March 2009 Archives

Good Morning

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It's off to work today. My attitude is better then last week when there was a problem with my eyes: I couldn't see myself at work. Today my eyes are better.

The Outlawing Of Black Cars

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I first heard about this at the Petrol Pumper, a truck stop and Embers Restaurant located at the junction of Highways 52 and 55. Some fella sitting at the counter was talking to two truckers. I really wasn't paying any attention until he claimed that California was outlawing black paint. My first thought was somebody was listening to Right Wing radio for more than the recommended daily allowance. But, instead of outright dismissing his statement, I decided to engage The Google.

What do you know. He's right. Sort of. It seems that by initiating solar reflection standards, California might be outlawing black paint on vehicles.

(SciGuy) California's new "Cool Cars Measure" (see .pdf of proposal) may ultimately lead to the removal of black cars from the state's highways. Cars with darker paint absorb more heat, and therefore their occupants are more likely to crank up the air conditioning. So, to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the state:

• Proposes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by reducing interior temperatures of parked vehicles

• Reduced interior temperatures can reduce a/c capacity and likelihood of a/c use

• Smaller a/c or less operation results in less fuel used

• Less fuel used results in less vehicle carbon dioxide emissions

The aim is to reduce the state's carbon dioxide emissions to meet California's goal of cutting emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. And black paint does not reflect enough heat to meet the new standards.

It's not that black paint is directly outlawed, though.

(AutoBlog) According to Ward's, suppliers have reportedly been testing their pigments and processes to see if it's possible to meet CARB's proposed mandate of 20% solar reflectivity by 2016 with a phase-in period starting in 2012, and things aren't looking good. Apparently, when the proper pigments and chemicals are added to black paint, the resulting color is currently being referred to as "mud-puddle brown."
No doubt the science wizards of the world will unite and come up with new paint pigments that will both look black, and properly reflect the sun.

Of course, the real challenge is to create an auto paint that can reflect the sun in the summer and absorb it during the winter. Now that would be a boon for Minnesota drivers.

Dakota County Libray Blogging

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I am currently sitting in one of the study rooms at the Dakota County Library. I'm staring out the window looking to Highway 55 and across from that is the Dakota County Government Center. It's pretty quiet on the road right at the moment with very little traffic. Also the sky is blue and cloudless, with the trees and shrubs faintly moving in the soft breeze. I guess one could say it's a beautiful day.

At the moment I'm taking a break from dictating my story into electronic files by way of Dragon Naturally Speaking. I had to redo several pages because I inadvertently closed the file I was transcribing into without saving. And to be perfectly honest, I'm actually doing this post using Dragon Naturally Speaking. I have gotten better at using the program. All it takes is patience and to speak slowly and cautiously.

So anyway, I thought I would just quick whip out a post just for the hell of it.

Global Depression

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In the end, this article in The Atlantic details a global collapse of the economy that may well dwarf anything ever experienced in the modern era. Damn near each and every paragraph was worthy of quoting. So, instead of trying to select any one, I am just suggesting you go read the whole thing. Yes, it's four pages long, it's about the economy, and it's written by an economic wonk, but I found it engaging, informative, and - quite surprising- easy to understand.

Because I believe this is an important story, I am going to hat tip a blogging elite: TPM. Seriously, don't expect the likes of this anytime soon. Or ever.

I Use To Get Mad

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But today, when reading Glenn Greenwald's post on Britons investigation into torture and war crimes all I feel now is sadness.

And let me tell you, my anger was quite substantial. I had to stop reading Glenn's book "How Would A Patriot Act?" several times because of the anger that would build. So to with Al Gore's book "The Assault On Reason." The more he described the illogical and purely propagandist rhetoric of the Bush administration and the conservative movement, the more rage I felt. Again, I had to put his book down, the anger would become so overwhelming.

I have to admit, I often can only get half-way through a Glenn Greenwald post because of the usual anger and rage that boils out of me. But, like I said in the beginning of this post, reading Glenn's post this morning has simply made me sad. Sad at the lack of courage to stand by our constitutional values of basic human rights.

Political cowardice. That's all I've seen in my life time. I was too young to remember the Kennedy years and Johnson years. But Watergate I remember, with the cynicism and pessimism running rampant through the electorate. And not because of the resignation of Richard Nixon. Not even because of his crimes.

No. The cynicism and pessimism resulted from the pardon of Nixon by Ford. At that moment our fate as a failed constitutionally lead nation was sealed. Instead of holding a man accountable for his actions, we established a precedence where he was allowed to escape legal consequences. The Rule Of Law was not upheld. Instead, as Nixon himself famously framed by claiming "If the president does it, it's not illegal" our nation drifted into a surreal nightmare of political chaos and impotent leadership.

