Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Exxon's Supreme Bonus

In case you didn't read this in the paper today, but the Supreme Court Decided to hand a sizable gift to Exxon today - not much unlike what you do when you fill up your tank with their gas, but much bigger.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the record $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp had been ordered to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska.

The nation's highest court ruled that the punitive damages should be limited to an amount equal to the total relevant compensatory damages of $507.5 million.
Hmmm, the Fat Cats just got fatter:
It took the company just under two days to bring in $2.5 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2007.
Nice for them. What does that mean for us, and the people of the great State of Alaska who have been paying for the Valdez incident since it happened?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blogging Fun For Tuesday...

Finish these sentences...

George W. Bush is....

History will find that George W. Bush was....

In ten years, George W. Bush will...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Fundamental Problem With Gasoline

The fundamental problem behind high gas prices is that the supply of oil has not kept up with the rising demand across the world.
I Call Bull Shit here - Demand isn't increasing, it's shrinking as prices go up.

There has to be more to this than the old economic supply demand curve. Perhaps, it's how the commodities brokers are jacking up the price per barrel because they can. Or is it because the Big Oil Companies are more interested in record breaking profits than they are in lower pump prices?

Come on, the Saudis are sitting on an enormous reservoir of oil that is allready have large number of straws sucking out crude. The solution isn't to drill now for oil found ten years from now. Bush can't tell that his inability to convince the House of Saud to change their output says to me that he's a) either got zero cred with the Saudi Sheiks and couldn't convince them to take a shit on their royal toilets over an outhouse sitting in the desert sun let alone get them to increase production, or b) the Bush family is in collusion with the Saudis to make more money for their own heirs. Either way, it's not a pretty picture.

If you bother to read the President's Radio Address, you will notice that absolutely NONE of his four proposed "solutions" involve the introduction of new technologies, green energy, or alternative and sustainable energy solutions. Why? I think you know.

Blog on Friends. Blog on all.

What's Wrong With The Way The President Thinks?

Many things, I'm sure, are wrong with the dualistic approach the President deploys regularly to convince the American People that he is right to violate our rights. But really, don't you think that it's time he stopped using Nine Eleven to shape policy and make decisions? Truly, you can't say this and be right:
The enemy who attacked us on September the 11th is determined to strike this country again.
Those guys died in the planes they drove as weapons of mass destruction. They can't by default, attack us again. Sure, he's talking more generally, but trying to reduce the rationale for violating our rights and illegally wire tap us into one sentence doesn't cut the mustard in my book.

Sure, we need folks to go after the terrorists that might do us harm, but what of the harm the President has done to us? Who is going to protect us from him?

"What Time Is It? It's Time For A Change"

Craig Newmark is like the Woody Allen of the internet, but without the narcissistic neuroticism.

Here's a set of videos that you won't see on your local MSM news outlet, regardless of what flavor you subscribe to.

Enjoy and blog on friends, blog on all.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Interesting Letter Addressed to Obama

Found this forwarded by a parent in our local PTA:
There are, of course, constructive roles the federal government can play. Welcome, for example, would be actions encouraging broad dialog to clarify the institution’s overarching aim, policies promoting more equitable and stable funding, measures increasing support for research and innovation, and, of course, comprehensive programs addressing poverty, cultural deprivation, environmental degradation, and other problems directly affecting student performance.

But attempts to manipulate what teachers and students actually do must be entirely abandoned. The inherent complexity of the task, its dynamic, constantly changing nature, the importance to its success of imagination, flexibility and creativity, and the gross inadequacy of presently available standardized measures of performance, make centralized control of the classroom dangerously counterproductive.
You can electronically sign the letter if you like.

I found it to be good on points, but short on real plans on how to fix America's schools.

What happens when the Libby Case is No Longer An "On Going Legal Matter?"

Scotty McMessage McClellan is no longer delivering messages that the W, Rove and Co like. And, he has a number of good points.

Those of you who followed the Libby case, and the Plame leak know that the W, Rove and Co repeatedly said they would come clean when it is no longer an on going legal matter. Moreover, the president initially said that those responsible would be held accountable (which never really happened either, has it?

