8/31/08

Nawlins on my mind

Let's all get together and use our collective mental powers to do what we can towards weakening Hurricane Gustav as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico towards more land.  

jokes abound

I came across this (again) and feel it's worth revisiting:


========


Nick Kristof lays it down harder, searing you 'conscience style'. 


Dowd and Friedman are hilarious and prescient, respectively, as always.  Hopefully Dowd isn't both.  


====

Vice, ahem, Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin can be found speaking extensively on Charlie Rose last year.  I only watched it once so far, and only half-paying attention, but she comes across as intelligent, charming, well spoken, and, just every once-in-a twentieth or so sentence, a MOUTHPIECE! MOUTHPIECE!


It's SO FUNNY that he asks Janet Napolitano if she has any interest in higher offer.  

======

David Broder seems unhappy with the Obama speech.

George Will echoes an opinion I have read elsewhere (Peter Beinart in Time, it turns out) that a win from McCain will hurt the GOP in the long run, because a Dem Congress will frustrate either him or his right wing supporters (shocked and appalled by his acquiescences) thus destroying the party and decimating any chances for continued success or synergy.  

An Obama win could lead to a situation like in 1994 with Bill Clinton, where a Dem controlled government goes to far, causing a strong conservative backlash.  In the end, such an alignment of stars may strengthen the struggling GOP.  Mr. Will makes this argument, somewhat unknowingly, through an examination of the Arnold Schwarzenegger administration.  

====

Charles Karuthammer, as usual, takes the prize for incisive blows to the Democrat's side of thinking.  Why you gotta be hatin on our man, Chuck?  However, while I hope to be proven right in my disagreement, he does make a brutally good point.


The ''oh-we-hardly knew you's'' go both ways, just take a look (and listen!) at TIME's coverage of McCain this week.  

You really should click the link and listen to the interview for the full brilliant 23 minutes of context.  

Does this place fulfill any need of yours?


Nice Man without Plan video from the 2003 Europe tour.  The boys are playing @ The Model Home in Philly on 9/7.  Always a great show.  I'm (planning on) going.

How To Scream



and another one since you're so sweet!

Falling Out A First-Floor Window...



And speaking of transcontinentalism, excellent Denmark band The Cola Freaks will be 
returning to the area in October. Look out for it!  Of course, the only reason I am posting this pic (grabbed from the 700 Club site) is cause you an see my pretty little head in the bottom right corner.  


The Cola Freaks were awesome though, and all indications may be that the Headies will be joining them whenever they make it to the Delaware area.  Hope so!


Also, take a look at the very bottom of the sidebar for links to the music of all your favorite bands.

8/30/08

go to sleep!


So Evan Thomas apparently did me the favor of voting for me, above somebody else, as being more useful than them.  Thanks Evan!!!

This is much better than the usual crap I get from the Facebook 'compare people' app (which totally sucks and is evil, btw).  Usually I am told that I have "lost places" and am now 5th, 8th, or 12th most (please enjoy):

Changes in your ranks:

#10 most absentee (lost 5 places)
#14 coolest (lost 7 places)
#14 most athletic (lost 5 places)
#14 most tech-savvy (lost 6 places)
#34 most punctual (lost 17 places)

---
Your friends have voted on your strengths and weaknesses:

STRENGTHS:

most absentee
most tech-savvy
coolest


WEAKNESSES

smartest
funniest


In total, you were reviewed for dating 16 times and 2 people expressed interest in you.
You are more desirable than 60% of 37,921,231 people.

=====

You have to love this level of detail.  Thank effing god my numbers aren't completely terrible.  How is the 35th most punctual individual expected not to hang themself????

So anyway, in order to glean any in-depth info from these demons, you must actually "compare" people yourself.  Normally, I shy away from this verily.  But I JUST GOTTA KNOW who Evan thinks I am more useful than.  So I go through the excruciating ritual, skipping most of them as I almost always refuse to answer.  I answer a couple, and then I come to this, which is such a jewel that I just had to go about finally learning how to do a screen shot on my mac (even though Todd has told me before).

They might as well ask me who is more handsome, George or Brad.



88 questions left????  Uh, Evan, you can just tell me.  

comparisons

Rick Reilly is always on point.  


Phils lost...BOO!  At least I beat MC Ben @ RBI baseball.  I had him 3-0 in the 9th and he came back and tied the game!  I scored two in the 10th, and then he scored only one.  Put one in my column!  I had to leave before getting the chance to beat up on Timmy, as I had a sandwich waiting on me @ Wash St. Ale House (chix w/shroom, cheddar, chili!) and they was bout to close.  Timmy will have to sleep comfortably tonight with the knowledge that his (and my) precious Phillies are two games out of first place, and that the last time the two of us played RBI baseball I tied him up in a NO HITTER.


Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac is a pleasure, and I particularly enjoyed the G.E. Johnson poem he shared a couple of days ago.  

Basketball

by G.E. Johnson

Once after dinner a woman and I walked past
An empty basketball court and she says,
"I played on a team my junior year in Belfast,"
And I say "Want to shoot some?" She says "Yes,"
Though she was wearing a long black dinner dress.
She kicked off her high heels and she caught
My pass and with great finesse
Drove to the baseline, jumped and shot
Swish. Two points. We played for awhile,
Man in a black suit, woman in a long black gown,
I loved her quickness and her heads-up style,
Her cool hand as she beat me hands down —
       Her jumpiness, like a blackbird in the night—
       Her steady eye, her feet about to take flight.

"Basketball" by G.E. Johnson. Reprinted with(out) permission.

Reminds me (sorta) of one of my own, from a good few years back... (~2000?)

Driving the Lane 

The outside shot is important

because it lets your opponent know

that he can’t leave you open,

even on the outside. 

Once you’ve mastered it,

you can drive the lane all you want,

because its easier to beat a man

who is covering you real close. 

If you have a good outside shot,

he’ll have to cover you close. 

Then it’s just a quick move,

a drive to the hoop,

and a lay-up.

DON’T MISS YOUR LAY-UPS.


~~~

His is better (sorta).

gas price history


My question is:

Do gas prices fall before elections because energy companies seek to take the issue off of the table, as a struggling economy tends to favor the Democrats, and lower gas prices help to alleviate financial suffering?

I'm sure I won't be placed in the top ten for publicaton, but even so an examination is in order.

I would love to go back twenty years or so, and examine each election specifically. Two problems arise. First, finding a twenty year chart of gas prices is tough. Second, such a large chart would make analyzing specific months up to the election difficult.

Additionally, it seems like 'the economy' as an issue really didn't arise as problematic until the 1992 loss of George Bush (for those looking to maintain Bush as Prez).  We all remember James Carville's ubiquitous aphorism.

So the 'problem', for our purposes, is as follows:

Gas and energy prices have risen dramatically in the past sixteen years.  This is due to a number of reasons, including increasing global demand and variated energy deregulations.
We'll focus here on gas prices, as they are the most psychologically prominent.
While prices are on a continuous trek upward, do they, as hypothesized, drop conspicuously in the months preceding an election, despite an otherwise stark upward trend?

We begin with the most recent election, in 2006.  


On August 5, 2006, gas prices peaked (for the year) at just below $3/gal.  Between this date and the mid-term election, only ten weeks later, gas prices dropped by a stunning 85 cents.  

 Looking at the election year 2004, we can see that between the middle of May 2004 and the middle of October, gas prices steadily dropped from a high of just below $2.10/gal. to about $1.85/gal.  

Strangely (or, at least, against our hypothesis), prices jumped drastically in the weeks approaching the election, with the rise breaking just before election day.

In 2002, the country was still reeling from 9/11, and dealing with prices that had jumped sharply after the event.  Oddly, the rise in gas did not really begin until 2 months after we had invaded Afghanistan, which happened in October.  We saw gas jump from $1.10/gal to a whopping $1.40/gal.  This number stayed steady through the election, which serves to antagonize the hypothesis, or to serve as an anomaly related to the terrorist attacks.

The big one, in 2000, follows the template I have laid out for my own nefarious purposes.  In July of 2000, gas hit a brutal $1.70/gal, but slid to $1.40/gal in the months before the Gore/Bush contest.  

Oct 1997: $1.20/gal
Oct 1998: $1.00/gal

April 1996: $1.30/gal
Oct 1996: $1.20 gal

Results:  Relatively inconclusive, with just about the amount of subtlety that one would expect such manipulators to employ were they to manipulating such things.  :)

8/29/08

My new band is gonna be called Juan Samuel


Good word to Pete & Jake & the boys from Delaware's own VON HAYES, for getting the attention of ESPN with their quality band name.  Good job!

But is she ready to lead?

Mr. McCain pulled off quite a coup this afternoon.  His pick of Sarah Palin was sharp, smart, and well timed, from a strategic standpoint. 

By picking a young conservative woman, he allowed himself to come out ahead from a number of facets.  He appeals to the women shunned by Hillary's loss in a way that a Kathleen Sebelius pick from Obama would not have, in that Hillary supporters would have been incensed by such a pick. Personally, I feel like such anger would have been misplaced, and sexist in its own right, but that is neither here nor there.  

The one thing we will be hearing, and are hearing already, is just how very inexperienced she is.  This is true.  However, at the end of the day, such attacks on her inexperience only serve to highlight Obama's own inexperience.  

