Saturday, November 29, 2008

Colorado Leading the Way

The Rocky Mountain News today reports that 6 teachers have recently lost their licenses because they were involved in sexual misconduct with minors. There are no national statistics kept on crimes of this nature. They involve both male and female teachers. The difference is that the males usually have more than one partner, often exhibiting predatory behavior, while the women have just one partner, and think it's OK because they really, really love him...

Other areas where we are in the upper quadrants in the nation are the number of local citizens murdered by soldiers who have returned from Iraq, and teenage suicides. There is a theory that the looming presence of Pike's Peak serves to act as a depressant on the local population here in Colorado Springs, especially during the snowy winter months. 

Our fair city also boasts as having one of the highest alcoholic rates in the state, which I find dubious with the ratio of crappy, boring bars to innovative, hip ones. To be fair, I rarely go out anymore at night as I get older and grumpier, content to read while my sister's grandchildren are watching movies and cartoons and music videos. And when I was younger, I had a job where I had to pee in the cup for over 25 years, so I never had more than two beers when I would go out. Yup, I was the designated driver...

At one time, when Focus on the Family arrived, an attempt was made to make this place the home of evangelical Christianity. There are more churches than parks, and some of the larger ones have made national headlines for their corruption and deceitfulness. My mother, a staunch Republican who encouraged her children to be informed on the issues every election cycle, always said that you can tell how crooked a town is going to be; the more churches in town, the more corruption of its civic leaders.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Paranoia in India, Commandos Still Fighting

As the death toll increases and commando raids continue in Bombay, India, the big question is about the terrorists: who are these guys? Because of the paranoia that feeds on these situations, Pakistan was the first to be blamed by inference. Pakistan has responded by sending over the head of its intelligence service to help ferret out the truth from the ones who have been captured. To save face, both countries want it to have been planned and executed by people from outside their domains.

One of the commando units recovered a backpack from one of the rooms at one of the besieged hotels. "His team also discovered a gunman’s backpack, which contained dried fruit, 400 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, four grenades, Indian and American money, and seven credit cards from some of the world’s leading banks. They pack also had a national identity card from the island of Mauritius, off Africa’s southeastern coast.

The attackers were “very, very familiar with the layout of the hotel,” said the commander, who disguised his face with a scarf and tinted glasses. He said the militants, who appeared to be under 30 years old, were “determined” and “remorseless.”
 Rumors being spread also say that British passports have been taken from some of the dead terrorists.

At his time the only information let out is that the terrorists are all young guys under 30 years old, and some Muslim group nobody has ever heard of is claiming responsibility, though they are not telling why this has been done. Sure will ruin the tourist season... But the disturbing aspect is the American money and credit cards, which takes some time to apply for and collect, if they are real. This implies some time planning and also may imply other acts of this scale soon to follow.

A few Americans have been confirmed dead, a father and his 13 year old daughter who were members of an American spiritual group imitating Indian ways, the Synchronicity Community. Its run by a man called Master Charles, who was a disciple of Swami Muktananda, and lives quite comfortably off of the money of his followers in Virginia. This was their first time in India, staying at a first class hotel for spiritual reasons.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble,Gobble, Security Agreement

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Iraqi Parliament just ratified the security agreement, and the US has released the English translation of the agreement. It pretty much follows the Democratic timetable, and allows for a public vote on it later next year to see if there is any support for it by the voters.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Synchronized Attacks in Mumbai

From now until the end of the year there will be increasing bombings and acts of terrorism throughout the Middle East. They think this will discourage the Western Coalition from continuing their military actions, anger people back home enough to withdraw troops, and demoralize the local enemies of whatever sect they are aiming against.

Some reactions from people all over the world to the bombings in Mumbai, India, where attacks killed over 100 people, injured 300 more, and took hostages of British and American citizens:

"I'm waiting to hear about how these terrorists must be poor oppressed misunderstood freedom fighters... In reality these radicals reinforce Obama's view that the center of terrorism is in North West Pakistan. What Bush was doing in Iraq I will never understand. My heart goes out to the victims and to the Indian people at large be they Hindu or Muslim. As someone who witnessed 9/11 first hand I encourage the people of India to stand strong, not to cow to barbarism, and not to take the bate - don't let them make you hate. Let them drown in their own hatred. I hope Obama and the Indian government can partner to tackle Islamic terrorism in south east Asia moving forward. My thoughts are with the people of India."
Luke, New York, United States

"Unfortunately this kind of attack is increasing through recent years. we the people of indian sub-continent (regardless of country) condemn this kind of attack. indian government also does the same. but additonally indian govt. blame banglades or pakistan for assistance to such types of ''terrorist'' attack ( without any reasonable ground). as a result- the truth remain uncovered."
arju, dhaka, Bangladesh

"Sadly yet again another group with "Islamist" connections are claiming responsibility for more outrages. I just cannot see how this can be justified or how it can be stopped. There has to be some change of attitude somehow at high levels in the Muslim community towards those who use violence in the name of Islam. Is there nobody who can speak out with enough weight against these men of violence?
At the time of Muhammed (PBUH) Islam may have needed to be violent to defend itself, but that is not the case now!"

nedrauk, Manchester, Great Britain (UK)

"Not knowing who is behind this atrocity all I can do is offer my sincere condolences to those that have lost ones, and hope the wounded are better soon. I would have thought irrespective of culture, colour or religious beliefs we supposedly civilised people could have learnt to share this planet in peace. Instead we constantly seem to be at war with one another. Instead of putting resources into making this planet a better place to live for all its inhabitants, more and more money is invested in manufacturing weapons and bombs to destroy life, what a sad sadistic world we live in."

"How can a little unknown terrorist outfit by pass all that security and create such a well planned coordinated attacks.This clearly indicates that India seriously should look in to its domestic issues and not outside.Lapse in security cannot be an excuse it seems well orchestrated.What really baffles us viewers is that the terrorism experts giving their two sense worth without understanding the basics of the attacks.It certainly needs lot more terrorists to carryout such a massive attack .How did hundreads of them simply slip intelligence and walk in to buildings just overnight.Any human with some sense of mind can understand this logic.As for experts they should keep their mouth shut if they cannot figure out a thing.We the people are not stupid to listen to all the old tales that we have been outpoured for the past 8 years since the Bush Administration came in to power.This seem to be a new issue and something only India can deal with."
shyamalee, singapore, Singapore

"I am a Muslim and my religion has nothing to do with terrorism. This attack is far from what Muslims stand for. It is nothing but a inhuman act of cruelty. A criminal is just that regardless of his colour, creed and nationality. Labeling this criminal acts to my religion is offensive. How can Christians feel if it is reported that .. "Another Christian father raped his daughters for more than two decades with 19 pregnancies....". And that is what actually happened in England and before that in Austria. I am sure there would have been a world wide pout cry. Yet western journalists never think twice to label Islam with any terror act where ever it happens."
Deeq, Cardiff, United Kingdom

"I am a Mumbaikar, I was born here. I was safely at home last night when I saw the entire thing unfold on TV. I knew all the places which were attacked, I had been there many times. Cafe Leopold was a restaurant I went to many times with my friends and I saw pictures of blood pools on the floor.
There's not much else I can say except that I consider myself very lucky to have been home and I can't fathom how people with loved ones, who had actually witnessed the attacks who lost people they knew must have felt. I strongly condemn the people responsible for these attacks. Mumbai has seen terrorists attacks before but nothing as extensive and for many, middle-class people, personal as this."
Arthur S., Mumbai, India

"My heart goes out to the families who have been effected... this is barbarism... i wish these weapons of mass destruction never came into existence in the first place...Question is: How many more lives do these blood-thirsty cannibals need?? Will the terrorists (or their masterminds more importantly) ever meet their true fate in this world...No matter what we will never get back the precious lives we have lost in such attacks...I beg for peace in God's name!!"
the-struggler, Islamabad, Pakistan

Please be thankful for the loved ones you have, and pray for peace and an end to these conflicts.

