Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Real McCain

Crooked Talking Flip Flopper

Bear Sterns

Reuters: JPMorgan completes takeover of Bear Stearns
JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Saturday it completed its $1.4 billion Bear Stearns Cos takeover...

Weakened by its massive exposure to mortgage markets and the embarrassing blow-up of two of its hedge funds, Bear was driven to the brink of bankruptcy in March by traders who drained about $17 billion of the firm's cash in a matter of days.

...backed by a Federal Reserve bailout of $30 billion in Bear assets.

...Bear employees, who collectively held 33 percent of the firm's stock and saw billions of dollars in their personal wealth wiped out.
That $30 billion is taxpayer money. The money backs some very questionable securities that may or may not be of any value, with 'may not' as the probable. If they are of no value then, the taxpayer will lose $29 billion on this deal.
The Fed has extended a loan, not given away money. The central bank has agreed to lend JPMorgan $29 billion as an enticement to buy the troubled Bear and its liabilities. As collateral, JPMorgan is putting up $30 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities and other complex investments, which are basically the most problematic assets on Bear's books. JPMorgan has to repay the Fed loan with interest at the "discount rate," which is currently 2.5 percent.

The risk to the Fed—and to taxpayers—is what happens to those troubled securities, which the Fed is essentially insuring. If they end up being completely worthless, then the Fed would be out the whole $29 billion. Under the terms of the deal, JPMorgan would pony up the first $1 billion in losses. source

Less Death For Now

AP: Iraq deaths down, but for how long?
U.S. military deaths plunged in May to the lowest monthly level in more than four years and civilian casualties were down sharply, too, as Iraqi forces assumed the lead in offensives in three cities and a truce with Shiite extremists took hold.

But many Iraqis as well as U.S. officials and private security analysts are uncertain whether the current lull signals a long-term trend or is simply a breathing spell like so many others before.

U.S. commanders also warn the relative peace is fragile because no lasting political agreements have been reached among the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities.

Extra-Solar Power


Energy articles are plentiful lately.

We've looked at wind, solar, wave, nuclear, ethanol, bio-diesel, coal, oil, and natural gas.

We've looked at energy from all different angles such as economic markets, investment strategies, food, transportation, efficiency, etc etc.

CNN reports on the race for solar power captured in space and beamed to earth.

From the Sun's perspective, Earth is a barely visible speck, if that.

From that perspective, the potential for solar power in space is unlimited.

CNN: How to harvest solar power? Beam it down from space!
...another solution for India's chronic electricity shortage (is) one that does not involve power plants on the ground but instead massive sun-gathering satellites in geosynchronous orbits 22,000 miles in the sky.

The satellites would electromagnetically beam gigawatts of solar energy back to ground-based receivers, where it would then be converted to electricity and transferred to power grids. And because in high Earth orbit, satellites are unaffected by the earth's shadow virtually 365 days a year, the floating power plants could provide round-the-clock clean, renewable electricity.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Green Oil

Wired.com: Making Renewable, Carbon-Neutral Oil — From Algae
San Diego start-up says it is using algae to make oil that can be refined into gasoline and other fuels that are both renewable and carbon-neutral, and it plans to produce 10,000 barrels a day within five years.

That's a fraction of the 20 million or so barrels of petroleum the United States consumes each day, but Sapphire Energy says "green crude" production could ramp up to a level sufficient to ease our dependence on foreign oil, if not end it altogether.
Wow

On the web: Sapphire Energy
Sonoma, California – May 28, 2008 – Sapphire Energy announced today they have produced renewable 91 octane gasoline that conforms to ASTM certification, made from a breakthrough process that produces crude oil directly from sunlight, CO2 and photosynthetic microorganisms, beginning with algae.

“Sapphire’s goal is to be the world’s leading producer of renewable petrochemical products,” said CEO and co-founder Jason Pyle, speaking from the influential Simmons Alternative Energy Conference. “Our goal is to produce a renewable fuel without the downsides of current biofuel approaches.

“Sapphire Energy was founded on the belief that the only way to cure our dependence on foreign oil and end our flirtation with ethanol and biodiesel is through radical new thinking and a commitment to new technologies.”

The end result — high-value hydrocarbons chemically identical to those in gasoline — will be entirely compatible with the current energy infrastructure from cars to refineries and pipelines.

Not biodiesel, not ethanol. And no crops or farm land required.

McClellan - Olberman Interview

Kennedy

AP: Ailing Kennedy fading as top target for right wing
Republicans have raised many millions of dollars over the past three decades just invoking the name of Ted Kennedy.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., was their poster child for liberals, the quintessential Washington tax-and-spender, a left-wing caricature to his conservative detractors.

But branding someone a "Ted Kennedy liberal" is slowly fading from the political lexicon.

Betty Blue Strips

Betty Blue provides America with 1950's cheesecake.

Poor Betty realizes she is all alone. Well what does a poor girl do when she's all alone? She strips of course.

The 1950's, where pathos and sexuality are always in black and white.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Schadenfreude


Schadenfreude
- a malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others
- pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.
From Wikipedia:
The word derives from Schaden (damage, harm) and Freude (joy); Schaden derives from the Middle High German schade, from the Old High German scado. Freude comes from the Middle High German vreude, from the Old High German frewida, from frō, (happy). In German, the word always has a negative connotation. A distinction exists between "secret schadenfreude" (a private feeling) and "open schadenfreude" (Hohn, a German word roughly translated as "scorn") which is outright public derision.

Military Tragedy

US soldier suicides the highest on record: army
The US Army said 115 soldiers on active duty committed suicide in 2007, the most in one year since the service began keeping records in 1980. Nearly a thousand soldiers attempted suicide.

The spike came in a year that saw the highest US casualties in Iraq and increased levels of violence in Afghanistan, but officials said the trend has continued into 2008.

Mixed on McCain

Long story short, conservatives like McCain's health care plan, but dislike his wild carbon emissions plan.

On the other hand, we don't really want him for president at all.

The New York Sun: Conservatives Mixed on Top McCain Policies
On health care... Mr. McCain's plan...encourages the purchase of private insurance by offering $5,000 refundable tax credits to families and eliminating the provision that exempts employer-provided health benefits from income taxes.

