Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well said, Josh.

Josh Marshall, talkingpointsmemo.com:

Okay, I'm about to lose my mind. Tim Russert is so colossally ignorant and talks so routinely out of his ass on the topic of Social Security that I'm not sure I can bear it anymore. Help. Please stop him.

A Question for the Presidential Candidates

Imagine you are President. Your vice president calls you and tells you he just shot some fat old white guy in the face with a shotgun. Do you cut the capital gains tax by 10 or 20 percent ?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hmm ...

Once upon a time there were these things called legs. Way I heard tell, they used to be used for walking through the woods. Old Maine folk used to use their legs to go for miles and miles through the woods, and bogs, and swamps and hills, and cliffs. Nothing but legs. All's it took was a strong pair of legs and a happy heart. Kids loved it. They ran and ran and ran.

Now all the kids are so fat and out of shape they can barely run to the end of the driveway without running out of breath. Parents are even worse.

Funny as in peculiar.

Joan Jett Sings

Androgynous, by Paul Westerberg.
--

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Last Book I Stole

Was "A Concise History of Modern Painting" by Herbert Read. 1974. Praeger Publishing. New York. About 400 frickin' pages of conciseness. And a few good avant garde boobies in the colour plates.

Fighting Election Fraud

It seems counterproductive to not inquire, think about or act upon a lack of paper ballots in your own town and precinct until after election day -- and then do nothing about it during the entire two years before the next election day.

But then again, I scratch my ass when I'm walking past girls.

I Love Unbridled Capitalism

So does lead poisoning in children.

Trash It Some More

Here's some pathetic posturing via the Boston Globe:

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has waged a massive publicity campaign to kill the [windpower] project, which members say would industrialize a body of water they describe as an unspoiled natural resource.

But that characterization belies the sound's long history of commercial activity, says Dick Elrick of Mashpee, president of Clean Power Now, a group formed to champion the wind farm project.

"It's a body of water that has been used for over 200 years," he said. "Commercial fishermen have dragged the bottom until it's a desert. We've got fuel barges going back and forth. It isn't the body of water that has been described."

Elrick previously worked as a ferry boat captain and long heeded orders to send waste over the side as soon as the boat reached federal water.

"It's being diluted. But I never felt particularly good about it," he said. "I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go swimming [there]."


So, according to Mr. Elrick, because someone trashed a place 50 or 100 years ago, it makes sense to trash it all over again. What astounding logic. And I'm sure when his car gets dirty he just throws it away.

And about windpower in general. When windpower sites are built and put on-line there is no 1:1 shut down of dirty power plants. The windpower goes on line in addition to the dirty power plants.

As such, windpower does nothing to reduce actual, existing air pollution and greenhouse gas emission levels. As long as energy consumption keeps going up (which it does), you simply have windpower + dirty power sources.

Building more and more power sources -- even wind power -- tends to encourage more wasteful power consumption, which then creates more demand for more new power sources. Windpower developers are trying to make a buck -- not save the planet. They have no problem selling their electricity to the most wasteful uses and users, so long as the check clears.

Basically, power companies and power producers are liars.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A few good band names

Arm Length Scab
Slack Babbath*
The Flabby Mimes
Endless Bass Solo
Dave and the Diaper Changers
The Peter Paul and Mary Chain*

*Merci beaucoup, Gilly Gonzylon @ le eschaton

Giving One for the Team

I'd blow Clinton in Macy's window every day for a year if it would permanently clear the planet of Republicans.


-- res ipsa loquitur @ le eschaton

Friday, September 21, 2007

No Child Left Behind

If we all take umbrage there won't be any left for poor people who don't have any money.

Proud to be a U.S. American

I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., er, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our children.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kids on the Kennebec

From the Front Office ...

As of today, all inter-office memos and other written communications must begin with a clause expressing the point of the topic message in terms of how it compares or contrasts to what “Osama Bin Laden would want.”

Thank you,

The Management

Land of the Free

Basically, deep down, many Americans are fascists:

From the 9/18/07 Wall Street Journal:

BEND, Ore. -- It was a sunny, 70-degree day here in Awbrey Butte, an exclusive neighborhood of big, modern houses surrounded by native pines.

