Thursday, January 31, 2008

0.6%


BBC: US economic growth drops sharply
And it reinforces the view, recently put forward by the IMF, that the US economic slowdown will be longer and deeper than previously thought - and have a greater impact on the world economy.

The IMF report suggested that even by the end of 2008, the US economy would still only be growing at a year-on-year rate of 0.8%.
Bush is leaving quite a little mess for the next president. One can already hear the right wing media going after O or H, and simultaneously conveniently forgetting about junior's utter and grotesque evisceration of America. Can you just hear Limbaugh now.

Research needs to be done on the relationship between wars erupting and the state of the economy. How many were started in a recession and as a method for reviving the economy.

Also how does the USA already in a full scale war, with billions and billions going into Iraq, square the war with a recession. If war traditionally revives the economy with increased governmental spending on the war effort, then why is this war creating the reverse, a recession. Could it be that we can't pay for it.

Cut Rate Refi

BBC: US rates cut to avoid recession
The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates for the second time in nine days...

The central bank lowered rates to 3% from 3.5%...

The Fed is hoping the cuts will cushion the US economy from the worst effects of the credit crunch and housing slump.
Should we refi our mortgages?
Mortgage lenders are literally swept off their feet right now. They are reporting major call volume increases, as much as 10x and more, to the point that they are using call centers to handle the massive load. Is there a refi boomlet underway? We will see. source
And
This week's surprise rate cut by the Federal Reserve not only held Wall Street and investors in thrall, but it also kicked into high gear a rush by homeowners across the country to refinance their mortgages at today's lower rates.

"Wells Fargo is experiencing a significant increase in contact from customers who want a responsible lender to help them with a refinance or home purchase," Debora Blume, spokeswoman for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, said in an e-mail to The Des Moines Register on Friday. source
But

Countepunch: America's Teetering Banking System By MIKE WHITNEY
The Fed sets short-term interest rates (the Fed Funds rate) but long-term rates are market-driven. So, when investors see slow growth and inflationary pressures building up; long-term rates start to rise.

Bernanke knew that the price of a mortgage would increase if he slashed rates, but went ahead anyway.

Balloon



The image was sent by a deep operative.

The dresses are made from balloons. Yea.

Don't know the background but I suspect its from a design or fashion design school.

Bravo

John, sorry to see you go. I believe he was the best candidate.

BBB: Edwards 'quits' White House race
Democrat John Edwards is exiting the race for the White House after failing to win any of the four party nomination contests held so far, officials say.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

9-11 + Verb + Goodbye


8:30 PM Tuesday

Giuliani has less than half the votes of McCain and less than half of Romney. This might hold.

As the extremist Republican pro neo-conservative candidate, Giuliani is not the change America is talking about. Fortunately even Republicans seem to understand this as well.

McCain on the other hand, is the pro war, moderate pro neo conservative candidate. Hopefully he will not prevail at the end game.

A formal announcement where Giuliani throws in the towel may be in the works.

There are potential jokes here -

How do you make a Giuliani omelet?
Put all your eggs in one basket and let them rot.

Lard


Had to find an article to go with the photo. The photo was sent to Sande by a deep operative.

BBC: Sedentary life 'speeds up ageing'
Leading a sedentary lifestyle may make us genetically old before our time, a study suggests.
Is this really news?

Now what would be the equivalent type of advertisement that we are all consumed with right now?

Good Luck!

11:49 AM Tuesday.

In keeping with the tradition of how to create the circumstances for success as it is known on Broadway, the theater everywhere, Hollywood, and all dance and acting performances, the writers at jcsande.blogspot wish Rudy Giuliani nothing but the very best of luck in Florida. We wish you great great luck....

Favorites

In the State of the Union Address, President Bush reiterated the claim, and I paraphrase, that 'Iran is enriching nuclear fuel which could be used in a nuclear weapon.'

There is a distinct difference between enriching uranium for use in a nuclear reactor and enriching uranium for use in a nuclear weapon.

Enriching uranium for a nuclear reactor is considered low level enrichment aka LEU.

Enriching uranium for a nuclear bomb is high level enrichment aka HEU.

The two types of enrichment are different and require different degrees of technological ability and facility, including material facility.

The ability to enrich uranium to a high level is vastly more complicated and advanced than low level enrichment. Its not the same as low level enrichment.

It is important to understand the distinction and not blend the two into one entity.

A pdf file on aspects of this topic is available at IEER. Look for the file titled "Uranium Enrichment: (2004) PDF 2MB Just Plain Facts to Fuel an Informed Debate on Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear Power

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Last and The Worst

BBC: Bush seeks to ease economy fears
According to Gallup polls of approval ratings around the time of the State of the Union addresses, this is the worst year for Mr Bush since his presidency began.

But with his powers on Capitol Hill restricted by the realities of party politics, and with the US electorate now so clearly in the mood for change, it will not be surprising if the speech feels more retrospective than most, our correspondent says.

After this, he adds, the likelihood is that attention in the US and abroad will focus ever more clearly on the drama of choosing a new president.
Bush has become a body cast on the American torso. Its restrictive, generally unbearable, and one can't wait for it to be gone.

Text of the State of the Union speech

We Did, but Now We Don't, but We Might


Reuters: U.S. used waterboarding but no more: ex-spy chief
The United States used waterboarding in terrorism interrogations but no longer does, a former U.S. spy chief said in the Bush administration's most explicit confirmation of the technique's use.

Bush has regularly insisted that the United States does not torture but has declined to discuss what interrogation techniques are used. The CIA declined comment on Negroponte's remarks.
Yes, but why would anyone attach value to any remarks coming from this administration. A statement like this is made to lay down some sort of ameliorating quality that will ease the general population's understanding and negative sense of Bush and all that Bush has done. Its not going to work. The credibility gap is profound and wide, and the truth got dumped years ago.

Waterboarding is torture. The people responsible for directing its usage are war criminals.

Regarding Negroponte:
Mr. Negroponte has served as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985

At the time Mr. Negroponte was in Honduras, Honduras was a military dictatorship. Kidnapping, rape, torture and executions of dissidents was rampant. The military top and middle ranks were U.S-trained at the School of the Americas (SOA), the Harvard version of the CIA, based in Fort Benning, Georgia. According to Human Rights Watch, graduates of the SOA are responsible for the worst human rights abuses and torture of dissidents in Latin America.

