buying up a few congressmen (St. Sleazy McCain and crew).
Which is why they really wanted to privatize Social Security. All that money going to regular people when it could so easily be stolen for the much more deserving rich. Face it, Grandma won't spend her Social Security check on a congressman or deregulating Ponzi schemes.
It was all a fine system (for the rich) until someone started to notice that all those pieces of paper weren't worth what they claimed. In fact, most of them were beyond worthless. The 'assets' added up to nothing but a very large debt.
Now they're busy trying to figure out how to foist this debt off onto the regular people; the homeowners, the taxpayers, anybody who hasn't bought a congressman. And it's going to hurt a lot of us.
I'm fairly safe, being among the poorest of the poor. They can't get much from me because I haven't got it. I'm only semi-employed (or semi-unemployed), semi-homeless, and completely broke. If my bank failed, the FDIC would laugh at my account. I'm not going to get billions in a federal bailout. Hell, a thousand dollars looks huge to me (please feel free to use the "donate" button on the right if you can spare it, or any other amount) and my economy has been tanking for a long time.
The republican greedheads have had their way for a long time, but reality is starting to piss on their "trickle-down" theory of economics. We can't afford another four years of criminal insanity guiding our economic policy. The question becomes "how badly will people have to be hurt before they realize this?"
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The latest republican TV star, Sarah the moosehunter, is ready to go to war with Russia (even if her reason is purely hypothetical) and anybody else she doesn't like. The actual republican candidate, St. Sleazy McCain (remember him?), is sounding more and more senile between rounds of lying.
But this election race is still close, thanks to the media. Because it's really important to debate the meaning of "lipstick on a pig."
Maybe America deserves four more years of republican rule.
Instead, in perhaps the worst blunder in modern military history, shrub chose to invade Iraq. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 or al-Qaeda, but he looked like an invitingly bad guy (with oil) for shrub to target. In the post-9/11 hysteria it was easy to generate enough propaganda to sell the war to the American people, so off we went. Now, after more than five years of occupation, Iraq is a $10 billion a month quagmire with no possible positive ending in sight. The republicans keep trying to tell us "we're winning", but the question remains "winning what?"
9/11 was a tragedy for America, but shrub and the republicans made it into a disaster for the rest of the world, especially the Iraqi's. Think about this as they campaign to remain in power another four years.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Let us get back to what matters: we need to defeat St. Sleazy McCain and the rest of the republican greedheads if we are to have any hope of saving America's (and the rest of the world's) future. It really is that simple. Nearly eight years of shrub have shown the damage republicans can do to peoples lives. We can't afford four more.
Obama isn't the messiah or the savior, but he has common sense and common decency. That's a big improvement on what we're getting now. I wasn't a big fan of Bill Clinton either, but at least he wasn't ruining the country, the planet, or peoples lives for the profit of a few corporations. When the choice is between 'mediocre' and 'absolute evil', 'mediocre' starts looking pretty good.
The Palin trivia may be fun, but it's distracting from the real fight. She is only a symptom of the disease that is the current republican party. We need to restore the health of America.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I'm pretty cynical about political speeches. Rhetoric is what I expect to hear, and Obama has proven a master at it.
But something happened as the speech progressed. More and more people began joining us to watch, leaving behind the football game. By the halfway point, there were about 25 people in the corner of the bar watching and listening. Not the political junkie people, but the average folk. And then, they began applauding. By the end, they were cheering.
I've stated before that I don't hold great expectations of an Obama presidency, only that it would be much less bad than a McCain presidency. But maybe, just maybe, Obama's ability to inspire people could lead to something greater. Maybe the rhetoric can change the reality.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The latest was in equestrian team jumping. Apparently, one of the horses on the Norwegian bronze medal team was caught using an illegal substance. Certainly, the minute I heared the phrase "Norwegian jumping horse", I thought of drugs.
The earlier doping incident was in pistol shooting, a sport that I thought only my old buddy Doc Thompson associated with drugs. The winner of the 10 meter air pistol bronze medal, a Korean, tested positive.