Well, the case is over. Libby was convicted and subsequently pardoned by his pal the President. Do we yet have a full testimony from the President about what happened in his Whitehosue revolving around this?"
This White House promised or assured the American people that at some point when this was behind us they would talk publicly about it," he said. "And they have refused to.
No surprises. These folk who are about to leave us in the worst fiscal and geopolitical crisis this country has seen, well, in just about ever, won't be forthcoming about any of their antics, favoring "history" to be the judge. Those of us who have lived through nearly 8 years of the GOP brand of chicanery hunger for some one to be brought to justice for it.

Don't hold your breath, but it's never too late for articles of impeachment.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mr. Bush Makes A Proposal With Long Legs and Sustainablility in Mind...NOT.

Of course, the solution to solve the gas crisis now is to drill now for oil later? Any one else having flash backs to Whimpy's slogan, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today?"
With gasoline topping $4 a gallon, President Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to lift its long-standing ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, saying the United States needs to increase its energy production. Democrats quickly rejected the idea.
Of course, the Saudis are not cooperating with Bush, and they have oil now - plenty to off set the nut balls in the oil industry who are "bwaahaa haa-ing" their way to their Cayman Bank accounts with soaring profits.

Let's see, where did George W. Bush grow his industrial roots? Big oil? Hmmm...why hasn't he come up with something more creative like the Congress is trying to hammer out. Really, oil is evaporating as a resource. The price is only going to be temporarily off set until we supplant the strong addiction to oil with another source of energy - solar, wind, whatever. But drilling for more oil now only puts a small, short term dent in a hemorrhaging idea.

Of course, the folks with the "fuck the fish agenda, let's drill for oil now so I can drive SUV 100 miles round trip to that job that doesn't cover the cost of the gasoline to propel it" don't have any clue how that will affect their tuna sandwich that they crave for lunch. So, by all means, George. Have at it.

If you really want to see who the opening up of ANWAR and off shore drilling helps most of all, look at who's stepping up to the plate to back the measure - Big Oil, and do they have have our best interests in mind? Can you say 10 dollars a gallon at election time?

P.S. what happened to Iraq helping out to pay down their war debt with oil resources and revenue, btw?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What About This MarriageThreatens Your Marriage?

In the odd chance that you live in a bubble (which arguably, some could stipulate the President does), you would not have known that Dell Martin and Phyllis Lyon got hitched again yesterday. Have a look at this happy couple and ask yourself, how are straight people harmed by these two getting married?

I'm still awaiting a plausible rationale that helps me understand how two octogenarians getting married hurt the institution of marriage. What is it about heterosexual marriage that needs protection? Because the "bible" tells us so, doesn't apply unless you adhere to a strict interpretation of the document. Where's the harm?

Really, I might argue the contrarian - in fact, the very act of Dell Martin and Phyllis Lyon getting married only strengthens the institution - as they have been faithful to one another for a lot longer than many heterosexual marriages have lasted.

If one was really concerned about what harms marriage, perhaps we should outlaw divorce first. Or alternatively, ban celebrity marriages as they end in divorce at a higher rate of those in the ordinary community. Or, even more to the point, let's ban marriages between smokers or fat people as the statistics actually indicate that if children are born to obese or smoking parents, there is a higher probability of those children following suit (which is inherently bad for their health).

So, until some one can prove that there is a harm to their marriage because these two women got married, I'll stand and celebrate with them. Why not join in the fun! There are going to be a lot of very happy, salubrious parties to jump into. Where's the harm in that?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Foolishness of George Bush

When asked what kind of advice he would give to the Syrians, here's what the Republican President said yesterday:
Q (As translated.) To both of you, what specific, concrete requests do you wish to make or send to the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, so that he normalize his relations with the West, and of course to achieve stability in Lebanon and in the rest of --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, my message would be, stop fooling around with the Iranians and stop harboring terrorists; serve as a constructive force in the Middle East to help the advance of a Palestinian state; make it clear to Hamas that terror should stop for the sake of peace; and make it clear to their Iranian allies that the West is serious when we talk about stopping them from learning how to enrich, which would be the first -- a major step for developing a bomb; and to make it clear to their Iranian allies that Hezbollah is a destabilizing force for not only Lebanon but elsewhere.

