Saturday, December 06, 2008

Return to Constitutionality

The Obama administration has it:
Dialing back his predecessor’s expansive view of the office, Vice President-elect Joe Biden plans on “restoring the Office of the Vice President to its historical role” as adviser to the president and tie-breaker in the Senate, an aide to Biden said Saturday.



The mother of invention:

Element Four, a small Canadian firm, has applied its water technology to create the WaterMill, a novel electricity-powered machine that draws moisture from the air and purifies it into clean drinkable water.

The compact WaterMill, which goes on sale in the spring, is designed for household use.

More crucially for countries such as Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Element Four is also working on another device, the WaterWall, which could potentially supply an entire village in the developing world.



I suspect we'll be seeing many more such workers' actions in the coming months:
Workers laid off from their jobs at a Chicago factory have occupied the building and are demanding assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay that they say they are owed.

About 200 employees of Republic Windows and Doors began staging the sit-in in shifts this week after learning the plant was closing Friday.

Leah Fried (LAY'-uh FREED'), an organizer with the United Electrical Workers, says Republic failed to give 60 days' notice required by law.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

75 years since Prohibition was repealed!


Thursday, December 04, 2008

The War on Drugs Pays Off

Blackwater murderers are facing serious trouble:
Blackwater Worldwide guards involved in the deadly 2007 Baghdad shooting of Iraqi civilians could face mandatory 30-year prison sentences under an aggressive anti-drug law being considered as the Justice Department readies indictments, people close to the case said.

Charges could be announced as early as Monday for the shooting, which left 17 civilians dead and strained U.S. relations with the fledgling Iraqi government. Prosecutors have been reviewing a draft indictment and considering manslaughter and assault charges for weeks. A team of prosecutors returned to the grand jury room Thursday and called no witnesses.

Though drugs were not involved in the Blackwater shooting, the Justice Department is pondering the use of a law, passed at the height of the nation's crack epidemic, to prosecute the guards. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 law calls for 30-year prison terms for using machine guns to commit violent crimes of any kind, whether drug-related or not.



Still a douchebag:
During a recent interview with the National Ledger, conservative columnist Robert Novak was asked if he would reveal Valerie Plame Wilson’s secret CIA identity if he could go back and do it all over again. Novak noted that he has previously said he “should have ignored” what he had been told about Plame, but he now claims he is “much less ambivalent“:

NOVAK: I’d go full speed ahead because of the hateful and beastly way in which my left-wing critics in the press and Congress tried to make a political affair out of it and tried to ruin me. My response now is this: The hell with you. They didn’t ruin me. I have my faith, my family, and a good life. A lot of people love me — or like me. So they failed. I would do the same thing over again because I don’t think I hurt Valerie Plame whatsoever.

But of course, Plame was “hurt” because of Novak’s column — she no longer has a career as a covert CIA agent. Moreover, Plame has said that she feared for her and her family’s lives after Novak revealed her identity.


Merry Christmas

Poison toys for all!
One in three toys tested by a Michigan nonprofit group contained medium or high levels of toxic chemicals, according to a report released Wednesday. And U.S.-made children's toys didn't necessarily contain fewer toxins than their imported counterparts.


Good Riddance

It's about time:
Bill O'Reilly has formally confirmed he's giving up one of the most successful syndicated radio shows in the country, saying he has just run out of hours in the week.


Cutting, Running

And who can blame them?
The head of China's sovereign wealth fund said Wednesday he had lost confidence in western financial institutions during the global economic crisis and would not be investing in them, a report said.

Lou Jiwei, the chairman and chief executive of China Investment Corp (CIC), said the fund would now avoid investing in banks and other groups because of "uncertain" foreign government policies, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The fund has been a major investor in such groups since it was formed last September.

"We don't know when these institutions will be invested in by their governments," Lou said during a panel discussion in Hong Kong, part of a conference hosted by former US President Bill Clinton, the Journal said.

"We have to wait for a time when there won't be massive collapses of financial institutions."

Lou added he had "lost confidence from the lack of consistent government policies concerning support for Western banks. There is really no protection on my investment," the report said.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Title Says It All, Really

College May Become Unaffordable for Most in U.S.



Clarence Thomas has sunk even lower than ever:

In a highly unusual move, U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked his colleagues on the court to consider the request of an East Brunswick, N.J. attorney who has filed a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s status as a United States citizen.

Thomas’s action took place after Justice David Souter had rejected a petition known as an application for a stay of writ of certiorari that asked the court to prevent the meeting of the Electoral College on Dec. 15, which will certify Obama as the 44th president of the United States and its first African-American president.

The court has scheduled a Dec. 5 conference on the writ -- just 10 days before the Electoral College meets.


Changing Your Name to Chrysler

It just doesn't work anymore, apparently:
Imperiled automakers and their union worked feverishly Wednesday to sell a skeptical Congress on a $34 billion aid plan, promising labor concessions and restructuring, but the Senate's Democratic leader said there still weren't enough votes to tap the $700 billion federal bailout fund to prop up the foundering Big Three.

One day after the auto companies sent survival plans to Capitol Hill in an urgent plea for bailout billions from the fund, Sen. Harry Reid told The Associated Press in an interview, "I just don't think we have the votes to do that now."


Oh Those Christians

They just can't help themselves:
52-year-old Robert Williams, Chief Financial Officer of Cincinnati Christian University, was arrested with two others on Saturday, said to have "manually stimulated" an undercover police officer in Mount Airy Forest. He is charged with sexual imposition.