I've shot a lot of pistols in my life, and air pistols at 10 meters seems like an awfully wimpy mix to use drugs with. 44mags at 50 yards, sure. But air pistols at 10 meters?
Admitted, I have a different view of "performance enhancing drugs". Certain drugs were great for enhancing the performance of certain bands.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Thanks to Gandhisxmas for putting up a few posts in his usual calm, reasonable, non-alarmist, not at all ranting style while I was away. Take a deep breath, dude. We haven't blown ourselves up yet (I'm older than he is, and remember all those times over the decades that the end was near.)
Monday, August 4, 2008
The Green Bay Packers have apparently decided they need a little help on the public relations front when it comes to handling the ongoing Brett Favre saga.Of course this means that we'll never know anything that's true about Favre, but I expect that we'll be hearing about WMD's in Chicago and Minnesota.
FOXSports.com has learned that the Packers will employ former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer for one month as a consultant.
Friday, August 1, 2008
* Well, my housing situation is stabilized (thanks to some help from an unexpected source. Thank you!) and I'll be in the same cave for another month. Not comfortable, but secure, which is better than being homeless. I'm desperately seeking a stable job and a stable new cave. Ah, the American dream.
* Now the media is finally acknowledging that the 2001 anthrax was from Fort Detrick. Due to my being involved in a peripheral part of the investigation (explained in the comments), I've known this all along. But it's awfully convenient that the prime suspect committed suicide before the story went to press. It's a sad side commentary that when I read the news, I assume that the government is lying.
* Can we simplify the 'Obama-McCain' debate? St. Sleazy McCain is REALLY, REALLY BAD! All of the worst of shrub, but with more temper. Obama is not the messiah, just another politician. But he seems to be intelligent and relatively decent. I'm not expecting miracles, just a functioning government. That would be a major step forward from what we have now.
* The indictment of Ted Stevens seems to be clogging up the intertubes. Since it was announced, all my connections have slowed down. Coincidence? I don't think so. At least I haven't been declared a "spam blog" like some have.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
This is my favorite type of political forum, as people get into real conversations about the issues that matter to them. I've gotten to know Howard well, and I'm happy to be a volunteer on his campaign, but a lot of folks haven't had the chance to find out about him. This kind of informal "meet and greet" is their opportunity. So if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by the Green Room, 15 N. Agassiz, Flagstaff, AZ. Should be a real good time.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
But how much of McCain's legendary anger streak does the public actually know? Judging from snippets of Cliff Schecter's new book "The Real McCain" - an advanced copy of which was obtained by the Huffington Post - the answer may be surprisingly little.
Take for instance the verbal-turned-physical attack McCain put on his fellow Arizona Republican, Rick Renzi, which Schecter uncovered through his research:
Perhaps the most remarkable story of McCain's temper involved Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. Two former reporters covering McCain, one who witnessed the following events and one who confirmed the facts provided by the first, relayed it to me as follows: In 2006, the Arizona Republican congressional delegation had a strategy meeting. McCain repeatedly addressed two new members, congressmen Trent Franks and Rick Renzi, as 'boy.' Finally, Renzi, a former college linebacker, rose from his chair and said to McCain, "You call me that one more time and I'll kick your old ass." McCain lunged at Renzi, punches were thrown, and the two had to be physically separated. After they went to their separate offices, McCain called Renzi and demanded an apology. Renzi refused. Apparently this posture made McCain admire him, as they became fast friends.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/08/new-book-mccain-once-phys_n_95595.html
Capt. Corruption Renzi is a large man, and much younger, so St. Sleazy's judgement is certainly questionable. But due to a shared love of bribes they were able to bond and form a close friendship. Renzi wont go to trial until March, so he's staying until the end of his term, and McCain wont be called to the witness stand prior to the election. But they truly are 'birds of a feather' who deserve each other.
Still, I would have paid to see that fight.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
LONDON (AFP) - A climate change protester unsuccessfully tried to superglue himself to Prime Minister Gordon Brown at an event in the leader's residence, a government spokesman said Tuesday.