That would be my message. I'd make it clear to him that there is a better way forward for Syria. And Nicolas and I talked about this subject today.
What? Are the Syrians teenage girls on an abstinence only education diet of health education?

What about the current situation in Iraq? Does he have some advice for the Iraqis?
Q I'd like to ask you a question first, Mr. President. (As translated.) And then a question to the President of France. (Speaking English.) President Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says that talks on a status of forces agreement are at an impasse, or a dead end -- not dead, but in trouble. How do you break this impasse, and are the conditions that the United States have set forward in support so far non-negotiable?

(As translated.) And to you, President, is the Franco-American relationship the privilege, the priority number one relationship in the transatlantic context?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Olivier, if I were a betting man, we'll reach an agreement with the Iraqis. You know, of course we're there at their invitation; this is a sovereign nation. And therefore, we're working hard with the elected government of Iraq about, you know, U.S. presence and coalition presence, in a way that the elected government is comfortable.

And it's interesting to be working with a democracy where, you know, people are trying to prepare the ground to get something passed in the parliament, for example, or the free press is vibrant. But we're going to work hard to accommodate their desires. It's their country.

And at the same time, we believe that a strategic relationship with Iraq is important. It's important for Iraq. It's important for the United States. It's important for the region. And I repeat to you that whatever we agreed to, it will not commit future Presidents to troop levels, nor will it establish permanent bases.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes. And thanks for the question -- in English. (Laughter.)
Too bad the President has been making serious bets on Iraq wagering American GI lives and hefty sums of debt to the Chinese and other (which are tantamount to taxes deferred to prop up the new welfare state that is Iraq).

And, I cannot believe George Bush is still suggesting that we are there "at the invitation" of the Iraqis? We are no more there at the invitation of the Iraqis than your 25 year old college grad is staying at your house rent free until he gets his feet on the ground. You don't like it, and you may love him, but you sure wish he would get the hell out. Moreover, you are enabling his lousy behavior by propping him up in a co-dependent way.

Regardless, I would have hoped that after nearly six years of experience running (or more aptly ruining) a war, that George W. Bush would have something more concrete to say than "we'll see how it goes."

The "Foolishness" of George Bush is that he comes at governance with the approach of an elementary school child - as if he's got a lot more to learn, but just doesn't quite get it. Too bad, because with Nine Eleven and the ensuing disasters (Iraq, Git mo, etc...) we really needed some adult style leadership, not the dualistic ("your either with us or against us") approach of a juvenile.

Minimally, the W, Rove and Co, by proof of their actions, required much more adult supervision. Unfortunately, the republican controlled congress back in 2001 was entirely too eager to follow the swagger, accepting leadership by faith over fact, and abdicated their ability to provide such oversight.

And, I've said this before, the proof is in the pudding. We now have the economy and geopolitical situation the GOP had wished for. I'm not finding it all too palatable. Are you?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's Summer: Where's Our Lemonade?

I love America. It's one country where, if you buckle down and get to work, you can actually make something of yourself. Indeed, there is a long history of the folks migrating here to make a better life for themselves and their families. There is also a long history of, using ingenuity, Americans turn lemons into lemonade - meaning of course, turning a negative into a positive.

I was out on my run this morning - first one in a long while as I have been solo parenting for a full week. As usual, I got to thinking. I know, you "hate it when he does that."

Is it me, or, aside from the mess that was Vietnam, is George W. Bush the only President who has taken lemons and went actively out to seek and make nothing but more lemons? That is, most certainly, Nine Eleven was a negative situation. It could have been turned into a positive (and for a moment in time, it seemed like it might), but instead, Bush and his ilk turned it into negative (Iraq) after negative (Guantanamo, etc...).

