May 10, 2008 archive

Midnight Thought on the Economics of Freedom (9 May 08)

Excerpted from

Burning the Midnight Oil for the Economics of Freedom (Fri May 09, 2008),

in the Burning the Midnight Oil blog-within-a-blog

(hosted by kos, though as far as I know, he doesn’t know it).

What is the Economics of Freedom?

The Economics of Freedom from Want?

The Economics of Freedom from Despair?

The Economics of Freedom from Tyranny?

The Economics of Freedom for our Children and Grandchildren to Enjoy the Same?

OR-Sen: Merkley Polls Within Three of Gordon Smith!!!

I’m a happy clam today folks. A new poll was released showing Jeff Merkley within three points of Republican Gordon Smith. Now I understand why Republican Gordon Smith just unveiled an attack ad on Jeff Merkley. He doesn’t want to face Merkley in the general election because Merkley will beat him! Here’s a snippet from Rasmussen:

Gordon Smith, United States Senator from Oregon, remains below the 50% level of support for the third straight month in Rasmussen Reports polling. Any incumbent who polls below 50% is considered potentially vulnerable and this month’s polling contains even more bad news for Smith-support for his potential Democratic challengers is increasing.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Oregon voters finds Smith leading Jeff Merkley by just three percentage points, 45% to 42%. In late March, he enjoyed a thirteen point lead. In February, he was ahead of Merkley by eighteen points.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Referendum in Myanmar likely to solidify junta’s power

Associated Press

1 hour, 12 minutes ago

HLEGU, Myanmar – Myanmar held a referendum Saturday that likely will solidify the ruling junta’s hold on power, even as it appeared overwhelmed by a devastating cyclone that killed tens of thousands of people.

Human rights organizations and anti-government groups have bitterly accused the government of neglecting cyclone victims to advance its political agenda, and have criticized its proposed constitution as designed to perpetuate military rule.

Local journalists said they saw cases of intimidation of voters at various polling stations around the country.

Coup Coming in Khartoum?

Khartoum has been relatively untouched by the civil wars and genocide around it.

The capital of the Sudan has now been breached by fighting for the first time. Now Darfur rebel leaders are claiming that they are going to try and take Khartoum and topple the government.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – A Darfur rebel commander said on Saturday his JEM group had entered Khartoum and was aiming to take power in Sudan.

Khartoum was placed under an overnight curfew after fighting in the west of the capital on Saturday. It would be the first time a rebel group has entered Khartoum

The Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels said they had taken control of Omdurman which lies on the opposite bank of the River Nile from Khartoum.

“We are now trying to control Khartoum. God willing we will take power, it’s just a matter of time,” senior JEM commander Abdel Aziz el-Nur Ashr told Reuters by telephone.

“We have support from inside Khartoum even from within the armed forces.”

Enviro_wingnuts responsible for skyrocketing gas prices

Think Again: Why We’re Liberals: The Polls Speak


And here it is, in black and white.

Liberals/Democrats/environmentalists responsible for high gas/energy prices

Who’s to blame for high gas prices?

Sean Hannity and Michael Reagan Try To Blame Liberals For High Gas Prices

Wake up Call for the Republicans

E. J. Dionne has a bit of good news today in his editorial in today’s Daily News Record, “Issues This Year ‘Moving the Democrats’ Way.” He supports Barack Obama’s new political voice by pointing out the recent election success of Democrat Don Cazayoux in Louisiana.  It seems that the Republican Party has had the 6th District in their pockets for 33 years.  They ran the usually successful campaign of “slash and burn,” “guilt by association,” and “tax and spend.”  They lost.

Pony Party: Your Morning Art

Despite my mother’s sincere efforts to introduce me to culture, I was fairly apathetic about the whole exercise until I went to the Prado in Madrid. Going back there is on my list of things to do before becoming too old and arthritic and addled to enjoy it again.

At the time some Goya paintings were on display, some of his paint for the royals stuff.

Given my limited knowledge about painters, I will soon run out of artists I have actually heard of or artists whose paintings I have actually seen.

One thing I really like about this next poetry piece is the way it makes you want to frolic with puppies in green dewy fields…..

I am the sentimental type, I guess.


So, John McCain claims Hamas wants Barack Obama elected our next President.

Never mind that the political advisor to Hamas who remarked how he, “liked Barack Obama,” could have been saying so because he knew it to be a political kiss of death and therefore John McCain NOT Barack Obama would ascend to this country’s highest office.

