Thanksgiving’s over. Break out the Gene Autry:
OK, not really. I’ll be a little disappointed in a week when the big top comes down on Carl “Clownshoes” Paladino. In the meantime, here’s some Rachel Maddow:
Mad does mean crazy as a loon, right?
Adding a blog I never read, but should have been because they seem brilliant at any meal anytime. Loved this post proclaiming Americans as idiots. That seems a little harsh. But, I’m an American, and an idiot. Some of the folks in this piece live on rungs lower than I, though.
So let's see...they like Social Security and Medicare, but they want spending cut to the bone. They want Washington to be involved in schools, but they want Washington out of their schools. They want Washington to help reduce poverty, but they don't want social programs for "Those People."
These are the people who think they are well-informed because they watch Fox and listen to Beck, Limbaugh and Savage.
Here is the brilliant rant that led me from Tbogg over to Brilliant at Breakfast:
We are a profoundly ignorant. People don't know anything about their own religions. We know little of our own history, let alone our history in context with the rest of the world. We worship sports heroes who torture dogs, but we point at scientists and laugh. A profoundly messed-up woman like Christine O'Donnell can run on a platform of "See? I can't manage my finances either. I'm you." We had eight years of a dry drunk as president because people thought he was the guy they'd want to have a beer with -- as if that were ever going to happen. Now there are people who would vote to give the nuclear codes to an aging high school mean girl because they'd like to fuck her -- as if that's ever going to happen. Smart people are regarded with scorn as "elites." Ignorance is regarded as a virtue.
This is how an empire dies. And we are going to be around to see it.
And from Tom Engelhardt:
If you had told me then that we would henceforth be in a state of eternal war as well as living in a permanent war state, that, to face a ragtag enemy of a few thousand stateless terrorists, the national security establishment in Washington would pump itself up to levels not faintly reached when facing the Soviet Union, a major power with thousands of nuclear weapons and an enormous military, that “homeland” -- a distinctly un-American word -- would land in our vocabulary never to leave, and that a second Defense Department dubbed the Department of Homeland Security would be set up not to be dismantled in my lifetime, that torture (excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques”) would become as American as apple pie and that some of those “techniques” would actually be demonstrated to leading Bush administration officials inside the White House, that we would pour money into the Pentagon at ever escalating levels even after the economy crashed in 2008, that we would be fighting two potentially trillion-dollar-plus wars without end in two distant lands, that we would spend untold billions constructing hundreds of military bases in those same lands, that the CIA would be conducting the first drone air war in history over a country we were officially not at war with, that most of us would live in a remarkable state of detachment from all of this, and finally -- only, by the way, because I’m cutting this list arbitrarily short -- that I would spend my time writing incessantly about “the American way of war” and produce a book with that title, I would have thought you were nuts.
And just to make sure future opponents are well armed:
The Obama administration is laying out a new multiyear, multibillion-dollar military aid package for Pakistan as it presses the Islamabad government to step up the fight against extremists there and in neighboring Afghanistan, U.S. officials say.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were to unveil the plan Friday at the end of the latest round of high-level U.S.-Pakistani strategic talks here, the officials said.
What could go wrong?
Pakistan shut down the Torkham border crossing, the most important NATO supply into Afghanistan, on Thursday in apparent protest of a NATO helicopter attack that killed three Pakistani soldiers on the frontier. It was the third such incursion into Pakistan in less than a week.
The other NATO supply line through Pakistan remained open — the Chaman crossing in Baluchistan, where it seemed likely the tankers were heading.
A lengthy closure of Torkham would place intense strain on the US-Pakistani relationship and hurt the Afghan war effort. But a long shutdown continued to be seen as unlikely.
In spite of our country being geographically challenged we have somehow stumbled into the appropriate region.
Beyond the snarkiness, it is a good article and important research. I’m sure there are many worse ways to spend research dollars. SDI, anyone?
Research shows that walking can actually boost the connectivity within brain circuits, which tends to diminish as the grey hairs multiply.
"Patterns of connectivity decrease as we get older," said Dr. Arthur F. Kramer, who led the study team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
I’ve been sans automobile for going on two years and can say that part of that connectivity building is just trying to remember the bus schedules.
"The aerobic group also improved in memory, attention and a variety of other cognitive processes," Kramer said. "As the older people in the walking group became more fit, the coherence among different regions in the networks increased and became similar to those of the 20-yr olds," Kramer explained.
And here I was attributing these improvements to the tai chi. But, I do hope this is so, as I hope to be trying to assimilate to a new culture and language soon and will likely need all the cognition I can muster.
The findings come as no surprise to Dr. Lynn Millar, an expert with the American College of Sports Medicine. She said while walking might seem like a simple activity, the brain is actually working to integrate information from many different sources.
"When we walk we integrate visual input, auditory input, as well as input that's coming from joints and muscles regarding where the foot is, how much force, and things like that " said Millar, a professor of Physical Therapy at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
I’m usually just trying to keep from being run over, as Queensbury is not the most pedestrian friendly town. I do have new sidewalks between apartment and work, though. Occasionally during the winter they remove the snow from them as well.
"It's that old concept: if you don't use it you lose it," she said. "In order for something to be beneficial we need to do it repetitively, and walking is a repetitive activity."
Millar, author of "Action Plan for Arthritis," said while some changes are inevitable with age, they don't have to happen as quickly as they do in some people.