Reliable evidence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Honduras alleged that Negroponte oversaw the expansion of U.S training camp and military base on Honduran territory, where US-trained Contras terrorists, and where the military secretly detained, tortured and executed Honduran suspected dissidents.
Source

Five US Soldiers Killed in Iraq

From the Gulf News: Five US soldiers killed in Mosul attack
Baghdad: Five US soldiers were killed when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb and then came under small arms fire in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday, the US military said.
The media bypasses all of the events, strategies, deals, reasons, lies, ideologies, deceptions, propaganda, all of the things that brought on this war, and now they ask the question, is this war 'worth it.'

Monday, January 28, 2008

Salt


The new Fox Bush logo.

The President will present his last (sic), state of the union on Monday night. The generic article in our generic Sunday paper offers the headline, 'Bush's last chance to set a national agenda.'

The logo sums up the agenda, but does not adequately answer the question. The implication seems to be that he is fighting 'for' the American people. Only a scant few would agree. That same scant few are the actual viewers of Fox.

Missed the Sanctity


You might have missed this proclamation from the White House.

Sunday January 20, 2008 was proclaimed "National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2008." by President George Bush.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2008
...Today, as our society searches for new ways to ease human suffering, we must pursue the possibilities of science in a manner that respects the sacred gift of life and upholds our moral values.

Our Nation has made progress in its efforts to protect human life, and we will strive to change hearts and minds with compassion and decency...
Note: elective wars, torture, and hurricane decimated cities excluded.

Moan

"All progress is based upon a universal, innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income." Samuel Butler


Wall Street Braces for More Volatility
"If we're not at a bottom, we're probably very close," said Anthony Conroy, managing director and head trader for BNY ConvergEx Group. But, he added, the market is mercurial because there are many questions still unanswered—a big one being, how risky is the debt on banks' books right now following their bad bets on subprime mortgages?

...He noted that in the 11 recessions since World War II, on average, stocks fell 26 percent, the recessions lasted 10 months and Wall Street bottomed out six months into them.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Arrested Development


Brattleboro to vote on arresting Bush, Cheney
Brattleboro residents will vote at town meeting on whether President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be indicted and arrested for war crimes, perjury or obstruction of justice if they ever step foot in Vermont.
Man, you just gotta love this.

Just Keep Moving Along

10:09 PM Saturday night

Obama is the winner of South Carolina, he cleaned up.

Rudy received a little more than half as many votes as Ron Paul, again, thankfully. Also note that the Governor of Florida has endorsed McCain, not Giuliani. This must be a kick in the pants of Giuliani's effort to make a strong win in Florida:

Fla. governor endorses McCain
Crist praised McCain as a "true American hero." At a county GOP dinner in St. Petersburg, Crist added, "After thinking about it as much as I have, I don't think anybody would do better than the man who stands next to me, Sen. John McCain."
Note that Democrats once again turned out in greater numbers than Republicans:
Democrats 532,322
Republicans 442,918

McCain is sitting pretty, meaning say hello to at least four more years in Iraq and three or four future years in Iran. We're a warring people, let's get it straight.

Regardless, Edwards is still the best of all of the remaining candidates. I don't fully understand why he is placing last. He's not a rosebud, but he's ever so slightly less enmeshed.

No Prurient Comment


From the BBC: US network faces $1m nudity fine
US television network ABC may have to pay a fine of $1.4m (£707,000) for airing an episode of NYPD Blue which depicted female nudity.

ABC has rejected the claims, saying the buttocks are not a sexual organ.

Heaven's Army

The complexity of the makeup of religious militias and factions within Iraq lies way beyond the simple generalizations repeated by the MSM.

Recall Bush not knowing the distinctions of Shiite and Sunni - Ambassador claims shortly before invasion, Bush didn't know there were two sects of Islam.

Also from the NYTimes in 2006: Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite?
"...Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?”

...most American officials I’ve interviewed don’t have a clue. That includes not just intelligence and law enforcement officials, but also members of Congress who have important roles overseeing our spy agencies. How can they do their jobs without knowing the basics?
How indeed, but the complexity goes much further. Hearing the broad calls of a 'victory' in Iraq dissipate when the details of all the various factions are known. Most of these guys don't even know what they are talking about or the extent of the complexity of the issue.

From the Gulf News: Cult seeks to incite war among Shiites
Najaf: Security official Abu Ali has reviewed hundreds of documents about the obscure Messianic cult that incited a deadly clash last weekend at the height of Shiites' Ashura holiday.

The group, Abu Ali and other security and government officials say, wants to spark a war among Shiites.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Food

Davos, Switzerland is the meeting place of the World Economic Forum. Food is a big topic at this years forum. Climate change, resource wars, shrinking water reserves, and the price of and growing need for oil are among the reasons why food production is under stress.

Food and water worries are top priorities, say Davos speakers
Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath warned earlier in the week that prices of some foodstuffs had doubled in his country at a time when 25 million people in India were estimated to have moved from taking one to two meals a day.

"What does 25 million people moving from one to two meals a day do for prices?" he asked a room of corporate bigwigs and policymakers who pay thousands of dollars to attend the exclusive get-together here.
Interesting to note that the use of food crops to produce ethanol is becoming more financially desirable than to raise food crops for actual food. One would suspect that this is the beginning of trend.
Brazil is the world's biggest producer of sugar cane, which can be used to make the biofuel ethanol as well as sugar.

"With the price of oil going up it is better to use sugar cane to produce ethanol than to use sugar cane to produce sugar," he told AFP.

Home

December drop caps worst housing year in decades
Capping the worst year for the housing market in 25 years, resales of U.S. homes and condos fell 2.2% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

For all of 2007, sales of single-family homes fell 13%, the biggest decline since 1982.

Sales fell in all four regions, dropping 4.6% in the Northeast, 2.1% in the West, 1.7% in the Midwest and 1% in the South.

Infra Red


From the BBC: Alzheimer's helmet therapy hope
An experimental helmet is being tested by scientists as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

It delivers low levels of infra-red light, which researchers at the University of Sunderland, believe may stimulate the growth of brain cells.