Candidate Obama promised change we can believe in. But President Obama lack of confronting the torture and war crimes of the previous administration appears to be leading us into the same moral, legal, and political quagmire that has existed since the pardon of Richard Nixon. That is a lack of change I can not believe in.

What's In A Word

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I don't think that word meant what he meant it to mean. And this probably goes without saying, but; companion = bitch

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Friday Blogaround

The first full week of spring, and it's flooding up north, snowing out west, and thundering in the south. Here's what the LC rumbled about this week.

- A Blog Around The Clock: evolution and education in Texas.
- archy covers the eruption of Mt. Redoubt.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof on taxes.
- Bloggg: the wrong doctor.
- Dohiyi Mir rallies the troops for equality in Vermont, and defends the folks at Code Pink.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: well-aimed anger.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog contemplates a blogger-driven news distribution network.
- Left Is Right: the Wall Street Revolution.
- Left Turn Only: Glenn Beck is crazy.
- Musing's musings: the gift of wingnuttery.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web has a lot of pictures from her trip to England.
- Rook's Rant is posting a lot of good stuff, including this observation about Ms. McCain.
- rubber hose on the teleprompter meme.
- Scrutiny Hooligans listens to Judy Shepard, Matthew's mother.
- Speedkill learns some new perspectives on the Israel/Palestine conflict.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: it's witchcraft... and you do that voodoo that you do so well...
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation with thoughts on liberal vs. conservative.
- The Invisible Library: the new new.
- WTF Is It Now?? how's that?
- ...You Are A Tree runs his office technology (I hate Sharepoint, too).
What are you doing this weekend?
And a good morning to all my myriad of readers.

Yeah, I know. I should probably look up the definition of myriad.

Best Laugh I've Had All Week

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To be fair, the folder is pretty.

Update: Just when I thought I'd only get one laugh for the day, I found myself chuckling over these balloons.

Update II: And now another hearty laugh.

Too Big To Fail

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Too big to exist.

Bottom line; AIG is a cancer that has successfully metastasized.

Amid the flap over bonuses at American International Group Inc. two of the company's top managers in Paris have resigned. Their moves have left the giant insurer and officials scrambling to replace them to avoid an unlikely but expensive situation in which billions in AIG trading contracts could default.

Representatives of the Federal Reserve, AIG's lead U.S. overseer, are talking with French regulators and AIG officials to deal with the consequences of a complicated legal scenario in which the departures of the managers in Banque AIG, a subsidiary of AIG's Financial Products unit, could trigger defaults in $234 billion of derivative transactions, according to people familiar with the situation and a document AIG provided to the U.S. Treasury.

Whether we'd like it to or not, I suspect in the end AIG will fall, and with it the global economy. What's worse, the executives set it up purposely to cause this kind of chaos. Well, actually, even worse yet; the governments of the world stood by and let it happen.

Welcome to globalization.

Paul Talks Dirty

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Seriously, doesn't Mr Krugman know children can read his blog?
Bitching about President Obama being boring it bullshit. He's the President of the United States, not a traveling entertainment company.

Morning Quick Post

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Once again I am procrastinating. I should already be at work. But my census is low, and my paperwork is really not all that monumental. Still, I am required to earn a paycheck, even if I've already lost the house. We need electricity, gas, and water to sustain basic life functioning.

Procrastination, the new millennium past time. Give it a try.

Interesting Concept

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National Public Newspaper.

(Star Tribune) WASHINGTON - A Maryland senator is proposing that newspapers be allowed to operate as nonprofits. A bill by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., would let newspapers choose a tax-exempt status similar to public broadcasting stations.
So, that would allow all sorts of anagrams:
  1. NPN
  2. SPPN (St. Paul Public Newspaper)
  3. MPN (Minneapolis Public Newspaper)
  4. MSPN (Minnesota State Public Newspaper)
A myriad of possibilities.

Impressive

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Meghan McCain is impressing me more and more.

CNN

King: Do you consider yourself a moderate? Are you moderate liberal?

McCain: I consider myself a progressive Republican. I am liberal on social issues. And I think that the party is at a place where social issues shouldn't be the issues that define the party. And I have taken heat, but in fairness to me, I am a different generation than the people that are giving me heat. I'm 24 years old. I'm not in my 40s, I'm not in my 50s and older.

King: Therefore, you must, based on what you said, disagree with your father? ... Do you discuss it?

McCain: We have a very big generation gap between me and my father. Yes, we discuss them. He's very open-minded. I was raised in an open-minded home. I was raised a Christian, but I was raised open-minded Christian -- one to accept people, love people, not pass judgment. ...