Tactically, the timing, and unorthodox nature of the pick, truly have helped McCain overshadow the festivities of the past week, and especially last night.  The news networks this afternoon are covering the McCain pick at least twice as heavily as they are covering the Obama speech.  This is fair, as the biggest news of the day is certainly the pick of Palin.  

In the end, I am just glad he did not pick Romney, or Lieberman.   And I am impressed with his picking a woman, although again, it is tactically wise.  

I don't think Palin is the best choice, in terms of who will bring the best resume and skill set to the job.  But regarding who will best serve him in his quest to actually get elected, she has to be at the top of the list.  

Of course, you'll still see me pulling my lever for Obama/Biden, but I do think that this might provide ole Macky with a significant bump.  Only time will tell.

It is important to note, additionally, the continuation of the priggish nature of the McCain campaign as a whole.  Despite Obama and the Democrats' continued graciousness in their attacks on McCain, and despite Obama's personal calls for McCain to cease in his attacks on his "patriotism" and his insistence that he, like McCain, puts "country first,"  McCain made a point today to decry the "old politics of me first and country second." 

This line of attack is so unnecessary, and against McCain's previous posturing as a valiant carrier of the 'dignified politics' mantle he had espoused so well until he secured this year's nomination.  Joe Klein details this nicely in this week's TIME.

So McCain the tactician gets props for his pick, though in the end you have to ask yourself if McCain the leader has followed through on his April promise to pick the person who would best be ready to take the reigns were he to suddenly congeal or his mind were to slowly degrade into a muddle of mush.  

As I am sitting here watching the TV, I see a clip of Ms. Palin, today with McCain, encouraging American women to help "smash that glass ceiling" in which Mrs. Clinton had put 18 million cracks.  Hopefully, the (Democratic) women of America will not just jump ship on the basis of gender, as it is so important to also consider policy positions.  In this case, Mrs. Palin's stark conservative record will go against the hopes and beliefs of said women.  That being said, conservative women probably are and should be thrilled, even though, really, it could be argued that the pick of such a woman is actually sexist and cynical in itself, since her best qualities seem to be aesthetic and tactical, rather than based on an extensive record.  But even these very words highlight my point that such criticism only, in the end, serves to highlight Obama's own weaknesses.  





Can you feel the love tonight?

What a speech!

You know that the Democratic nominee for President has really hit a home run when Fox's Bill Kristol & Chris Wallace are practically GUSHING over the high level of skill and dexterity demonstrated on the stage tonight.  

The boys over @ MSNBC (Olbermann & Matthews) made no bones about their utter lack of impartiality, with Matthews going so far as to say "to hell with my critics!"  It's hard to objectively consider their reactions, considering how positive they were, and how positive I am as well. 

I thought the whole thing was great.  

Al Hunt on Charlie Rose called it a "Boffo" speech, which I believe is a compliment.  

But I just had to turn to Fox News post speech to see what the haters had to say.  Their critiques were fair, but it really was strange to see the look in Billy Kritol's eyes.  I think we have a convert on our hands, people.  

I was ready to see Chris Wallace say some dumb shit, but he was as floored as Kristol.  

The other commentators, Brit Hume, Fred Barnes, and a young woman from Fortune whose name escapes me, were much more critical.  Their main critique involved the fact that while Mr. Obama espouses these "new" politics, he managed to tinge his entire speech with "old liberal politics" from the past 30 years.  I disagree, but I see what they are saying.  

Their argument, I guess, stems from the fact that attacking "trickle down" economics, divisive politicking, and the lot are typical democrat activities.  But Obama's speech really did transcend all of that.  He addressed the issues of the day, eloquently and presciently.  He spoke in his typically idealist fluffy poetry, while bringing it home with solid policy promises and acute critiques of the McCain platform and approach.  

I can sympathize with the attacks of Obama as "celebrity" and as an  empty suit, who is all talk and no substance.   He is 'young', (compared to the geriatric on the other ticket) and his experience on the national stage is lacking.

But I think he did step up and deliver a powerful speech this evening, substantial and solid, and provided a glimpse of just how important this election is, and just how powerful of a force he may be in the Oval Office.  

People complain that a good speechmaker does not a good leader make.  But look at how he has run his campaign.  Look at the decisions he has made, the confidence he has presented, and the ability he has to quantify the important issues at hand without resorting to divisive, vitriolic, or glib rhetoric to get his important point across.