...Mr. McCain's proposal on climate change...calls for a cap-and-trade program to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Under the plan, the government would impose a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and companies would be able to buy and sell permits for emissions that exceed the cap.

McClellan on NBC

McClellan Attacked

The talking heads trip themselves up over McClellan. He is nothing more than a lashing out disrespectful, appalling, ninny head or so says predictable right wing lock step Gergan.

I love it, nothing is more fun than watching the right wing rip up the right wing. As usual its a personal attack and not anything about the facts.

This is the right wing staple tactic. Don't worry about the facts, you can spin the facts, always attack the messenger, always.

At least we know what the media will be presenting all day long.

Days Left in Office

235

Sleepwalk

Santo & Johnny **** four stars - Sande

Even within some of the gaudier American quasi-cultural strains artists can find stunning and languishing uniqueness if one is willing to make the plunge.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Reaction to McClellan

No surprise here, the right wing reacts to McClellan's swipe at the White House.

The reactions came from the usual suspects, Rove, Ari Fleischer, the White House itself, and certainly many more are sure to follow.

The talking point appears to be that Scott McClellan is crazed, its really that simple.

Its fun watching Fleischer weasel out of his own statements.

"The information (on Iraq) was not correct but that doesn't make it propaganda, something is really not right here." We know Ari, we know...

The funny thing is, what face is the White House trying to save? What reputation are they trying to salvage? It only getting worse for team Bush, its not getting any better fellas. He's lucky if his approval stays at 28%.

One final observation - how do these guys all of a sudden appear all over the TV News shows on Wednesday with news of McClellan's book made more public. They are more visible than cow patties in a pasture. Who is the central organizer who dictates the talking points and keeps the thing in line. I'm betting on Rove...

Cluster Bomb Ban Progress

Britain to scrap all cluster bombs: PM
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Wednesday that Britain will scrap all cluster bombs in its arsenal...

Notably absent from the Dublin conference (a gathering of countries to ban cluster bombs) -- even in an observer capacity -- are China, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia and the United States, all major producers and stockpilers.
Shame on the USA for using cluster bombs, and shame on the Bush administration for not doing anything whatsoever to halt their use.

Ex Presidential Spokesman on Iraq Lies

CNN: Ex-Bush spokesman: President used 'propaganda' to push war
The spokesman who defended President Bush's policies through Hurricane Katrina and the early years of the Iraq war is now blasting his former employers, saying the Bush administration became mired in propaganda and political spin and at times played loose with the truth.

...Bush "and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war."
The left, the center, and even fringes of the right are all too aware of Bush's "non-truths" surrounding the Iraq war/occupation.

We do not need to point out that the vast majority of Americans want out.

In a time of civility and rule by law, Bush goes to jail. In a time of elitist cronyism and Republican/neocon dirty tricks, Bush goes on a multi-million dollar speaking tour after he walks away from his mess.

Getting Tough on Cheney

This seems amusing.

Bill O bastes and lambastes Vice President Cheney for wearing a cowboy hat at the Coast Guard graduation speech.

Let it never, ever be known or even implied that the right does not get tough with the right. The tongue lashing that Cheney receives would drop an elephant. When there is an issue that needs to be addressed and corrected, clearly Bill O is right there with stern, yet fair admonition.

We can imagine poor Mr. Cheney weeping like a little child when he hears how his virulent apparel choices have been mocked and rejected by the famed media personality.

The sheer horror of it all....

Elvis and the Beastie Boys

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Less Driving

The Department of Transportation said Monday it had seen the sharpest monthly drop in driving since it began keeping records. In March, Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March of 2007. source
This seems like good news...

McCain Gets an Earful

McCain meets with war protesters at a stump speech.

McCain proves to be Bush's equal on war matters. His insistence on remaining in Iraq is disheartening and without merit.

McCain borrows from the same talking point memo as Bush, "I will never surrender." That's fine, but exactly who or what would he in fact surrender to? We don't know how to answer that, but neither does McCain.

PTSD

The veterans suffering from PTSD deserve the best treatment available.

The troops in Iraq need to come home now. Every soldier affected with PTSD should pay George Bush a little visit down in Crawford.

AP: Wartime PTSD cases jumped roughly 50 pct. in 2007
The number of troops with new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder jumped by roughly 50 percent in 2007 amid the military buildup in Iraq and increased violence there and in Afghanistan.

Records show roughly 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with the illness, also known as PTSD, since 2003. Officials believe that many more are likely keeping their illness a secret.

Older and Wiser

The New York Times seems to be outdoing itself today.

I am not a fan of the paper, how could I be with Kristol and Brooks on the payroll.

Nevertheless, this is fun...

NYT: Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain
When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.
So now I know why I forget details...

Lotus Therapy


Every so often, there will appear a mainstream article on meditation usually within the context of it being used as an adjunct to psychotherapy or in and of itself as a therapeutic method.

This is fine. One thing that people tend to ignore is simply the possibility of developing a meditation practice for the purpose of benefiting themselves and the people around them who will eventually find a person who is less of a dickhead.

Meditation is therapeutic but its also a spiritual practice. Perhaps our culture has some sorting out to do because it could be that the two meet and share the same goals.

This article appears in the New York Times. I've taken a few excerpts including a simple instruction for practicing mindfulness.

The editors of Sande approve this message....

NYT: Lotus Therapy
...focused awareness and mental catch-and-release of emotions has become perhaps the most popular new psychotherapy technique of the past decade. Mindfulness meditation, as it is called, is rooted in the teachings of a fifth-century B.C. Indian prince, Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. It is catching the attention of talk therapists of all stripes, including academic researchers, Freudian analysts in private practice and skeptics who see all the hallmarks of another fad.

In the 1990s, Dr. Linehan published a series of studies finding that a therapy that incorporated Zen Buddhist mindfulness, “radical acceptance,” practiced by therapist and patient significantly cut the risk of hospitalization and suicide attempts in the high-risk patients.