This was a big motivator for me. I had blood clots in the summer 2008 and have had arthritis in my left knee and hip for five years or so. Walking was said to be good for both and, of course, I’m a cheap bastard and could save money. But, I think if you keep doing something then you keep being able to do it and I want to be able to keep walking. The Lord helps those who help themselves.
A pedometer helps quantify things. Otherwise, I think it’s likely to exaggerate how far you think you walked. This is mine and it’s fairly cheap. And this is a really cool site to record steps on, even if they are a day ahead of me.
Don’t click the video unless you like cheesy 80’s music as much as I do:
Will there come this moment for the Afghanistan War? There doesn’t seem to be a journalist with the gravitas of Uncle Walter. Certainly Katie Couric will not cut it. Maybe just for shock value we could have an O’Reilly or Hannity or Beck declare the conflict lost. That would just be for partisan advantage over a Democratic president, though. Hardly heartfelt.
The events there seem to be more ever-present lately. Maybe it is just a shift of our media collective toward presenting it for the clusterfuck it is and laying aside the support the troops (and the war) at all costs.
Seven U.S. troops have died in weekend attacks in Afghanistan's embattled southern and eastern regions, while officials found the bodies Sunday of five kidnapped campaign workers for a female candidate in the western province of Herat.
Two servicemen died in bombings Sunday in southern Afghanistan, while two others were killed in a bomb attack in the south on Saturday and three in fighting in the east the same day, NATO said. Their identities and other details were being withheld until relatives could be notified.
I recognize the geo-political reality that Afghanistan is right next door to a nuke wielding Pakistan. I realize that women are brutalized by religious zealots stuck in medieval times. I salute the bravery of these campaign workers who surely must have known they were placing their lives in danger to work for the election of a female candidate.
When I enter a search for “India Pakistan Peace” I don’t find much in the way of organizations working toward that goal. If we turned our time, efforts and resources away from Afghanistan and toward resolution between these two nations and eventual de-nuclearization of them it would likely solve a number of our problems.
Whatever Afghanistan is going to become, it is going to become with or without our troops there. Opium production has increased exponentially since our involvement. We have placed a former CIA asset and kleptocrat in charge of their country in the form of Hamid Karzai. Can things get worse? Probably for awhile. Are they going to get better with tens of thousands of US troops there? Probably not.
I’m just an average schmuck with a laptop and a broadband connection. My opinion could be wrong. I figure I have about a 50% chance. Stay or leave. Those are the options.
UPDATE: FWIW, saw this piece at Newshoggers about the Chinese moving into Kashmir in a big way, ostensibly to improve their shipping times.
Now, China isn't exactly a U.S. enemy and if they want a base in the Gulf then they're legally allowed one if the host nation (Pakistan) will co-operate - but many analysts have written about China's maritime expansion in worrying tones, seeing an eventual confrontation with the US as more possible because of it.
We are hardly in a position to get confrontational with the Chinese for any number of reasons. And since they are still willing to exchange dollars for treasuries it’s likely they don’t want to be either. Jon Huntsman seemed like a capable choice for ambassador to China when he was chosen. Hopefully, that is so and we will find a way to make lemonade out of this situation.
Yes, I realize there are a few others who have come out on the side of the angels in the
mosque Islamic community center debate. But Ron Paul is higher profile. He seems to be the most principled politician on either side of the divide. I know there have been charges of racism and that libertarianism deep down is crazy, but moments like this are likely the reason he inspires the devotion that he does.
Ron ripped into opponents of the Cordoba House project, saying that the rhetoric taking on the plan is clearly "all about hate and Islamaphobia."
"The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims," Ron wrote in a statement to RonPaul.com "This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative's aggressive wars."
And no, I don’t give a rat’s ass about his unprincipled kid.
Classic Ron Paul:
The psychology of investing leads people to invariably jump in and out of investments at the wrong time. Been there, done that.
Investors withdrew a staggering $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry trade group. Now many are choosing investments they deem safer, like bonds.
The recipe for loss, or at least middling returns, is to sell on type of investment on the downturn and buy another when it’s ascending. Put simply, we sell low and buy high. These people are buying into bonds as they are riding high.
Take free advice for what it’s worth, but the Occam’s razor portfolio would likely beat any managed mutual fund over the long run. It will 3 ETFs and 10 minutes of work a year.
Put 40% of your money into BND which is a total market bond ETF. Put 30% of your investment money into VTI which covers the entire US market from low to high. And put the remainder into VEU which is an index that invests in the whole world excluding the US. Choose a brokerage with cheap commissions which will re-invest dividends for you. Rebalance back to the 40-30-30 split once a year and Bob’s your uncle.
When it comes to investing, I’ve done all the dumb things.
I can see not putting Lee Harvey on the list because he only killed a Democrat (sic) president. But WTF, John Hinckley tried to kill Saint Ronnie. Good God, Conservatives are stupid SOBs.
23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)
5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)
Nixon was kind of a shocker, too. He’s tied with Chomsky, Reid, Gore, Fonda and Pelosi. I would have expected John Dean in his place. Tricky Dick we hardly knew ye.
Apparently, pseudo professor Don would put Kennedy on the list, but not the guy who shot him. And he would put Kos and Howard Zinn on it, but not the guy who shot Reagan. I’m surprised he didn’t defend Nixon since he’s such a big fan of enemies lists.
I'd add some commie academics and bloggers, like Howard Zinn and Markos Moulitsas, although, yeah, no need to inflate the importance of dolts like that on the left. (I need to think of some others ...) And notice how John F. Kennedy doesn't make the cut. Something about the post-1964 Democrats that really brings out the neo-communism in American history.