The Loneliest Man in America

I want to feel sorry for the guy, a man of limited intelligence who's silver spoon ambition put himself in the most powerful position on earth. A man who has confronted the worst acts of terrorism, one of the most deadliest forces of nature in Hurricane Katrina, and the largest global economic crisis in many years. And he has shown cowardice and ineptitude in dealing with them all...

Because Bush is not doing anything except letting Henry Paulson fling money in every direction imaginable, Barack Obama is holding news conferences trying to bolster the economic sector by naming his advisors and what he plans to do. Of course, it may be too late come Jan 20.

Europe and China today have announced that they have plans to input 256 billion dollars into the european community and that China, who already has input money into their system, is lowering interest rates by a point.

Brazil and Russia announced that they plan a summit of emerging nations to meet in Moscow next year. They are hoping to have a larger voice in setting global policies: "The financial crisis, which we haven't started and we are not to blame for, affected the global economic situation and we are forced to react," Medvedev told reporters after signing a joint declaration with Lula in Rio de Janeiro. They have formed a group headed by Brazil, Russia, India, and China, hoping to take away some of the influence of the USA. Kick them when they are down...

And the former Georgian ambassador to Moscow told reporters that Georgia started its war with Russia over Abkhazia in South Osseta because they had gotten the green light from the office of Condoleeza Rice. She is denying any such a thing, now who would be spreading rumors like that?

Remember John McCain announcing on the campaign trail " We are all Georgians now."? And one of his top advisors was a lobbyist for Georgia? Of course, it could have been a prank call from the Secretary of State's office, you know, I'm gonna come over there and whup yer ass...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Abbas, Dubai, Kuwait, and the Whizzinator

The Palestinian Authority Council voted its President, Mahmoud Abbas as the top dog of the Palestinian State. Except that there is no Palestinian State and they don't have the authority to do it, a top dog can only be elected by the people. Mr Abbas' tenure runs out on January 9, and he wants to extend his stay at the top, oh, by at least another year. 

Another action that he is threatening to do is dissolve Parliament and call for early elections, though it may backfire in his face if Hamas gains more elected seats or is able to replace him with a candidate of their own. He evidently has been paying attention to what has been going on in Russia, and how they are paving the way for the return of Putin.

And I know that we are all happy that the couple who were sentenced to three months in jail for having sex on the beach in Dubai had their sentence rescinded by a judge and issued orders for their deportation. Except that they were already out of the country. And that they never had sex, though they were arrested on the beach. Next time, just buy the drink, it's cheaper...

The BBC reports that the government of Kuwait has resigned. I didn't know they could do that, the Parliamentary system is so strange to us naive Americans. Evidently, this was spurred by comments a visiting Iranian cleric said about the Sunnis, and we all know how seriously they take such slights, be they real or imagined.

You can question the Prime Minister over religious items, but if you question him about more mundane matters, the Royal Family will juggle ministers around until you get the hint that they are not to be questioned, period. "The Kuwaiti parliament has a reputation for being one of the most independent of any in the Gulf states. But the willingness by some MPs to question the prime minister, a member of the royal family, is still controversial. The three Islamist lawmakers have not confined their criticism of the prime minister to theological matters.
They have also accused him of corruption and allowing public services to deteriorate."

I've saved the best for last, the makers of a prosthetic penis used to falsify urine tests, have been prosecuted in court. The makers of the Whizzinator , sold primarily over the Internet, used a heating element and synthetic urine held in the device to help guys cheat on drug testing. As a result, perhaps guards will have to go with you into the rest room and maybe even hold it for you to see if it's real...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Warrantless Wiretaps Upheld, The Citigroup Rabbit Hole

From this morning's New York Times comes the top honors:

"The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit holds for the first time that government agents may obtain admissible evidence against United States citizens through warrantless searches abroad. "

This morning in Manhattan, a 3 judge panel upheld the government's right to tap American citizen's phones in other countries, and they can do so without a warrant. A reasonable cause still has to be there to justify the means, but it clears up an appeals case that has been going on for over 10 years, involving a naturalized American citizen living in Kenya and said to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden.

" Mr. El-Hage and two other defendants had appealed their convictions for participating in a terrorism conspiracy, led by Mr. bin Laden, to kill Americans around the world. The conspiracy included the 1998 bombings of two American embassies, in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which killed 224 people and wounded thousands. They were convicted in Manhattan federal court in 2001 in the last major terrorism trial in the United States before the Sept. 11 attacks."

I can hear the whoopin' and hollerin' from the NSA all the way out to Colorado. I guess Mr. El-Hage will be a guest at Lakewood for a few more years...

Although the top 3 automakers strutted before Congress and were sent packing until they could also show a plan where the money would be spent, no such plan was asked of Citigroup, who got another 20 billion today. " The government injected an additional $20 billion into Citigroup, on top of the $25 billion it invested a few weeks ago. It also said that it would cover 90 percent of the losses on those $306 billion in securities after Citigroup absorbed the first $29 billion of losses.

The fact it was necessary to guarantee so many assets — about a sixth of the $2 trillion in assets that Citigroup reported at the end of September — was another indication of both the complexity and the opacity of many of the securities that were created by financial engineers in the great wave of innovation."  

Notice the use of the word, injected, like it was medicine. Hold still, this won't hurt a bit! I love the delicate choice of words, opacity instead of transparency. This is a good reason to make the people handling your money pee in the bottle on a regular basis. You know they created many risky securities after following Alice down the rabbit hole, or letting avaricious old farts like Phil Gramm into the lettuce patch. Losing billions of dollars, you nation of whiners?

Now all of Paulson's friends have gotten their share of the bailout, he's wanting to freeze doling out money until after a new administration takes over. At least now we know why he wanted immunity from prosecution in handling the bailout.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Transitions, Foods that Kill

In Britain, when one political party wins an election, it gets to take over the very next day. It should happen here, too. If you want to see what the Obama transition team is up to, or give them suggestions, go to It's the first time something like this is being put out over the Internet, and Barack Obama is also making weekly broadcasts over You Tube. You can keep informed the same way the newspapers do, and write your own speculations on them. The transition team wants to hit the ground running and make a lot of changes, mostly to reverse decisions made by President Bush designed to monkey wrench the Democratic majority.

In the meantime, 2.8 trillion dollars have been lost in the global economy, and we are having such a hard time figuring out how to correct it because it started in our own backyard. What, I don't see any 200 pound gorilla thrashing through my rose bushes..!?

It's a good example of how corrupt our politicians have become: On one face, Bush welcomes Barack Obama to the White House and promising to do everything he could for a smooth transition, while with the other face, he writes Presidential Orders to undermine environmental regulations, secure the partisan appointees that have burrowed into government agencies, and hamper any quick reversals of what Cheney thinks is important doctrine.