The morass that we are left with after nearly 8 years of Bush feels more like a steaming pile of pig shit than anything else (without the methane capture to turn it into fuel). Where's the positive? Can any one help me out and find something positive to say about the W, Rove and Co?

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Couple of Reminders for Gitmo and George W. Bush Fans

It's good to dust off the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution every so often.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
Written over two hundred years ago, but still salient today.

Let's remind ourselves what the Constitution says about Habeas corpus:
[T]he Constitution says (I.9): "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." That sounds pretty definitive: the Military Commissions Act contained no finding that the United States has been invaded, or is in the midst of a rebellion, nor is there any evidence that either condition obtains.... [H]ere are two questions the Court needs to answer: who has habeas rights? And where do they extend? The court's answer to the first question (who?) is, basically: everyone has them. (Meaning: if you are detained by the US government, in circumstances in which habeas rights would normally obtain, your lack of citizenship is no obstacle.)
As witnessed with Gitmo, the numerous signing statements, it's obvious George Bush has been playing fast and loose with the Constitution, hasn't he? Time to reign in the bugger, I say.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Any doubt that McCain is more of the same?

More Proof George Bush and His Pals Have Screwed the Pooch With Regard To The "War On Terror."

I've said this a long time ago, but it seems like we may be closer to it as of today. Specifically, we may actually have to let some dangerous folks go from Gitmo because the W, Rove and Co. has violated the rights of these people in a very egregious way.

I hate to further go down this prediction road, but we may only be a few more legal steps away from the Gitmo detainees filing a class action suit against the USA and we will lose that one; in the end, owning them 6+ years of their lives back, plus damages - which in the end could end up financing more terrorism. Sadly.

When you violate rights, you then abdicate the legitimate process. And because you transgress beyond the reasonable bounds of human rights, you violate the very foundation of our beloved country. And for that, we have the Republicans to thank.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.
The unraveling will be a long slow process. But think about it, if the W, Rove and go was on solid legal standing, they would not have been placed (moreover placed us) in such a precarious situation.

We have a responsiblity to hold the Administration that decided to marry Iraq and place it on the social welfare roles (sacrificing American social welfare in the process) in perpetuity. I really think the only real solution that could serve to redeem us here is if Bush and his cronies were moved to Iraq, by fiat, by the next President and have them work toward fixing the mess they gave us.

There is no shame in admitting we were duped into it. The shame rests in our incapacity to follow through and haul those responsible for dragging us into this quagmire to justice.

There's a reason why these folks made this above documentary:

Any one reading the same propaganda script for Iran as was shoveled down our throats for Iraq? Any one buying it?

P.S. psstt...does any one care where George Bush is today?
An American president is in Europe and nobody cares. That’s a moment.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

When Republican Voters Get The Whitehouse They Dream of, We All Have To Live With The Consequences

Turns out, Republican Faithful should have headed the old adage: Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Indeed, with the new book promulgated by Scotty McMessage McClellan, we learn that leadership by faith over facts doesn't work. From the Republican "victories" at the polling stations and from our "Activist" Supreme Court in Y2K we got this:
Team Dubya got caught up in a "permanent campaign," a nonstop propaganda war whose weapons were "the manipulation of shades of truth, partial truths, twisting of the truth and spin," and whose goal was to stage-manage the media narrative and thus public opinion.
Indeed, all governments try to control the message, but installation of blinders on the media and the American People has lead us somewhere, that's for certain. They have led us to a place where belief is a surrogate for fact, and faith is more important that truth or proof:
Sure, sure, truth is the first casualty of war, and politics is just war with a smile and a starched collar. But the burgeoning genre of Bush administration tell-alls, of which McClellan's is only the latest, paints a portrait of a White House utterly unconcerned with facts yet fervently attentive to public opinion polls. It is a White House whose solution to every unhappy turn of events -- the Iraqi insurgency, Hurricane Katrina, a moribund economy -- is to treat it not as a real-world problem requiring a real-world solution but as a glitch in the Matrix, "a perception problem" to be handled with the Message of the Day and the Theme of the Week.