Close enough, anyway.
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and the nation.
"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."
Good for him. And in a spirit of bi-partisanship, I actually think either of the Bushes or Reagan would have said essentially the same thing.
The rich are becoming richer. And I wouldn’t have a problem with that if I was rich. Maybe that attitude is the heart of Obamism.
Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product, or the value of all goods and services produced in the nation. And spending by the rich now accounts for the largest share of consumer outlays in at least 20 years.
According to new research from Moody's Analytics, the top 5% of Americans by income account for 37% of all consumer outlays. Outlays include consumer spending, interest payments on installment debt and transfer payments.
Unfortunately for the US economy, even if I was rich I would likely still be the cheap bastard that I am now. Yes, Warren Buffett is my idol. I have his poster in my bedroom.
By contrast, the bottom 80% by income account for 39.5% of all consumer outlays.
It is no surprise, of course, that the rich spend so much, since they earn a disproportionate share of income. According to economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, the top 10% of earners captured about half of all income as of 2007.
The GOP, of course, says let the poor and middle class eat cake. Someone else said that too. Let’s see, what happened to her?
The data may be a further sign that the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy–an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption. "I don't think it's healthy for the economy to be so dependent on the top 2% of the income distribution," Mr. Zandi said. He added that, "In the near term it highlights the fragility of the recovery."
Anyway, I’m sure wingnut geniuses are tying the enrichening of the rich to Obama’s socialist policies. Probably something to do with Bill Ayers and ACORN.
One of my favorite songs and I think I’ve put this up before because I love the Beautiful South as well, and the Housemartins which they were before that. But, I’m starting to feel like backing off of that northeast wind and sailing on a summer breeze. And, it’s my blog:
Hat tip to our nihilist friend at American Power. I had not realized it was the Obamessiah’s birthday today. I will spend the afternoon scourging myself as punishment. Thanks Donihilist!
Don’t click on the link, Truth.
Maybe a few of these Keyboard Revolutionaries should be incarcerated to test their mettle. It’s easy to foment revolution sitting in a lazy boy. Thoreau was a martyr next to them. And he actually had a worthy cause (possibly opposite theirs).
Jeffrey Lord, in what I assume is not parody, attempts to excuse Breitbart with this twisted (in all senses) logic:
It's also possible that she knew the truth and chose to embellish it, changing a brutal and fatal beating to a lynching. Anyone who has lived in the American South (as my family once did) and is familiar with American history knows well the dread behind stories of lynch mobs and the Klan. What difference is there between a savage murder by fist and blackjack -- and by dangling rope? Obviously, in the practical sense, none. But in the heyday -- a very long time -- of the Klan, there were frequent (and failed) attempts to pass federal anti-lynching laws. None to pass federal "anti-black jack" or "anti-fisticuffs" laws. Lynching had a peculiar, one is tempted to say grotesque, solitary status as part of the romantic image of the Klan, of the crazed racist. The image stirred by the image of the noosed rope in the hands of a racist lynch mob was, to say the least, frighteningly chilling. Did Ms. Sherrod deliberately concoct this story in search of a piece of that ugly romance to add "glamour" to a family story that is gut-wrenchingly horrendous already?
This is in reaction to Shirley Sherrod’s story of a relative, Bobby Hall, being lynched. This is the account from the Supreme Court documents:
This case involves a shocking and revolting episode in law enforcement. Petitioner Screws was sheriff of Baker County, Georgia. He enlisted the assistance of petitioner Jones, a policeman, and petitioner Kelley, a special deputy, in arresting Robert Hall, a citizen of the United States and of Georgia. The arrest was made late at night at Hall's home on a warrant charging Hall with theft of a tire. Hall, a young negro about thirty years of age, was handcuffed and taken by car to the courthouse. As Hall alighted from the car at the courthouse square, the three petitioners began beating him with their fists and with a solid-bar blackjack about eight inches long and weighing two pounds. They claimed Hall had reached for a gun and had used insulting language as he alighted from the car. But after Hall, still handcuffed, had been knocked to the ground, they continued to beat him from fifteen to thirty minutes until he was unconscious. Hall was then dragged feet first through the courthouse yard into the jail and thrown upon the floor, dying. An ambulance was called, and Hall was removed to a hospital, where he died within the hour and without regaining consciousness. There was evidence that Screws held a grudge against Hall, and had threatened to "get" him.
See, no ropes involved. From American Heritage dictionary:
Lynching: To execute without due process of law, especially to hang, as by a mob.
Not solely by hanging.
Somehow the Supreme Court came to the same conclusion as Lord:
It is said, however, that petitioners did not act "under color of any law" within the meaning of § 20 of the Criminal Code. We disagree. We are of the view that petitioners acted under "color" of law in making the arrest of Robert Hall and in assaulting him. They were officers of the law who made the arrest. By their own admissions, they assaulted Hall in order to protect themselves and to keep their prisoner from escaping. It was their duty under Georgia law to make the arrest effective. Hence, their conduct comes within the statute.
Beating a handcuffed man to death with a tire jack is apparently an acceptable way to “make the arrest effective.”
This more than makes up for the previous post from the American Spectator that had some sane moments in it.
In a welcome display of Republican sanity, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has told Sarah Palin to piss off.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg "could not disagree more" with Sarah Palin's criticisms of the Ground Zero mosque, he said Monday.
Bloomberg said the $100 million mosque and community center is " a great message for the world that, unlike in other places where they might actually ban people from wearing burquas or building a building, that's not what America was founded on nor is it what America should become."