A smaller test of the President elect happened earlier this week, when he and his wife decided to send their two daughters to a private school instead of the local public one. It may be indicative of the discrepancy between his populist rhetoric and the more elitist decisions he's making.

I'm a diabetic, didn't plan on becoming one. I have to read every label on every food item I buy because sugar is used in everything, from frozen vegetables to bread to pizza. Diet foods may have more sugar than their less healthy brethren. And though I may go into a coma, loose my eyesight, ruin my kidney or liver, and eventually have my feet chopped off, I'm better off than those folks who suffer from food allergies.

In an investigation done by the Chicago Tribune, they found that many manufacturers mislabel the ingredients on their labels, and that the government doesn't police any products that are already on the shelves. For many food allergy sufferers, it can be a life or death situation, especially among children. The Tribune has established a searchable database for foods that have been recalled within the last ten years. If you feel that it is useful, click on my link and add it to your bookmarks, you may be using it a lot...


Friday, November 21, 2008

Alaska, Palestine, and Somalia, mmmm Good...

According to the Alaska Dispatch, Mark Begich won over Ted Stevens because 67% of the Native Alaskans voted for him. They did so because Begich promised to deal with the rising food and fuel prices in the rural areas, which many feel are driving Natives to migrate to the cities and off their ancestral lands.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has bought advertising space in Israeli newspapers, trying to drum up support for the Arab peace plan that Israeli President Shimon Peres has supported by saying that it would provide a good base for the peace process.

The text of the advertisement read: "Fifty-seven Arab and Islamic countries will establish diplomatic ties and normal relations with Israel in return for a full peace agreement and an end to the occupation."

It also lays out the concessions that Israel would have to make for Arab states to put the plan into force, including full withdrawal to the 1967 borders and respect for UN Security Council resolution on the right of Palestinian refugees to return.

It seems that quite a few countries have been taking advantage of the lack of a cohesive government in Somalia. While many have vowed to patrol the waters against Somalian pirates, nobody is watching out for ships from European countries that have been dumping nuclear waste, toxic waste, and hospital waste in the waters off of the coast of Somalia. This has been going on since 1989 and is continuing today. Many barrels have washed ashore, mostly during the tsunami that hit the coastline in 2004. This, of course, has caused illness, birth defects, and death for a few hundred unlucky Somalians.

Now we know why France still promotes and enjoys benefits from the nuclear industry. In Italy, the Mafia has most contracts for waste disposal, including nuclear waste. And they can look towards a glowing future...

Lame Duck Economy, Ray Guns in Iraq

George Bush may have promised to Barack Obama that he would do everything he could to help make a smooth transition between administrations. Too bad he didn't make a promise to the American people to try and help the economy. Basically he's sitting around doing nothing, goin' back to Crawford in his mind...

First, the Fed Chair Paulson has been running around like Chicken Little telling us " The economy is falling! The economy is falling!" until we give him 700 billion dollars. He gives money to his friends who do not have to be accountable and tell us where they spend the money, and companies like AIG then ask for more. We are told that bad mortgages are behind it all, but money is used to bolster credit card companies and banks instead, and tell the auto industry to go and drive off of a cliff. Now, Paulson is saying that he may not use the second half of the 700 billion until Obama is in the driver's seat.

So, we are coasting along without any brakes and no clear destination in mind. Meanwhile, the markets are still behaving erratically and thousands of jobs will be lost in time for Christmas. Congress is finishing up its session proving that the system is corrupt no matter which Party rules, thank you Ted Stevens and Joe Lieberman...

When my father was a kid he read a lot of science fiction, which fueled his interest in space exploration. As an adult he was a design engineer and worked on everything that was put into orbit and outer space for 30 years, specializing in spook satellites. Another science fiction dream has come true and is being tested in Iraq right now, the laser weapon. Its set up on the back of a Humvee and being used to set off roadside bombs. Larger ray guns are being developed to use on missiles and mortars and rockets and anything incoming to our space.

If we have made peace with Iraq and Afghanistan by the time they have been fully developed, look for another conflict or war being used as an excuse to use these cool weapons on others. We are the baddest dudes on the planet...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ted Stevens Concedes, Al Qaeda Tape

Its official, Alaska's Ted Stevens has conceded the Senatorial race to Democrat Mark Begich, which ends speculation about Sarah Palin's desire to replace him in a special election. He also showed more grace in defeat than our own Marilyn Musgrave, who has not conceded to her opponent nor made any kind of public appearance 15 days after the election. She's probably holed up in some Mexican resort having a giant bender, sucking down those pina coladas by the pitcher, trying to erase those feelings of losing and depression.

You know when you visit other countries and they seem stuck in an earlier time frame? Now imagine how far back in time living in caves and tunnels in rural Pakistan must be like. The recent tape of Al Qaeda's number two honcho, Ayman al-Zawahri, where he seems to be channeling the 60's in comparing Barack Obama to Malcolm X and calling him a House Negro is a good example.

It's a pretty lame argument he's trying to make, clearly wanting to stem the popularity of Obama even in the Muslim world. Where George Bush can be demonized for invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan for poor reasons, Al Qaeda may not be able to get recruits as easily as before. And it may die a natural death as a terrorist organization. One in every four males is unemployed in the Middle East, but if you take away the emotional reasoning for wanting to get killed or blowing yourself up in a suicide bombing, then they may just hang out at whatever passes for a mall or cybercafe instead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anti-psychotic Drugs, Republican Revolution

Every few years the drug companies push certain drugs by giving free samples to doctors, creating nice, four color brochures, and having sales representatives pass them out in person. Back in the 60's there was Valium, Ritalin, and different types of methamphetamines popularized as "Mother's Little Helpers" that were dispensed like candy, and many people became addicted.

Today it's becoming popular to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to children and teenagers, especially if they have been diagnosed with ADD. A federal panel of drug experts today issued a warning to the public about several antipsychotic drugs. Just as Ritalin messed up kids who took it over a long period of time, this class of drugs can cause permanent physical damage and death, which I think you'll agree is a tad more serious. If you or your child has seen a psychiatrist, or even if your regular doctor has prescribed Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify, or Geodon, get as far away from that ignorant quack as you can and find a more reliable one. Find a healthy way to get off of these drugs and look into more traditional ways of dealing with problems like ADD.

Your political party has just been trounced in two successive elections, the American public is tired of the psychotic right-wing ideology and dirty campaigning practiced over the last 20 years; so what do you do?

That's right, you do nothing. The Republican Party has just re-elected their Congressional leaders, Mitch McConnell as Senate Leader, John Kyl as whip, Lamar Alexander as caucus chair, and House Minority Leader is John Boehner. Together, these guys will be whining and work as ineffective as they have been in the past.

Too bad Chuck Hagel is retiring, sure could use a no-nonsense straight talker like him right about now. He even took on speed rapper Rush Limbaugh as a blowhard who should run for office instead of making tens of millions on the radio making crap up as if it were real. I remember Rush when he was a small time jockey out of Sacramento, back then he couldn't get no respect...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Headline News

There are two stories that made the front page on the Colorado Springs Gazette. The most important one is that Gulf War illness has been recognized as a real medical condition. The Persian Gulf War happened in 1991, the illness has affected over 175,000 troops, and it has taken them 17 years to finally admitting the obvious.

