July 22, 2008 archive

Four at Four, at Five

Special guest host?  Nah, It’s just me.

Special edition?  You bet.  We’re in Central time now, folks.

Welcome to the Four at Four, at Five (Four Central).

  • While Iran and the US wrestle over nuclear power, India’s parliament voted to go ahead with a US-India nuclear deal, in which the US will provide nuclear technology and fuel to India so they can build power plants.  However, the entire process has been marred with scandal.

    The Indian government’s joy at its victory was tempered by a bribery scandal, after opposition lawmakers interrupted the debate to wave wads of cash to protest against what they said were bribes offered by the government to abstain.

    The furor was described as one of the lowest points in parliamentary history, and led to fresh demands for Singh to resign, and catcalls preventing him from delivering his concluding remarks after the two-day debate.

  • Although an agreement has been made between the recently re-elected President of Zimbabwe and his former adversary, all is still not well in Zimbabwe, and many people even doubt the sincerity of the settlement, which isn’t expected to be final for two weeks.

    With inflation at more than 2.2m%, unemployment at 80%, and basic food commodities vanishing from shelves, locals have been finding things tough, with millions forced into neighbouring countries.

  • The Congressional Budget office has determined that the federal government’s rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will cost the government about $25 billion, and admitted that there was a slim chance that the total cost might reach $100 billion.

    CBO’s $25 billion cost estimate is an average based on “the path of housing prices in the next several months.” They considered three scenarios: prices stabilize, grow modestly or decline steeply.

    [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson requested that the Treasury be allowed to offer Fannie and Freddie an unlimited line of credit for 18 months and be given authority to buy stock in the companies if necessary.

    Anyone else find it ironic that mortgage companies are borrowing money?

  • A study on the effects of Viagra in women (yes, women) has found that Viagra may help women reach orgasm if antidepressants have reduced their libidos.

    The study, the first objective research to show a role for Viagra in boosting female sexual function, found that almost three times as many women taking the impotence pill had orgasms compared with those given a placebo.

    Researchers in the study looked at 98 women on antidepressants whose average age was 37. The women in the study didn’t have any sexual problems before beginning on antidepressants, [researcher Harry] Croft said.

    The participants, randomly assigned Viagra or a placebo, were told to take the pill one to two hours before sexual activity for eight weeks. The women on Viagra were more likely to say they had an increase in orgasms and partner satisfaction compared with those taking the placebo. Overall, Viagra didn’t increase their sexual drive or desire for sex, Croft said.

Walking across Wisconsin, witnessing against war

In some ways, much of Kathy Kelly’s adult life has been a walk against war. So it was completely in character for her to be walking through Milwaukee Monday, on a 450-mile trek to St. Paul and the Republican national convention.

Kelly, (left) a high school and community college teacher, has repeatedly risked her life and her freedom as an advocate for non-violence.  She is now affiliated with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, based in her hometown of Chicago, which organized Witness Against War now making its way across Wisconsin.

A three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work , Kelly is a longtime pacifist who refuses to pay war taxes.  She’s served prison time for  planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites and for crossing the line as part of an ongoing effort to close the School of the Americas, an Army military combat training school at Fort Benning, GA.

She helped initiate Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign which brought medicine and toys to Iraq in open violation of UN/US sanctions against Iraq. Voices in the Wilderness organized 70 delegations to visit Iraq in the period between 1996 and the beginning of “Shock and Awe” warfare in 2003. Kelly has been to Iraq 24 times since January 1996, when the campaign began.

In October 2002, Voices in the Wilderness declared their intent to remain in Baghdad, alongside Iraqi civilians, throughout a war they still hoped they could prevent. Kelly and the team stayed in Baghdad throughout the bombardment and invasion and maintained a household in Baghdad until March, 2004. During 2007, she spent five months in Amman, Jordan, living amongst Iraqis who’ve fled their homes and are seeking resettlement.

Fiendish Feds Filched my Follicles

I flew United, Milwaukee>Ohare>Austin for the Netroots Nation bloggers convention last week.

Landing, 2 bags out of 66 passengers were not on the carousel, mine and agnostic’s, another raucous Dailykos poster. We were told they’d been mistakenly sent to Scranton, would be delivered to out hotel around midnight. Actually arrived 4:00 the next afternoon, with 2 pieces of tape, one from TSA, and another from Homeland Security. Missing, my hairbrush, and Ms. Agnostic’s scarf.

As I connect the dots, when our dossiers were run, an alert HSA drone noticed empty datafields for our DNA. No longer empty.

Pony Party

(h/t huff-puff)

~♥~ Pony Party is an Open Thread. Please don’t wRECk the Pony. ~♥~  

Army, Flag and Cross

Recently publisher here and crossposted here.

I wanted to try and generate some discussion on a subject that will continue to resonate regardless of who wins in November: the pathological coupling between fundamentalism, flag worship, and what can be called, for lack of a better term, “warrior worship.” Join me below the fold, won’t you?

Code Talking White Trash & Exploitation Capitalism

Cross-posted from The Wild, Wild Left

Were I not a recovering Catholic, I would surely believe I burned off many a purgatory hour yesterday, far exceeding the actual 7 hours spent in the merry go round of hell called “taking mother in law to her doctor’s appointment.”