To Susan Taylor, it was a perfect time to hang her laundry out to dry. The 55-year-old mother and part-time nurse strung a clothesline to a tree in her backyard, pinned up some freshly washed flannel sheets -- and, with that, became a renegade.

The regulations of the subdivision in which Ms. Taylor lives effectively prohibit outdoor clotheslines. In a move that has torn apart this otherwise tranquil community, the development's managers have threatened legal action. To the developer and many residents, clotheslines evoke the urban blight they sought to avoid by settling in the Oregon mountains.

"This bombards the senses," interior designer Joan Grundeman says of her neighbor's clothesline. "It can't possibly increase property values and make people think this is a nice neighborhood." . . .

Brooks Resources repeated its threat of legal action, and then advised Ms. Taylor to "develop a plan to screen your outdoor laundry and submit the plan to the ARC for review." It also suggested the possibility of formal proceedings to get the rules amended, which would require 51% of homeowners' support in writing.

The following month, Ms. Taylor constructed a fabric screen to conceal her clothesline. The committee, which included Brooks Resources Chairman Michael P. Hollern, gave it a thumbs down. "It doesn't blend with the home or the native surroundings," says Ms. Haworth.

Mr. Hollern says, "Personally, I think people probably ought to screen their laundry from other people's view. If you feel differently, you should probably be living somewhere else."

The Way It Is ...

For a conservationist like myself, life is like being in a boat that has lots of holes in it. Progress is made by slowing the rate at which you and the boat are sinking. The concept of not sinking is off the table. And like in a boat, there is no hope of "going up." At best you slow the rate of sinking to the amount you can bail.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ethics v. Ethics

I have listened curiously to the New England Patriots cheating. So much concern, so much emotion, so much real, for true, discussion and analysis. So much focus on the facts.

In this observation I cannot help but notice how much higher our expectations are for a sports team and its coach than the President of the United States and this country's Department of Justice.

It seems as if we now believe the U.S. government to be so perverted and dysfunctional that like East Berliners in 1972 we have given up all hope and expectation.

So like a life ring we cling to Sports as the last bastion of civility and normalcy and playing by the rules that we can expect to not be violated. We do this because we have long given up expecting our elected officials to behaving at the ethical level that we expect from athletes and their coaches.

Hence the recent comment by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson:

"You know something is wrong when the New England Patriots face stiffer penalties for spying on innocent Americans than Dick Cheney and George Bush.”

Our Public Commons is so poisoned and fetid from being shat upon, that when a Bill Belichick or Barry Bonds gets caught breaking the rules of Sports we get doubly upset. They have burst two of our bubbles.

Sports is the bubble of ethics and fair play we retreat into precisely because our Real World of Laws is tainted and perverted and destroyed beyond repair. Bubble One and Bubble Two.

And when the Sacred Bubble of Sports becomes popped and ulcerated and bilious due to the same greed and corruption that has infected and popped the Bubble of our Public National Weal -- that has us now in an illegal war for nearly 5 years -- our heads blow a gasket. We can't take it anymore. We leak brain fluid.

This post is not about what it seems to be about.

This post is about the Hockomock Swamp in Easton, Massachusetts. The Hockomock is a 6,000 acre swamp that is now celebrating its 15,000th anniversary. It is the wildest, most impenetrable land left in southeastern Massachusetts, the home of Massasoit and his son Pometacom, whom the Pilgrims first met. The Hockomock is the soul of the birthplace of the United States.

The Hockomock Swamp is the tiny crystal galaxy attached to the collar of Orion the Cat in "Men in Black." It has survived 15,000 years and is now dying from the collective paper cuts of strip malls, highways, power lines, malls, condos, golf courses, condominiums. The Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, wants to kill what is left of the Hockomock by running a high speed rail line through the heart of it, solely because his "aides" do not even know the Hockomock Swamp exists.

To them, the Hockomock is just a swamp.

Thers and the War

Thers, just going about his business with his wife, friends and children in D.C. on Saturday, expressing his discontent with an illegal, killing war that has no end.