Mindfulness meditation is easy to describe. Sit in a comfortable position, eyes closed, preferably with the back upright and unsupported. Relax and take note of body sensations, sounds and moods. Notice them without judgment. Let the mind settle into the rhythm of breathing. If it wanders (and it will), gently redirect attention to the breath. Stay with it for at least 10 minutes.

After mastering control of attention, some therapists say, a person can turn, mentally, to face a threatening or troubling thought — about, say, a strained relationship with a parent — and learn simply to endure the anger or sadness and let it pass, without lapsing into rumination or trying to change the feeling, a move that often backfires.

Oil, Gas Pipelines, and Nuclear Power in Europe

How is Europe dealing with energy particularly oil, gas, and nuclear with a larger crisis looming.

France is a world leader in nuclear power. Italy may follow, but that would take 10 years. There is no mention of wind and solar in this clip.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Enjoy the Holiday


The blog will resume on Tuesday.

Have a great holiday and don't eat too much BBQ'd tofu...

Without All That Stuff


One of the messages that we are reading lately deals with strategies for how to live in our changing economic times.

With a dollar that is losing value, saving money is imperative. With fuel costs seeing new unchartered highs, understanding energy consumption is as important as money.

The suggestions include -

Reducing credit card debt and debt in general. I have first hand experience here. Last year I moved my credit card debt to a one year interest free deal. In that time I've cut the balance more than in half. The payments are significantly smaller and I plan to be credit card debt free shortly. I probably will not keep a credit card in the future.

Reducing monthly expenses. Certainly credit card debt is part of that but there is paring down expenses. Simple home improvements that reduce fuel bills is a good one along with the possibility of doing it yourself. If you need help just ask, I've worked construction for over 25 years.

Somewhere in here is my reiteration that bicycles are a great way to get around.

This letter from the New York Times describes a more severe approach.

NYT: A New Freedom, Without All That Stuff
My wife and I gave almost all our possessions away seven years ago when I retired. We packed the rest in our old Plymouth minivan and hit the road.

We’ve been on it ever since, living everywhere from Amherst to Tucson and staying for months on end in cheap motels and cooking our meals on a hot plate. I even wrote a book about it.

Living simply and without truckloads of material things is easier than you might think and more gratifying than we ever imagined.
Clearly many people can't do this and many wouldn't even want to. Also with gas rising in price with the numbers $12 and $15 per gallon being thrown around by the talking media experts, this particular strategy may not be viable on a fixed income. But maybe some are attracted.

The idea of a smaller one story home with solar panels and excellent insulation, the living off the grid scenario appeals to me.

Hallelujah

K.D. Lang is a singer's singer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Gay Marriage

I saw this over at Crooks and Liars.

Of all people, it turns out that Jesse Ventura has reasonable thoughts on marriage.
"Love is bigger than government. Who the hell are we as a government to tell people who you can fall in love with. I think its absurd the fact that its even being debated. We can solve the problem simply. Government only acknowledges civil unions then you don't have to put your sex down. Let the churches acknowledge marriage, they're the private sector. If they don't want to acknowledge it, they have every right to do so. How on earth can we even entertain the fact that government should have the ability to tell you as an individual who you can fall in love with - ridiculous." Jesse Ventura

Another Take on Oil and Energy

The clip is from earlier in the week with oil at a mere $127 per barrel.

Boone Pickens, BP Exec on oil -

Get a Bike


When the price of gas hits $15, maybe city councils in the USA will start wising up.

The bicycle is where it's at. I ride all the time, have been for the last 35 years. I do most of my to work riding on a bike. If I can do it, anybody can.

Green a City: The Future of Carbon-Free Transport: Groningen, Netherlands
Groningen. This Dutch city of 185,000 proves that bicycle transportation can reign supreme: people there make about 150,000 trips by bicycle every day.

Bicycles and pedestrians entirely rule the medieval-era city hub, cruising along on car-free dedicated pathways and short cuts with no traffic signals in some instances. But people also commute on bikes in large numbers from suburban housing spread out around the city to downtown jobs, via a ring-and-spoke network of paths. Overall, 37 percent of area commutes are made on bikes.

Mass Arrest

The Iraq war/occupation media reports are getting rare.

Yet the battles continue. The mass punishment approach is still used.

Gulf News: US, Iraq troops arrest hundreds of Shiites
Baghdad: More than 400 people in southwest Baghdad's Shiite neighbourhoods have been arrested, witnesses said.

A spokesman for the Shiite movement of cleric Moqtada Al Sadr said that US and Iraqi soldiers arrested the Shiites during a raid in a mosque in Al Amal.

Some of those arrested were old men or teenagers.

"Iraqi and US soldiers picked up more than 400 people...including old men and even children," said Sadr movement spokesman Hamadallah Al Rikabi.

He said there were no search warrants presented during the raid.

Army spokesman Qassim Atta confirmed the search operation, but said troops only arrested “wanted suspects” and seized several caches of arms and explosives.

Empire at a Loss

Tomdispatch: Michael Schwartz, The Loss of an Imperial Dream
In Washington, for Democratic as well as Republican politicians, the outpost idea remains at the heart of the policy agenda for Iraq in this election year, along with a neoliberal economy featuring a modernized oil sector in which multinational firms are to use state-of-the-art technology to maximize the country's lagging oil production.

Iraqi resistance of every kind and on every level has, however, prevented this vision from becoming reality. Because of the Iraqis, the glorious sounding Global War on Terror has been transformed into an endless, hopeless actual war.

But the Iraqis have paid a terrible price for resisting. The invasion and the social and economic policies that accompanied it have destroyed Iraq, leaving its people essentially destitute. In the first five years of this endless war, Iraqis have suffered more for resisting than if they had accepted and endured American military and economic dominance. Whether consciously or not, they have sacrificed themselves to halt Washington's projected military and economic march through the oil-rich Middle East on the path to a new American Century that now will never be.

Political Irony

NYT: Clinton Remark on Robert Kennedy’s Killing Stirs Uproar
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defended staying in the Democratic nominating contest on Friday by pointing out that her husband had not wrapped up the nomination until June 1992, adding, “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”
There is the suggestion from the Clinton campaign that there might be a slip up from Obama that would sink his presidential aspiration. The slip up would clear the way for the "rightful" nominee, Hillary.