A Congressionally mandated panel studied the claims, research, and pitifully lame excuses made by the government and armed forces, and concluded that politics or financial concerns might have played a role in the consistent denials. That we ask children to kill others, give up their lives for cheapened ideals, and not take care of them afterwards if something goes wrong is the greatest sin of our times. 

I think a large part of the turnaround in policy and frank admissions to problems by the top dogs, is that the generation that fought in the Vietnam War have finally worked their way up the ranks and people like Jim Webb are in Congress. They get a chance to change the hypocrisy inherent in the system. We owe them more than a couple of plated medals.

I had a friend who died from cancer created by radiation poisoning. She lived near Three Mile Island as a child, and was exposed during the nuclear meltdown that never occurred. All of her doctors said that her cancer was consistent to radiation poisoning, but because the government never admitted what happened at Three Mile Island, she was denied coverage and treatment, and died before she was 35. It's only because the returning soldiers from Iraq have been committing suicide or turning violent and causing public outcry that our current group will be receiving the attention that they need. Remember that at the largest VA hospital, Walter Reed, conditions were so poor and deteriorating, but only when the conditions were filmed on camera and the Army shamed, did they try to fix it up.

The second story is that our local evangelical industry will be laying off 202 jobs at Focus on the Family. You know that the economy is hurting because their main source of income comes from the donations of others. I don't know what they will do when James Dobson passes away. They either could fold up their tents in the night, but probably will try to rebroadcast his radio shows for as long as possible, or have him stuffed and put on display for the faithful to view when they make their pilgrimage.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

The big question this week is do we save the auto industry or not? Is it the backbone of American manufacturing or is that a myth? What would happen if it were left to sink, or do you think it could become competitive again in a world market? Have we made anything as reliable as a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord? I know that I haven't even thought about buying a Ford in many years.

Democrats want to use some of the 700 billion to go to the big three automakers, and it will be the most spirited debate during the current lame duck session of Congress. The automakers want the money with no strings attached, similar to how we just gave banks money with a verbal promise to do what we ask them to do. And they didn't.

In trying to score some Brownie points this year, Goldman Sachs had the meeting of their compensation board a month early and on a Sunday. The big announcement afterwards was that they would not be giving out cash bonuses this year, saving a big chunk of the 10 billion they have already received from the Fed. Considering that their top dog got 67.5 million dollars last year, and they have roughly 30,000 employees, they would have had to ask their old buddy and ex- chairman Paulson for more bailout.

I have also decided to ask for Federal funding, to help bailout the GOMG, or Grumpy Old Man Group, which consists of a failed mortgage and lost income. I'm hoping that all I'll need is some stationary with a nifty logo to impress them; after all, federal contracts have been awarded for less credentials...

Those pesky Somalian pirates, who have been hijacking ships daily, have just taken over a Saudi supertanker, the Sirius Star. It's three times the size of an aircraft carrier, holds 20 million barrels of oil, or one quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily oil production. The information came from the US Navy, who has been escorting US ships in the area, but nobody thought that a ship that size would get into trouble. I wonder where they will try to hide it...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Middle East

The big news over the next couple of days is what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, beyond the normal blowing to smithereens of soldiers and civilians. 

Afghanistan's Hamid Kharzai has invited the leader of the Taliban to Kabul to talk about a cease-fire, and possibly integrating the Taliban back into the Afghani government. If they can come to a working agreement, then it would be an Afghan solution and they could join forces to get rid of the foreign al Qaeda forces, as well as having the UN forces withdraw from their country.

This would stop the US from making a commitment to sending more troops into the country, where we have adopted a fighting plan eerily similar to how we fought in Vietnam, not being able to guarantee the safety of the rural population along with accidentally bombing a lot of civilians. The longer you occupy a country the more they will resent you.

This is illustrated by a story I heard on GPS with Fareed Zakaria. A counter insurgency expert related the story of US and Afghan troops going into a rural valley after some Taliban troops. They were pinned down for hours in the valley because the local villagers ran home, picked up their weapons, and joined in the fight. Unfortunately, they joined in on the Taliban side.

Afterwards, the villagers were asked why they joined in because they had previously stated that they did not support the Taliban. They replied that they didn't support them, that this had been the most exciting thing to happen in their valley in a long time and they wanted to have fun. They joined the forces they knew were Afghan, and the US, after all, were foreigners...

It looks like Iraq  will endorse the current troop security agreement, it has just passed in the cabinet, next it has to pass in Parliament. The provisions the US agreed to, was to pull out its troops by the end of 2011, not use Iraq as a base to launch any attacks on its neighbors, and to respect Iraq's sovereignty. 

The pesky problem with trying to set up a democracy in a place that's never had one before is, they just might take you seriously and insist on making their own choices.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Say it Ain't So Joe

Joe the Plumber, whose name isn't Joe, but Samuel Wurzenbacher, has signed a book deal. Joe, who has been shopping himself around trying to make money off of his 5 minutes of fame from John McCain's campaign, wants people to know that he's not sold out and that he's keeping it real. The book will be written by some obscure novelist named Thomas Tabback, and called Fighting for the American Dream.

Joe's record deal hasn't materialized, but he has started a website to promote himself, its possible you might get to buy a t-shirt or plumbing tool, add it to the cart...

While 20 of the world's leaders are fine dining in the White House and drinking chardonnay with George Bush, the rest of the world has been pretty quiet. Death takes a holiday...

Germany has 4,500 troops in Afghanistan, but the German Parliament forbids them from going into combat. So each year Germany ships their troops 260,000 gallons of good beer and 18,000 gallons of wine. The folks back home are worried that their troops might be a bit overweight and not in the best of shape...

No Drama Obama

This coming Monday John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Barack Obama, and Rahm Emanuel will meet together in Chicago, hopefully to plan out a strategy how to work together in finding solutions to our crisis. If this kind of meeting of the minds happens on a regular basis during the Obama administration, it will truly be historic and bipartisan. Its smart having all ideological input into forming solutions,  And if you or I have any ideas that might work, we can go to his website and input them, pretty cool.

In fact, there has been talk about making this Presidential race into a movie. If Oliver Stone directed it, like he did W, would he call it BO?

More talk about offering the Secretary of State job to Hillary Clinton. She was my first choice for that job, but I think she would be a better fit for Health, Education, and Welfare, a better fit for her best area of expertise. I do think she should be a part of the administration, and it really depends on what she wants and what she is willing to do.

It will be a trade off come January. As Eugene Robinson commented in today's Washington Post, the  comedians will have less material to work with, but the black pundits and columnists will have fun commenting on how white folks are adjusting to following a black man. It will be four years of working out the rough spots in race relations, and the whole world will be watching.

Because democracy is chaos, and with every word and move a person makes instantly distributed and analyzed on the internet, we lead the global dialogue by example.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Hag is Back

I notice that if I write satirical things about politicians and events, people will read my blog, but if I use the word "economy" I get ignored for the day. Which makes me wonder if the economy was really such an important topic during the campaigns, or is it one of those things where our eyes glaze over and our head hurts at the mention of the word? We'd rather have the problem magically solved for us. Which is why Obama will become either our greatest President or our worst, depending on our economic status in four years.

I heard this story on the news last night: Laura Bush is already writing her memoirs, and an editor from Random House was at the White House talking to her about it. George Bush inquired when he should think of writing his memoirs too, and the answer was, oh, maybe in thirty or forty years...

