Saturday, March 22, 2008

Last Dregs Of The Blue Palace

Hi! This is Zymurgian, signing on. May be my last post on this here blog, as the times they are a changing, for me, lately. I'm contemplating being a rent-free forest dweller for a few weeks, for to save for a bus ticket someplace amiably different. Could be Duluth, Lake Mary Road, New Paltz, Doney Park, Seychelle Isles, Gethsemane or Cleveland... Anyway, methinks it's just about time to step upon the on-ramp, metaphorically speaking, maybe.
All the other contributers to this blog are all about politics and economics and such heady stuff. Such topics bore me completely. Sorry. So I guess that makes me the stupid one. I love extravagant, original, wildly chaotic intricate prose. I brew my ales that way too!
i just bottled my latest batch of homebrew. She, I have dubbed OAKED WEE-HEAVY INDIA PALE ALE. For the initiated, diastatic and proteolytic enzymes were manifested; activated, mashed, predomitably through 15 lbs of Maris Otter, at 153.5 degrees F plus one lb dom Crys 120 lovibund , 120 minute mash, a great deal of Columbus, 90 min roiling boil in two cauldrons, one set to carmelize. Force chilled .Edinburgh Ale Yeast, started day before in erlenmeyer, plugged Cascade, plenty of it, dry hopped in primary, with oak chips, Irish moss, gypsum, isinglas. Racked twice. Anyway, I really think the gods smile on this batch, folks!
The man ya'll know as Pygalgia is not only a great housemate, also a dear friend of mine ; teacher of many oeuvres... If he says my homebrew is good, chances are it is. Two weeks from now, hopefully we will read Pygalgia's discourse upon OAKED WEE-HEAVY IPA.
Meanwhile, too much dust on my backpack.
I remain,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Have A Boobie

It's Friday. Here's a Boobie. The first boobie of spring, I suppose.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spreading Peace

One of the benefits of being friends with America is that you get cheap weapons. We do this to help spread peace. As Kosovo becomes a new country, we're sending them gifts.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush authorized Wednesday supplying Kosovo with weapons, signaling the establishment of government-to-government relations after recognizing its independence, the White House said.

A senior official said the authorization followed US recognition of Kosovo's independence and was part of the normal process of establishing relations with a new government.

Anybody besides me see something wrong with this mindset in the long run? The weapons industry is one of a few that are making money (the prison industry is doing well) and I guess they need more customers. But how many weapons does the world need?

Well, that was a Nice Rate Cut, Wasn't It?

Given that the market seems to have relatively ignored the 75 basis point cut of yesterday, a little levity is in order before we start seeing executives jumping out of the windows of multi-story offices on the street.

So, shamelessly stealing this from The Big Picture, here's a rewriting of a little ditty:


Is this the real price?
Is this just fantasy?
Financial landslide
No escape from reality

Open your eyes
And look at your buys and see.
I'm now a poor boy (poor boy)
High-yielding casualty
Because I bought it high, watched it blow
Rating high, value low
Any way the Fed goes
Doesn't really matter to me, to me

Mama - just killed my fund
Quoted CDO's instead
Pulled the trigger, now it's dead
Mama - I had just begun
These CDO's have blown it all away
Mama - oooh-hoo-ooo
I still wanna buy
I sometimes wish I'd never left Goldman at all.

(guitar solo)


I see a little silhouette of a Fed
Bernanke! Bernanke! Can you save the whole market?
Monolines and munis - very very frightening me!
Super senior, super senior
Super senior CDO - magnifico

I'm long of subprime, nobody loves me
He's long of subprime CDO fantasy
Spare the margin call you monstrous PB!
Easy come easy go, will you let me go?
Peloton! No - we will not let you go - let him go
Peloton! We will not let you go
(let him go !)
Peloton! We will not let you go - let me go
Will not let you go
let me go (never) Never let you go - let me go Never let me go – ooo
No, no, no, no, No, NO, NO ! -
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
S&P had the devil put aside
for me
For me, for me, for me


So you think you can fund me and spit in my eye?
And then margin call me and leave me to die Oh PB - can't do this to me
Just gotta get out - just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
No price really matters
No liquidity
Nothing really matters - no price really matters to me
Any way the Fed goes.....

