September 7, 2007 archive


How many iterations have there been of this, my now favorite theme: The Democrats are afraid of looking weak… of being perceived as weak… they don’t want to look anti-military… they don’t want to be perceived as weak on defense… not a week goes by that Democrats aren’t using the we’re afraid we’ll look weak defense.”

Four at Four

Four stories in the news at 4 o’clock. Simple, huh?

  1. Ouch. Bush’s Gilded Age economy has ground to a halt. The New York Times reports, 4-Year Growth in Jobs Ends; Stocks Plunge. “Employers eliminated 4,000 jobs in August… If the jobs report had been merely lackluster, it might have been welcomed by investors as a sign that fears of inflation had abated sufficiently to make the prospect of a Fed rate cut all but certain. The reversal in job growth, however, went far beyond expectations, raising fears that corporate profits will weaken as the market upheaval moves beyond the housing and financial sectors and casts a chill on the broader economy.” (As profits weaken, expect corporations to cut even more jobs.) “The nation lost 4,000 jobs in August, the first time employment has shrunk since August 2003,” the Washington Post notes. “The dollar tumbled to a 15-year low today,” The Guardian adds. “The American economy is poised for an impending recession,” The Telegraph predicts.

  2. The death toll from Hurricane Felix continues to climb. Hundreds still missing as Felix toll reaches 98, according to The Guardian. ‘The death toll from Hurricane Felix rose to 98 today, with hundreds more people still missing. Rescuers working in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, pulled bloated bodies from the sea while villagers used canoes to search for survivors. Residents of the remote area claimed they had been given little warning of the hurricane’s approach, leaving many fishermen stranded at sea… Hurricane Felix hit Nicaragua’s north-eastern Miskito coast early on Tuesday as a category five storm, the highest on the scale.”

  3. The Sydney Morning Herald reports from the APEC meeting, Not much civility from police chiefs, but scant civil disobedience.

    Superintendent Stephen Cullen, the head of the NSW Police Riot Squad, laid it on the line this week. Sydney, he said, was on the brink of violence and civil disobedience on a scale never witnessed here.

    Violent agitators were “well-drilled and disciplined” and the police intelligence was disturbing, cautioned the burly police veteran, who also carries the title of Civil Order Commander for APEC. “I have absolutely no doubt that minority groups will engage in a level of violence not previously experienced in Sydney,” he said. “Never in my career have I held such serious concerns for public safety.”

    They are the kind of comments that have flown thick and fast from the lips of politicians and police for months, as they justify the huge expense of the APEC security operation. But, even as the city braces for the main anti-APEC protest rally today, they are sentiments that are looking increasingly shrill and alarmist.

    As of yesterday afternoon, APEC-related arrests in Sydney have encompassed 11 members of a comedy troupe, a man who squirted tomato sauce on a pro-US banner and another individual who apparently used bad language. All low-level stuff considering the security wall and police powers introduced for the summit, not to mention the spending on riot gear.

    “It’s out of proportion,” said Alan Behm, a security analyst and former senior defence official. “The security measures are excessive, the amount of money spent is not proportionate to the threat, and it set a new precedent in dignitary protection which is above the standard of any other country that I’m aware of.”

    Now that is the kind of reporting, we don’t see anymore in the America’s traditional media.

  4. Spiegel Online brings this sticky news from Germany: Chocolate Sauce Blocks Autobahn. “Thirteen tons of chocolate melted and flowed across the German Autobahn on Thursday night after the truck carrying it caught fire. ¶ Willy Wonka would have approved. Apparently, the truck suddenly caught on fire as it was cruising through the night near Ludwigsfelde just south of Berlin… ¶ The driver was able to separate the tractor from the trailer, but the chocolate wasn’t nearly so lucky. The heat from the fire made quick work of the sweet cargo and before long, a mini chocolate river was flowing across the highway.” Send in the Oompa-Loompas!

One more story below the fold…

Friday Fun: Intelligent Design

Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures

Better viewed widescreen at TED. (Expando symbol upper right of screen.)

Anyone remember Sandkings?

