February 28, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. There is a Record-high ratio of Americans in prison reports the Washington Post. “More than one in 100 adult Americans is in jail or prison, an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a year, in addition to more than $5 billion spent by the federal government, according to a report released today. With more than 2.3 million people behind bars at the start of 2008, the United States leads the world in both the number and the percentage of residents it incarcerates, leaving even far more populous China a distant second, noted the report by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States.”

  2. The Los Angeles Times reports $4 gasoline? It’s news to Bush.

    President Bush said today he was unaware of predictions by some analysts that gasoline could reach $4 a gallon by this spring because of strong demand and reformulation.

    That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that,” Bush said after a reporter asked about the prospect. “I know it’s high now.” …

    Bush again touted the benefits of alternative fuels and conservation. But he chastised Congress for talking about an $18-billion tax increase for large oil companies.

    “All that’s going to do is make the price even higher,” he said.

  3. The Washington Post reports the ‘Virtual wall’ along U.S.-Mexican border fails and is to be delayed. The completion of the project’s first phase is delayed at least three years. “Technical problems discovered in a 28-mile pilot project south of Tucson prompted the change in plans, Department of Homeland Security officials and congressional auditors told a House subcommittee.” The project built by Boeing “did not work as planned” nor “meet the needs of the U.S. Border Patrol… Boeing has already been paid $20.6 million for the pilot project, and in December, the DHS gave the firm another $65 million to replace the software with military-style, battle management software.” The total cost of the project is unknown, because the DHS does “not yet know the type of terrain where the fencing is to be constructed, the materials to be used, or the cost to acquire the land.”

    Meanwhile, The New York Times reports a Border patrol agent’s trial in the killing of a migrant starts in Arizona. “In a patch of desert just north of Mexico, what began as a relatively routine interception a year ago ended when a Border Patrol agent shot and killed an illegal immigrant at close range… The agent, Nicholas W. Corbett, 40, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide for a shooting that prosecutors say was unprovoked as the immigrant, Francisco Javiér Domínguez, 22, was surrendering… The prosecutor, Grant Woods, a former state attorney general, said Wednesday at the trial that Agent Corbett had lied to supervisors about what occurred… ‘We all respect the Border Patrol and law enforcement, but you don’t kill somebody who is trying to surrender,’ he told the jury.

  4. The Guardian reports Adopt defence system or face disaster, warns US official.

    Failure by the European allies to adopt a missile defence system could lead to the break up of Nato, the top US official responsible for promoting the controversial project warned today.

    Lt Gen Henry Obering, director of the US Missile Defence Agency, painted almost apocalyptic scenarios at a conference at the Royal United Services Institute in London today. He said that Iran could simultaneously block the Straits of Hormuz and provoke terrorist attacks in Europe, and that al-Qaida could acquire nuclear weapons…

    “The decisions we make today, right now, will shape the future,” he said. Europe could not wait until Iran possessed long-range missiles.

    There remains widespread scepticism in Nato about Washington’s claims regarding the need and capability of a missile defence system and the intentions of the Iranians, alliance officials admitted today.

Its 2008! Do you know where your money is? (You better know)

My sig line, which I’ve displayed not-so-proudly for the past year is “Another day, another devalued dollar.”  It seemed appropriate at the time I decided to place it above my name in each blog comment I make, but it seems more and more appropriate with each passing day.  

Not only is our economy now in a recession, not only are home foreclosures at an all time high as well as new home sales at an all time low, not only are lending establishments NOT lending money unless people put up their first born along with some other serious collateral, but the latest bad financial news about our banking industry here in the US may have us wondering about the safety of the money you have deposited at your own bank!

This from CNN:

In the past year there have been four bank failures.

And the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and banking industry experts foresee many bank failures down the road.

“Regulators are bracing for 100-200 bank failures over the next 12-24 months,” says Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with the financial services firm, the Stanford Group.

Expected loan losses, the deteriorating housing market and the credit squeeze are blamed for the drop in bank profits.

The problem areas will be concentrated in the Rust Belt, in places like Ohio and Michigan and other states like California, Florida and Georgia.

The number of institutions categorized as “problem” institutions by the FDIC has also grown from 50 at the end of 2006 to 76 at the end of last year.

YIKES!  Ever since Bu$hCo was installed into the American Government by the Supreme Court in 2000, for America and Americans, if it wasn’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all.

A tortuous cover-up


The British government admits to complicity in two cases of “extraordinary rendition”, but claims they are an isolated case and promises that it “never uses torture for any purpose, including obtaining information, neither would we instigate actions by others to do so.”