I believe in gay marriage. ... I personally am pro-life, but I'm not going to judge someone that's pro-choice. It is not my place to judge other people and what they do with their body.

I really hope she is the future of the Republican Party, because as is stands now, it's dying a slow painful death.


Bragging Rights

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Okay, time to stow the stoic Minnesota Nordic humility and do some crowing about this page. Prior to someone giving it a thumbs up and adding it to the Atheist category on StumbleUpon, my lowly blog was at an anemic 39,000 hits. In less than 3 days, I was over 100,000. It took me over 5 years to get to 39,000. With StumbleUpon, I more than doubled my total hits in 3 short days.

Now, I'm not getting the 6500 hits like I did at first, but I am getting 400 to 500 hit days from time to time. I can't explain why I have various influxes of hits, but I am definitely enjoying the dramatic increase in traffic.
Helter Skelter.

Although, honestly, I'm not making a post about racial strife. Instead, it's about the topsy turvy run of the markets. Like many bloggers, I'm no expert on the economy. However, considering the last several years, I am hesitant to support an economic plan that meets investor approval.

The New York Times

Wall Street may have panned the broad outlines of the Obama administration's plan to fix the financial system when the proposal was sketched out six weeks ago, but on Monday, investors seemed like they were warming up to its finer points.

Stock markets in New York were heading for a higher opening, and most markets in Europe were higher as the Treasury Department began to release details of a public-private partnership to purchase troubled assets from banks. Shares in Asia also closed higher.

The government hopes that the plan will loosen credit markets and restore normal lending conditions by allowing banks to deleverage billions of dollars in mortgage-related debt sitting on their balance sheets.
You know, I'm just not there. Sorry. Wall Street, and the investors that have the most impact on the stock market, are the same cretins that helped cause the current economic mess we are in at the moment. So, yeah, I think I'll pass on this idea.

See, the biggest problems are the homes valued well below the mortgages the banks hold. And with foreclosure running rampant, I can pretty much speculate dead on that many of those empty houses are deteriorating, making there value even lower. It is, as Atrios has penned, a shit pile.

But then, remember, I am no expert. All those fancy terms, and high-falut'n derivative constructs, are above my pay grade.

A Man Over His Head

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This is a picture of a man who feels overwhelmed.

20090211_geithner_33.jpg

He really does have that deer in the headlights look.

At The Acoustic Cafe

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A coffee shop in Winona. We took a drive down the Mississippi River Valley and needed coffee. However, we decided, once inside, to switch to Iced Chi Tea. So, now the band is setting up, I'm with The GirlFriend™, and everything is copacetic.

Only In Texas

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BBC

Staff at a high school in the US state of Texas had students settle their differences by fighting inside a steel cage, a local newspaper has reported.

The Dallas Morning News says it has obtained a school board report that says two "cage fights" took place at South Oak Cliff High between 2003-2005.

Honestly, I've nothing to add.

Two More Unemployed Captains

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BBC

Two US navy vessels have collided in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, lightly injuring 15 sailors, the US navy said.

A nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Hartford, and amphibious transporter the USS New Orleans collided early on Friday, the US Navy Fifth Fleet said.

As crowded as the oceans are getting, I am not surprised to hear about collisions. However, I am surprised about two US Naval ships colliding. Now, two ships of opposing nations, that's totally not unheard of, considering the number of times navies engage in chicken. Or tag.

So, I figure there had to be a failure in communications. Or the sonar guys were not paying attention. Or the two captains didn't like each other and were playing chicken. If it wasn't for the fact that our former president was one George W. Bush, who managed to break the military, I'd never even consider typing the third option.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Friday Blogaround
Here's what the Liberal Coalition is writing about on the first day of spring.

- A Blog Around The Clock: help an undergrad.
- archy: a sure thing.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: spring break with evangelicals.
- Bloggg: make them an offer...
- Dohiyi Mir: in the pink.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: some thoughts.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: pictures of the week.
- Left Is Right: history lesson.
- Left Turn Only: Multiplicity.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web reports in from across the pond.
- Rook's Rant: dolphins at play.
- rubber hose: re-entering the world stage.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: the newest Blue Dog.
- Speedkill: back to the '80's.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: on the move.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: the glory of capitalism.
- The Invisible Library: SyFy?
- WTF Is It Now?? Distractions.
- ...You Are A Tree is not happy.
I hear the sap rising....
What do you mean rising? I've been up for hours. And how can you hear me all the way down there in Florida?