Adagio Bach D minor Concerto

Keeping with the sense of slowing it all down for a breath, here is a Bach adagio movement. Glenn Gould plays the piano.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reality Strikes

Peggy goes after the Democrats and Bill Clinton, of course, with relish. But when you read beyond the usual and expected, she takes great healthy whacks at the Republicans, and its a thing to behold.

From the WSJ: Declarations
On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.
Call it the only Bush dividend.

Kite Ships


A kite ship is a cargo tanker equipped with a computer guided kite. The wind and kite help to reduce the stress on the engines thereby reducing fuel consumption and reducing carbon emissions. This is the modern answer to sails.

Read more: Gone with the wind on 'kite ship'

AGU

From the BBC: Climate 'clearly out of balance'
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) warned that changes to the Earth's climate system were "not natural".

Changes in temperature, sea level and rainfall were best explained by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases from human activities, it added.
The AGU is the American Geophysical Union.
AGU is a scientific society with a membership of 50,000 researchers, teachers, and students. AGU conducts meetings and conferences, publishes journals, books and a weekly newspaper, and sponsors a variety of educational and public information programs.
Excerpts from the AGU on evolution:
AGU affirms the central importance of including scientific theories of Earth history and biological evolution in science education. Within the scientific community, the theory of biological evolution is not controversial, nor have “alternative explanations” been found. This is why no competing theories are required by the U.S. National Science Education Standards. Explanations of natural phenomena that appeal to the supernatural or are based on religious doctrine—and therefore cannot be tested through scientific inquiry—are not scientific, and have no place in the science classroom.
Recapping - the AGU affirms global warming and evolution. Consequently and as a matter of fact, perhaps the next administration will look to the AGU for policy advice.

Kucinich Exits

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the Democratic race for president
Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his "transition" tomorrow.

One Track Ailment


Why would Bush want one of the chief lawyers favoring the legality of torture, to be in any post whatsoever. Bradbury is back.

From the NY Times: Justice Nomination Seen as Snub to Democrats
Late last year, Democrats urged the White House to withdraw Mr. Bradbury’s name once and for all and find a new candidate for the post (assistant attorney general for legal counsel) after it was disclosed in news reports in October that he was the author of classified memorandums that gave approval to harsh interrogation techniques, including head slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning, even when used in combination.

Mr. Bradbury’s memorandums were described by Democrats as an effort by the Bush administration to circumvent laws prohibiting torture and to undermine a public legal opinion issued by the Justice Department in 2004 that declared torture to be “abhorrent.”
Recall that there was no Senate adjournment during the holidays in order to prevent a Bush recess appointment of Bradbury. Thankfully the Democrats came through because Bush is big on recess appointments.

How do you explain the actions of this President.

From my 12-27-07 post on Bradbury
..Throughout 2006, Bradbury argued forcefully that the Supreme Court's rejection of the administration's military tribunals in terrorism cases was incorrectly decided. He argued that Geneva Conventions language barring "humiliating and degrading treatment" was hopelessly vague, and subject to "uncertain and unpredictable application." He was a leading advocate of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which revoked habeas corpus for terrorism detainees. He authored an opinion immunizing ex-White House counsel Harriet Miers from testifying in the U.S. attorneys investigation. And, most infamously, he apparently authored secret memoranda reauthorizing torture techniques, including waterboarding. Source

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Slipped

Polls: Giuliani slipping in 'crucial' state (Florida)
...the former New York mayor only registers 15 percent among Republican primary voters. That puts him in a tie with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has spent little time in the state and has only a fraction of the organization Giuliani has there.

John McCain and Mitt Romney are statistically tied for the top spot in the poll — McCain's at 25 percent and Romney's at 23 percent.

Chalmers Johnson


Reading Chalmers Johnson is a sobering experience, not for the faint-of-heart. In this recent article he reals off some unimaginable yet actual numbers about the military expenditures in the U.S.

Why the Debt Crisis Is Now the Greatest Threat to the American Republic
The Department of Defense's planned expenditures for fiscal year 2008 are larger than all other nations' military budgets combined. The supplementary budget to pay for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not part of the official defense budget, is itself larger than the combined military budgets of Russia and China. Defense-related spending for fiscal 2008 will exceed $1 trillion for the first time in history. The United States has become the largest single salesman of arms and munitions to other nations on Earth. Leaving out of account President Bush's two on-going wars, defense spending has doubled since the mid-1990s. The defense budget for fiscal 2008 is the largest since World War II.

Recapping

With the recent study detailing the 935 false statements (sic) of the Bush administration in the run up to the war, here's a refresher. Its a little old, but it does the trick.

Bush Stewardship

Note: the figure of $250 billion is for this fiscal year alone.

U.S. Deficit Estimated at $250 Billion
The deficit for the current budget year will jump to about $250 billion, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday, citing the weakening economy. And that figure does not reflect at least $100 billion in red ink from an economic stimulus measure in the works.

"After three years of declining budget deficits, a slowing economy this year will contribute to an increase in the deficit," the CBO report said.

The figure greatly exceeds the $163 billion in red ink registered last year. Adding likely but still unapproved outlays for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brings its "baseline" deficit estimate of $219 billion to about $250 billion, the nonpartisan CBO said.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One More F.U.

General Patraeus is requesting one more Friedman Unit or as it is appropriately called an F.U. (six more months), in order to turn things around in Iraq.

Petraeus: I Need Another Six Months To Determine Whether ‘We’ve Reached A Turning Point’
"We think we won’t know that we’ve reached a turning point until we’re six months past it. We have repeatedly said that there is no lights at the end of the tunnel that we’re seeing. We’re certainly not dancing in the end zone or anything like that."
'Six more months' has been uttered every six months.

Extra! Extra!


A complete shocker!

Study: Bush, other officials issued hundreds of false statements before Iraq invasion
A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period.
Imagine that, I am shocked. I know you are as well.

Cucurrucucu Paloma

Caetano Veloso is the singer. Simply outstanding, beautiful song.
Almodovar included his performance of this song in his movie 'Talk To Her.'

Negative Space


Notice any particular candidate missing in this NYTimes presidential candidates diagram: Primary Season Election Results

Hint: At one time he was the mayor of NY City, home of the New York Times.