There are 21 Republican governors, and they had a conference the last couple of days. Usually it's a schmooze-fest for Arnold Schwartzenegger, but this time he stayed home and the bright spot is Alaska's own Sarah Palin. She skipped an analysis on the shortcomings of the last campaign to give an exclusive interview with CNN. She's given 6 exclusive interviews in 7 days, all pretty much the same. She vents and complains, they don't ask any follow up questions or anything substantive. She continues to spout her little white lies and talking around a subject without saying anything at all, in a garbled and confused sort of way, don'tcha know. How terribly sad our Sarah will be in a year from now when she is ignored by the big boys and she has to stay at home and do what she does best, govern Alaska. Unless they impeach her, still a possibility...

Wow! James Dobson's ex-best friend Ted Haggard is back in the news! He went to Illinois to sell some insurance, and while he was there he got up and preached at a friend's church!

That's it. Not much of a story, but it made everyone around here jump up and take notice. The creepy part is the debate whether he is cured or not because he dropped out of his rehabilitation and hasn't been confirmed fit to preach by a body of Christ, whatever that gobbledegook means. That he is in denial and still likes to speed rap is obvious, but in denial of what? I think his wife recognizes that he just has to suck some d**k every now and then, most of us do...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shift in Economic Bailout

Fed Chair Paulson today announced that their strategy to give money to banks pretty much sucked eggs, and a new set of guidelines has been put in place. Also, he is shifting emphasis away from large institutions and wants to focus on credit, to get us back in debt and buying new cars and consumer goods. Have a nice Christmas this year...

NY Times reported: "He announced a new goal for the program to support financial markets, which supply consumer credit in such areas as credit card debt, auto loans and student loans.

Mr. Paulson said 40 percent of the nation’s consumer credit was provided through selling securities that are backed by pools of auto loans and other such debt. He said these markets had “for all practical purposes ground to a halt” and needed support.

“With the Federal Reserve we are exploring the development of a potential liquidity facility for highly-rated AAA asset-backed securities,” he said. “We are looking at ways to possibly use the TARP to encourage private investors to come back to this troubled market, by providing them access to federal financing while protecting the taxpayers’ investment. By doing so, we can lower costs and increase credit availability for consumers.”

Meanwhile, from the Washington Post:

Goldman Sachs lays off nearly 3,300 and could post its first quarterly loss since becoming a publicly owned company.

General Motors begs Washington for a payday loan, warning it may collapse without it.

KKR, the buccaneer of private equity, is unable to sell shares to public investors.

The federal budget deficit hurtles toward $1 trillion, with serious economists arguing it should go even higher.

Oil-rich Russia scrambles to defend its currency, oil-rich Dubai steps in to rescue its banks and China -- China! -- worries enough about a slowdown that it promises a stimulus package equal to 15 percent of its annual economic output.

Things are so bad that even the Yellowstone Club, Montana's super-exclusive private ski and golf resort, where the price of admission starts at $5 million, has filed for bankruptcy.

And sales of Starbucks overpriced, stale coffee has declined 97%, while McDonald's is reporting a fine sales quarter pounder...

It seems that no matter what is tried, we keep spiraling downhill, and haven't hit rock-bottom yet. We have to take the rest of the world's markets along with us and plunge us into a global recession... Whatever decisions are made will not be fair to the thousands who still are losing their jobs.

Other than create some kind of public works job core, I don't see what Obama can do to create jobs. We could nationalize the financial markets, mortgages, and the auto industry to finish up what the current administration has started, but that will lead to more government corruption and incompetence, because we will have lawyers in charge. We don't have any innovating technology like the computer industry to lead us out like what happened back during the 80's and 90's, even though it's hoped that alternative energy can become the next big thing. War has sucked our reserves at over 12 billion dollars per month, so that won't work, either.

There's nothing funny about the immediate future, I know people are hoping Obama can pull a rabbit out of the hat, but the poor thing was foreclosed on months ago; sheriffs broke the lock and evicted the rabbit and left his belongings by the curb.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

George Bush, Fight for RNC Chair

The last few days of a Presidency can make a man wax nostalgic and grow introspective, a by-product of sitting around with nothing much else to do. In an interview after a Veteran's Day ceremony, President Bush, looking fit from having spent a record number of days at his Crawford, Texas ranch chopping wood instead of working in Washington, admitted that he wished he had not said a few blunt statements over the years. Using the "Mission Accomplished" banner was also a mistake, and he should have listened more to his wife Laura.

He also admitted that he called Bill Clinton for advice on his meeting at the White House with Barack Obama: "I remember the conversation I had with my predecessor Bill Clinton," Bush said. As a matter of fact [I] called him yesterday and said, 'Bill, I'm getting ready to meet with the new president and I remember how gracious you were to me. I hope I can be as gracious to President-elect Obama as you were to me." Next thing you know, Mr Bush, Bill Clinton, and HW Bush will start taking tee times together...

Now that RNC Chair Michael Duncan has been blamed for losing two straight Republicans election cycles, and the GOP has finished with its soul searching, there is an internal battle over who will lead the Party forward. Newt Gingrich and some other guy are trying to exert their influence, though Newt is being coy and denying his interest.

"A number of people have asked me to consider running for Republican National Committee chair. They have been very flattering, and I am very honored by their support," he said.

"However, my job as an American first is to develop a tri-partisan approach to developing solutions for the challenges we face. I use the word tri-partisan to designate the concept of attracting Democrats, Republicans, and independents to solutions that unify most Americans."

He is wisely trying to reach out to those who left the GOP in the millions and now consider themselves Independents. We'll see if Newt or Sarah can whip these folks into a cohesive, viable political base, or if it will take someone with a fresher world view to miraculously come along.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Middle Eastern Blues

Let's take a detour from our own problems and see what's been going on in the Middle East this week:

Southern Israel was hit by Gaza rockets. Also, 6 African migrants trying to cross from Egypt to Israel were shot at a border crossing infamous for smuggling and illegal immigrants. Israel asked for Egypt's help in stopping this traffic, and they have killed 25 people so far this year.

Iraq has not accepted the US's last attempt at an armed forces agreement. They said that there was much detail left out and there are many questions they want to ask. It's not a popular document among the Iraqi's, and many wish the US would just go away.

And they may get their wish. Every day our soldiers have to contend with car bombs, road bombs, and sniper fire. If we leave there will be more of a blood-bath because these folks are really freaking crazy, killing each other in ways that cause the most pain and grief and psychic damage. The most common way is the suicide bomber set off in the middle of a marketplace, indiscriminately killing and wounding as many innocents as possible.

In beautiful Baghdad there was a bomb that killed 31 when a bus carrying young girls was ignited. When people came to help, a second bomber detonated himself in the middle of the crowd. In Baquba, a 13 year old girl wearing a suicide vest blew herself up at a security checkpoint. 4 were killed and 13 injured when a bomb planted on a motorcycle went off in a crowded market. A female suicide bomber waited for people coming out of a hospital before launching herself into them. A roadside bomb killed 3 soldiers and wounded 4. And lastly, a carbomb went off against a police patrol. And today is only Tuesday...