Dan Glass, a 24-year-old member of Plane Stupid, which campaigns against airport expansion, tried to attach himself to Brown's suit as he was about to shake hands with the premier at his Downing Street residence.
Too bad it didn't work.
Sorry I haven't been posting more. Real life keeps kicking me, even though I'm already down.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Once upon a time, there was a can-do nation that could do, like, anything. Its President said that a country which had never flown a man in space, which had no idea what it would take to send a man into space, would send a man to the moon within nine years... and made it happen.
It has been thirty-nine years since Apollo 11 lifted off for the Moon. On July 20, 1969, Neal Armstrong set foot on the moon and made the famous statement, "one small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind".
Thirty-nine years later, the United States no longer has the capability to send a man to the moon. It is not just a lack of desire. The sad thing is that we could not return to the moon today if we wanted to. We no longer have the expertise, the technology, or the industrial base to pull off something that big. Twenty years from now, we’re going to look up at the moon, and watch it twinkle as the first Moon city shines in the dark. And erected over that city will be a red flag with a large gold star and four smaller gold stars.
Sadly, can-do America is can’t-do America nowdays. Can’t provide health care for all its people. Can’t solve the problem of homeless junkies shooting up in public restrooms. Can’t built a replacement for the Space Shuttle before the last Shuttle is junked. Can’t find Osama bin Laden. Can’t solve the problem of people’s jobs getting exported overseas. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t. It’s damned depressing, to tell you the truth, to live in a country that’s so obviously over the hill. About the only thing the United States can do nowdays is build military hardware, but even that capability is decaying… the United States, for example, could not build a new M1A2 tank today even if it wanted to. The industrial capacity isn’t there anymore. The gas turbine engine used in the M1 isn’t made anymore. The tooling for the rest of the tank was sold to Egypt. Etc. We’re living on stored Cold War gear, and that gear is going to run out sooner or later, and then what?
I found myself (again) wondering what is wrong with America, and what will it take to fix it? As Gore called for an Apollo sized program to end our dependency on fossil fuels, I wondered if we still have the national strength and will to actually do any such thing.
The knowledge and technology already exist in alternative energy. We know how to make solar, wind, tidal, and biomass power. The challenges of making it more efficient are really rather minor if we make it our national priority.
But America seems to be set in continuing our old ways. We have a sort of national necrophilia, where we're sure that we can get one more ride out of the old corpse. Deficit? Borrow more. Oil prices? Drill more. Our once dominant industries have been sold off piece by piece in the name of shareholder dividends, rather than investing in a new infrastructure.
The mortgage crisis came as a result of people believing that more money could come without any real change in value. Credit became a ready substitute for a balanced budget. And this philosophy has extended throughout our national planning. Use up that last bit of offshore oil, regardless of future consequences, rather than change behavior. We know how to build a more efficient car (the Japanese have shown us that it can be done), but we'd rather shut down the assembly line and lay off the workers. It's more immediately profitable.
I fear that it will take a huge national crisis before we begin to build again.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Sweaterman, I swear I didn't tell him about your idea...maybe you can ask for royalties.
I should preface this with a small history, that of the "Blue Palace" where I lived comfortably for almost six years. I didn't blog about the "Palace" while I lived there out of respect for one of the housemates who worried about his privacy (this town is small enough that the house was easily identified). The "Palace" was a five bedroom old dump of a house, but it was cheap. The five of us who lived there are all older bachelors of the quietly stable type. It was comfortable, in a leaky sort of way. But it finally came to an end when the landlord realized he could make a lot more money in the long run if he invested in upgrading the old house. Real estate has gotten a lot more expensive around here over the years.
So back at the first of June, I moved. It was a real challenge as my income has been unstable and rents around here are high. I scored what I thought was a good deal, renting a room from an older woman in an old house in the old part of town that I almost could afford.
If only it had been that simple...
I quickly learned that the old lady had "psychiatric issues", but given my background in mental health I was okay with that. What I hadn't counted on was her family. They are a real piece of work, and they're now using my presence as a tenant to try to get the old lady declared "incompetent". It's a thinly veiled effort to take the house away from her, and I'm doing my best to help her fight it (she's very much competent, by all legal definitions).