Unfortunately she has made a magnificent screw up of her own with this Bobby Kennedy remark. Clinton sounds like she is getting her talking points from Coulter.

Now from the point of view of her intent, it is correct. She is trying to point out that the process can go on until June and therefor why should she quit now.

There is the piranha factor. The media and her opposition are jumping all over this like a fallen deer in lion country.

As a result Clinton appears slightly crazed as her ambition seems to overwhelm her reasonable judgment.

She's toast.

Gassy


AP: What makes up the price of gas?
The biggest factor...is the historic ascent of crude oil, which has surged...to more than $135 this past week...

The rest is a complex mix of factors, from the cost of turning oil into gas to taxes to marketing costs to, sometimes, nothing more than the competitive whims of your local gas station owner.

Blame the falling dollar. Oil is priced in U.S. dollars, and the weaker the dollar gets, the more attractive dollar-denominated oil contracts are to foreign investors—or any investor looking for a safe haven in the turbulent stock market.
You might ask, why is the dollar so weak. This NYT article pins the blame on Bush.

NYT: A Weak Dollar and the Fed
The answer is rooted in the Bush administration’s misguided economic policies.

Over the last several years, America’s imbalances in trade and other global transactions have worsened dramatically, requiring the United States to borrow billions of dollars a day from abroad just to balance its books.

The only lasting way to fix the imbalances — and reduce that borrowing — is to increase America’s savings. But the administration has steadfastly rejected that responsible approach since it would require rolling back excessive tax cuts and engaging in government-led health care reform to rein in looming crushing costs — both, anathema to President Bush. It would also require revamping the nation’s tax incentives so that they create new savings by typical families, instead of new shelters for the existing wealth of affluent families — another nonstarter for this White House.

Stymied by what it won’t do, the administration has gone for a quicker fix — letting the dollar slide. A weaker dollar helps to ease the nation’s imbalances by making American exports more affordable, thus narrowing the trade deficit.

But to be truly effective, a weaker dollar must be paired with higher domestic savings. Otherwise, the need to borrow from abroad remains large, even as a weakening currency makes dollar-based debt less attractive. That’s the trap the nation is slipping into today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Props to NO Prop


LA Times: House aims at Pentagon 'propaganda' on Iraq war - An amendment to a defense policy bill would forbid efforts to plant upbeat news stories.
The House of Representatives moved Thursday to crack down on a Pentagon program that Democrats say planted false and overly optimistic news stories about the Iraq war, using military analysts who appeared regularly on television.

Acting on a 2009 defense policy bill, lawmakers forbade the Defense Department from engaging in "a concerted effort to propagandize" the American people over the war.
Its the Congressional to Pentagon version of truth in advertising.

Sell people tobacco, but make sure you tell them they can get all sorts of god awful cancer, all sorts of major health issues, and that its addictive. Do not tell them cigarettes will make you healthy. (Advertisers did do this in the 50s.)

Now, its sell people war, but tell them that your reasons for undertaking the war are sketchy, the results are questionable, and its probably going to cost years worth of treasure in people and money. Do not tell them it will stop terrorism, that it will pay for itself, that it will be short and sweet, that the end product will create a civil democratic society, and that if you object to this pretext then you might be a terrorist - do not say these things because you are essentially clueless and have ulterior and secret motives.

In Dreams

Roy Orbison

Grasshopper Robot

Indonesia

AP: Indonesia raises fuel prices by nearly 30%+
The Indonesian government raised fuel prices Friday by an average 28.7 percent amid nationwide protests against the step.

The World Bank has said that the number of people classified as being poor in Indonesia reached almost 50 percent of the total population of 220 million in 2005.

(Indonesia is) the world's fourth most populous country.

Latest Obama - Clinton Gossip

Swiftboating Obama

Solari

From a deep operative -

Catherine Austin Fitts is an investment advisor, entrepreneur, former assistant secretary of housing, and an investment banker.

Solari navigating towards a financially intimate world

Sande highly recommends this clip, its long and its extremely informative about the present state of the economy and how to chart it out for yourself.



When I was a child growing up in the 1950's at 48th and Larchwood in West Philadelphia, the Solari Index was 100 percent. It was unthinkable that a child was not safe running up to the stores on Spruce Street for a popsicle and some pin ball. The Dow Jones was about 500, the Solari Index was 100 percent and our debt per person was very low. Of course I did not think about it that way at the time. All I knew was that life on the street with my buddies was sweet.

Today, the Dow Jones is over 9,000, debt per person is over $100,000 and the my favorite hairdresser in Philadelphia, Al at the Hair Hut in West Philadelphia, and I just had a debate yesterday afternoon while Al was cutting my hair about whether the Solari Index in my old neighborhood was 0 percent (my position) or 10 percent (Al's position). Men always think it is higher than women.

Despite the boy-girl spread between us, it is fair to say that Al and I agree that the Solari Index is in the tank ---both in the streets of Philadelphia and throughout America.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clinton as VP

Cafferty reports on a push for Clinton as VP -

Innocent

Yahoo: US strike on al-Qaida kills children
AP Television News footage showed the bodies of three children in blood-drenched clothes — the eldest appearing to be in his early teens — along with the bodies of five men, at the hospital in Beiji, where the dead were taken after Wednesday evening's strike.

Withdrawal Before Success

President Bush recently said -
"Withdrawal before success would send a signal to terrorists and extremists across the world that America is weak and does not have the stomach for a long fight..."

"Withdrawal before success would be catastrophic for our country..."
Fortunately additional comments would seem to indicate which success we are actually talking about - Petraeus may urge troop cutbacks in September
The top US commander in Iraq said Thursday he expects to recommend further cuts in US forces in Iraq before he relinquishes command in September because of improved security.
It appears everything will be wrapped up just in time for the election - Gates says Iraq 'endgame' in sight, but warns against hasty pullout
- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the "endgame" is now in sight in Iraq but warned of the costly consequences of withdrawing US forces too hastily.
The messages are coming through loud and clear, the end/victory is in sight, and it will coincidentally occur just before Election Day.