War on Terror

Or on charity.

Whatever. It's all the same to Bush:

The Bush administration's "war on terror" paraded a feather in its tattered cap with the Holy Land Foundation convictions delivered last week. Most observers accurately characterised this legal charade as a witch hunt, using Muslims and Arabs, specifically Palestinians, as its targets. In doing so the administration shamelessly abuses to advance its failed security measures and pro-Israel policy initiatives that systematically punishes Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.

Five leaders from the once highly-respected charity group Holy Land Foundation, which gave nearly $12m to non-violent, Palestinian institutions to build hospitals and feed the poor, were convicted on 108 charges of supporting terrorism by funneling money to Hamas. A US official proudly declared: "Today's verdicts are important milestones in America's efforts against financiers of terrorism." However, Linda Moreno, a defence lawyer for one of the HLF leaders, said she disagreed, and told me: "This was a political, 'win at all costs' prosecution."

Indeed, the Bush administration suffered a humiliation in 2007 when its first prosecution against HLF ended in a mistrial, with the jurors deadlocked over the major counts. A juror from the 2007 trial said the government "kept showing us blown-up buses and they kept showing us little kids in bomb belts reenacting Hamas leaders … it had nothing to do with the actual charges. It had nothing to do with the defendants."


War on Christmas

The lesbian heathen witches at Planned Parenthood have hatched a diabolical plan to promote women's health:
Indiana's Planned Parenthood is offering a unique option this winter. $25-$100 gift certificates that can be used for anything at the clinics from contraception to abortions. The Chicago Tribune reports today on the effort which is available in 35 clinics throughout the state. The CEO of the state's Planned Parenthood is quoted by the paper as saying the reception has been "pretty robust, and generally favorable" and that the vast majority of those visiting Planned Parenthood are coming for basic health issues, not an abortion. The move has set off anger.


Obama Day!

I think all counties across the nation should embrace this notion:

MARION, Ala. - In central Alabama's Perry County, government workers already get a day off for President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Veterans Day. In 2009, they'll get one more: "Barack Obama Day."

The rural county, which overwhelmingly supported Obama in last month's presidential election, has approved the second Monday in November as "The Barack Obama Day." Commissioners passed a measure that would close county offices for the new annual holiday and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid day off.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Most Ironic Arrest Ever

A gay Denver man claims he was arrested at a Madonna concert following complaints by another concertgoer about the man’s sexual orientation.


More Chaos

In Thailand:
Thailand's already turbulent political landscape was thrown into further turmoil Tuesday when the Constitutional Court dissolved the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and two of its coalition partners for electoral fraud. As the verdict was read that the government leadership, including the current prime minister, would step down, anti-government protesters occupying Bangkok's two main airports erupted into cheers and waived Thai flags.



Why, again, do we count this nation among our allies?
India demanded Pakistan take "strong action" against those behind the 60-hour siege that left at least 172 people dead, as new details emerged Monday about the gunmen and the survival training that enabled them to thwart Indian commandos.

The United States called on Pakistan to fully cooperate with investigations into the attack, which has strained relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Soldiers removed the last victims' bodies from the shattered Taj Mahal hotel Monday, searching each room in the labyrinthine building and defusing booby-traps and bombs left by the gunmen.

The sole known surviving attacker told police that his group trained for months in camps operated by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, learning close-combat techniques, hostage taking, handling of explosives, satellite navigation, and high seas survival skills.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Heckuva Job

FEMA is still doing fine work:

SMITH POINT, Texas – A 30-mile scar of debris along the Texas coast stands as a festering testament to what state and local officials say is FEMA's sluggish response to the 2008 hurricane season.

Two and a half months after Hurricane Ike blasted the shoreline, alligators and snakes crawl over vast piles of shattered building materials, lawn furniture, trees, boats, tanks of butane and other hazardous substances, thousands of animal carcasses, perhaps even the corpses of people killed by the storm.

State and local officials complain that the removal of the filth has gone almost nowhere because FEMA red tape has held up both the cleanup work and the release of the millions of dollars that Chambers County says it needs to pay for the project.

Elsewhere along the coast, similar complaints are heard: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been slow to reimburse local governments for what they have already spent, putting the rural counties on the brink of financial collapse.



Today is the 20th World AIDS Day:
Today, Dec. 1, is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, an international day of reflection around the epidemic, which is still uncured.

About 33 million worldwide have HIV - thousands remain unaware that they have the virus.


Asleep at the Wheel

Is there any problem that Bush didn't ignore?
The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.

"Expect fallout, expect foreclosures, expect horror stories," California mortgage lender Paris Welch wrote to U.S. regulators in January 2006, about one year before the housing implosion cost her a job.


The Official Word

Which most of us already knew.

We're in a recession:
The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, making official what most Americans have already believed about the state of the economy .
The reality that the nation is indeed in recession and that the downturn may well be prolonged sent Wall Street plunging Monday, hurtling the Dow Jones industrials down nearly 700 points and wiping out more than half of last week's big gains. All the major indicators fell more than 7 percent, with the Standard & Poor's 500 index down nearly 9 percent.


Sunday, November 30, 2008


Schadenfreude is such an unpleasant word:
Page Six is reporting that Ann Coulter's jaws...we mean jaw is wired shut. Apparently it was broken, by whom we are not sure.