Something tells me we won't be seeing the same measured restraint next week.

Speaking of glib rhetoric....Memo to Jon Stewart:  Your "Is that Delaware or did Pennsylvania just take a dump?" joke was not appreciated, buddy.

8/28/08

The Unpopular (new) President

Below is a Press Release I put together for one of my jobs, which went unused. It may still be used at some point, but for now it is not in the works. I still think it's pretty good.

For an index of the ones I did that have been used, as well as to check out the site I put together for them you can go HERE. They like the site a good deal, though changes and modifications are forthcoming.

And now, as promised....


For President Obama or President McCain, short term outlook the same: bleak.

Between May and July of 2007, the JSI (Job Security Index) dropped significantly, from 153.4 to 145.3. This prediction has been validated by recent unemployment numbers. Since April 2008, the jobless rate in this country has risen from 5% to 5.7%.


Such a drastic rise is troubling, especially if one considers that the significant drop predicted by the JSI in the early months of last year is nothing compared with where the JSI is today. When Scorelogix made their predictions between May and July of last year, the JSI, in the model, dropped to 145.3. Today, predicting for the next twelve months, that number has dropped a full 14 points, to 131.1.


By November 2007, job security had steadied somewhat, having regained half of the points lost between May and July 2007. However, as market forces began to take hold, and the full extent of the housing and credit crises became known, the JSI took a powerful, almost catastrophic turn downward.






Since last November, the JSI has dropped a startling 20 points, and this drop is predicted to manifest itself over the following 12 months, with no respite in sight. With the exception of a hopeful bump of 5 points between March and April of 2008, which quickly disappeared, the job security outlook for the coming twelve month period is bleak.

Ideally, energy prices will level out, the financial sector will find a sense of balance, inflation will steady, and the economy will start to generate momentum. Were this to happen, businesses would feel comfortable expanding their payrolls, in anticipation of a return to strong economic growth.

In the short term, this does not appear to be the case. Most economists predict that our current predicaments will haunt us for at least the next twelve to eighteen months, and the grim numbers from the JSI support this theory. While many analysts will argue that we have seen the worst of things in areas such as finance and housing, it is not clear that we have escaped increasing inflation and rising energy costs, and the most recent JSI models indicate that in the case of employment prospects, the worst is yet to come.

When a new President takes office in January 2009, there will be high hopes for a quick economic turnaround, complete with job creation and steady growth. But models such as Scorelogix’s JSI indicate that such a turnaround is unlikely, if not impossible, and the new President may find himself in hot water before he has even had a chance to get his feet wet.



###



My apologies on the lack of updates, generally. I have been super busy, and also, reluctant to hit "publish" on a couple of the meaner posts I've recently put together, such as the one where I detail how nice America is, for gathering all the retarded people in the country together, once every four years, into two arenas, giving them a special title (delegate) and letting them chant and scream and boo and chear to their sweet little hearts content.

There is no place for such drivel!

8/24/08

Fudge Report Strikes again.


According to Drudge,


Read the article.  Seems to me they are, in essence, doing good for the community.  Sheesh.

US wins Gold!


With four minutes left and the US up by (only) eight, I'm gonna call it for the US. Spain brought it to within 2 points a few minutes ago, but the US is back well on top a little bit. They still have to lock it down, but I think they'll do it.

Spain is DAMN good though, and it is not unlikely that by the time I am finished writing here the game will be over.

Earlier, I heard said of Kobe one more thing that makes him "kinda" a jerk. Apparently, Kobe said that the opening ceremony was the first time in his life he got goose bumps. I don't know whether to feel sorry for him or jealous.

No matter, he is AWESOME at basketball and just saved the US's ass by scoring mad points towards the end of the game.

USA! USA!

Two and a half remains. FOUR POINT GAME!!! "Spain keeps climbing back!"

Dwayne Wade hits a three: SEVEN POINTS!!

The refs seem to really want to see Spain compete, if not win. But the US is still kickin it. EIGHT POINTS. One minute remains! US ball.

Spain has started fouling. But if the US hits their free throws, they win the Gold!

Chris Paul drains two free throws to make himsefl 8/8 in the game. Ten point game!

Spain scores, back to eight. 32.9 left. This game is totally over.