In Pakistan, the Army has found out that the Taliban and al-Qaeda elements were even more entrenched in the northern mountainous region of Bajaur Provence than previously thought. Behind village walls they found an extensive network of tunnels that provided shelter and the means to smuggle men and ammunition. The Pakistani Army freaked out so much that they ordered the village bombed, flattened, and burnt to the ground, reminding some of the US mistakes made in Vietnam.

The US is just beginning to draw up comprehensive plans for all of Afghanistan, including the rural areas that have previously been left to protect themselves, because, it was said, we only had enough soldiers to protect the more populated areas and oil pipelines.

Please say a prayer for our soldiers, and hope they come home safe in mind, body, and spirit.

The New Cabinet Game

I was a week ahead of myself when I told that Obama was going to the White house to meet with Mr. Bush. I guess I got too excited, but it really is supposed to happen today. I'm sure it will be a cordial meeting paving the way for the transition team. Many are hoping that Bush can be convinced to implement some of Obama's proposed changes before he leaves office, but they forget the definition of lame duck.

The Presidential Puppy search continues to be mentioned every day. It's amazing how we can stretch out a thin story with endless speculation. I'm sure that the official decision and announcement will come at Christmas... But anytime you see Mr Obama's daughters in front of the news cameras be prepared for another manipulation, watch the not so subtle twisting of the leader of the free world around incredibly small, dainty fingers. Mr. Putin, this is how its done...

By now all of the pundits have tried to guess who will be chosen for the top government posts, which Republicans will be asked in the spirit of bi-partisanship. Probably, Robert Gates will remain on as Secretary of Defense, and Ben Bernanke will stay in charge of your money. I don't see Paulson being retained, especially after he arrogantly said a few weeks before meltdown that he had the situation well under control when asked by Congress. Throw in Mueller as head of the FBI and you have enough continuation to satisfy the most diehard conservative.

For Secretary of State, New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson would be a good choice, though I would like to add Leon Panetta for consideration. I would ask Colin Powell to be Director of Homeland Security, and Hillary Clinton as top dog at Health, Education, and Welfare. I would then ask Bill Clinton to be the ambassador to the UN. Notice how the Clintons seem to have fallen off of the media's radar lately? Either disband the CIA, or blend it in with the NSA because it has been ravaged and gutted and distrusted so much that it needs rebuilding and oversight. As for AG, anyone but the milktoast who's there now will do a better job, so throwing darts at names tacked to the wall will work fine...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama's Ready to Undo Much of Bush's Legacy

Both Conservatives and Liberals agree that George Bush's Presidency has been a disaster, and the politicizing of most of the government's jobs and policies have been a strong factor in why we are facing meltdown mode. Instead of a neutral, trustworthy government that applies policy and regulation fairly, it's been twisted to reflect and reward right wing ideology. This has permeated from the Justice Department to the Environmental Protection Agency, even to the FBI and CIA. The perception is that the Federal government and Congress have changed the way they do business until the very fabric is rotten and corrupted, no good can ever come out of it.

Barack Obama's transition team is looking at all of Bush's presidential orders to make a list of the good, the bad, and the really ugly. It's hoped to stop Bush from making the last minute policy decisions that he is currently doing, and then to change as many of the politicized orders as fast as he can once he becomes President. Much of the policy decisions will at least go back to the way they were during the Clinton administration. Like it or not, Clinton's administration was known for fairness and fiscal responsibility, and it's hoped that finding that familiar, old road will lead to a new Camelot.

The other fear is that with a Democratic majority, legislation will be passed that cannot be stopped by Republicans. All they will be able to do is piss and moan while feel slighted, much like the way they treated the Democrats. It's the same shoe, just changing feet again. 

It's hoped that the remaining Republicans can become pragmatic and help find solutions to our problems, and not make snarky attacks and cry about how we've lost the basic fundamentals of our founding fathers. Actually, we've just regained them and have the opportunity to enact upon them in real life instead of give lip service.

The government alone cannot get us out of the economic crisis. All it can do is provide an environment and create rules for marketplaces, the rest is up to us. But, if we can clean house and get our economy in order, then we may be ready to lead the world and promote democracy.

About the only thing that Bush can proudly claim is that we haven't had another attack on our soil since 9/11.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mavericks Go Back to Normal

Governor Palin has returned to Alaska, and local politicians there are wondering how much she has been changed by her campaign experience. The 2009 budget is due next month, 85% of the state's revenue comes from oil taxes, and it remains to be seen if the lowering prices on oil will have any affect. Certainly, if oil prices continue to drop, the next year's budget may have to dip into their reserve funds.

She had been seen as a moderate Republican who courted favor with Democrats. After branding Barack Obama as a socialist who hung out with terrorists, her old allies are wondering who the real Sarah Palin is. Of course it was just empty rhetoric trying to excite an ignorant base, but now the more right wing politicians are hoping to have better access to her and her support for their legislature. She seems to have calmed down, and has downplayed her previous theatrical pronouncement over Ted Stevens.

This whole tempest over the clothes that were bought for her and her family has been pretty silly. Of course the RNC wanted to have her look her best, at least on par with how Cindy McCain dressed, so they provided her with new frocks. And yes, there is a certain amount of cynicism and sexism involved, since nobody questioned the price of John McCain's or Barack Obama's good suits. Her RNC handlers were dismayed having to watch over what they considered an unsophisticated hick, and leaked stories to the press about her for petty revenge. Sarah, keep the clothes, make them pay for every slight and condescending gesture. Play the diva, act like Caribou Barbie...

On a similar note, John McCain's fellow Senators are curious what kind of creature will be slouching towards Congress. Will it be the old maverick or the new indecision maker? John made a lot of friends back when he was the victim of George Bush's ill will, but now that he has been the dispenser of character slurs and dirty tricks, will he be able to roll up his sleeves and help in a constructive fashion?

My local county here in Colorado, El Paso, was one of the few where there was a Republican majority. Now, we are getting letters to the editor about how the Republican Party must begin to weed out left leaning thought, purge the moderates if we are to remain pure and loyal to the foundations of our country. Sounds more like fascism to me; some people just don't get it...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Unfocused on the Family, Ted Stevens's Dilemma

From the Colorado Springs Gazette, James Dobson is quoted from his radio show: "We celebrate Barack Obama's victory. What he has achieved here is nothing short of historic," Dobson said.

But he said he believes Obama threatens to unravel what Focus and its followers have worked to achieve for three decades.

"I have to say that his win causes me enormous concern because he will be the most committed pro-abortion president in our history. He's in favor of much of the homosexual agency, and he's going to appoint the most liberal justices to the Supreme Court perhaps that we've ever had."

I know that James Dobson is getting older and wants to focus primarily on his radio show, but for the love of God he needs to reign in Tom Minnery. Tom is too fanatically right wing, so much that it has driven him over the edge of reason. He keeps putting Focus in an even more bad light every time he makes a public statement, giving Christians and decent parents a bad image. In a recent fundraising e-mail he has compared Obama's winning the Presidency to the Nazi bombing of England:

"Yesterday evening, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Action sent out a fundraising e-mail lamenting the victory of Barack Obama. (Dobson had personally endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket.) The author of the e-mail, Focus on the Family Action senior vice president Tom Minnery, told his readers not to despair, saying that the right wing would overcome this situation just as Britons overcame Hitler’s bombing in World War II:

The spirit of Winston Churchill was alive and well on Tuesday night at Focus on the Family Action headquarters.