State of the Onion II

Art Link
Purple with Beading

Thursday is Queersday

Long away and far ago
when I was young and naive
wearing purple on Thursday
meant one was most likely queer
as it was called at the time
Though I didn’t truly know
couldn’t really comprehend
what it entailed to be queer
I still didn’t wear purple
on Thursdays or any day
For that I am yet ashamed
The power of fear is great

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–March 16, 2006

Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who wamt to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

* 9 am (slacker)
* 12 Noon (now)
* 6 pm


Note: This is going up on dKos as Mojo Friday in about a half-hour here.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it…. All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.
-Henry David Thoreau

I want to talk about what many of us are going to do one week from tomorrow, and why.
Jump in.

Iraq and the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

Crossposted from Daily Kos

I am not an economist, but reading Jay Elias’s latest diary made me think of another problem with the way George Bush and his sycophants look at Iraq: they keep falling for the sunk-cost fallacy. Wikipedia defines the fallacy as follows:

Economics proposes that a rational actor does not let sunk costs influence one’s decisions, because doing so would not be assessing a decision exclusively on its own merits.

This strikes me as being pretty much exactly the mistake George Bush keeps making. What are the merits for staying in Iraq now? None that don’t have some basis in the cost we’ve already sunk.


Pony Party!

This is an Open Thread but it’s very important you don’t promote or recommend it.

The concept is that like Booman’s Frog Pond or TDS/TCR this be visible in the ‘Recent Diaries’ list for people who wamt to participate for a limited time.

There are going to be three chances-

9 am (now)
12 Noon
6 pm

If that is not enough punishment we will increase the level of taunting.

This is an Open Thread.

Dugong v Rumsfeld

Also posted at Truth & Progress

(Okinawa dugong, photo ©Greenpeace Japan)

Where better to build an air base than directly on top of a coral reef and its associated sea grass beds, home of the last 50 dugong in Okinawa and in Japan? Okinawans have been fighting this for years now, and still it proceeds.

Two things are happening in September of great import to the future Of Camp Schwab, it’s adjacent marine habitat, and the Okinawa dugong.

Item 1 is that Japan is conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment. According to Greenpeace:

Throughout September, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed airbase site is open for public comment. We’re using this opportunity to let the Japanese government know what the people of the world think – by delivering a petition of thousands of names to the environment and defence ministries, and calling on the government to establish a marine reserve in the area.

As the main remaining site where dugongs are sighted in Okinawa, the area is the obvious choice for a marine sanctuary for the dugong, something the UNEP has been calling on Japan to establish since 2002.

If you wish to add your voice to that of the local opposition, click the logo to personalize and sign Greenpeace’s petition to the the Japanese government.

I need a web designer for a new non-blogging political site

Some of you know about a project I’ve been kicking around regarding distilling the news of the blogosphere for an audience who would never frequent blogs.  (A group also sometimes known as “the vast majority of voters.”)  It’s time to do it.  I need a web designer and a lot of good advice.

Frankly, a lot of this comes from disaffection with what’s happening right now on the netroots and my abject sense of dread at having to defend being a Yellow Dog Dem once the Dems end up giving more support to the occupation than they should.  So — even apart from my responsibilities with Ron’s campaign — this sort of work is probably going to be a better place to spend my time for a while.

I’ll still be around (here and DKos), but I can be something more productive than a hyper-Cassandra (i.e. a Cassandra about the consequences of other people being Cassandras) on the blogs.  I have a few more diaries in me on the topic and then it’s time to do some real political work on the Intertubes.

Because I am making so little managing Ron’s campaign — due largely to my setting my own salary (within reasonable limits) — I can offer only pride as payment.  (Oh, OK — and some cut of the eventually humongoid profits.  Details to be — cough-cough — worked out.)  Seriously, only laborers of love should apply, and let’s let success be an unexpected bounty.

You know how to find me.

I’m so Blue

Ready for Revolution?

Quote for Discussion: Episode 2

Today’s quote is from Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which I read in high school.  I was reminded of it by this extraordinary post by the great hilzoy of Obsidian Wings.

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