Also: Rudy Falls Behind McCain; Hillary Still Has 2-to-1 Lead
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani trails Senator John McCain by 12 points among Republicans in the upcoming New York presidential primary...
Of all the Republican candidates, Giuliani is the one with the most radical neo-conservative backing. That is something to be concerned about i.e. very scared. If an initial war with Iran is your cup of tea, he's your man.

Speaking of scary, what in the hell ever made this guy think he was presidential material. Ah yes, Bush has lowered the bar.

Thompson abandons White House bid
"Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States," Thompson said in a statement.

Safe!


The Four Safest Stocks In The World
Microsoft (MSFT) is still riding the wave of Vista adoption....

Altria (MO) is the largest global cigarette company....

Exxon (XOM) will do extremely well even if oil drops below $80....

Procter & Gamble (PG) will benefit from the fact that people will buy diapers, razors, and soap....
As the market slides, its interesting to take note of this particular advice and observation. Its a mixed group - oil, cigarettes, computers, and diapers are the essentials.

At the least it is partially telling information about our society.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rube

A divertissement -

Maybe Tuesday not Monday

U.S. stock futures point to major decline on re-open
If futures contracts traded on a day when U.S. stocks weren't even due to open are anything near accurate, then markets will be in or a major decline on Tuesday, with concerns about bond insurers and the health of financial institutions dragging markets lower.
See my post Gingerly

Oil to Green

Abu Dhabi to invest $15b in green energy

The U.A.E. is an oil producing nation yet they are investing that kind of money in green energy.
"The evidence is overwhelming that our responsibility must now be balanced by a duty to find new sources of energy, protect the world in which we live and to provide the right legacy for future generations..."
Suppose Bush were to announce a $20 billion initiative that would give $2 billion to the 10 largest cities in America for green energy conversion projects. Exactly, no chance it would ever happen and that is a disgrace. Even oil producing nations are now creating more governemtal initiatives for green energy. Its a sad state of affairs.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Gingerly


The Most Depressing Day of the Year
So, it would be easy to believe the theory set forth by Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher from Cardiff University, that the third Monday of the month (Jan. 21, this year) — a day he calls Blue Monday — will be our most depressing day of the year. Arnall bases his yearly prediction on a formula he developed, which factors in the weather, consumer debt from holiday spending and failed New Year's resolutions and arrives at that conclusion that we'll hit rock bottom on Monday the 21st.
Hey, we're inching our way to spring, the light is getting stronger little by little, every day from here till one year from now will be the last with Bush as President. That alone is cause for optimism.

Long Life


From the BBC: France's oldest WW1 veteran dies
One of the last two surviving French veterans of World War I (Louis de Cazenave) has died at the age of 110.
I like his quote on the value of war -
"War is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify. Nothing," he told Le Monde newspaper in a 2005 interview.

In that interview, he described walking through fields of wounded soldiers calling for their mothers, begging to be finished off.
I think his conviction that peace is of the greatest value is a source of his long life.

More stories on people that lived to be over 100, along with some long life explanations -

100-year-old: Try cold showers for long life
"When my brother in 1918 came home from the army, he said, 'Ed, whenever you take a hot shower, end it with an ice cold one and count to 100.' When your older brother tells you to do something, you do it," Rondthaler said.

Ever since, Rondthaler has finished his morning shower with a long blast of cold water, which he thinks plays at least a small role in keeping him going.
Definitely something invigorating about a cold shower. Interesting notion, I can't recall ever hearing that a cold shower will extend your life. I thought it was supposed to cool you off if you got a little too hot in an unwarranted way i.e. frisky.

Record 20,000-plus Japanese over 100 years old
...Experts say the traditional Japanese diet _ which is low in fatty foods _ helps explain the longevity of people in this country.

But senior citizens interviewed by the nation's media each had their own secret.
Miyuki Iida, 100, credited fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Hongo's 79-year-old daughter was quoted as saying the world's oldest woman ``grew up in a warm household surrounded by her parents and siblings.''
Fatty food are the culprit, but fresh lemon juice and a loving household are supportive.

I suspect that many factors lead to long life, all well integrated and present in those over 100. Its interesting that the World War 1 French soldier, Louis de Cazenave, saw the atrocity of war up close and then chose to find pacifism. Internal peace worked for him.

In America, Veteran, and Homeless


Contrary to the significantly less than truthful claims of the vast right wing noise machine, a new generation of homeless vets emerge
And then self-destruction: He would gun his motorcycle to 100 mph and try to stand on the seat. He would wait for his wife to leave in the morning, draw the blinds and open up whatever bottle of booze was closest.

He would pull out his gun, a .45-caliber, semiautomatic pistol. He would lovingly clean it, or just look at it and put it away. Sometimes place it in his mouth.
The right wing television and radio pundits that deny this problem may very well suffer from this next point found in the article.
Others point to something more difficult to define, something about American culture that - while celebrating and honoring troops in a very real way upon their homecoming - ultimately forgets them.
Forgetting them seems to be key. Its a matter of wanting the scenario to be completely different from reality. How often in the past 5 years of this self destructive war has this been the case. Its forgetting and being blinded by the reality because reality is totally broken.

The pundits are so compelled and driven by their ideological allegiances that reality is masked by a rosy projection of victory and a smug sense of self righteous indignation. The authoritarian is never wrong. If reality interferes, then the hell with reality.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Speculation


With Hillary winning the Nevada caucus, is she now on a roll, "the" roll as it were.

The Nation Magazine is reporting that in spite of Hillary's win in Nevada, Obama may very well end up with more Nevada delegates than Clinton - OBAMA WINS MOST NEVADA DELEGATES...

Clinton is being questioned about a possible Clinton/Obama ticket: Hillary ducks talk of Clinton-Obama presidential ticket
"He is an extraordinary man and he has so much to give our country," Clinton said. "I hope that however it works out that he will be a major figure in American politics for years and years to come."
It makes sense, Clinton/Obama, maybe not in the best way, but it does. Speculation is a fun game.

If only Edwards could pull out a decent win, soon, that's my 2 cents. Corporations won't give Edwards media attention because he threatens corporate power. Who runs America, anyhow.

The Rejected Cartoons

Darker and edgier.