It’s alright Sarah, even Shakespeare in his prime had detractors. If those slings and arrows ever bug you and you’re wondering whether to be or not to be, please come down on the side of the latter.
Mark Williams chimed in with bits of insanity which can only be interpreted as attempts to make Palin look reasonable.
In other Ground Zero mosque news, Mark Williams, a Tea Party leader who called Borough President Stringer a "Jewish Uncle Tom" for supporting the project, has been kicked out of the National Tea Party Federation for making separate racially charged comments.
The Tea Party Federation also booted Williams’ Tea Party Express group after Williams wrote a mock letter from "the Colored People" to President Lincoln saying emancipation was a mistake.
Williams wrote an anti-mosque blog post in May saying that Muslims worship a "monkey god."
More Bloombergs, Fewer Palins!
Don Douglas gives us this disgusting bit of correspondence sent to Michelle Malkin. I am denouncing it, by the way:
You are a shitty Filipino prostitute, your only hope is to marry a white man. you are cheep and ugly. When I look to your ugly Filipino eyes , I feel ,I want to throw up. You want to be white but you are not. You are a shitty Asian horn and you will be for the rest of your life. Clean your rotten cunt before you write Filipino monkey.
I feel dirty just putting it up here. And Don goes on to say:
These are the kind of slurs I get routinely from Repsac3's merry band of haters.
As has been said so many times, put up or shut up. You know how to copy and paste, Don. Let’s see the slurs from the merry band of haters that approaches the bit above. I apologize for fat neocon hobo. You’re not a hobo, you just dress like one.
Might as well do a PowerMad roundup. Here’s another posting about a nut who attacks a group of DLI students. Included is this editorial comment:
Remember my comments about Repsac3's merry band of extremist henchmen? "I expect physical threats to my safety as forthcoming ... so always remember --- leftists are pure evil..."
Of course, my brother went to DLI and I would have myself if I hadn’t chosen another career field. I believe Don, along with Dick Cheney and most other neocons had other priorities while I was keeping Plattsburgh safe from the Rooskies. Love “extremist henchmen,” though.
In this posting, Don takes some really nice photos of some really lovely people. I’m sure the Department of Homeland Security under Lord Obama appreciates the quality. Names would nice, too. Probably not necessary, though.
What really struck me though is, why the Hell is the price of gas so high there?
That’s probably 40 cents a gallon more than it is here. Of course I don’t drive, so like I give a rat’s behind. Just curious.
No, I’m just kidding! BTW, the column is called “Patriotic Opposition.” Just trying to remember if John would have called any dissent against George Bush, “patriotic opposition.”
How are those of us who stand in opposition to the domestic agenda and foreign-policy views of President Obama and his administration to think about this country in 2010 as we approach the nation's birthday on Sunday?
Or, to put it another way: How should a self-described patriot think, act and talk about the United States if that self-described patriot believes the elected leadership of the United States has led the country into a ditch that threatens to expand into a bottomless chasm?
You could just STFU. I believe that was the message to all who disagreed with the marvelous adventure in Mesopotamia.
Does the fault lie with the president and his party, or does it reside in the electorate that installed them? If it resides in the electorate, what does that say about the condition of the United States?
The third option, of course, is that it lies within you and the other idiots whom the GOP has yet to see fit to send to a desert island somewhere.
Conveniently, this kind of focus on Obama personally exempts the rest of the country from any blame, except for being so foolish as to fall for Obama's patter: The fault lies not in ourselves but in our leaders.
But for those who are unsatisfied with this, the blame attaches not to Obama himself -- after all, he really did tell us what he intended to do, by telling Joe the Plumber he wanted to redistribute wealth.
Rather, the blame attaches to the electorate for its foolishness in believing the hype, or for falling for the siren song of the European social democracy that Obama is eager to impose. So the root question here is: Have the American people changed?
So, we the American people are to blame for Obama? Even if his premise is correct and we are suffering buyer’s remorse, he never mentions John McCain in this column. Obama wasn’t elected in a vacuum. Maybe Pod thinks we should have all written in Joe the Plumber.
The body politic is not panicking, even though the news is dire -- because it knows, somehow, that this too shall pass. America has faced worse times and weathered them. Even within our memory, it has had other leaders who also misunderstood their mandates and offered solutions to the nation's problems that only exacerbated them.
The body politic learns from its mistakes and uses its power to correct them. Taken as a whole, this bunch of rubes and dupes and boobs shows a remarkably commonsensical approach to these things by saying, in essence:
Nothing is irreversible. Change is possible.
Once again, this requires that the right actually put up a candidate that a majority of the United States citizenry will vote for. Don’t see that right now.
In what comes as little surprise to me, since I’ve dropped 20 plus pounds after going car-free:
When cities create or improve light rail public transit systems, citizens' waistlines may benefit, a new study shows. By getting people out of their cars and having them walk to and from transit stations, calories get burned, the researchers noted.
Help the environment, save money and lose weight. What more do you want?
The researchers found that, on average, a typical 5-foot-5 commuter who used the system to get to and from work lost an average of 6.45 pounds over 12 to 18 months. Moreover, people who used the LRT had an 81 percent lower risk of becoming obese than people who did not use the system.
I doubt that my favorite pseudo professor from Long Beach spends much time perusing my little waste of time here. But, in case he does I’ve gone to the great trouble of a several seconds web search to find that the city of Long Beach does have a mass transit system.
Who knows, Don, you might lose some weight along with that hobo look?
Our current imperial government under Barack Obama has apparently strong-armed the Japanese government into keeping the military bases at Okinawa.