Morning Glory

R. Buckminster Fuller

When I was a junior and senior in high school I inhaled Bucky Fuller's books, not sure why, but I did. He said one thing that struck me: that he was so nearsighted as a kid everything was out of focus so he could only see larger features and patterns -- no details -- and that shaped much of his thinking. I was blind as a bat from being nearsighted as a kid so I knew what he was talking about. The way I got glasses was because my 4th grade math teacher, Mrs. Hanlon, called my mother and said I kept getting out of my chair during class, walking up to the chalkboard, reading it, and then sitting back down. I had no clue I needed glasses. I thought she was just writing small.

My best name drop ...

Was interviewing the soon-to-be Governor of Maine, Angus King, at my house on Vickery Street in Augusta, which was completely covered with rocks, since I was a rock collector, and he said, "You must like rocks." And I said I did. Then Angus came inside and sat on the couch and Mr. Dog the dog drooled all over his leg while I interviewed Angus about economic policy. I was writing for Ruth Robinson's business magazine, Corporate Challenge News, at the time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hockomock

A Heart Needs A Home
--

I know the way that I feel about you.
I'm never gonna run away.
I'm never gonna run away.
Never knew the way
When I lived without you.
I'm never going to run away.
I'm never going to run away.
I came to you when nobody would hear me.
I'm sick and weary of being alone.
Empty streets and hungry faces.
The world's no place when you're on your own.
A heart needs a home.
Some people say
That I should forget you
But I'm never going to be a fool
I'm never going to be a fool
Better life they say
If I'd never met you.
But I'm never going to be a fool.
But I'm never going to be a fool.

-- Linda and Richard Thompson.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Yup

"You know something is wrong when the New England Patriots face stiffer penalties for spying on innocent Americans than Dick Cheney and George Bush.”

-- New Mexico Gov. and Pres. Candidate Bill Richardson

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mild observation ...

Dems got Stockholm Syndrome so bad they think they have to pay for every hickory switch the Repubs break over their red, bleeding apologetic asses and that will make them look like tax and spend liberals.

Note to self ...

Climate change and peak oil are by far the two most important issues for the rest of this century. They are completely intertwined and basically technological and scientific challenges that will require the worlds' industrial and social infrastructure to be overhauled.

Terra is not even on the map, of course. War will spring from a failure to deal effectively with climate change and peak oil.

Ergo this requires an American society and govt. that is completely focussed on technological and scientific upramping and investment. Gore knows this. I'm not sure if the Dem. candidates fully understand it.

And certainly the GOP anthropicenes who don't believe in evo-looshun ... well

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Did Not Know

People were still mixing strychnine, bad acid, PCP, crack cocaine, jimson weed, digitalis, mink shit and lead-tainted moonshine and then stumbling into Congressional Oversight Hearings and trying to talk, but I guess I was wrong:

"No matter what you think about how we got into Iraq, the fact is that we are in a battle now to save that country from being taken over by Iran on the one hand and Al Qaeda on the other," Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, told CNBC yesterday.

The "no matter what you think" part sort of gave it away, being microdot LSD shorthand for:

I already know you think I'm bat shit crazy with these twigs shoved up my nose and my butt cheeks hanging out all cut and bloody but this time I really saw the thing ... it chased me through the pond ... it was huge !!!"

Iran: the New Cuba

From the Boston Glub Dub Drib, 9/12/07:

General David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, the top US diplomat in Iraq, warned Congress that a quicker drawdown of troops would have catastrophic consequences for US interests in the region, allowing Iran to expand its influence and possibly seize territory in Iraq.

Testifying before two key Senate committees yesterday, Crocker and Petraeus portrayed Iran as a key reason to keep a sizable number of American forces in Iraq. Petraeus suggested that Iran's negative actions in Iraq are more significant than was previously understood, while Crocker warned that Iran "would be a winner" if the United States made a sweeping withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

"The Iranian president has already announced that Iran will fill any vacuum in Iraq," he said.

He must have the Electrolux franchise.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Very Well Said Rant

From Charles Wilson (http://willy-economiccrisis.blogspot.com):

The economic history of the last 35 years has been one of a series of financial frauds, each bigger than the last, amid a backdrop of stagnating industrial production and, along with it, a declining standard of living. Those failures unleashed an ethic of every man for himself. In a country that actually makes fewer and fewer things, the results have been predictable: paper entrepreneurship on an escalating scale.