The deeper story here is the shift from the Enlightenment worldview, whose commitment to reasoned debate and empirical truth used to be the cornerstone of our little experiment in democracy, to the faith-based worldview of fundamentalism -- not just the fundamentalism of the religious right but fundamentalisms of every sort. The Iraq war came about, in large part, through a harmonic convergence of personal passions, political agendas and ideological crusades, all faith-based rather than fact-driven. Bush, McClellan tells us, is a man who "convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment" and who "to this day ... seems unbothered by the disconnect between the chief rationale for war and the driving motivation behind it, and unconcerned about how the case was packaged."
And there are dire consequences for this means of leadership. Indeed, we are witnessing the economy the GOP gave us.
The economy got a triple dose of bad news on Friday, prompting even optimistic forecasters to conclude that a deeper downturn is unavoidable.

The nation's jobless rate posted its biggest single-month jump since 1986 in May, rising 0.5 percentage points to 5.5 percent, the Labor Department reported. At the same time, the price of crude oil catapulted to a new record, raising the threat that economic weakness and unemployment could worsen in the months ahead.

The news unnerved investors, prompting a broad sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average and other major market indexes tumbled 3 percent.

Friday's developments put in relief the severity of the woes afflicting an economy hammered by a housing crash, tight credit and soaring energy costs.
Is it good for you? Who shall we point the enormous wagging middle finger of blame at here? The W, Rove and Co. has been so busy deflecting blame and confounding the truth with obfuscation, they have become entirely untrustworthy. Indeed, as they ratchet themselves further into lame duck status, Bush, Cheney and pals couldn't wrangle themselves out of the stain of the reality they created.

Indeed, we even witness the wrongheaded leadership (faith over fact) style unfold before us as they proclaim to protect us and see them add another recruiting tool to the terrorists - Martyrdom for Gitmo detainees. They are asking for it, and by god, they will be given the gift if George Bush and Dick Cheney get their wish:
Thursday's arraignment before a military tribunal of five Al Qaeda members accused of planning and assisting the 9/11 terrorist atrocities seemed custom-made to assist the loathsome defendants in achieving exactly what they desire -- an aura of martyrdom...

...when it comes to the handling of these cases, the Bush administration's willful overreaching, contempt for fundamental American values and defiance of basic American notions of due process have set the stage for travesty and further tragedy.
So, as we approach 5 bucks or more a gallon as we march on to November (which it may well be 10 bucks a gallon at that point, which may be well and good to improve our habits revolving around driving and be better for the environment as we reduce our use), whom should we vote for? McSame, or change?

Friday, June 06, 2008

More of the McSame

You Thought Bush has/had a problem with the hypocrisy department? Have a look at this:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Beijing - A Good Place for Outdoor Olympics?

Aren't you glad you are not an Olympic Caliber athlete going for the gold in this atmosphere? As a recovering track athlete myself, I think I would have to cancel my run if it was like this on race day.

I don't know who got paid off so that Beijing could host the Olympics this year, but even despite the human rights violations, the Tibet concern, even just the pollution concerns would be cause enough to not hold them there.

Found this picture on a tip from a friend over at this location.

Your Daily Dose of Irony

Here's something interesting that happened while you were at work today. The President attended the ground breaking ceremonies for the new US Institute of Peace:
We're transforming the United States military so we can deliver justice to the terrorists in a more effective way.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the main mission of the military is to rain death across a specific target. Of course, that's one way to wage peace. Has it worked in Iraq?

In an unrelated story, here's a second dose of irony that is yet another tip that the TSA is just a bureaucratic smoke screen that lead us to "bigger" not "smaller" government contrary to one of the GOP commandments.
Our view is that it is entirely illogical to tell a pilot he is not stable enough to carry a weapon in the form of a gun when at the same time, he has access to the weapon we are all most in fear of after 9/11 — a plane loaded with thousands of pounds of jet fuel.

Is There No Hear There?

I sit here
To listen there
To hear
If there
Is no
There here

But I cannot
Hear beyond
There to here
To discern
If there
Indeed Is
No there there