26 seconds. Chris Paul back at the line, and what do you know, TECHNICAL FOUL against Spain. Muchas gracias, chumpos.

US WINS GOLD!!!
Coach K not thrilled by Kobe pouring water on his head.



HomeGrewn

Wonderful debacle @ the Homegrown Cafe tonight.  I showed up super early, which never happens.  Great start.  I ordered a bottle of wine, an appetizer, and a sandwich (free!) and set to get started.  The plan was:  set up the PA while my food was prepared, eat food,  poor soundcheck, begin.  When I went in the office to pull out the PA, it was not there.  They no longer have it!  So now I gotta get in like panic mode, and I calmly state I'll be back in a half hour with a PA.  

I rush my way to Todd's and back, where I grab all requisite additional equipment (I'd already been there once in the evening, for: one chord.)  It takes 45 minutes, and now I am late.  My food is still ok when I return, but I have to eat it in spurts as I set up the equipment.  (I actually didn't touch the sandwich at all, though I am contemplating eating it right now, if I determine that its trajectory of two hours on a plate sitting next to me, into a box and home, then in the fridge is safe in terms of healthiness.)  

So I plug in the guitar (thanks, still, MC Ben) and it don't work.  I quickly figure this problem out and turn to the microphone, which, despite repeated attempts, does not work at all!

So now it is after 11pm, and I have yet to start.  My options, as I saw them, were to either play sans amp Pastabilities/700/Todd's tomorrow-style, or, more logically, to skip the vox and simply play some guitar for these fine people.

So that is what I did, and it was kinda fun.  Not being able to say anything to the crowd was strange (due to my affinity for cracking unintelligible or incredibly inside jokes) and the lack of vox made me feel a bit of a hack, in that the songs are designed and learned to be played along with vocals.  Just cause I'm not singing and able to concentrate fully on the guitar, that doesn't mean I can all of a sudden change what I play, off the cuff, up there all by myself.  It did free me up to do whatever I wanted, generally, since there was no context for song structure.  I just meandered through my planned set, mixing things up and for the most part NOT STOPPING.  I just played and played, taking only one break for like an hour and forty five minutes.  It was definitely silly, but ironically, I received probably the kindest ovation I ever have when I finished my set.  I joked that I should probably not sing ever.  

My voice may struggle, but I feel it provides context.  

Still, maybe perhaps I have learned something about the Homegrown, where I should maybe cut the HUGE # of actual songs I play (35-50) in half, and replace the time with a meandering of other songs I know, played sans vox.  

My schedule now consistently includes:
Monday nights (3 songs & bartending) @ Mojo 13's Open Mic Night
Wednesday nights (start 9/10) Open Mic @ Pastabilities
Friday nights: "Intimate Evenings" @ Pastabilities

much moar




GOLD MEDAL GAME!


It's 3:00am, and I have been watching this LIVE Olympic Gold Medal Men's Basketball game, and I am wondering if this was "LIVE" during its original broadcast @ 10pm, or if it is LIVE straight right now!?  I don't see myself as having any choice, really, other than to watch the second half, which has yet to begin.  Sorry, sleep.

Actually, maybe now would be a good time to cheat and to look up the final.  If I can find it, I can know that going to bed is akin to going to sleep before the end of the Phillies rebroadcast, rather than akin to ABANDONING MY COUNTRY in its greatest time of need.  AS the commentator just came on to welcome me to "this late night LIVE broadcast, I can assume perhaps that it is in fact live, and therefore will not bother to try to learn of the final score.  Waste of time.  (I cheated and checked, and this shit is LOIVE.  U.S.A! U.S.A!  Wake up America!)

Barack America


(or: how to lose an election)

THIS is just wonderful.  Great start fellas. Unfortunately I was busy and did not get to see the speeches, but if these are the highlights then I am glad I missed them.  I have a feeling there were better parts, let's watch them together HERE.

My evaluation of Joe's speech is that you can watch him as he feels himself stepping into history.  Man, and he thought his words carried weight before.  
SCRANTON, PA!!!    WILMINGT-ON!  Represent.

That being said, good bust: "My kitchen table (in Greenville) is just like yours.  John McCain would need to figure out which of seven tables (@ 7 homes) to sit at."

If you haven't already figured it out, I like Joe Biden, overall.  But I am also excited to see who John McCain picks.  Not so much because I would vote for the ticket, but just b/c I want to know who will be assuming the role of President when McCain starts wandering the halls calling Cindy Yum Chin. (I was trying to find the name of McCain's Christian captor, but I came across this, and less interestingly, this.  

Memo to McCain: Do you want to win in November? (feel free to say no)