--Attributed to a Bear Stearn guy

A Really Bad Idea Turns Five

On March 19, 2003, the U.S. military entered Iraq. The mission to remove Saddam was probably one of the worst ideas in modern times, given that it was based on lies and a delusional disregard for the consequences. The PNAC crowd that was cheerleading for war had no understanding of Middle East history, and the American public had/has no understanding of Middle East culture. This really bad idea has led to the deaths of almost 4000 American troops, countless Iraqi civilians, and the forced displacement of millions. Al Qaeda, which had no presence in Iraq before the invasion, has a new fertile recruiting center, and the entire region has become increasingly unstable. The Baghdad Bureau from the New York Times reports on what Iraq looks like five years after the beginning of the war. (Note: some of the photos are graphic.)
But many of those in power still refuse to face reality. Shrub and the Cheney are still touting "progress" and the media reports the "success of the surge" any time there are fewer people dead at the end of a week (during those weeks when more people die, the media ignores Iraq in favor of celebrity bowling or some such). All this for the price of 12 billion a month.
And we have St. Sleazy McCain promising to prolong this quagmire for decades. He actually stands a chance of winning the presidency, in spite of his insane disregard for reality. Here's the latest example of his delusions:

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

Whether this is propaganda or just a total lack of understanding, it should disqualify him from ever being president. But it wont.
Now the toughest question is how to get out of Iraq without it resulting in genocide. That will be one of the greatest diplomatic challenges ever to face an American president. If St. Sleazy is elected we will postpone facing the challenge of withdrawal, and if a democrat is elected they will be pilloried for any fallout from withdrawing. There are no easy solutions, but perpetual occupation is untenable.
Five years ago I saw the impending invasion as an inevitable disaster. I couldn't bear to watch, so I spent 10 days river rafting. I wish that I could hide from the reality today.
Added: Our shrub is still in "de-nile":

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he had no regrets about the unpopular war in Iraq despite the "high cost in lives and treasure" and declared that the United States was on track for a major victory there.

Marking the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion with a touch of the swagger he showed early in the war, Bush said in a speech at the Pentagon, "The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable."

How much more "success" can we stand?

I'll be at an anti-war rally/vigil tonight.

Added added: Fran points out that it's a swarm:


Sunday, March 16, 2008

St. Sleazy Slinks into Iraq

As if Iraq didn't have enough problems, St. Sleazy (my new nickname for John McCain, as a retort to the media accolades) decided to sneak in for a visit. Of all the media takes, I really like Jake Tapper's:

"We were informed that John McCain landed in Iraq Sunday morning," Ali al-Moussawi, an official in the office of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, told the AP. "A meeting will take place with the Iraqi government."

Sen. John McCain and the McCainettes (Sens. Lindsey Graham & Joe Lieberman) landed in Baghdad and are set to meet with deputy PM Barham Saleh, Gen. David
Petraeus, and perhaps al-Maliki as well.

McCain's trip abroad will also include visits in the UK with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Stavros Dimas, the European Union's commissioner for the environment; in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy; in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Likud leader Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu; and in Amman, with Jordanian King Abdullah.

Of course, the trip isn't political. St. Sleazy told the press it wasn't political between fundraisers:

McCain says his trip is as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. But on Thursday, McCain will hold a fundraiser at Spencer House in London for Americans living abroad -- $1,000-$2,300 per person.

Admitted, the fundraiser is in London. I doubt that St. Sleazy would have as much luck raising money in Iraq (but it's possible). And, of course, we taxpayers get to pay the bill for the trip. I'm really tired of hearing the media portray McCain as a "straight-shooter" when he's been about as corrupt as any member of congress, and more corrupt than most. Using Iraq as part of his campaign strategy is questionable at best (for a variety of reasons), but sneaking in for a quick campaign photo-op on your way to a fundraiser is beyond the pale. Imagine the media reaction if this were [insert democratic senator running for president here] doing the same thing. I know; IOKIYAR. Regardless of the media image McCain truly is St.Sleazy.