Switch


Guy goes up to Cheney in a Colorado resort area, he pats Cheney on the shoulder and says the war in Iraq is unconscionable, ten minutes later the guy is arrested on an assault charge. The charge is dismissed, now the man is suing the secret service.

From the NYT: Secret Service: Detailed Look at ’06 Turmoil
The arrest of a man named Steven Howards in June 2006 after he approached Vice President Dick Cheney at a Colorado ski resort and denounced the war in Iraq might have seemed, at the time, no more than a blip on the vice president’s schedule.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, contends that the arrest was retaliation for having spoken up.

Fear __ More


This week articles appeared on:

-genetically modified foods, specifically carrots that will provide more calcium in an attempt to alleviate bone diseases like osteoporosis. Simultaneously it was also revealed that calcium supplements may place women at a great risk for heart attacks.

-scientifically modified beings - First animal-human embryo trials to go ahead.

Research is now being conducted to codify fear. The work is attempting to identify the smell of fear ostensibly to use it as a weapon.

Recall that the Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative think tank responsible for the Bush foreign policy agenda of war in the Middle East and many other similarly bad ideas, expressed an interest in creating weapons of this nature.

Pentagon Explores 'Human Fear' Chemicals; Scare-Sensors, 'Contagious' Stress in the Works?
Now, the US Army is trying to track down and harness people's smell of fear. The military has backed a study on the "Identification and Isolation of Human Alarm Pheromones," which "focused on the Preliminary Identification of Steroids of Interest in Human Fear Sweat." The so-called "skydiving protocol" was the researchers' method of choice.
The Project for a New American Century also proposed an army of chemically enhanced soldiers made to be oblivious to fear and wired into vast information grids to provide them with the information necessary to single handedly hold larger tracts of the battlefield.

These things are coming to fruition at a rapid pace.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jellyfish Update


Remember the story about the jellyfish invasion that wiped out a salmon farm in Northern Ireland. That was back in November 07. Here's the latest on those jellyfish.

From the BBC: Ferry study of jellyfish 'threat'
Scientists have posted jellyfish spotters on Irish Sea ferries to study a breed with a painful sting which could swarm along the Welsh coastline.

Known as pelagia noctiluca, they have a wasp-like sting and glow in the dark.

This was the first major infestation of the mauve stingers affecting British waters and scientists suspect that global warming is probably the principle cause.

Smithereens

Riff- G# /C# F#
Verse- G# F#/ C# D#
Chorus- E /D# /E / F#/ C#/ D#/ E /F# /C# /D# / E/ F# C#/
Its the first C# in the chorus that gives it a little kick.

Diving Mutations


Stocks are nose diving. Billions of dollars of value disappear each day. Its like watching the great plains become a dust bowl.

On one level this could help to explain the sullen mood I'm feeling out there. People are a little sticky and depressed, its like an unconscious virus.

People are raised evaluating the world from a materialistic perspective, sometimes overtly and sometimes unconsciously. America is incredibly class conscious. That's how I was raised, its not something I like, or wanted, or try to perpetuate but early on I was vaccinated in this way. I still search out that which is a little more elevated, a little more transcendent, that's a different story. Most people stick with the materialism, that's the dominant mood and its a worldwide shift.

On a completely different but related topic, I don't like seeing Edwards get the shaft, like he is out of contention. He is not. One misstep by number one and/or two and he's very viable. Even Rudy Giuliani is viewed by the media as viable and alive, and he's won nothing, though he might.

Edwards gets the shaft because corporations fear him. I don't see anybody else out there talking about the actual power of corporations. Nobody else would dare bite the hand that feeds them.

Obama on the other hand has lost all credibility with me for his pro-Reagan talk recently. Reagan wrecked so much of that which had value in this country. He accelerated the vast transfer of wealth from the middle and poor class to the wealthy. Things go downhill from Reagan on up.

We understand why Obama would say these things. He is trying to convert Republicans. Its a political tactic. Good luck with that.

I am about as far from an evangelical right wing anti this and that person but this next article is disconcerting.

First animal-human embryo trials to go ahead
Experiments to create Britain’s first embryos that merge human and animal material will begin within months after a Government watchdog today approved two research teams to carry out the controversial work.

Scientists at King’s College London and the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne will now inject human DNA into empty eggs from cows, to create embryos known as cytoplasmic hybrids that are 99.9 per cent human in genetic terms.
They are trying to make this hybrid being seem okay with that 99.9% stuff. Hang on a second, my present understanding is that there is a very slight difference between humans and primates. That 0.1% is a big deal.

Scientists are bored. They are screwing with vegetables, making them richer in nutrients that we probably don't need if we just simply ate well balanced meals. Now they're creating hybrid animal - human beings. They need something/somebody to eat their genetically redesigned vegetables. Nobody else wants to.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Good Bacteria, Good Bacteria


There's a novel that begins with the line, and I paraphrase - I woke up and the news was bleak.

At the moment I don't care who won in Michigan or who will win in Nevada. In time I will. Bush is in the Middle East. There's a poignant picture of Bush crying at the tomb of the unknown oil god in the U.A.E. Bush seems like he is covered in a plaque. His mouth seems stuck and his words are taught and strained.

In spite of the pervasive bleakness there's still sex and yogurt and a few other things. Juicy, life affirming, fluid, creamy, pungent, mind altering, tart, and always on the money, yogurt is back in the news.

Apologies for food blogging. I'm curious to see what kind of ad google will provide.

I like it when science confirms and then reconfirms something that is old world wisdom. Yes, science announces, foods with the good bacteria may very well be good for you. In other words, occasionally eating yogurt is good - who knew.

The experiment begins with mice, yogurt, and amazing ways to measure the chemical composition of mouse matter.

Probiotics 'have effects on gut'
The science of probiotics has been controversial, with suggestions that even the billions of bacteria in a pot of yogurt could not possibly influence the trillions already found in our guts.

However, the mouse research does offer some evidence of an measurable effect, say the researchers.