Who should you nominate as your Veep?: Michael Bloomberg.  It's so obvious.  Don't do it, but you would probably win.  Bloomberg is GOOD.  He's got all the plusses of Joe Lieberman without any of the unabashed terrible negatives, like the very thought that even the slightest amount of "Joe-Mentum" might have its skeevy little hands on "the button(s)."  



If McCain picks that a-hole Mitt Romney I'll walk straight out the door in disgust!  Rudy?  Huckabee?  Jindal?

He could, and probably should pick Jindal (if not Bloomberg).  Huckabee is just in there for a laugh.  But WHO will he pick???  THE Entire Short list (same link as above)
is SUB-par.  The best candidates are the women (sans Rice) but they are apparently not on the shortest list.  Ridge would have been a good choice, in fact, perhaps even an excellent choice.  But his overtly "pragmatic" views on abortion has seemingly left him "cut" along with Lieberman.  Fair trade.

Do you remember the TIME OJ cover??  At least Barack is sorta smiling.  Then again, I think OJ might have been, too.  

Of course, TIME didn't darken Obama's skin, but that background is ominous!

8/23/08

Tax and Spend Liberals!!!!

These McCain ads portraying Obama as a BIG TAXER are hilariously, adorably pathetic.  They sound so smarmy and are such obfuscations of truth.  Ugh.

Let 'em know, Joe!

YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!

I really didn't let myself believe it could really happen. Sure, I felt, initially, that Biden was the best choice for President, and therefore obviously I feel he is the best choice for VP. But I figured that in the end, we'd see Kathleen Sebelius or Evan Bayh or even
Hil-dawg be the last one standing. It became
clear it wasn't Hillary pretty quickly, but I just
couldn't bring myself to get my hopes up that
Big Joe Biden would actually be selected as the VP
choice. Well here we are, at 1:00 or so AM on
August 23, and sure enough, it looks like Delaware's
favorite son, Senator Joseph Biden, will be ON THE TICKET
for the Presidential election.

OH. MY. GAWD. I am giddy like a school girl. I spoke with an
elderly gentleman just yesterday,
and we agreed that an Obama/Biden ticket would be
tremendously fun for DE, but unlikely to happen.

It is going to be SO FUN! And, at the same time, Mr. Biden is
by far, in my opinion, the best choice.
He is a straight shooter and so very extensively experienced.

And he is a man of the people! Look at him above, sharing a moment with a well dressed Sean Dwyer.

Obama/Biden '08!!!!

(It's funny though, cause I saw and heard information implicating Biden as the choice on TV, radio, and the internet, and I have STILL not received a text message.)

8/22/08

What Bush got WHAT???

Earlier this week, I referred to the 2000 George W. as a child.  And while I was kinda being harsh on him, I also meant it as just a coy reference to how young he looked.  It is certainly an office to wear on a man.  

I also, less recently, hinted at Bush's being a revenge ravished man, intent on getting back at the man who had attempted to assassinate, essentially, his whole family.  

I believe I called him: an ideological, passionate, nepotistic and nepotized extravaganaire
intent on exacting revenge on a man who had, to be fair, (at least allegedly) plotted to kill his wife, father and mother, and two brothers,


But in all honesty, for the most part, these and other attacks on our soon to be former President do not quite hit the mark.  They are, in essence, too personal attacks on a man whose legacy, truly, has yet to be measured, and whose intentions, truthfully, have not yet been gauged.  

Zakaria's cover story this week details, from his perspective, "What Bush got Right."  As you all know, Zakaria is a pedestal of modern journalism: objective, substantive, and on point.  And he has at times been one of Bush's harshest critics.  Still, his measured is approach is appreciable and appreciated.  

The article speaks about all of the requisite topics: Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, China, AIDS, and criticizes and complements as necessary.  It's funny, because even in this "corrective," he still manages to just tear W. up in almost every area.  "On the whole, Bush's record remains one of failure and missed opportunities."

But as Zakaria notes, it is not 2001, it is 2009, and some of the more considerate mantles that the (repudiated) Bush administration has taken up more recently deserve serious consideration from the new President.

So the promise of "change" is set up as mythical, in that this change that we ALL seek, so desperately, is not so much a change from the policies (so much) of this current administration, but moreso, the overbearing SYMBOLS of what this administration has come to represent, through the blustery echoes of its initial intents.  

In many, many ways this "dilution of the brand" was a self-caused debacle, from issues such as poor post-war planning to institutional failings, it wasn't so much the opposition that presented strife, but the administration's own policies and procedures.  

In almost every case, one can imagine a more precise and prepared narrative where the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are neat little clean up operations, and team America moves on to brighter pastures (Iran, Libya, Syria) swiftly and successfully.  No doubt, it was this fear that brought Muammar al-Gaddafi to the table a few years back.