The Myth Of Maverick McCain

Myth of Maverick McCainJohn McCain’s image, as propounded by his spinners (aka: the Media) is that of a maverick who shuns political opportunists and slaps the hands of greedy, special interest self-promoters. It’s an image that gets projected repeatedly by pundits and lazy journalists whose writing seems to be on auto-pilot. They reason that if it was said it about him last year (or last century), it must be true this year as well. This flawed logic even extends to government watchdog groups.

The Austin American- Statesman reports that McCain is circulating a letter from Public Citizen that attests to his commitment to good government:

“We are compelled to note something that has been lost in the recent criticism of Sen. McCain’s association with lobbyists: Regardless of how many lobbyists are working on his campaign or raising money for him, John McCain fought for 14 long, hard years for reforms that seriously limit lobbyists power.”

“Regardless of how many lobbyists…” ??? That’s an awfully broad stroke of forgiveness, ya think?

Where Is This 3 Trillion Dollar War Taking US?

Frankly, I am glad I am not Barack Obama. But if ever this country needed someone of his intellectual capacity, strategic brilliance, ability to bring people together, it will be the first day he steps into the Oval office And brothers and sisters I am here tell you, the deep shit hole Bush has left us in will require not just Obama but a team of equally brilliant people to begin to address how we, as Americans, are going to climb out this seeming insurmountable abyss and turn our country around. But there is Obama and for that reason I have hope.

I’d Like to Report A War Crime, Please ………….Updated.

No, not a new one. Nothing breaking.

I would just like to please talk to whoever is in charge of these things. Can you please direct me to the correct window? Tell me what forms to fill out?


As I understand it….which is vaguely, even though I have read a bit, Waging aggressive war is a war crime, systematic torture is a war crime, and mass murder is a war crime. or perhaps a crime against peace,  or a crime against humanity which seems to be a legal distinction. Legal distinctions are of course important. Which is why, of course, Bushco has done its best to cover its patently criminal ass with them.

Update: Maybe the Brits will be the key. Transcripts of Blair’s Cabinet Meetings Ordered Released, by markthshark

Pony Party….patience

I love spring. It is an exercise in patience rewarded spectacularly.

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for the wind to blow

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for the wind to blow

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for my seeds to grow

I been walkin’ on the ground, waitin’ for the guns to quit

I been walkin’ on the ground, waitin’ for the guns to quit

I been walkin’ on the ground, waitin’ for the pieces to fit

better get back to the country, look around and find you a home

better get back to the country, look around and find you a home

better get back to the country, that’s where we all come from

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for the wind to blow

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for the wind to blow

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for my seeds to grow(whew!)

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for my seeds to grow

I been standin’ on the rock, waitin’ for my seeds to grow

Thanks for stopping in, so glad You’re here …. (yes, YOU!)

this is an open thread… relax.. Hang out and chit chat awhile…

and when you’re done  check out some of the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.

O &… Please don’t rec the pony party, another will trot up in a few hours.


on love and leaving


Iran and Democracy

A nice, short primer on the 1953 coup and its consequences.

What is the cost of a Purple Heart?

Cross posted from Sancho Press. http://sanchopress.com/

I can’t add anything that these photos and article from the NYT do not say, so I won’t.



Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Dickens Set Free in China

Crossposted at Daily Kos and also at Truth & Progress

Lost in the hoopla and frenzy of the 2008 Presidential Campaign over the past couple of weeks was an overlooked (though important) anniversary in the Peoples Republic of China.  In February 1978 — a year or so after Chairman Mao Zedong’s death — the Chinese communist government lifted a ban on the writings of three of the greatest minds the world has ever seen.

This was a critical development for from their graves, three men long dead — Aristotle, William Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens — were finally free to peddle their ‘subversive’ ideas about the complexity of the human condition.

Aristotle, William Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens

Annan succeeds in Kenya!

As a measure of the political rollercoaster in Kenya, I will include what I wrote last night, and would have posted this morning. Instead, it’s just wonderful news, as reported by the BBC:

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have reached a deal to end Kenya’s post-poll crisis, ex UN head Kofi Annan says.

“We have come to an agreement of a form of coalition government,” Mr Annan said after a four-hour meeting with them.

He said he could not give any further details as the men were going to consult with their political parties.

Annan says he hopes the agreement will be signed by the end of the day!

As I’ve previously written, Annan’s efforts may have been the final possible preventative against genocide. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is the only ever two-time winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; if this agreement holds, and if the rules allow, Annan deserves consideration to be the second.

Here’s what I would have posted:

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