She added that relatively few people had actually been shown to benefit from probiotics, including people with irritable bowel syndrome, those at risk from travellers' diarrhoea, and patients whose own gut bacteria had been wiped out by antibiotics.
How I make yogurt smoothies:

- Plain yogurt, maybe a cup or so
- Cored apple or cored pear or both, only organic
- Splash of organic fruit juice
- Dollop of almond butter
- Tiny cap full of vanilla extract
- Dash of cinnamon

Everybody goes into the blender and away we go.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Screwed Carrots


Remember how the ads pushed calcium for older women so that they would not suffer from osteoporosis. They emphasized how calcium could prevent the hunched over, bent over worn out old look.

Regard: Study suggests heart risk from calcium supplements
Older women who take calcium supplements to maintain bone strength may have an increased risk of heart attack, researchers in New Zealand said on Tuesday.
Call it the non-truth in advertising.

Along a related and similar line, does anyone besides me find this sort of scientific modification to be a little troubling - Scientists unveil 'supercarrot'
Scientists in the US say they have created a genetically-engineered carrot that provides extra calcium.

They hope that adding the vegetable to a normal diet could help ward off conditions such as brittle bone disease and osteoporosis.
Somebody better get their studies together. Talk about being twisted and tugged in two directions at once. Would you call these carrots, heart attack carrots?

How about this idea, don't screw around with the food, okay, just leave it alone. I don't want your genetically modified monster vegetables. Everything is fine just the way it is. Try eating normal food and leave it at that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apollon on Mandolin

That is a young Victor Borge on piano. The man's hands are a blur.

Ethanol


Part on of President Bush's Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 signed last month in December, requires:
Increasing the supply of alternative fuel sources by setting a mandatory Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel in 2022.
This post will not get into the presumed connections between Bush and the corporations that this act will benefit and how it will benefit those corporations above more progressive and environmentally sound business ventures.

Trying to get ahold of the pros and cons of ethanol is tricky. It all depends on who you ask.

First off ethanol is the same thing as the alcohol which is found in wine, beer, and spirits of all shapes and shades.

Ethanol Fuel
Anhydrous ethanol (ethanol with less than 1% water) can be blended with gasoline in varying quantities up to pure ethanol (E100), and most spark-ignited gasoline style engines will operate well with mixtures of 10% ethanol (E10).[1] Most cars on the road today in the U.S. can run on blends of up to 10% ethanol,[2] and the use of 10% ethanol gasoline is mandated in some cities where harmful levels of auto emissions are possible.[3]
The biggest rap on ethanol is that it would take enormous amounts of corn and other crops to produce anything close to the amounts of gas that we use for transportation. This is the built in structural and logistical flaw. Plus the big agribusiness outfits use oil based fertilizers to grow the corn. So it takes oil to make corn at this level.

Study: Ethanol won't solve energy problems
As far as alternative fuels are concerned, biodiesel from soybeans is the better choice compared with corn-produced ethanol, University of Minnesota researchers concluded in an analysis Monday.

But "neither can replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies," the researchers concluded in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper said development of non-food materials such as switchgrass, prairie grasses and woody plants to produce cellulosic ethanol would be a major improvement with greater energy output and lower environmental impacts.

As a motor fuel, ethanol from corn produces a modest 25% more energy than is consumed — including from fossil fuels — in growing the corn, converting it into ethanol and shipping it for use in gasoline.
Some pros for ethanol from the makers and producers themselves:

United States EnviroFuels, LLC.
Ethanol reduces tailpipe carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 30%.

Ethanol reduces exhaust VOC emissions by 12%.

Ethanol reduces toxic emissions by 30%.

The use of ethanol-blended fuels reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 12-19% compared with conventional gasoline, according to Argonne National Laboratory. In fact, in 2003, ethanol use in the U.S. reduced C02-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5.7 million tons, equal to removing the annual emissions of more than 853,000 cars from the road.

Ethanol reduces the consumer cost of gasoline by extending fuel supplies, and providing a cost-effective way for gasoline marketers to meet octane requirements.
Investigate further at: Renewable Fuels Association and US BioEnergy

Ethanol Producers Magazine
Poet Energy hosted a grand opening ceremony today for the first ethanol plant in Ohio. The $105 million facility, Poet Biorefining–Leipsec, will utilize 22 million bushels of corn from the area to produce 65 million gallons of ethanol and 178,000 tons of distillers grains
US carmaker GM is heating up on ethanol: GM Takes a Stake in Ethanol Maker
GM is so adamant that ethanol can be a good solution that the automaker bought an undisclosed stake in Coskata, a private Warrenville (Ill.) company that claims it has developed an advanced process to make ethanol cheaply.
Finally here is VeraSun on the New York Stock Exchange: VSE. It might be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hedges Unplugged


The present presidential administration certainly has had its ups and downs, although not really that many ups, actually none. This is across the board, in all areas where politics intrudes, spies on, and creates fear in, our lives.

With that introduction, check out this unabashed and ripping article on Bush's Middle East trip by "Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times and author most recently of “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America." I took a few excerpts but the article must be read in its totality to get the full flavor. Hedges does not mince a single word. It is a devastating picture .

The End of the Road for George W. Bush
- The Gilbert and Sullivan charade of statesmanship played out by George W. Bush and his enabler, Condoleezza Rice, as they wander the Middle East is a fitting end to seven years of misrule.

- He will return, I expect, to his ranch, where he will be able to spend the rest of his life doing the only task for which he has shown any aptitude—cutting down brush with a chain saw.

- He may yet rise again to torment us with an attack on Iran, condemning more innocents to slaughter. He and his cigar-smoking soul mate Ehud Olmert would like to go out with one more flash of mayhem and violence. But even this will not ultimately save him.

- But even our allies, including Kuwait and Egypt, know Bush is a danger to himself and others.

- He publicly displayed his inability to connect rhetoric with reality.

- Opinion polls show that two-thirds of Palestinians, and three-fourths of Israelis, do not believe Bush can affect events in the Palestinian territories.

- There are tens of thousands of mute graves in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan that stand as stark testaments to his true legacy. If he wants to redeem his time in office he should kneel before one and ask for forgiveness.

Re-Re-Framed

If you want to see how the Iraq war is being framed in the main stream media, take a look at this article from CNN:

Analysis: Candidates won't risk votes as troops risk lives
For months, it was all the rage on the campaign trail. Democratic contenders never missed a chance to pound on the Bush administration, rip the Republicans and remind voters over and over how badly things were going in Iraq.