You may recall that in the most desperate days of World War II – when Great Britain was being pounded daily by Hitler’s Luftwaffe – that Winston Churchill called on his countrymen not to despair from danger but to rise to the challenge. […]

As our incredible team of staff members watched the election results pour in on Election Night, an amazing thing happened that Churchill might have recognized. Despite some sobering disappointments, there was no mood of despair and no “bunker mentality.”

Somehow, I don't think Winston Churchill would be amused... Then again, perhaps they are two peas in a homophobic pod?

It will be interesting to see if the Republican Party rebuilds itself into a more moderate organization, and if that happens, where all of the right wingers go. Will they form their own party or try to take over another one like the Libertarians?

One of the questions confronting the GOP, is what to do with Ted Stevens. If he wins re-election, it will be the first time a convicted felon becomes a Senator. Then they must decide either to support him or ask him to resign. So far the prognosis is for limited support until he exhausts the appeals process...

If he resigns, then Governor Sarah Palin can resign her post and then let her lackey Lt Governor appoint her to the Senator's position. Because I think she likes the national spotlight, and won't be satisfied hanging out in the frozen North... That way, she can be seen and hobnob as John McCain's peer, and not as his bad mistake.

Bushonomics or Obamanomics?

"We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics"  - Franklin D. Roosevelt, hero to John McCain

Today Barack Obama is meeting with the nation's top economic advisors, then going to the White House to meet with George Bush. Laura will meet with Michelle, hopefully telling her about the charity programs that she has been endorsing. It took seven years for Laura to come into her own, and she's even been feuding with Dick Cheney over the creation of an international wild-life sanctuary. The wives of the Presidents probably have done more for charity than any other public figures, they don't get the publicity that their husbands do over their slightest pronouncements, and it can be argued that they do more goodwill. Here's hoping that Michelle will hit the ground running and not be so intimidated by being in Washington.

In the last quarter, Americans have lost 1,179,000 jobs, not factoring in places like AMG, or Lehman Brothers. Just about every worker in the country is fearful that their job may be next on the chopping block. Here in Colorado Springs, places like Intel have left, many of the restaurants are closing,  and even groups like Focus on the Family have laid off employees. It's almost an insurmountable task that lies ahead for the next President.

Ford has posted a 2.9 billion dollar quarterly loss, GM has posted a 2.5 billion loss, yet the oil companies posted a collective 44.7 billion dollar profit. This might explain the sudden drop in the price of gasoline. Newt Gingrich's slogan "drill,baby,drill" is really just the opposite of what the oil companies want. They haven't applied for an application to build a new refinery in over 30 years, and have cut back in current refining capacity. They haven't exercised their current offshore leases, nor has the coal industry figured out how to extract oil from shale at a reasonable price. The lazy nuclear industry hasn't come up with a better way to dispose of spent rods other than burying them in Utah. And this, during a rabid pro-greed, pro-deregulatory administration.

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economic journalist, has written a good opinion piece on what Obama should do next. He says that its best to go with what has been promised and not listen to the critics and naysayers, especially in taxes and health care. In fact, our deficit may go higher for the first two years, up to a trillion dollars, but if it helps pull us out of this tailspin, it will have been worth it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Presidential Puppy, Paranoid Colorado

The big story in the news today is over the search for the Presidential Puppy. In showing how little girls rule the world, Obama's daughters got him to promise them he'd get them a puppy if he won the election. At his speech in Chicago, he announced that they would indeed get their puppy. Personally, I think he should show some bi-partisanship and also get a kitten.

Some 71.5 million people watched Barack Obama win in Chicago. President Bush, who didn't vote for McCain, promised an easy and smooth transition. As most of Obama's transition team used to work for Clinton, they've all done this together before. The sooner the Cabinet personnel is chosen, the better to concentrate on economic and foreign policies that take precedence over all else.

Colorado may have turned out for Obama, but not without a lot of kicking, screaming, and plain old whining from those whose views fall right of the centerline. Republican losers are huffing that Mr. Obama had better do this, and make sure he does that, as if their opinions matter anymore. I read a lot of blogs, and the amount of vitriol and intolerance is astounding. I'm thinking that there is by far too much anger that is not being dealt with, it may be our national sickness. My sister's grand-daughter came home and told me that she has a couple of friends who's parents said, that if Obama won, they'd pack it up and move. What is there to say to that, other than don't let the door hit your butt on the way out... And, to add to the misinformation and paranoia, sales of handguns have gone through the roof, dealers cannot keep enough merchandise on the shelves.

What does New York's Michael Bloomberg and Russia's Dmitry Medvedev have in common? They both are trying to circumvent term limits so that they can be in power longer. In Medvedev's case, he is trying to pave the way for Putin's return for the next 12 years, and in Bloomberg's case, he just doesn't want to go home alone. So far there hasn't been a deployment of missiles ringing New York City...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congragulations Barack Obama

It's freaking amazing, and I never thought that it would really happen in our country, but we have elected our first Black President. Congragulations Barack Obama! I was glued to the television set, flipping channels trying to get as many reactions as possible. I didn't break down and cry, but I did mist up a bit... Cameras cut to show the Rev Jesse Jackson and Opera Winfrey in the crowd emotionally reacting to his speech, and it was the culmination of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech as well. We give a lot of talk in this country about equal opportunity, but rarely do we walk the walk, and, in the words of someone before me, for the first time in my life I am truly proud to be an American.

Not only have we elected a President for ourselves, but we have brought a symbol of hope to the rest of the world. So many of the leaders in areas of conflict are hoping that Barack Obama and his new administration will lead them to a peaceful resolution, and many whom we consider enemies wish for reconciliation. This is a rare moment that I hope will be taken advantage of, one that Vladimer Putin should be paying attention to instead of braying his current sword-rattling bluster.

John McCain gave one of his best speeches, he was very gracious and generous in defeat. He earned a lot of respect for this, and it was universally noted. The only sour note happened when McCain mentioned Obama's name and there was some booing from the crowd, and John let it happen. In contrast, during Obama's speech in Chicago when he mentioned McCain's name, there was cheering. It showed the contrast in the moods and mindsets of the two supporting crowds.

As for Sarah Palin, she had already been angling for her next strategic move. In Alaska, she had called on Senator Ted Stevens to step down. Even if he should win re-election, which won't be known for a few days yet, he should step down so Alaskans can hold a special election to determine who, oh who would be a proper candidate to replace him...

So, next time you are in Coronado, California, and there is this blustery old man at the bar telling preposterous stories, don't be belligerent and call him on his bs, rather sit down and listen to those old war tales. Buy him a drink and together, you two can shed a tear over a Republican Paradise Lost.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please Go Vote


Monday, November 3, 2008

Rewarding John McCain, the World is Not Enough

Today all of the Presidential candidates are scurrying around the country giving those bracing, inspirational speeches to encourage you to go vote for them. John McCain will end his campaign tomorrow in Prescott, Arizona, the home of Senator Barry Goldwater. And John is expected to lose in the largest landslide against a Republican since Goldwater's attempt in the 1960's. In a cruel twist of fate, the Goldwater family is supporting Barack Obama...

But John McCain has put up a good fight, came back a couple of times when he was counted down and broke, tried every tired, old, mean-spirited trick in the book to belittle and demonize his opponent, and still made a better showing than he should have. It's too bad that we can't reward him for his effort,say,  give him some downtrodden Caribbean country to run. Or, better yet, let's let him be mayor of Baghdad. He can show us just how well the Surge has worked, and I'm sure that he'd do a much better job than that hack L. Paul Bremer ever did...