Is this October surprise part one...

Scramble


CNN: Detroit lags Honda in hybrid race - U.S. automakers scramble as demand shifts to fuel-efficient vehicles, while rival Honda develops low-cost hybrids for 2009.
Analysts say the new (Honda) hybrids, including a gas-electric hybrid-only model to fight the popular Toyota Prius and a hybrid version of the subcompact Fit, will hit the market at the right time, with gasoline prices continuing to rise.

"It's a game-changer for the short term if they can get the products in the marketplace in the next couple of years before the domestics can come up with a significant volume of products that get high mileage..."
Who is running Detroit?

You would have to be completely incapacitated to not see this coming. I should be working for Detroit, you should be working for Detroit. Its exasperating.

$135

AP: Oil climbs to record above $135
Oil prices hit a record above $135 a barrel before falling back in Asia Thursday, with supply worries, rising global demand and a slumping dollar keeping crude futures on an upward track.
Oil is up $6 over a 48 hour span.

High profile financial elites mention that oil is overpriced. Recall that the Fed issued rather anemic news about the American economy on Wednesday. The Fed revised its anemic figures from February about the GDP, unemployment, and inflation with figures that are more problematic.

If the 'slumping' dollar is cited as a reason for the increase in oil per barrel, then why would there be a drop in oil, the dollar would continue to 'slump' in a weak economy.

In other words, why wouldn't $200 per barrel oil be much closer than 2009.

Bush leaves office on an amazing bang -
* barely any growth in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 2000 (and who knows, it could fall further.)
* an endless war with Iraq falling into nothing short of a society in total deprivation
* oil at $200 per barrel (does anyone think this is unthinkable?)
* rising percentages of homeownership in disarray with foreclosures at record highs (as one deep operative pointed out, did Bush allow the financial industry to indulge in catastrophic mortgage lending practices in order to maintain a sense of prosperity while embarking on the disastrous shock and awe course.)
* inflation on the rise and rising. (will we see white flight back to the cities in order to lower transport costs and will we see increased mass transport as the people with marginal incomes lose purchasing ability with high priced gas, not to mention more hunger with rising food prices.)
* unemployment on the rise. You can't sustain a low GDP with full employment.
* a massive deficit.
* and the topper - a desired war with Iran.

There is a simple fear that I want to reiterate. Obama comes into a massive mess. He spends 4 years with initiatives in an attempt to hold back the tsunami. He falters, the tsunami is too huge. The American public in its 'wisdom' picks a new Republican president in 2012. The new Republican is another outright neo-con yet more vigilant than Bush, because there are no more moderate Republicans.

Obama Attacks McCain

Obama talks up McCain as Bush's third term and takes swipes at McCain's war and economic policies.

Get used to it...

The Wizards of Money


From a deep operative -

The Wizards of Money

A series of MP3 files on the global monetary system, commercial banking system, and traditional economic theory from a Wall Street finance insider. The analysis is progressive.
Humans have inherited a monetary system that fueled the industrial revolution, lost its commodity backing during the Vietnam War and now travels by the trillions, over millions of miles in a matter of nano-seconds. Physical currency notes are almost irrelevant having been replaced by a system of bits and bytes accounting in complex networks. While money is just a highly abstract measure and a medium of exchange our lives revolve around it and its disappearance can bring trade to a grinding halt, collapsing whole communities. This ridiculous situation is akin to a carpenter stopping work because he has run out of inches! Or a musician calling it quits because she's run out of decibels!

Today, in part one, we'll examine that most peculiar activity known as "making money"; how money is made and who makes it. We'll explore the mysterious money making process by first exploring the origin, and role of, one of the most secretive bodies in the world, the Federal Reserve System. We will also look at the role of the commercial banking system, and why it is that the money origination process is quite unfair and undemocratic.

In future editions of Wizards we will look further into the workings of the Federal Reserve, and its sole shareholders, the private banking industry. We will also investigate similarly secretive bodies such as the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Central Banks in other countries, and most importantly how these institutions interact with the stock markets.

Fun Stuff

Pictures tell a thousand words.

Some of the new and relatively new in manufacturing, advertising, and merchandising.

The Cone to Lounge Set






Quit Smoking



The Square Watermelon

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Days Left in Office

243

Iraq Violence

Very disturbing article on CNN about gang violence against women in Iraq. The degree of violence and inhumanity is about as low as it gets. Talk of a vibrant healthy democracy in Iraq is absurd. Iraq is spiraling into oblivion - shock and awe indeed.

CNN: Iraqi: 'I killed her with a machine gun'
...an Iraqi soldier grills him about rampant crimes being carried out by gangs in the southern city of Basra.

CNN was shown what authorities say was his first confession. On it are the names of 15 girls whom he admitted kidnapping, raping and killing. The youngest girl on the list was just 9 years old.

$130

Gulf News: Oil climbs to life-time high above $130
US crude hit $130.05, up $1.07. London Brent gained $1.69 to $129.53 by 1009 GMT.

Oil has risen from below $20 in early 2002.

President Obama

The Fed has new revised estimates on the GDP, unemployment, and inflation for this year.

The figures mean that we will have a Democratic president in 2008.

AP: Fed sees slower growth, higher unemployment in '08
...the Fed said it now believes gross domestic product will grow between just 0.3 percent to 1.2 percent this year. That's lower than a previous Fed forecast, released in late February, that estimated growth to be between 1.3 percent and 2 percent.

...national unemployment rate will rise to between 5.5 percent and 5.7 percent this year. That is higher than the central bank's old forecast for the rate to climb as high as 5.3 percent. Last year, the unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent.

The Fed now expect inflation to be between 3.1 percent and 3.4 percent this year. That's higher than its old forecast for inflation, which was estimated to come in at around 2.1 percent to 2.4 percent.

Obama on S.S.I.

WaPo: Obama warns seniors on Social Security
Obama said McCain would push to raise the retirement age for collecting Social Security benefits or trim annual cost-of-living increases. Obama has rejected both ideas as solutions to the funding crisis projected for Social Security in favor of making higher-income workers pay more into the system.
At 54, I have at minimum 8 years to go till I can collect SSI.