Hatoyama came to office last September promising to create a "more equal" relationship with Washington and move the Marine base off the island, which hosts more than half the 47,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan under a 50-year-old joint security alliance.
Fortunately, Washington was able to use the conveniently well-timed incident between North and South Korea as a bludgeon.
The joint statement appeared to highlight rising tension surrounding the March sinking of a South Korean ship blamed on a North Korean torpedo. "Recent developments in the security environment of Northeast Asia reaffirmed the significance of the Alliance," it said.
This will not end well.
The United States is on the verge of permanently damaging its alliance with Japan in a dispute over a military base in Okinawa. This island prefecture hosts three-quarters of all U.S. military facilities in Japan. Washington wants to build one more base there, in an ecologically sensitive area. The Okinawans vehemently oppose it, and tens of thousands gathered last month to protest the base. Tokyo is caught in the middle, and it looks as if Japan’s prime minister has just caved in to the U.S. demands.
Let’s go back to using the United States military for the defense of the United States rather than as centurions pissing off people in the far flung reaches of the American Empire.
From 1950 to 1953, the American bases in Okinawa were used to fight the Korean War, and from the 1960s until 1973, they were used during the Vietnam War. Not only did they serve as supply depots and airfields, but the bases were where soldiers went for rest and recreation, creating a subculture of bars, prostitutes and racism. Around several bases fights between black and white American soldiers were so frequent and deadly that separate areas were developed to cater to the two groups.
The U.S. occupation of Japan ended with the peace treaty of 1952, but Okinawa remained a U.S. military colony until 1972. For 20 years, Okinawans were essentially stateless people, not entitled to either Japanese or U.S. passports or civil rights. Even after Japan regained sovereignty over Okinawa, the American military retained control over what occurs on its numerous bases and over Okinawan airspace.
The bases in Okinawa were used to support two wars we should not have been involved in anyway. Good enough reason to close them before we get involved in another. Declare victory in Afghanistan and Iraq while we’re at it.
Bring the military home, make it a Memorial Day to remember!
China showed more evidence today that they are the new hegemon on the block. Instead of spending a vast proportion of their wealth on military gizmos that likely have no use and are defective for their intended purpose, they have quietly amassed huge amounts of European and American debt.
Stocks had another turnaround Thursday and rocketed higher after China reassured investors it doesn't plan to sell the European debt it holds.
China's show of confidence in Europe let the market resume a rally that stalled late Wednesday following a report that the Chinese government was considering cutting its European debt holdings. If that were true, such a move would have signaled that China didn't think Europe would be able to contain its debt crisis. The agency that manages China's $2.5 trillion in foreign reserves denied the report.
Let’s hope they are as benevolent when it comes to our debt.
I gotta say that Rep. Anthony Weiner really should back off on this. Anything that separates Tea Party dumbasses from their money is alright with me. It’s just less they have to contribute to any candidates who might have a chance of winning. And Goldline likely isn’t going to financially back any candidates because they’re just in it for the dough. A win-win.
Fox News host and conservative talker Glenn Beck is firing back after New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner issued a report critical of Goldline International, a gold retailer and one sponsor of Beck's cable show.
You go Glenn, and you too, Goldline!
The report says the gold retailer has entered "an unholy alliance with conservative pundits" — among them Beck, Fred Thompson, Dennis Miller, Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham — to "promote Goldline by playing off the fear of inflation."
"What we have found, by looking through the public records, is that very often they use their public programs to advocate purchasing gold, and then immediately, advertisements begin for Goldline," Weiner said in a news conference Tuesday.
A fool and his money and all that. Fuck it, I got some magic beans I’ll sell them. I’m not trading for a cow, though. Cash or their overpriced gold coins, it’s one or the other.
Apparently, Jonah Goldberg has been doing some thinking about his career:
Now, I must go change my name and become an assistant manager at a Footlocker in the Midwest, to escape the wrath of the suits who are undoubtedly cross with me for revealing even a glimpse of our proprietary stats.
Well, maybe if Lucianne pulled some strings again. Otherwise, I don’t think Jonah would be starting right in at assistant manager. I mean, what the fuck does he have for experience?
The average citizen of Japan certainly does not want our military bases in their country. The average US citizen likely does not want to spend the money to maintain military bases in Japan. Maybe the Tea Partiers do, but they’re below average.
Nearly 100,000 demonstrators attended a rally on Okinawa Sunday to demonstrate against a US air base in a row that is dominating Japan's national politics and souring its ties with Washington.
Okinawan's are at the lowest rung of the ladder in Japan which is why their island has been cursed with the presence of our bases.
"Okinawa has suffered the overwhelmingly heavy burden of US bases since the end of the war" in 1945, he said. "Today, there are few traces of the war in Okinawa. But US bases still remain in front of us. This is so unfair."
Many of the islanders resent the heavy US military presence on Okinawa, a legacy of Japan's defeat in World War II, and complain of noise, pollution and friction with US soldiers.
It’s likely that if we don’t change our imperial ways soon the Japanese will be able to foreclose on our bases, at any rate.
The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.
Shout out to the American Empire Project.
It seems that maybe the female contingent are breaking away from the Borg continuum. First it was Debbie Schlussel telling us all that Great American Sean Hannity screwed the troops over. And yes, I’m grateful for an excuse to remind everyone that Sean Hannity screwed the troops over.