Had the Rumsfeldian notion of a small troop force WORKED (only would have had they decided NOT to occupy) or the proper number of troops and equipment been brought in, a quickly stabilized Iraq (or an American force that was nimble and non-occupying)  would have allowed America the ability to pivot.  

As t stands, we are mired, and even the President, as of like, today, is apparently on board for a swift withdrawal.  (This is a big enough topic for its own entry, but for now: isn't it interesting how the powers that be seem to attempt to maintain a position of control by neutralizing oppositional stances?  ie: "Obama wants a troop withdrawal??  HERE's your troop withdrawal!....Gas prices killing you?? HERE's a moderate reduction in prices so you won't feel compelled to "vote on the economy."  I want to see a timeline of gas prices over the past 16 years, in correspondence to the elections.)

Why is the President on board for a quick withdrawal (from Iraq's cities, at least...)?:

+Even he sees it.  The jig is up, the cat is out of the bag.  The situation in Iraq is depleting, rapidly, America's international sway.  In the end, it is a small country in the middle of the desert, and we're putting everything we've got into it.  We're going broke and we can't even (honestly) defend ourselves.  (Can you imagine, if, today, there was an INVASION on American soil?  There would be American Riot Police and decommissioned National Guardsmen lining up in formation on the streets, to face some sort of organized military apparatus.  All of our best troops are overseas.)  Besides, since the oil contracts were all signed up last month, it just about lines up for us to smile, gingerly, at our cohorts and opponents in the game of Iraqi nation building, say "Gentlemen, it's been a lovely evening," take our hat and leave.

+ In case you missed it, and as an avid reader, you shouldn't have, as WE were first to break the story:  Russia kicked off the Olympic Celebrations with an invasion of Georgia!  Now, I know what you are thinking: do we really need peaches anyway?  But this is serious stuff, and Russia is even now threatening aggressive actions against POLAND, in response to our building missile interceptor technologies there.  So a boisterous, bellicose Russia is good reason for the American President to reconsider our military priorities. 

==

Going back to the idea that the majority of ill will towards the administration comes from its inglorious post 9/11 chest thumping and misguided adventure in Iraq, we can discuss the issues of legacy and intention. 

It seems to me that Bush's legacy will be forever tied to his intention, and that has yet to be fully revealed.  I think the Iraq/Anthrax link is a key element in this consideration.   

Many will vigorously argue for an "Iraq War for Irari Oil" narrative, and I for one will do little to stop them.  But another option for the primary motivation of the President and his men may have been the same medicine they were injecting in us: fear.  

9/11 was an incident of tremendous proportions.  But in the end, it was that: an incident.  It involved mortar and concrete and paper and dust and American lives, but could be swept up tidily in a mess of bureaucracy, an eventually, ten or so years later, something could rise again.  

It was a wake up call, but, in the realm of vigorous terrorism, a relatively innocuous one.  I know that is a terrible thing to say, and I don't even mean it.  But still, my point is: 3000 people died, not three million.  

The Anthrax attacks, on the other hand, were a different kind of wake up call.  This was the kind that pleasantly whispers in your ear, as you roll over to hit the snooze button: you just might wake up to three million dead Americans.  For all its bluster as a unique approach to warfare, 9/11 was essentially still conventional warfare.  It targeted citizens from the financial sector, which was certainly somewhat new, but it still, in the end, just involved explosions and the destruction of buildings.  

Biological warfare is a different cookie.  

In His book The Bush Tragedy, Jacob Weinberg describes the intense struggles of the white house after the anthrax scare.  Considered were national smallpox inoculations, and other sweeping reactions.  Smallpox seems to have been the biggest fear, as it could easily kill millions with little effort.  For the terrorist, the key aspect is access, and in the case of the anthrax used in the attacks, the US wasn't really sure where the hell it came from.  This was driven, of course, by the fact that it was OUR anthrax.  

If you believe the current line, Bruce Ivans did this on his own, out of anger and frustration.  If this is true, it makes sense why the government was so concerned.   They didn't know where the "terrorists" had gotten ahold of such good stuff, and it frightened the hell out of them that it looked so much like our own.

So Cheney was pushing for national inoculations, which can include terrible side effects like sickness and ARMS TURNING BLACK!  It was approved only for the military, and while Bush did bravely inoculate himself, Cheney, in the end, declined.