I'm thinking I need at least 8 years of Democratic presidents to do this.

I have paid into SSI now for 41 years. When I saw Bush's plan to cancel benefits for those born after 1950, let's just say I was not pleased with the Bush policy.

My perfect 0% approval of Bush policy remains intact.

Hypo

CNN goes over the hypothetical electoral college votes in November with Clinton vs McCain, and Obama vs McCain -

Dipping


N.Y. stocks plunge about 200 points on inflation fears, oil
(on Tuesday May 20) The 30-issue Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 12,828.68, down 199.48 points from Monday's finish, after shedding more than 240 points.
At the close of the Clinton years, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at an extraordinary high level, known as the "Clinton bull" high. It closed on January 14, 2000 at 11,723.

Incidentally, at the beginning of the Clinton years in 1992 the DOW was hovering in the range of 4,000.

Recapping -
Clinton years - 4,000 to 11,723 - a gain of 7,000+
Bush II years - 11,723 to 12,828 - a gain of 1,100

source

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tears

More "tear" music related work from England -

Tears for Fears - "Shout"



The Vox Teardrop guitar, made in England.

Soros on the Global Economy

Sorry to be posting all this gloomy economic news. I believe that its important to have some sense of the economic winds in order to understand political shifts as well. Its all interconnected.

BBC: Soros warns global boom is over
...the "acute phase" of the credit crunch may be over but effects on the real economy are yet to be felt.

He predicted a "more severe and longer" US slowdown than most people expect.

...oil and other commodities are over-priced, but he sees little chance of the price of oil coming down until there is a big slowdown in the richer economies.

$129

AP: Oil settles above $129 for first time
Oil near $130 a barrel and gas up nearly 20 percent over last year.

Oil's march to new highs coincided with the Labor Department's report of an unexpectedly sharp rise in wholesale inflation last month. The combination raised fears that inflation will slice into Americans' discretionary spending, and that sent stocks falling sharply on Wall Street.

Declaration of Warming

Colbert goofs on McCain's global warming expertise, among other things -

Breaking from Foreign Oil

Its only one tiny article, but it might indicate a slight, very slight movement towards improved energy policy. OK, maybe its not policy, but at least its something.

FT.com: US begins to break foreign oil ‘addiction’
The US is starting to break its “addiction” to foreign oil as high prices, more efficient cars, and the use of ethanol significantly cut the share of its oil imports for the first time since 1977.

The country’s foreign oil dependency is expected to fall from 60 per cent to 50 per cent in 2015, before rising again slightly to 54 per cent in 2030, according to the head of the Department of Energy’s statistical arm.
Smaller, more fuel efficient cars is a 'no need for the brain.' Ethanol, hmm, we may have some problems there. In case you missed it, VeraSun, an American ethanol producer/corporation, significantly jumped in value on the NYSE.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Common Sense

I've been fortunate lately to hear some extremely simple common sense ideas that benefit people.

In the clip, Obama makes the simplest of points regarding the huge overblown reaction that Bush has taken with Iran. The stuff that builds Iran up as some kind massive monster that will turn America into an itty bitty morsel.

Obama points out that the USA under Kennedy and Reagan, talked with the Russians. There was diplomacy, at one point it was called detente. Remember? That Nixon talked with Mao. Simply expressed, Russia and China represented greater threats to the US in the form of nuclear holocaust than anything that Iran could represent.

Are the issues with Iran of the same magnitude as those that faced the US with the USSR. Hardly. The USSR had annihilation facing the USA in the form of nuclear missiles. Iran has yet to develop the bomb.

Smashing

Smashing Pumpkins - "Zero"

Climate Change and Birds


AFP: Climate change raising extinction risk among birds: study
The Swiss-based organisation (the International Union for Conservation of Nature - IUCN) issued an update of its "Red List," the highly respected catalogue of species at threat.

Of the 1,226 birds on the list, 190 are "critically endangered," the highest category of threat.
On the web: IUCN
What is IUCN?

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN supports scientific research; manages field projects all over the world; and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and some 10,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries.

IUCN’s work is supported by 1,100 professional staff in 62 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

Oil and Gas

AP: Oil prices advance as pump prices rise to new high
Diesel now costs $4.52 a gallon.

...pump prices topped an average $4 a gallon for the first time in two metropolitan areas: Chicago and New York's suburban Long Island.

"The ongoing upward trend in crude prices is going to ensure that the U.S. economy remains under pressure," said James Hughes, an analyst at CMC Markets in London.
How will the rising cost of gas affect basic transportation in the urban areas. At what level will the poor find gas costs to be completely prohibitive.

Will mass transportation usage drastically increase.

Will cities find ways of developing bike lanes like Portland, Oregon.

Walking, anybody?

I'm still pulling for the compressed air mass transport vehicles.

Tim Shorrock

Listeners to Democracy Now today heard Amy's interview with Tim Shorrock.

Tim is writing about the outsourcing AKA privatization of intelligence gathering in his new book "Spies for Hire -The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing".

There are many aspects of the interview that are worthy of examination. One fact that caught my attention was some information on Caci International.

From the Caci International website:
CACI has rapidly grown into a world leader in providing timely solutions to the intelligence community. Engaged across a wide range of national intelligence disciplines from the most complex space-based operations to human source intelligence, we

* Help America's Intelligence Community collect, analyze and share global information in the war on terrorism
* Focus on two distinct customer categories
o National Strategic and Law Enforcement
o Tactical and Military Service
* Support multiple disciplines
* Uncover terrorist activity by providing capabilities ranging from complex space-based operations to human source intelligence

From CorpWatch on May 7th, 2004.
Two private military contractors are being investigated for their role in torture allegations at the Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq: CACI International, Inc. from Arlington, Virginia, and Titan of San Diego, California. CACI supplied at least one interrogator while Titan supplied at least two translators named in a 53-page classified internal Army report written by Major General Antonio Taguba that have dominated news coverage all over the world. (see box)

A total of four men -- Steven Stephanowicz, John Israel, Torin Nelson and Adel Nakhla -- are named in the report. All of them were assigned to work with the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, a unit that is currently stationed in Germany and Italy in support of V Corps, under the command of Colonel Thomas Pappas.