The 1970s gave us Penn Central, Continental Illinois, and stupid farm lending. The 1980s gave us the Latin debt crisis and the S&L debacle. The 1990s gave us the dot.com frauds. The '00s almost gave us the theft of Social Security, but that was stopped at the last minute by what was left of the Democratic Party. Instead, we got Door #2, the residential real estate bubble.

Of course, there is also the Iraq War and the failure to deal with climate change, but those will have to wait for another time. The wolf at today's door is in residential real estate, where we've seen a speculative bubble in prices, fueled by reckless credit. While any discussions of "the residential real estate market" need to be tempered by recognizing the local nature of housing, the granting of credit is a national, even international phenomenon and therefore we can deal with this as a systemic fraud.

Something else: the crisis really isn't one of house prices but rather one of bad loans. It's the lending crisis that threatens to bring down the whole American economy. Prices are certainly an issue, but it's the inability of borrowers to service their loans that makes this the problem it is. Lenders abandoned their standards, allowing borrowers to abandon their prudence. It couldn't go on forever, so here we are.

Wasn't it the borrowers' fault, you might ask? To which I would reply, yes, of course it was. No one forced anyone else to borrow two or three times what they should have for a mortgage, relative to renting. But ultimately, the responsibility lies with he who is holding the wallet: the lender. So, if there is to be a bailout of any kind, we must be sure to reclaim the spoils from the lenders. All of them. Right up to, and including, the half-billion dollars worth of bonuses and stock options received by Angelo R. Mozilo, the reckless pig who runs Countrywide Financial, America's largest mortgage originator. Not to put too fine a point on it.

I digress. Housing prices peaked about a year ago, on average. Because markets are local, prices peaked before that in some places. Elsewhere (Seattle being an example) they're still rising. There isn't a Dow Jones House Index, so that's as close as we can get. But when the history of this meltdown is written, I think the top of the American housing market will be pinned in 2006.

Since then, we've seen growing signs of distress in credit markets. In the words of Creedence Clearwater Revival:

I see the bad loans a-risin'
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin'
I see bad times today.

Chorus:
Don't shop around tonight,
Well, its bound to take your equity
There's a bad loan on the rise.

I hear hurricanes a-blowin'
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowin'
I hear the voice of the foreclosure auctioneer

Chorus

Hope you got your things together.
Hope you are quite prepared to move to a trailer park
Looks like were in for nasty weather
One CMO is taken for a thousand bad loans

Chorus

Okay, it doesn't rhyme. But you get the point. One month ago, it all came to a head. In August, credit markets locked up and the stock markets fluctuated while the sharpshooters in New York, Frankfurt, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong looked to see what the big central banks would do. On cue, Germany's Bundesbank, America's Federal Reserve, and some others stepped in to spread some quicklime on the rotting corpse, in the form of creating some money and reducing interest rates. Will it work? Call me a skeptic. To find out why, keep reading.

What's next, Fetal Labor ?

The response of the middle class was to send every woman to work in the 1980s, and then in the 1990s to run up the credit cards and deplete home equity. Now the well's running dry. That's the alligator in the swamp that no one really wants to talk about.

-- Charles Wilson | Homepage | 09.11.07 - 1:31 am | #

http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com

Heh.

Weyerhaeuser could cut back mill operations

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Weyerhaeuser Co., the world's largest producer of plywood for home building, said Monday that it might offset eroding demand for its wood products through mill closures and production curtailments.

In early August, Weyerhaeuser (WY) reported second-quarter net earnings plunged more than 89% to $32 million primarily because of the slumping U.S. housing market's impact on wood product sales.

As someone at http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com eloquently said:

You can only fake an economy for so long.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Hydro

I spend far too much of my short remaining lifespan making typographical jokes so this story below from the Waterville, Maine Morning Sentinel which quotes me as saying "a hydro" and "raising the height issue" is worth noting for historic idiocy purposes.

"I'm not saying don't have a hydro here," Watts said. "I'm just raising the height issue."

U.S. Americans. Such as, therefore. South Africa.

http://morningsentinel.mainetoday.com/news/local/4253763.html

I knew when I was 10 years old swimming at midnight with phosphorescent salps in Aucoot Cove, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts that I was in the presence of intelligence. Such as, therefore. Maps.

