Saturday, September 20, 2008

Still Classy after All These Years

I remember this fundie freak from way back when I was growing up in Arkansas:
Federal and state agents have raided an Arkansas evangelist's headquarters as part of a child pornography investigation.

Police and FBI agents arrived Saturday evening at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries headquarters near Texarkana.

U.S. Attorney Bob Balfe says he expects a warrant to be issued for Alamo's arrest. It wasn't known whether Alamo was present.


China Is Toxic

It certainly seems as though that country makes everything out of poison:

Customers in France who bought Chinese-made recliners are complaining of stinging allergic rashes and infections.

One customer, Caroline Morin, said Friday she was stunned to learn the chair she bought last December appears to have caused the skin problems she says she suffered for months.

"You sit comfortably on something and in fact you have a bomb under your butt," she said.


A Little Justice

Very good:
A federal court has ruled in favor of retired Army Colonel Diane Schroer, née David, after a job offer from the Library of Congress was rescinded on discovery of David's intention to transition to Diane.

"It is especially gratifying that the court has ruled that discriminating against someone for transitioning is illegal," Schroer said. "I knew all along that the 25 years of experience I gained defending our country didn't disappear when I transitioned, so it was hard to understand why I was being turned down for a job doing what I do best just because I'm transgender. It is tremendously gratifying to have your faith in this country, and what is fundamentally right and fair, be reaffirmed."


We've Always Been at War with Eastasia

This is just ridiculously Orwellian:

The Associated Press retracted two government-issued photographs last night after a photographer in Texas alerted the agency that the photos in question appeared to be doctored.

Bob Owen, chief photographer of the San Antonio Express-News, notified the AP that the photos of two deceased soldiers, who died in Iraq on Sept. 14, were nearly identical. Upon examining the photos, Owens noticed that everything except for the soldier’s face, name, and rank was the same. The most glaring similarity, Owen told CJR, was that the camouflage patterns of the two uniforms were “perfectly identical.”


Friday, September 19, 2008

Conservatives Are Scared

No, really

The researchers, whose findings were published yesterday in the journal Science, looked at 46 people who fell into two camps: liberals who supported foreign aid, immigration, pacifism and gun control; and conservatives who advocated defence spending, capital punishment, patriotism and the Iraq war.

Subjects were shown a series of images that included a bloody face, maggots in a wound and a spider on a frightened face. A device measured the electrical conductance of their skin, a physiological reaction that indicates fear.

In a second experiment, researchers measured blinks - another indicator of fear - as subjects responded to blasts of noise.

People with strongly conservative views were three times more fearful than staunch liberals.


Reaganomics Must Die

Well said:

Today, it's the Democrats who sound like Lincoln's Republicans. In recent months, the Obama campaign and liberal think tanks in particular have generated numerous proposals for heightened public commitment to infrastructure and education. Unlike tax cuts, which chiefly bolster our ability to consume imported goods and commodities, infrastructure investments make us more productive and have a multiplier effect that creates more jobs over and above those that the government funds directly. Congressional Democrats have included major infrastructure investments in their pending new stimulus bill, which Bush and GOP leaders oppose.

Someone needs to invest in the United States of America. For the past decade and, in a broader sense, for the entire duration of the Reagan era, both government and Wall Street have opted not to. Should Barack Obama win, the era of neglectful government will probably come to an end. No matter who wins, Wall Street is vanishing before our eyes. And by the measure of their contribution to America's economic strength and well being, both Reagan-age government and Wall Street's investment banks plainly deserve to die.


Half a Trillion

Bush is astonishingly adept at screwing future generations, isn't he?
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson briefed congressional leaders Thursday night on plans to address the "illiquid assets" on U.S. financial institutions' balance sheets, possibly including the creation of a government facility to take on financial firms' bad debts.

The proposal to create a massive facility to buy mortgage-backed securities could cost as much as a half-trillion dollars and would involve the purchase of both private-label and government-guaranteed mortgages, according to an administration official.