According to the Army report:

Stephanowicz, a CACI interrogator, "[m]ade a false statement to the investigation team regarding the locations of his interrogations, the activities during his interrogations, and his knowledge of abuses." Further, investigators found, Stephanowicz encouraged Military Police to terrorize inmates, and "clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse.

One Laptop Per Child

One Laptop Per Child has a vision of providing educational opportunities for the children of the world "and to contribute to a more productive and saner world community."
Any nation's most precious natural resource is its children. We believe the emerging world must leverage this resource by tapping into the children's innate capacities to learn, share, and create on their own. Our answer to that challenge is the XO laptop, a children's machine designed for “learning learning.”

XO embodies the theories of constructionism first developed by MIT Media Lab Professor Seymour Papert in the 1960s, and later elaborated upon by Alan Kay, complemented by the principles articulated by Nicholas Negroponte in his book, Being Digital.

Extensively field-tested and validated among some of the poorest and most remote populations on earth, constructionism emphasizes what Papert calls “learning learning” as the fundamental educational experience. A computer uniquely fosters learning learning by allowing children to “think about thinking”, in ways that are otherwise impossible. Using the XO as both their window on the world, as well as a highly programmable tool for exploring it, children in emerging nations will be opened to both illimitable knowledge and to their own creative and problem-solving potential.
You can donate here.
A donation of $200 will pay for and deliver one XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, $400 will pay for and deliver two XO laptops, and so on. Your entire contribution will be tax-deductible.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama in Portland

Elvis

Republican Losses

McClatchy: Big GOP losses in Congress likely, even if McCain wins
"A large segment of the American public doesn't have confidence in the Republican Party," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the party's chief political operative for House races.

They (Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, Charles Cook of the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia) all predict that Democrats will add to their majorities in the House by six to 20 seats and in the Senate by two to five seats.
Six to twenty seats in the Congress will mean a working majority to override a Presidential veto.

Inflation in Eastern Europe

We keep seeing this term - "global crunch." Its not an economic collapse, but it appears to be a very significant period with much restructuring going on. Its like the way business is supposed to be conducted for the next period of years. The model is getting overhauled.

The figures also indicate that the economies of Ukraine and Russia in spite of inflation are doing reasonably well compared to the USA...

AP: EBRD: Inflation hitting Eastern Europe hard
Rising inflation is severely hurting Ukraine and other Eastern European nations, while the global credit crunch will slow growth in those countries dramatically in coming months...

"Inflation, now in double digits in many countries, is the region's most pressing current problem..."

Overall growth of 6 percent is expected in Eastern Europe this year, compared with 7.3 percent in 2007...

Neighboring Russia, meanwhile, will continue its rapid oil- and gas- fueled economic expansion, with growth expected to reach 7 percent this year...

Cuomo on the Democratic Candidates

He makes the case for Obama - Clinton.

Cluster Bomb Ban

Pope calls for ban on cluster bombs ahead of conference
"I hope that thanks to the responsibility of all participants we will get a strong and credible international instrument" to ban the weapons, he said...

"We have to remedy the errors of the past and avoid their repetition in the future," he added.
We applaud the Pope's initiative.

Here is a related clip on cluster bombs. Notice that the list of countries affected are generally poor and/or less developed and/or Asian, African, or in the Middle East.

This Could Be The Week

Lucianne.com: Democratic presidential nomination could be won by Barack Obama this week
The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination could be won outright by Barack Obama this week, a senior adviser to the Illinois senator said this weekend.
At this time, Obama holds a combined total of 1,903 delegates and super delegates. The total needed to win the nomination is 2,025. He is 121 delegates shy of winning. Clinton is 307 delegates shy.

The Oregon primary is coming up on Tuesday this week.

Oregon has 65 delegates and Obama is the preordained winner.

Serbis

Edgy Philippine drama enters the race at Cannes
A hard-hitting Filipino film about a family living in a porn movie theatre, "Serbis", enters the running for Cannes gold Sunday in a boost to the country's struggling independent cinema sector.

The title of the edgy drama by Brillante Mendoza refers to male prostitutes who ply their services to cinema-going clients.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hyperthymesia



CNN: Man's rare ability may unlock secret of memory
Give Brad Williams a date, and he can usually tell you not only what he was doing but what world events happened that day. He can do this for almost every day of his life.

"The speed with which they do this is part of why I find this so amazing because it seems to indicate there's no -- or not much -- intentional calculation going on. It's boom, boom, boom, there's the answer..."

Williams didn't realize how exceptional his memory was...
You have a man who call recall every single day of his life and also connect that memory to specific events that occurred on that day.

He also did not recognize that this was anything special until only recently.

Most of us are fumbling around trying to remember where we put the car keys...

Moliere

"Moliere" - 3.25 stars ***+ - Sande

Good movie, good rental. If you speak French, great, otherwise be prepared to read.

The nice thing about reading a movie is that you can do it with the sound off and play your own music as a soundtrack.

Basically its a fictionalized history of the famous French playwright.

The movie spans a segment of Moliere's life which his biographers are not able to account for, a gap in his known historical time line.

The movie fills in this gap with a strong story that suggests the artistic growth of the writer and the people surrounding that movement. Naturally it involves love, sex, deception, infidelity, farce, humor, wit, royalty, beautiful mansions, settings, and costumes, and beautiful looking people all in the underlying style of Moliere's actual work.

Very nice job. If you liked "Ridicule" you will like "Molieire."

The trailer -

Hot and Spicy Shower


My acupuncturist friend suggested an alternating hot and cold shower in order to "get the blood moving."

The idea is to start with a hot shower for 3 minutes then turn it cold for 30 seconds, repeat hot to cold, then end with warm.

You don't have to make the cold, super cold, initially maybe just cool.

And you don't have to make the hot, super hot, maybe strong warm, tolerable.

Naturally if your health is compromised, then consult the doctor.

I've tried this. Its great, its invigorating and positive.