And now Ann Althouse has broken with Reynolds and most of the rest of the right wing blogosphere:
I have endless contempt for the threats/warnings against various cartoonists who draw Muhammad (or a man in a bear suit who might be Muhammad, but is actually Santa Claus). But depictions of Muhammad offend millions of Muslims who are no part of the violent threats. In pushing back some people, you also hurt a lot of people who aren't doing anything (other than protecting their own interests by declining to pressure the extremists who are hurting the reputation of their religion).
Needless to say, most of her commenters are not so sensitive toward the feelings of the followers of any religion other than Christianity (and Judaism when it leads to killing Muslims).
Good on ya, Ann. Stand firm.
I would like to suggest the possibility that the Tea Party loons are really being backed by the White House. Upon reading Ambinder’s piece, which seems to be required posting, this occurred to me.
Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow's grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann's hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald's criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn's keepin'-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.
Can anyone deny that having crazies running around babbling about birth certificates, shouting Socialist at the drop of a hat and repeating whatever Glenn, Rush and Sean tell them isn’t distracting the left from holding Obama’s feet to the fire?
Maybe some of the proposed actions by the president are insane. I don’t know. But when the opposition is led by Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Victoria Jackson, who the hell would notice?
Rahm are you running the Tea Party program?
The Tea Party folks aren’t going to do it, so I will. Thank you Barack Obama for cutting my taxes. I could afford to pay more, but who really wants to if they don’t have to. The Tea Party folks think they are paying more, but they are quite possibly cretin idiots.
"In all, we passed 25 different tax cuts last year. And one thing we haven't done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept," he told supporters at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. "So I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you."
The president argued that America is on the road to recovery and headed in the right direction -- something an overwhelming number of Tea Partiers disagree with.
The Tea Partiers don’t want to see us on the road to recovery. Fuck them and their willful ignorance.
The Republican Party having decided they hate everything about Barack Obama has gone in search of his antithesis.
Southern Republicans wrapped up a three-day meeting in New Orleans on Saturday unified in fervent opposition to President Barack Obama, but wide open at this early stage about whom they want to challenge him in 2012.
They have yet to find a candidate who combines all the qualities they feel will be needed to successfully challenge his Obamaship in 2012.
But they also readily volunteered objections to the same names: Gingrich has personal baggage, Palin's too inexperienced, Romney pushed Obama-like health care while governor of Massachusetts and Pawlenty lacks charisma.
If only they could find someone who combines the serial adultery of Gingrich with the tedium of Pawlenty and the pasty whiteness of Romney along with that deer in the headlights vacuousness of Sarah Palin.
I’m going to go out on a limb and give a big thumb up and Hometown boost to Haley Barbour. He’s white enough, he’s sleazy enough, he’s boring enough and with the endorsement of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s incredibly tone deaf proclamation: he’s proved he’s stupid enough to be the Republican nominee.
This is not Haley Barbour:
And yes, carrying the concept out, I realize they would be looking for a fat, boring, albino, adulterous, woman since Obama is a man. But, this is not a serious blog. Please see LGM, Balloon Juice, Duck of Minerva or elsewhere for serious discussions. It’s seat of the pants all the way here.
Well we can hope anyway. And it’s hard to write that as I sit looking at the rain come down. Recessions make us pessimistic and always doubtful that the end will come. And of course are particularly hard on those who are out of work. But, they do end.
The American economy appears to be in a cyclical recovery that is gaining strength. Firms have begun to hire and consumer spending seems to be accelerating.
That is what usually happens after particularly sharp recessions, so it is surprising that many commentators, whether economists or politicians, seem to doubt that such a thing could possibly be happening.
If I had the time to waste I’d go over to AmPow and see how the polymath from Long Beach College is applying his great knowledge of economics to this to determine that it is bad news for Obama.
it is normal for recessions to make people pessimistic. “Go back and read what people were saying in 1982 or 1975,” said Robert Barbera, the chief economist of ITG. “Nobody was saying, ‘Deep recession, big recovery.’ It is quite normal to expect an abnormally weak recovery. It is also normal for that expectation to be wrong.”
I’m perfectly happy to hear the wingers keep saying we’re on the road to ruin. They can keep saying it right through the next few elections and look even more foolish.
In 1982, Democrats scoffed at a surging stock market and thought a severe recession would last for a very long time. They were confident that the economy would doom Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. All they had to do was make clear they offered a stark alternative to the failing policies of the incumbent
Change a few words (Reagan to Obama, Democrats to Republicans, 1984 to 2012) and you have an accurate description of the current political climate. Could the Republicans be as wrong now as the Democrats were then?
That’s the secret, get the recession out of the way early in your presidency. Dubya fucked up. He had one early and one at the end.
President Hussein goes with the opinion of a couple of unseasoned rookies over the firsthand experience of a woman who has been on the front lines of the post-Cold War.
President Barack Obama on Thursday made clear he was not going to take advice from Republican Sarah Palin when it comes to decisions about the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
"What I would say to them is, is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."
Mmmm, authentic frontier gibberish!
Chris Currey writes today as another member of the GOP who no longer feels at home there. I’ve said before at this blog that I welcome a Republican Party that comes back to sanity and back to Conservative principles. May they soon shed the Neo-cons and the Cheney-ites and all the other Bush League players.
I know that without a strong opposition party, the Dems will soon become as stupid and venal as the GOP has. No good to try to have a yin without a yang.