But the level of stress she's suffering has made it clear that I must move out for her sake. So now it's my stress level that is through the roof.
I'm trying to find a new cave that I can afford in a market that I can't.
God, I miss the "Blue Palace".
Friday, July 11, 2008
The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."
He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.
Mr Bush, whose second and final term as President ends at the end of the year, then left the meeting at the Windsor Hotel in Hokkaido where the leaders of the world's richest nations had been discussing new targets to cut carbon emissions.
Our Shrub, ever the petulant little twit, has again given the rest of the world the finger. It's a national shame that he hasn't been impeached.
Only one Senator missed the vote today -- presidential candidate John McCain, who is busy on the campaign trail. McCain also missed votes earlier today on terrorism surveillance legislation. The Arizonan Republican's campaign did take the time this morning to lambaste Sen. Barack Obama for his alleged flip-flopping on
the surveillance issue, though at least Obama showed up for the vote today.
Yesterday marked the
two-three-month anniversary of the last time McCain cast a Senate vote, on April 8. The Medicare vote marked the 76th consecutive tallyMcCain has missed.
This man wants to be promoted to president, but has no interest in his current job of serving the American people. I may not be a huge fan of Obama, but at least I have reason to believe he'll show up for work most of the time.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Well, the Friday Boobie got delayed as the library was closed for some kind of holiday. Actually, I spent the holiday being politically active, walking in our local parade for Howard Shanker for Congress. Normally, I avoid Fourth of July parades as they tend to involve large numbers of children. But for a good political campaign they are pretty much required. We ended up being in a good position for the campaign, right behind the Obama campaign, and it all went smoothly (much to my surprise). I've come to expect Democrats to be disorganized, and the party parade folk didn't disappoint. Right up to the last five minutes before the parade began, the 'cat herding' party operatives were racing in every direction with no apparent plan. Over my many years of political involvement, I've grown used to this. But I wonder: Is there some rule somewhere that Democrats must be disorganized?
Monday, June 30, 2008
Death rained from the sky over Flagstaff Sunday afternoon as a midair collision of two medical helicopters killed six and critically injured a seventh.
The aircraft were each carrying patients to Flagstaff Medical Center and went down at 3:49 p.m. on McMillan Mesa about a half-mile east of the hospital. An exploding fuel tank in one of the aircraft slightly injured two ground ambulance workers and touched off a 10-acre wildfire that was extinguished by local firefighters.
First, I was worried about several people I know who work for one of the companies. Today the names of the victims were released, and I had a brief panic as one of the names was the same as that of a good friend. A river running buddy. But also a fairly common name. Luckily for me, it wasn't the same person. Not so lucky for the victim.
Living in Northern Arizona where 100's of miles separate people from hospitals, medical helicopters are our lifeline in an emergency. NTSB is investigating, and I hope they find out what went wrong quickly and take measures to prevent future accidents. A lot of people's lives depend on this service.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sorry about the lack of posts - still lack internet in the home cave. I'm going to again ask for donations (thanks, Megan), as the one that I recieved isn't enough by itself. With luck, Pygalgia will be back on politics soon.
Monday, June 23, 2008
"Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.
I enjoy comparing baseball and football:
Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game. Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.
Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in
the fall, when everything's dying.
In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.
Football is concerned with downs - what down is it? Baseball is concerned
with ups - who's up?
In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.
In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.
Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.
Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.
Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.
Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.
In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.
And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!"
Friday, June 20, 2008
Still haven't been able to get internet (please consider a donation), but I'm getting busier on the political front. Tomorrow is the block party for my congressional candidate, Howard Shanker, and I hope to post something from it soon. Keep checking back, as Pygalgia isn't dead but merely dormant.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
FREE GRANDVIEW BLOCK PARTY!
Celebrate Democracy in Action
Come for the food and
music,Stay to meet and ask your questions To our next
Candidate in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District
Come enjoy a Saturday afternoon BBQ and Block Party and find
out why we should elect Howard Shanker for Congress.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Hosted byYour Neighbor, Andy Bessler
3405 North Grandview Drive