"A hydro."

I'm just raising the height issue.

Asia.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Jim Rome

Is a guy you can Google, so I won't. He is almost exactly my age, 43. Very successful sports talk radio host. Syndicated to like 250 stations nationwide, 3-4 million listeners.

He's a genius. Why? Because when Jim goes on a rant he is better than Lenny Bruce.

Jim Rome's extensive monologues on dog torturer Mike Vick are perhaps some of the most heartfelt and inspired live radio I have ever heard, given that a recording of Thurgood Marshall reaming Nixon's lawyer James St. Clair in 1974 does not exist.

Jim Rome over and over calling out Mike Vick and his ill-thought "supporters" and explaining why, for all the obtuse lunkheads, throwing puppies onto pavement until their skulls are Fruity Pebbles is not kool, is a severely underappreciated piece of live American literature. Mark Twain and W.E.B. Dubois on the mic.

Meaning that hearing Mr. Rome helped restore my optimism and faith in humanity.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Umm ...

WASHINGTON - Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., denounced his GOP critics as "weasels" Friday, ruining his nearly half century record of uninterrupted lying.

- rootless2, from teh eschatoon.

Stop me if you've heard this one ...

"We must press the regime in Burma (Myanmar) to stop arresting, harassing, and assaulting pro-democracy activists for organizing or participating in peaceful demonstrations," Bush said in a speech to Asia-Pacific business executives in Sydney.

--

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Mounted police charged in to break up an outdoor press conference and demonstration against the Iraq war in Washington on Thursday, arresting three people, organizers and an AFP reporter said.

"The police suppressed the press conference. In the middle of the speeches, they grabbed the podium" erected in a park in front of the White House for the small gathering, Brian Becker, national organizer of the ANSWER anti-war coalition, told AFP.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lending Library

Oh, if you folks want to read the Bible, just let me know. I'm almost halfway through it.
Jesus | Homepage | 09.07.07 - 1:30 am | #

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Arlene

I just walked down to the supermarket to get cat food and the woman in front of me, Arlene, was mentally retarded and about 45. My age. She had a $5 dollar bill and her total came to just a bit more than she had -- she also wanted to get a can of soda at the machine outside the store. So she asked me for a dime. Then her and I went outside. The machine she picked wouldn't take her dollar, so we picked the other machine and it worked fine.

20 years ago Arlene would have been locked up in an "insane hospital." And quite possibly, she was.

One of the many benefits of living in Augusta, Maine is living alongside a lot of mentally challenged or mentally ill people. Some people would not call that a "benefit" -- in very large letters -- but I do.

Making Smart Decisions

Overall population has nothing to do with environmental issues. With even rudimentary thought and care, there is no reason why the Earth cannot support 10 billion people. By the exact same token, just 1 billion people doing extremely stupid and damaging things can destroy the Earth. cf. Desertification. cf. Fishing out all of the world's oceans. cf. destroying all of the world's rainforests. These are not the acts of 10 billion starving people. They are the acts of a few thousand greedy fucking capitalists and despots who want to rape the world, cash the check, and die with a BMW and a dick in their mouth.

Moe from Nova Scotia

Well, I agree with all that, but as I said recently, all the individual action in the world won't solve the problems facing us-- it takes collective political action. Moe Szyslak | Homepage | 09.04.07 - 2:28 pm | #
--

This is very much about the Tragedy of the Commons, or the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, if you will. Can you imagine if in the 1970s we tried to stop water pollution by telling every single person to "pollute your toilet less." ???

You gotta take a crap. The solution in 1970 was not to make people take a crap every third day and/or make them feel guilty about going to the bathroom.

The solution was to build sewage treatment plants instead of straight piping everyones' poop into the Penobscot River.

And it worked.

Same with CO2.

Jim Rome Says ...

It ain't fucking Calvinism. Being smart does not mean sacrificing. We all have a carbon account at the Earth Bank. And we are way the fuck overdrawn. So we have to stop writing bad checks.

Jim Rome did not say this. But it is how he would say it, if he did say it.

September

The magic month. Is now here. Feel the clarity. The knowledge. The over the horizon gazing perspicacity that only accompanies this very special month.