Oh, and I got a new toy! A new laptop. An HP HDX 16 with massive stuff. Seriously massive stuff. The graphic card has 512 MB onboard memory. The RAM is 6 GB. Blue Ray reader. Oh, and 64 bit 2.53 ghz processor. Yes, it is screaming fast. One last thing; it has a fingerprint reader. How cool is that?
ASZ was on the scene at the horrendous demonstration outside the AIG HQ building.


Osama Still Around

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(CNN) -- Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has called for Somalia's new president to be overthrown, according to an audio recording posted Thursday on the Internet.
Can we please capture this man and throw his ass in jail where it can rot until he dies of old age? Please.

Besides, I understand he's about as popular among Arabs as Cheney is among Americans.

Amazing!

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Americablog

And I thought it was cool when my dad did this with his pipe. I can't give a description that will adequately describe what you're about to see. It's amazing. And even more amazing, this is apparently something these dolphins didn't do before. A few of them somehow learned it, then the other dolphins in the tank learned from them. Absolutely positively astounding.

Hat Tip NTodd.

Sick

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This is about the only time I would support a death penalty sentence.

"Do you get all upset about it? No, you just clean it up and get another glass of milk," said Scott J. Johnson, 38, of Kingsford, Mich. "It might sound sick or sadistic to come off that way but that's pretty much it."

[snip]

According to a psychologist's report released Tuesday by the state Department of Justice, Johnson felt empty and numb the day of the shootings and told the doctor his "purpose was to kill. Jesus could have been walking with Moses that day and I would have killed them."

After the shootings, Johnson told the doctor he walked past a female victim on the ground. "He said that he said to her, 'You can stop playing dead now,'" before seeing her gunshot wound.

Johnson added, "You don't have to be crazy to do what I did, just angry," the report said.

Johnson won't apologize to the victims' families that day.

"I don't care what they think," he told the AP. "Anyway, considering the act I did an apology would come off as pretty weak, you know?"

I know Wisconsin does not have a death penalty. Nor do I advocate they institute one. It's just that sometimes a person comes along that defines evil. If the whole concept of state execution wasn't fraught with human error, bias, and outright bigotry and racism, I could see it's appropriate use. It's just that humans manage to screw everything up.
Politico

Erickson, the Coleman campaign spokesman, said Monday that the senator has raised $25 million -- only a small portion of which came from online contributions -- since Nov. 4 to pay for his bills during the hand recount. That should be enough to keep the lawyers paid and the litigation brewing.

"I want to do all I can to help him," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who said he had maxed out his donations to Coleman.
It's all they know how to do. We already have seen their inability to actually govern.

Hat tip: Minnesota Independent.

Don't Drink From The Yellow Cup

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In my training back in the day, Dr. Anderson of the Hazelden Foundation was a guest lecturer. He told a story of some research they did on Antabuse. Antabuse, or Disulfiram, is a drug that causes a severe physical reaction when alcohol is consumed. It causes extreme intestinal distress to the point of vomiting, possible swelling of the body, and even an extreme reddening of the skin.

It was a controlled experiment with the usual control group, etc. But all the test subjects received their Antabuse in a yellow cup. From what I remembered, the experiment proved that overall, Antabuse was less effective than other forms of treatment.

However, what stood out in my mind was a comment from one of the test subjects given during a followup interview after the experiment. When asked what he learned from the experience, he replied "Never to drink from a yellow cup."

What, pray tell, does this little story have to do with me and politics? Oh, I know you're curious, admit it.

Well, it turns out my Driver's License is suspended. Why? Because, after having paid my fine, and taking the time to drive up to St. Paul to give the Dept of Motor Vehicles a copy of the receipt, they failed to input it into the system. Hence, my suspension.

I know, I know, it still does not explain my Yellow Cup story. Patience, my few blog readers, patience.

See, it all comes down to the claim of government as the problem. Personally, I never prescribed to that particular idiom. However, after 3 decades of Republicans chanting this little Reagan wit and wisdom, they managed to get into power, and set out to prove their little ideological idiom. Now, this incompetence has filtered down into the bureaucratic layers of government.

My little story, of course, it nothing compared to the wondrous examples of Republican efforts at proving their idiom; Katrina and the Iraqi rebuilding efforts are 2 glaring exhibits. However, considering recent polls regarding the Republican party, like the drunks of Hazelden's research who learned not to drink from yellow cups, Americans seemed to have learned not to vote Republican.

Good Conservatives

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In case anyone is wondering, there are good conservatives out there. One is Meghan McCain. The other is Jack Cafferty. Both seem more intent on looking at competence and leadership for the sake of the country, not for political power and gain.

Troubling Talk

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With the news of the AIG bonuses going to the screw ups who put the economy in it's current mess (or at least own a majority of the cause) there has been a lot of talk of pitchforks, nooses, and all around lynchings. It really is starting to get ugly.