It seems that most world leaders are not expecting much change in our foreign policies with Barack Obama, but he may surprise us with who he picks as Secretary of State. One of the most consistent things leaders would like, especially in the Middle East, is for the US to actually listen to them and their concerns, not blow them off as did the Bush administration. This factor alone could make a global impact.

Just think how different the Middle East situation would have been if the Bush administration hadn't invaded Iraq with an eye out to include Iran. If they hadn't been so embarrassed and pissed off being outmaneuvered by the false information about Iraq planted by Iranian intelligence (anyone remember Achmed Chalabi?), they could have reached out to countries like Iran and Syria, asking for their help in stabilizing the borders, and the region might be a lot more peaceful than it is today. The Kurds feel like they are about to be thrown under the bus by the US to placate Turkey, Hamas has imported 20 tons of rocket and bomb making material into Palestine, and this area is fast becoming the powder keg waiting to blow up in our face again. And Africa has been abandoned to stew in its bloody juices until it festers and a dozen new Idi Amins come to power.

But enough, tomorrow we go and make history...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Final Few Days Before Election

In the state of Colorado over 1/3 of registered voters have voted early, and record numbers have been set in other states like Florida and Ohio as well. No matter who's side you are passionately on, it has been a historic campaign, and the first that the Internet has played such a large role in. From raising campaign donations to the thousands of blogs and opinions, it has helped to spread the wealth around, and shown how everyone's opinion matters in true democratic tradition. Dirty tricks were immediately exposed and ridiculed, so were each campaign's strengths and weaknesses. 

If you get the chance, go to your County's election return center on Tuesday evening to watch the results in real time. It's a lot of fun, people are hyped up, with proponents from all Parties there to cheer on their candidate and issues. You might get invited to a celebration party, usually held somewhere nearby. It's the culmination of what so many people have worked and fought for over the last two years, with such elation and heartbreak, that you can't help but be impressed with the political process and our country. That this scenario plays out in every town in every state is amazing.

Probably no-one will read these political blogs after Wednesday, as post-election depression sets in, oh God, why did I vote that way? And the next administration has one of the most difficult tasks ahead of it, to pull us out of the thicket of Bushes, and to get back on the path of world leadership. Other countries look to us for well reasoned approaches to solving critical situations, and the un-diplomatic, right-wing reactionary crap over the last eight years has damaged our image and many of our allies have turned away from us. Nobody will play with the bully anymore.

If we can't get our own house in order, create a responsible and responsive government (not a larger one), and stabilize our economy so the global one will follow, then other countries will begin looking around for someone else to be pack leader. Russia and China are still there, breathing hungrily, waiting for their turn next.

Both John McCain hand Barack Obama have shown a sense of humor, though not all of the time. Ms. Palin seems to most clueless when she's being pranked, though some of the cruel stuff has got to hurt. I think that McCain will retire from the Senate and have his rich wife take care of him when they move to California and get out of the desert of Arizona. If Palin goes back to Alaska, she may face more censure over the Troopergate mess; it will be interesting to see if she rises above it and continues to be the darling of the fringe.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Feeling Palinesque...

After Barack Obama's infomercial the campaigning seems to be less intense, as if a feel good balloon had burst. I was thinking that this weekend there would be riots, crowds bashing people waiting in line to vote early, young skinheads marching ready to battle anyone who doesn't have a mohawk, large black men waylaying young, plump white girls and carving unspeakable things on their cheeks, and Sarah Palin supporters making up their own signs of support, creating secret handshakes, and other cult-like manifestations.

And the Caribou Barbie (thanks to Maureen Dowd, I'm not worthy) has gone off on her own. There seem to be three Republican campaigns being waged right now, John McCain's, the RNC's, and that rogue Sarah Palin's. At a recent rally in Florida, there were no large signs for John McCain, but there were new ones for Palin, that proclaimed " Florida is Palin Country."

After the election there is supposed to be a secret meeting of top Republican poobahs to decide the fate of the party. I guess disbanding will not be an options and is why I have not been invited. Because Sarah has become such a fast learner, having gone from village idiot in the first press interviews to dominating over John McCain during the Brian Williams piece, she may continue being the public face of Conservative opposition to the Obama administration.

Here is a set of jokes I got off of the Internet:

The Conservative Palinguage Guide

If you’re a minority and you’re selected for a job over more qualified candidates you’re a "token hire."
If you’re a conservative and you’re selected for a job over more qualified candidates you’re a "game changer."

If you live in an Urban area and you get a girl pregnant you’re a "baby daddy."
If you’re the same in Alaska you’re a "teen father." (Actually, according to your own MySpace page you’re an F’n redneck that don’t want any kids, but that’s too long a phrase for the evil liberal media to take out of context and flog morning noon and night).

Black teen pregnancies? A "crisis" in black America.
White teen pregnancies? A "blessed event."

If you grow up in Hawaii you’re "exotic."
Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you’re the quintessential "American story."

Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you’re "unpatriotic."
Name your kid Track, you’re "colorful."

If you’re a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fulling vetting the individual you’re "reckless."
A Republican who doesn’t fully vet is a "maverick."

If you say that for the "first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country" it makes you "unfit" to be First Lady.
If you are a registered member of a fringe political group that advocates secession that makes you "First Dude."

A DUI from twenty years ago is "old news."
A speech given without proper citation from twenty years ago is "relevant information."

If you’re a man and you decide to run for office despite your wife’s reoccurrence of cancer you’re a "questionable spouse."
If you’re a woman and you decide to run for office despite having five kids including a newborn with Downs Syndrome… Well, we don’t know what that is ‘cause THAT’S NOT A FAIR QUESTION TO ASK!

If you get 18 million people to vote for you in a national presidential primary, you’re a "phoney."
Get 100,000+ people to vote you governor of the 47th most populous state in the Union, you’re "well loved."

If you are biracial and born in a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs darn near 2 years and 3 major speeches to "get to know you."
If you’re white and from a state not connected to the lower 48, America needs 36 minutes and 38 seconds worth of an acceptance speech to know you’re "one of us."

If you give your wife a dap on stage, it’s actually a "terrorist fist jab."
If your daughter licks her palm so that she can slick down your youngest child’s hair on national TV it’s an "adorable moment." (Seriously, forget about abstinence only, teach these folks some grooming skills).

If your pastor rails against inequality in the United States of America, you’re an "extremist."
If your pastor welcomes a sermon by a member of Jews for Jesus who preaches that the killing of Jews by terrorists is a lesson to Jews that they must convert to Christianity, you’re a "fundamentalist."

If you’re a black man and you use a scholarship to get into college, then work your way up to being the president of the Harvard Law Review, you’re "uppity."
If you’re a conservative and your parents pay your way to Hawaii Pacific University . . . you only have four more schools to attend over the next five years before you somehow manage to graduate (it might be five more school over the next five years. No one has yet verified whether or not Palin was actually ever registered at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. But, you know how shady people are who ever attended any kind of school in Hawaii).

If you spend 18 months building a campaign around the theme of "Change," it’s just "empty rhetoric."
If one week before your party’s national convention you SUDDENLY make your candidacy about "Change," that’s "red meat."
Submitted by Jay, Long Island, Ny.