Time for someone to write a new Grapes of Wrath, it looks like:
A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


McCain continues to demonstrate that he doesn't have a clue, and doesn't have a single principle to anchor him:

Asked whether he agreed with the government bailout of insurance giant American International Group on today's "Good Morning America," Sen. John McCain answered ambiguously, in stark contrast to a Tuesday interview where he adamantly opposed it.

"I didn't want to do that. And I don't think anybody I know wanted to do that. But there are literally millions of people whose retirement, whose investment, whose insurance were at risk here," the Republican presidential nominee told ABC News' Robin Roberts, sounding somewhat accepting of the Fed's action on AIG.

"They were going to have their lives destroyed because of the greed and excess and corruption," McCain said.

But on Tuesday, the day following Lehman Brothers' collapse after the government declined to bail out the 158-year-old bank, McCain was opposed to the notion that the government should act to save AIG, teetering on the brink of collapse itself.

McCain was adamant in an interview with "The Today Show." "No, I do not believe that the American taxpayer should be on the hook for AIG, and I'm glad that the Secretary [Henry] Paulson has apparently taken the same line."

NBC's Matt Lauer pressed McCain: "So, if we get to the point, in the middle of the week when AIG might have to file for bankruptcy, they're on their own?"

McCain replied, "Well, they're on their own. We cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else. This is something that we're going to have to work through."


Money Well Spent

Very good:
Film star Brad Pitt has donated 100,000 dollars to oppose a California referendum seeking to ban gay marriage, The Los Angeles Times reported.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Another one going down:
Washington Mutual's (WM.N) board would seriously consider a merger offer even at a discount to what the Seattle-based thrift believes it is worth, as it faces mounting pressure to pursue options amid credit-rating downgrades, an analyst at Merrill Lynch said.


And Yet Worse

All that is solid melts into air, as Karl Marx would say:
The Dow Jones industrial average, which only two days earlier had suffered its steepest drop since the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, lost another 450 points. About $700 billion in investments vanished.


Drill Away!

Another pathetic cave
by the Dems:
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that lifts a longstanding ban on offshore oil drilling, opening most of the U.S. coastline to exploration.

The package proposed by Democrats would give states the option to allow drilling between 50 and 100 miles (80 and 160 km) off their shores. Areas more than 100 miles from the coast would be completely open to oil exploration and drilling.

The House voted 236 to 189 in favor of the package.


The Global Economy Kills

And it kills by the millions:
Global numbers afflicted by acute hunger rose from 850 million to 925 million by the start of this year because of rising prices, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said Wednesday.

The number of people suffering from malnutrition, before the worst effects of global price rises, "rose just in 2007 by 75 million," Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Rome-based agency, told an Italian parliament committee, according to ANSA news agency.

An FAO prices index showed global food price rises of 12 percent in 2006, 24 percent in 2007 and 50 percent over the first eight months of 2008, Diouf added -- suggesting the number affected is likely to top one billion by the end of the year.

"Thirty billion dollars per year must be invested to double food production and eliminate hunger," Diouf said, calling the figure "modest" in comparison with the amount many countries spend on arms and agriculture.


Good Money After Bad

There goes more money that we don't have:
The Senate passed a massive defense bill Wednesday that includes a pay raise for military personnel, despite Republican objections to billions of dollars in special projects lawmakers had added.

Seven weeks from Election Day, blocking the measure in wartime was not a political risk many senators were willing to take. The measure passed 88-8 after negotiations on amendments failed at midday.


The measure would permit $612.5 billion in spending for national defense programs in 2009, including $70 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Jerk off the Air

The women should sue him for damages:
Anchorage AM radio host Eddie Burke was been suspended after broadcasting the phone numbers of women involved in organizing a protest rally against Sarah Palin over the weekend, his station manager said today.
Last week Burke, host of a conservative daily talk show, called rally organizers Charla Sterne and Ilona Bessenyey "socialist, baby-killing maggots," read their phone numbers on the air and encouraged listeners to call them. The women said their voice-mail quickly filled with angry, profane messages, some of them threatening.