The thing is, all this anger, rage, and desire for revenge is directed towards white men. The faces of the people responsible for today's economic catastrophe are Jim Cramer, Rick Santelli, and Bernard Madoff.

So much for scary black folk. Turns out the real villains are neither brown skinned, nor poor. But then, neither were the French royalty back during the French Revolution. They were as white and rich as they come. Didn't keep them from losing their heads.

When the rich absorb most of the profits in society, and arrange for most of the benefits of society to be just for themselves, they eventually find themselves facing a very angry majority. It's happening now.

There really is a lot of rage out there. And it's seems to be reaching a catharsis. And not a healthy one, at that. When even Matt Yglesias (future conservative) starts noting this trend, it means there is something wrong.

Profiled

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I am in a piss poor mood at the moment. In fact, too mad to write coherently about being stopped in River Falls by a cop. Suffice it to say, I believe The GirlFriend™ and I were stopped because of looking poor. You know, poor = criminal = drug addicts.

Yes, I kept my mouth shut about being a chemical dependency counselor. Honestly, I know when someone has made up their mind about me. I run into it all the time. I can see it in their eyes, and hear it in their voice. It's my job. And I do it well.

This dick of a cop pulled us over because he thought he had a couple of drug addicts from Minnesota.

Damn, it really pisses me off.

More later.

I've Joined Twitter

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Yes, that's right. I'm Twitterpatted!
But than, what did you expect from a man who told a Senator to go "fuck yourself."

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration has endangered Americans and opened the country to further attack by reversing Bush administration anti-terrorism policies such as harsh interrogations of suspects, former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.
In case anyone is wondering, I think the man is a war criminal and should be handed over to the Hague. But than, I'm a partisan progressive, so I'm biased.

A New Member Of Blogstonia!

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Welcome Dusty Rice to Eastern Blogstonia. I got to meet Dusty once. He was part of the Al Franken senate campaign. That was the day I embarrassed myself when I thought Al was referring to his movie "Stuart Saves His Family" when in fact he was referring to "When A Man Loves A Woman." I managed to wipe the egg off my face and have a good talk with Dusty and the rest of the team. Of course, he was quick to make the talk off the record. It was fine by me, because I really didn't want to write about the egg on face incident.

The one, of course, I just mentioned. Doh!

House Cleaning Notes

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Well, I finally got around to installing the MT 4.24 upgrade properly. No hiccups there. I also tweaked the layout just a bit, switching the titles to small-caps, increasing the font size, and justifying the text. Hopefully it will make reading easier for those old eyes out there. Not that I had any problem with the small font size of earlier. My eyes aren't old. They're not!

THEY ARE NOT!!!!!!

Okay, that's it. I'm out-a-here.

Oh, and have a nice Sunday. It's warm and sunny here in the wonderful Northern State of Minnesota. So, I'm going to shower, get all dressed up to go hit the town with The GirlFriend™, and have myself some fun. Me and my not old eyes.
Digby has a post up basically eviscerating Chris Matthews for his man-crush swooning over George Bush the day of the "Mission Accomplished" landing. No doubt I think the landing turned out to be a political liability for Bush in the end. However, Digby's resentment of Chris Matthews is, in my humble opinion, wasted energy.

We can carry on all we want about the Legacy Media's complicity in building up public approval for the Iraq invasion, but it will avail nothing. In the end, it's over and done with, and no amount of railing against the media types still in front of the camera, or taking up column space in print, will change what happened.

The truth is simple, majority does not really rule, it follows. Media types like Chris Matthews are followers. The majority of the population are followers. I'll even include myself in that group. I was willing to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt about his leadership after Sept. 11, 2001. That he failed me, and the rest of the country, goes without saying. Had he been successful, we would not now be talking to a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. In any event, on Sept 12, 2001, I was a willing follower.

Now, Chris Matthews simply did what he's always done, he followed. Oh, sure, he gets all riled up and spouts off incoherently from time to time. But that's to be expected. His ADD some days just gets the best of him. Indeed, I am willing to give him that excuse on the day of the aircraft carrier landing. Hell, I would have probably gotten caught up in the excitement.

 Now, let me reiterate; that was the past.

If we are to be held to the expectation of always being perfect, and never given a chance to redeem ourselves, to earn back trust, than the entire population of the world can not be trusted. There are many things I did, as a child, an adolescent, and as a drug addicted adult, that were hurtful, malicious, and disastrous; both to my life and others' lives. I've had to learn to accept that part of my past. So too have those I harmed learned to come to accept me despite my past. It's called forgiveness, a necessary component of being human because of our many flaws.