Republicans, as often as not, staunchly insisted that distant battles and homeland security went hand-in-hand. Day after day, stop after stop, the war was the focus of all things presidential.

Now, the war is little more than a distant echo in most stump speeches. The Democrats are generally saying little more than "We should get out as soon as we can." The Republicans are hardly mentioning it.
The war is now going along so well that its not even something that candidates are concerned with. Its passe. We are past all of that. The writer continues with:
But why aren't the Democrats talking it up so much anymore?

Simple: The war is going much, much better than it was a year ago -- even a few months ago. You might even say we are winning.
Here is what Ritter wrote about the war and the surge earlier this month. The main stream media which is directed by corporations that appear to have Disney's sense of a happy ending etched into their DNA, is so far off the truth its painful.
The surge addresses events in Iraq based upon short-term objectives (i.e., reducing the immediate level of violence) without resolving any of the deep-seated, long-term issues that promote the violence to begin with. It is like placing a Band-Aid on a gaping chest wound. The pink, frothy blood may not be visible on the surface, but the wound remains as grave as ever, and because it is not being directly attended to, it only gets worse. Eventually the lungs will collapse and the body will die. This is the reality of Iraq today. Thanks to the surge, we do not see the horrific wound that is Iraq for what it truly is. As such, our policies do nothing to cure the problem, and in doing nothing, only make the matter worse.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Theo Jansen

Wonderful designer/kinetic sculptor/engineer

Negative Progress


In December President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Two key points of the bill are -
1. Increasing the supply of alternative fuel sources by setting a mandatory Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring fuel producers to use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuel in 2022.

2. Reducing U.S. demand for oil by setting a national fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 – which will increase fuel economy standards by 40 percent and save billions of gallons of fuel.
Let's focus on point 2 and compare the goal of 35 miles per gallon to what's going on right now in Europe.

From MSNBC: U.S. ‘stuck in reverse’ on fuel economy
...the number of vehicle models sold in the United States that achieve combined gas mileage of at least 40 miles per gallon actually has dropped from five in 2005 to just two in 2007 — the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius hybrid.

... there are 113 vehicles (mostly in Europe) for sale that get a combined 40 mpg, up from 86 in 2005.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that nearly two-thirds of the 113 highly fuel-efficient models that are unavailable to American consumers are either made by U.S.-based automobile manufacturers or by foreign manufacturers with substantial U.S. sales operations, such as Nissan and Toyota.
A few questions come to mind.

Only 2 cars in 2007 with decent gas mileage - how did the auto and oil industry allow this obscenity? No cars, zero, must have been the goal.

Why did Bush sign this act in December of 2007 when he could have waited till October of 2008 to sign thereby wasting his entire 8 year Presidency with respect to fuel efficiency?

Why was the restrictive date of 2020 placed in the act? An open ended date would be far more convenient for American car manufacturers, (they need time to adjust to this new fangled gas mileage thing) and certainly the oil industry would benefit from more open ended years of the gas guzzling frenzy.

The cynic might even think it was a deliberate stalling tactic in order to gather more profit for the oil companies. Realistically, 35 miles per gallon by 2020, WOW, in 12 years we will almost be where many countries were years ago in fuel efficiency.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nothing Happened

Abu Ghraib conviction dismissed
Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan was cleared this week of any criminal wrongdoing by Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe, commander of the Military District of Washington. Jordan was instead given an administrative reprimand, a blot on his record.

Barring any startling new information, the decision means no officers or civilian leaders will be held criminally responsible for the prisoner abuse that embarrassed the U.S. military and inflamed the Muslim world.
I guess that wraps that up. Turns out it was just a few low level rogue military personnel with a whimsy for college kid pranks. Oh yeah, and a pin pointed exacting ability to find the most culturally and religiously degrading experiences for the Muslim prisoners. Oh yeah, and a remarkable ability to use some of the most intense torture methods ever devised like self induced pain in conjunction with sensory deprivation. What are the odds?.

On Cue

Pakistan's President Tells US It Is Not Welcome to Join Fight Against al-Qaida
Musharraf warned in an interview published Friday that Pakistan would resist any unilateral military action by the United States against militants sheltering in its lawless, tribal regions close to the Afghan border.

"I challenge anybody coming into our mountains," he told Singapore's The Straits Times in the interview notable for its unusually strident language. "They would regret that day."
Interpretation: After consulting with Washington on the need to present himself as a patriotic Pakistani and to help him gather support in a shaken country, Musharraf was allowed to make this threatening statement.

Illusion

video

Deja Vu All Over Again


From CNN: Poll: New Hampshire win rockets McCain to front-runner status
McCain has the support of 34 percent of registered Republicans in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey out Friday. That's a 21-point jump from the last CNN/Opinion Research poll, taken in December, well before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary earlier this month.
First off, why is this blog bothering to post on the Republicans - Because history has clearly and unambiguously shown that in a national election, don't count out the lesser candidate. There are too many voting booth discrepancies of the man made variety which can destroy the assumption that the obvious superior candidate will win. In other words, this guy could very well end up as the next president.

The Republicans, just like their Democratic enemies across the aisle, vote for the insider, the electable known quantity. McCain fits this bill in spades (and here I thought it was Romney). We are talking about the party of the 'imagination challenged.' Would all those pistol popping anti-immigration pro-war etc etc angry white guys vote for McCain. Its a rhetorical question.

We can also let out a slight sigh of relief because the same poll has Giuliani even further down the pack now.

Hopefully this poll, unlike most recent polls, actually has some degree of truth to it. The present rule would be to take all polls with a grain of salt, especially as they are manipulated by the MSM for some CEO's desired effect.

Clinton versus McCain, this is really the best we can do? Excuse me, I need to cry.

Fraying at the Collar


Listening to the local NPR station yesterday, there was a story on rise in poverty in the families' of elementary school students in Springfield Massachusetts. I located the article from which the report was derived.

Poverty soaring for area students
The percent of school children living in poverty has grown significantly over the last five years in Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee (all in Massachusetts) and more than a dozen other school districts in the Connecticut River Valley, according to new figures from the U.S. Census bureau.