The New Al Gore

McCain invented the Blackberry!

Poor Al Gore truly stepped in it eight years ago when he described his involvement in government internet incentives as taking "the initiative in creating" the Web. Republicans gleefully inflated and mocked his apparent egocentrism, and Gore barely recovered before the election.

Now John McCain's chief economic adviser may just have done the same thing.

McCain claimed on TV this morning that his chairmanship of the Senate commerce committee during the 1990s helped educate him on the financial markets - an assertion that prompted reporters to ask economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin for some examples.

Holtz-Eakin responded, incredibly, by holding up a BlackBerry. "He did this," the McCain adviser said.

Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce committee so you're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that's what he did.

According to that logic, McCain must have been at least partially responsible for other technological innovations that emerged while he sat on the Commerce committee. Senator, thanks for the iPod and "a Google"!



Palin loves 'em:
Gov. Sarah Palin may eventually have said "no thanks" to a federally funded Bridge to Nowhere.

But a bridge to her hometown of Wasilla, that's a different story.

A $600 million bridge and highway project to link Alaska's largest city to Palin's town of 7,000 residents is moving full speed ahead, despite concerns the bridge could worsen some commuting and threaten a population of beluga whales.

Local officials already have spent $42 million on plans to route traffic across the Knik Arm inlet, a narrow finger of water extending roughly 25 miles northeast of Anchorage toward Wasilla. The proposal exists thanks to an earmark request by Republican Rep. Don Young, whose son-in-law has a small stake in property near the bridge's proposed western span.


What a Relief

All is well:
On the campaign trail in Jacksonville, Florida, the Senator declared this morning that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong," despite what he described as "tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street."
Or not:
The line may seem like GOP boilerplate, save for the fact that this morning, the McCain campaign released a television ad that began: "Our economy is in crisis."


Monday, September 15, 2008

Pretty Simple

As John Cole points out.



One of the original members of Pink Floyd has died:

Richard Wright, keyboard player and founding member of Pink Floyd, died yesterday at the age of 65 of cancer.

Wright's most famous composition was The Great Gig in the Sky which featured on the band's album The Dark Side of the Moon. It begins with a voice saying "I am not frightened to die" and is for many fans the band's most moving song.



While I grant that ordering these men to participate was a bad idea, I find it ridiculous that people who run into burning buildings for a living are traumatized by this:
Four San Diego firefighters have launched a lawsuit against the city, claiming they were forced to take part in the city’s LGBT pride parade and were subjected to sexual taunts by crowds on the street.


Economic Tailspin

Heckuva job, Bushie:
The U.S. credit squeeze has brought on a "once-in-a-century" financial crisis that is likely to claim more big firms before it eases, former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan said Sunday.

Greenspan told ABC's "This Week" that the situation "is in the process of outstripping anything I've seen, and it still is not resolved and it still has a way to go."

"Indeed, it will continue to be a corrosive force until the price of homes in the United States stabilizes," Greenspan said. He predicted that would not happen until early 2009, and said the odds of U.S. recession have gone up in recent months.


Trekkies Rejoice!

Well, unless you harbor a secret crush on Sulu:

George Takei and Brad Altman reach the final frontier, marrying after 21 years together.


Our Allies

Looks like Pakistan isn't fond of being invaded, after all:

The Pakistani army has raised questions over this new strategy, stating that the rules of engagement do not allow foreign troops to operate on Pakistani soil.

It has also warned of "retaliation to protect our citizens and soldiers against aggression".

And now there has been another incident in South Waziristan, with local officials saying Pakistani troops fired warning shots to stop US soldiers crossing the border from Afghanistan.