I am willing to give Chris Matthews a break. After the shock of Sept. 11, 2001, many of us were lost, rudderless. We naively relied on our president and his administration to lead us through the tragedy and become stronger. And his actions at first seemed to suggest he was headed in that direction. Unfortunately, we have since learned they victimized us, taking advantage of our collective shock and naivety. However, where the Bush administration  purposely lead us astray, I do not for one minute believe Chris Matthews, and many other journalists, were malicious in their blind following.

Chris is now working to expose the fraud that was the Bush/Cheney administration. Personally, I am glad to see it, and hope to see more of this in the future. If he's doing right by us now, I am willing to overlook his exuberance of the past. Sometimes, the best apology is not explicitly spoken but implicitly shown by works. Often, we ourselves change unawares, and only in looking back over time do we see that change. Perhaps Chris has changed, and is not yet fully aware of that change.

I understand Digby's fear of trusting Chris Matthews, along with many of his peers, considering their past actions and how they helped perpetuate a grave error of leadership. I, on the other hand, will instead give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope that he is now working towards being an honest defender of the truth.

Where I will not give such benefit is to those who still actively carry water for the past administration. They were, and continue to be, complicit in the manipulation. They still use fear and anger to pursue an ideology that harms the majority and benefits the rich elitists in this world. Their works expose them as corrupt. I maybe forgiving, but I am not naive. Not any longer. My shock has passed.

In the end, though, I have to recognize the humanity in all of us, which includes the imperfections we all carry. I refuse to live my life in constant fear of those flaws. It was that type of fear Bush and Cheney used to manipulate and mislead us, at the cost of our national pride, the loss of over 3000 (and rising) military members, and the loss of countless Iraqis lives.

I believe there is good in the majority of the people. More so than there is bad. I choose to focus on the good. I have no choice. Well, okay, yes I do. Yet, to focus on the bad means I will be unhappy, fearful, and miserable, opening me to further manipulation by people like those in the Bush administration. I certainly don't want that to happen - again. I believe Chris Matthews, and others, are also coming around to recognize their errors of the past, and are working at changing.

The thing is, I am not in control of others, and so have no say in how quickly, or slowly, a person changes old behaviors. That includes fellow progressives who still feel a lack of trust and an unwillingness to give others a chance at redemption. I have to recognize my own lack of power over the thoughts and actions of others. I have to let go and let Spaghetti & Sauce.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Good morning. I actually woke up early, despite being up in the middle of the night to reset the clocks after the power was restored. Yes, that's right, we lost power here at the foreclosed castle for a couple of hours. It happened when I was sleeping, so I didn't really notice it until The Fuskers™ came down and woke me up. Anyway, since I'm up earlier, I can get my stealing of code out of the way:

Friday Blogaround
Here's the weekly lowdown from the Liberal Coalition.

- A Blog Around The Clock: climate change and sex.
- archy: take the quiz and see how liberal or conservative you are.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: the decline of evangelism.
- Bloggg: if you can read this...
- Dohiyi Mir: Plato and why you should do something.
- Echidne Of The Snakes on the new White House Council on Women and Girls.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: Who is Adam Hasner?
- Left Is Right: bits 'n' pieces.
- Left Turn Only: Multiplicity. (Welcome back, Chris.)
- Musing's musings: being gunned down by a newt.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: Hey, Elayne needs a guest-host blogger next week. Help her out if you can.
- Rook's Rant: a tale of two metaphors.
- rubber hose: health care reform isn't frightening...
- Scrutiny Hooligans: communities coming together.
- Speedkill: Jonah's mailbox.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: how hard can it be to redesign the GOP website?
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: those darned Hollywood policy makers.
- The Invisible Library reviews Watchmen.
- WTF Is It Now?? another pervy Republican caught.
- ...You Are A Tree: finding the real El Dorado.
So, how was your week
My week? Well, you know, lost the castle, lost power. Really, nothing much to write home about.

Forclosure News

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We've got our Sheriff's sale today, at 10:00 AM. Unless a miracle happens, we've six months to try and find new financing, or to sell the house. 

Get Off My Lawn!

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Honest to Spaghetti and Sauce, there is nothing worse than kids trampling a yard as they run from the robot patrols.

Religion Losing Ground

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The Washington Post

The percentage of Americans who call themselves Christians has dropped dramatically over the past two decades, and those who do are increasingly identifying themselves without traditional denomination labels, according to a major study of U.S. religion being released today.
Thank God!

Oh, wait. Thank all that is spaghetti and sauced.

There. That's better.
So, here's a link to the post, though it's just below this post.

Now, here's the graph.

four-bears-large.gif


If you're not scared, you're not paying attention.