I grew up with -– in fact voted for the first time for –- Eisenhower. In 1956, he ran a campaign of dignity. A campaign that acknowledged that there are certain projects better suited to be handled by the government. See, business thinks in the short term, as he said. That’s the imperative of the marketplace. I invest and I expect that in a few quarters, I garner the fruits of my investment. Government, on the other hand, has the luxury to wait a few years, maybe decades, for a return on a given investment. As a former businessman, I know that first hand. Am I a Marxist for thinking that?
Yes, I’m afraid that you are now an official DFH.
I did not like Medicaid and Medicare when they were passed. I was opposed to them. Maybe I was too young, too strong, and too ideologically confined. Yet, over the years, I saw how Medicare helped millions of elderly Americans. I saw how Medicare helped my mom in her final years battling emphysema caused by years of smoking. You have to be blind to oppose those programs. You have to be blind to wish for the suffering of millions of Americans just because you believe in personal responsibility.
This contains much of what I don’t understand about the opposition to, basically, all government by the right wing yahoos today. Are they just so confident that they will never need help? Are they confident that the government will always be there to give them that hand up despite their opposition? Medical bills are a very quick route to bankruptcy. Has there been a call on the right to bring back debtor’s prisons? Only a matter of time.
During the fight over the impeachment of President Clinton, the ugly face of the Republican Party was brought to the surface. Empty rhetoric, ideological intolerance, vengeance, and religious zealotry became the common currency. Suddenly, if you are pro-choice, you could not be a Republican. If you are for smart and sensible taxes to balance out the budget, you could not be a Republican. If you are pro-civil rights, you could not be a Republican.
It started with minorities: they left the party. Then women; they divorced the GOP and sent it to sleep on the couch. Then, the young folks; they left and are leaving the Republican Party in droves. Then, someone stood up and told my niece and my grandchild that they are not fully Americans — just second class Americans because they are homosexual.
Turn out the lights, the Party’s over:
We shrank it by kicking out those who believe that an $11 trillion economy, like ours, needs a strong government, not a government that can be drowned in a bathtub. We shrank it when we sanctified Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, and canonized Sarah Palin. These are the leaders of my party nowadays. How did we go from William F. Buckley to Glenn Beck? How did we go from Eisenhower and Nixon to Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? I do not know. What I do know, however, is that these leaders remind of me of the leaders of the Whig Party. And if they continue on their nonsense, they will bring the collapse of the GOP.
Not that he’s going to see it, but I want to wish Mr. Currey the best of luck in any and all efforts to bring sanity back to his party. It needs to be there as a counterbalance, not a laughingstock.
What did you expect? "Welcome sonny," "Make yourself at home," "Marry my daughter." You've got to remember, that these are just simple farmers, these are people of the land, the common clay of the new west. You know . . . morons.
The only way Obama is going to win over these people is if Mongo comes to town. And I hope that doesn’t metaphorically happen.
President Barack Obama says he believes the Tea Party is built around a "core group" of people who question whether he is a U.S. citizen and believe he is a socialist.
Apparently he feels there are some in the Tea Party who are sane. We can only hope.
But beyond that, Obama tells NBC he recognizes the movement involves "folks who have legitimate concerns" about the national debt and whether the government is taking on too many difficult issues simultaneously.
Please excuse all the verboten cut and paste.
Frank Rich in the NYT recaps some of the descent into chaos of our fellow citizens on the right end of the spectrum:
But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.
How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht.
He notes the reaction to the passage of this bill as compared to the passage of Medicare, Social Security and the Civil Rights Bill:
But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.
And of course, the gutlessness of those in the Republican party to do anything to tamp down emotions, in particular the most recent candidate for the Oval Office:
After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.
Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.
And if you want to, and I wouldn’t recommend it, go from the sublime to the stupid head on over to powerline. They haven’t quite claimed that John Wilkes Booth was a Democrat, but give it time.
Robert Stacy McCain showing those
pearly whites nicotine stained grays. Hopefully under Obamacare he’ll be able to get those choppers cleaned up a bit. Until then maybe he can keep his mouth shut.
David Frum joins Bruce Bartlett as one of the Conservatives whose name must no longer be mentioned.
As some readers of this blog may know, I was fired by a right wing think tank called the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2005 for writing a book critical of George W. Bush's policies, especially his support for Medicare Part D. In the years since, I have lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, DC.
Now the same thing has happened to David Frum, who has been fired by the American Enterprise Institute.
The real money quote is:
Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI "scholars" on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.
It’s been ages since there’s been a post even tangentially related to baking, so here goes. I’ve been using this flour for some time and finally looked to see what it is. Apparently it is as healthy as regular wheat flour, and makes a much tastier bread.
Think I had hesitated because I was afraid to see that it wasn’t as good for us as the normal brown wheat flour, but:
Confusingly, it's called "white wheat," made from a naturally occurring albino variety. But the resemblance to typical bleached flour stops there. Fans say flour made from white wheat has all the nutrition and fiber of whole wheat without the taste that some find unpleasant.
Tannins and phenolic acid in the outer bran of the red wheat commonly used to make whole-wheat flour can give it a bitter taste. White wheat doesn't have those compound.
I’ve been using it half and half with white flour with good results. Now if I can find a white brown rice and fruits and veggies that taste like burgers I’ll be eating as healthy as I should.
I realize it’s all fun and games until someone goes full metal McVeigh. I can’t help myself. All afternoon I’ve been all, “Feel the power of the fang” and variations on it.
I’ve been enjoying the works of Bob Lonsberry since my sojourn at SUNY Brockport. Like many of his ilk, he seems to be slipping the bonds of sanity over the health care bill. This, of course, is someone who absolutely no problem with a needless war fought in Iraq or the spying done by the NSA on Americans wherever they might be.