You would think that the rejection of cold would be pronounced. In my case, it was fine, in fact I liked it.

Apparently this is a treatment for many problems, from diabetes to depression, to fatigue.

The references are somewhat informative, use as needed.

Hydrotherapy

Negativo

The NYT editorial takes Bush to task for his "appeasement" speech in Israel.

Its divide and conquer once again, Bush's strategy from the start. It reeks of fear mongering.

Even with an historically low approval rating, and immense resentment for 8 years of divisive politics from the majority of Americans, Bush doesn't flinch and keeps up the assault.

NYT: The President Goes Negative
President Bush’s penchant for slash-and-burn politics, learned at the feet of Karl Rove and the late Lee Atwater, is unseemly when practiced at home. It is shameful for the president and damaging for the country when put on display abroad.

McCain...spent much of his week running away from Mr. Bush but endorsed this language enthusiastically.

We also yearn for a more civilized and respectful political dialogue. That is essential for a healthy democracy. It is also essential for regaining the world’s respect.
"We also yearn for a more civilized and respectful political dialogue." - this is key.

One thing to keep in mind surrounding the notion of talks with Iran:

US ready to talk with Iran
May -2007: The Bush administration today made it clear it was willing to engage in high-level talks with Iran during an international conference on Iraq in Egypt this week.

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, will attend the event in Sharm el-Sheik, as will the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki.

Should they meet face to face at the two-day meeting, starting tomorrow, it will be the highest-level contact between the two countries for almost three decades.

Obama Round Two

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Karmapa on Oneness

Obama on Offense

Reuters: Obama says Bush policies strengthened Iran, Hamas
Barack Obama said on Friday President George W. Bush's "failed policies" had strengthened U.S. enemies like Iran and Hamas.

Responding to Bush's comment on Thursday that those who want to talk to Iran were like Nazi appeasers before the Second World War, Obama accused Bush of "exactly the kind of appalling attack that's divided the country and that alienates us from the world."
Interesting article on the role of Ahmadinejad in Iran. Equating his status and power as President of Iran to the US President is not exactly correct.
Political analysts here are surprised at the degree to which the West focuses on their president, saying the denunciations reflect a general misunderstanding of their system. Unlike in the United States, say, the Iranian president is not the head of state nor the commander in chief. That status is held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, whose role combines civil and religious authority. At the moment, this president's power comes from two sources, they say: the unqualified support of the supreme leader, and the international condemnation he manages to generate when he speaks up.

"The United States pays too much attention to Ahmadinejad," said a political scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. "He is not that consequential." source

El camino del Rey


It looks like blogspot doesn't like this particular media form, but if you want to watch an amazing clip of a walk along El camino del Rey, click here.

The cameraman has the balance facility of a mountain goat.

Housing Sector Improvement

AP: Housing posts surprising rebound in April
...a huge increase in apartment construction, which can be extremely volatile from month to month. Apartment building, defined as two or more units, jumped by 36 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 340,000 units.

The larger single-family sector dropped by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of 692,000 units.

Even with the improvement, housing construction nationwide was 30.6 percent below the level of activity a year ago.

Knowledge-free

Conservative pundit Kevin James argues a point on appeasement, yet he doesn't know what he is talking about. This is classic!! The follow up is on the money -"loaded words for political slander."

Acupuncture 1


On the advice of medical professionals, I decided to undergo acupuncture treatment in order to alleviate neck and head pain.

I have never had an acupuncture treatment, so this was a new thing.

Here's the low down -

The acupuncturist spent time asking questions abut the nature of the pain, detailed information. We talked medical history, that sort of related information.

Lying down face up, he placed a total of nine thin needles in me, two in each hand at specific points, two in each foot also in specific points, and one about two inches above the center of my eyes near the hairline. (Yes I still have hair.)

The needles came out of a sealed fresh package, and before he placed them in, he swabs the area with I think alcohol.

Anyhow the sensation of the needles going in was mild. You do feel a little sting but compared to something like having blood taken, it is a 1 or 2 on a scale of 10, 10 being very painful.

After the needles were put in place, he told me to relax and that I would simply lay quietly for 30 minutes. He turned down the lights and left the room.

So I'm laying there with 9 needles stuck in hands, feet, and forehead, there's new age kind of music playing (Possibly my least favorite music ever, ever...), the room is darkened, and my first thought was, I have got to get the hell out of here!

I ignore the urge to leave, start deep breathing, and fall into a deep deep trance like sleep. Time flies by, the acupuncturist comes back in. I am awake but the sleep was so deep that I am wondering where the hell am I.

He takes the needles out in a systematic way, and basically I'm sent on my way, with some advice. There is no lingering pain or feeling of the needles, nothing. In fact as I was laying there, pretty much nothing as well.

I am to take it easy for the rest of the day, not too much exertion. I am to come back for another appointment. I probably will not feel the effects for another 24 to 48 hours.

As I write this, I am less than 24 hours from the treatment, but things feel better. I'm optimistic.

Ramirez A-1


One of the truly outstanding classical guitars.

It pains me to see images of a guitarist playing this particular model with a pick.

This is made for the expert classical guitarist.

Spruce top, rosewood back, ebony neck, even concert level tone, lively and demanding, handmade in Spain by Ramirez - this is 'the' classical guitar.

Four More Years

Gulf News: US can win Iraq war within four years - McCain
Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Thursday said he believes the Iraq war can be "won" within four years, leaving a functioning democracy there and allowing most US troops to come home.

McCain says any decades-long presence of US troops would be aimed at maintaining stability in the region and has likened it to the US military presence in Japan, South Korea and Germany.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Animated Documentary - "Waltz with Bashir"

AP: Cannes: animated documentary recounts war horrors
Israeli director Ari Folman thought the unusual technique was the only way to tell his story of recovering from long-repressed, nightmarish memories of his time as a young Israeli soldier waging war in 1980s Lebanon.

In the movie—which has a deeply anti-war message—Folman depicts young soldiers plowing through enemy territory on tanks, spraying gunfire in all directions without really knowing whom they are shooting at. Haunting images are backed by a rock soundtrack of '80s music.
Here is the trailer -