Still, there are plenty of Ivan doubters who feel the government's story does not line up, and that Mr. Ivans could not have done this alone, if at all.

Be this the case, perhaps then, the anthrax attacks are another in a line of false flag operations designed to manifest an atmosphere where planned maneuvers can be put into place.  I don't particularly agree with this line of thinking, but I ain't been convinced otherwise either.

Which brings me back to my point.  It is difficult to attack this man, and Cheney, and the rest, on a personal level.  It isn't fair.   Sure, they may be diabolical henchmen out to manipulate and bankrupt the government as they see fit.  But they may also be somewhat misguided heroes, on a quest to rid the world of evil and make it a place where babies can sleep comfortably through their 3AM wake up call.

The Bush Administration's legacy will be that of intention, and as these intentions come to surface through historical examination, only then, if ever, will we truly be able to measure the man against his failings.

8/21/08

laptop?


What does /bd/ think?

Chinese Rocks




So my 80GB Ipod is almost full, with less that 1GB left.But I had like 6GB of stupid videos, and until they put some kind of projector on these things, I don't need no video to watch on my 3" screen.  

So I deleted them, but though they no longer appeared on my ipod, the space they previously held did not free up.  So I decided to delete the whole thing and start from scratch.  Worked like a charm.  Took a while, but that's OK.  Everything was just fine, until I went to pick it back up after re-loading, and with the flick of my thumb, accidentally set it for "Chinese" language.  I don't speak Chinese!  So should I reset the damn thing again?  I don't think I'll be able to figure out how to switch back to English, ever.  Grrr.

So I have no choice but to redo the whole thing again, huh?  Otherwise I risk being unable to navigate my collection of enjoyable podcasts and musics!

on HBO, which was a delight.  In searching for some sort of pirated material to bring you here, I came across this utter gem.  It says it is 2004 but it is actually 2000, obviously.  Imagine him giving that performance 4 years later.  

It is nice to know that we literally elected a child.


I actually have some words of defense of Mr. Bush, which will come in the near future.  They serve as a review/response/consideration of Fareed Zacharia's piece in Newsweek this week "What Bush Got Right."  I have some other things to do right now though.  

 You read it now and we will discuss later.

A weekend with Bernie.

Charlie Rose did a good retrospective of Bernie mac tonight, including this interview.




(starts @ minute: 23)

8/20/08

Satan Rides Shotgun!

SFK!













FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
8/14/2008

Retail and Wholesale Job Security Index Plummets
Three Month Decline Capped by 9.9% Drop in July

The Scorelogix® Retail and Wholesale Job Security Index™ fell by 9.9 percent in July, marking the third month in a row that Retail and Wholesale job security has decreased. In the last thirteen months, the Retail and Wholesale Job Security Index™ has fallen eight times. This decline can be attributed to significant decrease in consumer disposable income, rising inflation, credit crisis and a weakening economy.

The decline in job security in Retail and Wholesale has occurred across all nine of the US census regions.  The regions which experienced the largest drop were the East North Central and Pacific regions.  The West South Central region recorded the smallest decrease in Retail and Wholesale job security at 8.4 percent.

The strongest individual States for Retail and Wholesale job security include South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, and Nebraska.  Michigan is by far the weakest State for Retail and Wholesale job security, with Mississippi, Rhode Island, Alaska, and California all struggling in this regard as well.  

Top 10 States: JSI

 

1

South Dakota

174.1

2

Wyoming

169.9

3

Utah

163.2

4

Nebraska

162.8

5

Idaho

162.0

6

North Dakota

161.0

7

Iowa

153.3

8

Oklahoma

152.8

9

New Hampshire

149.9

10

Hawaii

149.4

 

 

                     Bottom 10 States: JSI

1

Michigan

60.2

2

Mississippi

82.0

3

Rhode Island

83.3

4

Alaska

89.5

5

California

92.9

6

Illinois

95.2

7

District Of Columbia

97.9

8

Ohio

100.7

9

Tennessee

101.2

10

Kentucky

101.5








Since April 2008, the Retail and Wholesale JSI has suffered an incredible 18.4% drop, signifying a continued lack of consumer confidence and resources.  This is by far the largest decline over a three month period in the past year, and the July drop of 9.9% is the biggest single month decline in that time period as well.  A crucial component to the reversal of these trends will be a stabilized economy and credit market, as these are intricately connected to individuals’ ability to spend money in Retail and Wholesale.

To obtain further information about Scorelogix’s Job Security Index, or to receive a more in depth analysis of the data provided above, please visit/email HERE.

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