Suddenly the right is re-discovering their libertarian roots, though. Big government declaring war and saying fuck your privacy is not a problem. Big government trying to do something about the 45 million Americans without health insurance is a call to arms (literally?).
For the last two days, I’ve worn the same shirt. Tomorrow I will wear one like it.
It’s yellow, with a rustic drawing of a rattlesnake, and a line of text below: DONT TREAD ON ME.
And when I can open my mouth, I will. And when I can’t, my shirt will speak for me.
Don’t tread on me.
That is a warning the Obama Democrats chose not to heed.
And now they will feel the fang.
No idea what feel the fang means. Wingers have a bad habit of talking in code. If he has only one fang, Obamacare may help. I trust there is some dental coverage included.
Hopefully some psychological coverage as well. Lighten up, Bob.
All you wingers make sure you take the Tea Bagger Socialist-Free Purity Pledge. Hat Tip to Parsley’s Pics.
No special reason for this. Just feeling good today. Don’t feel like pissing anyone off. And everyone knows that I’m a glass three quarters full sort of person, when I’m not being nihilistic anyway. And the more the tea party folks piss and moan the better I feel.
Armstrong could sing about it being a wonderful world after the life he had growing up and the tea party folks can gripe because of their imaginary concerns over health care reform? WTF? Maybe I don’t mind if I piss someone off.
DFH Bruce Bartlett has an article up in Forbes suggesting that the Tea Partiers might not be the sharpest tools when it comes to actually being aware of any facts about how much Americans pay in taxes. They likely don’t even have a good idea about how much they themselves pay. For the record, mine were actually pretty low this year. Hail Obama!
Tuesday's Tea Party crowd, however, thought that federal taxes were almost three times as high as they actually are. The average response was 42% of GDP and the median 40%. The highest figure recorded in all of American history was half those figures: 20.9% at the peak of World War II in 1944.
Automatons that they are the Tea Party folks seem to think that because Obama is a socialist Democrat liberal tax lover then taxes must have gone up since he was inaugurated.
Tea Partyers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same.
According to the JCT, last year's $787 billion stimulus bill, enacted with no Republican support, reduced federal taxes by almost $100 billion in 2009 and another $222 billion this year. The Tax Policy Center, a private research group, estimates that close to 90% of all taxpayers got a tax cut last year and almost 100% of those in the $50,000 income range. For those making between $40,000 and $50,000, the average tax cut was $472; for those making between $50,000 and $75,000, the tax cut averaged $522. No taxpayer anywhere in the country had his or her taxes increased as a consequence of Obama's policies.
Bartlett refrains from saying it, so I will, “Get a clue, morans!”
Whatever the future of the Tea Party movement in American politics, it's a bad idea for so many participants to operate on the basis of false notions about the burden of federal taxation. It only takes a little bit of time to look at one's tax return to see what one is actually paying the Treasury, calculate the percentage of one's income that goes to taxes, and compare it with what was paid last year and the year before.
Et tu, Wall Street Journal?
OK, all the cool kids are posting RIPs for Alex Chilton and well he deserves the remembrances. Luckily, I waited until late in the day so I could have Daniel Boone for my own (or Davy Crockett, if you want to back a bit further). Fess Parker, and Ed Ames as Mingo, were a much bigger part of my childhood than Chilton could ever have been. They were on TV.
Moral lessons were learned. Like not hating on Mingo just because he was an
Indian Native American. Thanks Fess for being the great role model that you were.
Obligatory You Tube clip:
I’m afraid the neocon crush on General David Petraeus is likely to come to a crashing halt. I seems the general is just not that into Israel. God, I love realism!
In a lengthy statement offered to the Armed Services Committee earlier this week, Petraeus ticked off a long list of problems in his AOR -- AfPak, Iran, Iraq, Yemen -- and then turned to what he called the "root causes of instability." Ranking as item No. 1 on his list was this: "insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace." Petraeus continued:
The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.
If only the neos could discover reality and get their heads out of Israel’s butt. No entangling alliances.
And whether she was right or wrong, Rachel Corrie deserves to be remembered.
I’d like to post this little clip in order to honor CNN for their heroic decision to hire Erick Erickson. May his star burn as brightly and as long as Savage’s did at MSNBC:
Looking at and listening to the Weiner, I can’t help but think he might be Erickson’s dad.
For a more thoughtful take than my BS please see Steve Benen:
This is the same Erickson who recently called retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat f--king child molester," referred to two sitting U.S. senators as "healthcare suicide bombers," praised protesters for "tell[ing] Nancy Pelosi and the Congress to send Obama to a death panel" (he later backpedaled on that one), and described President Obama's Nobel Prize as "an affirmative action quota."
Another quote from Erickson:
"At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator's house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?”
And here we have the village
idiot neocon from Long Beach weighing in:
Check Benen's post for a long hissy fit on how awful is Erick Erickson. Gee, he said bad things. Can you say extremist? Wake up, Steve Dunderhead.
He abhors irrationalism in debate. Can you tell? He and Erickson both seem to be cut from the Savage cloth.
Saw Jeff Walton perform last night while imbibing several pints of Davidson’s fine Irish Red microbrew. Thought I’d give him the Hometown USA bounce that is sure to send his career into the stratosphere:
Apologies for the lack of Hendrix.
In other Hometown news, this coming Saturday will be the first (and possibly only) annual mini golf fundraiser at the Crandall. Tiger has already sent his regrets.
Yes, believe it or not, there is a company Library Mini Golf.