However, area school officials said they rely on the number of children who qualify for free or reduced cost lunches in their districts as a measure of poverty in their schools, and based on those figures, the federal numbers grossly underestimate the problem.
Here are a few more related articles on this same rise in poverty. When I did a search on the issue I was knocked over.

Poverty figures: Helpless children are the victims
It is absolutely appalling to hear Census figures showing that as of 2005, 35 percent of El Paso children ages 5 through 17 come from families living in poverty.
Census shows rise in Iowa poverty rates
Iowa grew poorer over the first five years of the decade, a trend that's more dramatic in some areas and includes middle-class incomes.
Is the economy starting to catch up to the Bush years in office.
The US jobless rate rose to 5.0 per cent last month from 4.7 per cent in November, a government report showed last Friday, the largest monthly rise since October 2001, shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The report stirred fears the US economy might be falling into a recession, if not already in one, and led financial markets to raise bets that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates by a hefty half a percentage point at a meeting on January 29-30.
Source
If you read the following article, you will see that one of Bush's points to stimulate the economy is to provide tax cuts to corporations. The Democrats are willing to concede. Always important that the rich get richer in a recession.

From the NY Times: Bush and Congress Seen Pushing for Stimulus Plan
In a fresh sign of the possibility of an agreement on a roughly $100 billion package of tax cuts and spending to spur the economy, Nancy Pelosi of California, the speaker of the House, and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, wrote to President Bush on Friday saying, “We want to work with you.”

Mr. Bernanke (Head of the Fed) laid out a bleak picture of the economy on Thursday and suggested that the Fed would cut interest rates soon. That has made it more acceptable for lawmakers to discuss the need for actions to avoid being blamed for failing to respond.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dollar


From the BBC: Rolls-Royce set to cut 2,300 jobs
The job losses come as the firm seeks to ward off the impact of high raw material prices and a weak dollar.

The cuts will affect the company's operations in the UK, US, Germany and the Nordic countries, the firm said.
Rolls Royce has companies in China, India, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore as well. Notice any difference in the areas where the cuts are taking place versus where they are not. Perhaps the cost of labor and all of those implications might have something to do with it. Just a guess.

Speaking of a weak dollar, here's an article on the dollar's slide. It seems to hit at a few strategic points.

From Business Day (from October 2007): The dollar woes deepens
The recent weakness in the dollar has come as a result of the weak economic data emanating from the US. For instance, employment data for August reported a net decline in jobs for the first time in four years. As a result, the US Federal Reserve (Central Bank) cuts interest rate by half percentage points to 4.75 per cent. This weak economic data itself is a result of the uncertainty surrounding the US economy after the sub prime mortgage problems that led to the squeeze in credit around the globe.

One of the good that has come from the weak dollar is its impact on American export. There are signs that exports have risen as sales to European destination have grown significantly in the last quarter.

This uncertainty that volatility brings, if persist, may lead to significant reduction in international trade and investment, and may also slow the growth in the world economy, as reported last week.

Since the weakness in the dollar is expected to lead to increase in exports and help the recovery of the American economy, and also narrow the US trade deficit, it is no wonder that analysts are considering the trade-off between a strong dollar and a recession in the US. To an extent, there is clearly a trade-off because America currently needs a weak dollar to expand its exports, and help prevent the economy from sliding into recession.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sustain


Interesting article on the upcoming/present recession. In this excerpt, the term sustainable is used to describe a possible and perhaps even a desirable economy.

We use the term sustainable to designate energy systems and food systems but this is in regard to an entire economy.

It is almost un-American to think of a sustainable economy in the US. This is the land of opportunity meaning possibility to get rich usually off of someone else's labor. Can we imagine America land of sustainability - not in the near future although many would appreciate it, maybe even crave it.

Recession--Who Cares? by Barbara Ehrenreich
What is this fixation on growth anyway? As a general rule of biological survival, any creature or entity that depends on perpetual growth is well worth avoiding, lest you be eaten alive. As Bill McKibben argues in his book Deep Economy, the "cult of growth" has led to global warming, ghastly levels of pollution, and diminishing resources. Tumors grow, at least until they kill their hosts; economies ought to be sustainable.

Out of Control


More over the top behavior from Blackwater in Iraq.

From the NYTimes: 2005 Use of Gas by Blackwater Leaves Questions
Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.

Tata

The 21st largest car manufacturer is Tata Motors. Tata is based in India and has been in business since the 1940's. Note: the company website is a little sluggish in loading.

Tata Motors

Tata Nano

According to the BBC, Tata has unveiled the world's cheapest car - $2,467!
The Indian automaker will launch its $2,467 vehicle by the third quarter of 2008 and may unveil it at January's Auto Expo in New Delhi, Managing Director Ravi Kant said.

Separately, Tata Motors is developing a line of small hatchbacks and midsize sedans to be introduced next year. India produces 1.3 million cars a year. With the market growing at 10% to 12% per year, this could reach 3 million within a decade.
Source
Investors take note.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Richardson Exits


Definitely one of the better second tire candidates - it just was not in the cards.

Richardson ends presidential bid
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his campaign for the presidency Wednesday after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals' star power.

Richardson planned to announce the decision Thursday, according to two people close to the governor with knowledge of the decision. They spoke on a condition of anonymity in advance of the governor's announcement.

And the War Continues On...

Six US troops die in Iraq blast
Six US soldiers have been killed in a blast in an explosives-rigged house in Iraq's troubled Diyala province, the US military has said.

Credit Card Debt Rises

Credit Card Debt Soars as House Prices Plunge
-The Federal Reserve Board reported yesterday that credit card debt rose at an 11.3 percent annual rate in November after rising at an 8.5 percent rate in October.

-The explanation for this surge in credit card debt is that millions of homeowners are losing the ability to borrow against their home.

-Millions of households will soon have little choice but to sharply curtail their consumption.

-...house prices in the aggregate index were dropping at an annual rate of 11.7 percent in the three months from July to October. At this pace, households will lose more than $2.2 trillion in housing wealth over the next year. Some of the really big losers in the latest data were Las Vegas,...San Diego,...and Miami...
How Can I Reduce Credit Card Debt?
-The most important step you must take to reduce credit card debt is to stop using your credit cards.

-Cut up all of your credit cards so they're not available.

-... look into new credit card offers that offer no or low interest on starting balances.