Hat Tip: John at Balloon Juice

The Tale Of Two Metaphors

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Any attempts at propping up the economy are misguided. Like a person suffering a seizure, the idea is to guide them down safely to the ground so they don't injure themselves. Obama would be wise in guiding the collapse of the banking and mortgage industries. Trying to keep them standing is worthless; AIG being the prime example.

The free market led itself to this situation, so allow it to fall to it's logical conclusion. Just don't let it hit so damn hard it causes even more severe damage.

Okay, I'm almost done with the seizure metaphor.

There was a reason for the FDIC's creation. Already it has caught collapsing banks and minimized the damage that could have otherwise occurred. Yes, some of the mega banks are quite large, and it will be difficult, maybe near impossible, to guide them down. But it will take much more effort to hold them up. Effort as in throwing good money after bad. If they are insolvent, than they are insolvent. No magical wand exists to reverse this fact. Again, AIG as the insurer of all that is insolvent proves this point.

There, now I'm done with the seizure metaphor. However, I'm not done with my point.

So, let the FDIC take over as designed, so it can clean out the toxic debt and toxic management, and then return the bank to the public. It's nothing more than pruning off the dead growth.

Timothy Geithner is unwilling to see the truth in this matter. He's doing nothing more than attempting to maintain the status quo. Possibly because many of his former colleagues are the toxic management that needs to be pruned.

Update: See, now the Washington Post has an article that does a much better job of explaining what I am thinking, as well as explaining the problem. But then, that's why they get the big bucks.....

However, I still stand by my statement that a collapse is inevitable, and that it would be best to simply guide it down safely.

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

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Kevin over at his MoJo blog, points to a memo acquired by ABC News that pretty much described another part of the economy that is about to collapse:

The claim here is that a weak economy has already left strapped consumers with fewer places to obtain traditional loans, which in turn means that people are increasingly likely to cash in their life insurance policies in order to scrounge up a bit of ready cash.  That's bad enough, but if AIG were to fail -- or if there were even a rumor of failure -- everyone would start lining up to cash in their policies at once.  This would cause a panic and customers of other insurance companies would start lining up too.  Since reserves aren't big enough to pay off everyone at once, this would cause massive, cascading failures in the entire life insurance business.
You know, the more I read, the more I realize just how screwed our economy is at the moment.

Damn Spider!

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3 inch leg span. I swear to all that is spaghetti and sauced. I hate spiders. This one is currently crawling down the wall behind my monitor. At least it's not dropping down on my head like some have in the past.

Sigh. That's what I get for blogging in the basement.

Some Pols Just Don't Get It

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Any moron with half a stem.... err, brain cell knows that if you increase funding to any area, you increase the potential for job expansion.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top congressional Republican on Sunday criticized President Barack Obama's expected decision to reverse the Bush administration's limits on embryonic stem-cell research, calling it a distraction from the country's economic slump.
Cantor may wish to spin this move by President Obama as a distraction, but in essence, it's simply his fear at losing ground on stem cell research. Face it, you ideological neanderthal, your side lost the overall election in 2008. Get over it. And stop your whining, it shows your intellectual immaturity.

Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "that shouldn't be done" statement. Wait, here it is in it's entirety:

"Frankly, federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research can bring on embryo harvesting, perhaps even human cloning that occurs," Cantor said. "We don't want that. That shouldn't be done. That's wrong."
I'm not sure how increasing stem-cell research leads to embryo harvesting. I understand he's afraid that might happen. But it's based on his belief, not any real proof. At least, none that he's offered. However, it's a more honest statement then his earlier bullshit about being distracted.

In the end, I see this as nothing more than an ignorant man showing his cowardice. Nothing gets me more riled than when an ignorant coward attempts to control society simply to feel less threatened. All I can say is he must have a weak God to be so afraid.
CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The U.S. economy continued to hemorrhage jobs in February, bringing total job losses over the last six months to more than 3.3 million, and taking the unemployment rate to its highest level in 25 years.

The government reported Friday that employers slashed 651,000 jobs in February, down from a revised loss of 655,000 jobs in January. December's loss was also revised higher to a loss of 681,000 jobs, a 59-year high for losses in one month.

Don't think this is the end. None of the moves to stimulate the economy have taken effect. By the time they wind through the federal, then state, bureaucracies, the employment figures will have gotten worse.

"It's a dismal report. We thought we'd have another month like this, and I think we have a couple of more coming," said Tig Gilliam, chief executive of Adecco Group North America, a unit of the world's largest employment firm. "We've got a lot of layoffs being announced that haven't been implemented."

Gilliam said he expects the unemployment rate to rise to 9% within the next few months.