Never mind as well that Hamas is a foreign organization and therefore its “opinion” is as functionally relevant as the opinion of… say… the society of ticket-takers at Euro-Disney.

We won’t really know the motivations or mental gyrations of the entity that is Hamas, but apparently John McCain is willing to speculate for his own political gain.

And if John McCain thinks it fair to project endorsements onto anthropomorphized entities, he shouldn’t mind it when I suggest… CANCER would prefer he was the next POTUS.

Docudharma Times Saturday May 10

You wanna play mind-crazed banjo

On the druggy-drag ragtime U.S.A.?

In Parkland International

Hey! Junkiedom U.S.A.

Where procaine proves the purest rock man groove

and rat poison

Saturday’s Headlines: Iraq Contractor in Shooting Case Makes Comeback: FBI, ATF Battle for Control Of Cases: Hizbullah success in west Beirut replaces impasse with uncertainty: Turkish strikes ‘kill 19 rebels’: Part of Guinness’s Dublin brewery to close: Tanks return to Red Square as Russia flaunts military might: Chinese factories, flouting labor laws, hire children from poor, distant villages:?S. Koreans Abuzz Over Their Obsession With the Office: Tsvangirai to run in second round: Pollution in paradise: Flamingos vs the factory: Mexico vows to continue war on organized crime

The River of Death

As Burma’s junta spurns the world’s offers of aid, Andrew Buncombe finds a landscape flooded with corpses – and a people begging for help

For the people living alongside the Payapon river – a branch of the mighty Irrawaddy – the slow-moving waters have always been a sustainer of life. The river has provided irrigation for their crops, as well as clean, sweet water for washing and bathing, and the fish from which so many of them make their livelihoods.

Now the same river is delivering the dead. The corpses of hundreds of people swept away and killed by the surging tidal wave of Cyclone Nargis are now being washed back.

They lie on the river’s edge, snagged in the roots of the mangrove swamps, bloated and burnt by the sun. Many of the corpses have already been buried by family or friends but there are plenty more that lie floating and abandoned, as anonymous in death as they must have been named and known in life.

Support disaster relief in Myanmar (Burma) Through the UN

Senators Want Iraq to Pay for US Occupation

Last month’s Petraeus – Crocker, progress in Iraq, dog and pony show provided a forum which allowed them to tell us how well we are progressing in our endeavors to provide peace and stability in Iraq. The format was such that few hard questions were asked and few meaningful answers were given.

General Petraeus informs us:

“There has been significant but uneven security progress in Iraq.”

The gains, however, are “fragile and reversible,” he says, as he begins to outline a plan for a 45-day “period of consolidation and evaluation” to follow the end of the “surge” of extra American forces in July, before any more troops would be withdrawn.

“This process will be continuous, with recommendations for further reductions made as conditions permit,” he added. “This approach does not allow establishment of a set withdrawal timetable.”


There were no major surprises from Petraeus and Crocker, more wait and see, stall and delay. However there was something new and very significant from the Senators doing the questioning.

Over At ‘Vet Voice’

Author Colby Buzzell Being Sent Back to Iraq

Colby Buzzell, author of My War: Killing Time in Iraq one of the best Iraq memoirs out there–has been called up from the IRR and will be returning to Iraq. For reasons that I’ve specified in the past, this is utter horseshit. Our country is in sad shape when cowards like Matthew Continetti and Jason Mattera are allowed to refuse to serve–instead choosing to cheer from the bench–while people like Colby Buzzell are forced to go involuntarily again and again.

This is nothing less than a backdoor draft. And it’s wrong. We need to either have a draft or not have a draft. But one way or the other, these IRR mobilizations need to stop.

Here’s part of Buzzell’s take on his own situation (though you should go read the whole thing in the San Francisco Chronicle:


Random Japan

Off the rails

Service was disrupted after a passenger was spotted jumping off a speeding bullet train between Hamamatsu and Kakegawa stations in Shizuoka Prefecture.

A drunken man injured his leg after being hit by a train while staggering on the edge of a platform at Tokyo’s Okachimachi Station.



Lawmakers who paid their respects at Yasukuni Shrine, one day after leaders of Japan and South Korea urged to end their disputes over historical issues


Traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers across Japan for the six-month period from Sep 19, a drop of 22.5 percent from a year before, according to the National Police Agency

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