Yes, yes, someone with life-long dementia and ever increasing short-term memory loss cannot help thinking perhaps three things all day and repeating them, not unlike the child I used to sit who has autism. She fixates. Repeats. And repeats. I can live with that.

I could live with the inevitable 2 hour wait that her appointments, no matter when they are, involve.

What really fucked up the day was the white-trash big mouth in the waiting room parroting winger-speak and racist code talk; looking for agreement from me.

Why the American left is asleep at the wheel.

I have here three clips from a wonderful little film called My Dinner with Andre, wherein the main characters discuss the breakdown of human society.

Decoding Obama on Iraq

By Anthony Arnove via socialistworker.org: Decoding Obama on Iraq

ACTION: Front Group for Insurance Industry Likes Our Healthcare Just as It IS!

From the HCAN website!

A group called American’s Health Insurance Plans, an insurance industry front group, is launching a campaign to convince America that they are indeed satisfied with their private insurance coverage.

Oh, yes!  We are SO VERY SATISFIED with our inablitity to afford health insurance, to be under-insured, to be told by the middle-man insurance company that we CANNOT have THAT drug OUR Doctor prescribed, or THAT treatment that OUR Doctor suggested, because the INSURANCE CORPORATIONS don’t want to PAY for it with the money that WE PAID THEM in order to …. What?  Insure that we have healthcare coverage?  NO!

In order for them to decide if our procedure or medication might just bite into their unholy profits just a BIT too MUCH!

This is INSANE.  Yet, as we have discussed, we knew this was coming and it was coming fast.  


Docudharma Times Tuesday July 22


Don’t Listen

To Him

He’s The

Iraqi Prime Minister

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Israelis, Palestinians look to Obama with hope, skepticism

Radovan Karadzic, Europe’s most wanted man, arrested for war crimes

Sarkozy puts on the charm in attempt to sway Irish

Suu Kyi ‘may be free in six months’

Why Thai-Cambodian temple dispute lingers

Talks to end Zimbabwe election crisis start

Media ought to give Africa a fair shake

Iraq Points to Pullout in 2010

Senior al-Qaida leader gives interview  

Brazil has top Olympic sailors? Who knew?

Women Are Now Equal as Victims of Poor Economy


Published: July 22, 2008

Across the country, women in their prime earning years, struggling with an unfriendly economy, are retreating from the work force, either permanently or for long stretches.

They had piled into jobs in growing numbers since the 1960s. But that stopped happening this decade, and as the nearly seven-year-old recovery gives way to hard times, the retreat is likely to accelerate.

Indeed, for the first time since the women’s movement came to life, an economic recovery has come and gone, and the percentage of women at work has fallen, not risen, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.


China on war footing ahead of Olympic Games

Fearing terrorist threats, Beijing has deployed tens of thousands of security personnel, banned cars into the capital and is installing surface-to-air missiles near stadiums.

By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

July 22, 2008

BEIJING — In China, the preparations for the Olympics look more like a military deployment than arrangements for a sporting event.

The government is installing surface-to-air missiles near the stadiums and setting up checkpoints to stop out-of-town cars from entering Beijing. It has enlisted 110,000 security personnel and more than 1 million citizens to protect the Games against what it says are credible terrorist threats.

Unmanned drones are to patrol the skies above Beijing for the duration of the Games, from Aug. 8 to Aug. 24. The 800-mile border with North Korea will be sealed, according to reports from South Korea. Beijing’s airport will be closed during the opening ceremony to enforce a “no fly” zone around the city.


Guantanamo Judge Blocks Use of Some Statements

‘Highly Coercive’ Conditions Are Cited

By Jerry Markon

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 22, 2008; Page A01

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba. July 21 — Prosecutors in the trial of Osama bin Laden’s former driver cannot use as evidence some statements the defendant gave interrogators because they were obtained under “highly coercive” conditions while he was a captive in Afghanistan, a military judge ruled Monday evening.

As the first U.S. military commission since World War II got underway, Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred threw out the statements that Salim Ahmed Hamdan made after he was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001, including detailed descriptions of bin Laden’s whereabouts.

Real News: Ex-CIA Agent Ray McGovern on Obama’s ‘New World’

Transcript here.

McGovern: “The game is over with Iraq and so the question is how does this strategic change affect the real players in the area. The Israeli right wants a confrontation with Iran to keep US forces in the region. The US military leadership is against a “third front” but has to contend with Cheney.

Raymond McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was a Federal employee under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House for many of them. McGovern was born and raised in Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Listening is a lamp that dispels the darkness of ignorance.

–Arya Sura, Jatakamala (aka Garland of Birth Stories

aka Once the Buddha Was a Monkey)

Phenomena IV: listening



I spent much of my life

speaking in paragraphs

to people who had difficulty


for the end of a sentence

before breaking in

to change the subject

to talk about them

their thoughts

not mine

which lay unfinished

by the side

of the conversation

with my ideas

drifting away


probably forgotten

if not evaporating

into nothingness

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 6. 2008

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