There's no sign that things are going to change even after the next few months. With the news of GM being in worse shape than originally thought, and Chrysler's future looking even bleaker, I suspect unemployment will continue to rise throughout the year.

The more I read about the economy, the more I can't help but think it's time to pull the plug. Life support is just keeping the economy body in a coma. All economic brain functions are flat.

Blogrolling

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Well, Blogrolling is back up and running. However, they have quite a few bugs to work out. The first, and probably the most important, is to fix the Blogroll It script. Otherwise, the whole point of Blogrolling is mute. If I have to go through more than 3 clicks to add a site to my blog roll, it's a pain. The whole concept of computers and the internet was to make things simple and easy.

No doubt, they will get their service smoothed out, but that doesn't mean I can't complain. I'm a blogger for crying out loud. For me not to complain would be like Rush Limbaugh not to be ignorant.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Friday Blogaround

It's been another wild week out there; here's some of what the Liberal Coalition wrote about it.

- A Blog Around The Clock: The Open Laboratory 2008 is here!
- archy: Ice Age creationism; fun for the whole family.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof: Prop 8 gets its day in court.
- Bloggg: Global warming, huh?
- Dohiyi Mir: compare and contrast.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: Meanwhile in Brazil.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: hate-mongering in Florida.
- Left Is Right: a couple of bits.
- Left Turn Only: coming back soon!
- Musing's musings: history for dummies.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: wry and smoke.
- Rook's Rant: what Jon says at the end says it all.
- rubber hose: the yoo memos.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: Asheville's part in recovery and reinvestment.
- Speedkill: Sex ed in Texas. (Nice new look, Jeff.)
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: justice for Diana Levine.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: No Fairness.
- The Invisible Library: The name game at Facebook.
- WTF Is It Now?? Bipartisanship vs. I hope he fails.
To quote the immortal Karl Haas, have a good weekend.
It's too damn early for me to make any smart ass comments. Just go check out my fellow LCers.

A Headache Two Days In A Row

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I hate waking up with headaches. Nothing sets a more ominous tone then that. But, since it is what it is, I have to deal. Still, headaches in the morning suck. I had intended on writing a long, angry screed, but I'm just not into it this morning. Imagine, if you will, a long, obscenity laced post that rails against the powers that be for destroying what once was a proud, prosperous nation. I wanted to tell them off, but John Stewart did it best:


Ya! What he said at the end.

Lack Of Leadership

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While even the White House is having fun at the expense of the Republican disarray....



.... you have to recognize the total lack of leadership that exists. How else can you explain the ability of a radio personality outside of the party structure to be able to control it so utterly?

What we have here is a party on the verge of death. Unless a competent, clear headed leader emerges to take charge, the Republican party will soon be dead. Then will Karl Rove's efforts at a permanent one party permanent rule majority be achieved. Though, not exactly as he intended.

I'm So Sorry Uncle Rush

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Someone needs to redo the old Paul McCartney song "Uncle Albert" and switch the lyrics to say "We're So Sorry, Uncle Limbaugh. We're so sorry if we caused you any pain." etc., and so on. Seriously, it could become the Republican's new theme song.

And while we are on the subject of apologies.

Tuesday Morning Quick Post

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I ain't got much time, what with having to go to work and all. So, real quick, I see the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Chairman had to walk back his earlier statement. Go figure.

In the family, cute and touching moment department; The Fuskers™ gave me a hug this morning because I upgraded the graphics card in my very old computer. Why? He is now able to play Oblivion. However, I still need to upgrade my sound card, as it too is older than God.

Sometime this week I will have to upgrade to the latest Movable Type installation. Because, by gosh, I am a cutting edge blogger. So be careful and don't cut yourself while reading.

Yes, I know, that's really bad. I'll behave myself now.

And yes, I am still using Movable Type. Because, as we all know, WordPress is so much more reliable and stable when updating.

All you faithful readers have a good day now. All two of you.

Iran Has The Bomb!?!?!?!?!?

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BBC/US military chief in Iran warning

Iran has enough nuclear material to build a bomb, the United States' most senior military commander has said.

"We think they do, quite frankly," Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN.

My first response when I read the above:

"Jesus H. Christ! Would you pull your head out of your fucking ass!"

Honestly, this fear mongering by a supposed brave American military man is totally unbecoming an officer. That's because he's coming across as a whining, titty-ass baby. Besides, the whole Iran has enough material is bull-shit. Having the raw material does not mean they have the ability to make a bomb. It's low grade. So, what we seem to have here is an Admiral that is overstepping his pay grade and making claims best left to the Administration.

Seriously, President Obama needs to fire someone in the Pentagon to make it clear who is in charge. The longer he ignores this kind of behavior from his military subordinates, the more they will work at undermining his authority.

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